Saturday, October 11, 2014

Praise the Lord!

We were approved, after a very lengthy application process, for a $2500 grant with Lifesong for Orphans. We are so excited to be able to receive this matching money.

Do you want to hear even better news??? We already have $1000 of that from one of our generous friends which is becoming $2000 with the match!!!

We are still working for the other $1500. We are so thankful to our Father who has provided exceedingly, abundantly more than we could have thought or asked for. We know he will supply our needs and we know he does it through many different ways. We have been so blessed by all of our friends and family who are willing to listen and her the call of the Father to be a part of bringing new kids to be a part of our family.

If you are wondering how to get your donation matched, here are the directions Lifesong provided to us:

Make checks payable to: Lifesong for Orphans. In the memo please place "Bolin #4751" to identify that you would like your donation to go to our family. Please mail your check to Lifesong For Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744.

If you prefer to give online, go to Lifesong for Orphans, Donate to Adoption Family and complete the form. Be sure to include our family name and number Bolin #4751. (note: Paypal will charge an administrative fee of 2.9%+ $.30 per transaction. Your donation will be decreased by the amount of this fee)

Note: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit organization. The organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor's suggested use

Individual donations of $50 or more and yearly donations of $250 or more will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $50 will gladly be sent. upon request. Lifesong 501(c)3 tax exempt organization

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

So sad

Just sharing a blog post from another blog. Sad when people think they are above the law. Sad how much it affects the entire adoption community. No adoptive parent should ever take the law into their hands. This is just not right.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary

sac·ri·fice  noun \ˈsa-krə-ˌfīs, also -fəs or -ˌfīz\
: the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone

When I consider that God asks for us to give up certain things in our lives for him, I often wonder about my sacrifice. Is it really a sacrifice? 

I found this on Pinterest and I wanted to give credit but couldn't figure out
how to make the picture show up here so i am including the link below. 

Our family has given up many things that typical American families enjoy.

  • Cable TV (70% of all American households have cable tv subscription)
  • Our second car (Average American household owns 2.28 cars). Matt rides his bike which saves us on gas and insurance. We will probably get a second vehicle when our kids come home.
  • We generally only eat out once a month (usually Chick-fil-a). Average American household eats out 1-3 times per week.
  • For birthdays, we are celebrating as a family and having a friend over for a meal. We will have parties for milestone birthdays and keep party costs to under $50.
  • For Christmas, One gift of clothes, one book and one game to play as a family. One year we even did new batteries in all of the old toys- my kids still talk about that Christmas and how neat it was.
  • Tithe- we give 10% of our income back
I am not pointing these things out to make us seem so great or to tell you we think you should make them too...

Once our family adjusted to the new changes in our lifestyle, it was just a way of life. We weren't really sacrificing anymore....

This is where I am wondering, where I need your comments, I want your feedback...
Are any of the things listed above really a sacrifice after we have adjusted to our new way of life? When we are comfortable with where we are, is there another step to take in our sacrifices?

NONE of these things "earn" us a way to heaven, because that is only through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and we know that. But is there a call to be sacrificial with our lifestyle to pour blessings out on other people through the blessings God has given us? All of our family's sacrifices have ultimately saved us money. When the discomfort is gone, do we have a duty to find a new way to sacrifice? 

Money is not the only sacrifice that can be made. Time is another huge sacrifice. 

What are some ways that you sacrifice time as a family to God? This is a place we can (and want to) improve. 

Are there other sacrifices that you are making along with your family? What are they? 

We love to share ideas with others. Hearing your family's testimony may have an impact on my family or someone else's family who may read this.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


We are SOOOO thankful for all the support we had this week from all of you. God really worked in a big way through all of you. We are so thankful for your generosity and encouragement to us. I didn't think about posting this on the blog yesterday so you all are getting it here a day late.

We raised $3330! WOW! Thank you all for helping us out. I know I have said that a bunch of times already, but you truly do not understand how much each one of your messages, shares and donations were such an encouragement to us and also thankful for God putting each one of you in the place of being able to journey this long road with us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Friday, August 22, 2014


I came across a movement several months ago called ILikeGiving. I rediscovered it and I am so thankful to all of you who have been so generous towards our family! These photos are all from ILikeGiving's page on FB.

Thank you for having compassion towards the orphan. Thank you for having compassion towards our family. I pray that your joy increases from your generosity. I hope you will share about your giving, not because you are prideful or boasting, but because Giving IS Contagious! Thank you for making a life out of your giving! 

Our updated total at the end of today is $2775! We are getting close to the 25% mark, less than $1000 away. Thank you for sharing, giving and asking others to do the same.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The day is here!!!

SO, if you haven't seen it yet....

We were chosen as the Give1Save1 family of the week! This is a blog that if everyone gave JUST $1 look at how much good we can do! We are so excited about this opportunity. Will you consider posting this to your blog? Your twitter account? Instagram?

Do you have $1 to give? You can click on the YouCaring site ------------>
and donate there. All of the $ goes to us (just in case you are wondering!)

