Thursday, June 30, 2011

I've Never...

Wanted something so bad in all my life.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

5 4 Things On My Mind

1.  Lately, I have been full of gratitude when I think about my life. Things haven't gone how we had hoped and prayed they would (Shouldn't we be in Ethiopia right now?) But over and over again, God has continued to bless us by showing His faithfulness and love even in this season. And, while people have rallied for us in prayer and action (I had amazing friends helping with the yard sale fundraiser), I am always still in awe at how He moves through us to show love.

All that to say, several weeks ago I had been raving. And I mean Raving. About this coupon deal I wanted for an etsy store selling lockets. I have always loved the beauty and intimacy of lockets. In fact, my grandmother has passed down her mother's locket to me. It has a picture of my Great Grandmother and my Great Grandfather when they were very young. Mema said that her mother wore it around her neck while he was away in WWI. What a beautiful story, right?

So I really wanted one of these vintage lockets to put our referral picture in when we venture into the next season of waiting.

Imagine my disappointment when I logged in to the site 30 minutes after the sale started to find it Sold Out.

Are you kidding? In 30 minutes? At least, that was my sentiment on facebook 5 second later!

But once again God ---through His people--showered me with love. One of my adoptive momma friends messaged me this week with her voucher and a strict message that if I didn't use it, it would go to waste because she was giving it to me and therefore wouldn't be using it.  I wanted to pay her. I wanted to buy her a different voucher that she wanted. I wanted to do anything possible to repay the favor. Of course, she declined.

So I prayed that God would keep me sensitive to His spirit, so that I, too, could be the vessel He uses to shower someone else with love when they need it.

I can't wait to get it in...and even more so to have a picture to put in it! I chose this one for a couple of reasons. 1. It was vintage. Originally from the 1950s and then modernized with the resin and brass on the front (the back is beautiful, too) and for some reason I just kept coming back to the blue and yellow. These were my favorite colors in high school and college and virtually everything I owned was some variation of Blue. and. Yellow. So, it just seemed fitting to have it have another special meaning.

Thank you, adoptive momma friend, for your kindness and for letting God use you to love on me!

2.  I have had creative-block lately. I haven't felt extremely inspired and for some reason, not spending much time in front of the sewing machine (except for orders) even with a memory quilt needing to be finished.

So, the other day--when sorting laundry--I was quite surprised to find an old t-shirt (that i never wear) and have some inspiration rise up! I was even more excited when I finally decided  on what to do and executed this upcycle! I used 1/2 off coupons to buy the lace at Joann and the shirt was $3 at Wal-Mart on clearance (some time ago). Total cost? Under $10

In the end, I loved it...though I did learn some valuable lessons. I usually just pin and go but for something as light as lace, I would recommend using a fusible webbing along the stitch line (ONLY- you don't want your lace flattened) or a temporary adhesive to hold the lace in place. It's just too finicky for pinning  IMHO.  Next, I have some ideas of dying lace and doing some variations! =)

Pay no attention to the After Model. She was tired. and puffy. And wasn't wearing any make-up. Also she first tried the traditional "smile at the camera" pose but looked 4. This isn't much better but The Photographer was done helping.

3.. Steve Martin is Coming To My Town! I am so excited I might already be could jump up and down squealing!!

Here are my top 5 favorite things Steve Martin has ever done:
1. King Tut
2. Three Amigos
3. Two Wild and Crazy Guys
4. The Jerk
5. My Blue Heaven (This one doesn't make The Husband's list but I am my own person. So there.)

Recently, we went to see Martin Short live. Don't get me wrong, he was "funny enough" but every clip they showed supposed to be highlighting him, Steve Martin was funnier. We knew immediately it would have been better if we could have been watching Steve Martin. Fast forward to today! So exciting

Disclaimer: Apparently Steve Martin also has a banjo band. We are hopeful it isn't just the band...though I hear he is also an excellent banjo player...But come on Steve, people don't come to see you play the Banjo. They  come to see King Tut.

4. The Clover family is coming to see us this weekend. We {heart} them. Should be a great time!

That's all for now, folks! Don't forget to add your Words of Encouragement!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What would you say?

