Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I scream, you scream, we all scream...


One of the things that we noticed shortly after we moved here, is there is so many non-chain restaurants. It's nice because there is so many different places to try. Ice cream shops are no exception to this either. We have lived here almost 3 months and still hadn't tried any of the ice cream shops yet. We drive by and say, "Oh, we should go there sometime", but never actually make it there. We decided to take care of that this weekend while Mark and Benita were here. We went to a place called Sylas & Maddy's Homemade Ice Cream. It was Aleeyah's first time eating ice cream out of a cone! I know, deprived! She loved it and didn't even scream bloody murder when she dropped it-to our surprise! Of course, daddy and pa-pa ran into the store to save the day and buy her another one! We had a blast sitting out in front of the store eating our ice cream and laughing.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tour de Kansas

I had great intentions on getting up yesterday morning and posting about our weekend with the grandparents and then getting several things accomplished.

Apparently, my sinuses, head, and ears decided against me. It's been sneaking up on me over the last couple of days with a runny nose, but it hit hard yesterday. It knocked me down and I spent the day laying on the couch trying to avoid things like wind, light, and noise with the later of the 2 being the hardest with a 3 year old. Thankfully, she understands a little and we the day cuddling on the couch watching cartoons.

We had a fabulous weekend with the grandparents. Chris' parents arrived on Thursday afternoon. It's been a little over a month since we have seen them and there was one little kid that was so excited to see her Mimi and Pa-pa and we were glad to see them also! :) We enjoyed our 4 days together and I think we did a great job of not going too much so that we could spend some time relaxing and enjoying each others company. It's easy to make the mistake of go, go, go and forget why someone came to visit.

Just some of the things we did while they were here:

Went to Legends, an outdoor mall, with lots of great stores. Here is Chris looking at the stars....in the daylight....with a big contraption that isn't really functional....because I told him to come check it out! :)

We visited a local Povitica store, Strawberry Hill and purchased some yummy swirled bread!

Benita, Aleeyah, and I went to one of our favorite places, the Deanna Rose Farmstead.

We even visited old downtown Overland Park and ate at a wonderful pizza shop while we were there.

Chris and Mark played in a poker tournament to benefit Ian Crabtree, played some golf on Saturday, and enjoyed watching the football game on Saturday night.

So we did some going, but like I said, we did some down time too. Some of our greater moments weren't captured with a camera, but instead with our minds and hearts. Like the smile on Aleeyah's face the whole weekend because she had her Mimi and Pa-pa or the contentment in both Aleeyah and Benita's face when they cuddled on the couch to watch a movie. Those moments are just left to be remembered and not reminded of by a picture.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Living a Faith that Bleeds

I just finished reading a book today that never made it over to my "Books I am Reading" list on this page, but has been added to the recommended books. My mother-in-law brought a book with her to Kansas that I told her I wanted to read. I found out about it through various blogs and I was so excited to get to sit down and open my heart to what the author had to say.

I read for about an hour yesterday and about the same today and finished all 186 pages (it was an easy read). In some ways, it was just as I thought it would be. It was filled with stories of people and statistics. Statistics that are not just statistics, but real people. Statistics that made my heart ache. Sometimes I felt overwhelmed and sometimes I felt encouraged to do more. There were times that I was sad and most other times-angry. Angry because it can be changed. Angry because it doesn't have to be this way.

The book is called, Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds.

Take a moment to watch this video. I'm not even going to attempt to try to explain it in better words than they do.

There are many things I quietly said "Amen" to while reading and other things that I felt a bit of disgust over my own attitudes about certain issues.

I was happy to see that they gave a shout out for Compassion International and their efforts in helping the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The book even said, "Compassion is quickly becoming one of the leaders in responding to the AIDS crisis, spending tens of millions of dollars to alleviate suffering caused by AIDS."

