Monday, September 28, 2009

Just a Random Family Update

Fall is here! It is currently 58 degrees at 8:45 PM here in middle Tennessee, and I am sitting in my backyard beside a mini-bonfire that Daniel just built for me. I couldn't be happier. As soon as I finish this blog post, I plan to do some reading, snuggling up to the fire to keep warm. Today I kept the windows open all day, and went for an extra long walk with the girls. Have I mentioned that I love this time of year?

Did you notice that I said I went for a walk with the GIRLS today? For the last month or so I have been caring for my cousin's nine-month-old little girl, Annie, two days each week. Madeline loves having a playmate. And the arrangement is also giving us a chance to practice being a two-child family - M learning to share my attention and me learning to divide my attention.

Here we are about to go for a walk today:

I found a killer deal on a double jogging stroller at a consignment sale a couple of weeks ago. Pushing it around helps to make reality sink in that we will be a family of four soon.

We spent much of the day outside today. Madeline loves to play with sidewalk chalk. However, she quickly discovered that it is a lot more fun to write on herself than on the sidewalk.

I have learned a lot about handling two kids already: How to manage getting in to a store from the car, what to do with both kids in a shopping cart, how to push two on swings at the same time... I am getting better at carrying one on each hip when I need to.

Two weeks ago we went to visit my sister and her three-week-old (at the time) baby in Georgia. Madeline calls Abigail, "Abby" despite Rachel's insistence that her name is ABIGAIL.

We did our best to get a picture of both girls wearing their "bling" from their great-grandmother.

It's difficult to get a decent photo of Madeline these days. She loves to see the pictures on the back of my digital camera. As soon as she sees me take it out she excitedly says "Pee-shurs! Pee-shurs!" Tears ensue when I tell her that she needs to wait until I actually take her picture. Oh well.

Madeline has discovered the joy of playing pretend. She LOVES her babies, and last week Daniel built her a crib for them to sleep in. Pictures of that in a future post... She and I have been building tents and setting up housekeeping inside. We feed her baby, put her to bed, rock her and sing to her. It is precious to me to see Madeline act out her eighteen-month-old understanding of what it means to be a mommy, giving lots of affection and songs and bottles.

Madeline is a good eater most of the time. She likes most fruits and vegetables, and we eat lots and lots of beans and cheese. She especially loves corn, and she thinks she is Big Stuff when mommy and daddy let her eat it right off the cob.

On a final, random note, check out my new friend:

When this HUGE spider built its web on the outside of my den window about a month ago, I was totally creeped out. I am not a fan of spiders. I did some research, though, and discovered that it is not poisonous and is actually considered a "friendly" spider (eats lots of bugs, etc.). I didn't really want to, but I decided that I ought to leave it alone. Now I actually enjoy watching it go about its spider-business every day. Madeline points at it and calls it a BEE. Some things are too cute to correct her on. She will learn soon enough.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Africa Ornament

Look at what we received in the mail yesterday:

Our first Africa/Ethiopia-related Christmas ornament! I love Christmas, Christmas decorations, and especially Christmas tree ornaments. I am not a collector of much of anything except ornaments. Decorating for Christmas was always a big deal at our house growing up, and I have such fond memories of adorning the tree together - always the weekend after Thanksgiving.

So while Daniel and I were still in college, a couple of years before we were even married, I began collecting ornaments for the Christmas tree that I dreamed of sharing someday. They are the one souvenir that I seek out any time that we travel anywhere. We have ornaments from many countries in Europe, Seattle, Maine, Vermont, Boston, Florida, New Orleans, the Biltmore, Mexico, Colorado, and many other places. Our Christmas tree is filled with precious memories. It chronicles the years of our life together.

So this year the big addition to our tree will be our Africa ornament. It will be the first of many, I am sure.

The Stavnes family, who live nearby in Murfreesboro, are selling these ornaments to raise money for their adoption from Ethiopia. What a great idea!