Lately, I have been thinking about how much easier it is for me to be positive and optimistic for others--Yet in my own situation, it's often  just gloom. And frustration And really big trees. All things that make my hike up Mt. Perspective seem insurmountable. Often times I get tired and just set-up camp somewhere between despair and frustration.

But bring me your identical situation? And I am full of sunshine and hope and your basic optimism that "This, too, shall pass".

I guess being outside of the forest makes it seem less overwhelming.

So, I started thinking?

I am really good at giving people optimism and perspective (or so I think...quite humbly obviously)...

Maybe you guys would be really good at it, too?

So, why not let you guys spread hope to each other (and me).

For The Husband and I, this has been Really Long. Really Difficult. season in our adoption journey (Have I mentioned there hasn't been a single referral this year, yet? Nope. Nada. Not one.) and sometimes you just need to be reminded that the sun still shines and that often, a little time and distance can give us perspective.

So, here is where I need your help. Give me quotes, scriptures, stories, slogans. Whatever floats your boat. Anything that has helped you through difficult situations and seasons. Words that you held close to your heart. Or just words that you think I should hold close to mine =)

I will compile all the quotes and stuff and add it as a page on that side

Then, we will all have a place to be given a little hope. A little optimism. And a little perspective.

Because sometimes? We just need help getting up Mt. Perspective.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Left-handed: Sinistral (Latin).

Last night I was taken aback by a comment made by my Guitar 1 professor (yes, I am taking guitar lessons).

Here's how the story went:

Professor: "I'd like to make a commentary really quick about my view of left handed guitar players"

Class: (looks at me...the ONLY left-handed guitar player in the class)

Me: "Is it really a  commentary if you're only talking to me. You should just start the sentence with "Ashley, this is for you"".

Professor: " I think that left handed people should really try to play the way right-handed people play. They would be more naturally good at fretting whereas right-handed players have to learn to manipulate their fingers harder, it would be easier for left handed people".

Me: ""If that was sound logic, then you should be able to play my LEFT-HANDED guitar with great ease since you would be "manipulating" you right hand and that should be more "natural" for you.

Professor: Well, I just think it's easier for left-handed people to learn things right-handed. I have a daughter that was born left-handed and we really tried to force her to do things "normal".

Yes, normal. As in right-handed.

Me: (shocked at this point): Well, I was raised by Hippies who apparently were just crazy enough to. let me be. left. handed.

By the way, oh-so-brilliant-professor:

A study for the National Institute of Sports and Physical Education in Paris found that left-handers have faster eye-hand coordination with their right hand than even right-handers do.

A driving-school-commissioned study suggests that "left-handers have a natural advantage" when they get behind the wheel. The findings show that 57 percent of left-handers pass their driving tests on their first attempts, 10 percent more than right-handers.

Recent research has also found that left-handed people often perform better than right-handers at fast or difficult tasks involving lots of information or stimuli. According to these studies, port-siders show superiority in playing fast computer games, talking while driving in heavy traffic and flying jet fighters, activities that require both hemispheres of the brain to speedily process information.

In addition, here are a list of guitar players who played left-handed quite successfully:

Sir Paul McCartney
Jimi Hendrix
Billy Ray Cyrus
Kurt Cobain
Mac Powell
Iggy Pop

And most recently, my favorite Voice contestant, Javier Colon.

So. There.


A Letter To My Child: Lessons. [Long Overdue].

To my dearest one, my firstborn, my eldest,

Of all the lessons I want to be there for. Of all the things I don't want to miss in your life...One of the most important lessons, we are each learning separately, however completely intertwined with each other.


I know every single day that I am walking it out. The funny thing is that as much as this season pains me, I know that you don't even know yet the lengths we are going to, just to bring you home.  Sometimes I imagine you years down the road, reading this and commenting about how patient you were being waiting for your mommy and daddy.

Yes, you are child. You are doing a great job being patient. I am certain that you are doing a much better job than we are. That's the beauty of not knowing what God has in store for you.

Change is hard, yes. It won't be easy for you when you become part of our family. We live really far away from Ethiopia, we speak a different language, and we don't cook injera very well [yet]. And I bet God will have to teach us all some pretty important lessons when we get to that point.... Once we're all together, finally making the family that God called together long. Long. Ago.

