Friday, September 30, 2011

what i know today

i'm totally helpless, but God is all-powerful

i'm absolutely clueless, but God is all-knowing

i'm full of worry, stress, and anxiety, but God is the King of peace

i feel like nothing, but God is everything

...but he said to me, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” therefore i will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. that is why, for Christ’s sake, i delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. for when i am weak, then i am strong. - 2 corinthians 12:9-10

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

last name

i am not really a music lover (in the sense that i get excited about new songs coming out or want to go to concerts or anything). i do like music, but i don't spend much time listening to music other than in the car. or at christmas. i start playing christmas music as soon as halloween is over. but that's really more a love of christmas than it is a love of music...but that discussion is for a different post.

even though i am not a music lover per se, i do really enjoy singing along with the radio while driving. i love to drive by myself and just belt it out. one reason i don't really like new music is that i don't know the words and can't sing along. when i was little i would always be so disappointed when the tape jackets didn't have the lyrics for all the songs. i want to sing along and i want to have all the words right.

one song i love to sing in the car is carrie underwood's last name. now, i CANNOT sing like carrie underwood. not even close. but when i'm alone i don't really care. sometimes even when brent's with me i don't care. poor guy really needs earplugs to live with me.

anyway, i really love to sing that song. i don't know why - i cannot relate to anything about that song. i have never ever been to vegas. i have never been "picked up" by a stranger. i have never woken up realizing i was married to someone i didn't know. maybe the rebel inside me that i've been suppressing all these years thinks that song is so exciting because she goes out and does something totally crazy. i don't know. regardless, i love to sing that song.

when i stop and think about it, though, the situation in that song is a really scary one. what if i woke up and i didn't know my last name because i had married some stranger when i was in a drunken stupor? i mean really? talk about panic attack. (in all reality, in this day and age it would have been totally fine for her to keep her maiden name. but that's beside the point.)

what if we didn't know our last names? what if we didn't have last names? when you think about it, last names are a really big deal. my last name is a huge part of my identity. if i just walked around all the time saying "hey, i'm katie. yes, just katie." how in the heck would people know i was any different from the 100 other katies they know? i totally think last names are a big deal. (and i am sure most people would agree that last names do help with keeping things straight. as do social security numbers.)

but more than just for organization, last names tell us about who we are. my maiden name tells me my roots. my married name tells me that someone committed to spending his life with me. both names tell me that i am part of a family. some people might balk at my saying that my last name tells me who i am. they may tell me that i need to find my own identity, which should be separate and apart from my parents, sisters, and husband. but i don't buy that. my identity can't be separate from theirs...i am who i am because they are my family. and i am thankful for that.

yes, last names tell us who we are. they tell us where we belong. they (hopefully) tell us who will always have our backs. they tell us who loves us. i share my maiden name and last name with people who take care of me and people i get to take care of.

and as of friday, august 5, brent and i share a last name with this little darling:

this is our little miss ethiopia. and now she has our last name.

her new last name tells her who she is, where she belongs, who will always have her back, and who loves her.

and oh my goodness she is so cute.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

the commercial

confession: i love watching tv.

i know, i know. there is nothing good on. tv turns your brain to mush. tv is bad. blah blah blah blah blah.

i know there is trash on tv. but really i just love the food network and qvc. i love demonstration tv. i love being sold or convinced of something. i am a marketer's dream.

it is very difficult for me to go to sleep without watching a little tv, much to brent's dismay. he would rather be listening to mix 92.9. please don't tell him i told you that.

i get really irritated at people who say, "oh, i am just too busy to watch tv." or "i just don't like to waste time watching tv." oh please. i think it's impossible to say "i don't watch tv" without a really holier than thou tone. just shut up. it's fine you don't watch tv, but don't act like i am headed straight through the wide gates because i enjoy an occasional (or nightly) demonstration of kitchen shears or bare minerals make-up.

all of that to say, i very much enjoy watching tv. i'm ok with it.

so now that you know this about me, it should not be a surprise to you that a TV COMMERCIAL was what nudged my heart into wanting to adopt. (i told you i was a marketer's dream!)

i remember exactly where i was when i saw this commercial for the first time. i was sitting in my parent's living room, in my dad's "spot" on the sofa (which is a real no no in our family...that makes 2 confessions for this blog post). i don't remember the exact date, but it was in the fall of 2000. i was in 10th grade.

i saw this commercial, which is for jcpenney, and as soon as i saw it i thought, "i am going to adopt one day."

i have done numerous searches for this commercial on youtube. i knew it had to be out there, but i COULD NOT FIND IT! i have been trying for months (seriously).

