Can We Do This????

So, it’s here……….the day singles dread and the Pinterest-practicing moms look forward to.  The day we gorge ourselves on chocolate, decorate, dress and accessories in pink or red and spend an outrageous amount of money on flowers that will be dead in a week.  Yep, it’s Valentine’s Day! 

I will warn you in advance, this post will not have any depth, life lessons or philosophical content whatsoever!

The Best Laid Plans……….

I would be in the “Pinterest-practicing” mom category, ESPECIALLY on holidays, birthdays, or any day, really that you could find a greeting card for!  And, today was no different.  My kids awoke to cards, colorful plateware(I’m POSITIVE there’s a better word for that, but my brain just can’t seem to get there at this moment), strawberry milk in “fancy” glasses (see, the pink theme there?) and red, sparkly pancakes in the shapes of hearts and X’s and O’s.  I woke up super early to ensure plenty of time to make this morning extra special………but, sometimes, even our best planning is foiled by……………..well, today, it was kind of everything!

From dropping a red-pancake-batter-covered-ladle on the floor(which of course splattered that red pancake batter everywhere),not being able to find the “right” pink leggings that match the outfit (that girl of mine), heart-shaped bacon that refused to stay in a heart shape, that same little girl falling on the ice on the way to the car and, many, many more details that appeared to “foil” my plans for this morning………I had to choose……….be irritated……or laugh at the ironic hilarity of it all.  So, I laughed. Of course, I waited until the offspring were off to school before I did, but, I still laughed. 

After I laughed, I seriously doubted my ability as a parent.  Can we seriously do this whole, adding a third child thing?  I mean, for crying out loud, we only have two children now.  TWO!!  I have friends who have 5, 6, 7 kids and seem to have it together WAY better than I do!! 

However, I can think of nothing I’ve wanted more than to have more children to make red pancakes for, study spelling words with, kiss boo-boos when they fall on the ice and, yes, even console during a “bad-mood-morning-meltdown”!  So, in the words of Bob the Builder, “can we build do this?  YES WE CAN!!” 

So, here’s to you, moms!  I raise my “fancy”, strawberry milk-filled glass to you in a toast, not to Valentine’s Day, but, to motherhood!  May the kisses be slobbery, the meltdowns be few, and may you enjoy every single moment of sweetness AND chaos, for all too soon, they will be creating those sweet and chaotic moments in a dorm room, apartment, or a home of their own and, we will regret wishing away these precious days!

Now, I’m about to indulge in my Valentine’s Day gift to myself………. a nap!

A Place To Belong

Almost two weeks ago, I got a call from my Mom that my Granny was not doing well and that the doctor had said to call in the family to spend her last moments on this earth with her.  So, a suitcase was packed, a road trip was taken and, I arrived at the hospital with my Mom to find Granny weak, lethargic and just not doing well. 

There were quite a few family members already at the hospital when we arrived and, within just a couple of days, many more trickled in, having had a great distance to travel to get there.  And, I have to admit, when we stepped off the elevator upon our arrival and were immediately greeted by all this family, my heart skipped a little giddy beat!  I quickly erased my over-enthusiastic smile because, after all, we were not gathering for a happy occasion, but rather, a somber one. 

See, for the majority of my childhood, we lived a fair distance from our extended families and, typically only got to see them once or twice a year.  I grew up envious of friends who had grandparents picking them up after school, or cousins to play with on the weekends.  Baking cookies with grandmas, fishing with grandpas, sleepovers with aunts and uncles were all experiences I craved…………..but, why?  I believe it was the longings of that young girl that created such a special place in my heart for all things family-related. (no pun intended)

Back To The Hospital……

As all 7 of the siblings gathered at the hospital, we thought it a great opportunity to capture the moments………yes, of course, on our phones!  And, THIS happened:

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Now, the quality is horrible, and I have NO idea what I was doing with that flash, but, THIS snapshot certainly captures the silliness that is my family!  And, I wouldn’t have it any other way!  But, to be fair, they can act rather dignified when absolutely necessary:

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See?!  I told you!  And, one more of just the siblings:

