Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What A Difference a Day Makes...

Thanks to all my sweet friends for your encouragement yesterday. It's amazing the difference a day can make. I am feeling so much better today. This morning I blasted the Christmas music when I was getting ready and sang, sang, sang! There was no crying or blowing my nose on my glove. The sun is shining and it is freeeezing outside....I am totally in the Christmas spirit - but not because I've been shopping or have made out my Christmas wish list. I am in the Christmas spirit because I have spent some time digging into God's word and reading parts of the Christmas story. I am reminded once again of the hope that I have in Christ Jesus. Because of that HOPE I can forget about the dreadful day I had yesterday and can look forward to what's to come. That HOPE is what Christmas is all about!
I am putting together a short lesson on the Christmas story for our small group tomorrow night. I can't wait for us to discuss this amazing story and the meaning behind it. I'm trying to think of a really creative activity we can do as a group that will really focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
I have been a Christian for a long time - but I think this is the first year that I have really made an effort to keep Christ at the center of Christmas. It's the first year I haven't gotten all stressed out over what to buy my family and friends. There are VERY few presents under my tree - only 5 to be exact! I usually have at least a "few" things on my Christmas list, but this year I can't think of a single thing I "Need." (Except for that baby from Ethiopia). I have decided that I am not going to let the craziness of December rob me of my Christmas joy.
John and I started the Bible Study "Advent Conspiracy" with one of our small groups. It's all about worshipping more, spending less, giving more and loving all.
Last night we had to answer this question...
How would you describe the best Christmas you ever had as a child?
It's funny that nobody named their favorite gifts. I can definitely remember some of the gifts I received when I was a child, but what I remember most was spending Christmas Eve at my G-Dad's house. I remember putting on my pajamas, loading up in the car and heading home to wait for Santa. I remember "Granny Boxes" full of fun stuff  - and they always included a new package of panties. I remember NOEL cookies and decorating the Christmas tree as a family. It seemed to take my dad an eternity to put the lights on the tree. I remember when I was a little girl, sitting on my parents bed, talking to my Meme on their brown rotary phone. We would sing "Away in a Manger"
Christmas is about investing in people. It's about spending time with the ones you love and about making memories that will last a lifetime. It won't take long to forget about the "stuff" but you will always remember the traditions.

Here is an excerpt from "Advent Conspiracy"
"God was here in flesh and blood and by His life, death and resurrection, we now have hope. This is what the Incarnation means to us. All the prophecies, all the promises, came down to this one very relational gift. The Father gave the most personal gift ever - his Son.
Now we can creatively give to one another the gift of ourselves. It becomes more about "presence" than "presents." And it is in these moments that others begin to get a sense of who God is. Perhaps even a watching world will take notice as we worship Him and love one another."

What are your favorite Christmas memories? How will you make this Christmas more about the people in your life and less about the "stuff"?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Warning: Just Needed to Vent and it's Messy....

This morning as I drove to work cheerful Christmas music blared from the radio. The words “It’s the hap, happiest time of the year” filled the air as tears gushed from my eyes. It was one of those ugly cries; the kind where you can’t stop the tears no matter how hard you try. And of course I had no Kleenex. I ended up wiping my tears (and my nose) with one of my gloves.

I love Christmas, I love Christmas music, but this is not the” hap happiest” time for me. It’s probably the saddest time of my life. Normally I pray during my morning drive but this morning I just couldn’t find the words or the strength to pray. I just cried. I find a lot of comfort knowing that God knows my heart. I had a friend tell me yesterday that I can be confident that God hears the cries of my heart. He DOES hear me even when it seems like there is nothing but silence.

To say I’ve been struggling lately would be an understatement. I’m sad – I’m grieving not being able to have a baby, I’m overwhelmed by the mounds of adoption paperwork stacked on my kitchen table, this weekend I got completely irritated with my husband because he fell asleep on the couch when we were supposed to go get our fingerprints.

There are so many things you can’t control when you’re adopting. Getting the paperwork done as quickly as possible is something I can control and I was so mad this weekend because I didn’t feel like it was a priority to John. I’m really surprised my husband hasn’t run away…..I will just be glad (and I’m sure John will be too) when all the paperwork is finished and turned in. I just want to get it all done and get on the wait list…..that’s the goal.

