Saturday, November 19, 2011

LIFE

I have to interrupt my 30 days of Thankfulness (or three days as it were) to share something miraculous.


Since the middle of October, I have been on a downward spiral. It began with withdrawing our paperwork for the sweet baby girl we hoped would be our daughter.


Since then, it has been absolutely downhill for me. Emotionally, spiritually, physically. It's been bad, y'all. This week, I honestly was at the end of myself. 


I am the kind of person that is easily consumed with things. Once my mind settles on it, that is it. As hard as I try to avoid "triggers", all it takes is a comment or a fleeting thought and it becomes rooted in my very soul. 


This week, my littlest boy Jameson, had a headache. He thought it was from hitting his head, but now I really think it was a migraine. He even saw weird flashing lights.  Y'all, when he said, "Mommy, look at the colored dots!", I thought I was going to vomit. The next day, I took him to the doctor and then he had a CT scan of his head. He is totally fine, and has been ever since. But, that was all it took - my trigger. Even though I knew my baby was ok, I was paralyzed with fear. Fear for all my whole family. I let those thoughts take root in my spirit, and once it was there, there was no letting it go on my own.


On Wednesday, I was doing my bible study (right now I am doing James, Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore.) and she was talking about how we can choose LIFE or DEATH. The whole time I was studying, I had those nagging thoughts in my mind. Thoughts of something being wrong physically with me or my children. Scary thoughts. I kept trying to push them away. I know that Jesus is not the author of fear, and I was letting fear rule me. Well, at the very end of the study, Beth referenced Deuteronomy 30:19-20:


This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may liveand that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.


I was so humbled.  I knew then that I really needed to let the fear go. I needed to choose LIFE.  Satan has been on my back, that is for sure. But I can't let him stay there. If I continue down the path I have been on, ultimately, I am choosing DEATH. 


I have one more thought. A while back I heard something that was profound to me. It literally shook me to the core. I was at a Casting Crowns concert (love them!) and Mark Hall shared this about the Samaritan woman that met Jesus at the well:


The woman thought she was talking to a man she had met standing at the well. But ultimately, she was standing at a hole in the ground and she was talking to The Well. 


Jesus is The Well. He possesses living water. The only water than can truly quench our thirst. If you are thirsty today, please consider The Well.  Casting Crowns has a new song called "The Well". I encourage you to take a minute and read the lyrics. It is truly life changing.



Leave it all behind,
Leave it all behind,
Leave it all behind,
Leave it all behind,

I have what you need,
But you keep on searchin,
I've done all the work,
But you keep on workin,
When you're runnin on empty,
And you can't find the remedy,
Just come to the well.

You can spend your whole life,
Chasin what's missing,
But that empty inside,
It just ain't gonna listen.
When nothing can satisfy,
And the world leaves you high and dry,
Just come to the well

CHORUS:
And all who thirst will thirst no more,
And all who search will find what their souls long for,
The world will try, but it can never fill,
So leave it all behind, and come to the well

So bring me your heart
No matter how broken,
Just come as you are,
When your last prayer is spoken,
Rest in My arms a while,
You'll feel the change my child,
When you come to the well

CHORUS:
And all who thirst will thirst no more,
And all who search will find what their souls long for,
The world will try, but it can never fill,
So leave it all behind, and come to the well

Yeah
Leave it all behind

The world will try, but it can never fill... leave it all behind

And now that you're full,
Of love beyond measure,
Your joy's gonna flow,
Like a stream in the desert,
Soon all the world will see that living water is found in me,
Cuz you came to the well

CHORUS:
And all who thirst will thirst no more,
And all who search will find what their souls long for,
The world will try, but it can never fill,
So leave it all behind, and come to the well

Outro: leave it all behind, leave it all behind... repeat

Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 DAYS OF THANKFULNESS - DAY 3

Yikes. I am a bit behind. Never fear, I can catch up.

Today, I am thankful for Starbucks. Specifically, Peppermint White Chocolate Mochas. It's just one of those things. Comfort in a cup.

We don't live in a town with a Starbucks (don't even get me started on that. Seriously.), so it's a treat when I do get to go. When I take that first sip of my PWCM- it's like there is a physical reaction. I just feel like burdens melt away for a moment. 

Yes, I understand that is superficial. Don't judge me. I am also aware that the PWCM is like eleventy bajillion calories. Don't care about that either. 

I just love it. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 DAYS OF THANKFULNESS - DAY 2

Since I was late getting my first thankful post up, there will be two for today.

Day Two:

I am thankful for my children (obviously!). However, this post isn't about being thankful for having them, but rather being thankful for who they are.

I am just so proud of their hearts. The each have such sweet spirits. We always talk about good character traits and making right choices, and I can tell you - they get it. They truly desire to live a life that exhibits the fruit of the spirit.

I think about myself as an 8 year old, and I can tell you - I did not think about living a life that reflects the Son with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.  I thought about myself and my own happiness. My heart didn't break for "the least of these". I didn't think about the orphan or widow. I certainly didn't live to please the Father.

However, my children truly seek to live righteous lives. I am not saying all of this to say that my kids are perfect. Not even close. I am just saying that they try. They are aware of these things, and they try to live a life that is fruitful. And honestly, when they fail, they are repentant. They understand that to be repentant it's more than saying sorry. It's saying sorry and turning from that behavior or wrong doing.

They are 8, 6 and 4 - children! Yet, they have found and chosen the narrow path (Matt 7:14). And don't even get me started on their faith! Oh to have the unwavering faith they have!

