Sunday, May 30, 2010

Africa Shirt Auction!

Drum roll please... my mom and I have finished 5 Africa shirts that we're ready to auction off!

So here's the scoop on how this is going to work... below this post you will find 5 other posts of different Africa shirts. If you see a shirt in the color and size you like feel free to place a bid on it by posting your bid as a comment on that particular shirt post. By Wednesday evening (June 2nd), if we have bids on shirts, the person with the highest bid gets it. If there is a shirt that doesn't have any "takers", then I'll just leave it up until I can sell it. Make sense?! Anything we make over $15 on a shirt will get us one step closer to Ethiopia by going in our adoption savings!

The shirts are pretty true to size, so you should be good to go!

Thank you so much for your all's encouragement and positive feedback on even giving this whole thing a shot!

Navy Medium Africa Shirt

Gap Body shirt w/ quarter length sleeve
Size: Medium
Color: Navy
Africa: White w/ multi-colored paisley pattern
Minimum Bid $15

Pink Medium Africa Shirt

Gap Body shirt w/ quarter length sleeve
Size: Medium
Color: Pink
Africa: Lime green floral pattern
Minimum Bid $15

Turquoise Small Africa Shirt

Gap Body shirt w/ quarter length sleeve
Size: Small
Color: Turquoise
Africa: Multi-colored clover pattern
Minimum Bid $15

Yellow Medium Africa Shirt

Gap Body shirt w/ quarter length sleeve
Size: Medium
Color: Yellow
Africa: Blue w/ multi-colored paisley pattern
Minimum Bid $15

Yellow XS Africa Shirt

Gap Body shirt w/ quarter length sleeve
Size: Extra Small
Africa: Lime green floral pattern
Minimum bid $15

Monday, May 24, 2010

The top 3 questions we're guessing you're wanting to know...

Q: Why are you adopting?

A: To sum it up... we're adopting because we know God burdened our hearts to do so. I've had some people ask if we are adopting because I can't get pregnant, and that's not the reason at all! In fact I LOVE being pregnant and had a great pregnancy with Jude. We may in fact have more biological children down the road.... a LONG, LONG, road- but we're not ruling it out. We truly are pursuing adoption out of hearts that desperately want to be obedient to what we know God is calling us to do. It's as simple as that.

Q: Where are you in this process?

A: We have turned in our pre-application and gotten approval from our agency,
All God's Children International. Before turning in our official application with the agency our goal is to save between $6,000-$8,000 to help cover the initial upfront costs that we'll get hit with. Once we have that money in savings, we'll take the next step of faith and turn in the official application! Both Joshua and I feel like God is only revealing one step at a time in this process and so right now, what we know He's saying is to "save and trust". Between generous donations we've already received and paychecks we're expecting to come in next month we have about $2300 in savings so far.

Q: What are you and Joshua doing to save money?

A: We are not in a position to fork over a ton of money each month out of our current budget into savings because truthfully, well, teachers don't make a lot! (o; . So we've been praying that God would get creative and bring about jobs that we could do specifically for setting aside the income earned for our adoption savings. For me, I felt limited knowing that it would need to be something that didn't interfere with my #1 job of being a mamma to Jude. Here's how God has answered our prayers regarding me:
  • Every other Monday, from now through August, I'm working at church providing childcare for a couple kids. (This could potentially bring in a total of $168 depending on the attendance each week)
  • On Tuesdays and Thursdays I'm watching my sweet nephew Jake. It's called the Aunt "Hee" summer fun program! (This will be an additional $195 per month)
  • On Wednesdays and Fridays I have the opportunity to teach swim lessons to our neighbor's little girl.
  • I'm teaching another Lifeguard class this upcoming weekend at Baylor & will continue to teach classes as they need instructors. (Each class provides around $200 or so based on how long the class goes)
  • I've been able to dog-sit on several occasions for my neighbors sweet pup and am actually watching her again this weekend.
We also prayed the same for Joshua. Here's how God has answered:
  • He was accepted to be an AP Reader (a big honor) and will be grading exams in Colorado June 1-9 (this alone provides us with an extra $1600!)
  • He continues to mow three other lawns besides ours on the weekend bringing in an additional $280 per month.
  • There will also be opportunities this summer for him to administer tests for students who need to do make-up exams & he'll get paid for doing so.
We will continue to seek out opportunities to help fund this adoption. We also pray for wisdom that all the while we maintain a healthy balance for our family. We KNOW that God is our provider and we are hanging onto the truth that God ALWAYS funds his callings…and we should never let money stand in the way of pursuing the things God has called us to.

