Nov 22, 2011

Tutu much fun!

With the holiday season kicking off this week we have been busy preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas fun.  The girls have been rehearsing for a performance at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and the community children's concert. They are both really excited. At the lighting they will be all decked out as who's from Dr Seuss's Whoville. I have been busy making costumes and figuring out how to get who hair to stand up!  So much fun!!! (I will DEFINITELY share pics later!!) I made a Christmas tutu for Genna to wear as part of her costume. Very Cindy Lou Who I think!! Grace requested some crazy, funky Christmas pants. Holly leaves, the words Holly & Jolly, and bright Christmas colors adorn her new pants! I am sure all  the Who's will be a sight to see!

Something else exciting happened in the process of making costumes. I shared the tutu photo on fb and had another adoptive mom suggested that I sell them as a fundraiser. (Why didn't I think of that?!!) I already have a couple of orders and can't wait to get more!! So if you would like to order one for your Christmas sweetie you can order through my Paypal link on the right. They are $22.50 with shipping or $20 if local. All profit goes towards our adoption.  ***In the purpose area on Paypal please write your child's waist size, height, and the word tutu. Thanks so much! I can't wait to make some more!!!

~ANDREA

Nov 14, 2011

Blessed

Let me just start by saying that there are moments and days in my life were I feel there is no possible way I could ever be more blessed. It is true.  I am a daughter of the most high and He has been so generous to me.

This month I am taking stock. Each day sharing something or someone I am thankful for.

 Days 1-14

Day 1: Today I am thankful for warm blankets on cool nights.

Day 2: I am thankful for insurance and readily available doctors.

Day 3: I am thankful for clean water that is accessible right here in my home.

Day 4: I am thankful for transportation. Gas is high but we have always been able to keep it in our tanks and for that I am thankful.

Day 5: I am thankful for my kitchen, the gathering place of our house. I am thankful that many of our family and friends visit it often. That the table that I celebrated every one of my childhood birthdays at and ate most of my meals at, is the same one I eat at with my family each night.

Day 6: I am thankful for morning time with my girls. They sit on my bed or run around the room while I get ready. "Girl talk" is what they think we do, memories is what I know we're making.

Day 7: I am thankful for the guy I started dating at the age of 16 and married at 19. The one who I have shared more than half my life with. Josh can make me smile like no one else. He is truly my best friend.


Day 8: I am thankful for the ministry that I work at and the team that I work with. To be able to go to work each day and to share the message of hope and love with families is a HUGE blessing. There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful for the opportunity to be a part of it. Standing each day with people who love Jesus and love kids!

Day 9: Thankful for great teachers, administrators, and schools that my children love.

Day 10: Thankful for to live in a neighborhood were neighbors lookout for one another and always lend a hand.

Day 11: I am so very thankful for my children. Each one unique and different from the others. God has given me many gifts that have forever changed me and they are a few of them. I appreciate life and all that it holds a little more each day because of them. Grace hates injustice and would give until she has none. Genna loves everyone she meets and is bursting with joy. Delaney has a sweet spirit about her and prays everyday for "da whole fide fworld".

Day 12: Thankful for family. Josh and I were both raised in Christian homes. We were raised to love God and love others for that we are truly thankful. My parents displayed a love that was never based on conditions. I have aunt and sister that our priceless to meand extended family that I am thankful for as well. I am thankful also to be a part of Josh's family.

Day 13: I am thankful for friends. Friends old and friends new. Friends who walk beside you regardless of where life's path takes you. I am so blessed to have always had great friends!!

Day 14: I am so very thankful for each person God has placed in our path on this adoption journey. Our AGCI peeps have been a huge blessing to us. There have also been others who have educated and inspired us through out this journey. We are thankful for each one!!!
Here are just a few of them!

Each day we must make the decision whether to focus on the what we think our lives are lacking or to look around and embrace the blessings that are already there!

~ANDREA



Nov 3, 2011

Full Sprint Ahead!

We are hitting the fundraising road once again. This time we are taking off with a sprint. With the possibilty of a sibling referral now awaiting us, the fees with be more than we had planned for.

Sooo...
We are hoping to provide a few services and some great gifts that can be bought just in time for Christmas in order to raise the money we need to be able to say YES to whatever the Lord chooses for us.
****We have opened up our own "coffee shop" thanks to
Just Love Coffee.