Another area that has been a struggle for me is work. I’ve never wanted a fancy career. For as long as I can remember I’ve had one dream – to be a mom. It’s really hard to go to work and sit at a desk for 8 hours a day when you’re grieving, when your mind is consumed with all the paperwork that you could be working on. It makes me angry that a car payment and student loan payment are what’s keeping me stuck at a desk all day. I rack my brain trying to think of a career that would bring me fulfillment and I can’t think of a single one. Sometimes I would give anything to be career driven, but it all comes back to the simple fact that I just want to be a mom. I wish times were simpler, the way they used to be. When it was okay for a woman to stay at home and be a wife and a mom and society didn’t turn its nose up at the idea. When one income was plenty. I would give anything for simpler.

It’s really hard to put into words how I feel. This desert season is lonely. I don’t know if anyone truly understands the emotional roller coaster I’m on. I almost picked up the phone this morning to call my dad – but I didn’t. How would I explain this to him? Sometimes I can’t even find the words I need to explain how I feel to John.

I get so frustrated with myself for feeling sad. I have such a strong faith and I know that God has a perfect plan, so I tell myself that I shouldn’t feel like this. If only it were that easy…..

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In Everything Give Thanks....

I love Thanksgiving! I love the fall trees bursting with vibrant colors, I love the crisp autumn air, I love wearing comfy sweaters and winter boots. I love being with family and remembering the many things I have to be thankful for. This year is no exception. Here is what I’m thankful for this year:

1. God – I am in awe of how God has changed me over the past year. I am not the same person I was a year ago. God has opened my eyes to a world beyond my selfish self. He has given me a heart for the orphan and for the poor. For the first time in my life, I care about what is happening on the other side of the world. Through this desert time in my life, God is making me a little more like Him. It isn’t always fun or easy, but if it brings God glory than I am up for the challenge. I am humbled that He would choose me for this journey. That I get to be a part of the amazing plan He has to give an Ethiopian orphan a forever family.

2. An Ethiopian baby (or babies, if God wants to give us two) who I have not met, but who I love with all my heart. A baby that has changed my life. Over the past few days I have caught myself daydreaming about the day when John and I will finally see our child’s face. Emotion begins to swell up inside of me as I think about holding my child for the first time. I can’t imagine how it will feel when it actually happens.

3. John – God knew he was exactly the man I needed. I am so proud of my husband for the man that he has become over the past few years. God has done amazing things in his life and I am blessed to be his wife. I am so proud of John for having the guts to stand up for what he believes and for sharing God’s love with people who desperately need to experience it.

4. New Friends – Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for ALL of my friends, but this year we have met some of the most incredible people who are walking this adoption road with us. For a few years John and I have felt like we have lacked deep, intimate friendships because so many of our friends are at different stages of their lives (they had kiddos). Getting to know our adoption family friends has been the most wonderful thing. We laugh, we share our hearts and we encourage each other as we wait out these long months before we can bring our children home. I thank God every day for these friends!

5. God’s Provision – If you would have told me in July that we would have raised $15,000 for our adoption by Thanksgiving, I never would have believed it. But we have! And it’s only because of God and the amazing ways that he has provided financially for this adoption. With each t-shirt sold, with each donation received, God is reminding us that we are smack dab in the middle of His perfect will.

6. The Privilege to Pray for Others – I am so thankful that at any given moment I can go before God’s throne of grace and pray for people who I know and even for people I don’t know. It’s a very powerful thing. Last Sunday at church I had the privilege to pray with two college girls. God knew that I needed to be the one to pray with them because what they were facing was something I had experienced. I am so glad that my past equipped me to pray for and encourage those girls. I am also blessed to pray for all of our friends who are adopting. I have also found myself praying more for people who live in other parts of the world – just this week I have been praying for a woman in Haiti who desperately needs to be able to produce enough breast milk to feed her 5-week-old twin boys. If she doesn’t, they will die. You can read more about her story here.

I hope that you will all have an amazing Thanksgiving and that you’ll experience God’s richest blessings this holiday season.

"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1st Thessalonians 5:18

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Let's Get This Paperwork Done....

John and I had our phone orientation with Gladney last night! We have submitted our request and payment for the next application and have already started working on our immigration paperwork. This weekend we will mail all of our paperwork to Kate, who will be putting together our Dossier for us.

It’s so exciting to think that with each form we fill out and submit, we are getting closer and closer to bringing our baby home. Our goal is to get all this paperwork done so that we can get on that wait list.

Judy, the lady from Gladney who did our phone orientation, said that she could tell we were excited about this adoption and that we were going to get the paper work done quickly. John said “Yea, we kind of wanted to bring home our baby last week.”

