Flower Pot Craft Palooza

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Fun girls night! 
Tuesday, May 7th
Open House 5:30-10pm*
blue pots
We’ll be making flower pots that are super easy AND gorgeous!
The stained glass is so pretty that each mosaic pot turns out a masterpiece.
For the creative ones out there, you will LOVE looking through the glass pieces and designing images on your pot.
Mosiac Media
Perfect Mother’s Day gifts (for you to give or get!)

I will teach people who would like help and will have ALL of the supplies needed.
*Either come early and really get into an intricate design to make a night of it
-OR- you can come later and do a smaller or simpler project.

How long will it take you?

The largest pot, with an intricate design and less space between pieces took three hours to mosaic.  A smaller pot or simpler design could be done in one to two hours.

I bought a BUNCH of pots: large, medium, small, tall or wide and squatty.  The amount of time depends on your size of pot, degree of intricacy and space between pieces of glass.

citrus pot purple pot

Feel free to bring fun elements to add to your piece

(a favorite dish, gems, letter beads, your child’s marble collection, sometimes the wackiest items add the perfect funky touch)!
eye spy pot

After our craft night, you will need to let your pot cure for 24 hours and then apply the grout.  I am going to demonstrate grouting, send written instructions and a premeasured bag of grout home with each pot.

It is like frosting a cake and voila! it’s a gorgeous master piece!
orchid potsbox pot

Grab a friend and come enjoy supporting orphans.  All proceeds will go directly to our adoption fund.

 

Please let me know if you want to come and I will set up a station for you.  Hope to see you there!

 

Suggested donation is $30-40

mosaic_pot_final

 

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Peacefilled Unrest

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This weekend Olivia and I had the opportunity to serve together through Africa New Life Ministries. We were able to be part of a large team of people who were packing over 262,000 meals to be sent to needy children and families in Rwanda.  What a special Momma and daughter time!

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It was pure joy to get to see her heart for helping! She is typically a bit reserved in larger groups, but not this time. She jumped right in and worked each station.  When we got home, I asked her to tell me her favorite part of the day.  I expected her to say riding in the backseat of the car with the big girls or hanging out with Momma.  Instead she responded “making the food”.  When I asked her why, she said “I am glad for the kids!”.  She is blooming into a very special young lady.

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As we packed the food, Africa New Life and Numana staff took the opportunity to tell us about their ministries and the lives that are changed.  We heard powerful testimonies.  One from the principal of several schools in Rwanda.  Another from a teenager who hadn’t been in school for six years was able to reenroll becuase of sponsorship (he just scored second in all of Rwanda on his school exams, so it is evident that this is life altering for him – and his face just glowed with joy!).  The last testimony we heard was from the owner of the car dealership where the packing event took place.  He shared that he is typically skeptical of organizations that ask for money, but that he traveled to Rwanda and saw what the Lord is doing in the lives of so many children.  I am grateful that he opened his facility and gave of his time for this event to happen.  I am so grateful that many meals were prepared and that little children’s tummy’s will be filled.

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While I was joyous to see my daughter serve and get to serve alongside her, and was thrilled to think of the little children’s lives that are being blessed, I have to admit that I also struggled.  On our journey to adoption, we have become increasingly aware of those who are hurting worldwide.  I think if someone would have asked me a couple years ago if there are orphans, I would have said “well, I guess.”  And if they would have asked me if there are starving men, women and children, I would have said “well, maybe.”  I don’t think I really believed it though.  Or, I was so content with my comfortable life that I didn’t care enough to do anything?  Ugly, I know.  Now, that my eyes are wide open, I feel like my world has been turned upside down.  Or, maybe, the Lord is in the process of turning my upside down world right side up?

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As we packaged the meals of beans, rice, tofu and spices into the little baggies over and over again, scoop this, scoop that, weigh, seal, scoop again… it hit me that this meal would get old, really fast.  I remembered reading that in many orphanages children eat the same meal day after day after day.  The same porridge (or beans and rice) every day.  Sometimes they may get a piece of meat on Christmas.  I tried to picture what it would be like eating the same meal every day of my life.  I can’t even fathom it.  I care about my children’s nutrition; each day I keep track of fruits, veggies, grains, meats and dairy to make sure they get what is best for their bodies.  These children aren’t even coming close to what their bodies need!  I have read adoptees testimonies on how they always felt hungry while they were in the orphanage.  And then there are the children who don’t have even the occasional redundant meal.  Those children whose parents aren’t able to feed them.  I am trying to juggle a balanced diet; they are simply trying to help their children survive.  They are hungry and yearning for the meal that to us would be dredfully redundant.

