Sunday, April 28, 2013

I Thought I was Prepared

So sometimes we make grand plans and things don't go exactly the way we thought they would...

This weekend was one of those times.

A couple of months ago, I signed up to run in the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville, Tennessee. Some of our small group friends were doing it and said it would be fun, so I hopped onboard. Then my little sis decided to come up and run it with me. Then my awesome dad decided to do it, too! This would be a first for both of them, and it was the weekend of my daddy-o's 55th birthday. Yay! I had visions of us gracefully galloping the sunny streets of Nashville, being cheered on by massive crowds and crossing the finish line with victorious smiles on our faces.

Well... Things didn't go exactly according to my plan. We galloped (sometimes trotted and not so gracefully) through the streets of Nashville, and there were crowds of people cheering us on, and we crossed the finish line with victorious smiles on our faces.


It POURED rain for the ENTIRE 13.1 miles of the race.

I am not talking a light mist, or even a steady drizzle. We ran for 13.1 miles through legit rain, like the kind you see in movies during a very dramatic scene where two characters are making a profound life choice (like Noah and Allie getting back from the swan sanctuary in The Notebook). It was insane.

Oh, and it was 50 degrees. So these here Floridians were a bit chilly. You have to understand, 50 degrees is the dead of winter to us. It involves parkas and fireplaces. Not exaggerating.

Not exactly what we were anticipating.

Still, it was an incredible experience. Brookie and I stayed together for the entire run, and I must say that it was awesome to cross the finish line right next to my baby sis. Plus, our amazing mom was waiting for us right at the finish line with a big smile and lots of fist pumping even though the skies were pouring and the wind was howling. Daddy-O came across shortly after, and completed his first half marathon two days before his 55th birthday!

Let me show you some pictures, and then let me tell you what I learned.

Race bibs picked up and ready to go! 
Our goals for race day! 
Prepping the night before
Right before we started. It was SO cold, and a sweet woman was walking around with a box of trash bags, offering them to the runners to stay warm while waiting to start. Dear garbage bag lady, I don't know who you are, but I love you!

Minus the trash bags for just a minute! You will notice the colors of the Ethiopian flag! Hopefully next year I will be pushing a stroller through the streets of Nashville! One more awesome thing. We ended up being able to start in the same corral as our friends who were also running the race. Big shout out to Bob, LC and Steven! You guys are awesome! Especially LC, who totally rocked her first half marathon! 
Just crossed the finish line! 
 Back in Birmingham and out to dinner to celebrate...
This guy's birthday! Happy Birthday to the best dad to ever walk the face of the earth!

Now you know that the Lord would not let me endure something like that without teaching me something. So here it is...

Sometimes we set out on a journey knowing that it will be really difficult. We anticipate that the journey will test us and stretch us. So we prepare for that. And then we get going, and once we are going we find out that we were not really expecting all of the obstacles that the journey actually brings. It is harder than we thought it would be. It doesn't go the way we thought it would, or even the way we believe it should.

And then we have a choice.

We can quit. We can give up and say, "This is not what I signed on for. I was ready for difficult, for challenging, but this is too much. It is more than I can do." Or, we can push through. We can keep the end in mind and keep putting one foot in front of the other until we get through it.

I was ready to run a half marathon yesterday. I was ready for the distance. I was ready for the hills. But I was not ready for the pouring rain. Until yesterday, I had NEVER run in the rain. Not once. If it is raining here in Birmingham, I make it a cross training day and ride our stationary bike instead. So I was not prepared. The rain was an unforeseen obstacle. And I will be honest with you, when I walked out of our hotel at 5:15 on Saturday morning into black skies and rain, there was a great big part of me that wanted to hop back in the elevator and go back to sleep.

But I had committed to this race. I had decided to do this thing. And so I knew I had to do it.

I was ready to wait for our child in Ethiopia. I was ready for challenges. For difficulties. But I was not ready for what February, March and April have brought. Almost no movement. To my knowledge, no referrals in April at all. I was not ready for that. I was not ready to face the reality that 2013 might come and go and we will still not have our child home with us. I was not ready. Not prepared.

But that has become our reality.

And now I have a choice.

