Five Minute Friday: Rhythm

Rhythm.

Can I pause for a moment and say how I will never spell rhythm correctly the first time and I’m lucky if I spell it correctly the second time. English language, you baffle me sometimes.

There has been a rhythm to my life lately that has felt foreign. Life has surprisingly sped up in a season where I was anticipating a slow down. The longer I live this grown-up life, the more I realize my perceived need to control the cadence of my life with little regard to the freedom I have to dance in good plans of Christ.

Adoption does that to you, people. It makes you feel crazy and steady all at the same time. There are days you wonder if what you’re doing matters or if it will come to fruition and then the days come that are filled with a joyful music that bring peace, expectancy, and hope. It’s a matter of finding the rhythm of life in the already, but not yet time of being united as a family.

I long for the days I didn’t feel so tightly wound and wonder how do you loosen up when the answers are coming?  The steady pace of life I crave to step into seems impossible after a long season of running and gathering, with no end in sight? How does one find the beat again?

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Daring to be quiet and let the Word of God pour over my heart without worrying about what the clock says.

Sitting on our red adirondack chairs talking about life and dreaming again with my loved ones.

Planning a schedule that gives fluidity, but also structure so the Master of the Rhythm can teach me how to sway again to His rhythm that brings life and peace.

For those of us who feel harried and out-of-rhthym, let’s go to our Creator who sets all things in place for His good purpose.

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STOP

5minutefriday

Today I’m joining Lisa-Jo Baker  {for the first time}and a wonderful community of ladies for Five Minute Friday. Join us?

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Thank You!

thank you

Our Thirty-One Fundraiser ended yesterday! The fundraiser went better than I was anticipating! We brought in $425 for our adoption fees. I just wanted to say thank you to all who shared our fundraiser, purchased product, and prayed for us!

We are getting closer and closer to reaching our next goal of $21,700! We have raised roughly $5,000 so far. I know that it seems like we have a long way to go (we do!), but we are tired and know that we are in need of taking a fundraising sabbath. The timing of our exhaustion works out well since we will be heading on vacation one week from today!

Thank you all for hanging in with us as we continue to wait for the day our girls are in our arms!

 

ps-If you’re interested in donating a tax-deductible gift at anytime, we are partnering with AdoptTogether. Here is our website: www.adopttogether.org/woodadoption/

I’m Over at Dreaming Big Dreams

Today I’m guest posting at Jamie Ivey’s blog, Dreaming Big Dreams. Jamie is the wife of the Austin Stone Community Church‘s worship pastor. She has been doing a Monday series of where and why friends (and blog followers) of hers adopt. Here is a little snippet and I hope you’ll jump over to Jamie’s blog to read the rest of our story.

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Pray. Take a step. Listen to your desires. Trust God.

 

My husband and I are on our first adoption journey of probably many. And I don’t say that because this specific journey has been easy, or even fun. It’s been hard. It’s been refining, yet there is a deep change happening in our souls. God is breaking our hearts for the orphan and He is cutting through and destroying my control idol.

 

Eight months ago, we decided to embark on this crazy road of adoption. We had been trying to conceive for a year with no success. We knew that God had called us to adopt sometime in our life, so we thought that this was that time.

Continue reading here

 

From the Cornfields of Iowa to the Desert of Arizona

Today the ladies involved with the Influence Network are sharing a bit about where we grew up, and where we currently live! Since the Network is “home” to women from all across the globe, this is a fun way to make the world a little smaller. So here’s a bit about where I’m from…

corn fields of iowa

The beautiful cornfields of Iowa…just seeing this makes my heart sigh a little

I grew up in the eastern rural cornfields (and hog land) of Iowa. I was actually born in Dyersville, Iowa. If there are any fans of baseball movies, that is where “Field of Dreams” was filmed. To this day you can still go to the baseball field and play a pick up game of baseball. My parents were teachers in a small town near Dyersville that didn’t have a hospital…teeny tiny town. I think Cascade was a booming 1200 at that time! I loved growing up in Cascade. We lived in a neighborhood FILLED with children my age & my sisters’ age, so summer nights were spent playing kick the can, going to the river, riding bikes, and any other outdoor game you can think of. It was the quintessential childhood in many ways.

The Field of Dreams field still stands and operates today!

The Field of Dreams field still stands and operates today!

When I was 12, my parents decided that we needed to make a change. So they packed up their four kids (12, 9, 5, & 2) and moved us to Southern Iowa…a totally different world to us. A land that actually had Iowa State Cyclone Fans!!! Booo….Hiss… But it was there that I learned that Cyclone fans are not evil, like many of my Iowa Hawkeye friends had believed! This little farming community was actually not too different from Cascade, except that it was about three times the size (so that would still make it teeny tiny to most people :)) The people were kind and took us under their wings as we adjusted to life in a new community. It was there that I met many of my best friends and where I finally came out of my super shy shell.

christmas in albia

Albia goes all out for Christmas decorations each year!

