Friday, October 31, 2008

Blame it on Earle

We ordered Abbey a cute candy corn costume form Earle's Party Shop in Oklahoma. I was a little worried when our order number was 135. But the website proudly boasted that Earle's had been in business since 1956 or something like that. I even joked about it with friends. The joke was on us when about a week before Halloween we got the costume, only they sent the sleezy candy corn adult costume complete with thigh highs and a garter belt, instead of the cute, sweet candy corn. As it turns out, Abbey is very particular about costumes and not getting the one she ordered was very traumatizing for her. I did call Earle and ask if they could overnight a new costume to us, but alas it did is not get here in time for the big night. She did pull herself together and ended up finding some orange, black and white things in her closet to represent the candy corn. With the candy corn hat from the original costume, she looked sweet. Another crisis averted, but I am still mad at Earle!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Spot

This is my spot right outside my kitchen door. It is my own little sidewalk cafe. Our outside living space is teeny tiny, but I recently found this little table set and it makes a great place for morning coffee. It is getting cooler in Doha and it was very nice outside this morning. I got a couple of mums, too. Happy Fall Y'all!

About the Quilt

I am going to start another blog just for the quilt. I will post pictures of the fabric and tell who sent it and where they are from. It will be neat to see where the squares come from and to see the finished product. The theme is African. Ideas for fabric are bright colors, safari animals, african looking patterns, even neutral fabric will work.

If you want to send more than one square that would be just great. The goal is to get 100 different squares, which might prove difficult, but I think we have 100 people that love us.

The blog for the quilt is There is nothing there yet, but will be soon.

hugs, Lynn

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Good Wishes Quilt

I wanted to ask you if you would like to help me with a quilt for the baby/child we are hoping to adopt from Ethiopia.

If you don't already know, our family is hoping and praying to adopt a little one from Ethiopia.

While we are waiting for a referral from the adoption agency, I want to make a Good Wishes Quilt for our child.

I am asking friends and family to send me one 8X8 square (washed and pressed) of African themed fabric (100% cotton for quilting) to add to the quilt. Also, write a wish for our child, a prayer, or a favorite verse on a 4X6 inch card and attach a small piece of the fabric you send. Please sign and date the card and put your location,too. I will use the squares to make the quilt and I will put the wish card in a scrapbook to keep.

If you would like to send a square for the quilt just email me at and I will send you the address.

I know this will be something very special for our child and it will give me something to do while we are waiting and waiting and waiting.

I heart TENNIS

The Sony Ericsson Championships are coming to Doha, November 4-9. The top womens tennis players in the world will be here competing for 4.4 million in prize money. We will get to go to some of the matches. The tickets are between about $2.50-$10.00 (for the best seats). Another thing that makes Doha world class athletic events. If you are a tennis buff you can read more about it HERE.

On a funny side note, some friends and I just started tennis lessons. That's me in the blue. ha ha! It has been a lot of fun so far and much more fun than going to the gym.

Good Eats Doha Style

I have grown to love some of the good Arabic food that is readily available here. It is usually dirt cheap and yummy! A day ago my friend and I were doing business with a jeweler and it was around lunch time, so he ordered us all falafel sandwiches. The ones we ate had fresh mint in them as well. They were so tasty. I have never made falafel, but I think I am going to try. Here's a recipe I found on the internet. Then again, it is so cheap to buy Arabic food here, I am not sure it is worth the effort.
The Ingredients:(25 falafel balls)

2 cups of dries chickpeas, soaked in water for 12 hours (can use canned)
Crumbs from 2 slices of white bread
5 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1/2 small onion
1 spoon of sesame seeds
1 teaspoon cumin spice
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt, pepperOil for deep frying

Preparation:1. Wash the soaked chickpeas and put them in a food processor with the garlic, onion and spices. Grind until you get a rough moist texture. Add a little water if needed.2. Move the mixture into a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and put aside, covered, for 30-60 minutes.3. Warm the oil - it should be hot, not boiling. Add the baking soda to the mixture and knead a little.4. Wet your hands and shape little balls (smaller then apricots). Fry until you get a deep brown shade. Serve hot!

