Dec 29, 2009

Stuck Smiling


I have tried since my last blog post to write because a lot has been going on here. But every time I do, I start staring at this face and there is nothing more to say, I just get stuck, smiling back at him. I'll try again later.

Dec 23, 2009

Do You Recognize This Boy?


Does this boy look familiar to you? You might not recognize him at first, but stare into those eyes and be caught up in that smile and you will begin to see a slight resemblance to someone you've seen on my blog before. He is the same boy in the picture below.




There is only about 8 months difference between these pictures. But notice how much fuller his face is, the light that is in his eyes and the confidence in his smile as opposed to the last pic of him taken back in May. The difference: food everyday, a several letters from a woman who loves him and prays for him, and being taught about the God who watches his every step and counts his every breath. What did this relationship cost me? In money, only $272 dollars, $34 a month. What has he cost my life? There is no measure for that and there can never be. You see, this child is more than a kid in a Sally Struther's ad for humanitarian aid. He is my son. If he never steps foot in my house or held in my arms, the passion that I know for this child can never be extinguished. I will continue to pray for him, love him, share his story with others and advocate for him. This relationship has costs me my heart. A portion of it is with him and will continue to reside there forever.

This Christmas, help change a child's life. There are several amazing women who are still advocating for children to be sponsored through Children's HopeChest. Amy, still has children from Children's Home Ethiopia,which is where my precious Kaleab is today. Then there is this woman who is looking for sponsors for a carepoint in Swaziland. This Christmas, give a gift, give yourself to someone who is looking forward to smiling again and can't wait to start a relationship with someone just like you. Can't sponsor them all? Great, just start with one!

I have to give a big, huge Oklahoma THANK YA'LL to Sam and Wendi Henry who were kind enough to not only take my sweet boy's picture while traveling in Ethiopia, but they also brought the carepoint books (note the math book my son is proudly displaying) but also soccer equipment. Check out their blog and then check out their organization, which takes microgiving to an entirely different level!

Dec 17, 2009

A Record In Need of Breaking!

I almost have no words. For me, this is a milestone, but I will give it my best efforts:
For those of you following my life here, you will know that I have been harassing my church leadership to sign on with Children's HopeChest to sponsor a village of 600 orphans in Ngariam, Uganda since May of this year. I have been carrying these precious faces in my heart since May and this last weekend, I actually saw their faces in my living room. My friends Amy and Ben and Dan and Sarah flew in on Friday from Cincinnati, Ohio. My friend Brandi, flew in from Orlando. And a REALLY big deal from HopeChest, Vince flew in from Colorado. I had been fervently praying that my church would step it up. Everyone kept telling me that one church sponsoring 600 kids is close to impossible, that you couldn't ask one congregation to handle sponsoring that many children. But I knew that God had clearly set Ngariam aside for my church. We couldn't do this, but HE could. And I knew He would.

Friday night we opened up the profiles of 483 children. Reading their stories and hearing their heartbreaking setbacks that these children face, through no fault of their own. The seven of us sat in my living room and lovingly prayed over each face and asked God to provide for them.

Saturday we spent the day decorating the church and spending a precious time of prayer as a group simply asking God to move through our congregation.

Sunday came in a whirlwind. Vince and Brandi spoke about their experiences and God opened the floodgates of heaven and dumped it all over a church in Oklahoma City. We were broken as a group and walked out knowing that those kids belonged to us and we WERE going to take care of them. People were grabbing profiles and saying "this is my new family member". Parents were getting their children involved and engaging them in the process. We heard story after story of people stepping out in faith and sponsoring one, two, three even as many as SIX kids! But the most amazing part was watching people stand around after services "introducing" people to their newest family members! People talking about their "sons" and "daughters", praying for them and asking TONS of questions about how to do something ELSE for these precious kids. At the end of the day 396 kids had found sponsors! That is 82% of the profiles we had on hand! It was truly amazing to be a part of and I couldn't be more in love with my church. We also got word that we had the largest launch EVER at HopeChest! While it is not about winning or numbers, this is one record that I cannot wait to have broken. I am still confused as to why God lets me be a part of something so cool. He could easily do all this by himself, but allowing me to play even a small part is such a special gift.

While Westmoore Community Church is confident that all of Ngariam will be sponsored in the next couple of weeks, please keep us in your prayers. Especially those precious faces on my dining room table who are yet to be sponsored. We believe that we will have another 100 profiles within the next couple of weeks so we have a little bit to go, but what an amazing weekend. A culmination of dreaming, praying and love that only flows from my heavenly Father.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child and providing them food, love, prayer and a relationship with someone who is thinking about them, there are several women who are searching for sponsors for a group of children who are in Swaziland, Africa. Go HERE and change a life that needs you. Or go HERE and contact HopeChest about having your church, business, social group or online network sponsor an entire village, or just advocate among your friends for one or two children who need a sponsor. Come on folks, I am holding a record and it NEEDS to be broken.

Dec 8, 2009

Stuck

I will admit, it has been hard to blog lately. Last week was a dream and as I sit here at my desk, I am torn between staring at a letter from a ten year old boy and pictures of two precious children, who prayerfully, the Ethiopian government will soon recognize as my son and daughter. All I feel is love. I wonder if this is how God feels when we do things that praise him? I am in awe and wonder of the precious things with which my Father has entrusted me and I am honored.

Dec 4, 2009

The Best Week Ever!


This week has been the best, EVER! On Monday, Le and I saw pictures of our children for the first time. We have spent the week calling friends and family. We also have spent the week preparing our church's launch next week of a carepoint of 600 orphans in Ngariam, Uganda. I also talked to a friend today who is SOOOO much closer to her adoption than anyone originally thought. Tonight, we went to the Queen (the Ethiopian restaurant in our area) to celebrate. There was no way our week could get any better. And then we came home and opened up the mailbox. You see, in May of this year, I fell in love with my first Ethiopian child,Kaleab. He is ten years old. He has no family and for all I know about him, although he is fed and goes to school, he has no one to love him. Le and I began sending him letters and pictures and praying for him. I just assumed that he had either not gotten our letters or was simply not interested in conversing with a crazy white woman who lived an ocean away. Until tonight. The end of my perfect week. When I popped open our mailbox, I was not surprised to see a letter from Children's HopeChest. I get them all the time, for a variety of different reasons. I almost didn't open it. But the desire to see if it was from Kaleab go the better of me. I almost fainted! It WAS from him.


It said:

"How are you Le and Lindsey? I am Kaleab. I have received your letter. Thank you very much. When I saw your picture, it is so nice. I am in grade A. I am ten years old. My school's name is Birhane Hiwot. I thank my God that he gave me such a great family. I love you and pray for you. Here is Addis Ababa the weather is hot. How is the weather in Oklahoma? I read the Bible verse that you wrote for me. My favorite story in the Bible is Luke Chapter 15. Please read it . I love you too!" Kaleab"


I was bawling! I couldn't remember what Luke Chapter 15 was about. I grabbed my Bible, handed the letter to Le and read. That didn't help my tears. Luke Chapter 15 is about the lost son! I looked at Le and let him know that I needed nothing else for Christmas, this was the best gift ever. If you are looking to give someone an amazing gift this year, click here and give someone a relationship with a child. I will never be convinced that Kaleab receives more from me than I do from him.


I leave you with a picture of the first child who has changed my life.

Dec 2, 2009

Details of The Call!

