Silly Girl

As much fun as we had celebrating this journey at our dinner a few weeks ago, it’s been a huge relief to be past the bulk of the fundraising. No news yet. So far, we’ve only been able to put our names in for 1 baby. And the birthmom told the agency she preferred a family that wasn’t “too religious.” We weren’t sure exactly what that meant, but weren’t surprised to hear that we were not chosen.

Meanwhile, we’ve been trying to take a little step back and enjoy some family time this summer. I just can’t get over how hilarious our girl is. Here are just a few examples of her silly antics:

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Me: Elise, I have the day off! What should we do today?

Elise: Ummm… DISHES!!!!

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At a friends house:

Me: Elise, go get some play dough from your bag.

Elise: Oh yeah!!!

(runs her head right into their dining room table like you’d see on America’s Funniest Home Videos)

Elise: (crying) Maaamaaa, hold you!!! Blanket!!!!

Me: Come here, baby. (kissing her head) Here, you can borrow Piper’s blanket.

Elise: Oh-kay *sniff* (10 more seconds of crying) All done.

Me: All done with the blanket?

Elise: No. Crying. (runs to get her play dough)

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At the Family Christian Bookstore

Me: I don’t have my wallet. Tyler, I can take Elise from you if you’ll pay for the books.

Tyler: Sure.

Elise: (spreads her arms wide to gather us all together mid-pass-off) Family Hug!!!!!!

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Also at our friends’ house

Elise: (Rolling around on the floor in her dress) Change? Change?

Me: No, I think you’re ok. We just changed you before we came over.

Elise: Change? Please, change?

Tyler: Ok, here, let’s go back to the room and I’ll change you.

Later on the drive home:

Tyler: So… was Elise playing in your drawers today?

Me: Yeah, why?

Tyler: (laughing) She had 2 pairs of your underwear around her waist.

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I seriously can’t get enough of this silly girl.

 

Pondering Pages

One of Elise’s favorite pastimes is reading books. Her current favorites are anything from the series “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” It’s fun reading them to her because if you pause before the last word on each page, she will say it for you. Very enthusiastically, I might add.

But sometimes we sit down to read a book – whether one of ours or one from the library – and I just have to wonder if the editors really even read the books.

Most Disappointing:  Pooh’s Bees

Pooh's bees

What child wouldn’t find this silly-old-bear charming? Seemed like a great book when we checked it out from the library. Pooh tries to climb a tree to get some honey, but the bees buzz him and he falls down. The only obvious solution is to have Christopher Robin blow up a blue balloon so that Pooh can float camouflaged up to the hive to get some honey.

Christopher Robin breathes helium, in case you weren’t aware.

No wonder he hallucinates about talking stuffed animals.

But the real problem with this book is that it abruptly ends with Pooh floating.

Did he get stung? Did the bees pop his balloon? Did he sing one of his weird songs to soothe them? Did he get the honey?

Children won’t know the rest of the story until they can read the full-length book. I imagine that has been the motivation of many advanced readers of our day. Teachers and parents: you could really do this with any book… read to them until the climax of the story and then close it abruptly and say, “The End. You’ll have to learn to read the rest for yourself.” How can I get on the school board? I think they need me.

Most Depressing:  The Jolly Barnyard

How altruistic of Farmer Brown be thinking of his animals instead of himself on his birthday! Except… as a farmer, feeding his animals is his job.

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But regardless, his animals must feel the same affection towards him because they decide to do something special for him in return.

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Except it’s not really that special because those are their jobs.

But the depressing part is here:

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Not only is he living just to die, but he’s not even living in blissful ignorance.

Most Confusing:  Chicka Chicka 1-2-3

The original Chicka Chicka Boom Boom book is a cute alphabet book. In this one, we are counting.

At first, we start counting by ones. But suddenly we find ourselves counting by tens without warning. And then 99 comes along. Oh and then 0. Why? How did this happen? And why is 0 coming after everything else?  I know I can be scatter-brained, but this is bad…

Chicka chicka 123

And *spoiler alert* guess what?