Don't forget about the HUMMUS recipe that my friend invented that you can find here.
Another fabulous mideastern dish is SHAWARMA. Shawarma is thinly sliced cuts of meat, like chicken, beef, goat, lamb, and sometimes turkey, rolled into a large piece of flatbread or pita that has been steamed or heated. Inside the pita, foods like hummus, tahini, pickles, vegetables, and even french fries are added. Think of shawarma as a taco or burrito Middle Eastern style.

How is Shawarma Made?Raw meat is placed on large, rotating cones. As it rotates, the meat is cooked by a heat source that is located behind the actual cone. The meat slowly falls off or is thinly sliced by a chef with a large knife. It can take several hours to fully cook.
What is Served with ShawarmaI have had shawarma with fries, salads like tabouleh, falafel, and just by itself for a quick bite on the go.In some places it is served alone, without the pita or flatbread.

Do I Need a Cone Tower to Make Shawarma at Home?It's really hard to duplicate the taste without a tower. You can come very close, but there is still that "something" that is missing! When buying your meat, try to get chicken. Dark meat (thigh meat) is the best for shawarma, but white meat will work, too. Ask your butcher or supermarket meat department to slice it very thin. Ideally, the meat will be thinner than cutlets.

Shawarma is like the ultimate on the go meal. Thinly sliced meat, wrapped in a pita bread with veggies and sauce is a delicious quick meal. You won't be disappointed!

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts (thinly cut)
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon allspice
juice from 1 lemon
1 cup tahini
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons yogurt
8 loaves of pita bread or 4 large
thinly slice cucumbers
thinly sliced onions
1/2 teaspoon sumac (never heard of it until I moved here)
thinly sliced tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
pickle slices (optional)


Combine all ingredients except for chicken, fillings, and sauce ingredients to make marinade. If it seems a little dry, add a little olive oil (a tablespoon at a time). Here is an excellent tahini recipe, if you do not have some handy.Add chicken, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours, preferable overnight. In a stockpot or large saucepan, cook chicken over medium heat for 45 minutes or until done. Be sure not to overcook! If chicken becomes a little dry, add a few tablespoons of water throughout cooking duration.While chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce.

Combine sauce ingredients and mix well. Set aside. Take the onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and sprinkle with sumac. Add other filling ingredients in a large bowl and combine well.When the chicken is done, you can shred it, slice it, or leave into large pieces. As long as it it thinly cut, there is not much difference. I prefer to cut mine into wide strips.

Prepare the Pita

Place enough chicken on pita that cover 1/4 of the loaf. Add veggies and pour sauce. Roll like a soft taco or burrito and you have shawarma! You can also stuff the pocket of the pita if you like. I prefer to roll large pitas, but it is hard to find large loaves of pita at the supermarket.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Funny stuff!

So, there is this mom who blogs over at A Long Way From The Theta House and her recent post made me laugh. While you are over there read all her posts. She and her husband have an AMAZING ministry to their inner city neighbors in Dallas, TX.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

S is for Spider

Here is an easy Halloween cupcake idea...M&M's and Twizzlers.

Better than Botox

I commented to my hair guy that I was getting some wrinkles on my forehead and he was quick to recommend his dermatologist for a botox quickie.

I decided to get bangs instead. You wouldn't believe how many people have noticed and said those three little words that mean so much "You look younger!" I can count them on one hand, but it still made me feel good.

I am so vain!

Really, if you want to look younger....get bangs!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My $48.00 dress

We have a formal event coming up in November and I have been wondering what to wear. I went shopping with some friends and we found all sorts of beautiful dress. The problem was they were all expensive and smallish. (note to self: Do not shop with size 2 friends!)

I had heard you could get anything made by the many tailors here in Doha. So yesterday some of those same (size 2) friends went with me to the fabric souqs (markets). I wasn't seriously looking for fabric. We were just looking for fabric to make a cape for someone's husband (think Nacho Libre). Out of mere curiosity, I asked the guy how much fabric I would need for a dress (I had printed a picture earlier). That was all the encouragement he needed to start pulling out bolts of fabric to tempt me. He succeeded and I ended up buying 3 meters of a beautiful crepe silk for 25QR meter(about $7.00/meter). With fabric in hand we decided to go visit a tailor one of the ladies had heard about, just to get an idea on pricing.

