Monday, December 30, 2013

In My Jammers Is My Favorite Place To Be

Ok, so the title of this post isn't entirely true. 
We all know that Africa is really my favorite place to be. 
But, this time of year, in my jammers is where it's at...again, not literally. 

Christmas was good. 
Much, much better than last year when we all had the flu. 
Nothing says Christmas like wiping noses and taking temperatures. 

We visited with family, we opened presents, and we ate until our bellies were well past full. 
We are thankful and spending the week enjoying new toys and watching new movies as a family. 
I feel like 2013 was truly a year of action for our family, so we are really using this time as a time of rest.
 In case you missed the memo, being active makes you tired. 
And tired people need to rest. 

The worst part of Christmas this year? 
A broken camera. 
Phone pics only? 
Mom of the year, people. 
Made over mustache pics is the best I can do today, so let's just laugh and then ignore the lack of Christmas pictures, mkay? 

Coming soon to this here blog: 
2013: What I Read
2014: My Word of the Year

Be back soon and hope your Christmas was all kinds of merry. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

But Your Baby Will Be....Black

 Today I want to talk about the hard truth of adopting a baby whose skin color doesn't match our own, and it comes down to one simple statement: SOME PEOPLE SIMPLY WON'T UNDERSTAND. 

People will say hurtful things. 
People will think even more hurtful things. 
People will judge. 
People will be upset by this. 
People just won't get it. 

And that's okay. 
We realize that God doesn't call us all to the same things. 
In fact, I even like this-- if we were all called to do the very same things in the very same way, not much would get done. 

Today at Libby's Christmas party at school, we talked to her classmates about adoption-- not in  a formal way, just through several individual conversations.
It was obvious some of the kids had never heard of a white family adopting a black baby.
 But after a minute of thinking about it, they seemed to just accept it. 
She will be our daughter. 
She will be Libby's little sister. 
And once they thought about it, they got excited. 
Emily will have a home. 
She will have a family. 
And we will have her. 

The kids get it. 
They understand that you don't have to look alike to be family. 
Now if we could only work to teach adults the same message. 

So far, I have learned two big things through our adoption journey: 

1. Waiting is hard and not my gift.
2. Some people do not think before they speak. 

I've had people ask me if I know she'll be black.
I've had people tell me that we are know, in case we somehow missed that. 
I've had people tell us how lucky our daughter will be (this, by the way, is NOT what we believe-- we are are NOT her savior; only Jesus is worthy of that title. We are not trying to be heroes or good Samaritans. We are simply following God's call for our family. Period.).
I've had many people turn their noses up to the fact that we are adopting internationally rather than domestically. 
And I've had a lot of people make very confused faces and stare in silence. 

But, you know what else I've had? 
I've had so many friends and people I have never met go out of their way to pray for and support our adoption. 
And that, my friends, is something to be thankful for. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bitter is Not Better: Christmas is Hard When You're Waiting

 My Dear Emily, 

Oh baby girl, I miss you. I miss you every single day, but Christmas is about to do me in. I want you home, with us, where you belong. I want my family to be all together under one roof. I want to know that you'll eat until your belly is full and to be able to hold you when you're not feeling well. I want to know that you have all the clean water you could ever possibly need, a good bath with bubbles, and a mom to tuck you in at night. I want you to here to watch 'The Grinch' with Libby, to sit on my lap while I read The Night Before Christmas... again, and to build a gingerbread house with Hollyn. I want you to wake me up in the middle of the night to ask me if it's morning yet and to pick out presents for you. I want you to be home for Christmas. One day soon, sweet girl. We are coming for you. 

Love you all the way to the sky, 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Jesus is the Reason (A Guest Post)

Hey friends! Crazy busy week wrapping up the Noonday season and whatnot, so today I have a SPECIAL treat for you! I'd like for you to meet my precious friend Rachel. LOVE her heart for Jesus, her desire to make her marriage work, and her passion for making her home the happiest of happy places to be. I've been there, and let me just tell you-- it's one of the happiest places ever. And today she's going to share with you some ways you can work to keep Christmas focused on Jesus. LOVE her heart and LOVE her ideas even more!