There’s not going to be enough room. So let’s just focus on the task at hand for toddlers reading this book: Counting.

By ones please.

Most Disturbing:  Goodnight Moon

A very dear friend gave us this book while I was pregnant, and I’ll be honest… I had never read it before then! Which is my defense for my interpretation of the book.

Several things have struck me upon reading this book 63 times with Elise…

1. What is up with the colors? They’re hauntingly gaudy. And then you turn the page and suddenly everything flashes into black and white. If that’s not the set-up for an old-time horror story, I don’t know what is. Yes… “Goood nighhhhtttt… whaaahaaahaaaahahaa!!!”

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2. Is it just me, or do those cats look spooked? I sure wouldn’t want a spooked cat in my bedroom as I’m trying to go to sleep.

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3. Why couldn’t they call the old lady a “Grandmother”? It would make the story 10x less creepy. Honestly, leaving it so vague is what ruins the whole story for me.

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Who is she? Does he know her? Why is she there sometimes and gone other times? What kind of grandmother wouldn’t tuck her grandchild in?

There’s no way she’s his grandma. Is she going to stay there all night and watch him sleep? Why does she keep whispering “hush”?? And for goodness sake, where is this bunny’s parents??!! Do they know about this?! If she’s the babysitter, why didn’t they leave a list to at least include goodnight hugs? Poor Baby-bunny… he looks scared!

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Here’s what’s happening when I read this story: 

Baby bunny was naughty at dinner and was sent upstairs to eat by himself. Only he is being defiant and is leaving the oatmeal for his mom to clean up in the morning. And everyone knows you can only clean old oatmeal out of a dish with a jackhammer. And in the meantime, it is attracting a mouse that is running all over the room. *shudder*

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His final act of defiance is to prolong bedtime by saying “goodnight” to every.single.thing. in his room.

So the boogie-bunny sneaks into his room disguised as an old lady giving him one last warning to “hush.”

The cats look spooked because, well… they are spooked. Cats can sense boogie-bunnies, and they’re worried Baby-bunny is going to push the limits with this “Good-night” bologna.

And then… he finally turns the lights out. And there are noises. Noises everywhere.

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And the boogie-bunny is suddenly gone…

Or is she?

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Oddly enough, I actually do like reading Goodnight Moon. If you just call the old lady a “grandma” it’s so much more soothing. And The Jolly Barnyard isn’t bad either, if you don’t think about the poor Turkey’s sacrifice. I would suggest a re-write for the other two books though.

Read at your own risk, friends!

What’s Next?

Now that our fundraising events are over, the question we keep getting is “What’s next?”

And I completely understand the sentiment. I’m a planner and always like to have a game plan for “what’s next.”

But other than writing a about a hundred “Thank-you” cards, the next thing to do is really just to wait.

(Anyone know a scribe-for-hire? It’s amazing to know that SO many have contributed to our Adoption Fund!)fundraising status

To wait… one thing I ought to be good at by now, but am not.

Compared to the wait for Elise, this has been a piece of cake. But I’m still always anxious to hear any news from our agency of a birth-mom wanting to make an adoption plan. Any news that could be the first contact that leads to our baby.

Tyler and I were talking whilst washing dishes together last week. It was just after we had put our names in for a birthmom’s consideration. I was expressing my excitement that we finally had a chance – albeit a small one – to be chosen. From January to April the agency had 3-4 birthmoms a month looking for parents for their babies. But since we were approved on May 5, there have only been 2 opportunities for us to be considered. And the first one was twins, which we didn’t put in for.

Needless to say, I’ve been a bit anxious. Waiting just isn’t easy for me.

But Tyler couldn’t relate. He’s excited for our next baby, but his emotion doesn’t wax or wane.

Why couldn’t we ever be on the same page? It’s not like I’m looking for him to cry with me through sad dog-movies. Or sad dog-movie previews. Or sad dog-commercials.

Then he said something that reminded me of why I love him, “I actually don’t mind waiting. It means there’s nothing for us to do. Just to wait for God to take care of it for us.”

