Friday, December 31, 2010

A Dream About You.

I had another dream about you last night. We were in--what I can only imagine is-- the Guest Home. You were sleeping on the bed in a little romper we brought for you. You were chubby, I thought...I was thankful for that..not only because it meant you had eaten well at the Baby Home, but also because it made you look younger than you were. All of the sudden, I started worrying about how quickly you might grow up, and suddenly  I wanted to memorize all of your features at this point...your chubby knees, round face, big eyes, sound sleep...Of course, in all irony, I was the only one NOT soundly sleeping.

I just watched you. Thinking about all we had been through to get to this point....wondering what our lives would look like now that the focus would shift from the process of bringing you home...to enjoying you and the joy you would bring into our lives. There were so many things I wanted to tell you right at that moment... How I wanted to be a great mommy to you. How much I loved you and wanted to keep you always safe. How I wanted to hold you like this forever and never let you grow up. How, at the same time, I knew God had such great big plans for you and that you were a person of incredible destiny... 

I wanted to tell you that the next month might feel like a whirlwind...but that I would always be there....and that I understood you might be scared..but that no matter what, we would keep you safe. I wanted to give you some insight into what the next week held in store..

but I knew I couldn't. 

So I just held you.

And I prayed.  I prayed that God would tell you all the things I couldn't. That He would always hold you even closer than I. That you would feel peace and comfort even in the midst of turmoil and change. That His love, which had always been there, would be even more tangible and familiar to you now.

And then it was over.

When I woke up, I tried to dream it again. 

I kept closing my eyes and asking God to take me back there....

It was the closest to you I have ever felt at this point.

But, yet, I sit here. 

awake. 

I know that God gave me that glimpse to comfort and love on me...the same way I ask Him every day to comfort and love on you. I know He showed me, not only my heart, but His heart for you. And for me. I know that I have something to hold onto now...maybe something that I can turn back to when the "goin's get tough" again.

So, as angry and upset as I was that it was just a dream...a very short dream?

I am also incredibly thankful..that it was mine.

3: The number of people in our family.

Also the number of months we have been waiting for you. So to commemorate this moment, I have devised our "Top 3" lists...because, honestly, if we get to 10...I am positive  I won't be in the mood for lightheartedness =).

Top 3 things you will learn to love:

** Music/Singing/Worship/Making 80's jingles out of billboards.
** Arkansas Razorbacks: Specifically football though we won't complain if you also support other sports
** Festivals: We frequent most of them...year-round.

Top 3 things you should have aversions to:

** LSU (Sorry LA friends...It is what it is)
** Ole' Miss: You're too young to know the details but regardless.....
** Prius'

Top 3 things you'll eat (and love):

** Your mommy's lemon chicken.  It's her signature (Don't break your mommy's heart)
** Smith Family Trash Can. Your daddy's specialty
** Homemade queso and salsa

Top 3 books we can't wait to read with you:

** Madeline (Mommy's favorite)
** Goodnight Moon
** Hungry Hungry Caterpillar

Top 3 things we can't wait to do with you:

** Cuddle
** Play games
** Give lots and lots of kisses!

Top 3 things we want to tell you:

** We love you!
** We love you!
** We love you!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Journey of Love: New models, new stuff , new year!

Here at The Smith Chateau...we have been furiously saving..scrimping...and scrounging for every extra dollar that comes our way...What, with two trips on the horizon, and Baby Smith to bring home??...Every penny counts!


And with so many great things happening, I wanted to give a praise report and send our a reminder about our Journey of Love fundraiser...I have blessed beyond measure by the outpouring of support...from friends and family...people I haven't spoken to in years, and even more amazing? From people I have never even met!


There is more love going into these projects that I could even tell you, but it's all because there is so much love being shown to us in this journey!


That said, it takes a lot of $10 or $20 orders to hit our $2000 goal (that's ONE plane ticket in case you were wondering!) but we are believing that God is going to shine through all of our efforts (and even the things we could NEVER accomplish on our own) and get the glory through it all!

