Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Got Coffee?

It has been a while since I have mentioned fundraising on our blog. The Lord has provided in amazing ways and we are so thankful that we have some money put aside for our adoption, but we are not done yet. Currently, we have enough in our adoption savings to cover the referral costs of one child and most of trip one to Ethiopia (we have to travel twice) or enough to cover the referral cost of siblings and very little of trip one.

So, to help cover some of the cost we decided to start a Just Love Coffee Fundraising Shop. Every time you purchase a bag of coffee or other item, a portion of the proceeds goes towards our adoption. Another portion goes to help orphans in Ethiopia. So, you can buy a bag of delicious, fair-trade coffee for yourself or a friend, help us bring home our sweet one/s, and help orphans in Ethiopia. What could be better than that?

I have to tell you that Justin and I have never been big coffee drinkers. We usually keep our coffee pot in the cabinet and bring it out just for guests. When I learned that Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, I told Justin we probably need to start drinking more coffee. So, now it is a part of my morning routine and I can't wait to try some Just Love Coffee. The hardest part will be deciding what to try first. So, click here to check out our store.

Also, we would love it if you shared the link to our coffee shop on your blog or facebook page!!!

hHat: $3 eachCoffee Scoop: $1 each

Saturday, August 20, 2011

1st Day of School

Yesterday was the first day of school for my sweet boys. Sawyer started kindergarten and Jaxon started Pre-K at the same school. I just can't believe how big my boys are getting. I didn't cry when we dropped the boys off, but I did tear up when I looked at these pics.
I got the idea for these signs on Amy's blog. So glad she shared this link.
Jax loved all the picture taking attention, but Sawyer was not too happy about it. He just wanted to get to class.
I love this pic of my sweet boys holding hands. I'm glad Jax has his big brother right down the hall from him.
Jax was so excited to start school. He has the same teacher that Sawyer had last hear. I was really nervous about him starting this year, because he is the youngest kid in his class. His teacher is a sweet friend of mine and she sent me this text message yesterday: "Meredith, I have to tell you Jaxon had an awesome day!!!! He was a good listener and helper!!! You should be proud of Him!!!! I sure was!!!

This made my day! I am so glad he had a good first day!

Sawyer reported that his day was good too, besides the fact that he got bit by ants and had to visit the nurse. Sawyer's teacher is also a friend of mine. We actually went to junior high school together. I am so thankful my kids have wonderful teachers who truly care about them. We are all looking forward to a great year!

Friday, August 19, 2011

August Numbers

It's time again to update our numbers. On the girls' list we are #:

(We moved 4 spots since last month)

On the siblings list we are #

(We moved 1 spot since last month) We are thankful to be in the teens.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mission Trip Video

Here is the video of our trip that was shown at church on Sunday. Justin made it and I think he did a great job. It is just a glimpse of our trip. He also did a 10 minute highlight video that was shown last night at our share service. I loved watching the video, listening to people's stories, and reliving our trip. It was a life changing trip and I am so thankful for the opportunity to go. I can't wait to go back!

Dominican Republic mission trip 2011 from North Monroe on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I told you how much I loved holding and loving on the babies and children in the Dominican Republic. It brought me such joy to share the love of Christ with these precious ones.
I even had the pleasure of visiting sweet newborn babies in the hospital and praying for them with their families.
Justin loved the babies too and I loved seeing him hold sweet little ones again. Our boys are 5 and almost 4 and although they still like to snuggle every once in a while, they are too busy to just sit still for long.

It did my heart good to play and be silly with these beautiful girls, but I just couldn't stop thinking about our daughter in Ethiopia. My heart longs to know who God has planned for our family. Will it be one little baby girl, or two sweet sisters, or maybe a precious brother and sister pair?
I couldn't help but think about our child or children last week. I put this picture below on my facebook page and a friend asked us if this was our girl. Oh, how I wish I had a picture of me holding our girl. It hurts my heart to know that we are still many months away from that dream coming true.
Holding these beauties made me even more excited and hopeful about bringing our own little one/s home. Of course, it also made me sad that we have no idea when that will be. I am so ready to add a little one to our family!