My soapy hands paused from scrubbing for a second as his words sunk in. I had been looking for him to connect with me, to draw him into my emotions. Instead, I was drawn to his: steady joy in trusting the Lord to work for us.

So what’s next for us? Well… just waiting. But waiting doesn’t mean nothing is happening or that our purpose in life is somehow immobilized. Just that God is the One in control.

And there’s no one better to trust our lives with.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

And the Winners Are…

Well, so much for trying to eat healthfully now that life should be a little less demanding.

If Tyler, Elise, and I each ate 1 burger a day and then 1 hot dog a day once those were depleted, we’d be eating them till September.

If we each ate 1 piece of cake a day we’d be eating cake until September as well.

But who wants stale cake?

Party at the Werner’s!

Except… I’m really quite excited to not be planning anything for a while, so we’ll just have to gorge ourselves on cake and save the rest frozen for a Welcome-Home-Baby Party later.

Anyway, you’re probably all scanning this to see who won the Raffle and not really reading anyways, so I will cut to the chase. The winners of the Raffle Drawings were….

US!!!

In spite of a turn-out that was a little less than we had hoped for (ergo the surplus of food and resulting imminent weight-gain), people were extremely generous. We still have about $4,000 to go, but compared to $20,0000, that’s a much more manageable amount to finance if we have to. I really can’t believe the gifts we’ve been given. We have been so incredibly blessed by our family and friends, and even strangers. We truly can’t describe the burden that has been lifted and replaced with a…. poncho? parka? snuggie? of support. (You pick the season and imagery. I gave up after 5 minutes of trying to come up with something serious.)

What I mean is that not only are we relieved, we are also overcome by the encouragement and love people have shown us and our future-baby. I can’t wait to be able to hang this in our baby’s room:

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Alright, I’m done with the sappy stuff, here are the real winners of the Raffle:

Essential Oils from Healing Reign: Britta D.

Crafy Momma Designs Pallet Sign:  Sarah J.

Crafty Momma Designs Pallet Box:  Danielle T.

Scentsy Warmer: Lily S.

Villa and Londyn Romper:  Darlene H.

Piano Lessons with Jen Barr:  Mandy B.

Target Gift Card:  Aaron and Jen J.

Old Orchard Juice Package:  Sabina W.

Tyler’s Table:  Jen T.

Amanda Mae Designs Photo Session: Des and Adam S.

iPad Air 2:  Cindy W.

2 Nights at the J.W. Marriott:  Michaellyn and Brian H.

THANK YOU to all who donated and to all who helped us with the dinner! And please check out these businesses who donated prizes for our Raffle:

Sabina Williams from Villa and Londyn Baby Apparel

Vicki Goethals from Healing Reign

Jen Barr from Jen’s Piano Studio

Old Orchard and my friend Dana from Marketing

Lacey Key from Crafty Momma Designs

Mandy Bowerman from Amanda Mae Designs

Laura Hess from Scentsy Fragrence

The J.W. Marriott 

 

Raffle Closing Soon! Drawing on Saturday

Last Chance! Our Fundraising dinner is tomorrow, and the Raffle is closing to online submissions at 12:00 noon on Saturday. Check out all the prizes!

(Not pictured are 2 months of weekly piano lessons with Jen Barr [$10 donation] and a Scentsy Wax Warmer Gift Set from Laura Hess [$5 donation])

To donate and enter the raffle just Click on the image below and leave a message with your donation stating which prize you’d like. 

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We would love to have you come grill out with us, but attendance is not required to win. It’s from 5-6:30 Open-House Style (come-whenever-leave-whenever). We have Gluten Free and Vegan options as well!

I’m seriously considering breaking into those essential oils right now… I could use a little “Stress Relief” and “Tranquility”!

Though I’m not sure why I’m stressing when we bought enough food for 200 people for less than $400. And that includes tablecloths/decorations/plastic-ware. And we have plenty of people helping, so we should be all set.

