Sunday, July 9, 2017

humbled

About a month ago, I lay in bed one night brainstorming ways that we could fund our adoption.  How the heck were we going to come up with $25,000?  I was feeling completely overwhelmed and began to wonder for the millionth time if we were doing the right thing.

Later, I stumbled across an article written by Julie Gumm, a woman who is a big proponent of debt-free adoption.  She once heard Dave Ramsey say on his radio show that there is not ONE example in the Bible of God calling someone to do something without providing the means to do it.

That really struck me.  I've known that to be true but I never thought of it in terms of adoption.  Josh and I both feel very strongly that we have been called to adopt.  Sure, we would be far more prepared 5 years from now to adopt a child, but God has been preparing us to adopt right now.

After reading that, Josh and I put our heads together and began to brainstorm creative ways to fund our adoption.  Our puzzle fundraiser was already under way but we knew we would need more help than that.  A friend of mine was preparing for a cross-country move and asked if I would be interested in receiving donated items for a yard sale.

{Pause}.  I have never held a yard sale in. my. life.  I make it a point to purge my house of junk on a very regular basis just so I don't have to host a yard sale.

But truthfully, the thought had crossed my mind.  I just needed a little push to get going.  And my friend gave me a huge push by sending me home with van loads of stuff.  Good stuff.  Great stuff!  
{That mountain of women's clothes is all from her, many of which still had tags on them}.


The preparations continued over the next several weeks.  We collected donated items from friends, neighbors, and perfect strangers.  The kids were happy to test out the merchandise.

 

We spent countless hours sorting, cleaning, organizing, and pricing.  We eventually received so much stuff that we ran out of room in our basement.  Then we ran out of room in our garage!


Even the day before our sale people were contacting us, asking if they could drop donation items off.  We never turned anyone away and we were so moved by people's generosity.  One neighbor {whom we've never met} told her parents about our sale.  They drove 2.5 hours with a pick-up full of donations!

Finally, it was go time.  At 7:40 we received our first customer.  We still had tons of things in our basement that we hadn't even set out yet!  But that was the start of a steady stream of people.  Unbeknownst to us, our neighbors a few houses down were also doing a garage sale, which turned out to be a huge blessing because it brought in even more traffic.


I'm sure our neighbor's Facebook post had a little something to do with that too.  We had been so busy with preparations that we didn't have the time to advertise as much as we wanted to {besides putting an ad on Craigslist and hanging signs on telephone poles}.  That was really thoughtful of him.


This same neighbor and his wife spent the entire day helping at our yard sale.  Without being asked, they showed up and did whatever needed to be done.  They straightened clothes.  They manned the cashier table {which they provided}.  They brought over a bunch of grocery bags when ours ran out.  They added donation items to our sale.  They priced items I hadn't had a chance to get to yet.  They answered questions.  They helped people load things into their cars.  You name it, they did it.  I could not be more grateful to them for sweating out the day with us.  Because of them, our sale went smoothly and - bonus - we had a great time :)

Summer had been asking me for weeks if she could have a lemonade stand with her friend.  Living at the end of a cul-de-sac doesn't really provide many entrepreneurial opportunities, so she was thrilled when I told her that she could do a lemonade stand during our yard sale.



By the end of the day we were hot, sweaty, and exhausted.  Well, some of us...


But the hard work was completely worth it.  Our yard sale brought in $1,130 and every single penny of that is going toward our adoption fund.  Hooray!


This experience has been so humbling {in a good way}.  There were times when I was fighting back tears because of the goodness that people showed us.

Several people commented that they made a special effort to come to our sale just to support our cause.  Adoption had touched their lives in one way or another and they wanted to give back.

I couldn't help but feel giddy inside every time I heard the words "Keep the change."

One particular moment really touched my heart.  A woman from a nearby neighborhood walked to our sale with 3 kids in tow {one of whom was adopted from foster care} because she wanted to support our cause.  Her kids spent their little baggies of allowance money to buy small toys from our sale.  About 30 minutes after they left to go home, a van pulled up and this same woman got outShe said that her 6-year-old daughter really wanted to help our baby so she went home and picked out a toy to donate.  The toy retails at $70.

Now that is humbling.

I don't know what the future holds but this journey so far has changed me.  "Grateful" is too weak a word to express how I feel.  I'm so moved by how kind and thoughtful and giving people have been, many of whom we never would have met otherwise.  It's been amazing to see both the old and the young come together to support our family.  

Perhaps that is the most humbling part of all.  The idea that people have SO MUCH FAITH in us that they're willing to make sacrifices right along with us.  God is indeed providing.

And the blessings just keep on coming.

The day before our sale, Josh's motorcycle sold.  Although we were sad to see it go, we couldn't help but smile when we thought of how much closer we were to our adoption goal.  


Just as I was getting ready to collapse into bed, I received a message from a neighbor {again, someone I've never met}.  She was home with a sick kid so she wasn't able to come to our sale, but she really wanted to help us out.  She sells LuLaRoe and wanted to know if she could do a fundraiser for us.  

Humbled.

