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Tuesday, December 31, 2013


A little late to post, but here is our Chistmas card this year.  Two sweet friends helped us pull it together, both with very little notice.  Dolly did a last minute photo session, and Lydia did the beautiful handwritten words.  I love how it all came together.  

This past year has truly been a year filled with the glories of the Lord's righteousness and wonders of His love for our family.  I am amazed every single day by the way He is working out the details and making straight the paths that He has laid before us.  Our faith has grown by leaps and bounds and our trust in His promises has never been stronger.  I couldn't be more thankful that He has laid adoption on our hearts and will be forever grateful for this journey we are walking, hand in hand with Him.  I am full of confident hope that 2014 will bring great and wonderful things that God will do, things that we haven't even begun to imagine. 

"Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you great and wonderful things that you could never figure out on your own."  {Jeremiah 33:3}

To see the rest of our family photo session at Radnor Lake with Dolly, visit twelve16photography's website.

Check back tomorrow for something pretty great that I can't wait to share. 

Peace and blessings on your New Year!  


Monday, December 2, 2013

The things I will remember

November was definitely a month to remember.  There have been some awesome highs and some discouraging lows, but what I want to remember out of November are all the mighty works of the Lord.

First of all, I turned 40 on the 5th and my sweet husband threw me a surprise party!   Although I had been a little suspicious that he was up to some kind of planning, he got me good when it actually came party time.  With the help of some family and friends, it was a lovely night and I'm so thankful that I got to spend it with so many people that mean so much to me.  The Lord has blessed me far greater than I deserve in my 40 years on this earth, and I am so thankful to Him for every good gift that He has given me.  My prayer for my birthday was that this will be the last birthday I spend without Tallulah home with our family!  

{me, Jonathan and my sweet parents who drove up for my birthday and then drove back the 
next weekend for Pickin' & Pies!}

 {some dear friends wrote a song for me (and about me) and sang it at the party.  most of it was nice. :) }

A week after my birthday party was our benefit concert, Pickin' & Pies, and what a high that was!  It really was an incredible, God-glorifying day.  I can't even put into words how much it meant to us that so many people were there and shared in such a special day with us.  We had a crew of friends that were there helping set up starting at 8:30 am and didn't leave until 6 pm.  Several hours were put into it before the day even arrived- not just by us, but by several of our friends.  Anyone that was involved with the event went above and beyond what we asked of them, and we can not thank them enough for what they did for us.  For what they did for our daughter that they've never even met.  So much love was poured into that event and into our family- not just by our friends who were there helping, but also by the people who came to support us.  People drove from near and far, some as far as 4 hours away.  They came and they gave generously.  They brought pies.  They bought t-shirts and our handmade crosses. They pooled their money for auction items.   They ate, they visited, they played, they listened and they watched (we watched) as God made a small fleeting thought about a concert to help bring Lulah home into something bigger than we ever thought it could be.  But no surprise there.  He's really good at doing that.   Through so many generous, loving people, we raised around $5,000 that day. Praise the Lord for He is good!!!!!  

There are so many ways that we saw Him at work in the details over the last several months.  I don't have room or time to tell them all, but I will remember them all.  I'll remember Farmer Paul telling me about why he said yes to us having the event on his beautiful farm when he didn't know us at all and had never let anyone do that before: "Well, I don't know.  It just seemed like the right thing to do." I'll remember how DJ at Just Love Coffee Roasters responded to my email asking him if they would be willing to donate coffee for the event: "We don't normally do this, but I read your story and I'd like to see what I can do for you."  I'll remember the man who owned the Cane Ery Antiques on 8th Avenue, when I went to his shop to buy a few pieces of vintage hardware and decorative wood pieces for the 50+ crosses we were working on.  I told him that my husband and I make and sell the crosses to raise money for our adoption and he told me to pick whatever I wanted from two huge boxes full of stuff that hadn't been put out yet.  Then he gave it all to me.  Over $300 worth.  I'll remember Lindell, the lady that I met at Chick-Fil-A a few days before the concert- a day when I was pretty anxious about some details that were not really coming together out at the farm- that spoke scripture over me and spoke exactly what I had asked God for in prayer just an hour before I met her.   I'll remember Ray, the precious 90 year old man at church who couldn't make it to the concert, but spent his Thursday making six delicious pies to send with us.  I'll remember Chris and Steph, who I don't think had any idea who I was when I emailed them about playing at the concert, but without hesitation said, "Adoption is near and dear to our hearts...we would love to be a part of it...we're here to serve."  I'll remember how I had prayed for the Lord to provide us with a photographer that would be willing to just be there that day and document the event for us (at no charge), and instead of providing one, He provided two- sweet Dolly and Lindsay- who again, even though they had never met us, were so happy and excited to be there and serve in whatever way we wanted them to.   I'll remember what someone wrote me after the concert when I had thanked him for his gracious help: 
" was one of those things that was just a huge blessing to me to be a part of. There were so many people there that I love. It was just awesome to be able to be with those people, all joined around your family and your sweet girl. Also, since the event, I've found myself so much more mindful of the Lord around me. Through your journey, there are no telling how many people who are understanding more fully the beauty of adoption and it's parallel to us as orphans. We're praying daily for God's blessings on your family and on your daughter." 