We had decided after sponsoring Irene from Kenya who lives in a highly effected AIDS area, to give a little extra to Compassion's HIV/AIDS Initiative. Our contribution of only $8 a month seems like so little, but it was nice to hear that Compassion is using the resources to really make an impact in the harder effected areas. It doesn't take much money to educate and for the medicine that is needed for people affected with AIDS, but sadly, more needs to be done!

Here is one way that Red Letters is asking people to get involved. It is called the Five for 50. The book says, "It's a comprehensive plan to bring Christians from all across the globe together in solidarity with the soon-to-e fifty million people living with HIV.

These are 5 steps:

Give five minutes a day to pray for those suffering form HIV/AIDS.
Give five hours a week to fast for those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
Give five dollars a month to the Five for 50 fund to support worthy causes.
Give five days per year to travel overseas to help alleviate poverty and suffering.
Give five people and opportunity to join you on your journey.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing with you some of the things written in Red Letters. BUT I do want to strongly encourage anyone to go to Amazon (or wherever you buy your books) right now and purchase Red Letters and read it for yourself. If you do, I would love to hear your thoughts on it!

Also, here real soon, I will be asking you to join me in doing something towards the end of the year. Something that has been on my heart for over 2 months. Between now and then, I am praying that each one of our blog readers considers joining me in spending just one day focused on others over ourselves. More to come on that though! :)

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! I will be posting about our weekend adventures with Chris' parents and, of course, there might even be a few pictures to share!

Friday, September 26, 2008

I'm busy!

I had to share a conversation that Aleeyah and I had yesterday morning after Aleeyah woke up.

Me: Aleeyah, please go take off your pull-up and throw it in the trash.

Aleeyah: No thank you, momma.

Me: Aleeyah, you need to go take off your pull-up and throw it away.

Aleeyah: gggrrr...Mom (in her teenage voice), I'm BUSY!

So yeah, that's my 3 year old. You would think the child would hate to be sitting in a soaking wet pull-up and would love nothing more than to throw it away and put some clean panties on. BUT apparently, she was quite content with her situation and was pretty happy just playing her toys-avoiding what was best for her.

After she got a severe talking to, I began to think about when I was a kid...

Now I know in our house growing up, talking back was.....well....asking for severe punishment and often it included a leather belt. Well, I say often, but in reality-we knew better. We didn't want to displease our parents, but more importantly-we didn't want to get beat!

Our parents always told us that they were only trying to help us make the right choices and help us in doing what was best for us.

I had a conversation with my dad about this today. We talked about when I was younger and how much I hated school. My parents always told me that I would look back and wish I would have paid more attention in school. That I would grow a deeper level of appreciation when I no longer had it available to me.

I always thought that idea was dumb (like school) and that my parents must have really thought I just as dumb to believe such nonscense.

Then one day you are 27 years old and you realize that many of those things that seemed so dumb at the time-actually, are true.

Sometimes, I wish I would have believed my parents more when it came to schooling. Sometimes, I wish that I would have just learned to be more open to their ideas. Sometimes, I wish I wouldn't have faught them so hard on some issues and understood that they knew what was best for me.

At the time though, I was too busy with my friends and boyfriends. I was busy trying to fit in. I was busy worrying about what new decoration or picture I was going to hang in my locker. I was busy trying to figure out how to bend the rules so that I could have a little bit more fun.

I got to thinking--Isn't that like when God puts a longing in our heart to do something or go a certain direction in our lives and we don't do it because we are busy? We are basically, talking back to God telling Him, "I'm busy right now".

I wonder how many times God was trying to reveal a door or a direction that He wanted me to go, but I was too busy filling my life up with other things. Maybe I was too busy thinking about my daily activities to look beyond tomorrow.

The great thing about parenting is that we can guide our children because we have been there. We know what possibilities and difficulties they might go through. We feel confident that we know what is best for them. We expect them to follow our leads to grow into good people.

But God knows far more than even what we, as parents, think we know. He knows the great picture because He is the painter, after all.

I feel that sometimes we get so busy being parents that we often forget that we are children too. Children to a Father that understands and knows more than we will ever be able to comprehend. He knows what is best for us and our walk with Him and yet, sometimes we sit back and say, "I'm too busy to do what You know is best for me."