Hello there everyone. What a joy it is for me to be able to join my sweet friend McCall over here today to share my heart with you all. It is kinda funny how McCall and I came to know each other. We actually met via Instagram, crazy but such a blessing. All of you know about Noonday, thanks to McCall and her passion for the company, but McCall came to my house and allowed me to host a trunk show and we clicked right away. Social media is the best. So again, I am grateful for McCall and her allowing me to do this.

 Anyways, I guess a little bit about me. My name is Rachel Cox, I am a recent college grad, and newlywed. I didn't think graduating college was a big enough change so I threw marriage in there two weeks after graduation. But really, I am married to my best friend who is working on his PhD in Civil Engineering at Mississippi State University. We live in Starkville, MS in a super old Victorian home that has been divided into apartments...old things make me happy. I work for a new church plant here called Redeemer Church, and I work primarily with college students at MSU through our college ministry called Four Corners Mission Network. I love Jesus with everything that I am, and I strive to make my life about making his name known and proclaiming his true gospel to those around me. I love to create in my free time, and thankfully I am married to an engineer with a passion for woodworking and using his hands so I call on him a lot.  Also, I love to blog, check out my random thoughts, recipes, and our latest projects over at Oh Simple Thoughts. But enough about me...let's get to the reason I am here. Jesus.

In the midst of Christmas, I wanted to provide some perspective or encouragement about what it is we as Christians are called to really observe and celebrate during this month of festivities. Many of you have heard of Advent I am sure, and you may have a million different thoughts or opinions on what you think it is. I know some people celebrate Advent by giving candy or gifts each day to their children to get them more excited than they already are about Christmas day, or some use the Jesse Tree to celebrate this time leading up to Christmas. I am not going to use this post to say one is better than the other...but I want to challenge us to stop and consider what we do during this holiday season and why we do it. 

Christmas for the believer is a time of true celebration. Why? Well I can tell you it is not because of decorations, lights, hot chocolate, presents, or even time with family, though all these things are so wonderful to enjoy. No, Christmas is about celebrating that our Savior God, who is almighty and so worthy of our praise, became flesh, and dwelt among us. (John 1:14) He became fully human, "so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." (Hebrews 2:17) So for this reason we celebrate. We were a people without hope, dead in our sins and carrying out the passions of our flesh (which these things by the way do not have to manifest themselves in what we may consider "obvious sins", the passions of our flesh can be glorifying ourselves through a perfectly decorated and clean home, or an excessive amount of spending on gifts, or become self absorbed and making life about us...) But despite all this God sent his son, to become our hope. (Ephesians 2)

I could go on and on about the importance of this idea, but I encourage you to preach the gospel to yourself daily, whether you have been a Christian since childhood or for only a few years. We all need to be reminded of the hope that only is found in the person of Jesus Christ. We are filled with hope, so we celebrate Christmas out of the overflow of joy that comes from being filled with that hope of salvation. So where does Advent fit into all this? Well I think that it is an excellent thing to do, that practically can prepare our hearts for a celebration rooted in hope and not materialism. Advent is simply a time of prayer, fasting, and anticipation of what is to come. For Ben (my husband) and I we made an Advent calender and filled each day with verses about Jesus' birth. Some are prophecies and some are directly from the accounts of Jesus' birth. We read these most every night and talk through them together. We also included various Christmas activities for each day, such as take a baked item to a neighbor, drink hot chocolate, sleep under the Christmas tree, make a Christmas ornament. 

We want to enjoy all the things we love about Christmas too so please do not read this post and think you can never do fun Christmas things again without feeling guilty for not focusing on Christ's birth. No, out of the overflow of hope, rejoice, and drink some homemade hot chocolate with your sweetheart and kids. I think this is a time to be enjoyed and a time for us to slow down. However, the reason we enjoy and slow down is not because of family, time off work and out of school, gifts, giving, or amazing is all rooted in the gospel, just as everything in our life should be. In Acts 20:24 Paul says, "But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." That is a powerful statement...our reason for life is to testify to the Gospel. The gospel that begins in the hope found in a baby's birth, Jesus Christ. So why not make Christmas about Christ, and not us. Why not teach our families and children to rejoice in the Lord during this month and not gifts. This is such a prime time to teach the gospel to others.