I could go on, but you get the picture.  These are the things I constantly pray that others who are following our story will remember, so that He will be glorified. These things are not about us, but they are about Him.  In no way should they lift us up, but they should in every way lift Him up, because this is who He is.   These are the things I will remember.

But then I will remember all you have done, O Lord;
    I remember Your wonderful deeds of long ago.
12 They are constantly in my thoughts.
    I cannot stop thinking about Your mighty works. 

{Psalm 77:11-12}

{For more gorgeous photos from the day, click on this link.}

Two days after the concert, we were hit with a low.  The enemy started messing with us and made it clear how much he doesn't want this adoption to happen.  We were reminded that this is a battle that we are fighting against one who doesn't want the lonely to be set in families- against a whole army of darkness.

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
{Ephesians 6:12}

But we will not lose hope.  We know God has already won the victory.  After that low came, a wise friend gave me much needed encouragement that I believe came straight from God, reminding me to TRUST.  She said, "The concert was a mountain-top moment for you all as you draw closer to the reality of welcoming another child into your home with loving arms.  With that, I want you to understand that moments like that set up conditions for the perfect storm.  TRUST that when you asked Jesus into your boat, storms would come and come quickly.  Our peace in that storm comes from our faith that we TRUST that He desires what is best for you even more than you do."  I know He does, but it was nice to have the reminder.  Although I can't go into all the details of this particular low we are facing right now, we ask for your prayers during this time of uncertainty.  We're not sure exactly what road we will be taking in the next few weeks, but we know that He will lead us down the right one because He already knows where we are headed, and I have a feeling that He's got something very special planned.  Please pray for our peace in His leading. Pray for greater trust. Pray for our willingness to be led into even greater depths with Him, even when we cannot see.  

Once again, He encouraged me with scripture just when I needed it most- this time coming through a friend of a friend.  That scripture also comes from Psalm 77:

Your road led through the sea,
   Your pathway through the mighty waters-
  a pathway no one knew was there! 
 {Psalm 77:19}

He will make a way when it seems there is no way.  He will make a pathway through the waters to our sweet Tallulah.   

Even through the hard days, November reminded us of how much we have to be thankful for.  Thank you so much to those who have continually lifted our names up before the Father.  You are a blessing to our family.  We ask that you boldly continue to do so, and if you aren't already, we would especially love for you to join us Sunday nights at 9pm CST.  


Monday, October 28, 2013

Concert update and auction item

Pickin' & Pies is less than two weeks away!  Aaaahhhh!!!!!  We have been super busy making final preparations and every day more and more things are falling into place that I can only attribute to God working out every detail for us.  I went out to Roaring Creek Farm last week and took Jonathan and the boys with me for the first time.  It was a gorgeous fall day, and I was just imagining how beautiful everything will be out there in the next two weeks as the leaves start changing.  

