This is our first year for our OWN garden….so it’s been so exciting to watch it grow and develop.  Tonight we noticed our first squash….. I can’t wait to grill it up and eat it!

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20 days ago Sara entered our names in a fundraiser a WONDERFUL family was beginning in hopes of helping other families in their goal of raising money to bring their son or daughter home.  To us (having read their blog for a while now) this family is one that truly embodies the message of the gospel in their everyday lives.  They want to make a difference in the world to the glory of God…and they are doing it!  The goal of their fundraiser was to raise 10K in 20 days for 26 families.  The winner of the drawing would graciously receive $5,000 and the rest would be divided equally among the remaining families.  You can read about why this family decided to start this campaign here.

Well, Sara woke up this morning to an email (while I woke up to a shriek of excitement and tears of joy) with a note and a link to a video (click below)…

** The Winner **

We are EXCITED, SHOCKED, ENCOURAGED, but most of all…HUMBLED!  There are SO many AMAZING and DESERVING families.

We praise God and give Him all the glory.  And we thank him for families who chase after his heart no matter what it costs and who pursue treasures of heaven instead of those of this earth.

Please join us as we continue to pray for all of these families as they seek to bring home many more sons and daughters.  Together we will make a difference in this world!

Wow…….

And Thank You! (Those two words can’t express our gratitude enough)

We are extremely blessed.

Blessed by a church family who love and support us no matter what.

And it feels AMAZING!

Almost two weeks ago several families from our church conspired together to organize a yard sale with the proceeds going toward our adoption fund.  So many people donated things to sell.  Many others graciously gave of their time and energy Friday and Saturday to setup, sort, arrange and price everything in preparation for the big day.  An event like this couldn’t have been accomplished without the help of so many people we love and appreciate in our church family.

Jessica (one of our close friends) talked with her mom about our adoption and her mom decided to donate a $100 gift certificate to their store, “Red Barn Gift Shoppe” in Murray.  They sold raffle tickets and the proceeds were generously donated toward our fund…

Harold Ann even brought her chair and offered her services as a masseuse for $1 a minute.  Several people took advantage of it and from what I heard it was well worth it…

Our young friend Madison wanted to help us by selling fresh-squeezed lemonade which she would make for you right there on the spot…

So many people pitched in to make this yard sale a success and for ALL of YOU we are extremely grateful!  In the end, we were able to deposit around $2,250 in our adoption fund account at the bank.  That number will be a huge help as we (hopefully) move closer and closer to our referral.  Thank you Reidland Family!!!!!

For any of my readers from our area, our AMAZING church family is hosting a yard sale for us this weekend to help with the costs associated with our adoption.  We have had some great donations, furniture, strollers, tons of GREAT clothes, kids toys, etc.  If you are in the area come check us out. It starts at 7am sharp at the Reidland Church of Christ on Hwy 62.

One of the great things about our agency is that at the beginning of each month they give us updated information about where we stand on each of the lists we are on.  This month it was the middle of the month before we heard from them because there were lots of referrals and one of the case workers was on a mission trip.  The good news about not hearing until the middle of the month means that we get more updated numbers!  That’s always exciting!!!  So without further ado……

On the BOY list we are number……………..


On the SIBLINGS list we are number……..

We have moved a lot on the boy list and we are ecstatic about that!  We just hope that referrals keep moving at the same pace that they have been.  That would be fantastic!

The last few months I have tried to slow down and just enjoy the way that life is right now.  It’s been just Mike and I for almost 7 years.  It has been just the three of us (Mike, Topaz – our labradoodle, and I) for 5 years.   We have learned a lot in caring for our often anxious dog over the last several years.  Topaz is the most loyal dog of any I have ever owned.  He is my shadow and will follow me where ever I go.  When we are outside he stays pretty close as long as we don’t walk outside of the radius of his invisible fence.  If we walk outside of the radius he will often whine until we come back closer.  Last night while playing softball with two friends he was by my side after he finished running in circles.  He lays at our feet if we are watching TV and follows us from room to room while we clean.  He loves to be with “his” people.  One of his favorite things is to fetch the frisbee…and only the frisbee.  He won’t go after a ball or much of anything else.  Today I had to take the moment to capture him playing frisbee with Mike.

He is fast and I mean fast.  He runs like a greyhound and people are amazed at how fast he is.  If he is running full speed, you are better off to stand still.  He WILL NOT hit you UNLESS you move out of his way….see he has calculated where you are and will always dart off at the last minute but it’s almost like a trust fall.  You have to TRUST that he won’t knock you to the ground.

Isn’t that how our relationship with God is at times?  We have to trust him until the last moment.  So often we can’t see the forest for the trees until the last second and then it seems to become so clear.  Yet he sees the plan so clearly from the moment the world began.  He works in redemptive ways so that we will trust him more.  He provides for our needs so that we will trust him.  I often need that reminder in this journey of life.  I want to trust God more…I want to be connected to the vine…I want to drink from the stream that gives life.  I want to be in the shadow of the Almighty just as Topaz wants to be in my shadow.

A few weeks ago we were scheduled for our final fingerprinting appointment for immigration requirements.  These are a specialized method that requires you to travel to support centers to have fingerprints done on a computer.The closest center for us was in Nashville so we made a day of it.

We actually drove down the night before so that we would be there for our early appointment.  We enjoyed getting to visit Sunset Grill for their specialty nachos off the late menu.  This was a regular spot for us in college and it was really fun to relive our memories, not to mention the nachos are incredible!!!

