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We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

These are some things that made Thanksgiving Great-

~Handling a great big bird, putting him (or her... not sure) in the oven, and waiting on that highly-technologically-advanced pop-out timer to "pop"!~

~Sweet Potato Casserole and Pie Baking~

~People we love sleeping in every corner of the house~

~Watching Elijah sneak dog treats (and probably other things) to Toby every chance he'd get~

~The first viewing of Christmas movies of the year~

~The Andrew and Elijah Thanksgiving Show- where the boys dress up as Star Wars characters and reenact scenes from the movies (complete with commercial breaks)~

~A new Chick-fil-a team pulling together to serve the masses under the management of a great boss (way to go, Micah!)~

~Taking pictures in the non-functioning mall photo booth with my camera~

~Sending the boys on a scavenger hunt to find Elijah's new piggy bank... followed by watching the boys do subsequent scavenger hunts for various objects with clues like this one written by Andrew: "I saw something with my eyes. It was mysterious with my eyes; I looked at something in my room, so if you just look under something then you will find this treasure. It may be gold, but probably not. You'll find out!"~

~People climbing over each other at 4 a.m. at Target to get the best deal on flat screen TV's and Puffer Vests?!?!?!~

My family came to share Thanksgiving with us this year. There were many memorable moments, but the one I may remember the most is the Target experience. I usually stay away from shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving, however this year, there were some really good deals all at the same store that I just couldn't pass up. So my Dad and I got up before 3 a.m. and went to Target. I loved trying to find out who else was crazy enough to stand in line for an hour in the freezing temperatures. I also wanted to make clear to everyone within earshot that if they wanted something bad enough to run over me trying to race into the store, I would gladly let them pass. There was a lady and her daughter behind me that had been shopping all night. She let me know about all the good deals in the surrounding stores but would never tell me what she was after at Target! I guess I looked threatening enough that she wasn't going to take any chances that I may go for anything on her list! Another of our line neighbors was a guy who was shopping for his niece and nephew. He looked through the newspaper ad about six times in the course of 45 minutes, making his plan. He told me about them and what they liked and disliked. He also shared that he had left all his friends at home asleep to come out by himself for them.

Finally, right on time, the doors opened and the mass exodus from the sidewalk began. By the time my Dad and I got a cart and started on our list, there were already people racing to the checkout with their items! We had used the online store map to prioritize and headed toward the things we wanted. Thankfully, most of our list included items not in high demand and we had a fairly easy experience getting those things. There was one item I hoped to pick up that was a popular. My strategy: make friends with others asking about it and try and help them if I could. I am happy to report, that it worked! I finally got a Target employee to give me the correct location of the item (after three incorrect locations) and I relayed the information to someone I had met in line. My new savvy shopping friend crawled down to the bottom shelf of the display and handed two back to me (one for me and one for another gal behind me) of the last three left. Our camera has been on its last leg for a while and I was able to get a new one for a really good deal! It was quite an adventure.

On our way to the back of the checkout line that stretched the length of the store, I saw the guy shopping for his niece and nephew. He smiled at Dad and me and held up his finds: four board games, $3.99 marked down from $9.99. What an uncle! We were so glad to get out of there, head home, and get a bit more sleep.

Micah is always good about reminding the boys that it isn't enough just to be thankful- and we have so much to be thankful for. We have to direct our thankfulness to the One who gives us all good gifts. Our best gift is Jesus, and He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him gracious give us all things? -Romans 8:32. We are blessed beyond measure~

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Moms Night Out

Sunday night, my friend Jaime and I drove to Nashville, TN to see Brooke Fraser in concert. The concert was great, but having time to talk to our hearts content was the best! We spent time at a used bookstore, had dinner at a lovely cafe in south Nashville called Fido (named after a dog because it was originally a pet shop), and then stood for two hours in line to get into the venue. You would infer that we are both truly devoted fans to camp out at the front of the line, but in reality, forgot Nashville is in the central time zone:) Jaime wasn't even really a fan! I had asked her to go with me a while back and was so glad that she was a "stay up 'till 3am to see a singer I am not really familiar with" kind of friend. I have to say, though, it was lovely seeing the lovely and talented Brooke from the third row. My favorite live song of the night had to be the title track of her album Flags. I would encourage you all to go to her website and take a listen.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

the Now and the Not Yet

And so the medication begins. After a great doctor's appointment, a crash course in giving myself injections, and training for Micah to administer some as well, I am officially under the influence of the preparatory drugs. Thankfully I have that heading to categorize the physical and emotional struggles that come along with forcing my body into being ready for our little ones. Because of the clear goal, each headache, mood swing, food aversion, or whatever else comes along is clearly in the context of a larger goal. It's "for the babies!" we all say. It is a pretty humbling and precious goal. This is not so much different than other parts of life. Each one lesson, trial, success, pain, relate to far more than those things in and of themselves. Even beyond that, each momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory (1 Cor. 4:17). How tender our Lord to guide us, not ignoring the present or the difficulty, but giving, preparing, and securing future hope.

