Monday, August 30, 2010

Yard Sale Results :)

Tonight Jason said, "I think Jesus must of slipped some cash into our yard sale money, because did you see all of the junk we sold; I just don't see how it could have added up to that much."  Hahaha... now I'm not saying that it's impossible for God to "slip" us some money, I mean he is God and all, but I do think He gave us the donors, the helpers, and the shoppers to help us raise WAY more than I expected.  So, just how much did we make???  We raised a little over $3,500 in one and a half days of yard selling!!! C.R.A.Z.Y.!! ! God does provide, oh my goodness, how quickly we are learning!  Friday night we started organizing and setting up all of the yard sale stuff and it started raining (the wheather man said there was only a 20% chance of rain :(  We had trailors to unload, and people were still dropping stuff off.  A few of the neighbors who knew about the adoption sale started running over bringing tarps... thank you Jesus.  We called it a night, and we all went home with the intentions of getting back over at Mrs.Kim's house around 5:30 to finish setting up.  Well... I didn't end up going to bed until around 2:30 because I stayed up talking and goofing off with my sister who came to help... and, I'm definitely NOT a morning person.  Therefore, I didn't make it back in the morning until about 6:30am, and there were already a few people shopping (with flashlights).  That is nuts!!  There was a steady stream of shoppers until a little after noon, and around 3 we started cleaning up.  We had just finished putting the tarps back on everything and moving the nicer furniture back into the garage when it started raining, perfect timing.  I don't think I've ever been so relieved as I was when my head hit my pillow last night.  And, I'm pretty sure I've never slept so hard... I was exhausted to say the least, but it was so worth it.  Today Mrs. Kim talked us into continuing the yard sale after church, and again, I am so glad we did!  We made a little over $300 today just from 1:00-5:00.  We straightened everying up (I think we are going to call the Macon Mission to come get the items that didn't sell), then headed to a friend's house for a fish fry... great way to end the weekend!!!  Here are some pictures from the sale... look at all of the stuff... every bit of it donated!  AMAZING!  THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED THIS WEEKEND!!! 

Rainy Friday Night:

Saturday (look at ALL of the donations):
She isn't really for sale... at least not for $50.  She is worth way more than that.  Thanks Court for helping (she was trying to study -see the book- but, I'm pretty sure she was unproductive as far as that went)
Mrs.Kim has a salon in her basement where she cuts hair for a living (she cut mine not too long ago and I love it), so she decided to set up a hair cutting chair to help raise money for our adoption :)  She gave the cuttest baby ever, Lane, his very 1st haircut... yes... at a yard sale.  But, his momma will have a great story to tell him when he gets older.  And, him and our Ethiopian baby can be buddys.  I met Amy and Chris, Lane's mom and dad, while I was in college in Milledgeville, and now we live about 5 minutes apart! 

The most played with toy of the day... the pogo stick... and I'm pretty sure we ended up selling it because I didn't see it today when we were cleaning up.
And, last but not least, we made a "prize" item (we got the idea off of a t.v. show, but I can't remember the name of it) where whoever buys this certain, off the wall, crazy item gets a special gift.  Our prize item, decided on first thing Saturday morning, was a New Kids on the Block record.  The gift... a free hair cut by Mrs. Kim.  So who was the lucky winner???
Congratulations Amy! Hahaha.  I think Mrs. Kim was just glad it was someone she already knew :)
This picture was taken before she knew she had won.
Okay, so you get a little loopy with 2 hours of sleep, but it was still really funny!

Thanks again to everyone who helped us raise such a huge amount of money!  We love you guys!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Running out of time before the YARD SALE of the year!!!

Hey Folks,

We are running out of time before the YARD SALE OF THE YEAR!! If anyone has offered to donate items and we have not hooked up with you yet, please let us know. For the past couple of days we have been taking things by Kim's house and it would be great if you are able to take things there directly as we are running out of hours in the day. If there are items that need to be transported by trailer or truck and you have no means to do so, please let us know so that we can schedule you on our 'donations route'. We are SOO greatful for all of the wonderful things that have been donated so far and can't wait to see what else God has in store!!