So, I suppose if I am going to do a good job learning those lessons, I had better get practice doing a good job with these.

But know that it hasn't been easy for us. We love you SO much, and knowing that an ocean continues to separate us just breaks your mommy's heart.

But we are going to be pros at learning lessons, aren't we?

I love you to the moon and back 
[or more literally: across the ocean and back],

Your Mom.

P.S. Your cousin Tank says hello. He thinks it will much more fun to visit us once you're here.

P.P.S. We're practicing on the injera. We know it's important =)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Just Call Me Aunt Woo.

Today. I am totally blessed.

Why. you might ask?  Because starting tomorrow, I get to do the one thing I have dreamed of doing ever since I got the call that my widdle sister was having a little one of her own.

I get to have my nephew for a whole weekend without the hindrance of  Great Parenthood stifling all of our fun (Sorry, Gator).

I am blessed that my sister trusts me (we don't live terribly close to each other anymore) and I am blessed that she has done such an amazing job parenting (Oh, you too Gator's husband) that The Lil' Tank isn't even a tiny bit nervous about coming to stay with us!

In fact, I just had a delightful visit with him on the phone yesterday where he informed me he was coming to my house in two weeks (the time frame that was accurate when we first told him about our arrangement). When I replied, "No buddy, you're coming in three days" he was Through. The. Roof.


Pictures of our weekend to follow!

The Dead of Winter.

"They don't call it 'The Dead of Winter' for nothing"

That was the resounding thought in last night's devotional. Talking about the importance of each of the seasons, both in nature and in our spiritual walk. 

I know I am not the only person who's ever been There.

Sometimes, no matter what you're doing "right", everything just seems to Go. Wrong. You're doing everything you can to climb that mountain but no matter what you do, you can't seem to get out of the valley.

Yah, I am familiar with that valley. The valley referred to as housing "the shadow of death". Yep, that one.

But it's also in this valley that God softly reminds me of Solomon's words in Ecclesiastes: 
   There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:
A time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
   A time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
    A time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
   A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
   A time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
   A time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
   A time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace. 

What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time.

It's winter changing to spring.  There is something to be said for how amazing the first spring day feels on our frostbitten faces. The warmth of a season that comes after the bitter cold of winter, and thaws us out of the gloomy lethargic existence that we are forced to endure each year.

That day is Magical. It represents that season when Life is reborn. And somewhere deep down inside?  I know that without winter, spring would lose it's magic. Without the cold hardness,  flowers wouldn't be as beautiful. The trees would lose their initial beauty and overwhelming sense of renewal, the air; it's distinct scent blowing in a gentle breeze that softly assures us winter has passed .

Winter passes.

I dread those months of cold greyness that freeze us all from the inside out.

But they do. In fact. Pass.

And so it is Also in the seasons of our lives, that God sometimes allows seasons of valleys and dry, barren lands because it's in that place ---When we continue to draw near to Him--- that He is able to mold and perfect us. It's in that place of toil without reward, that God makes us beautiful.

I especially like the way the Message Bible translates 1 Peter 5:10:

You're not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It's the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does. 
I often speak of the analogy I have of our lives as a great mural where patches of black paint may seem ugly and difficult to walk through on their own but when you look back on the beauty that the Creator has made. The beauty that is Your Life. You can't help but see how those patches of black paint were essential to the artwork.
But what if Today? We stopped just brushing it off as a season of black paint and rough strokes? What if, instead, we were able to see all the colors that are hidden away in there?


We know when we're in the middle of Winter. We are quite familiar with its overwhelming sense of cold. 
But what if we were able Willing to see the beauty hidden away in the middle of winter? 

What if instead of focusing on the 'dead of Winter', we instead looked to the beauty of the way the sun shines on snow, making it look like crystals and diamonds line the sidewalks and streets.

What if we remember the joy of making snow cream with loved ones, snuggling in front of a cozy fire on a cold night, and watching each uniquely created snowflake fall from the sky.

What if we focused all of our attention on the beautiful things God is doing during our toil, in the midst of our difficult seasons?  
If we are able to sing praises in the midst of our tribulations, How much sweeter will our reward be when spring finally arrives?