Things have moved so quickly in the last few days, I wanted to write this all down before I forgot. Monday started off as a really crummy day for me. I was stressed and work was BUSY! My desk is usually a mess. But Monday was even worse. I had my phone covered up with some papers and I was running from my secretary's office, to the copier and wasn't paying a lot of attention to where my phone was located (this was big deal because I usually keep it strapped to me during the day). At 2:53p.m. I looked at my phone and I had missed a phone call, (817) area code and there was a voicemail. I started to panic. But I had been duped before. I have a client that lives in the (817) area code and I about broke my neck returning her phone call three weeks ago, only to be extremely disappointed that it wasn't Gladney. So I clicked over to check my voice mail and I heard the sweetest voice in the world "Hi Lindsey, it's Kristen with Gladney." I didn't even finish the message! I dropped the phone and started screaming "I'm a MOM! I'm a MOM!" Hysterically laughing and crying, I couldn't form a thought. I didn't know what to do next. And then I remembered Le. I called him from my office on speaker phone and couldn't tell him what to do next, I was crying and laughing too hard. He finally asked me if I had been in a car accident! :) Luckily, my senior partner was in my office and was telling him to come here because he was a daddy! He left and drove the twenty minutes to my office. I called Kristen back while Le was en route and told her that I wanted to wait for Le to get to me but I just wanted her to answer one question: Was there one or two? She laughed and said "there is two and they are beautiful!"
I started crying again and called Le and told him that there were two! When Le got to my office, we shut my door and called Kristen back. The operator told us Kristin was on the phone and asked if we wanted to leave a message! I just said we would wait. Kristin picked up and said she would email us first the pictures. We saw his pic first. A bouncy bubbly 18 month old toddler, absolutely PERFECT. And then we saw his sister. 6 years old. Just as a PERFECT as her brother. Their story is very sad, but it is their reality and we are honored to be allowed to love them. Now we wait for a court date. More to come, I am sure, but for today, I am relishing in the new title of my life: MOM!

Nov 30, 2009

REFERRAL!!!!!!!!

Today Le and I accepted referral for a 6 year old girl and her 18month old little brother. We are beyond delirious and full of joy! Thank you to all of you who have prayed, laughed and cried with us up to this point. More later, getting ready to praise my Father for his absolute perfect timing.

Nov 29, 2009

Perspective of a Big Sister


I am the oldest of three. My sister is two years younger while my brother is five years younger. I've always been protective of them both, not only because I'm the big sister but because we've always been so close. We've never lived more than twenty miles apart. Today, for the first time, that changed. My baby sister pulled out of my driveway and headed for Phoenix, to start a new chapter of her life. And while I am so proud of her and excited for her future, the selfish side of me has cried all afternoon. A piece of my heart is missing and I am filled with sadness. I love you Sissy and I miss you already!

Nov 24, 2009

Wasted

What is defined as a wasted day? A wasted hour? A wasted moment? Is it where you get nothing accomplished? Or maybe you didn't get to spend it how you wanted? Or did you not forgive someone or ask for some one's forgiveness? Tonight I watched helplessly as a group of people wasted moments, hours, memories. Memories that will never be re-lived and hours that are only filled with pain.
I am at a loss for words and can only pray. God forgive wasted moments.

Nov 23, 2009

A Really Great Gift

On December 10th, Le and I will have been married for 5 years. I have wondered for awhile what to get him. 5 years is a long time and is deserving of a really good gift; however, with work, the upcoming holidays and preparing everything for the adoption, I have been out of ideas and I know that Le has been too.
During the past few months we have been gearing our church up to sponsor 600 orphans in Uganda for our Christmas project. Yesterday was the first day that our church heard the announcement of the project and they got to watch this video. I am usually a very emotional person, but yesterday watching the Holy Spirit move through 700 people as they watched the video was almost more than I could bear. I was shaking and as I looked over at Le, I saw that the tears were not just flowing from my face but his. I've always known how passionate I was about this project, about orphans and I knew that Le was supportive, but the best gift that he could possibly have given me this anniversary was a front row seat to his heart! I love you sweetheart!



Nov 19, 2009

I Have A Question

As the holidays approach, I have been thinking about how to make gift-giving more meaningful, holidays more special and spend more time focusing on the real meaning of Christmas. Le and I's anniversary is on December 10th and having it so close to Christmas makes the holidays a little stressful. So I want to ask all of you. What are some cool gift-giving ideas, party plans or family traditions that you have that you want to share?

Nov 13, 2009

The First Gift of Christmas

Almost 5 years ago, Le and I were married on December 10th. The movie The Polar Express had just been released and Le had taken me to see it as our last date before our wedding. On our wedding day, as Le was walking down the aisle, he was carrying a bell and attached to that bell was a golden ticket which said "Lindsey, you are my first gift of Christmas." Ever since then, buying the first gift of Christmas has been a big deal for me. This year, it's a big deal for a number of reasons. I thought about buying something for our child(ren) but since they won't be home for Christmas this year, I thought no. But what about giving a gift to someone that I will never meet? that I don't know? that I may never meet? I LOVED the idea. So this year, the first gift of Christmas will be for an organization called "Water For Christmas" which donates the money directly to charity:water (which was my birthday gift from so many of you.). For only $10 you can give one person clean water for 10 years!

Today, right now, before you finish reading this, go here and give $10 and make your first gift of Christmas something that will be remembered forever.

Nov 12, 2009

A New Theme Song

I have a new theme song this week. I've heard it before but it has never held the same meaning that it does now. I know that I am to be patient and WAIT, but I really want my kids. But while I am waiting, I will be obedient and I will worship and praise my Father. He knows the desires of my heart and they will come to pass and it is not going to be on my terms. And while all of that drives me crazy, I wouldn't have it any other way!


Nov 11, 2009

Getting On Base

When I was a child, my dad coached my softball team. I played from the time I was in t-ball until high school. Having your dad as your coach was a love-hate relationship for me. He knew my weaknesses and accentuated my strengths, but MAN he pushed my buttons. I was never a powerful player. I usually always played because I had a real knack for being able to get on base. My dad was amazing about being able to read a pitcher, the field, a situation and then tell me where to hit the ball, bunt the ball or simply try to get the pitcher to walk me. Because my strength was being on a base. I was as skinny as a rail but fast. My dad knew if we were going to win, I had to get on base. I never remember scoring a home run, or being the victor for my team and I often lamented about my inadequacies but my dad always said he would take fifteen players just like me instead of fifteen who may strike out or may hit a grand slam. He said what was important was learning to listen to his instruction and getting on base.
I remembered that today when I was lamenting to my Heavenly Father about my inadequacies about being a mother, an advocate and doing my part in this crazy game we call life. I softly was reminded that it isn't about who God calls to do what, it's being ready when He does.

Nov 9, 2009

My Angel is a Warrior

I've always been fascinated by angels. When I was little my mom use to sing the Amy Grant tune "Angels Watching Over Me" to us and tell us that we each had our own personal angel. And if angels are sent to protect, watch over and guide us, I've always been curious as to what they look like. Most pictures I've seen are fat, bubbly cheeked men in diapers with wings. If you know me well, there is no way that my personal angel could keep up with me if they were overweight or easily lost their breath. I need a warrior. When we were on vacation a few weeks ago, we walked into the lobby of a hotel for dinner and in the foyer was a statue of a twenty foot tall angel, regaled in war attire and carrying a ten foot sword! Now that is my kind of angel! I couldn't even take a picture of it because I was so enthralled.
Last night as I led my 9th grade girls small group, we talked about being Jesus to other people and to define ourselves as Christians as simply "Christ followers". I told them that they needed to be advocates for others, show love in all situations and stop focusing on others' sins and focus on loving them. Advocate for the orphan, the widow, the poor and oppressed and be some one's angel. Not a fat cherub who looks cute in pictures, but a warrior, someone who will fight because they love another. I know my personal angel was smiling.

Nov 6, 2009

A Perspective on Waiting

This process has taught me so much about myself. Who I am, what I want out of life and what I want for our children is more clear to me. Waiting for the call has definitely been the hardest part. Le and I program every day of our lives around it. Before we leave the house, we know where we are going to be all day, we check and double check our that we have our cell phones. My legal assistant knows my schedule to a tee and I don't go anywhere without telling everyone that if Gladney calls, the whole world stops. My clients know why I carry a cell phone, almost every Judge I practice in front of knows why I continually check my phone and their office staff knows about the adoption and are always asking me if we have any news. You would think that having everyone you know ask you about the adoption process would ever get old, but we are like to magpies who can't shut up when asked. We love the opportunity to talk about Africa, Ethiopia, adoption, or kids, travelling, etc.
But the other day I got to feeling really guilty. What if Le and I spent as much time planning for Jesus' return as we did for getting our adoption call? If we took every opportunity to talk about Jesus, watch every action and plan out our day around being Jesus's hands and feet. Forgive me Father, for again thinking more about my plans than yours. Help my heart be drawn to those things that break yours and give me the strength to be obedient. I am broken for my children and I do want them home, but I need to remember that we are ALL your children and you long for each one of us.