We are anxiously praying about some quick fundraiser ideas...especially since we are ALSO anxiously praying for a late spring court date....[Don't tell The Husband though, I am still under strict orders to "not get my hopes up"]  and are looking at some options in Feb/March...

But, until then?? There are still opportunities to help support our Journey of Love...and now?? I am upping the anty.  For every order that references YOU as how they have heard about our fundraiser, YOU get $1 in your bank....It can discount, or even completely cover, the cost of many and most of the products offered!! AND I am offering even more items for you to check out!!



I know many of you are in your own, similar, journeys and I am especially grateful for the outpouring of support I have seen from each of you!! It is in these seasons, that I see how far the benefits outweigh the costs.....Thank you!


So, without further ado: Check out some of my beautiful new models and new products..and don't forget about some old products you might enjoy!



 Psalm 121
A song of ascents.
 1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
   where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
   the Maker of heaven and earth.
 3 He will not let your foot slip—
   he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
   will neither slumber nor sleep.
 5 The LORD watches over you—
   the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
   nor the moon by night.
 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
   he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
   both now and forevermore.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

5-ish Things On My Mind...

1. Christmas hasn't been quite the "to-do" that it usually is. In fact, The Husband put up one of our trees and...well....that's it. Yah, you heard me. No ornaments. No Christmas village. No nativity. No lighted angels. No stockings. No decorative bowls. No candles. 

Nada. nothing.

Just a tree.

There are many logical reasons why this happened to someone who typically adores this season. I have outlined a few of those in attempt to explain away this atrocity:

1. My last two classes in graduate school.
2. Thinking about my baby being halfway around the world kind of took the fun out of it.
3. Sewing. I have been blessed with a steady stream of orders. And not-so-blessed with a finicky sewing machine. One that only gives me trouble when I'm in a time-crunch. Of course.
4.  Full-time employment limited my actual "home" time greatly. See also #'s 1 and 3.


But I have big plans for Christmas next year: Advent, Polar Express Night, special ornaments and a beautiful winter wonderland for my little guy or gal =)) I will be redeemed! =)


2.  I am under strict orders by The Husband to "not get my hopes up" about much of the adoption news I have heard lately. For instance, one thing I am supposed to "stop dwelling on" is the fact that we are probably...maybe...but not officially in the top 5 families on the waiting list. FIVE!!! er..I mean that's cool. If you like that sort of thing.

Please pray for God's continued favor. We believe He desires to get the glory in adoption and we intend to continually give Him the glory in ours. And if He intends for us to have an early-spring referral, He alone can make those things work out! We are holding Romans 8:28 close to our hearts:
We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. 
[a] They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose. (CEV)


3.  I am a big "Christmas bow" person. I get this from my mother. And, yet, this is another thing I have been banished from until we get to AR...Apparently, it makes gifts "difficult" to pack into the car when there are ornate bows all over the place that can't get "squished". So Christmas eve will be a mad-dash through white chocolate popcorn balls, butter rum brittle and BOW-MAKING!! Ugh! I am already getting an ulcer just thinking about it!

4.  Literature Review due 01/03.

5.  For a split second, my messy house was on my mind, but I quickly turned my thoughts back to #2 and all was well, again.

I leave you with a verse of hope in the midst of adversity and trial. It stirred my heard and I hope, if ever you feel that pain of tribulations, that it will stir yours too.

19Just thinking of my troubles
   and my lonely wandering
   makes me miserable.
    20That's all I ever think about,
   and I am depressed. [a] 
21Then I remember something
   that fills me with hope.
    22The LORD's kindness never fails!
   If he had not been merciful,
    we would have been destroyed. [b] 
23The LORD can always be trusted
   to show mercy each morning.
    24Deep in my heart I say,
   "The LORD is all I need;
   I can depend on him!"
    25The LORD is kind to everyone
   who trusts and obeys him.
    26It is good to wait patiently
   for the LORD to save us.
    27When we are young,
   it is good to struggle hard
    28and to sit silently alone,
   if this is what
   the LORD intends.
    29Being rubbed in the dirt
   can teach us a lesson; [c]  
30we can also learn from insults
   and hard knocks.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Praying for Tucker.

