Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Daniel Fast

I shared on Facebook that I recently completed the Daniel Fast for 21 days.  Just want to share a few more of my thoughts.  If anyone is considering checking it out, feel free to contact me with any questions.  If I can do it, you can do it!
(Sorry no pictures.  Was having formatting issues. Thoughts are in list form because that's how I'm thinking right now.)
  • The Holy Spirit used some posts on Facebook to prompt me to do this.  I'm thankful I was obedient.
  • I mentally prepared myself for about a week. (This might have been the hardest part.)
  • Stocked up on produce at Costco.  This was not necessary since I am just one person and even though I was eating exponentially more produce than normal, it did not justify buying grapefruits, grapes, strawberries, apples, cucumbers, broccoli, carrots, peppers, lettuce and the mini oranges in bulk. I will remember this next time. 
  • The hardest part for me was drinking ONLY water.  Prior to this, water would, 95% of the time, truly make me nauseous.  Just never drank a lot of water.  And I can get unlimited coffee, sweet tea, and lemonade at work for free.  But, guess what?  It IS possible to drink ONLY water.  For me, I definitely needed the Lord's help the first few days. 
  • The first couple of days, I had crazy headaches and was super tired.  Obviously, this came from going to coffee/tea drinker all day to no caffeine at all.  Also, I had very limited protein at first.  Went home from work and took loooooooong naps the first couple of days. 
  • Tried a lot of new foods.  This is a big deal for me.  New likes: quinoa and peppers.  Other things I ate: PLAIN oatmeal (added cinnamon and raisins for texture), beans (once I realized these were a good source of protein), dried apples, dried strawberries, dried bananas, chips & salsa, mushrooms & onions sauteed with olive oil, green beans, corn, sweet potatoes, fruit smoothies.  
  • Survived eating out on the Daniel Fast: ordered side salads with no dressing/no cheese.  Used oil & vinegar, salt & pepper to flavor.  (Realized it IS possible to eat salads without Ranch dressing.)  Also ordered sides of steamed veggies and a sweet potato without butter/brown sugar.  Macaroni Grill for my Mom's birthday was a challenge. The yummy bread and cheesy pastas were very tempting. :)
  • Survived baking a couple batches of chocolate chip cookies.  (Did you know that it IS possible to bake cookies without eating one or two fresh from the oven?)  :) 
  • Survived a road trip without coffee.  This one is a neat testament to the Lord.  I drove up to Columbia for a bridal shower for my sister.  It was a cold, rainy day, and I usually get tired when driving for longer than 20 minutes. So, I had sorta already pre-meditated that I would get Starbucks in Columbia for the ride home.  I had a gift card, and it was really for my safety (at least, that's how I justified it.)  When it came time for me to go through the drive-thru, my car just didn't stop.  It was almost like God whispered to me you can do it.  That was a very special ride home.  :) 
  • A major key to this being successful was having prayer partners. My special friends Shari and Ginger were praying with me throughout the fast.  At times, I could honestly feel it.  Even got some special texts with sweet encouragement.   
  • To be completely honest, I can't say that I got any major spiritual revelations.  I definitely could have found more time for concentrated prayer.  Did spend more time in the Word with more journaling than I've done in ages.  But, next time, I will be more intentional with time in prayer. 
  • I am honestly still a little shocked and surprised that I actually did it.  I learned that God has given me much more self-discipline than I thought.  With Him, I truly can do more than I think I can.  The only other time I've had an extended time of fasting was giving up chocolate for Lent in 2006.  
  • I don't think I lost weight.  Though this wasn't the goal, I wouldn't have complained if it had been a side-effect.  I was sorta expecting it because of the water thing and eating smaller meals throughout the day.  Not disappointed, but just throwing it out there. I think a lot of people EXPECT to lost weight, so I will just go on record saying that I didn't. 
  • Several take-aways from this fast:
    • Drink more water.  Now that I know it's possible, I plan to drink some everyday. 
    • Eat more produce.  Feels pretty good. 
    • Cheese, bread, chocolate are not necessary to survive.  Remember this. :)
    • God is bigger than cravings, and He has given me self-control as one of the fruits of His Spirit. 
Okay, so that was a lot of writing.  But hopefully it will help me to be able to look back on this and remember this season.   And it may even be encouraging to you. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Daniel Fast, you can visit this website.  You can also listen to this webinar.  

Has anyone else done it?  Anyone have any questions?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Random Photo, Take 88

The 87th photo was Matt and me on Christmas Eve 2007 at my Mom's house.  Our first married Christmas. 

Here is Pic #88.  Who, when, where? 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Random Photo, Take 87

Pic 86 was from August 2007, most of the Tyndall girl cousins.  This was at Julianne's bridal brunch.  Looking forward to 2 of these lovely ladies getting married in the next couple of months!  