I think my 2 biggest fears are (1) that no one will be able to come and (2) that we will have TOO much help and people will be bored.

Oh wait, make that 3: that we should probably make some kind of short thank-you speech and I will get all choked up before I can even get a word out.

But then I think about the real focus of this dinner: our baby.

Our baby who may very well be kicking around in his mama’s womb right now. Our baby who is very-much loved by this woman who is making such a difficult choice for her child. Our baby that will only be ours because so many people have contributed to help make it possible for us to bring this little person home someday.

We finally had the chance to put our names in for a baby this week. The baby is due in October, and while chances are slim that we would be chosen on our first opportunity, my heart goes out to this baby and its mama and to the couple it who will be its parents.

Thank you all again so much for your support – both financially and emotionally. Please continue to pray for our family, our baby, and for their birth-parents.

And we hope to see you at the grill-out! 6950 Peace Church, Middleville, MI 49333

No Heroes

One of the most common words of encouragement people give when they hear that we are adopting is, “That’s awesome. It takes a special person. I could never do that.” As if we’re either crazy or we’re heroes.

While I know the sentiment is well-meaning, I cringe a little each time I hear it.

Because aside from my aptitude for stacking cheerios, I’m no more special than you are.

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In all honesty, adoption is not something that we felt called to 7 years ago when we got married. And there is nothing that sets us apart from any other loving couple, except for the fact that God has called us to it now.

I get it… I have also often thought “I could never go through what she’s going through,” or “Wow, they are special people to live so sacrificially.” 

But actually, it’s God’s M.O. to take our circumstances and ask us to simply yield to His plan for redemption through them. No matter how weak and unqualified we feel.

In fact, sometimes our weakness brings even greater glory to the Lord, because in our weakness, He is strong.

I read a banner on facebook recently that said something to the effect of, “God puts you through hard situations to make you stronger.”

But I’m not so sure that’s actually the case. Over and over in the Bible it says, “The Lord is our strength.” Strength is not about us growing, but about us trusting. Trusting that God is working out redemption from our circumstances and will give us enough strength to face each day.

So if anything, our strength comes from being weak.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in your weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13

“Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, because I am your God. I will strengthen you and I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

So please… don’t exalt our calling to adopt as any more important than your own. You may feel like life is easy right now and you aren’t living any sort of “calling.” Or, you may feel your weakness has somehow immobilized your ability to serve the Lord. But whatever your circumstances are, they are important to God. And no future plans are more important than every single “today.”

 

P.S. Our Fundraising dinner is this Saturday from 5:00-6:30 pm at Peace Church (6950 Cherry Valley, Middleville, MI 49333). Come grill-out with us!

Lost & Found

While I love to organize events and people, I feel like something happens when I cross our property line. It’s like I’ve roamed into a [brain] dead zone.

Because of this, my purse generally ends up looking like a lost-and-found. I’m a hoarder when it comes to the contents of my bag. No matter the size of the bag, I always feel compelled to fill it full. You can never be too prepared. Why waste all that space?

If you’ve ever worked in church nursery and had to dig through our diaper bag to get something, I’m sure you’ve noticed this. I’m so sorry.

So because of my messy-purse habit (that drives me crazy by-the-way), I try to just not use a purse whenever possible. I have a good system down: key-chain on my pinkie finger, wallet under my arm (it’s a good-sized wallet), and phone in my hand/pocket. That’s all I really need.

So last Sunday morning, I was attempting a purse-ditch day and shoved my phone in my pocket. On our way out the door it started to fall out. That’s not going to be a smart place for my phone, I told myself, and I took it out just before scooping Elise up to put her in the car.

Only, then I couldn’t buckle her in, because my hands were full.

So I did what any purse-picketer would do… I set the phone down for a minute.

On the roof of the car.

I don’t exactly remember doing this… I know I knew better than to do it, because (ok, confession time…)

Well… because I did it this past winter too. *cringe*

pleasedontjudgeme!

