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!