I am so thankful and so proud of them! God has big plans for them, and I can't wait to see what He will do with their lives!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30 DAYS OF THANKFULNESS - DAY 1

So I have had (had? Yeah right.) my pity party, I am moving on to all the reasons I have to be thankful. I have decided that for every day in November, I am going to write a post sharing something I am thankful for in my life.

So here is November 1st:

I am so thankful that God chose Brad to by my husband. He is such a godly husband and father. We recently saw the movie Courageous. If you haven't seen this movie, I highly recommend it. You will laugh, cry, and more importantly, leave challenged. The movie is about a group of men that realize they aren't being the godly husband and fathers God intended them to be. I know fathers' that have shared that this movie was a wake up call for them, and praise Jesus for that. However, I can say with 100% honesty that Brad lives that life already.

He is so many things to me. I can't imagine my life without him, and I pray I never do. I look forward to growing old with him and spending the rest of my days at his side!

Monday, October 31, 2011

OCTOBER

Only an hour and a half left in October 2011. Can I tell you how freakin' happy I will be to see it leave? Yeah, very. The shared list released tonight - funny thing, turns out it actually sucks more not waiting on a call, than it does waiting on the phone to ring.

Ok, rant over. I am moving on to why October was awesome. 

We decided to sign our boys up for karate. We have tried to be so diligent to save money over the last couple of years for our adoption, we didn't do a lot of extra curricular activities with the kids.  With them being home schooled, we really felt it was important  to get them out of the house and with other kids. Jackson has been asking about karate for a while, so we thought that would be a good fit.

Of course Jameson wanted to "play karate", too. So they officially started last week. They *love* it! I got to sit in on their classes and it was so great. I really think Jackson will benefit from the discipline and focus. It seems perfect for an 8 year old boy. And, I have to say, seeing Jameson in his little uniform brought back some memories... Check it out:

            My Sweet Baby


                                                       Johnny, from the original Karate Kid

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!! Oh that kills me. Too funny. The whole time I was watching Jameson in his class I kept looking for Mr. Miyagi or Daniel!

                                                    Here are my boys together. Love them!

Julianna decided that she wanted to do art lessons. We have tried a few things with her, but she never really seemed to find "her thing". I have to say, I think art is going to be it. She loves creating. She had her first lesson this afternoon, and she had the greatest time!  Today was the greatest day of her life, lol! She got new barbies (thanks Gus and Gigi for the halloween money), new art class, and trick or treating! Ahh... to be a 6 year old again. I didn't take photos of her at her class, so I will share a couple of halloween photos instead!

It is so sweet to see them so happy, doing something they really enjoy. They are such good kids. They have been so giving and humble during the last couple of years. It makes me feel good to seem the smiles on their little faces. They deserve it!


Friday, October 28, 2011

A BREAK

The last three weeks have been incredibly difficult. I have literally been brought to my knees, begging God to fix all the things that were (are) broken.

I know that He is faithful. I know He is trustworthy. He has a plan for my life, for my family. Even though we are going through a very difficult season.

We have been really struggling since deciding that we couldn't move forward with our referral. I am just not sure where we stand and what it all means. Not to mention all the other things that have come up.

It's all just too much. We have decided to take a little break from our adoption journey. We just need to step away from it for a bit. With all of the other stuff we are dealing with, we just can't do it all.

Please pray for us during this season.  I will continue to blog - but be forewarned! It will be a lot of fun, sweet posts about my family. I am going to be doing a lot of snuggling, playing, and making up for lost time with my babies and my hubby. They haven't gotten the best of me lately. And you know what? They deserve my very best.

I am putting my pain, my stress, my uncertainty, my bad attitude, our adoption, our future, and everything else that is sucking the life out of me at my Savior's feet.  I am giving it to him. And for the first time in a long time, I am walking away.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

EVER JUST NEED A GOOD CRY?

Yeah, I'm there. It just seems like everything happens at once.  Let me run down the last week -

*Found out that we couldn't move forward with the referral we received.
*Found out my mom fell down an entire flight of stairs.
*Julianna gets sick.
*Water company calls - it "appears" we have a leak.
*After investigating, we do have a leak. We just don't know where.
*Our dog has been sick.

Seriously. It's enough to make a person looney. Along with all of that comes worry for me. I am just naturally a worrier. I try not to be, I just can't help it.

I am worried about my mom. She really messed up her foot. I am really worried about why/how she fell. Did she just lose her footing? Or, did she black out? She has a strong family history of brain aneurysms (her mom and two sisters), and it just makes me worry. She promises me that she just tripped - it was dark and she recalls it all happening even though she was unconscious when she reached the bottom.  Other than her foot, she really seems fine now though.

Julianna is better, thank goodness. I just hate it when one of my babies gets sick.

We aren't sure about the leak yet. It appears to be outside, there are no indications that it is in the house. We do have an area of our yard that stays wet. So it is probably there. My worry is how much is it going to cost to fix it?

And don't get me started on the adoption stuff.  Ugh.

I think a good cry would do me some good.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

REMEMBER THE RAM?

Remember this post, Sweet Words from a Sweet God? Well, humbly, I can say He has spoken to my heart again. Funny, how He works sometimes.

I, again, got an email with a devotional a few days ago from Proverbs 31 Ministries. For some reason, I didn't even open the email until tonight. I was getting ready for bed, quietly talking to my Savior. My heart has been so burdened lately. I feel like I am walking in the dark, trying to feel my way around. It's just been a sad, soul searching week for me. I was sharing my heart in my prayer, pleading with Jesus to give me some direction. I needed a clear word from Him, not my own emotions and feelings.