and today i found it. it was even better than i remembered.

i am not really tech savvy enough to have a little screen embedded into this post to show the commercial (maybe i should spend more time learning about computer stuff instead of watching tv...), but i can share a link. i hope you will watch...

the commercial that started it all

it's amazing what God will use to prick our hearts.

every time i look at a picture of little miss ethiopia i think, "i am so glad i love watching tv."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

i just got schooled.

four things i've learned:

it's really easy to compare ourselves to others. just today i was reading a blog of someone whom i have never ever met who doesn't live anywhere near me whom i will most likely never meet and with whom i probably have nothing in common (except that we are women who have blogs), and i found myself thinking, "i wish i had a life like hers." i should have been thinking, "shut up satan."

our world wants us to want more, be more, do more, have more, spend more, eat more, work more, relax more, earn more, covet more. and God wants us to love more.

loving someone else really has nothing to do with their feelings towards you. i totally, completely, wholeheartedly, and unconditionally love someone who doesn't even know my name and may not even like me when we first meet. but i love her anyway.

when we are sad, we want someone to reach out to us and lift us up. but sometimes we don't get the comfort we're looking for. in those times, reaching out to someone else and lifting them up provides more comfort than we thought we would ever get.

i feel that God is schooling me right now. is that ok to say? that God is "schooling" me? really He is always schooling me. it's just that sometimes i am sitting in the back of the classroom and i think that i have Him fooled and He doesn't see that i am totally not listening because i can't listen to him and talk to my bff at the same time. but right now i am listening. mainly because He got fed up with me and my bff and he moved me to the front row. i am listening but i'm embarrassed for getting moved and i am trying not to make eye contact with Him.

in grad school (have i mentioned i went to grad school?), when talking about how to deal with students who are misbehaving, we were told to use the "proximity" technique. most students will pay attention to you if you are standing right next to them with your hand on their shoulder.

so basically i think God is using the proximity technique with me and trying His hardest to get me to pay attention.

a friend of mine who might possibly read this post will probably be confused. i was emailing with her yesterday and told her that i felt so far away from God. she might wonder why i said that and am now saying that i am in the front row of His class with His hand on my shoulder.

i felt far away from God because i felt scared and sad and confused. but i realized today that when i am being schooled by God, those feelings are totally natural. of course i am going to be scared and sad and confused! God is trying to show me things that go against what my human nature believes and wants! He is trying to show me that He knows better than what i know and He knows what i need and what brent needs and what little miss needs. and i have been moping around because i thought God had forgotten me, and really He has brought me to the desk right near him.

the four things i wrote about at the beginning are just some of what He has shown me over the past few weeks.

so, i just got schooled. thank you God.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

praying for 2 little girls

one year ago today my life changed forever.

may 10, 2010, was like any other day. it was a monday, the day after mother's day, and i was working, just like i do every day.

just before 3:00 that afternoon i received an email from a local adoption agency. it was an email with pictures of waiting children (children who have special needs or children who are older) who needed families.

there were several children's pictures in that email. all of them beautiful. all of them in desperate need of a family.

however, one picture changed everything for brent and me.

i don't know what it was about that little girl. i don't know why she caught my attention. i had seen so many pictures of waiting children. of course i wanted so badly for each of them to have a family, but it wasn't until i saw her picture that i thought about having one of those children as my child.

sometimes i think about her, and in my mind i refer to her as "the face that launched a thousand ships" because her picture was what launched brent and me into the active process of adoption.

we spent a month of last year thinking that she could be ours. we knew there were no guarantees, but we couldn't pursue her adoption without preparing ourselves to be her parents. and we couldn't prepare ourselves to be her parents without loving her. oh, and we did love her. we still do love her.

my heart ached so bad when we found out she wouldn't be ours. i was so confused! i didn't understand why God would have done this to us. why would He give us love in our hearts for a child that was never going to be our child? why would He put us through that pain? what had we done to deserve this? weren't we just trying to follow His leading?

i would have never admitted this at the time, but i was so angry. it didn't make any sense to me. for several months i would burst into tears at random times because something about her came to my mind. i thought i had it all figured out and knew what God wanted for us, and i hated that i was wrong.

it took me a long, long time to come to this realization:

she wasn't meant to be our little girl. she was meant to change our lives.

because of her, we actively began the adoption process.

because of her, we opened our hearts to a waiting child.

because of her, we began to learn what trusting in God really means.

because of her, we started to realize what's really important in life.

because of her, we are getting to adopt the one who was meant to be our little girl.