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I struggled with the juxtaposition of a building filled with fancy cars and bags of rice and beans.  My mind is trying to make sense of it all.  I realize that wealth doesn’t equal happiness and that our society is far from utopic, but the majority of us have food, shelter and protection.  I found myself asking “Lord, why do we have so much and they have so little?”   I feel like the Lord brought some scriptures to mind and spoke to my heart some truths.  If I had to paraphrase what my loving Father said to my heart it would sound like this: “I love them, and I love you.  I have given you gifts, that I desire for you to enjoy.  I have also given you gifts so that you can cheerfully and generously give to those who need them.  You are my hands and feet to bring justice, mercy and hope in my name.”  The scripture that came to mind was of Jesus holding the children, feeding the multitudes, telling us to feed the poor and that Jesus came to bring hope to the poor.  His heart hurts for the hungry and hurting way more than mine does; they are his children.

Then I began to think of all of the encouraging news I had heard over the past couple weeks.  News of widows (who are now mother’s to orphans through the ministry of Bring Love In) who just got their first ovens installed into their homes!  News of more women who are learning how to weave scarves! (Fashion-ABLE trains women so that they can escape a life of prostitution.)   News of referrals in our adoption agency – I do a little happy dance each time I read of a child being matched to a family!!!

I have a peace that my Lord is in the process of redeeming a fallen world.  AND I am unrestful.  What are we supposed to do?  How can we help?  I believe we are to pray, serve, advocate, give and bring hope.  Will you join me?  You and I, we can and do make a difference in people’s lives!

…off to Virginia

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It is sent!  Our pile o’ paperwork is officially in the mail and on its way to our adoption agency in Virginia. (can you hear my sigh?)

Two days before Valentine’s, Matt and I were delighted to find our I-171H in our mail!  This was the last piece of paperwork we needed to collect for our dossier to be complete.  It took only two weeks and one day after fingerprinting for what is affectionately called the “golden ticket” to arrive (or the official term “Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing”… meaning that once you have a referral the USCIS will in fact grant you a visa for your newly adopted child).

With this last piece of paper in hand it propelled the paperwork frenzy to new heights.  The kids and I took a “field trip” to the capitol for the Secretary of State’s certification (they thought it was great fun to actually go in the buildings with the golden man!).  We then visited with another notary (thank you, Char!).  And finally, I took advantage of the only hours of the day that one can check, double-check, triple-check that notary stamps, dates, signatures, amounts are all exactly right and then scan and make three copies of every document – in the quiet of the night after all the kids are in bed!

I felt giddy this morning reading our family coordinator’s thumbs up to mail our documents (our agency has us email scanned documents for preapproval of accuracy).  Please pray that our documents arrive to AWAA safely, on time and that everything is indeed in order!  Our family coordinator and another staff member will be going over our documents with a fine tooth comb and then will take them to the U.S. State Department and the Ethiopian Embassy in Virginia before actually mailing them off to Ethiopia.  We are told it may take two to four weeks before we receive notice that we are truly “DTE” (Dossier to Ethiopia).

So, after five and a half months, we are officially done with the paperchase.  My fat yellow binder that has gone to every appointment, manilla folders of our copies of our dossier and my adoption computer files are now going to sit.  I am relieved to have this part of the adoption journey complete.  Now that we have done it and understand what each paper is and how to go about getting it, it really doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.  It was just a lot to tackle all at once.  I would be willing to do it all over again… and would be more than happy to walk someone else through the process!

I don’t think it has really hit me yet that we just entered the “wait period”… we are told this can be the most trying time.  The visual I have in my mind is of the Israelites when the Lord would lead them with smoke by day and fire by night.  I am hopeful that Matt and I will patiently and prayerfully wait on the Lord; living in each day and ready to go when He calls us to do so.  Please pray for our child(ren) whom we hope will come to our family in the Lord’s perfect timing and for us as we wait for that day to come.

14 days of Love

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imageI am super excited for the kids to wake up and find my little “love letter nest” I built for them tonight after they went to bed!  Each child has their own mailbox to run and open up each morning leading up to Valentine’s Day.  There will be new surprises for them to discover each day; little slips of paper with expressions of love from Momma, Daddy, their Heavenly Father, (Papa, Nana, Grandpa, Grammie, Aunties, Uncles – I’ll be collecting messages from anyone who wants me to slip a note in for them! I may have to slip a note in from our puppy Beni too :)), and something little each day (a sticker, gum, eraser, bookmark, a fun little what-not that they will think is so special simply because it came in their mailbox)!

I am certain one of Josiah’s love languages is words of affirmation and Olivia’s is gifts, so hopefully a combination of the two will fill their love tanks to the brim.

