Monday, December 21, 2009

Found this while cleaning up my desktop!


1.The fact that there are 143 million children without a parent to kiss them goodnight has made you lose sleep.
2. You realize DNA has nothing to do with love and family.
3. You can't watch Adoption Stories on TLC without sobbing.
4. The fact that, if 7% of the population adopted 1 child there would be no orphans in the world, is convincing to you.
5. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessing of adoption.
6. It drives you crazy when people ask you about your adopted child's "real" parents.
7. You had no idea how you would afford to adopt but stepped out in faith anyway, knowing where God calls you He will provide.
8. You have never taken an airplane ride half-way around the world with a child you just met.
9. You believe God's heart is for adoption.
10. You realize that welcoming a child into your heart and family is one of the most important legacies you could ever leave on this earth.
11. You know what the word "Dossier" means, and you can actually pronounce it!
12. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.
13. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky that you adopted them, knowing full well you are the blessed one to have him or her in your life.
-Author Unknown

posting spree

When your husband is a preaching pastor Christmas week allows plenty of time to post!
Brandon's schedule includes... (sing along)
5 church services in
4 days with
3 different messages and
2 days with double services
and a very busy and very prayed for husband!
I sure do love him!
PS Oh how I wish I could do a whole 12 days of Christmas for the little song above, but I am VERY thankful that there is nothing going on bigger than 5!!!!!

Five years ago...

Five years ago I married my best friend! We began this journey hand in hand! This photo was taken right after we were announced for the first time. You can really see our personalities in this shot!

Today, five years later, we are still on this journey hand in hand, excited for the plan the LORD has us on, acknowledging that, like this corn maze, we don't know exactly where the road will lead!

Prayer + Photo+Post Office = Sending in our Dossier!!!!

We did it!!!!!!!! Thanks be to God... because really... HE DID IT!!!!!!!!! In one day less than 7 weeks God orchestrated every event to allow us to: apply to International and Home Study agencies, get accepted, fill out forms, forms, and more forms, make endless copies, get many things notarized and certified, have our home study visits, attend a day training, complete a 10 hour DVD training module and take four tests, many phone calls, MANY (way too many) email with (crazy and sometime pathetic) questions... the list goes on and on. He also has provided just what we have needed financially for each step of the journey! AMAZING!
All of this led up to TODAY!!!! We prayed over our packages (one to the Intl agency and one to USCIS), took a happy momma photo, and marched them to the Post Office where I proudly shared our adoption story with the post worker said good-bye to our weeks of work!
So now we move on to the next phase of the game... and that is... waiting for our dossier to be sent to Ethiopia!! We think this usually takes about a month. I am planning to send out an adoption update letter to those who have requested it on the blue sheets once our Dossier gets to Ethiopia, as we will know more about the process at that time!
Getting things prepared before Christmas was a great gift to us!!! We are getting closer to our wonderful child, and we are so excited for the waiting to begin!!
PS Sorry the happy momma photo is not included... I don't know how to blur addresses so you will just have to imagine me really happy and hold a piece of mail!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Less snow than yesterday???

My first words this morning were "Is it a winter wonderland Brandon?" His reply... "We had more snow yesterday!" So much for the big blizzard. It did snow a lot, but it is just too warm and it turned to water before hitting the ground. The water and warm temps are melting the snow we had causing our yard/sidewalks etc to look like a slushie! Well, shoveling slush this morning was not special, romantic, magical etc. I think I am decided to pretend it is a snow day and do all the fun things I had planned anyway :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Snowstorm Eve!

