Saturday, June 23, 2012

Yard Sale Fiesta!

We survived! Today was quite the day, but before we get into all of that, let me back it on up and start with yesterday's action. As we have prepared for the yard sale, our humble abode has been pretty much packed to the walls with STUFF. We have folded, sorted and hung up until we were going through the motions in our sleep. And after we worked through all of the donations, we had to move them across town to the home of our lovely friends, Steven and Caroline, who were kind enough to lend us their yard for today's sale. One of my sweetest friends, the marvelous Courtney, volunteered one of her summer Fridays to help me out.
                                                 Yard sale moving diva extraordinaire.

So Courtney came over around 10 yesterday morning, and we proceeded to load up both of our SUVs to the ceiling TWICE and make two runs over to the yard sale locale to drop things off.

Even though the work was hard and we were moving a LOT of stuff, we had a great time, especially trying to figure out how to set up one of the clothing racks. It collapsed later that day, so suffice it to say, construction is not in our future. We were able to get all of the smaller items over to Steven and Caroline's house during the day, and so we counted that as a huge success and blessing. God gave us some serious, super-natural strength to get all of that done.

Later on in the afternoon, Adam and I picked up the U-Haul and headed for the house to load up the big stuff. Two more friends of ours, Bob and Adam, came over to lend a helping hand. Thanks to their hard work and incredible willingness to sacrifice their time, we were able to load up two washers, a dryer, three TVs, a vanity, a dresser, a set of patio furniture, a couch and ottoman, an entertainment center, two large chairs and a piano all in one afternoon. THANK YOU, Adam and Bob! We absolutely could not have done it without you.
                                                               Heroes for the day!

We finally got everything over to the site of the sale and were ready to call it a night. Steven and Caroline were even kind enough to let us stay the night at their house so that we could be up bright and early to set up the yard. It was the first sleepover I have had since high school. :)

Alarms went off at five this morning, and we were up and ready pretty quickly. After some coffee and morning reading in Ephesians, it was go time, and we were ready. Good thing, too, because this is what the TV room looked like as the sun was clearing the horizon this morning.
                                   Allow me to say that 100% of the chaos in here is ours.
                                               Caroline's home always looks beautiful!

We got everything out and organized into sections and then the sale began. Things were moving a little slowly at first, but we started a bit earlier than most sales. As the day progressed, we had a pretty steady stream of people coming through, and everyone was doing an amazing job chatting up the customers and selling.
                                                            Some of the merchandise

                                                Carrie, Mary, Ashley and Caroline.
                                    Some of my favorite ladies in the whole wide world.

                                We slid these into customers' bags along with their purchases.

The biggest surprise of the day came about three hours in to the yard sale. A reporter from Fox 6 News showed up and asked to interview us about our adoption and about the yard sale and what we were trying to do. Her boss saw one of our online ads and sent her on over to the sale. We were very much caught off guard, and I was quite hesitant to do it (cameras make me very nervous), but we decided to go ahead, and it ended up being a really cool way to get the word out about adoption, and we were even able to get the Gospel in there, too. Not sure if all of that will make it on to the news, but it was a big blessing for God to provide us with the opportunity to share His good news and His heart for adoption with others.
                                 Of course this all happened after we had been baking in the sun.
                                               Not the best we have ever looked. Oh well. :)

At the end of the day, Adam and I were both absolutely blown away by how well everything went. Today, we raised over $2,000 for our adoption. Praise be to God! We know that He was the Great Provider today. Thank you, Lord!

As a final thought, please allow me to say here that this yard sale has been one of the single most humbling experiences of my life. Around 95% of the merchandise up for sale today was donated by others; our friends gave freely of their time, energy, resources and awesomeness to help us in so many ways; and the Lord allowed us an opportunity to potentially share the gospel with news viewers even after the sale was over. As I sit here typing this, I am totally awed, amazed, overwhelmed and humbled by these things. I have truly had to examine my often proud heart and try to become willing to accept help from others. It has not been easy, but God has graciously surrounded us with some of the most incredible people I have ever known, and He is teaching me that I cannot do this alone and that it is not about me. God is reminding me day after day after day that HE is the one in charge of this adoption and our lives, not me. HE will provide, not me. HE can and will glorify His name, through me (and that has NOTHING to do with me or my abilities). HE alone is faithful; we just have to show up.

So, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who helped, prayed and donated. We absolutely could not have done this without you. Thank you for bringing us one step closer to our little one!

