Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Today has been a memory filled day.

We buried my Grandma in her earthly resting spot…..but we know and rejoice that she is dancing with Jesus.


All day long sweet memories would pop into my head.

*Sitting around on lawn chairs snapping green beans with Grandma.  It was always “all hands on deck” when the garden harvest was ready!  And being in awe of how quickly she could cut off an ear of corn.

*Learning how to turn a freshly picked orange into the most delicious tasting OJ ever.

*Trying to make her “famous” sugar cookie recipe and calling her with questions and wondering what I did wrong. (I still claim she would purposely “forget” a secret ingredient and that is why mine never tasted like hers did!)

*But my most recent and special memory is that from last Thursday when Travis and I went to visit Grandma in the hospital.  She was in pain and was very tired.  But her first words to me when she woke up was, “How are the girls?”

My Grandma knows first hand that blood doesn’t make a family. Love does.  She adopted 2 wonderful babies many years ago….and I’ve had the privilege of having them be my Uncle Randy and Aunt Betsy.  My grandparents also were Milton Hershey foster parents.  It made me cry when she asked about the girls….I will treasure that always.

I’m s0 thankful to have known my precious Grandma for 40 years.

(Goodness….when I say it that way it makes me sound old!)


This week I made my Grandma’s peach crisp recipe.

From fresh peaches from our one lonely peach tree…..but it gave us some good peaches this year!


I treasure having this recipe written in her handwriting.  <3


This is one of my Grandma’s recipes that I can easily make GF.  I just use gluten free oats and it takes the same as hers did. <3

Well……Grandma’s was probably most likely better, but I get it close!


At least this crew doesn’t complain. lol



 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
  He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,

I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Simply Love T-shirts

I have a friend.

Her name is Marjorie St. John.  She had to have a serious, emergency surgery this past week.

When we started our adoption process back in 2007, she was the first one who reached out to me on the yahoo groups and explained what all the acronyms meant.

PA, LOA, TA, LID…I had NO IDEA what they all stood for!!

Then when we got Ava’s referral in 2010 she was the one who I sent Ava’s file to so she could look it over and tell me if anything “abnormal” or scary stood out to her as she had read many, many kids files before and knew how to read between the lines.

And a friendship began and although we have never had the chance to meet in real life I consider her a dear friend.

And I wanted to do something for her.  They have been saving and saving for their upcoming adoption and all they needed yet was their plane tickets.

But now they have had to pay for their insurance deductible for an unexpected surgery!

So I was thinking to myself….how can I help Marjorie?

And I thought of the River of Grace T-shirts that we have left up in the attic and I thought I would start another fundraiser and give the proceeds to the St. John family in hopes of relieving some of the financial burden for them during this stressful time.

Marjorie will not be able to lift anything over 5 lbs. for 8-10 WEEKS.  And then they are to travel to China to get their daughter, Ami. 

So she needs to really take this time and let her body heal.

*Maybe if you have already ordered a t-shirt yours is wearing thin and you could use another one?

*Maybe you have gained weight/lost weight and need another one?!?! (lost would be nice!)

*Maybe you never have heard of a River of Grace T-shirt fundraiser but follow our blog and want to help an orphan.

*Maybe you know the St. John’s and want to help them pay for the flight to China to give another orphan a forever home!

If you would like to help them, feel free to order your t-shirts size and color on the right hand of the Simply Love Blog and I will ship it right out to you in one of our Adopt a Child drawstring bags. (while supplies last)

Travis   bag

Or you can email me your size and send me a check:

Thank you so much!


The front of the shirts:


The back of the shirts:

simply love back violet

Together let’s show Marjorie how much we love her!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Heaven Bound

As I write this my last living Grandparent is laying in a hospital bed….the doctors have said it will be “hours, not days” until she leaves this earth.

Travis and I went and said our good-byes to her last evening.  I got to thank her for being a wonderful Grandma.

