Monday, February 28, 2011

My Chains Are Gone; I've Been Set Free....

I've never been addicted to drugs or alcohol but God has broken the chains that used to bind me to material things and a small piece of plastic called a credit card.
This weekend my friend Shelli and I went to the mall because I had a gift card to Macy's that I wanted to spend.
As we roamed the store looking at price tags I couldn't bring myself to pay what they were asking for clothes. $70 for a pair of blue jean shorts, $50 for a shirt, $100 for a dress.
The old me wouldn't have hesitated to spend that kind of money on clothes but God has changed me. I used to not think twice about swiping my credit card - I racked up $15,000 in credit card debt in college because I was trying to find happiness in the latest trends.
I used to leave the mall feeling down and frustrated that I didn't have the money to buy all those expensive clothes. Saturday I left the mall irritated that a piece of fabric costs so much.
I left the mall Saturday with one small bag of new underwear. They were not a splurge but a necessity considering most of mine had holes in them. Happy Birthday to me!
We live in a world that says we have to have the trendiest clothes and the latest and greatest stuff in order to be happy. I spent years buying into that lie, desperately trying to find happiness in the clothes that I wore or the material things I paid for with a piece of plastic.
God's Word says, "But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."  (1 Timothy 6:8)
It's taken me a long time, but I think I'm closer to this kind of contentment than I've ever been before.
I have a new friend named Abby who lives her life following 1 Timothy 6:8. I desire to be more like her.
She took me shopping at Good Will on Friday (that's where she buys a majority of her clothes and she always looks cute). I told her I wanted her to teach me the tricks to shopping at Good Will. She told me "You can't look at the clothes for what they are but for what they can become."
She turned a long floral skirt into a strapless dress just by adding a belt. I want to be more like Abby! She has such a heart for Jesus and she does a great job of not living for the things of this world.
I do not want to live my life falling for the lies of this world that say we must have name brands to be happy, feel beautiful or feel good about ourselves.
My mother-in-law usually takes me shopping for my birthday and in the past I have always ended up with a lot of new clothes. This year as my birthday approached I felt very convicted about our annual shopping trip. I think when you are in the process of adopting a baby from a country where most people live on less than $2 a day, your desires change.
I sincerely appreciate my mother-in-laws generosity and her willingness to take me shopping but I couldn't let her spend all that money on "stuff" when John and I are trying so hard to live different from the worlds standards. I would have been a hypocrite if I would have let her buy me a bunch of stuff when John and I have been trying to be a good witness and steward of what God has given us.
We are rich compared to many parts of the world - blessed beyond words. As I walked around the mall I didn't see a single thing that I NEEDED or even anything I really wanted for that matter.
I did get a pair of TOMS and that was the perfect birthday gift. I haven't worn another pair of shoes since Karen bought them for me.
God has changed me and He continues to change me - giving me a heart that desires the things He desires. Not the pricey price tags at the mall that will only bring temporary happiness.
I like the way Abby thinks. She told me the other day that clothes just cover your body so there's no need to spend a fortune on them.
When we have a personal relationship with God, when we are filled with His love, peace, joy and hope, we really do start seeing life the way Jesus did.
"But if we have food and clothing we will be content with that."
As Christians life isn't about bigger houses or how much stuff we can collect. We are supposed to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Jesus. (Luke 9:23)
I do not want to stand before God someday and have to admit that I spent my resources on temporary things instead of eternal ones.

Friday, February 25, 2011

$1,300 In Two Weeks for the Ellis'

Our friends Clint and Kathleen have been Gladney approved and are very close to submitting their Dossier. There's just one tiny glitch...they need to raise $1300 in about two weeks so that they can stay on track and continue the journey to bring their baby girl home.
The thing I like about the adoption community is that we are a team. We pray for each other, encourage each other and participate in each other's fundraisers. Who cares if we're all trying to raise a huge sum of money for our babies. If one of the couples needs help, you can bet the other couples are there to buy t-shirts, make a donation or spread the word on their blogs.
I am asking my blog readers, family and friends to consider making a donation to Clint and Kathleen's adoption fund. If they don't come up with the $1300 they need, it's going to put their adoption on hold and we just can't have that happen. There's a baby girl in need of a Forever Family and I know Kathleen's arms are aching to by a mommy.
From the bottom of my heart I believe that God calls ALL of us to take care of the orphan. That doesn't mean we're all supposed to adopt but we can ALL do something. Even if it's just giving $10. Every $10 donation adds up and before you know it you have $1,000.
I know without a doubt that God is going to provide the $1300 that the Ellis' need. He has made it very clear that they are supposed to be adopting from Ethiopia and when He calls us to something He ALWAYS makes a way.
Kathleen is an AMAZING seamstress. She creates the greatest things. I have bought a makeup bag, key chains and a baby blanket from her. She also made me the cutest Africa shirt for my birthday. ALL the proceeds from her Etsy shop go to benefit their adoption. Would you consider buying something from her shop??
Here are a few photos of the neat things that she has made. She is SUPER talented....

