Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tax-deductible Giving Now Available!

We truly trust that God desires us to provide a home for a child, and we know He will provide for the cost of our adoption.  

To date, we have applied for 4 grants to assist with our adoption.  We found out today that we were approved for a fundraising grant with Lifesong for Orphans.   Currently, they do not have funds available for a matching grant (which is what we applied for); however, this is still great news for our adoption fund. 


Now, friends and family can give directly to Lifesong for Orphans and indicate that you'd like your donation to benefit our adoption (#2908).  This will allow your donation to be tax-deductible.  

Here's what to do:

Send a check made payable to Lifesong for Orphans with our name and Account Number:

Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40 / 202 N. Ford St
Gridley, IL 61744
Please write "Preference: Flagler #2908 adoption" on Memo line.

This gift is tax-deductible, and we get 100% of your donation.  *Note: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit organization. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.

**Also, if you have already contributed over $250 to our adoption and would like your gift to be considered tax-deductible, please contact us. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

You Might be a Cares Team If...

You bake in bulk.
You have about 30 signs like this in your car and/or hall closet.


You stock-pile (donated) drinks from one event to the next.

Again, baking in bulk.

And baking Green things in Bulk!

Your kitchen gets full of friends helping prepare food for 200 people.

You make fruit pretty.

Have I mentioned that we bake in bulk?

You give out Breakfast to your neighbors on their way out of the apartments.

You have a dedicated Cares Thirty-One utility tote (and often use a few more!).

your Halloween pumpkin looks like this.

You have LOTS of candy and LOTS of cookies for passing out treat bags at Halloween.

You cook in bulk.
And you actually use the Microplane Grater from Pampered Chef.

You stock-pile dog treats to pass out at pet events.

You have 300+ of these in your freezer to give out to neighbors at the pool.

You have LOTS of these signs in your hall closet.

You buy in bulk!
Just a few pictures to show what this "Cares" part of our lives is like.  We do 3 events every month for our neighbors at our apartments.  We also visit all the new move-ins and neighbors whose leases will expire in about 3 months.  We also have a Book Club, Walking Club, and Ladies Bible Study.  We definitely stay busy and enjoy getting to know our neighbors and building friendships with them. 

Is it just me...

... or does Nala seem smaller?

Playing with Daddy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Two Percent


Here's hoping we will become part of this 2%!
Source




Thursday, June 14, 2012

30 by 30

I'll be 30 in a few months.  I have seen some great "30 by 30" posts, but mine will be different.  This one has one simple goal... to lose 30 pounds by the time I turn 30.  

So far, I've lost 3. That's 10%. 

My brother-in-law is also doing this with me, but he has almost a year before his 30th.  I do like having a buddy though.  

Here's the token 'before' picture.  (I couldn't really find one I liked, but I guess that's the point.) 




And now that this is officially posted (not just on Facebook), I can have more accountability.  The 30 pounds should really be the beginning, but that's my first goal.  Here goes...  

Random Photo, Take 100 (And Final!)

Photo 99 was from the college days.  This was Matt and Steven in Steven's dorm room at Erskine.  If the date on the picture is correct, it was April 20, 2002, which makes sense. 

Here's #100... the last of the Random Photo game. 



And since it's the last one, I'll go ahead and give the answer...
This was me and Ginger in the summer of 2007 out on the boat.  I miss the boat. 
But I miss Ginger even more!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Adopting Without Debt

As part of our 3rd place prize package from the Coupaide contest you helped us win, we got a copy of Adopt Without Debt by Julie Gumm.  

If you are considering adoption, read this book.  It's not a long in-depth read but a great book filled with a wonderful adoptive story and LOTS of ideas for fundraising and resources for budgeting and grants.  I read it all in about 2 hours...

At the heart of this book is a simple message that God continues to whisper in our ears, “Follow me, I will provide.” Mark and I have experienced that truth countless times in our marriage, but never as profoundly as during our adoption process. I am amazed and humbled that He would use me to share that message with others. A line in one of my favorite songs echoes in my heart “Forever, You are the God of my story. Write every line for Your glory.” That is my simple prayer.

Julie Gumm. Adopt Without Debt: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption (Kindle Locations 46-49). Julie Gumm.
Check it out.   