A Grandma who always was so kind and gentle….but yet was sooo strong. And you knew that when she said No, it meant no.

A Grandma who would make us the most delicious home cooked meals when we would stay overnight at her house and we ALWAYS had dessert at her house.  And she would get those little single serving cereal boxes for us in the morning.  It was always a special treat as we didn’t get “sugary” cereal at home.

A Grandma who I know went through some really tough times growing up but came out stronger on the other side. 

She is a strong women of faith and I know that she was praying for me and my family.

She is 95 years old.   She has lived a good long life.  I don’t want to see her suffer or be in pain any longer.  She broke her back yesterday and her heart is in afib and her lungs are filling with fluid.  So in the natural it looks like she will meet her Heavenly Father soon.


I’m so thankful to have known her for as long as I have.  And that my kids will remember their Great Grandma.

I’m thankful she got to be at our wedding, 22 years ago!?!?


I’m thankful we got to take Travis and Jared to Florida back in 1999 to visit them at their “winter cottage” in Sarasota.  Grandma and Grandpa would go down to Florida over the winter and then come home to the house we live in now to help around the farm and enjoy the grandkids. 


They also had a cottage at Mt. Gretna that we would so enjoy going to and sleeping overnight at.  Many fun and special memories were made at the penny candy store, the Jigger Shop and watching the fireworks over the lake.

This sign would hang at my grandparents Gretna cottage. I had just found it out in our old barn a month ago and had hung out at our porch to remember them.  It seems timely now.


There were many games of Skip-Bo played out on this porch! <3


My grandparents always tried to come to every birthday celebration….



I can only imagine how beautiful heaven will be.  I know Grandma won’t be in pain any more.

And she will get to see the love of her life again.


Say HI to Grandpa for me…..and don’t forget to look up Bud and Millie and give them a hug from me too.


I love you Grandma.  Thank you…..for everything.

I will see you again….someday. <3

Bible Verses About Death

There's a peace I've come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul
I can say "It is well"
Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise
There's a day that's drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes
Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise
And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise
I will rise

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How beautiful…..


How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”

Isaiah 52:7New International Version (NIV)

I sure hope that my feet do bring good news to those around me…..and I hope my actions proclaim that my God REIGNS.

Today I heard from Josie’s  insurance company….They approved us for a nurse for 5 hours a day.

Ummmm…..Josie goes to school for at least SEVEN hours a day.  How is that exactly supposed to work!?!?!?

So I was fed up.

But I really tried to have a Christ like attitude when I called our lawyer to tell her about this new development.

But she is ticked at United.

Our doctor is ticked at United.

Our nursing company is ticked at United.

So the three of them are fighting for us. 

The supervisor of the senior appeal lady at United is now involved.

Right now all I need to do is to be still and let God take care of this mess.

I sent 3 packets of “evidence” to the CRE (the review company) today… it is out of my hands totally now.

And as I was literally in the middle of dealing with all of this crap this morning, my friend, Marcia, texts me:

“Do you want to get a pedicure with me this afternoon??  My treat….oh and I’ll bring you supper too.”



It was so refreshing and good to catch up with Marcia….without interruptions and little ears around! Winking smile

She made my day.

It was such a treat and I came home relaxed.

And I don’t have to cook supper!!!!! <3

Love you Marsh.  Thanks for always being there for me.

As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:15

Or the gospel according to Lynnea:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring supper and treat friends to pedicures.”


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

3 months old…..

and still so stinkin’ adorable! <3

P8060003 - Copy

Willow May is doing great. 

She loves playing with her toys, she loves to annoy Boomer and she loves to be on your lap.

She is sleeping through the night, she is puppy pad trained (95% of the time) and she is Ava’s sidekick all day long.

We tell Ava that she has to let Willow down to walk…..this pup gets carried all over the place.

But we can’t help it!

She is just too snuggable!


