Monthly Archives: May 2012

Fish and Loaves Fundraiser

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Praying that the Lord will use our ‘fish and loaves’ to bring our boy home!   OUR CURRENT TOTAL IS – $1,060 !!!

Okay, here it is!  Below you will see pictures of all of the items that have been donated to our fundraiser.  Here’s how it works.  Any donation enters you into a drawing for one of the gifts.  You donate by clicking the paypal button on the right.  You do not have to have a paypal account to donate.  Any friends you send that donate will be entered and each friend will count as an additional ‘name in the hat’ for yourself as well.  Make sure your friends leave comments below to let me know that you sent them, so I can add your name an additional time.  The fundraiser will go from Thursday to Saturday evening when we will draw and announce our winners.

I’m so excited about these gifts that have been donated!  I am confident anyone would love them!

Christina’s Bakery in Hanover, PA donated a $20 gift card.  I do believe that they

ship, so if you live out of town, you can still indulge!  Their buttercream frosting is out of this world!

Photo: Cupcakes for today are: German Chocolate, Coconut, Cookies & Cream, Carrot, Chocolate Peanut Butter; and of course Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate and Vanilla Buttercream.

Grace & Glee is donating a custom made, one of a kind, knitted tea set.  My daughter LOVES hers!  As previously mentioned, every little girl should have one!

Photo: Grace & Glee is donating a knitted tea set for our adoption fundraiser!  Lydia would agree, every little girl should have one!  =)

I am a huge fan of Taylor Joelle Designs.  They have such fun and unique designs for kiddos.  They have graciously donated 3 baby boy onesies with matching striped leg warmers.  A-DORABLE!!!  I don’t have a picture of the actual item, but here is an example of one of their designs, so you will see how absolutely cool they are.

Photo: LOVED the shoot with Heather Telford Photography!  These knot dresses should be up on our site in just a couple weeks.  Sizes are 2T through 6T.  My favorite Taylor Joelle product yet! - Jenny

I have been a huge fan of Chartreuse for a couple of years now, and I was delighted when she agreed to donate a gift to our fundraiser!  She takes items that most people would see and throw out, and makes them works of art.  Below is a picture of what used to be a hideous chair that she transformed.  We aren’t sure what the exact item will be yet, but I assure you, I will wish it was mine!

Photo: These chairs turned out amazingly beautiful!  Beth Turner Herochik of Winter Bird Interiors in Richmond is responsible for this perfect transformation! Wow!

My very favorite frame company, that I use for my business donated two of their gorgeous frames for gifts to help bring our boy home.  Thank you, Artsy Couture!

Photo: Giveaway: We are giving away three 11x14 sweet frames. Simply comment here and tell us other than Gallery Blocks, Photo Cubes and Sweet Frames what other photo products you would like Artsy Couture to sell.

The Shabby Apple has been a dress company that I regularly drool over their designs.  So, I was totally screaming when they graciously agreed to donate a dress as a gift to bring our boy home.  Below is the dress they are donating.  They gave me a coupon code so that the winner can get the dress in her exact size.  Brilliant!

Purple ballerina dress has ruching at waist with a v-neckline.

And, I saved the best for last!  The Gaslight Inn in Gettysburg is donating a night’s stay as a gift for our fundraiser.  Justin and I stayed there a couple of months ago, and it was absolutely fantastic!  Our room was nothing short of luxurious, and the breakfast left me craving another trip back.  I can’t wait to give this to one of our sweet friends as a thank you for donating!

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Don’t forget if you send friends, to tell them to leave a comment with your name!

Five fish and two loaves

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I’ve always loved that miracle.  Thousands of people, all of them were hungry.  The question was posed does anyone have any food?  One small little boy stepped forward with his meager offering.  I have to wonder if he really and truly was the only one in that entire crowd that had food.  The skeptic in me rears it’s ugly head and I have to say, I would speculate more people had food than that one small boy, but they remained silent.  They were unwilling to give all that they had into the hands of Jesus.  They missed being a part of the miracle.  Oh, they were there, and they saw it, but they missed the opportunity for Jesus to multiply their small into His large. 

But one little boy, with his child like faith stepped forward and was willing to share.  He held nothing back.  In the mind of an adult, how could one boy’s lunch feed 5,000 hungry people?  How far could 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish possibly go?  But in our skepticism we forget Who HE is.  We forget that His hands are not limited that they cannot save.  We forget that if we could just touch the hem of His garment, we might be made whole.  We forget that little is much when HE is in it. 

And so the Savior took the bread and break it and gave thanks, and ate, and gave everyone there – 5,000 people enough to eat.  In fact, they had so much, that they had baskets of leftovers!  Why do we doubt? 

