Monday, June 29, 2009

You Know, He'll Always Be My Baby

But this is just a little ridiculous:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Walk The Line

Apparently, I'm walking a fine line these days between "Why, I can hardly tell you're pregnant - you look great!" and "Good heavens, you'll never make it to your due date!"

For instance, as I walked into my office building this morning, a girl from one of the other businesses came bursting out of her door because she "just had know" who does my hair!

My hairstylist truly is a genius, and I love my current "do" (please don't judge it based on the picture I uploaded in my last post. The temperatures that day were well over 100 degrees, not to mention the humidity. I'm pretty sure that Marie would not admit to having come anywhere near that frizzy mop). A good hair cut/color just does wonders for my self-esteem, although I regret how important that kind of thing truly is to me.

So, I happily handed over a business card and proceeded up the elevator with a fresh bounce in my step and some extra padding in my ego.

About an hour later, a friend from another office in our building walked over to say hello. She gave me a once-over and made the following observations:

"You look very pregnant today.
And you look like you feel very pregnant today."

Thank you.......????

Perhaps she didn't notice what a great hair day I was having?? I began to point it out to her when I caught a glimpse of myself in one of the many mirrors adorning our office walls.


At 9am, my messy, tousled, still-wet hair had a funky, spunky edge to it. But by 10am, it had dried into a limp, flat, and pitifully shapeless mess.

The fresh-faced "minimal" make-up look I'd attempted earlier...let's just say that it was no match for the black circles that framed my puffy eyes.

I don't know if looking pregnant=looking like you've been hit by a truck, but I do know that my inflated ego of the early morning was quickly put back into it's proper place.

In a few months, when this belly swells a bit more, I can only imagine that it'll be hard to even see which side of the fine fashion line I'm walking on anyway.

Just please, somebody, make sure that my shoes match.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

And Now I Need a Nap!

Whew! I'm not sure I remember a busier week than the one we just wrapped up. And I'm pretty sure I can't remember a week that was full of so many blessings heaped one right on top of the other.

I hope you'll allow me the opportunity in this post to THANK YOU for your comments and support after reading about Liam, that little boy from China who is now so much closer to coming home to his family in Florida!

Between the garage sale and the success of the bracelet sales, I can happily report to you that the family raised almost $6,000 LAST WEEK! Praise God! Isn't that amazing?

I want to share a few brief stories and pictures from the past week, so here goes:

The Yard Sale Fundraiser:
The temperatures on Saturday were absolutely scorching, but we didn't care. It was an awesome time of fellowship and fun as we got to talk with hundreds of strangers about the family God has chosen to bring home an abandoned orphan from half way around the world. Here's one picture taken of David and me at the event:

I always love working alongside my husband - and after watching him complete 5 wks of the P90X workout program, I pretty much volunteered him all day long for the heavy lifting jobs. Suffice it to say, my husband doesn't necessarily LOVE working alongside me!

So many of you emailed me, donated your own items to sell, came and shopped on Saturday, offered to email your own distribution lists, and most importantly promised to pray! It is awesome to be a part of a community of believers who have such generous hearts. THANK YOU! Sometimes I wonder if, at times like these, we begin to experience a little of what the Early Church looked like in Acts. (from Acts 2:42-47 in the Message: And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met. They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.

Saturday's fellowship was just the icing on the "Week O' Fun" cake. Because for the previous five days, our church hopped aboard the VBS "Boomerang Express", where more than 500 kids learned daily that "it all comes back to Jesus". This was Drew's very first year to participate, and he loved it every bit as much as I hoped he would. The following picture was taken on "Crazy Hair Day" with his cousin:

On Friday evening, all the parents were invited to Family Night, where we were entertained with cheers and songs and the obligatory "sliming" of the Children's Pastor. (The kids turned Pastor Chris into a human Sundae because they reached their missions offering goal - woohoo!). This was Drew's ON STAGE debut, and nothing could have thrilled this momma's heart more than watching my son enjoy absolutely every second of performing up there. He may look exactly like his daddy, but there REALLY IS a part of me in that kid!

Sun, Sand and Swimming:
During our down-time (ha!), we managed to squeeze in a few hours here and there for Drew and my niece & in-laws to just enjoy some "Florida-style" fun:

I'm going to attempt to upload some videos in the next few days, because I haven't even mentioned the MAJOR SWIMMING-RELATED FEAT that was accomplished on Father's Day.

