Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What I Know

Honesty time, my friends.

As Christmas has drawn closer, I have found myself feeling a strange combination of sadness, anxiety and exhaustion. You see, this is the fourth Christmas season I have thought, "This is the last Christmas before we are parents." And each time another year has come and gone with no children in our home.

And again here we sit. Waiting. Wondering. Wishing.

It is so hard. Hard really isn't anywhere near sufficient of a word for what this is. My English teacher brain cannot think of a word that would accurately give a picture of what this is. "Impossible" comes to mind. So does "heartbreaking." And "ridiculous" has been on my list a time or two. But even then, those words are not enough. They are not enough to explain what it feels like to cross another year off the calendar and realize that, as much as people say you are so close, you are really just not that close to being a mom.

But that is where I am.

A few weeks ago, I was trying to somehow articulate this to the incredible and beautiful women God has placed in my life through our small group. It was right after we got our December update, letting us know that we are sitting at #29 for another month. Words were failing me and tears were prevailing (despite my best efforts), when I finally stumbled onto what this feels like.

Here it is:

Today I feel forgotten. Today I feel abandoned. Today I feel alone and confused and hurt. But I KNOW that is not true. This is what I know. I know that God is with me. I know that He alone is sovereign over this. I know that He is orchestrating something beautiful. And the thing keeping me standing here, rooted in the adoption with the absolute certainty that this is where I am supposed to be, is the fact that I KNOW that God is with me. I know it in the deepest recesses of my being, in the places where fear and doubt cannot exist. It is a fact for me. It is not a belief. It is truth. I must be honest with you, there is not much in me that FEELS like this is true right now. But I KNOW it is. I do not serve a God who is dependent on something as feeble as human feelings. I serve a God who IS truth and IS love. And this God, the one true God, He will NEVER abandon me. He may test me. The last three years have been evidence of that. He might refine me through a fire that burns away everything in me that is not real. He is doing it now.

But He will NOT abandon me. He will NOT leave me.

I am HIS. He chose me. Saved me. Adopted me.

He fought for me. Sacrificed for me. Gave His LIFE for me.

And no amount of pain or emotional torment or fear can change that.

I have felt so defeated over the last three months, drained of all I have and left empty in a crumpled heap on the floor. There are days when I cannot even think about our children without turning into a puddle. But I know I am not alone. Even though I feel like it, I know I am not alone. He is here. And I know that because, if He was not, I would not be either. I could not have made it this far without the love, grace and protection of my Heavenly Father. He is carrying me through this; I know I am not walking on my own. I can't!

A few weeks ago, and maybe I have already shared this, but it is resting on my heart, we were at Bible study and husband of the couple who was teaching that week shared an excerpt from Screwtape Letters. Wormood's demon mentor is teaching him about fighting against Christ followers and he says this:

"Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's [God's] will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

I long so desperately to be that human. To be the woman who looks around and cannot physically see evidence of God in her life but chooses to obey anyway. Because even when we cannot see Him, He is here.

And so that is what I know. I know that He is here. And I am trying to fix my eyes on Him.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9 


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Praying for Paperwork

Every now and then, I like to come to you all with a specific prayer request and ask you to intercede for us or for our children on the other side of the world. Today I want to ask you to pray for something a little different.

I am asking, begging, pleading for your prayers over paperwork in Ethiopia.

In our monthly update last week, I told you that we have only moved three spots in the last four months. This has me feeling like the walls are closing in. I have talked to our program director and case manager in recent weeks and expressed this concern. We have been told that the issue now is simply waiting for documents. Let me explain what that means.

In order for a child to be eligible to be adopted, there is a mountain of documentation that must be both gathered and approved. During the court closure this year, some things about the pre-referral paperwork changed. In the long run, it will be better, but it does mean that things are going to  be slower at first. Basically, the government is requiring more paperwork up front, and then the court system (on the regional level) must approve all of the paperwork and ONLY THEN is an adoption agency presented with a referral for that child.

The hold up is happening at the pre-court approval phase.