When you purchase from our store we receive a portion towards the cost of our adoption.
Lots of great fair trade organic coffee just in time for Christmas!
What a great way to double your giving this Christmas!
Buy a bag coffee as a gift= giving to our adoption and to the receiver of the coffee!


****We are lending a hand to all those Black Friday shoppers.
That's right on Nov 25th we are opening our house up from 7am - 1pm for the locals to leave their children and do their Christmas shopping kid free!
Don't worry we can handle the extra kids, we have lots of great helpers in our house!

And...
**** We also have our adoption tees available. You can clink on the link above to find out more information.

Have a GREAT rest of the week! ~ANDREA

Oct 30, 2011

Exciting News!!


After much prayer....We are excited to announce that we have extended our parameters!!
We will now be waiting for a referral of a boy, girl, or set of siblings (2) up to the age of 24 months!

We would have liked to increase the age even more but our agency requires us to continue our current birth order.  So that means the child or children we adopt must be at least 10 months younger then our youngest. This isn't an E*thiopia requirement, just one a few agencies have.
We are also open to a child or children with special needs. Which could mean lots of different needs. It is really hard to explain exactly what that may be. We are just continuing to pray for whatever child(ren) the Lord has for us.

I look at the picture above of our sweet stair steps (really...they are 3', 4', and 5'!!) and I am overwhelmed with joy just thinking of what this picture will look like in the future. We have been so blessed in our role as parents. The ups and downs, highs and lows, it has all been worth it.

This year our hearts have already been pulled and stretched in a thousand ways just dealing with the new phases these three have entered. Each success and struggle have brought great growth to our children, to us as parents, and to the family as a whole. I can't even imagine what the journey ahead is going to look like or what it has in store.


A bit of scripture that I think every parent needs tucked away in their heart.
I need to be reminded of it now and I am sure I will in the years to come.

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.   Lamentations 3:22-23


Oct 29, 2011

Scripture Saturday



Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.   Colossians 3:23-24

Oct 22, 2011

Saturday Scripture

I have decided to try something new on the blog. Every Saturday, instead of a post about us or anything else, I am going to try to simply share a piece of scripture.
 One of the greatest gifts in this life for me has been God's word.
In our house, one of the first things we strive to teach the girls is the value of the Bible. Miss D is now in the process of learning that the Bible is God's word and the truth!  Here is this week's:


New Harmony, IN


Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.      
Matthew 7:13-14

I hope your day is blessed!  ~Andrea

Oct 19, 2011

Giveaway Winner!



is the winner of our GIVEAWAY!!! 
Kristen please email me at jabigg_98 at hotmail.com with your address and sizes.

Thanks to all of you for your comments, emails, and fb messages.  
We have been so blessed by those who have walked this journey with us!

Oct 18, 2011

A Timeline of our Journey

 
I sat this morning and reviewed our time line and  prayed. I was blessed to see God's hand each step of the way. We are continuing to be grateful for the opportunity to experience adoption and to add to our family in this way.

May 2010 - We feel that God is moving us to adopt at this time
                       Watch the Webinar for AGCI
                       Submit our pre-application to AGCI
June 16 -     Approved for AGCI Ethiopia Program
June 21-     Sent Fingerprints in for FBI Record
June 22 -    First Homestudy Visit with LSSI
June 23 -     Orientation Call
July 2 -        Second Homestudy Visit/Training
July 9 -        Third Homestudy Visit/Training
July 14 -      Fourth Homestudy Visit/Training
July 28 -      Sent in Our Contracts
Aug 04 -      Dossier Call
Aug 12 -     Last Homestudy Visit/Training/Walk-Through
Aug 18 -      Received our Online Adoption Learning Classes Certificates
Aug 30 -     Received notification that there was more info needed for FBI Record
Sept 2 -       Received notice of completion of our Eyes Wide Open Workbook
Oct 12-       Received call that our homestudy had been endorsed by the State of Illinois
Oct 13-      Picked up our homestudy and reviewed Dossier
Oct 14-     Overnighted Dossier to AGCI
Oct 15-     Received call from AGCI that we had a revision to make to our application letter.
Oct 16-     Completed revision and resubmitted application letter. It was again overnighted to AGCI
Oct 18-     Received phone call from AGCI, our Dossier is completed and we are official number 89 on the girls list. Our parameters are girl 0-14 months
Nov-         Number 80 on the wait list.
Dec-         Number 74 on the list.
Dec 23-   Fingerprint appointment at United States Citizen and Immigration Services in STL.
Jan 2011-        Our first number of 2011 was number 68.
Feb-         Number 66 on the list. 
March-    Number 55....moving along!
April-       6 months waiting and we are number 49. 
May-        Number 44
June-        No movement still 44 ...we are still believing!
July-        Number 37 on the list.
August-  Down 3 to number 34.
Aug 31st- Home study visit for 1 yr update & approval to change parameters.  
Sept-       Number 28 on the wait list.