I bet He looks at us with the same look in our parents eyes that says,

"If you only knew what was to come. If you only knew the great things that will come from these hard times. Child, if you only knew. Trust me."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mimi and Pa-pa come to town!

I don't know how much I will be on over the next few days. Chris' parents will be here shortly and will be staying until Sunday afternoon! I am so excited to see some familiar faces and Aleeyah is so very excited to see her Mimi and Pa-pa! They love her so very much (just as we love them) and they have never missed an opportunity to have a relationship with her.

We have several activities in mind for our weekend together. I might get a chance to blog about them in the evenings, but we will just have to see how it goes.

Either way, I will have pictures to come!!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Compassion Friends wandering the US!

"Compassion Friends" dolls have been out and about lately. I've wanted to share with you a few places they have been seen!

They first were spotted at Compassion Dave's site I met Dave through Compassion's blog. He always posts great mini Bible studies (almost) every day.

Second spotting was on Jeana's blog. We use to go to church with Jeana and her family in Oklahoma. I also had the privilege of working with her for a while. She blogs about her family and always posts pictures of her o' so cute kids!

The girls were then featured on my friend, Jill's page. She is a Compassion advocate and blogs about her various family activities. We were actually inspired by to go camping from her recent camping adventures.

One of the girls were lucky enough to be given away in a contest on My Friend Amy's blog. Amy is a book blogger. I had no idea that book bloggers even existed, but they seem to be quite the community of book lovers. She just pulled off an amazing Book Blogger Appreciation Week.

The girls even hit it big time when they were seen walking the blue (blue because everything over there is blue!) carpet at Compassion's blog. I know the girls felt honored to be there because Compassion is, in fact, the whole reason they exist. As you already know, I love what Compassion is doing in Jesus' name for children and their families living in poverty. I never quite understood just how much they are changing these children's lives until I started reading their blogs. The blogs are filled with encouragement, prayer requests, and love for every one of God's children.

Their latest stop was on Brittany's blog. Brittany has generously offered to help in making Compassion Friend dolls. I am so excited to have some help and to be able to get to know her better. It's amazing how God provides hands when they are needed!

**If you are wanting to purchase a Compassion Friends doll-shoot me an email. They are $36.00 and $26.00 will go to Compassion's global food crisis fund.

Through your purchase of a Compassion Friends doll you will be helping children and their families who have little to nothing to eat everyday. If you would like to read more about the global food crisis and more information on how you can make a difference, visit Compassion's website.

New baby and Young Babes!

I had been having some problems with a handful of my pictures. After fighting and fighting with it, I have that discovered something is wrong with one of my camera cards. BUT I have found out how to get them to work now!

As I was sorting through them all, I came upon a few pictures that I took when we went back to Oklahoma. We had the privilege of staying the night with my cousin, Amber and her family. They have a new addition to their family and I enjoyed getting to hold her and we stayed up way too late, but it was fun!

Here are a few pictures from our time together...

This is Ariana and her new little sister, Nyla

This is the only picture we could get of the 3 girls together. Aleeyah decided she didn't want to take a picture.

And I loved this one!

As soon the last one, it reminded me of a picture I had from 1997 of Amber and me. There was too much similarity between this one and the one of Aleeyah and Ariana that I just had to share it!

And I came across this one when looking for the last one!

Gotta love the days of boyfriend letter jackets and over-sized shirts! Granted there is a turn knob television with rabbit ears antenna in the back, but it was way outdated even for that time. It worked though!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

MOPS and Satan, the Destroyer

I have been so fortunate to meet so many great people here in Kansas. I have to say that the people are not "Oklahoma friendly" when it comes to shopping or driving, but meeting other moms has been easy here and all of them very friendly. In fact, I met a lady at the park (named Heather) one day and after talking for quite some time, invited us to go to a MOPS meeting. No, not this kind of mops...