Please be praying for good weather (mild and not raining) for tomorrow night and Saturday! Thank you all very much.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Having Faith in an Invisible God (Jason)

Proverbs 16:9

In his heart a man plans his course,
     but the Lord determines his steps. (NIV)

Tonight in our MC meeting (small group) this question was posed related to the above passage of scripture: have you ever made plans and God made things work out differently than you had envisioned? I paraphrased a little b/c I cannot remember exactly how it was worded, but you get the idea. I thought of a few examples (internally) and several others shared their experiences with the group. Well, now I am going to share with all of you a circumstance where God did that very thing tonight after we left our meeting!!

Take a look back at Britney’s last post (here) about the wonderful family who sold their house and VERY generously offered to donate several items to our yard sale to support our adoption efforts. This family was literally friends of friends whom we had never seen nor heard of (we never even heard their names). Turns out, that with all of their chaos going on with trying to move out of their house in a very short amount of time, that they were unable to deliver the items that they wanted to donate. We found this information out this afternoon. Well, on to plan B, we were going to pick everything up after small group. We are so grateful for people to be donating that we are doing any and everything within our power to make it come together (we have the will if He will just show us the way!).

So, after small group, we follow Mrs. Kim ALL around Wesleyan Woods (I think there are about 1,000 entrances to that neighborhood) and finally end up at this family’s house. Here is where the Lord decided to show off. Come to find out, I have been doing this family’s tax return for the last several years and have even met with the husband on several occasions on various business related items. More interesting than that, they also adopted internationally (twice from Bulgaria) which was why they were so eager and willing to donate to our cause. It is truly an amazing thing to have God shining his light on our path. I am SOOO glad that they were unable to deliver the donated items to Mrs. Kim’s house yesterday, because it was so much more special to receive this blessing in the way that God orchestrated it tonight. God truly is amazing!! I am so very glad to have Him going ahead of us, preparing the path for our family. It was also awesome to be able to discuss the wonderful works that God was doing in this family as well. This family felt led to move out of state and stand on faith for God to provide and in a matter of just two days they had a contract on their house. I don’t know if any of you have been outside in the past two years or have noticed the ‘decline’ in the housing market, but if selling your house in this market isn’t a faith builder, I don’t know what is.

To the family I am referring to above, I wish you all the very, very best on your journey!! Britney and I will remember the discussions tonight for a long time to come, and we will be praying for you all. To everyone else that is praying alongside us, and to those donating your time and resources to helping us bring this adoption to fruition, we thank God for each of you every day. I cannot express what it means to have the type of support we have received thus far, except to say that God is good on his promises and that His Word NEVER fails!!! Praise Jesus!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Do people like this really exist?

Can I just start out by saying that we aren't even on the waiting list for a baby yet and my relationship with God has grown SO much through this process?!?!?!  I have learned to trust Him and have faith in Him more than ever!  I like to plan, I like to play it safe, I like to be independent... and let me tell you, this adoption process definitely requires me to step outside of my comfort zone.

I'm not a very emotional person, I don't really cry a lot, and I have a hard time expressing my feelings.  I have five siblings, four of which are younger than me, so I always tried to be the sibling that held it together during sad times in order to help comfort everyone.  My brothers and sisters always knew that I would try to make them laugh during difficult times in order to ease the pain.  Now I find it hard to let myself cry in front of others, or even alone for that matter.  In the last couple of months there have been several times that I have just wanted to have a good cry.  Thinking about our baby that isn't born yet, thinking about all of the children in Africa who need a family, thinking of all of the families in Africa who could stay together if they just had a little bit of money and access to proper medical care, thinking about the stressfulness of my life here, work, getting adoption paperwork completed, making time to get in the Word, making time to hang out with friends and family, all of the prayer requests of friends, getting ready for deer season that opens in a couple of weeks, getting ready for our adoption yard sale, and the list goes on and on...  So, I prayed that God would make me more in tune with my feelings, that he would allow me to let go sometimes and let it all out, that he would let me accept that the problems in Africa are real, and that, although seemingly insignificant compared to those problems, my every day struggles are real... and need prayer... passionate prayer.

