Monday, January 23, 2012

Fun times and a Fundraiser!

So far, 2012 has been full and fun, I guess that means it's been full of fun! Well, fun for the most part. We are gearing up for our home study update and I must confess, I'm not turning back flips from excitement like I was the first time around. But, it must be done!

Over the weekend, I got the big pink binder labeled "Esther" out of the safe. Yes, i keep it in the safe! If you've been through the adoption process before, that makes perfect sense to you. In case of a fire or natural disaster, I'm afraid I wouldn't make it out alive by the time I tried to rescue 7 children and "the binder" (of course the binder would be last ;). Anyhow, it has now made it's resting place back on the kitchen counter.

Our social worker comes tomorrow for our update and I'm guessing he's going to give us some assignments. Just what I need..... something else to do. Yes, I'm griping but it's all good. We are thankful to still be on this journey to our sweet Esther. We wish she were here but we will continue pursuing her at all cost until she's at home where she belongs. We are also asking our sweet social worker for a favor (or two ;), so please pray that he has favor on us. :)

Anyhow, we kicked this update off by heading down to the USCIS office to get our fingerprints re-done. I realized that our appointment notice had this statement at the bottom:
"only persons who are necessary to assist with transportation or completing the biometrics worksheet should accompany you".

Oops.... sorry!
Oh well, at least I took 3 of the "well behaved" kids. Thankfully, everyone was super nice and even bragged about how quiet and polite these babies were. It's amazing what kids will do when bribed with the right treats. :)

We celebrated the launch of our "update adventure" by baking some really fun cookies. Sugar makes everything better, right?!!!

Last week-end was actually like a vacation for me and my man. We were asked to go to Tennessee as chaperones with our youth group from church. This was the first time that our oldest two, Lexie and Dallas, were able to go on a retreat together. I think we may have had more fun than the kids. A full week-end with almost 30 kids that could completely take care of themselves, and I must say these are some of the most amazing kids I know. Not to mention, we got to spend the whole time with 4 other couples that are some of our very favorite people. I missed my little ones back at home, but this time was priceless. So nice to have a weekend with just a couple of our big kids......

I love how close these two are... they may aggravate the mess out of each other, but they have so much fun together!
These are just a few of the sweet kids we enjoyed worshiping and having fun with!

We almost felt like we were on a honey-moon.... I hope that statement doesn't keep us from being invited back next year :)

Well, there's a little bit of the fun we've been having so far this year! Now, please jump over to my friend Malerie's blog and check out their upcoming fundraiser. They are working hard to get their sweet baby girl Gia home soon! Valentines is a great time to get pictures made and NOW you can get some awesome new pictures AND bless this family at the same time. That is if you are in Birmingham or close enough to come visit....

Learn more HERE!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

So, I just couldn't wait.... here's the video!

Last night I teased everyone by saying that I had a "favorite" video I wanted to share.... well, I just couldn't wait any longer. (And I have a busier than normal schedule for the next few days, so it's probably now or way later).

Y'all know when I read a book that I just love, I can't shut up about it. Well, guess what.... I've got about three that y'all are going to be hearing about soon because I've finished some really good ones lately. But, you probably remember that a couple months ago, I could not stop harping about Katie Davis's book, Kisses from Katie.

We have been Katie fans for a while so of course her book was a huge inspiration to me. I then passed it on to Lexie (my oldest daughter) who was equally inspired; but also very moved to really begin to ask the Lord to move in her heart and give her a desire to seek HIS plans for her life, rather than her own plans.

In homeschool, we do have a guidance counselor just like in "real" school. His name is Jesus!!! So, she's been meeting with her "guidance counselor" lately, (did I mention, He's always available?) and I like what He's been saying to her. She's still a junior in high school but I can't wait to see what kind of plans He has for her.

Anyhow, lately Lexie has been sharing Kisses from Katie with some of her friends. I love watching God wreck their hearts and give them desires that are aligned with HIS.

