And We Are Adopting From…..

AFRICA!!!

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We are thrilled to share this with you! We have been telling our family and friends over the past three weeks that this was the route we were taking, but to announce it to the blogging world is so exciting because it makes it feel so much more real! We can’t post online the name of the country for safety and privacy policies, but we can tell people in person or phone, so if you’re interested in more of the details, please let us know! I’d be happy to talk with you more about where!

Reality hit when we sent our amazing agency our initial fee for adoption!

Our next step in the process is to complete the home study. Thankfully, we had already started our home study paperwork with Christian Family Care and they are able to complete that with us! Once our home study is complete and submitted for approval we will begin the process of completing our dossier (a big pile of paperwork). Have I lost any of you yet! ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s a lot to take in for Jason and me at times, but as my friend reminded me today…”Keep the end in sight”. In a matter of 14 months we will have two beautiful children in our home that were once orphans but are now our sons/daughters. Every time I think about that my heart hurts a little and I’m not there to hold them, but thankfully God is at their side.

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Our next payments will total to be about $7,000. Once we are at that point we will be able to apply for grants to help cover some of the costs as well. Would you pray alongside of us that between now and February 21st the money for the second payment would be provided?

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Once Was Lost

Once Was Lost

I’ve been on a kick of trying to find creative ways to raise funds for our adoption now that we know what the numbers will be (BIG!). On Thursday, I was clicking around different blogs that I loosely follow and I found Once Was Lost. This is a gem of an online store/organization that raises awareness & finances for adoptive families and hungry children.

They sell cute shirts (for men & women), pillows, jewelry, bags, and scarves. FIFTY percent of all purchases go to support your requested affiliate and for every $25 spent a hungry child will be fed!

I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to see if they would be willing to add us to their affiliates and within hours our story was up on their website! Seeing our story and picture on their website was a reality check! Not only were Jason and I telling people via my blog and word of mouth, but now our story is up on a stranger’s website and people all over the nation and world are reading it! This just got real!

Each Monday for the next few weeks, I’m going to highlight an easy way for you to help us raise funds for our adoption and bring our children home! Today, if you have a few minutes, click over to the Once Was Lost store and see if there’s anything you could buy for a friend, sister, daughter, wife, or yourself. You can check out our story over there too. They have our most recent update! Exciting news (expect an update on here tomorrow)!

Our Family has Grown!

But not how you think….hehe

This past weekend we began the journey of adding a second dog to our family! Sadly, she will only be a temporary Wood. A friend that I knew from Cedar Falls was in need of a family to house their dog for a year as their “human” family embarked on a wild adventure to Thailand (here is their story). Jason and I gladly volunteered to watch Asha, a two-year old boxer, for however long they would need. We thought this would be good news for our Nora. Our pup has been bored with me since I’ve been staying home because she has learned that I am not her 24/7 playmate. She needed a friend and needed to have someone to play with her all the time!

Asha

Our new arrival came to our house Sunday afternoon and it started out a bit shaky. Nora was not sure what to think of this dog that invaded her space and took the attention away from her. The first two days Asha was here, Nora had a look of terror and abandonment on her face! And poor Asha was so confused about where she was and who these people were in this strange house. Asha, we learned quickly, would be the “boss” of Nora and Nora did not first know how to handle that “demotion”. We knew that it would only take time before things got better, although I will admit on Monday I doubted it!

Then Tuesday came along and surprisingly Nora did not cower every time Asha walked by…there was a win! And by Wednesday morning the two girls spent two hours in the backyard chasing each other and wrestling. To my delight, they came inside and slept the rest of the afternoon! Now there was a WIN!

playful dogs

In just a few short days Asha has stolen our hearts and Nora has found her new best friend. We are loving having two dogs! Thanks Shun-Luoi & Dawn for allowing us to love on your pup while you are away!

sleepy dogs

Quick Update on Adoption

I thought that I would send out a quick update on our adoption journey as a lot has changed since my last update about our process from over a month ago!