This is the Give1Save1 Blog post if you want to see it there

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Getting closer!

I know many of you have been waiting to hear what our big announcement is...We will be making it on August 18th and can't wait to share with you. I know you are going to be such a huge blessing to us that week and I hope we can bless you and your family in a small way as we travel this interesting, unpredictable journey of adoption.

I haven't had the chance to post my kids "4th of July" pictures. I started this when Noah was a baby. Figured we would always celebrate the 4th, so it was a great day to remember to do yearly pictures. I did not get to celebrate with them this year, but they did get their pictures taken! I love looking back. So fun to see how much they chance from year to year. If you want to look back at last year's post here it is: July 4th, 2013, July 4th, 2009 (scroll all the way to the bottom) July 4th, 2008July 4th, 2007 July 4th, 2006
July 2014

Monday, August 04, 2014

A few updates

Our big announcement is coming! I can't wait to share it and see how many people can help. This is going to be so simple y'all! You don't even know...but it could be really, really huge in terms of our I cannot wait to see.

I never did post a picture of the boys room after we finished I thought I would post about it. 
Giraffes in the distance and birds in the sky

Momma and baby Elephant

Daddy watching over his cub

The big elephants in the "herd"

The big shade tree and zebras in the distance
So thankful to Krystle Williams for coming over and "helping" me paint. She definitely made the trees come to trees would have been symmetrical and lollipop shaped, which I knew I didn't want. She also added the mane on the lion and the mane makes him. I am so happy with the way it turned out!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Including Uganda

When I went to Uganda, I experience everyone eating with their hands. Then on Friday, July 4th  we couldn't find the we did as the Ugandans did. We ate with our hands. And I immediately realized that this was one thing we could totally add into our family culture to honor the culture of our new family members. So, 7/28/2014 was our first Ugandan night at our house. And everyone LOVED it! I can't wait to share this tradition with friends and family...and especially those two we are waiting on!
I didn't learn to make posho yet, but figured I could handle rice :) We had black beans on hand so that is what I made

Noah ate in true Noah fashion and he is still clean at the end.

Matt enjoying his.


I think Foster looked like he enjoyed his the most!

Monday, July 28, 2014

How far do you live from The Bolins?

We got some really exciting news this morning and we cannot wait to share it with you all! We are going to need your help. The first thing we need you to do is post how many miles you live from us...I know, doesn't make sense now. But in the coming days I will reveal why we want to know! You can use Gainesville, FL as the address. So share this with your friends and family and lets see who lives the farthest from us!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Whole-Hearted Wife by Erin Smalley

I received a copy of this book for free to read and review from the publisher. The opinions I am writing are my own. I hope you get a copy to review this book also.

This book gives great, practical advice to a wife in ways to better yourself and love your husband more completely. The way she approaches the book is that even in a marriage, the best way to affect change is to start with yourself. So much of our culture is centered around pleasing yourself and making sure you are happy. It can be hard to go against what culture says and do the opposite: think of another higher than yourself; think first of your spouse and be quick to forgive. I am always thankful for reminders that our God asks us to be counter-culture in so many ways, especially marriage.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


What apparently takes normal people about 4-6 months to complete has FINALLY been completed for us...

We have a Home Study!!! Completed, signed, sealed, delivered, notarized, paid for, educated about, blood drawn, shots given, doctors approval, friend recommended, finished home study!

It only took us 18 months...but I guess nobody had to tell you that we're NOT normal!!!

Jumping selfies are not easy...I hope you get half as many laughs out of these as we did making them!

"Good thing Ashley has good air brakes, that could have been dangerous!"
3-2-1 Blast off!

The work of our home study is finally off to the dossier!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014


I have been a part of The Pampered Chef family a little over 6.5 years and just sent in my 400th show! Who wants to come celebrate with me? 

So thankful to all my team members, customers and hosts. Without you, I would not have a business. Leave a comment if you want me to send you an invite!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

book review: A Call to Resurgence

Call to Resurgence by Mark Driscoll is a poignant call for the church to come together and quit fighting one another. This has been a long time issue and is one clear warning that Jesus gave us before he left this earth. It must have been important to him for us to love one another and not fight over our small differences. Driscoll does a fabulous job of concluding the book in the 7th chapter when he gives his call to action: Preach the Word, Love the Church, Contend and Contextualize, Be Attractional and Missional, Receive, Reject, Redeem, Consider the Common Good, and Evangelize through Suffering. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who believes in Christ and wants to love his brothers in Christ in a Christ-like way. I would also recommend anyone who feels comfortable with where their faith is at to read this book. It will ignite a new passion for the Lord in you. I received a copy of this book to review. The opinions are my own. 


If you are interested in seeing a bit more about Uganda check this video out Uganda

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Resurrection Sunday, 2014!

We were so thankful to get to celebrate with friends and family today. We did miss my gramma and aunt Barby. We were also missing two littles that we can't wait to meet, learn about and share life with. But we got to enjoy good times!
The boys Easter baskets had a couple of books and a couple items we bought from the garage sale pile. 

They each had a "candy" item and had a note on it like this.