****TODAY   Oct 18th - 1 Year Waiting****
 Unofficially Number 26

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:14

Some Pics and a Reminder

Big girl carrying her pumpkin!
Daddy helping her find one.

Our girls riding to the patch
 

 Just wanted to share a few pictures of our trip to the pumpkin patch 
and to remind you all to enter our GIVEAWAY!!

The deadline is tonight!!


Oct 14, 2011

1 year Giveaway!!!

On October 18th, we will have been on the waitlist for 1year.
So to celebrate the end of a full year of waiting we are having ice cream and ...doing a giveaway!!!   We will giveaway 2 of our adoption t-shirts and a copy of the Russell Moore book Adopted for Life.



There are two ways to enter:

1. Post a comment here
&
2. Fb about the giveaway (let me know you have in your comment here)


The deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 18th at 8pm (CT)
 Winner will be posted soon after!

Thank you for being a part of our wait!!

Oct 13, 2011

A Reminder

This was written in June but never posted.

Last night I got into bed tossing and turning. I found myself very restless with thoughts of our adoption and another situation heavy on my mind. In both I have felt tired and a bit unsettled waiting on the Lord. Not giving up hope but pleading with the Lord for reassurance. The Lord called me from my bed and to open my Bible.
Habakkuk 2:1 I felt pressed upon my mind. Habakkuk.... I groaned, really? What is going to be there. I had read through there long ago, through planned reading. It wasn't anything life changing, so I thought, really. ???   I opened it and read I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. I read on a little more. You see Habakkuk has been crying out to the Lord asking when He will come and rescue them. There has been great violence among their people and they are under the attack. He tells the Lord he will sit in the watchtower and wait upon the Lord to receive the word of the Lord. In verse 2&3, the Lord tells him to write down the vision he has been given. And though it is not for this appointed time, it will come and be the truth. Then the LORD replied: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

So I will wait. I will continue to journal and to pray. I know the vision the Lord has laid upon our heart is still His vision and will come at his appointed time. I already knew His time was perfect, but having the Lord call me to His word and point me to this is a great ENCOURAGEMENT!


The Lord never ceases to amaze me. In my time of wavering: He is still sufficient, He still cares, and His plan is the truth. So thankful that He chooses to call me His child and to lead me. I hope this speaks to you all like it did me.

Tonight in our adoption fb group another waiting momma posted the verse and it reminded me of this moment so I reread myself and wanted to share. God is soooo good!

Oct 11, 2011

Feeling like a fool for not trusting

Waiting can be hard. The days can seem unending.  At times it seems as though we will be waiting forever. God placed a desire in my heart to adopt many, many years ago. I thought when we finally moved forward and started the process that the weight of that calling would be lifted. I was so wrong. It has only gotten heavier as I spend time learning more about God's heart for the orphan, viewing the pictures of children in need of families, and listening to countless stories of great need throughout the world.  

Earlier this spring, I felt a strong call to go and do work in another country this summer. I began praying for the details and then I dismissed the calling, hanging on to the thought that this July would bring a referral. That we would need the time and money to travel to our child instead of using it to travel for missions. I continued to lay out my reasons to God. What if? A referral comes and we have no time, what if it comes and we don't have enough money? What if my other children have to be left for several weeks this year?  I doubted. I tried to reason my time line with God, you know the one in control of my time line. Now sitting here in October I am feeling the fool. He didn't need for me to have enough time, money, or even well laid out plans for my children. He just needed me to say yes. 

That's where I am at right now in this wait: repenting and asking for forgiveness for questioning His sovereign plan and timing, clinging to Him as we continue to walk this journey, asking Him to continue to use us for His glory, and thanking Him for providing grace and mercy.

