Thursday, June 24, 2010

Family Photos

Yesterday evening we took some family photos. Once we have our money saved up and we're ready to turn in our adoption agency application, we're required to include a family picture. This was just one little way to feel like I was staying ahead of the game by having it already done.

I love doing stuff like this... driving around with no rhyme or reason, looking for pretty country roads and land to take pictures on. Joshua on the other hand... well he's more of a "lets get to the final destination" kinda guy. So my little fun picture taking outings as a family aren't necessarily on the top of his to do list. BUT... yesterday I've gotta give him some credit and say that he put a smile on and decided to be easy going and explore with me a bit to find some pretty areas! I made sure to thank him too! And I think he'd agree that we had a great time as a family!

Jude thinks it is totally normal to have a camera in his face all the time. He's got the process down pat. Since we only bring a tri-pod and set the camera on
timer we've taught him that he has to smile and watch the blinking light until he hears it click.
Last night, while we were starring at the blinking light, I couldn't tell if he was smiling or not, so I nudged him gently and said "Jude bud, make sure you're smiling!". He kindly informed me, "Mom, I am smiling!" in the exact tone that you have when you try and talk and smile at the same time. Somewhere along the line he's mastered both the annoyed teenager tone and the smile and talk at the same time technique and I've gotta admit I had to chuckle.

I couldn't help but think about what our next kiddo will be like and how they too will quickly learn that the camera will be in their face as well! Jude will probably help teach 'em the ropes about if you smile and do what mom says you get little treats and gum! Bribery is key to good picture taking! I smiled when I thought about our family picture being one extra member and wondered what it would look like. I love that we'll be bringing diversity into our family, and while I honesty have no idea what all that brings with it- I think it'll be beautiful to have a fair skinned, blonde hair, blue eye boy sitting next to a chocolate skinned, brown hair, mocha eye sibling! And not much will have changed... both kids will look nothing like me! (o;

I'm looking forward to family picture day when our Ethiopian baby is with us, it'll be fun!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Spread the word!

So we officially have an "Adoption Auction" in the making! Just thought I'd send out a heads up so maybe we could spread the word?! The game plan is to post our auction on Tuesday July 6th and have the bidding open until Friday, July 9th. We already have some incredible stuff donated from generous friends and family to auction off! I'm horrible at withholding exciting news, so here's just a tiny taste of what's being offered... a week's vacation at a mountain farmhouse in Tennessee, incredibly cute and trendy hooded towels for kids, scrumptious baked goods, a photo session, theatre tickets, adorable embroidered items, sessions with a in-home personal trainer, and the list goes on!!! I'll hush now and let you see what all remains! But I'm just sayin' , it's good stuff and I'm super excited about it! So, spread the word and keep an eye out on July 6th... and we'll let the bidding begin! Wahoo! Thanks for joining in the creativeness of trying to help us save for this adoption!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Our baby's birth mama

Lately I've found myself thinking about our baby's birth mama. I guess we're still at such an early stage of this process that wrapping my mind around what our baby will look like or be like is kinda hard. BUT... I can't help but be burdened for what the birth mom's life is like. Since we will be checking "under 12 months old" on our application once we turn it in, more than likely, our child is not born yet. So that leads my thoughts to the mama. I wonder if she's pregnant or soon will be? I wonder what this pregnancy will mean to her- if she's scared? I know that I truly have no idea what life is like in Ethiopia and all the hardship it brings with it. I can read all about it and see videos and pictures- but it's no where near the same as living it. So, all I can do is pray for her. That God would protect her, provide for her, surround her with a supportive and loving family, and more then anything that she would know she is loved by God and that God has plans for this child! It's strange to think that while our unfolding story is full of blessings, that her story might be full of heartache and fear.

I look at Jude often and am so grateful that he's a healthy, vibrant 3 year old boy! I'm so thankful I had an awesome pregnancy with him with no complications. I was able to take good care of myself in order to insure his growth and health while he was still in my belly. Oh how I pray for a healthy pregnancy for our baby's mama! Pray for her too if you think of it!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Reminding God

I have no idea what God's timeline for this adoption looks like. I'm daily trusting that He'll unfold each step along the way in His perfect timing. I know that He already knows our child by name and how we'll be united by a series of timely events that He's in control of, not me. I've said from the beginning that we have no agenda here besides to be obedient to the burden He's placed on our hearts.