Nov 3, 2009

Pics From Cabo

Here are some pics from our recent trip.


This was the view from our room:

He is just the cutest!








While the weather was perfect, the water was beautiful and the time off was much needed, I spent a LOT of time thinking that hopefully our next international trip would land us in Africa, instead of Mexico. But Cabo was definitely amazing and we were so grateful for the opportunity to go.



Oct 29, 2009

A Dream Fulfilled

I am writing this overlooking a pool, which overlooks the ocean in Cabo San Lucas. It might be one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. But as I sit here writing, another far more beautiful scene is being relived in my mind. The place, my living room. The time, four days ago. You would not think that a living room in Oklahoma could beat the view I am currently looking at, but you do not yet know the story, so here it goes. In May of this year, God placed a group of children on my heart, other than my own. While reading a blog of a woman who was travelling through Uganda on a vision trip for Children's HopeChest, I read her post about a village called Ngariam. The Holy Spirit and the blog post changed my life and I got in contact with the woman who wrote the post and a friendship was born, as was a seed planted. I wanted to know if our church could help sponsor this village. I put together all the details of how HopeChest worked and arranged a meeting with my associate pastor (Kevin). Kevin said yes but to be patient as to when the sponsorship program would begin. I did not know how to be patient when 600 orphans in a village in Africa were further and further on the brink of starvation, while I waited. Summer crept by with no movement from my church and I began hitting my knees harder and harder in prayer, while hounding my church leadership to remember their promise.
In September, HopeChest sent another vision team to Uganda, headed by some of my favorite people, HopeChest was hopeful that someone on the trip would feel moved to step up and sponsor Ngariam so that starvation would not continue, but at the end of the trip, every other team chose a different carepoint for their churches. I knew why, God was sending a church in OKC to Ngariam, my church. But why wasn't He giving me an answer. Two members from HopeChest, Vince and Brandi made arrangements to come to OKC for a weekend the end of October, to meet with other churches and to introduce themselves to my church and possibly meet my church leadership. In the meantime, I arranged a lunch with my church leadership and begged that God would chose someone else to lead this adventure. To put me back in my comfort zone and let me just be the person who introduced my church and HopeChest. But He said no. During lunch with me, my church leadership opened their hearts and stepped out in faith and not only chose to sponsor Ngariam, but we are going to make Ngariam our Christmas project this year, so that a majority of our fundraising efforts goes to help these precious children, but I still did not have a specific date for a launching of the project. This past Sunday, that changed. Vince and Brandi flew into OKC and we had a great weekend planning parties and talking with people about what HopeChest does and how it changes lives. But on Sunday afternoon, sitting in my dining room, eating a homemade lunch, God reaffirmed why I had been praying for so long. Our church leadership set a date for our launch, December 13th. I watched as four men, driven by God's calling for their lives, had their hearts opened and moved by orphans a world away. And I saw the Holy Spirit's work come full circle and that seed that was planted back in May and what grew from that seed spells HOPE for a group of individuals who may otherwise never known that hope existed. I ask all of you if there is something that you have been praying for, keep it up! He is faithful and just and He rewards obedience because while today's landscape is breathtaking, the view from my kitchen table was so much better!
If you are looking for a different way of sharing Christ's love for Christmas this year, I encourage you to check out Children's HopeChest, send me an email, or contact Vince Giordano to see how your church, book club, or business organization may change the life of an orphan. Are you ready to be obedient to what the Holy Spirit is calling you to do?

Oct 19, 2009

Thirteen Weeks

Today marks week thirteen on the wait list. We got to spend the weekend with our niece and nephew again, which was awesome. Finally got the kiddos room put together and Lexi and Landon had a great time checking it out and seeing where their cousins are going to live. Lexi was in the kitchen with me when out of the blue she said "Aunt Linz, how old are your kids going to be?" I laughed and said I don't know sweetheart, why? She smiled and said "I think they will be 3 and 5". When I asked her why, she just said, "I don't know. I just see them as 3 and 5." Who knows. Maybe after all of our family guessing and estimating, perhaps the 8 year old will be right.

Oct 15, 2009

An Attempt At Regression

I posted previously about one of my biggest fears. You can reread the post here. Today, I got hurt again. The first time in a long time. It wasn't by someone I was really close to, it was more like a scene from the movie Mean Girls, and it hurt all the same. I was tempted to return to my old ways, to shut off from the world and just mend my heart myself. And then I took account of all that God has shown me recently and how many amazing friends I've met and reconnected with since August. I am not going back. No matter what my first instinct says. I will not let one group of people dictate my response to the rest of my life. I will not regress, I am too excited about all the good relationships in my life to focus on the bad.

Oct 12, 2009

12 Weeks

Twelve weeks! Wow. Being on the waitlist has definitely been challenging and our anxiety grows with each passing day. Le and I are like two kids waiting for Christmas. We lay awake and dream, guess and gamble when the call will come. But we are trusting that God already knows all the details and we will try to patient.

Oct 7, 2009

Heavy on My Heart

I have posted about these sweet brothers before. They keep being put in front of me and I don't know how to process this information. I have prayed that God would tell me how to be an advocate for these children, perhaps help introduce their forever mommy and daddy to them, but I still have no answers. PLEASE blog, facebook, twitter, talk and pray for these two precious brothers who need a home.

Oct 6, 2009

Where Passion Meets Vocation

When Le and I began this adoption process, I had no idea how it would change me. I just knew I wanted to be a mom. I knew God had directed us to Africa, but I didn't know that He was directing my heart to orphans, no matter where their location. I now know that God is calling me to use my skills, my life, my passion to be an advocate, but the kicker is, I have no idea HOW! I recently read The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. Richard Stearns is the president of World Vision and his story rocked my world. God was preparing him for this job for three decades and Richard didn't even know it.
I had lunch with a dear friend last week whose opinion I adore. She told me that my desire to change the world for orphans may die down once my children were home because I would be more focused on them. Dear Lord, I pray this not be true! While I want to be an amazing mother, the things that have broken my heart, I pray continue to break my heart, until God calls me home. My prayer is simply that I am obedient. In whatever situation, decision or task that is laid out before me, I simply ask to be obedient. It may take God 30 years to unveil his plan for me, but I want to respond when called.

Oct 5, 2009

11 Weeks Waiting and A New Initiative

We've been waiting for 11 weeks today. I think I am going crazy, but God is filling my days with ways to be involved with other orphans around the world. Because of those new opportunities, I have to share with you a great new initiative that launched today. HopeMongers is a new micro -giving organization that allows you to pick the project you want to support and then watch that project grow until fruition. This is such an amazing program and I encourage all of you to go, click and give at least $10, then pray over your project and see how God uses such a small gift into something that changes lives! Also, if I don't have your address yet, please email it to me so that I can mail you an invite to my party for orphans the end of this month.

Sep 29, 2009

Who Wants To Party?

I have the honor of having several amazing people come to OKC in October: Brandi, Sarah, Vince and Wendi. While they are here we are going to advocate for the poor, the orphan and the widow. How are we going to do this? We are going to PARTY! That's right. On October 23rd, we are going to host a poker tournament, Aces for Africa. Then on Oct. 24th, we are going to have a necklace/apron/t-shirt party. What does that mean? Well on Friday night, bring your husbands and let them play poker and on Saturday, leave him and the kiddos at home and come shop wiht a purpose. All the proceeds of both events will benefit orphans and widows in Africa. More details to come. Whose in?