 Cute baby blanket and tote bag...she can customize anything and she has a ton of fabric that you can pick from. Let your imagination run wild!

 She makes cute little onsies and t-shirts for kiddos.

I will have to buy one of her b-day shirts for our kiddos when we bring them home. She also makes these great key chains. I have several of them and just love them!
Place your orders now at Kathleen's Etsy shop. We want her sewing like crazy and raising the money she needs to bring home her precious little girl. If you are interested in making a donation to the Ellis' adoption fund please check out their blog here.

Gladney Approved!

We got our Gladney Approved Certificate in the mail yesterday and our official finalized homestudy. The certificate is always going to be special to me because the date listed on it is February 23, 2011. My 29th Birthday! Only God. His timing is perfect!
 John loves all the photos I have to take to document this journey!
 Happy Birthday to me, we're Gladney approved!
The official certificate....

I also heard from Kate yesterday who has been working on our Dossier. We only need two more documents and it will be complete. I am going to have our financial statement notarized this weekend and then the only other piece of paper we will need will be the CIS Approval Letter. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Best Birthday Present EVER....

This might just be the BEST birthday I have ever had! Not only did I have a ton of people text, call and Facebook me happy birthday messages, but we sold 6 puzzle pieces today!

But the biggest news is that we are GLADNEY APPROVED and our I600A has been submitted. And I found out this incredible news on my birthday! I cried when I read the e-mail. Now we just wait to receive our fingerprint appointments. Our dossier is complete – just waiting on the approval letter after we get our fingerprints so that it can be sent to Washington D.C.
We are getting so close to the wait list. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday gift.
I also went to lunch with some of my work peeps today. We had a blast. I work with some of the most amazing people and I’m so glad I got to celebrate my b-day with them. Here are a few photos from lunch.

 Abby, Me and Lucy Anne. These girls just make my heart happy. They are incredible to work with!
 A few of the amazing people I work with at City Rescue Mission - Lucy Anne, Seth, Dan and Abby.
 I got an ice cream sundae for my birthday at Zios.
Birthday Lunch

Keep spreading the word about our giveaway. Here's how it works: We REALLY need to sell the remaining 29 pieces of our puzzle. So each person who buys a puzzle piece will be entered into a drawing to win a cool prize pack. The prize pack will include a copy of Crazy Love by Francis Chan; a copy of Radical by David Platt and a Kari Jobe worship CD. It will also include a pair of TOMS!

To be entered into the giveaway all you have to do is buy a puzzle piece for $20 or make a $20 donation to our adoption fund. We will then write your name and a message (if you wish) on the back of the puzzle piece. The puzzle will be a special way for us to show our kiddos all the people who helped us bring them home. Spread the word and help us Bring Home Our Missing Linck(s).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It’s My Birthday! Buy a Puzzle Piece and You Could Win a Prize!

In honor of my birthday tomorrow, we will be doing our first ever giveaway! I LOVE birthdays! It doesn’t matter if it’s mine or John’s or a friend’s. I just love to celebrate! I turn 29 tomorrow but I have been celebrating the entire month of February. The celebration will continue this weekend.

On Sunday I was thinking about how I’m going to be 30 next year. It’s so odd to think of myself turning 30 but the GREAT thing about turning 30 next year is that I will most likely become a mom. So to me, turning 30 is going to be an exciting thing.
Anyway…I'm jumping the gun by about a year. In honor of my birthday I want to do a giveaway. Here's how it will work: We REALLY need to sell the remaining 35 pieces of our puzzle. So each person who buys a puzzle piece will be entered into the drawing to win a cool prize pack.
The prize pack will include a copy of Crazy Love by Francis Chan; a copy of Radical by David Platt and a Kari Jobe worship CD. It will also include a pair of TOMS!