I can choose to walk away. Some days that is a tempting option. This is so HARD. I don't have adequate words to explain it to you. I wish I did. My inner-English teacher is failing at this. There are days when I tell myself, tell my husband, tell God that I simply cannot go on, that I have to stop. There are days when I am so unbelievably exhausted or sad or confused. So I could choose to walk away.

Or I can choose to run this course that God has mapped out for me. I can choose to do what He has asked us to do with our lives, even when it feels impossible. And maybe that is the point. When something looks impossible to man and then it happens, God alone gets the glory. So perhaps that is the purpose here. And that is why I am making my choice.

I choose to stay the course. I choose to keep putting one foot in front of the other on this road to our adoption until the Lord tells me I have reached the finish line. I choose to trust Him and Him alone, because nothing else makes sense. I choose to believe Him when He tells me that He is good and that He is working things together for my good. I choose to believe that every little bit of this pain and hurt will be absolutely worth it. I choose to put my trust in God the Most High, because I know that His mighty hand is over all things.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."
James 1:2-3


P.S. Adam usually proofs my posts for me before I publish. He was smirking as he read this, because less than an hour ago I was sobbing on our bed about how we are never going to get our kids home and how this is all just too hard. He, as always, did an incredible job reminding me Who is actually in charge of our lives and that He has a purpose for us. So please don't think that I have it all together! You see, when I write these posts, I am reminding myself of the truth of God's Word just as much as I am telling you about it.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Circle Maker Part 7 : Is There a Limit to God's Power + the Second Circle (Chapter 7)

After a bit of a respite, we are back in action with Mark Batterson's The Circle Maker, and today we find ourselves in chapter seven. In this chapter, Batterson poses a question that God actually poses to us.

"Is there a limit to My power?"

Even though we know that the right answer to that question is "No," we still sometimes live like we think the answer is "Yes." And that is a problem. The issue is that when we believe that our problems are just too big for God or that our sin was just too bad, then we are really (though we might not ever admit it) saying that God is just not strong enough, powerful enough, big enough to deal with whatever we are bringing to the table. I think this is something most of us struggle with to some degree. I know we certainly do here in the Knott household. Adam and I have had this discussion on numerous occasions, and it ALWAYS ends with one of us reminding the other that when we doubt whether God can handle our problems, we are actually doubting His power. And when we doubt whether God can forgive or has forgiven our sins, we are questioning the power of the Cross. Not good either way.

So this is what Batterson is drawing our attention to in this chapter.

"God is omnipotent, which means by definition, there is nothing God cannot do. Yet many of us pray as if our problems are bigger than God. So let me remind you of this high-octane truth that should fuel your faith: God is infinitely bigger than your biggest problem or biggest dream. And while we're on the topic, His grace is infinitely bigger than your biggest sin."

I have talked before about our need, as humankind, for a high view of God. It is something that our pastor addresses a lot. He often quotes A.W. Tozer, and Batterson references him, as well, in this chapter. Tozer asserts that a having a high view of God is the solution to a thousand temporal problems.

We have to believe that God is able. While I say that, I must also say that it is important to note the difference between CAN and WILL. God absolutely CAN do anything and everything. But we do not always know if He WILL. Now, we might think that He should, but He alone knows what the future holds for each of us, and that makes Him very uniquely qualified to decide what is best for us. For example, if you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I am ready to have my sweet babies home from Ethiopia yesterday. But that has not happened. You might know that I prayed specifically for a May 2013 referral. Well, May 2013 is peeking its head around the corner, and we are not exactly at the top of the list. I am not going to sit here and tell you that I am not disappointed. I am. I am sad that we are still so far away from having our sweet ones home. But am I upset that I prayed about it? No. Does this make me doubt God's ability? Not at all. I know that a May 2013 referral could still happen. I know God CAN do it. But I do not know if He WILL do it.

Still, even in the midst of that I know that whatever He chooses to do will be what is best. That does not mean that I get a free pass to stop praying. There are days when it is hard. Days when I adopt the, "Well, He is just going to do what He is going to do, so why bother praying about it!" attitude. Not a healthy choice and certainly not my more graceful moments. As a true believer in the power of God, I must continue to pray and trust.

