Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Random Photo, Take 60

Pic 59 was circa 1996, on a youth choir mission trip. Not sure why I look so glum.

Here's #60!

Blog Headers

I can't seem to find a blog header that I love. Or maybe I just like changing it around. I changed it again yesterday, then took some time to look back on all the different headers. Interesting:

First one I created. Before this, we just had the one in the regular design.

Second one during the last couple of months in Thailand.

Summer & Fall of 2009

Rest of 2009- Most of 2010.

Late part of 2010 and early 2011.

Just a couple of months during 2011.
The tagline seems cheesy.

This one is almost too simple. But I can't settle on a 'tagline' that I love. I'm weird.

Well, at least I thought it was interesting. Give me some feedback. What do you think makes a good header?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Gospel

My sister shared this video with us on Easter. But I didn't watch it then because I figured it was the normal kind of "Easter" video. It's not.

I wrote something on the private blog about what God is doing in my life right now, and my sister wrote me again and asked if I had watched this video. She said it echoed some of the things I am learning. So, I watched it. And it is amazing. At times, it's a little cheesy and loud, but the message is powerful. More accurately, the message is Truth.

Please take 11.5 minutes and watch this. And let us know what you think. Especially about the last few minutes. That's what I'm learning about now.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Adoption Process So Far

So, I wrote here about how we officially decided to start adopting in September 2010.

9/17/2010 - Mailed off the preliminary application & preliminary application fee.11/5/2010 - Attend Bethany's Informational Meeting

Pics of us driving up to Columbia. We had to get up REALLY early.
Basically, it was just them giving us a bunch of information about the adoption process.
(Most of it we already knew from all of the research we had done before.)

Highlights of the meeting:
-the whole thing starting to feel 'real'
-confirmation for me that Domestic is the way to go this time around (I had previously been wrestling with wanting to do an international adoption.)
-realizing that we can really get started

November 2010-April 2011 - Work on Formal Application
This stage was a lot of work. Thinking through lots of questions. Some of which I highlighted here. And also signing a lot of Release Forms, Background Checks, Financial Checks. Getting Fingerprinted. Getting Drug Tested. Finding copies of Birth Certificates, Vaccination Records, and our Marriage License. (Thankfully, due to our travels and visa requirements, we had all of those last things handy.)
Driving to get Fingerprinted. 4/13/11
Getting our Physicals & TB Test Shots 4/13/11
4/18/2011 -- Mailed off the Formal Application & Formal Application Fee!
We had definitely intended on completing the Formal Application much earlier, but other things kept becoming more of a priority. We could have forced it and done them on our original time frame, but I don't believe we would have been honoring the Lord. Though it was almost 5 months later than we expected, we can move on to the next stages knowing that we have done all of this in the Lord's timing. The child He has for us is not affected by whether we had the Formal Application completed in December 2010 like we originally planned or now.

Next-- April 29, 2011 Bethany Training Meeting, all day in Columbia

P.S. It may seem weird that I took pictures of all these things (Matt think it's weird.) But I decided at the beginning that I wanted pictures of all of the major stuff since this is our "Paper Pregnancy". We don't have belly shots to show our future child, but we will have pictures showing him/her how special he or she was to us through this process.

We Love You, Baby Flagler!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hailey's Book

I love my niece, Hailey. Yesterday, we had a baby shower for her (the last of four), and I gave her a gift I've been working on for awhile now.

You can view it here. If you need a password, it's 3473176.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Excited for My Mom

Matt's Dad and Grandpa are currently in Romania working to build meeting places for churches there. And my Mom is planning on being part of a mission trip in July.

We are thankful to be part of families who value making Jesus famous in other countries.

Here's a letter from my Mom about her trip. (You can click on the image to make it larger or email me for a PDF version.)

Would you consider praying for her and her team and also giving financially if you're led?

Random Photo, Take 59

Yes, K, was right! Photo 58 was from Siam Ocean World, Valentine's Day, 2009. By far, my favorite Valentine's Day.

Here's 59

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Random Photo, Take 58

Photo 57 was of Matt's Uncle Bob and his new wife, Christine. It was taken at the reception they had last June while we were out in California. :)

Here's 58:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

More from the Youth Mission Trippers

"Our" girls for the week.
Top Row: Cydney, Kathy, Courtney, Kelli
Bottom Row: Hayley, Alexis, Ginnabeth, Brooke
When they weren't being acrobatic...
They were playing fun games like Quelf.
Where one of the phases was for Courtney to build a fort and stay in it until her next turn...
And Cydney had to wear a helmet and bang her head with a spoon while saying something silly.