And now, it is off to sleep for me!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

T-Shirts are In!!

The shirts are here! The shirts are here! And we love them!!
**Scroll to the bottom for an update from the original post.**

                                                                Super excited Dad!
Happy Mom!

Even Daisy is ready! 

Silly, silly. And, yes, I know that Africa is backward in this photo. Oh well. 

Daisy is over being trapped in people clothes. 

Two of the most excited people on the planet. 
So very happy to be one step closer to our sweet babe! 

Thank you to all of you who ordered a shirt. We will begin the delivery process next week. Once you get your shirt, please email/text us a picture of you wearing it. As we document this incredible journey, we are trying to collect pictures of every event and every person who supported us along the way. 


**We have had a few people ask if they can still order shirts. Yay! We can definitely do a re-order, but we would need about 10-15 new orders to do this. Please leave a comment below or email me ( if you would like to order a shirt.**

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sign Making Bonanza!

Have I mentioned that we have the most wonderful friends in the entire world? Because we do! We have been part of a small group Bible study that meets each week for almost three years, and the wonderful, beautiful friends that the Lord has brought us through this group are the best that anyone could hope for. These dear, dear brothers and sisters in Christ have been walking side-by-side with us during this adoption and have been the hands and feet of God when it comes to encouraging us and reminding us that we are in His hands. Furthering their already incomprehensible generosity, these incredible friends offered to spend this week's Bible study meeting helping up make and install the posters for our yard sale around town. This was a blessing in more ways than one. First, it was a HUGE help to not have to make all of the signs on our own, and SECONDLY, the sweet wives of this group have waaaaaay better handwriting and artistic skills than we do, so our signs look beautiful! Behold the evidence below!

Dad-to-be is excited! So excited he did not notice the sign was upside-down! 
Shegun and Chris hard at work with the staple gun. 
LC and Rachel (the artistic geniuses of the group)
Rachel's sign, complete with cherubim...  
So proud of Steven and his pretty pink sign!
Steven, Claire and Caroline
Some of the finished products
So if you see any neon signs in the Cahaba Heights area, you know who was behind them! Please stop by the yard sale on Saturday, June 23!

And to our wonderful small group, thank you so much for all you have done and are doing. We cannot begin to tell you how blessed we are by each of you. God has gifted us beyond measure through your friendship. Thank you for love, support and friendship. You showcase the heart of Christ more than you know. Paul said it perfectly:

"You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the Living God, not on tablets of stone but on the tablets of human hearts." 2 Corinthians 3:2-3

Thank you for being a living letter that testifies the heart of Christ. We love each of you.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Coming This Saturday!

                               Courtesy of my brilliantly artistic friend and neighbor, Rachel!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Tribute

Father's Day. This is one of my favorite days of the year and for a few different reasons. First, the holiday gives me an excuse to call my own dad and tell him how much I love him and how incredibly wonderful he is (more on that in a minute). Secondly, it is a day that focuses on honoring the men God has ordained and appointed as leaders of families across the country and around the world. And thirdly (and this one is new), today affords me an extra opportunity to look forward, with GREAT anticipation, to seeing what an amazing and Godly father my sweet husband will become at the end of this adoption journey. So, needless to say, today is a wonderful day. 

I want to take a moment to share a little bit of my heart about my own sweet dad. And as soon as I type those words, I realize that it is difficult to even know where to start. Growing up, my dad was the Godliest and most patient man I had ever met. His heart was, and still is, a genuine reflection of what the Lord designed dads to be. He is full of love, patience (a good thing in a house full of girls), calmness, understanding, wisdom, advice, encouragement...I could go on for pages, and I think that those who have met Brad Brewster would agree. Having him as my earthly father has been one of the greatest blessings that my Heavenly Father has ever given me. You see, throughout the Bible, God is referred to as our Father. And I am so grateful that the word "father" conjures up only images of goodness and love in my mind. The Lord knew that Adam and I would be on this adoption journey at this point in our lives, and I believe, firmly, that He gave me the dad He did for that reason. 