One of my very best friends Katy...she was in my wedding...and we did EVERYTHING together

One of my very best friends Katy…she was in my wedding…and we did EVERYTHING together

After graduating from high school, I ventured back to North Eastern Iowa. I attended the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) in Cedar Falls. CF is still one of my favorite places in the world. I lived there for a total of 8 years. I thought after college I would be headed out into the world, but God had different plans and kept me there a little longer than I would have planned. I lived and worked in Cedar Falls until I met my husband, 4 years after graduation. 8 months after meeting my husband, I was whisked away to a land unlike anything I’d ever experienced.

UNI's campus on the edge of town...it's changed a lot since then but it's still one of the prettiest campuses I've been to

UNI’s campus on the edge of town…it’s changed a lot since then but it’s still one of the prettiest campuses I’ve been to

The River Walk in downtown Cedar Falls. Another favorite spot of mine that I was able to share with Jason

The River Walk in downtown Cedar Falls. Another favorite spot of mine that I was able to share with Jason

The Hot, Dry Desert of Arizona.

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Tucson has been my home now for two and a half years. Those first 8-10 months living here were brutal. I thought it was so ugly because there was no grass, no water, and hardly ever any clouds or weather changes. The weather changes in Tucson are kinda warm, warm, hot and hotter…with a monsoon season thrown in there to give you a little reprieve. I felt like I had moved to a different country! I loved being able to see fields of green and watch the corn grow.

I love the fall football season in the Midwest and I was just confused by it here…it was still pushing 100 near the end of football season! What?! I was also not use to the size of the city! The biggest city I had ever lived in prior to Tucson was 30,000 and Tucson is approximately ONE MILLION! I was accustomed to going to the grocery store and running into countless people I knew or heading to Panera for some alone time and end up staying hours later because an old friend walked in. Nothing was familiar. I knew NO ONE in the entire state of Arizona.. Needless to say, I struggled to transition.

We love hiking the trails in Tucson!

We love hiking the trails in Tucson!

But then God started to do a work in my heart and opened my eyes to the stunning sunsets and sunrises. I began to see the beauty of the desert and now I can freely say that I love living in Tucson…even when the high today will be 110. We love hiking the trails and seeing the mountains every day. I’m not sure if I would be able to say that I love Tucson as much as I do if we hadn’t found our church community. The people that we have met have become an extension of our family and I am truly grateful. Tucson has taught me much more about myself and the world around me.

Driving up to the top of Mt. Lemmon takes less than an hour & it's typically cooler and has gorgeous views of the city

Driving up to the top of Mt. Lemmon takes less than an hour & it’s typically cooler and has gorgeous views of the city

A small town girl moved to a town of one million…and she was forever changed.

 

And I’m actually getting on a plane to fly back to Iowa in two hours! Better go pack!

This One’s Going to be Random…

I really should be washing the piles of dishes accumulating in my sink, but instead I chose to sit down, type out a few words, and drink some iced coffee from a mason jar.

iced coffee

I’m on day 3  of 6 of baby-sitting for a friend and I. AM. TIRED. My little friends are wonderful and great kids, but whoosh am I not used to that pace of life yet! Caring for a 2.5 & 14 month old is busy! Today as I was reading to one of the kiddos, I realized that the ages of G & M are almost identical to the ages of my friends’ kids (if their documentation is correct). Life will change dramatically when they come home and I can’t wait for it!

In two and a half weeks, the husband and I are hitting the road for two weeks to drive up to Northern California to visit wineries, friends, and enjoy time away. Any tips for long car rides? We like reading books to one another. On our last big road trip, we read almost three of the Harry Potter books. We may try to finish the series on the road, but we are open to other ideas.

Last week, I signed up for a blogging class for the month of July with Blogelina. Included in the class is a year of free web-hosting, so this site may be changing a lot in the near future. I’m really excited to see what God will do with this little blog. I’ve been brainstorming ideas for a new name. If you have any ideas, I’d love to throw them in the pot! My husband has been trying to have me sit down to do a day of brainstorming for the blog…maybe that will finally happen this week!

This past Saturday I had a small Thirty-One party to raise some funds for our adoption. Thank you to all who came and purchased some products! It was fun sharing with people our heart for adoption and even in the midst of the trials how God is changing our hearts and revealing to us more of His heart for orphans and families. Orphan care and sustainable living in third world countries has definitely been ruminating in our hearts lately. We’re looking forward to how God will continue to grow that passion and vision in our lives. This week I am finally picking up Orphan Justice: how to care for orphans beyond adoption by Johnny Carr. It should be a good read and I’m ready to learn more about how to love and care for the 98% of orphans who are never adopted or have families to call their own.

We still have A LOT of funds to raise for our adoption, but I’m pretty worn out from fundraising and I’m pretty sure my social media friends are tired of me saying stuff about it online. After the Thirty-One fundraiser, we’re taking a break from fundraising until we get back from vacation. If you’re interested in helping out during that time, there is a link on the upper right-hand corner (says donate now) that you can click and it will send you to our tax-deductible donation account. Other than that, we’d just appreciate your prayers for our girls, the process, and our funding.

This summer I’m re-reading a book called Bread & Wine with some friends and once a month we are going to get together for dinner and make some of the dishes in the book. I’m looking forward to cultivating community with women over the table and in homes. There is something special about sharing a meal and sharing your heart with women who have walked different journeys.