Oh boy!  I don't think a full 24 hours passed before God released the flood gates.  I've been averaging between 5 and 6 hours of sleep a night which sometimes just makes me cranky and irritable, but the last two weeks I think it led to me being a crazy, emotional mess.  But, I can tell you it felt so good!!!  I laid my problems at the feet of Jesus, my King... and He answered.  I will blog about the main reason for my craziness later this week, but seeing God's hand in our adoption is such a blessing!  Being able to feel so much more connected to this process and see God at work is amazing!  Jason blogged about us being able to mail in our first large payment to our agency last week... six weeks ahead of schedule!!!  We are having our yard sale this Saturday, August 28th, and we have been running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to collect everything people have so generously donated.  Well, this morning at church Mrs. Kim (who has offered her yard for the sale) said she had a friend who placed her house on the market and it just sold... in 2 days... in the worst housing market in decades.  So why is this important???  This family said they have a ton of stuff that they don't want to take with them because they are moving out of state, and they are donating all of us... for our yard sale... for our adoption... that will take place this weekend... one week after they sold their house.  And get this.... this family has two adopted children!!!  Okay, so it gets better... tonight we had planned to go get all of the stuff and take it to Mrs. Kim's house, but the lady, who I have never met (I don't even know her name) didn't call when she said she would.  So, we just figured she got tied up doing something and that we would go another night this week.  Then Mrs. Kim called me back and said that this family already had a Uhaul truck rented and they planned to move the stuff tomorrow during the day and take it all to her house for us.  They said since they already had the truck rented they didn't mind moving the yard sale stuff before they loaded the truck up with their stuff to head out of state.  Wow!!!  Do people like this really exist?  God you are good... how can we ever deny you?!?  Your timing is perfect!!  We love you and praise you!!                   

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Steps in the Right Direction (Jason)

So this week has been a bit hectic, but VERY productive. Monday, we met with our new social worker (SW) from the home study agency (she is #2 as our first SW was pulled from all her cases for personal reasons). Let me tell you, our new SW is a prayer answered!! The meeting went a bit over schedule, which is the result of her playing catch-up from not having been the one who came for the first visit, but Britney and I both are extremely comfortable with this new addition to our journey. Both ladies we met with have been extremely nice, and it is very obvious from talking with them that their #1 priority is the children whom they effectively serve, but we just seem to click a little better with our new SW. Both were Christian ladies that seem well grounded, so that gives me a lot of confidence in their ability to make objective determinations about our family. The interesting thing about the home study is not so much the things that a SW learns about you, your life, and your family; it’s the things that YOU learn about YOU, YOUR life, and YOUR family. We have answered so many hard questions about who and what we really believe that it has really been an eye opener for both Britney and I not to mention good bonding time for us as well. Any of you reading this who have been thru this process should be able to relate. The more I go through this process, the more real the adoption becomes, as I see the passion and compassion in these women’s eyes for the children that they want to unite with their families.
We also mailed out our orientation packet to the agency yesterday!!! If you could see me right now you would see a fat boy jumping up and down in his chair like a 3 year old jumping on his parent’s bed!! We hadn’t planned on sending off this first payment (also didn’t think it would be an option) until the last week of September but apparently God had other plans, because he has made it all come together! We also didn’t know that it would be necessary to have this payment made in order for us to complete home study. This payment was necessary for the adoption agency to give us access to online course materials that will be necessary before our home study can been finalized. So God has provided for us to take the classes six weeks earlier than anticipated which puts us six weeks closer to meeting and bringing our child home! These are very exciting times to say the least, and thank you ALL for your continued prayer and support. We really couldn’t do it without you.