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As we sat in the hospital room, waiting room and, just in the hospital in general, I was taken back years ago, when, as a little girl, I so loved and cherished time with these very people.  As the weekend wore on, I believe I began to understand exactly why.  When I see the humor and hilarity that constantly comes from my uncles, I see me.  When I see my Granny’s smile, which is the same as my mother’s, I see me.  When I listen to my soft-spoken aunt, I see………..oh, who am I kidding, that’s CERTAINLY not me! But, what IS me, is this.  This place where I belong.  Here in this place, I’m more than a pastor’s wife or a 32-year old woman from rural America. I am a daughter, a niece, a granddaughter and, I’m loved, accepted and cherished, right here, in this place where I belong.

As comforting as this thought is, it also created a slight panic within me that our sweet little Haitian baby may never know this feeling.  Our baby won’t have my mother’s eyes, or my father’s nose.  It won’t inherit my husband’s beautiful Indian complexion, or even my knock knees! (we can praise Jesus for that one)

I literally took a mental “pause” in the midst of all this wonderful time of reuniting with my family………….and, as I did, Jesus so graciously pointed out to me my sweet little cousins, niece and nephew, who have been adopted, yet absolutely belong.  Although you truly could look at them and think they share the same DNA, there is not a thread of genetic material that connects them to our family. 

It is not the blood that courses through my veins, the physical traits I bear, nor the DNA that is unique to me that creates a place of belonging in my family, but rather, the name I have been given! I am not so naive as to think that this alone will solve any future frustrations our sweet little one may experience, however, it gives me great hope that they too will understand what it feels like to have a place of belonging. But, this joyous realization excites me on a whole new level!

This understanding to me, clearly mirrors what Christ did when He adopted us into His family, giving us full access to an eternal, as well as, immediate inheritance!  You may not be proud of your last name here on earth- maybe it represents shame, hurt, or abuse to you.  Possibly worse.  Maybe you have even legally changed your name to escape the heritage that has been passed down to you.  I want you to know, Jesus can give you a NEW name!!  It was with His very life that He extended that invitation for you to take on His name!  He calls you chosen one, daughter or son of The Most High, beloved, wanted.  It is in Him that we can find a place to belong, regardless of our DNA or earthly family!  If you don’t know Him already, I’d LOVE to introduce you!

Jesus Loves The Orphan

Merriam-Webster has several definitions for the word, “orphan”, but, this one stood out to me:  “one deprived of some protection or advantage”.  Not all orphans are without parents, some are simply people who have not known love.  Our baby may be orphaned by choice, or by chance, but it will not be by coincidence that they find a home with us.  I believe God is strategically and intentionally placing a child in our home that He predestined to be there, before they were born or even conceived.  A child that will be loved and given our name.  A child that will find a place to belong.

Below is a video to a song that is new to me, but wrecked me completely and also reaffirmed my decision to say, “Here am I, Lord.  Send me.”

It’s Now Or Never

Just now, I walked toward my computer, knowing fully that it is time.  Time for what?  Time to update you all on our adoption process?  Time to throw some letters, punctuation, words, some semblance of a post up on the blog? 

No.  It’s time to do some of that, but, it’s time to share what God has been burning in my heart over the past couple of weeks.

I am completely aware that it has been WELL over a month since I’ve posted.  Completely.  But, to be honest, I’ve been avoiding sharing.  You know in the beginning, when I stated confidently that I would bring you along on this journey with us, sharing the good, the bad and the ugly?  Well, I’ve been withholding from you. (gasp!)  No, we’re not breaking up ;-) 

Let me start with this- our latest news is that our home study is complete!  (cheers going up everywhere)  We are now in the “paper chase” phase of completing our dossier.  This means that there is ANOTHER list of items, documents and such that have to be collected, notarized and, some, have to also be certified and authenticated.  Once this is all done and we have a complete and approved dossier, we will then submit that to the government of Haiti. 

Okaaaayyyyyy??????