we will always love that little girl. no, she won't be our daughter. and yes, we LOVE our little miss ethiopia and will always love her and Lord willing she will be our daughter very soon. but, i don't think we are supposed to ever stop loving that little girl. God used that little girl to change our lives!

so yes, we love two little girls. both are precious. both needed families. both changed our lives.

so tonight, this is my prayer for those precious girls:

Lord, we know you have the most wonderful plans for our lives. Lord, we know that your plans don't always make sense to us, and sometimes our hearts hurt because we don't understand. but Lord, we thank you for always taking care of us and for wanting only the best for us. thank you, Lord, for that little girl. thank you for creating her in your image. thank you for what she has taught us. thank you for giving her a family. bless her, Lord, and bless her family. give them more love than they could have ever imagined.

and Lord, please watch over our sweet baby. please give her good rest and everything she needs.

and Lord, please bring our baby home soon.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

his unspeakable gift...

"thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift." - 2 corinthians 9:15

i told you that verse would be on this blog again.

the fact is, i already planned to use it again. i knew exactly when and exactly how. i just couldn't post it in blog world...until now!

brent and i are thrilled (beyond thrilled really...more like ecstatic, bouncing off the walls crazy happy) to announce that we have accepted the referral of the most beautiful little girl we have ever laid eyes on! we could not be more excited about her, and we can't wait to get her home!

now, since i know you are all dying to ask, i will go ahead and answer some frequently asked questions:

wait, how did this happen so quickly? i thought it could be another year (or more).
we had originally thought we would get on the waiting list and wait for a referral, and that wait could have been at least a year. but, our little one was a waiting child - she was waiting for a family, and we CHOSE her! actually, God chose her for us, but He showed this precious face to us, and we knew we had to bring her home.

how and when did you find out about her and choose her?
you may want the short version of this story, but that ain't happening. so, get comfy.

many, many months ago, right after we had started this process, i blogged about meeting an adoptive mom, kristi, at chick-fil-a one afternoon - very randomly. kristi and her husband adopted a little girl from ethiopia and posted a video about it on you tube. seeing this video had been a real encouragement to us, and opened our eyes to the whole ethiopian adoption world. then in january, brent and i ran into kristi and her entire family (and that is a crew!) waiting to get their fingerprints for their second adoption. we just happened to both show up at the same time to get fingerprinted. while we waited for our names to be called, we got to visit with the family and talk all about their upcoming adoption and kristi's recent trip to ethiopia with her sister kelly, who runs ordinary hero...

talking to kristi and hearing about what they had done on the trip got me thinking about ordinary hero and about all the kids they saw while in ethiopia. so i emailed kelly and got the password to view pictures of all the kids who were waiting for families. i saw a certain little girl...and i had to know more about her. but, the next thing i new, her status was "adopted". i couldn't be too sad because i knew it meant there was one less orphan, but i could never get her off my mind.

fast forward a little bit, and i read this blog post (read the part at the very end)...

so she was still waiting. waiting. waiting. and God was telling me she was waiting for us.

here was the only problem...brent didn't know about any of this. whoops. i figured it was kinda important for he and i to be on the same page about decisions like this.

so, we talked and prayed and talked and prayed some more. it was not the easiest decision we have ever made. our hearts were with her, but satan was using our heads to scare us. i mean, we had been down the waiting child road before, and we were only left with broken hearts. and in order to adopt this precious baby, we had to change agencies. and then what if we did all the work to change agencies and then someone else chose her before we could?

and in the middle of all this talking and praying (and the whirlwind going through our minds), brent's sweet grandfather passed away. let me just say this, making tough decisions is not made any easier by being sleep deprived and emotional. i'm just sayin.

then on sunday, march 20, brent passes me a note during our morning worship service. it read: "i think we should do this." i thought i was going to jump out of my seat and start screaming with joy. but it was right in the middle of the sermon. (yes, dad, we were passing notes during your sermon. sorry.)

so, we did it. on wednesday, march 30, we officially accepted the referral of "baby m" from ethiopia. the huge weight that had been on my head and heart just disappeared. (unfortunately the huge weight that has been on my hips is still there.)

on that very same day, we find out that kristi's new son and murray and jaime's little girl have been living at the VERY SAME PLACE as our little one! (btw, murray and jaime are friends of friends - and now our friends - who actually used to live with my former boss when they first moved to our area!) and on the very next day, jaime offered to take a care package for us when she and murray traveled to ethiopia for their court date! so our sweet baby m has now seen pictures of us, and we have seen pictures of her looking at pictures of us (i think she was underwhelmed).