I took the above picture yesterday.
These 3 could not be anymore eager then they are right now to meet their new sibling. They are already in great anticipation of the arrival. They have grown so much in the past year. Their sweet little eyes have been opened. They are eager to follow where God leads. 
Their faith is strong and they are willingly.  
Oh, to TRULY have faith like a child. This is were I want to be and remain. 

Today I am reminded of the faith of generations past.
 Hebrews 11
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
By faith Abraham, even though he was past age--and Sarah herself was barren--was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.
If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.

By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict.
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
By faith the people passed through the Red Sea
as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.

By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.



Jul 26, 2011

Such a contrast of lives

We fuss when the shower that we have spent 20 minutes in turns cold.

We buy bottled water because the taste is better then what comes from the tap.

Our children run through the sprinklers, splash in their pools, and play on the water slides all afternoon on a hot summer day.





They walk for days and even weeks to find a shelter for water to drink.

They yearn for the resources to feed their children for one more day to sustain their life.


Such a contrast of lives, yet children of God no different then you or me. Somedays they seem an entire world away. Today they feel like my neighbor, my child, and a beloved friend.

Please consider reaching out and finding out how you can help.

~Andrea


Jul 25, 2011

Moving on up and a prayer for rain.

That's right we have moved on the wait list. Our July number is 37! I didn't realize I hadn't posted our number lately until this weekend. Numerous people stopped me while out and about to ask where we were on "the list".

Referrals have been going out and children having been coming home, so we are hopeful that there may still be some action on the list during E*thiopia's rainy season. The rainy season in E*thiopia causes the courts to shut down for about 2 months, which in turn means there are no children being adopted during that time. But embassy appointments still go on and families who have already passed court can bring their kiddos home. So we are optimistic that we won't be 37 for very long!!!!

We are praying not only for this raining season to provide continued movement for us on the list, but most of all for the rain to come early and in just the right amounts to provide relief to the horn of Africa. I pray that they might see a miracle and great provision would pour out. The people of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia have been greatly effect by drought. Their already limited resources are being jeopardized by the shortage 0f rain in the last two rainy seasons. This has led to a lack of water, crop, and livestock . Prices are soaring on goods and causing those who were already hurting to lose even more. It is so hard to hear. To know that our future child or any child maybe suffering at this time wanting for water and food just breaks my heart. the need over there is so great and so big that I can't even imagine. We are so blessed as a family with love, care, and our every basic need is met.

To help provide financial aid to those in dire need you can go to World Vision or check out this instructions to give through Hope Chest. Please prayerful consider how you and your family might be able to help.



~ANDREA

Jul 18, 2011

Overdue!


It is official, I am overdue.
We have been on the waitlist for 9 months as of today. In a normal pregnancy, I would be begging my doctor at this point to schedule an induction. I would be preparing the kids for the next few days. Today in the adoption world I sit and wait. I call out to the One who knows our child by name. I ask Him to give protection and care to our little one. I ask Him to provide for the birth family reassurance in their journey. To protect and guide their path. I pray for their knowledge and understanding of Him and his everlasting LOVE.

9 months ago today, I had just finished off a weekend of prayer. Praying that we might have numbers after making a correction in our paperwork. Praying that the paperwork would all be accepted. We were so thrilled and relieved to have a number. Now each month the numbers come and sometimes they are greatly anticipated and other months I can honestly say I have been a bit disappointed.

But God is still good and He is still leading this journey!

Over the last nine months God has shown us great things. He has opened our eyes even more to His heart. He has led us to reevaluate the way we live our life. When we started this journey last May, we simply felt the Lord calling and we LEAPED. We signed on to adopt and had no clue where we were headed. All we knew was that God was asking us to say yes.


So we are not really overdue. We are just waiting for the appointed time when we will come to know our child.