I got my first pair of TOMS for my birthday (the ones in the photo) and I haven’t worn another pair of shoes since I first slipped them on my feet. I LOVE them!
Of course the winner will be able to pick out the color and size of their choice. I will order the TOMS and have the prize pack sent to them.
To be entered into the giveaway all you have to do is buy a puzzle piece for $20 or make a $20 donation to our adoption fund. We will then write your name and a message (if you wish) on the back of the puzzle piece. The puzzle will be a special way for us to show our kiddos all the people who helped us bring them home.
Here is a photo of the front and back of the puzzle. See all the empty pieces still waiting for names....

You can buy a puzzle piece by clicking the Buy Now button on the right side of the blog. I'm hoping we can sell all the pieces in the next week. Once we sell all the pieces I will draw a winner. Please spread the word about our giveaway, post it on Facebook and blog about it. You know you want to win the prize...especially a new pair of TOMS!

Monday, February 21, 2011

We're Foster Parents....

To this cute little (not really) guy!
This is Bo. He's a 19 pound yorkie and he's really sweet. He belongs to one of the ladies living at the Mission and I just couldn't let him end up at the pound so he's staying with us for a while. He loves John. He follows him around and sits or lays at his feet when he's doing something in the kitchen. He reminds me a lot of Story because he does many of the same things that she does - like jump on the back of the couch to lay down and bark like a chicken.
John's mom and sister came to visit this weekend for my birthday. We spent Friday shopping at the mall and had dinner Saturday night at Asian O'Fusions in Norman. It's one of my favorite places. The pineapple fried rice is to die for. For my birthday I got a pair of TOMS. I love them! I've worn them ever since I got them and can't wait to get another pair. They are so comfy!
Sunday we went to church and as we were worshipping with the Habuda's and the Hulsey's all I could do was smile. Joy just bubbled inside of me. God has blessed John and I so much - with an amazing church and with wonderful friends. I always look forward to Sunday mornings and I can't always find the right words to describe how blessed I feel by Summit church and the friends that we get to worship with on Sunday mornings.
After church everyone came over for lunch. John grilled some amazing steaks and chicken and we had birthday cake to celebrate my birthday. Maddie helped me blow out the candles. Sunday night John and I went to see Beauty and the Beast at the Civic Center. It was wonderful! Such a great show. John even loved it (but don't tell him that I told you.) I would love to take John to NYC to see a Broadway show. Maybe we can a quick trip in before we become parents. I don't have a single picture from Beauty and the Beast...I didn't do the greatest job of taking photos this weekend.
God really moved this weekend - in my life and in other ways. I haven't had the chance to sit down and really process it all or to write out all that I feel like He is doing. I hope to spend some time journaling about it tonight and then blog about it later this week. God is really working and moving and I'm glad He's asking me to be a part of the journey.
I will also be announcing the giveaway later this week on the blog - stay tuned to see how you can win some great prizes while helping us bring home our Missing Linck(s).
Here are a few photos from the weekend ( I didn't take near as many as I should have)

 My yummy birthday cake....
 John and I with his mom and sister
 Our wonderful friends the Habuda's and the Hulsey's - we are so blessed to know these guys!
 Maddie helped put the candles on the cake, sang Happy Birthday to me and then helped me blow out the candles. Then she enjoyed a piece of cake.
Blowing out the birthday candles.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Drum Roll Please.....

“I’ll make a way; I’ll do whatever it takes, even though it won’t be easy. I have a plan and though you may not understand, today I’ll make a way” ~Natalie Grant

In July I was heartbroken, overwhelmed and defeated when John and I were told that a big portion of the funding for our adoption was no longer available. I remember sitting on my porch crying, unsure of how we were going to come up with the $25,000 we needed to adopt from Ethiopia.

God had made it very clear in January of 2010 that we were supposed to adopt but we had no idea how we were going to come up with so much money. There were months where we were doing good just to get our bills paid.

Seven months later I am in awe of my awesome God! The first fundraising goal we set was to raise $18,000 – guess what??? WE HAVE REACHED OUR GOAL!

After selling 75 dozen Africa shaped cookies, organizing a golf tournament in just a few short months, having a garage sale, selling cookie jars at Christmas, cupcakes for Valentines Day and through many, many generous donations from people we know and even some that we don’t know, we have reached our first goal!

Only God! I am fighting back tears as I type this – that my God cares so much about my babies that He is providing every penny we need to bring them home! Wow!

