Friday, August 22, 2014

7 Quick Takes - pictures of my girl, the run, and other Friday thoughts




1. Yesterday morning, I opened my email and saw an email from Helen, a woman who works for our agency in China.  She had sent pictures of our sweet Felicity Grace!  It just made my day! Our paperwork is going slower than expected at this point and that, combined with other things, has made this week difficult. These pictures came at the perfect time to give me some more endurance to get through the next two months before we bring her home.




2. Murphy's Law

It is in full effect here right now.  In the last few weeks we have had to buy a new refrigerator, get our dryer fixed (for the 2nd time in a month),  and attempt to fix our leaky toilet. The tuition to the new tutorial is due in the next few weeks.  The worst of it is that it looks like the transmission on our van (my car) is going (for the second time) and we will have to either get a new car for Pete or put significant money into his dying car.  Two cars with significant work needed!!! All two months before the bulk of our adoption money is due.

I had been warned that  things like this would happen during the adoption process.  We have not had expenses pile up like this in years!  I am stressing out a little, to put it mildly.  I know it is all in HIS hands and in a few months, when Felicity Grace is in my arms, I will not think about the fact the Murphy has been knocking on our door (a lot) lately.


3. Going solo?

Because of Murphy's Law, we have been seriously praying about only one of us going to China (me).  We had planned on taking the whole family, but financially, at this point, it just does not make a whole lot of sense.  All 5 of us are getting our visas, so we can all still go, but we are also making arrangements so that I can go alone, if necessary.  I have talked to others who have done it and said it was fine.  There is a guide with you pretty much the whole time and the guide takes extra care of the parents that are alone.  The boys are sad about the prospect.  Joshua said he HAD to go to China because he wanted to be in the room the first time we meet Felicity!  Andrew proclaimed that he will get off the plane and run to meet his sister right away.  Oh, they knew just what to say to melt my heart.  We will see what doors God opens and which ones He closes over the next two months.

SASSY!

4. Run for the Little Flowers!


The shirts are in!  If you have not registered yet, please do so soon.  My goal is to have the run sold out by October 1st!  The giveaway post will be up soon.  Please spread the word!


5. On fundraising, etc

I got my first negative comment on my blog a little bit ago.  It was about our adoption and fundraising.  I deleted the comment, but this person shared his/her disgust for the fact that we were fundraising for our adoption and how we clearly do not love, nor deserve our daughter.

I have lots of thoughts and feelings about that.  I wanted to devote a whole post to it and talk about adoption expenses, how my hubby works and has always worked in ministry/for the church (read: does not get paid tons), how we live frugally, etc, etc, but then I thought that we do not need to explain our reason for fundraising. 

Truthfully, I do not like fundraising.  Asking people for anything, particularly money, is tough for me.  I never want anyone to feel obligated to help us. Yet, many people have asked if they can help us. So we have set up an an AdoptTogether account.  It works like a GoFundMe account, but all donations are tax deductible.  For more information please go here.

*Just a note: I am more than willing to share about the adoption expenses; how much we have already paid, how much more we have to go and how we have been covering all of the expenses.  If you are interested, please leave a comment and I will gladly write up a post about it.  It has been an incredible experience . . . . I think similar to families who work so hard to get out of debt, you just find a way and are amazed how you were able to do it.


And since I overloaded you all with photos of our cutie, I am going to end at #6!


6. Little Flower Cuteness . . .
This is why I do the Run for the Little Flowers!

Have a great weekend everyone!! Thanks Jen, for hosting!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My new toy

I have wanted a camera, a good, DSLR camera for years, but just could not justify the cost.  Before digital camers came on the scene, I used very good 35 mm SLR camera.  My dad had purchased a Pentax Ashai camera while in Japan on furlough from Vietnam.  He purchased everything; about 5 lenses, filters, tripod, etc.  When I was a teenager, I had found the camera collecting dust in a closet.  I learned all about aperture, shutter speed, and lighting and took that camera everywhere.  I stopped using it about 8 years ago when we got our first point and shoot digital camera and it had gone back to collecting dust in a closet.

Our point and shoot has taken good photos over the years, so I remained fairly content with it, but I really did miss playing with a camera and seeing the world through the eye piece verses the digital screen.  So when we knew we were going to China, I knew I wanted to take a DSLR with me.  I sold off a bunch of things on Craigslist and eBay, including the old Pentax Ashai to pay for it, and two months ago, I got this new toy . . .