The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11

~ANDREA

Jul 10, 2011

Children & Bank Accounts

Hello all!
I'm still here!
Just took an unexpected hiatus from blogging. Blogger has been a bit difficult and hasn't been allowing me to post.
Lots going on as always.
Happy to report though, that this past week we were able to get away with the girls and my parents. Thankful for moments with them away from all life's craziness. Thankful too for parents who understand and want us to have those moments as well.
2 weeks ago I spent a few days camping in upstate Indiana with several teen girls from the children's home. We canoed 15 miles, hiked about 5, enjoyed time around the campfire, and more importantly spent time getting to each other a little better. It never gets old watching these kids conquer challenges and enjoy their sweet successes. So grateful that I have been given the opportunity to be a part of a ministry that sees the importance and values each life created.
This was part of our camp village. Looks cozy, doesn't it?
Myself and a few other staff also improved our fire starting skills. Now I can say that I can build a cabin around a tepee to get the fire started and help it burn stronger. ( I am hoping at least one person reading knows what i am talking about!?!)
As I sit here and think about each of the girls that went camping and about many of the youth I have crossed paths with, I am reminded of how important the role of the church is in their young lives. Reminded of the duty we have as believers to the generations that come after us. Whether they are a part of our family or a child God has simply chosen for us to cross paths with.
From a parent's perspective I have always used the analogy of my children's lives being bank accounts. Each moment of truth in their lives is a deposit. A deposit into their character and into who they identify themselves to be. I believe there are also times of withdrawal. Times when other people or things chip away at their true identity in Christ and the character of which he has called them to have. We try to be purposeful in our speech and actions with our children. Attempting to make many deposits and few withdrawals. (key word *attempting*) Using daily activities and special moments to fill their accounts, knowing all the while that as they age more influences will be there and some will only make withdrawals. Praying for others that will continue to make deposits when they are out of our hands. Praying even more that they will have the desire to let God be the main provider for their accounts. That they will go to Him for daily and moment by moment deposits.

So what about those youth or children who don't have anyone minding their accounts. Whose adults have left them bankrupt without any truth built up. No one taking the time to make a deposit. My prayer is that our eyes are always open to the needs of those youth and children, as well as my own.
~ANDREA

Jun 6, 2011

Dirt & More Dirt

When your big sister loves softball, you tend to spend lots of time at the ballpark.......
in the dirt and sand!

Every moment of craziness (*by craziness, of course, I mean fun and chaos! ) our family has, just makes me realize even more that this is what each and every child deserves the opportunity to experience!
Well maybe not the crazy part, but definitely the family!!!
~ANDREA

Jun 4, 2011

The World in Our Bathroom!

Today I took a quick shopping trip with a friend. We hit up just a few craft stores and our family's fave Target! We live in a rural area, so Target is a treat and about an hour away. Anyway, there was something there that the girls and I have had our eye on.
I know exciting, huh?! Well we thought so!!
We found it probably three or four months back and the girls really wanted it for their bathroom. So after much thought, I took the plunge and splurged the whole $14.99 for the shower curtain.

You see since starting the adoption process our girls have become very interested in what is going on in the lives of other people in the US and in other countries. So this momma thought the shower curtain was perfect! (Who needs a new globe, when you can see the world in your bathroom!! ...heehee)

I brought it home tonight and we discussed that each time the girls go in the bathroom it can serve as a reminder for them to pray for others all over the world.
Keep in mind they are girls, they go in there a lot!

Plus look what is on the curtain........A*ddis Abbaba, E*thiopia!!!!!
Hope your weekend is blessed!
~ANDREA

Jun 2, 2011

Summit = New Challenges!

A few months back if you remember I posted a link to the Christian Alliance Orphan Summit. Well, Josh and I attended the conference earlier last month . WOW! The two days were great! I expected the conference to be every bit as inspiring as last year's and it was. People gathered from all over. Everyone there had at least two things in common. They love Jesus and want to know how to better care for the fatherless.
I wanted to share a few highlights of the jammed-packed two days. There were way too many to write all in one post. Hopefully, I will be able to share more later.

On the first day, we listened to Russell Moore speak. He is the author of the book Adopted for Life. I have not read the book yet. Josh has and says it is a must. After hearing Russell speak, I now have it on my ever growing reading list.
He discussed the things that are really holding us, as believers, from adopting: fear, cost, and unpredictability. He stated that we have an impoverished sense of freedom and fear of not being in control.
How true is that??? How many times do we claim how big and powerful are God is and yet we hesitate to get out of the boat when He commands us to.


