11.17.2012

Stones in the Waves

Now that all the insanity has subsided, I have had a few days to really realize that Allan is gone and he won't be back for a long time.  He left for training in Texas on Sunday while I was in Illinois with my family and he was in Pennsylvania with the kids.  I didn't get home until Monday night and didn't see the kids until Wednesday morning.  We dropped his mom off at the airport Thursday morning and so we've been alone a couple days now.

Thursday night I was grateful.  I would have preferred Allan to be here, but we all needed the calm & quiet-so we enjoyed a movie together complete with popcorn and root beer floats.  I did cry a little when he told me on the phone that it was "laundromat and grocery shopping night."  Allan is more than capable of taking care of himself.  He was 31 when I met him and he'd been doing just that (and very well) for a long time.  But I realized with that statement just how much pride I take in caring for my family.  *I* want to be the one doing his laundry (and maybe grumbling about it sometimes) and shopping for our groceries and making our family dinners.

Yesterday it hit me a little more that I will really be alone for the next 13+ months.  I kept myself kinda busy preparing for our first home visit from the foster care people.  She'll be here Monday and the house needs an overhaul. With that in the forefront of my mind come the questions, questions I used to be able to ask Allan and rely on some input, but now the answers are "what do you want to do?  You're the one there."

Me.  I'm the one here.

I struggle because God has been teaching me-though I've been a slow learner-that being a woman is good.  That I can embrace the vulnerability and call it beauty instead of weakness.  He has shown me that I don't have to do everything, and that He created us-man and woman-to be different so that we would compliment each other.  I have grown to love that Allan fixes things and I don't have to know-it-all.  That he leads our children in prayer before bed.  That he is my safe place and my comfort-I don't have to be alone or "suck it up and drive on."

Now...God is teaching me something different.  What is it?  I suspect it's partially to lean fully on Him in my weakness, while still appreciating my husband's role in my life.  That I should take more responsibility for things I am capable of but let Allan do just because I didn't want to. 

The other day I rigged the chicken coop with a heat lamp and heated waterer.  It sounds simple, but it required some engineering and some crawling into tight spaces and getting poop all over myself.  Normally I would have asked Allan to do that, since it required power, but the animals need to survive the winter and I'm the only one here to make sure that happens.

The realization seems to come in waves and it feels a lot like grief.  I suppose it might be, since he is gone, though it feels silly to say and I berate myself because I get to talk to him every day.  I know what loss is, this is not the worst loss I've experienced, but it is still hard. 

Sometimes it seems like the waves immobilize me and I am not sure I will survive.  "Really, Tara...a whole year of being the only one the children rely on?  You're not a military wife, you aren't cut out for this." 

Sometimes the waves have stones in them that hit me hard and surprise me.  Waking up in the night with a nightmare and reaching over, scared, to find the other side of the bed perfectly made and the pillow empty.  Thinking about Christmas and how I can't put up lights alone.  I can't put up a real tree alone-but we got rid of our fakes before we moved.   Allan won't be here and I'm not sure I really want to *celebrate* anything, but I need to make sure I do so the kids feel special.  Looking out the kitchen window at my bird feeder to realize that it's empty and it won't have any seed in it for the next year+ because I can't reach it, even with a step-stool.  They're silly things, but they are the things that catch me by surprise and knock me down.

It's been just a few days, I know it will get worse before it gets better.  I try to remind myself of all the wonderful blessings waiting during this time.  I will be so much stronger and so ready for Allan to come home when he does.  He will have such an amazing opportunity to minister to the Djiboutian locals.  The kids and I will be so much more solid and confident by the year's end.  We will be able to get our emergency fund back on track and invest a little and actually have some fun together. etc. etc. etc.

Part of me wants to flee, I don't know where.  Part of me wants to get everyone a passport and a yellow fever vaccine and go to Djibouti with Allan.  Part of me wants to hunker down and just survive the coming year.  Part of me wants to explore and find a million and three amazing things about this place, so I'm not miserable this winter.  Those parts come in waves, too, washing over me completely and making me sure that's how I'll feel forever.  But I don't.  Because it's only an undulating wave. 

Then I remember: so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. -Ephesians 4:14

I will remember that God has me right in the palm of His hand (Isa 49:2) and He has good plans for us (Jere 29:11).  He is all I need and He will supply all the things I have need of on this earth (Phil 4:19, 2 Cor 9:8).  He goes before Allan, to Africa, and He stays behind Allan, here with me and the kids (Ex 14:19).  He will lift us up on wings like eagles(Isa 40:31). 

I will work to remember that I am not alone. ( John 14:18, 19)

11.12.2012

My Dad (1958-2012)

Tuesday, November 6th, at about 11:15pm, my bio dad died after a 6-month long battle with upper bowel cancer and bone cancer. He was with family and went peacefully. Thank goodness, the girls and I got to visit him a week and a half before he died. That was a good day-he was lucid and home and happy to see everyone. My dad's name was Robert G Anderson and I didn't lay eyes on him until I was 16 years old. I didn't meet him until I was 18 years old. I didn't really have a relationship with him until after I was pregnant with GraceAnne. We didn't talk for about 4 years before his diagnosis because they changed phone numbers and never told me.  I don't think they did it maliciously, but that is why.  When I tried to contact, there was no reciprocation, so until he got a prognosis of 6 months, I kept my distance. 
 Dad in the 70's

My mom and dad met shortly after she moved to Illinois from Arkansas.  The story goes they hit it off. They dated for a while and when she ended up pregnant with me, they decided to split ways.  His parents found out about me when I was around 9 months old and they loved me like crazy.  
ME!

 Mom hates this picture, but I adore it.  Sorry mom.

My mom met my step-dad when she was pregnant with me.  They started dating after I was born and they were together for 10 years.  My sisters, Kelly and Shawna came along 4 and 5.5 years later and we were a family. I can remember calling my step-dad by his first name when I was really little, but I started calling him "dad" fairly early on.  Since mom didn't have any biological family in the area, we had lots of "aunts" and "uncles" so it wasn't really strange to me that I had a Grandma Grace, Grandpa Wendell, Aunt Debbie, Uncle Mikey, etc.  I thought they were friends.
Our little family-1988

Younger years with Grandma Grace and Grandpa Wendell.  I didn't know yet, but they were my biological paternal grandparents.

Me and my Uncle Mikey at my 2nd (?) birthday party.  He says I was spoiled and that I was a "french fry freak."  I plead innocent.


When I was 8, my mom and step-dad separated and then divorced.  My step-dad was really nasty during the process and because he was bringing up the fact that I wasn't legally his in court, mom decided to tell me about my biological dad, Bob.  She didn't want me to find out because someone was being nasty.  I remember being shocked and then slightly excited and mostly very curious that I had a different dad.  It explained why I didn't look anything at all like my sisters.  It also explained why I had a different last name. 
 My sisters and I when I was around the age that I found out I had a different dad.
 I don't remember the news changing how I felt about anyone.  Mom made him sound like a saint and took all the blame on herself, but I wasn't hurt because I already had a dad.  Looking back, I don't think it bothered me until I was about 10 years old.
Me, my sisters and my Grandma Grace & Grandpa Wendell at the campground where they had a camper.  We went there every year since I can remember.