So I encourage you all now, to stop. Praise the Father for sending his son, born of a virgin, in a humble manger, to become the redeemer for us and our ever increasing sin. He is worthy of our praise today, friends, praise him, not gifts, or activities relating to Christmas, but praise HIM. I hope and pray this encourages you the way it encouraged me. As I have been pondering what to write I have become so excited about the Gospel and my amazing Father God. I pray you experience the same excitement. 

Would love to hear from you all, and to meet some more social media friends just like McCall. Check out my blog, Oh Simple Thoughts, if you have some time and say hey! Blessings to you and yours this Holiday Season, and Merry Christmas!

xoxo- Rachel Cox

Monday, December 9, 2013

These are a few of my favorite things (A GIVEAWAY)

So it's no secret that I'm all kinds of crazy about Noonday Collection
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would love it as much as I do. 
I just can't enough of knowing that my purchases are literally working to change the lives of those in need around the world. 
And you know what?

Have you finished your Christmas shopping? 
Have YOU hosted a Noonday show? 
Well, let's chat for a minute.....

You have until TOMORROW to place an order on my site (be sure to select me, McCall Aldridge) as your ambassador OR message me about hosting a show in January or February. If you don't live in MS, no problem! I can connect you with an ambassador near you!

 If you do either of these things by tomorrow at 3 pm CST, 
you will be entered to win the scarf of your choice. 
Which would you pick?
 Tough decision, folks. 

AND did I mention that your order WILL be in in time for Christmas???? 
(The last day to order for guaranteed Christmas delivery is December 17th.)
You can't beat that!

And in case you need a little help deciding that to order, here are a few of my favorite Noonday things: 

Metallic Pearl Bracelet (made from artillery in Ethiopia) 

(search my Instagram to see me wearing these since they arrived on my doorstep)

Jalia Ombre Necklace (made from paper in Uganda)

our home and gift items-- LOVE them all, and they are on sale right now!

The delicious Cozy Zip Wrap 

The Angelica Infinity Scarf (it's backordered but WILL be in for Christmas)

 So, finish your Christmas shopping 
and watch to see who will win TOMORROW (Tuesday, 12/10) 
at 3pm CST! 

Happy shopping and good luck! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

These are My People

A few weeks ago, I had one of those really great days. 
It refreshed my soul and stirred my heart. 

I was invited to come and set up a Noonday table at a fundraiser
 for a home for abandoned baby girls in India. 
Little did I know I'd never want to leave. 

It isn't often that I'm surrounded by people where words like Dossier and Visa are just part of regular conversations with no explanation necessary. 

The room was filled with missionaries, adoptive mamas, and people with big ole' hearts for serving others. 

These are my people. 
And every once in a while, a little time with your people can do a whole world full of good. 

We have adoption news. 
It's big. 
And we're sitting on go. 
But waiting for one more email before we can share with all of you. 

Prayers would be appreciated; a girl can only keep good news a secret for so long. 

Monday, December 2, 2013


Confession time: I did not partake in the daily Facebook thankful list during the month of November. However, I am exceedingly thankful for so many things. So here you go, fashionably late, my list of thankfuls for November: 

1. my family, albeit currently incomplete
2. the fact that my car is still spite of the odds and many many miles I've put on it
3. friends who understand my heart and get where I'm coming from on a regular basis
4. the fact that our adoption is officially half  funded
5. working for Noonday Collection and knowing that my work is making the world a better place for someone else
6. the amazing adoption community that I never realized existed and am now blessed by every single day
7. good books that come around at perfect times
8. hot tea
9. road trips to see old friends
10. more experienced, wiser women who spend time investing in little ole me
11. Libby's love for music and her keyboard...and the headphones that go with it
12. 'Parenthood' reruns
13. slippers
14. blogs that inspire
15. pictures of my kiddos
16. little moments that makes big memories
17. gifts that give back
18. nights when bedtime is easy
19. hand-me-downs for my littles
20. snuggling on the couch
21. dancing in the kitchen
22. candy....all the candy
23. good music that makes me smile
24. laughing until I cry
25. living close enough to my grandmother that I can see her often
26. an automatic setting on my camera that allows me to capture one or two decent shots of our family...out of the two hundred or so that we took
27. friends who share my take on motherhood
28. all things pumpkin
29. Christmas movies playing on repeat for the next twenty-three or so days at mi casa
30. Hollyn's made up cheers that she does randomly all throughout each and every day

Here's hoping your Thanksgiving was superb and that you have much to be thankful for. Care to share one of the little things in life that you are most thankful for? I'd love to hear it! 