We are also growing ever closer to the yard sale of the year and we have gotten some really great items from people to sell. Please be praying that the weather is perfect (or at least not a torrential down poor). Thanks to all of you who have donated items to sell, or have offered your time and energy to make this thing happen. We will need some help setting up and getting everything to Mrs. Kim’s house that Friday, so anyone that is available to help we could certainly use it. Also, anyone that is interested, we will also be selling our shirts at the yard sale so that may be a good time to pick one up if you haven’t already. We have had pretty good success thus far with the shirts and really appreciate all of your contributions.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Babe of My Heart - Adopting First

Last week our friend Andrea posted about us on her blog Babe of My Heart.  She brought her baby Isaac Temesgen home from Ethiopia a little over a month ago.  His Gotcha day video is at the bottom of our blog, so if you haven't watched it yet you should definitely scroll to the bottom of our blog and check it out.  Hop on over here to see Andrea's post about couples deciding to adopt first, which by the way has to totally be God's plan for us, because when we really think about it, it doesn't seem like the natural thing to do, but God has laid it on our hearts, and we are just trying to follow His plan.  This time last year, we never would have imagined adopting before having biological children, but now, after beginning this process, I wouldn't have it any other way.    

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Jason's First Sprint Triathlon... and He is Still Alive :-)

Can I just say that I am so proud of my husband!  He decided to participate in a sprint triathlon a couple of weeks ago, and with only two weeks of training he completed a 400 yd swim, 13.6 mile bike ride, and then a 5K run!  We woke up this morning at 4:00am to head down to Cordele, GA for the race.  I felt like I was just doing good to wake up that early... I can't even imagine doing something active after waking up at 4:00am.  Did I mention that we woke up at 4:00am?!?  We rode down to South Georgia with Jenn and Andy, they were the ones who encouraged Jason to sign up for the race.  It was also Jenn's first sprint triathlon, and I am also so so so excited for her for finishing the race!!!  And, the cutest part was that Andy treaded in the water during the swim for about six minutes waiting on Jenn's wave of racers to start.  He stayed right by her side the entire race to encourage her to never stop... she didn't even walk during the 5K... she ran the entire leg of the race.
The Start of the Race
Annabelle and Judah cheering on their daddy... so cute!

After the 400 Yard Swim
Coming in to Complete the Bike Ride
Starting the 5K
Almost to the Finish Line
Yay!!!  The Finish!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

T-Shirts Finally!!!

As crazy and frustrating as it has been to get our adoption t-shirts... it was worth it.  I picked them up today!  Yay!  Here are some pictures... if you want to order one please contact us!  We haven't gone to the post office to see how much it costs to mail one, but for now they are $20 if we can bring it to you, or $25 if we mail them.  Hopefully we will get a pay pal button soon, so all money can go through them.  Until then, just let us know what size you want and we will figure the rest out asap.  We also have the same design on a grey t-shirt (I don't think it looks quite as good, but I like grey shirts because they aren't as hot).  Now I'm off to Loganville to meet my sister and help her move as well as help my crying mom let her little baby girl go off to college :-)  I love you mom.

Got Junk?

We'll Come Get It!!!
We already posted our yard sale date, but just in case you missed it, it will be Saturday, August 28th beginning at 7:00am!!!  Jason and I took off work this Friday to ride all around Georgia to pick up donated yard sale items from lots and lots of really nice friends.  If anyone has anything they would like to donate please give us a call tomorrow so we can figure out our plans for the Tour de Georgia on Friday.  I am headed to Loganville in the morning to help my little sister, Courtney, pack for college, and then we are headed to Kennesaw to help her move into the dorms!  I am so excited and proud of her for going to college, and I hope she has as much fun her freshman year as I did.  If anyone in either of these areas wants to get rid of some junk then you can contact us in the morning, and if it's at all possible I will come pick it up.  So far, Friday we will be going to Gainesville and possibly Doraville, so just let us know what ya got... and we'll come get it.  Hahaha... how redneck does that sound?  But, if it will help us get our baby home, then I don't care what it sounds like :-)  Jason's cell is 678-222-8582, or you can leave us a message on Facebook or on here.  Thanks!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

I dare you to....