Judy said sometimes people drag out the paperwork process and it takes them months to complete it. Others get it done in just a few short weeks. John and I will be the ones who get it done in a few short weeks. That is our goal. We will do all that we can to keep this process moving. I know that a lot of it is out of our control, but getting all the paperwork together and turning it in is something we do have control of.

Putting paperwork aside, I ordered something for our baby yesterday! I told John that I wanted to get a Christmas stocking to hang up this year for our “Missing Linck." I thought it would be a great reminder to pray for our child and a reminder that maybe; just maybe it will be our last Christmas as a family of two.

The other day I found some cute Christmas ornaments at Kohls for the baby – they're a giraffe and elephant. As I was searching for stockings I came across this….

It matches the ornaments perfectly!!!! Our baby now has a stocking! It will be hanging right between mine and John's this Christmas. It will remind us that the day we become a family will be the best gift we could ever receive.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

God's Splendor in Our Ordinary Lives...

If you would have asked me a couple of years ago if I would be fundraising like crazy so that I could go to Ethiopia and bring home a baby I would have laughed. A few years ago, Ethiopia and most parts of the world, never even crossed my mind. I was too worried about what I would wear or how I would pay the bills. I had my life all planned out. I would get married and have babies.

Just goes to show that our plans aren’t always God’s plans.

This week during my Bible study I was reminded that God’s purposes are always higher than my own.

Isaiah 55:9 says “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

When God speaks, he usually challenges us to step out of our comfort zone. He usually asks us to do something that we would never have dreamt of doing on our own. But when we obediently follow him, we step out of our natural abilities and into the realm of His supernatural possibilities. (Priscilla Shirer)

John and I have definitely seen God’s supernatural possibilities. We couldn’t have come up with such an amazing way to build our family if it hadn’t been for God tugging at our heartstrings and opening the doors to adoption. We couldn't face this journey without fear without God's amazing peace! There is no way we could have raised $13,000 without God’s power and intervention.

Is the adoption journey easy? Nope. It’s overwhelming….there are a lot of unknowns. That's where trust and faith come in. We often discuss with our friends who are on this adoption journey with us, just how easy it is for the majority of people to get pregnant. Young girls can get pregnant on prom night. People who can’t financially take care of their children can continue to have them. Sometimes it seems a little unfair….but

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

Something else that stood out from my Bible study this week was this:

“The voices of our enemy or our egos will always give us the easier option. They never encourage us to tap into divine resources. We feel tempted to do the opposite of what God asks, because it’s easier. But God’s voice commands the option that will display His power. He desires to show Himself strong in you and will encourage you to do things that require trust and faith. God wants to see the wondrous things He will accomplish in us. Don’t be fearful about the hard road He may ask you to take.”

It would have been very easy for John and me not to follow God when he started nudging us towards adoption. After all, how were we going to come up with $28,000? Thankfully, God kept nudging us….He gave us His peace that surpasses all understanding and we knew without a doubt that He would provide a way. And He has. It hasn’t been all at once, but it’s been just when we've needed it.

That is God’s supernatural possibilities being displayed in our very ordinary lives.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How Do You Put Into Words.....

Today I’ve been writing a statement that will be included in our dossier. It pretty much sums up why we want to adopt from Ethiopia and what we can offer a child. Talk about a tad bit overwhelming.

I have typed and deleted. Typed and deleted.

How do you put into words the vast amount of love you feel for a baby that you have never met? How do you find the right words to express that God has been the One to lead us to adopt from Ethiopia?

The other day I came across this excerpt from a blog…I think this is exactly how I will feel the first time we lay eyes on our child or children. I don’t think I could have ever found better words to describe our decision to adopt from Ethiopia. This journey really isn’t about us….It’s God fulfilling His plan.


"Why adopt from Ethiopia?" was one question that I could never really answer in a way that truly relays our reason. I would try to answer with, "it was a country that we meet the age classifications for" or” we were so moved by friends who have adopted from Ethiopia". And sometimes I would just reply, "It just felt right".
Now while all of these answers are true, it is not the reason. We now have the answer. One that we got on June 16, 2010. His name is Tate E. Plumb.
The moment we saw him, we instantly knew that God had lead us to this little boy. His face felt like home. I have never been more convinced in my life of God's plan for us. He perfectly orchestrated bringing a family together through a little boy in Ethiopia and a couple in Oklahoma.
We didn't choose Ethiopia. God knew that our son was there. Ethiopia chose us. I am just so thankful that we listened.”

