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 this 'pursuit' 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 find my child. 

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

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

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

No Grace for "What If?"

I wanted to take a minute and encourage each of you to read this post I got my hands on today about handling those "What If?" moments in life.

It helped put things into perspective. Because, I? am the world's worst at playing the "What If?" game. I not only play it to change things that have happened, but I eventually move towards the fears of what "might" happen.

Lately, has been worse. After Norman dying so unexpectedly, I repeatedly play through different scenarios that might have changed the outcome of that day. 

"What if I hadn't gone to work, he'd have never gone outside alone that morning?"

"What if Jeremiah had bought those ribs to smoke, he might have been outside to notice something?"

And more. Many, many more. But I know in my spirit that probably nothing would have changed the outcome...

And that wondering doesn't do "healing" any good at all...

And that knowing? wouldn't bring me peace.

See? I know all that stuff.

But, for some reason, I really struggled with praying about it. I'm not gonna lie,  I didn't ask for peace for days. I didn't ask God why it was so important that we learn THIS lesson at THIS time in THIS way? Not at first anyways....

At first? I let my mind places it never should have gone.  Places of fear... Thinking about accidents that I have heard of happening to children...Those "unexpected" happenings...Happenings that I won't even address specifically because I refuse to breed this thing to any of ya'll 
(Wouldn't the devil just LOVE that!). 

But, as I think about my future as a mom...I imagine this is an area I will always need to keep close watch on. Because it's our nature (our NATURAL nature) as women  to wonder...

But its MY [SUPER]natural nature to trust in God to give grace to whatever situation I come into. To walk me through the REAL moments in my life. To paint my life as a beautiful mural...even if there are some patches of black paint.

That's what I hold on to, today.

P.S.Check out GirlTalk for the full devotional. For real, ya'll.

Monday, October 11, 2010

In the Name of Transparency.

A long, long time ago...I started a blog in the name of transparency. Since then, it has much become a mirage of adoption and faith posts, interspersed with funny "youth-pastor rants".

But, today? I thought I would go back to transparency. Because, today? I'm not doing so good.

As you may have read, we lost our best friend, Norman, on Friday. Since then, the pain my heart feels is constant and the tears are almost always just below the surface...Please, please. Don't ask me how I am doing can't handle what erupts.

Norman was so much more than a "pet" to us. Probably because we don't have any children yet...but mostly because he was so faithful. Norman was the first "married-decision" The Husband and I made together (You should have seen us trying to NAME him)...

Yes, The Husband was overcome with this immense desire for children within, like, three weeks of matrimony. I, on the other hand, worked 60 hours a week and wasn't so sure the "timing" was right.

So, we got a dog.

Every young couple should start with a dog. It's a learning curve.

But we were lucky. Because this dog? Was the greatest dog to ever grace the earth with his presence.

This dog? thought we walked on water. And let us know. Daily.

This dog? would follow me wherever I went...Which was especially comforting when I was storming off after an argument...It was like confirmation that I was right, to have Norman following my trail. 

Everyone wants to be right.

This dog? Wanted to please us so much that he would literally hold his breath to be quiet if I was (quite irrationally ) yelling at him for "breathing too loud"

This dog? Was our comfort when we were sad.

He was our friend when we were lonely.

He was our affirmation when we felt "no-good"

He always knew what I was thinking, And He always knew just how to make it better (Story here).

He was faithful.

And I miss him, terribly.

And things just won't be the same without him here, with us. 

No, he wasn't "just a pet." He was family.

And we loved him deeply.

Puppy Norman, his first Christmas. No, he wasn't a Christmas puppy..Just a really good sport =)
Cuddled up in our favorite blanket.
Playing around during family pictures in 2008.
Such a good sport, even letting me put a shirt over his already-hot fur coat.
On a walk (a SHORT walk) on a camping trip to Sequoyah National Park
Sleeping in. Yes, this IS how he slept most nights.
Love you forever, Poopy-dog.
 Thanks for bearing with me, ya'll.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Sad Day

Yesterday afternoon, our beloved dog best friend passed away suddenly. I am trying to gather myself...Norman was so much more than a pet to us and our lives feel pretty empty right now without him. There are so many things I love about Norman and so many things that I will miss terribly. It's been a very sad day. If you have never loved an animal, you will probably not understand our pain...but if you have? we would appreciate your prayers...our hearts need some healing.