I wouldn't want to be a part of any kind of organization like that! :)

It stands for Mothers of Preschoolers.

I have heard of this group, but didn't know much about it. She told me about it and it peaked my curiosity and sounded like fun. We exchanged information and we planned to attend the first MOPS meeting coming up. We didn't end up being able to make it that time. Heather was very sweet to continue communication and let me know when the next one was.

About a week later, Aleeyah and I were at the library. Aleeyah and I were playing with some magnetic letters and began to sound out and read a couple of words that I was putting together. A mom who was sitting near by asked me how she knew what it said. This sparked a good lengthy conversation as the kids played. She asked if I was a part of a MOPS group and said it was really great for her when she first moved here.

We were finally able to go this morning. I took Aleeyah to her Moppets class to have a snack, playtime, Bible story, and craft. While she did that I went over to where all the moms were and also had breakfast, Mom talk time, a devotional, and a craft (we made First Aid kits!). It was nice to sit down for 2 hours and chat and devo with other moms.

I really needed it today. My head as been clouded the last couple of days with some stuff that satan is always ready to use on me. He tries to steal my happiness in my life and the joy I find in having a relationship with my God. He wants me to wrap my emotions around things that I cannot change and feel defeated. For some reason, there are times I try to battle it on my own, but my strength alone cannot do the job and I know better.

I don't have room for Satan and his games in my life and so I continue to choose happiness. I choose happiness by being in God's presence, by using my life's circumstances to help others, by focusing my thoughts and energy on things I CAN change with God's guidance, by laughing with my husband and daughter, by talking to and encouraging friends and family, and by finding joy in the smallest things.

Although not always easy, I have really found it amazing how your life can change when you give forgiveness to those who wronged you, recognize where you have made mistakes, let go of your anger, and find peace and rest with the Lord.

None of us are perfect and we all will wrong some one at some point, but I believe it's how you make it right that makes all the difference in the world. You do what you can do. If they won't listen-it's time to move on. If you can't let go of the pain-let God use it in you for good. Don't let Satan use it to defeat you.

Life and everything in it is a blessing and an opportunity to glorify God in everything that we do. I pray that we all strive to do use it for that and that none of us let Satan work his way into the middle of the amazing plan God has for us.

And if you are new in town or want to meet other moms, look into MOPS. We have enjoyed it so far and are looking foward to our next meeting!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Recycle Yourself!

A bumper sticker on one of the cars in the parking lot of our complex caught my attention today and I had to share.

In big letters it said, "RECYCLE YOURSELF".

We have been working on ourselves to be consumption conscience and recycling what what we can, but was rather baffled when I read those words. I hadn't heard this one yet!

Then I read, "Be an Organ & Tissue Donor".

Chris and I were both cracking up, but loved it anyway! I told him I am so blogging about that-giving him yet another reason to think I am crazy!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Our date with God-Camping Trip

We had a great time on our mini camping trip this weekend! I haven't been real camping in ages.

We headed out late on Friday night after Chris got off work. Surprisingly, I was able to get everything packed and in the car before he got home. This meant that I went to the garage and found things like the sleeping bags, tents, chairs, fishing poles, etc. Things that tend to bury themselves in the garage. I even had time to go to the store to grab essentials such as ingredients to make smores, dinner and lunch food, and snacks. We headed out once Chris got home, but it was later than expected.

I envisioned watching the sunset at the camp site, but we didn't make it there in time. It worked out perfectly because we were driving into the sunset most of the way there. We turned and headed over the bridge that crossed the lake. The sun was subdued and I caught myself just starring at it. As it sank into the water, it painted the water beautiful shades of orange. I wanted so badly to stop and get my camera from the back of the car to snap a picture of it. I wanted to be able to remember just how absolutely beautiful that moment was. There was no pulling over on the bridge so I tried so hard to notice every detail--every wave in the water, every color of sun-as if to snap a picture in my memory to save for a later day. [click]

We finally made it to the campsite where my dad had already set up his tent and was getting the fire going. While Dad and I started on the burgers, Chris worked on putting up our tent in the dark. Aleeyah wandered around looking for something to do and was quite good at keeping herself entertained.