It’s really hot in Tucson now…like REALLY hot. I’m glad that I’ll be getting a break from it for 3 days while I’m on a quick trip to watch my brother play baseball in Iowa.

it's hot

One last random thought…this weekend I bought a new mop. And it’s awesome. That’s all.

Have a great week friends!

The Fullness of Your Schedule Doesn’t Define You

Seasons in life come and go. They can be short or they can be long. Usually you don’t recognize you’ve entered into a new season until weeks in and sometimes you know months in advance.

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I foresaw my new season of change just under a year ago. I just didn’t know what it would look like. Last September, I left my job as a personal trainer so that I could stay home and focus my attention on caring for my husband and our home. I was aware of the new season, but I thought it would be short. I assumed I would be pregnant or welcoming home a child through adoption within the year of leaving my position. Little did I know that God would be teaching me a great lesson on waiting and patience (but that’s for a different post).

Busyness has been my nature for the majority of my life. If my hands or mind were moving at the speed of light to get somewhere, meet with someone, or write something, then I was truly making a difference in the world and “living my life”. The past six months have been full for me, but not busy and not entirely world-changing. I don’t have little feet to chase around. I don’t have workouts to write-up for my clients or nutritional advice to hand out. I’m not helping out with any community service projects. To the outsider looking in on my life, some would think that I’m not busy enough…in a world that takes pride in busyness.

I follow many blogs and lately there has been a trend of posts speaking on how to balance all of the spinning plates that women have in their lives. I’ve noticed twinges of guilt and questions of “am I doing enough?” when I read those words because right now my plates are few.

busy-full-calendar

Today, I’m taking a stand against the culture of busyness. I’m believing the truth that my identity does not revolve around the fullness of my schedule, but the fullness of my heart in Christ. This season of my life may be unlike any other season I will ever walk again. I know that motherhood won’t be a part of my life for almost a year. I know that I’m not taking a new job to fill that time. So the question remains…how will I live in this season of quiet and low responsibilities?

Will I waste this season by looking too far in advance? Will I make my hands busy with useless things so that I can say I’m busy?

Or will I see the blessing of having a string of days with no solid plan and use those days to glorify God through loving and serving my husband and praying for my little girls half a world away? I’d like to say I will do the later, but it will only be by the grace of God changing my heart…daily….hourly….okay, every second!

What season of life are you in? Are you fully embracing it or are you wishing it away? Will you take a stand against being busy for the sake of being busy?

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Join me?

 

Today I linked up with She Does Justice

Live Your Story

Do You Like Bags? Do You Want to Help Bring Home Our Girls? {I Have Your Solution!}

31 logo

I’ve heard of the direct sales company, Thirty-One, for quite some time now. My mom LOVES their product (along with all of her teacher friends) and she would buy me product for Christmas, my birthday, or just because. I currently have a purse, a weekend bag, a utility tote, and TONS of stationary. I always enjoyed the product, but I became a believer after this Christmas when mom bought me a weekender bag. I’ve used that bag for every flight that I’ve taken since and it always fits in the overhead compartment with no problem, even though I stuff that thing to the max (and it hasn’t even shown a sign of wear or tear). And I love that I can personalize each bag I have with my name, initials, or a fun phrase! I know that many of my friends also use their product for diaper bags or toy organizers.

My Retro Metro Weekender Bag (even has a cool name)

My Retro Metro Weekender Bag (even has a cool name)

A few months ago, I was perusing the internet for  fundraisers Jason and I could do for our adoption. You can read about our story here and here. I came across a massive list of fundraising ideas and on that list a woman (Anne Little) was mentioned who is a Thirty-One consultant, but sends all of the proceeds she makes for her parties to adoptive families. Knowing how much my family and friends back home love Thirty-One products and knowing that it would be an easy way for them to get involved in bringing home our girls, I emailed Anne. We scheduled a 20 day Thirty-One party in June where all of the proceeds will go to bringing home Baby G & Baby M!

This Inside-Out Bag is super cute!

This Inside-Out Bag is super cute!

Our shop opened this past Saturday, on June 1st and will continue until June 19th. To shop go to this link https://www.mythirtyone.com/AnneLittle/, click “My Parties” and shop under “Wood Family Adoption Fundraiser”. The June special this month for Thirty-One is for every $35 spent, you can purchase a utility tote for $10!!!

A super fun color for the summer trips to the pool and beach! {there are lots of other print choices too if you don't like this one}

A super fun color for the summer trips to the pool and beach! {there are lots of other print choices too if you don’t like this one}

My goal is that in the next 14 days, we will raise $1250 for our adoption. Which means that $5000 of product will need to be sold! Would you consider shopping at Thirty-One, sharing this post on Facebook and Twitter, and praying for us and our little girls as we continue to raise funds to bring them home?

Thanks so much!! Happy Shopping!

{one more thing}

If you live in Tucson…stop by my house this Saturday (June 8th) from 1-3pm to eat some yummy food, order Thirty-One product, and hear more about our adoption story…you’d also get to see some cute pictures! 🙂 Email me at sarah.amelia.wood@gmail.com if you’d like to hang out!