Today I read that another adoptive family is going through an extremely difficult situation. They were recently informed that their son [Tucker] is extremely ill. On top of the stress of planning and preparing for their impending trips (court trip in January), the knowledge that your  baby is sick...halfway around the world? Is unimaginable.


They have asked for others to pray. To pray specifically for Tucker. His speedy recovery, his health and strength, and God's protection over him. I would also ask that you pray for Tucker's mommy and daddy. Pray for their hearts, that God would comfort them--give them peace--that they would be lifted up in this really tough time, until they are there with their baby boy!!


I believe that God can--and will--do miracles today! And I am excited to see how He is able to get the glory and the victory in Tucker's fight!


Thank you all for praying with us! To read more about Tucker's story, click here.


Do Not Fear.

"Do not Fear."

"What? Not even a little?"

"No, do not fear."

"Surely I may show some measure of fear?"

"No, do not fear."

Tie this knot tight around the throat of unbelief: "Do not fear." "Do not

fear" today. "Do not fear" tomorrow. "Do not fear" any day of your life.

When fear comes, drive it away and give it no space.


When the weather is rough, passengers on a ship can be comforted by the

captain's calm behavior. One simple-minded soul said, "I am sure there is

no cause to fear, for I heard the captain whistling." Surely if the captain

is at ease, the passengers can be at peace. If the Lord Jesus is at the

helm singing, do not fear. "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him"

(Ps.37:7). "Be strong, do not fear! Behold, our God will come with

vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you"

(Is.35:4).

--Charles Spurgeon

Monday, December 6, 2010

5 Things on my mind...like procrastinating homework, for instance.

So many things on my mind lately, and it's so hard to come up with only 5...but I will do my best, for the sake of posse, followers, devotees, fans, friends. Oh come on now, you guys know I love ya!

So, first things first:

1. Conjunctivitis. Doesn't that sound like some awful sickness Jr. Highers get in seventh grade grammar? "Ms. Head, I can't possibly continue with the writing exam, I have come down with Conjunctivitis". But, alas, it's pink-eye. And I have fallen victim to it's viral infection. Don't worry, you can't catch it...at least not through the computer!

The eye drops are working well but they burn like fire...making the "new-mom" in me wonder..."Is this the same thing they give children??????" Because I am just not sure the "new-mom" in me is okay with bringing home my beautiful child only to torture them with these stinging, burning, horrible drops. The "youth pastor" in me is totally okay with it, though....Go figure, right?

2. I feel as though I have stumbled upon some amazing hidden treasure. I have fallen in love. I read about different ones, create Amazon wish-lists, and constantly think about how much fun Baby Smith will have. Oh yes, I am talking about Melissa and Doug toys. I know, I know, probably every mother from here to the North Pole knows about them...but they are new to me. And this is my blog.

For the rest of you out there, who maybe HAVEN'T heard of them (me 72 hours ago) check out all the Melissa and Doug toys HERE and then find them cheaper on Amazon!

3. In all my free time I have...I recently started another adoption book...We have several required ones for our Parent Education Hours (by the way, I think ALL parents should have this kind of requirement!) but this one was an extra one that I picked up.

And. I. Love. It.

I can't say enough about how practical and "common sense" this particular book is! I mean, everything we learn has to be balanced with everything ELSE we learn, our values, our belief systems, and our own common sense, but really...In THIS world, that can be hard to do. 

I had really felt a lot of pressure and was starting to lose my own "common sense" about things...things having to do with Baby Smith's impending arrival but really just internal issues...Pressure from the adoption community, from those who have no idea what it is to adopt, pressure from the negative experiences and opinions, and from those who would share their points of view with a brick wall (Of course, I am typing all of this out for no one to see...so I fall in that category too, sometimes!)

I just appreciated the balance this book had to offer.

