Friday, November 30, 2012

My New Favorite Advent

Hey guys,

So tomorrow is December 1st!!!! I love December as much as I love October, and that's alot. Every year I search a million fantastic advent ideas on Pinterest. I think "I can do that", but then I totally never do (I'm no Jenna , but follow her on instagram if you want to feel inspired and a little inadequate).
So anyway, I always start out with great intentions, but it just never happens. One reason is because I like a more modern look with traditional values and that's hard to find! So I usually have the intention of creating something. I had just come to the conclusion that once again, the advent was not going to happen this year, when look what I stumbled upon...

Just the right amount of funky for me! And guess what? Sarah is offering them as a free download as well as already done in her etsy store. I'm doing both. I'm a few days late since I just ordered them yesterday, so I'll be using a few downloads to get us started. Aren't they awesome?! Thanks Sarah!!!

Day 4 Totals

We are blown away by the generosity of our family, friends, and complete strangers!!  Every dollar is a blessing and, with three days left, we are now 65% closer to our next agency payment and 1/4th of the way toward being FULLY funded!  Thank you to all of you who have given, shared, prayed and/or contributed in any way!!  I think my daughter said it best in the video "We can't WAIT to bring our babies home!"  THANK YOU!!!  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 3 Totals

Are you kidding me?! This is awesome! The Greenfields have a whopper of a payment due and you guys just paid for half of it. At least. So far. That'll make it a little easier to breathe. I love being a part of this!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I bring you fun news!

Hey guys!

Sooooo, has the shock worn off yet? Are you guys still kind of in a fog that Beth's stepping back a little? Me too actually. It's totally been a whirlwind last week or so talking with Beth and learning all it is she actually does.  She does a lot guys, she's pretty awesome and she loves you all a lot
 I wanted to write you all a quick little note to you I'm so honored to be able to walk along with you all, whatever stage in life you're at, I'm sure we all have something in common.  For example, I love Etsy and Pinterest.  Anyone else? Well, check out 
Some of her work been circulating around Pinterest for a few days and I hopped on over to her Etsy shop and there are some beautiful prints there, these are a few of my faves...

AND right now she's offering a FREE 8X10 print with every purchase! Say what?!
 That's right guys, it's a BOGO deal over there, and her prints are totally affordable, so you can pick one out for yourself and get one (for free!) for a special friend or family member (or keep them both, whatever your fancy) 

Anyway, happy Wednesday all, I'm so excited to be a part of such a fun group!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Retirement Post

Hey guys,

I bet you saw this coming. I wasn't sure which graphic to use. This was maybe appropriate.

I feel like I really have been faithful with the blog. I knew it would be big and really impact lots of families. It's not there quite yet, but I'm stopping before it's climax because, well... (and here's the graphic that mostly applies...)

You know where I'm coming from? I'm trying to run my house, my art business, and the blog and there's just not enough of me to do it all well. And while I'm blogging about the orphan crisis in Africa, my own former-orphan cries for me to get off the computer. 

So, the thing for me to do is pretty clear at this point. I've got to pull back on the blog just a bit. I'm still very much here, just behind the scenes. And I'm still going to be blogging once a week or so starting in January. For the rest of the year you guys are going to get to know your new blogger, though you probably already know her. ;)

Steph Nunes is going to be the new voice of the Africa blog. She's young and fun and stylish; you're just going to love her. She's so perfect. You'll be getting to know her more in the coming month before she takes over full time, but you can pop over to her blog right now and give her a sweet word of encouragement. And you can always pop over to my blog to keep up with us and whatever hair brained scheme I've got going on. I'm not out of here yet. We'll do it nice and slow and we have such similar tastes and styles that you won't even notice the change. Steph is handling all the new families now, so contact her if you're interested in being a featured family. All of you lovelies that emailed me offering to help with the blog (there were alot and I haven't got a chance to respond to everyone yet), I adore you! We're going to keep your names and emails and Steph will email you when she needs some help. I love you all so super much! 

Oh, and by the way...

Monday, November 26, 2012

New Family - The Greenfields

Good morning everyone! I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. And now all the Christmas fun can start!

This weeks' family is a little bit amazing. The Greenfields are living in Jordan. They are now in the process of adopting twin girls from the DRC. Rachel, our mama, can tell you their story far better than I can.

For Nathan and I, adoption has always been something we felt would be a part of our family story.  On our very first date, our concern and desire to care for orphans very naturally flowed into our conversation.  Although we weren’t sure HOW exactly caring for orphans would be a part of our journey, we trust God would make it clear in His timing.

