Monday, January 28, 2013

Cake Pop Partying

Today we have our first homestudy visit.  I'm really not concerned with the house being spotless.  In fact, there are a few dust bunnies that will probably chase our social worker down the hall as she enters our home! Our Christmas tree is still up and might just stay up until Valentine's day. I only hope to remember to check the commodes and make sure that they are flushed by the time she rings the doorbell.  But I'm sure she will approve of our quaint little historic neighborhood cottage and see that we are not psychopaths...a little weird, yes, but not psycho.

We've changed out the thermometer over there >>> to reflect the next chunk of change we will need to save/raise.  God has not slowed down in His provisions thus far! We recently had an anonymous gift of $1000 and also had friends who gave $500 for their "end of year" giving and other friends who donated above and beyond the purchase price of their Mississippi towels or Christmas and New Years Cake Pops that they had ordered.  These gifts along with our personal contributions the expansion account completed the remaining amount needed to be able to pay the first agency fee and get the home study started!

Speaking of Cake Pops, one way that we are fundraising is by Cake Pop Parties/Classes.  A couple of years ago I stopped by Starbucks and saw they had these cute little cake balls on a stick.  So of course, I ordered one (or maybe a few) and was instantly addicted.  Then I thought to myself, "Heck, I could make that little thing!"  And after much trial and error, I figured out how to make them and not only that, I figured out how to make them look as good as the ones I had eaten at the coffee place!  I was most impressed with my new found crafting skill as I am not crafty by nature.  I made them for friends and family and for different parties and events, and it wasn't long until people started asking me if they could buy some from me.  Because people knew that I taught sewing classes, several ladies began asking if I would teach classes on how to make Cake Pops.  This past Saturday afternoon was the very first Cake Pop Party/Class, and we had an absolute blast!  Here are some pictures of our class.

Rolling the balls and inserting pop sticks

Ready to head to the fridge to firm up

Look at all those pops lined up waiting to be dipped

This gal colored her cake purple and
decorated the pops Mardi Gras style

Dipping and tapping carefully

Some of them died, but this happens in every batch!

The finished product!!
The class raised $275 for the adoption fund!  Praise God!  And there is another class scheduled for this week, and two more scheduled for the beginning of February, and about 4 more ladies looking at their calendars to see when they can schedule one at their house or church.  If you are interested in hosting one, email me for more info.  Hosting is really simple, and the class fee is $35 per person.  It truly is such a fabulous way to have a girls' night out while helping us raise the red on that thermometer!  I can't wait to tell our children about all these fun ways God provided in the process of getting them their forever home!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Super Bowl Points FUNdraiser

This ^^^ exactly!
This video was aired for Orphan Sunday, and I thought it would be a great video to share for our Super Bowl Sunday FUNdraiser!  Chris and I both love football (and I will even watch it by myself if he happens to be working during one of our teams' games haha!) We thought it would be really neat to have a fundraiser that involved football so that our football-loving friends, guys and gals, would have a way to participate in our adoption process.  If you look over there >>>, you will see that we have enough for our first agency fee, and the goal was even exceeded!  So we are now looking at the second goal of saving up/fundraising for the next big amount which will be about $3600.  The Super Bowl FUNdraiser will be a great "kick off" ;) towards this second amount coming up in a couple of months.

Here are some ways it works:
1--You pledge to make a donation in the amount of points your favorite team scores
2--You pledge to make a donation in the TOTAL amount of points scored by BOTH teams for the game
3--Invite your friends to participate in this with you if you are already going to be hosting a Super Bowl Party at your house or church!

How fun is that?!  To make your pledge in one of the three ways listed above, you can make a comment here, leave a comment or send a message to me on Facebook, or email me or Chris.  And if you would share this blog post on your Facebook wall (just click the little box with the F below this post) to help us spread the word, that would be optimal, too.  Wouldn't it be amazing if we had over 100 football fans join us in this?!!  Surely you have at least 5 or 10 football-loving friends who you could tell about this fundraiser, and then they could tell their football-loving friends!  So hurry and tell everybody...there are only 12 days left til the Super Bowl!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Check Out That Thermometer >>>>>>>>>

In less than four short weeks, we are over WELL over half way to hitting our first goal of $2916.67!  WOOHOO!!  I constantly tell myself to only look at the financial commitment of international adoption ONE SMALL STEP AT A TIME.  In other words, just look at the piece of the elephant that is on our plate right now...not the next $2916 piece to come or the $14000 (or $19000 depending on how many children are in the sibling group) piece due when we see the "ultrasound" (accept our referral)!  **Just focus on what's in front of us right now and thank God for providing it.**  And if you happen to hear doubt and fear filled words coming out of my mouth at any point, please, feel free to remind me of what I have just said.
Y'all have heard that saying, right?  "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!"

