Sunday, February 27, 2011

Expecting a Blessing Baby Shower!!!

Ok.... by now you've realized that I usually over-estimate what I can do. I know I promised details about the baby shower days ago.... and I'm just now getting around to it. Last week was very busy at our house. Well, most weeks are but last week was more busy than normal. So, yesterday my hubby took 4 of our kids and headed to Atlanta to the annual Super Cross (thats dirt bike races for those of you who don't have red-neck boys). This gave me most of the day to catch up on all that had gotten behind last week. Here's a picture of my boys plus Lilly as they are headed out of the drive way for the races yesterday. Us girls tried talking Lilly into staying home with us, but she wasn't having it. She's a daddy's girl and he was so excited that she wanted to go with him more than stay with us.Now the laundry is caught up.... at our house that just means everyone does have a pair or two of clean underwear and a change of clothes. And, I feel like my head is almost above water so I can't wait to share about the baby shower.

Most of you know that I am part of a ministry that provides love and support to expecting mothers living at a transitional home here in Birmingham. We meet with the ladies every other week for encouragement, prayer time and Bible study. These girls have come to be some of my dearest friends. Initially we planned that they would stay with us for 6 weeks after their babies were born but that has been changed. We keep them as long as they will come back because we have fallen in love with these sweet mommas and babies. I love their open hearts and how they just want someone to believe in them and cheer them on. So, that's what we do..... myself and the other girls on the team, love on them , encourage them each week and claim God's promises over their lives and the lives of their babies. Our inspiration to them is straight from God's Word.

"Children are a heritage from the LORD." Psalm 127:3

Well, no one should have a baby and not have a baby shower..... so, we also host baby showers quarterly. Last week we honored 5 mommies and 6 babies (one mom is having twins) with a very special day of celebration. I was overwhelmed with God's goodness as I sat around the room eating cake with these ladies and thinking about how God has brought them from ashes to beauty. They are some of the most beautiful ladies in the world to me. I'm honored to call each one of these girls, my friend!

This is some of the girls and a few babies with Sonia, Heather and me.

This is three of the newest little blessings to be born lately. This works perfectly, because the three of us don't have to fight over who gets to hold a baby during class anymore. Are they precious or what?!!!!

We currently have about 10 girls in the ministry and each one got to invite a friend to join them for the shower. I was thrilled that we were able to provide this special day for them but the night before, I shared my dream for this baby shower with my always supportive hubby and asked him to pray with me. My dream is that we will be able to have a huge baby shower for our expecting moms BUT also be able to invite and provide food and cake for every lady at the center. Because you see, these girls are all family. They are in this together.... they cry together, they struggle together, they pray together, they grow spiritually together..... why not celebrate these babies together? The problem for us is.... that's 300 women!!! WOW! Well, on Friday I shared this dream with some dear friends of ours and they said, "plan on that happening at the very next baby shower..... we'll be happy to cover it". Is God amazing or what?!! He never stops blowing my mind at the generosity of His people. So I'm already gearing up for our spring shower! Can't wait to share it with you.

I'm almost done but I would love to show you the baskets that each mom received. You've never seen a bunch of preggo mommas in such tears of joy and thankfulness. Their hearts are so grateful.
Maggie was our helper for the day. When she is serving others, she is right where God created her to be and she loves it. She loved handing each mom their basket with their name on the tag knowing that each one had been prayed over.

Many of you provided the very items in these baskets and I want you to know how much we appreciate it. I wish you could have been there to see the tears streaming as each dear mom told us "thank you" over and over again. Each basket was overflowing and that just filled my heart with joy. I hope you notice the book in the front of each one. This is the Jesus Storybook Bible and it is one of our favorites at our house. We read from this almost daily. As we began this ministry and I was praying about God's purpose for it, He made one thing very clear. The gospel must go before everything else we do for these moms and babies. If we don't share the love of Jesus and the saving power that can come only from HIM, then we might as well give them an empty basket. Yes, I know, these baby essentials are important but nothing is as important as these babies coming to know the LORD as their Savior and Treasure of their lives.