Here are a few things that I have learned over the past few months:

1. God funds and provides for His calling in our lives. When He whispers to your heart to adopt or to step out in faith in some other area, He WILL provide the resources you need to accomplish what He is asking you to do.

2. God uses the people you least expect to help you. We have been so blessed by people we hardly know throughout this adoption journey. In our minds we thought we knew the people who would help and support us on this journey. In all honesty, the people who have helped us have not been the people we thought it would be. The people God has chosen to use has just blown me away. Imagine the shock when my sister’s childhood friend (who I haven’t seen in probably 15 years) donated $200 to our adoption fund. Once again…Only God!

3. Not everyone agrees with adoption fundraising but I have no doubt that this is how God intended for us to come up with the money because He wanted other people to be His hands and feet and support something that is near and dear to His heart – the orphan, adoption. Not everyone is called to adopt, but everyone is called to help the fatherless.

4. I’ve learned that even if I don’t have a lot of money (and I really do it I compare myself to the rest of the world), I can always give something. I know how much it can hurt to have people you are close to not reach out to help, to not offer encouragement. I pray that I will always have an open hand. Even if I can only give $10, then I want to give $10 to help the people who need it – whether it is family, friends or a total stranger. I can do something – even if it’s just promising to pray or encouraging people on their journeys.

So what’s next?? We still need to come up with $10,000 to cover our two trips to Ethiopia. The good news is we have about a year to do this. We will be hosting the Hearts for Adoption Dinner and Silent Auction in April with some of our close friends to help raise money for our travel. I will also be revealing a giveaway here on the blog in the next few days. You’ll have a chance to participate in a fundraiser and be entered to win some great prizes.

I can honestly say that I am not a bit worried about this remaining $10,000. God provided the money we needed to cover the adoption fees and I know He will get us to Ethiopia (twice).
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our adoption fund. We are so glad that God chose each of you to be a part of our journey.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hearts for Adoption Dinner and Silent Auction....

I am super excited to announce our next fundraising event! We are partnering with the Ellis' and the Habuda's to host a dinner and silent auction. All the proceeds from the event will benefit our adoptions from Ethiopia. God has faithfully provided an amazing facility to have our event and a great deal on catering.
Please join us for this fun night of food and music to raise money to support adoption!

Hearts for Adoption Dinner and Silent Auction

When: Saturday, April 16 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Where: Christian Life Fellowship Church
            1400 NW 12th Street in Moore, Oklahoma

Dinner will be catered by Primos D'Italia. Cost is $15 for adults and $6 for children over 5-years-old. Kids 5 and under eat free. We will have a lot of cool silent auction items and live music to keep you entertained while you eat.

Would you please help us spread the word about this event?? Post it to your Facebook, invite all of your friends. It's going to be a good, good, night!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentines Day...

Dearest John:
Please remember that Valentines Day is on Monday. A box of Girl Scout cookies from the pantry will not fly as my gift this year :) But if you would get a hair cut that might be the best V-Day gift I could get.
Love, Jennifer (posted on John's facebook page last week)

This Valentines Day was wonderful because A) I didn't get a box of Girl Scout cookies from our pantry and B) John did go get a haircut. How could I ask for anything more??
But all kidding aside, we really did have a great V-Day. We celebrated Saturday night by going to see a movie and then John surprised me with roses and an iphone adaptor for my car.
I think John is finally figuring out that I like corny holidays like V-Day and that my love language is gifts. And I think I am finally figuring out that John's love language is NOT gifts. He has told me many times not to get him anything and I just feel so bad if he doesn't have a gift to open. Well this year I finally took his advice. I just got him a card and I could tell he was perfectly happy with that.

John also bought this yummy chocolate/peanut butter dessert. It was so rich I could only eat a few bites.

Tomorrow I will be posting an update on our fundraising and revealing a couple of fun and easy ways you can help us! God has been so faithful and we are in awe of all He has done through this adoption process and how He is providing every penny we need to bring our babies home.

Monday, February 14, 2011

182 Reasons to Show Some Love this Valentine's Day

Today I am plagerizing again but it's for the most incredible reason. I read this post from Lindsey this morning and just had to spread the word. Here is what Lindsey had to say and how you can help show love to a young woman who has been given only 182 days to live.

"I read a blog post today. Big deal. I read at least a blog post every day. I'm sure I'll read one tomorrow. Not like today's. May be a long time before I ever read another one like today's. Please Jesus, I hope I never do.