We arrived a few minutes early so that we could make sure to find the place we were supposed to be.  The letter is intimidating and says that if you miss your appointment you will have to wait for another date to be assigned.  We didn’t want to have to make the trip twice.  We entered the office and gave some information and then each were taken back to have the fingerprints done.  It took about 15 minutes each and the lady complimented both of us saying we each had good “prints.”  Apparently our fingerprints rub off over time if we wash our hands a lot or have jobs that require a lot of use of our fingers.

We received the stamp of confirmation that fingerprinting is complete!  Now we wait for the authorization form that allows us to travel to pick up our child/children.

Since we were already in Nashville, we took the opportunity to visit Lipscomb, our alma mater.  We were blessed to catch up with several professors with whom we have always been close.

We ended the day with dinner with more college friends eating fabulous Ethiopian food!  (Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of dinner.)

The day was perfect!  I loved getting to spend the whole day with Mike and catching up with people we love!

Here are some pictures from the rest of our productive weekend.  On Sunday we planted the vegetable beds with the help of some of our friends, including Sara Matheny

We planted several with seeds, but also bought a few plants like lettuce, tomato and eggplant…

Our youth group kids came over Sunday night for small group and they were “eager” to help us shovel dirt.  Thankfully they helped us make another dent the HUGE pile…

Of course they couldn’t resist burying one of our beloved middle school students up to his neck…

We were able to turn the hard work into a competitive game with two teams and two trucks.  Each team was tasked to fill their truck with dirt and unload it in the designated areas.  First one to complete this task received SONIC giftcards.  That got them moving really quick!

I think they had a lot more fun than they thought they would and they were a TREMENDOUS help to us as it would have taken me several full days to move the amount of dirt they did in a little over an hour…

We even worked in a good story from Scripture by talking about the Parable of the Vineyard Workers in Matthew 20.  In the end we gave them ALL sonic gift cards to enjoy.  It was the least we could do for their good attitudes and generous, serving spirits.

Even after all that excitement the work wasn’t through yet.  I spent my day off on Monday putting out new grass seed in several low areas where the kids helped us spread dirt.  Then I strawed and watered them.  We’ve done our part…now we wait…to see the mystery of how God the Creator will grow it all.

Probably an appropriate analogy for where we are in this whole process too!  May God continue to grow His good fruit in all of us…

…maybe EVER!

So while we are waiting for our number to move closer and closer to 1 on the list, we have a lot of extra time on our hands, right? Haha! Okay maybe not, but we did have a very productive several days last weekend in our attempt to complete a few projects around the house.

It began Friday afternoon and evening when we constructed some raised vegetable garden beds.  We had never done this before so it was a fun and rewarding experience.  We ended up making a couple 3.5ft x 7ft box frames out of cypress wood.

Just making sure we cut our boards level…

Pre-drilling some holes for the sides of our garden beds…

Eventually it came together fairly well…

The next morning we resumed our “Amish Day” tradition with several other families. It is a day in which we all help one family with a few different work projects around their house.  We all pitch in and help accomplish some tasks that would be difficult to finish on our own.  Each month we rotate to a new family. Good fun. Good food. Good fellowship. And a lot of hard work!  We plan to post later an article authored by one of our friends, which better describes our Amish Day experience together.

So this month was our turn.  Here we are installing the vegetable garden beds…

And filling them with a whole lot of dirt…

Now we just need to do some planting…

Our friends helped us finish other projects too like trimming back a tree damaged by the ice storm last year.

Mulched our flower beds…

And put up a new storm door leading to the back deck…

And that was just Saturday during the day.  Outside of work projects we enjoyed Friday evening with some new friends, Steve & Cassie Moore who are also adopting from Ethiopia and had a great time Saturday night with our small group at our game night.

I’ll post about the second half of our weekend later. It’s hard to believe there was still more!

This is an email we received from our agency today.  I am so sad to hear the news about the situation with the failed adoption that has been on the news.  I DO NOT want to stand in judgement of this family even though I wish they would have taken different action because no one really knows what they may have went through.  However, this is just one situation which doesn’t mean that adoption is bad altogether.  Unfortunately, sometimes one bad situation can ruin it for everyone but there are precious children out there that need to come home to their forever families rather than be left in an institution where they are NEVER told that they are loved and special.  That just doesn’t seem like the solution.  Below is a link with a tangible way we can help and it only takes about 3 minutes.
Please consider signing the petition.
We Are The Truth – A Campaign and Call to Action!
Today at 5:51pm
The outrageous treatment of Artyem by his adoptive family has rightfully resulted in outrage by the Governments of Russia and the United States and all who care about children. The tragedy has cast a light on intercountry adoption that says it is not safe, the system failed and adopted children cause insurmountable problems. The heartbreak of Artyem Saviliev’s abandonment has once again elevated a singular incident to a level which may result in the suspension of intercountry adoption. Suspending adoption, even temporarily, will only cause thousands of children to suffer the debilitating effects of life in an orphanage.
You, the community of adoptees, adoptive parents, adoptive grandparents, child welfare professionals and child advocates know that the outrageous and indefensible actions of one parent are not indicative of how children are treated by adoptive families. You know that families who encounter difficulties do not simply abandon their child. You know that help is available, that solutions are found and that families can thrive. And you know that suspending adoption does not protect children but only subjects them to the depravity of an institution…and an entire life without a family.
You, the adoption community know the truth. You live the truth. You are the truth.
Join Joint Council’s campaign to bring the truth to light and help children in need find a permanent and safe family.
Check out detailed information on what you can do at http://www.jcics.org/Russia.htm

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  • RT @bobgoff: It's easier to talk about the weather than the storms in our lives. Deep is good; the shallow end isn't as safe as it looks. 2 years ago