You might remember that the first circle in The Circle Maker was Dream Big. In chapter seven, Batteron introduces the second circle: Pray Hard. He opens with the story of the persistent widow. In case you are not familiar with the story, here it is:

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 
 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think,  yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:1-8

Jesus used this parable to show His disciples the importance of praying hard for something. This is a difficult thing. I will be the first to confess that I have grown weary in the wait here lately, and a part of me has given in to the "what happens, happens" attitude. I need to let go of that. So my reading of this chapter was providentially timed. 

Batterson also reminds us that the Spirit is constantly interceding for us. What an incredibly humbling thought. The Holy Spirit is praying to God the Father on my behalf. And yet there are days when I cannot bring myself to pray. Oh how I recognize my sin in these moments. But my gracious God is using these moments to refine me, to turn me into the woman, the wife, the mother He desires me to be. 

I want to leave you with one final thought from the very end of chapter seven. 

"God isn't just for you in some passive sense; God is for you in the most active sense imaginable. The Holy Spirit is praying hard for you, and supernatural synchronicities begin to happen when we tag-team with God and do the same."

This jumped off the page (OK, screen of my Kindle) and hit me in the chest. God is on my side. He loves me, wants what is best for me, and is working my life in that direction. He is not just some generally good God floating up in the clouds. No, no, no. He is a personal God. A God who works His way into your heart and mind and soul. A God who sticks by you regardless of how many times you fail. And this same God is the One who is for you. He is FOR you. 

Questions to consider: 

1. How do you view God's power? Sufficient? Barely enough? All-consuming? 

2. What are your feelings about prayer? 

3. How does your view of God's power impact the way you pray? 

4. What might need to change about how you view God? 

5. What is the thing you have been praying for? Do you truly believe that God is able to do it? Can you trust Him to do what is best, even if it is not what you want? (This is a tough one!!) 


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Ladies Night Out

You know how you hear horror stories about mothers-in-law? They offer to clean your house, you know, to help. Offer to cook a meal, you know, your husband's favorite from when he was a little boy. And so on...

Well, I am so very happy to say that I absolutely CANNOT relate to that at all.

My gracious God has chosen to bless me with the most fantastic mother-in-law in all the land. Seriously. I love her. She has welcomed me into her family from day one. And on day one, I was the stranger she was stuck with in her own home as we rode out hurricane Ivan on 2004. Probably not how she envisioned meeting her future daughter-in-law!! I digress. But really, JoAnne has been such a blessing in my life. Knowing that I have a woman like her praying for me in every aspect of my life has lifted my heart and soul more than I can describe. Plus, it has been pretty awesome to be the only girl for the last few years!

I am telling you all of this because I had the chance to spend some wonderful time with my sweet MIL this past weekend. Her birthday was on Friday, so Adam and I drove down to celebrate with her. We kicked things off with a Friday night dinner at Cracker Barrel (a personal favorite...don't judge), and on Saturday morning we went for a walk together. The highlight of the visit, though, was Saturday afternoon and evening. JoAnne got married last year, and as a result, I got two more sisters-in-law! So for her birthday JoAnne wanted to take us all to get pedicures together (See what I mean about how awesome she is?) and then for all of us to go to her church's annual Ladies Night Out. We had SUCH a good time.

Ladies Night Out is a yearly event that includes music, dinner, a speaker and door prizes (one of which JoAnne won!). Ladies from the church volunteer to host tables and then they decorate them based on a verse/passage from Scripture.
Here is our beautiful table hosted by Deb (JoAnne's Sunday school class leader) and Shannon (one my new sisters-in-law). 
And here is our scripture for the evening. As soon as I picked up the card and read it, I had to start blinking like crazy to avoid crying. How perfect is that? Sometimes the Lord just gets you right where you need to be gotten. This was one of those times. 
And here is my beautiful mother-in-law! Not only is she fabulous, but she raised a pretty incredible guy I happen to love a whole lot! 

The whole evening was wonderful. There is something really special about being surrounded by women who love Jesus and each other. Something healing. Something calming. Something truly beautiful. 

The speaker that evening touched on several passages of Scripture, but one of them really jumped out to me. I want to leave it with you as I go. She just focused on one verse, but I have included the whole chapter for you below. 

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips. Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16


Friday, April 19, 2013

Adoption Shirts Around the U.S. Post #8

Today's adoption t-shirt post takes us to the snowy peaks of Colorado! Meet Pete and Sarah Nell!
 Our adoption shirts are skiing!
These pictures absolutely made my day! 