We also know that we are ALL called to care for “the orphan”…and while most will not choose to adopt, many will and can join the process and GIVE. We are humbled to be in a place where we are asking other's to join with us financially in bringing our child home! We have already been blown away by the generosity of so many! To each of you, you are already a part of this amazing story we'll one day tell our child of how God brought them home to us... Thank you!

Our hope is this helped answer some questions, and if you think of other questions, don't hesitate to ask! We want to be an open book through this whole process and we're grateful for any opportunity to share what God is doing in our lives!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Mom & Hil Project

As most of you know already, because of FB, my latest endeavor is to make up some Africa shirts with my mom and auction them off to help with our adoption savings. I'd just like to say here real quick that my mom rocks! I know I bragged on my sister in the last post, but I've gotta say... my mom is right up there with my sis as one of my favorite ladies in the world! She is by far the most selfless, kind, patient, giving, & supportive mom I know! I could go on here about how much I love her, but I might start getting teary. Sniff, sniff, okay... so all that to say, she's super talented too when it comes to sewing and she's offered to help me make these shirts. Because, well... I'm not so super talented when it comes to sewing! (o;

I have 5 shirts in different sizes/colors and some cute fabric picked out already. My hope is to get these whipped up this upcoming week and post them here on the blog when they're done. If you see one you like, you can make a bid on it. I'll leave the bidding open for 48 hours for each shirt and whoever has the highest bid at the end gets it! Make sense? If this works and ya'll actually like the idea, then maybe we'll just keep making 'em and auctioning them off! (o: Figured it was worth a shot! I'll keep you posted when we get the shirts made up!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Awesome Family = Free Stamps! (o;

More than likely, if you know me... you know my sister, Phoebe. We're pretty much connected at the hip, especially since moving here to TX after years of living far apart. She's typically the first one I call with exciting news, a desperate plea for parenting advice, and prayer requests. I respect her opinion, I admire her heart for God, and I'm thankful that I can call her my best friend!

If you know Phoebe, than you more than likely know Scott, her husband. And if you know anything about them as a couple, then I'm sure you'd agree that between the two of them, their gift of generosity and hospitality is amazing!

So, it should come as no surprise when I say that it was them who provided the postage for our Helms Happenings newsletters, that would have otherwise cost us close to $60!

Here we were asking God how we were suppose to "share" what He was doing in our lives, when we didn't have the extra money sitting around to cover the cost of printing and mailing... He orchestrated every dollar to where we were able to send our letters out without having to spend a cent of our own money !

Remind me of this when I freak out down the road not knowing how all the details are going to pan out! (o;

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The UPS guy.... a good guy! (o;

Yep, I got another story of an answered prayer!

Quick Re-Cap for ya'll:

So, Joshua and I had made the decision to go ahead and come up with a letter to send out to "share" what God was doing in our lives. While that is all well and good... truth is- it costs money to print out newsletters and postage!

Our printer at home is out of ink, and has been for months now- it's kinda at the bottom of the priority list and crazy expensive to replace! So, we had two options: #1. Print the newsletters at home, requiring us to buy at least one ink cartridge (around $80). Or #2. Go get them printed elsewhere. I started looking around at the cost of a one-sided color copy and was amazed at how stinking expensive it is! Sorry if you work at Office Depot... but I'm not paying up to .80 cents per copy when we have 130 letters to send out! That's crazy! As a last ditch effort, as anyone would, I made my status on Facebook: "Anyone have any ideas where to get cheap color copies made?". (o: Well, sure enough, my neighbor across the street (Kari) suggested the UPS store down the road that her husband goes to all the time. She then gave me a call and said that the owner of the store is this great Christian guy who has been so generous in the past and that Jeff (her husband) would be willing to talk to the owner and see if he could cut us a deal. I was humbled & grateful that our neighbors would be willing to ask a favor on our behalf! Sure enough, Jeff gives us a call back a little later and has already talked to the owner, Rick, who said he'd do it for .25 a copy! Woohoo! $32 sounded a lot nicer then $100!!! And let's not forget that just the week before, good ole' Tyler (from my lifeguard class), had given us a check that easily covered that amount!