As we sat by the fire eating our hamburgers and then roasting marshmallows for smores, I felt so at peace. I sat there between my dad and my husband with my daughter in my lap and I felt secure and safe. There is nothing quite like a father and a husband. When we lived in Oklahoma, my dad lived here and Chris wasn't always around due to traveling with his job, there were days that nothing else could make me feel better. I longed for the safety of being in my father or husbands arms. And here I was with both of them-sitting by the fire talking about the days we last ate smores. Maybe just another moment to save. [click]

As the night sky got darker and darker, the stars starting popping out by what seemed, one by one, until the entire sky was covered in tiny white gleaming dots. If you were to ask me about my most favorite night time activity, I would say every time, gazing at the stars. When I look at the stars, I am reminded about how small we are and how little control we really have. To some that may sound scary, but I know that God is just beyond the stars watching His children-watching over me. I feel so close to Him in those moments. It's like I feel His eyes looking into mine, I feel my chest open to reveal my heart to Him, and I feel that with every breath I take, He breathes His life into me. I can almost see Him reaching His arms down from Heaven and wrapping them around me to remind me His arms and chest are always available. [click]

Dad headed to bed and Chris, Aleeyah, and I walked down to the lake. The moon was still tinted orange from the reflection of the sun as it rose up into the sky over the water. As we talked by the water, I was reminded of how much I loved those moments with Chris and Aleeyah. That these quiet moments I spent with my little family and with our God, were something that I will always treasure. [click]

We headed to bed, but I couldn't sleep. I was tired but I instantly became a three year old that didn't want to go to bed in fear of missing something. There isn't too many times in my life that I get dates like this with God. Our dates do not generally include millions and millions of stars. I put my shoes back on, grabbed my Bible, a flashlight, and headed back outside with the bugs to go on a date with God. I sat in the reclined folding chair, unable to take my eyes away from the stars long enough to read my Bible. It sat in my lap, unopened, as I got lost in the beauty of the stars. [click] [click] [click]

I soon heard Aleeyah's voice telling her daddy that she wanted to come out with me. I contemplated getting her out of the tent. I was enjoying my alone time with my Father, but as I was quickly reminded that I was sitting out watching the stars because I didn't want to miss anything either. I put my Bible in the chair next to me and went to get her. We sat in the chair under the blanket with my arms wrapped around her-listening to the locusts in the trees, talking about God, and counting the tiny specks in the sky that continued to amaze us both. [click]

As I felt God's presence and peace, my eyes began getting heavy and we walked back to the tent. With my family cuddled beside me, I drifted off to sleep while listening to the most amazing concert I will ever have the privilege of hearing. [click]

I brought both of my cameras with me this weekend in anticipation on capturing a moment or two, but the moments I wanted to save and share the most could not be captured with either one of them. I wonder if God does that on purpose. If we were able to capture those moments to be saved for another day, would we continue to come back to see His masterpieces and to feel His presence? Or would we tuck our picture away for those moments in our life that we decide to remember what we once knew. I think He wants us to seek Him in everything that we do-even when we know that it won't be able to be saved to a computer and played for a later day. He wants us to go to the places that we can feel Him the most, and sit back and relax in His presence. Maybe even take a picture in our hearts and minds so on those days that we feel alone, we are reminded that He is always near.

Here are a few pictures that I did take this weekend. :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

A tree huggin' kind of day!

The other day Aleeyah and I headed out for a day of recycling. I brought my camera to document our day.

First we started out by hugging a tree. We thought it would be appropriate for our day.

On our way to our first stop, we past this store. We will have to check it out some time.

First stop was the grocery store. We buy this milk called, Shatto Milk. It comes in a thick glass jug which keeps it super cold and it tastes great! They say that when you purchase your milk, there is a good chance it was taken from the cow just 12 hours prior. Fresh, cold milk without any pesticides-yum! yum! Another great thing about their glass jugs is you can take them back the to store to be reused by Shatto Farms-creating less plastic to be recycled.

