Friday, April 20, 2012

Depraved  Indifference and The Father's Heart

Long, but so good 

I love this video.  My friends Matt and Rachel played it on Orphan Sunday, the day that marked the change of everything.  I feel this kind of crazy, climbing the walls desperation when I think of our babies in Ethiopia.  I think Eric Ludy does a great job of expressing the desperate, reckless-abandonment kind of love God has for us and wants us to have for the broken around us.  Although this video is a great wake up call for the church to stop looking at themselves and start looking at the hurting around us, please don't take it as being condemnation or a "you need to be doing more stuff" kind of message.  

Jesus said "My yoke (the things oxen wear around their necks when they're working for their owners) is easy, and the burden I give you is light."  -Matthew 11:30  
Paul writes in Ephesians 2:10  "For we are God's masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things He planned for us along ago."  The second part of Ephesians 2:10 is something a lot of Christians miss, or simply don't get.  The Lord has prepared the good works, and we are simply to walk into them when they present themselves!  No striving, no performing.  When we get stressed about "being good" and try to do things in our own strength we are working out of pride and not relying on Jesus.  We are to be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit so that when we encounter a good work God has prepared for us--from before the beginning of time--we simply walk into it.  

My mother is an amazing example of this, and she has been an excellent mentor to me.  Two examples that immediately come to mind:  about a year ago she was picking up one of her purses? watches? (can't remember) that was being repaired by a local jeweler.  While in the store she watched a young girl with  a baby trying to sell her thin, gold wedding band.  The jeweler told her it was only worth $20, and she ran out of the store weeping.  My mom ran after her, hugged her, and met her needs--both financial and emotional/spiritual.  The second occurred at a grocery store near my parents' house.  My mother doesn't usually shop there, but for some reason she chose to go there that day.  When it came time to check out an elderly man, impeccably dressed, was in front of my mother in line and was trying to pay for his groceries with food stamps, but he didn't have enough.  My mother could sense the humiliation and despair pouring out of this man, and she told the cashier to add this man's cart of groceries onto her bill.  You see? Effortless--no striving or stressing on her part--good works prepared for her to walk into before the beginning of time.  I can also recall a couple of times throughout my childhood when down-and-outs who had no place to go were brought into our home for a meal and a bed.

Once you really, truly, fully grasp just how sweet and ferociously (marked by unrelenting intensity) strong the love of God is, once you start to understand who He is, you can't help but love Him back.  Don't look to some broken Christians who twist the message of Christ to be your example of who He is.  Seek Him for yourself, and see what you find.  He loves you just as intensely--or maybe even more so--if you have told Him to eff off, that you want nothing to do with Him, that you don't believe in Him.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I run for them 
(or, the reason I'll be using my treadmill for the first time in two months)

I have never, ever been athletic--or even workouty.  My last brush with sports was in seventh grade when I got super ambitious and played volleyball, basketball, and joined the track team all in one year.  Volleyball wasn't bad; I quit basketball after one week because it was hard and a couple of girls made me cry; and I hated running so I ended up throwing shot-put and discus in track.  In high school we were all required to be involved in some sort of sport, but my friend Michelle and I convinced our headmaster to allow us to do sports independently.  Everyday the two of us would--slowly--walk around our school's beautiful, hilly campus overlooking San Antonio and chat about our boyfriends, prom dresses, and college plans.  There was never any question of our speeding our stroll up to jog-level.  

Athletics were never a big deal in my family.  Although my dad went to college on a track scholarship and was quite the football star in high school, he was hardly ever home (airline pilot) and my mother, who is from England, never thought sports were that important.  Instead we read, we shopped and ate lots of Asian food, we watched Masterpiece Theater on PBS.  I have made some brave attempts at becoming a regular workout person throughout my life, but it always lasts a couple of months (if that) before I'm back to my couch-loving self.  

our messy "gym," full of papers to be filed and things to be sold 

When we started going to our church almost four years ago, I (jokingly) told my husband it appeared one needed three things in order to fit in: an iPhone, a baby, and a running habit.  We jumped on the iPhone bandwagon two years ago and we're now working on the baby thing, but we never have been able to get into running.  Oh, trust me, I want to run, and I've tried a few times.  It always ends badly, and I always go back to just staring enviously at the willowy girls flying past me at the park as I walk my dogs.  