Adam and I have known the Comptons for a looooong time. Adam and Sarah Nell grew up together and the four of us were at Auburn at the same time. Sarah Nell and I met each other at the very beginning of our sophomore year of college and soon became good friends. She stuck with me through several Bible studies during our college years, and we were even in each other's weddings. When Pete came into the picture we loved him right away, and he and I had a good time plotting to surprise SN by getting him from Europe to our wedding when it looked like he would not be able to make it after a study abroad opportunity. Even though the Comptons live far away right now, we still consider them to be close, close friends of ours, and we can't wait to see them again (hopefully soon!). 

Thank you, Pete and Sarah Nell, for being such incredible and God-fearing people and friends. We appreciate you both so much, and we are profoundly grateful knowing that you love, support and pray for us as we work toward bringing our little one(s) home. 


P.S. We are about to wrap up our adoption shirt re-order. We will be selling through the weekend and then getting things together to place the actual order. If you are interested in owning one of our lovely shirts, please let me know! They are $20, and ALL of the profits go DIRECTLY toward our adoption! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Getting Back Up

Over the last several months I have gotten very in to running. In January, Adam and I ran in our first race, a ten mile run, and then we ran in our first ever half marathon in February. Both of these races were such awesome experiences for us. Well, I am running in another half marathon in Tennessee soon, and my dad and sister are going to be running it with me! So excited! Running has become something I truly enjoy (my middle school P.E. teacher would be SO proud to hear me say that!) and has been a great source of stress relief for me throughout the waiting phase of this adoption.

Anyway, because of this next race, I have been trying to maintain my training schedule in order to avoid having to start all over again, and I must say that I have done a pretty good job. During the week, I try to do three shorter runs, usually in the neighborhood of 3-5 miles and then save my longer runs for the weekends. Well, today I was running with little Daisy girl at a park downtown that we frequently use for our week day runs. I guess I stopped paying attention to the path in front of me, because one minute I was running across a bridge and the next I was doing a sideways ninja roll on the ground to avoid smacking my face onto the wooden planks of the bridge. Ouch! Daisy just stopped, turned around and looked at me like, "What's the hold up, chief?" Very helpful. And the little old man who was walking toward me picked up his pace and asked me if I was OK. 

Other than some scraped palms and a bruised ego, I was fine. So I picked myself up, dusted myself off and kept of running. About 50 yards later, my mind started telling me that I was well within my rights to stop running for the day. I had been injured! No shame in calling it a day, throwing in the towel. But there was a problem with that. I had already decided to run in a race. And in order to be prepared to run in that race, I have to stick with it, even when it is hard. Even when it hurts. Even when I want to quit. 

So I kept running. And I finished my 4.25 miles today. And that means I am one step closer to be ready the 13.1 miles I will run later this month. 

It didn't happen right away, but shortly after I got home, I realized that my falling today might have actually been a good thing. You see, we are sitting in the middle of another slooooow month. To my knowledge, there have been NO referrals during the month of April. And that is hard. There are days when that makes me want to quit. It hurts. There are days when I feel like we will always be adoptING and never be able to say that we adoptED. 

Adoption, I am learning, will knock you down a whole lot. And it can be easy to let yourself stay down, but that is not what God wants for us. God is the One who laid adoption on our hearts; He is the One who called us to this. He has asked us to step out in faith and to do something that is incredibly hard, something that absolutely cannot be done apart from Him, something that is teaching us to have faith in Him in ways I could not have imagined before. He is the One who picks me back up when I get knocked down; I can't do it on my own. Believe me, there are days when I huff and puff and try my best to stay down, whether it be because I am angry or sad or tired or all of those things at once. 

But I am so grateful to serve a God who will not let me stay down. 


He comes to me and picks me back up. He pulls me to my feet, dusts me off and gives me what I need in order to keep running. 

This is a long race that He has us running right now. It is a race with no end in sight. Still, I know the One who charted the course, and I know that He is good and that His ways are higher than my ways. 

So when I think about falling down at the park today, instead of thinking about how much it hurt, I think about how I got back up. How I kept running and how doing that has prepared me for what lies ahead. I pray that God will help me to do this in my spiritual life. It is hard. No doubt about it. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. But the Lord is right here with me, picking me up when I fall down. Never leaving me. Never forsaking me.