Monday, June 13, 2011

It's Not Impossible.

Today, as I was reading through a devotional, I was once again reminded of the waves of emotion that ebb and flow through my days. I thought about the way my thoughts must constantly be channeled and directed so as to leave me some control of my outward appearance.

And,  I remembered the words that King David spoke to his son about  destiny:
"Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work. [d]o not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished" (1 Chron. 28:10, 20(b)). 

And I know that the path God has set me on has not been completed. So I (like Solomon) have to remain strong and do the work I have been called to. There are more orphans out there than the one I am pursuing. They ALL deserve families. They ALL need an advocate. So, it is important critical that I not get discouraged or afraid. Because at the end of the day, I haven't finished all of MY work for the service of the temple of the Lord, yet. And I know He's not finished just because I'm tired. Life is challenging. But it's NOT impossible. If you allow yourself to be washed away with every wave of emotion, you end up far more tired and weak than if you simply stood firm until the wave was over. I am learning to stand up and firmly wait out the waves. It might destroy some sand castles but I am a child of God. It won't destroy me.

Charles Swindoll may have summed it up better than anything I could compose:

I suggest there are three words which adequately and accurately describe the present. They do not contradict either of the lessons we've learned on the peaks of Mt. Perspective. Nor do they require rose-colored glasses. Neither do they agree with the futile meanderings of modern philosophy. Looking to the present, we discover: LIFE IS CHALLENGING. Because it is short, every moment wells up challenging possibilities. Because it is uncertain, it's filled with challenging adjustments. Could this be what Jesus referred to when He promised an abundant life? Abundant with challenges, brimming with possibilities, spilling over with opportunities to adapt, shift, alter, and change. This is the perspective that keeps people young. It is also the path that leads to optimism and motivation.

Every new dawn, before you awaken, life makes a delivery to your front door, rings the doorbell, and runs! Each package is cleverly wrapped. Put together they comprise a series of challenging opportunities brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems. They are wrapped in paper with big print. One package reads: "Watch out ---better worry about this!!" Another: "DANGER: This will bring fear!". And another: "Impossible! You'll never handle this one!"

When you hear the ring in the morning, try something new.

Have Jesus Christ answer the door for you.

“And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.  For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things.  But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you".(Luke 12:29-31)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

5 {ish} Things On My Mind

1. Why is it so hard to find a Murphy bed? We (and by "we" I mean, I) really want to remodel our office/music/craft room and include "guest room" in the mix. That way Little Smith has a beautiful bedroom all of his/her own when we get home. Someday. hopefully soon

But they are EX-pensive new. And I thought surely, I'd be able to find one used or older. But, nope. So the search continues...Unfortunately, I will not accept any substitutes as I so easily resigned myself to in the case of the Picnic Basket.

P.S. In case you are wondering, this is a Murphy Bed:

2. Watermelon is awesome. The End.

3.  I need some friends to read/love The Hunger Games trilogy. I feel very alone in my stalking of the movie casting/shooting business. I need someone to talk to. Someone who will make me feel better about my turning into some kind of "Twi-hard fan" or "Glee-k".

4.  This guy.

Is coming to see me in a couple of weeks. Lil' Tank is my sister, Gator's, kid. He's pretty awesome and we are STOKED to have him with us to spoil! Big plans to hit up the zoo, the local fro-yo establishment, and of course, a good ole' outdoor musical! We may-- or may not-- be going for favorite aunt/uncle status. There is steep competition.... But I have no doubt that Little Smith (once he/she is home) will seal the deal for us!

5.  I am never inspired by my To-Do Lists...but I always seem to find a million other things that bring inspiration when  I have a To-Do list.

Stupid irony.

6. Bossypants is Hilarious. You should definitely read it. AFTER you read Hunger Games and fall in love with it. (See #3)

7.  My High School reunion is coming up in a couple of weeks. In preparation, everyone in my class has been posting old pictures of one another. So, in the name of  "Years that build character", I leave you with this gem:

Nope. I am not the one that looks timeless. I am the one with the brushed out perm and XL glasses)

You're welcome.

