Saturday, November 26, 2011

Adoption Update

Well, this week was that time again.  Time for our monthly call from our social worker.  I was so excited to see her name coming up on my caller ID.  How much have our numbers gone down??  How much closer are we THIS month to bringing home our little prince or princess??  If you remember, last month we were holding fast at #88.  So.......where are we now you ask?  Drumroll please.......



What??!!!!?????  89?  How did we manage to go UP?  I didn't see that one coming. :)

So, upon further inquiry, it appears that this is quite normal.  Some months you just don't move at all.  And some months (as in our case), you move, just in the wrong direction.  Our social worker told us this can happen when a family initially receives a referral, but then ends up turning that referral down.  It automatically places them back at the front of the list.  Thus, shifting the numbers slightly back.  Not exactly the news we had hoped to hear, but ultimately, we are trusting in His perfect timing. 

So, in the meantime, you can support us by helping us continue to raise the funds needed to continue on this journey.  Here are several ways you can do that:

-BUY A CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT (OR TWO!):  Take a look at the handmade, wooden ornaments that my wonderfully talented father-in-law made:

Ornaments are selling for $20 and ALL proceeds go towards bringing our baby home.   Email me for more info or to place an order.

Looking for a fun and different Christmas present for those special kiddos in your life??  Here are a couple ideas.....

-WOODEN STACKER TOYS:  We really do have some great friends!!!  Our friends, Josh and Tember Heft make homemade, wooden children's stacker toys out of completely organic materials.  They are absolutely beautiful!!  They have offered $5 from every toy sold to go towards our adoption.  You can check out their site at  Thank you Tember and Josh!!!  <3

5dollars DONATED- Stacker and Teether Gift Set,  All Hardwood  SAVE 8 dollars Organic, Natural TickiTackiToys

-BOOK SALE:  Have any little girls in your life?  Looking for a way to combat the message that our society gives them about beauty?  Stephanie Farley, author of the book, "God Made You Beautiful", has offered $5 from every book sale to go towards our adoption.  Perfect for stockings!!  Visit her website at to place an order today!  Just make sure to include a note that it is for our adoption.  Thanks so much Stephanie!

                                        God Made You Beautiful

So, there you have it!  And as always, you can check out the fundraising tab at the top of our blog for other ways to support our adoption.  I've said it before, but we really have been BLOWN AWAY by the generosity of so many of our friends and family!!  Thank you to everyone who has supported us in some way by purchasing a t-shirt or an ornament.  $20 may not seem like much, but all together, we are almost 2/3's of the way to our goal!  So exciting!!!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Got Thanks?

It’s that time of year again!!  I don’t know about you, but our week has been filled with finishing up all our school work so that we can move onto all things Thanksgiving.  Pilgrim and Indian costumes are being pulled out, Thanksgiving books are being dusted off and read, names like Squanto and William Bradford are being thrown around at the dinner table.  One new activity we did this year was to make our thankful tree (or our variation of one).  Take a look:

I particularly love it because I used our new laminator to laminate the leaves, so they can be wiped off and re-used next year.  Score!!

But as I reflect on the holiday coming up and all that it stands for, I am humbled by the lack of gratitude in my own heart this week.  Oh, it’s there alright on the outside.  As I’ve said, I’ve done my fair share of TALKING about being thankful this week with my kids, but does my heart reveal something different?  Was that a spirit of thankfulness welling up in my heart when my (almost) 2 year-old took marker to my couch?  Or when the kids were fighting…..AGAIN?  Or when I felt entitled to some “alone time”?? 

Then this…..Enter Matthew 5.  The Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit.”  Nope, not me.
“Blessed are the meek.”  Not me again.
“Blessed are the pure in heart.”  Ouch.  That hurts.
“The peacemakers…..the merciful.......those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”  You get the idea. 

And there I am  left.  Again.  Realizing that that little ole Pharisee in me is having a field day.  Like so many things in life, it is a choice.  Do I CHOOSE to be thankful?  Even when things don’t go according to plan?  Even when my so-called “rights” are infringed upon? 
And so again I remind myself…..

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his mercies never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
~Lamentations 3:22-23
Or, in some cases, every waking moment of every single day.  And THAT is something to be thankful for. 
So this Thanksgiving, I am thankful that HE sent His Son, His only Son, to die in my place.  Thankful that He came to this earth to wash away all sin, even the sins of the heart.  The ones nobody else sees but me. Why?  Because it was the only way a sinful man, like myself, could one day be in the presence of an Almighty God.  Thankful that it is nothing that we can DO on our own.  We cannot earn our way to Him. It is a free gift called grace.  And it is available each and every moment of the day.  Even when we don’t deserve it.  Even when we are ungrateful for that gift and turn away.  It’s still there.  Beckoning us to come.  To sit.  To bask in the wonder of a King who would step down from His throne in heaven to take my place. Our place.  Totally unwarranted grace.  All we must do is receive it.  And I’m thankful for that.
So today I've resolved to start my week of thankfulness (again), after already having started it again a couple times. J  Based on my leaves on the tree, can you guess how my week began?? J 

Thankful for new beginnings.  Thankful for His grace.  Thankful that He loves us so incredibly much.  Just plain old thankful today.  And that’s a good place to be.
Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Rich Man

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich
 man to enter the kingdom of heaven."
 Matthew 20:24

I know, thank God that's not YOU, right?  My thoughts exactly.  Because I grew up in church and had learned all the stories as a little girl, I was familiar with this verse.  Familiar enough to be thankful not to be him - or at least to pretend that's how I felt (I mean, cause really, who WOULDN'T want to drive a fancy car, live in a mansion and have gobs of money at their disposal?)  Certianly not me (insert sarcasm).