Something about becoming a pre-teen and that need for identity and affirmation that just really blows us all out of the water, right?  I was very curious about my biological family at that point and asked a lot of questions.  Primarily I wanted any and all information I could get about my bio-dad's sons, Kyle and Kolin.  I didn't feel like I needed my dad, but I desperately wanted my brothers.  I remember praying very fervently from a young age for them.  I can still feel the gut-ache from being separated from siblings.  Mom said that their mom was not happy about me and would not let me see them.  I prayed that one day I could anyway.

When I was 13 I admitted that I had been sexually abused by my step-grandfather.  In the aftermath, I lost all contact with the step-family I had grown up with.  I had a falling out with my step-dad after he promised me he would never take my sisters to the abuser's house again, but he did.  Despite my efforts over the years, we have never had a very good relationship since that argument.  I felt betrayed and I felt helpless to keep my sisters safe.

Grandma Grace and Grandpa Wendell continued to be a very important relationship in my life.  They meant the world to me and I loved seeing them.  One year, at the campground, my bio-dad was there.  We left quickly, but I had seen him.  Mom told me who he was and asked me what I thought.  I told her that I hoped I would age like she had and not him.  Hahaha, I always have the sarcastic answer, but the fact was, his image was burned into my mind.  I searched his face a hundred times and after mom gave me a picture I searched his picture a thousand times to see where I came from.  I was told all my life that I looked like my mom, but I never really believed it.  I wasn't exactly sure that I looked like this man, either.

2000 was a hard year.  Grandma Grace had breast cancer and lung cancer.  I was preparing to graduate high school.  My high school sweetheart of 4 years moved to another city.  I turned 18 in April that year and Grandma Grace threw me a huge birthday party.  She invited family I hadn't seen in years and some of them I had never met.  She said it was something she wanted to do before it was "too late."  She got her wish, because she lost that battle with cancer two weeks later.  The funeral was awful for me...that was when my brothers saw me for the first time.  I felt like they and the cousins were angry with me and I felt very out of place.  I was worried that since grandma was gone, no one would ever speak to me again.
I really, really loved my grandparents.  They were so wonderful to me and always loved me well.  They loved my mom and they treated me and my sisters equally.  That was more than I could say for most of my extended family (maternal and step-family)

After that, I was kinda lost.  It wasn't just Grandma Grace dying, there were so many factors contributing to it.  I ditched my plans to go to college out of state, went to a local community college.  I ended up living with my boyfriend after he came back to town and started some self-destructive behaviors.  Please don't think I'm pinning my actions on anyone or anything...I made these choices, but I was pretty depressed and I felt very out of place in the world.  Years of not feeling like I fit in anywhere were piling up.  In 2003 I moved to Texas after breaking up with the boyfriend and this pretty much sums up the next 6 months:
My 21st birthday in Texas.  It started a 6month time frame of pretty much throwing out every personal boundary I had set into place for myself.

6 months later a handsome GI came home after his injury in Iraq.  We hit it off kinda like my mom and dad did.  We decided to try to make it work.  I got Allan, Rhiya and GraceAnne all in one fell-swoop.  Lucky lady!  It was around that time I started really talking to my biological dad (and my step-dad again for a while) I wanted our daughters to have connection and lots of love.

Christmas 2003 in Alaska.

In 2000, Dad married Laura and she encouraged him to reach out to me.  We talked some, but Dad and I had a much better relationship during GraceAnne's early years.  He loved Rhiya and GraceAnne and loved being a grandpa.  He came to our wedding and brought my Grandpa Wendell, who I had kept in touch with frequently after Grandma Grace died. 
Grandpa Wendell and I in 2006
Dad with my sweet nephew, Zekaeus and GraceAnne in 2006

The same year we got married, purchased our house and moved to Texas (2006) Grandpa Wendell died.  I came to  his funeral alone, since Allan's mom was in town.  While I was there, Kyle asked for my phone number and email address.  I was so very sad to lose my grandpa, but hopeful to hear from my brother.  I had walked away from God at that point, but never forgot my prayers to gain my brothers.  Incidentally, it was after Grandpa Wendell's funeral that I turned back to God and re-dedicated my life to Christ.

It took about a year, but Kyle finally contacted me and we had as much relationship as he could handle.  I was very careful to gauge what he was up for.  We talked online a lot and did a bible study via email.  Over the years, we've become closer and talked about a lot of things.  It always seemed a little awkward, but I continued to pray it would be more natural.

In 2008, I called to tell dad about Violet's birth and found out that all the phone numbers had changed.  I tried to reach out, but was never received.  I was definitely a little sensitive and hurt over it.  I stayed in touch with the rest of my family and waited.

In May of this year, I got a call that dad was in the hospital.  His stomach was bleeding and they thought he had a blood disorder.  I remember our small-group mate asking me if I would go visit him and I said, "He's not dying.  He'll be okay."  Of course, the following weeks proved me wrong.  He was, in fact, dying of upper bowel and bone cancer.  His prognosis was 6 months.
Dad and I-October 2012
 There's a funny thing that happens when you find out someone you love is dying and you're upset with them...it suddenly doesn't matter anymore.  My heart's desire was to serve him, somehow.  To be there for him and to release him from the guilt he felt about me.  I desperately wanted to cut through all the crap, all the wasted time, all the family members who aren't okay with our relationship and just reach straight through to him.
Dad, me, my adorable nephew Oliver, my brother Kyle & Violet
 Now I am so grateful that we were able to go see him a few times.  The kids saw some hard truths about cancer-that it's ugly and that it ravages people.  They also watched as our family came together for the first time in years.  I learned so much this summer about my paternal family.  Lots of it was hard to reconcile, but it was healing to learn.  

Wednesday morning God woke me up.  He said, "It's morning already."  I sat straight up out of bed and wondered what that meant.  Allan's alarm went off and I thought it must be 6:30, so I got up to read my bible.  I sat down and read for a long time.  I finally got my phone to see what time it was and realized I had gotten up at 5am.  I also saw that Kyle had called several times the night before and texted me, too.  