*sigh*

Let me explain: The first time this happened, we weren’t certain where I had lost it. But it wasn’t turning up anywhere that made sense, so Tyler waited until it was dark (in the dead of winter!) and rode his bike up and down the road, hitting redial over and over.

I thought he was crazy. It was gone, no doubt about it. (Cue country-song):

Gone for the day and gone for the night,

Gone for the rest of my doggone life…

But I was wrong. He actually found it! A mile away from our house, lit up in the darkness, face-up in a snowy ditch.

Only 100+ missed calls. But it still worked!

Seriously, I have the best husband. He never even acted mad or frustrated with me.

So THIS time when I lost my phone, once it didn’t turn up in all the normal spots, I remembered having it in my hand as I tried to buckle Elise in. And I knew…

We looked everywhere this time. Both of us took turns walking and riding our bikes down the road, hoping and praying we would find it.

But to no avail.

Alas, I spent 3 days phone-less and we decided it was really gone.

So what do you think of my new phone?

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Ok, ok, I kid… this is one of a dozen wood-crafted toys that a retired gentleman gave to Tyler during our garage sale. Apparently his wife loves to go garage-saling, so he comes a long and hands out these toys. He was quite a character and he loved that Tyler could appreciate his craftsmanship as a fellow woodworker. They even bonded over how much they love the show Woodwrights Shop.

(Have you seen that show? It’s worse than watching golf. It’s the perfect prescription for insomnia.)

Anyway, I digress… the point was, I had to order a new phone. But a real one. Not a wooden redneck phone.

The only reason I haven’t died of guilt and shame for having to order a new phone while we are saving up and others are donating money to us is that we only spend $20/month on our phone plan. But still… I’m so sorry…

 

Anyway, then Thursday one of our friends from church messaged me with this picture which she found on our town’s Community Chatter Facebook page:

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“I am searching for the owner of these photos. “My husband found a phone in the road a couple weeks ago. The phone is shattered and unusable, but the SD card is in perfect shape and has a lot of photos on it. I would like to return the phone back to its owner. If anyone knows the people in the photos or who the phone belongs to, please message me. Thank you.”

Crazy, right? We met yesterday and they returned it to me:

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I know some people live on their phones. I do not. People would ask me, “What is your phone?” and I wouldn’t even know how to answer them. It wasn’t fancy, but I did have precious pictures and videos I would have lost if it weren’t for these kind people.

So thankful for the kindness of strangers.

And I will definitely be toting around a purse from now on. *Sigh*

 

 

Cleaning His Gun

My husband is probably one of the most humble, caring, and kind people on the planet.

Need someone to entertain your kid at a mostly-adult gathering?

He’s probably already slipped away to go play games with them.

Need a piece of furniture made?

He will probably put hours and hours into it, measure everything precisely, and give it to you without charging labor.

Need the hair-clod removed from the clogged drain? Or the vacuum?

He will gag his way through the job while you’re at work and not even mention his act of extreme sacrifice.

And I do mean extreme. This man grew up in a very hair-controlled household: his brother, his dad, and his mom all had short hair. My hair, on the other hand, is long. And it tends to shed as tumbleweeds. As hard as I try to clean it up as I go, there’s just no avoiding periodic altercations with a stray hair or two.

In our earlier years of marriage, he claimed the hair being everywhere was the most trying adjustment for him.

So then we got a dog.

And had a baby girl.

And we’re still happily married. See what I mean? This guy puts up with a lot.

On top of all of that, I love how every day he is so intentional about giving his family quality time. There is no doubt of his love for us girls.

It’s funny, because once upon a time he said, “We can’t have a daughter. I don’t think I could handle having a girl.”

So all during the first half of our pregnancy, we talked about Elise like she was a boy. We even got random mail for “Duane Werner” (anyone know a Duane Werner??) and started joking that it was for our unborn child. Poor girl was called “Duane” for the first 20 weeks of her life.

(Her life in the womb of course. It never said “Duane” on her birth certificate.)