Cousins opening checking out their baskets

We dyed brown eggs and loved the way they turned out. Yellow was a favorite color choice because they were deemed "Golden" eggs by one of the kids, so they all did them that way.

Forgot to get someone to take our picture, so the tripod did ok for us to get one of ourselves!
We are so thankful for our risen savior of the world! Thankful that he took our place. Thankful that he gives us grace...every minute of every day!

Saturday, April 12, 2014


I am going to UGANDA in July! I am thrilled about the chance to go and experience traveling to Africa, Ugandan culture, food, and just see what God does during the 10 days I am there. I am going with an open, but guarded heart knowing that I will be interacting with a bunch of beautiful and wonderfully made kids that I can't/won't get to adopt. I am sure it will be so hard...yet so rewarding and I will come back with more knowledge about Ugandan Culture, what our time in Africa will be like, what kinds of things to expect when traveling and being there for the extended period of time like we will.

BUT...that is not the only exciting news...

So maybe we got some good news on Friday...and maybe I am a tad bit enthusiastic about it!

Our agency was approved and can now continue with their adoptions under the new law! I talked to our agent on Friday and was so pleased to hear that they got their approval. So we are excitedly finishing up the loose ends with our home study and preparing for our next GIGANTIC garage sale. We had an impromptu garage sale a couple of weeks ago with just what we had collected in a few weeks and it was very successful! If you want to know details, just ask me :) I am anticipating our sale coming up on April 26th. It will be our biggest one to date and I cannot wait to see what the Lord does this time. We have been amazed at what he has provided thus far and I am anxious to see what happens next.

So while all this is super exciting, we still need your prayers! Please pray for our process in this crazy world of adoptions. Pray that our agent and the orphanages would seek God in our placement (of course this is >9 months away), Pray that our hearts would be prepared for new lives coming into our home and the challenges that will present for our heart-grown littles and our home-grown littles, pray for our marriage that we would make time to be together and enjoy one another, and pray for the protection of our heart-grown littles who are not with us.

Leaving you with recent pictures of the shenanigans going on here with the first 2...
I tried my first cornrows and Foster actually sat still and liked having them in.
Foster's hair when we took the cornrows out
Foster loving on "our" dog Sandy. Sandy lives with "Baga Sue" but we still claim her as ours :)
Noah at his first Pray then Play Flag Football Game
Noah holding the Praying Mantis I found
Nate helping Foster hold the Praying Mantis

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The hardest part about adoption is...

The money is probably the smallest part of my daily struggle with our adoption. I am not sure if that is because we have AWESOME friends and family who have already supported us beyond what we could have imagined or because God has promised to provide what is needed or because I have an amazing team of women who are brainstorming, organizing and fundraising with me. Maybe it is just all of the above. When I think of the HUGE amount all at once it is overwhelming. But I am pretty sure on a daily basis, money is not what the struggle is. Here are the top 10 things that are HARD about adoption. I think they could be true of adoption through foster care, domestic or international. What do you think?

10. Wondering who they are? Will they be younger or older than Foster? Will they like to cook in the kitchen with mommy and daddy as much as their brothers do? Will they love having people over and inviting people in? 

9. Hearing nothing. Waiting on the government to make decisions...seriously hard. Waiting on agencies. Waiting. Thankful for a God who is faithful- who will not delay.

8. Hearing about corruption. Wanting to be able to do something. Wanting desperately to NOT contribute to it. Wanting to help create income for families who would parent their children if they just had resources to do so. Not knowing what to do. Feeling like we are just one family, what can we do? Asking God to show us how we can be used by him to help others.

7. Wondering who tucked your babies in tonight. Wondering if they cried and no one noticed. Wondering if they needed their nose wiped and no one did. Wondering if there was a Band-aid for the scrape on their knee

6. Watching my home-grown kids reach new milestones, knowing we are missing our heart-grown kids' milestones too.

5. Asking- the money itself doesn't seem to worry me...Asking people to help is MUCH, MUCH harder than then number itself. 

4. Holidays- hard when you have lost someone but also as hard when you are missing someone. Feeling like your celebrations are not complete because their are people missing in those memories.

3. Hearing my home-grown kids talk about their "brothers and sisters" and wondering when they will be able to know them. Asking when do we get to pick them up. When do we get to play with them.

2. Thinking about my heart-grown kids and wondering what they are doing. Are they playing or sleeping or eating or learning? Are they caring for other people? Are they wondering about their first mommy and what she was like? Do they think about having a family to call their own?

1. Waiting for the day I will finally get to hold them and love them. Welcome them into our family and help them become a part of us. 

The whole waiting thing is just plain hard...BUT I am sure that just like holding your newborn for the first time (and in adoption sometimes this part comes so much father down the road), the first time our kids say "I love you mommy and daddy," that moment will make time stand still and all of the waiting, in that moment, will somehow all be worth it. 

Sharing some pictures that the lovely Linda Bainter at Lovin' the Light Photography did for us. I just LOVE the way they turned out. She always seems to capture more than just photos...PERSONALITIES too!!!