It is certainly not the best or most expensive camera out there, but for what I was looking for and for the price range I was looking in, the Nikon D3200 was my camera of choice.

I brought it out to use it for the first time while on vacation in Cape Cod.  I am a camera junkie and I just loved holding it in my hand, waiting to take some shots.



The first thing I loved about having this camera, other than the feel of it in my hand, was the fact that I could look through the eye piece again to capture a photo.  I LOVE that.  I feel like I am actually IN the scene again and not just watching as a bystander.


I can actually play with the lens and focus it again.




I am able to catch this boy in all of his silliness . . .





I can get up close to objects with out getting a blurry shot.


I can get this son of mine, who does NOT like getting his photo taken, before he turns around and is out of the shot . . . .














I can capture life as it happens.  Smiles and all.


I am THRILLED with my new toy.  I just played with it while on vacation and am excited to figure out all that it is capable of doing!  Then, to tackle Photoshop!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Do Something! Register for the Run for the Little Flowers!

Matthew West, writer and performer of the song "Do Something" is encouraging us all to have a Do Something Summer.  Since his song "Do Something" has been the inspiration for this year's Run for the Little Flowers and the refrain is featured on the back of the shirt.


So, if you have not, please register now, for the Run for the Little Flowers and Do Something for orphans in China.


If you have received your shirt already, please put it on, and take a picture of yourself in it and put it on social media and hashtag it #dosomethingsummer .  Matthew West is watching all of those #dosomethingsummer and will repost those he likes!  Let's give the run and Little Flower Projects some great publicity!

Please watch this video.  Mathew West explains his inspiration for the song. (And do not forget to register!)


Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Daybook

Outside my window...
It is a cool, over cast August day.  It seems like the fleeting days of summer are already gone and we are in the Fall already.

I am thinking...
About our adoption, our girl, the start of the homeschooling tutorial and all the projects that need to get done around our home before we travel to China.  I cannot seem to turn my brain "off" lately and just relax.  And in the quiet moments all I can think about about is how I want to go to China and get our little girl.  That thought is overwhelming at times, yet I trust in His timing and pray for His patience and peace.

Oh, and the Run for the Little Flowers!! Please consider registering if you have not yet.

I am thankful for...

My husband.  He is the most wonderful man and I cannot imagine life without him by my side.  
Friends and our local community.  God has planted us among amazing families.

I am wearing...

Khaki shorts and a flowered short sleeve shirt and I am clod!  I may have to put on my yoga pants soon!

I praying...

For our adoption process; that we may get our i800 approval this week.
For the Harkins Family
For a smooth transition for Joshua and Caleb into the tutorial.
For our Walking with Purpose Bible Study that will start next month.


I am reading... 

A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman
Little Oratory by Leila Marie Lawler
The book of Acts


I am hoping...
Our adoption process goes smoothly with no more delays.


From the learning rooms...

Books are ordered. Bookshelves organized.  Uniforms purchased.  Supply lists printed and ready to go out with me on my next errand.  I think we may be ready for the start of school when it comes in two weeks!



From the kitchen...

Sauerkraut fermenting, almonds being roasted, yogurt being made.  A chicken is defrosting to be roasted for dinner.  After about three weeks of being COMPLETELY off of GAPS, we all are ready to go back to the GAPS lifestyle.  There truly is a difference in the members of this household when we are eating GAPS foods versus when we are not.  There is a huge difference and I am convinced, even more so, that GAPS is a lifestyle that our family needs to keep.


Around the house...

It is quiet.  The boys are upstairs playing Legos. The scent of candles fills the air (I love candles). Other than the occasional, gun sound made by my boys, all I can hear is the chirping of crickets outside.  It is kinds of nice.

My nesting is in full swing and we are getting many projects done around here.  Adoption nesting is so much nicer and more productive than pregnancy nesting.  You do not tire as easily and there is no big belly to hinder you from doing projects.

One of my favorite things .
 .

Making our house more and more of a home each day.