We are so SO excited!  (I know I keep saying that, but we just are!)  Remember to bring a pie (or two) and some blankets, chairs, whatever you want to make yourself comfortable for the afternoon.  In addition to the music, Joseph Kirkpatrick will be doing a live auction of a few items as well as some entertainment that I'm sure will not disappoint.  :)  Annnnd... we have two sweet, talented photographers that have generously donated their time who will be documenting the day for us as well as taking some family photos on the farm with your choice of some vintage props!  At the end of the concert, we will hopefully be showing a very special short film that some great and talented friends have been working on for us.  So we hope you will come prepared to stay for a whole afternoon of fun and fellowship!  We will have t-shirts for sale- our adoption shirts and some limited edition Pickin' & Pies shirts- and Jonathan has been spending many many precious weekend hours building crosses that we will have there to sell.  They are beautiful.  

In addition to what's going on at the concert, we have some seriously exciting auction items that have been donated to help bring Lulah home. Our dear friend, Hall of Fame Songwriter and Producer Roger Murrah, has generously donated the following items that we are offering as an online auction:

Hall of Fame Songwriter Roger Murrah
To Offer Services At Auction

Nashville, TN For songwriters wanting to become more professional, this may be an opportunity for you. Hall of Fame songwriter, Roger Murrah, will be offering-at-auction 3 Two-Hour Consulting Sessions (with the bid starting at $250 per session), as well as 2 Six-Hour Co-Writing Sessions (with the bid starting at $2,500 per session). All proceeds will be going to benefit the Jonathan and Shawna Sheahen family, for expenses incurred in the adoption of thier new little daughter, Tallulah, who will be coming home soon to Nashville from Madagascar. For complete information, please call Shawna at 615-513-4168.

About Roger Murrah:

Roger with Al Jarreau

This man is a precious and gifted man, and we are so grateful to him for such an incredible donation. But, we need your help to get the word out to the right people that will be interested in this.  I figure that everybody knows somebody that is trying to get in the music business or already is but would greatly benefit from either the consulting session or songwriting session. Just look up Roger's bio and see all the amazing things he has done and awards he's received!  He wrote Don't Rock the Jukebox and High Cotton, for cryin' out loud!  Please share this on your blog, facebook page, copy it and email it to people you know, tweet about it, whatever. This doesn't just apply to Nashville people!  
We would so much appreciate your help in letting people know about it. Bids can be placed either by commenting on this post on our facebook page, sending me an email or calling me.  The auction will be open until November 13th. Let me know if you have questions or need more information.

Thank you for your help.  Every day, every act of kindness, every donation made, every prayer lifted up, brings us one day closer to bringing one orphan home.  To God be the glory.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pickin' & Pies! A Benefit Concert for Lulah

I am so so SO excited to share with y'all about this concert right here.  Did I say SO EXCITED??  This has been in the works for a loooong time and it. is. finally. happening.  A friend had suggested about a year ago that this would be really cool to do (which I agreed) and especially here in Nashville where we know so many incredibly gifted musicians that are more than willing to share their talents.   So, after a long time of thinking and praying about it, waiting for certain things to happen, gathering the right people, it's time.  

{Thank you to Amanda Speer for designing this lovely poster for us!}

I can't even tell you how much we have already seen God at work in this.  For starters, He has totally blessed us with a beautiful venue.  When planning first began, we really had no idea where we were going to have this concert.  Several ideas were thrown around, but the one thing I kept coming back to was that I wanted it outside, ideally on a farm, in my favorite little Tennessee town of Leiper's Fork.  Okay, I know that's getting pretty picky, but that's just the picture I had in my head.  I'm a dreamer.  Work with it.  Well, we know lots of people who know lots of people that have farms all over middle Tennessee.  I asked these people who asked their people, but nothing was working out it seemed.  Then about a month ago, after weeks of looking and coming up with nothing, I started emailing people.  Random people, that is.  Meaning- people that I don't know.  This is kinda how I work.  I just start asking, thinking it doesn't hurt to ask.  (if you don't know our wedding story, ask me sometime)  And, it just so happens that one of these random people said "Yes" and made me one happy girl.  Meet Paul, aka "Farmer Joe" of Joe Natural's Cafe in Historic Leiper's Fork. 