Chris and I have been putting money in the "Expansion account" every week, and people have been buying Mississippi towels and Cake Pops like cuh-raaazy and signing up for sewing and cake pop classes left and right and donating money out of the blue!  I really shouldn't be so surprised at how God is orchestrating all of this into His great plan for these children because this IS the Creator of the universe we're talking about here, and those sweet babies were knit together BY Him in their mother's womb (and subsequently our hearts). So seriously, what's $35-$40k for Him?  Yet I am absolutely overwhelmed!  I guess nearly every post I write for this blog will have some sort of repetitive "Thank You" in it for all those taking part in this journey with us, and I truly hope you won't get sick of reading those thank you's over and over and again.  Those two little words seem terribly inefficient in portraying the gratitude that permeates my heart for our family and friends who have stepped up in many different ways to this command written about in James..."take care of orphans and widows in their need"...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Where Your Treasure Is

"Tell them to use their money to do good.  They should be rich in good works and should give generously to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them.  By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may take hold of real life. " 1 Timothy 6:18-19
Although they are not yet here, our Ethiopian children have been blessed by so many who have given generously and financially partnered with Chris and me in the quest of bringing them home.  Friends, family, neighbors, and strangers have bought over $400 worth of MS/Africa hand towels, donated money through our blog Paypal button, purchased cake pops (many many dozens and the orders keep coming in!), taken part in our coffee fundraiser and even sent those bags of coffee to family as gifts, signed up for sewing and cake pop classes, etc etc etc.  And again on this Christmas morning, we are blessed to receive yet another financial gift from a couple who made it in a very unique way.  They are storing up treasure for the future and bringing along their nieces and nephews as they do it!  In lieu of giving their nieces and nephews gifts this Christmas, they gave them an Adoption Flip Book with pictures and stories of our family.  They are donating the money that would have been spent on gifts directly into our adoption fund.  They told them that as they flip through the picture book, to pray for us and for our children who are thousands of miles away.

This couple is using their money to do good--they opened a future generation's heart to the plight of orphans.

This couple is rich in good works and is giving generously to those in need--those Ethiopian children need a momma and a daddy and a forever and ever home filled with security, love, and laughter.

This couple is ready to share with others what God has given them--God gave them a job and a paycheck to go along with it, and they are sharing the financial burden with us of the costly process of adoption.

This couple is not just storing up treasure under a Christmas tree, but they are also storing up treasure in Heaven and taking hold of real life--those Ethiopian children are real, and have names, and have faces, and have hearts that are hurting from whatever loss or tragedy that has made them become "adoptable".

Real life is messy and hard and it hurts and is often filled with suffering, but this life we live in America is a blessed one indeed!  We celebrate Jesus' birthday today as we bestow gifts on our loved ones and often times in scandalous excess, we celebrate today in homes that probably do not leak as the rain pours down and do not topple over as the winds rage outside, we celebrate today with tables filled with Christmas feasts of plenty and do not worry that we won't have enough food at that table to fill our children's tummies, and we celebrate with freedom today a King that was born to give us a way to become blameless and faultless in His Father's sight.

I pray that you find yourself this morning examining where you are storing up your treasure.  I am not praising this couple for their good deed, or exalting them above anyone else who has shared with us by means of money or prayers or time, nor am I trying to make anyone feel bad about giving gifts to their family.  But I am challenging you to be rich in good works and to give generously to those around you in need, and I am praising my God who is working in this couple's life through the power of His Word and who is working in the lives of those three little hearts that this couple touched with their unique gift. Their nieces and nephews will start at a young age praying for the needs of abandoned orphans, and who knows what eternal impact they will make as they get older having been given a good foundation for the future so they make take hold of real life!  I pray that you take hold of real life today because of the life of that sweet Baby born in Bethlehem!

photo credit: dolanh via photopin cc

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Birthday Wish...

