Thursday, January 31, 2013

5 Months Waiting!

Today we have been "officially" waiting on Malachi for 5 months!! It seems like time has flown and crept by all in one! But regardless, we are 5 months closer to our little man :))

Looking back at our adoption timeline, on Jan 30, 2012 - we began our Home study paperwork and on Jan 31, 2012- our adoption agency assigned us a family coordinator!


I cannot believe its been a YEAR since we officially began this journey! It's been a good, tough, refining year and I'm looking forward to all that 2013 has in store!

We celebrate moving up one spot on the "unofficial" waiting list. Our agency's movement this month was s.l.o.w. with only 2 referrals going out and I'm not sure what age/gender those were.
We moved up one spot on the infant (0-12 mos) list because a family switched from being open to both genders to only wanting a girl- so everyone in line for boys slid up a spot.
I will piggyback on that statement and take note that I haven't mentioned the toddler list much (age 18-24 mos). A while back we were #36 on this list... However, we are now like #40! So I've decided not to even mention it til we get back down to our original number :)
Why, you ask?
We moved backwards 4 spots on the toddler list because people ahead of us changed their parameters. For example: a family who was only open to a 0-12 mos child may have expanded their parameters to 0-4 years old so they then slid in front of us on the toddler list. We have seen some shifting in parameters lately for various reasons (increased wait time being a huge reason).

So don't be confused when I only give 1 number... Then all of a sudden switch to 2 :)

Lastly, this next thing is a total copycat from another blogger I follow. She did this last year and it turned out super cute so I am going to TRY to do it! "TRY" being the key word here.

At the end of each month she recaps some family highlights from the month and quickly puts them into a collage.
Then at the end of the year you have a little mini scrapbook!
Quick, easy and fun.

So here is my January 2013!

From left to right:

Miller learned how to "pucker his lips"

My book was revised and is officially for sale!

SNOW!! (at work)

Miller fishing with daddy

#74 on waiting list!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Thoughts about Life

I'm not real sure where the thoughts for this post come from. So excuse my randomness.

For some reason lately I've been thinking this same question in different contexts: "What is the meaning of life? What is the purpose?"

I could attempt to answer this in a Sunday School way: to love and live for God.
Or I could attempt to answer it in a theological way: actually no I won't :) I'd bomb that!

I love to think deeply. And I love questions like this because they not only challenge me to evaluate my perspective on life, but these questions also challenge me to grow.

There must be more to this life than keeping up with the latest fashion, excelling in your career, checking off a To Do List day in and day out, making more money, buying a better house/car/boat whatever, have a million friends on Facebook or being popular.

Solomon, the wisest man on earth, said that he denied himself nothing this world could offer, and in the end... It was a chasing after the wind.

About a year ago, our small group went to We Will Go (a ministry in downtown Jackson). On Sunday afternoons around 3:00, this ministry has an outdoor church service for the people of Jackson.
The setting: the missionaries' backyard.
Many people in the crowd are literally homeless. Others are stricken by poverty. Churches sometimes send groups to help serve and pray. Everyone is welcome.

Our group Prayer Walked before the service began, then we were asked to be seated (separately) so that we could meet/greet people as they arrived for worship. I found a seat and began scanning the crowd as people arrived. I wondered what their stories were. I smiled and said hello to the few people who came within speaking distance to my seat. One man in particular caught my eye. He arrived by himself. He slowly walked toward the chairs.

I watched him.

He wore a plain black toboggan, a green jacket, and blue jeans- no logos. He gave sincere smiles to those who passed by. He seemed solemn and quiet, yet very engaged. No one sat with him. I wondered what his story was. What had brought him here?

Everyone engaged in worship.

That man. I could not figure out why he had caught my eye. Why was I intrigued by him? He looked no different than the other people who had gathered to worship.

Yet still. I watched him.

Then it hit me.

I KNOW this man. His face, his name, it's all rising from my memory.

But what is he doing here?
A Sunday afternoon at 3:00.
He appears to be alone, not with a church group.

My curiosity raised to a whole new level.

This man. He is a very well known surgeon in the Jackson area. He is exceptionally talented and well respected.

What happened next was beautiful.