We also sat in on a forum over our lunch. The topic was International Adoptions 2011: Challenges, Changes, and Difficult Questions. There were three speakers from the CCAI, NCA, and JCICS. One of the things that stuck out to me most was a comment made about doors closing on international adoptions. It was stated that International adoption is one of the only causes that when a minority of injustice occurs, it causes someone to propose for it to be shut down. They went on to say the same things happen in disaster relief, foster care, and etc. However you don't hear of anyone proposing to shut those programs down. Again..how true!

I believe the truth is there are injustices in all kinds of social services. We must fight to resolve the injustices and to improve the services, not to just wash our hands of them. The "systems" will only get better and the children get taken care of, if we are willing to go the distance. In other words if we are willingly to make sure we have jumped through every hoop necessary and have made sure we are responsible for investigating the agencies we use and help fund.

Well, I think that is enough for tonight. I am getting all charged up again just writing about it! Like I said hope to share more later. Praying what new info we have does lay dormant with us. Praying that action follows and we seek the direction of the Lord and continue to leap without hesitation.
~ANDREA

Jun 1, 2011

What's up?


So... what's up?

*Many have asked where we are at on the list. Unofficially we are number #43. ( the numbers really drive me crazy, so I haven't been the best at keeping everyone up to date)We are at a higher place then what we expected to be at this time. We know however God has a plan and our joy is not based on our circumstances but on how powerful and merciful our Savior is!*

Summer Break is here and man are we excited!! The girls love school but, they love the break as well.

We are already in the thick of softball season. Grace is playing on the Rippers rec team and the 14 & under all-star team. Gbug is playing softball for the first year and is on team Shock. Both girls enjoy playing ball and hanging with their friends during the summer. We have already had a few impromptu sleepovers, camped a bit, and spent a few days out in the sun! I can't wait for the rest!

D slippin' and slidin' with the help of her big sisters!

Fun with a friend!

Did I tell you we LOVE summertime?!!

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

~ANDREA

May 31, 2011

Remembering

I thank my God every time I remember you. Philippians 1:3

We are truly a blessed nation.
We are grateful and thankful to God for each man, woman, and family who has sacrificed so that we may have freedom.

Today on this Memorial Day as our family hung outside and took a few things off our to do list, I thought of not only the men and the women, who had gave of themselves so that we might be free, but also of their families.
As I vacuumed and washed our minivan, Josh and Grace mowed and cleaned the yard. I thought to myself what it would be like to take care of our home and three children with my husband gone overseas. How much harder would the daily chores be. How much would I long for my husband and they for their father, to sit at the dinner table with us. How they would miss the nightly kisses and their daddy carrying them to bed. And then what if then unimaginable happened and while defending our freedom he never returned to embrace his girls.

The sacrifice is great and the days are hard I am sure.
To be away and to be without.
Remembering each one, who has given a moment, a day, a year, or a lifetime.

~ANDREA
*This was meant for posting yesterday, blogger wouldn't allow. Glad it posted today!

May 22, 2011

My Week in Review

Filled With Praise


This week I am linking up to a fellow adoptive moms blog and doing my week in review! I have loved each week when she has done this! But this is the first week I have found the time to compile my highs and lows and still have time to post them! Thanks Amy for the fun idea!!!

***Blogger wouldn't let me upload photos until today, so I am 2 days behind on this post!

{HIGH}

So many great things this week!!!

The high for my week though, was definitely the quick getaway we took this weekend to Dolan's Lake. Dolan's is a state park only about 15 minutes away from our house.

We set out on Saturday after the girls' opening day ceremonies for summer rec league. We thought we would camp in the tent, but the constant mist of rain kept that from happening. So, we got a cute little cabin right off the lake.

The cabin had a full side bed in one room, two sets of bunks in the other, a small frig, and a little two seater table. It was wonderful. (all except the walk to the bathrooms in the rain)


We built a fire, roasted hot dogs, made s'mores, played checkers, had church, and goofed around all right there at our tiny cabin. We also hiked and skipped rocks down around the lake!


We all loved it!






{LOW}

My low for the week was on Friday. Josh and I had an appointment, that we could not reschedule. So we missed Grace's award ceremony. I have missed very few of my children's activities and such, so today was hard. She understood and we were at her school yesterday to watch her read an essay. But as a momma, I still feel like I failed her today.