We COULD be on the eve of a big snowstorm and I must admit, I become a little girl as I think about the possible snowfall amounts. When our Christmas tree is up I am a HUGE snow fan but ... once February comes around I am pretty ready for spring! So, this house is (over) prepared for a big storm! I went to the store surrounded by women more than twice my age also preparing for the storm! The sweet girl at the check-out most likely engaged in "weather chat" her entire shift, but continued to smile and laugh!
I could work on adoption stuff all storm long... but that is doubtful. Our guest bedroom has transformed into the adoption headquarters for a while. Being the (crazy) organized woman that I am, tables have been set up with place cards on them for each of the 22 document types. I told Brandon I "CSIed" the guestroom. He was unaware that CSIed was a verb. I guess he learned something new :) This way I will not lose anything and can update sticky notes on each stack to track the progress of the dossier. I know, I know, just call me Monk! A bit of info for those of you not in the adoption world - dossier is pronounced dos-ee-ay. It is a huge packet of all our paperwork that is sent to our agency and then to Ethiopia. It contains almost everything about us and our life written on paper, authenticated, and notarized. Once our Dossier is sent to Ethiopia (DTE) we will officially have graduated from "paperchasing" and become "paper pregnant". I think the paper work we generate weighs about then same as a pregnancy, and if I strapped it to myself, I would look quite pregnant. Luckily I don't have to carry it but can send it! We have our Dr. visits on Friday and our final home study visit on Saturday so we are hoping to get this lovely collection of documents in the mail before Christmas!
So, if I am not working on adoption stuff as I weather the storm... what will I be doing? I plan to take many adoption breaks to bake something tasty, (or maybe two somethings) cook Grandma's amazing beef stew, call Grandma to get her recipe for amazing beef stew, wrap Christmas presents, listen to festive music, shovel (or not), watch a Christmas movie, read (adoption) books... and most likely work on the dossier (just a tiny bit).
Thank you all for your prayers for our little family during this time! We have seen God's hand at work throughout this process. His protection and provision are so evident. We can't wait to bring home our baby sour patch kid. ( funny... right?)
This is such a blessed time of year as we anticipate the celebration of Christ's birth! This year I was thinking about ways to remember that it is His Birthday! He is the greatest gift! Our gifts to others should also be gifts to Him! Our gifts to others should be nothing compared to our gifts to Him... really our gifts to others should be the party favors...
OK, thanks for letting me take a (procrastination) break to update you on our possible HUGE snowstorm, our excitingly HUGE adoption journey, and our certainly HUGE Savior!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Watch, enjoy, and cry

Last year this song was given to us on a Third Day CD. We listened to it in the car on the way home from our travels and I cried and cried. This year my tears are bigger as my love for our little one has grown. I have a feeling this song will bring tears to my eyes each Christmas as we wait for children to come home and as we cling to the children the Lord has placed in our family! Grab a tissue and enjoy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Stones of remembrance...

We might be familiar with Joshua and the stones of remembrance in the Old Testament. I too have collected some actual stones in my life, but I decided that my blog can serve as a stone collector from time to time... God is so faithful and I know in the future there will be valleys so right now I need to find ways to remember His great work! I am simply going to list a few ways that I have seen His faithfulness in the last week or so... I am so thankful and in this season of thankfulness I challenge each of you to take a moment and think about the ways you have seen God's handy work this week!
Counting my blessings one by one and seeing what God has done:
~ We got to spend 3 days with "2 sweet boys" at our home! Wonderful memories were created and relationships were deepened. We also realized how non-childproof our house currently is!!!!
~ Since last Sunday we have hosted 3 groups of people in our home and have experienced great joy getting to know the people in our dear church family.
~This is a longer one... A couple of years ago during Moody Founder's week I heard Dennis Rainey talk about orphan care and adoption. I was in my car and cried the whole way home. I ran to our living room stereo and listened to the rest sobbing away... at the end of the talk Dennis announced that he was selling orphan care ministry books and that he only brought 10 copies with him. I really wanted one, but I can't really purchase one through from my living room. God really used this talk to open my heart to adoption. We were still going through infertility, and it would be six months later before we were ready to say we were adopting, but it was very formative. We now own a copy of the talk and I listen to it quite often! Well, last week I found out that our church's youth pastor was at Moody Church that day and heard the talk live. I found out that he left the talk early so he could be the first to buy this orphan care packet and get this... he has no clue why... GOD KNEW!!!! He is faithful and we are excited to see God grow an orphan care ministry at our church!
~Our church participates in the 30 hour famine each year... this years focus... ETHIOPIA!! WOW!!!! We are so excited to champion this cause with our youth group!
~We have been praying for some specific requests of people at our church and God is moving!
~This is already in a different entry, but why not include it again: We were accepted to our international agency! Everyone posted such encouraging news on my FB status I really felt like I had announced bio pregnancy! You all don't know what a gift that was to me!
~All 100 boxes for Operation Christmas Child were taken!!!! We are now praying that they are all returned by Sunday!
~My husband blew me away in his message yesterday morning! I have been so blessed by Brandon's walk through Ephesians! I have also been blessed by our sermon discussion group between services! How big is your Gospel friends???
~I have great friends and great family. Their care and love have been so evident this week through cards, phone calls, conversations, hugs etc.
~We are DONE painting for a long time!!!! Well, until DTE (Dossier To Ethiopia) anyway!!!
~Our nephew turned one. We don't get to see him often, but we are excited to see him next month!
and best for last...
~To God be the Glory great things HE hath done. So loved He the world that He gave us His Son!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Two lines... way better than one!!!!!