I pinned my Uncle Mike down on the phone, finally and he told me that Dad had died late the night before.  Over the course of the day I learned about funeral arrangements.  The problem was, I was supposed to be in PA while the funeral was going on.  Allan and I spent the next 36 hours juggling things and I was free to go to my dad's funeral.  I was really apprehensive, as grandma and grandpa's funerals were incredibly awkward. There are some people in the family who really don't agree with my existence, for whatever reason.  That's really all I will say about that right now.
Dad's bike and his boots-inside the church

I pulled into the church for the wake half-way through the service Friday night.  The church was full of people.  I cut my way through and found Kyle, hugged him tight and told him I was sorry.  Kolin (our youngest brother) was sitting there, but I had never talked to him and I wasn't sure how he would receive me, so I just waved nervously as some cousins glared. I found my Aunt Debbie and hugged Laura.  Everything was decorated so well.  They had brought his Harley in and his boots...the urn was adorable, for lack of any better word.  
The little beanbags are handwarmers GraceAnne had made for him a couple weeks ago because he said his hands were cold all the time.  He thought those were really special.
I felt so sad and out of place, that people would be jerks and I was so nervous about Kolin.  I wanted to talk to him so badly.  As I sat in a front pew and thought about dad it came to me to just go tell Kolin how sorry I was that he had lost his dad.  Why do I have to worry about what these people think?  I have just as much right to be at my dad's funeral as anyone else.  So I walked up to Kolin and I said "I am SO sorry."  My voice was shaking and probably my whole body, too.  He said, "it's okay."  I touched his arm and said, "No...I am SO sorry about dad."  Do you know what happened next?  He opened up and talked to me most of the rest of the night.  He's such a smart, thoughtful young man.  I am so amazed with these brothers of mine!  

Someone walked up to me and Kolin and said, "Wow, you two really favor each other!  But I bet you hear that all the time."  Kolin looked at her and said, "Actually, I've never heard that in my life..."  I just cracked up.  It was so awkward and so awesome all at the same time.  It was so great to be seen with a sibling and recognized as belonging to each other.

The funeral was the next day and the service was wonderful.  Several of dad's friends stood up and spoke about what he meant to them.  When the pastor read off who dad was survived by, he said wife-Laura and then he said daughter-TARA.  Words cannot explain the healing and validation in that.  *I* matter.  He loved me.  I belong.  I started bawling my eyes out and I am sure that my brothers (who were sitting right next to ME!) thought I was crying because I was sad, but as Kyle held my hand, I was praising God that the little lost girl has a place in the world and that all the mean people in the church couldn't change that.  Praising God that I got to sit next to these smart, funny, handsome men who are my brothers.  Praising God that I get to be a sister-in-law and auntie to Annie and sweet Oliver (Kyle's girlfriend and son).  Praising God that even though dad is gone and I can never hear him redeem me with his words, I got the second half of a prayer that started when I was 8-years-old and I am redeemed with relationship.  Oh-how He loves us!
Balloon release in honor of dad after the service

 After the funeral, everyone went to the VFW for lunch.  I got to sit with my brothers, AGAIN.  I got to hold onto my little nephew, Oliver.  I got to listen to people tell stories about my dad...helping him live for me, helping me fill in the gaps of who he was and where I come from.  For 12 hours I heard people tell me how much I looked like him and that he loved me.  That they remembered me from when I was little or that I looked just like my brothers.  Before we all left, my Aunt Debbie had a picture taken of the three of us.  All the way back to my aunt's that night I held my phone to my chest with that picture up. 

The next night I got to eat dinner with Kyle, Annie and Oliver at their house.  I enjoyed myself so much.  I almost felt guilty that I was so happy, since I was there to bury my dad. 
Oliver is so amazingly precious.  I'm in love with him and his mom and dad are pretty great, too!

This morning I drove home and I felt like I was floating all the way.  How blessed am I!?  I had an absolutely amazing time with my family and I feel like all the baggage I've carried all these years is gone.  I didn't even realize I had it until it all fell away. 

You know that look on a kid's face when they first get handed their younger sibling?
Awe...(me and Shawna with mom and Kelly in the background-1987)

Pride...(me and Kelly-1986)

Excitement (me and Kelly-1986)





 Yeah, I feel all those things.  I feel like a little girl who just had two baby brothers brought home to her.  I am so in awe of the people they are.  I am proud of the family tie and their integrity.  I am excited to be a big sister to them, to know that God had this planned for me all along.

I'm a big sister to 2 sisters and 2 brothers!  WOW!  I loved and tried to protect my sisters growing up and I always wanted little brothers.  WOW!

This evening has been hard, being alone in the house...the full weight of what it means for dad to be gone is kinda getting me.  I can hear his deep, raspy voice tonight saying, "Well, I coulda called, too...I can pick up a phone."  Just like the last time we talked a week ago.  I suspect this will be hard for a while.  But it will be okay.  I'll keep on praying that I can be a sister to these boys I've wanted for 22 years. When you're tired of praying and you think God doesn't hear you...just remember this.  This is my testimony that He even bends low to hear the desperate prayers of little children who will walk away from Him.  He hears and He answers in His perfect time.  Oh-how He loves us!






10.26.2012

The Next Day

Wow, it feels GOOD to have a big thing behind us!  Corbin's surgery went well and he is such a trooper.  The nurses all laughed and joked about how smart, articulate and independent he is for such a young person.  He told the recovery nurse, "I don't want you talking to me right now."  Yepp, that's our boy!  I had brought him a sippy of coconut water and juice for him to drink in recovery and the nurse asked him, "Is that apple juice?"  He looked at her crazy and said, "NO!  It's just REGULAR juice!"  Once I got a hold of my bitty and got his clothes on him, they all cooed about how handsome he is.  Yepp.  My boy is so much like  his daddy!  He might get that sass and chatiness from his momma, though ;)

A new friend from small group came around 10am to hang out with Violet.  She is one lucky little duck, because they went to the Kansas City aquarium!  We haven't been there yet.  I was told that her very favorite parts were any parts with sharks.  My kids have a strange obsession with sharks.  haha

 On the way there he had lots of sass for momma.  He said he wanted to see the doctor, but he didn't want the doctor to fix his eye again.  Me either, bud.  To be fair, he was pretty hungry and thirsty and tired.  I was grateful that they put his cutoff time for food at 7am, though.  I woke him up early with sourdough pancakes, bacon, eggs and chocolate milk. 
 He felt a lot better once we got there and had a million toys to play with.  We had pre-registered, so all the time in the waiting room was for nothing.  We didn't get called back until 12.
 Once we went back and got his vitals (except he whined himself out of having to get his blood pressure taken) they asked him to change into his gown.  This did NOT last long...he wanted nothing to do with it.  We sat there a LONG time and he refused the goofy juice, too.
 There we are, sans jammies.  It was COLD in that room, I do not know how he was functioning like he was.  They finally came to get him about 1:30.  They took him back completely lucid, which was hard for me.  He reached for me and whined, and then when I was out of reach he covered his eyes and whimpered. 