The missionaries invited everyone who attended church to stay for a hot meal. They pulled out the tables right there in the backyard. My group had kiddos and they were getting restless (as it was now near 5:30) so we had to leave.

But as I left, I caught a glimpse of beauty.

I assumed this man may leave too, as he was not in physical need of a meal. But he didn't. He stayed. Not only did he stay, but I saw him begin serving the people by handing out plates, etc.

Again I watched him.

What he did next caught me off guard. He stopped serving and sat down with all of these people whose socioeconomic status was polar opposite of his. He sat down with them and dined. He shared a meal as family and friends. These people had no idea about the knowledge and skills that this man possessed.

And guess what?

It didn't matter.

They were eating with their brother in Christ. And that was all that mattered.

This surgeon. I wonder if he has discovered a small portion of the secret to life? The beauty that makes life all that it is. The joy of being the hands and feet of Christ. The reality that one day we will stand before our Creator and give account for our lives.
Perhaps he has discovered that there is more to life than excelling at your career, making more money, buying fancy things and increasing your popularity. Perhaps he has discovered that true happiness and fulfillment comes when you forget your life and begin to engage in the lives of others.

You see... I sometimes get it all confused. I want to serve by extending my hand. I want to reAch out and "give." I want to stand behind a table and "serve." I want to keep a distance. Not intentionally. But that's how it manifests. And most of the time, I feel like that's enough.

But is it?

I think God calls us to enter in. To not only serve, but to sit down and engage. To dine. To get outside ourselves. To love others.

If I want to see beauty, if I want to discover the secret to life, I have to be willing to enter in.

Matthew 25:37-40

"Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

"The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Friday, January 25, 2013

One Happy Girl

Look what I received in the mail today??

It's the REVISED version of my book! So very excited! I actually purchased this one off Barnes and just to double check and make sure they had switched to selling the revised versions, and they have!! So excited!

So my book is OFFICIALLY back on the market and if you purchase it, it will be the revised copy.

I want to GREATLY apologize to all off you sweet people who bought my book before I realized there had been a mistake! I learned a great "author lesson."
"Do not tell about your book until you have a hard copy in your hands. Computers can be tricky!"

I would love to make it up to y'all somehow, so if you bought the original copy of my book and you desire to have a revised copy... Contact me and I will try to get you one!

Again, I'm so sorry!

Please pray for God's glory in this small children's book. Several moms have contacted me about this book because their children have/had helmets. My heart is just simply to bless these families! So if you know them, share with them!

Book is for sale on

Barnes and


Trafford Publishing

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Do You Know These People?

In January 2012, Lee and I began telling friends and family of our plans to adopt. Yes! One year ago we filled out paperwork and officially began this journey! It's hard to believe that an entire year has already passed.

Emotions ran wild in January 2012. We received multiple responses from friends and family regarding our adoption decision. Some good. Some not so good.

Excited. Sad. Frustrated. Nervous. Anxious. The list of emotions we were experiencing went on and on.

An overarching theme ran through mine and Lee's conversations during the course of the months that followed.
Please God or please people?
Seems like a simple answer. But, my oh my, is it one of the most complex forks in the road that is present in everyone's life to some degree.

We were at this fork in the road.

Never before had I stood in this place with such strong, life changing emotions filling my soul. Daily we laid down things right there at the fork and had to choose. God or People.
We laid down relationships, social status, a status quo future, etc. etc.
We wept (literally) as we laid each of these down. I have never felt the voice of God whisper so plainly to me as I did in those days... "Abby, do you love me more?" I repeated out loud over and over "yes"... "yes" God I love you more.
It was a whisper at first... "yes."
A whisper that came from an exhausted soul. Eyes filled with tears. Mourning the potential "loss" of so much that was comfortable to me.. The potential loss of relationships with people that I loved.

And He was there. Delighting to meet us at every corner. Filling our difficult days with unbelievable sweetness that could only come from Him.

Constant whispers of encouragement that rang in our ears... "keep walking kids. Keep walking. Don't look back!"

Breathe in. Breathe out. One foot in front of the other.

One particular night of encouragement to keep moving forward began with a difficult day. A difficult day that left Lee and I sitting in the living room saying, "we feel so alone. I wish we could talk to someone who understood."
But we didn't know anyone personally.