So I sat down with my laptop and decided to open the devotional from the other day. I am just going to copy and paste it here. It was exactly what I needed to hear:
“Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” Acts 27:26 (NIV)
Have you ever been going along, intent in your calling, certain of your direction, sure of God’s goodness, only to have something happen that throws you completely off course?
When my husband and I resolved to become financially sound, we were dismayed to quickly have an appliance break, shelling out the entire emergency fund we’d built up to repair it. Instead of moving forward we were going backwards.
We had two choices to make at that moment: thank God that we had the money to cover the repair or doubt God’s sovereignty in allowing the appliance to break.
In the book of Acts, chapter twenty-seven, Paul tells the people he is traveling with that God has called them to their mission. Not only that, he is certain the Holy Spirit is on their side. And yet, for reasons he doesn’t go into, we read in our key verse that he also tells them they must run aground, which means they’d be delayed on some island before their purpose would be accomplished.
This delay, it turns out, is part of the plan. This setback is actually sovereign. But of course at that moment they can’t see that. All they can see is a looming shipwreck, a deserted island.
Perhaps you are on your own deserted island—a personal exile that has been painful and prolonged. You wonder if God sees where you are, if He cares. You remember the time you were moving along, the wind in your sails, full speed ahead. And you miss that time. You wish God would rescue you from the island, put you back on course. Perhaps you’re beginning to doubt God really does have a plan for you.
I don’t know what your deserted island looks like. It might be the desolation of a marriage, the barren land of motherhood, the wasteland of a career. It might be the emptiness of simply not knowing what your purpose—your passion—really is, even as you watch other women seem to steam forward.
When I start to feel this way, I think about this verse. I remember that even Paul ran aground, even Paul faced setbacks. But I also remember that the island wasn’t the end of the story. Rescue was coming. Running aground doesn’t mean you’ve run outside of God’s will. It might just mean you are exactly where you’re supposed to be. Use this time to increase your trust in God and to see Him work on your behalf, even when the palm trees obscure your view.

Thank you Lord for my setback. Thank you that through this setback, I will know you better. You have a plan, even if I can't see it. You are faithful. You are trustworthy. You are working mightily on our behalf. I will rest in you.

**edited to add - so I decided to read Acts 27, want to know the verse before the one in my devotional? It's a good one!

25 Therefore keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in Godt that it will be just as I have been told.

Woo HOO! I love it when He speaks to me!



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

MOUNTAINS

As time goes on, I become more and more aware of the giant mountains in front of me. I thought that all of the mountains were gone.  Naively, I thought that once we began our adoption journey for the second time,  it would be smooth sailing. I thought it would all fall into place, because after all that happened, we deserved it. I couldn't have been more wrong.

We can't "buy" good times, just because we endured bad times. Unfortunately, when we left China without Xiao Xiao, little did I know our bad times were just beginning. Exactly a year ago today I wrote this post, Frantic. Here I am a year later feeling the exact same way - except worse. Today, I am more aware of all the obstacles and fears that invade my every thought:

*Fear that we will never find our Jocelyn Willa.
*Fear of timing.
*Obstacle of finances (we are still way short).
*Fear of losing my sanity from all of this.

Seriously, it is beginning to feel like the walls are closing in on me. How in the world are we ever going to overcome all of that?

Truth is, we can't. In my own power I can do nothing. I do not stand a chance. I do not have the power to overcome all of that on my own. Are the odds against us? Absolutely. I do not have authority over the CCCWA. I do not have endless amounts of money.

But, I know someone who does. I have a Father that can MOVE MOUNTAINS just by speaking. My Father has authority over Heaven and Earth - and that means the Ch*nese Government, too.  You know what else? My Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10).

When we do finally receive Jocelyn in our arms (because we will!) - you know what? It will be only because of Jesus' power. His authority. His finances. He alone will receive the glory! And you know what else? That makes every minute, every doubt, every hardship of this wait worth it!

HE MOVES MOUNTAINS!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

HOME

Well, we actually have been home since Tuesday. I have been busy fall cleaning. I am not sure why, but I couldn't wait to get home and embrace FALL! Cooler temps, pumpkin pie candles, soup, fall decorations - you know, all the great things that come this time of year.

Not much else going on. Unfortunately.  Actually, that isn't entirely true.

On our trip Brad tells me that he doesn't love the name Willa. Um, ok. LOL. He said it's ok, but he agreed to it because he knows how dear it is to me. So, I asked him what he wanted to name our baby girl. Without hesitating, he said, "Jocelyn."  We have talked about that name before. In fact, we considered it for Jameson, before we knew he was a boy - that was a long time ago!

So after a lot of discussion, we have decided that our little Chinese treasure will officially be named Jocelyn Willa. I truly love that name, and I love that it is a J name, just like my other little treasures.

But, the best part? The giddy look on my sweet husband's face when we made it official. It truly makes my heart smile to know that our little girl was named by her daddy. Her BaBa.  Love. It!

Oh, one more thing - could you pray for us these next few days? We need a lot of prayer about something specific, I just can't give the details here. Jesus knows though. If you have just a minute, would you please pray that God will move in a mighty way, and that His will, will be done in a specific matter for us? THANK YOU!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A LITTLE GET AWAY

Ahh... relaxation... It's a beautiful thing, isn't it? Brad has a work conference this week in Orlando. At first, I just assumed that he could come alone, while I stayed home with the kids. With us saving every free penny for our adoption, there was just no way we could plan a trip to Orlando.