There are days I become bogged in life. Laundry. Dishes. Groceries. Sibling squabbles. Marital misunderstandings. There are days I beg for meaning, existence, passion to do more than monotony. I'm even reading a new book challenging me to do life differently, to grow where God has me now, for this season, right here in my home, church, work, my immediate skin.
I usually judge time by weeks or years. Today's blog post challenged me to judge time by breaths, minutes, moments. Sounds so cliche to say " is measured by the moments that take our breath away." What if we actually lived like we had only moments? What would we do differently? Would I hold my tongue? Let is all out? I don't know. That challenge is not before me just yet. And if I knew my expiration date, would it really change my perspective? I know I would be welcomed into the other side by my Savior, my paternal grandparents, my half-sister. But would be the sound of my steps towards the pearly gates? Would they be carefree and full of wonderment of the other side? Or would I trudge with bitterness and moaning for life I never got to live here?
Today's blog post was written by a 27 year old woman living in Phoenix. 27. I'm not sure I remember 27. But I can promise you Crystal will. That's her name. The author of this blog that messed with my thinking. She's been given 6-12 months to live. Stage 4 cancer. Stage 4. For a 27 year old. Isn't that a diagnosis for someone 3x her age? Her insight into her condition is ugly cry beautiful. She's got a termination date and there is no exasperation in her written voice. Even if it is a voice on a schedule 182 days. Tick. Tock.
Choosing to skip towards those gates, this tattooed, gorgeous, fair skinned angel is writing a list of what she wants to experience in these last, calculated, measured, docketed days. What are some of these things, here's just a few:

1.) Win a contest

2.) Volunteer in a 3rd world country

3.) Hold a newborn baby

4.) Pet a lion.

5.) See an elephant.

6.) Learn to knit.

7.) Get a tattoo on her hand and neck.

Kiss James Franco
I have an amazing friend who lives out love the only way Steffany knows how: out LOUD. Upon reading Crystal's "bucket" list, she contacted Crystal and told her she had won a trip to Ethiopia, a "contest" that did not exist until Steffany created it in her head, 5 minutes after reading Crystal's list. I love that Steffany. With no plan of how to pay for such an adventure, just a faith that screams to the mountain "MOVE", she gets on her knees and prays it into moving and then picks up a shovel to make sure that mountain is moved precisely to the spot Steffany planned it.
This trip that Steff has planned has been planned for months. She's heading back to Ethiopia. This trip will also mean checking off 7 of the things off of Chrystal's list (but if anyone knows James Franco, Steff would like to pull off 8!). It just so happens (like it always does when the Holy Spirit is involved) that Crystal will finish a round of chemo and have the exact time off she needs to regain energy and head to Ethiopia in a few weeks with Steffany.
Why did I tell you this story? Did you really need a sad, dramatic end to your weekend? Yes. Yes you did. Why? Because I live out LOUD too. Tomorrow is valentine's day. I personally hate the holiday. If the hubby needs a Hallmark date to be reminded to buy me flowers that I don't need, chocolate that's been harvested by slave labor and a card that he put no thought into, then he and I have bigger problems than just where to go for dinner tomorrow night. This entire month, we've been challenging you to Recycle your Love for adoptive families. Tonight, we're asking you to Recycle your Love for Crystal. To give a woman a chance to pet a lion, hold a newborn, win a contest, learn to knit, see an elephant, get those tattoos and volunteer in a 3rd world country. My friend Steff has been hard at work all day trying to raise $2000 to cover Crystal's expenses to Ethiopia. She more than halfway there.
Go read Crystal's blog. Leave a Comment. She's asking for quotes that you love and your suggestions about what you would do if you only had 182 days left. Do you even know? Go here and donate directly to her travel fund, please make sure you put "Crystal" in the memo line. Or you can buy a Recycle Love tee (or 10) and put Crystal's name in the memo line and we'll donate $10 for each shirt sold to her travel fund.I know you guys are tired of me tweeting, blogging and facebooking about one more cause, event or need. But I cannot believe that if you didn't understand my crazy, passionate heart, you would still be on this journey for me. I thank you for that. For understanding, for supporting and helping me get the word out. Let's do it again!
We designed Recycle Love to be an overflow of people's love to help others who have a great cause. Crystal has 182 of them.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Birthday Girl's Weekend in Pictures....

