Monday, April 26, 2010

Words can't even describe...

Our pastor, Brother David, showed this picture yesterday during service of a starving African baby girl being stalked by a vulture as she searched for food. I haven't been able to get the image out of my head. Words can't even describe the emotions it stirs up in me. Not the "ohhhhh, poor baby" emotions like many might feel. But the pure ANGER the picture brings me. The anger that this is a reality in Africa and in many other countries around the world. The GUILT it brings to me as just last week Jason and I were sitting around dreaming of someday owning a bigger house, maybe on some land, maybe even with a pool. And guilt knowing that right now my fridge needs a major cleaning out of all the wasted food sitting in there. And here this poor baby can't even lift her head while dragging herself around looking for crumbs! But mostly, it brings me SADNESS. Sadness as I know that our Father in Heaven looked down on that child, as He does all the other starving babies, and it breaks His heart. Just as if Aidan, Hannah or Houston were starving and nobody was helping them - how I would weep knowing that there are people that could help, and they just DON'T. Can you even IMAGINE how it must break God's heart to see this? To know that this child He created in HIS IMAGE is going to die hungry, all alone?
I thank God for breaking my heart for what breaks His. I thank Him for opening my eyes to the plight of the orphans. I thank him especially for showing me what COULD happen if we didn't bring Macy home. She could starve. She could get sick and die. She could survive her toddler years only to make it into childhood with little hope of an education. She could be sold into slavery or prostitution. She could be raped. Even if she made it into young adulthood, her life expectancy would be very small. With little medical care and the number of Ethiopian women that die during childbirth, her outlook wouldn't be good. The future doesn't look good for many little Ethiopian girls.
But Jason and I are going to change that. We are going to give her the love she deserves. The medical care she needs. And the hope of Jesus who loves that precious baby even more than we ever can. And we are going to do all of that with YOUR help. THANK YOU so much for all of you who have donated money, bought t-shirts, helped with yard sales, and offered up prayers for our growing family. Thanks for helping us change the future of one little girl.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Yard Sale totals are in! WOW!

So Friday was the PERFECT day for a yard sale. Saturday - well - not so much. The tornado warnings kinda messed with our plans. But God still blessed our two days of the BIGGEST YARD SALE EVER! In the eight hours we were open we made....drumroll please....$2,358.78. YES! You read that right!!!! Over twenty-three hundred dollars straight to bringing our baby girl home! And what's even better is that we have probably another $2,000 that is going to be earned from stuff donated that I am putting on Ebay and in five local consignment shops next week. This is all truly a blessing from The Father. I have stressed and stressed (yes, ME! Okay, that's sarcasm...those that really know me know that I can mega-stress out about stuff) about this sale. The weather forecast really threw me for a loop (it hadn't rained in like three weeks and along comes tornado warnings for my yard sale!) as did borrowing the tables, pricing stuff, finding room to store all the stuff, etc. But WOW - God took care of all of that. He even provided the BEST family and friends ever to help us. Keep in mind that we had 5 car garage spaces full of items AND I have three little kids that needed childcare during all of this. Oh, and it POURED DOWN during the sale today meaning our helpers had to hustle to pack up the remaining items and looked like a bunch of wet rats doing so. Seriously guys, this has been quite an ordeal! Hence why I am NEVER having another yard sale. (Please, please kick me in the head if I ever think of having another one!) A HUGMONGOUS thank you to my Mom (for too much to mention!), Sarah and Sandi for childcare (big time!), Jeremy and Uncle Jim (always nice to know strong men with trucks!), Aunt Shari, Aunt Betty and Emily for pricing and set up, Justine (who is a super-hard worker with a servants heart - now I see how she can be a momma to five kiddos!), Larry, Grady, and Mr. Skip (for all their work during the sale), all the people who loaned us tables, donated thousands of items, and made yummy baked goods (even total strangers - thanks Erika!). And my precious hubby who had little faith in me and said we probably wouldn't earn more than two hundred dollars and all my work would go for nothing - I sure showed you, Buster! Oh, and Aidan - who gladly donated toys for the sale. Of course, they were all Hannah's toys. (Ya just gotta love that kid!)