I told Brad I would help make arrangements for him. You know, back in the pre-adoption days, we would come down to Orlando a couple times a year. I know my way around here better than I know my way around the town I live in!

Anyway, I started looking for hotels and such. Brad had a set conference budget, so it was important to stretch his money as far as it would go. The hotel that is hosting the conference was offering rooms for $129 a night.  I knew I could do better than that. So I got busy, and I actually found him a condo to rent for $62 a night! The beauty of that? It is a three bedroom condo! So we decided that we would all come. We could hang out at the condo, just as easily as we could hang out at our house. So here we are!

We started planning this trip months ago. Since we knew that we were coming, we decided to use our Disney Visa like a check card to accumulate points. We were very careful to pay off each transaction, and use it just like we would a debit card. Right after we decided to do that, we got a promotion in the mail offering like 3 times the rewards. So we racked up the points! We ended up with enough to do something really fun while we are here. We aren't 100% sure what that will be yet. Brad is tied up all day tomorrow, but he will be free some on Thursday.  Then on Friday, his conference is over at noon. That evening, my in-laws are coming to spend the weekend here with us. I am so excited. We always have a great time with them.

It really feels good to get away from "life" for a little bit. We just got here today. I went to the grocery store and bought us food. For dinner, the kids had a lunchable and I had a can of soup. You know what? It was delicious ! LOL! Now I am sitting here with my laptop, resting and enjoying just being here. Plus, my kids were so beat, they went to bed at 7:30! It's so quiet!

I am not sure what we will be doing tomorrow. The condo we are staying at has a really nice pool. We had to close our pool at home because the water temp was just too cold. So, the kids are looking forward to swimming here. Maybe I will drag my kids to Ikea. HAHA. Whatever we end up doing, I am just glad that we are here.

I really needed some away time. Life has been hard for a while.  I am looking forward to enjoying my children and enjoying my favorite city on Earth!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

SWEET WORDS FROM A SWEET GOD

Sorry it's taken me so long to post this story. I have no excuse. LOL.

edited to add - this post got long! Sorry! Read it through, if you have a minute. It is a good one. Hopefully one that will encourage you in your time of discouragement!

After Monday night came and went with no call, I was pretty down. Actually, Monday night wasn't even done yet and I was down. Went to bed teary, woke up teary. I was really struggling with some self doubt. As I fell asleep that night, my mind was going crazy....

Have I made a mistake?
Maybe God never spoke to me at all.
If we are on the right path, why has it gone so wrong?
Why did we seem to be on the only family on the planet that wasn't getting a call?
What if there wasn't a Willa after all?

The doubts and questions just kept coming. Before I went to bed, I asked Brad what he thought. Could we be totally blind and this wasn't what God was asking of us after all? He told me he didn't really believe that. He asked me if I thought my heart would be so burdened for Willa if we were on the wrong path? I didn't think so, but I really was beginning to wonder. I did tell him that the thought of giving up hurt my heart more than the thought of waiting month after month (which hurts pretty dang bad in and of itself).  It was a pretty rough night.

Let me say, just to clarify, I never, not for a second doubted my God. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. I was doubting myself. What if my own desires were clouding God's desires for us? I was never doubting Him.

Anyway, when I woke up on Tuesday, it wasn't any better. I cried off and on all morning. In the early afternoon, we were on our way home from an errand and I decided to call my mom and cry to her. She is always willing to listen and encourage. I was spilling my heart out to her, sharing all of the doubts above. All of a sudden, my son (8 years old) says from the backseat of the van, "Mom, you are doing what you are meant to be doing." I told my mom to hang on a sec, and I turned to him and asked him to repeat himself. I heard him just fine, but I wanted to know what he meant. He was sitting looking away from me, his eyes never met mine, his voice never changed, and he said, "You are doing what Jesus wants you to be doing." I sat there for a second, kind of floored. He doesn't offer words of wisdom very much, but I have to tell you, that's the second time that kid has blown me away.

I told my mom and she immediately said, "Michele, there's your answer right there! God used that baby to speak to you. You have to know that." I couldn't agree more. In my moment of absolute heart break, He used my child, His child, to minister to me. To encourage me.

As soon as I got home, I checked my email (I actually had checked it on my phone about 30 minutes earlier) and I had a devotion waiting for me from Proverbs 31 Ministries. It was titled, "A Ram Is On The Way". Intrigued, I opened it. As I sat there reading, tears filled my eyes. Jesus was speaking to me again. Confirming the words from Jack and confirming the truths in my heart.

The whole devotion was about hopelessness. Are you in a situation that seems hopeless (YES!)? It went on to tell about Abraham and Isaac. In case you don't know the story, Abraham and Sarah had prayed for a child for a very long time. Finally, in their old age (oh LORD, please don't let me find Willa in my old age! LOL!), God blessed them with a son, Isaac.

One day, God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as an offering to Him. Without question, Abraham was obedient. He packed up his things, along with Isaac and started up the mountain to sacrifice him to the Lord. The devotion pointed out that while Abraham was obedient, surely his heart was breaking. Surely he couldn't understand why he had to sacrifice Isaac. He just took each step up that mountain in absolute faith and obedience. I can't imagine what must have been going through his mind.