So, while I try not to endorse much publicly--It's not that I don't love some things, I just don't find myself an expert in the matter--I would recommend every AP to read this book, even if it's just to balance it with every other tib-bit of knowledge you are receiving



4. I was really blessed by a family who had purchased a couple of shirts from Journey of Love. Mainly, just that a family I had never met before wanted to plant seed into our adoption, but also just getting to see that "light at the end of the tunnel" in her family! She posted some Uh-mazing pictures and kind of "endorsed" our fundraiser. I was completely humbled and extremely thrilled to see her little ones in my shirts!! (And her daughter's cute little digs has my creative wheels-a-turnin'!) You can check out her blog HERE. Who knows, maybe it will give some of ya'll Christmas gift ideas!!

5.  Monday, December 13th, 2010. I start Research Capstone. My final class in Graduate School ( Can anyone else hear Pomp and Circumstance in the background?? No?) It's a 13 week course (by far the longest in our program), it's majorly intensive, research and statistically heavy, and ends with a presentation of our findings to the board (March 21, 2010). I would appreciate your prayers. I need a second...third....make that 400th wind to make it through. And your prayers, for sure! I can hardly wait for graduation (May 7, 2010) and to be able to focus all my attention on Baby Smith's arrival! 

Til Next Time,

*Ashley Lou*

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday's prayer requests...

Since we typically have a renewed spirit on Sundays...I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some of the requests I have (also, if you would like your prayer requests listed--just email me ahead of time)

1. We believe that God has called us to adoption for a lifetime, and we want Him to get all the glory from it. Especially when it comes to finances. We still need approximately $10,000 for our two trips to Africa to get our baby! We believe God WANTS the glory and we are more than happy for Him to show Himself mighty in this journey He placed us on!

2. I was recently exposed to pink eye. Oh yes, the beautiful disgusting eye disease. I would appreciate your prayers for a speedy recovery. and, in the name of vanity, a less disgusting look =)


3. I recently met a family who is currently preparing for their court date in Ethiopia and I am asking for you to pray for God's favor in their situation. I hope that in a few short months I am asking and EXPECTING your prayers when we are in their shoes!

4.   I would ask you to pray for the orphans of the world, that God would impress on more hearts the value of those lives as so, incredibly, precious to Him..and that every child would find the love and security of a forever family

5. As we are in transition from our ministry positions, please pray that the right people would be led into those areas and that the transition would remain smooth and that God's favor would be over every aspect of it.

6.  Lastly, always, always, always if you pray for only one thing, pray for God's protection, love, security, and comfort to surround, embrace, and attach itself to Baby Smith until we can get there.

I hope that, even if you choose not to add these things to your prayer list, that you are encouraged to pray. Pray everyday. Pursue the God that so fervently pursues you.



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Time.

Sometimes, I like to go back and read old posts...Thankfully, I have been doing this long enough that there are one I forgot I had even written. It's not that I think I am an amazing author or inspiring wordsmith (although, I did just use the word "wordsmith" which is impressive to say the least...)   I just know that I often pray for God to remind me. Remind me of how much He loves me. of the fact that we are not alone in this journey. And, yes, even of His sacrifice....As humans? We just. forget. sometimes.

So tonight's "re-post" comes from before our adoption journey. before graduation was within an arm's reach. It comes from a time when I was reminding myself to love and savor time. Boy, did I need that now. In the agony of waiting, I just keep asking God to speed time up. I almost salivate when I think about "April". 

 But, maybe? God wants me to remember that time won't ever ask my permission, and that I may regret it if I don't care for this time I have today. So, whether it's for me, or the whole world out there....remember this:

"MAKE time for the people who are important, for the relationships you want cultivated, and for those things that matter most. Don't rush the times that seem menial and small, you will regret not savoring them when they are gone. And, don't expect time to ever ask permission. Just love the time you have. Love God, love your family, love your friends, forgive those who have hurt you, ask for forgiveness from the ones you have hurt and beat time at its own game, by living life to the fullest."


Remembering to appreciate what I have,
*Ashley Lou*

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Two.

Disclaimer: This is actually December 1st. I am, like, an hour shy..so sue me.


This blog post is brought to you by the number TWO.


The number two is a little better than the number one 
(Praise God)...
but still pretty far away from...say...the number six 
(Please God!).

Because this number? represents limbo. It represents waiting. It represents turmoil, frustration, agony, patience.

You remember about me and patience, now...don't you?

