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Thursday, January 31, 2008

what I did yesterday

Laurie and Jana, I know that I have been tagged by you two fabulous girls, and I will get to that, but I must first post on this:

Unless you have been living under a rock, I  can reasonably assume that you have heard of the Hannah Montana T.V show on Disney.  It happens to have quite a following! :)  The cute boy above is Cody Linley. He plays Hannah/Miley's boyfriend on the show, Jake Ryan.  Cody also happens to be a patient of Moody's.  Moody is one of a few orthodontists in the metroplex that puts braces on the inside of the teeth (linguals) so they are invisible to the outside world. Apparently this is important if you are an actor that needs straight teeth.  

Cody was gracious enough to do a patient appreciation day for the practice yesterday afternoon. All of our patients were invited to come, bring one friend, and get an autograph and picture taken with him.  We knew that several of the patients would be excited, but we didn't know that it would become Cody Mania!! Seriously, it was C.R.A.Z.Y!!! Good crazy, so much fun crazy, but madness none the less.

The event was scheduled to start at 3:00, but a line was starting to form closer to 2:00.  The staff tried to encourage people to wait in their cars because they weren't ready, etc. but reasoning with a mom and her hormonal daughters ended up to be a futile affair.  The line formed, the staff got ready, I got our the video camera and we let the good times begin.  (I can't find the cable to connect the video camera to the computer-- still pics will have to suffice for now)

Several minutes after it all began,  I looked out the window to see a line that literally wrapped around the building!! This thing had officially taken on a life of its own. :)  The moms and kids were really appreciative and had awesome attitudes as they were waiting in the cold---oh, except for one mom.......I had one mom not so pleased! Yes, she allowed Cody Mania to get the best of her.  She was ticked that she was at the end of the line and there was a chance that Cody would have to leave before her daughter got to see him.

I started walking around to the end of the line around 4:45 to let everyone know that they were welcome to wait but that Cody had a schedule and we were going to honor that schedule.  He had committed to 3-5 for our little party.  That fact was clearly written on everything. 

"Hi, thank you so much for coming.  We really appreciate you guys.  I want you to know that you are welcome to continue standing in line but I can't promise that you will see Cody today. He is scheduled to leave at 5.  We are hoping that he will stay a little longer to see all of the patients, but I just wanted you to be prepared."

Everyone else in line, "oh, we are totally staying, it is so worth it" "we are praying for a miracle" said one teenage girl with the biggest sunglasses on big that when she finally made it to the front of the line--- and they ALL made it to see him-- Moody said, "hey sweetie, don't you want to take those off for your picture?"  "NO (with attitude)" Moody, "I really think you might regret that one day" (with a smile) and she will regret it, trust me.

Back to mean mom.  "I am really not happy about this.  I was not about to take my kids out of school for this (MANY moms did) and the Jr High doesn't get out until 4:00.  So if HE (pretty sure that she doesn't know that I am married to HE) sent my girls an invitation to see Cody, and they get all excited and DONT actually get to see him, well I will be REALLY frustrated!!"

(Ok, who gets a party invite that says from 3-5,  show up at 4:45, and still expect the pony ride and cake??)

"I can understand your frustration but I can assure you that they are doing everything that they can to get everyone through the line.  Cody had from 3-5 open today and we were so thankful that he agreed to come for that time period."

"Well, we have appointments tomorrow and we WILL NOT come if they don't get to see him"

Ok-- promise?  I didn't say anything, but I wanted to because Moody's staff worked their tails off to make this event a success and her ungrateful heart made me mad!! I refused to let her rain on my parade. She did get to see him and my sinful heart secretly hoped that the camera wouldn't work and he would misspell her daughters names.  He didn't and the picture took. 

We were all exhausted afterwards- Cody ended up signing and smiling for 3 hours! He was incredibly gracious to each and every patient. Sweetest kid ever- he let us buy him some Mexican food as another thank you! We really enjoyed getting to know him better, and hope the best for him as he moves to LA to further pursue his acting career.