Sep 28, 2009

10 Weeks Waiting and Ngariam

Today was 10 weeks of waiting. I WANT my kids! I want to see their faces and know who they are, but lately there has been a different group of kids on my heart. You see, my church is sponsoring a village in Uganda. A village called Ngariam. I asked you all a few weeks ago to pray for my friends as they visited this region in Uganda. Not only did they meet my "Ugandan kiddos", they loved on them, fed them and prayed for them. Soon, I will be asking all of you to join together with my church and sponsor and pray over these amazing faces. My amazing friends Dan and Sarah Smoker, put this video together of the precious children of Ngariam. I am honored to share it with you. While I am waiting to meet my children, I am praying for these children, who by YOUR faithfulness, giving and prayer will be fed, loved and provided for, just as JESUS asked of us. Dan and Sarah, you both ROCK!

Sep 24, 2009

How Great Is Our God?!

The last couple of weeks have been hard on me. I felt stalemated in a project that I have prayed for since May. I thought that maybe I wasn't being obedient, maybe I missed what it was I was supposed to be doing, maybe I didn't hear God's voice. I struggled with Le being gone, with work and how I was supposed to be making a difference. But yesterday was one of my favorite days of all time on this walk of faith. Not only did God reaffirm that I had heard His voice, but He showed off all day to the point that I thought I was dreaming. Not only does my project have the green light, but it is being advocated in several different areas and that was only yesterday! Le only has two more days of class and there is not only a light at the end of my tunnel, but THE LIGHT is at the end of the tunnel and walking right beside me in the tunnel.
Thank you to all of you for your prayers and thoughts during this really rough time, I have felt them and needed them. And the only thing that would put icing on the cake this week would be a referral today or tomorrow.

Sep 21, 2009

Nine Weeks Waiting and Love in Odd Places

This has been the only man in my life lately. Le's class continues and Walter and I have spent a LOT of time hanging out. It is good that frenchies are so good at giving out love, 'cause I've needed a lot of it lately. I am so stressed out from work, doing everything around the house and the pressure of the wait, is really getting to me, but coming home has been fun because Walter is always happy to see me. But only six more days and I will have my husband back. And after nine weeks of waiting, the courts open soon, so maybe that mean we will be getting a referral soon.

Sep 17, 2009

Tired....And Oh So Cranky

Laundry. Cleaning. Cooking. Praying. Fasting. Packing lunches. Mowing the Yard. Home Repair. Fence Repair. Working 8-6 at my real job. Church. Checking my phone every second for a referral. Stressing. Repeat.

This has been my life non-stop for the past five weeks. Le being a never present fixture at home, coupled with doing EVERYTHING myself and the stress of the adoption, work, home and a project that God has been laying on my heart for the past few months has come to equal total exhaustion. I am frustrated. I need Le to be at home. I need to know who my children are. I need to finish their rooms. I need God to answer my prayers about my project. I feel as though I am obedient, as though I have been doing all of the things that He has asked me to do, I just seem to be waiting on other people. And I hate to wait. I think that is what I am supposed to be learning from God right now.....Patience. Le will be home more, just one more week. I will finish their rooms and discover the identities of my children, I just don't know when. God will intercede and move those individuals who are key to my project, I just don't know when. And although all I want to do is sit in my office and cry about, whine and blame everyone else, the problem lies with me. God forgive my ignorance in believing that the God of the Universe should function on my schedule. I am sorry. I'm just exhausted and need rest in you...and I'm also really cranky, so please don't be offended if my prayers are a little rude or argumentative. I know I need to wait on YOU, not me.

Sep 14, 2009

8 Weeks Waiting, With a Broken Heart


Today marks 8 weeks of being on the wait list. And while I continue to pray for my children who are half a world away, God has pressed another group of children on my heart this week.
There is a village in Uganda called Ngariam. It is comprised of women and children, a majority of whom are orphans. A party of my dear friends are there right now, in Ngariam, visiting these children, feeding them, loving them and sharing Jesus with them. This party is comprised of several individuals from Children's HopeChest, an organization dedicated to serving "the least of these" through individual sponsorships. HopeChest joins communities of individuals here in the United States with specific communities that have huge needs in other areas of the world. I have been talking to my church about sponsoring Ngariam for sometime now. When HopeChest sent out assessments to discover how many orphans were in need of sponsorship in the Ngariam area, they estimated about 150-200 orphans. Imagine their surprise and heart break to know that within this community in Uganda, over 600 children were orphaned and on the brink of starvation. 600 children on the brink of starvation. RIGHT NOW! You can follow my friends' journeys as they become the hands and feet of Jesus to Ngariam, Amy and Ben, Sarah and Dan and Greg (who has taken over Brandi's blog this week). But for those of you reading this, I ask you for one thing this week: I covet your prayers. Please pray for these children. Please ask God to move not only in Ngariam, but HERE in Oklahoma and specifically through my church and respond according to God's guidance.
Also, if there are any of you who think that your church, business, organization, or blogging community would be interested in sponsoring an individual community in need, please contact my dear friend Brandi. I have also attached a video of Ngariam that Amy, Sarah, Dan and Ben took.


Sep 8, 2009

Madam President

I am what some would consider a strong willed person. I can be pretty pig headed at times, ok, most of the time. It takes a lot to change my mind and I jump to conclusions pretty fast. I use to tell my family, even as a small child, that my future was in politics. I would be the first woman governor of my State, maybe even President. I would change policies that made my state and nation a better place to live, blah, blah, blah. I joined every political group at my university and then again in law school. Even as I began my career, political aspirations floated over my head like a cloud. I loved the excitement, the debate, the thrill of victorious elections, and then I grew up. Maybe not grew up, maybe I just grew out of that phase in my life.
I was always terrified until a few years ago of being a mother. I didn't understand how someone could devote their entire life to the health and happiness of someone else. To put another's needs first and not think about your next career move, but to think about how a physical move might effect what kind of school your child went to. But then again, falling in love does something to a person. It changes our way of thinking and I never understood that until I fell for Le. And starting pondering a family, then dreaming, then awaiting the moments of soccer practice, school projects and leaving the office early for a dance recital were a part of my average routine.
Today, as I sit here, nothing bores me more than a political debate. Oh, I love the policies and procedures of how laws are made and what effect that has on us a people, but the chore of watching two blowhards debate an issue, which they will only dilute and diminish into a whisper of what it is really about makes me sick. I can't imagine how I ever lovingly spelled out "Governor" before my last name. I would much rather simply be known as having one great career in my life: MOM.
I am then reminded of someone else whose sole career was to love another and I am thankful to the Father that He loved us enough that He sacrificed his son, so that I may know what love is really all about. Thank you Father, for the change in priorities and the love for a child(ren) that I still have never seen, but that You hold safely in your care. I am truly blessed to have already been chosen by YOU to be their earthly mom, a career that I cannot wait to begin. Politics would have been easy...this will be the most rewarding.

Sep 7, 2009

7 Weeks

Today marked 7 weeks of waiting. We've been so busy getting the house ready that I was really grateful for the long weekend to start moving furniture, getting ready for our garage sale and planning the layout for the kids' rooms. I can't help in the bustle of being busy, still continue to speculate as to when we will know who are children are going to be. I wonder if our referral will come this week? Maybe as a birthday present to me? Hmmm....I guess we'll just have to see!