Friday, November 29, 2013

But what if I eat the whole thing?

Happy day after Thanksgiving to you and you and you! 
We have some BIG adoption news coming soon, but for today I wanted to give you a little something yummy to make and enjoy with your family. 
It's perfect for tree decorating, board game playing, and watching Elf, my all-time favorite Christmas movie. 

Friends, today I give you the infamous HEATH BAR DIP. 

I first had this about nine months ago when my dear friend Laura made it for a Noonday party. 
It's safe to say I've been dreaming about it ever since. 

Here's what you do: 

-mix one 8 oz. cream cheese (I used fat free, but you can use whatever you so choose) with 3/4 cup brown sugar. I used my mixer, and it took about thirty seconds to be mixed to perfection. 
-stir in some Heath bar bits. You can buy them in a bag, already chopped up. They should be in the same area as the chocolate baking chips in your grocery store. 
-add in a few Snickers bars, chopped up into bite-sized pieces. Or, you can do what I did and buy the Snickers bites, which I found in the checkout line next to the other sugary sweets. 
-serve it cold with graham cracker squares, animal crackers, or whatever else makes your mouth water. 

You can thank me later for the yummy goodness. 

We're off to decorate our tree today, 
as we are firm believers in the NO TREE UNTIL AFTER THANKSGIVING rule. 

Here's hoping you are happy and full and surrounded by those you love today. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

While I Wait

We are in a constant state of waiting around here these days. 
We're waiting for the phone to ring. 
We're waiting for an email. 
We're waiting for news. 
We're waiting for our girl. 

And's not my favorite. 

But the way I see it, I have two options during this phase of life:
I can either drown in it, letting it consume me and frustrate me and make me a grumpy mess for the next few months, or I can keep on living, keep on praying, and keep on keeping my chin up. 

Needless to say, I'm trying to stick to the second option as much as I can. 

The truth is, we're on the verge of news. 
By that I mean, we are sitting on the edge of the cliff leaning over as far as we can to avoid diving head first. 
All that stands between us and a referral is a document. 
We've been waiting for said document for many, many days. 

Some days I've cried. 
Some days I've stayed busy. 
Some days I've gotten really excited. 
Some days I've been frustrated as all-mama-get-out. 
If any of you are looking for an emotional roller coaster to catch a ride on this Holiday season, come on over;  I'll leave the light on for you. 

Would you pray for us that this document will arrive soon? 
Tomorrow would be great; today would be better. 
Before Thanksgiving would make me one very happy mama. 

And if you need me, I'll be buried in Dossier documents. 
If anyone needs a birth certificate, marriage license, or passport photo, my house is the place to be. 
Hoping to finish and submit the Dossier next week. 
Can you say I WANT IT DONE NOW? 
I can. 
Heck, I'll even say it in Pig Latin if it means I can stop thinking about it. 

Little girl, we are coming for you, no many how many notaries I have to tackle to get there. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Home Sweet Houma

Sometimes you just have to get out of town, you know? 
Well, last week was that time. 

In the spirit of sharing the Noonday goodness, my girl and I loaded up and headed South.

We spent four amazingly amazing days in Louisiana. 
These four days were jam packed with hugging old friends, playing with our cousins, sharing Noonday, 
relishing in childhood memories, and eating. 
Oh, the food. 
I'd forgotten just how incredibly amazing the food is at home. 
Shrimp poboys, gumbo, and crawfish...oh my. 

We rested, we read, and we visited. 

It was just the break we needed. 
Libby and I came home yesterday ready for the business that is sure to be the holidays. 
Too bad the food couldn't come with us. 

This week will be filled with working on our Dossier, working on our Dossier, and working on our Dossier some more. And then, when we think we're done, we'll work on our Dossier some more. However, we're hoping to submit it by the end of the month. Can you say I CAN'T WAIT? I can. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Orphan Sunday: Some Thoughts

Yesterday was good. 
Yesterday was hard. 