Now, after reading that, you may wonder what I’ve been withholding.  At least just a little curious?  Well, here we go.  I am one of “those” moms that doesn’t do whining.  I just dislike it. Seriously. Detest it.  When my kids were very little and started going through that whining “stage” (they just do), I would simply tell them, “I can’t understand you, you’ll have to speak clearly”.  And, eventually, after they realized I wasn’t going there, they stopped.  For the most part. (we still have an occasional whiny moment) 

The past month and a half, practically every update, e-mail or correspondence we have gotten from our adoption agency or coordinator has contained some type of setback, bad news or disappointment.  Such as: the Haiti government has now decided to put a limit on the number of children per year that they are allowing to be adopted, the Haiti government is now telling all adoptive parents to expect the process to start taking much longer, there is yet another fee you will have to pay for your dossier that wasn’t expected, etc, etc, etc. 

Going into this, we knew there would be these types of messages and, lots of them.  But, in these recent moments, I’ve found myself inwardly being pretty whiny.  Oh, the horror!!  Thus, the silence on my blog.  Ain’t nobody got time for that! 

However, it was also in these moments that God began to speak to my heart and remind me how adoption truly does mirror redemption.  You see, God’s redemption of our very souls and lives was not simply an immediate exchange.  So often we see the redemption process as a simple statement- Jesus was born, lived and died so that we might be saved.  It was truly SO much more!!  There was a battle going on, that Jesus LIVED.  The battle to live a sinless life, the battle to be true to His heavenly father, all the while being human.  And, most importantly, the battle on the cross.  Jesus FOUGHT for you.  He CLAWED, SCRATCHED and GRAPPLED his way through the pain, spiritual darkness and loneliness to redeem US!  It was a fight to the finish, but He never gave up, never stopped and didn’t allow His spiritual, physical or emotional fatigue to keep Him from that redemption “finish line”, if you will. 

This is the reminder I needed.  We are committed to this adoption.  Regardless of setbacks, delays and disappointments, God has called us to fight for this sweet Haiti baby.  Our child.  His child.  Redemption is hard.  Redemption is exhausting.  Redemption costs something.  We have answered the call of God to redeem this precious life from Haiti.  Now, we dig in our heels, holding on to the hand of Jesus, as we prepare for the fight. 

This quote from a book I’m reading sums it up- “We won’t come alive, in the truest and fullest sense, until we die to self.  And we won’t find ourselves until we lose ourselves in the cause of Christ.  It’s time to ante up.  It’s time to go all in.  If Jesus is not Lord of all, then Jesus is not Lord at all.  It’s all or nothing.  It’s now or never.”

We need YOU!

So, here we are, preparing our dossier, praying and believing for God to move “mountains” in the form of procedure, government and time and we need you.  Yes, we need YOU!  Please, won’t you pray with us?  For us? And, for our baby?  In order to submit our dossier, which is the next step, we need to have raised approximately $8,000 for translation fees, government fees, agency fees, etc.  We recently sent out a fundraising letter to some friends and family and, I’m simply going to share that letter at the end of this post.  If you would like to receive a letter and did not, just comment and I’ll get one in the mail to you……today!  If God moves on your heart to financially be a part of our journey, again, simply comment and, it will remain private, but I can then communicate to you how to do that!

Fundraising Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

For most of our marriage, Stephanie and I have wrestled with determining what exactly God was doing within our hearts regarding our passion for missions.  We’ve always had an incredible burden to be a part of missions work, whether it be through giving, missions trips, or financially and prayerfully supporting the missionaries we personally know.  

God also began to place an intense desire in the heart of our family for more children.  This has continued to grow and develop even deeper in the hearts of our children, Parker and Chloe in the last couple of years.  

About three months ago, our passion and desire came together as God clearly spoke to our hearts, separately and collectively that He is calling us to adoption.  However, every day that we “walk” this adoption “road”, we are realizing that this decision truly is not at all about making us parents again, or even giving Parker and Chloe a younger sibling, but rather about stepping away from the ordinary and comfortable and opening our hearts, hands and abundance to a child who needs to know the love of a family, as well as the love of our Savior.

