Don’t Forget!

This past weekend I traveled to Indianapolis for a conference! Don’t forget to subscribe to my new blog (if you haven’t already) so that you can continue following the big kingdom story that God has written for this plain + small gal! I have a new post on the blog that attempts to share my first thoughts on what I learned this weekend. I’d love to see you over there

Plain + Small

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I’ve Moved!!!

My husband and I have been hard at work (ok…just Jason really) putting together a new website for my blog. This little space was just the start of what I hoped to be a growing passion of sharing my heart through the written word. I’ve decided to move to a new site so that I can have my own domain & a little more control with my website.

I’ve also renamed my blog to Plain + Small. I will share more next week on why I made the change, but for now hop on over to sarahamelia.net! There’s some BIG BIG news over there that I don’t want you to miss out on! Make sure to subscribe to the new blog as well, so that you don’t miss out on any post!

Plain + Small

Jesus, our Hope & Anchor

I recently added this app to my phone so that when I wake up in the morning and when I lay my head down to sleep, I can read deep truths from scripture, interpreted by the wise theologian Charles Spurgeon. This morning’s truth was deeply moving for me and I want to share it with you all as you walk into the weekend. Maybe you had a rough week, or are having a difficult season. Maybe you are bracing yourself for a tedious Autumn, filled with unknowns and too many things. Read these words of wisdom this morning and let your heart rest in our Anchor, Jesus.

charles spurgeon

“Jesus was the Lord High Admiral of the sea that night, and his presence preserved the whole convoy. It is well to sail with Jesus, even though it be in a little ship. When we sail in Christ’s company, we may not make sure of fair weather, for great storms may toss the vessel which carries the Lord himself, and we must not expect to find the sea less boisterous around our little boat. If we go with Jesus we must be content to fare as he fares; and when the waves are rough to him, they will be rough to us. It is by tempest and tossing that we shall come to land, as he did before us.
When the storm swept over Galilee’s dark lake all faces gathered blackness, and all hearts dreaded shipwreck. When all creature help was useless, the slumbering Saviour arose, and with a word, transformed the riot of the tempest into the deep quiet of a calm; then were the little vessels at rest as well as that which carried the Lord. Jesus is the star of the sea; and though there be sorrow upon the sea, when Jesus is on it there is joy too. May our hearts make Jesus their anchor, their rudder, their lighthouse, their life-boat, and their harbour. His Church is the Admiral’s flagship, let us attend her movements, and cheer her officers with our presence. He himself is the great attraction; let us follow ever in his wake, mark his signals, steer by his chart, and never fear while he is within hail. Not one ship in the convoy shall suffer wreck; the great Commodore will steer every barque in safety to the desired haven. By faith we will slip our cable for another day’s cruise, and sail forth with Jesus into a sea of tribulation. Winds and waves will not spare us, but they all obey him; and, therefore, whatever squalls may occur without, faith shall feel a blessed calm within. He is ever in the centre of the weather-beaten company: let us rejoice in him. His vessel has reached the haven, and so shall ours.” – Charles Spurgeon (Mark 4:36)

Ahhh! So much good truth here for us all to meditate on.

Sisters, may our hearts make Jesus our anchor, rudder, lighthouse, life-boat and harbor.

Next week I will be sharing more about my current realization of just how much I need Jesus to direct & protect my little ship. There’s been a lot of life happening in our household that I think I am finally ready to share with you!

The Influence Conference is 2.5 weeks!

At the beginning of this year, I committed myself to being more diligent with this little blog space that I call mine. Over the past 9 months, I’ve seen small steps in learning more about writing, WordPress, and the blogging world in general. One of the biggest highlights that has come from my new adventure of joining up with the Influence Network. If you’ve followed my blog for anytime now, you may have seen me mention the Network.

influence network

What is the Influence Network?

THE INFLUENCE NETWORK is for creatively minded women, who are looking for an uplifting community where they can be encouraged and also resourced to make their online lives mean something. 

I have loved taking the monthly classes on all things from blogging to spiritual growth to personality types. I’ve been so thankful for the relationships that have started to bud from this little Network of women. I’m encouraged every time I hop on to the Influence forum to see other women encouraging each other in their business, family life, and faith.