Even when we believe that He can do the impossible, we doubt that He will do it for us.  I know.  I’ve lived it.  I am now living everyday, shaking my head in wonder at my daughter’s restoration.  It cannot be, and yet it is. 

And today, I am asking for the impossible yet again.  I have vacillated on how much to share, but I have been so encouraged by others transparency in their adoption journeys, and I would like for this blog to serve as an encouragement to someone else, and testimony that God is going to provide to bring this boy home.  I was sharing with a dear friend of mine my prayer that for our fundraiser we were setting a goal of 200 people donating $25.  I love this friend, and I love the safety of sharing my heart with her.  She agreed to pray for us to reach our goal. 

On Sunday, my friend’s two little girls came up to me and handed me an envelope full of change.  They had held a lemonade stand that weekend to help bring our boy home.  Our first $25 was donated from the proceeds of these two little girls.  They gave all that they had.  They held nothing back.  Oh, how my heart is touched by this sweet, sweet generosity.  And now I am asking my Father, to take these loaves and fish and multiply it.  Oh, how HE has blessed me already, and the fundraiser has not yet begun!  May HE be glorified and may we hold HIS banner high every step of this journey!

Adoption

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Justin and I have always been a bit unorthodox in our decision-making.  Against many naysayers, we decided to get married halfway through college.  We knew we would be poor, and we were.  We knew we would be insanely busy keeping up with a full load of classes and working, and we were.  We also knew we were crazy blessed to find each other at such a young age, and be able to spend every day together since, and we’re still crazy blessed.  Our life has continued to follow such a pattern.  So, it stands to reason that our adoption decision is a bit unorthodox as well.  We are coming into adoption much differently than many.  We already have a houseful of children.  We’re not adopting a baby, or even a toddler.  We’re jumping in with a 5-year-old.

I’ve traded in my morning sickness for paperwork… mountains and mountains of paperwork.  I was able to by-pass the gestational diabetes test, but was required to take a psychological examination instead.  My physical stretch marks are being traded for the stretching that my heart is going through.  I feel as if a vital part of me is on another continent… because it is.  This confident mother of four has been transformed into an anxious first time mom all over again.  Just as when I was expecting our first son,I worried over every slight physical change and what it could possibly mean, I find myself calling my agency and worrying over ever little delay with our paperwork.  I miss the comfort of carrying this baby deep inside me, and being reassured with his every movement.  There is the absence of movement in this expectant time for me, and it is so very foreign to me, I am still unsure of how to handle it.

The emotions run high in this, although I have no hormones to blame it on.  Perhaps the very best and most precious thing about this time, is the intimacy of my walk with the Lord.  I cannot remember a time in my life when I have clung to Him in this manner.  I have no control over the little boy I have come to love right now.  I do not feed him, or take him to school, or make him a snack.  I do not get to take care of him when he is sick, or kiss away his bad dreams, or bandage the scrapped knee.  There are a thousand moments that I am missing, and although this boy is yet a stranger to me, my heart aches for him, for us, for all that we are missing.  And yet, I draw so much comfort from the fact that, God is watching over him.  I fill my days with prayers for this boy I will soon call son.  He has changed me, he has changed all of us residing in this house in beautiful ways.

Nothing matters but getting him home.  My boys are realizing with new eyes how self-centered they tend to be.  When we measure their complaints with how their brother is living now, it quickly rearranges their perspectives.  Listening to my little boys pray for Ceddi is an experience to behold.  They are more sacrificial with their money, their thoughts, and their things.

In short adoption has wrecked us, every single one of us.  The reality  of it is, we are crazy blessed.

Remembering

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“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”  Prov. 18:10

It is good for me to revisit all of the ways the Lord has miraculously provided in my life.  It is good for me to remind myself that He has never not provided.  It is good for me to remind myself that He will still provide.

About a year and a half ago, we were on our way to church.  I was feeling exceedingly sorry for myself.  I cried bitter tears the entire drive.  I was in desperation, and I was slipping in my faith.  I had a new baby, Justin had just had yet another emergency surgery, and while his infection had not returned as we had feared, I was weary.  He had a new job making in an entire year what he had made in less than 3 months at his former job.  We were struggling to make ends meet.  We didn’t even have enough in our bank account to write the tithe check that we were slipping into the offering plate that morning.  I was angry.  I silently prayed bitter, angry prayers.