Would you please pray with us that God would move what seem to be mountains and get this paperwork together? We are desperate for good news on this front, and it has been so long since we have has any. July was the last time we saw any real movement. We are weary. We are exhausted beyond words. We need you to pray with us that God would move in a powerful way.

Please pray that needed documents would be found and approved with great speed. Please pray that we would see that gush of referrals everyone says must be coming. Please pray, that my some true miracle, we see our children's faces before the end of the year.

I cannot thank you enough for your prayers. This has been a long journey, way longer than we thought it would be, and you have stuck with us. Thank you.

 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; 
knock and the door will be opened to you. 
For everyone who asks receives; 
the one who seeks finds; 
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."
Matthew 7:7

Monday, December 9, 2013

Dressember 2013: Week 1

We are officially one week into Dressember 2013, a month long campaign of dresses to raise money for the International Justice Mission's fight against human trafficking and modern day slavery.

Here's a quick recap:

Day ONE! 
Human trafficking is a $32 BILLION a year industry. 
Day TWO! 
Each December, women around the world pledge to wear dresses for 31 straight days to raise awareness for human trafficking and funds for the fight against it. 
The International Justice Mission partners with Dressember each year, and ALL funds raised go toward the IJM's battle against human trafficking. 
Day FOUR! 
(Not my best picture)
Through these donations, the IJM is able to CHANGE LIVES FOREVER by rescuing women and children out of the sex trade. 
Day FIVE! 
So far, Dressember 2013 has raised $54,000 to fight human trafficking!
In ONE week! 
Day SIX! 
Dressember embraces and displays feminine beauty 
to take a stand against those who seek to take it away. 
Will you donate to this worthy cause and help fulfill this urgent need? 
Those trapped in the sex trade need us to fight for them. 
Click HERE to donate today! 

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?"
Isaiah 58: 6


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Waiting List Number: December 2013

I know I am late getting this most recent update out there. Unfortunately, it is not really an update. We got our monthly email on Monday, and we have not moved up on the waiting list at all. There were no referrals during the month of November. I kind of anticipated it, but it still snatched the breath out of me. Sitting here, typing this, I really cannot believe it.

We have moved three spots in the last four months.

It is heart wrenching. 

I texted my dad on Monday and told him the news and that I wanted to just disappear for a while. And he said one of very few things that will make me stay and wait as long as I have to, no matter how much it hurts. 

"Don't lose hope, honey. You just can't. It's too important when a life or lives are at stake."

There are times when I want to walk away. Times when I want to crawl into a hole and just wait for this to be over. Times when I just want to be far, far away. This week has been one of them. But I can't.  I can't walk away. I can't hide. I can't disappear.

As much as I am hurting, deeply and profoundly hurting, my children are waiting. They are hurting. They are without a family. And if I walk away, I walk away from THEM, not just from the hurt. I walk away from the story God is writing. A story that I admittedly want to move faster, but a story He wrote just for us. I know there is good in it. I know. It just doesn't feel that way right now.

Right now it feels like pain, loneliness, confusion and hurt.

I am trying to pray that I can somehow hang on to God in this. And I am more grateful than ever before that He is hanging on to me, too. He is here. He is here.

Please pray with us that this season of almost no movement is over. One woman in our Facebook group said that she is praying for twenty referrals this month. I think I might join her in that. I know it is outrageous, and, especially after these last few months, it seems impossible. But I am going to try to take a leap of faith, and I would love for you to join me. 

"The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned."
Isaiah 9:2


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fair Trade Tuesday!

Cyber Monday has come and gone. But Fair Trade Tuesday is here! This is a day set aside during the Holiday Season to make purchases from ethical companies that don't rely on child labor or unfair working conditions/wages to source their products.

Noonday Collection is one of these ethical companies. We partner with artisans around the world and provide fair working wages to men and women across the globe. You can purchase with purpose on Fair Trade Tuesday and make a difference in the world! I highlight some adorable items yesterday, and I am going to continue that today.

Remember, if you make an online purchase today, you will be entered to win a $25 Noonday gift card!

Check it out!