As we researched and prayed, we felt God leading us to international adoption; to rescue an orphan and make them our own, just as God so generously did for us when He grafted us into His very family.  We are currently in the process of adopting a baby(gender unspecified), under the age of 24 months, from Haiti through America World Adoption Agency.  The adoption process will take approximately 18 months and every step of the way is literally a step of faith.  

Our greatest need is financial, as our adoption will cost in excess of $30,000-$35,000.  Our adoption expenses include everything from document preparation and translation, agency fees, travel expenses, government fees, to medical and orphanage fees.

So far, we have done fundraising in the form of a pancake feed, delivering phone books door-to-door, selling hand-made bracelets and homemade tamales. We are also greatly depending on God to move on the hearts of those with a burden for orphans to make this adoption a reality.  Therefore, we would like to extend an invitation to you and your family to joyfully partner with us financially to help bring home our baby from Haiti.  While not everyone is called to adopt a child, we believe (and hope!) many will join us on this journey to rescue an orphan and make an eternal impact on this child’s life.

Thank you from, truly, the depth of our hearts!
Steve, Stephanie, Parker and Chloe Todd

A Whirlwind Christmas

December the 18th! WHAT?!  How in the world is it already ONE WEEK from Christmas?!  Surely I’m not the only one that has been caught off-guard by the way the days have just flown by!  I could swear yesterday it was only the beginning of December!

Along with this revelation has also come the realization of just how incredibly neglected my poor blog has been!  It truly has been a whirlwind of a Christmas season for us!  I will do my best to get you “caught up to speed”!

Our family has been very busy with gymnastics recitals, school programs, and the usual holiday activities.  I directed our children’s Christmas program for our church, and the kids did INCREDIBLE!  This is a picture of my own two “shepherds” who nailed their lines and worked the choreography like none other!

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Two days after our church Christmas program, I had a minor outpatient surgery to explore, treat and diagnose some complications I am having as a result of endometriosis.  We also said good-bye to some sweet friends of ours who have recently(as in, within the past week) moved to another state……….lots of tears!  We are now bustling about finishing up Christmas decorations, making goodies and treats for teachers, friends and neighbors, wrapping Christmas presents and, trying desperately to keep our focus on Christ in the midst of it all, which is the TRUE reason we celebrate! 

Last night as I was praying with the kids before bed, I challenged them to be as creative as they can to find multiple ways of blessing others for this week especially.  They can’t buy gifts, but rather, they have to use their words to encourage, or their actions to serve!  I’m excited to see what they come up with!

Adoption Status

I REALLY wanted to buy a stocking to represent our Haiti little one, but, not knowing gender, etc., I decided to wait until next year instead.  I am praying and believing that we will be holding our little one in our arms next year for Christmas!

You may ask where we are in the process now………I planned on telling you anyway, but, I’m so glad you asked! ;-)  Right now, I describe this stage as the beginning of the second trimester! (those of you that have been pregnant will understand this analogy)  I remember the beginning of the second trimester with my pregnancies.  We had gotten past the excitement of announcing our pregnancy and, although my morning sickness still made me VERY aware that I was still very much pregnant, I couldn’t yet feel my baby move and, I wasn’t showing so, it was kind of the least exciting phase of pregnancy, for me, anyway. 

This phase of the adoption feels similar, but for different reasons.  We have obviously gotten past the initial excitement of announcing our adoption plans, but, don’t have a face, gender or name to put with our child……….or even a date, for that matter!  It feels slightly as if the documentation, paper-chasing, research and training overtakes you and it’s easy to lose sight of the end goal!  HOWEVER, we have two items, TWO to cross off our Home Study list and we will have it completed!!!!!  And, one of those items is our in-home interview, which is scheduled for the first week in January and will be the LAST item to be completed!!  Many of the documents we have had to gather and produce for our Home Study are also necessary for our dossier so, we have a pretty big start on that as well!  (seriously, I’m inspiring and rejuvenating myself just as I’m typing this………oh yeah, I’m dancin’………shakin’ my groove thang!)