I feel like I constantly go between two emotions during this wait. Most of the time I either feel hopeful or discouraged. I can feel those two emotions in the same day and even the same minute.

I am hopeful, because I know God has a plan for our family. Yet, I get discouraged during this long wait and the ups and downs of adoption.

The Ethiopian courts closed last week for the rainy season. They will be closed until October. Families who have already passed court can still travel to bering home their children and kids can still be referred by our agency, but things will slow down. This is not the greatest news, because things are already moving very slowly. Of course, this discourages me some, but I am also very thankful for rainy season because East Africa is in desperate need of rain right now. I am praying the Lord brings rain to the nations who desperately need it to live.

We have also recently learned that several orphanages in Southern Ethiopia have been shut down. We don't really know why or how this will affect future adoptions. We do know that several families from our agency who have already met their sweet ones are being told that their adoptions can't be finalized until further investigations are done. My heart is breaking for the families who have no idea when they will be able to return to bring their children home. Please join me in praying for these families and for the orphans of Ethiopia who are being affected by the orphanage closures.

Every time I feel discouraged the Lord gently reminds me that my hope doesn't lie in what is going on in Ethiopia or in knowing how many more months we will wait. My hope comes in the Lord and in Him alone and His love never fails me. I pray that I will long for the Lord even more than I long to meet my daughter. I pray that He will restore me as I seek to fix my eyes on Jesus.

That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10

Monday, August 8, 2011

While We Were Away

I have posted l0ts of pictures from our mission trip and I'm not done yet, but I have to show you what my boys did while we were away. Many people have asked me how it was being away from the boys for over a week. I will tell you, I really did miss them. The worst part was that it took us a day longer to get home than expected, and I was so ready to see them. But, I will also tell you that it was worth it and I would do it again. The boys stayed with Justin's parents in Arlington, TX and they had a blast. They also got to spend a lot of time with their Aunt Jessica. I am so glad they got this special time with family who adore them. I am also glad that we were able to share our experiences of sharing Christ with the people of the Dominican Republic with our children. I think it is important for them to not only hear about the gospel, but to see us sharing it with others. One day we hope to take them with us on mission trips, but for now I am thankful they have family who love to take good care of them when we are away.
The little cowboys went to the stock yards, Chuck E. Cheese (I just love that my little boys are holding hands in this pic above),
had smoothie parties with smoothies made by their LuLu,
went to Legoland and the Rain Forest Cafe' with Aunt Jessica,
went swimming and played in the sprinkler,
and even did a few chores around this house. I am glad Jax helped his grandparents. He is always the little helper around here, too.
They are still talking about all the fun they had while we were away. A couple of days after I got back, I read this post from Andrea about moms listening to the call of reaching the nations. I love it and completely agree with all she had to say. I am glad I didn't keep my fear of leaving them from missing out on experiencing what God had planned for me.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Gran Dios

So, if you know me at all, you know I love teaching children. One of my favorite things I was able to do last week is teach the children of Barahona about our Big God. The theme of our week was Gran Dios (Big God). We all had a blast lovin on the sweet kiddos. I am so thankful for the awesome translators we had. We would have been completely lost without them. The picture above is of me with one of my favorite translators, Wany and her sweet sisters.
There were lots of kids with tons of energy, so I'm glad I had an awesome team to work with.
When the week started we thought we would be working with the kids once during the afternoon, but we ended up doing it twice. We met first in the park and then went to apartment complex and did it again. It was great!
These pictures show two of the little boys who I just loved. They reminded me of my 3 year old boy at home who I missed so much. They were mischievous and full of life, just like my Jax.
I was one of the Bible application teachers last week.

I was so nervous about communicating with the kids since I don't remember much from high school Spanish class, but with Wany by my side, things went really well.
These sweet children made quite an impression on me.
There were
so many
sweet faces
that I don't ever
to forget!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Worshipping Together

The Sunday we spent in the Dominican was probably one of the best Sundays of my life. We were able to attend two worship services, one with a new Haitian church and one with Franklin's church. Franklin is the pastor of the church we partnered with in the DR. Worshipping with the people was incredible! Here is a little video Justin made.