Here is what the back says:

Check out their blog and bless their family and your own Christmas tree by purchasing one of their charming and meaningful ornaments.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Satisfy My Thirsty Soul

"In prayer we are occupied with our needs, in thanksgiving we are occupied with our blessings, but in worship we are totally occupied with God Himself." As I read these words, I "heard" God saying, "Wake up, Linda! I want you to be alive to me. I long for you to know how deep my love is for you. And my desire is that your heart will burst with love for only me. "

I had loved God since becoming a Christian at age twenty, but something new began to stir in my heart; it went beyond loving Him. I grew to adore Him. I started to long to be with Him. I began to understand what David meant when he said, "My soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you." (Psalm 63:1)

Worship is our love responding to God's love. When we become aware of that love, our responses are worship responses. And the beautiful thing is God comes to us when we worship!

This quote comes from a book that has changed my life and my relationship with my Father in a profound way. Early this summer I was invited to participate in a Facebook-based Bible study, using the book Satisfy My Thirsty Soul by Linda Dillow.

At the time I wasn't sure if I should join, but I was not currently actively engaged in a structured study because my usual Bible study had adjourned for the summer. I figured, "Hey, why not. It's better than what I am currently doing," which was struggling to be disciplined just to spend a little time in the Word every day, accountable to no one, and lacking the hunger and thirst for God that I knew that I was missing.

Happy is the one who hears the joyful call to worship, for he will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. (Psalm 89:15)

I have learned first-hand the truth of this Word. We enter the presence of God through worship. And joy awaits when we walk in his presence!

Through her book, Linda Dillow, has helped me to learn what it means and what it looks like to worship God personally: both praising Him on my knees and worshiping Him through the way that I choose to live my life. I worship my Father with the words that I choose to say or to not say. I worship Him in the way that I go about my work each day. I worship God by bowing my will and my pain in submission to His will for my life.

Through this I have come to know my Father better and I look forward to the quiet times that I spend with Him more than ever before. I long to spend time on my knees, the Psalms as my songbook of praise. When I miss my usual time with Him, I MISS it. I miss HIM.

I still have a long way to go, but I have definitely grown a lot.

So all of this is to say: Please read this book. Consider working through it with a Bible study group or just read it on your own. You will be blessed.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Fence Is Finally Finished!

I thought this day might never come.

All summer long we have toiled to finish this huge project.

Early last spring when I innocently mentioned to Daniel how nice it would be to have a fence to keep our "younguns" in the yard and the neighborhood dogs out, I had NO IDEA what I was actually asking. The hours and hours of work and sweat that would be sacrificed to make it happen. Daniel did. But he listened, took me seriously, and he worked his rear off to make my fence dreams come true.

Daniel's parents graciously gifted most of the funds we needed for the project. Fences are shockingly expensive, in case you don't know. Even if you do all the labor yourself, the materials are more than a family saving for an adoption can afford.

So thank you, Daniel, my talented, hard-working husband. Thank you Paul and Suzie. I LOVE our new fence.

By the way, the sides of the fence that face the road and our neighbor's house are eight feet tall and allow us plenty of privacy. The parts that face just toward the back and driveway are only four feet tall so that our view of the bluff and the Harpeth River is not blocked.

Aren't the arbors that Daniel built over the gates pretty? I can't wait to plant climbing plants around them. Any suggestions?

While I was out taking pictures, I snapped a few of my flowers.

And I can hardly do a blog post without including a couple of shots of Madeline. :) Here she is right after her bath last night.

And wearing the too-cute PJ's that I got her at a consignment sale. Love the bunny slippers!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Photography with a Mission

From Daniel:

As a photographer I often lament that my profession doesn't present more opportunities for doing the "heavy lifting" of showing Jesus to people. I sometimes find myself in a quiet envy of the doctors, nurses, teachers, and missionaries who are on the front lines of international missions making deep impacts in people's lives. I'm happy to say that I recently stumbled on Pick A Pocket, a group of photographers and artists who are proving me wrong by using their God given talents to be a conduit for connecting those who are living in extreme poverty with those who can help (that would be us, America).

Pick A Pocket is hosting a free benefit art show and concert this Thursday, September 17, at Bonhoeffer's Coffee in Murfreesboro. The shop is located 610 Dill Lane Murfreesboro, TN. The show music starts at 8:00 pm with art by international artists at 7:00 pm. Check out photography and art work from recent mission trips, and learn about what these young missionaries are doing in Africa and Asia!

I Need Advice!

Has anyone attended the International Adoption Class held at the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital International Adoption Clinic?

The next class is coming up on September 26th, and I am curious about it. What is discussed? Is it worth the $75 fee? Please share your opinion if you have attended the class.