As I look back on the past week, my heart is just swelling with joy (and my ankles are, too - but I'm pretty sure that's just water!).

God bless,

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hide & Seek (Psalm 37:23-24)

It's been a while since I did a "Hide & Seek" post (this is when I pick a Bible verse to try to commit to memory. To HIDE in my heart. To SEEK God's direction for my life).

Today, I received an email from a friend, containing this verse of Scripture along with a short devotional about seeking God's direction:

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.
Psalm 37:23-24

Her reasons for sending me the email were based on a conversation we had over the phone yesterday. During our chat, I was lamenting the details of my busy week. (It's VBS at the church, my in-laws are in town along with my niece for a summer visit, I'm attempting to stay focused at work and failing miserably at it, I might add, and the AC in my car has decided it's given up on fighting the 100+ temperatures outside.) Add the general fatigue of pregnancy to the list, and I'm just plain tapped out.

I told my friend that I'd arrived at the conclusion that I just needed someone else to make all my decisions for me for the remainder of the day.

She offered up the kind of advice a true friend gives ("Ditch your responsibilities.. pick up take-out for everyone else for dinner, and come join me for a pedicure!"). Ah! Affirming advice, indeed!

But her most priceless advice landed in my inbox this afternoon, complete with chapter and verse for reference.

Do I need to make a decision today? The Lord will direct my steps.

Seriously... does God really care about whether I should take my car to the mechanic today or wait until VBS is over next week? He delights in EVERY detail of my life (emphasis mine).

Have I overcommitted? Am I doing too much? Perhaps, but...Though they stumble they will never fall

And who will give me the comfort I seek after the doctors find this precious little baby's heartrate "interesting" during today's prenatal appointment? for THE LORD holds them by the hand (emphasis mine).

His Words amaze me... they leave me speechless... so in awe of the love of my Father. So grateful that He still speaks.

So thankful for friends who are seeking and hiding right along with me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Let's Bring Him Home!!!

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. (James 1:27)

"On November 6, 2008 a small basket was found abandoned by the Jia River in the Southern Province of Jiangsu in The People's Republic of China.

Inside, a tiny baby boy missing part of his right hand was found by the local police department and taken to a nearby orphanage. That very same week, a couple in a far away place called Clearwater, Florida remained obedient to the Lord's calling on their lives and placed an application to adopt a special needs child from China.

So began their journey to find one another.

After nearly eight months and mountains of paperwork , this couple has finally received a much anticipated referral for the precious little boy..."

This was the email that I received in my inbox the other day. The couple who will be adopting this sweet child attends my church. And their story... still in the process of being written... has burrowed itself deep into my heart. The more I learn, the more I want to be a part of bringing this little boy home to his parents.

But so much still separates this family - more than just oceans and continents and paperwork. Those of you who have adopted (or know someone who has) also know the financial commitment involved.

So, today I just want to use whatever platform this blog allows me to ask you to pray over this situation. I don't want to use any names, in order to assure this family some privacy, but God will direct your prayers.

And if He directs your heart to help, I want to let you know about 2 great opportunities to pour out blessings in a tangible way.

First, the family is selling navy blue rubber bracelets for $5 each in order to offset the remaining costs associated with the adoption, and I'm so pleased to be able to help out by offering you the opportunity to purchase one (or five, or ten!!). Please leave me a comment with your email address if you'd like more information about the bracelets and I'll coordinate each request individually with you!

Also, if you happen to live in the Tampa, FL area - we're holding a community yard sale fundraiser THIS SATURDAY MORNING (6/20) at the Safety Harbor downtown park (right off of Main Street, with the beautiful white gazebo). If you're interested in donating items to sell - FANTASTIC! Leave me a comment about that, and I'll give you instructions for dropping off your "stuff".

If you'd just like to come shop, even better! Every penny you spend will go directly toward bringing this little boy home to his anxiously-awaiting family.

And LASTLY, because this is so meaningful to me, I want to offer you an incentive to pass along the story. If you feel so led, I would love for you to make a mention and link to this post on your blog. For each blogger who includes a link (just leave me a comment that you did), I will send you a bracelet.