We are all learning that keeping our eyes focused ahead strengthens our hearts and gives us the ability to do whatever today asks of us. I realize that in this blog, I am changing my pronouns at will from singular to plural which is grammatically incorrect, but this indeed is a family effort. God has grown love for our babies in different ways, but we all experience that love together. The boys sing to me every day when injection time comes "for the babies and for Mommy who has to be brave!" Today, it was a hip hop song they had heard on the Disney Channel and I will say it is easier to do anything- including give myself a shot- to a beat! Elijah gives me practice shots with his doctor kit (Sometimes, he says I need up to 15!!! So glad he is not in charge!!!). Micah serves us all with sacrificial love and devotion. He has the privilege of giving me the much larger injections in a couple of weeks. Talk about a marriage builder!!! Andrew has grown more responsible with helping mommy out in the house and catering to my needs. He also knows that if I might want a snack from the kitchen, there is probably one in it for him, too. I just have no idea where he gets his love for all things sugar from;)

Looking ahead also has kept us aware of potential outcomes. I don't particularly like to- nor think it is helpful to- focus on what might be, but a dose of reality is necessary in readying our hearts and preparing Andrew and Elijah for what might be. Micah and I continue to remind them that all the embryos might die in this process. But we pray that they all live and are committed to do everything physically possible to help them but know that ultimately, we do not decide. It is with much fear and trembling that we give these children our hearts and many parts of our lives. For me particularly, I will be giving them my body. With every new medication and doctor's appointment and side effect, I am more and more physically invested. The cost is different for our precious sons and I do not claim to know what all it entails. God is preparing them for His purposes and knows what role this experience will play in His story in each of their lives. What we do know for the babies is that these sacrifices will result in either them being born into our home, or being born into God's. Really, either outcome is good for them. Isn't that what adoption is all about in the first place? Bringing orphans into the care of a family? God knows best whether that family it ours or if He will usher them directly into His. In the meantime, we all take one day at a time; one step at a time; one truth at a time.

This post has turned into something totally different than what I first intended! Thank you for taking this journey with us. We know there is an investment for each person that knows and loves us in this as well. God uses each of you to give us encouragement and for that, we are so thankful. Hopefully, as you read where we are, you will know how to pray for us- all of us.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Moving Forward Despite Moving Backward

Last Wednesday, with one more step forward in our adopting journey, we took a couple of steps back. Amazingly, though, those two new steps were accomplished extraordinarily quickly. My caregivers found a couple of issues that needed to be dealt with surgically in order to give our little ones the best chance at life. Within five minutes, the staff, Micah, and I had a plan to proceed in the surgery the next day, Thursday. God's hand was so tenderly on us all. Micah's parents had already planned a trip to KY and all the details were taken care of within a few hours. Micah's job has been especially trying and I was wondering how he was going to be able to get away... But God sent Micah a helper who managed staffing for the whole day for him. It was incredible! So today, recovering is the goal and is happening slowly and surely.

The boys got in some fun grandparent time. I didn't take any pictures during the visit because, quite frankly, I was taking some much needed pain medicine:) While incapacitated, I had to get used to being served, which is a humbling thing for me. Andrew especially is determined to serve mommy in all the ways he can. He will ask, "Is the laundry ready for the dryer?" and every few minutes sometimes "Do you need anything now, Mom?" in his sweet, responsible, six-year-old voice. It has been an education watching he and Elijah deal with all that comes with this adoption. It is sobering and telling to hear our four-year-old announce to strangers that we have four embryos that we hope come to live with our family soon. The look on their faces is priceless! Our explanation of the adoption to the boys has been in very simple terms. They don't need much convincing that this is a good thing and a family calling. They are aware of the risks- but Micah and I pray the example we are setting is trust and obedience regardless of the outcome. I think he and I may be getting a great deal of encouragement from them as they move forward with a "whatever it takes for the babies" attitude!

So our plan remarkably has not changed. We have a schedule for the remainder of the year for our first two embryos. It is again terrifying and exciting- but we press on trusting the goodness of God who created us all for this time together.
It has been a while since I have posted pictures of the boys, so enjoy!
Handsome Boys!

Card games in the evening...

We love good deals on their favorite characters' costumes after Oct. 31!!!

When Andrew saw that I was putting new pictures on the blog, he and Elijah set this one up to add:)