In the waiting room I ate some lunch (I couldn't stand the idea of eating when he couldn't, so I was pretty shaky by that point.)  and was in there a little over an hour when the surgeon came down to let me know the surgery had gone great.  Then I had to wait 45 more minutes until he was out of the first recovery.
 Yeah, I look amazing...anyway.  He stayed naked that whole time, he didn't want the gown, he wouldn't let them put a blankie on him and he only wanted the stuff his mommy left with him (his favorite sheet with the alphabet on it and his sippy of juice.)  When they started wheeling him out, I could hear him telling the nurse, "I want my mommy now!"  I wanted my boy, too!
 We had to wait around for about 40 minutes because when he was in recovery he had a croupy cough so they gave him a breathing treatment.  During that time there was lots more sass and lots of cuddles and he got to have the rest of his juice, some goldfish crackers and some grapes.  He was really hungry!  When we finally got to leave, it took him all of about 7 minutes in the car to pass out again.  It's hard work to have a surgery.
 When we got home, he was still sleeping and daddy was home from work with the girls.  We took some time to clean up the house until he was ready to get up and when he came in, the girls were all over him.  He is their favorite little man!  We got him LOTS of food and he was so happy all night.  We all curled up and watched a movie together and passed out pretty quickly. 

Today has been lots of screaming and toddler-ness.  It's loads of fun, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  I'm so glad to have Corbin home and healthy.  We have to keep him inside as much as possible for a few days, and give him eye drops that he hates 4x/day for 10 days, but that's okay.
And here is my handsome man.  I've been staring at this picture all day.  He's growing out his whiskers, which he has never done and he looks darn good!  To be fair, he ALWAYS looks pretty darn good, but he makes Kansas feel like home with his whiskers and sweater and this cold weather.  He's just so all-American.  Who are these beautiful people the Lord has given me?

Today is full of busy-ness, but it is only today.  I fed the sourdough starter, cooked and pureed the pumpkins, figured out dinner and meals for the boys while we're gone.  I did the rest of the laundry and fetched a dead chicken from the hen house (Corbin's hen died last night...we don't know why, there are no marks.  I'm sad about this when I stop to think about it, but we will bury her to help the kids grieve).  I still need to pack some bags for the me and the girls so we can leave first thing in the morning.

It's a crazy week, but we feel so blessed.  So many people have been praying for us and checking on us and loving on us and I'm amazed that we can so readily see God's presence in all of this and these people when everything should be falling apart.  By Tuesday we should have most of the big things taken care of...trip to see dad, the job situation.  Then we'll be moving onto other todays.

Love and miss you all!
~Tara

10.24.2012

Tomorrow's Worries

Maybe today, tomorrow's worries are catching up with me.  Today, though, I have some planning to do.

Tomorrow is Corbin's 3rd eye surgery.  This one is far more involved than the other two have been.  The other surgeries were about fifteen minutes long.  The surgeon wrote down ninety for this one.  This one carries more risk, but this one is not as risky as the surgery he *really* needs and will likely have some day in the future-unless God works a miracle.  He's in that business, you know.  But from the doctors' points of view, Corbin will have to have a DCR when he is a little bigger.  It's a tricky surgery so all other surgeries have been, in effect, just stalling the inevitable.  We are grateful to be in the hands of a skilled surgeon.  We are grateful that we moved to a place that so happens to have the surgeon most experienced in this kind of pediatric surgery.  We are grateful to put this third surgery behind us tomorrow.

Allan's job is...how shall I say this?  He's on a sinking ship, and we've been figuring out ways to jump ship and come out ahead.  There's a lot of prayer going on here, and we're grateful that all doors are shutting except for one.  The one door that is opened will be hard.  It will be extremely trying, difficult, crazy...it will be incredibly rewarding and if it pans out we could finally stop bailing water.  All glory to God for any good things that happen to us!

My dad's condition has deteriorated even more.  He went back to the hospital after being home for a few months and they are now "keeping him comfortable."  I feel an urgency to see him.  I feel trapped because this weekend, Corbin will be newly post-op.  Next weekend we have a friend and her family coming to see us (PRAISE GOD!).  The following weekend we are flying up to PA to see Allan's grandma for "the last time" as she puts it.  She's also gifting us her 94 sedan that will be a much more reliable vehicle than my Jeep (PRAISE GOD!) Then starts the Thanksgiving and Christmas busy-ness and WOAH, the end of the year will be here before I can blink.

ONE.DAY.AT.A.TIME. Tara.

So...since this weekend is really the only one semi-free, and I feel like the longer I wait, the less likely it will be that he even knows that I'm there, Allan and I are discussing the possibility of just me and the girls going up for a fly-by-night visit.  I can't stomach the idea of taking Corbin so far from his doctors or exposing him to all the hospital super-bugs 2 days post-op with surgical wounds, so he and Allan will stay home.  We are thankful to be a two-parent family so that trips like this are possible.  We are thankful that we have an opportunity to go-even if it's not ideal-this weekend.  We are thankful that I might be able to give my dad's heart some peace with my visit.

Planning.  Today's task is planning.  And I don't think we can afford it-really.  But I read something the other day that just defines everything.

"Not having money should not keep you from doing the right thing.  Ever."

God will provide.  We will be more than fine.  We will continue doing the right thing and He will continue to provide for all we need.  For our DAILY.BREAD.  Because we're committing to living ONE.DAY.AT.A.TIME. For His glory.

10.22.2012

ONE.DAY.AT.A.TIME.

I have been using this mantra with myself over and over again.  Onedayatatime.  People say that all the time, but do we ever stop to think about what it really means?  I thought it was cute, but idealistic.  Who can really live one day at a time?  We need to plan for things, we need to prepare. 

Last week I felt broken. I don't understand some things.  I don't understand why the momentum on the adoption front was so great and then it felt like it just stopped.  I don't understand why my little man has to have another surgery on  his eye.  I don't understand why some companies have to treat their employees like crap and then lie about it so they don't get into trouble.  I don't understand why we can't take the kids to do fun things or buy the things we need to buy as soon as we need them.  I don't understand why so many of my friends have moved on when I'm still right in the thick of missing them.

So in my exhaustion, I talked to God and I told Him, fine.  I will do this one day at a time.  But that phrase had a new meaning.  It means me looking around and asking God, "What do You have for me to do today."  Somedays that means picking up after little people and being sure there's a meal on the table at night.  Somedays that means doing some planning ahead-like meal planning or grocery shopping or asking for a sitter while Corbin's having his surgery.

It's amazing, because I feel like I have so much more time.  Sometimes when I'm still and quiet, I can hear Him say, "Go watch a video with Corbin and Violet."  It's something I did automatically with GraceAnne because I was so sick when she was little, but I don't do it as often with these two.  So I listen and I feel so blessed to have these amazing little people in my life.  The whole day goes more smoothly and the stresses seem to lift.

Tomorrow has its own worries, and we have plenty of reason to be concerned with tomorrow, but we have so much more reason to take hope in today!  God is good and He will not fail us, even when we don't understand. 

What do I have to do for today?

Make a menu plan
Get the littles dressed
Grocery shop
Possibly go to Target for some tennis shoes
Pick GraceAnne up from school
Get dinner on the table.
Pray with my family...many times
Find something to do to make all my loved ones feel loved.
Get lots of rest so this cold will heal.