Monday, June 11, 2012

What's Happening Now?

Somewhere, today, she just found out she was pregnant.  And this is not good news for her. 
Somewhere, right now, he just found out that he's fathered a child... and he wants nothing to do with it. 
Somewhere, this week, she has decided to get an abortion. It seems like an easier option right now. 

Somewhere, a pregnancy counselor is showing her that there are other options, and adoption is one. 
Somewhere, he has decided he can't be a proper father and will ask her to consider adoption.
 

There are so many of these scenarios playing out all over the country (and the world!).  Daily, we are praying for those in the situations above and any others that will lead people to make choices for adoption.  Unfortunately, not every girl is presented with adoption as an alternative to abortion, and many lives are lost.  

Source

For those who choose adoption, there are many different paths they can choose.  They can choose a private agency, an attorney or even a state agency.  They don't even have to choose before the birth.  Some make the decision for adoption after they give birth.  They can choose to have some kind of relationship with the adoptive family or have none.  

Each situation is different, and each birth mother and birth father have different stories which have led them to this point.  It is SO important for us to remember that during this season.  We aren't just waiting for God to bring us our child.  We are waiting for Him to work His plan in the lives of ALL those who will be affected.  

There are two main ways that our agency places children with families.
1.  The expecting parent(s) will choose the adoptive family for their child.  This is usually done by looking on the Bethany website or at profile books (like ours) in one of their local offices.  The time varies.  Sometimes there are still months left in the pregnancy but sometimes only days.  The birth parent(s) and adoptive parents usually get to meet before the baby's arrival and form varying degrees of relationships with one another.  Sometimes the adoptive families get to be in the delivery room when the baby is born. 


2.  The expectant parent(s) will want the agency to choose.  In this case, the agency sends out an email to all of the Waiting Families that give basic information about the Expectant Mother, the Expectant Father (if known), medical info, due date, and gender (if known).  Waiting families are usually given a few days to respond, then the expectant parent(s) are asked to choose between those who responded.  If the expectant mother still does not want to choose, the agency will select the family who responded who has been waiting the longest.        


From this point forward, we will not be sharing too many details if we are in the process of being considered for a child.  We want to be respectful of the expecting parents that we are getting emails about, meeting with, or talking with.  We also want to honor the fact that when we get our child, he/she will have a special story of how they came to be with us.  We are not sure how much of that story we want 'everyone' to know.  

Please continue to ask us how things are going.  But please be understanding when we answer generally.  It just means that it's not the time to share what may be going on behind the scenes.  :)  As always, we thank you so much for the many ways you are walking with us through this journey.  And we covet your prayers as this journey continues...

iPad 2 Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations... "Uncle" Steven!!!

Y'all, he reallllllly wanted to win.  I was SHOCKED when random.org came back with one of his entries.  



There were 194 entries as a combination of donations, Facebook shares, blog comments, Coupaide purchases, and blog posts!  And it was a last minute donation by Matt's brother, entry #192 who won!  

A total of $1040 was raised through this fundraiser for Baby Flagler.  Thank you so much to all who participated and helped us get closer to bringing him/her home! 

iPad 2 Giveaway... sooooo close!

**Special Announcement*** Because we are SOOOO close to having a $1000 profit from our iPad 2 Giveaway, we are offering a special from now until 4pm (only about 30 minutes left!)...
$10 donation gets one entry.
$25 donation gets 3 entries.
$35 donation gets 4 entries.
$50 Donation gets 6 entries.

Here's the link to give. Help spread the word!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Random Photo, Take 99

Photo 98 was my beautiful sister, Valerie.  Taken in January 2012 for her bridal portraits.  Photo by Melissa Breeland Photography.

Here's Photo 99:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

iPad 2 Giveaway Update!

Only a few days left in our iPad 2 Giveaway!
We currently have about 75 people entered, which is great! But we would love to have more!  PLEASE help us spread the word about this Giveaway!