While that still remains true, apparently I do have this hidden "hope" (let's call it that, because it sounds better then "agenda") that keeps creeping up on me. I have found myself on numerous occasions reminding God how Joshua and I would love to get this ball rolling and turn in our application this summer with the hope that possibly next summer we'd be traveling to Ethiopia to pick up our babe. I have these daily persuasive conversations with God letting Him in on my plans that I think would pan out perfectly for numerous reasons that apparently I assume He's unaware of. The fact is, Joshua and I would love to start this process sooner then later. Our hopes and desires, in and of themselves, I think are good and important. But here's the deal... I want to be okay with God's agenda EVEN if it doesn't match up with my desires. Even typing that makes me somewhat cringe and want to whine, "But! But!...". It's true though. I know how God has worked in my life in the past, that He ALWAYS has a better plan, agenda, timeline, and story then I do!

So today, I lay my plan, agenda, timeline, and story down for God to handle. And I'll probably have to do the same tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. It's crazy how completely relying on God is so rewarding yet so hard at times! He's been so faithful already to provide in amazing ways, I should have no doubt that He's got the timing thing figured out too!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

ONE month

It was a month ago today that Joshua and I felt like Jude in this picture. We took a deep breath, ran head on into this adoption process, and prayerfully sent out our Helms Happenings-Ethiopia Edition letters. Letting the letters fall out of my hand and into the drop box at the post office, was truly the moment I knew "We're in this... No turning back now!". At that exact moment our faith in what God was asking us to do became undeniably real! It's easy to talk about what we think God wants to do with our lives, but actually following through and trusting God is oh so scary!

I'd just like to share how God has provided in only ONE months time so far for this journey we're on! To which I'd say "Wow!"...

May 10th- letters sent out and we announced our blog
May 13th- we received our first donation $100
May 14th- donation $150
May 17th- Free car maintenance
May 22nd- donation $200
May 25th- donation $100
May 28th- $160 for swim lessons
May 29th- $20 for dog sitting
May 29th & 30th- taught lifeguard class (waiting on paycheck approx. $160)
May 31st- donation $50
June 1st-9th- Joshua in CO as an AP Reader (waiting on paycheck- stipend: $1600 minus taxes)
June 1st- Posted Africa shirts to auction off: people made bids!
June 2nd- Bidding closed on shirts: $170 made!
June 3rd- donation $150
June 5th- donation $100
June 7th- donation $100
June 10th- Anonymous $100 gift card to Wal-mart left in our mail box!
$225 unexpected payment for mowing!

In the coffee sales alone we have received $52!

Crazy, right?! If you would have told me that in ONE month we would have about $3000 in savings, I would have laughed in disbelief. But here's the deal... God DOES fund His callings and is making this happen through people I would have never imagined and in ways I would have never imagined! I've said it before, I can't help but think He just likes to sit back and smile at His handy work! To those of you who have generously given, you know who you are, and so do we! Each one of your names is written on our kitchen calendar and our plan is to make a journal to give our child one day showing all the people God used to bring him home! You are part of this story and we thank you from the bottoms of our hearts! The countless encouraging conversations, emails, and prayers that we've received over this past month have not gone unnoticed either! Joshua and I lay in bed at night and just talk about how amazed we are at the support and kindness of others! Please keep praying- we are so grateful!

We're about half way to our goal of saving between $6-$8,000 before turning in our official application and we're trusting once the money is there that it's God's perfect timing for us to move forward with this process! I'll keep you posted as we keep watching God work and bring this together!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


My dear friend, Angie, sent me the book "A million miles in a thousand years" by Donald Miller. I've gotta say, I'm only half way through it (yes, I am a slow reader and I feel like it takes me an unusually long time to finish a book)... BUT, I love it so far! The gist of the book is to write a good story for your life. Sounds simple enough, but truthfully I think we (society as a whole), cheat ourselves from amazing life stories out of fear. We would rather live the predictable, comfortable, life- then let go of control and live the story God desperately wants to write for us.

Donald Miller talks about how "there is a writer outside ourselves, plotting a better story for us", but how we so often try to play out the scene in the way we want. One of my favorite things he says is this, " I like the part of the Bible that talks about God speaking the world into existence, as though everything we see and feel were sentences from this mouth, all the wet of the world his spit. I feel written. My skin feels written, and my desires feel written. My sexuality was a word spoken by God, that I would be male, and I would have brown hair and brown eyes and come from a womb. It feels literary, doesn't it, as if we are characters in books."

I feel like since Joshua and I embarked on this crazy journey of saying YES to adoption- that the concept of "story" has been all around us. And it's become blatantly clear that someone other then ourselves is doing the writing for our lives! There is something incredibly freeing about letting go of the pen, and just saying, "God, write away!". And it's true, He writes much better then I do, my stories stink and always have predictable outcomes! His however, have endings that can only be contributed to Him because they're so amazing! I LOVE this story He's writing for our family right now!