In almost TWO weeks the Influence Network will be hosting their second conference ever and I am SO EXCITED to attend it! This will be my first blogging conference and my first conference where I won’t know any one else by face…I know many of them by their blogs 🙂 It will also be my first women’s only conference…a lot of firsts for me in the coming weeks!

This is the beautiful hotel that we will be having our conference at!

This is the beautiful hotel that we will be having our conference!

I will be boarding a plane two weeks from tomorrow to spend 4.5 days in Indianapolis with like-minded sisters and very talented bloggers/writers! There are so many things that I am looking forward to, but to keep it short, here are 3 (I just can’t keep it to 2!):

1. My roommates! Lindsy Wallace, Lauren Mills, & Amanda are all super talented bloggers and I’m blessed to be able to room with them over the weekend.

2. Like-Minded Community. I still feel uncomfortable talking about my blog and my passion for writing with my in-real life community because I struggle with feeling inadequate and “not there yet”. I’m looking forward to talking “shop” with people about how to make my online life mean more and be more of an encouragement.

3. Spending time in the Midwest during the Fall season! I LOVE Fall. It’s one of the hardest things about living in the Southwest. I’m so excited to go to a place where some of the leaves will be changing colors and the temps will be cooler.

With our link-up for today, I’m also supposed to share what I’ll be packing in my bag for the conference 🙂 If any of you know me well, you know that I’m a low-fuss girl, so here is what I’ll make sure I have in my bag:

1) My running shoes. I’m looking forward to taking a run in the Autumn weather (see point 3 above) and supposedly my husband and I are going to be training for a sprint triathlon (I have such a hard time spelling that word) so I need to keep up the training! Any of you ladies want to take a run with me?!

2) My photos of my two girls. I’m hoping to show off their beautiful faces every chance I can take! There are a lot of moms who have adopted, are adopting, or love adoption at this conference and I know many of them will love to hear our story.

As you can see, I’m thrilled to be headed to the Influence Conference! I won’t lie, this introvert is nervous about it too. But I won’t let that get the best of me 🙂

Small Change for G & M!!

Many of you may have seen my Facebook, twitter, and Instagram photos of the new fundraiser that Jason and I have started. For those of you who don’t follow me on any of those social media avenues, here is what this little fundraiser is all about!

For the next four weeks we are asking people to fill a jar, mug, baggie, shoe…anything that can hold change…with your spare change from the end of the day. A few months ago I made a coin jar out of a mason jar with the outline of Africa. We’ve been filling it up with our loose change and cash ever since. I thought that this might be an easy way for an entire family to be a part of helping bring home our little girls.

If you want to make a jar here are the easy-peesy steps to make it happen:

Items needed: mason jar, sharpie, Africa cut-out, chalkboard paint, small paintbrush

1. Find a mason jar at a grocery store or in your cabinet

2. Print off an outline of Africa from the internet. I downloaded this outline and resized it to fit my jar.

3. Grab a sharpie and outline the continent.

4. Use a small paintbrush and paint inside the outline.

5. Let it dry and you now have your own Africa coin jar!!

photo-7

 

On Monday, September 16th dump out all the change and count it with your little ones (or you can do it on your own :)) and take it to the bank. As a way to help you out, I’m asking you to donate your change to our online tax-deductible account with AdoptTogether. Once the spare change is in your bank account, you can go online and donate your change to our account! If you do want to give us the change, you can mail a check or if you live in Tucson, give it to me in person.

adoptTogether

Our hope and prayer with this simple fundraiser is that more people will hear about how God is working in our lives and in the lives of our children on the other side of the world. Please share this post with your friends, family, co-workers, etc. We want God to receive the Glory in giving our small change to help make BIG changes for our little girls who are waiting for their mommy and daddy to come take them home to a forever family!

As a side note, we received new pictures yesterday of G & M! oh. my. heart. They are getting so big and they are SO beautiful! The change in their pictures from February to now is unreal. I am thankful every day that we have the ability to provide food, medicine, supplements, and clothing for our girls through their foster home while we all wait to be united!

Keep praying that we pass court by September!

And start filling up those jars!!