{Lesson Learned}

My lesson learned this week is that it is okay that I don't have everything mapped out and well planned in my life. That I need to truly allow God to hold the map and reveal things in His timing. ***Side note:I am still in the process of learning this (I think I always will be!) ****


I hope you have all had a great week!!!


~ANDREA

May 11, 2011

The Dress that Revealed More



Getting ready to pack for the Orphan Summit. Trying on clothes that I haven't worn since last spring. I tried on a dress just for the fun of it, a cute floral maxi dress. ( No I am not planning on wearing it!) I put it on and I instantly felt that feeling when you are a little girl twirling around in the new dress your momma just bought or made you. Aaaah! I felt girly, super feminine and pretty. None of which I feel too often anymore. I usually feel like a frantically dressed, half wrinkled, food stained, hair always out of place, in a hurry mother. But at this moment in my bedroom all that had been pushed aside and here I was standing feeling a bit renewed and almost overwhelmed by the way this dress made me feel. Now mind you, once I took a look in the mirror, I caught a glimpse of my hair pulled back in a sloppy ponytail, the hint of day-long-makeup left on my face, and the bags from an already-long-week hanging below my eyes.
Uugh!!!! I cringed for a moment and asked..."Why is it that a pretty dress can make feel the way I often long to feel. When I have access to the one who can fill me so full and refresh even my darkest of days."


I know He is there waiting and whispering daily to me that I am his.

I know that He gives a peace that can surpass anything a dress or anyone on this Earth can provide for me.

I have felt his restoration and heard Him tell me even in my long, hard, not getting anywhere, full of mistakes kind of days that he has created me in His image AND for a purpose.


So WHY??? is it that some days I let little things dictate how I feel about who I am???????

Just want to say that I am thankful that my Savior never gives up on me!

~ANDREA

Apr 24, 2011

We Celebrate

Because He made a way, we celebrate!


Because He is alive, we celebrate!


Because He is our King, we celebrate!




May each of you know the power of the living Saviour.


HAPPY EASTER!


~ANDREA

Apr 21, 2011

A Storm and Some Purses

What began as a typical day changed so quickly.
Tuesday night our community and surrounding area was hit by a line of storms including high winds and a tornado. The result was lots of damage and loss.

Here are a few pics from our local newspaper

The house above belongs to some friends of ours.
The damage was enough that their home was deemed uninhabitable, until repairs are made.


source
The ray of sunshine that came from within this line of storms was that despite all the damage, there have been no reported injuries according to area news stations. What a blessing that is!!! Neighbors have been helping neighbors and many have rallied to help clear the debris.
Our community is still in need of prayer, as the efforts continue. More storms are expected here in the next few days.


On another note........
I wanted to share our current fundraiser with you all!

source
We have been blessed with the opportunity to have a My Miche Purse Party. All the profits from the party will go towards our adoption. ***That's right, not only will we get money from the party instead of purse credit. The consultant is also donating all of her profits!!!!
What could be better???? Supporting our adoption and getting a great purse!!!!

I know what your thinking..... how can you get one of these great purses and help support our adoption? Well go to this site find the purse, shell, and/or bundle you like then e-mail us
( jabigg_98@hotmail.com ) and we will process your order. Once we e-mail you back payments can be made right here on our blog through Paypal and the purse will ship directly to your address!


~ANDREA




Apr 20, 2011

Up and Down and All Around.... Oh the Journey!

So, why the number 6??? Well.................

For SIX MONTHS we have be officially waiting for our new family member!!! We were placed on the waitlist October 18th, 2010.


And the wait, has already felt a little like this

source

We have had our very "high" moments when we are thrilled to be waiting and excited for the future. We have had our "low dips" when it feels as all we are doing is waiting for the lowering of a number. We have had many "upside down turns" when it feels as though we are being swept away by the journey and don't know what to expect. But through each new element and ever spot, we have felt the One, who led us on this path, gripping tightly to us.

We have been stretched and have been shown areas of our lives that God still needed to mold. We are learning what letting go truly means. We have been given an even greater passion to share the hope of the Lord.

Oh, what a journey!!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13


~ANDREA

Apr 7, 2011

Someone Else's Reality


This past weekend the youth at our church got the chance to experience a little bit of what it's like to be hungry. They participated in 30 hour famine for World Vision. From 8am Saturday morning until noon Sunday, they didn't eat a thing. They spent the night at the church listening and learning about others in need and how they can help. They completed some service work and had fun as well.


