Friday, June 28, 2013

Smile for the Camera

We recently had family pictures made.  This might have been the best round of pictures. EVER!! Our friend Maggi, of Maggie Moreau Photography, did mini-sessions to raise money for an upcoming mission trip she is going on later this year.  Awesome photographer + amazing family pics + mission funding = PERFECT PHOTO SESSION in my book!! Go check her out if you're in the Slidell area.  She also did Creek's one year pictures - she's so awesome!!!!  Anyway, here are some of my favorites from the sessions - we booked 2: 1 for family pictures in our adoption t-shirts and 1 for the was perfection!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

It WAS For Sale!!

We just had our THIRD big fundraiser...a yard sale!! This was probably the hardest fundraiser ever, but SO MUCH FUN!!!  Lot's of pictures in this post....they tend to tell it better than words, sometimes....
This beautiful, young lady is my Nana.  She's pretty much amazing - for lots of reasons - but for the purposes of this post and fund raiser...whoa, did she work hard! She cleaned in her kitchen what I'd sorted, let me compoletelly takeover use her garage, carport, dining room table, and spare bed to keep stuff as it was cleaned and sorted.  Then, she and my Denden (that's granddaddy for some of you) opened up their driveway and yard for one amazing fundraiser.  I cannot thank her enough...really, I can't do it.  She's just so awesome.  I want to live like her when I'm as young as she is :)
Next up is one of my 2 cashiers.  This is my baby sister (the pretty one with the long, brown hair - boys, I'll cut you if you mess with her) and she not only manned the money bucket and bag all day, she got up at 5:15 to go help my dad and I set up.  I'll probably owe her for that one for a long time.
These guys provided lots of muscle leading up to the yard sale.  We'd asked for donations from our Tennessee church family and they helped us go around a couple of nights before a load stuff up.  And they did it all for a Sonic half price.
It was pretty cool how God took this small pile from my family and turned it into this...
and this...
and this...
This is not an accurate representation of what these 2 did at the sale.  That's my uncle on the left and my little sister on the right.  She was my other cashier for the second half of the day (boys - same rule applies for her, too).  My uncle and my dad helped load stuff throughout the day and carry bags and items to people's cars.  They earned a little late-afternoon nap.
On the left is my aunt, then my dad, and on the right is my uncle.  My aunt and uncle got up at 4 am and drove 3 hours from Nashville.  They brought stuff for the sale, worked their tails off all day, and bought stuff, too.  My can never say enough about him or give the most accurate description of him.  He spent his entire birthday watching my kiddos so I could finish stuff up, helped me round up donations most days after work, got up super early on his day off to help set up, work hard, and try to scare off the creepers at the the yard sale.  He's always been awesome in my book.
This blank section is where I should insert a picture of my mom and kids since she took care of them all day long....believe me, I know that's not an easy task.  Especially considering the yard sale fell on the absolute busiest 2 weeks for her at work....for the whole year!! Thanks for being a team player, mom :) You're the best!  Sorry I apparently didn't snap a picture when ya'll stopped by :(


All in all, the yard sale was a blast!! It was hard work collecting donations, sorting through and cleaning them...but it was also just as wonderful to see God blessing this fundraiser through so many people.  The first item that sold was my favorite chair...a pompesan chair that I'd waited years for.  I cried when the man drove off with it in his truck.  Oh well, it was just a chair, right?!!
My original goal for this fundraiser was $1,000...lofty goal for a yard sale, right? At the first of the week, I tried to reevaluate and set a more realistic goal based on what I had and lowered it (in my mind) to $500...still a nice fundraiser!!  God completely blew me out of the water when I counted up the final amount.  Originally, I'd posted on facebook that God had provided $1,250, but then I came across an apparent mystery/secret donation, coupled with a more precise recount.  The "new" grand total is $1,485!!  Almost 3 times as much as I what I "thought" was a realistic expectation for a yard sale.  And the whole thing was put together in 5 days!!
So incredible. Fantastically, amazingly, INCREDIBLE!!
And God continues to provide in exceptional ways.  He fund what He favors, y'all.  He really does.