giving us the tour

I had met Paul a couple of years ago at his adorable little locavore cafe in Leiper's Fork.   He has a farm where he grows much of what they use at the cafe and sources locally anything else that he doesn't grow.  He hosts a farm to table dinner every month that I know about only because I am on their email list.  So I knew that they hosted some events on the farm, although I had no idea if they ever did anything else there besides the monthly dinner, and if they were even willing to let anyone that they didn't know host something there.  I knew this was a long shot, but, like I said before, it doesn't hurt to ask.  We have had a couple of brief conversations before but I knew he wouldn't remember me, so I emailed him and told him who I was and what we were doing, and that I was just wondering if they ever hosted any outside events at the farm.  Within a few minutes he emailed me back and said, "Let me see what we can do."  I read it and started crying.   It honestly blew me away that he was even considering it.  But why should it have blown me away?  Earlier that very week, after hitting dead ends everywhere, I started praying hard that God would work this detail out.  That He would lead us to a great venue; just any venue at that point.  Could this be it?  I replied back to thank him and let him know that we could work with just about anything and started praying more.  In two days He answered that prayer when I got this second email from Paul:

I'm inclined to let you use the farm free of charge. Our customary fee for the venue is $5,000 for the day.  

WHAT??!!  Although we were hoping to not have to pay for a venue, we were thinking that we may need to the way things were looking. In my emails to random people, I had said that we could pay something, although not much, since we were trying to raise money, not spend it.  My mind was blown even more.  Not only did we have a venue, but it's a farm, in Leiper's Fork, and we are paying $0 for it. $0 when they typically charge $5,000.  AND- it's a man that we don't even know.  Our Father keeps on blessing abundantly.  I went out to the farm the next week with a couple of sweet friends, and Paul gave us the grand tour.  The chickens and the pigs and the horses and the dogs were all there to greet us.  We tasted some unbelievably sweet cherry tomatoes and enjoyed just walking the farm and getting to see a little snippet of farm life.  {He is a New Yorker and former mall developer, with a really interesting story on how he came to this bitty little town in Tennessee.}  When I thanked him over and over and told him he really didn't know how much this meant to us, he just said, "Well, I just thought it would be a good thing to do."  He is using what he has been blessed with to be a blessing to others, and so the circle continues.   

Roaring Creek Farm

We have an awesome line up of musicians that I can't wait for you to hear.  Each one of them are different and special in their own way.  From close family, to close friends, to almost strangers, they all share a love for our Lord and have eagerly and graciously joined our cause. We can't thank them enough for their generosity.   We are asking everyone to bring a pie or two to share, a blanket and chairs and we will provide coffee, cider, water and some other treats to snack on throughout the afternoon.  We have some fun activities planned along with some live auction items and an emcee that provides a level of hilarity that I can't even describe to you.  If you don't know Joseph Kirkpatrick, you need to come just for him alone if for no other reason.  If you do know him, you might be coming for him alone, and we're okay with that.   You can purchase tickets ahead of time at or pay at the gate.   We have a facebook event page that you can join and keep up with more specific details as we get closer to the day.  It's set up so that you can invite your friends so please share and help us spread the word!  We'll be doing some giveaways soon so keep checking back for your chance to win!  

We hope you will join us for a day of great music, yummy pies, good people, beautiful scenery and God's glory.  All for a little girl named Tallulah, who we are patiently waiting for in hope.  

"Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Romans 8:24-25

***please see our most recent post for a concert update and fabulous auction item that has been donated for our cause!  

Monday, September 2, 2013

A call to prayer

It's official.  Our dossier has made it to it's final destination- the Adoption Central Authority in Madagascar!!!  Hallelujah praise Jehovah!!  We have filled out every single form ever created, gotten every certification/authentication that is possible for us to get (from here to Madagascar) and jumped through every hoop necessary to finally make it to the wait list.  50 weeks ago we started this journey and sent in our initial application.  We've been told that the estimated wait time from here to be matched with a child is 6-12 months. We know that it could be longer than that, but we also know that it could be shorter than that.  Only God knows.  All we know for sure is that we are praying hard that God will move quickly on Tallulah's behalf and bring us together soon, if that is His will.   We are overjoyed to get to this point and just can't wait to see her face.  Thank you God!!!