But it kept them occupied and laughing and getting along quite well.
Even Nala wanted to be part of it.

Here's a video of one of the cards...

That was Courtney. She found an egg but took it back to the bedroom instead of the gameroom, so I believe she got the penalty. Every area of floor space was used for sleeping and/or storing bags.
Someone even slept in the big chair all week.
But they were great!
And Nala LOVED having them here and felt like part of their family.

A Story About Having 8 House Guests

Once upon a time there was a young married couple who had just moved into a new apartment. That apartment happened to be 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The couple's church was hosting about 80 middle schoolers from Atlanta who were coming to Charleston to do service projects for the community. The couple's church said they needed host homes, so the couple volunteered to host 2 or 3 youth for the week, knowing it would be a little tight, but they wanted to help and thought it would be fun.A few days before the youth arrived, the couple who had just moved into the apartment found out that they were hosting not 2 or 3 youth but EIGHT youth + a chaperone! After a mild panic attack, the young wife calmed down and realized that middle schoolers can sleep on the floor and share a bathroom. They would be on a mission trip, after all, not a luxury vacation, right? So, the young couple cleaned and prepared their apartment for the arrival of their guests.On Saturday night, they arrived, around 10:30 pm, with lots of suitcases, sleeping bags, pillows, and personality. The neighbors surrounding the apartment surely did not know what hit them when it sounded as if a stampede of elephants was entering the apartment breezeway. The girls shuffled in, and the couple realized there were not eight girls + a chaperon but SEVEN girls + a chaperone, and they breathed a sigh of relief. Every little bit helps, they thought.
Through the week, the girls were wonderful guests. They didn't complain about sleeping on the floor or sharing a bathroom. They were great with the giant dog that lived in the apartment and even took her out to go to the bathroom occasionally. They brought their own breakfast foods, but the young wife made pancakes a couple of mornings and french toast one morning just so they could start the day off with hot breakfasts. They didn't mind that there weren't enough chairs or places at the table. They didn't complain about having to eat on tv trays every morning. All of their other meals were eaten with the big group at other locations.The girls were out and about around town most of the week, but when they were home, they laughed and talked and played games and watched movies in the apartment's theater. They told stories and tried to talk louder than each other so each could be heard. The sweet chaperone would quiet them down, and they would giggle. And they spent lots of time with blow dryers and hair straighteners and changing outfits.All in all, it was a good week. But when the girls and their chaperone left on Friday morning, the young wife let out a sigh of relief. And then started cleaning. And she wondered whether or not she would host 7 middle school girls again. She's still wondering. :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Before & After : Chopped off the Hair!

I've been growing my hair our for almost 2 years to give to Locks of Love.

I've tried doing it before but never followed through because I'm really not a long hair kinda person.

But this time, I did it!
A picture from about a month ago to show how long it had gotten.
Pic from the back on Chopping Day.
Seriously the longest my hair has been. Ever.
What it looked like after the ponytail had been cut off.
The finished product: front. :)
The finished project: back.
I LOVE the back!

Poor Matty is not thrilled with the shortness, but I keep reminding him it's not as short as it was when we moved to Thailand (pic below), so he should be happy. :) And, it's just hair, so it will grow back.

Apartment = Home.

Okay, so in the last apartment post, you saw it still in progress. Now it's done. In fact, I finished organizing the office last Saturday, just a couple of hours before our 8 houseguests arrived for a week (more on that later).

So, here's the finished apartment, which is now very much home. And very much wonderful.
The view of the living room. What you see to the right when you walk in the front door.
The pile of shoes on the right is directly beside the front door.
Look how LIGHT it is!

And this is the room to the left of the door: the kitchen.

More of the kitchen. I love the black appliances.
If you walk out of the kitchen, into the living room, this is the wall on your left.
The entrance to the sunroom/office is on the left.

Nala's bed is the first thing on the right. She loves looking out 'her' window.
And the DVD rack is the first thing on the left, then another book shelf.
Closer view of the desk area. My desk looks out over the pool across the street.
Walking out of the sunroon, this is the wall on your left.
Then, turn to the right and see this (the front door) and kitchen.
Head down the hallway, past the washer/dryer area, and the first room is what will be the baby's room. Right now, we just have the bookshelf, the glider and Jeffrey (the giraffe).
But the guest bathroom is in that room too.
Here's our bedroom.

As I got to the back of the house, I had far less pictures. Oops. But at least you get the idea.

Come visit!