Dominican Republic :: day tres from North Monroe on Vimeo.

This was the Haitian church. As you can see it was very small and there was no air conditioning. Most of us didn't have a chair to sit in, but it was a sweet time worshiping our Heavenly Father together.

At the end of the service we handed out stuffed animals, bread, and t-shirts to the children. They were so excited to receive this simple gift.
We ended the day with worship at Franklin's church. As we were waiting for services to begin, I turned around, saw this, and said " Holy Cow." This isn't something I normally see while I am attending church.
We were able to teach the children during both services. I couldn't help, but think about our children's building back at home. We take the things we have for granted every day.
We were able to worship again on our last night in Barahona. The picture below shows two of my new friends from the trip. Mrs. Evelyn is a sweet lady who traveled with our team to the Dominican. I am thankful I was able to get to know her. Sarah is a sweet mother of 3 who we visited with all week. I really didn't get to know her as well as I wish. On this last night, I was standing behind her and I noticed her wiping a tear from her face. I went up to her and put my arm around her. We then shared a hug and some tears for several minutes. It was such a beautiful and special moment. We weren't able to communicate verbally, but we shared a special bond as daughters of the King and mothers who want nothing but the best for the children He has entrusted to us.
I hope I never forget what it felt like to worship with these beautiful people. We don't speak the same language. The churches we attend look completely different on the outside. We may look very different, but as believers we are all the same. We are all sinners, saved only by God's grace. We all strive to love the Lord in this fallen world.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dominican Republic: The Medical Clinic

We arrived home Sunday night from our mission trip to the Dominican Republic. We were supposed to get home Saturday, but there were several delays. It was an exhausting two days of travel and we are so glad to finally be home with our boys. We missed them terribly, but we had an amazing trip and we hear they had a great time with family.

I am still processing everything we experienced and all God taught me last week. I am sure I won't be able to get everything in to just one post, so I wanted to start by sharing some pictures and a couple of videos from the first few days of our trip.

We arrived in Santa Domingo around 9:00 on Thursday night. We ate a quick dinner at the hotel and then went to bed. The next day we drove to Barahona, which is where we spent the remainder of our trip.
We were able to visit the beautiful beach near our hotel. We enjoyed our day as we waited for the rest of our group to arrive.

We awoke early the next morning to assist doctors at a medical clinic. When we arrived at the school to set up the "clinic" we were met by many people who were waiting for us. The precious baby below was the first of many babies I was able to hold. This sweet girl fell asleep in my arms and I would have held her all day, but her mom had to take her to see the pediatrician.
I went to see if any of the doctors needed any help. The first one I talked to was the pediatrician who I assisted for the rest of the day. I spent most of the day holding and entertaining little children as their moms talked to the doctor.
Justin was busy taking video of everyone, so I didn't see him much. He said he kept asking people if they had seen me and they would say, "last time I saw her she was holding a baby." That pretty much summed up my day and I loved every minute of it.
This precious girl was so beautiful. She sat quietly in my lap and when it was time for her to go with her mother, she turned and planted a kiss on my cheek. Melt my heart!

The picture below shows just some of the people who were waiting to see the doctor I was working with. These sweet mothers waited for hours outside in the heat, without tv or magazines to entertain them, so the doctor could spend a couple of minutes examining their children. Sadly, one of our ministry bags filled with medicine did not make it in time for the clinic, so many of these families had to be turned away. I felt so awful for them. I will think twice before I ever complain about waiting for a doctor again.
The last baby the doctor examined was cutie pie Edwin who took a nap in my arms.
I enjoyed spending time with Edwin and his adorable big sister.
I was even nice enough to let my hubby hold him for a minute. Oh, melt my heart, again!!!
I really have to say that the time we spent at the medical clinic were some of the best moments of our entire trip. It was a long, hot day, but I was so blessed by the people we met. It was a perfect way to start our week in Barahona.

Here is a little video Justin made from our day at the clinic.

Dominican Republic :: day dos from North Monroe on Vimeo.