Sep 2, 2009

Bye Bye Birthday

This year I will be 30 years old. What a milestone. A big deal. A reason to celebrate. Last year I told Le that I wanted an Alaskan cruise for my 30th birthday. And then we got the news we were infertile and began to adopt. And as it is with me a lot in my life, God used my selfishness of wanting a child of my own and opened my eyes to world of hurt, suffering and need. It's not just about Africa, though I am beginning to believe that my heart is now in that shape.
I saw this video last week and I made a resolve: I am giving up my 30th birthday. Did you know that one BILLION (yes, with a B) do not have access to clean drinking water? The man who started charity:water had a dream, to build a water well for those who couldn't get to fresh water. He gave up his birthday and asked people to donate $20 each and he raised over $14,000. This organization to date (in three years of existence) has raised over $10 MILLION dollars and provided clean water to over 700,000 people across the globe.
You know that I am selfish and one of the things that I don't like about myself is that I don't like water very much. Add some sugar, food coloring, and carbonation and that's my kind of drink! But plain ol' out of the tap drinking water makes me curl my nose. And there are a BILLION people who can't get what I can pour right out of my tap. God~forgive my selfishness.
This year, there will be no birthday party, no cake, no presents that I don't need. All I want you to do is donate $30 (for my 30th birthday) by clicking this link and supporting clean water. Oh and the coolest thing ever is that this year all the money raised in September will be going to build 333 wells in ETHIOPIA!! Which means that a relative of Le and I's children could directly benefit from MY birthday.

Aug 31, 2009

Six Weeks Waiting

Today marks six weeks of being on the wait list. There are moments when time seems to stop and stand still and then there are times I look up and think "hmm...a whole week has gone by, where was I?" I am grateful for both of those kind of moments. There are so many situations and places that I stop and think "this situation would be so different if our kids were here." And as Le and I watch the last bits of our laziness, freedom and flexibility fade away, I grow increasingly more excited. Highchairs, booster seats, toys cluttering the living room, bedtime prayers and tons of hugs and kisses flood my dreams.

As you know from previous posts,the last week has been pretty amazing for me and I am loving watching God work this up close and personal. I am excited for things to come and I want to know even more intimately how God plans on using me for His glory and I plan on blogging about it. But until our children are home, my Monday posts are reserved for the children that rule my heart, not just for the ones I call "mine" but all those who will never know the warmth of a bed, the feel of a kiss good night or the love of a mom and dad. I pray for them the most. I challenge you all: what can we do for them?

Aug 30, 2009

God Be The Solution

There are days that the statistics and sheer number of people who are in need over power me. It hurts my heart and all I want to do is cry. To shut down and hide would be the easy solution. But then I am reminded that it is my Savior who is mightier than hunger, clothing, famine, war and poverty. And it is only through my Savior that this world will be saved.

I had a very amazing weekend last weekend which introduced me to some great warrior women and some great Hillsong music. The song "Solution" has stuck with me all week (thanks Amy) and this week as my precious friends begin their travel to Uganda to be the hands and feet of Jesus, may those of us who are left behind begin to think, plot and plan how WE can be the hands and feet in our everyday lives to those in need. And remember, that GOD is the solution, we just to be lucky enough to be invited to aid Him while He works. Thank you Jesus for finding anything worthwhile in me to allow me to join YOU in this journey.
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Aug 24, 2009

5 Weeks Waiting

Today marks the 5 week mark of waiting. Each day brings more anticipation and wonder, but I know that everything is in God's timing. I just can't wait to see their faces and know their identities. But lately my prayers have been more intense for those children who will not get adopted and that breaks my heart even more than waiting for my own children to come home. I wonder what else I can do to help those left behind? This re-occurring thought will be discussed more, once God's worked out the details, but I know that I can do something and that breathes a little bit of hope.

Aug 22, 2009

The Sum of All My Fears

I hate flying + I hate being vulnerable + I hate being in new situations without preparation + I hate women = Things you probably didn't know about me. I don't hate all women or any woman in fact, but having deep, emotional connections to women and allowing them to know me on a personal level is a big no-no for me. Like most of you, I've been hurt before. I've been lied to, deceived, and been left holding the bag for women whom I have once loved. And unfortunately, I've doled out my share of lies, deception and fake relationships for appearances sake. And to top if off, I am a bad friend. Too busy, too tired, too (and in any other excuse and I've made it) and I stay at home, safely in my cocoon of not getting hurt.
I grew up being every guys' best friend. I wasn't "hot" enough to date, but I could laugh, give them advice and listen. It's no wonder that I chose a profession where men reign. That's where I connect. It's where I'm at my best. I fit. Take a little aggression, honest flirtation, and no judgement and you have a relationship with a man. Women are harder. Too many emotions, listening (actively), and commitment are involved with girls. And then comes the rejection, the letdown, hurt feelings or complete changes in one person's life which renders the relationship extinct or on terminal hold.
I have had some great girlfriends in my life, but they're what I would call in inactive status. And that is completely my fault.
Through this adoption/blogging process I've met a lot of women who I've come to adore online, but I've never let get too close to me. Until recently.
This past weekend, one of my favorite bloggers and fellow facebook friend, hosted a fundraiser in Cincinnati. Another fellow blogger was flying in from Florida to attend. I happily sent encouraging texts and emails and comments about how much fun they would have. And then they asked me to go. To meet in person, to spend 3 days together, allow them to learn about me, seemed too scary, too big of a commitment. I gave myself a hundred excuses I could use: money, work, schedule, school (i'm not in school at the moment). I could stay safely at home. But God's gentle whisper said "go". I booked the flight, praying we would get a referral and I'd have a REAL excuse not to go. I bought a partially refundable ticket just in case I chickened out at the last minute.
But God kept whispering. And I packed a bag. Satan was waiting, ready to remind me of my terror of flying, he even threw in a panic attack for good measure. Two plane rides later, a hundred tears and a thousand prayers and I was in Cincinnati.
And 3 days later, I emerged a new woman, multiplied by 3 new friends, who have all seen and heard my fears, accepted my fears and have resolved to love me and challenge me through them. And I have resolved that relationships with women are necessary, invited and life-changing in my life. And I am bound to make more of them. A lot more. I will be myself, open, encouraging and I will continue to face all of my fears, even if it means being hurt. I will stop running from God and live with open eyes, loving arms, and a full heart. I started re-reading the Bible tonight. Genesis 1:1 seemed like a great place to start :"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." This weekend I began my own genesis. And as my plane takes off, I AM afraid. Not for what has happened but for what WILL happen, because I know I will be challenged. The sum of all my fears has totaled HOPE. And Hope is always a great place to start.

Let us as women approach our relationships with one another with a different set of glasses on, to stop asking one another "how are you?", without waiting for an answer. May we forgive and forget about bad days, PMS, hurt feelings and indifference and may we be one another's champions, prayer warriors and soul mates. I look forward to connecting with every woman I know more passionately.
I encourage you....what is the sum of your fears? God may just want to redo your math.

Aug 19, 2009

Top Ten

While we are in this waiting game, I got to thinking about what made Le and I want to have a family.

"Top Ten Reasons I Want to Be a Mom."

1. Having a kiss, touch and hug that can fix anything.
2. Crayons, markers, colored pencils and not having people stare.
3. Returning to praying on my knees each night before bed.
3. Fruit roll-ups, gushers, and cereal.
4. Teaching how to cook, just like my g-ma taught me.
5. Being taught to see things through new eyes.
6. Having a reason to teach Vacation Bible School/Sunday School.
7. Having someone else in family pictures.
8. Swing sets, swimming pools, and parks.
9. "back to school shopping"
10. Cartoons.

Aug 17, 2009

One Month Waiting

At the close of business today, we are officially on the wait list for 1 month. It has really flown by and we are becoming more and more excited by the day. We bought beds this weekend. Even though we are unsure about whether or not we will have one or two children, we went ahead and got two beds, because even if our referral this time is for one, we have NO intention of our child being the only one. And the beds were on sale, so that always helps! We also went ahead and bought bathroom decorations which will be: monkeys! So excited to rip all the wallpaper off and start making it ready for a child.....OUR child(ren). Wow! Le and I prayed a special prayer last night that our children had peace in their hearts about where we were and that they be filled with the knowledge that we ARE coming...running...to them.
My darlings, we are here, we are praying for you and we are praying that your hearts are full of the knowledge that we love you, your bellies are full and that you are safe and warm tonight. And we are honored to have been chosen as your earthly parents. Only our Heavenly Father loves you more than we do...and we are COMING!