NEXT HURDLE

This immediately brings me to the final update…..which is a request to you.  In order for us to submit our dossier to the Haitian government, we will also need to include $5,000 with it.  This pays for translating fees, transportation, etc.  We are asking you to agree with us in prayer that there will be NO delay in this process due to a lack of funds.  A recent law change in Haiti requires adoptive parents to stay for a minimum of two weeks for their first visit to meet their child, which certainly adds to the overall expense.  Although the $30,000-$35,000 cost of this adoption is ginormous to us, we KNOW that, in God’s eyes, it is pennies!  He is our source and we know He will provide! 

If you are interested in purchasing some of our Haiti bracelets, or simply want to give a donation to help us “care for the orphan” by bringing them into our family, simply comment at the end of this post and I will connect with you!  Thank you for your prayers in advance!  I want to leave you with this…………James 1:27, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”

God may not be calling you to adopt as your part in “caring for orphans”, but, He is calling you to do SOMETHING.  What will you do to be obedient to His call?

 

Falling In Trust….

A couple of days ago (could be a week or more……my days are running together), I was brainstorming and praying about what our next fundraiser should be.  T-shirt sales, golf tournament, bake sale, garage sale, kidney sale(just kidding……kind of), etc.  As I was praying and thinking, God very clearly spoke to my heart and simply said, “for right now, you have fundraisers bringing in money, but at some point, the fundraisers will come to a stop and you will have to rely ONLY on Me and, (here’s the key part) trust Me.”

Now, most of us would typically pipe up with our confidences in our Lord and the insurmountable trust we have for Him.  And, while I would be quick to do the same, SAYING it and LIVING it are two very different perspectives!  I believe that trust is not just a place you reach in a relationship, but rather, it’s an ongoing choice.  Just as I trust my husband every. single. day, fully aware of the temptations and distractions this world so eagerly presents to him, I have to choose to trust my Lord every. single. day.

I trust Him as I kiss my kids good-bye and they leave for school every morning.  I trust Him when there seems to be more “month” than money.  I trust Him when I’m in the middle of a crisis and, although I can’t see His hand intervening, His presence is real.  I choose to trust.  Why?  Because He’s trustworthy.  I dare you to prove it!

I’m not only falling in love with God every day, but, even more importantly, I’m falling in trust……

Moving right along………..

This past week we had some prayers answered……….probably seemingly small to some people, but, for us, it equals just one more step forward! 

We do not have “traditional” health insurance, but are, instead, part of a Christian medical share program.  It has provided us with a health insurance of sorts our entire marriage and, is MUCH more affordable than typical insurance.  However, in visiting with our social worker, she was concerned, because her previous experience with these types of programs will cover adoptive children EXCEPT children who have been internationally adopted.  We were pretty concerned about this, as, we were seriously praying we wouldn’t have to put our little one on the Affordable Health Care program.  We finally got a call and, our “insurance” will cover our Haiti little one!  YAY!!!!  I’ve never gotten so excited about healthcare in my life! 

Also, like I have mentioned before, every country is different and has different requirements.  The government of Haiti requires all adoptive parents to have a psychological evaluation done.  This has to be done by a licensed psychiatrist or licensed psychologist…………which, are apparently hard to find in rural Kansas! We found a couple of different qualifying individuals only to be told that they “don’t do those”.  The only person we could find was about an hour and a half away(we’re used to driving to EVERYTHING out here so, that’s not uncommon), but couldn’t get us in until the end of January. Bummed.  So, we had one more lead of someone HERE, in town and, she fits the bill!!! She can do our evaluation, we won’t have to travel AND, she can get us in pretty soon!! Dancing!!!

So, we’re continuing to make progress!  Out of 28 items we have to cross off to have our Home Study complete, we only have 9 more things to get done! 

SOMETHING TANGIBLE

 

So, THIS little item……….

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just happened to jump into my shopping cart today at the store! (insert innocent and completely shocked face)  I’ve been just DYING to buy something for the baby and, this was the most gender-neutral, age-neutral item I could find!  EEK!!  This process will be long.  The wait, I’m sure, will seem unending.  It will be silly little tangible things, like this sweet little hooded bath towel that are going to remind me that this is REALLY happening!! 