And each time He picks me up, He is helping me get one step closer to finishing this race He has marked out for us. 

"Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s."
Psalm 103:1-5


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pancake Breakfast Grand Finale

Today was the day of the highly anticipated pancake breakfast. Adam and I got an early start this morning and headed up to my school to set up at 6:45, where we were soon met by Courtney, party planner extraordinaire. We got the cafeteria set up and ready to go. And then the electric outlets started going out on us one by one. Problematic when you need power for five different griddles to make a whole bunch of pancakes. That problem was soon solved and we were underway.

I have to say that we did not have the turnout we were expecting, but God still showed up in an incredible way. We probably had about twenty five people show up to the breakfast, and those twenty five people donated $1,100 toward our adoption. Amazing and a huge testament to God's incredible power. It was truly a "loaves and fish" moment. Thank you so much to everyone who came! You have helped us get closer to our little one(s)!

And a special thank you to all of our friends and family who came and helped us set up, cook and then stayed two hours later than we planned to help us clean up.

Thank you:

Mary Catherine
Mary and Shegun
Steven and Caroline
JoAnne and Mike
John and JoEllen

We appreciate each of you!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Pancake Breakfast Prep Phase 2

It's the day before the BIG DAY! So I have been trying to make good use of my down time this week (sweet little 8th grade angels are on a field trip, providing me with some extra time on my hands) by working on little tidbits for the breakfast along the way. Yay for efficiency!

As you know, the majority of our shopping was done last weekend, so this evening Courtney came over and we worked on getting things together. This mostly included mixing up some of the batter ahead of time to avoid a chaotic rush tomorrow morning. Here is the product of our work for the night, completed amidst some wings and a hot and ready pizza from Little Caesar's .

The vast majority of what you are seeing is for the breakfast tomorrow morning. You see that teriyaki sauce and salsa in the upper right hand corner? Those and the items immediately behind them are the only thing in the fridge that Adam and I purchased for ourselves. All of those bowls on the middle shelf and the containers on the bottom are pancake batter; the milk, eggs, juice and bacon are also ALL for tomorrow. So please come hungry! 

Also, it is important to note that we tested the pancake batter by making a round of pancakes, and I must say that they were A-MAZING! Extra fluffy and delicious. Do you doubt? Come find out! 

I am both excited and nervous about tomorrow. Excited to see what God has in store and nervous about running out of food. 

As always, we would greatly appreciate your prayers. We are hoping, really hoping that this is the LAST fundraise we will need to do. 

OK. I have to go to sleep. Tomorrow is an early morning, and I hope to see you there! 


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

One Year In

One year ago today, we mailed in our application to Lifeline to start our adoption process. It is hard to believe that a full 365 days have passed since we started down this road. In some ways it really does feel like it has flown by, but in a whole lot of ways it feels like we have been waiting for an eternity.

Yesterday, I jumped back to my blog post from April 10, 2012. It was an interesting experience to read my own words about my feelings at the beginning of this whole journey. Part of it was very hard, because at this time last year, our agency was estimating 12-15 months from application submission to arriving home with your child. Well, twelve months later, we are not precisely home with our child; we are not even close to being there. And there is a BIG part of that that is very, VERY hard. I spent the better part of today focusing on that, which resulted in me crying at work and being very upset once I got home. Not good.

But Adam and I went on a long walk with Daisy once he got home from work, and spent most of our walk talking about this. We reached a few conclusions.

1. This just doesn't seem fair. Yes, it is a childish thing to say, but it is how we feel. That does not mean that we are throwing a temper tantrum or are getting ready to throw in the towel, but it does mean that this is HARD for us. And it is that hard every single day.

2. God is sovereign over this. I know that "sovereign" is a very churchy word that gets thrown around a lot. But what I mean by it is that I know for a fact that God is in control over this. Now, part of that truth is very hard to swallow, because if God is in control of this, then that means He is allowing it to happen. However, because I know WHO God is and WHAT His character is like, I know that what He is doing is ultimately what is in my best interest, even if it does not feel like it today (which it does not, by the way).

3. God knows our children. He knows their names, their faces, what their personalities will be like, everything. And He loves them. And because He loves them, I can trust Him to bring them to us in His time.

4. I trust God. I do. I believe that He is good. I know He is. For that reason alone I can trust Him, even in the face of something this difficult.