A few weeks ago, I was spending the day with a dear friend.  I was sharing with her something about how our process was going (can't even remember what specifically) and she said, "So why aren't we praying about this more?".  She is a prayer warrior if there ever was one, and her saying that really has stuck with me.  Not that I think people aren't praying; I know lots and lots of people are because you've told me you are.  But, just like in my last post,  I do think we need to be more public and more specific with our prayer requests during this process, and I know that the more people that are praying for us and for Tallulah is what will bring God the most glory.  And isn't that the ultimate goal here?

I love the passage in 2 Corinthians where Paul is dramatically recounting the story of he and Timothy's impending death in Asia.  After telling them how God rescued them and he knows He will do it again, he asks the Corinthians to join him in prayer:

"Join us in this work. Lend us a hand through prayer so that many will give thanks for the gift that comes to us when God answers the prayers of so many."  (2 Cor. 1:11 The Voice)

And I love how the New Century Version words this passage.  As I was reading it, I added my own words in regards to Tallulah's story: 

"We had great burdens that were beyond our own strength.  Truly, in our own hearts we believed that {Tallulah might never come home}. But this happened so we would not trust in ourselves but in God, who raises people from the dead... We have put our hope in Him, and He will {bring her home}. And you can help us with your prayers. Then many people will give thanks because of what will happen to us—that God blessed us because of their many prayers."

So, as we are praying that God will move quickly, we are going to ask for you to do the same.  We are not trusting in our own strength or resources to bring Tallulah across oceans, but are trusting God totally and putting all hope in Him.  If you feel compelled to do so, we would like to invite you to join us in prayer on Sunday nights at 9pm CST, until Tallulah gets home.  Yes, you read that correctly, until she gets home.  Our specific prayer requests may change, but for now, we ask that you join with us in our prayers: 

  • for her to know that she is God's child and He loves her and takes great delight in her
  • for God to comfort her and for her to know that comfort comes from Him
  • for her to feel God's presence with her
  • for God to give her hope that she indeed has a family and that they are coming for her
  • and lastly that God will move quickly on her behalf and that she will be an orphan no more

Like I've said before, this is a battle we are fighting against the evil one, who doesn't want this to happen, who doesn't want her to know God's love and the love of a family.  And every spiritual battle needs to be covered in prayer.  If you're anything like me and have to set a reminder on your phone to put clothes in the dryer, then by all means set your alarm!  Pray by yourself, with your spouse or make this a part of your family prayer time.  Again, I know that many of you have told me that you are already praying daily for us, (and thank you for that!) but what a beautiful picture it would be if so many of God's children (yes, I know that there are only 8 people subscribed to my blog, but I have to believe that a few more than that read it :) were praying all at the same hour of the night for this precious child, to the Mighty One who saves. Praying to the only One who will win this battle for her.  

We would love to know how many prayer warriors will be joining us, so feel free to leave a comment here or on our Love for Lulah facebook page.  Thank you for loving us and helping us bring her home.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Really, really, REALLY good news.

Two weeks ago, our dossier F.I.N.A.L.L.Y. made it out of the Malagasy Embassy and boarded a plane for Madagascar.  Can I get a big AMEN!!!  It was beginning to look like we were never going to get out of the states after being stuck at the embassy for over 7 weeks, but just when frustration was setting in, I opened my email to see this:

Hi Shawna,

Your dossier is on its way to Madagascar! Congratulations!

Best regards,

Oh, you can imagine how happy that little sentence made us!!!  I'm sure that sweet Micah at our agency had no idea that she just made our summer!!  Well, she might have had some idea since I had been bugging her every week for about the last seven weeks.  The coolest part of this milestone was this:  The day before this email came, during prayer request time at church, I asked for prayers for our adoption process and specifically that God would get our dossier unstuck at the embassy and move it on to Madagascar FAST.  It had been a while since either one of us had asked for prayers for our adoption in a public setting, but that morning it was really on my heart to ask everyone to pray about it.  I had been getting some conflicting reports about how things were going in the Mada program from different sources, and I just was feeling discouraged and unsure to be honest.  Jonathan told me when we got home later that he actually was going to ask for the same thing but I beat him to it.  Then, the first email I opened up Monday was that little jewel above.  I love how God loves to so quickly and obviously answer our prayers sometimes.  He gets ALL the glory for that.  Hallelujah!!   