But actually, if there’s anything Tyler can’t handle, it’s the thought of her growing up. And especially: of her getting attention from boys. After our gender-reveal ultrasound, he said, “I definitely think we should home-school.”

Tyler

I even bought Elise a ruffly yellow polka-dotted 2-piece swimsuit and had to take it back because it was a “bikini.” And as sad as I was to take it back, I had to smile as I stood in line to return it. I love that he is so protective of her, even now.

Elise might not love it someday… but it will be good for her. 😉

Ya know all those country songs that talk about the dad cleaning his gun while a boy comes by to pick up his daughter for a date?

Take out the country twang, and that’s going to be Tyler. He’ll probably have to buy a gun just for that.

But without a doubt Elise will always know that she is precious to him. And hopefully, it will help her to understand her worth. That she should never settle for a boy who her father wouldn’t approve.

Well, ok, that’s going to be pretty impossible…

Man, Tyler is going to have a rough time. And what if our next one is a girl too?!

We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it I suppose. For now, Tyler and Elise are two-peas-in-a-pod.

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They chase each other around the house, read stacks of books, and play in the dirt. It’s so hard to leave them all day to go to work. But I love that Tyler pumps her up for my return home. As soon as I open the door, her loud toddler-steps thunder towards me, her squeaky voice giggling and exclaiming “Maamaaaa!!! Home!!!”

This man shows me so much about the love my own Father must have for me. And still greater – the love of my Heavenly Father.

So anyway, in honor of Father’s Day, here are a few photos of Tyler and Elise:
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Goosebumps

Coincidences happen all the time.

My husband and my brother have the same birthday.

Both of my grandmas were named “Marge.”

My mom decided to name me “Cheyenne” when she was only 9 years old, not knowing that my last name would be the exact same letters: Cheney.

Thanks, Mom.

Sometimes coincidences give more meaning to your life. Like when my mom had to have her first colonoscopy and found out that her nurse home-schooled her kids too. We heard about it for the next 12 hours after her surgery. That common bond really put her at ease.

Or maybe it was the drugs. Either way, apparently this coincidence made her first colonoscopy a very meaningful experience.

And then there are coincidences like this:

Remember my post last week about the results of our Garage Sale? I talked about how God has given meaning to our heartache of infertility by giving us a “new song” of praise that it led us to this path of adopting. I spoke of Psalm 40:

“I waited patiently for the Lord;

He turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;

He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a New Song in my mouth – a hymn of praise to our God.”

An hour after publishing this post, we were singing these very words in church. Literally a New Song to us – I later discovered our Worship Pastor actually wrote the song.

Talk about coincidence.

I need to start carrying a purse just so I have tissues on me. Good grief. Thank goodness we had already “greeted each other.” Boy would they have been in for a surprise when they shook my tear-coated hand.

I’m not kidding, next week I WILL have tissues on me. Because if that wasn’t enough, this week I sat down next to Tyler in the row and opened up the bulletin to discover that the sermon was titled “Adopted.”

Crazy, because I had just finished placing announcements about our Fundraising Dinner in everyone’s mailboxes at the church.

Fundraising dinner announcement

And guess who was preaching? Our Worship Pastor.

Darn it, I should have known. He has it out for me, I think.

Except that he had no idea I was going to hand out invitations to our dinner. Nor do I think he even knew about our dinner. It’s a pretty big church – we really don’t know him or his wife at all.

At the climax of the sermon, he shared his story of how his “foster” sister became his sister. From a name that represented a life of mistreatment and indifference…

… to a new name that represents her new life in a family whose love for her knows no limits.

I tried to not look at him as his emotion broke his otherwise seamless presentation. Seeing his emotion made holding back tears too hard. But his family was sitting, sniffling in the row right in front of us. Good grief… it was no use.

Following his story, he proclaimed that as Christians, we have been adopted by God. It is our identity. And as such, we are called to a life of hospitality to children who aren’t necessarily born to us- whether that be through adopting a child ourselves or through supporting adoptive families.

Meanwhile, people all around us held our picture in their hands, with an invitation to help us bring our baby home.