But I am doing better. Really! I am!

I am using this time to spend with my Father...and I am really very thankful to God for this time with Him.

Leaning on Him.

Loving on Him.

Learning about Him.

Because, really? It's ALL about HIM anyways!

So, Father, thank you. Thank you for loving my child more than even I could comprehend (and I am Mommy, after all). Thank you for pursuing your favorite one with so much zeal, as to send two unsuspecting Americans from halfway around the world. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your redeeming love. Thank you for directing our path and guiding our steps. Thank you for loving me so completely. Thank you for trusting me with your most precious creation. Thank you for telling me that I am your most precious creation, too. Thank you for teaching me to wait on you... as I wait for my child. I will forever be humbled, and honored to understand how desperately you pursue your children with love and comfort. I pray that I will always be an example of You to the world. Comfort, protect, and watch over my baby until I can get there...Amen and amen.


Only a little more time to go,
*Ashley Lou*

Letters to my child: Another long day.

Dearest one,

It's been almost two months since we officially began waiting for you...Of course, we know we have been waiting for you for a lot longer than that. We've spent these months fundraising for our flights to come get you, taking parent-education classes, and trying to get everything here ready for your arrival. Sometimes when I look at all the stuff you already have, my heart aches...I don't know how long it will be before I see you. I don't know how many hours and months remain before I can bring you home, rock you to sleep, play with you in the yard.... But I know that day WILL come. I know, eventually, I will look back and there won't be that twinge of sadness or longing, because you will be right here with us, filling our lives with so much joy.

The hardest part, these days, is not knowing. Not knowing if you're a boy or a girl...what name to give you...whether you're a tiny little baby or if I am going to miss your first steps...Whether you cry for someone to comfort you...or if you're strong and confident....And with all this unknowing, all I can hold onto is my trust in God. I know He has set us on this journey and that we won't end it without reward. And you are our reward, baby. Our lives feel like they are missing a link. Our hearts, a beat. And until you are safely here, with us...those holes will always be here. But God is our strength in difficult times. God is the God of redeeming love. Our love for you and His love for each of us. And, wow, what an amazing journey to get to learn the depths of that redeeming power.

I am going to make you a Christmas stocking this year...I know you can't use it, but I trust that next year's Christmas will be one for rejoicing. One for thanking God. One with lot's of presents...so, you'll need a rather large stocking, I'm afraid! =)

We love you to the moon and back. We pray for your safety and comfort, that you never feel alone or forgotten but that God would love on you the way only He can...and that He would keep you until He places you in our arms.

Forever and ever and ever,
Mommy

P.S. A nice couple is coming to meet their daughter next week..I have sent special instructions for her to love on you a LOT while she's there. I am sending all of my love with them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate

Lately? I have been QUITE overwhelmed. 


I am constantly behind.

Continuously stressed.

Regularly leaving To-Do lists.... not done.

Unendingly tired.

And, perpetually, forgetful.

And by forgetful...I really mean "Seriously, Did she forget to wear pants today??" kind of serious.

I have this amazing plate in our kitchen....It's for our kiddos. I want to have a special plate that they can use to "celebrate" the things that happen in life, the successes they have, the achievements they pursue. We've never used the plate...and I realized, it's because I don't really ever celebrate...

The trouble is? I see celebration as a "finished" product. When you are FINISHED achieving something? You celebrate.

But I? Am never done.

So I never. celebrate.

But tonight. I am going to celebrate for a few minutes (just hit the "back" button if you were hoping for a Letter To My Child--or something deep and meaningful like that) =))

1.  I took off work today to finish some orders that I had wanted to get done before the holiday weekend. Due to struggles with my old and VERY basic machine, I actually didn't get everything done... honestly...only about half done...and the rest of the time was spent ripping stitches, troubleshooting bobbin issues, and practicing breathing treatments.

BUT? I am celebrating the fact that I am halfway to a ticket bought! So many people have been gracious and supportive and  I have been completely humbled by the outpouring of support for our adoption journey. I never expected anyone to even care, but to have people OUT OF THE BLUE write me to say they want to join with us in this journey? Well...that IS something worth celebrating!