I hate knowing that there's a need for a day dedicated to increasing awareness to the millions of children without families throughout the world. 
I hate that there are orphans. 
I wish that there wasn't a need for a day like yesterday, but there is. 

I do find joy in knowing that we are working to make one less orphan in this world. 
It's a tiny dent, hardly even worth mentioning in the big scheme of things. 
But what if more people work to make even a dent in the orphan crisis? 
A dent could become a big, gaping hole. 
And then one day, there could be no more orphan crisis. 

I also find joy in the hope that this time next year, 
we could be celebrating Orphan Sunday in a very different way, with Emily HOME. 

That is my prayer and my hope. 

If you'd like more information on Orphan Sunday, 
here are some great blog posts from fellow adoptive mamas: 

Please be in prayer for those orphans waiting for their families. 
Please pray for those who are waiting for their babies to come home. 
Please pray for those feeling the call to adopt and not quite ready to take that great leap of faith.
And please, please, please pray for our Emily. 

We've raised ALMOST $1000 dollars at this point and still have several days to go. 

You can find our giveaway HERE

Friday, November 1, 2013

Emily's Bundle Giveaway: An AWESOME Adoption Fundraiser

It's no secret that we are adopting. 
(However, if you're new around here, you can learn more about our journey here, here, and here .)

It's also no secret that adoption is expensive. 
But like I've said at least a hundred times, 

So, I recruited some help....mostly from total strangers, amazing strangers from all over the country who want to help bring Emily home and create one less orphan in this world. 

I asked them to donate an item or two. 
And donate they did.
Thirty-one people sent some of their hard work our way, 
to the grand total of $1200 worth of goodies....
for four of you.  

That alone has had me in tears more than once. 
God is moving. 
He wants our girl to come HOME, and I can't wait to one day tell her about all of the people from all across the country who worked hard and sacrificed so that she could be part of a family. 
*My eyes literally fill with tears just from thinking about that.*

But we are still a long way from our goal. 
Think thousands of dollars. 
 God is good, and He will give us what need to bring our girl home. 
We truly believe that. 
(You can read more on my thoughts on fundraising and how it's defining 'humble' for me here.)

But it takes a village. 

$5 can truly make a difference in our adoption journey. 
I have over 400 followers on this blog. 
I have close to 400 followers on Facebook. 
I have over 900 followers on Instagram.
And I have over 100 followers on Bloglovin'. 
That's almost 2000 followers in all. 
And if they each entered just one time, well that's a lot of pocket change. 

Our goal with this fundraiser is $3500. 
That will completely cover our Dossier fees to Congo. 

I fully believe we can meet this goal. 
$5 is one cup of coffee at Starbucks. 
It's five $1 items at Target. 
It's less than most people spend on one meal at McDonald's. 
We spend $5 and don't even think anything about it sometimes. 

Well, the mom in me is asking you to think about it. 
My girl is waiting on me. 
She needs her family. 
And your $5 can be the difference we need. 

This will be our last big fundraiser until the new year. 
I'm putting all of my eggs in one basket and praying hard the people will be moved by our story. 
I'm praying they will think about our girl. 

Don't do it for me; do it for Emily. 

Would you like to be part of Emily's village? 
Do you want to play a part in our adoption journey? 
Well, here is your chance. 

This giveaway will be open for eleven days
 (NOVEMBER 1-11). 

Here are the details on how to enter: 

- Each bundle has its own rafflecopter entry system. 

-For ever $5 you donate, you get one entry.
 So, let's say you donate $20. 
You can then choose to either enter each bundle one time
 or your favorite bundle four times 
(or any other four entry combo. that works for you). 
Divide your entries however you choose, 
I just ask that you be honorable.
 $5= one entry to one bundle.

-You can also get entries for sharing about this giveaway by sharing. 
Social media has already played a HUGE roll in bringing our girl home, 
and we'd LOVE for you to use your voice to help spread the word!
Share on facebook=one entry. 
Share on Twitter=one entry. 
Share on Instagram=one entry.
You get the drill. 
You can choose to enter whichever bundles you choose with your social media entries and can share every day to gain even MORE chances to win!
Again, I just ask that you be honorable. 
1 share=1 entry on 1 bundle of your choice

-At midnight the night of Nov.11, 
rafflecopter will randomly select FOUR WINNERS, 
one from each bundle. 