Who would you have stood in line for when you were 13?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

glass half-full

Today I am choosing joy.  Today I am choosing to see all the blessings in my life and not focus on the one thing that I see as "lacking" right now.  Yes, I want a referral and yes, I wanted it yesterday- but I choose to believe that the plans of the Lord are far greater than my own.

I have an amazing husband, 4 great kids, supportive friends (many of you), an encouraging family--- so I will focus on those things and know that at HIS perfect time, my two new blessings will come to me!!

Jesus Calling for today-- "Let the goal of this day be to bring every thought captive to Me. Whenever your mind wanders (why haven't there been ANY referrals for TWO weeks from WH?), lasso those thoughts and bring them into My Presence.  In My radiant Light, anxious thoughts (what if the rules change?, what if it takes twice as long?) shrink away.  Judgemental thoughts (why did they get a referral first?, we have been waiting longer- sin isn't pretty friends) are unmasked as you bask in My unconditional Love.  Confused ideas (maybe we went with the wrong agency) are untangled while you rest in the simplicity of My Peace. I will guard you and keep you in perfect Peace, as you focus your mind on Me. 

Another example of His blessings- The beautiful Pam Thorne and her two youngest came for a visit yesterday.  We had such a blast playing all afternoon.  The kids did some awesome jumping picks in honor of Tara.  

The kids also acted like rock stars for a minute and took out their frustration over not having a referral with an old guitar!!!!

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.  For those whom He foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that he might be firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called and those whom He called he also justified, and those whom He justified he also glorified.  Romans 8:28-30

My friends, the glory of the Lord!! It doesn't get better than that!! May you rest in His goodness with me today:)
Sunday, January 27, 2008

filling my tank

Yesterday was chock- full of relationships.  I definitely thrive on relationships, I love being with people, I love building new friendships, and I really love spending time with old (not age, but time) friends.  So, this is how it went down.

I drove to Austin on Friday to spend some time with my sister, sister-in-law, cousin and several thousand others at an Arbonne meeting.  It was fun to see many in the business that I haven't seen in awhile and also have the opportunity to meet new people.  I have been somewhat out of the loop the past year focusing on the adoption, but Arbonne is a great company with incredible products and some top notch people. :)

I woke up early Saturday morning to go to my friend Amy's house.  Amy and I met at Kanakuk the summer before our senior year in high school.  We became fast friends and lived together all four years at Baylor.  Amy is amazing! She has 3 precious boys, is married to her high school sweetheart, can sing like an angel and is one of the most fun people I have ever known. Oh, and she is gorgeous!!  We had a BLAST in college- she is one of those great friends that you can not see for awhile and pick right back up where you left off.  I adore her!

I drank one too many cups of coffee with Amy and got on the road a few minutes late.  I drove home, changed clothes and went straight to a Sip and See for my dear friend Mary Lynn.  Mary Lynn and I were also at Baylor together. Her family grew up with Moody's family in Big A-town. ML and T moving back to Arlington has been one of the biggest blessings for our family. She just had her second baby girl and all of her friends were happy to share in their joy yesterday.

I had to leave the party early, run by the store and grab some goodies for our next get-together. I got home and the Bottomlys and Funderburks (Jana, I will fulfill my tagging duties next post) were here!! What a treat to meet Amy, Josh and that yummy Silas, and spending time with Jana and Michael is always a treat!

My kids were so happy to play with Silas.  He is such a doll.  We loved talking all things adoption, Ethiopia and life with everyone.  They say that meeting people you have only met on the Internet is not such a good idea and can be somewhat risky- well not this time my friends.

After our adoption buddies left, Mary Lynn and her family came over for pizza and wine.  ML's best buddy, Amy, was in town from Colorado.  We had so much fun catching up with her (we also did Kanakuk and Baylor together). I was a total baby hog!  Avery and I fought over Wesley all night. 

I went to bed with a very full heart.  I am so thankful that the Lord has blessed me with such wonderful friends.  It was a great day!