I truly believe that people come into your life for a reason.  Although I couldn't possibly remember all their names, I will never forget the faces of those who have given so freely of their time, resources, and means.  I'm witnessing what charity truly looks like and I'm taking notes.  Because someday my small act of kindness just might change a life.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

the 4th

Happy birthday, America!  


This year we decided to keep things pretty simple.  We kicked off our morning with a trip to Jack's Donuts.  Yum!

We finished our donuts just in time for the parade to start.  The Carmel parade never disappoints.  My favorite part {besides the bombers that occasionally pass overhead} are the photos of the vets.  I love to see that small part of history right in front of my eyes.



There were so many fun things to see!














Jackson's least favorite part of the parade was the marching bands.  Not sure why because he loves music and he's usually not sensitive to noise.


His favorite part?  The candy!




By the time the parade was over, we were all pretty hot and sweaty.  And cranky.  But it was nothing that a nap and a trip to the pool couldn't fix.




Jackson was feeling pretty brave and decided to go all the way underwater.  He popped up and said, "That was AMAZING!"

video

Since the kids aren't really big into fireworks, we skipped them this year and hung out with our neighbors instead.  All in all, it was a perfect day :)


I'm so grateful to live in this wonderful country where so many rights and privileges are ours.

Friday, June 30, 2017

home study - check!

The adoption process is moving right along.  We finished up our final home study meeting last night and it couldn't have gone smoother.  The kids were thrilled to show our social worker their bedrooms, their toys, and their gymnastics tricks.  Now we are officially licensed to become parents.  Ha!

The next step for us is traveling to Chicago to set up our profile on the agency's website.  This is huge because it means that we'll be added to the pool of waiting families and the search for our baby will begin.  We couldn't be more excited!

Adoption is so stressful, emotionally and financially.  We are doing everything we can to tackle the financial burdens now before the real emotional rollercoaster begins.  
  • Our puzzle fundraiser has received such a positive response!  We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the friends/family that have donated to our cause and shared our story.
  • Josh's motorcycle is for sale!  We'll miss it but are happy to make the sacrifice.
  • We'll be hosting our first ever yard sale next Saturday.  So many friends and neighbors have donated items for us to sell.
  • We've made budget cuts.  I cancelled my gym membership, we're utilizing free/cheap entertainment options, we rarely eat out, and we'll even be cutting our cable!  
This has truly been a faith-building experience.  And just when it seems like we can't handle one more road block, God shows up and provides.  It's amazing.

We feel so blessed to be able to share this journey with so many.  Here is a video of our family that briefly sums up who we are and what we're about.  The song in the background has become our Adoption Anthem!  Feel free to share with anyone who may be interested in our story.



Friday, June 23, 2017

a jefferson reunion

Last week we had the privilege of spending 6 days in Michigan with my family.  It's a rare treat to have the whole gang together at the same time!

One of the best parts of the trip was getting to spend time with my brother, his wife {Chelsea}, and sweet baby girl {Bella}. 


ACTIVITIES

There are so many fun things to do in the Grand Rapids area, we had a hard time choosing!  One day we ventured out to a man-made beach called Millennium Park.  We love this park because it's close to home, the water is warm, and there is a lot to keep you busy besides just the beach.






 On another day we ventured out to Tanger Outlets to see the chalk art festival.  We were blown away by the creativity and detail that came to life right there on the sidewalk.  
 

It was fun just hanging out, too :)

  video

That afternoon Bella reached a fun milestone - she got her ears pierced.  Bless her!



DATE NIGHT

My parents were kind enough to watch the kids one evening so Josh and I could have a date night with Kyle and Chelsea.  We started off with pedicures {at my brother's suggestion no less!}.  The guys even got their nails painted.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner at On The Border and topped off the evening at Cold Stone.  We had such a blast.  I wish we lived closer to them!




FAMILY

My dad recently tore his Achilles tendon so he wasn't able to come with us on many of our outings.  Thankfully we had plenty of down time that we could spend with him.  Throwing a softball, shooting hoops, or just chatting on the porch were some of the sweetest moments of our trip.









Josh's brother and his family came over one evening, but I missed out on most of that fun because I met my cousin for dinner.  I wish I would have gotten more pictures of both events because we all had a great time!  Here's a pictures of Summer and her cousin, Razia.


FATHER'S DAY / BELLA'S BIRTHDAY

How cool is it that we got to celebrate Father's Day and Bella's 1st birthday on the same day?  My extended family came over, which is always so fun.




Before the whole crew came over, though, we let the men in our lives know how much we adore them.  I feel honored to know these men.  They are the best of the best.



Bella is one lucky lady to have such a devoted dad.  He'll do anything just to see her smile.


We loved being able to celebrate Bella's birthday with her.  She is the sweetest little girl!




FRIENDS

As always, our time in Michigan goes by fast but we try our best to see our friends.  John & Amelia are some of our faves.


We also met up with my high school friend, Janelle, and her cute little girl, Avi.  Unfortunately Janelle's husband was traveling for work so we weren't able to see him but the kids loved playing together at the park.



We feel so blessed to have had this chance to soak up our family and friends.  We love you!