Thirty four years ago today, a couple from a small town in south Mississippi were blessed with a bundle of joy weighing in at a whopping 8 and half pounds whom they named Bridgett Lynn. I was my momma's first child by birth but second child from her heart. You see she had "adopted" my older brother as her very own and loved him dearly.  He tragically passed away at the young age of 17 from an irresponsible man driving under the influence of alcohol. Adopting those as they were your own who are not from your own blood has been running in my family ever since I can remember, and an open house was the standing rule as we welcomed many people of all ages and backgrounds who needed a meal, a hug, a place to stay or just a listening ear.

As we look forward to and greatly anticipate opening our home to a couple (or few!) little ones who were not born from my body but who were born from our hearts, I cannot help but see them in almost ALL of the everyday circumstances that happen.
--For instance, as I was at the hospital yesterday to celebrate the long-awaited arrival of one of my dearest friend's newborn baby boy, I thought to myself "Did anybody rejoice when they were born?  Did anyone's eyes fill with tears at the joy and preciousness of life created by our Father God? Did anybody gently hold them close and thank God for the mighty purpose for which He had created them?"
--When Chris or I kiss a bobo or pick up a whimpering, wounded little girl, I think to myself "When was the last time someone kissed their bobo? Is there anybody there who is quick to scoop them up into their arms and tell them it will be alright?"
--When we took the girls out last week for a Krispy Kreme date, I thought to myself "The only food treat they probably get is a meal that contains a small bit of meat...and that probably only happens a couple of times a month."
--When we go out to eat, which isn't that often, I get sick and lose my appetite thinking that the amount of money we just paid for a meal that will exit our bodies within 24 hours could literally feed a child for nearly an entire month in Ethiopia.
--When I take the girls over to our friend's house for a playdate, I think to myself "When was the last time they left the grounds of the orphanage? Or if they still live with their family, have they ever happily played with friends on a fun swing set out in a big backyard?"
--When I see the girls playing together so sweetly and taking up for each other from a mean kid on the playground, I think to myself "Man I can't wait for these two to love on their new siblings and show them what it means to be part of a forever family."
--When I met an Eritrean woman (Eritrea is Ethiopia's northern neighboring country) the other day whose family fled the civil war that happened years ago in that area, I think to myself "Did that conflict affect my children's birth family? Did their parents and grandparents suffer any harm from the violence?"
--When Chris hugs me in front of Evienne and Elianna, I think "Have they ever seen parents who show affection to each other and strive to give their children an example of a marriage that is worthy to one day have themselves?"
--When we get ready to put the girls to bed each evening, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT I think "Did someone brush their teeth, dress them in pajamas, read them a story, pray with them, dole out multiple "this is the last" hugs and kisses, tuck them snug as a bug in a rug with clean sheets and a soft quilt?"
--When I think about the celebration of one's day of birth, such as mine today, I can't help but grieve over all these thoughts of their "have not's". This year my birthday wish is to celebrate it with my future children piled up in my lap and wrapped in my arms as I hold them tightly and whisper in their little ears that not another year will go by that their own birthday is not celebrated with great and exuberant jubilee, that not another year will go by that there is nobody to smother them with bedtime kisses and tuck them tightly into a warm and soft bed, that not another year will go by that they don't have the chance to see parents who love one another and love them no matter what they look like or how they behave, that they will have to live in fear of the safety of their loved ones, that they will not know the feeling of belonging to a forever family, that they will not have friends who play with them and love them, that their tiny bellies will sting with hunger pains, that they will not experience fun little treats such as a mommy-daughter or daddy-son donut date, that they will not have a parent who kisses their bobos and lovingly places a bandaid over them, that not another year will go by that their little lives will not be poured into and over by someone who believes that they were fearfully and wonderfully created with an eternal purpose and significance.
Yes, this is my birthday wish!  Anybody got a buttercream icing-covered cake topped with 34 candles that I can blow out?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Let's Get This Party Started

Lifeline called yesterday afternoon to say that everything on our application looked great and that we should hear from a social worker in the next 3-5 business days.  I guess this means that we are approved?  If so, then WooHoo!  Let's "officially" get this party started!