But upon reading this weekend, a new thought hit me.  That IS me.  I AM that rich man.  Maybe not according to American standards, after all we live on only one income, own only one car and live, with our four kids, in a townhome.  But, none-the-less, we are the 10% of the world's population that even has the opportunity to do THESE things.  Not to mention, drink clean water, run to the grocery store in a pinch, and have access to life-saving medicines.  Yes, contrary to popular belief, I AM that rich man.  And chances are, if you are able to read this post on a computer screen right now, you are too. 

So now what do I do with that piece of information now that I know it? 

"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do.  God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us accountable to act." 
 Proverbs 24:12

So now I am trying to process.  And pray.  And ask God, "What makes it so hard for that rich man?"  "Why is he so materially-rich, yet so spiritually-poor?"  "Does he even have a shot?"  "Do I?"

My life is full of comforts.  Electricity.  Running water.  Transportation.  Savings accounts.  Entertainment.  All good things.  But what do I do when my pantry runs bare?  Cry out to God?  No, I head to the store.  What about when I am feeling anxious or melancholy, or even bored?  Do I spend that time talking with the God of the universe?  Probably not.  More likely I call a friend, eat, or turn on the TV.  It seems that the more comforts I have, the less I NEED Him, or so I think.  Could it be that these very things, the things we have worked so hard for, are driving us away from Him? 

Now PLEASE don't get me wrong....electricity is NOT a bad thing.  Neither is putting money in a savings account or owning a car.  But, now that I know this obstacle makes "going through the eye of a needle" easy in comparison to entering the kingdom of God, how do I go around it??  After all, we do live in this culture.  Are we able to own these comforts without coming to depend on them?

And the answer I have come up with is this......I don't know.  I don't.  I'm sure it's possible, but everytime I think I have it figured out my pride knocks me down a little bit and I'm left, once again, feeling not-so-sure.  But of course, God's timing is perfect.  Just this week our pastor spoke on some of these very things and I left thinking "Yes!!  That is good!  Great sermon!" 

But then I heard it.  That little voice.  Speaking to my heart.  "Now what?"

"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do.  God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us accountable to act."
  Proverbs 24:12

How are you going to take what God has laid on your heart and put action to it?  How am I? 

Well, for me, we are going to start with putting limitations on TV.  Time that was normally spent watching mindless TV just to "relax" can be replaced with more reading of God's Word and more time connecting as a family.  Trying to focus in on the things that are most important instead of hiding behind those comforts we, as the "rich man", have come to depend on.  For you, it may not be television.  Maybe it's food.  Surfing the internet.  Facebook.  Shopping.

Whatever it is, I challenge you to ask it replacing time that COULD be spent pressing in to His heart?  Is it contributing to a nation that is materially-rich, yet spiritually-poor?  And, then, instead of thinking, "Great thoughts!"  "Thanks for posting!" - instead ask, what does God want ME to DO with this piece of information?

"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do.  God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us accountable to act."
  Proverbs 24:12


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Art and Craft Fair - This Weekend!!

Come support adoption this weekend and start your Christmas shopping a little early this year!  This is where I will be...

4000 Route 202

Friday, November 11th
6:00pm - 9:00pm


Saturday, November 12th
10:00am - 4:00pm

We will be there....selling our ornaments. :)  There will also be TONS of other vendors there, as well as a bake sale and an American Girl giveaway.  Yes, that's right!  The author of the American Girl, Lanie books, will be there and they will be raffling off one doll at the end.  I know one particular little eight-year-old girl who is especially excited about this!!

So....if you are around, and looking for something to do this weekend, come out and join us!  Looking forward to seeing you!


Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Look at What's on my Nightstand These Days...

Last weekend just begged of me to start a new book.  It snowed.  Yup, snowed!  I know it is only the very beginning of November and the leaves are still on the trees and all, but it snowed just the same.  About 5-6 inches!  Isn't God so amazingly creative AND powerful to make both leaves AND snow fall at the same time???

So, what did I do?  I cuddled up next to the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and I started this book:

No Longer a Slumdog

Order your FREE copy HERE

K.P. Yohannan, the author of No Longer a Slumdog, is the founder and director of Gospel for Asia, a non-profit organization that reaches out to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the slums of India.  It is sure to make you think.  Check out their website if you are looking for any Christmas gift ideas apart from the norm this holiday season.  So many awesome things to choose from!!!

Up next on my nightstand???  This book:

Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption

I CAN'T WAIT TO READ THIS ONE!!!  I have been literally waiting since the author, Katie Davis, first announced on her blog that she was writing a book.  Katie's blog was what first inspired us to adopt.  It was her stories and her pictures that caused me to fall on my knees and beg of God to use me in some way.  The book takes place in Uganda and is about Katie's real-life testimony of leaving her middle-class, suburban life to serve orphans halfway across the world.  50% of the proceeds from the sale of this book, go to help fund her ministry, Amazima.

One more to share with you.....

Safely Home

This book, taking place in China, is all about the underground church.  Although names and dates are fictitious, the story itself is compiled of stories that have happened at one time or another.  (And speaking of nightstands, this particular one is still on mine and is a library book that is now way over-due. :)

So, there you have it.  A couple more books to pique your interest.  Hope you are having a wonderful Saturday afternoon!