When Joshua went to the UPS store to pick up the letters, Rick's wife, Lori, was there . She said she hoped we didn't mind, but she read our update and they loved what we were doing! Of course we didn't mind! They were excited for us and so encouraging! She let Joshua know that they would be praying for us and continue to follow our story! They had even made extra copies of our letter for us! Joshua called me after leaving the store truly in awe of what an encouragement this couple had been through their kindness towards us!

Later that day, we went to our blog (that we hadn't announced yet) to continue setting it up and adding widgets, and all the fun stuff, when I noticed we had a "follower"! Joshua and I looked at each other, wondering who the heck was following us already. It was.... Rick, the UPS guy! Our very first blog follower! It made me cry! Again, we're amazed at who God is using in this process! Thanks Rick and Lori! We'll be seeing much more of you as we become pregnant with paper work that needs to be mailed off all the time! We look forward to getting to know you better!


PS... I'll let you know the story of the postage next time!

Monday, May 17, 2010

In the details

I know I said this in my last post, but God's name is written in all the tiny details of this story already! I want to share another "detail" that God worked in a couple weekends ago when I was teaching a lifeguard class. You see, the class itself was an answer to prayer, because it just so happens that they needed me to help teach right around the time when Joshua and I were thinking, "How the heck is Hilary going to be able to bring in extra money as a stay at home mom?!". So we were thrilled to have a job present itself that I love to do & I could do on the weekends when Joshua was home with Jude!

This lifeguard certification class had about 30 students in it, and there were 3 instructors, so we just split them into groups of 10 to make it easier to teach. I quickly introduced myself to my group of kids, let them know my background in aquatics, that I had worked at a high adventure youth camp before moving to TX, and then I jumped right into teaching water rescues. Throughout the class one of my students, Tyler, started asking me questions about the camp I had worked at and after talking to him for a bit I found out that he'll be working at Sky Ranch this summer as their head lifeguard. This of course made my heart happy because I could talk all day about these two loves of mine, aquatics and camp! In passing, he asked if I taught these classes full time, to which I told him, "Nope- just picking up classes when I can to help bring in some extra money for an international adoption that my husband and I are trying to pursue." He was encouraging and said he thought the whole idea of adoption was cool. But truthfully that was about the extent of our conversation because the class was still going on and he needed to jump back in line. Well...

The next morning when all the students were arriving and coming into the classroom, Tyler came up to me and handed me an envelope with my name on the outside. I can't even remember if he said anything when he handed it to me, I just know I was curious as to what it was. But with class about to start and fearing I'd look too eager if I opened it right away I went ahead and tucked it away in my purse. At lunch break, with curiosity getting the best of me, I finally had the chance to open it. Have you ever just had one of those moments where you're so humbled by someone's actions that you're left speechless? Yeah, this was one of those moments. Inside the envelope I found one of most encouraging letters I've ever received. Part of the letter mentions that he makes very little money for his fraternity, but he wanted to help in any way he could to get an orphan into a Christian home. He included a personal check for a generous amount that I know was a big sacrifice for him to make, and in the memo wrote, adoption support! "Seriously God?! You're going to use a kid in his early 20's, that I barely know, to help make this adoption story unfold?!"... I was speechless, and thankful, and humbled, and encouraged, and again reminded of how God works in ways we can't imagine! Tyler's letter ended with Jeremiah 17:7 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him". I don't think it was coincidence that Tyler got split into my group of 10 students for this guard class. I'm sure that God intended for Tyler and I to meet that weekend and share a little bit of our life story. And I know that God used Tyler to show both Joshua and I that we don't know how it's all going to pan out or from whom we will be blessed... but God knows, and I can't help but think He likes to sit back and orchestrate these little details just to blow our socks off! How true Jeremiah 17:7 is... we are trusting in the Lord and He is blessing us in ways we would have never guessed!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