If that wasn't enough-- I just got off the phone with Pam  (from Crazy Thorne Happenings) and she is coming over tomorrow!! She is joining her husband on a business trip:) Lucky me.  
Thursday, January 24, 2008

my peace

Ok, I am starting to see a pattern in my devotional.

I thought I would share todays because it helped me. :)

My Peace is the treasure of treasures: the pearl of great price.  It is an exquisitely costly gift, both for the Giver and the receiver.  I purchased this Peace with My blood.  You receive this gift by trusting Me in the midst of life's storms.  If you have the world's peace- everything going your way- you don't seek My unfathomable Peace.  Thank Me when things do not go your way, because spiritual blessings come wrapped in trials.  Adverse circumstances are normal in a fallen world.  Expect them each day.  Rejoice in the face of hardship, for I have overcome the world.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.  John 16:33

My little nugget for the day:)
Wednesday, January 23, 2008

because they are fun to read

Check out my blog friend Tara's blog- she has some fun news to share!!

I just love reading these posts. I look forward to having our own fun post to share one day, but until then-- please celebrate the referral of sweet Malak.

Resting in His good and perfect will.

The votes are still being tabulated--it is just too close to call right now:)
Monday, January 21, 2008

dallas/ft. worth area group

We had a wonderful time on Saturday night with our fellow DFW area families that are adopting from Ethiopia.  Two of the families, Lydick's and Frey's, leave on the 29th to pick up their precious babies. We are so happy for them and can't wait to see them in February.

We were discussing names for our little (but growing) group.  My sweet friend, Laurie, lives in sunny California and has the clever name of OCEAN (Orange County Ethiopia Adoption Network) for her crew.  A few posts back she gave our group a few ideas:

Texas Ethiopian Adopted Kids (TEAK)
Network for Ethiopian Adoption in Texas (NEAT)
Dallas Ethiopian Adoption Ring (DEAR)
Or my fave: Families Rich in Ethiopian Adopted Kids (FREAK!)

Vote for one of her suggestions or come up with your own! The winner will have the great satisfaction of winning the coveted "Naming Champion of the DFW Ethiopian adoption group!"  Who wouldn't want that sash to wear around their neck?  
Thursday, January 17, 2008

other end of the phone

                                                      Article Pic

My brother and his wife moved to the inner city of Dallas several years ago.  Trey was already working in inner city ministry through their church, but felt called to move into the neighborhood and live among the people. It is called incarnational ministry and honestly we (speaking for my family, sorry you guys don't have blogs) had obvious concerns right at first.  This was the hood.  This was where we would take gifts at Christmas time, not where we spent Christmas.

Fast forward several years later, and I can't imagine them living anywhere else.  Honest, honest.  Trey runs an amazing ministry called Mercy Street, check it out and you will be blessed! The Lord is using them in lives of these precious children.  Children that have very little supervision are now under the watchful eye of Trey and Melissa, children that often go hungry, now sit and break bread with the Hill family, children that normally would not hear about the love of Jesus, now know of the need for and gift of the Savior!  

They have many children run through their home on any given day! Many come to play Wii or jump on the trampoline, but I think most come to get a hug from a mother, a healthy snack prepared with love, a band aid for a boo-boo, help with homework, and to just be in a home where the spirit of Christ resides.  

These children have stories that will break your heart, but they also provide some rich comedic material for those that know and love this family!!  I have said before, Melissa is one of the funniest, quick-witted people that I know.  She is a gem of a sister-in-law and one of my dearest friends:)

Melissa and I talk on the phone daily.  Since we both have four kids, we are use to and almost oblivious to the constant interruptions those precious cherubs provide.  Yesterday's phone chat gave me a wonderful glimpse into the life that the Lord has called her to live:)

talking, talking, talking......I hear her front door bell ring. "Hang on Em"

"hey, guys. How are you?.... we are trying to get our homework done so they can't...... ohhh,  fine you can jump but just you guys.....J, no bad language today b/c Mr. Hill was not happy about that yesterday......B, DO NOT hurt anyone out there, follow the rules!!......remember to not even think about touching the fence- better yet, don't even look at the fence (apparently, yesterday the adult male neighbor called the kids *&*%$# for touching the fence that the Hill's own half of, the half that they were touching)....that IS a busted lip, you probably shouldn't eat an orange today Q, not because I don't want to share my oranges buddy, b/c it will hurt your lip....hey, go on back....Please put THAT down,  THAT is not a toy....they are all out back......I will help you with your homework in just a minute, great job K!....Tee, help them out, I can't come right now b/c I have something in the fry pan.....yes, you can go on back!"