Here's Picture 87:
 Most of this one is pretty obvious. Guess which year...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Random Photo, Take 86

Pic 85 was from July 2009 when we were getting our condo ready.  This pic was of Steven and Valerie painting.  Thanks for all your help! 

 Who, when, where?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Random Photo, Take 85

The 84th Photo was from Uz at a party at Debbie's and my house.  This was Debbie, Emily, me and Jordan's belly-button.  At Debbie & I's first house that year.   Probably October 2005. 
A lifetime ago...

Here is Pic 85

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Random Photo, Take 84

Pic 83 is from October(ish) 2007 and was taken in Texas at LaMadeline's... Kristin got it right because she was there!  She was in Texas visiting a good friend of hers, and we were able to have a catch-up date.  Miss you, friend!

Here is Picture 84:

Happy Birthday, Valerie!

I don't remember the day that Valerie was born, but it was definitely a day that changed my life--the day I became a big sister.  

Since that day, Valerie has become much more than a sister to me- she is a great friend!  There were many years when neither of us would have believed that was possible, but it is.  Through God's redemptive work in my life and in hers, we are able to love each other as sisters in Christ as well as real sisters.  

Whenever Valerie and I reflect on our childhood, we recount horror stories like the time(s) she chased me around the house with a hammer or knife.  We jokingly remember the ONE time that she and I ganged up on Laura together, which ended in utter disappointment.  We talk about the D~R~A~M~A of teenage years, which we could go on for hours about.  We lament about sharing a bathroom... We usually don't have any FOND memories of each other until college years.  

2007-one of my Maids of Honor
Until recently.  Not too long ago, I remembered how Valerie got me out of trouble one day.  She took the blame for something that was my fault.  She knew how badly I wanted to celebrate a friend's birthday on a trip to Columbia, so she took responsibility for something that mom had grounded me for.  She made it possible for me to celebrate my friend's birthday.  THAT picture of Valerie is most like the sister I have today.  Self-sacrificing.  Considerate.  Generous. 

I am so proud of my sister, Valerie.  She's getting married in a couple of weeks, and she is going to be an amazing wife. (Not to mention one of the most beautiful brides you've ever seen!) I have learned so much from her over the past few years, and I'm so thankful God has given her to me.  
2011 with her soon-to-be-husband.

As we celebrate your birthday today, Valerie, know how much you are loved!  As we celebrate your wedding in a couple of weeks, know how much you are valued!  As we get to live the rest of our lives together, know how thankful I am to be your big sister.  

Happy Birthday, Valerie!  
I love you!

Winner of the Portrait Session Fundraiser

Thanks to our friends, family, and their friends and family, we raised $615 towards our adoption with this Portrait Session Giveaway fundraiser.  Also, maybe more importantly, we have lots of new people praying with us and encouraging us along this journey. 

In my prayers throughout this Giveaway, I was impressed that maybe getting the word out like this was somehow going to reach the future birth parent of our future son/daughter.  I have no way of knowing that for sure, but wouldn't it be neat if it did? 

As we enter into this Valentine's Day, my heart is FULL of gratitude.  I'm humbled that God would allow us to participate in this journey.  THANK YOU to all who helped!  

Now, without further delay...

Out of 270 entries, selected #114.  
 Congratulations, Hyatt Family! 

Thank you for the many ways you have supported our adoption!  Now, you get to celebrate Will coming home with a Portrait Session with Valerie SchoolingHow perfect!  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Wrapping Up the Giveaway!

Enter our Giveaway today!
Our Portrait Session Giveaway is Wrapping Up!  So far, $145 has been given to our adoption through this fundraiser, and we have a total of 128 entries. Thank you for your gifts so far!  And PLEASE help us spread the word through the 13th.  

Even if you can't give at this time, please help spread the word about our adoption.  You might just know someone who knows someone who is considering an adoption plan for their child.  

How do you enter?  
You can enter the giveaway by either donating towards our adoption or sharing about this Giveaway. Entry for the Giveaway will close at 5pm (EST) on Monday, February 13th. Winner will be announced at 8:30pm (EST) on the same day.