To read more about this families journey visit their blog.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Few Special Things about this Weekend....

One of the greatest things about this adoption journey is the people we have met along the way - couples who have already adopted their kiddos from Ethiopia and couples who are at the same point of the journey as we are.
These couples are a wealth of knowledge, they encourage each other and know all the emotions that go along with infertility and adoption. We feel really blessed to have met so many great people here in the OKC area....
Last night we had dinner with two couples (we literally only knew each other from our blogs). Kathleen and I had lunch last weekend and we had a blast. We decided this weekend we would get together for dinner with our husbands. We ran across Matt and Sarah's blog and decided to invite them to join us. I am so glad we did. We had the BEST time...we had a 2 1/2 hour dinner full of laughter and heartfelt conversation about our adoptions and Ethiopia. Here are a couple of photos from last night....
 The future mommy's - Sarah, Me and Kathleen
The future dad's - Clint, John and Matt

We can't wait to get all of our kiddos home and have play dates! We also can't wait to get together with these awesome couples again....

When I got home last night, I had an e-mail that included this photo of the artwork that we will hang in our nursery!

I am SO excited....Isn't it the cutest thing you have ever seen?? Thanks Joely!!!
If you would like to order some of your own artwork, you can click on the button on the right hand side of my blog that says "Custom Art for Our Cause."

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas.....

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year! I realize it's not even Thanksgiving, but I have already started listening to Christmas music. I love to belt out "Oh Holy Night" when I am driving. To me, that song is what Christmas is all about.
Christmas this year will be different. Usually by this time I am frantically trying to decide what to get the people on my Christmas list (especially my dad). He is the hardest person in the world to buy for. Usually by now I have already bought and wrapped a few gifts. I have usually made a list of some of the things I would like for Christmas and dropped a few hints to John. This year is different.
I haven't bought a single Christmas gift and I probably won't be buying many. John and I aren't exchanging gifts this year - our gift will be that precious baby we bring home from Ethiopia.
I haven't made out a Christmas list. There really isn't anything I want, let alone need. Okay, okay...I guess there is one thing I would like to have. This amazing necklace from Junk Posse. (hint, hint, John)

I guess the upside to wanting this necklace is that part of the proceeds go to help another families adoption.
Okay, I got off track....
I truly have no desire to go out and spend a ton of money of stuff that, in a few months, people won't even remember they got. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. The pressure to buy, buy, buy at Christmas can be really overwhelming. Especially when you are trying to come up with $25,000 to adopt a baby. I want to focus on the REAL meaning of Christmas and find ways to keep Christ at the center of our celebration.
Just this morning I was praying about this. I was asking God to show me ways to make Christmas all about Jesus! I was asking Him for ways that John and I can help others during the Christmas season.
I got to work, checked a few of my favorite blogs and found this website.
Our Different Christmas is a new blog that will highlight ways to keep our eyes and hearts focused on Jesus this Christmas. Lindsey will also be posting items you can purchase as Christmas gifts that will either help families who are adopting or help make a difference in the world around us.
For example.....my sister and I always get matching pajamas at Christmas. It's a tradition. Check out these....
They are called Punjammies and they are made by women who have been rescued from sex trafficking in India and are being taught a trade. They are reasonably priced and provide an income to a woman in need. I think I know where I will be ordering my sister and I's matching PJ's. To order a pair go to http://www.punjammies.com/

Another way John and I plan to spread God's love this Christmas season is by participating in Operation Christmas Child.
This weekend I will go through my closet and gather all of my shoe boxes. Then I will go buy small gifts to fill the boxes with - items such as crayons, small toys, candy, toothbrushes, etc. These shoe boxes are handed out to children all across the world who need to be reminded that they are loved.

John and I also plan to adopt angels from our local angel tree this year. We did this last year and it was SO much fun going out and shopping for the two children. We picked out clothes for them and I loved buying the little girl a Cabbage Patch doll. I think John bought his little boy a Transformer toy. The best thing about getting the angels, was that we prayed for the kids and their families. What a blessing and honor it was to do that.

So....how do you plan to share the love of Jesus this Christmas season? I would love to hear your ideas.....please leave me a comment!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Sweet Holiday Fundraiser....

Do you need an inexpensive Christmas gift for a teacher, co-worker or friend? Than we have the perfect idea for you and the proceeds will benefit our adoption. We will be selling "Cookie Jars" for $10 and all the proceeds will help us Bring Home our Missing Linck.