"And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us."       1 John 5:14

Thank you, Father, for continuing to blow us away by Your faithfulness and Your love.    

Our dossier has made it to Madagascar, so what does that mean?  Well, we are not on the official waiting list yet.  It still has a couple more weeks of certification that it has to go through before it gets to the Central Authority.  (I'm surprised they didn't make it stop at every country it flew over to get their certification too)  When it gets to the CA (hopefully by the end of the month), we will be put on the wait list to be matched with a child.  We have been told the wait time for a referral is around 6-12 months.  We are currently the 4th US family on the list as it is such a new program here in the states, but ahead of us are European families and we have no idea how many.  So, we ask you to continue to pray BIG that God will move QUICKLY and bring us to Tallulah as soon as His time and purposes are served.  

I feel bad that I've been sitting on this news for two weeks, but it has been the last two weeks of summer break around here and I have been trying to savor the time that was left with the boys.  Today was the first full day of school, so summer break is officially over.  We had a really great summer and had the opportunity to take an incredible two week trip together.  It was a trip full of dear friends, beautiful sights, hard work and amazing witness of the light of Jesus that is breaking through in a very dark place.  I am hoping to share about it soon.  It was a summer we will never forget- and this news was a wonderful way to end it!  

I have gobs of photos from the trip that I will eventually share- but I'll leave you with this sweet one for now.  After a 70+ hour work week last week for Jonathan, he spent a lot of time Saturday making more of the crosses that we are selling.  Eli wanted to help of course, so I snapped this of them both working hard.  Can't wait until she can see this picture one day, of a father and brother's love for a girl they've never met.  


ps- I am having an instasale on instagram Thursday night at 9 CST.  I'm cleaning out closets as another way to raise money for our adoption!  If you don't follow me already, find me on ig if you'd like to participate.  @sugarmillie  If you've never done one before, well I haven't either, so I know just about as much as you.  :) 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The {belated} Father's Day post

So, the whole reason I stayed up super late last week to write the name post was because this post was coming.  I asked Jonathan if he would write some thoughts on being a dad.  I won't say much, because I want this to be his post, but I will say he is an incredible dad. Silas, Eli, Cooper and I are so blessed by his love.  Get a tissue ready...

I will readily admit I am cautious.  Why jump into the deep end of the pool, when you can ease yourself in down the stairs and into the shallow end?  It is much easier on the body and you can go at your own pace.  This is not how adoption works.  There is only one end of the pool and it is deep.  So we said a prayer and jumped in.  Feet first, eyes closed.  We just jumped not knowing what was going to happen.   I still don’t know what is going to happen, but I believe with all my heart that God will join us with a little girl.  He has picked her out.  He knows her name.  We haven’t seen her, at least not with our two eyes, but we see her through God’s eyes.   I see her most clearly when my three boys pray that she won't feel lonely or sad.

It is such a blessing to be a dad.  A couple of days ago Eli came up to me and asked, “What time is it?”  I told him the time.  He then asked again with a grin on his face, “Are you sure it is not tickle time?”  You know what my first response was?  It was “No”.  I then turned around, picked him up and said, “YES.  Why yes it is tickle time.”   Between the no and yes it hit me that he is here and I am here so why not tickle.  And boy did he get a tickling.  

I can’t tickle my little girl.  Not yet.  I want to hug her, hold her hand, teach her how to skip.  I can’t whisper I love you in her ear, but I am going to anyways. 

Dear Tallulah,

There are so many things I want to tell you; about how much your brothers love you and they don’t even know it, how your mom lights up every time she talks about you, how you got your name...  For now, I will begin and end with this thought.

I love you with all of my heart. And there will never be another man in your life who will love you as much as I do.

I don’t ever want you to forget that your worth and value and beauty come from God and God alone… and that is the most liberating reality you will ever experience.
Lean into God and you will grow into what He wants you to be.  Love Him and you will bloom.

I love you, Lulah.  I will leap over oceans for you...soon.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

I have called you by name, you are mine.