Let me see if I can clarify. There are days when the adoption process is moving too slowly, days when it is frustrating, days when I am worried about fingerprints or dossiers or whatever. And on those days, it can be easy to turn to the heavens and shout, "You could fix all of this, You know! You could make things go more smoothly! You could ensure that my fingerprints won't get messed up again!" It is in those moments that the Lord reminds me of Jesus' teaching in Luke 11: 

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (verses 11-13)

Through this passage, the Lord reminds me that my earthly father is good and that he only ever wants what is best for me and that he would never, ever in his life, no matter what, do anything to hurt me. He then reminds me that if that is true, then He, my Heavenly Father, who is perfect in all ways, would never do anything to bring me pain or harm; His plans for me, for us, are always good, even when we don't understand them at the moment. This truth makes me incredibly grateful for my dad. Because he is so wonderful, calling the Lord my Heavenly Father means something beautiful to me, and for that I am more grateful than I can ever express. 

This Father's Day also brings a new and different feeling of joy. On this Father's Day, for the first time, we are on the way to being parents. At this time next year, there is a very good chance that we will know who our sweet one is, possibly even have met him/her. So on this day, I find myself looking forward to seeing Adam as a father. I know he will be a good one, a great one. I cannot wait to see God mold him into the dad that he was created to be, and I feel immeasurably blessed to be standing and walking side-by-side with a man who seeks to honor God in all he does. 

I hope that you all have a wonderful Father's Day, too! 

"Honor your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." Exodus 20:12


Friday, June 15, 2012

Yard Sale Prep and Some Other Things

Well, the yard sale is only a week away, and I am trying my very best to keep the stress levels at a minimum. So far, I would give myself an A-. Over the last few days, I have spent a good bit of time sorting through donations and pricing different items. Everyone warned me that a LOT of work goes into a yard sale, and now that we are in the thick of it, I see that everyone was right! Still, I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our friends, family members, faith family members, co-workers and even strangers. The donations for this sale have poured in. And so, while it is a whole lot to sort through, I am so humbled and amazed that so many people have freely given up their possessions to help us bring our little one home. We cannot thank you enough.

                                                  What used to be the garage and the hallway.

For today, I have taken a break from sorting and pricing to work on advertising. I have conquered Craigslist and (at least, I think I have), and I am working on Facebook now. (Side note: If you live in the Birmingham area, and feel so inclined, we would LOVE for you to advertise our yard sale on your Facebook page. Details are at the bottom of this post.) On top of all of that, our wonderful, incredible, beautiful small group has offered to turn this coming Tuesday night's Bible study into a sign making bonanza for the sale next Saturday. Thank you, thank you, thank you, sweet friends!

Switching gears, I had my individual interview on Monday of this week. It went really well. Apparently, having a "thorough" (to quote our sweet social worker) autobiography is a good thing. :) I was also fingerprinted this week. This is a HUGE prayer request for us. My fingerprints are very hard to read. Last year, when we were taking our foster care classes, we were both printed. Adam's came back fine, but mine were "unreadable." We were printed in November 2011 and are STILL not certified foster parents because my prints are yet to be cleared. For this reason, we would like to ask you to please, please pray that this set of prints gets cleared quickly, as we REALLY do not want to be held up for months and months with our adoption. Also, Adam had his individual interview today. Wahoo!

As we continue to move through this process, we cannot help but be amazed by God's goodness. He is providing for us in so many ways already, and that is a huge encouragement to us as we prepare for some of the harder days ahead. I pray that we will continue to rest in His goodness and in the truth that He alone is ultimately in control. I feel like I think about our little one more and more as the days and weeks go by. The last question I was asked on Monday was, "How do you feel about your adoption?" My answer? "Ready." And that is so true. I am so very ready to meet the little one God created for us to love forever. I am ready to know his/her different faces and cries, ready to hear his/her laugh, ready to finally be able to type "his" or "her" instead of his/her! I am ready to watch Adam be a dad, because I know he is going to be an incredible one, and I am ready to finally be a mom. I smile at the thought of it, of what our lives will look like at the end of this road. And I am so humbled that God chose this path for us.

"In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." Proverbs 16:9


Come shop and support our adoption! We have TONS of great finds, including a washer/dryer set, patio furniture set, TVs, shelving and storage, living room furniture, full sets of cookware and dishes, baby clothes, kid toys and an ivory key upright piano, plus a whole lot more! We will also have coffee and treats available for purchase so you can snack while you shop. Most importantly, 100% of the profit from this sale will go directly toward funding our adoption. Come visit us on June 23 in Cahaba Heights

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Busy Day!

Yesterday was a very busy day. As many of you know, June 9 is our anniversary. Usually, we try to rest and relax each year on the 9th, but this year that was not an option for us. The alarms started going off at 6:30 (on a Saturday!), and Adam, who is much more of a morning person than I am, sprang into action. He was up, showered and dressed before I had even rolled over. And so I was understandably confused when he kissed me on the head (which was still on my pillow) wished me a happy anniversary and told me that he and Daisy were going to run an errand. And POOF, they were gone.

