Tuesday, November 30, 2010


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,

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.


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


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.