Last of all, some of you are wondering..... how in the world did you leave this exciting celebration with a BABY?!!! Well, one mommy had meetings and then work all day the next day. Her baby boy also needed a check up and his shots to be able to go to day care..... so he came home with me so we could take him for his appointment the next day. We had him one night and two days and we were lost when we carried him home. We were all head over heels for this little guy. I plan on him returning often : ) Here he is snuggled up with Dallas right before we carried him home. I love this picture!

I owe a huge thank you to Heather and Sonia for all of their help putting this shower together. You two girls are such a blessing to me and our expecting friends!

Hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful Sunday of praise!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ever gone to a baby shower and come home with THIS!

A Baby!!!
That's what I came home with today! Yeah, Im just good like that : )

If your wondering what kind of baby shower I went to and got to come home with a baby, you'll need to check back in tomorrow night to find out.

He's not a permanent little brother around our house but he's here for a couple of days.

Think he'll be spoiled by the time he goes home? He's had plenty of love all day!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Two Less!

I love how before we heard God calling us to adopt, we barely knew anyone who had adopted children. We "knew of" several families but it's amazing how God has now placed friends in our lives who are bringing babies home from all over this world. Soon there will be two less fatherless children in this world and two sweet friends for our baby girl when she comes home.

Our friends, Jason and Liz will be traveling to South Korea in just a few short weeks to bring home their sweet girl. Also, our new friends the Dreyfus family, will be traveling to Ethiopia for court and then hopefully a quick return trip to bring home their baby boy. These will be our first airport parties and I pray there are many, many more in the future. Please pray for both of these families, their babies and their birth mothers.

Here is my SIL and I with Liz and Anna at the conference a few weeks ago.

We thank God every day that He has called us to this journey and I'm also thankful that He has connected us with dear friends that share our same passion. Every time He brings someone else into our lives that desire to serve the least of these, I feel like we are linking arms with yet one more family. I'm sensing God is forming a huge army to bring justice to these 147 million precious children of His.... anybody else gettin that feeling?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to my man!

Forty five years ago today a very premature baby boy made his entrance into this world and fought a very tough fight and WON! Today that fragile little boy is the strongest, most amazing man I've ever known.... and thank the Lord.... he's MINE!

God had huge plans for this man of mine and I am so thankful He chose me to be his wife.

Baby, you are an incredible husband and friend to me. You and I have so many dreams for our family and I can't wait to see what the LORD has in store for us. Thank you for encouraging me and our children to be willing to be used by God for the good of the Kingdom of Heaven. Our children and I are blessed because God gave us you.

Happy Birthday Goodlooking!

Friday, February 11, 2011

One more take on Created for Care

Well I know we've all enjoyed the many post floating around blog land about last week-ends Created for Care retreat; but there's still more. This mama has been up to her neck in work this week but I'm finally taking a few minutes to add my two cents (and some pics). If you didn't go, I'm sorry, you are probably worn out from all the hype.... but it was a pretty amazing retreat. I struggle to call it that because I'm not certain it qualified as a retreat. More like a power house packed full of crazy women spurring one another on to a high calling. That beats a retreat in my book ANY day! Except I will say, the worship and "date with God" did bring about a sweet rest in Jesus.

About an hour out from home, I knew God was about to do some big things in my heart. My travel buddies included my sis-in-law Sonia, my sweet friend from church Liz, and our brand new precious friend Anna. It's a whole God story in and of itself how Anna and I met just a few weeks ago. We had never laid eyes on one another until she drove up at my house for us to head to Georgia to spend the week-end together. Awkward? Nope, not at all.... sisters at heart all along. We just had to wait until our hearts (and babies) were in Ethiopia to meet one another. Here we are..... 4 sisters at heart!

We were barely out of Bham when Anna received new pictures on her phone (via a friend in Ethiopia) of her beautiful baby boy waiting for her at our agency's transition home. How surreal it was to sit next to her as she stared at this baby that she has never held... yet he's HERS! So thankful God allowed me the gift of that moment with her. And oh. my. word. her sweet boy is beautiful!

Ok, as soon as we arrive at the retreat I am like a wanna-be actress at the golden globes. Camera in hand, I set out to meet, personally, these women I admire so much. I learn from these mama's, I'm inspired by them, I'm encouraged by them, I'm challenged by them and now, holy cow, I'm about to spend a week-end worshiping with them. What a blessing!