Now through midnight (EST) on June 7th, you have other options to enter.
  1. Comment on this blog post with your name and email AND your favorite Bible verse about God's character (you have LOTS of room here!). (One entry)
  2. Comment on this blog post with your name and email only.  (One entry)
    (Yes, you can do both.  Max 2 entries per person through comments only.)
  3. 1 entry for each $15 donation through WePay or in person.   
And don't forget about the original ways to enter!
  • 10 entries for each $100 donation through WePay or in person.
  • 2 entries for each $25 donation through WePay or in person.     
  • 1 entry for each CoupAide ($25 Restaurant.com certificate) purchased. 
    *Must leave a comment here letting us know how many you purchased and when.*
  • 1 entry for each time you share this entry on your blog/website.  **Must leave a comment with your name and blog/email here each time so it can be tracked.**

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Everyday Life

Awhile back, I asked if anyone has questions for us in this unique season.  My friend Kristen responded that she wanted to know more about our everyday lives.  Since one of the main purposes of this blog is to journal and preserve memories... I thought it was a great idea.  So, here goes. 
Mom keeps us well-stocked with yummy creamers. Great way to start the day.

Mondays... If Matt opens, he gets up around 6:15 and gets to work by 6:45.  If he closes, he sleeps in and goes into work at 11:00.  Sometimes, he goes in for another shift in between.  He usually takes Nala (and now Zoe) out before he goes to work.   I usually get up around 7:30 (or sometimes 8:00 or 8:15) and get to work by 8:30 or 8:45.  Matt doesn't eat breakfast.  I eat breakfast on the way to work and drink my one cup of coffee (thanks to my Keurig!) throughout the morning.  At work, Matt checks animals in and out of the vet, calls owners of pets to schedule appointments or remind them of their appointments, weighs pets, gets them their medicines, and does LOTS of other things to stay busy.  He comes home for lunch, which varies depending on when he goes into work.  He takes Nala and Zoe out during lunch and chills for a few minutes then goes back to lunch.  
Matt with the girls.

I usually eat lunch at work (used to eat what the chef for the childcare center made, but now I take my own since I'm doing Weight Watchers).  Mondays I usually work on updating the church's website and processing sermon videos to post online.  Depending on what's going on at the church, I often have lots of other projects going on.  

Once we both get home from work, we figure out something to do for dinner. If one of us planned ahead, we took out some meat to make.  If we didn't think it through ahead of time, we will make something from the freezer.  :)  Monday evenings, we usually watch tv shows from the night before online.  Usually, it's Amazing Race and/or Celebrity Apprentice, but they're both on a break right now.  One Monday a month, I do a Book Club with our neighbors through Cares.  

Tuesdays... (Normal daytime).  After work, we usually have a family dinner at Dad & Gail's.  They usually keep out niece, Hailey on Tuesdays, so the whole family converges on their place for dinner.  It's one of the many perks of living in the same town as family.  After family dinner, we come home and tend to the pups then spend time doing things around the house.  And sometimes, we will watch a show together. Bachelorette online currently.  (Of course, this depends on whether or not we can pickup free internet or not.) 

Wednesdays... (Normal daytime).  Since a couple of weeks ago, I stay at work late on Wednesdays and meet Steven at a Weight Watchers meeting.  After weight watchers, we have dinner with Matt. 

Thursdays... I love Thursdays.  For the last couple months, I've been meeting with some ladies and studying Beth Moore's James.  I rush home to straighten up my apartment.  Ladies start coming over around 6:30.  We usually start with snacks and catching up.  Then we discuss the homework and watch a video.  I haven't been great at keeping up with the homework, but when I do it, it's always on time.  And even just the teaching videos that we watch on Thursdays are full of wisdom and encouragement and challenge.  Plus, it's great to spend time with these new friends and learn about how God is at work in their lives and pray with one another.  A lot of times I crash after Bible Study.  While I'm doing this, Matt is usually working on school stuff or Cares stuff. 

Fridays... I have a love/hate relationship with Fridays.  When I get into work, my coworkers and I have a devotion from Experiencing God.  Then we have breakfast together, and my day gets crazy after that.  Preparing worship media, sermon PowerPoint, sermon notes, printing the weekly newsletter, updating the website, and LOTS of other stuff.  Thankfully, my coworkers help with this a lot.  But still, lots of Fridays, I work late.  By the time I get home, I'm exhausted and like to do nothing. :)  

Worship media.