When I showed him the picture and fabric and asked for a price, he started measuring. So, I just went along with it. He asked some questions about the dress and helped me choose one dress over another. When all was said and done, I asked again for the price and he said 100QR. I couldn't believe it and asked again in case I had misheard. I had heard him alright...he is charging me 100QR or about $27.50 to make a dress for me. Altogether the dress will cost around $48.00. I may have all my clothes made from now on.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

For the Love of Bacon

Here in Doha we have no BACON.

I saw this tee shirt on and I thought it was too funny not to share. We are a little obsessed with our pork products here. We need this shirt.
Check out random shirts for some hilarious tee shirts. They also make custom t-shirts for your church group, etc.
They aren't paying me to advertise for them, they just seem like a couple of good guys trying to make a difference in the world.


We have been waiting two months for our referral. Our homestudy provider approved us for two children under the age of 7 (Will's age at the time. He will be 8 by the time we get our child). We all agreed that adopting younger than our youngest was a good idea for us. When it came time to specify with our agency what ages and gender we would request, we decided that we would request just one child, boy or girl 3-6 years old.

The further along we get in the process, I am getting a better idea of what I picture for our family. It has become very clear that I would really love another daughter. I love, love, love little boys, too. But, we have our one precious Abbey girl and I would really love for her to have a sister (I have 3 sisters and they are so special to me). Both Abbey and Will talk about having a little sister. Even Will, who I would have thought would wish for a brother, says he wants a sister. He is so sweet to our friend's little girls. He loves for them to chase him :) Cole, in all his tween age glory, isn't keen on little brothers or little sisters.

So, for the record, we have changed our request to one girl,2.5-6 years old or siblings 2.5-6.
While I was on the phone with the agency, I forgot to ask if there was any updates on our wait time, but I am pretty sure we are still at the bottom of the list. It looks like we are in for a nice long wait.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Two Reasons We Love Little Boys

Our son and our nephew enjoying a summer day at Grandma's house in 2007. Photos taken by my sister.

I've Been Tagged

In April 2008, I traveled to Ethiopia with Sharon and Heart of Hope Adoption Ministries. It was a great trip for me and it sealed our decision to adopt. Over the years, Sharon has led several groups on this trip and each year families make the decision to adopt. Another woman that traveled with us felt God calling her to adopt older children and now she and her husband are pursuing the adoption of 3 tween and teenage girls. Wow! Sharon and her husband have a bunch of beautiful adopted children and are huge advocates for children.

Sharon tagged me...the task is to write 7 Random Things about ME!

1. I think wrinkles around the eyes are so beautiful...more so on other people than myself. They tell me that this is a person that laughs and smiles alot. I like that quality in a person.

2. I am addicted to "24". I know, I am about 5 seasons behind the times. I just finished the first season.

3. I like Big Macs and Mcdonalds in general. I love their french fries. Can you tell I am on a diet? I'm dreaming about Big Macs.

4. I love to take bubble baths. I would take one every night if I could. How I miss Bath and Body Works. Our bath store here had one flavor of bubble bath...Rose. I like roses, but I don't want to smell like one.

5. I don't like make up very much. Occasionally, I get in the mood to play with makeup, but most days I don't wear very much. I do like to get dressed up and go out occasionally.

6. I doodle a lot. If there is a pencil, pen, marker or crayon and paper, I will be doodling. I doodle when I listen in church and talk on the phone. I must be an auditory learner, because I definitely can doodle and learn at the same time. Must have driven my teachers crazy when I was a kid.