(Part of the crew! Grace is in the middle. She had 2 friends that took part in the famine as guest. How awesome to have friends that would choose to go hungry with you for the weekend!)



Josh and I were privileged to spend some time Saturday with the youth and to lead one of the devotions.

On Sunday, after the 30 hours were up, the youth and the rest of the church got the chance to taste a World Vision meal. These meals are normally served to those receiving aide. The kids decided that while the food was not their favorite, if it was the only thing available they would enjoy it, regardless of taste. I was hoping to share some pics but left the house that day without the camera. The picture above was taken with my cell. *Cameras are great.... when you remember them!

The weekend was a wonderful experience for the youth. Their small group (only about 5 fundraising) raised over $3,000 for World Vision. That's enough to feed 100 children for an entire month!


I LOVE to see youth get inspired to help others!


Here are some hunger facts from World Vision:



  • Hunger kills a child every 10 seconds.


  • Everyday 8,000 children under 5 die from hunger.


  • More than 1 billion people go hungry everyday.


  • 1 in 6 will go hungry tonight.


  • 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day

Source


~ANDREA

Apr 3, 2011

REVISED: Worship


Worship.

What comes to your mind when you hear that word?

For me it draws many images to my mind.

In Romans 6:13 it states, Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

We are to yield our whole selves to God. Our bodies in their entirety. That means my heart, my mind, my hands, my feet, and everything in between and everything that each of these members of my body do. If my heart and my mind are focused on my creator and savior, it is easier for the other members to be in a place of active worship. I believe we can worship in many ways in our lives

One of them is the act of caring for others.

Loving others and helping to meet their needs is truly an act of worship for me.

In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the parable about the day when the Son of Man comes and He separates the sheep and the goats. The sheep on his right are able to inherit the kingdom of heaven. He says because what they have done for the least of these, they have done unto Him.

So, if how I treat and care for others is a representation to God of my love for him, then that in itself is an act of worship.

I want to live a life full of worship, I want to present my best to God. I state that and at times I fail miserably, but He knows my heart and my desires. Jesus knows what I allow to guide me.

A quick story of revelation in my life.


Several summers ago I worked in Nashville, TN with our youth group. During that week, one of the most pivotal moments in my walk with Christ occurred. We were working with Isaiah 58 ministries and serving lunch under an overpass. The ministry from what I can remember, was a bus that traveled around to different locations providing meals, clothing, and first aid.


We had set up several tables outside of the bus and served people as they came. We also sat down at the tables and talked and learned more about the individuals we were serving. I sat down at one point next to a man named Ralph. Ralph was a middle-aged gentleman. Very soft spoken with gray hair and a long shaggy gray beard. Ralph began to tell me a little bit about his life and how he had ended up on the streets. As we continued to talk, Ralph asked me why I was there. I told him I wanted to help remind others that Jesus loved them and so did we. Ralph began to get choked up. He said that he had been praying for people to help. He stated that he believed in God and was just down for a while. We talked a little while longer and then it was time to close up the bus and leave. Most of the patrons had left and I had asked our kids to head to the van. They got in the van and I walked around to get in as well. Then from out of nowhere, Ralph appeared again. He came up to the door and started to talk again. We were pushing time and needed to go. Ralph began to beg us to stay, he asked if we would just talk a little while longer. He tried to put his hand in the door to stop me from shutting it. I told him I would shut it and roll down the window and I did. I felt the push to be on schedule and I felt a little sense of fear. At that moment, I realized some of the youth were becoming a little anxious due to his behavior. I began to pray and then I heard a voice say to me "this is me, Andrea this is me. This is who I am" My heart sank. I knew in this instant this man was no different then me. This man was created in the same image of God, that I was. He was given a life and a purpose just as each of us were. Was I going to turn my back and walk away from someone created by my God? I began to feel myself start to crumble. I tried to listen to the best of my ability until he walked away. The tears flooded my face and began to pray again. I will never forget that moment.


What if we all took the time to look at others and ask God what He sees? I am sure He sees his image and their purpose, when sometimes all we see is rags and a hitch in our day. I also see an opportunity to worship our Creator.

I want to offer worship to my God with my whole self, not just parts, but the whole.


~ANDREA