Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Day!

"My God turns my darkness into light."  Psalm 18:28

Today was a very special school day for Little Mac!  Today was Pumpkin Day!  Complete with pumpkins, costumes, coloring, crafts, cookies & a good friend to share it all with.

Little Mac couldn't wait to start Pumpkin Day!
He wore his Halloween Costume, Thomas the Train.  "Choo...Choo!!!
Little Mac was thrilled to share Pumpkin Day with his buddy M the Pirate!
 Little Mac & M the Pirate colored pictures of Pumpkins & Cats.

The  boys each chose 4 pumpkin cookies to bake & eat as a snack!  Yum!

We did a pumpkin craft using our shapes of the day:  triangles, a square & a circle.
The boys even got to decorate their very own pumpkins with markers & stickers.
Most importantly we learned that God made the light and that when Jesus lives within us we can shine like a beautiful Jack 'o Lantern!  The boys learned the Bible verse, Psalm 18:28 "My God turns my darkness into light."  Praise Him!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tyranny of the Urgent

"Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives."  Titus 3:14

I once heard a sermon where a pastor referred to a common phenomenon that he called, "tyranny of the urgent."  Really it's not so much about what is actually urgent, but rather what we have been conditioned to perceive as urgent.  In responding to these false urgencies, we accomplish nothing.

Definition of "Tyranny of the Urgent":  When seemingly "urgent" matters draw our attention away from more important things.

An easy illustration:  You are cooking dinner, and the phone rings.  You rush to pick up the phone (which first had to be found under a pile of laundry and toys) to be greeted by a telemarketer.  After politely informing said telemarketer that you are not interested in what they are trying to sell (because I'm sure that everyone reading this blog would be polite to telemarketers *wink, wink*), you get off of the phone, and go back into the kitchen to find that the dinner you have spent the last hour perfecting has now overcooked and is inedible.

God has really been working with me on identifying true & false urgencies recently.  In turn it is a concept that I am trying to teach my children through example.

Sometimes living this out can look strange to the world.  As I stated before, in our culture we have been conditioned to perceive certain things as urgent.  Especially in this age of constant connectivity. 

Those of you who know me well, know that I am a planner.  My schedule is something that I take pride in, something that I work hard to perfect and something that can hold me back from taking care of the things God has set in front of me, if I'm not careful.  I do not want to miss out on any more ministry opportunities or any more blessings because it didn't fit my schedule.  I'm done with that!  Satan may not have that any more!

No, I will not be throwing out my calendar, and yes, I will continue to schedule things.  However, I do plan to go when and where the Holy Spirit leads.  I will be there for my family and friends.  I will cook my family's dinner without burning it, so if I don't answer the phone, leave me a message...I will definitely call you back.  Unless you are a telemarketer!

By the way, while writing this blog post I had to recognize a true urgency and put my writing on hold in order to love on a crying baby.  Definitely a blessing that I don't want to miss out on!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Drumroll please............

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."  James 1:27

It's official...we are adopting Stoves baby number three from China!

We are so excited about where God is leading us in our adoption journey.  We have decided to work with Lifeline Children's Services out of Birmingham as our adoption agency.  And as I stated before, we are adopting our precious baby from China. 

I believe God has been preparing us for this particular journey for many years in many ways.  Particularly in regards to where our child would come from, China.  I have always had a fascination with Chinese culture, the country, the language and the food.  So much so that I took Chinese (Cantonese) as my foreign language elective for one year in high school (I would have loved to continue learning the language, but I transferred to a school that didn't offer it).  Also, Randall has had experience traveling to China a few times.  The first two years of our marriage, Randall worked for a company that sent him to Guangzhou and Hong Kong several times (I was so jealous).

We still have a long journey ahead of us, and we are very excited to move forward from here.
Here is what we know about our projected timeline:
*6 months (October - March):  Paperwork...this includes our Home Study, Finger Prints & lots of paperwork
*1 month (April):  Submit Dossier (paperwork) to China and await acceptance
*1 - 4 months (April - July):  Wait to be "matched" with our child
*6 months (from match to travel):  Wait to travel to China (during this time paperwork is being translated, and taken care of by the governments)
*2 weeks (October '12 - January '13):  Hopefully, we will TRAVEL to China sometime between next October and January to bring our baby home!

1.  Are you adopting a boy or a girl?
     We don't know yet.  We are leaving this particular detail up to God.  We will know if it's a boy or a girl when we are matched with our specific child.
2.  How long will it be until you bring your baby home?
     From what we understand about our estimated timeline, we should know who our child is 6-10 months from now, and we should be holding our baby 12-16 months from now.
3.  Will you both be traveling to China?
     Yes, we are planning for both of us to travel to China to meet our precious baby.  Our two boys will stay here in the states with their grandparents while we are away.
4.  How long will you be in China?
     We will take one trip to China that will last from 7-14 days.  While there we will go to Beijing, Guangzhou, and whatever province our baby's orphanage is in.
5.  How old will the child be?
     We know that our child will be younger than "Big D", however, we do not know how much younger.  There is a good chance that "Big D" and baby number 3 will be very close in age (weeks or months apart).  This means that when we bring our baby home, he/she will probably be between 18 months and 2 years old.
6.  How can I help?
     #1.  Pray!
          a.  Pray that God would be glorified in every aspect of this journey!  It's all about Him, and it's amazing to see what He can do with such ordinary people.
          b.  Pray for our baby:  that he/she would be loved, held and cared for during this time that we are apart.
          c.  Pray for our baby's caregivers.
          d.  Pray for Randall and me:  that we would continue to seek God's will throughout this process, and not our own; that we would prepare ourselves and our boys to welcome our new addition.
          e.  Pray for our boys:  that they would see us living out our faith, which would in turn build their faith; that they would know how much we love them; that they would be excited about welcoming their new sibling.
          f.  Pray for our adoption fund:  that we would be wise with our money, so that we can save as much as possible; that we would be successful in our fundraising attempts.
     #2.  Partner with us in our fundraising.  You can do this in several ways.
          a.  Lend your time/resources to our fundraising events.  (yard sales, fundraising parties, etc.)
          b.  Attend our fundraising events.
          c.  Donate:  We are accepting monetary donations to go towards our adoption expenses.