Nothing ever seems to motivate me enough to stick with running (or, let's be totally honest; slowly jogging).  A few months ago I went to a cardiologist because my heart was doing some crazy stuff, and he had me wear a heart monitor for a week.  It turned out that I was just having a bad reaction to some medication and a blood sugar issue (I'm totally fine now), but he did tell me my heart seemed a little out of shape and that I need to start doing cardio on a regular basis.  A logical person would be motivated by a cardiologist telling him/her to workout--nope, not me.  

This past weekend our pastor/friend, Jordan, e-mailed Jon and me about a fundraising opportunity this October.  It's called The Chosen Marathon, and it's basically a giant fundraiser for families who are adopting.  They have a full marathon, a half marathon, and a fun run for kids.  My immediate reaction was HA!  ok whatever.   Then I started looking into it, and thinking about it.  Thinking that maybe we can do this.  Maybe we HAVE to do this.  Yes, we can have a team run on our behalf (four people have already expressed interest in running on our team!) while we just volunteer at the event, but I feel like this is something we, or at least I, HAVE to do (the half marathon, not the full).  I think this is the push I've needed to start doing what's been nagging at me for so long.  I've actually been praying for awhile that the Lord would give me the courage and motivation to embrace running for my health and overall well-being because, running to fit into my skinny jeans (or, let's face it, my regular jeans), running to improve my health, running to fit in with everyone around me who is always running...none of that has been enough to motivate me to start, and keep, running.  

But now, now I run for them.  

And, maybe I can get one of these cool shirts.
***If you'd like to help support our adoption by participating in The Chosen Marathon on our behalf, please contact me at

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Queen of Sheba

As I research and learn more about Ethiopia, I find myself really falling in love with its culture and history--it's such a beautiful country!  I think it's important for Jon and I to know as much as possible about the place our children are coming from.  So, in an effort to incorporate a little more Ethiopian culture into our lives, I convinced Jon to go to an Ethiopian restaurant tonight for dinner.  It was delicious, and such a fun experience!  I (or Jon, to be honest) had to hold myself back from asking our waitress 1,000 questions about Ethiopia and telling her all about our adoption.  I tend to get overly excited about things and over-share, especially with strangers.  :)

our platter of food
yummy Ethiopian honey wine

there are no utensils; instead you tear off pieces of injera bread and use them to pick up each bite of food

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

First Step

Jon and I have taken the first, official, on-paper step in our adoption process.  We've been accepted into the Ethiopia program of our first-choice agency--West Sands Adoptions!  Their slogan is "a sacred mission" which I absolutely love, because that's exactly how Jon and I see our calling to adopt.  

Our application being notarized
The next step is getting our home study done and putting our dossier together (which involves tons of paperwork, physicals, background checks, trips to government offices to be finger printed, etc.).  Once all of THAT craziness is finished, our dossier can be approved and sent to the Ethiopian government, and then we'll be on the waiting list.  Lots of adoptive parents talk about how agonizingly difficult the waiting phase of adoption is, but, to be perfectly honest, I would give almost anything to be on the waiting list right now.  The thought of being finished with the stressful "paper chase" and overwhelming fundraising phase of adoption and just waiting to receive that phone call announcing that we've been matched with siblings sounds like bliss.  I know I might feel differently in six months or a year, but that's how I feel right now.  :)

Now that we've officially begun the adoption process we can throw ourselves whole-heartedly into fundraising--I apologize in advance to all of our local friends who will probably be sick of our special events, bake sales, and pleas for garage sale items in the coming months.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Garage Sale

Last Saturday we had our BIG garage sale.  It was completely exhausting--we got about three hours of sleep the night before, and the sale lasted six hours.  By the end we were both sunburned and barely functioning (hauling the left overs back into the garage felt like the hardest thing I'd ever done in my life), but it was totally worth it because we made $750!  A few sweet people saw our ad on CraigsList and came to the sale because they wanted to support our adoption.  One lady came to the sale just to give us a donation--she didn't even buy anything!  

We now have enough money to pay our agency's application fee; the next step is raising the money for our home study and dossier fees.  It's amazing that we've made so much progress in such a short amount of time!  We are planning on going to the bank tomorrow to sign all of our application documents and have them notarized, and then we will head to the post office to mail everything off.  Hopefully we will learn whether or not we've been accepted by our agency in the next week or two--we are on our way!

Our living room the night before the sale; our garage was also completely full.
We had tons of clothes to sell--two clothing racks full in addition to these bags.
Our puppies weren't sure what to think!  Mops camped out on this bag for several hours while I priced stuff.
My friend Rachel's husband, Matt, made this sign for us.  It was a great conversation starter! 

The stack of documents we're mailing to our agency tomorrow!