I believe that the next step is to get our homestudy done pay the first agency fee which has part of the home study fee interspersed into it, and that will cost about $1500 $2916.67.  God has already started to provide for this through our own money being set aside and also through the sales of Applique towels and Christmas outfits from my side gig, Sister Sister.
$19 each or $35 for a pair of towels
(can be customized to your state and hometown)
$45 (you choose gift box, ornament or one letter)
THANK YOU to those friends who have made purchases!  THANK YOU for telling your friends about the towels and outfits and our blog! We still have $224 left in the Expansion account after paying the application fee of $250!  Of course, I'm a little scared and apprehensive about the upcoming $1500 $2916.67's not like I have an extra thousand or so dollars lying around waiting to be used.  A few years ago that would have been a drop in the bucket for us, but that is definitely not the case today.  But I do trust that my God will provide every step of the way in this process.  I do trust that in His time He will provide for every single fee whether it is through the money we save up (and goodness knows I can squeeze a quarter out of dime!), generous friends and family giving of their financial resources (some have already pledged to do this!), anonymous givers who have a big heart for orphans, or through the fundraisers we will be doing (by the way, if you are good at organizing that kind of thing, please raise your hand).

One of the on-going fundraisers we have is from Just Love Coffee, and Chris and I definitely love us some good coffee!  I would dare say that I have become a bit of a coffee snob since January.  That's when I started drinking it black...yep, cold turkey cut out the sugar and cream (mm hmm, I loved cream in my coffee...the pure, fattening, good know flavor comes from fat, right? And I'm all about flavor).  This company has an amazing heart for helping orphans.  Watch this vimeo to see what I'm talking about and then go check out our STOREFRONT on their website.  Click on the *Shop and Support* button and buy a bag (or three)!  We just bought a couple of bags of the whole bean Ethiopian Yirgacheffe.  Can't wait to grind it up, brew a pot, and sit outside on the front porch swing with my hubby and coffee in hand for one of our "Porch Dates"!  If you are not a coffee addict like we are, please pass the link along to your coffee-loving friends!  Just Love Coffee sends $5 to us for EACH bag sold!!  Isn't that awesome?!

Ok, so here's the vimeo.  

Just Love Coffee Roasters-Mission-Fast Load from Just Love Coffee Roasters on Vimeo.

Friday, November 30, 2012

First Things First

It only took me a week to finish the adoption agency application.  HA!  Hopefully I can be a little more efficient and quick with the rest of the mountain of papers we will have to climb before being able to bring our children home.  

Evienne is such the should see all the random pictures she has taken with my phone.  How in the world she figured out the two exact buttons to press in order to take a picture of the iPhone screen, but there are probably a hundred pictures of some princess game or color sheet that she has taken while she had "phone time".  Haha!  "Phone time" is a totally other story.  I always swore I would NEVER be one of those parents who lets their kids play with their phone.  Well, ya know the saying...never say never.  I believe that we all have at least a few of those parenting moments where we fall into that never say never category.

So anyways, we thought we would get her to snap a photo with my phone of Chris and me putting our agency application in the mailbox. Funny looking mailbox, eh? I wonder if the postman for our historic neighborhood loves having to walk so much while delivering mail to each and every front porch?! There are no mailboxes on the sides of the street like most places. Just one more thing that makes our super cool neighborhood unique. (We love living downtown!)  
I wonder how long they will take to approve our application?  Hopefully they will approve us!  We are pretty normal.  Although if you asked some family or friends, they might describe us on the weird end of the spectrum.  But I think we're just weird enough to be totally and absolutely cool.  Just my humble opinion. 
Enclosed in that big envelope is our statement of faith, application, and a check for $250 along with our hopes and long-time dreams of being the hands and feet of Jesus to a couple (or few!) children who will become orphans-no-more within the next year or two!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Here We Go!

Some children grow inside of a belly
Some children grow from deep within a heart.
We are SO VERY excited to tell you
About an adoption process that will soon start!

Our kitchen table right now has only four chairs,
But in the near future we will add another pair
For a couple of precious children who will join us there!

God called us to adopt about eight years ago,
But we kept putting it off and saying it was a no-go.
He has made Himself clear that we should no longer tarry.
So we're bringing home children who our hearts are going to carry.

Want to know how you can help us?  We most certainly need all the help we can get! Check out the "How To Help" page up there ^^^ and be sure to keep up with what's going on by entering your email address and following us over there >>> 
Words of Affirmation is my love language, so show me some love by leaving a comment below. 
Song_1_Title Song_2_Title