-Can you donate $10, enter two bundle giveaways, and win them both?
Totally possible. 

If you have any questions on how to enter, please leave them in the comment sections on this post, as chances are you aren't the only one with that question.
 I will do my best to answer your question(s) in the comment section as well.

And before you begin entering, let me just say THANK YOU. 
Thank you for sacrificing for my girl. 
Thank you for helping us bring her home. 
Thank you for helping us get one big step closer to her. 
Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

Here is where you can make your donation: 

And now, without further adieu, I give you, THE BUNDLES. 

This bundle is jam-packed with items for you to spoil yourself!
At a total value of $349, this bundle includes ten awesome prizes. 
What an awesome way to treat yourself or take care of some women on your Christmas list!

Thank you again to all of the amazing people who donated to this bundle! 
Check them out and show them some love! 

Rose Camera Bag in teal- Jo Totes
'You are my Sunshine' 19x22 wooden sign- Go Jump in the Lake
'It is well with my soul' insulated acrylic tumbler- Sweet Sipsters
Noonday Galapagos necklace, Coastal bracelet, and Escelera bracelet- Wynne Elder from Gloriously Ruined
Set of two wishlet bracelets- Letter Happy
Come Thou Fount canvas- donated by my precious friend Megan
'Home Sweet Home' print- Sweet Tea and Sparkles

Just a simple donation of $5 can result in your winning all of THIS! 

Is there a little girl in your life? 
Well, then this bundle is for you!

I was so overwhelmed by the responses for the little girl bundle! 
NINETEEN awesome prizes. 
Wow. Just wow. 

Thanks again to all of the wonderful people who donated for this one!
Check them out and thank them for helping to bring Emily home!

headband holder- Khloe's
baby doll sling (cupcake print)- Lil Peeper Keepers
set of two fabric hairbows- Fiori Finti
8x10 Little Girls print- Kensie Kate
Set of three tissue paper pom poms and paper lantern (pink)- 1 Pom Pom Girl
children's jersey infinity scarf- Two Potato Apparel
set of two boutique hairbows- Diva Girl Boutique
mudpie shoes
juice box holder
Stephen Joseph butterfly thermos
set of two felt hairclips
two Sophie and Lili dolls- North American Bear Company

The girl who wins this is in for such a treat. 
Think birthday presents. 
Think stocking stuffers galore. 
Think about Emily being HOME with her forever family. 

Your $5 donation can make a world of difference. 

Little boys, little boys, little boys. 
This bundle is so much fun. 
With eight prizes worth $239, this bundle would be great for the little man in your life!

I can't say thank you enough to the people who donated to this bundle. 
My love language is when people love my children, and this one has me floating on cloud nine. 

Thanks again, to all who donated!

Steely Teal messenger bag- The Pleated Poppy
'You are my Sunshine' print- Sweet Tea and Sparkles
quiet time ideas box- The Idea Box Kids
set of two striped bow ties- The Belle and the Beau
chalkboard mat- Hustle Mama
reusable sandwich bags- Lily Pie Baby

Such a cute little bundle for your little fella!

Just a $5 donation, and it can all be headed your way in time for Christmas!

I'm just gonna be honest and say that this bundle is my favorite. 
I love the idea of sending a big box full of Mississippi goodness to someone else who loves my little state as much as I do!

Thanks again to all of those who donated for this one!
Eleven prizes and $397 worth of Mississippi goodness. 
Love, love, love this bundle and secretly wish I could enter to win it. 

Show those who donated some love?

'Feels Like Coming Home' print- Pen, Meet Paper
four pack of MS notecards- So Filled With Love
MS copper and sterling bracelet- Bird on a Wire Jewelry
MS necklace- Kim's Jewelry 
Made in MS onesie- MS Mud Apparel
MS pillow- Gigis Stitches
MS flour sack dish towel- Clara M Designs
MS canvas- donated by my precious friend Megan
MS hand towel- Andi's Appliques
The South 8x10 print- Sweet Tea and Sparkles
a mini photography session with the amazing Masa Kathryn Photography in Columbus, MS (in case you don't know, Masa does a lot of the Deep South Pout shots.
She's a personal friend who loves Jesus and missions and my daughter whom I haven't met yet.
So grateful for her and her amazing donation!)- Masa Kathryn Photography

$5 is all it takes to make a difference. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you.
Thank you for helping to bring my girl home.
Thank you for being a part of our story.
Thank you for supporting adoption.
High fives and bear hugs for everyone.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

God gave me a gift. It's a book.