2.  I am way behind in school-work. In fact, I have been going so hard lately that I haven't even touched the individual assignments and I feel I am lagging on the group work too (bleh, who wants a sucky teammate?). Over Thanksgiving break, I hope to devote a few hours to knocking some stuff out...but that never happens the way I want it to...So I am prepared for a late night Sunday, once we get home....

BUT! I am almost through with my MASTERS program? I mean, I can't even describe the feeling of accomplishment for completing a master's degree in an accelerated format (18 months) going non-stop while working full-time, traversing the wilderness of international adoption, leading a youth group, AND trying to be a good wife!!!  I will be finished in March, and while the next few months may be worse than the last 15 put together...There IS a light at the end of the tunnel and I am celebrating the fact that I can SEE that light now!

3.  My house is a disaster...No, for real. Our vacuum died over a month ago. A couple of weeks ago The Husband borrowed one of the church's vacuums for an afternoon, but that is all the vacuuming that's been done...There is thread and fabric scraps all over the house..(dragged from our feet, clothes, etc...) because I can't vacuum the office..It's bad, folks. Bad. I haven't done the grocery shopping in over a month..The Husband has resorted to buying necessities and cookie dough to survive....I keep saying "I need to get a list ready"...but then something shiny appears out of nowhere and steals my brain-power.

BUT. I have a house. I have "stuff". I have money to BUY groceries. I have carpet to need vacuuming. I have been immensely blessed. Not even comparatively to other countries the way we do...but right here in OK...I have been blessed with so much, and while I believe I an called to be a good steward of those things? The fact that God has given them to me. Is. Reason. Enough. To. Celebrate.

4. I usually have Christmas stuff up midway into November. I spend a day making homemade apple cider (even though I am the only one who drinks it), listening to good old Christmas songs, dancing around in my festive smelling home, and decorating. All. Over. But this year? with everything going on, the trips all over the U.S. (it feels like) and the new sewing projects....Well, my stuff has been waiting in the garage for me, for well over two weeks. Miserably boxed up. Unused. Probably feeling unwanted.....

BUT? My husband--great and wonderful man that he is--realized it was really bothering me that I hadn't decorated yet, and got one of the trees out and up while I was in class Mon. night and had the lights on, in the window when I pulled up. Having a considerate, thoughtful, caring husband like that? Is most definitely worth celebrating.

5. Sometimes I feel really alone..I mean, it's not like I have TIME to cultivate relationships....or desire to have troves of friends..But, here in OK, we really are fish out of water. We have spent all our lives in AR and when we moved to OK, it was to be part of a VERY small church with no peers. pretty much. at all. Talk about lonely. We were twenty-somethings who had just left a large church and a close-knit group of couples who were just like us. Who we loved dearly and had weekly "dinners" together...Who made us realize how important friends were..Then? Then we got dropped in no-man's land (no offense) and had no circles or abilities to make new relationships because we were kept so busy with work and church *see above*. It was, and is, pretty hard at times.....

But....The friends we do have? Are so special. They love us completely. They beg us to spend time with them when we are in town. They miss us at the annual "Friends Thanksgiving" when we aren't there. They support us with their prayers and whatever they can. And they know our hearts, our vision, our dreams... Friends like that, whether you have 5 or 500 are worth celebrating.... They are beautiful reminders that we were created for companionship and that God calls US His friend. Obviously, he sees the importance in them!

So, my challenge for you today. Is that you stop GOING. and celebrate. For just one minute. All the things that get passed up because we are never "finished" with them. 

If nothing else, remember this verse:
"This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalms 118:24

May you be blessed. And wise enough to recognize when you are!

iPod Touch, anyone?

My very-good-lovely-Ethiopia-momma-in-waiting-friend Randee...uh, and her husband, Trace, too.. just opened an awesome raffle opportunity. All of the money goes toward their adoption...which, let's face it...isn't cheap. So, if you salivate over the idea of having a super-cool-technologically-savvy-toy like this iPod touch....as I do (I am sure that I am the only one in the raffle who sees the benefits of Veggie Tales videos on the 22-hour flights home for Africa)?, or if Christmas is right around the corner (Oh yes...yes, it is) and you have someone so hard to shop for that gift-giving feels like beating your head with a meat tenderizer?? then THIS is the raffle for you.