This weekend I got to celebrate my birthday early with Sarah and Kathleen! We had dinner, went shopping at Target, talked about our babies and adoption, oohed and awed over cute baby stuff and just had a super great time.
Saturday Sarah and I had pedicures, ate cupcakes and went to Affair of the Heart. It was a great weekend with great friends....Here are a few photos.
 Here we are eating at Charleston's for my Birthday Dinner....Yum!

 Kathleen made me the CUTEST purple shirt with Africa on it!

 Matt treated Sarah and I to pedicures...what a nice guy!

 After lunch we went to a cupcake place that I had never been and got these delicious treats! If you know me, I am a cupcake lovin' girl! Don't worry...Sarah and I didn't eat all of these by ourselves. We took some home to John.

 Italian Cream Cupcake.... one of my favorites.

Sarah and I found this book at Affair of the Heart this year and just had to get it. It's going to be a great book to read to our kiddos one day.

Sarah and Kathleen - Thank you for treating me to a fabulous weekend and helping me to celebrate my birthday! I had a blast and can't wait to do it again! 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Last Chance to Recycle Love for the Habuda's...

I am plagiarizing this morning....I decided to copy Sarah's blog post word for word and help them get the word out about the Recycle Love Campaign. There is only one week left to buy shirts and help support their adoption! The shirt would make a great Valentine gift for someone! Here is what Sarah had to say:

Just a reminder that you only have 1 more week to order your Recycle Love t-shirts! Friday, February 18th is the very last day to order!
We are doing really well...and have a real chance to win the additional $500!!!!
I am so excited and truly believe we can be the winning family. :)
Remember for every t-shirt that is purchased and designated HABUDA FAMILY (in the note/instruction to seller the link right under your address) we receive $10 towards our adoption! The family that sells the most t-shirts wins an additional $500!!!
Would you consider supporting our adoption by purchasing a shirt?
They come in adult and children sizes and on the back they have an awesome quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "Life's most urgent questions is this: What are you doing for others?"
You can click the button (picture) to the right and it will take you to the Africa Bound Andrews blog where you can purchase the shirt with PayPal.
**If you don't have PayPal and would like to buy a shirt please let me know!** Please don't forget to add HABUDA FAMILY to the note to seller (under your address) on the final page before you submit your payment! It is very easy to miss!!!
Thank you SO much to those of you who have already bought a shirt. We are so incredibly grateful and feel so blessed by the support and love of our friends and family...and even strangers! :) I can't wait to see people spreading the message that LOVE is tangible through our actions towards others!
**Once you get your shirts (1-2 weeks after the 18th) send me a picture of you wearing it! I would love to put them on our blog!!! **
Would you help us spread the word by posting this on your blog or Facebook, or by sending an email? We want to get the word out as much as possible. We truly appreciate all of your love and support!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


“If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” Habakkuk 2:3

I totally stole this verse from Sarah’s blog post today and it was SO what I needed to read. When I went to look the verse up in my Bible so that I could highlight it, it already was. Beside the verse I had written:

“Habakkuk’s need for patience was so great the Lord prefaced His message with a reminder for him to not try to carry out God’s plan before its due season. I can relate with my desire to be a mom.”

I added a new note today under the one that was already there. I simply wrote “adoption.”

For the most part I don’t think much about the time frame of our adoption. Most days I have a lot of peace and know that everything is going to happen when it’s supposed to. But then there are days when it seems like we will never board that plane for Ethiopia. Just last night John was saying how he could go to Ethiopia right now.

This morning I was feeling a little anxious about the timeline for our adoption. I hope we are on the wait list by April. We are still waiting on the finalized copy of our home study. Once we get copies of it we can finally submit our I600A and get our fingerprint appointment. Those are the last steps we need to take before being put on the wait list and I am biting at the bit to get them done.

I e-mailed our social worker today and she said that she will be mailing the final copies of our home study to Gladney today or tomorrow. We are getting closer, but I am constantly reminded that there is very little about this adoption process that is in my control.

I was reassured and encouraged by the verse in Habakkuk because although I don’t know when we will actually meet our babies, I do know that it will happen. “It will not be delayed,” which means it will happen exactly when God wants it to happen. He is busy working out all the details while I wait on our home study.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How the Story of Jesus Feeding the 5,000 Relates to Me....