I pulled myself together enough to walk into church, and I was desperately hoping to hear what the sermon would be today, because I knew I needed some good preaching.  The minute the singing stopped my pager went off.  Of course.  My new daughter would insist upon eating before I had a chance to hear the message.  Another wasted day, I thought.  I practically stomped down to the nursery, grabbed my baby, and went to feed her.  We were alone in the room, and I began to sink deeper in my self-pity.  In a few moments, another mom and baby joined us.  It is a sweet friend that I don’t often get a chance to chat with.  She is wise beyond her years and loves Jesus with a tenacity that inspires me constantly.  I wasn’t feeling particularly chatty, but she began to share her heart with me, not put off by my foul mood.

She began to share with me that no one knew this, but they were deeply struggling financially.  (Yes, I know how that is!  I thought as I inwardly groaned and rolled my eyes)  She went on to confess that their water heater had broken and they had no money to fix it.  And with tears in her eyes, she passionately said, “But Emily, do you know what?  I thank God everyday that He gave me a stove that works so I can heat our water every morning.”  I missed the sermon that morning, but I had heard exactly what God had for me.

I was nearly weeping by the time church was over and we all met at the car.  Realization of ‘how bad’ I had it had changed.  Repentance was sweet.  I couldn’t wait to share with Justin.  I was surprised to find him quietly crying when I got to the car.  As I shared my story with him, he handed my an envelope.  Our Pastor Staner had run out of the auditorium to give Justin an envelope.  It was from an anonymous giver, and when we opened it several hundred-dollar bills fell out.  The giver confessed that they too had  suffered the loss of a job and been struggling to make ends meet, but they promised the Lord, that whenever they had extra, they would joyfully give to others, as so many had blessed them by giving.  There was a verse in the card – “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”

That Sunday, turned out to be our Pastor Staner’s last Sunday at our church.  The next week he died of a massive heart attack.  Many people have many sweet, sweet memories of him, but the image of him running out to give us a gift is one of our sweetest.  The money that the unknown giver had given us more than covered our meager tithe.  I was so worried that day about putting all we had in the offering plate, but God had something even more waiting for us.  He rewarded me in spite of my faithlessness.  The name of the Lord is a strong tower…

Exceeding Abundantly

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“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”  – Eph. 3:20

A year ago my 8 month old daughter was having her shunts put in. A year ago, in order to calm my anxiety, I assured myself this would be her last surgery. A year ago, I had no idea what was awaiting. A year ago, that surgery was done incorrectly, and cost us dearly. It marked the beginning of a painful journey, but it was a journey in which my eyes were opened to so very much, and once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend that we do not see.
The shunts were in, and within a few short weeks, the one broke through her eye and caused emergency surgery. One surgery followed the next, and the next, until, I began to lose count. Braille was not only mentioned, but recommended. I remember the first time I heard the word in reference to Lydia, I had the urge to cover my ears and run screaming from the room, but HE knew. HE knew I needed this path, so I could see what was waiting.
And so, with great effort, I put one foot in front of the other, and we began walking down this path. I did my research, and I knew, based on many factors, we would home school her. I joined the blind homeschooling yahoo group, and as I read the posts on the board, I was surprised to see that many of these families had adopted their blind children. I didn’t understand, and then all at once, I did. These children that were so similar on so many levels to my girl, were being given up BECAUSE they were like my girl. They had no mommy and daddy to assure them that they could still conquer the world. They had no family to look out for them and protect them. They had lost their vision and their family. Their world was dark, in every sense of the word. I felt sick with the thought. Justin and I had already surrendered to the ministry, and we began to pray about what we could do with the knowledge we had uncovered.
Many, many prayers were lifted, we told a few friends of our burden, and we were met with overwhelming support. Many, many more prayers, and plans were formed. Things began to take shape, HIS hand was in it all.
I spoke to Lydia’s wonderful Dr. about our idea, he enthusiastically gave his support and agreed to help. Unknown to us, another family was praying about a deep, deep burden to go to live in ministry in the Philippines. I seemingly stumbled upon this woman’s blog. She is the one that advocated our soon to be son Cedi to us. As I read over all of her beautiful blog posts, she shared her heart for the Filipino people. I shared with her our plans. She and her husband prayed about it, while Justin and I prayed about it, we all agreed that God was working. Nikki and Anthony will be moving over to the Philippines to work for the Bartimeaus Project. They have many, many connections and skill sets that make it so clear that they have been prepared for such a time as this. They will be working with the orphanages, and the children , and running the program remotely from Manila. We are starting a hosting program, Lydia’s sweet dr. has agreed to treat these children, if we can get them hosted. So many pieces are falling into place on a daily basis, in such a manner that I sometimes feel I need to lift my hands for I surely must be standing on holy ground.

A little over a year ago, I thought my life was ending. I couldn’t have known, it was only beginning. Isn’t that just like the Lord to make my greatest heartache into the most beautiful future. Surely, He has done exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or think. I long to spend my life praising Him.