  • $10 donation = 2 entries
  • $25 donation = 5 entries (so $50 would be 10 entries, etc.)
    ($100 donation is 25 entries.)
  • Email your contacts. = 1 entry per person emailed. (Copy us flaglersadopt(at)gmail).
  • "Share" the Giveaway (Photo or link) on Facebook = 1 entry (Must use Facebook "Share" option so it can be tracked. ) (Limit one per person, per day.)
  • Comment on this blog. = 1 entry
  • Blog about the Giveaway = 7 entries (Make sure we see this by emailing link or commenting below with link.) (Example 1. Example 2)
 How do you donate? 
  • Donate with credit/debit card through our "WePay" page.  (You can also click the "Donate" button on the right of our blog.)  Please make sure we have your contact info and reference the Portrait Session Giveaway.  
  • You can give by cash or check to us in person. (This saves us the website admin fee.)
  • You can mail us a check. (Contact us for mailing address.)  
Who can enter?
  • Anyone can enter.  Enter if you have a heart for orphans or adoption.  Enter if you love Valerie's photography.  Enter if you love the Flaglers. Enter if you just like entering giveaways and like having a chance to win something! :)
  • We understand not everyone is able to give financially, so you also have an option to win by just sharing about this Giveaway! 
  • It would be best if you live in the Charleston area, but Valerie Schooling travels often across the US and even internationally.  You do not have to live in Charleston to win her mini-session, but you will need to work out with Valerie when she will be in your area and if there are any additional travel costs. 
How do you win?
  • Each entry will be assigned a number.  We will contact you with these numbers once the donation has been processed. With Facebook/blog posts, we will assign numbers every couple of days.  Contact flaglersadopt(at)gmail with any questions.
  • At the end of the Giveaway (5pm EST February 13th), we will use a random number generating website to choose the winning number.  
  • We will announce the winner on this blog and also personally contact them (provided we have contact information) at approximately 8:30 pm on February 13th.  
  • Winners should contact Valerie Schooling Photography by the end of February to work out details for the mini-portrait session.   
Questions?  Contact flaglersadopt(at)gmail.  We are SO thankful for your participation in our adoption journey.  Thanks so much to the many who are walking with us on the road to give a special child a loving home!    ~Matt & Tricia

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Random Photo, Take 83

The 82nd Picture in this game was of my lovely sister-in-law in December 2010 when we were decorating our condo for Christmas.  Hailey was still in her belly back then.  

Here is 83!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Matt's 27!

This is what you looked like as a baby.
This is what you looked like yesterday.

Today is your 27th birthday!!!

These are things about you that are true today:Jobs: Client Service Coordinator at Banfield Pet Hospital & Grad School Student.
Things I love about you: You are a man who has great Faith.  I am so thankful that God gave me such a faithful husband.  You are also hilarious and incredibly loving.  You are an individual-you do things when you want, how you want.  You have great compassion.   You are an amazing husband to me. 
You're my best friend, and you are my favorite person to hang out with. I love that you kill spiders and bugs for me even though you don't like them either. You love Nala so much, and I can't wait to see how much you'll love our kids. You remind me to turn to Jesus instead of you sometimes. You really love your family. You aren't perfect, and you know it. You're real! You help me to be real. I love your eyes. Your kisses. Your hugs. I love how you get excited about things I think are silly. You do the dishes and laundry. You read out loud to me. You write me love notes.
Activities/Interests: Movies!, Hanging out with me, Nala, Community Group & Church stuff, Reading, TV (stuff we have on DVD or can watch online), Aquariums, Wii-ing,  watching scary movies, photography, animals, playing games (Nertz, Spades, Settlers...), playing computer games (Words With Friends!), watching Spongebob, cartoons, traveling.

Favorite foods: Japanese, Italian food, Sushi, Salads. Ginger's frosting. Desserts! Sugar, Brown Sugar, Powdered Sugar. Raw hamburger meat. Stove Top. Rice.

Least Favorite foods: Anything Breakfast. Meatloaf.  Grandma's Mac & Cheese.

Things you did while you were 26: Moved to a new apartment and started being a Cares team!  Became an uncle for the first time!  Took lots of grad school classes-even one up in Virginia at Liberty.  Had your sister-in-law live with us for a few months.  Borrowed your mother-in-law's convertible for a couple months!  Went to adoption trainings & did adoption fundraisers.  Got a brand-new car for a Christmas present! Paid off another credit card.
Favorite Movies/Shows: too many to name: (You are currently in the process of watching every single movie you own during 2012), The Nightmare Before Christmas, Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Christopher Guest movies, Transformers series, LOTR series, ...What you want to be when you grow up: Elementary School teacher and stay-at-home DadLast year, I wrote that the previous year had been the toughest year of our marriage and prayed for more joy this year. I totally think God answered that prayer as we figured out how to have more time together and time doing ministry together.  Though we still face challenges, we are moving forward and trusting God to lead us.  I'm so thankful for this past year and what we've learned about living together.  Maybe next year, we will be celebrating you becoming a father!
This is what you look like today!
 I love you, Matthew! Happy 27th Birthday!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Random Photo, Take 82

Pic 81 was on a field trip in Thailand.  March 2009 at Dream World.  Karoon was feeding the goats.  That was a really fun day!

Here is Photo 82...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Gail's Birthday!

Today is Gail's birthday, so a perfect day to make sure she knows how much she means to us.
(Like we did last year!)

The more we've gotten to know her, the happier we've become.
She's a very special lady who cares about people deeply.