P.S. Baby Jones is going to be Baby Smith's Ethiopian Cousin, so if nothing else suits your fancy, do it for Baby Smith =))



Enter the raffle HERE

Saturday, November 20, 2010

500,000 Things On My Mind

1. I was recently abducted by aliens. After my pleas of "But you don't understand...we are ON the waiting list now", they agreed to my release conditional on one thing. That I promise not to blog for 20 days.

Which I successfully completed.

Oops.

2.  The Husband's "music" room subsequently became the multi-purpose room after my decision to start sewing projects to sell for the adoption.

And then simply because the "sewing" room once I actually had to start filling orders.

By the way, Thank you SO much to all of you who have supported this fundraiser...both with your prayers AND your purchases. Our family is forever humbled by and grateful for your compassionate hearts. I will name my first child after you ;-)

3. Speaking of orders. I am inundated with them. So much so, that--in order to be done by the holiday weekend--I actually have to take time off work to finish all of them PTL!!

4. My nephew is currently throwing a grade-A fit right now about naptime in our NE hotel room. I get it, K-dog, change is hard.....

5. We were able to take the whole NE family to an Ethiopian restaurant for lunch and it was a HUGE hit! I think we were both pleasantly surprised by how much they liked it all and were so willing to try it!

6.  I got 3 hours of sleep last night.

7.  I got to see Wicked last night. It is now my SECOND favorite Broadway musical, second only to the Lion King. Move over Sound of Music (but don't cry--you still have the number 1 MOVIE musical spot) because you've just been had.

8. I feel like I need to re-watch the Wizard of Oz now. I have so many questions.

9. I am in the process of starting an Orphan Care ministry with a friend of mine. It's a big deal. We can't wait to unveil!

10. But unveiling is a while away, alas.

11. I wish I got naptime. K-dog? You hear me? I wish I got NAPTIME, you ungrateful booger!!!!

12.  I have a running tradition with a friend of mine to brave the Black Friday storm. It's progressively gotten more serious. Last year, we hit up "Midnight Madness" and this year are creating lists. We have become the people we hate most in this world. Next thing you know, I will be tripping people over a Tickle-Me Elmo.

13. Please don't ever buy my children anything Elmo related. I would like to avoid number 12.

14.  My friends and family threatened my kneecaps if I didn't blog. I love that you cared so much about my ramblings, but have since hired a bodyguard to protect my kneecaps just in case those weren't empty threats.

15.  I feel pretty helpless stuck here in NE. I can't sew or do homework or decorate my home for Christmas. All things that are pressing and urgent.

16.  I am too tired, however, to write anything of any real importance.

499,999. Baby Ruth, Please consider forgoing Midnight Madness. It is difficult to get a pedicure when we are finished if finished is 4:30 in the morning.

500,000. Plus, Only crazy people shop at midnight. Not well-educated, stable, pedicure-loving people like you and I......Also, I hate midnight.

The end.

Monday, November 1, 2010

One.

Today we celebrate.

One month.

One month of not anguishing over paperwork.

One month of making lists.

One month of daydreaming about you.

And most importantly one month waiting.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Pursuit.

As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. (Ezekiel 34:12).

When I read this scripture, it speaks to me about  so much more than obligation and responsibility.

It speaks of more than protection and shelter.

It even speaks of more than unyeilding love.

This scripture? speaks of  pursuit. Relentless, unadulterated, pursuit.

So many times, in our lives and most importantly in our faith, we see ourselves as the pursuers. We believe that we are the ones in control of the pursuit. That we are the ones pursuing God. And in many ways, that is semi-true. We do seek after God. We do long to know him more. We do come before His throne.

But to address ourselves as the pursuers? 
Is just. not. truth.

Pursuit (per-soot)A following with a view to reach, accomplish or obtain; endeavor to attain to or gain; as the pursuit of knowledge; the pursuit of happiness or pleasure; the pursuit of power, of honor, of distinction.

