Thursday, April 17, 2014

April Update

Ready for another update?

Makers Market

We had a great day selling our Standard Goods pieces along side other great, local artisans at the Embellish & Restore Makers Market. We sold over $450 worth of our leather goods and made some great connections which we are hoping will grow into other fundraising opportunities.

Homestudy Paperwork

We finished our homestudy paperwork and mailed it, along with a $2900 check to our agency!! We have scheduled our first Home visit for next week and hope to have our homestudy approved by May. There are a bunch of grants we are wanting to apply for (and maybe a Kickstart-ish campaign) but we've been waiting until our homestudy is done and approved to apply. Pray it all continues to move forward smoothly and quickly!

Beach Day

Between adoption paperwork, Standard Goods, and life in general, we've been pretty swamped. Last Saturday was supposed to be another super busy day but after a series of unrelated events, all the busyness was canceled and our day totally opened up. What do you do with a free day? Go to the beach, of course!! 

House Prep

We really have no clue when child #3 will be home. It could be nine months, it could be twelve months.  But we know they are coming and we know we need to be prepared. With our first home visit coming up in a few days, we started to have a more serious conversation about bedrooms/beds/cribs etc. Because we don't know the age or gender of our child yet, it is all one big guessing game. We had moved the guest room bed into Jane's room to create space for our Standard Goods workshop. Though Jane loved having the huge bed in her room, it took up tons of space and made it really difficult  for her to play in her room. A few nights ago, Tim and I started talking about looking for a trundle bed for her room to create space for her and allow for an additional bed, in case we are matched with a sweet girl. It was a super fun conversation and reminded me of the chats we would have during my pregnancies as we would dream about nursery decor, baby names, and wonder if the baby was a boy or girl. 

24 hours after having the bed conversation, I was looking on craigslist and found an ad that had just been placed for a gorgeous daybed with a trundle for an incredible price. We picked it up last night and the kids have been playing on it and in Jane's room all day! 

It has been so fun to do some type of "nesting" as we prep for our adoption. There is so much more to be done and so much we can't do until we have a match but the simple action of buying a bed with a second bed in anticipation of what might be, definitely upped the level of excitement in our house!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Prayer Requests and Darling Magazine Feature

I kinda feel like I've been hit by two trucks. One truck was made out of feathers and marshmallows and the second truck was carrying cattle or something. Seriously, as the work load continues to increase with Standard Goods and our adoption paperwork, God's blessings continue to increase as well. Both hit hard, one is just way more fun to collide with than the other. All that being said, we could use prayer!  

How to Pray: 
  • We are SO close to being done with our home study. We are just waiting on getting a few papers back from our doctors and then need to finish our personal applications. I was actually about 80% done with the 22 page personal app when my computer lost it's mind and lost my work. So there went about 10 hours of thinking and typing down the toilet. Fun. Pray that we would continue to maintain a good pace with our paperwork and that no more time would be wasted due to technology. Pray that the paperwork being filled out by our doctors would be done correctly and quickly so we can get our home study approved and begin to apply for grants. 
  • Our sewing machine is still not working at 100% so Tim is having to drive to the "on loan" machine to sew our leather pieces at night. Such a bummer and hassle and waste of time he could be spending home. Pray that we would figure out what is going on with our machine and have the time to fix it.
  • Pray that we would gain wisdom and discernment for managing this new small business God has given us in Standard Goods. As the business grows and the orders pile up, we need to know how to best allocate our time and our resources to maintain a steady flow of sales but also to keep from burning out.
  • Pray for our baby in China. Pray that they are safe and being loved well while we work and fight hard to bring them home. 
A HUGE Praise:

Tim and I are being featured this week at Darling Magazine as their "Embodied: Courageous" story! I LOVE Darling Magazine and am still in a bit of shock that they are sharing our adventure with their readers. It is a bit dream like, for sure. These interviews and blog spots and shop features are such great exposure for not only our story but in raising awareness of the need for adoptive families. Opportunities like the Darling interview are always such a gift to our family and, we hope, help to encourage others to consider what God might be calling them into in regards to loving the fatherless. 

Be sure to check out the interview and leave a comment on the story!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Homestudy Update, Kate and Linny Deals, and Rags to Stitches Feature

We are off and running with our Homestudy!! After six months of waiting, it feels so good to finally be able to fill out paperwork (Though I know I probably won't be saying that for long).  These last few weeks have been a bit of a blur so I wanted to write it all down to make sure I don't forget a single detail :).

As of this weekend we are about 80% done with the paperwork side of our Homestudy. Our physicals are scheduled for this week and we're waiting for certified copies of our birth certificates and marriage license to come via snail mail. The parent training modules are actually really interesting and we're hoping to have all of our courses done by the end of this week. That leaves the personal application- a 22 page document full of questions about our family, marriage, childhood, faith, etc. It is pretty intense and requires a lot of quite time to think and then articulate those thoughts. Since "a lot of quite time" doesn't really exist in our house, this part of the Homestudy seems to be taking the longest...

Our goal is to have our Homestudy mailed out to our agency by mid-April. We are also trying to chip away at pieces of our Dossier as well, though that list will require at least 4 chalkboards to display. Geez Loueez.