I dragged myself out of bed and started getting ready. We had Crossings training all day yesterday, and it started at 8:00. In the midst of straightening my hair, I heard Daisy tearing through the house and heading my way. Adam was close behind with a sweet good anniversary morning surprise...Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks! Just what I needed to wake up my brain.

                          See how happy the right combo of cinnamon and caffeine can make this girl?

So we headed out the door to Lifeline. After a brief detour (thanks a lot Google Maps!), we arrived at the Lifeline offices for our training. I have to give a quick shout out here to our instructor for the day. She did an AMAZING job getting us through an insane amount of information in just one day. Crossings is an all-day class designed specifically for parents who are adopting internationally. The class focuses on how to parent children who did not have the kind of birth and/or upbringing that we are accustomed to here in the West. A lot of the information provided in the class came from Dr. Karen Purvis, author of The Connected Child (required reading for us). That woman is brilliant, and I would really recommend that anyone considering adoption or foster care or ever working with kids read her stuff. Crossings really opened our eyes to how parenting our sweet little one can and will look different than parenting a biological child. We were also in class with other adoptive parents, and most of us were adopting from all different places. Very cool to hear their stories.

     Here is our agenda for the day. The check marks are Adam's (and he accuses me of being type-A!)

My favorite part of the day was the parent panel at the very end. Three different sets of adoptive parents came in to share their stories and answer our questions. It was incredible to hear how God has used each of the families to impact the lives of children for the sake of His kingdom and His glory.

At 5:00 we left Lifeline and headed home to get ready to go out and celebrate the last five years of our life together. We went out to dinner and thoroughly enjoyed just spending time with one another. It was wonderful to sit and talk and reflect on our first five years of marriage, and we are so blessed to be able to look back and so clearly see God's hand in our lives. That reality causes us to look forward, with great anticipation, to all that He has in store for us through this crazy adoption journey and with the rest of our lives. I am so grateful that the Lord saw fit to bless me with Adam as my husband, and the more we go through life's trials and tests, the more I see that God knew exactly what He was doing when He matched us together.

                                                   Hard to believe this was five years ago!

                                                     Still love him more than life itself!

So after all of that busyness yesterday, I would love to tell you that we spent today resting and lounging about, but that is not the case. We started this morning with a doctor run for Adam, went to church and then came home, where I began sorting and pricing for our yard sale (COMING YOUR WAY ON JUNE 23) and Adam worked on fixing something that had broken in one of our cars. Whew! Not exactly a restful weekend. We also have our individual interviews coming up this week, so we are making some serious progress.

God is being SO good to us during this busy and hectic time. He is sustaining us and giving us the energy we need to get through the tasks at hand. The more we lean on Him, the better life gets. We continue to pray that He would guide our footsteps and that we would seek His will above our own.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6


Friday, June 8, 2012

First Interview!

As the title of this post suggests...we just had our first home study interview! AHHH! I think it went really well. It was an introduction of sorts with lots of background information about us and going through some of our paperwork, too. I always get myself really worked up for stuff like this, and then everything ends up being fine. Crazy me. Oh well.

As for the home inspection/walk through portion of the interview, you can go ahead an roll your eyes at me. I spent the WHOLE day cleaning; I even cleaned the baseboards. And I may have gone a little overboard, because this part of the interview was really just checking to see that our home is a suitable place for a child and that we have smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher. I suppose I got a little too hyped up. At least the house is sparkling.

We have our Crossings training tomorrow and individual interviews next week. Woot!

It is such a cool feeling going through all of this. Every now and then it hits me: We are doing this. We are brining home our child from Ethiopia. That is crazy. Oh, but we are soooo excited, and we already love little one so much. Please pray for us, that God would continue to keep us diligent in our work and patient in our wait. We want to do everything the right way and in His timing. We want to honor God through this process, with every little part of it. I pray that the Lord will help us do that.

"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." I Corinthians 10:31


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Lesson from the Psalms

It's hard to wait. Waiting is not something I am good at doing. My tendency is to move as quickly as possible to accomplish an objective. My mother would say that I am a "bottom-line person." And in several aspects of life, I think that is a good thing. As we look to the adoption process, however, it is not such a good thing. There is SO much waiting involved already, and we are not even on the WAITING list yet, a list whose sole purpose is to have us wait! AHHH!