How about you?  What do you have to do for today?

10.16.2012

That's all I got.

How do I write my heart?  It's broken right now, but I know full well it's only for a small time.  God will renew me and I'll mount up on wings like eagles again.  But for right now, I'm just sad.  Momentum was fantastic and all summer everything was going so quickly, all on its own.  Then as soon as we had something to do for ourselves, we started hitting brick walls-again.

Notice that?  No, it's not lost on me.  When we leave it all up to God, it gets accomplished.  When we start doing things on our own, we grow weary and broken-hearted. 

Don't get me wrong-there have been so many victories in this.  People have stepped up to the plate to help us and we are so incredibly grateful.  I just need to remember where my help comes from. 

And I need to rest.  All three of the kids and I are sick.  Head colds, I guess, but we're all miserable and kinda grouchy and very tired. 

The pastor at the church we've been attending preached on Sunday about some steps to following Christ.  He played a video clip about a family who got lost in a corn maze and dialed 911 to come rescue them.  In the video, people were pretty incredulous and gave people tips on how to get through the maze.

1. Listen for the cars...the end of the maze is near the parking lot, so just listen for the cars and walk that way.
2. Look up at the treeline. 
3. (Pastor's addition) Walk straight through the corn.

When you're walking through a maze and you keep hitting dead ends, it's easy to just throw your hands up, sit down, weep and get ready to call 911.  But then it's time to find your horizon.  My Horizon is Christ and too often I get my marching orders and then I'm like, "OH!  I can do *this* to get to that place!"  Maybe "this" is what I'm supposed to do and maybe it's not, but I have been guilty of looking at the treeline, finding North and looking back down to figure out how I can navigate the terrain to get to North.  Then I feel discouraged when ONE.MORE.TIME. I'm stuck. 

My marching orders right now are to take GraceAnne to school.  Then go to the recycle center.  Then to come home and nurse these sick babies.  Past that, I don't know.  And I guess that's how it should be and I guess that's going to have to be okay.  Type A personality, be damned.  Literally.

10.10.2012

Raffle for over $500 in prizes! Ends 10/15/12

What can you WIN!?
Tier 1=Pampered Chef. We have a total of 14 prizes (14 winners!) worth over $250 total.
We need to sell a minimum total of 75 sticker sheets to draw for Tier 1. 
 
Tier 1 Items: 
Mini Scoop & Measure (5.50 value)
Twixit Clips (6.00 value)

Tie Its (7.50 value)
Soups, Stews & Chilis cookbook (8.00 value)
Cranberry Microfiber towel (8.50 value)

Large Serving Spatula (10.00 value)
Bar Board (10.00 value)

Slotted Bamboo spoon set (11.00 value)
Make it Fresh, Make it Healthy cookbook (15.00 value)
2-cup prep bowl set (16.00 value)
Batter Bowl Set includes small batter bowl and large batter bowl (28.50 value)
Ridged Baker (30.00 value)

Large Bar Pan (35.00 value)
Dressed Up Desserts Gift Bundle Bundle includes Shimmering Glass Round Platter, Beaded Cake & Pie Server and The Pampered Chef® Chocolate cookbook. (59.50 value)
Tier 2= Equal Exchange. We have 17 prizes (17 winners!) worth $235 total
We need to sell a minimum*total* (including entries from Tier 1) of 150 pencils to draw for Tier 2.
 
Tier 2 Items:

(6) 20 ct boxes Organic Chai Tea. Fairly Traded (6 winners worth $5 each)

(2) 12oz canisters Organic Hot Cocoa Mix (2 winners worth $8 each)

(6) 12oz bags Organic Breakfast Blend Coffee. Fairly Traded. (6 winners worth $11 each)

Beautiful Body Care Kit includes 2 bars handmade soap scented with cucumber and coconut and a natural fiber body scrubber tied together in a palm leaf basket ($18 value)

Crowd Pleaser Gift Basket includes 1 ground coffee, 2 chocolate bars, 1 hot cocoa, 1 tea in a grass basket ($45 value)

Fair Trader Gift Basket includes 2 ground coffees, 4 chocolate bars, 1 hot cocoa, 1 tea in a grass basket ($60 value)


Tier 3=Your choice of prize worth $75. Do you need a spa day? Do you want to take your spouse to a great dinner date? Do you need a g/c to help with Christmas presents? This is 1 gift, 1 winner, your choice. $75 value.
We need to sell a minimum*total* (including entries from the first 2 Tiers) of 250 pencils to draw for Tier 3.
Tier 3 Items:A prize of winner's choice totalling $75. If your name is drawn for this prize, you can choose a gas card, restaurant gift card, gift card to Toys R Us, or whatever your heart desires, (for $75) as long as I can purchase the prize online and have it shipped directly to you.  We absolutely will put a restriction on this, as we are FAMILY with conservative values, so we will NOT purchase you a naughty magazine subscription, a case of beer or a gift certificate to the gift shop at your local nudist colony.  Moving on.

Questions?  Leave a message below

Ready?  Set...Here are the buttons to purchase your stickers/pencils and recieve your FREE bonus entries for the raffle!




5.00 sticker sheet+ 1 FREE raffle entry


20.00 pencil + 5 FREE raffle entries
 
After you click and purchase, remember to SHARE!!
Thanks so much and God Bless!
 

ONE FREE ENTRY PER PERSON! (All other entries are also free, but "bonus entries") a Rafflecopter giveaway

the not-so-fine print

To adhere to Kansas rules, the raffle is FREE, but your 5.00 donation will purchase you a *real* sheet of stickers. With the purchase of a sheet of stickers, you will recieve ONE FREE ENTRY into the raffle. Your 20.00 donation will purchase you a *real* pencil. With the purchase of a pencil, you will recieve FIVE FREE ENTRIES into the raffle. You will actually recieve those items purchased in the mail after the winners of the raffle are drawn on Monday, October 15th. If you are one of the lucky winners of the FREE raffle, then your purchase will be included in your prize package. 

So we are selling stickers and pencils and GIVING AWAY raffle tickets for what I will call a "tiered" fundraiser. A $5 sticker will earn you 1 entry into the giveaway. A $20 pencil will earn you 5 entries. I will include "checkout buttons" on the side and bottoms of the fundraising posts.

Our goal is to have at least 250 entries.

IMPORTANT: ANY AND ALL FUNDS RAISED FROM THE SALE OF STICKERS OR PENCILS WILL GO DIRECTLY TO PURCHASING PRIZES AND SHIPPING THEM. REMAINING DONATIONS WILL FUND OUR HOMESTUDY. IF ANY MONEY REMAINS AFTER, IT WILL BE SAVED FOR FUTURE ADOPTION COSTS


THIS IS GOING TO BE SO MUCH FUN!
The Deets:
We will close this raffle on Monday, October 15th so that our homestudy packet can be turned in on the 18th (time for the money to deposit into the adoption account) when we take Corbin in for his pre-op appointment. (Both are about 40 minutes away in the same direction, so I'd love to take 1 trip instead of 2) I will draw for the winners via randomizer Monday, October 15th at 9:00PM CST. I will place orders for the prizes that same evening and winners will get their items within 2 weeks.