Aug 16, 2009

I saw this on some one's blog ( I can't remember who or I would give you props for bringing this to my attention) several weeks ago and it has stuck with me. I just felt like I needed to share. May we all be reminded that while there are 7 continents and hundreds of nations on this earth, we are all...HUMAN. Human means that we are lovingly created in the image of God and we all deserve: food, clean water, shelter, and above all else we need LOVE.

Aug 15, 2009

Missing Husband


It's no big secret that Le and I spend a lot of time together. It's one of the many reasons I married him, we are just good together. When I was in law school I use to leave our house early in the morning to study and come back late at night, but the weekends were a respite from the books and time for Le and I hang out and reconnect. Recently he's had to sign up for an EMT intermediate course for the fire department which crams 16 weeks worth of material into 6 weeks! And between him working two jobs,class and studying, the only thing weekends are reserved for is coffee, workbooks and reading.

So if you should pass this man on the street, and he looks tired and frazzled, it's because he hasn't had a day off for over a week now and the next five aren't looking good either. The only positive is that he will be too busy to notice when I paint the walls of our kids' room! I love you sweetheart and am so proud of you.

Aug 11, 2009

Pressed On My Heart

I recently ran across a woman's blog in Tennessee, with which I have fallen in love and who is doing great things that need to be shared. I read it all the time, as she is an amazing adoption advocate and encourager to those who have, will or want to adopt. But more than that her organization is an amazing example of being Jesus to those who need him most. Her organization is called Ordinary Hero and it is simply a challenge for all of us to be more involved with those who are in need. The site also puts up information about children who are waiting in orphanages across the globe. I fell in love with two brothers a few weeks ago and I want to help them find their forever home. Go to this site. Go to "waiting children". Look for the two boys called "Precious Brothers". Pray about what role you are to play in their lives: -prayer warrior? -advocate? -mother? -father?

Aug 10, 2009

Week Three Waiting!

Today was our third week of waiting. We've been so busy that I haven't noticed the time. Work has been crazy and Le started a new class for his EMT, so we have barely seen each other lately and it won't get better any time soon. I am also fervently in prayer about our church's sponsorship of a carepoint in Uganda through Children's HopeChest. I am sure that my associate pastor is tired of seeing me, but I will not back down. There are kids that need us. But should Kevin have me arrested for stalking, Bran, please come get me out! :)

Aug 6, 2009

Advocate for Those Who Can't

I have a really amazing friend who is looking for some help. You see, she is a passionate advocate for children all across the world, trying to secure sponsorship for children who need medicine, food, shelter and school. But as amazing as my friend is, she cannot do this without God's help. And God needs YOU to help. And my friend and I want YOU too! Want to know how to help? Go here, educate yourself, blog, facebook, twitter, and tell everyone you know about how God is using YOU to change the life of a child you may never meet, but who will never forget what you've done for them. (P.S. Thanks Bran for all that you let God do through you! Love that about you!)

Aug 3, 2009

Week Two Waiting.

Week two of waiting has been so busy with work, life, family and other commitments that I have to stop and remind myself to keep my phone near me at all times. Hopefully we can calm down soon and start preparing the bedroom to get ready for our kid(s).

Aug 1, 2009

Slip n Slide











We had looked for a slip n' slide for almost two months before Lexi and I headed to Target last weekend and found the last one in OKC in the bargain bin. The result was an entire afternoon running, slipping, falling, laughing. Thank you Father for the little things in life.

Jul 27, 2009

One Week Waiting...and Orphans

Today marks one week of being on the waitlist! I know that it is completely ridiculous to be expecting a call already, but I can't stop daydreaming about it. I daydream about where I will be, what time of day it will occur and how fast I can make it to Le. I know that somewhere tonight, thousands of miles away, a child(ren) is getting up for their day and deep in their
heart(s) is the desire for a family. And little do they know that such a family exists, believes in them, prays for them, longs to be with them, sheds tears for them and shouts praises to the Father for them. And at THIS moment there are two people in Oklahoma who are totally incomplete without them...

I love to argue and debate. That's why I am good at my job. My dad always told me that if I was going to be likened to a disciple of Jesus I would have to be like Simon Peter, because I would cut off your ear if you messed with my Jesus. However, watching the trailer for the new movie from Warner Bros, Orphan, doesn't make me want to argue, it makes me want to slap a movie producer. The tag line of the movie is that you can't love a child that isn't your own. Well, I have news for WB, not only do I love a child that isn't biologically mine, but I pray for, sing to, and talk about a child(ren) that I haven't even met yet and my heart yearns for them, hurts for them and loves them. In fact, I love ALL of the orphans in this world, because it is biblical, they have needs and I know that there are many families who are opening their hearts and arms to orphans all over the world. I encourage you all who read this blog to not only boycott this movie but also blog about it, pray about it and talk about it, because orphans don't need one more challenge in life, they need someone to speak up for them and bring them into homes, families, and hope for a future.
My darling children, you may be labeled by this world as an "orphan", but there is a family that is dreaming of your face, prepping your room and telling everyone they meet that YOU are so much more than an orphan...you are our world!

Jul 26, 2009

6 Years Ago


I'm a dork. I've always known this about myself and over the years Le continues to remind me. I've accepted it. I think he has too. One indication of my dorkiness is that I've always celebrated the anniversary of Le and I's first date. We had travelled to see John Mayer perform outside at the Smirnoff Center in Dallas. And as we sat there, on a blanket swaying to the music and talking, I looked down and my heart was gone. It had come to rest with him and I knew I would never get it back. I knew he was the one I had been praying about and God had seen fit to answer my prayer. That was six years ago today! Happy Anniversary sweetheart!

Jul 20, 2009

WAITLISTED!!!!

Guess who is on the waitlist? We got our email about twenty minutes ago! We are waiting for either a boy or girl between 0-3years or siblings under the age of 6!
Thank you Jesus for this wonderful gift...especially on a Monday! We are so excited and can't believe we are on the last leg before we get to meet our children.

Jul 15, 2009

All About the YEAH!!!

There have been so many moments in this adoption that have been full of "Awww" moments. The ones where your heart sinks and you feel lost, helpless and sad. On those days, I need to cry, hold Le tighter and spend more time online with my adoption friends who understand what it is that is making me crazy. Today was NOT one of those days. I work about two miles from my office. Ever since Le and I went last week for our CIS fingerprint appointment, I have driven home on my lunch break to check my mail, in the hopes that our approval letter is in the mail. I know...I am OCD and I can't help it. I had a court hearing today out of my county and I was training an intern in our office. I knew I was running late but I couldn't shake the urge to drive by my house and just look. As I pulled into the driveway and yanked open the mailbox expecting to find nothing, but inside was our CIS approval letter! I burst into tears. I tried to explain to my intern all the emotions I felt, but I fell horribly short. And as I was crying, frantically dialing Le, "You Are Being Loved" by Steven Curtis Chapman (the song I daily sing to my children) starting singing from my CD player and I cried all the harder. Today was one of those moments, however brief, that I was closer to my children and I could say "Mommy and Daddy are on their way". YEAH... waitlist, I can see you in my sights.