A few months ago, while Katie was doing her book tour, we were able to hear her speak at the Church of Brook Hills here in town. While we were there, we saw a video of her journey. She said something in that video that I thought was profound. Plain, SIMPLE, and PROFOUND!

Turn off my music at the bottom of the page and watch THIS video. Listen to Katie's response to people who say to her, "Wow, you are so lucky that you found what God wants you to do with your life..."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A very cool video!

I know videos are the wimpy way to blog, but I do have several that I have been wanting to share. I had one in mind that I've been meaning to post..... It is the truth spoken just plain and simple. That's what I love..... plain and simple!

BUT, I'm not going to share that one TONIGHT! Sorry, you'll have to check back in a few days. It will be worth it, I promise.

Today, my oldest daughter shared a really cool (and very true) video with me that I wanted to pass on to you guys tonight.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas: Part 2 (and happy new year!!!)

Well, 2011 has come and gone and the new year is upon us. Our family rang in the New Year with wonderful friends and family. Here's a clue as to how we ring in a new year around here.....
There are several benefits to being married to a country boy.... for one, he is not afraid to blow something up!!!!

We are slowly but surely preparing to start school in a couple days. Since this is our last few days of the holiday break, my sweet man treated me to a special date night last night. We spent the evening reflecting on the awesome things God did in our family last year and thanking Him for the dear friends and new relationships that He brought into our lives. We also shared our goals and dreams for our family for 2012. I am so excited to see what God has in store for this year and I hope to share some of what He has been teaching me lately.

For now, I want to share just a couple more very special blessings that were all part of Christmas in our lives this year.

Just a couple nights before Christmas, we had a Birthday Party for Jesus at our house. This was Maggie's idea..... and oh, so much fun! No doubt.... we will do this every year from now on. Maggie and I, along with some of our friends, spent the week preparing an agenda for the night, a menu and stations to rotate through. We had about 45 kids and a bunch of adults.

We ate and then played games. Next, we moved into our dinning room and playroom to make crafts. Our children's minister, Mrs. Phyliss came and shared a very special story about the "Birthday Boy" and then we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. At the end of the night we ate cake and then went through an assembly line filling stockings that we would later deliver to an apartment complex filled with under privileged children.

This was probably the most special night of the entire Christmas season for our family. At the end of the night, we had been blessed more than anyone.

Yummy dinner with sweet friends.....

Fun and games......

These sweet girls had so much fun!!!

Christmas crafts.....
A very special story time about our Savior.....

Happy Birthday Jesus!!!!

We had ONE LAST wish before Christmas day..... the kids wanted a night to make gingerbread houses. I had determined that it would not happen this year. We had checked most things off of our "wish list", but I had forgotten the gingerbread houses. UNTIL, the night before Christmas Eve...... the kids reminded me. When I explained that we didn't have any of the stuff to make them; they were so quick to remind me that the grocery store would have it ALL!

So, off to the store we went at 8:00 and by 9ish..... you guessed it, we were architects!

We had a blast.... and momma had a mess! :) But these smiles, made it ALL worth it!!!

The one thing missing from our wish list this year...... Esther! Her stocking was hanging on the mantle, her rocking chair was in our Christmas card picture, and she was in our prayers every night. She was in our hearts, but she wasn't in our home..... and we missed her. We talked about her a lot and were reminded by a few new gifts, that she IS coming!

Lexie's sweet friend, Stefanie, painted this canvas for me. How beautiful is that! And, it looks perfect in my den.

Kelsie, my amazing and always by-my-side soul sister, gave me this ornament. It quickly became the focal point of our Christmas tree.
Then, on Christmas morning, my dear friend Jennifer, gave me this very special necklace. The verse she had engraved on it is, Isaiah 41:9-10.

9 "I took you from the ends of the earth, from it's farthest corners I called you.
I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

I am praising God for HIS help and strength. My own strength fails me daily, especially as we long for our child, but in HIM, we find HOPE!

Happy New 2012 Friends!!!