What he didn't realize was God was there. He had a plan. A plan that Abraham could not see. God, saw the beginning and the end. He was preparing a way. He was working. On the other side of that mountain, at the exact time Abraham and Isaac were making their way up, was a ram. A plan. When Abraham got to the top and was about to sacrifice his son, and angel of the Lord stopped him. He then saw the ram entangled in the thicket. A replacement for the sacrifice.

His faith and trust paid off. Even when his heart was about to break in two, he was obedient. Did he have doubts? I would say so - what man wouldn't? But God had a plan. He was making preparations all along so that Abraham didn't have to sacrifice Isaac.

My ram is on the way. His plan. His provision. He is working. And soon, my ram will come and we will see His faithfulness. We will see His glory.

I happened to look at the time stamp of that email. It said 9:30 am. I got it at 2:00. I checked at 1:30, and it was not there. It came exactly 10 minutes after Jackson shared with me in the car. Just the confirmation that I needed. Seriously, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

My ram is on the way!

By the way, if you want to read the story (and believe me, you want to read the story) of Abraham and Isaac for yourself, it can be found in Genesis 22.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

HOW HE LOVES

First of all, thank you for the prayers. We did not receive a call last night. On to next month. Actually I have a really good story to share, but I have to get off the computer. I will share it tomorrow. For today though, I want to share my current favorite song. It is especially dear to me today, when I have needed to hear just how He loves me.

*disclaimer* I was hesitant to share this actual video because .... well, honestly, I don't need to stare at David Crowder's face for 4 minutes and I am sure you don't need to either. LOL. However, the song is just so good, you have to watch. Or at least listen. When you are watching though, try not to be jealous of David's slammin fro. Somehow, I don't think you will be.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

24 HOURS

In twenty four hours, the list will release. This time tomorrow my agency representative may be looking at the face of my little girl. Oh the excitement and anticipation of it is almost too much.

But here's the thing - tomorrow may be just like every time, with no Willa on the list. I know I will be so sad, but I also know there is a bigger picture. Bottom line, if we do not receive a call, my daughter wasn't on the list. One day she will be. One day, my phone will ring. My hearts desire is that it is tomorrow, but if it isn't, I still trust Jesus. He is never late!

I want to share a poem with you that my sweet friend Cheryl (also praying for a call tomorrow! If they get a call and we get a call, there is a good chance we could travel together! Wouldn't that be a HUGE God thing?) gave me.


Wait by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried.
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, "Child, you must wait".
"Wait? You say, wait! " my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By Faith, I have asked, and am claiming your Word.
My future and all to which I can relate
hangs in the balance, and YOU tell me to WAIT?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign, or even a 'no' to which I can resign.
And Lord, You promised that if we believe
we need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry: I'm weary of asking! I need a reply!
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, "You must wait.
"So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut and grumbled to God,
"So, I'm waiting.... for what?" He seemed, then, to kneel,
and His eyes wept with mine,
And he tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you wan t~~ but, you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint;
You'd not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there;
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence were all you could see.
You'd never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
You'd know that I give and I save.... (for a start),
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that's beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have LAST.
You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
what it means that "My grace is sufficient for Thee."
Yes, your dreams or your loved one overnight would come true,
But, Oh, the Loss! If I lost what I'm doing in you!
So, be silent, My Child, and in time you will see
that the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft' may My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still, "WAIT".




Wednesday, August 24, 2011

ALL OVER THE PLACE

I do not feel stable. LOL. I have gone from weepy hot mess to numb and indifferent. It started when I found my old scrap books under the couch. Just flipping though, I was over come with emotion. Just such sweet memories there. Apparently, that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Tears flowed, and honestly, have flowed since.

I really think the tears were just a combination of many different things. It's clearly been building. I think a part of it is the anticipation of the list (with the current available waiting children) that is suppose to come out Monday night.  Just knowing it's coming, then the realization that this month will probably be just like the other months with no call.

Then I keep thinking of how short we are financially. I did lower the amount needed because I think I over estimated for airfare. I hope so anyway. I also had to use some of our savings for some unexpected expenses. So we are basically still where we were, but I look at our little fundraising bar and sheer panic sets in. 

Then I realize it's a complete moot point because we have not received a referral. I don't need money to travel if there is no little girl to travel for.... 

Then I cry again. It's a vicious cycle.

Don't get me wrong, I am still trusting my sweet Jesus. In fact a few weeks ago, I really prayed that He would guide me in a decision regarding our adoption. I was struggling with wondering what to do and I specifically asked Him to show me what to do. The very next morning, I had an answer. I don't want to go into specifics here, but that day after my prayer, I received just the answer that I was looking for. Jesus confirmed what I felt in my spirit in a very distinctive way. Then I got an encouraging email for our agency, that I took as another answer from Him. Bottom line - it is 100% in His hands. Not in America World's hands, not in mine. His. Then last night I heard such a sweet song about adoption. Some of the lyrics really stood out to me:

When we cannot see you moving
When it seems the dark has won
May you find us still believing
That you want this more than us
You will finish what you started
And your plans for us are good
Help us cling to what you promised

It is so easy to have a pity party for myself. It is so easy to wallow in despair and doubt. That comes easy for me. What takes work is believing, trusting, having faith. It have to keep reminding myself that He can be trusted.  Just because He isn't working on MY time table doesn't mean He isn't working. 

I have to trust that. Will you please lift our family up in prayer if you have a minute? Please pray that He reveals Willa to us SOON. My heart may just break in two if He doesn't.