Entries will be drawn randomly. Each winner wins ONE prize. For example, if entry #351 is drawn for prize 2, Tier 1, the person associated with that entry will win the Pampered Chef Twixit Clip set. 1 person can win more than once, but each entry will be discarded as it is drawn. For example, if you earned 4 entries and your name is drawn for 1 prize, that number will be discarded, but your 3 remaining entries are still in the pool for further drawings.

Remember also: This won't work if you don't SHARE! If you purchase a pencil and recieve 5 entries, but only 10 entries total enter, we can't give away the prizes because our family has to actually pay for these prizes out of the proceeds from your purchases.

10.07.2012

The Officially Official "Sale" and FREE Raffle

It turns out that it is illegal to "sell" raffle tickets in the state of Kansas.  To adhere to Kansas rules, the raffle is now FREE, but your 5.00 donation will purchase you a *real* sheet of stickers.  With the purchase of a sheet of stickers, you will recieve ONE FREE ENTRY into the raffle.  Your 20.00 donation will purchase you a *real* pencil.  With the purchase of a pencil, you will recieve FIVE FREE ENTRIES into the raffle.  You will actually recieve those items purchased in the mail after the winners of the raffle are drawn on Monday, October 15th.  If you are one of the lucky winners of the FREE raffle, then your purchase will be included in your prize package. 

You really don't want to miss this raffle, we have over $500 worth of prizes.  See the details below:
If you don't know, our family is in the process of adoption called the "home study"  It is what it sounds like, they study our home and us to make sure we're fit to give more kids to.  We have to pay for the homestudy and aren't eligible for grants until it is complete and we are then "home study ready."  We need the help of our friends and family (and now anyone who wants to win an amazing prize!) to raise the rest of the money we need to be able to turn our booklet in.

So we are selling stickers and pencils and GIVING AWAY raffle tickets for what I will call a "tiered" fundraiser.  A $5 sticker will earn you 1 entry into the giveaway. A $20 pencil will earn you 5 entries.  I will include "checkout buttons" on the side and bottoms of the fundraising posts.

Our goal is to have at least 250 entries.

IMPORTANT: ANY AND ALL FUNDS RAISED FROM THE SALE OF STICKERS OR PENCILS WILL GO DIRECTLY TO PURCHASING PRIZES AND SHIPPING THEM.  REMAINING DONATIONS WILL FUND OUR HOMESTUDY.  IF ANY MONEY REMAINS AFTER, IT WILL BE SAVED FOR FUTURE ADOPTION COSTS


THIS IS GOING TO BE SO MUCH FUN!
The Deets:
We will close this raffle on Monday, October 15th so that our homestudy packet can be turned in on the 18th (time for the money to deposit into the adoption account) when we take Corbin in for his pre-op appointment. (Both are about 40 minutes away in the same direction, so I'd love to take 1 trip instead of 2) I will draw for the winners via randomizer Monday, October 15th at 9:00PM CST. I will place orders for the prizes that same evening and winners will get their items within 2 weeks. 

Entries will be drawn randomly.  Each winner wins ONE prize.  For example, if entry #351 is drawn for prize 2, Tier 1, the person associated with that entry will win the Pampered Chef Twixit Clip set.  1 person can win more than once, but each entry will be discarded as it is drawn.  For example, if you earned 4 entries and your name is drawn for 1 prize, that number will be discarded, but your 3 remaining entries are still in the pool for further drawings. 

Remember: Christmas is coming up!  Items you win could go as Christmas presents. 

Remember also: This won't work if you don't SHARE!  If you purchase a pencil and recieve 5 entries, but only 10 entries total enter, we can't give away the prizes because our family has to actually pay for these prizes out of the proceeds from your purchases. 

Now for the fun part...what can you WIN!?
Tier 1=Pampered Chef. We have a total of 14 prizes (14 winners!) worth over $250 total.
We need to sell a minimum total of 75 sticker sheets to draw for Tier 1. 
 
Tier 1 Items: 
Mini Scoop & Measure (5.50 value)
Twixit Clips (6.00 value)

Tie Its (7.50 value)
Soups, Stews & Chilis cookbook (8.00 value)
Cranberry Microfiber towel (8.50 value)

Large Serving Spatula (10.00 value)
Bar Board (10.00 value)

Slotted Bamboo spoon set (11.00 value)
Make it Fresh, Make it Healthy cookbook (15.00 value)
2-cup prep bowl set (16.00 value)
Batter Bowl Set includes small batter bowl and large batter bowl (28.50 value)
Ridged Baker (30.00 value)

Large Bar Pan (35.00 value)
Dressed Up Desserts Gift Bundle Bundle includes Shimmering Glass Round Platter, Beaded Cake & Pie Server and The Pampered Chef® Chocolate cookbook. (59.50 value)
Tier 2= Equal Exchange. We have 17 prizes (17 winners!) worth $235 total
We need to sell a minimum*total* (including entries from Tier 1) of 150 pencils to draw for Tier 2.
 
Tier 2 Items:

(6) 20 ct boxes Organic Chai Tea. Fairly Traded (6 winners worth $5 each)

(2) 12oz canisters Organic Hot Cocoa Mix (2 winners worth $8 each)

(6) 12oz bags Organic Breakfast Blend Coffee. Fairly Traded. (6 winners worth $11 each)

Beautiful Body Care Kit includes 2 bars handmade soap scented with cucumber and coconut and a natural fiber body scrubber tied together in a palm leaf basket ($18 value)

Crowd Pleaser Gift Basket includes 1 ground coffee, 2 chocolate bars, 1 hot cocoa, 1 tea in a grass basket ($45 value)

Fair Trader Gift Basket includes 2 ground coffees, 4 chocolate bars, 1 hot cocoa, 1 tea in a grass basket ($60 value)


Tier 3=Your choice of prize worth $75. Do you need a spa day? Do you want to take your spouse to a great dinner date? Do you need a g/c to help with Christmas presents? This is 1 gift, 1 winner, your choice. $75 value.
We need to sell a minimum*total* (including entries from the first 2 Tiers) of 250 pencils to draw for Tier 3.
Tier 3 Items:A prize of winner's choice totalling $75. If your name is drawn for this prize, you can choose a gas card, restaurant gift card, gift card to Toys R Us, or whatever your heart desires, (for $75) as long as I can purchase the prize online and have it shipped directly to you.  We absolutely will put a restriction on this, as we are FAMILY with conservative values, so we will NOT purchase you a naughty magazine subscription, a case of beer or a gift certificate to the gift shop at your local nudist colony.  Moving on.