... try and watch this video without crying.

(Thanks Kim for posting this on Facebook... I had to steal it for the blog.)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What a Crazy Week...

Oh my goodness... we have been busy, busy, busy.  We just got back in town so I'm exhausted, so sorry if there are a ton of errors in this post (I'll be doing good if it just makes sense).  Before I post about our week, we have new adoption news.  Apparently something happened with our home study agency and they had to switch social workers on us.  I received a call on my work phone Friday, which never happens... I'm not really a big deal at work, so I don't really get many phone calls :-), so when our secretary told me I had a call I felt kind of excited and important, lol.  It was our home study agency, and they were informing me they were changing our social worker (s.w.).  My first thought was, "oh no, what the heck did we do?"  She then explained that it had nothing to do with us, but something had come up and they needed to assign us someone else.  She was extremely professional about it and apologized several times.  She said our first meeting would still count and we would just have our second two meetings with the new s.w.  Of course I didn't mind, the only difference to us was that we would have to reschedule our next meeting, which was suppose to be today (no big deal at all).  She told us our new s.w. was out of town and wouldn't be back until Monday (tomorrow)... well, within a few hours the new s.w. had already emailed us about the situation, her contact information, and a couple tentative dates for our next meeting.  Geez, I'd say they are pretty on top of things!  So, I am completely comfortable with this new change, and I am exited to meet with our new s.w. and get this process completed! 

Now onto why we have been so busy, and why it has taken so long to write a blog post:

The number one reason for me should be because of this:
However, I can't honestly say that is the real reason... for those of you who don't know... this is my study book for the financial section of the CPA exam.  I am required by work to sit for this exam, and I have signed up to take it October 1st-Please pray for me!!!  hahaha.... I have to admit, I've already failed it once.  On a positive note, that means I've already studied the material before... on a negative note, that was about a year ago (and I have a terrible memory).  There are four parts of the CPA exam and you have pass all four within 18 months of each other.  I passed the auditing section in July of last year, therefore I have until January of this year to pass the other three.  And to think, I made fun of Jason for waiting till the last minute to sit for his final part :-( 

So the real reasons we have been so busy...
Monday I went to a Discovery Toys party.  I mainly went to hang out with moms from our church and to learn about educational toys for little ones.  I had no intentions of ordering anything, but you know how those parties work :-)  There are three books sold together, "Wiggle & Move", "Touch & Tickle", and "Calm & Soothe"; and the description says, "This trio of board books offers read-along ideas for boosting baby's physical development while deepening parent-child bonds."  How perfect for an adopted child!!!  I was so excited, I couldn't help but order them... and it was only $15 for the set.  So, after our child is home and I try some of these exercises I'll blog about them and let you guys know if I like them or not (even though that may be a while).  If you want more information about Discovery Toys you can go here.

Tuesday we just hung around the house... Thanks James! (hahaha... by the way I already think it is funny!)... sorry other blog readers-inside joke.

Wednesday we drove to Atlanta for this:
With these amazing friends:
It was an awesome game...Go Braves!!!
(Thanks again Casey and Marianne-I'm pretty sure we will never be able to repay you!)