7. I can't stop thinking about our adoption and our new child or children. Will it be a little one or an older one? Will it be a boy or a girl, or both (if I can talk Bill into it)? Will the adjustment be smooth or terribly difficult? And when? Will we know something before Christmas (probably not..)? Will we travel this summer or even better this Spring? How will our three kids at home react? So many many opportunities for faith and trust in the One who knows!
I am going to tag some bloggers that live in Doha. These are three sweet ladies who will be able to shed a little more light on expat life for you!
And my sister...
And three other people when I can think of them...
Add Vanessa to the list...

Friday, October 17, 2008

just in case you need a laugh

Children's HopeChest in Ethiopia

Right now, Tom Davis and some friends of Children's Hopechest are in Ethiopia seeking orphanages that need support. You can read about it at RLC and on Tom Davis' blog. If you have a heart for orphans and especially if you are drawn to Ethiopia you can get involved. This post swiped from Tom Davis' blog tells you how.

How You Can Help
The most frequently asked question I get is: How can I help?
As you head into the weekend, here are 5 things you can do...modeled after 5 for 50.
1.'ve read the posts, seen the photos, and watched the videos. Pray that God will raise up 10 churches to sponsor Ethiopian orphanages through Children's HopeChest. You can pass along this one page summary of how sponsorship works to any pastors or leaders you think should get it.
2. FAST...Ethiopia is in the grip of a famine that is impacting over 6 million individuals...maybe a lot more. Commit to fasting for Ethiopia and ask God to use that time to reveal to you how you can make a difference for orphans.
3. GIVE...You can give now at When I return, I'll be sending out an important update about how the economy has impacted our giving, and what our plans are for keeping our programming funded.
4. SERVE...We're leaving in April 2009 for the next vision trip. How many people can you recruit? I want to have 10 or more churches, businesses, and donors travel with me to make a difference for Ethiopia. Can you help?
5. JOIN...Send this to five (or more) people. Post it on your blog. Message your friends on Facebook. Share this message with those you know and encourage them to start a relationship with an orphan through Children's HopeChest today. We need an army...and you can help.
Thank you so much for your support. I look forward to sharing more about my trip when I return to the U.S. Simon has shot some great video that I'll be able to post soon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I read this on someone's blog. She challenged us to look in the 6th photo file on our computer and post the 6th picture. So here it is and it is one of my favorites. These are my kids and my sis's kids at Orange Beach, Florida two summers ago. It was a great time together. We stayed at The Caribe resort and the sand and water were beautiful. I was missing this sister today and I was tempted to call her on my cell phone (expensive), while driving in Doha (illegal) just to say hi, but it was 2 AM her time, so I didn't call. So, if you read this Joan, know that I thought about you today.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Meet Abby

Abby is a little girl with a Mom that blogs. Abby has cancer. I started reading their blog before they knew anything about Abby's cancer. Her sweet mom left me some encouraging comments on my blog relating to our adoption. Since then their family has been throught some really tough times. We have been praying for Abby for a while now. Her story really touched me because we have our own Abbey and I often think what if it were us facing these challenges? Would we be facing it with the same faith this family is showing?

Angel (blogger and friend that traveled to Ethiopia with me) is doing something very special for Abby. The rest of this post is copied from her blog. After reading this if you would like to give to Operation Princess Hair, please go to Angel's blog and you will find a button to give. Please add Abby to your family prayer list. If you want to see Abby's sweet face, please go to Angel's blog ( , they didn't copy here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's hard for me to even start this post. Already I feel a big lump forming in my throat. Someone that many of us care about is walking through a deep valley. That someone is sweet Abby....
I have serious doubts that I will get through writing this without crying..... Ok now it's too late... I am already there...with tears flowing. This is Abby. You will find her precious family at this blog address.
Abby is so many wonderful things. She is part of an amazing family. There are 7 wonderful kiddos in her family. 3 of those sweeties- including Abby came by way of adoption. Abby is a bouncing, happy, funny princess of a 3 year old....