so, when do you get her?
well, we really can't say with much certainty. we do know we have (as of yesterday) been submitted to court. that means we are just waiting to get "on the docket" for a specific date. we will go for our court date (that is when we meet her for the first time) and then again for our embassy visit (that is when we bring her home forever!). but, we will keep you posted when we know more about the time frame.

so where is her picture?
well, we can't post her picture anywhere, but we will be MORE than happy to show you a picture if you see us! we're kind of annoying about it.

but until you see us, you can see a picture of her car seat.

we have been so blown away by God's awesome power, by the love of family and friends, and by this adorable little girl! we can't wait to meet her.

what an awesome, mighty God we serve.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

my name is katie and i am a yard sale-holic

i have been in denial about this long enough, and it's time for me to come clean. i am a yard sale-holic.

what is a yard sale-holic, you ask? well, the 2 most common types of yard sale-holics are: type a (shoppers) and type b (sellers). i have been diagnosed as a type b yard sale-holic. i could never, ever, ever be diagnosed as a type a yard sale-holic. ever.

truth be told, i HATE going to yard sales. HATE. i don't even like shopping in stores, where things are clean and unused, much less where things are dingy and worn out. and usually it's hot outside, and i really don't like hot.

HOWEVER, hosting a yard sale is an entirely different story. it's not even the same. when you are the host of the yard sale, you can:
1. plan it for the fall or spring, not the summer (to avoid the much despised hot)
2. rid your own home of dingy and worn out stuff
3. sit in lawn chairs

yes, hosting a yard sale is a great idea. i totally believe that statement. after all, i am a type b yard sale-holic.

i didn't realize about my addiction until just recently. brent and i, along with our families, were in the middle of a yard sale (my nirvana), discussing previous yard sales we had hosted. brent and i have lived in our home 3 years and 4 months, and we just hosted our THIRD YARD SALE since we moved in. the reality hit me like a mack truck. i vowed then and there that i would seek help.

we did have a great excuse for this third yard sale, though. this whole yard sale was in honor of our little miss ethiopia...and every penny from the sale is helping us bring her home. and let me tell you, it was CRAZY! it was not a recipe for a good yard sale, and here's why:
1. it was cold. cold cold cold. and a little misty.
2. not one item had a price tag. (well, my sister had this pewter strawberry that she was very attached to and she did price that one item. but nothing else was priced. nothing.)
3. we didn't put an ad in the paper.
4. we had originally planned on selling friday and saturday, but i think it rained about 20 inches on friday. so, we were off schedule, the ground was mushy, and the world around us was just generally damp.
5. everyone participating in the yard sale was exhausted before the sale even started.

no, a yard sale on april 16, 2011, was not necessarily a good idea.

for our two previous yard sales, we had perfect weather. perfect. we put an ad in the paper. most items were priced. the ground was dry.

and in those two yard sales, we almost made just enough money to make it worth it. almost. but this yard sale was different. yes, it was a recipe for disaster, but it could not have been farther from being a disaster.

i totally, one hundred percent with all my heart believe that God worked a miracle with this yard sale.

we had non-stop customers. we had people that came and stayed for 2 hours. we were all in a good mood (even though we had about 3 hours of sleep). we got rid of so much stuff! and people paid money for all that stuff!

God was so good to us on the day of our yard sale. He helped us get so much closer to our little girl. He helped us see what a wonderful community of family and friends we have. He reminded us of what our friends (and adoption champions) scott and gwen oatsvall say: "God funds what He favors." i can tell you with all my heart that He certainly does.

so many people helped make the yard sale possible. mom, dad, amie, tom, laura, seth, bethany, justin (my wonderful parents and sisters and brothers-in-law), vicki, jimmy (my wonderful in-laws), memom (my precious grandmother), you all were INCREDIBLE! we could not ever have even fathomed doing that without you. you rock.

so many friends donated stuff to be sold, brought food, moved stuff out of my garage, promoted on their blogs (thanks, jennifer!), shopped, prayed, and just encouraged us in what we were trying to do.

it's almost embarrassing for me when i think about everything people have done to help us in this process. we so do not deserve the family and friends by whom we have been blessed. God is so good. so, so good.

i was downtown the other day and drove by the lifeway building. i have never noticed before but they have all these verses chiseled into the stone. i was stopped for about 10 seconds, waiting for a traffic light, and i saw my new favorite verse in the Bible. i have never, ever, seen or heard this verse. but seriously, i need to be saying this all the time:

"thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift." - 2 corinthians 9:15

you will see that verse on this blog again.