Rest in peace, my dearest puppy-dog. You will live forever in our hearts.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Is this "Normal"?

Or "Crazy"?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Letters To My Child: Words of Love.

Dearest one,

Sometimes it feels like we are so far away from you, and then I realize how close we actually are. We are busy getting everything ready for your arrival....making curtains and artwork, getting the house nice and safe for you, making sure that we are reading up on all kinds of mommy and daddy stuff so we can be the best parents possible to you!

I know all of this doesn't make any sense to you right now. I know that where you are, is normal...and even comfortable to you...and I know that coming home with us might be pretty scary for you at first.  We are thankful for the caretakers who are loving you and impacting your life today and we will never forget all they have done for you.  It will always be okay for you to miss them and your birthfamily, to wonder what they look like or how their hugs feel. We want you to  know that it's always okay to have your own feelings and you never need to worry that your feelings might ever change how we feel about you. Our love for you, our child? is unconditional.

We love you so much that right now, our hearts are really far away from us, because right now? Our hearts are already there with you. 

We are praying for your destiny, sweet child. We believe that God has chosen you for something unique, for something special, and for something incredibly your own. We are so excited to get see how He moves in you and through you and are already so proud to be your mommy and daddy.

I love you to the moon and back,

Monday, October 4, 2010


That's the word I drank up after reading my devotional tonight.

Yes, It is WAY past my bedtime.

Yes, I have, in fact already had my chamomile tea, climbed into my cozy bed, and started to wind down.

But this? This is far too important to wait until morning. 
This? Is profound. 

And, I know the urgency I feel in my spirit is because someone. somewhere. needs to read this. 

Maybe even right now. 

Maybe not. 

Doesn't really matter.

Excerpt taken from 'Adopted for Life' by R. Moore. 
Chapter 6 p. 165-166

It's true that adoption isn't "natural". We have adoptions because we live in a world groaning under the curse of sin and death. Fathers leave mothers. Mothers get pregnant without marriage. Parents are killed. Diseases ravage villages. It was not so from the beginning. The hard questions about adoption--and the easy ones too-- are only with us because something's gone wrong with the world.

Adoption is modeled after the natural family. But the biological family is also modeled after something-- The Kingdom of God in Christ. King Jesus tells us his reign is hidden from "the wise and understanding" but is revealed to "little children" (Matt. 11:25).

The childlike kingdom we've come into is filled with transracial adoptees like you and me (and yes, unless you are an Israelite, I--Ashley-- am talking to you). It's made up of "special-needs" orphans like us. Sometimes adoptions turn out with families that look remarkably similar--- almost "natural,"   you might say. But let's not fall for the carnality that values boys over girls, that pits ethnicities against one another, or that is repulsed by physical or emotional weakness. Let's be the people of Christ, and, like him, let's teach ourselves to welcome children into our homes, even those our culture tells us we're. not. supposed. to. want.

Such powerful words.


Wait (wAt): To Remain Or Rest In Expectation

So here we sit.


The funny thing is? I wanted this.

I looked forward to this.

I LONGED for this.


Because waiting? Is a normal part of the process in having a child. Every mother "waits".

Not every mother provides 3 dozen official documents, notarized and signed in blue ink.

Or gets fingerprinted and approved by the United States government.

Nor does every mother endure hour after hour of  meetings with social workers (to establish mental stability and a safe home).

Or make 12 million copies of every document that crosses her desk.

Or wonder what would happen if her Dossier was in a building/truck/facility and a fire broke out....

Or if it got lost in the hands of courier/lazy desk-worker/government official.

No, most mothers don't know about all that. They know about waiting though. All mothers know about waiting.

Waiting is normal.

We officially starting waiting on October 1, 2010.

It feels good to be "normal" again.