The "Cookie Jars" will include the ingredients to make a yummy oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie. They are delicious! If you are interested in ordering a cooking jar, please comment on this post or e-mail me at jmishon@gmail.com

We will start making them just as soon as we get some orders! Below is a photo of a "Cookie Jar" The ones I am making will look similar.....

Get your orders in and start crossing off the names on your Christmas list. These make great gifts and are for a great a cause!!! We are getting closer and closer to our goal of $18,000. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Moses and the Desert Season....

There’s no doubt that John and I are experiencing one of the most exciting times in our lives, but on the flip side, I am really in a desert season. I am going through one of the saddest seasons of my life.
Last night during Bible study, after a really emotional day, God met me exactly where I needed Him to. I just love how He continues to do that.
The lesson was taught by Priscilla Shirer and was called “God’s Voice Reveals His Plan.” We studied Exodus 3:1-7. Let me try and summarize it for you.
Moses is 80-years-old and he is wandering in the desert. He is minding his own business, tending his flock of sheep when all of a sudden the angel of the Lord appeared to him amidst the flames of a burning bush. Moses noticed that the bush continued to burn, but wasn’t burning up. He thought it was interesting, so he decided to investigate. When he got closer to the bush, Moses heard God speak his name.

“Moses! Moses!” God called.

“Here I am” Moses replied.

God went on to tell Moses that He had seen the misery of His people in Egypt. He had heard their cries and was concerned about their sufferings (You don’t know how much this comforts me). God then revealed His plan: Moses would lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
There are several nuggets of wisdom we can glean from this passage about being in the desert.

1. Our God doesn’t sit on high and look down low – oh no, He gets personal. He walks right beside us. I experienced His very near presence last night when we were doing this lesson.

2. God’s plan is often uncovered while you are in the desert season of your life – I have learned this first hand. Our hearts were opened to adoption when we were faced with infertility. I cried out for God to show me HIS plan and all the doors to adoption flew open. John and I know, without a doubt, that adoption is God’s plan for our life.

3. We are equipped for God’s plan when we are in the desert: (Moses was and so are we)

Moses was:

• Equipped with dedication: he continued to do tend to his sheep, even though it probably wasn’t his dream job. He accepted that God had him in that particular position for a reason. He did the job to the best of his abilities. I can really relate to this because my heart’s desire is to be a mom. I have never dreamed of a big career and I am struggling with my desire to just be a mom. God has me at my current job for a reason. I must be dedicated to the job and trust that it is part of His ultimate plan.

• Equipped with direction: God told Moses the plan He had to send him to Pharaoh to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. God will always direct our steps to fulfill His plan for our lives. We may not always see as much of the plan as we would like to, but we can trust that God will show us just enough to take the next step.

• Equipped with destination: once again, God told Moses exactly where he would be going. He made it very clear to John and I that we were to go to Ethiopia.

4. Supernatural markers will point you to God’s plan – we should pray that God will give us an awareness of His presence during the desert seasons of our lives. We must keep our focus on God’s activity during the desert seasons and not on our circumstances.

5. Intimate Fellowship is the purpose of God’s plan – Exodus 34:14 says that God is jealous about His relationship with us.

6. God’s plan changes the course of your life – when you discover God’s plan, you better hold on tight because He is going to take you on the ride of your life. It rocks your world and you are changed. For John and me, God has plucked us out of our selfish worlds and has given us eyes to see a bigger world, in desperate need of Jesus. Glory! We are holding on tight as we prepare to travel across the world to fulfill God’s plan for our lives.

I hope that if you are walking through the desert, you will remember these tidbits. This morning as I was praying, something hit me – this desert season has a purpose – an eternal purpose. Is it fun? Nope, not really. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have grown closer to God and He has made me more like Him.
As I was praying, it dawned on me that God could be using my desert season to impact others who desperately need Him. John and I know several people who need to experience the amazing love of their Heavenly Father. I was overcome by emotion as I prayed. “God, if me being in the desert means that someone will come to know you as their personal savior, then I don’t want to be anywhere else. I will stay right where I’m at if it means people will see your amazing power through this difficult season I’m facing. May You be glorified.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another Adoptive Family's Adoption is FULLY Funded!!!!

I wanted to share a post from another adoptive families blog. This family just became fully funded for their adoption. God provided in amazing ways! I wanted to post this because Rachel shares how they had some people who didn't agree with their adoption fundraising. I love her response!! John and I have faced some criticism about  our fundraising for the adoption and I could really relate to this post....to read more about the Walser Family's journey visit here.