Jul 14, 2009

Just Another Reminder

Sunday was amazing. We spent the day with our niece and nephew and we drove down to my parent's house to spend the entire day playing in their pool. We had found a puppy several weekends ago and had put up signs all over the neighborhood and on craigslist but no one ever claimed her and my parents said they would take her if no one wanted her. My dad named her Chelsie. Chelsie had as much fun swimming in the pool as the rest of us. I wish I had taken a picture. It was too cute. That night when we tucked the kids into bed, Le read them the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den. But I couldn't shake the feeling all day that there was something missing. And then I reminded myself that it wasn't something, but someone(s).
I know to some who know me, I may sound crazy, but I miss my children. I talk about them all the time and I know that people just stare and me and think "oh, isn't she cute, she's lost her mind." I have not met them but I yearn to even though I know my Heavenly Father has already seen their faces, knows their names and has counted every hair on each of their heads. I cry over the most ridiculous of circumstances (Le will tell you this is NOT new) and I find myself envisioning them like a mirage in the desert. I saw them in the pool all day on Sunday, swimming, laughing, playing. I pray for them constantly and at least one time a day, I play "You Are Being Loved" by Steven Curtis Chapman and I sing to them (this only occurs when I am alone, as I spent the $ my parents set aside for singing lessons). I know there are several of them. Even though we may receive a referral for one this time, I know that travelling to Africa must be couched in the plural...because my childREN are there. And they need us. And I am coming...I am already there. I cherish souls that I have never met and a land that appears only through other's pictures and my dreams, but I am there. Walking through the desert, searching the faces of every street child I meet in my sleep, asking only one question: "Are you my child?" We will know soon enough, but soon enough never seems to arrive fast enough.
Thank you Father that you are watching over my children now and every other child who needs an earthly home. And thank you Le, for knowing exactly what it means when I say "I just need to cry."

Jul 8, 2009

Slap In The Face.



I watched this video several weeks ago when a friend played it for me. I was almost in consolable after I finished watching it. Obviously the boy at the end of the video spoke to me a lot. It is so hard for me to watch kids suffering, but knowing that one or more of those children belong to Le and I just makes the ache that much more deep. And then I have to remind myself of how selfish I am. All of us, no matter where we live, belong to God and how His heart must be breaking all of the time...for each and every one of His children who are hurting.

God forgive me for too long ignoring the suffering of others. I know that Your heart breaks for them. Thank You, for continually breaking mine so that my eyes may be opened.

Jul 7, 2009

Next Stop....Wait List!

Today was Le and I's appointment at the Immigration Office here in OKC. It was quick and painless. The next step in the process is that it will take several weeks for Immigration to approve us and once we have the approval, it will need to authenticated. Once authenticated, our documents ("the dossier") will be sent to Ethiopia. And we will be officially on the wait list! Being on the wait list means that our agency will begin searching for a match to our profile and once we have a "match", we will know who are child/ren are going to be!

Jul 5, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened....

I was alone again today. Although Le and I were able to spend two great days together without working, today reality returned and he left for the fire station. Don't get me wrong, I love Le's job. He was born to be a fire fighter. He is amazing at what he does and knowing the pride he takes in what he does makes me proud to be his wife. But every third morning when he gets up at the crack of dawn, a small part of my day is already ruined. I know he isn't going to be there, and it sucks. I can't help it. After almost six years together, I would rather spend time doing nothing with him than be anywhere in the world doing anything else (except maybe Africa :) ). Today as I hurried to get ready for church, I couldn't find my car keys. And the more I looked, the more certain I became that they were with Le, in his car, at the fire station, over 30 miles away. Bummer! I thought about calling someone for a ride and then I remembered watching Invisible Children (If you haven't seen it, it will change your life). All of those kids who are threatened by abduction and captured into a rebel army. These kids who travel for miles every night to sleep in the safety of their nearest hospital because there is saftey in numbers. Our church is only a few blocks from home, so out I went. And the more I walked, the more I communed with my Heavenly Father and thanked Him for the reminder that while I was peeved that I was walking three blocks, some where tonight in Uganda, Africa, a child will walk in an attempt to save their own life. Forgive me Father, for I am selfish.

Jun 29, 2009

Another Hot One in Oklahoma!

Our niece and nephew stayed with us over the weekend. Every idea we had about how to spend the day was quickly met with sold out movie tickets, closed pick-your-own farms and weather that was so hot there was only one cure for the heat....water. However, to decide in the Oklahoma heat that you are suddenly in the market for a slip-n-slide, proved not to be such a good plan either. At least three different stores were sold out, so we improvised and played a game of wiffle ball in the backyard, with our water sprinkler system turned on! We're silly, but we don't care. What a great day!
Teaching Lexi how to swing a bat!


Getting drenched!










Jun 27, 2009

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Unloved!


I was cleaning my house a couple of weekends ago and I came across a box of beanie babies that I had had when I was a kid. They haven't been doing anything except sitting in a box, so I pulled them out and dusted them off. I thought about how the craze of beanies was ridiculous only a few years ago. How fickle we humans are! Once loved, then discarded in a box never to be loved again. So as with almost everything lately, I began to think about how they could be recycled, re-used and reloved. As I was mulling this over, Le and I had a conversation with our adoption agency about travelling, humanitarian aid and other specifics about our trip to Ethiopia. Since Le and I sponsor a child from Children's HopeChest, and our sponsor child lives in Addis, we were really curious about being able to visit him when we travel. Our agency told us that they will have a very flexible itinerary for us, but we will be assigned and driver and can visit whatever orphanage we wanted while we were there! After our agency hung up, Le and I continued to talk and my light bulb went off...what child wouldn't love their own beanie baby? They are light weight, adorable and people in the USA are just giving them away at garage sales!
Although I was pumped about my new idea, I have to admit that I was also a little embarrassed. What if the orphanages would think I am crazy for bringing toys instead of food and clothes? Would they really be appreciative of beanies? So I held off on asking anyone about such a thing...until last night. I was talking via Facebook with a good friend who has been to Africa before and when I told her, she thought it was a great idea and that I should get to work. So that is all the prodding that I needed. I called everyone I knew and at this moment, there are over 300 beanies sitting in my closet waiting for their new found African friends. So I pose the question to you...Do you have any tired, unloved beanies that are just taking up your closet space? Need something to do with them? Want to send them to Africa? Let me know and I will gladly pack them with us and when Le and I travel to pick up our little one(s) we will distribute them to the orphanage(s) that we visit. If we get a lot of them, we are going to mail them to Addis and pick them up once we arrive! I love this idea and can't wait to see the look on the kids' faces to have a toy of their own!

Jun 24, 2009

Because HE Just Knows!


I have found that blogging that become a release for me in so many ways. People who know me well would tell you that I am a really private person. My law partner tells me I'd be a great poker player because I am what she calls "close to the chest", basically that I keep everything close to my armor. I like that about me...it's safe. I can't get hurt that way. But through this process, I have learned that to love, to live, to grow, to experience life, is to put yourself out into the world and just be whoever it is that God made you to be. It is funny to me that by drafting a few words and posting them into oblivion, I feel released, challenged, informative and free. I am also amazed at how many deep and wonderful friendships have come from talking into cyberspace. I spent almost an hour on the phone last night with a sister in Christ that I have never met in person, and if I hadn't stalked her blog and seen her picture, I wouldn't have known her on the street. It just shows me how much our God uses a potential small adventure into Ethiopia to open up a world of possibilities.
I love music, have I told you that about me yet. I have to admit that I love to sing in the car, the shower or while I am making dinner (I usually always have to be alone...it is THAT bad!). I have been listening to a new album by Steven Curtis Chapman and my favorite song is called You Are Being Loved. The first time I heard it, I burst into tears because all I could think of is "this is the song I am singing for my children!"
Last night as my "cyber sister" and I chatted away, I mentioned the song and she laughed. She had already posted a video on YouTube with pictures of Ugandan children set to the tune of "You are Being Loved". I about fell over. Not only does our God know the plans He has for us, but He has known them forever. Thank you Jesus, for knowing the plans that you have for me.

Jun 21, 2009

Me + T-Shirt = Love Story



Growing up, if my family took a trip ANYWHERE, my mom went out of her way to find a t-shirt that commemorated the experience. It was one of her quirks that I have inherited over the years. I have a tee for most every concert, festival or new location we have travelled. Since Le's second job is working at a screen printing shop, he is always designing cool new ideas and bringing them home. We were sitting in church one Sunday and I looked at Le and whispered "I know how we are going to pay for this adoption." He just kind of stared at me (throughout this process, he knows better than to tell me I am crazy). I sketched out the design, sent it off and his trusty hands and here is the result. They are uni-sex shirts and are recycled, which makes them even cooler. I can't wait to tell our children about how Le and I were so excited about their arrival that we printed t-shirts, started a blog and began praying for them and their country long before we knew who they were.