Friday, August 19, 2011

SUCH LOVE

It seems that Brad and I have gotten into the bad habit of never going to bed at the same time. Usually he falls asleep on the couch at like 8 (haha, he is so old), then stays up late watching SportsCenter. I usually go to bed by 11. Well, last night, we actually went to bed at the same time.

Here is the conversation that took place just before we fell asleep:

Me: Brad, I've been thinking and I've decided I need you to start calling me by a "pet name". I don't want you to call me Michele anymore. I was thinking something sweet - like babe, honey, angel, love - you know something really sweet.

Brad: Um. OK. How about crazy? or coocoo?

Me: (After I gasped, then pinched him) RUDE!

Brad: I can't help it if you are a freak show. Oh! Freak show! That would be a good one!

Me: Have I told you today that I hate you?

Brad: Nope. Not today.

Me: Then if not, I do. I hate you.

He thought that was the funniest thing ever. LOL! Such sweetness in my man!

We both joke like that all the time with each other. We don't mean a word of it. It's just the way we are. Fortunately, its the way we both are. God really knew what he was doing when he paired us up. I just thought I would share this story, just in case someone over hears him call me "freak show". Don't think bad of him - it's his way of calling me something sweet!

BWAHAHA!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

FILTH

Apparently, the six years I have lived in a somewhat rural area of NC (actually becoming less and less rural every day!!) has shelter me. We do not have a mall, so it isn't very often that I go to one. Yesterday, I met my mom and step dad at a mall in Charlotte. They were in Charlotte visiting family, so I met them to spend the day.

We were walking around with my children, when we passed by Spencer's.

You know the store - it's the one in every mall with completely disgusting and inappropriate things.  I remember as a kid, I loved that store! It was the only store that sold gross things that kids think are hilarious - like fake poop or little flushing toilets. 

Apparently, the store has evolved. It appears to more of an adult store now. A nasty, sin filled store that wreaks of Satan.  It has been years since I have even been in one, but I can tell by the entrance they are not selling anything I need. I most certainly have never taken my children in there. 

Well, yesterday, we were passing by when I noticed their posters display. They typically sell posters and display them just inside the door. Usually the posters are of the latest heart throb (like the Biebs) or of the hottest summer movie.  Yesterday however, the posters were awful. 

The posters were of half naked girls and one poster was of said girls about to make out.  I was mortified. Fortunately, at that moment, my children were busy looking at other things. They did not notice them. However, all it would have taken was one glance. One general glance for that image to forever be burnt into their minds.  

Don't get me started on the fact that it is forever burnt into my mind. It could have easily been seen by my husband too. However, my concern is my children. Their innocence. 

When did it become acceptable for such sexually explicit images to be imposed on my children? When did it become ok for my babies innocence to be stolen by just a glance?

It grieves my heart so much that this is what my children are facing. On the way to Charlotte yesterday. was a billboard with girls in negligee's. On a huge billboard on interstate 77. How can I compete against the world this way on behalf of my children? Don't even get me started on the check out at any grocery store.

I can only pray daily that Jesus will protect their eyes, their ears, their minds. I pray for their innocence and for Jesus to protect it for as long as possible. And hope and pray that He returns for us quickly. I long for eternity with Him where sin doesn't exist. 

Oh, while it may not help, I did write a letter to Spencer's and the Mall. I shared with them that my family will not be returning to that mall until the posters are removed. I also told them that I will make it my personal mission to tell as many people as humanly possible, so they can also boycott the mall until the situation is corrected. If I don't fight for my children's innocence, who will?

Friday, August 12, 2011

REFLECTION

It is hard to put into words what my heart is feeling. This is going to be one of those posts that mean more to me than to any one that may read it. The whole reason I started this blog was to journal my days with my sweet babies. I want record my experiences and my thoughts. So years from now, when I don't remember this feeling or this moment, I would have record of it. That is what this post is all about.

Some friends of Brad's from college received devastating news this week. Their 8 year old son was diagnosed with leukemia. I personally don't know them, but I can't stop thinking about this family. My heart aches for them. When I read their news, it was like a giant hand slap across my face. I have an 8 year old son. What if it were us? Seriously the thought brings tears to my eyes. 

How quickly life can change! In an instant, your world can come crashing down. How blessed I am to have my family for this moment. 

I had to take Jackson to the dentist today. It was just him and me. Sadly, we don't get an opportunity to be alone very often. After the dentist, I decided to surprise him by taking him out for ice cream. I made him swear to secrecy! LOL.  I was sitting there just watching him, and I thought my heart would burst. His little life just flashed before my eyes.  Memories of him as an infant - rocking him and going on walks with him. Memories of him as a 2 year old playing trains. And I could just see him walking around as a 4 year old with a light saber attached to his pants - all the time.  I started crying right there in the ice cream shop!


(edited to add a photo of his sweet little face!!)

I read something this week that was profound to me - one day, I am going to miss this moment. I sat there in that ice cream shop thinking, one day, I am going to long for my 8 year old sharing an ice cream with me.  TEARS!!

Oh my heart breaks for Brad's friends. I can't imagine that hurt, that fear. When I looked at my baby today, I thought about how his future is wide open. He can do anything he wants. What a precious blessing. What a gift. 

I am a weepy, hot mess today.  I hate being this way. At the same time, it is nice to be reminded how precious life is and how richly blessed I am.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I LOVE WHEN HE SPEAKS

The more this sinks in, the more I realize just how special it was. I'll share from the beginning...