Questions?  Leave a message below

Ready?  Set...Here are the buttons to purchase your stickers/pencils and recieve your FREE bonus entries for the raffle!




5.00 sticker sheet+ 1 FREE raffle entry


20.00 pencil + 5 FREE raffle entries
 
After you click and purchase, remember to SHARE!!
Thanks so much and God Bless!
ONE FREE ENTRY PER PERSON! (All other entries are also free, but "bonus entries") a Rafflecopter giveaway

10.05.2012

Kicking it in the Crotch

What the?

When GraceAnne was little and we still lived in Washington state and I had mono SO BAD, she and I used to watch A LOT of Food Network.  One of our favorites (or maybe it was just on at the time we laid on the couch every day) was Emeril.

 Remember Emeril Legasse?  "BAM!"  "Kick it up a notch!"  "Another notch when we come back!"
Well, sweet GraceAnne really loved Emeril, and when we would cook dinner she would say "BAM, Mommy!  BAM!" 

One day she thought she'd try out his other signature phrase and very enthusiastically said, "KICK IT IN THE CROTCH!"  It has stuck.  So now, for the 2nd attempt at hitting our goal for the home study funds, we will be "kicking it it the crotch." 

If you don't know, our family is in the process of adoption called the "home study"  It is what it sounds like, they study our home and us to make sure we're fit to give more kids to.  We have to pay for the homestudy and aren't eligible for grants until it is complete and we are then "home study ready."  We need the help of our friends and family (and now anyone who wants to win an amazing prize!) to raise the rest of the money we need to be able to turn our booklet in.

So we are selling raffle tickets for what I will call a "tiered" fundraiser.  A $5 donation gets 1 entry into the giveaway. A $20 donation will get 5 entries.  I will include "checkout buttons" on the side and bottoms of the fundraising posts.

Our goal is to have at least 250 entries.

IMPORTANT: ANY AND ALL FUNDS RAISED FROM THIS RAFFLE WITH GO DIRECTLY TO PURCHASING PRIZES AND SHIPPING THEM.  REMAINING DONATIONS WILL FUND OUR HOMESTUDY.  IF ANY MONEY REMAINS AFTER, IT WILL BE SAVED FOR FUTURE ADOPTION COSTS


THIS IS GOING TO BE SO MUCH FUN!
The Deets:
We will close this raffle on Monday, October 15th so that our homestudy packet can be turned in on the 18th (time for the money to deposit into the adoption account) when we take Corbin in for his pre-op appointment. (Both are about 40 minutes away in the same direction, so I'd love to take 1 trip instead of 2) I will draw for the winners via randomizer Monday, October 15th at 9:00PM CST. I will place orders for the prizes that same evening and winners will get their items within 2 weeks. 

Entries will be drawn randomly.  Each winner wins ONE prize.  For example, if entry #351 is drawn for prize 2, Tier 1, the person associated with that entry will win the Pampered Chef Twixit Clip set.  1 person can win more than once, but each entry will be discarded as it is drawn.  For example, if you purchase 4 entries and your name is drawn for 1 prize, that number will be discarded, but your 3 remaining entries are still in the pool for further drawings. 

Remember: Christmas is coming up!  Items you win could go as Christmas presents. 

Remember also: This won't work if you don't SHARE!  If you purchase 5 entries, but only 10 entries total enter, we can't give away the prizes because our family has to actually pay for these prizes out of the donations. 

Now for the fun part...what can you WIN!?
Tier 1=Pampered Chef. We have a total of 14 prizes (14 winners!) worth over $250 total.
We need to have a minimum total of 75 entries to draw for Tier 1. 
 
Tier 1 Items: 
Mini Scoop & Measure (5.50 value)
Twixit Clips (6.00 value)

Tie Its (7.50 value)
Soups, Stews & Chilis cookbook (8.00 value)
Cranberry Microfiber towel (8.50 value)

Large Serving Spatula (10.00 value)
Bar Board (10.00 value)

Slotted Bamboo spoon set (11.00 value)
Make it Fresh, Make it Healthy cookbook (15.00 value)
2-cup prep bowl set (16.00 value)
Batter Bowl Set includes small batter bowl and large batter bowl (28.50 value)
Ridged Baker (30.00 value)

Large Bar Pan (35.00 value)
Dressed Up Desserts Gift Bundle Bundle includes Shimmering Glass Round Platter, Beaded Cake & Pie Server and The Pampered Chef® Chocolate cookbook. (59.50 value)
Tier 2= Equal Exchange. We have 17 prizes (17 winners!) worth $235 total
We need to have a minimum*total* (including entries from Tier 1) of 150 entries to draw for Tier 2.
 
Tier 2 Items:

(6) 20 ct boxes Organic Chai Tea. Fairly Traded (6 winners worth $5 each)

(2) 12oz canisters Organic Hot Cocoa Mix (2 winners worth $8 each)

(6) 12oz bags Organic Breakfast Blend Coffee. Fairly Traded. (6 winners worth $11 each)

Beautiful Body Care Kit includes 2 bars handmade soap scented with cucumber and coconut and a natural fiber body scrubber tied together in a palm leaf basket ($18 value)

Crowd Pleaser Gift Basket includes 1 ground coffee, 2 chocolate bars, 1 hot cocoa, 1 tea in a grass basket ($45 value)

Fair Trader Gift Basket includes 2 ground coffees, 4 chocolate bars, 1 hot cocoa, 1 tea in a grass basket ($60 value)


Tier 3=Your choice of prize worth $75. Do you need a spa day? Do you want to take your spouse to a great dinner date? Do you need a g/c to help with Christmas presents? This is 1 gift, 1 winner, your choice. $75 value.
We need to have a minimum*total* (including entries from the first 2 Tiers) of 250 entries to draw for Tier 3.
Tier 3 Items:A prize of winner's choice totalling $75. If your name is drawn for this prize, you can choose a gas card, restaurant gift card, gift card to Toys R Us, or whatever your heart desires, (for $75) as long as I can purchase the prize online and have it shipped directly to you.  We absolutely will put a restriction on this, as we are FAMILY with conservative values, so we will NOT purchase you a naughty magazine subscription, a case of beer or a gift certificate to the gift shop at your local nudist colony.  Moving on.

Questions?  Leave a message below

Ready?  Set...Here are the buttons to donate for your entries!




5.00 donation=1 entry into raffle


20.00 donation=5 entries into raffle
 
After you click and donate, remember to SHARE!!
Thanks so much and God Bless!

10.03.2012

Did She go to Vegas?

Hey there folks!  So we didn't meet our deadline, the money is still sitting in the PayPal account waiting for when we can gather it all.  We will probably have to re-submit some forms since they were time sensitive but we are still doing this thing.