And so, as I sit on my couch today, I hear the undeniably wise words of one of my high school small group leaders coming back to me and asking, "Well, Baylor, what is God teaching you through this?"

In answer, my mind easily jumps to patience, but I think it is more than that. God has used being a middle school teacher for several years to carve out some space for patience in my spirit. I think the real answer to  that question is, "Trust." The more we get into this process and the more we deal with life outside this process, the more feel like God is asking me, "Do you trust Me?" I would love to immediately shout, "YES! I do trust you, Lord! From here to the end of the world, I am Your girl!" But do my actions really reflect that attitude? If I am honest, then I have to say, "Not always." And I don't like that.

I want to trust the Lord with it all, and I think that He is using our adoption and this whole season of our lives to show me that I can trust Him. With every little thing.

For around the last 15 years, my favorite Bible verse has been Philippians 3:8. It reads, "What is more, I consider everything a loss when compared to the surpassing greatness of Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ." I love this verse because it is who I want to be. I want to be the woman who can willingly give everything up for the sake of Christ and the spread of the Gospel. But does my daily life reflect this? Do my actions? My words? Not always.

So I am praying that God will build this up in me. That He will align my heart with His perfect plan. That He will fill my heart with such love for Him, that everything else pales in comparison. I am praying that I will trust Him and His perfect goodness over everything else.

I am home by myself today while Adam is at work, and I have spent some time in Psalm this morning. I began in chapter 27, which is a favorite of mine. It begins with David saying, "The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?" These are such encouraging words as they remind us that the Lord who created all that exists is also the Lord who saves and protects us. Since the One who made everything is protecting us, we have no reason to fear. Whatever comes our way is under His control, and He cannot be beaten, and His plans cannot be thwarted. I hope that is an encouragement to you as it is to me. Chapter 27 ends with, "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." These are perfect words for me today, as I sit waiting. Waiting for our first home study interview on Friday, waiting for our homework to be done, waiting to be on the waiting list, and, more than anything, waiting to have our precious little one home with us forever.

And while all of this waiting is difficult, I know that my Savior is teaching me to trust in Him, because He is always only ever good and eternally worthy of praise.

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My hearts leaps for joy and with my song I praise Him." Psalm 28:7


P.S. This is the last week to order a t-shirt. Email me if you are interested!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Home Again, Home Again

It is good to be home! I spent all of last week traveling to visit my wonderful grandparents. Each summer, I drive the "grandparent loop" from home to North Carolina, to South Carolina and back home again. I look forward to this trip every year; it gives me time to catch up with my grandparents and enjoy their company.

My first stop is always Gran's house, and after 10 hours in the car, I am very happy to see her. This year's visit was the best yet (and not just because she made an entire pound cake just for me!). I had such a good time talking with Gran, shopping with her and visiting with her twin sister (Aunt Jone) who came over for the day on Monday. We talked a lot about our adoption, what the process will look like, how long it should take, how we are handling everything, and so on. It was so good to sit and talk with Gran and have the time to answer all of her questions face to face. Leaving her on Wednesday was so hard, and I am hoping that I have her talked into coming down to my parents' house for Thanksgiving this year. :)

Then I was off to Myrtle Beach to visit Umpa and Brenda. Usually, it is just me for these summer visits, but this year it was pretty much a family reunion. Most of my dad's side of the family was there this week, and it was wonderful to catch up with everyone and see what is going on in their lives. We spent a lot of time out on the beach, too, which is always a bonus. My dad was able to come up while I was there, and I loved getting to spend time with him. He is such a good encourager, and during a walk on the beach, he did just that for me, reminding me that the Lord has a specific and perfect plan for mine and Adam's life together and that we need to trust that, even when we cannot see what is around the next turn.

I spent all of yesterday driving home, and after two episodes of standstill traffic outside of Atlanta, I was quite relieved to pull into our driveway. My sweet, sweet husband had cleaned the entire house and had dinner all ready for me as soon as I walked through the door. He's a keeper!

So, it is good to be back home, and we are already gearing up for a big week ahead of us. I have yard sale preparations to work on, our first interview is Friday and our Crossings class is this Saturday. We also need to order some of our required documents this week so that they will be in before our last interview (hopefully!). Lots to do!

Also, this is the last week to order a t-shirt. If you would like one, please let me know, and I will get you all the info you need.

With so much going on over the next few weeks, I hope to have lots of exciting updates for you soon!

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