For a looooong time I have had this name in my head.  I have no idea when I really started thinking about it or where it came from.  Every time since starting this adoption process when I would bring up the name thing with Jonathan he would always say, "I can't go there yet."  So, in my head and in my heart this name just stayed.  Picking out names for our kids has not ever been an easy task for us. We would both come up with lists of several names that we each liked (not usually ever both liking any of the same names from the start) and start crossing them off based on how strong of a reaction we get from each other when we mentioned the name.  Silas was not quite as difficult as Eli and Cooper.  Two names, that we both liked, liked together and that didn't rhyme or sound too cutesy together.  It was HARD.  Many hours were spent discussing names, looking in books, researching meanings, etc.  I'm talking HOURS, people.  I always had a ton of girl names on my list that I loved (which also made this time around strange- just one), but God kept giving us boys and the boy list was way shorter for some reason.  During these last few months when Jonathan wouldn't talk about it with me and I was trying to get my list ready for when he actually was able to "go there", I came up with nothing.  Nothing except this one name that had been on my heart since the beginning of our journey.  Couldn't get it out of my head and couldn't think of one single other name that I liked for this little girl that is across oceans from us.

Finally, a couple of months ago, we started a film project  for a fundraiser that's coming up (that we are SUPER excited about, btw) and I brought up the name thing again with Jonathan.  I said, "You know we really need to pick a name before we start filming.  She needs a name so we can talk about her and make her real to everyone."  He reluctantly agreed that we could "go there".  Now, don't think because we hadn't been allowed to talk about it that I hadn't at least let it slip over the last few months the name that was on my heart. I at least wanted to let it be brewing in his subconscious.  And I guess it had been, because although he was cautious at first about it being that easy, within a few days of us thinking and praying about it, he couldn't come up with anything else either.  I literally couldn't believe that it just might be this easy either.  It NEVER had been.  So, the last deciding factor was to look up the meaning of this name. I had never even thought of doing that.  DUH!  We both got on our isomethings and started researching.  This is where it gets good.  The first meaning we found was of Gaelic origin and was "abundant princess".  Okay, so you had me at that, but to top it all off and for complete confirmation, the next meaning that came up and the more well-known one is of Indian origin (Choctaw to be exact).  And.  it. is...  "leaping water".  Okay, maybe I'm being dramatic here, but ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!?  We were totally sold.

This little girl, God's little princess, that He is  abundantly  providing for so that she can  leap over waters  to get to her forever family;

is her name.

"But now thus says the Lord,
He who created you, O Jacob,
He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in My eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and My daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by My name,
whom I created for My glory,
whom I formed and made.”
{Isaiah 43: 1-7}

He is so good.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Loving while we wait

Yesterday was a different kind of Mother's Day.  I was getting ready for church and could hear the boys were sneaking around and whispering, setting up all the handmade goodies they had for me.  Eli went outside to pick some flowers for me and made sure that everything was set up just right on the kitchen island.  When they were ready, I went in and opened my gifts- two handmade necklaces, a clay trinket box shaped like a cupcake,  a pot of marigolds, bags of goodies that they put together at church Wednesday night, sweet cards that I will cherish forever.  I love reading what they write to me or about me:  What is your mom really good at? "Yoga" (Eli)  What does your mom do to relax?  "Laying down on the bed." (Cooper)  Where does your mom like to shop? "Trader Joe's" (Eli and Cooper both put this- they know I'm there more than any where else besides home!)  What do you love most about your mom?  "I just love her." (Cooper)  10 Things I Know About My Mom "She has a kind smile." "She encourages me to do better in everything."  "She loves God with all of her heart." (Silas)  

Eli setting up everything just right and Cooper and Silas grinning as I read what they wrote to me.  Look at those faces.