Last year the kids really got into the fun of reading the notes and wrote a few themselves. Typically, I prefer to purge papers and try not to save most things… I won’t be making that mistake again this year… Any little notes written from little hands with big hearts will be dated and saved for future treasuring.

I am still brainstorming what our actual Valentine’s Day will look like for the kiddos… Definitely starting with waffles, whip cream and red sprinkles on top… oh, how sweet it is to snuggle, tickle and love on the little ones!

Happy (early) Valentine’s Day, from our family to yours.

Federal finger printing

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Quick update…

Today we went to the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) building in Portland for another round of finger prints (or “biometrics”).  These were taken as part of our I-600a application. The woman who worked there mentioned that they are ahead in their processing, so please join us in praying for a quick processing time of our paperwork! We are excited to get our I-171h approval back and move forward to the next step…

Thank you for your support in the journey.

Igniting Children’s Passion for Adoption

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Igniting Children’s Passion for Adoption

Our kids are getting it!  Questions are being asked (hard questions. questions that make us wrestle and search for deeper answers… aren’t kids great at asking those mind-boggling, soul-searching questions!).  This is exciting news, because we deeply want our kids to “get it”; to hear the Father’s love for the fatherless and our call as the body of Christ to be His hands and feet reaching out to those in need.

They are learning about eternal adoption (being redeemed by their heavenly Father through faith in Jesus… aka “Chosen by the Father” :)) and earthly adoption(children whom the Lord places in a new family to be loved forever).

We have been able to involve them in the journey from the beginning.  They enjoyed watching countless “Gotcha Day” YouTube videos as we were in the “praying for confirmation of the calling” stage. They quickly befriended Haile and Beti as we welcomed the Stutzman’s growing family. They rolled up their sleeves to wash cars and stirred batter to bake cookies to sell at our garage sell (they may have consumed more cookies than they sold, but they are developing servants hearts and we love it!)  And every time they find a coin they shout, “we can use it for the adoption!”

I realize that there are many parents that are not currently going through the adoption process who desire to ignite their own children’s heart for adoption.  Here are a few of my thoughts and suggestions:

Share with your children scripture on adoption. For us, this has led to many deep questions.  Adoption is a hard concept for kids (and adults!).  It takes time for them to understand, so it has been a process of unfolding and answering questions – each time going a bit deeper.  (It takes a lot of brain power to translate some of the scriptures into kid friendly definitions, so you may want to meditate on the verses yourself a bit before introducing them at the breakfast table… or, pray, jump in and circle back around often)

Show them “Gotcha Day” videos.  There are some great videos that helped us explain to our kids that not all children have parents and not all children have the surplus of food and warm clothes like we do.  It has helped cultivate an attitude of gratitude and generosity in our house too.

Grab Operation World’s “The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation” and let them find a people group to investigate.  Our kids love taking turns to open up the book and then we jump online to see images of what the different people look like, hear their language and find out roughly how many orphans there in the nation that they selected to study.

Ask them to join you in praying for children who are currently waiting for families.  You can contact adoption agencies and ask to see their list of waiting children.

One of the best ways I would suggest for igniting your children’s passion for adoption (other than to adopt yourself!) is to walk the journey with a family who is currently in the process.  Our family would love to have you join us in our journey!

One of the families we are currently walking alongside is the Lovely family.  They are in the process of adopting child(ren) from Costa Rica.  I love how they are also involving their children in their journey and encouraging other children too!  They are having a silent auction tomorrow night, and if you are near the Salem area we would love to see you there!  They are involving the kids in a special way.  Each child that brings in change will get to be entered into a raffle and a toy will be given away every 10 minutes!  They will also be having photo booths with super hero and cowboy props – super fun!  I took our kids to the recycle center and they worked hard cashing in our cans to fill their change jars to take to the auction.  I have also been passing out coins to the kids each time they have said or done something kind, giving or helpful… it’s been a great week around here and they have collected a lot of coins 🙂

Watching our kids grow in their understanding of adoption continues to be one of our richest joys. We pray it may be for you too!  We would love to hear ideas of what you do as a family too, so please share!

Scripture on Adoption

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Romans 8:15-16, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”

Galatians 4:4-7, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”

Psalm 68:5, “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation.”

James 1:27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

Exodus 22:22, “You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child.”

Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”

Isaiah 1:23, “Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not bring justice to the fatherless, and the widow’s cause does not come to them.”

Deuteronomy 10:18, “He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.”

Psalm 10:12&14, “Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. 14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself, you have been the helper of the fatherless.”

Matthew 18:3-6, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Matthew 25: 44-45, “Then they also will answer them, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minster to you?’ Then he will answer them saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’”

Deuteronomy 26:12, “When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce in the third year, which is the year of tithing, giving it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your towns and be filled.”

Proverbs 24:12   “If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?”