Thursday... more baseball... but, this time we only had to go a few miles to watch the game.  We got tickets through Jason's firm to see the local semi-pro team, the Macon Pinetoppers:

Friday I had to be at my cousin's wedding rehearsal at 6:00 to help out a little.  Right after the rehearsal I ran home changed and headed to the gym for some much needed treadmill time.  Our friends Andy and Jenn talked Jason into doing his first sprint triathlon, which will be August 14th, and he began training for it this past Monday... he is crazy!  I'm pretty sure I would be doing good to run one mile, but I can say one thing... I will be the best cheerleader wife he has ever had :-)  hahaha.  After the gym (at 9:00pm) we went to Bass Pro Shops, one of our favorite stores.  They had a bow give away at 9:30 and you had to be present to win (which, by the way, we didn't).  We walked around, ran into some old friends and talked for a little while, and then decided (at 10:00) to go to Waffle House for dinner, so much for working out.  We had a wonderful W.H. dinner with good conversation!!  I love how God randomly puts good Christian friends in your life (and thanks John Drew tennis classes).  
Saturday my family came into town for my cousin's wedding (yay for having family living in the same city!!!)  For once, I didn't have to leave Macon for a family event!  
The Beautiful Bride
My Mom
Thanks mom for the dress!!  I loved it!  Maybe you can just become my personal shopper, because you know if it was up to me I would wear sweat pants and t-shirts everywhere!  But hey, you were the one who raised me and allowed me to be a tomboy my whole life :-) 

One of My Brothers
Sunday was kind of crazy.  I went to church with my sister who stayed with us after the wedding, and Jason went to church with is Dad.  I then met Jason in Conyers for his great uncle's 80th birthday party.  Look how cute he is!!!
Now, it's off to bed to rest up for work bright and early in the morning!
Have a good week!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Adoption Is Greater Than The Universe - John Piper

I know I haven't blogged in forever... but we have been really busy this week. I promise I will post an update on everything we have been up to as well as an update on our adoption soon! For now watch this video (it's not a new video, but a friend posted it on Facebook and I think it is wonderful!)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Home Study & Yard Sale

We had our first home study meeting yesterday and everything went great! She just asked us some basic questions about our adoption and how we plan to help our child adjust to our culture as well as inform them about their birth culture. The funniest part of the whole meeting was when she recommended we watch the movie Soul Food to learn more about African American culture… really?!?! She said that more than likely our child will be perceived as African American and will need to know how to assimilate that culture if they go to a black friend's house for dinner.  Is it bad that I'm not that worried about the physical differences between me and my child?  I know there will be questions and issues I will need to handle regarding our physical differences, and cultures related to those differences, at some point, and I definitely want to be prepared for those times before they happen, but right now I am much more worried about becoming a parent to an adopted baby from an orphanage who will need a ton of love and constant care once he/she is home.  I’ve been reading books about parenting adopted children and I've ordered some that deal with transracial adoptions, so I am hoping I will be as prepared as possible to help my child adjust to the social norms in their everyday life, no matter how people perceive them.  I may be naive, but I'm pretty sure with the educational material our agency requires, reading several adoption books, talking to other families who have adopted outside of their race, and relying on God, we can handle any situation that comes our way.  I'm not saying it will always be easy and that it won't break my heart when I don't know everything about another culture to help my child "fit in" and understand the differences between our family and someone else's, but I know that we can handle it... by relying on God's strength. 

Jason and I have been talking about how nervous and scared we are about becoming parents for the first time (which after child proofing the house with cabinet locks, outlet covers, putting cleaners out of a child's reach, etc. for our home study, has been a lot lately.)  However, the further we get in our adoption process, the more excited we get!  Man, I really, really can't imagine how excited we are going to be when we get our referral, when we get on a plane to head to Ethiopia, or when we pull up to the orphanage to meet our baby for the first time... it has to be an unexplainable feeling... and I absolutely cannot wait to experience it!!! 
We have set a date for our yard sale! August 28th!!!  (Yes, we know it will be HOT!! but it is the only date that works for us before our first agency fee is due.)  So, if anyone has anything that is yard sell-able that they don’t want anymore please let us know and we will come pick it up. We hope everyone has a great week!