Monday, June 6, 2011


I've been gone for a while.

I don't have an excuse this time.

No alien abductions...or deep-sleep syndromes.


Just...didn't have anything nice to say. So, as my mother always suggested I try every now and then...I chose not to say anything at all.

It pretty much ruins my chances of every being one of those blogger that thousands of people follow everyday...all the while commenting on my blog telling me how cool I am.  But, nevertheless...One friend said I should someday write a devotional and another tells me I am her favorite blogger ever (Take THAT Pioneer Woman)..And those things keep me going (for real, ya'll), they keep me inspired to find something worthy of their attention and forbid me from ever deleting my blog...This blog,  that started way back when graduate school looked like Mt. Everest and adoption wasn't in everyday vocabulary in my life. So much has changed [obviously] since that time......

So back to my excuse explanation...

Truly? Adoption is hard.

And waiting? Is harder.

Add to that a major case of feeling sorry for yourself and you have  a recipe for disaster.

A disaster I averted but NOT blogging

You can thank me now.....

Today? Nothing has changed. About twice a week I have a major case of the blues [where I feel terribly sad for myself and devour chocolate. or bread, or mashed potatoes] . Every morning, I rise wondering if this is the day I will get The Call. I still get angry at the lack of urgency I see in the adoption-world [though, I understand and respect the due-diligence]. I worry about my baby. I make pre-trip "Things to do" lists. And save vacation time. And think about buying Jessica Seinfield's book on discretely feeding my children spinach. And read attachment books. And watch webinars. And get CPR certified. And blog-stalk other waiting families...

And wait.

So what's different? You most certainly are all wondering now.

Nothing. Except my decision to try to be positive. Even when I feel like Negative Nancy (no offense to any Nancys out there...positive or negative ones...)

So. There it is. My commitment to blog. And to find happy things. And to finish my laundry [Ya'll don't care about that but I just thought maybe it would help to put it in writing] .

So, what am I happy about today?


I've been on the HUNT for an old-fashioned picnic basket for weeks now. It's almost become an addiction. I've been to yard sales, thrift stores, Craigslist. And, found? Nothing. 


And I was terribly disappointed...Until today. When I found this beauty:

And was inspired to get this:

Which I will use to create a picnic basket that will be the ENVY of all picnic baskets!

Just you wait.... 

So, here's to "Faking it 'til you make it" =)

Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Be strong and very courageous.

"Be strong and let your heart take courage, all those who wait on the Lord" Psalm 31:24

When I look at these words, so many things come to mind. Especially the things in which I feel lost, or helpless. Weak and scared.

I can't help but wonder if others look at this verse and think "But they don't know my story, they don't know the battles I have already fought".

I mean? I think that sometimes, too.....

And my guess? is that so did David. David's anguish and sorrow was raw and real. He questioned sometimes whether God had left him (He hadn't) and his discouragement and weakness were evident. The fact is that if it were easy to be strong and courageous in the midst of discouraging circumstances? If it was second-nature? 

It wouldn't need to be said.

But it does. It needs to be said.

Because if you quit the race, you never reach the finish line. And God will be victorious.

David never hesitated to bring his heartaches before God. And neither should we. God not only already knows our deepest thoughts, but he is Father. Full of kindness and love. He's not angry with us when we are discouraged or weakened in our situations. His heart is grieved for us and it's in that time of weakness, that He is able to bring us greater strength.

If you read all of Psalm 31, you see that it isn't all roses and rainbows. David is crying out in the midst of his grief and he believed that God saw [and understood] the anguish of his soul and had already responded with grace.

This line, 'Be strong and let your heart take courage, all who wait on the Lord', needed to be said because in anguish, it can be hard to see the forest through the trees. God loves us. He responds to our grief and discouragement with grace and love. He won't leave you in a place of confusion, weariness, and hopelessness. But, rather, will help us emerge stronger. and more courageous. So that we are able to remind those behind us?

That the forest is much bigger than the trees they see in front of them.

That their current situation isn't the end of their life's story

That God responds to the anguish of our soul with grace and love.

That our hope in waiting will not be in vain.

So, friends, today? May you be strong. May your heart take courage. May you remember that your wait? Will never be in vain!