  She makes a WONDERFUL GiGi to Hailey, and it's so fun to watch them together!

  Happy Birthday, Gail! We love you!

More Adoption Perspective

Love this article here.  Have watched the John Piper video a couple of times.  Still processing it.  I'm so thankful we get to be part of another adoption story! 
 What are your thoughts? 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fundraising for Adoption: Courage and Willingness

Just this week God has affirmed and strengthened our calling to adoption.  I love how HE works in His perfect timing.  

I'm going to be completely honest: I've been a little insecure about this whole Fundraising for Adoption thing.  A few months ago, I got a random message from a long-distance friend about how she and her husband wanted to contribute to our Adoption Fund.  In many ways, that opened my heart to the possibility that God did, in fact, want us to Fundraise for this adoption--aside from the yard sales.  He wants us to ASK for people to come alongside us in this journey.  He wants us to humble ourselves and invite others to be part of this with us.  

I can be a little stubborn.  I can be self-absorbed in the insecure way.  But God is bigger than my misgivings and my fear of what people will think.  Matt and I are not perfect, and we have not made perfect choices with our finances in the past.  We are getting much better, though, and God is teaching us through this process.  We recently bought a car.  Some people may wonder how we have the nerve to ask people for money when we just bought a brand new car.  (There, I said it!)  We would invite anyone who has concerns or thoughts about that to talk with us directly.   The bigger point of the story is this:  God is bigger than the price of adoption.  It's not about us.  It's not about the cost of adoption.  It's about Him and the story He is writing for us and our future child(ren).  It's about us being faithful to what He's called us. He's still teaching us that through this process.  

Reminders of His provision are everywhere we look!  Our friends have raised over $29,000 in the past few months on their journey to adopt Will from China.  God is able!  He is faithful!  Thank you for being on this journey with us and for the part you are playing in bringing home our future son or daughter.  

This article helps better articulate some of my thoughts about Fundraising for Adoption.  I've seen it all over the place over the past few months--another way God has reminded me it's about Him, not us. Pay special attention to the last sentence.


Is It OK to Fundraise For Adoption?

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Kari Gibson

There are no two ways about it—adoption is expensive. Every adoptive parent has to face this reality. Some will make a substantial withdrawal from their savings or take out a sizable loan. For others, like my husband Joel and me, it means they will depend almost entirely on fundraising—yuck.

Asking other people for money is about as appealing as volunteering for an experimental medical procedure. If we approach it at all, we do it reluctantly. If you’re like me, thinking about fundraising brings up feelings of fear, dread, and even embarrassment. That being said, I am starting to think there is another side to the story worth considering.

Joel and I began fundraising for our Ugandan adoption about a month ago. Before we started, I had a fantasy that someone in our family or our church would escort us to a quiet corner and whisper that they wanted to write us a check for the entire amount. We would take a deep breath, express our gratitude, and get back to the real work of becoming adoptive parents. Like most people in our situation, we never experienced this scenario. I am so thankful.

What did happen is that we raised a whole bunch of money one donation at a time. We’ve had big donations and small donations—each one vitally important to helping us bring our baby home. More than one hundred family members, friends and complete strangers have responded to letters, blog posts, tweets and Facebook updates in remarkable ways. We have now raised about $14,000 toward our $20,000 goal, and it happened much more quickly than we expected.

After reflecting on our experience, I’ve come to believe that fundraising is worth doing regardless of the financial return. It has done so much more for our adoption and our community than simply bringing in dollars. Here are just a few examples:
1. Fundraising allows us to inspire other families
If my fundraising dream had come true—the one where a single big check took care of all of our needs—it would have been dramatic, but it would have done little to help ordinary families believe adoption was financially possible for them.
Our need makes our story relatable. My passion and my prayer is that God would use our story to inspire many other families to believe—maybe for the first time—that, if people like us can do it, then so can they. Adoption is not reserved for the wealthy, and it can be done without debt. That is the message of our fundraising story.
2. Fundraising grows our faith
Joel and I could never have brought in $14,000 in our own strength. It would have been simply impossible. Every dollar that comes in humbles and amazes us as watch God provide through his Body. This experience has taught me that we serve a powerful and generous Father, growing my faith in exponential ways. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t trade that for anything, not even for a $20,000 check.
3. Fundraising gives us a change to invites others into a bigger story
Most importantly, fundraising invites our community of family, friends and those we don’t even know, into a bigger story. Our story becomes theirs as they become invested in, and changed by, our journey.
Some will decide to adopt because they hear your story. Some will give. By God’s grace, many will understand more deeply the heart of Jesus and the Gospel itself as they witness the miracle and the metaphor of adoption through your story.
While the details of your story won’t be the same as mine, I pray that each of you, facing the daunting cost of adoption, will have the courage to believe that God will provide and the willingness to step into the adventure.