Jun 14, 2009

An Appointment with CIS


Yesterday in the mail, Le and I received our documents from Immigration to appear and have our fingerprints taken. The appointment is not until July 7th, but we are excited that this will be our final documentation that we need to finalize our dossier so that it can be sent to Ethiopia and we can officially be put on the wait list!

Jun 9, 2009

America and Food

I began to wonder this past weekend just how much of our lives are devoted to food. From what we are going to have for lunch to what kind frosting to top mom's birthday cake this year, our society spends days planning menus for holidays, birthdays, graduations or Saturday afternoon football games. We snack in between meals. We eat from our cars. We hide snacks in our desks (I know I am not the only one :) ). Our office mates bring donuts, pretzels, bagels and chocolate to share with everyone. When we visit some one's home as a guest, we provide them a box of chocolates, a bottle of wine; a gesture of our thanks on being invited. Churches have pot luck dinners where families bring hordes of covered dishes. After a graduation, wedding, or other special occasion in which more than two people are gathered, the general response is "let's go eat somewhere." Inevitably, we complain because we have eaten too much, we've gained too much weight this year, or we made too much food during our last cooking attempt at home. We join gyms, take diet pills, make new year's resolutions and keep a hefty supply of Tums and Pepto in our cabinets. But we continue to eat.

But what if we had nothing to eat. Not just a barren snack drawer at our desk, or the late night realization that we're out of our favorite ice cream. What is we went for days at a time wondering where our next meal was coming from? IF we were to find ourselves in this position, we'd call a friend, family, our church and be met with food beyond measure. But what if EVERYONE you knew was in the same position you were and there was no hope of finding food. I am not minimizing what is going on in our own country. This economic downturn has been hard on everyone, but we as Americans know that it will not last forever. Why? Because we have something almost no other country in the world has....HOPE. Imagine you have no hope. Why? Because you live in a slum or a tiny village a world away from parks, shopping malls and supermarkets.

Romans 12:14 says at the end of the verse, "Practice hospitality." My grandmother, Mary was known for her hospitality. A guest in her house was treated to more than just a meal, it was an experience. There was love, respect and HOPE found sitting at her table and having a meal with Nannie could change your life. You walked away from her table with a full belly and a different mind set over some hotly debated topic. She epitomized hospitality. Today, I challenge each of you to "practice hospitality." Go here and read about what is happening a world away from here and be changed. $.14 can buy one meal....ONE MEAL FOR ONLY FOURTEEN CENTS! Wow. That blows my mind. I pull more than fourteen cents out of my pocket after a day at work.



Jun 8, 2009

Love Anew


Le and I have been married for over 4 years now. Sometimes it seems as if time has flown by and at others I am reminded how long we've known one another. I am fond of telling him that I love him more and more the longer we are together. I think these statements hurt his feelings, as if I didn't love him when we got married, but the truth is the more I learn about him as a person and the way we handle challenges as a couple, my appreciation for him just continues to grow. This weekend was another example. He had the entire weekend off of work and we got to spend a lot of time together (which is usually pretty hard for us). We laughed, argued and had a blast! Thank you darling for two days that reminded me what an amazing man, husband and soon to be father you are! I am so thankful that the good Lord answered my prayers about a companion, a side kick and a partner. I wouldn't want to be on this crazy roller coaster with any one else.

Jun 3, 2009

Agency Approval!

Two more steps were marked off our "to be done" list today. I can't really describe it as a "to do" list because a majority of the things are not able to be accomplished by Le and I and are considered to be things beyond our control. We received notice from our adoption agency today that we have received our official approval through the agency. We now move our focus to preparing our dossier (the packet of documents to be sent to Ethiopia). We also received word that our home study was finalized and mailed to CIS today. This is the last documentation we need in order to finalize our dossier and have our documents sent to Ethiopia. Once our home study reaches CIS, we will be provided a date and time to be fingerprinted. Once we have been fingerprinted, then CIS will approve us and our approval letter will be sent with our dossier (this is called receiving your I-171). Once we are placed on the wait list, then the real "waiting" begins. Yeah for another step completed! Don't worry our precious children, mom and dad are coming for you!

May 31, 2009

Sweet and Sour


We are back from our vaca with our niece and nephew from Orlando. It was fun to be away and enjoy being with the kids, but the longer we were away, an overwhelming longing filled my heart and hasn't yet left. I know our children are coming. I know that every thing happens in God's timing, but the longing for my children grows with each passing day. I tried really hard to not spend a lot of time this last week online, blogging, or obsessively checking my email from our agency regarding our application status. I didn't even work, which for those of you who know me really well, know that not working sometimes equate to not breathing for me. I wanted time to clear my head, pray, spend time with family and just enjoy a week away from the office. I just couldn't shake the dreams each night that perhaps our next family holiday would include our children. I saw our children in the faces of every dark skinned child I encountered. I fantasized about how old they would be, what they would look like, and whether or not we would be picking out shades of pink or blue. I know that we have not yet begun to wait, but I am, at least for awhile, have to be content with seeing my children in my sleep.

May 28, 2009

How Sweet The Sound

I've been lazy this week. Well, not exactly lazy (we've been at Disney World with our niece and nephew all week), but I haven't blogged for several days. When Le and I began our adoption journey, we knew that having children of our own would change things a lot. Our niece and nephew are the only kids in our families and they are, how do you say, really spoiled. Having cousins around will be challenging, but Le and I wanted to give them a trip just for the two of them that reminded them that they are special. So we packed up this last week and headed to Orlando. Since it is just the four of us on our first out of town excursion, I of course, have had the responsibility of getting Alexis and I ready for dinner every night. Her hair is so thick that it takes FOREVER to dry, so we spend a lot of time underneath the hair dryer. While we are getting ready, I always turn on some praise music, or an upbeat country tune. This week my favorite CD still remains Micheal W. Smith's A New Hallelujah. There is a great rendition of Amazing Grace and I haven't noticed until last night, that Lexi has been intimately paying attention to every word. Last night, as I was finishing up her hair, I heard her belting out Amazing Grace! It was so moving to hear such big words coming from a tiny voice. Thank you Father, let me be more like a child!

May 21, 2009

The List

Awhile back, Le and I were driving to Tulsa. During the ride, I broke out a pen and a piece of paper and Le and wrote out a list of all of the places in the world that we wanted to see before we died. We made a pretty impressive recitation of places we were looking forward to visiting. I remember very specifically asking Le if he ever wanted to go to Africa; he said not really and I left the country off of our list. Over the last several months, Africa has not only become a place that Le and I want to go and see, but a place where we have sent our hearts and the ONLY place we want to be. Today, as I was going through the papers on my desk, I found our list. I laughed and wrote "AFRICA" across the top.
Thank you Lord for allowing our dreams to be flexible and for having your desires become our own.

May 18, 2009

An All-Round Great Circle

I have written a lot about my family. Family has always been a big part of my life. I knew that when it was time to get married, that my husband's family would be an extension of a new part of my life. What I didn't expect was to have hit the in-law jackpot! When I showed Le's mom my engagement ring almost six years ago, she burst into tears and told me that her family was finally complete. I didn't know at the time how much Le's family and friends would complete my life. Every holiday, birthday, and special occasion is celebrated, not just by my biological family, but the amazing group of people I married into. When I graduated from law school, I know I had the biggest group of supporters than anyone else. And through this adoption process, nothing has changed. This past mother's day, for the first time, I received my first mother's day cards. Although I am not yet a mother, Le loves to tell everyone that I am "paper pregnant". My mother in law and husband sent me flowers and a wonderful friend donated money to Mocha Club in my name for mother's day (Meg, I still can't tell you how cool that was of you!). My mother and sister came for dinner to celebrate together and I had to give thanks for such an amazing group and thank you all for continuing to celebrate our children who are not yet here; I know that love is felt even across an ocean.