Although not eco-friendly, we had to stop for gas! :(

Next stop was the recycling center. We enjoyed unloading all our sorted garbage in their respective bins. Aleeyah enjoyed figuring out what bag went to what bin.

After we were done parting from our trash, we went to the post office to ship off a package to my cousin. We had a gift for her and also a book that I previously read that she wanted to read. So we are reusing a book!

Our last stop was to the Library. We had some books that we checked out that needed to be returned. We picked up a few more. Libraries are a great way to save trees and keep books out of the landfills. I was also able to have a great conversation with another mom there. We talked about various things and through conversation, I found out she and her husband also support 2 Compassion children. It was neat to meet, yet again, another sponsor!

Finally after all our stops were complete, we stopped to enjoy a butterfly...or a very pretty moth! It's hard to see in the picture, but it was a very pretty greenish color.

Well, I'm out. We decided last minute to go camping this weekend so I have lots to do before we leave. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

**I want to echo yesterday's prayer for my friend's cousin, who lost their 9 year old son unexpectedly.

A Picture and a Thank You!

We have received so many emails and well wishes from many of you about our addition of Marta to our sponsorship and our plans to adopt a child from Ethiopia. We are so grateful for all of you! We know that the next couple of years will definitely have its times where we will need all of your support and prayers.

Many of you have asked questions about "the plan" and I wanted to answer a couple of them real quick.

Are you adopting through Compassion? No, Compassion does not coordinate adoptions. Their main focus (although they have many other great programs) is sponsoring children who live in poverty. Meaning the children stay in their country with their parents, but are provided basic needs through sponsorships from people like you.

Have you started the process? Because Aleeyah needs to be a year older for us to be open to adopting a 2-4 year old, we have not began the process yet. That will come in about a year to a year and half.

Once you start the process, how long will it take for you to have your child? We are fully expecting to have to wait a year, but it could be a little bit more than that.

Are you going to adopt a boy or a girl?Chris and I had previously discussed adopting a girl. I have always wanted at least 2 little girls. I love the way that the moment girls get together, they giggle. BUT just a few days ago, he through it on me that he wants a boy! Which would be most certainly fine with me! So we will set no preference and see what God gives us!

I think there were a couple of other questions, but I can't remember them off the top of my head.

I had also told you in my previous post that I would post a picture of Marta, our newest Compassion child. Here is the very beautiful Marta!!!

Isn't she so adorable? I can't wait to see her smile!

**Sorry, it's not a bigger picture to see better, but the scanner isn't hooked up so I had to swipe it from Compassion's website.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

BIG NEWS x 3!!!

We have some very exciting news in the Hamblin house! We have been trying to decided when would be the right time to announce it, but I can't keep my mouth shut when it comes to our own personal news! So here we go....

First of all, we received an over-nighted envelope yesterday from FedEx that read "EXTREMELY URGENT". It couldn't have been more appropriate for what I found inside. It was a child packet from Compassion for a 7 year old girl named Marta from Ethiopia. Urgent because, I'm just guessing that it probably took about 12 hours to get to us. Within that time, approximately 120 children died of hunger-related causes. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about that, but I find hope when I look at our newest Compassion child's picture. I can find happiness in that she will receive food and she wont be one of those children included in that statistic. I feel blessed to be able to hold her picture, to pray for her, and to be able to read her letters. I will be able to listen to her dreams of what she wants to become one day and to be able to share our love for Jesus with each other.

All of our Compassion kids are special to us, but Marta is special in a couple of different ways already. Chris and I are, Lord willing, going to go visit Marta in Ethiopia in about 2 1/2 years. When I looked at her picture yesterday, I imagined wrapping my arms around her and telling her face-to-face what she has done for me and how much she means to us. I imagined studying her face-every smile and every frown. I imagined looking into her eyes as I wonder about all her joys and all her fears. We are not scared about going to Ethiopia. We are very much excited about going! The Lord will be with us and one other little person will be too!