Thank you from the bottom of this mama’s heart!

what’s it really like for our waiting family?

waiting-for-you

Yesterday Ashleigh wrote a great post on what’s it really like for their family as an adoptive family. It made me start thinking about what is it really like for families that are waiting to bring home their little ones.

I get the questions, “Any adoption update?” or “How can you guys handle not knowing when the girls will come home?” ALL. OF. THE. TIME.

And I totally get it too. There’s really not much else to ask sometimes and I have great friends and family who want to show us they care. Often, though, the questions are hard to answer day after day. Most of the time, my heart is at a place where I can handle all the questions and truly enjoy answering them.

Last week was not one of those times and I’m thankful that I didn’t run into many people or else they may have seen a weepy, exhausted waiting mom and worry that I was going crazy!

When we get the question, “How can you guys handle not knowing when you’re getting your girls?”, I’m not always sure how to answer it. It’s hard to fully elaborate on because it would take me a half hour to explain all the ways God has shown us His goodness in this wait….most people don’t have a half hour and I often don’t have the emotional capacity to dive into it so I answer, “We know that God is in control.” Which is all very true, but there’s so much more to it.

We can wait because life still goes on here and now. We have people to meet with, responsibilities to uphold, bills to pay, and a life to live.

We can wait because we know that God loves our little girls more than we could ever imagine and He is caring for them on the other side of the world.

We can handle not knowing because there is absolutely nothing I can do to make this season go by any faster even though I wish I could fly over there and demand my paperwork be approved!

We can wait because we have an amazing community of people that surround us and pray for us. Just last night we had some friends over and before they left they prayed over our adoption and prayed specifically for our girls. I was in tears hearing a friend lift up our daughters in such a heartfelt way to our Heavenly Father. (If you have the opportunity, pray for your friends who are adopting WITH them. It is so deeply encouraging)

And finally we can wait in a very practical way because we still are gathering all of the finances for our adoption to be fully funded.

What can you do if you are a friend of a waiting mommy (and daddy)? Pray with them, spend fun time with them to help them take their mind off all the things they have no control over, and be sensitive to the questions you ask (it’s a good idea to ask if it’s okay to ask about the adoption process).

What’s it really like to be a waiting mama? It’s just like normal life, except you have a gaping hole in your heart that has been taken to the other side of the world.

This is a guest post I wrote for Mercy Found Ministries. An online ministry called to encourage and come alongside families in any stage of adoption.

life lately: crazy

How do you come down off of a crazy week? I’m in the process of that today…

Last week was absolute craziness for our little family of two. We went from 0-4 kids and thankfully when their grandparents picked them up yesterday, they were still alive and they still loved us (and we were still breathing)! Our time parenting 4 kids under the age of 8 gave us a whole new perspective of and gratefulness for our parents and our friends with kiddos! Jason asked me one night if I will always be this tired when we have kids. I told him that I hoped not, but it was highly likely for at least a season. Not sure if he liked that response…

We were so tired on Friday that we decided to treat them to DD instead of cook breakfast! Point for the Wood's for being awesome!

We were so tired on Friday that we decided to treat them to DD instead of cook breakfast! Point for the Wood’s for being awesome!

Today as I’m catching up on all the things around our house, I’m realizing how grateful I am for this season of just Jason & I. Tomorrow I’m sharing more about the struggles of waiting for our girls to come home, but today I’m thankful for the blessings of this season. We can sleep more, leave more often without packing up the house, and we have more quiet.

Speaking of quiet, as an introvert and a highly sensitive person (HSP-I keep saying I’m going to blog about that one day…) noise affects my ability to function well. I know that as a mom life will not be quiet, but I’m finding blogs of other moms who consider themselves HSP’s to help me find ways to balance home life so that both mom and kids are happy. 🙂

This week I also embark on another short term endeavor! I was asked by an old friend to help them get back into shape for an event over the next 4 weeks. I will be putting on my old personal training cap and be making a lady sweat for an hour three days a week! I’m excited to do this, but also nervous as it’s been almost a year since I’ve trained someone.

This week as I come down off of a full week, I’m hoping to find a little quiet, but I know that this season is just going to be a busy one. So, I’ll ask again-how do you find peace after a crazy season or week?

I’m taking notes…

Today I’m linking up with Wild & Precious’s Life Lately link-up party!