A picture thought I am sharing ...
A vacation photo.  I miss Cape Cod!  It truly is my happy place.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Living in the Moment

 (Written last week while on vacation.)
 From The Screwtape Letters: Screwtape explains: Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human (say a widow or a scholar) to live in the Past. But this is of limited value, for they have some real knowledge of the past and it has a determinate nature and, to that extent, resembles eternity. It is far better to make them live in the Future . . .  In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time — for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays . . .
To be sure, the Enemy wants men to think of the Future too — just so much as is necessary for now planning the acts of justice or charity which will probably be their duty tomorrow. The duty of planning the morrow’s word is today’s duty; though its material is borrowed from the future, the duty, like all duties, is in the Present. This is now straw splitting. He does not want men to give the Future their hearts, to place their treasure in it. We do. His ideal is a man who, having worked all day for the good of posterity (if that is his vocation), washes his mind of the whole subject, commits the issue to Heaven, and returns at once to the patience or gratitude demanded by the moment that is passing over him. But we want a man hag-ridden by the Future — haunted by visions of an imminent heaven or hell upon earth — ready to break the Enemy’s commands in the present if by so doing we make him think he can attain the one or avert the other — dependent for his faith on the success or failure of schemes whose end he will not live to see. We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow’s end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the future every real gift which is offered them in the Present. - The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
             The adoption process has been a training ground for me.  It has been the best and hardest growth experience for me thus far.  Patience?  Um, I thought I had some before, but it has taken years of being in the process, stopping the process, and waiting to be in the process again and now waiting to bring our daughter home to truly gain an appreciation of the Patience and Resting in Him that God is calling me to everyday.  And, now, God is teaching me to live in the moment.  To learn to be fully present in the moment I am in.

         And this is a difficult thing to learn when all you want is the moments you are in to fly by so that you can seem to time travel to the future date and time when you have your daughter in your arms and the whole family together.

          But, God does not call me to focus on the future.  He does not want me to live there or even live in want of the future.  He does not wish for me to long for future moments.  And He does not want me to squander the current moment, my current place seeking escape through the internet; stretching out hoping to be in a different place. He has placed me right where I am, in this very specific moment for a reason.  To love on my kids a bit longer.  To walk down the road, hand and hand, with my oldest before the moment is gone and he is “too old and too cool” to hold his mother’s hand.  It is to kiss my husband a little longer. Smile just a bit bigger. Making sure that each moment I am with them is just as important as that “Gotcha moment” I long for.  That moment I long for will come and go, but the present moment is always with me.  God is always with me in the here and now. 
The clock ticks slow.  I hear it for what it is: good and holy.  Time, what God first deemed holy above all else.  Thank God for time, and very God enters that time, presence hallowing it.  True, this, full attention slows time and I love the full of the moment, right to the outer edges.  But there’s more.  I awake to I AM here.  When I’m present, I meet I AM, the very presence of a present God.  In His embrace, time loses all sense of speed and stress and space stands so still and . . . holy. Here is the only place I can love HIM. - Ann Voskamp

           It is ironic that this is the lesson He has me working on right now.  Live in the moment. At a time when it is so easy to get lost in the counting of days until we meet our daughter, until the boys start another year of school, or getting lost in a to-do list that cannot be done today. 

“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34

           We are on vacation.  So perfectly timed.  Certainly not my timing, but His.  He knew what I needed, when I needed it;  to grow more in this lesson of living in the moment.  We have movement in our adoption process.  Others on the same path as us, same timeline, are filling out visa applications.  And I am running to the beach and searching for sea shells with my boys.  

        We are still on vacation.  We were supposed to go home today, but we decided one more day was necessary.  Just two days ago, I was lamenting the fact that we weren’t home.  I wanted to go home.  I openly said that to Pete.

“You know you cannot bring her home any faster if we go home.”

Oh, yes he did say that.  Oh, yes, an irrational part of me was thinking that.  Somehow, if I were home, time would go by faster.  Felicity would be in my arms sooner. 

But, that is not what God has been whispering to me all this time.

Live in the moment.  Be present. Here and now. That is where He wants me.


            And this vacation has been a testing ground for that.  I am sure that is why our LOA came while on vacation.  How would I respond? Would I get lost in the email attachments of “What is next?” or would I heed the advice of our Social Worker who said those things could wait until after we returned home.   I am happy to say that I have not opened the several attachments sent to me at the beginning of last week.  Haven’t even looked at them.  There are moments I fail and I seek solace in one of my adoption groups on Facebook.  But, I have sought His face every day.  I have sought Him in my family.  I have looked for Him in the beauty of nature that surrounds me.  I have been aware of the breaths I take and have breathed just a bit deeper in moments to really feel the moment.  Because, there is no better place to be, but with the Great I AM in the present. Here and now.