All the while, I am smiling and praising Jesus that they have answered His call.  Lives are being transformed by the grace of God, and these precious ones get to experience His love in a home in the hood!

On an adoption note, we think we are the second family in line for our sibling age request. This isn't official, but the result of some serious forensic blogging that takes place out there. Katy and Jamie are super-sleuths!! That is fun for us to think about but honestly doesn't mean much- it still could be tomorrow or 3 months from now. Keep praying please:)
Tuesday, January 15, 2008

great article

I saw this on a few other blogs yesterday and think it is well worth your time to read. It is a short article by Melissa Fay Greene. She also wrote the book, There is No Me Without You. 

Sunday, January 13, 2008

mountain cedar

This is how we felt while it lasted.

Our 36 hour mini-vacation ended up getting cut a little short! Don't feel sorry for me (Melissa), Moody and I fully enjoyed our time without the kids. Friday night we hung out with Tommy, Mary Lynn and their precious newborn baby girl. Yesterday we slept late, drank too much coffee, walked around the new Arlington Highlands outdoor shopping center, and then met my parents for a movie and dinner. We saw Juno. I really liked it. Anyone else seen it?

We got home, put on our pj's, turned on the fire and the phone rang! Hill could barely talk or breath.

Apparently January is the peak season for mountain cedar in the DFW area. Hill is very allergic to mountain cedar. He also realized that he had been exploring all day long, carrying a large branch from a cedar tree!! Not a good combo.

Moody's mom was worried about his breathing, and he was just plain miserable! Super dad kicked in, got dressed and made the little over an hour drive to pick him up! He called when he was heading back. I answered the phone with "do you have the package?" (any Alias lover will clearly understand) and he replied, "yes I do, times 4!" None of the kids were asleep when he got there (it was 11:00?) and they all wanted to come home with him. Sweethearts.

Moody is at church, and I am at home with one very stopped up kid!
Friday, January 11, 2008

how to survive the wait

We have the best kids! Hate to brag, but really, its true:)  Today marks 22 weeks of waiting for a referral.  I could be really bummed, but I am just too relaxed after an evening at the Alexander Night Spa!

On Wednesday my kids spent hours making a fort in the playroom.  They literally used every blanket we have in the house.  Fort building is a great activity for the kids, and great for me (quiet time) until I have to beg and plead with them to please clean it up!! We usually let the fort stay for a few days and then we (notice that I am often included in the clean up crew) take it down, fold the blankets and put everything away.  

Last night we headed up the stairs to put the kids down for bed, or fort.  They have been sleeping in the fort. :) I was tired and ready to begin my "you guys have to clean up this mess, blah, blah, blah" and Hill said, "mom, step inside" and he ushered me to the front of the fort. We crawled on our hands and knees and made our way inside.  I had no idea what awaited me!!

They told me to lay down on my stomach and the pampering began! I got a full back massage, a hand massage, a foot massage, a head massage and then a wonderful facial.  Moody walked by early on and said something like "I think you have this taken care of, I will just let you put them to bed".  He was kidding, he isn't a jerk-- but he couldn't see what was taking place behind all of the blankets!  I could have been a jerk and said, "o.k" but I said " I really think you will want to come in here"  He got the same special treatment that I did!! It was awesome. Those little hands sure can work:) It truly ministered to us and I was happy to see little servants hearts in them.  That isn't what I always see in there.......:)

We let them stay up a little past their bedtime, and the fort is still standing!

p.s-- Moody's mom just offered to take the kids with her to the farm (his dad is out of town) until Sunday!!! What, 36 hours here at home, without the kids? Any good movie recommendations for us?
Thursday, January 10, 2008

"I am with you and for you"

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young is a devotional book that my sweet friends, Gwen and Suzanne, gave me for my birthday.  I was so encouraged and convicted by yesterday's entry.  Prayerfully it will sit with me awhile.