Here is Rachel's post from today.....

"It is with great joy and humble gratitude that we announce to you:
We are fully funded!!
Thanks to the generous gift of an anonymous donor and a Show Hope grant, we are done fundraising!!
It has been a year and a half of blood, sweat, tears, and prayer, as we walked this out-- never really knowing just how God would provide. We started with $100. That's it. We knew there was a long road ahead. We have worked hard organizing fundraisers like our garage sale and vendor blender and raffle, we have set aside any extra money that has come our way, we have watched the slow and steady sale of our t-shirts provide just as it's been needed, and we watched in amazement as God raised over $10,000 in a week for our referral fee.
Fundraising is a funny thing. Not fun--don't mistake me. : ) Fun-ny thing. At times, you know your hard work and perseverance is required. At others, it is simple trust as God provides in ways you could never orchestrate no matter how carefully you planned or how hard you worked.
And I must say this. I must. I know there is much debate on whether or not to fundraise when adopting. Let me say this: had we not, there is no way we could have afforded it. We didn't have choices like putting off the remodeling of our kitchen or cashing in IRA's...those are not options we have been granted, as church planters. Large sums of cash are just not at our disposal, for adoption or for anything else.
So we rolled up our sleeves, sought to honor the Lord by sacrificing and working hard--and then left the rest to Him. Frankly, whether we sold an old lamp or sold a t-shirt or sold a raffle ticket or received donations via paypal--we see it as ALL from Him. He is our Abba Father, our Jehovah Jireh--and not just ours, but Abby's as well. He has provided each step of the way. And because we fundraised, Abby will come home to a forever family. And not just to her immediate family, but to a family of friends who loved her and gave on her behalf long before they knew her name. I'm so glad God made it so we couldn't do it on our own; we needed you.
If you have the means and are led to pay for an adoption all by yourself, by all means, do so. But for those of you on the fence, hesitating because of finances--please, please don't let money be what holds you back. As Erica said to me over a year ago when I told her we could never afford it: "Do you have $100? Because it's only $100 to apply." It's one step, one fee at a time. And so we stepped out in faith. Our family is a perfect example of God's provision each step of the way.
So we thank you for being a part of it all. Many of you gave, served, prayed, and sacrificed for this adoption. This is as much YOUR journey as it is ours. Know that. We sense your love and support and know God used you to bring our little girl home. This is how you have loved the orphans of the world, and demonstrated His love for the least. "Thank you" is not full enough of emotion nor descriptive enough of feeling to express the love we have for all of you.
But ultimately, we give thanks to the God who does exceeding above and beyond all we could ask or think.
I an reminded of one of my first posts on this blog, as I dealt with discouragement on the financial end. This is what my friend wrote to me over a year ago:
"I wanted to share a piece of my heart with the hope of encouraging you to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and rest there with humble trust, giving thanks as you are in these days of small beginnings. Jesus finishes what He starts, He loves the fatherless...you're on good ground to remain hopeful."
And so I did. And I found firm ground indeed. He has finished what He began."

And God will finish the good work that He has started in John and I. He will provide for this adoption in His ways and it will happen in His perfect time. We can be confident that we are on firm ground.

"On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Desiring the Things that God Desires....

Everyone struggles with something. Maybe it’s alcohol, a food addiction, cursing, or, like me, you struggle with a very real battle that rages inside of you – the desire for material things; for more stuff.

This is definitely my weak spot. Several years ago, I was drowning in credit card debt and was in bondage to a small, rectangular piece of plastic. Thankfully, through God’s mercy and grace, He lifted me out of the pit of debt and freed me from my bondage to credit cards.

Thankfully, I am no longer consumed with the desire to have more stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I still have days where I really want new clothes, but they don’t come as often as they used to. Just this weekend I went to the mall and walked away empty handed. I looked at the price tags and felt utterly disgusted at what clothes cost.

I am amazed at how God continually works to make my desires match up with His. He has used this adoption, as yet another way, to further refine this area of my life.

The other day I was listening to KLOVE and one of the radio hosts said something really profound. Ponder this….

Every dollar we have and every minute that we are given can be used for one of two things. We can use our time and resources to plant seeds into the world or to plant seeds into God’s eternal kingdom. Where are you planting seeds?

For so many years, I was planting all my seeds into the world. I fell into the trap of believing what the world said…. That I needed the name-brand dress or the trendy pair of shoes to be happy and fulfilled. I was buying material things, hoping they would fill a void in my heart that only God could fill.