So, just by linking up and passing the word, you're doing something to bring a child to his permanent home!

I look forward to providing periodic updates and am so very grateful in advance for your prayers and support of this family's desire to be obedient to God's calling.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

"I can do it myself!"

A few days ago, our neighbors lost their precious dog, Nikki, to kidney failure. The loss was profound to all of the dog owners on our street - she was a beautiful, obedient, majestic black poodle - because we knew how deeply her "parents" must be grieving for their constant companion.

I was raised with deep Southern roots and was further influenced by growing up in the Baptist denomination. In short... I knew only one way to express our family's condolences...

With Food.

So, Drew and I set to work the other night baking chocolate chip cookies to deliver to our neighbors. As we were stirring the batter, I tried to offer a simple explanation of my intentions.

"We're making these cookies for Nikki's family. They're very sad because their dog died, and we want to help them feel better."

He paused for a few moments and began licking the sticky leftover batter from the spoon. "Mom," he finally replied, "Don't you think it would make them feel EVEN BETTER if we just got them a new black dog?"

I couldn't deny him his sound 4-yr-old logic, however I explained that they probably wanted to wait a little while before replacing their pet.

Yesterday afternoon, we wrapped a plate, signed a card, and set off down the street. Halfway to our destination, my son stopped and turned to me. "I want to do this myself," he said. "You stay right here, Mommy. I'll bring them the cookies."

After a few moments of negotiation (I refused to stay completely out of sight but promised to stay on the sidewalk while he went to the door) and instruction (I needed to know exactly what he planned to say to whoever opened the door), I watched my little man cautiously walk up the path with the cookies.

He balanced the goodies precariously in one hand as his other hand reached high towards the doorbell. Several seconds later the door opened, and a short exchange followed. I didn't hear what Drew said to her, but based on her response, he got the message across just fine. She asked him for a hug, and to my surprise, he willingly obliged.

She and I spoke briefly as my son walked back down the path toward me. We offered our condolences again and turned toward home.

I cannot begin to imagine what on earth possessed my son to step SO FAR outside his character and deliver this sympathetic gesture to neighbors he doesn't even know well - ALL BY HIMSELF.

Perhaps nothing earthly can explain his actions. Instead, I'm believing that it could be something heavenly. I can only hope that God is planting in my little man the desire to be bold and courageous and soft-hearted toward those who are hurting.

That's my prayer anyway... oh, and that all the leftover chocolate chip cookie batter and crumbs I consumed during preparation were miraculously calorie-free!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dear IKEA,

I'm not going to write you a love song...

Because I'm pretty sure I'm just infatuated.

Oh, how you tempt me to fall head over heels, though....

with your $4.99 lamps
and your $20 area rugs.
Those plush stuffed animals (though I can't quite figure out what they are supposed to resemble).

Even my son seems smitten by your brightly colored wardrobes and plastic toy bins.

You make me want to live in 843 sq. feet of organized perfection.

In short, you make me want to be a better person.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Linus had his blanket. I have these two items:

I never leave home without them.

From weeks 6-15 of my pregnancy, my chewing gum selection was limited to minty flavors only (Drew calls it the "spicy" gum). Around the 15 week mark, my tastes changed, and I've been addicted to the "FIRE!" (Again, Drew's word) variety ever since.

The bottle of pills... well, they have been a constant friend. And anyone who's know the perils of hyperemesis holds in her heart a special place for the makers of this anti-naseau medication.

So, I was just wondering: What's getting you through your day lately?

Did you have anything special (or crazy) that helped get you through your pregnancy?

I know a lot of expectant mommies right now and would love to pass along some tips from those of you who have been there, done that.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Leaps and Bounds

There are some things that come so easily to my boy.

But swimming... is not one of those things.
If you followed my blog last summer, you may remember the two weeks of nightmarish swimming lessons (yeah, you can relive it yourself starting here)we endured, only for Drew to forget everything he learned once the weather warmed up last month.

So, yesterday, when I went and picked him up at Grandma's house, I couldn't have been happier to see him turn this corner:

Sorry for the blurry photos. It took me a couple of tries to learn that my new camera has a setting called "Children moving actively". I think my camera will remain on that setting permanently.

Oh... and just because these are too good not to share:

(I can almost hear the Baywatch theme song starting)