This one catches everyone's attention. 
Made with lots of bling and love by our artisans in India. 
As dainty as its name. 
An adjustable clasp lets you wear this beauty long or short. 
Made with love by our artisans in India. 
A beautiful combination of colors to match any outfit you have. 
Hand rolled paper beads make this a unique and beautiful find. 
Made with love by our artisans in Uganda. 
I am wearing this one today with my Dressember Day 3 ensemble! 
The Gatsby is always a show favorite. 
Made from brass by our artisans in India. 
Made from cut, dried and dyed tagua seeds, this is the perfect statement necklace. 
Made with love in Ecuador. 
Also available in coral
Konjo means "beautiful" in Amharic, the native language of Ethiopia. 
It's a fitting name for this truly beautiful Ethiopian piece. 
Made from upcycled artillery, this is a gorgeous necklace for that special occasion. 

Made from hand-rolled paper beads by our artisans in Uganda. 
The grey beads have a little shimmer to them for the holiday season. 
One of my favorites! 
Everyone loves this one! 
Upcycled artillery hammered into Ethiopian coins. 
You will definitely be stopped when you wear this necklace! 
A dainty addition to your jewelry collection. 
14K gold plated
Made with love by our artisans in India. 
Wearing these today, too! 
Made from upcycled artillery by our artisans in Ethiopia. 
Bullets are beautiful! 
 Filigree Paisley Earrings
14K gold plated and intricately designed. 
Made with love by our artisans in India. 

You will stand out in these beauties! 
Upcycled artillery shaped into metallic pearls with gold accents at the top. 
Made with love in Ethiopia. 
 Soleil Earrings, Rose Gold 
Rose gold plated discs with a hammered design. 
Made with love in India. 
A top seller! 
Super shimmery for an extra dash of glam. 
Perfect for a night on the town with your man! 
Made with love in India. 
Great color combo with funky geo patterns. 
Add a little pop to any outfit. 
Made with love in India. 
A great pop of color in sea green. 
Cut, dried and dyed tagua seeds make a beautiful bracelet for all occasions. 
Made with love in Ecuador. 
Beautiful color paired with an elegant design. 
Made with love in Vietnam. 
Beautiful carved wood with shimmery thread accents. 
These look beautiful stacked together! 
Made with love in Guatemala. 

Neutral grey with a pop of plum to add a little color this winter. 
One of our beautiful alpaca pieces made in Peru. 
Pastel pink to carry you through winter and into the crisp air of spring. 
Made with love in India. 

Soft grey with sequined accents make a perfect party scarf. 
Made with love in Peru. 

Bright colors and a beautiful design make for a unique and stylish find! 
Made with love in Peru. 

Deep and vibrant colors accented with sequins. 
Made with love in Peru. 

My favorite! 
Beautiful colors and a wider strap make this belt perfect for cinching those winter dresses. 
Made with love in Peru. 

Like gloves without the commitment! 
These precious pieces keep your hands warm and your fingers free! 
100% aplaca.
Made with love in Peru. 
Delicately woven by our Peruvian artisans. 
100% alpaca to keep your hands cozy this winter. 

Handmade in India with lots of love. 
The perfect way to send your notes this season. 
Cooking is cute! 
Look fabulous while cooking up holiday treats this season. 
Made with love in Rwanda. 
The perfect place to record holiday memories, notes and recipes. 
Made with love in India. 

Beautiful pine trays carved by a family of carpenters in Guatemala. 
Use them to display candles, picture frames or let them stand alone! 

Tea Towels (Set of Three)
Bright and cheerful to add warmth to any kitchen!
Purchase as a set or individually.
Made with love in India.

WHEW! That was a LOT! 

Please give a give that gives life this holiday season. You purchase with purpose when you shop with Noonday Collection! 

And remember, the giveaway is still going on! Just select me as your Ambassador at checkout so that I will know who you are!! 


Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday!!

Welcome to Cyber Monday! 
A day when you can shop from the comfort of your recliner, or maybe your desk chair (while on break, of course). 

I wanted to highlight a few beautiful Noonday Collection pieces for you today and then let you know that anyone who enters an online purchase today will be eligible to win a $25 Noonday gift card from yours truly! Just make sure you select me as your Ambassador at checkout so that I will know who you are!