His Handy Work

Since Joshua and I decided that the road to adoption was what God was leading us to do, we've been amazed over and over again at His handy work! We've truly been praying for God's direction in every step we take. We have no agenda of our own and we're asking God to take the lead. This obviously means that if He's in control... we are not. Ugh, sometimes I stink at that part! I feel like I'm constantly going to God over and over again with my worries and doubts, and every time the same thing happens.... He brings peace!
A perfect example of this is last month (April 19th to be exact), it was a Monday night and I laid there in bed, eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling. One of those nights where your mind is just racing and you can't turn it off. The fears that bombarded me regarding this adoption were overwhelming. Doubts and anxieties about what the next step should be and all the unknowns just kept creeping into my thoughts. Joshua noticed that I was tossing and turning and asked if I wanted to pray. I gladly took him up on that offer and literally kept him up until midnight praying and begging God to reassure me to have faith and to trust Him. At this point, very few people knew of this unexpected burden to adopt that we felt the Holy Spirit had laid on our hearts. So you can only imagine my surprise the next morning when I got this email from a long-time friend of mine, Chad, who I hadn't spoken with in over two years. (Besides our little facebook comments on family photos here and there. Does that even count as staying in touch these days?)
Here is what it said:

Subject: Super Random and Short
so, as i was praying this morning, the Spirit put your name on my heart. I feel compelled to tell you that your faith is such a great example to so many people around you. I have admired you for so many years when it comes to putting your trust and hope into Christ. Kackie and I are blessed to have you as a friend!
As said in my subject line, I realize this is random and short. But I'm sure I feel called to send you this for a reason (even though I may not know what it is). I hope you are encouraged!
-chad "

As I read his email I teared up, in awe of God. It was exactly what I had begged God to reassure me of! I was so grateful that Chad was obedient to the Holy Spirit's leading and it served as such a reminder to me to do the same when someone is on my heart. I guess one could chalk it up to coincidence that I received an email the very next morning answering exactly what I came to God with... But for me, I can say with confidence that God answers prayers, and He is real, and He is working in our lives!

It was that day, Tuesday, April 20th, that Joshua and I decided we would step out in faith and share what God was doing in our lives by sending out a Helms Happenings update letter. And so another step in the journey was taken. Thanks Chad for being a part of our story and being used by God!

There is oh so much more of His handy work to tell since that Tuesday answer to prayer... but I'll save it for the next couple posts!


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Stepping out in Faith

So here it goes... my first attempt at posting to our new blog!

My hope is that we'll be able to use this blog to journal the unfolding story of what God is doing in and through our lives. Some of you reading this may have recently received our "Helms Happenings- Ethiopia Edition" letter in the mail. Oh how I desperately pray that you were able to catch a glimpse of our hearts excitement in this adventure of adoption that we are just beginning! For those of you that don't know of our latest endeavor, here is our update letter we just sent out: Helms Happenings - Ethiopia Edition

One thing we didn't mention in our letter that we recently were able to do is meet with another adoptive family, Aaron and Whitney Pratt. They just recently adopted their adorable little boy, Mekele, from Hannah's Hope in Ethiopia about 5 months ago. Joshua literally works right aross the hall from Aaron at school, which again, is just another reminder of the details God is orchestrating. We were able to hear their story and ask questions about the process. It confirmed in so many ways that this is exactly where God is leading. Truly they will be such a blessing to have close by during this process. Not to mention how it makes my heart happy to imagine one day our Ethiopian kiddo's playing together!

Joshua and I are both filled with a whirlwind of emotions from being hopeful and excited to absolutely terrified! In the moments that anxiety takes over and I'm overwhelmed, I beg God for peace and reassurance that we're doing the right thing. Over and over again, He uses people & circumstances to remind me that He's saying "go" and "trust". There is a video that we saw a couple months back of a little girl, who was adopted through AGCI, Lucy Lane. It's her "gotcha day" when her mom picked her up from Hannah's Hope. I can't tell you how many times I find myself going back to watch it again and again and every time my fears seem to fade and my heart is filled with joy. We thought we'd share it with you too. Grab a tissue!