Back in June, when I first wanted to really get into helping children through Compassion, my eyes were opened to what life is like outside my bubble. I don't know if it was more out of ignorance or my lack of wanting to see. Yeah, sometimes it's easier to not know. It's easy to concern myself with me and my family. It's easy to look the other way and believe that someone else will take care of them. But then I realized, it's MY responsibility. There is no doubt that we are called to try our best to live like Jesus. I don't believe that Jesus ever looked away when he saw a need. I know that I can never walk like Jesus did, but what I realized is that it's never been about me. Never. It's not how much I do or don't do. I can give money to the poor, I can feed the homeless, I can help children at the church, I can do, do, do. BUT if I don't LOVE the poor, the homeless, the children-do I love Jesus?

Matthew 25:42-45 says, For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

Can you imagine Jesus saying these things? Isn't it harder to swallow that when we choose to look the other way, we are in fact, not looking at Jesus and his needs? What about this scripture,

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (1 Jn. 4:8-12, NIV).

Side note: So when I talk about the things we are doing in our family it's never because I want to tell you, "Look what we are doing!" I feel like I've been struck at my knees, fallen to the ground, and my eyes have been opened that I have been wrong all along. Kind of in a way, like when God knocked Saul off his horse in Acts and blinded him. Later, his sight was regained and He chose to live his life for God-telling others of the good news for Him and not for himself. Will I do it perfectly? NO, but that is why Jesus died on the cross. For my personal imperfections.

Okay, so rewinding back our June thoughts. In this same time that I am finding out what God is telling me in these scriptures, Chris and I were trying to figure out our 5 year plan. What is in store in the next 5 years for us? Chris will be finishing up his Masters program in about 2 1/2 years. Aleeyah will be 5 by that time. Will we live in our apartment still? What will God be using us for?

As we began trying to sift through all these thoughts, no doubt our plans for more children came up. We were so blessed to have a great pregnancy with no sickness, a baby that was great and who also started sleeping through the night at a month old. We discussed that neither one of us felt a longing to bring another child into the world though and I do remember the pain of my c-section all too well still. Does that mean we didn't want another? No, not necessarily. I never imagined being a parent of one child. I have always imagine 2, maybe 3. Because of my new found insight to children lacking the basic needs and what Jesus says about helping them, we lightly discussed the possibility of adoption. We decided that we would think about it and do some much needed praying.

So fast forwarding to today...As I'm holding the packet to our newest Compassion child and smiling because I know that we will be able to physically see her in just a couple of years, my heart is joyous for yet another reason. While we are there, we will be picking up another addition to our family-a child who although born in Ethiopia in circumstances unknown will be brought to the United States and given the last name Hamblin. We have not been excited about bringing another child into the world, but are SO excited about giving a child without a home-our home and our hearts.

In order for us to adopt a 2-4 year old, Aleeyah will need to be another year older and then we will start the process. It will take about another year for the adoption to be finalized. It does seem so far away and we are keeping our ears and hearts open for any changes that might need to be made for the Lord's will to be done.

So that is our BIG NEWS! Our new sponsored child, Marta, a trip to Ethiopia, and bringing one of God's children home with us!

Please be praying with us during this time.

A picture of Marta will be coming soon. A big THANK YOU goes to Juli for helping me get this child packet!

**Today, I want to lift a friend and her family up in prayer. Just this week the cousin of my friend lost their 9 year old boy unexpectedly due to a brain aneurysm. I can't imagine what they are going through, but I do know that they need God's arms to wrap around them and their family.

Compassion Friends Update!

If you have contacted me about purchasing a Compassion Friends doll, I wanted to give you a quick update. We have been diligently working on them and they should be finished this weekend. I will be contacting you on Monday about getting them to you. I had to include the picture of Chris helping me. He turned all the dolls arms and legs right side out for me while watching football. Now that is a man that loves me! I look foward to getting them out to you!
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