After reading Erica's blog on Monday, I was drawn to Luke 9 and the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000.
I've read this section of scripture many times but it spoke to me in a whole new way this week.
When a huge crowd had gathered around Jesus, His disciples wanted to send them away to a nearby town to find food. But Jesus told His disciples that they should be the ones to give the 5,000 something to eat.
His disciples replied, "We have only 5 loaves of bread and two fish - unless we go and buy food for this crowd."
After reading Jesus' command to His disciples and their response, it got me thinking about a very similar situation in my life.
God said, " Jennifer, adopt a baby from Ethiopia."
My first response was "How in the world will be ever be able to afford it?"
Just as Jesus fed the 5,000, He has provided $17,775 for our adoption.
Luke 9:17 says, "they all ate and were satisfied and the disciples picked up 12 basketful's of broken bread pieces that were left over."
Today I was reminded once again of how the Lord provides in ways that we never could.
John and I, along with the Habuda's and the Ellis' have wanted to have a dinner/silent auction to help raise money for our adoptions. We have been having a hard time finding a place to hold the event and were starting to get frustrated - then God did something cool and unexpected.
Three weeks ago Matt and Sarah went to church with John and I and we met a new couple who had only visited a few times. We began to chat with Mike and Krista and learned that Mike was a police officer in Moore.
I randomly asked him if he knew of anywhere that we could have a dinner/silent auction to benefit our adoptions. He said he might know of a place and took my contact information. I was very surprised to get a text message from Mike a few days later with the name of one of his friends who is a youth pastor at a local church. He told me to contact his friend because he thought it would be fine for us to use their church for our event.
Well, I talked to the youth pastor yesterday and we are all set to have our event at the church in April. The best news....we get to use the space free of charge! The youth pastor told me that the reason he was letting us have our event there was because he was adopted and totally supported what we are doing. Only God can work out such an amazing plan like that!
We are all so excited about the event and we will have more details coming soon. We are looking for items that can be used in our silent auction, so if you know of anyone who might want to donate an item we would be so grateful!
We believe it's going to be a fun night of food, live music and fellowship to help our families bring our babies home.
Hope to see you all there!!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekend In Pictures...

John has the Super Bowl on and we are officially cheering for the Steelers. We gotta show some love and support for our friends Matt and Sarah who are die hard Steelers fans!! I can smell the chicken chili in the crock pot and I just finished a big batch of red velvet cupcakes (my all time favorite made with my mom's special icing!)
This weekend consisted of a lot of cupcake making, a little bit of scrapbooking, church and finding a few things for our sweet Ethiopian babes. I also bought something for Kathleen and Sarah's babies. I have a feeling we are going to be in big trouble once we all know if we are getting boys or girls. We may go broke spoiling these babies. I thought it would be fun to take a few photos to highlight the weekend events....

Working on cupcake orders...
 Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes
 I found this bib at Ross for $1.50. Super excited....
 I also found these receiving blankets at Ross for $4.99. They have cute African animals on them. I got Sarah a set of them too since we both have to look for gender neutral things right now and they are so darn hard to find!

Since we know Kathleen will be adopting a baby girl I got to buy something pink! I found this cute blanket at Ross too...Ross is going to become my favorite place to shop for these babies.

 John bought this book for our babies when he went to Sam's Saturday morning. I'm not the only one who can't resist buying things for them. They already have a toy box full of books, toys, etc. The cool thing is it's the toy box I had as a little girl and it was made by my G-Dad.
 I ordered this fun Valentine's Day shirt from Ordinary Hero. Isn't it great! Proceeds help families who are order one go here.
I really hoped to get more scrapbooking done this weekend but it just didn't happen. Too many cupcakes to make, which is a good problem to have. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

God's Answered Prayers About A Job....