*whew* (holding back tears again)

Did you get goosebumps?

Some coincidences are more than a weird accident.

Sometimes… God acts on our behalf before we’ve even asked.

The Final Count / A New Song

I think back to where God has taken us since our struggle with infertility. I felt so broken them. And so weak for my inability to persevere with faith in God’s goodness. I knew He would give us a child one way or another eventually, but didn’t understand why He was making it so difficult. People would say things like “It will happen when you’re ready” and “God’s just preparing you to be an even better parent.”

It was crushing to hear those things actually.

When we finally got pregnant I was so excited. Yet, my heart was weighed down with guilt because it was at a time when my doubts were the greatest. I knew there were others struggling with infertility whose faith was much deeper than my own. Couples who were much more deserving and had been waiting even longer than we had.

For the first few months of my pregnancy, I wrestled with this, “Why did we have to wait so long? Why  did God answer our prayers when I was at my weakest? Was it because He gave up on me?

These answers have come since then:

Because God’s timing for our daughter’s life to begin was not all about ME. Much of our future in this world hinges on timing, and Elise’s birth has a purpose too.

Because Christians must endure hardship just like the rest of the world. How else can we be relevant to a hurting world that doesn’t know Jesus? It gives us an opportunity to stand by someone else when they face the same struggles and to remind them that God cares, even when the answer to our prayers seem so far off.

Because God wanted to teach me – who always wants to be perfect and please everyone – that I can’t earn His favor. He loves me just.as.I.am. While I was broken and worn out on faith, He stepped in and showed me Grace.

Let me repeat that: While I was BROKEN and WORN OUT on faith, HE stepped in and showed me GRACE.

And finally, because God was preparing us for our next child. We never would have considered adoption before because of the cost. But once we were met with so many obstacles to conceive, we began feeling God calling us to adopt. And ever since deciding to start the process, we have been overwhelmed with our growing, synchronized excitement for adopting our second baby.

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Our garage sale was these past three days, and I’ve been a little emotional, to say the least.

Friends and family running over to drop off baked goods before a vacation.

Strangers coming to the sale and just slipping us $10 and $20 bills without even giving us a chance to properly thank them.

So many people telling us to “keep the change.”

One woman even coming to share her story and introduce us to her newborn baby… that SHE just adopted.

Lots of encouragement from adoptive and foster parents as well as adoptees.

And so, so many donations of money, garage/bake sale items, and time.

On our own, we would have had our sale on our dirt road in the middle of nowhere. Instead, our father-in-law opened his house in town up to us for the community-wide garage sales in our home town.

On our own, we would have sold a few books, my pre-pregnancy clothes, and a some odds-and-ends home decorations that I don’t know how to decorate with. Instead, OVER 30 people donated items for us to sell.

On our own, I would have had to take a whole week of vacation time to prepare. And taken anti-anxiety medication. Because of a dear friend and our father in law, most everything was sorted and priced by the time I came to help set up on Wednesday.

On our own, we would have sold 3 types of cookies. Because of 12 different people, we had zucchini bread, apple pies, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, muffins, dog treats, peanut brittle, and *drum roll please* 12.types.of.cookies!!!

On our own we would have been lucky to raise $200. But because of our family, friends, and community, we raised…

Are you sitting down?

Are your tissues ready?

Might as well forget tissues. Grab a sponge.

$5,079

Bringing our Adoption Fund up to $10,614.Fundraising Thermometer

God has taken us from brokenness to the most overwhelming joy and gratefulness. We thankful for our hardship, because it has put a “new song” in our hearts. These last 3 days we were met with gifts and encouragement every time we turned around. We have never felt more loved and can’t wait to share news of this baby with the many people who are helping us bring our next child home.

“I waited patiently for the Lord;

He turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;

He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth, an hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and revere and put their trust in the Lord.

Many O Lord,  my God, are the wonders you have done.

The things you planned for us no one can recount to you.

Were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare…

I cannot conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.”

Psalm 40:1-3, 5, 10