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!!

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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.

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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!

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Life Lately: Monday Edition

Today I’m linking up with Blaire at Wild & Precious 

Last week was a blur of movement but it also felt like it moved at a snail pace. Do you ever have weeks like that?

All week long I was waiting for an email with photo updates of our girls because I knew that they were supposed to be on their way. I was seeing other adopting mamas announce that they received their pictures and every day I was disappointed to not hear that notification on my email. It’s been three months since we’ve seen their faces and I wonder how big they have grown and whether baby M has hair! I know that many adopting parents don’t get any photo updates and I am thankful that we have had three different sets, but it’s hard when you know that it’s supposed to be coming but never does. I  let the disappointment control my outlook on life last week, which caused a lot of hurt to fester. I was grumpy and weepy all week, not the way that I want to live my life. Today, I’m committing to be thankful for the gifts I have with me now and to not hit the refresh button on my iPhone email as often.

Last week I also started helping an old friend jump start their workout routine before she travels to Europe for vacation. It has been fun creating workouts and encouraging her to reach her goals. It also felt good to know that I can still kick butt! Many of my old clients used to look at me and think that I looked too nice, but as one of my clients from Iowa once said…”Behind that pretty smile is a devilish desire to make you feel pain”. At least I do it with a smile right? 🙂

We are well on our way to completing the renovation in our third bedroom! Painting the room white and laying flooring has done wonders in making the space feel roomier and calming. I can’t wait to start decorating it to be our guest/office room. As of right now it’s just a toy room for all the children we have in our house on a weekly basis (and it’s the dogs’ room too). We are still deciding on the color scheme…any ideas?

bedroom renovation

The Fall catalog for Thirty-One came in the mail and I’m excited to share their Fall line with people. The prints are fun and the new styles of bags are beautiful and practical. If you want to host a party (catalog or “real life”) contact me through my website: http://www.mythirtyone.com/sarahwood

A few months ago Jason and I began sponsoring a child through Amazima ministries in Uganda. If you’ve ever read Kisses from Katie, this is her ministry. Our sponsorship will provide a year of schooling, three meals a day, clothes, medical care, Christian mentorship and much more for a child in Jinja. In Wednesday’s mail I received quite the gift from Amazima! We were given a picture of one of the boys in the school plus a handwritten note and picture that he wrote for us. Even though we didn’t receive pictures of our girls last week, having that picture on our fridge makes me smile every time. Knowing that we are helping bring redemption back into a poverty-stricken community makes me want to sponsor every single child. If you’re interested in sponsoring a child through Amazima, click on this link. It’s only $25/month!

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This week will be filled with more dinner dates, 31 parties, and what I’m most looking forward to….Missional Community! Jason and I are missional community leaders and host about 20 adults in our home every week. We love opening our home and our lives to live life in community with people from our church. We are praying that this season will be filled with hearts being changed, gospel stories, and many more memories made around the dinner table.

What has your life looked like lately?

what’s it really like for our waiting family?

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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!

 

Last Week in Pictures

Right now I am sitting on a couch helping a 4 year old play my iPhone games. For the next week, Jason and I have moved into our friends’ house to watch their children while they travel to Ethiopia to meet the new son and have their court date to officially add another kiddo to their brood! My heart is full and excited for them to spend time getting to know him but also sad because I know that they will have to fly back to America without him this time around (Ethiopia’s adoption program has the family fly twice).

With watching 4 busy children this week, I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to write, so who knows how many posts will pop up on here over the next week.

All I have time for today is a little recap of last week & this weekend. It was a full week of dinner with friends, a wedding, and so much more.

IMG_1463I got this book in the mail last week and I think that it will be a perfect read for this ever-increasing season of living in the in-between. I’m really wanting to learn how to wait well and see growth in my character through this season. I’m taking a writing class that Jeff Goins has put together and I have loved learning from him, so I’m excited to read his writing.

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My Thirty-One enrollment kit came in the mail! I’ve already booked three parties for the month of August and am hopefully well on to my first goal as a consultant. I wasn’t sure how I would really like doing this, but I’ve found that it’s been fun. It helps when people love Thirty-One bags already and want to host parties! If you’re interested in hosting, just shoot me an email.

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 I love the purse that came with the kit, it was super handy for this…

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Some friends from church were married on Friday night. I love weddings, especially as a married woman now because it reminds me of the fun and joy of our wedding day (and I’m thankful that I won’t have to go through a crazy season like that again!).

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Saturday was major project day in the Wood household! I spent the day painting our third bedroom with a friend while Jason cooked all of our meals for the week (yes, Jason makes all of our meals…that’s a post for another day!) We decided to paint the walls white for a more clean and simple looks so that I could accent any color. And I’m so glad that we did it! We will be painting the girls’ room white as well. We got our paint at Home Depot and it’s called Falling Snow from Behr.

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The morning sun coming through the window gives the room such a soft, quiet feel. I’m going to love having this place as my writing office!

Well, that’s how our week looked in pictures! One of the boys is currently doing single-armed push ups…he wants to grow up to be strong like his daddy! I think a day of riding bikes and playing in the backyard is in order!