Four years into our marriage, we welcomed our firstborn, Noah Arend, into the world on May 7, 2008.  We were absolutely mesmerized by our precious baby boy and were thrilled to become parents.  Less than two years later, we were overjoyed to welcome our little princess, Mercy Elizabeth, into our family and found ourselves captivated once again.

When Mercy was just four months old and I was still suffering through sleep deprivation from a stubborn little diva who was NOT interested in sleeping through the night, God very clearly directed Nathan and I to welcome an abandoned newborn into our home.  Although our decision didn’t make much sense on a logical level, as I bounced back and forth between diapers, baby bottles, work, and other demands, I would find myself staring at sweet Maleah and know that God was doing something big.
In the days and months that followed, we were on a roller coaster of ups and downs emotionally.  It was in that time that God spoke to us in an intimate way through His Word.  The passage found in Isaiah 58:6-12 came alive in our lives and challenged our hearts in significant ways.  

Some of you who know us personally, know bits and pieces of the story of Maleah, but in all honesty, there was so much that happened in those months that we could not express in words.  there was new life breathed into us as we cared for this sweet child.  There was a fire lit in Nathan’s spirit as he sought to be a voice for one without a voice.  I watched my husband come alive in strength and vigor.  We saw miracles happen, in Maleah’s life AND in ours.  Our entire family was changed, right to the very core of who we were.  The Greenfield family post-Maleah is not the same as it was before she arrived, and for that reason alone, we are grateful for her presence in our life even if it ended long before we wished it had.
God used that time to increase our faith and strengthen our resolve to help those in need.  It was in this time that He confirmed to our hearts that our next child would be brought into our family through adoption.
In April 2011, we began the adoption process and after many, many months of waiting, in August 2012 God gave us more than we could ever think or imagine when He blessed our family with TWIN girls!  In October, we flew to the Congo to meet our precious girls for the first time and every moment with them was a treasure.  We cherish the memories we made together.  

We are currently awaiting our court date, which is projected to be sometime toward the beginning of November.  While we are anxious to get our girls home, we are relying on the promises of God to help ease the ache of our hearts.  He has been faithful each step of this journey, and we have no doubt He will continue to be faithful to complete the work He has started.

Thank you for this opportunity to share our story on Give 1 Save 1.  When we began our adoption journey, we looked at the expenses and knew there was absolutely no way apart from God that this adoption could take place.  He has been generous in HIs provision and we have had what we needed at every point we have needed it.  PRAISE GOD!  Our next major payment is due immediately following our court hearing, and we are trusting God to provide the remaining agency fees and travel money.

God bless you Give 1 Save 1!!  You are a blessing to so many people!

Rachel Greenfield

OK, guys, you know what to do. Please remember that they are working in a foreign country. They have been obedient to God, and we are going to have to be as well. Let's take care of this money thing for them, shall we? On this Cyber Monday when the rest of the world is on their computers buying a bunch of stuff we don't really need, lets invest in this family.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

OK, One more post!!!

I know I said we're breaking until the 26th, but you had to see this one! YOU ROCK! For reals.

OK, now I'll see you after Thanksgiving! :) 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey everybody! It's been a crazy awesome record-breaking week. Our family of the week is at $13,611 so far for Ana's adoption!!! I LOVE IT! That's what I'm talkin' about! If you haven't yet, go check out their video and donate.

Have a great Thanksgiving! The Give1 team is taking Thanksgiving break off since most people aren't online anyway, so I hope you have an awesome turkey. I love you guys. See you on the flip side. We'll be back Monday the 26th with a new family to bless. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Going "Home"

Nick and I are leaving for Ethiopia on November 29 and we could not be more excited. Ethiopia feels like home to us, but this trip is going to be a little different. Although we thought our next trip would definitely be related to our adoption, God has a plan that I have to believe is greater than my own (otherwise I would go crazy), and we are heading back just to check in on a few projects and love on some of our favorite people. We usually have our trip planned out day by day, what we want to accomplish and what we need to get done. I feel like that mentality is the only thing that kept me going for two months the first trip. Otherwise, I would have been a bawling mess for most of the trip processing all I had seen and done. Instead, I waited until I got home and had to study for my physical therapy boards to do that :)

We have a rough idea of the people we want to see and the projects we'll visit. We'll definitely be seeing our friends at Hands for the Needy in Korah (a sponsorship program supported through Children's HopeChest), visiting Bring Love In for the first time to meet the family we help sponsor, and loving on all the kiddos at two of the government orphanages Kebebe Tsehay and Kechene.