Brad and I got into a discussion last night about our adoption journey.  I know this road has been way more difficult for me that it's been for him. I am much more emotionally attached to the process than he is. It is my every thought, it seems. My heart longs for our baby to be home. I long to be in China. Brad, on the other hand, is more like "let me know when we get a referral and when travel is imminent". Otherwise, he doesn't think about it, breath it, like I do.

I know that, and I get it. He was very much like that with each of my pregnancies, too. He went with me to my appointments, because I think he was scared not to. LOL. Really though, he wasn't the dad that wanted to go to Babies R Us with me to register, or to sit on the couch with his hand on my belly.  So his lack of "involvement" in the adoption, especially the ever so stalled adoption that it is, is not surprising to me. Normally it doesn't even bother me. But, last night it did.

I was already feeling emotional and doubtful. After our conversation, I was reeling. What in the world are we doing? Am I wrong? What if the adoption is "stalled" because it just isn't God's will for us? All these questions ran through my mind. I was heartsick.

So I went to bed praying. Just desperate before Jesus saying, what in world are we suppose to do?  Before I went to sleep, I thought I would do my daily devotion on my phone. I have the Bible app and it has a daily Rick Warren devotion. It is really neat. At the end of the devotion, there is a bible passage that goes along with it. When you click on the suggested bible reading, a new screen pops up that takes you straight to that passage. Once you read it, you click on the little devotion icon and it takes you back to the previous page. It will check off the bible verses showing you completed your reading for that day.

So I decided to read my devotion and then go to sleep. The main point was patience and persistence. When I got to the bottom, it suggested that I read Genesis 24:21. So I clicked on it and started reading. I immediately noticed that it included a lot of verses (instead of just the one), but I kept reading. The more I read, the more I thought, "Hey, this is long!", but I kept reading. Here are the main points of the passage:

*Consider trials pure joy.
*If you seek wisdom, ask God. He will tell you (hello! Like right now!).
*God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation.
*Don't just listen to God's word, DO IT!
*Do not hear His word and not obey it.

And I not sure why it took me so long to realize I wasn't reading Genesis, but rather James. It wasn't until the very last verse that it hit me.

**James 1:27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for the orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

As soon as I read that I realized that God, Himself, was speaking to me. You have to understand, my phone can be glitchy sometimes, like it will freeze periodically. I can tell you that my phone has never, ever pulled up a random bible passage. This app was written to pull up the passage it is assigned to pull up. It doesn't just pick some random other bible passage to share.

Was it a coincidence that my prayer minutes before reading this, was asking God what we should do? Are we on the right path? If we are, why is it so stinkin hard?  Then my phone randomly pulls up James 1? Seriously, if it was a "glitch" - of all the passages in the bible, it pulls up the one that tells me to care for orphans? To consider my trials joy? To obey what He tells me? And that if I ask Him for wisdom, He will give it to me? For sure NOT a glitch!!

Thank you Father for speaking to me, even when I come to you with doubts and fears. Thank you for working on my behalf, even when I don't deserve it (which is always)! Thank you for loving us enough to give us the blessing of another child. Thank you for keeping your promise to Willa by placing her in a family.

In your time, Sweet Jesus, you will show yourself glorious! You will move mighty mountains on our behalf. I trust You. I trust Your timing. Until that time, I will rest in Your light and love. I can't wait to see what You are going to do!


Sunday, August 7, 2011

NOTHING GOING ON

We started school two weeks ago. It blows my mind that I have a THIRD grader and a FIRST grader.  We use Sonlight and we love it. This year, we are using Core B - which is geography, history and literature. It works well for us, because Jack and Anna can share. We do the Core, bible and science together and individual math and language arts. It really helps having them together for a large part of their school day.

Core B is Intro to World History. So far, it has been very interesting and the kids genuinely seem to like it. It will tie in nicely with a trip to China. If course, at the rate we are going, my kids may be in high school by the time we make it to China, but that is neither here nor there.

My issue has been motivating Jackson. He honestly just can not be bothered by school work. I know he is smart. I know he is capable. What he is not, is willing. For example, we had a worksheet on capitalization. Now, he has been doing capitalization since kindergarten. So he knows when a capital letter is needed. He got the entire worksheet wrong. The entire worksheet. I am not going to lie, I threaten to put him in the car, and drive to the elementary school that is 3 miles away to enroll him.  That scared him to death - but I haven't seen a change in his effort yet. I get that he is a boy and has lots of other things vying for his attention, I really do. However, school takes about 3 hours. He has the rest of the day to do whatever it is he does. It is taking him longer because I am making him redo the stuff he is doing wrong. You would think that alone would motivate him to do it right!

Here is another example - he has always been gifted in math. So far, I had not had to teach him any math concepts. He just gets it. We started multiplication last year, I shared the facts with him once and then he just knew the answers.  This year? Oh lawd. This year, he can't seem to add double numbers. He told me he didn't understand the "carry the 1" concept. What? I am so not buying it.

I am not quite sure what to do to motivate him. I went this weekend and bought a boat load of candy. Good candy, like blow pops! I am going to try rewarding them with candy when they do their best. I think that will be effective with him. I sure hope so.

Nothing new on the adoption front, unfortunately. I do have a huge praise - we have raised $700 with the T-shirt sale. Can you believe it? I have people every day asking me about them! What a blessing!

So that is it for now. Sorry it isn't more exciting. Maybe soon, I will have some exciting news. Maybe. Jesus willing.