Based on these conclusions, I can move forward. I can wake up tomorrow morning ( the first day of year two in our adoption journey ) and still believe that God has this under control. I can live with that fact that this feels totally unfair. And I think it is OK for me to say that I feel this way. I think it is OK for me to be sad and cry at work if I have to. But I also know that God is with me in those moments, calling me, asking me to trust in Him and His plan and timing for my life.

Oh, it is hard.

I know there might come a day when I will say, "I wouldn't change a thing." But guess what! Today is not that day. Because today is hard. Today hurts like you would not believe. But God is with me in the middle of my hurting. He is the ONLY one who can bring me comfort in this, and, as much as I might not want to admit it, it is HIS comfort and assurance that I need. I have to humble myself to admit that, because the prideful part of me want to scream that my plan is better and that I can fix this and make it right. But I cannot do that. I must rely on Him, trust in Him, give my worries to Him. And I think that me learning that truth is part of His plan, too.

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand that He may lift you up IN DUE TIME. Cast all your anxiety on Him because HE CARES FOR YOU."
1 Peter 5:6-7


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Adoption Tees Around the U.S. Post #7

Here we go with another adoption t-shirt post! Today's entry takes us to the loveliest village on the plains and one of my favorite places to be: Auburn! Meet Josh!

Best picture ever. 

And with his puppy, Danger. 

The Knotts love Josh Adams! He was one of our good friends in college, and then we were next door neighbors for two years after college. He is such a good friend and makes a mean "homemade" lasagna and a fabulous groomsman (in fact, he is the star of our wedding video!). While we were neighbors, he adopted his sweet dog, Danger. Adam and I have many fond memories of hearing Josh yell, "Danger!" through the shared wall of our apartments. 

We are so very grateful to be friends with such a wonderful person. I am especially thankful for Josh, because he never grew tired of me asking him to check our apartment for murderers during the six long months that Adam and I had to live apart. One night he even volunteered to sleep on the doormat outside our apartment if it would make me feel better. Don't worry, I did not take him up on it. 

Thank you, Josh, for being such a great friend to us! We cannot wait for our little one (or two) to meet you!


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pancake Breakfast Prep Phase One

So the pancake breakfast is coming up one week from today (hoping to see you there!), and this morning was spent making some purchases for the event. My dear friend/co-worker/event planner extraordinaire, Courtney, allowed me to accompany her to Costco to do our buying in bulk. And thank goodness for that, because we tore it up. Here is a shot of the contents of our cart as we wait to be rung up.
Pancakes, anyone? 
And I didn't even get everything in the frame. 

We were quite a sight, an English teacher and a social studies teacher scooting around Costco trying to do the math to figure out how many eggs and how much milk we would need to make all of these pancakes. I think we got it right, but we shall see. Not to mention the fact that contents of our enormous cart looked a bit strange. Most people have carts full of all kinds of food. Not us. Just pancakes for 200, please. We were stopped a couple of times by fellow customers and asked what in the world we were doing with all of this breakfast stuff. This was actually pretty cool, because I was able to explain that Adam and I are adopting and what the pancake breakfast actually was. One sweet, sweet woman responded by saying that she just had to give us something even though (and I quote) "it wouldn't even be a drop in the bucket." She pulled her wallet out right there and handed me four dollars. How sweet? 
Already working toward funding our adoption and the event is still a week away! 

And I must say a huge THANK YOU to my friend, Courtney. A party planner at heart, she is the one who has helped me organize so much of this event, thinking of details that would never cross my mind and encouraging me when I start to freak out because I get worried that no one will come and we will just be stuck with enough pancake batter to feed a small country. So, thank you so, so, SO much, Courtney!

Today was a big blessing in a lot of ways, and I am looking forward to seeing how God works everything out next week. We would very much appreciate prayers that this event is a success, as we are so, so close to being fully funded (hallelujah!). 


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pancake Breakfast!

Do you like pancakes?

I hope you do!

If you live in the Birmingham area, please consider coming to our Adoption Pancake Breakfast on April 13 from 8:30-10:30. We will be serving up DELICIOUS, homemade pancakes in the Liberty Park Middle School cafeteria to help fundraise for our adoption!

For a donation, come enjoy some tasty pancakes, bacon, coffee and juice!