 Go in search of or hunt for;  To follow with a view to overtake; to follow eagerly, or with haste; to chase

There are so many definitions and synonyms of the word "pursuit" that I wager it would bore you to death long before you got the point.

The point? Is that to be in pursuit  is to consciously make the decision to journey after something (to hunt; chase; seek). There is no instant gratification in pursuit. In fact, there is more commonly pain, bruises, and hurt.

And I thought I understood pursuit. The same way I am sure most of you believe you "get" it.

I was wrong. Now, please don't misunderstand me...I know some of your stories well enough to recognize that you are truly knowledgeable of the real pain of pursuit. It's just that in most cases, our "pursuit" of Him, has paled in comparison to His pursuit of us.

How do I know this?

Because I am in pursuit.

I am constantly humbled by the revelation of pursuit as we traverse this new world of adoption. I am honored to share in an experience that so few will venture out into. That so few will take the leap of faith towards.

There are good reasons why people don't take this journey....

And quite frankly, there are really lame reasons, too.

But, in this journey...in this 'pursuit'...one of the greatest blessings I have received is a greater revelation of my Father's heart.

It's a deeper understanding of how He feels as He pursues...well, US. His children. His sheep who have somehow gotten lost, gone astray, ended up in a "not ideal" situation. And he seeks after us. He pursues us with a vengeance that I think most people in "normal" circumstances...will never understand.

I can't feel my child move. Or watch my child grow. I can't protect my child by my actions. 

All I can do? Is pursue. And so, I pursue with a vengeance. 

I seek the end prize of getting to have my child in my arms, even while today that is not the case. 

I chase after by moving quickly through the maze of paperwork and education...to find my child. 

I waver not at the cost, because my pursuit is relentless....

I pursue my child's heart...my child who is a world away, in a "not ideal" situation..the same way the Father pursues our hearts...a world away...in "not ideal" situations.

Many of you will never choose to venture into pursuit of this nature. That's a shame...Because through my pursuit of this child...our child...I realize...All of this? 

Is really about HIS pursuit...of HIS child. 

I am merely the vessel blessed to be used. And in the end? It was never about me anyways.

Journey of Love fabric choices

Here are a few of the fabrics on hand...Don't forget, though, if you have something in mind, I can probably find something to suit!!!

Some of my favorite "tie" fabrics. Long-sleeved shirts based on availability and depending on cost, could be a couple dollars more!
Bib/cap fabrics. Most are cotton blend but top L corner is a lovely corduroy blend fabric! LOVE it!!
A few more fabric choices. Yellow dragonfly fabric will be backed in yellow terry cloth. Top L fabric can be backed in either yellow or brown...and DON'T FORGET vinyl bibs are available with most fabrics (excluding corduroy) for only $1.50 more!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Journey of Love fundraiser

Set of two bibs (many of fabrics to choose from). $12
Printed cotton front/ Terry cloth back
Eye/hook closure and ribbon tie-back for older babies.

Vinyl bibs with terry-cloth back also available- vinyl bibs are $1.50 more/each
Bib/teddy-bear cap set.(many fabrics to choose) $12
Bib: printed front/terrycloth back. eye/hook closure and ribbon tie-back
cap: cotton blend (t-shirt style) and printed fabric for ears and flap
bib/flower cap (many colors to choose from). $12
bib: printed front/terrycloth back. eye/hook closure and ribbon tie-back
cap: cotton blend (t-shirt style) and felt/button flower coordinating colors)
Boys tie t-shirt (sizes 12M-4T) $8
(Onesies also available)

Tie is coordinating fabric to t-shirt colors. backed in felt (sewn using zig-zag pattern) for dimension and applique is set using permanent fusible webbing.
just a few more fabrics..I can see I need a few OUTSIDE the brown genre...coming soon =)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Great Link: Giveaway


Hey Ya'll! Check out this site for an awesome giveaway opportunity. 

Not interested in winning a custom Chinese character charm or Ethiopian charm/magnet set??? 

Just throw another entry in for me...

See?? Win-Win =)