The Latest News!

We are DONE delivering phone books!!!!  Can I get a witness?!  Wow! So very thankful for the opportunity, but SO very thankful it’s over! ;-)  Here are just a few pictures of our phone book adventures!

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The back of our vehicle all loaded up, ready to distribute! (we could usually fit roughly 325 per batch in our vehicle)

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My sweet girl, doing her best to keep phone books in, and refilling Dad and brother’s bags when they would come back for more!

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I couldn’t get a good one of my little guy FACING the camera, but, he sure worked hard helping! So proud of him!

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And, finally, this was me and my sweetie on our LAST day of delivering phone books!  He took his lunch break to help me finish quicker!  What a man! :-)

SO, NOW WHAT?

Well, we raised about $1700 delivering phone books, $4525 with our pancake feed and, are on to the next fundraiser!  I’m currently selling bracelets that were actually made in Haiti, from recycled items!  These bracelets are BEAUTIFUL and, they help support the children of Haiti, all the while, helping us fund our adoption!  So far, I’ve sold the first shipment of 150 that I received and, already have several orders for the next shipment! 

Just take a gander at these beauties!

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HOME STUDY STUFF!!

My husband and I had our first meeting with our social worker just a few days ago and it went beautifully!  This may sound silly, but, considering the fact that she (our social worker) will be walking through this entire process with us, I was really hoping she wasn’t a mean, scary, wart-faced woman……….and, she isn’t! :-)  She is very warm, easy to talk to and very down-to-earth!  We learned a LOT, asked a LOT of questions (okay, so, maybe I’M the one who asked a lot of questions) and, received some helpful and motivating information to get moving even quicker with this process!  Yippee!  The one detail that surprised us a little is that, with Haiti, the process is a little different than the way other countries seem to work.  Although each country handles it’s adoptions a little differently, most of the time, once you have submitted your dossier and it has been translated, there’s a substantial wait before you receive your referral.  With Haiti, you typically receive your referral right away, and then have a rather long wait before you get to travel to actually meet your child.  I’m not sure how I feel about this yet- on one hand, the wait will be excruciating, but, on the other hand, I think it will be very exciting to have a face, gender and name to put with the longing and prayers that have consumed our hearts for so long!

I think that gets us all caught up on the latest news!  Thanks again for all your prayer, support and generosity!  Keep ‘em coming!

 

The Wait Affecting the Weight……….

A couple of weeks ago, as I indulged in a brownie provided for a meeting I was attending, I jokingly stated, “Don’t judge me, I’m eating for two!” 

That was a joke. What’s not a joke is the amount of stress and emotional eating I’ve done lately! I think perhaps the ONLY reason I can still fit in my pants(and zip them, thank you very much) is because of the temporary workout regimen I had adopted……….you know, the one delivering a gazillion phone books across the world! Ok………..maybe it was just within our city limits, but I can tell ya’, my puppies sure FELT like it was the world when all was said and done! They were a barkin’! 

Now, I realize the most obvious “correct” solution to this problem is for me to exercise that “self-control” fruit of the Spirit. And, I am. Sometimes. 

Seriously though, I canNOT, and I repeat, canNOT keep this up! My current body type is what I prefer to call “fluffy” and I certainly don’t need any more fluff! So, do me a favor. If you happen to see me out for a leisurely walk, please chase me with your car……….this is great for getting the heart rate up! If you happen to run into me at a restaurant, remind me to order something grilled or green, or at least not greasy!!!  And, finally, if (and when, ’cause let’s face it, people, it’s going to happen) you encounter me at a meeting, party or gathering of any type and I’m stuffing my face with a brownie, cookie or some other sweet treat, for the love of Pete(and my pants), slap my hand and tell me no!  