Now she is also a dear little warrior fighting for her life. She was diagnosed with Leukemia and life suddenly took a radical turn for this amazing family. Her concerns of which princess dress she should wear have turned to whether she will get poked or be able to keep her food down today.
This is sweet Abby right now....
These are the battle scars she has right now in her fight against cancer...
Just one of the MANY things she has been forced to give up is her GORGEOUS princess hair and it makes her very sad.... What is it like to be the mommy that has to tell your 3 year old that she has to take medicine that will give her horrible sores, make her throw up constantly, and cause her to lose her hair? What is that like? What is it like to watch tears slide down your sweet baby's cheeks even in her sleep cause that's how much it hurts.
THIS is not OK with me. If I could I would make this go away. If I could I would change this- I wish there was a way. I know there are so many of us who wish that. We CAN'T MAKE IT GO AWAY! We just can't.
What we can do is give Abby back her princess hair. It's expensive and not something this family needs to worry about during this stressful financial time of paying for medicine and gas and hospital bills. We can not make this all go away but we can give Abby back her hair and make her smile.
OPERATION PRINCESS HAIR!This is your mission, should you choose to accept it...1. I want us to buy sweet Abby one of these-
It's called a pony sport. It costs $228. It's made with real human hair. It's very comfortable and can be worn with any baseball type cap that Abby prefers.
After visiting with her mommy we feel this would be very comfortable and fun for everyday use at home and the hospital.
2. We will flood Abby and the other kiddos in the family with care packages that let her and her family know they are loved. If you feel you would like to send Abby or her family a present please e-mail me at
We can all send Abby fun presents AND ALL SEND an ADORABLE BASEBALL CAP to wear with her new hair. Then everytime she is having a hard day her momma can bust out a new care package to give her something to smile about.
3. We are also going to buy Abby a custom made wig! Check it out here....
I am so excited about this! It is going to be custom made to look a lot like her hair did before she needed to start chemo. So when Abby wants to dress up nice and look like the Abby she remembers she will have this. This wig will cost about $450. It is made of real hair and created just for her little head.
4. If there are donations exceeding the needed amount for the princess hair we will invite the family to use this money to help with whatever extra expenses they are facing during this difficult time.
It's hard for me to fathom what this family is facing. I want to do whatever I can to support them.
They are full of faith and strong. Cancer FEARS this little fighter! Let's do whatever we can to love and walk with this family during this time. I can't begin to imagine what they are facing but I PRAY that people would be there for me if we ever did walk this path.TO HELP ABBY GET HER PRINCESS HAIR YOU JUST NEED TO CLICK ON THE PAY PAL BUTTON ON THE TOP RIGHT HAND CORNER THAT SAYS "OPERATION PRINCESS HAIR."
Thank you from the BOTTOM of my little ol' Texas heart for taking care of a little girl named Abby. What we do matters. What we do makes life better or worse for those around us EVERY SINGLE DAY. Let's take time to stop and care. Hugs, Angel
PS If you would like to spread the word on your blog PLEASE do it!! Feel free to take this whole post or part of it. Then please link your blog to mine so everyone can see how many people are loving and praying for Abby.
Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

a little bit of adoption news~

Today, we got an email from Citizenship and Immigration approving us to adopt one (or two) children and bring them into the USA.

It was the last piece of paper we needed to complete the paperwork.

I am overjoyed to get it. We were working with the American Embassy in Athens, Greece (our closest CIS office) and the wheels turn very slowly there.

Today is also Bill's birthday.....what a nice birthday gift for him.

Now, all we need is our child. I seriously have no idea when to expect the referral. I've heard everything from 3-12 months. Three months sounds great to me!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

10 Things We Loved About Egypt

  • We loved our guide. We met our guide the first morning and he stayed with us the entire trip. He went on the Nile Cruise with us and every morning he had a bus waiting for us. He was extremely knowledgeable about ancient Egyptian history and very enthusiastic about sharing it with us. He was great with our kids. He included them, played cards with them and gave them prizes for answering his questions correctly. He arranged wake up calls for us and customized our touring schedule especially for us. Without him, the Collins family would have been lost in Egypt.

  • We loved the sites. Amazing testimonies of the ingenuity and dedication of the ancient Egyptians. Seeing the temples and pyramids that were thousands of years old was awe inspiring. The kids loved going deep, down into the earth into a tomb. They loved the hieroglyphics that were everywhere in the temples and told the stories of old. The ancient Egyptians were determined to write down their history and they did....everywhere.