Saturdays... Saturdays are usually filled with Cares events-, planning, shopping, or actually doing them.  And sometimes we do things with friends.  Sometimes we go on walks, but we call it "looking for alligators".  Which we see often.  There are several who live in the big neighborhood we live in.  I love alligators... from a distance.  Housework. Laundry... more laundry.  

An alligator Matt saw recently.  But not in our neighborhood.


Sundays... Church. Lunch at Grandma's with the family.  Hang out over there for awhile.  Home for housework.  We used to have Community Group on Sundays, but we're taking a break from that for awhile.  Gives us more time to do a better job at Cares.  We look forward to joining back with Community Group eventually.  Also on Sunday nights, we have Family Movie Night.  This is at Mark & Steph's house with them & Hailey, us, and Steven.  We watch Cupcake Wars until Hailey goes to bed, then we pick a movie to watch.  It's usually pretty late by the time we're done with that, so then we just head home and get ready to start the week.  
Movie Night.
Of course,  every week is different.  We try to find time to spend together.  We spend time loving on our dogs.  We go on walks. We go to the dog park.  We cook and bake.  We hang out with friends.  We watch movies and play games.  We have friends over for dinner & games.  

Most weeks depend on Matt's schedule.  He works 4 days each week and spends the other days doing housework, working on Cares stuff and working on school.  

Each day is also affected by our ongoing wait for our baby.  Each day, we pray and hope and wonder.  Will this be the day our lives will change forever?  

In the meantime, we wait.  And go on with everyday. :) 



Monday, June 4, 2012

The Time we went to Brunch and Got a Great Dane

Last weekend, we had a WONDERFUL weekend at my Mom's house in North Carolina.  Relaxing, refreshing and fun with my family!  LOTS of laughing, some questionable dining experiences, and LOTS of doggy time on my Mom's back porch and in her lovely yard.  

It might have been the wonderful weekend and the exuberance of doggy-time which led to us making this life-changing decision.  

So, Matt has always wanted a Great Dane.  And we've always figured we would have one... One day.  

Well, last Sunday, we were having a lovely brunch at the Lake Lure Inn where we noticed they were having a street fair.  We were curious as to what it was.  Well, Mom introduced Matt to a guy she met at work who knows one of his college professors.  This man mentioned in conversation that he had just visited the Great Dane Rescue at the street fair.  Thank you, Random Man.  

Matthew came back to the brunch table practically leaping across the porch.  He was bubbly and excited!  Something that Matty usually is NOT in the mornings.  So, we walked over after brunch.  And we met Zoe.  


Sweet Zoe.  

She's 14 months, a great personality, with ice-blue eyes and a merlequin coat.  She's gorgeous.  And she's sweet.  And she's the newest member of our family. 

We have enjoyed getting to know her this past week and getting her orchestrated into our family. 

It makes me even more excited about bringing home baby soon.   For now, we will enjoy being a family of four.   You can see lots more pictures on our Facebook pages. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Random Photo, Take 98

Pic 97 was from June 24 2006 (as it shows on the picture).  It was the wedding of my dad's cousin, Jerry, to his wife Jennifer.  Jerry, James, Laura and I were in the picture. 

Here's 98 (a little tricky): 

You Helped Us Win!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!  

You all helped us win 3rd place in a Facebook contest with CoupAide.  On CoupAide's Facebook page, we had 138 friends and friends of friends show their support for our adoption in a contest.  

We won the 3rd Place Prize Package which includes: 
  • $100 to our adoption fundraising campaign
  • Digital Copy Of “Adopt Without Debt” by Julie Gumm
  • $20 Blurb.com Gift Card  (I love Blurb. I used it to make our profile book!)
  • $20 Amazon.com Gift Card
And, we've had 15 folks buy a Restaurant.com voucher from our CoupAide page.  So far, that's an additional $150 toward our adoption.  
If you like good deals and eating out, you should definitely purchase a CoupAide!  You pay $20 for a $50 voucher to Restaurant.com, and we get $10 toward our adoption.  

CoupAide Adoption Fundraising

Also, until June 10th, for each CoupAide purchased, you get one entry into our iPad 2 Giveaway!