On the fundraising side of things, we are BLOWN AWAY but the sales we continue to have at Standard Goods. Seriously, we thought our little leather shop would be a fun way to raise money during the holiday season but God definitely had other plans. Our leather goods are now on display at two local boutiques in Visalia, have been a featured deal on Brickyard Buffalo, and have been shipped to 35 states!!


This week we have two HUGE events going on for Standard Goods that we are hoping everyone will check out:

1. A handful of our products will be featured at Kate and Linny at discounted prices. Kate and Linny is a fabulous new online pop-up shop and the ladies running the show have been incredibly encouraging and gracious to us in wanting to share our shop and our story. 

2. I am being featured as the "Mompreneur of the week" at Kate and Linny. Head over to their blog to read my interview! 

3. Alissa at Rags to Stitches is featuring our story and highlighting our leather clutch on her blog today! You've got to see her beautiful pictures and read her sweet words about our adoption adventure. 

We are seriously so overwhelmed by the opportunities God is putting before us to share our products and our story and bring in the funds we need to bring our baby home. 

I am so excited to announce that as of this month, we are MORE THAN HALF WAY FUNDED!! 
Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Full Heart.

This morning I received a call from the Branch Director of our adoption agency. She was just checking in and wanting to encourage us in these early stages of our home study. She recalled how excited she was to move our names from the "Potential Family" white board to the "In Process" white board. She then told me about a recent file for a young child in China with limb difference and how each time she comes across a new file like that, she thinks of our family. She encouraged us to keep working hard on our fundraising so that we are able to accept a referral as soon as our dossier is submitted in August (we will need to write a $13,000 check to send in along with our acceptance). As I began to crunch the numbers in my head, I felt fear slowly start to creep it's slimy fingers into my heart. 

After the phone call I ran across town to pick Sawyer up from preschool. As we were walking to the car he was recalling his morning in chapel and said, "Mom, God's love casts out all fear." With that declaration of truth from my five-year-old I began to feel the grip of fear loosen. I was so thankful for the sweet reminder that because of God's love, I have NOTHING to fear. 

Not two minutes after we walked into the door of our house, I received a message from a family friend we've not seen in quite a while. They felt God calling them to donate to our adoption adventure and wanted our address. 

Fear = Gone. Heart = Full. 

Abba Father is going to get us to China. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year!

I'll be honest. This was the first Chinese New Year I actually paid a bit of attention to the fact that it was Chinese New Year. Man, I am excited to be adding this holiday to our family calender! Great food, fun colorful decorations, gifts, and family reunions are just a fraction of the good times had by all during what is also known as, "The First Day of the Great Year." It's crazy to think that next year we could be celebrating as a family of five!!!

Here are some fun facts I found when researching CNY:

Interesting Chinese New Year Facts:
Traditionally Chinese New Year lasted from the last day of the Chinese calendar to the 15th day of the first month.
It is a major Chinese holiday. In countries and territories that have high populations of Chinese, Chinese New Year is also celebrated. Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines are only a few.
Chinatowns in other cities also celebrate Chinese New Year.
The exact date of Chinese New Year changes each year because it originated in 2600 B.C. At that time people followed the lunar calendar.
The Chinese New Year is symbolic of letting go of the past and welcoming new beginnings. It's a popular time for spring cleaning.
Each year of the Chinese New Year calendar is named after an animal. This is a 12 year cycle. Once the 12 year cycle is over the animal list begins again. The list in order is: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.
As the longest festival in the Chinese calendar, Chinese New Year can last as many as 15 days. Children take an entire month off of school.
It's common for Chinese families to have a reunion dinner the night before Chinese New Year festivities begin.
The decorations used on doors and windows are red colored paper-cuts (made similar to the way we make snowflakes). The themes of these paper-cuts are of happiness, good fortune, longevity and wealth.
Firecrackers are popular during the Chinese New Year. They are thought to scare off evil spirits.
Children receive red envelopes full of money instead of wrapped gifts that other nationalities give at Christmas. The amount they receive is usually an even number. The amount cannot be divisible by four. In Chinese, the number 4 means death.
Dragon dances and street fairs are very popular. Dancers dress up as lions and dragons and perform for onlookers.
One of the traditional treats is a candied crab-apple on a stick.
Since the 1980s China Central TV broadcasts the celebration. This is an evening-long variety style show and it is watched by the entire country.
On the last day of Chinese New Year, everyone carries beautiful paper lanterns and walks along the streets. This is supposed to light the way for the New Year. This day is called Lantern Day.
In Singapore and Malaysia, Lantern Day is their form of Valentine's Day.
On Chinese New Year everyone is a year older. It doesn't matter when you were born; this is like a national birthday.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Citrus and Cream Feature

We are thrilled to be featured on the Citrus and Cream blog this week! A huge "thank you" to the gals running the show over there, they are doing a fabulous job of highlighting local businesses, products, and people.

I had so much fun with the interview questions and hope my answers help to create a more full picture of what we are working to accomplish through our Standard Goods products.

Please head over to the Citrus and Cream blog and check out our feature!! Hey and leave a comment, would ya?