I look back now and would give anything to have back the $12,000 I sowed into the world. That $12,000 would have come in handy for our adoption. I could have used it to make an eternal difference in the life of a child.

I want to plant seeds for God's kingdom. I want to have a heart for the things of God, not for the things of this world.

The Bible says "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy. For where your treasure is, your heart will also be. No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matthew 6:19,21 and 24)

I want to be content with what I have. I have so much compared to the rest of the world. I don't want to be in constant need of more. I just want God! He is more than enough....

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." (1st Timothy 6:6-8)

Yesterday at church, we had a great message about money and how nothing is more telling of our hearts towards God than how we spend our money.

Todd gave us 5 ways to help combat the dark side of money after we have asked Jesus to change our hearts about money.

1. Be realistic about our global wealth – realize that we are filthy rich compared to most places around the world. The average worldly salary is $2 a day.

2. Create an atmosphere were confession can happen – if you’re married this should be with the person you share a bank account with.

3. Discover ways to get in touch with the poor.

4. Renounce words like “mine” and “my” – everything we have belongs to God. God makes it available to us, but it isn’t ours.

5. GIVE…GIVE AWAY! When we give it destroys the foothold of greed. We should give generously. It needs to hurt. But if we give, expecting something in return, it’s still greed.

Thankful Tree Makes Its Debut in Haiti

This morning I came across this post on a blog I read regularly. I'm not sure I need to add anything to what the author has already beautifully expressed. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, may this blog post be a reminder to each of us to be Thankful for all that we are blessed with......we really do have SO much to be thankful for.....Enjoy.....

Thankful Tree Makes Its Debut in Haiti

Friday, November 5, 2010

Moving On To The Next Step....

John and I received the best news yesterday! Gladney called to say that we have been given the okay to move on to the next step in the adoption process. I was so happy I almost cried!! We have known for months that God has called us on this journey, but now we have “officially” started.
Last night I was daydreaming about our baby (or babies). I told John that I was so excited that I wanted to run out and buy baby furniture
We are set to have our phone orientation with Gladney on November 17th. They have sent us a ton of information that goes over, in detail, the full adoption process. Let me just say it is VERY overwhelming. There is so much to do and you have to make sure all your T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted.
I am very thankful that God has put other adoptive families (who have either been down this road or who are going down this road) in our lives. If I freak out or have questions, there are plenty of people I can go to for help.
I am also very thankful that I have God on my side through all of this. When I get overwhelmed, I can rest in Him. This adoption is HIS plan. He will help us get through all the paperwork; raise the rest of the money, etc.

We are “officially” on our way to “Bring Home the Missing Linck”

Please pray for the following:

• Patience – this is going to be a long journey

• Our future child (children) – protection and safety

• The birth mother – protection and safety for her

• That God will continue to provide the resources we need to fund the adoption

• That the process goes smoothly and we can get all of our ducks in a row in a timely manner

• That God will be glorified each step of the way!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another Way to Support Our Adoption....

So....God continues to amaze me as He comes up with creative ways to provide financially for our adoption. Just this morning I was stressing a little about fundraising and then I received this message from Kalina who stumbled across our blog.....

"I came across your blog today while I was Christmas shopping. We are buying things that support families with their adoptions. We have two biological children and 2 adopted children. I have an online store www.makingfootprints.org and would love to help you fundraise.Whoever you refer that makes a purchase with your families name, we will donate 30% of our profit from the sales with your name, to your adoption fund. We started this store to raise money to aid the poor, orphans, and widows on our foreign missions, but I thought it would be awesome to help other adoptive families at the same time. As, I can say, we have been there and every penny raised counts. My personal blog is www.myraboins.blogspot.com. Blessings to you and your little one to be."

Isn't that AWESOME??? They will donate 30% of sales to our adoption fund if any of our friends and family buy stuff from their website. All you have to do is specify that you want the proceeds to go to "Bringing Home the Missing Linck!"

Kalina has some great things on her website that would make great Christmas gifts..... check it out!!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What I've Been Struggling With.....

I’ve always been pretty open and honest here on the blog. As most of you know, John and I have struggled to conceive and I've faced some medical problems this year.

I haven’t exactly gone into detail about my diagnosis, but I think it’s finally time for me to share some of the struggles I've been dealing with this year. Not only will it help me as I continue to deal with the side effects and crazy emotions, but I pray it will help someone else that might be going through the same thing. If one person reads this and realizes that they aren’t alone, than this blog post will have served it's purpose.

