Our little-soon-to-be-expanding family had a wonderful, quiet Christmas here in New Orleans. Unless you count that 3/4 of our family got the stomach bug. Such is life. We enjoyed Christmas eve dinner with my family (such a blessing that they live here!) complete with our traditional Happy Birthday Jesus cake. Christmas day we enjoyed opening presents, church (for the ones that were well) and Christmas dinner at my parents house. It was a nice, quiet Christmas for us.
I am now 32 weeks pregnant and guessing on my history, my doctor and I are predicting I will not make it to my 39 week scheduled c-section. I am hoping not, since I am quiet miserable even now.
Though we have been telling friends and family, I don't think I have officially announced our new little man's name. So, here we go...our new little bundle of joy will be named Oliver Finn. I can't wait to love on this new addition to our family.
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and this new year will bring you new hope and blessings! Thank you all for being a part of our lives!
Every time I update my blog, I tell myself I'm going to do better & try to post once a week. Does it happen? Of course not. So, here's my best recap of the last little while in our life.
*We have moved on from our ministry at the Baptist Friendship House. It was such a bittersweet move. We had been there almost 2 years and those living and working there were (and still are) our family. With Baby # 3 coming soon and myself being back in school, we knew God was calling us to focus on our family and leave the Friendship House.
*We have a sweet little house only 3 blocks from our work. It was such a God story in how we discovered this house and how it was a perfect fit for our family. If you want to hear that story, just ask. :)
*This is Emma's last year at the child development program where she is and we are exploring options for next year. It is quite overwhelming, as there are only a handful of schools in the New Orleans area that are decent enough to send her too. School applications are rigorous and most schools go by a lottery system, so you can't put any hope in getting into a particular school. I actually went to an open house for a school this morning and they stated that they get about 800 applications each year and there are probably only a few spots for the Pre-K 4 program. I left feeling very overwhelmed and discouraged. Please be praying that we can trust that God will have Emma in the school where she needs to be.
*Emma is 3 1/2 now and continues to be a bundle of energy and excitement. She is just not getting to the point where she will sit down for a 30 minute movie every once in a while. She loves to pretend play and mostly pretends that she is at school or church. She also bursts into song at any moment of any day and sings about the most random things. It's quite hilarious.
*Eli is 21 months old now and while he is making progress, he still isn't walking much. He will free stand and take a few steps here and there, but is quite cautious about the walking thing. His vocabulary is exploding and is most commonly found saying "kitty, airplane, cheese, milk, potty, Mama, Dada, and Emma". He has decided that he is ready to be a big kid and start potty learning. I was going to wait until he started walking to introduce the potty, but a few weeks ago, he went and sat on the little potty, said "potty" and started pulling at his pants. He is having some success and is quite proud of himself.
*I am now into my 3rd trimester (28 weeks) and starting to get into the entire uncomfortable back hurting, round ligament pain stage of pregnancy. I am enjoying my time with Emma and Eli before the chaos of having 3 children begins. Little man's due date is February 25, but we will be scheduling the c-section for around the 17th (unless he decides to make an early entrance like his older brother). This is full into Carnival (Mardi Gras) season, so it will be quite interesting to see how that will all work out, considering our hospital is one block from a major parade route.
*I am continuing on in school for my Master's of Social Work at the University of New England. It is an online program and while I am loving it and learning a lot, it is quite demanding.
*We just returned from a trip to South Carolina to visit family and friends for Thanksgiving. We had a great time, though it is never long enough to visit everyone we would wish.
*We have been super bad about taking pictures with our camera, so here are a couple of pictures from my phone.
Just felt like posting a random list of stuff I'm into lately. :) Just a little glimpse into my life.
*Adoption/fostering/orphan care--Most of you already know this is a passion of mine. Right now I'm currently reading Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches. I definitely recommend it!
*La Croix fizzy water (particularly grapefruit flavored, but lime or lemon will do as well)
*Kari Jobe--I just can't get enough of this girl's heart of worship and her music! It draws me near to God.
*Sugar--free hazelnut coffee creamer
*My Chaco's--the only shoes I wear
*Groupon--Matt & I have scored some super great deals lately
*My church--Seriously love these people and the heart they have for God and for serving others. So blessed by them!
Matt & I were excited to take Emma to the circus again this year. I have sweet memories of going to the circus when I was a child and want Emma to have those same memories. We dropped of Eli at Grammy & Papa's so we could enjoy a fun night with our girl. All throughout the circus, Emma kept saying that the cotton candy was here favorite part of the circus, but the next day, she forgot about the cotton candy and decided the elephants were here favorite.
I have been writing this post in my head for weeks now, and I am still really not sure where I am going with it, but I just need to write about it.
Orphan care has been a passion of mine since I was a young child. My heart has always felt for hurting children. I know part of this stems from the fact that I basically grew up at a children's home because that was my father's career. I have always know hurting children. My heart has not always had a passion only for orphans in the United States, but also internationally. I specifically remember a dream that I had when I was in 2nd grade. I dreamed about children in Africa. That dream was so memorable at that time that I even wrote about it in a journal. It stuck with me.
So where does that lead me? Here I am today, with a husband and two beautiful children of my own, working with kids and also serving homeless women and children in the community. That is all wonderful, but my heart longs for more.
I desperately want to become a foster parent and adopt children, but now is not the time. God has called us to ministry at the Friendship House and serving the women and children there. I am so incredibly thankful that God has called us to ministry here and do not want to hurriedly jump to the next "stage" of my family's lives just because I am ready to. God's timing is perfect.
So, how can my family help orphans in the United States and internationally? First, we can pray for them. Pray is powerful...God is powerful. I pray that others will feel the need to support orphans, I pray for those that are caring for orphans currently, I pray for the health of the orphans, I pray that they will be provided with food, a safe place to sleep, and someone to love them. Also, my family can support orphans financially. We have sponsored a child with World Vision for many years now and I feel that we need to continue to do that. The money we send monthly helps others be the hands and feet of Christ and provide food, shelter, and education to our sweet little boy. We also have some dear families in our church who are entered the process to adopt and or foster a child. My family will support them in whatever needs they may have--financial, prayer, or any other way we can help.
God may not call each of us to adopt or foster, but there are other ways you can help. Take some time and think of ways that you and your family can help those in need.
"Religion that our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27 "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land." Psalm 68:5-6
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpful, and see that they get justice." Proverbs 31:8-9
I am married to an incredible man and have three precious children I live in New Orleans and love every minute of being here. Most of all, I am a sinner who falls short every day, but is saved by God's grace.