Thank you, Laura Catherine, for creating this flyer!! 

Please email or leave a comment if you have questions. We would LOVE to see you! 


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Thing That Remains

With referrals coming so slowly these days it has been easy to get very discouraged, and on my way home from work yesterday I found myself fighting back tears. I think this is mostly because I realized that when we started this whole thing (one year ago next week), the waiting list time frame was 6-9 months for a referral. We have now been on the waiting list for 7 and a 1/2 months, so we are in the range of time when I initially thought we would be getting matched. And we are nowhere close. I know that the time frame has changed since our application, but it is still hard to think about. We have been on the list for just over seven months, and during that time we have moved 26 spots. So, if that holds over the next year, then we are looking at a whole lot of months until we are even matched. I am hoping that is not the case, but you can seen how it is easy to get discouraged. At least, I hope you can see.

So with all of this Debbie Downer-ness swirling around, it can also be easy for me to lose sight of God and the truth that He is enough. Thankfully, God does not sit around and wait for us to come to Him or recognize that He is enough. He has been reminding me that He is enough, and that has been the thing keeping me on the ground.

When I went to Created for Care with my mom a few weeks ago, the theme Scripture of the weekend was I Corinthians 13, particularly verse 13.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

The idea was that we need to love big when it comes to our adopted children. But I realized, too, that this hold true with God's love for us. He loves us in a BIG way. Easter Sunday reminded us of that.

And His love remains. It stays put all the time. Regardless of our affections, our faithfulness, our rebellion. His love stays. Once we are His children, He absolutely will not let us go. He does give up or change His mind or decide that we just are not worth the battle. His love is constant.

Because He is love.

God is the embodiment of love. He is love personified. Look at His character, His actions throughout history. He did not have to provide a way for us to be redeemed to Him. But He did. He sacrificed His Son so that we, too, could be His sons and daughters. That is the epitome of love.

As many of you know, Adam and I were on vacation with my family last week. It was absolutely wonderful (and I promise to write about it later this week). As soon as we hopped into our rental cars, my brother-in-law, Josh, pulled out a CD he had made for the trip. The entire thing was praise music, which totally made my day, and most of it I had not heard before. One of the songs especially caught my attention. You may have heard it, but it was new to me at the time.  It is called "One Thing Remains." Take a minute to listen to it.

The song is all about how God's love remains on us. No matter what happens. His love is bigger, greater, deeper, wider than anything we could ever encounter here on earth. As soon as this started playing in the car, something started happening in my heart. It was like the Lord was talking to me, reminding me that He is enough. His love is enough. He can and will carry me through this season of waiting, as hard, as impossible as it seems. I think this song does a beautiful job proclaiming the truth of God's love. It covers over everything. And that is such a sweet relief for me. To know that no matter how hard this gets ( and I am sure it will get harder ), He is right here, and He loves me.

And because God loves me with this great and powerful love, I can know beyond the shadow of any doubt that what is happening in my life is part of God's good plan.

So God has been dropping these little reminders that He is in fact enough and that He loves me. And I am so grateful to serve and love a God who sees fit to do that. He doesn't have to, but He does it anyway. And I hope this encourages you, too. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that the knowledge that there is a God and He does truly love you brings you peace and encouragement. I hope that you know Him. Your life will never be complete without Him. And with Him, you simply cannot be defeated.

 "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:38-39


Monday, April 1, 2013

Waiting List Number: April 2013

April 1 has arrived! And with it, has come some--though not a ton of-- movement on our agency's waiting list. Things are still moving slowly around here, but we are moving, which is always a good thing. So, for April 2013, we are...
 We are #60!
You will notice I am rocking my adoption shirt. Hoping for some extra movement this month! 
After four straight months, Daisy is SO over being in the 60s! 

We are so thankful for any movement that each new month brings, but I would be lying to your face if I told you I was not more than ready to be out of the 60s. We have been parked in this decade for four months, and it is time to move on! So we are praying that April brings a ton of referrals, as God works to match these sweet children with their families. Please pray with us! 

Thank you for your continued prayer, love and support. We know that this is a long process, and it means so much to know that we have people willing to stand (and kneel) by our side as we walk this lengthy road. 

We are continuing to pray boldly that God will move in a powerful way in our lives and and the lives of our children. 

"But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved!" 
Hebrews 10:39

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