We may even do a tiny bit of traveling outside of the city! We are typically so busy working from the time we hit the ground to the moment we arrive back at the airport that the idea of getting out of the city is a blur. I guess that's not true, actually, as we helped with a week long shoe distribution in a community outside the city, but I mean outside-outside the city. The few places we're entertaining is Lalibela and Bahir Dar. Lalibela is known for their ancient churches carved out of rock.


 Near Bahir Dar is Lake Tana and the Blue Nile Falls.

Axum is apparently the most ancient city in Ethiopia and is home to some amazing stone obelisks. According to Wikipedia, "The Ethiopian Orthodox Church claims that the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Aksum houses the Biblical Ark of the Covenant in which lie the Tablets of Law upon which the Ten Commandments are inscribed."

The history of Ethiopia really astounds me. How do we chose where to go?! In fact, I stumbled across this itinerary called The Ark of the Covenant: in search of the oldest treasure of all humanity. I wouldn't mind just re-creating that because it looks Ah.mazing. Too little time to do it all! Any recommendations from you seasoned Ethiopian travelers?!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pumpkin Bread Fundraiser

Hey guys,

I wanted to let you know about the most brilliant fundraiser ever. I think so anyways. So, on Monday, Shannon did a great post on the Domestic site about fundraising. They've managed to raise a few hundred bucks with this fundraiser before and I think it's fan-flippin'-tastic. She (and some volunteer friends) bake up a bunch of loaves of pumpkin bread and deliver or ship before Thanksgiving. Each loaf is $7+shipping if you need it. Profit is about $5 a pop. That's not a bad cut and *bonus* your house smells awesome. If you'd like to order some (I'm about to!!!) and send them as sweet greetings or as a little something for yourself, email Shannon at ajourneyoflove@gmail(dot)com to get yours. Shannon, dear - fire up your oven!!!

And can I take a sec to encourage you to pop in on some of the other blogs from time to time? We are all SO different, but it's awesome like that. Look over on your left. See that button that says 'back to the map'? It'll take you to all of our blogs. Check 'em out. They're all awesome if I do say so myself. Hey, some of the bloggers even have vocabulary beyond the word 'awesome'. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Life In Color

Hey guys,

Check it out! I've found a life book that's not ugly! Seriously, that's big news. As I'm sure you've encountered, a baby book isn't really going to cut it for adopted kids. Though I certainly experienced cravings (for doro wot) and mood swings, the topics just aren't all the same. These books by Life in Color are cute and perfect for our little ones. The pages are also removable, so if for example, you don't know anything about Birth Mom, you can just take that page out. Really customizable. Here's a few sample pages.

Cute, right? You can get yours here

Monday, November 12, 2012

New Week - The Grummer Family

Hey guys,

This week we've got another European family on the blog. Well, they're not European, but their adoption is. Anyhoo, we still don't have a Europe blogger and we have a LONG list of Give1 families ready to roll on there, so if ya know anyone... Just sayin'...

So, say hello to the Grummer family (yeah, you're going to want to hit that blog next). They are adopting a darling little girl named Ana. Their friends adopted her biological sister, Lana. The Grummers have three other gorgeous girlies, so it's going to be a girl party over there. They made us a beautiful (like super gorgeous, make you weep pretty) video. Trust me and watch it.

Ana is HIV positive, and has a FIG fund set up for her. You can donate through that by clicking here, then the paypal button. Thanks so much. I bet you're feeling extra generous right before Thanksgiving, right? :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sevenly and Show Hope

I love Sevenly. And I love Show Hope. So, um, this awesome sweater (and a bunch of cute tees) benefitting Show Hope is a no brainer. I just wanted to make sure you saw these before they're gone! Sevenly shirts have such cute cuts. It's hard to find a cute sweater, y'all. Purchasing one of these shirts this week will help fill the grant bucket to help make adoption affordable for many families. Lots of our Give1 families have received Show Hope grants as well. If you're interested in obtaining more info about their services click here. And if you'd like to buy a shirt, click here. I'll be doing it tomorrow (come on PayDay).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Overwhelmed for the Holidays

Good morning, guys! I'm so excited to tell you about this little gem. I've been really excited and just waiting for the right time to take this particular webinar, Overwhelmed for the Holidays. It's about helping your adopted child navigate our crazy time of year, especially those with sensory issues (which is actually many, many, maybe even most of our littles). Adoption Learning Partners was sweet enough to let one of our readers take the class for free so she could tell us about it. But then they decided to make it free for everyone during the month of November!!! So go go go and take this class this week. The holidays are in our lap. Two weeks to Thanksgiving, y'all!