These are some sweet, sweet boys that God has blessed me with.  I am so blessed to be their mom.  After they had gone back to doing their own thing and I continued to get ready, it hit me.  This overwhelming feeling that I am mom to not only these three sweet boys, but to another child that I love but I don't even know.   The sadness overtook me for a moment until I could get ahold of myself.  
Lately I feel like I've had a black cloud over my head (okay, maybe more gray than black).  It's nothing that I could really put into words (I'm not good at that anyway);  just a sadness that has crept in.  I don't want to be sad.  I want to be joyful!  And I have every reason to be for the most part- it's just that when you know the Lord has chosen a daughter for you, and you can't get to her, that's sad.  And no matter what situation she's in, it's probably not a good one.  And no one really knows when she can join our family.  A family that wants her so desparately.  Brothers that want a sister.  A dad and mom that want a daughter.  All of that is just sad.  Sad that it takes so long to bring an orphan home.  Sad that it costs so much money.  Sad that there are millions and millions and millions (keep going) of orphans in the world in the first place.  The number is too staggering for me to even wrap my mind around.  And one of those orphans is ours.  I'm discovering that the farther we get into the adoption process, the less abstract she is becoming to me.  We started a year ago by praying for "our adoption"- for God's guidance, for the process to go smoothly, for God to provide what we needed.  Now we pray more specifically for "our daughter"- for God to protect her, for her to feel loved and to know that love comes from Him, for her to have (if she is old enough) hope that a family will come for her one day.  We love her, even though we haven't met her or seen her or even know her name.   What a blessing that God has put that love in our hearts.   But loving her makes it really hard to wait.  I have entered the pain of orphanhood and it hurts.  That's where I think the seemingly uncalled-for gray clouds are coming from.   I want my daughter to come home to this family who is waiting for her.  I want her to know who we are and how much we already love her.  But we have to wait.  I know that this is normal to feel this way.  This is not a lack of faith and I am not doubting for one second that God is faithful and He will bring us through to the other side.  The bright sunshine in all of this is the unmistakable truth that God knows who she is.  He hasn't just met her, He made her.   He chose her for us, and He loves her waaaaaaaay more than I do.  He will bring us together.  And while we wait, He is forming us more into His image every day; trusting Him to provide, trusting Him to take care of her when we can't,  trusting that He is refining us.  Just trusting Him.  This is a battle that we are fighting against the evil one who doesn't want the lonely to be put in families.  I love this quote that I read from Jen Hatmaker- "To the degree that God loves something, we can expect our enemy to hate it in equal proportions.  With a mission to steal, kill and destroy, redeeming abandoned lives out of the rubble of injustice is surely at the top of his Hate List."  I am not sad at God, I'm sad with God.  He is clearly on the side of the orphan and those who defend them.  And all we can do at this point is trust.  Trust that no matter what, He has the victory over loneliness, hunger, sadness, darkness and death.   And praise Him for that!  

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever."  Revelation 21:4

I haven't updated in a while for a few reasons.  1. We have been super busy with the end of the school year and me working part-time.  2. I have had this sadness looming and haven't been able to put into words where it was coming from.  3. There was nothing to report on how the process was going.  Well, I finally tried to put the sadness into words (hope that made sense) and we finally have some good news to report!  We've been waiting for our dossier to be translated in Madagascar since March 22nd.   Last week, our agency received the final pages of our translation (YAY!!) and is now preparing our dossier to be authenticated at the US State Dept.  This next step should take 1 to 2 months and then our dossier will be headed back to Madagascar and we'll be put on the waiting list for a referral of a child.  Our child.  So, we have lots more waiting to do, but things are progressing.  
On the fundraising front, we have more good news.  God has continued to bless us abundantly through His people and money keeps coming in.  In 8 months, between our own savings, fundraising efforts and donations, we have raised over $20,000 of the approx. $33,000 that we need.  That is unbelievable to me.  People are blowing us away.  We have had donations of $1 to $5000 (wow.) and everything in between.  And every one of them brings us to our knees.  My favorite so far (can I say that?) was last month when a sweet mom at school that barely knows us texted me late one night and said that they were in between churches and had $3600 of tithe that was looking for a home.  God put our baby girl on her heart and she wrote our agency a check the next day.  Seriously supernatural generosity and love.  I want to love like that.  He is teaching us how while we wait. 

We desperately desire your continued prayers, encouragement and support.  We are eternally grateful for those of you who are walking alongside us on this journey.  Your love means more to us than we can ever express. We have a couple more fundraising opportunities that are in the works and I'm excited to hopefully share those before too long.  In the meantime, if you haven't gotten a shirt yet, we still have plenty left.  Or, if you want one of the beautiful one of a kind crosses that we are making (see post below) then please email us.  Thank you all for loving on us!!