Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I'll take the easy button please!

Do you ever have one of those days that isn't BAD per se...just HARD? Today was one of those days. It seems like almost everything I did was a bit harder than necessary. I sold some clothes, which was great, especially because she told me to keep the change! BUT I noticed that there was a stain on one item so I needed to discount it. I bought a used slide/swing combo and a step 2 toddler push car from someone  for 60.00 a few days ago, BUT when I unloaded it the swing combo was broken in 2 places. When I asked about a refund they said they would refund the money, BUT only 20.00 which was what I thought I'd paid for the car. I went to church early today to try to work out some issues we'd been having on our Media Shout programs on our computers we use to run the services. We were able to figure out several issues, BUT without buying either a new computer OR a new mixer box, we can't really fix the biggest of the issues. I was choosing backgrounds for this Sunday's services which usually takes just a few minutes per song, BUT the computer wanted to "hide" the files and it took over an hour to do just 5 songs. Are you catching my drift here? Everything was technically O.K., BUT not really the way I'd hoped it would be. It seemed like everything took TWICE as long as it should have taken, and was TWICE as hard as it should have been. I came home tonight mentally exhausted. I think it is all too easy for us to just throw up our hands when we have these kind of days and say "Why me?" or worse yet, "Why even bother?" I certainly know I wanted to! When I find myself getting this frustrated over what really is nothing bad, just something hard, I try to focus on the positive aspect of it all. It may not be easy to do that in the moment, but the more positively I can look at things the more positively I can react to things. Tonight as I was reflecting on the "hard" of the day, I began to think about scripture, and what it says about difficult times. This is one our pastor used fairly recently that came to mind:
Matthew 11:28-30
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."
 It is so comforting to know that no matter what "hard" we are going through, whether it is a simple day like mine, or something more, like a battle with cancer, or the loss of a loved one, that God will bear our burden for us, that He will give us rest. Just rereading this and meditating on it calmed my soul, and my mind, and opened my heart. It made me realize just how thankful I am. Thankful for my children, husband, family, friends, pets, home, etc. But mostly thankful for my God, who lives in me, who loves me, who fills my life with joy, and hope and peace and who takes my worry away and replaces it with relief. So tonight I just wanted to share that and hope that you too, have that hope and joy peace and relief in your life. And on a lighter note, I'll leave you with this video, which also came to mind during my "hard" day ;)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The simple things in life are free...

Wouldn't it be nice if everything else was too?!? I spent the afternoon with one of my best friends, just floating in a, well, a long narrow body of water, named 20 Mile Bottom. It is a country way of life we lead, and most people from the city wouldn't understand. We don't have a pool, but we sure do enjoy swimming everyday! Almost everyone I know went to Bay Springs today. I can't imagine how crowded it must have been! We didn't see a soul, didn't hear a boat, car, train, or even a plane. We could hear the wind whistling through the trees, the crickets singing, and an occasional frog. It was wonderful to just float, peacefully, no kids, no hubby, no cares in the world, for HOURS, uninterrupted. It is rare that I get the opportunity to spend such quiet time, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Later in the evening Greg, Daddy, Andy and Nathan, (Alex was spending the night with a friend,) joined us, and we spent another hour digging in the falls for sharks teeth and arrowheads. Although I forgot to take a picture, we did actually find a few pieces of flint, but no whole arrowheads, and 1 sharks tooth. Here are a few pictures of our afternoon.
Nathan smelling the wildflower vines. The boys frequently pick these for me to wear in my sweet!

Daddy and Greg cooling off

Greg, Andy, and Nathan chillin'
Nathan and Jackie spreading mud all over Greg's head
Greg, Nathan, and Andy standing on "the falls" where we find shark's teeth,  arrowheads, and other interesting things

With the end of the adoption process near, we have been bombarded with the final expenses. The orphanage fee, is a big chunk, and the travel is another. We have begun to try to raise money to offset the debt by selling t-shirts through adoption bug. You can click the link at the top right of this blog or here to go directly to our shop. We make a portion of each sale, and the shirts are shipped when you order them, directly to you. I am also hosting a Scentsy basket party. If you would like to order any or just see what there is, you can click here: Barbara and Greg's Scentsy fundraiser
We will also be doing other fundraisers including selling coffee, flower bulbs, and more. Believe me, I know how tight funds are right now for everyone, and I HATE asking people to help out when I know how many people are struggling themselves, but I find solace in scripture:
Luke 6:38 - Rewards for Giving
"Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."
Proverbs 22:9 -Being Generous
"He who is generous will be blessed"
God has led us on this mission, and I know He will be faithful to those who are faithful to him. In this we will trust in Him to make all things possible for us! For each of you who have prayed for us, encouraged us, supported us, and helped financially, we give thanks. We are so humbled by your sacrifices and pray that God rewards each of you abundantly as you have rewarded us in your love!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Once Upon A Time...

In a land far, far away, lived a beautiful little girl named Dang Jia Ran. She didn't know it yet, but soon her world was going to change in a big way. You see today, her Forever Family got a letter that said their government was going to send their adoption file to China, and that very soon they would be able to travel there to get her and bring her home with them to live forever and ever, happily ever after.
I know that to most people the whole process of going to China, and bringing home our daughter seems like a fairytale. But in reality, it is going to be HOT, tiring, emotionally wrecking, HOT, hard, and did I mention HOT? I am worried about so many things, it would take a whole separate post just to put them all down. There are so many unknowns that it boggles my mind. You see I am the type of person who has to have a plan, a schedule, a calender, dates, times, places, faces, etc. I don't do change well. God knows this about me, and still He loves me, and He loves me enough to use this adoption process as a tool to teach me about patience, and to teach me that I CAN do this. He has changed me in ways that I never knew needed changing, and for that I thank Him. I Praise Him for leading me, maturing me, and guiding me. Because He has shown me how to be all of these things, I CAN give up my fears and concerns, because I KNOW He will continue to carry us and guide us through all that is yet to come. So maybe it will be a fairy tale, or maybe it won't but either way, I can't wait to see what God has in store!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

My oh my, how time flies!

It was almost one year ago today that Greg and I first had a conversation about adopting a child from China. I was following a call to the mission field, and had gone away to a craft fair to sell home canned jams, jellies, and pickles to raise money for a mission trip to the Philippines. It was a long road for us to accept that call to missions, and I now understand that it was God's way of softening our hearts for the adoption of our daughter. The same weekend I was away, God used 4 little girls who were from different families, but had all been adopted from China to stir Greg's heart. When I came home that weekend, he sat me down and told me that he felt an overwhelming sense of urgency to adopt from a non-Christian nation. After some research, God closed every door we looked through for each country other than China. We then decided on our agency, CCAI, and away we went! We were initially told that we could expect 18 months to 2 years, but in a complete whirlwind, it looks like we will have our daughter in just 13 months from start to finish. This blog will hopefully be a way for our family and friends to share in our trip, and in our everyday life who would otherwise not be able to share with us.