So, the sale is finally over. It was totally worth all the trouble. The items that are left are going to be picked up by two families from our church that are also adopting from Ethiopia. So this stuff will go into their adoption yard sales to help bring Macy two little friends home! Life will now hopefully return to "normal" and maybe, just maybe, I can get my house back in order.

Thanks again to all of those who helped and contributed. We couldn't have pulled it off without you!
Amanda (and Jason and all these crazy kids!)
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Three months waiting!

Today is our 3 month mark on the waiting list! (Hence Hannah and the 3 fingers!) And we got some awesome news yesterday! Our case worker at WACAP emailed me telling us that we have quickly moved up the waiting list. As of now there are only TEN families ahead of us requesting a toddler over 12 months! We are #25 on the "big list" that includes newborns, but for toddlers we are headed to the top of the list! Just for perspective, when we got on the waiting list 3 months ago we were #47 - so we have moved up rather quickly! This news was a big surprise to us - and we are just thrilled! We have been telling people that we should receive our referral by November, and it looks like it could be much sooner than that. We will see!

This weekend is our MOTHER OF ALL YARD SALES!!! You would NOT believe how much stuff we have for this sale. My helpers and I have been pricing for the past 5 days, and we STILL have more to do. We have a 3 car garage full AND a 2 car garage full of great stuff people have donated for us to sell. Dozens of families have donated, and we have furniture, toys, clothes, skis, antiques, collectibles, sporting goods, tools, electronics, TONS of movies and books - you name it, we've got it! All priced for dirt cheap! The sale will take place this Friday and Saturday (April 23rd and 24th) from 8am to Noon. It will be at my mom's house at 110 Strathmore Court in Hendersonville (in Riverchase Subdivision near Jack Anderson Elementary). We'll have lots of brightly colored signs for you to follow. We are also having a bake sale. Come after 11:00 on Saturday, and you can fill a Kroger shopping bag for $10! (If there is anything left!) The weather looks fine on Friday, but in case of rain on Saturday morning we will have it again next Saturday. YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS SALE! It is all priced to sell quickly because I am NEVER going to have another yard sale again. Never. Never.

Hope to see you on Friday or Saturday morning!
Happy Wednesday!
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Monday, April 19, 2010

Manic Monday...and BOY, is it MANIC today!

First of all, if I EVER EVER EVER decide to have another yard sale, will someone PLEASE punch me in the face? I am being serious here. If you could just SEE how much stuff we have, you would have pity on me. Our two car garage is completely full, as is my Mom's three car garage - and STUFF IS STILL COMING! Just today we got FOUR truck loads of stuff. Just in clothes, we have 15 large plastic tubs and about 25 garbage bags full of clothes. PLUS three rounders of them on hangers. The toys and movies and books....oh...I can't even describe. I have now spent 4 days pricing stuff, and will continue to do so every day this week until the sale opens Friday morning. So my Manic Monday is actually just the start - it's going to be a rather Manic week. )(And OF COURSE it is supposed to thunderstorm on Saturday. So prayers are needed for the weekend forecast!)
But for super happy news - Jason got home from his mission trip to Haiti on Saturday. It was a lonnnnnnng 8 days with him gone, and the kiddos and I were THRILLED to see him Saturday evening. He had an amazing time, and I can truly say that he came back a changed man. (I loved the old-Jason just fine, but this new-Jason is rather spectacular!) He spent over a week building an orphanage and loving on sweet orphans in Port au Prince. Hearing his stories and seeing his pictures makes me want to get Macy home even faster. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, as Ethiopia is the poorest one in the Eastern Hemisphere. Similarly sad places for little children to live.
I am off to bed - this momma is pooped! Hope you all have an incredible week!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Time for Spring Portraits (and an update on Jason in Haiti!)