Enough about me. Let's talk jewels!

Click on any product name to learn more! 

Beautiful hand-rolled paper beads and a gorgeous POP of yellow! 
This one has been a top-seller for me this season. 
Hand-made with lots of love by our artisans in Uganda. 
I am wearing this one today with my Dressember Day 2 ensemble. 
Crafted from upcycled artillery casings by our artisans in Ethiopia. 
This piece is a favorite at every trunk show! 
I love me some turquoise! 
Add a little color to your winter wardrobe!
Made from acai seeds by our artisans in Ecuador.
Ohhh, how I LOVE this one. 
Beautiful and lots of sparkle, it is perfect for the holiday season! 
Made with love by our artisans in India. 
A statement necklace if there ever was one! 
Made from seeds by our artisans in Ecuador. 
This one is on my Christmas list! 
One of our beautiful Ethiopian pieces and perfect for pretty much everything. 
I get compliments on this one every time I wear it. 
Made from cut, dried and dyed tagua seeds by our artisans in Ecuador. 
Often called vegetable ivory for its consistency and durability combined with its sustainability. 
For your inner hippie child! 
These are the perfect funky accent to any outfit. 
Made with love by our artisans in India. 
These beauties are adorning my ears today! 
Made from upcycled artillery by our Ethiopian artisans.
Bullets can be beautiful! 
Sophisticated with a splash of color! 
Made by our refugee group here in the U.S. 
I have really started loving these beauties recently. 
Made with love in India, they are plated with real gold. 
Lots of sparkle and dazzle with these jewels! 
Dress up any outfit with a little extra holiday bling! 
Made with love in India. 
A great accent for what you've got on right now! 
Sterling silver plated. 
Made with love in India. 
This is the piece everyone love to try on! 
It is absolutely gorgeous and full of sparkle, the perfect party piece.  
Made with love in Guatemala. 
One of my favorite Ethiopian pieces. 
Made from upcycled artillery, the alternating gold beads and 
silver metallic pearls make this bracelet special. 
Surprise the lady in your life or just spoil yourself with this one! 
Three bracelets at once! 
These precious jewels look great together and separately. 
Beautiful upcycled artillery with three pops of color. 
Love, love, LOVE the color of this bracelet! 
Made from hand-rolled paper beads by our artisans in Uganda.
A great stocking stuffer for any lady on your list! 

This beauty is on the way to my house as I type! 
Made from 100% alpaca, it is even more beautiful in person. 
I canNOT wait to wrap up in this one for the cold, winter months. 
Hand-stitched with love by our artisans in Peru. 
Love the color combo on this 100% alpaca scarf! 
Yellow is everywhere! 
Check it out for a bargain on a piece of this quality! 
Hand-stitched with love by our artisans in Peru. 

Sweet and soft colors to brighten up the winter months! 
Get in my closet! 
Hand-stitched with love by our artisans in Peru. 
Can a scarf be a show-stopper? I think so! 
100% alpaca. So cozy and warm!
The zipper makes this scarf so, so versatile. Zip it up or down for different looks! 
Hand-stitched by our artisans in Peru. 
Can you guess what it's made of? 
Upcycled VHS and cassette tape! 
This glitzy clutch is made by a special group of artisans in India. 
Men and women with special needs, who would otherwise be deemed unemployable, 
have found work creating this eye-catching and unique handbag.
 Carry it with pride on behalf of the artisans who make their livelihood creating it! 
The perfect tote with a whole lot of sass! 
Beautiful fringed tassels and leather straps make this functional bag FUN! 

Intricate weaving pairs with metallic studs for a truly unique purse! 
Leather straps and traditional Peruvian patterns come together perfectly. 
Made with love by our artisans in Peru. 

All right, beautiful people, that is what I am going to leave you with today. Click HERE to see the whole collection. And remember, tomorrow is Fair Trade Tuesday! This girl is thinking about extending the gift card giveaway through Tuesday night. Shop ethical and make a difference!


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