Back in February, after months of either not having a period or having very irregular ones, I went to the doctor. I knew something was wrong when I wasn’t having a period, but was continually getting negative pregnancy tests. Can you imagine the roller coaster of emotions I went through each month, thinking I was pregnant, only to discover time and time again that I wasn't???

First of all, let me say that I am the biggest baby when it comes to going to the doctor. I have been that way all of my life. I get so anxious about doctor appointments that my stomach gets all knotted up and I usually end up in tears. John usually has to bribe me with some sort of treat to get me through the appointments. That’s how I ended up with my iPhone. :)

As John and I sat in the waiting room the day of my first appointment (on my birthday, might I add) I couldn’t hold back the tears. I was a nervous wreck! I don’t think John realized the extent of my phobia until that day.

That appointment was the first of many to try and determine why my body was so out of whack. I had to take medicine to force my body to have a period. That was followed by lots of blood tests. The doctor even performed a dye test to make sure my fallopian tubes weren’t blocked.

For several months we went through the same regimen. Force my body to have a period. Blood tests on specific days of my cycle, scan my ovaries, try to get pregnant, not pregnant but still no period, have a blood test to see if I’m pregnant (that’s cruel by the way)…..start all over again.

Finally one month, during a sonogram, Dr. Fletcher noticed that my ovaries were covered with tiny cysts. She started putting all of my symptoms together and finally came up with a diagnosis: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age and may become apparent following weight gain or difficulty becoming pregnant. Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome may have trouble becoming pregnant due to infrequent or lack of ovulation. Early diagnosis and treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome can help reduce the risk of long-term complications, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

When I went home and researched PCOS I discovered that I had EVERY symptom.

 Menstrual abnormality.

 Excess androgen. Elevated levels of male hormones may result in physical signs, such as excess facial and body hair and adult acne. I had both. For the first time in my life I had to wax my lip and my face was broken out like a teenager going through puberty.

 Polycystic ovaries.

 Infertility. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome may have trouble becoming pregnant because they experience infrequent ovulation or a lack of ovulation. PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility.

 Obesity. About half the women with polycystic ovary syndrome are obese. Compared with women of a similar age who don't have polycystic ovary syndrome, women with PCOS are more likely to be overweight or obese. I am not obese, but I have gained about 20 pounds over the past year.

Another common symptom of PCOS is depression. This is another area that I have really struggled with over the past few months. I have days when I am really down; days when all I do is cry. Yesterday was one of those days. I sat in my car during lunch and just cried. It’s really hard to put into words how I feel on days like that. I know it’s my hormones and the PCOS, because I'm not usually a depressed or sad person. It has been a real struggle dealing with the emotions associated with a medical diagnosis, weight gain, infertility and jacked up hormones.

Finding out that I had PCOS really rocked my world. PCOS had wreaked havoc on my body and caused all kinds of complications. I remember coming home from the doctor and just crawling under the covers. I didn't even call John to tell him what the doctor had said. I was sad. I felt alone. I didn't think there was anyone who would understand what I was going through. It didn’t help that several people blew off my diagnosis like it wasn’t a big deal.

The doctor immediately put me one medicine, that I now take twice a day.

For the first time in my life, I have had to make some major life-style changes. I had to stop drinking so many Dr Pepper’s – if you know me at all, you know this is a BIG deal. I am a Dr Pepperaholic…I could drink them from sun up to sun down.

Besides cutting back on Dr Pepper (I try to only drink one a day) I also had to start exercising on a regular basis. I have joined a boot camp that meets at 5:30 a.m., three days a week. Some days I’m more motivated than others. Monday wasn’t one of those days. When the alarm went off I pulled the covers back over my head.

I’m currently just taking things one day at a time. Like I said, some days are great and some days I feel like I’m walking around with a cloud over my head. Will I ever be able to conceive? I’m not really sure. I know people with PCOS who have, but I also know that I don’t want to mess with fertility treatments. The doctor told me that I would probably need to take a fertility drug to conceive and if I were to get pregnant, I would have to take medicine to keep me from miscarrying. Does it make me sad that I may never get pregnant? It did, but it doesn’t really anymore.
My heart's desire was not to get pregnant, it's to be a mom. I have no doubt that God will give me the desire that He has placed on my heart. I really, really, believe that God has called John and I to adopt a baby from Ethiopia. I will be a mom someday….it may not happen the way I imagined it would, but it will happen the way it’s supposed to.