  • We loved the market in Cairo. Bustling and crowded, twisting alleys and steep stairways leading to treasures aplenty. Coffee and tea in tiny cafes while Cairo shuts down for morning prayers. We bought alabaster, papyrus paintings, mother of pearl boxes, cartouches, figurines and more fun stuff for great prices. It was fun bargaining with the salesmen to try to get a good price.

  • The Nile Cruise was amazing. We were aboard the Movenpick Royal Lotus. The food was great and the accommodations comfortable with huge windows in every room to see the beautiful Nile shores as we sailed along. One of the highlight was just watching the scenery and local homes, children and families pass by. We started our cruise in Luxor. We visited the two temple there, the Karnak temple (dedicated to king Amun) and the Luxor temple, both amazing. We cruised to Edfu and visited the Edfu Temple (or Tofu temple as Will called it) and the Temple of Kom Ombo (dedicated to two gods, Horus and Sobek, the crocodile god) and sailed on to Aswan. On the boat we had a party one night where we were to dress up in traditional Egyptian galabiyyas, which we had bought from floating salesmen earlier that day. What an experience. The boatmen would throw the dresses up for inspection and after negotiating a price we would throw the money down to them from the top deck of the ship. Another night was a Nubian party. Our friend Susan was pulled from the crowd to learn some Nubian dancing and later Cole, our friend Zac and our guide, along with Zac's Mom joined the Conga line.

  • We loved Aswan. In Aswan we took a felucca ride (sailboat) and visited a Nubian village. At the village the children were able to hold a Nile crocodile while the parents enjoyed a cup of tea. We were here at sunset on the last day of Ramadan, and our guide and his friends broke their last fast with dates and juices. Tomorrow would begin the celebration of Eid, several days of festivities.

  • We loved traveling with our friends, the Crouch family. They have children the same ages as our children. Mr. Crouch's parents traveled with us and they were so easy to get along with. The kids all did great with what probably seemed like endless site seeing. Our group was upbeat, ready for anything and did not complain. It was a pleasure traveling with this group.

  • Bill had a first class ticket for the trip home. He had been to London on business prior to this trip and met us in Cairo. He let me take his place in first class on the way home. It felt like a 3 hour mini vacation. Thanks, Bill.

  • In Edfu, we took a carriage ride from the boat to one of the sites. That was great fun for the kids especially. This temple was dedicated to the ancient Egyptian god Horus, whom Cole had to do a report about last year. On the ride back to the boat, our little friend was holding her money for the carriage ride loosely in one hand and in the bustle of carriages and people someone snatched her money and then on the ride home her sunglasses flew off and were lost. It was a bit traumatic, but we made it back to the boat and the kids enjoyed swimming and ice cream.

  • In Cairo, we toured the Coptic Christian area and visited a cave under the Church of St. Sergius where it is believed that Mary, Joseph and Jesus stayed for a time when they went to Egypt to escape Herod. We also visited the Hanging Church built on top of an old Roman fortress.

  • We loved the Pyramids. On our last full day of touring we visited the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx and the Solar boat museum. The Pyramids, built in less than 100 years to serve as tombs for their dead kings, are the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World to survive. The Sphinx dates to around 2500 BC and is the earliest known monumental sculpture in Egypt. The Solar boat is a full size ancient boat discovered in pieces lying in a pit beside the Great pyramid. Experts spent 14 years putting it back together and it has it's own air conditioned museum to display it's glory. The whole pyramid complex was amazing (how many times have I written amazing in this post?).

Friday, October 3, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Egypt

We are still in Egypt for one more night. We have had a FABULOUS time! I can't wait to share more of the photos and trip with you. To be honest, I went into this trip without any expectations. My knowledge of Egyptian history was nonexistent and I knew this trip would be good for us, but it really wasn't on my list of must do trips. Our friends were planning on going and asked if we would like to go along.

It has turned out to be an amazing trip....AMAZING! Click this LINK to see 60 photos from our trip.