Have a great week!

Five Minute Friday: Story

Five Minute Friday is an idea birthed by the lovely Lisa-Jo Baker. The goal is to sit down at your computer and just write for 5 minutes on the word of the day. Today’s word is Story. If you want to join in, just write your post and link up to her website. Make sure to read the person post before yours.

So here I go…

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START

We all have a story to share. Some of our stories will bring us to tears, while others bring much laughter and nostalgia. Our story is who we are. It reveals our past, our present and gives hints to what our future will bring.

Our personal stories tend to play out much different in real life than they do in our imagination. I know my story looks nothing like how I pictured it as a 16 year old girl. By now I thought I’d experience pregnancy and childbirth, instead I’ve experience infertility and miscarriages. BUT what I didn’t think would be a part of my story was adoption. And how much more beautiful is that?!

That’s the beauty of it though. We can never anticipate how our story will be written. We can only live out our story with the faith that in the end it will all be a beautiful mess that we can pass down to our children, grandchildren, and those we meet along the way. Our stories are our testimonies to how God works in our lives. Whether we see Him in the pain of a season or see Him in the joy determines our outlook on the tapestry of life. What a beautiful piece of work God is doing in your life!

Today, think through all of the milestones and not-so-milestones of your life. How has God knitted that all together to create a beautiful story? Now share that with someone and witness the gift that brings to you and your listener.

STOP

four lessons on transitioning well

Anyone who knows me well knows that I struggle to transition into different life stages. This was not always the case. My mom recalls my first day of kindergarten with no tears and no looking back. When I moved into my first dorm in college, I nearly pushed my parents out the door. I loved new seasons and all of the new experiences.

Then I moved across the country. I thought it would be the same experience.

I was wrong.

My husband and I were married on January 1, 2011. I woke up the next day and burst into tears!! My poor new husband didn’t know what was wrong with his brand new wife and I couldn’t explain what I was feeling.

Looking back, I know that I was feeling all of the losses I was about to endure in the next few days and months. You see, we were meeting our family for breakfast, opening presents, and then we were moving away from everything I knew…to Arizona of all places.

the day after our wedding

the day after our wedding

I knew this move was good (Jason had a job!), but at that moment all I could think about was the loss of my last name, my city I’d lived in for 8 years, my friends and family, and my comfort. The only thing that settled me down was a trip to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears in the playoff game (that would make any day better).

All in all, I was a mess.

When we arrived in Arizona, I felt disconnected and lost. I cried EVERY SINGLE day for 6 months. I was always talking about when we could move back and how I just couldn’t do this anymore (poor husband…a word to new brides-don’t do that). I hadn’t prepared my heart for this transition. I was too busy preparing for our wedding.

For those of you who are facing transition or are in the midst of transition, I want to pass on the some words of encouragement to possibly give you some hope and help.

1. Give yourself grace and prepare your heart. Right now you may be preparing to make a move, get married, have a baby and it can consume your time. Don’t let it. Give yourself the time to seek the Lord in preparing your heart for what He has to teach you in your upcoming transition. Enjoy the season that you are in right now, embrace the gifts you have been given in your current season. I had made myself too busy to spend quality time with the friends and family I was leaving. And when you are in the midst of your transition, give yourself heaps of GRACE. Don’t believe the lies that Satan will try to use to discourage you (for me it was a sense of intense loneliness and the lie that no one cared that I was all alone).  Feel what you need to feel, but be careful not to let it overtake you. Always go back to Jesus.

2. Find a friend or a mentor who has already walked this type of transition. I did not do this when I first moved and I felt SO ALONE. By God’s grace, an old friend from college noticed a comment I made on Facebook and sent me an email. She had struggled with a move across country after marriage and she recognized my pain through my words. If it hadn’t been for the encouragement through her words and listening ear, my transition may have taken a much longer time. If you can find someone who you know who will listen to you, encourage you, and just walk through this new season with you, don’t be afraid to ask.

3. Make time with Jesus a high priority. God teaches us through every life circumstance and He grabs hold of us in unique ways during transitions.  He knows that in communion with Him you will find a peace, joy, and wholeness found nowhere else but in Him. There were days  I spent hours in the word, in prayer and reading Jerry Bridges’ Trusting God Even When Life Hurts. It was in that time where I came to truly believe God will work this out for my good and His glory.

4. Sometimes in order to see your sin, you have to walk through a hard transition. This was probably the hardest lesson for me to learn. I had become very comfortable in my old life. I had a strong community of friends and family who I went to with any hardship, joy, or frustration. When I moved, I had no one to go to for comfort or approval.  It took me a long time to realize part of the reason God moved me was to strip me of my comforts so I would run to the ultimate Comforter. Jesus wanted a relationship with me more than He wanted me to be happy in my community.

And finally, it does get better! Two and a half years later I have a community and I love our city. I have also learned to hold on loosely to the things of this world, or at least I’m learning!  There are days when it’s still hard, but I continue to remember that God is for my good and for His glory. He is for your good too!

Do you have any other suggestions for people who are in transition?

 

Live Your Story