Anybody who has walked the infertility road for multiple years knows that two line are better than one... on a pregnancy test that is! Well, I have never had two lines on a stick, but today we got the email that we have been accepted to the International Agency which is the figurative "second line" confirming our adoption is in the works!!!!!!!! Let the pregnancy begin... hmmm... maybe I should go make some cookies... I am having a craving...
Praising God who is "able to do increasingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine..." (Eph 3:20)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Here are all the before and afters!!!!

Hey friends,
Many of you have been asking for photos of our before and afters from the parsonage. I have a few comments before I get to the photos!
~I am NOT a photographer! I have bad lighting, bad angles, bad coloring (ex. Kitchen colors are much richer in real life) etc...
~I forgot before shots of the laundry room and ran out of memory for the guest bedroom and office
~The people who decorated before us loved it and we respect their love for it. We wanted to show our uniqueness and have done this to the best of our abilities
~These projects took way more work than the camera can catch!
~Double click on any photo to see it zoomed in!
~My dear friend Nancy helped with a HUGE part of the deco stuff. Yes, she has a business so let me know if you would like to use her services. Yes, she is the same woman who staged our home so it would be ready for a quick sell :) Thanks Nancy!
~B's your work with the paint is GREAT thank you sooo much!!
~I tried to put them in a different order and this is what I got... OK it will work
OK... on to the photos!

The guest room and home office

We didn't take any "Before" photos of these rooms as I ran out of memory on the camera. The guest room has not been painted, but the office is done. I thought I might as well show you what they look like today. The guest room will be a neutral creamy color.

And AFTER!!!!! (If you zoom in you will notice all the books are mine! The theological books are over at the church in Brandon's office :)

The guest room beforeish... it isn't totally before since this is where the furniture will remain.

Upstairs bathroom and nursery

Before: The Bathroom
And AFTER!!!!!! (The bathroom is sort of divided in two with a pocket door in between. There are two separate sinks... hopefully the photos are not too confusing.)

Before: The inner bathroom
And AFTER!!!!

Before: The shower
And AFTER!!!!!

Before: The nursery (some people really like Pooh and would really like this nursery now)
And now (not after... we are waiting until we are further in the process to do the nursery. We just de-poohed it)

Heading up stairs and the master bedroom

Before: Heading upstairs.
And AFTER!!!! (can't tell a difference??? new light fixture, clean carpet, paint...)
Before: Our bedroom

And AFTER!!!!! (What can I say... I like consistent colors throughout :)

Entry area and Living Room!

Before: The Entry area... we couldn't quite tell the wall color with this unique fixture!
And AFTER!!!! (The walls are a rich cream now... hard to tell the difference but it is huge!)
Before: Entering the living room

And AFTER!!!!! (There are few shots so you could see all the areas)

Before: Entry way area...

And AFTER!!!!
Before: Looking at the entrance wall...

And AFTER!!!!

The family room

Before: Entering the family room from the laundry room area.
And AFTER!!!!! (yes we still need to do something about the broken ceiling fan!)

Before: The opposite wall

And AFTER!!!! (Yes, we do not pay for cable TV)
Before: Looking at the hallway...

And AFTER!!!!!
Before: Fireplace and storage corner
And AFTER!!!!! (We plan to use wall to hang "Kid Art" one day storage for toys and movies)
One extra after of the fireplace close up... thank for the mantle Bret!!!!!

The laundry room and powder room

We don't have a before for the laundry room. Please imagine dark green and plaid wallpaper etc.

And AFTER!!!!! (The papers sticking out are on a cork board)

The downstairs bathroom before...

And AFTER!!!!!!!

The Kitchen

Before: Taken from Entry of the Kitchen

And AFTER!!!!! (cupboard, wall paper, curtain removal and new paint)
After in eating area: Notice Great Grandma's China!

Before: Looking into the cooking area from eating area
And AFTER!!!!

Before: Cooking area
And AFTER!!!!!!

I love our transformed kitchen. I spend a lot of time in it and it feels good! I wish my camera would have captured the richness of the colors better... oh well!