I am with you and for you.  When you decide on a course of action that is within My will, nothing in heaven or on earth can stop you.  You may encounter many obstacles as you move toward your goal, but don't be discouraged- never give up! With my help, you can overcome any obstacle.  Do not expect an easy path as you journey hand in hand with Me, but do remember that I, your very-present Helper, am omnipotent.

Much, much stress results from your wanting to make things happen before their times have come.  One of the main ways I assert My sovereignty is in the timing of events.  If you want to stay close to Me and do things My way, ask Me to show you the path forward moment, by moment. Instead of dashing headlong toward your goal, let Me set the pace.  Slow down, and enjoy the journey in My presence.

What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
 Romans 8:31

God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though the waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
Psalm 46 1-3

I know that my anxiety and frustrations have come from my desire to speed things up and not just trusting in a sovereign God that works all things for my good and His glory!   

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

update and roller coaster rides

Remember this picture? Well the opptimistic guesses are now in the trash. I couldn't believe that Moody picked his father's birthday, Feb 25th, but it looks like daddy may know best after all. For those that didn't see it before click here to read about a little game we played.

The after picture looks a wee bit sad:( I was talking to my sister in law, Melissa, earlier today. I was telling her how frustrating it can be on this roller coaster. I can feel such a peace one moment, totally trust in the Lord for His good work and His perfect timing, and then I can turn on a dime! DARN IT!! I was telling her that my lack of faith in those moments is disappointing to me and she quickly said, "but Em, you are human! If you could do it all on your own, then you wouldn't need Jesus. If you could do it all on your own, you wouldn't have a need for a redeemer"....I may have messed up a few of her words, but you get the point right? I need Jesus, I need Him to give me His perfect peace, to remind me that I am me and He is Lord of all. It sounds so simple, but it really made me feel better to once again realize that I can't do it on my own.

Mel, thank you for your wisdom- oh wise one:) I have also been blown away at the support of the blog community. The Lord has blessed me with some incredible women through this process and for you guys- a HUGE thank you! I am really hoping that the "blog union" that Carey proposed happens this summer. I can't wait to see each of you face to face:)
Sunday, January 6, 2008

ethiopian food

I am really starting to enjoy Ethiopian food. We have eaten at two Ethiopian restaurants, and had the privilege to enjoy two home-cooked meals. Both of the home-cooked meals have been amazing! A few basics on Ethiopian food for those that haven't been able to sample it yet:)

Injera is a spongy, tart flatbread that Ethiopians use at each meal. You do not eat with utensils, but use injera to pick up the food and eat with your fingers. Ethiopian food is also very spicy. They use a special spice blend called berere in much of the food- it gives the food a red color. Vegetables and meat dishes are both very common. Ok, I said it was basic- you should really just go try some for yourself.

This first picture is from our DFW area/Ethiopian adoption/get-together! We really should get a name for our group, the clever folks in Southern Cal are OCEAN. (Orange County Ethiopian Adoption Network) so lets get creative. :) This group has been a blessing, and we look forward to more gatherings in the future. (January 18th, our house) This is the Newsome's, Funderburk's and Fournet's- we all can't wait to rejoice with one another over referrals and homecomings.

We also had the wonderful opportunity to join one of Moody's patients families for a Christmas celebration today. The Ethiopian Christmas is tomorrow. The food was incredible, and they all made us feel like part of the large family. Everyone was so hospitable and gracious. We look forward to getting to know them all better in the future.

If you look closely at the table, you will see a plate of pizza rolls:) The girls haven't acquired a taste for Ethiopian food yet!

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"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 becoming polluted by the world." James 1:27
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