A few months ago, I agreed to write a review for Lisa Harper's book Overextended...and loving most of it!
Notice I said a few months ago. 
You see, I hadn't been able to read it yet because lately I've been....well...overextended. 

Lately I have literally felt like I'm being pulled in one too many directions. 
Between family life, Noonday life, and adoption life, there needs to be two of me...and some days really call for three. 

It's not so much that I'm busy. 
I'm always busy. 
I thrive on being busy. 
I haven't NOT been busy since I graduated high school.

But lately I'm busy AND my emotional plate is full. 
Adoption does that to a mom. 

I've been too busy lately to do a lot of the things I love, including reading, which happens to be one of my
 all-time favorite pass-times, right behind white water rafting and loving on babies in Africa. 

And last night I just needed a break. 
I needed to lose myself in a good book. 

Of course, I was too busy yesterday to go to the library, so I headed on over to ye grand ole' bookshelf. 
And what could be more appropriate for a girl in the busiest season of her life
 than a book about being busy? 

I had no idea the gift that God had waiting for me between those pages. 

First, the book was written while the author was in the midst of her own adoption.
I had no idea. 
I picked it and didn't put it down until I'd completely finished. 
It felt like it lasted about thirty minutes....and I wasn't ready for it to be over. 
It was just what I needed on so many levels. 

Every once in a while, the strangest thing happens. 
I get a book I've been waiting to read, yet I suddenly have no immediate desire to read it. 
When I finally get around to it, it just so happens that this book is 100% appropriate for the place I'm in at the moment. 

I like to think of these books as gifts God is giving to me. 
He knows what I need EXACTLY when I need it, and He always meets my needs, even if it's via the words on a written page.  And I'm pretty sure God had Lisa Harper write this book with me in mind. 

I learned from this book. 
It made me laugh. 
It made me cry. 
It drew me into God's word. 
It provided some practical tips to managing the busy times in life. 
It left me feeling refreshed, empowered, and longing for more. 

Lisa Harper, I want to hug you, sister friend.
Your words spoke straight to my heart and made me laugh out loud. 
It was the perfect combination of funny, insightful, and spiritual. 

What have I've got to do to get another chapter or two?

Five of my favorite quotes for those of you who don't read and to encourage you who do to run (don't walk) to grab a copy of this one for you and your favorite busy girlfriend: 

* Life isn't always orderly and relationships rarely fold neatly with hospital corners. Real life....abundant life....God-honoring life is about loving Jesus and the people He allows us to rub shoulders with well. Which means some days we'll be stretched emotionally and physically. We'll be taxed to the max. We'll be exhausted. We'll probably even embarrass ourselves in the process. Thankfully, God can expand our hearts, minds, bodies, and calendars to accommodate our calling.  (pg. 8)

*...God gives us specific directions--even when life is loud and chaotic. All we have to do is listen. (pg. 69)

*...often when we're feeling frazzled, the stress we're experiencing is less about what's taking place in that moment and more about baggage we're still lugging from the past. (pg. 72)

*If you live long enough, disappointment is inevitable. Drama, on the other hand, isn't. (pg. 73)

* I have grown to appreciate every single scar etched into my jar of clay because they prove I put myself out there. I've taken risks. I didn't sit idly on the curb while life passed me by. I'm learning to do the same thing with my heart. If it gets a little dinged in the overextension process, it just proves I trusted Jesus enough to put it out there. Besides, I think God digs chicks with scars. (pg. 193)

Seriously, if you're looking for a book during a busy season in life (emotionally, physically, or both), this is the book for you.
Buy it now, read it when God tells you to. 

*And while I did get a free copy of this book to review, I want to make sure you know that these words, thoughts, and ideas are mine. I was in no way paid to write this...although that would be awesome.*

And be sure to come back to this here blog tomorrow....great things are coming your way. :)