Hey everyone! Well, the grass is green and the flowers are bloomin' - it's time for portraits!!! I am going to do the same deal I did in the fall. An $80 donation to our adoption account gets you a portrait session with all your images on a cd. Depending on the type of session, the cd will contain 50 to 150 edited images. You will have all rights to the images, and can get them reproduced as you wish. Your session can be of your family, children, high school seniors, bridal portrait - whatever you wish! Last fall/winter my photography raised us about $2,000 for our adoption - it was a fundraising hit! I can't wait to get started again, so give me a call (615-308-8793) or leave me a comment and let's get your session planned now!

We have a TON of stuff for our HUGE yard sale next weekend! Seriously - we have 5 car garage spots full of all kinds of stuff. Furniture, toys, movies, books, antiques, housewares, clothes, water skis, home decor, we have it ALL! So mark your calendars for next Friday and Saturday (April 23rd and 24th). And if you would like to bake something for the bake sale, please let me know. So far I have only heard from one person willing to bake some delicious goodness for me to sell - so PLEASE let me know if you can bake something for us.

Now, for an update on my precious hubby. He is having the most AMAZING time on his mission trip in Haiti. He has been loving on orphans and building a new orphanage overlooking the ocean. He says it's hard work, but he is LOVING it! God is working on him in big ways, and I can't wait for him to get home and tell me all about it. We are keeping in touch mainly via texts (and one short call each night to tell the kiddos goodnight). Tonight's last text said that for dinner he had a buffet of fried chicken, fried goat, fried rice and french fries. He says he made a hog of himself, which I TOTALLY believe! At least my man isn't going hungry! He also got to take a dip in the ocean today, and says it's the clearest water he's ever seen. Please keep him in your prayers - he will be coming home to us on Saturday night.

Take care, ya'll! Give me a shout if you want some portraits taken!


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lots of stuff

Okay, I have a couple of things to cover in this blog post. I will try to keep it as short as possible.

1. Jason leaves tomorrow for an 8 day mission trip to Haiti. He will be there with a group from our church that is building an orphanage in the city of Jeremie. Our church has been working on this project for several months. Orphans are due to arrive at the orphanage at the beginning of May, and the fellas are going to help get the orphanage and surrounding support buildings finished up. I am SO proud of my husband for going. He truly has a heart for orphan care. (Remember, HE was the one that came to me about adopting.) He is excited about this trip, and I know it is going to change is life forever. However, I am scared to death! He and I have never traveled without each other, ESPECIALLY for 8 days! To a third world country! (And "thank you" (insert sarcasm here) to the several folks who have told me that Americans are being killed in Haiti. I seriously could have handled NOT knowing that tid-bit of information.) So yes, I need you to pray for Jason to have safe travels, a productive trip, and to come home safely to me and our three precious babes. (Oh, and a prayer or two for me to remain half-way sane being a single mom for a week would be greatly appreciated.)

2. ADOPTION NEWS!!!! WAHOOO!!!! Okay, I got an email from our case worker late last night just checking in to see how we are doing, and to tell us we had moved up "the list" a bit. So OF COURSE I wanted to know exactly how much "a bit" is. She responded saying that there are now about 30 families with overlapping requests in front of us. (When we got on the list 2 and a half months ago their were 45 in front of us.) Now, remember that since we have such a broad range for our age request (9 months to 3 years), this gets kinda tricky. About 20 of the people in front of us are requesting 0 to 12 month olds. (So, if a 9 to 12 mo. old came through, they would get their referral. But they could also be contacted about a child younger, which would bump us up faster.) Only 10 people in front of us are requesting up to age 2. And there are only a COUPLE of people in front of us requesting up to age 3!!! WHOA! Her exact words were "This absolutely gives you the potential for faster process". So that's exciting!!! What's not-so-exciting is that the new law declaring Ethiopia to become a two-trip adoption country has been set in stone. Starting mid-May any family who has not been scheduled a court date (meaning they have received their referral and are awaiting the courts to declare the child theirs) will have to travel to be present for court, and then return 4 to 8 weeks later for their embassy appointment and to pick up their child. So looks like we will be making two trips to Africa to get our Macy. But it is what it is, and we aren't going to sulk about it. But we ARE going to have do some more fundraising. This second trip will add up to $5,000 (UGH!) to our expenses.