Also, what vaccinations should we make sure that our 18-month-old daughter receives before we bring her brother home? She will not be traveling with us, by the way.

Will our health insurance cover the shots that we will all need because of our travel to Ethiopia? I heard from someone that it might not....

Just leave me a comment or email me at family @ duboisadoption . com (without spaces) if you have any advice to share. Thank you!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Couple Cool Opportunities

If you live in the Nashville area and you share our family's interest in adoption and all-things Africa, you may want to consider going to:

This is an exhibit sponsored by World Vision designed to help you to experience and understand the AIDS crisis in Africa. It is a traveling exhibit, and it is currently at a church in Hendersonville through September 20th. The tickets are FREE! Click here to go to the website and reserve your tickets. They are even providing free childcare on a few of the evenings. Daniel and I are going on Thursday, and I am really looking forward to it.

Click here to view the trailer for the event.

Also, the 2009 Together for Adoption Conference is coming up the weekend of October 2-3 at a church in Franklin.

Session topics include:
  • Orphan care and Jesus, the great servant of the poor
  • Adoption and the pursuit of racial reconciliation
  • The Gospel, social justice, and the missional church
  • And more...
There will be times of worship, breakout sessions, and opportunities to meet others who share a common heart for adoption. And it's only $60/couple to go!

Sadly, Daniel and I have plans for that weekend, and we won't be able to attend this year. But I dearly wish I could be there, and I am hoping that some of you will go and tell me all about it later!

I feel very blessed to live in this area. So many opportunities to grow and learn and be around like-minded people....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Hubby Is Awesome!

This weekend he kept Madeline while I left for THREE DAYS to hang out with my college roommates. Dad and M went hiking, played at the park, visited the local coffee shop, and even traveled to visit Daniel’s parents for one night. Madeline had a great time bonding with her daddy. It’s not fair that it is usually me that gets to share so many fun days with our little girl. This weekend was dad’s turn.

Perhaps the best part: The house was CLEAN when I got home. What a guy!

And meanwhile I had a blast hanging out with my buddies from Harding - talking, hiking, talking, eating cookie dough, talking, playing games, and talking some more. Since going our own directions seven years ago, we have each changed, grown, and learned so much. There was much to talk about: husbands, kids, church, God, jobs, houses, money, and friends.

As I have reflected on the weekend, I’ve realized how young it made me feel to be with my girls that knew me “back when.” We are adults now. Not the college kids that we once were. But being together again kinda made us feel like we were again. And it was great for three days.

But I’ve gotta say: I was awfully excited to come home again and see my best friend and my sweet daughter. Oh yeah, and my clean house. :)

Here we are on the porch of the lakeside cabin we rented in Hot Springs, AR

The lake in front of our cabin. It was so peaceful!

At the actual hot springs that give Hot Springs its name (Mary, Chrissy, Kristen - my roommate for for years, and me)

A attempt at a self portrait while trying on hats :)

Hiking at the lake

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New T-Shirt

Our fundraising efforts have been blessed. We have held two yard sales and a Green Gold party. Plus we have sold “Go. Seek. Love.” T-shirts and note cards to buyers from California, Iowa, Colorado, Massachusetts, Washington, and even Germany. Every time a new order comes in, we have a little celebration. What a cool feeling that people from Maryland and Nevada are wearing our shirts! Certainly the most heartwarming gifts have been the monetary gifts from dear friends and family who have sacrificed in order to share with our family, with our son, with the orphans who so badly need us all. Thank you, everyone who has partnered with us to bring “Little Brother” home from Ethiopia. We are grateful for every single dollar that has come through our door.

We are growing ever closer to our goal of raising $25,000+ . But we are still not there. And so…

We have a new T-shirt that we are selling!

It is a fitted women’s ringer tee, and we are selling it for only $15.

In addition, we have lowered the prices on all of our T-shirts. Not only do we want to raise money by selling these shirts, we also have a goal of having as MANY people as possible wearing them, all across the nation. We want the “Go. Seek. Love.” message to be everywhere. We want conversations to be started by the shirt in all 50 states!

So now you can buy the classic T-shirt for $15, the women’s fitted ¾ length tee for $16, and kids’ shirts for $10. Also, note cards are now priced at $6 for a 6-pack.

Click on this link to go to our website and check out all of the T-shirt options. Thank you, and God bless you!