Speaking of holidays, I've got a few shameless plugs in the Christmas gift category. Our t-shirts are almost gone, and they would make a great gift for some of your Africa lovin' peeps. They are so cute, but selling t-shirts is kind of a pain, so I won't be restocking these babies. They are $18 shipped and I'll ship them to Antarctica or Canada or Puerto Rico or anywhere. In fact, I might anyway if y'all don't buy them because I really need my closet space back.

Also, I've been painting art girls for a bunch of people's Christmas gifts. I know we have 7 more weeks, but I'm only going to be painting until December. Then I'm going to chill out because I love it so much. So if you want to have an art girl made for your daughter, mom, sister, best friend, teacher, whatever, they are $25 in my etsy shop. Just pick your color and verse. Here are a few that are already done, some still need verses, but I thought I'd let you pick.

Christmas is coming and I'm thinking we can really tone it down this year and help it be a peaceful, meaningful time this round! 

PS. We've helped our 'family' of the week, Bring Love In, bring $1400 in! Have you donated yet? It would mean so much to those kids!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ergo Review

Hey lovely people! Jude has been home six weeks already, and let me tell ya, I am now an expert on babywearing. So I thought I'd break down the carriers as I've tried them. I've always been a babywearing fan but my two bios would never go for it. Will just wanted to nurse every time he got that close to my chest, and Abby was completely averse to snuggling. Jude, however, LOVES being carried. I bought several carriers before he came home. The stylish and super cheap Seven sling. They are stinking cute, but I've found them to be really uncomfortable and they just don't feel too terribly secure to me. I wanted to love it. I really did. Then I tried the Moby. I do like this one. It's cute and comfy. Jude likes it pretty well. But honestly, Ergo has been the ticket for us and here's why.

This thing is high quality and is designed for comfort. And if you're serious about babywearing, like as a "lifestyle" (hang on, that sounded really cheesy), and not a fashion statement, then comfort is pretty much the number one priority. Adoption specialists recommend holding and/or wearing your child for several hours a day to help facilitate bonding. When I heard hours I thought that was crazy, but really we actually do wear him hours a day, and the Ergo has saved my back and arms. I'd love to say that we hold him that much because I'm super attentive to our attachment, but it happens quite naturally because if we don't hold him he will whine at us. And then the other kids whine too because the baby's whining. So we have to. So anyway, we've got this handy green one because me and my hubs can both wear it (not too girly), though I have my eye on this one.

Another HUGE, I mean huge, reason I love it is for the ability to carry on my back. Not all carriers have that, and some are really so complicated that it's not worth it. But this one is actually really easy and comfy. I can really get stuff done (dishes, typing, etc) with Jude on my back and he's happy as a clam there.  He hangs out and chews the Ergo. Oh, and here's a little bonus, the cleavage enhancer is an excellent bonus feature! Oh? Not a cleavage enhancer? Yes, it is. But I think they call it a security clip. It definitely make the whole thing feel like it's not going anywhere. 

They are priced around $120 each, which is not a no-brainer for us. It was a bit of an expense, really. But it's saved us. In fact, I'll probably get another. They carry up to 45 lbs. That's like a 5 year old! So you'll get plenty of use out of it. Anyhoo, Ergo doesn't pay me or anything. I'm just passing on my experience. For a serious babywearer, this is the way to go. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bring Love In

Good morning, you guys! Normally we support an adoptive family a week on this blog, but this week we're changing it up just a tad. Instead of giving our dollars to one family to help bring home one child, this week we're looking after 45. This week we'll be helping out Bring Love In. 

Many of you are already familiar with the book Bring Love In by Levi Benkert. The Benkert family has given up the American dream and headed to Ethiopia to help care for orphans. That vision has morphed into a beautiful thing. Bring Love In works with widows and orphans both, bringing them together to form a new family. Real forever families. The money that we send to Bring Love In goes towards the success of the families, paying for things like their rent, food, clothing, and education. Right now the kids are in need of some computers and a full time teacher. Would you help us get that for them this week? If you're new to Give1, all we do is donate a dollar and spread the word. Many of us are adopters, ourselves, and don't have much to donate, but everyone can donate a dollar. You can certainly donate more, but what we're really hoping for is that you'll hit up Facebook when you're done and see if you can get some friends in on it too. That's when it starts adding up!

And to make it just a little sweeter, there is a giveaway for this beautiful print donated by Poppy and Pinecone.

So go ahead and donate (not Paypal this time, no biggie), enter the giveaway and let's help these kids out!