Monday, June 3, 2013

Simple Multiplication

Hey, y'all!! I hope you've been well - sorry it's been a few weeks since I updated!!  The past several weeks of our adoption can be summed up with one seemingly simple word: paperwork.  Yeah, it's a boring update, but it is what it is!  Some if it has been exciting paperwork, though!!

We recently filled out our I-800A and it is ready to be sent to the USCIS (US Citizens and Immigration Services) office as soon as our home study is approved....which should be done this week!! The I-800A is this really long application that we send in, with our home study, to the US government to seek approval to adopt a child from overseas.  We received pre-approval so we can proceed with the adoption, then final approval once we have been matched with a child.  Our home study has to accompany this form, but our social worker had us go ahead and fill it out so as soon as she gets our home study in her hands...she will drop all of that in the mail to USCIS.  Once she does that, and we wait on fingerprinting dates and approval from them, we'll start working on our dossier - which is our stack of paperwork that will go to Colombia, where it will be reviewed by Colombian officials, and we will receive approval from them to adopt from their country. Simple, right? Yes!! Sometimes I wonder, though, how all of this "needing approval" business is affecting my self-esteem!

Another piece of paperwork we had to complete was our child desired form.  That's something that requires an entire post of its own...too many emotions on my heart to give it a quick paragraph here, so stay tuned.

On the other hand, I've also had a few more freak out moments here and there.  They happen.  They come.  I breathe. I pray.  They go away.  It repeats.  Worrying is a fault of mine - stress something that can easily take me over when I feel things are out of my control.  And adoption is so very far out of my control.  Good thing, though, because God IS in control!

We have our next big fundraiser coming up and I've been nervous about it.  We're having a yard sale at my grandparents house this weekend.  We've been pulling stuff from our house and sending it up with my parents as they've visited us in Louisiana the past several months, pulled everything we have stored at their house and my husband's grandparents house, and we've graciously been given donations by our Tennessee church family - some of which I'm about to go pick up! 

Yesterday, though - I was worried.  Praise God - a friend who is using the same agency as we are had a yard sale this past weekend.  Guess how much they raised?  $5,000 dollars!! Yes, 5 thousand. 5K. a 5 with three 0's! How amazing is that! When I read her news, I was immediately overcome with joy for their sweet family - knowing they are so much closer to their little girl.  I thanked Jesus for providing so abundantly for them.  And then the "thoughts" came...

What if our yard sale is a bust?
We'll never raise that kind of money!
I can't do this!
This will be hard!
How are we going to make a decent amount of money with this fundraiser...and it's supposed to be a big one for us?!
How are we EVER going to reach our total goal for this adoption?!
What will happen to our son?!

And on and on and on the thoughts and questions rolled.

And then that still, small, Voice of peace reminded me...

"Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanmks and broke them.  then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people." Luke 9:16 (for the entire miracle, see Luke 9:1-17)

He fed 5,000 people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread.  And the people who sought after Him were fulfilled.  They were satisfied.  They had leftovers.  They not only had full bellies, they had full hearts, too.  He simply multiplied what was brought forth and given completely over to Him.  And as He whispered to my heart the miracle that I sat and listened to time and time again as a child, I knew.  I's not about me.  It's not about my family.  It's not about what we or I can do.  It's not about us.  It's about Him.  It's about seeking Him and making Him known and striving to see Him exalted and glorified in all that we do.

I have no idea how much this fundraiser will bring in.  I know that He has provided so much more than I could have imagined to this point.  But more than that, I know that I want Him to be made known in every step of this adoption - the paperwork, the fundraisers, the blog updates.  All of it.  So whether we bring in $50 or $5,000 - I will praise Him because He is the One who gave it all.