Well, in my post Letting Go of Perfect, I mentioned how we might be adopting from the foster care. To not to bore you with the details, that did not work out because the children we were interested were not available for us (that’s the short answer). God was redirecting us once again!

I will be going into a little more detail of how we came to where we are, but I wanted to let all 26 (it’s increased!) of my followers know that we are adopting internationally! ๐Ÿ™‚ God has moved our hearts in big ways through prayer, community, and His Word.

In the next two weeks I will be telling you where, who, and how you can help us bring home our family! This step of faith that Jason and I are taking will take a lot of prayer and help from our community! We are excited for what God is going to do and how He is going to care for the orphans in Tucson and around the world!

Until next time…

My One Word: Intentional

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“To be fully present with our families and with God, we have to choose to be intentional” is what I heard a wise woman say not too long ago. Those words could never have come at a more opportune time for me. 2012 was an emotional year and I did not choose intentionality. Instead I chose mindless activities to help me get through my tough days. Like so many others, I drowned my uncertainty and doubts in tv watching, eating, then exercising, and social media. Thankfully, God is a God of grace and mercy and He did not let me stay in my mess. And thankfully, I have a husband who cares enough to not let me sulk. I was not present very often with Jason last year because of how I was so focused on my infertility issues and my unmet desire to have children. The month of December was a month of discovery and repentance of my selfishness. I’ve come to realize that my desire for children is good, but right now God has called me to be a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter and a child of God. I am not a mom right now and that is okay! Through this process, I knew that 2013 needed to look different. I couldn’t put all of my energy and focus on something that I wasn’t. I needed to live with intentionality or else I was going to fall right back into the same rut. And more than likely, this will be my last year without anyone calling me “Mommy”. I want this year to help, not hinder the changes that will be coming soon.

So how will I live with intention in 2013? I’m limiting my tv time to only watching it with Jason. During all of the time that my day now has I’m planning on reading, cooking, sewing, blogging, creating a warm environment at home, and spending time with mom’s or watching their kids while they run errands, & resting in the Lord’s presence. That last one will be the hardest for me because I am not good at being “still”. My prayer is that through my intentional times of being “still“, God will begin to chip away at the junk that has been hanging on in my heart. I’ll also be memorizing Romans 1, 8, & 12 this year with Ann Voskamp‘s scripture memory group.

I am also wanting to be intentional with my marriage and my role as Jason’s wife. Each month I am planning on focusing on one aspect to improve my role as his wife (prayer, encouragement, service, intimacy, etc).

Some of my friends have asked what tools I’m using to help structure my day and the main tool that I’m using to help plan my day so that I am intentional is the Daily Docket from Simple Mom’s blog.

Choosing my 2013 word for the year was refreshing and energizing. I feel more focused and ready, but I also don’t feel overwhelmed with all that I have to do. So, I encourage you to spend some time praying over how God wants 2013 to look for you. How can you make this year a year that you can look back on and say that your relationship with God and with His people deepened? How can this be a year that you don’t feel frazzled and overwhelmed when December comes along? What boundaries need to be set up? What relationships should you pour into or what relationships should you pull back from? Are you spending too much time doing meaningless activities like I did? Who can you ask for help? Remember that God is a God of grace and mercy. He will reveal to you patterns in your life that need to be changed and He will help you through His Holy Spirit to make those changes happen.

Lamentations 3:21-25
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
โ€œThe Lord is my portion,โ€ says my soul,
โ€œtherefore I will hope in him.โ€
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.

A Holy Experience

My Favorite Blogs

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People often ask me what blogs I follow, so I thought that I would put a few of them up here on my blog. I follow all kinds of bloggers…homemaking, fitness, health, faith-based, DIY, etc. I hope that you will find some of these on your future favorites too!