Here's the latest breakdown of funds:

Total fees for home study: 1231.80

PayPal balance: (Donations by people like you!) 469.19  (OMG!  I am so completely blown away and in awe!)
Change jar raid: 200.24
Cash Donations: 40.00
Checks by mail: 85.00
____________________________________
794.43

Fees-Balance=437.37

That's not much!  Not when a few weeks ago we were looking at 1231.80 and wondering how in the world!  That's only 88 more people giving $5 each.  Rest assured, we are looking around the house for things to sell, but we've already gotten rid of most of our "stuff."  I have been eye-balling Allan's parts truck for the scrap metal, though.  We'll see how that goes. 

I haven't been around much the last couple of days because we always get paid the first part of the month.  By the end of the month, we are down to pantry shopping (which is why I have a pantry, of course!!) so the first few days of the month are always spent busily driving too many miles to get food that is actually good for us.  Monday we spent most of the day at the park, meeting someone who will be an amazing resource for us.  She has a degree in family therapy and worked closely with adopted children with attachment disorders.  WOAH!

Yesterday the littles and I went down to Overland Park, a bigger town with a Whole Foods and a Costco.  When I have to drive that far, I like to make sure the trip is worth it, so we also met up with a woman selling raw cream and milk.  I have been wanting to add butter back into my diet, but I wanted to add *real* butter, so I met up with her.  Turns out she grew up in foster care, never could be adopted because no one could find her birth mother.  She lived in over 15 different homes and you would never even believe the amazing woman she is.  SO kind and loving and beautiful.  I am so grateful to have met her.  She's 48 and last Thanksgiving her birth mother (in England) found HER, so next week she is meeting her for the very first time.  WOAH!

Last night was our first official foster parenting class, and that was good.  I think I heal more from these trainings we go to for our future adoptive children than anything else ever has.  I am so glad God is walking this path with me before I walk it with a little person!

Today I'm nursing the ickies.  I had 2 cups of my honey/lemon/ginger tea this morning and I'm rocking a super smoothie.  I'm going to try to eat only raw today (except for dinner, I am SO looking forward to baked fish and sweet potato fries!) to see if I can't get this nasty feeling out before tomorrow. 

And that's about it for me.  Tonight is our small group, and GraceAnne has a 4-day weekend.  We're going camping this weekend and the kids are super stoked.  It will be really good to get out of the house and just BE with each other.  It's supposed to be pretty cold this weekend, though, so I need to make sure I really bundle these little Texans.  (Me too.  BRRRRRRR!)

I'm changing out the ticker on the side because the ChipIn button irritates me.  I can't change it to reflect what we've already raised, so buh-bye.  Of course, here is the donate button:


 
 
And please pray that these funds come.  The more time that goes by, the more things expire and then we'll have to come up with fees again (for our background checks, etc) and bother our friends for more reference forms and well, paperwork already abounds, so avoiding extra is always a good thing!  We even got an inch of papers from our foster parent class last night that we get to fill out, too.  (Don't tell anyone, but I do kinda enjoy filling out forms.  Allan marvels at how quickly/efficiently I can do it and have my handwriting still be legible.  What a skill, right?  God knows what He's doing when He passes out the talents ;P )
 
We do so appreciate all that you're doing for us and the love, support and prayers you've given.  It should go without saying that we truly, deeply appreciate the donations, but it shouldn't, in good form, go without saying, so THANK YOU for your help and your generosity.  God will bless you abundantly for helping us and for helping the children He will bring to this household. 
 
All our love!
-Tara

9.29.2012

What's Really Happening

PRAISE GOD!  Another $50 donation came in last night, so we're down to needing 544.04 more to be able to send in our homestudy packet on Monday! 

I wanted to have a little fun today, and the blog has been desperately devoid of pictures the last several days.  Have you seen those posters with 6 cells going around on Facebook?  The ones where it says, "What my mom thinks I do, what society thinks I do, what I really do"?  I thought I'd make one of my own based on a verse that is helping me today. 

1 Corinthians 9:24-Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

This is what I thought I'd do.  *I* did it!  *I* paid for our home study!  Or *I* raised the funds for our homestudy!

This is what I *feel* like, asking people to help us.
 
This is the reality...needing God and people to help me while I'm weary.
 
And THIS is the only way we will finish.  To have faith and to run TOGETHER to win the prize!
 
I don't have to tell you again that I need your help.  But I will.  Because I need to keep leaning on my support until the 4th picture is a reality.  We don't deserve your help, we're just a normal family with a big calling, but we appreciate it and with your help, a fatherless child will find a warm, loving home and some pancakes on Saturday mornings.
 
We're not saints.  We're not martyrs.  We're just people in need of help and feeling very vulnerable.  But we have a BIG faith in a BIG God who never stops using His people to further His kingdom's cause.  We're in the process of giving all we have toward this.  We are so humbled and grateful for your love and support and we need it MORE THAN EVER as these are the last 2 days before we're scheduled to turn our packet in. 
 
There are THREE ways to help.
 
1. You can help us the most by SHARING this page with everyone you know.  They will share with the people they know and think about it...your friends list on FB is how many?  What if only 10% of them passed it on to their friends list?  And 10% of them passed it on?  That's exponential growth!!  The better the publicity, the better the chances that we get word out to those God has planned to help.
 

2. You can help by DONATING.  There is a ChipIn button on the side bar at the top of the blog.  You can't see it if you're mobile, in which case, there is a PayPal DONATE button to click on directly following my post here.  (Thank you, Shawn, for helping me figure that out last night!)  If you select "gift" when checking out with PP, 100% of your donation will come to us (no fees taken out).  We only need 108 more people to donate $5 each!  That's not many people at all!!
 


 
3. If you have a baby in your life, you can click on the banner to purchase some amazing baby shoes and if you mention us (Doyle Adoption) at the checkout, she will donate $5 from your purchase to our home study fees.  This is only good until Sunday, September 30th at 11:59pm.  That's tomorrow night!  Be sure to get a pair for the baby/toddler you love and then spread word of THAT sale, too!! 


And because it bears repeating, THANK YOU for your prayers.  I kinda mixed up the order a bit up there, didn't I?  Prayer is truly the very, very best way you can help!  Allow me to put some faces with those prayers for you, please.
This is our family.  Allan, Tara, Rhiya, GraceAnne, Violet & Corbin.

 This is a sibling group here in Kansas that we asked for prayer for.  They need a home like so many other kids in the system, but larger sibling groups are harder to adopt out because people are scared to take on so many at once.  Please lift these precious babies up, that their forever family comes to find them soon!  They are Tykia, Triquanna, Tadya, Tywron and Jerry
And this is a sibling group in Texas who also needs a forever home.  Aren't they adorable!?  Same prayer requests, of course and that ALL of these children will grow in the Lord and have HOPE for their futures.  They are Da'Shawn, Xravia, Ny'Teia, Tre'Drian, Drelon and D'Camren.

Thank you so much, God bless you and we pray you have a fabulous weekend!