So I say this to remind myself and as a challenge to whoever is reading this ... Listen to your writer!

Here are two verses that we keep coming back to over and over again:

Proverbs 24:12 "Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts & keeps our souls, knows that we know, and hold us responsible to act."

Isaiah 30:21 "Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it."

I think if Christians were to live a little more like this, it would mean we were letting God do the writing for our live:

Monday, June 7, 2010

An Inexhaustible Love

I've been waiting on a package to come in the mail the past couple of days and it was sitting on my doorstep when I got home today! Yipee! I feel like a kid on Christmas morning when there's a box at the front door... even when I know what it is! I'm the same with "real mail" too... I almost do a double take when I see actual handwriting rather then bills and junk. After all, it's not every day you get the good stuff!

Anyway... today's package was some shirts that Joshua and I designed and ordered to see if we liked what the design actually looked like once it was on the shirt. Our thought was, if they turned out good, we'd look into ordering more to sell as one more avenue of fundraising for our adoption. Here's the design that we thought would look good for the gals. "An Inexhaustible Love" is our theme for this adoption and if you hadn't noticed, the name we decided to go with for our blog title.

We thought it a fitting theme seeing that this pursuit we are on in seeking God's will of adoption, will no doubt become exhausting. BUT... what we do know is, we won't give up, we will get to Ethiopia, we will bring this child home, and we will trust God to be faithful in the process!

I love the parallel of how God's love is just like that too! His love for us is inexhaustible, He longs for us to come "home", He keeps pursuing our hearts, and He adopts us into His family.

So let me know what you think, if you like the look of the shirt and think it's something ya'll would wear? If so, we'll start looking into getting some made up. Thanks!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Little Sappy

To all the single mama's out there... my hats off! As most of you know, Joshua has been in Colorado doing this AP reader thing for school this past week, which means I've been running the show back at home by myself. I'd just like to pause here for a minute and say that our kiddo, Jude, is just great! He really is an easy kid with a tender heart that truthfully makes being his mom such a joy! BUT... he is also 3 years old, which brings with it testing of patients and his desire for independence. It also brings with it a lot of "Why's?" and "No's", which gets old super quick. So, come the end of the day... I'm flat out tired!

Joshua's absence has really made me so thankful for his presence. At the end of these tiresome days, I can't help but thank God that Joshua is an awesome daddy and a great husband! I love that in the middle of HUGE life changing decisions, like the completely overwhelming journey of adopting from Ethiopia, that I have a team-mate along side of me that I know is earnestly seeking God's will. I love that I am married to a man that I can pray with when I'm anxious & pray with when I'm thankful! All that to say, I'm happy that God gave me Joshua for this adventure we're on! Jude is a lucky boy to have such an incredible daddy and one day there is going to be one lucky Ethiopian kiddo that will be able to call him daddy too!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stupid Confession

Okay, so I've got a stupid confession... I was terrified that not a single person would bid on these little Africa shirts mom and I made! The night before I posted them, I literally laid there in bed (apparently I do all my worrying at night before falling asleep) and thought to myself... "What if this is a complete and total flop and I look like such an idiot!?" And then I'd have this little conversation with myself about how even if there isn't a single bid on a shirt that surely there would be something to learn from it and how worrying about it was going to do me no good. But truth be told... I couldn't convince myself to not be anxious about it no matter how hard I prayed. There's something incredibly humbling about making yourself vulnerable to failure.

All that to say.... why do I worry myself over things that I know God has under control?! From the get go, He's had His name written all over this adoption process so I shouldn't be surprised that He'd have the details of our little shirt auction covered too! So first off, thanks God for continually reminding me that you're in control and you've got this thing covered! Second off... thank you friends and family for totally blowing us out of the water and actually bidding! Every single shirt sold AND I learned that Navy and Pink shirts are really popular! (o; Note taken.

So I spent a total of right around $50 to buy the shirts and material to make them up. After all is said and done, we just sold them all for $165!!! So technically we made $115... but really, the $50 to make the shirts just came out of our normal budget, so all of the $165 is going straight into our adoption savings account!!! Wahoo! Ya'll... I'm telling you- one step at a time we're getting closer and closer to turning in this official application! To everyone that placed a bid, you are so appreciated! And to Allison, Leslie, Jess, Erika, & Beth... we hope you LOVE your shirts and we're thankful to have you be part of God's story of bringing home our child!