3. Which leads me to our third and last topic: YARD SALE!!!!!! Our yard sale is going to be Friday April 23rd and Saturday April 24th. WE NEED YOUR JUNK!!!!! We have ALL KINDS of stuff donated so far. Seriously, you name it, we've got it! But the more stuff means more $$$, so keep the donations coming! We can even come pick up your items if you need us to. Also, I am going to be doing another BAKE SALE along with this yard sale. Suprisingly, this was a HUGE SUCCESS last time. People made cookies, breads, pies, cakes - all kinds of yummy stuff. And people bought EVERY single bit of it. Seriously, there was nothing left over for me to take home and munch on. So if you would like to help us but don't know what you can do, BAKE US SOMETHING!!!

Hope you all have a great week! The kids and I have been outside everyday playing and enjoying their spring break from Mother's Day Out. It's hard to believe that this time next year I will have another one to chase around. I CANNOT WAIT!!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

10 Random Things You Didn't Know About Me

1. I have CLASSIC "Middle Child Syndrome", which is why since I was school-aged I have always said I wouldn't have 3 kids.

2. Jason and I met on a blind, double date (thanks to his sister, Sundy). I thought he was "super hot", but didn't think I had a chance with him. Boy was I wrong.

3. I delivered Hannah without the glorious relief of an epidural. This was NOT planned. I would NOT recommend this. It.Was.Not.Fun.

4. Speaking of Hannah, I picked out her name when I was six years old. I heard the story of Hannah in my first grade Sunday school class, and I thought it was such a sweet, faithful story. So I said "One day when I have a little girl, I will name her Hannah." Luckily, Jason was okay with it.

5. I have traveled to 5 of the 7 continents.

6. Some of my favorite "treats" are things that most people think are disgusting. Peeps, for instance. They really SHOULD be sold year-round. I love love love them. And fruitcake. I could seriously sit and eat an entire log of fruitcake. Gosh, that stuff is good.

7. I eat no condiments. No ketchup. No mustard. Not mayo. Nothing. Gag.

8. My fave scent in all the world: Johnson & Johnsons pink baby lotion.

9. I think giving kids a bath is one of the best perks of having kids. They are usually always happy, and it's just fun. However, my precious husband also loves giving the baths. So in 4 and a half years, I have probably only bathed my kids about a dozen times. Pretty much just until Jason doesn't feel like they won't "break" as newborns. Then he kicks me out and claims all the fun to himself.

10. I have a thing about people touching my wrists. It's weird but I have always been like that. Seriously, if you grabbed me by the wrist, I would probably throw up on you. Ugh.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter 2010

We had a VERY busy Easter weekend! The kids had FIVE, yes FIVE egghunts. WHEW! We have more candy than you can even imagine. (The kids don't know it, but it is going to "magically" disappear as I take it to their Mothers Day Out classes to donate to the treat box!) One of the coolest things we did was the Big Ole' Eggdrop at the local high school where a helicopter hovered over the field and dropped 20,000 plastic eggs. It was awesome! The kids had a blast. They have also had lots of fun visiting family this weekend. And the food. Ohhhhh....the food. It has been ridiculous! Anyway, it has been a wonderful weekend. What I love the most is that Aidan totally "got" the Easter story this year. I wish I was "computer smart" enough to upload the video I took of him this morning telling me about how Jesus died on the cross so he (Aidan) could go to Heaven. Somehow my smart little fella worked in a volcano being next to the cross. Not too sure how that happened, but he's really into volcanoes these days, so that's just life with Aidan right now.
Happy Easter to you all! What a wonderful feeling knowing that the tomb is EMPTY and our savior has risen indeed!!!

(You can click on the collage above to see the pictures larger. Making a collage is the only way I could get all the pictures on here.)

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