In September of 2010 I highlighted this verse in my Bible: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." Hebrews 4:7
Next to the verse I wrote "If God's calling you to something, obey!" I then listed out several areas in my life where I felt like He was calling me to action. Adoption, a possible career in ministry, to write a book about our adoption journey and to live a more radical life for Him. I felt like He was asking me to depend more on Him and less on money and the things of this world.
The one item on that list that really had me confused was "a possible career in ministry." I do not have a theology degree and by no means do I know the Bible as well as I should, but I really felt this deep desire to be in ministry. Although I had no idea what that would entail or what exactly I was supposed to do to make it happen.
In October of 2010 I took a job as creative writer with Tate Publishing. I was super excited about the opportunity and I even wrote a book. I also had the chance to begin writing my book about our adoption (another item on my list) BUT just a few weeks into the job I knew it wasn't for me. I don't do well sitting at a small desk in silence all day, never interacting with people. I also learned pretty quickly that although I love to write, I do not enjoy writing books - especially when people want to write books about crazy things like Jesus and vampires. The three months that I was at Tate were pretty miserable. I constantly had to remind myself that I needed to be thankful that I had a job, but I will be honest....I had a really rotten attitude during those three months. There were days when I just wanted to quit. I had lunch alone every single day during those three months and would often cry in my car on my lunch breaks. I had a deep desire for a job that I would love going to everyday. The same thought continued to pop into my head - a job in ministry, a job working with people.
Hello January 2011! I finally decided there was no way I could sit at a desk and surf the Internet any longer. I had to have some human interaction. So I started searching for jobs (which is a very intimidating task when you really have no idea what it is you're supposed to be doing).
I remembered my pastor telling me about some possible job openings at the City Rescue Mission so I emailed one of the guys who worked there and also goes to our church.
Next thing I knew I had an interview. Less than a week later I had a job offer.
I accepted a job as Volunteer Coordinator for the mission. I will also be helping out a bit with public relations. I totally stole this description of my job from Seth. He is the current volunteer coordinator who has been training me. He describes our job like this: "Our goal as volunteer coordinator is to connect people. Sick people with well people, hurting people with happy people, loving people with lonely people. It's a beautiful experience, come be a part of it."
It all boils down to this....This job is really ALL ABOUT JESUS!
City Rescue Mission is a nonprofit organization that has served the homeless living in Oklahoma City for more than 50 years. They have saved many lives and have had a profound impact on thousands of others by providing compassionate, humanitarian services to those in desperate need.
Thursday was my first day at City Rescue Mission and I'm just in awe of how God works. He answered my prayers and heard the cries of my heart. I am working in a ministry position. I am having to rely on Him more and money less since I took a pay cut. I have only been there two days and the people are amazing! My first day on the job, Seth invited me to go to lunch with him and another one of the guys who works there. Each morning we have Chapel, which consists of praise and worship and a devotion. At some point I will get to lead some of the devotions. I have also signed up to be a mentor to a young woman staying at the mission. 
This is not a story I could have written for myself - only God! Yesterday during chapel, the lady leading the devotion said "God has a purpose for you being exactly where you are."
I can't wait to find out all that God has planned for me through this job.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


The other night I was watching TV and the Christian band FFH was being interviewed. The lead singer Jeromy was diagnosed with MS in 2007 and he was talking about suffering.
He said that suffering doesn't have to be "physical pain". It can be loosing your job, waiting on something (like having kids), it could be a desert season.
He said "Suffering is not just for some people and it's not optional. But there is joy because suffering is where Jesus meets us in special ways."
I just love that! I think many times we think that suffering has to hurt physically. I think many times we think that when we become Christians every thing will always be peachy king. That's not what God's Word says.

Romans 5:3-5 says "We also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope..."

Romans 8:18 says "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."

FFH sang a song that really spoke to my heart. The words in the chorus could totally describe me. My idea of having a family wasn't always adoption, but God chose it for me. And through infertility and waiting to become a mother I have never felt as close to God. He is leading me....down the path He has picked out especially for me. Soak in the lyrics below and remember that if you are a Christian, there is always a purpose for your suffering.

"And this may not be the road I would choose for me but it still feels right some how.
And I have never felt you as close to me as I do right now. So this is what it feels like to be led."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blizzard 2011

I have to admit I actually like this kind of weather! I woke up this morning and watched all the news coverage about the blizzard (I'm still watching it because I'm a news junkie like that). I made waffles for breakfast and then curled up with my dog and we went back to sleep.
Here are a few photos from our Oklahoma was brutal braving the wind and bitter cold just to get a few photos. Another wave is about to come through that could bring a few more inches of snow. Who knows how long we will be bunkered down....

 Story and I are warm under the blankets. This is about 6:00 this morning....
 We made yummy waffles for breakfast and then went back to bed
 Story enjoyed waffles too...
 The worst part of a blizzard - getting Story to go potty
 The front of our house - I am totally styling in my PJ pants, ski jacket and hat :)
 The snow drift outside of our back door  - it's pretty big....
 Our street...
The front of our can't really tell very well from the photo but there are some ginormous snow drifts in our front yard. Not really sure how deep they are. I didn't step in them to test them out. 
John is ready to shovel some snow, although it's probably just a big fat waste of his time since the wind is blowing so hard. It won't take long and he'll just have to shovel again.