In no particular order (other than I tried to group them in categories):

1. Keeper of the Home-This blog is full of healthy homemaking tips and natural remedies. The woman who manages this blog has written a few ebooks that I am currently enjoying that focus on meal planning.

2. Simple Mom-Tsh Oxenreider has composed a network of Simple Living blogs that I have been following for over two years now. This blog has everything you can think of: Recipes, Homeschooling ideas, parenting tips, budget tips, DIY, spiritual encouragement, design tips, etc.

3. Money Saving Mom-I just recently started following Chrystal Paine. I’m excited to glean more ideas on how to save money in our budget. This blog also has coupons for shopping and tips on how to find the best deals. It also seems that they give out deals for basic shopping needs often.

4. Passionate Homemaking-Another homemaking blog that I enjoy. Lindsay’s blog is filled with encouragement in being a mom, wife, and homemaker. I’ve learned a lot about natural ways to make house products, yummy healthy recipes, and ideas that I have tucked away for when I have little ones.

5. A Holy Experience-If you want to read something every day that will make you want to fall at the feet of Jesus more, cry for the broken, and laugh at the mundane of life-this is for you. I read her book “One Thousand Gifts” a year ago and am still chewing on her words of grace. This blog is more than a blog for me, it’s a daily breath of fresh air.

6. Missional Thoughts-This is my husband’s best friend’s blog…I’m getting brownie points here ๐Ÿ™‚ Josh’s blog is directed towards leaders and pastors, but it’s good thoughts for anyone and everyone in my opinion.

7. Inspired to Action-Kat’s blog inspired me to wake up in the morning and create a morning schedule for me when I first moved to Tucson after Jason and I married. Her blog & HelloMorning community helped me to get back on track in the Word and prayer.

8. Grace Covers Me-This is also a newer one that is in my reader. I will be reading her new book that is coming out this month and posting about it. She is a church planter’s wife and I have found her wisdom insightful even for me, a new elder’s wife.

9. Dreaming Big Dreams-Jamie Ivey is the wife of Aaron Ivey, the worship pastor of Austin Stone Community Church. She writes about adoption and life as a mom with humor and grace.

10. Jen Hatmaker-Jen is a pastor’s wife in Austin. Her blog posts make me laugh and cry all at the same time. Her passion for social justice and the gospel are inspiring. She wrote a book this past year called “7: A mutiny against excess” that challenged me in the way that I actually live my life and the way that I say I life my life.

11. #shereadstruth-This has been the way that I have been utilizing my quiet times the past two months.

12. Naptime Diaries-Jessie is a contributor to #shereadstruth and an artist and a pastor’s wife. She writes about blogging as a career, being a mom of soon to be 4 kids, and life in the midst of that.

13. Becoming Minimalist-I’ve been wanting to focus on living with less this year and this is one of the blogs that I am hoping will help me further that goal in 2013.

14. Lisa-Jo Baker-She’s just plain funny and encouraging all at the same time.

15. The Gospel Coalition-This a compilation of pastors/bloggers/reformed guys. I go over there from time to time to learn something.

16. (in)courage-This is another blog that has multiple writers. This is a place for women from all seasons of life to find a type of community and share their insights and experiences.

17. Crossfit Mamas-My best friend and I use these workouts for our time at the gym. We both love them because they are short and usually a KILLER!

18. Mark’s Daily Apple-This is a blog that Jason and I both follow for our paleo lifestyle. If you were ever curious about what Paleo is and how it’s beneficial-this is the place to check out!

19. Michael Hyatt-Jason follows this more than I do, but Hyatt speaks on leadership, business, marriage, ministry, etc. He’s developed or shared a lot of tools that Jason and I now use to help us plan, set goals, and manage our daily rhythms.

20. Authentic Manhood-I don’t follow this, but my husband does…so if there are any guys that are looking at this-you’ll like this one!

I hope that from this list, you can find a few that you will add to your reading list!