Friday, July 29, 2011

CLIPPIES

Here are a few of the clippies. I have a few more than this, but they are the same colors. I am trying to make more, but well... turns out, I am not so crafty! LOL!


The clippies have an anti slip strip attached inside. They are really so pretty! We are selling them for $3.00 each! Send me an email if you are interested! jackjujam at yahoo dot com!

Thanks! The t--shirts have been selling great! What a sweet blessing!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A FRESH WORD FROM GOD

This time last week, I was gearing up to meet my friend Ashley in Charlotte for the Beth Moore conference. We had a great time! Ashley has been a great friend to me this last year, and it was so great to spend some time with her.

The conference was awesome. Seriously, such a sweet time. There is just something about coming together with 9400 other women to study the bible with Beth Moore. The "theme" of the weekend was HOLD FAST. Hold fast to Jesus. She shared such a encouraging word from the bible and you could truly feel Jesus in our midst.

When I came home, I searched online for videos of Beth speaking. I found one and immediately watched it. I was blown away by something she shared - she was talking about Elizabeth and Zechariah. The main point in her study was what comes naturally or easily for some, has to come through miracles for others.  She used Elizabeth's pregnancy as an example. Wow. She went on to say that Elizabeth needed a miracle, and God blessed her with a pregnancy.  Well, we all know how her story played out. She gave birth to John the Baptist.

Would I choose the easy path? YES! Would I have chosen for our adoption journey to be so long and painful? Of course not. However, that is exactly the way it's been -  long and painful. I have to say though, I have come to a place in my relationship with Jesus that would not have been likely otherwise. A place of trust and peace.

I am one of those people that need a miracle. This adoption is not going to come easily or naturally for us. We need Jesus to intervene. You know what? When that miracle does come (because it IS coming, you know), it is going to be so much sweeter. Through it, Jesus will show us His glory like never before.

So would I have chosen it this way? No. Am I thankful and humbled His ways are not my ways? YES! I would live every day of this year over and over again, if through our journey, He is shown more Glorious than ever before!

**edited to add: Remember that post about spiritual warfare? Yeah. This week has been a doozy.

Brad was bitten by a black widow. He has been so sick from it.
Our A/C broke (still broken as we speak)
Jameson got sick

That's it for now... stay tuned. I am sure there will be more.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

SWEET BLESSINGS

A couple of weeks ago my friend, Kelly,  emailed me to ask if I would be interested in t-shirts that I could sell to help raise adoption funds. It sounded great, so she put me in touch with this sweet lady named Kris.

Kris is an adoptive mom herself. When they were raising funds to complete their adoption, they had these really cool t-shirts made. The t-shirts turned out so cute and have a great message! Anyway, Kris' family brought their daughter home and had a ton of t-shirts left over. I am still so humbled by this - Kris offered me ALL of them! For free! Seriously, guys how awesome is that?

On Wednesday, when I arrived home from my trip, there was two giant boxes waiting for me! Once I got the kids to bed, I tore into them! I was so excited!


I seriously had never seen so many t-shirts in one place in my life! They were even cuter in person than in the photo Kris shared. Another sweet blessing was included in the boxes! Kris was very successful in making adorable hair clippies, and she gave me all of her left over stuff! A ton of them were already made, and she included tons of stuff to make more. It seems pretty easy and they are super cute. As soon as Julianna saw them, she said, "OH! Those are gorgeous!" She begged me to let her have all of them! LOL! 

So because of someone's generous spirit and incredible talent, we get to raise more money for our adoption. How cool is that? Provision people. Jesus' sweet provision! 

So here's the deal:


The front of the tee says:

  iChose

The back of the tee says;

to FOLLOW the ONE who made ME

How cool is that?? The shirts come in pink with brown writing or in black with white writing. They also come in two different styles. There is a classic tee and a ladies fitted tee. 

Just as an FYI - the classic tee runs a little big and the ladies fitted tee runs about a size smaller than normal. So if you order the ladies fitted tee and you wear a large, get extra large. 

We will be selling the shirts for $12.00! That is a total steal! We are just hoping to sell as many as possible. The more we sell, the closer we are to sweet Willa.  It is our goal to sell ALL of them!  If you are willing, please help spread the word! 

Also, the tees seem to be pretty good quality. I washed and dried one just to see if it shrunk, and I can say it appears to not have shrunk at all! They are soft and so so cute! 

If you want to order one, email me at jackjujam @ yahoo dot com. In the email, please let me know which color choice, style (fitted or classic) and size. I will email you back to let you know if we have it available. 

The sizes come womens fitted - small to extra large. The classic unisex tee comes small - 2X large. I do have a few kid sizes, too. 

We will also be selling and making hair clippies to sell! 



These two photos are just a small sample of what could be done. There are a ton of color, size and flower choices!! We are also going to be making some felt flower clippies. They really are adorable! I will get better photos in the next couple of days.  The hair clips also are lined, with a non slip strip added. 

We will be selling the clippies for $3.00 each. 

We are really excited and hope that we are able to use this generous gift to help raise money for our adoption. Like I said, I will get better photos soon! I will also try to get some photos of my family wearing our iChose shirts, so you can see how cute they look on!

We have been so humbly blessed by the adoption community. I can not wait to get home with Willa and start paying it forward! I hope to be able to bless someone else the way we have been blessed!

Please let me know if you would like to order a tee or a clippy! If you are willing, spread the word! I can't wait to see how God will bless the sale of these tees and clippies!