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 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. 


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"


--Charles Spurgeon

Monday, December 6, 2010

5 Things on my 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 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 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


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*