And Ava doesn’t have to worry about washing the food off her face anymore….she has a puppy to lick it off for her now. (!?!?)



We are so very thankful for this little girl. 

Both Ava and Willow! Winking smile

It amazes me how a puppy can bring such healing and calmness to a special little girl.


A little girl who loves animals but she especially loves her puppy.

But don’t let that sweet face fool you…..she can be naughty!   She is a puppy after all! Winking smile

But for our first puppy she has been really easy. 

And for that I am very thankful!

But don’t forget our Big Dog.


We still love you Boomer…..even if you wish that Little Dog would go back to where she came from. Winking smile

He is just an old man and doesn’t like a pup in his face all the time.

But everyday he is getting more and more tolerant.

It isn’t “bad” but they are not BFF’s yet…….

Maybe someday.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

All part of His plan!

So sit back and come along with me as I reminisce down memory lane for a bit and be reminded again on how AMAZING and AWESOME our God is and how HIS plans are best.

Back in 2012 we traveled to China to adopt Josie.  We did it a bit “backwards” as we did her paperwork in Guiyang first and had gotcha day and then we traveled to Kunming to visit her foster family, who just “happened” to be our friends. And then we headed down to Guangzhou to do the American side of the adoption.

We had a very special (albeit too short) visit in Kunming but special memories were made.

We met a little girl named Le Le (pronounced Lu Lu) and we fell in love.



Le Le  (who I secretly named Maggie!) was just precious.  She was born with dwarfism.  And after we got home I talked to my cyber friend, Yvette, you know….just in case God would call us to adopt a child who “just happened” to have dwarfism.  I needed to know some information. Winking smile


But we knew that Hannah was VERY MUCH wanting to adopt Le Le as her own….but at that point in time it just didn’t seem humanly possible as she didn’t have a husband or a way to adopt her.



So we said our goodbyes not knowing if I’d ever see “my” Maggie again.

But after we left China in 2011 some love was in the air and Joshua and Hannah started dating. <3


They are a perfect match.  So they got married and then were able to start the process of adopting Le Le!!!!!

And just a few months ago Le Le’s adoption became finalized (they call her Ella) and Joshua, Hannah, ,Le Le, Elora traveled to the states to have their 2nd natural baby!!!  Baby Enoch was born on July 16th.


So Le Le was IN  MY HOUSE last night.

Something I NEVER in a MILLION years thought I would ever see.

It was soooo fun.


She is a happy, and still adorable, 3 year old girl now!

And then since Hannah and her family were in the states Daniel and his family came in from Pittsburgh to visit too!


Before Hannah and Joshua started dating, Joshua and his friend would come over and help with the ROG kids.

So Josie and Daniel know Joshua VERY well and were very excited to see him again!

It was a very sweet time.


Daniel blew us all away with his new communication device.

Daniel’s CP affects his speech.  He can walk but is jerky.  But we never could understand him.  Now Josie and Daniel had a special way of communicating….but  this device has opened up his world!

He is VERY bright….and has much to share.  He just couldn’t before!!!!!

I can’t even think of a word to begin to describe how neat this device was. I got tears and goose bumps when I heard him “talk” with Joshua and Hannah.  He congratulated them on their baby boy.


Then he told Josie he is in the 1st grade.  And asked her what grade she is in.


You have to listen closely as there is a lot of background noise.  But he either types in his words or uses icons to say what he wants to say.


These two had a good time just being together again.  Such a special bond that I’m so very thankful they can continue here in the states.


We introduced Joshua to what a s’more was.  He thought it was delicious!


I went to bed just humbled that we get to be a part of this very special plan that God orchestrated. It gave me renewed hope and peace knowing that He truly did call us to adopt Josie.

So when the hard days come (or don’t go away) I can rest knowing that He really does have a plan….even if it doesn’t make sense to me or if I worry about what the future holds for Josie, all we need to do is love.

He has all the details worked out.