We are only a little over one month into this process and the wait is going to require a lot of patience! No need to add any extra weight during the wait! So, there you are………….my first challenge to you……….hold me accountable! And, I’ll do my best not to bite when you take away my chocolate! ;-)

Sitting With Him

I have come to the conclusion that I need a personal assistant……….No, really.  It’s utterly ridiculous!  Between my two part-time jobs, directing our children’s Christmas program and children’s ministries, fundraising, filling out adoption forms, making appointments, homework with kids, running my home, etc., my mind is seemingly constantly overwhelmed with details, dates and deadlines.  I honestly feel as though this adoption process has become my latest full-time job. 

This morning, amid setting up medical appointments necessary for our home study, filling out paperwork, sending faxes and, of course, handling fundraising details, my Bible kept calling to me…………well, Jesus really.  As much as my heart longed for a moment with Him, my mind kept racing with so much……..stuff.  And, the realization that today is the last day I have to deliver the remaining 500 something phone books. 

It was in this moment that I stumbled upon an excerpt from the devotional, “Jesus Calling”.  Not even the adult devotional, but rather, the kids version, as I was looking for Christmas gifts for my kids.  This is what it said, (and, very appropriate and timely):

“You are so very busy.  But I want you to stop for a minute.  Put down the game, hang up the phone, turn off the computer.  Spend some time with Me.

Even now your thoughts are racing ahead to today’s plans and problems.  But put those thoughts and worries aside.  Just think about Me and how much I love you.  I know exactly what is going to happen in your life today.  Don’t worry.  I will give you everything you need to face your day.”

I’m so thankful for God.  For His impeccable timing and that He is mine.  He reminded me of Mary and Martha in the Bible- in the book of Luke, to be exact.  The premises of that excerpt is that Jesus is a’ coming to visit!  Holy cow!  Can you imagine the preparation that would go into that kind of a visit?!!!  Well, while Martha was scurrying around working and preparing, Mary was simply sitting, doing nothing, but taking in……..taking in Jesus.  His words, His presence, the greatness of Him.  Martha began to whine to Jesus about Mary’s lack of help.  His words to her were this, “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed- or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I needed this.  Desperately.  I needed this gentle rebuke from my Lord.  You see, Jesus is comin’ to stay at my house.  Yes, I realize His presence is already here.  But, He’s coming to physically live with us…………in the form of the least of these.  While it is necessary for us to prepare our home, documents and raise funds, it is ESSENTIAL that we prepare our hearts for this precious gift God is choosing to entrust to us.  Therefore, I must sit with Him.  I WANT to sit with Him.  I choose to sit at His feet, taking in His words, His presence, the greatness of Him. 

So, if you happen to stop by my house, right now, at 10:30 AM, I am sitting make-upless, hair a mess, in my pajamas, because I’ve been spending time sitting with Him.  And, I couldn’t be happier, or more at peace. 

I want to end with the lyrics to an old song. A song my cousins and I were privileged to sing at my grandmother’s funeral- it was one of her favorites!  It reminds me of the nearness of my sweet Savior and how He genuinely longs to spend time with me.

“And, He walks with me and He talks with me

And tells me I am His own.  And the joy we share as we tarry there……….none other has ever known.”

Profitable Pancakes!

Wow, Wow, WOW!!!!!  We had an INCREDIBLE response last night for our pancake feed and silent auction!  We served approximately 250 people last night and had several that showed up simply to bid in the auction! 

I don’t know that I can ever really convey the gratitude we feel, not only for those that came to eat and bid in the silent auction, or donate items FOR the auction, but also, for the tremendous friends that were willing to give up their Friday night flipping pancakes, cooking sausage, etc.!  THANK YOU!! 

Here are just a few pictures highlighting our evening!

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What a great night!  We had cheesecakes that sold for $65, a Callaway driver (that’s a golf club for those of you that aren’t into golf) that sold for $320, a massage package that sold for $130 and, that’s just to name a few!

When all was said and done, between the pancake feed and, what was made with the silent auction, we raised a total of $4,525 in ONE night!!!!!!  Praise God!!  It is only because of Him that these pancakes were so profitable! 

I’m VERY excited about our next fundraiser, as it gives us the opportunity to bless some mommas in Haiti, as well as raise funds for our adoption!  So, stay tuned!