Here's just a few of us....

I got to introduce my s.i.l. to my friend Jenni from Mississippi. She and her husband are waiting on their baby from Ethiopia.

Alison and I sporting our 147 shirts with Gwen, co-founder of the coolest orphan gear ever.
My girls laughed at me for taking my camera to the welcome time when we first arrived. Well, look who I saw as soon as I walked in... Miss Lucy Lane the rock star.
Her mama Kristi is pretty cool too. She taught those of us bringing home African babies a thing or two about how to "get the hair right". : ) Lord help me not to mess this up.
I want bore you with all the details and anyway God is still unraveling all that I left there with. I'm slow.... this could take Him a while. ; )But, I do want to say a few things about what God showed me clearly. First of all, it was so evident that the Spirit of the LORD was all over this place. He knew these ordinary, worn out, stressed out, overworked mamas needed HIM and needed each other. Never before have I been in a place with this many girls who share such a strong passion and it just happens to be one of the things He's most passionate about..... HIS children. And HE was there! At one point during worship I could feel His presence so heavy that I could not stand.... all I could do was fall to my knees.

God showed me clearly that the only thing worse than being an orphan is being an HIV+ orphan. For the past few months God has been stirring my heart for these children and I still don't know exactly why. I do know that He has opened my eyes to the truth of their fate AND the misconceptions about their illness. I originally signed up for 3 break out sessions at the retreat but felt the Lord tugging me to skip one and go to the HIV session. I walked into the room filled with a good fear and left changed forever. The coolest part was when I found out that of the 50 women in the room, only 25 had originally signed up. How cool is that?!!

Through His servant Susan Hillis, God reminded me not to just be content with being heart broken for the things that break His heart; but my heart should be filled with the things that fill His heart. That means my heart needs to be overflowing with compassion, mercy, sacrificial love, righteousness, faithfulness, selflessness, and kindness just to name a few. Wow... a heart like HIS, that's what I want.

Well, I'm sure there is more to come as the LORD works all of this out in His timing. I don't know where He's taking me from here but I'm so thankful He has found me worthy of this calling. And, I'm equally as thankful for the company I'm in. It was absolutely divine to spend a week-end with 250 sisters that are passionate about the 147 million orphans in this world AND they love Jesus enough that they would rather be radical and crazy than be content in this world.

Here is the master mind, God fearing supermama behind this amazing retreat. How adorable is her juicy little man?

Thank you Andrea for an amazing time with the Defender of the fatherless.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

6 year old twins!!!

We can not believe it but our sweet babies are 6. Yesterday was Levi and Lilly's birthday but I'm just now getting around to blogging them a "happy birthday" message.

It was a Friday night in September of 2004 that changed our lives forever. We took a trip to the ER, frantically anticipating bad news. We were relieved when the nurse told us she saw a heart beat but the words she said next would make for one of the greatest moments in my life. "Polly, your babies look great... both of them". Tears of joy started and didn't end for hours. I don't think we slept a wink that night.

You see, I had prayed for twins every time I had been pregnant and this time God had answered my prayers. Praise you Jesus!!!! Having twins has not always been easy but it has made for some of the greatest fun I've ever had. We will have a party this week-end but for now I'll share a few pics. I don't have their baby pics on this computer but I'll share some of what I do have.

Since day one, I've said "they go together like peas and carrots"..... and I don't expect that will ever change.

If your thinking Lilly looks like the alpha female..... your absolutely right. She is boss and typically gets whatever she wants out of her twin brother Levi. Her daddy says that's actually a good thing because she's just preparing him for marriage. Not sure what he's getting at with that statement ..... I'm assuming it has nothing to do with me ; )

Happy Birthday Levi and Lilly. We love you so much..... and I am so thankful I get to be your mommy!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Don't Miss This!

Along with 249 other women, I have just returned from the Created for Care retreat. What an amazing week-end! It was packed full of worship, wisdom and tons of fun. I have lots to share in my next post but until I get pictures downloaded, I thought everyone might enjoy watching this video that was created for this year's retreat. Turn my music off and turn the sound up LOUD!!!! WARNING..... you may experience a strong desire for your family to become part of next year's video.... I'm just sayin : )