"Oh yeah, Lee, do you remember that couple who led our adoption class tat church? I think I am friends with her on Facebook for some reason."

A desperate facebook message to a sweet girl we had only briefly met, ended with an invitation to dinner at their house one night that week!

As we pulled into their neighborhood, Lee said, "so remind how YOU know these people."
I laughed and said, "umm I don't KNOW either often. I know OF them."
Lee laughed and said, "oh well! We have to talk to SOMEBODY!" as we pulled into the drive hoping we had found the right house.

They greeted us with hugs and our night began.

After the ice was broken, the husband said, "As y'all were on your way over here I asked my wife how she knew y'all." She replied, "I don't, but I love it that they are coming to chat!"

We all laughed as we had had the same conversation.

We left that night encouraged and excited to keep walking the journey to our son!

A friendship began.

Can I just tell y'all that we LOVE this couple? They are leaders in our church. They have been such a blessing to us over the past year!

And today. Approx ONE year after we stepped foot into their home, this sweet couple landed in Ethiopia last night!! They will meet their son and go to court for his adoption over the course of the next few days! I am rejoicing in God's faithfulness in their journey!

Would you please pray for them over the next few days?
Pray for bonding and attachment with their son.
Pray for an easy court process.
Pray for their hearts as they have to return without their son on this first trip!

Thank you so much for praying!

Monday, January 14, 2013

E-Meals - Budget Series

I know it has been a long time, but there were still a few things I wanted to post on my "budget series." If you missed the first blog post in this series you can view it HERE!

God continues to work on Lee and I regarding the importance of being good stewards and managing the things He has given us.

He is teaching us to be good stewards (we are still far, far away from that).
He is teaching us to trust in Him as provider.
He is teaching us to give out of NEED, not only out of EXCESS.
He is teaching us to budget when we have very, very little and to continue budgeting when we have more.
The better we manage our "stuff," the more we can give to those in need.

Like I said. I am just beginning to learn the surface of what God wants to teach me on money.

In these "budget series" posts, I am just a beggar, trying to tell another beggar where I found the bread :))

For today....


I doubt that you had warm, fuzzy feelings arise when you read those two words :)
If you did, good for you!

Grocery shopping is C.R.A.Z.Y.

I can go... spend hundreds of dollars... and barely have ingredients for a healthy dinner that night - much less for the whole week!

When we first went on budget, we knew that groceries was one area that could fluctuate.
For example: Car note - same every month. House note - same every month.
That's not the case for groceries.
So we began our journey with figuring out how to frugally, but effectively grocery shop!

Y'all this is one area that has challenged me, grown me and amazed me all in one. There has been (and continues to be) a big learning curb in this area. These are some things that have worked for us.

1) Shop intentionally - you have to say "no" to spontaneous spending. It's hard. It's harder than I would have ever imagined to walk through the store constantly having to say "no" to my desire to spend.
2) Shop with a plan - This is where E-meals came in for us. A sweet, sweet friend introduced me to E-Meals and it has literally been the BEST blessing ever for a new wife and mom just learning how to cook and shop. Obviously, E-meals is not paying me to advertise and this may not work for your family, but here is the link in case you're interested. Dave Ramsey approves :))

Dave Ramsey's thoughts on emeals

Emeals Home Page

3) Buy what you need to survive - This took time for us to figure out, but we finally discovered exactly how many meals, diapers, toilet paper, milk, etc., etc. we needed to get through 2 weeks (since our pay periods are every 2 weeks). We shop at the beginning of the pay period. We shop intentionally and with a plan, and it prevents us from making multiple runs to the store within a pay period. This helps because everyone knows that you walk into the store to get ONE item and leave with TEN!! We have cut back so much by just "having everything" already.

4) Coupon if you can - I am not a big couponer, but I will use them if I can. Don't roll your eyes if you're only saving a few dollars! It's helps.

These were just some of the ways we got started with a budget! We have progressed and found other ways to achieve this as well, particularly in the cooking category :) God cares about my finances. Jesus talked more about money than He did heaven and hell combined. He cares about our stewardship. He is teaching me to care.

Future posts:
Freezer cooking
Homemade STUFF

No updates in the adoption arena. We are sitting strong at number 75! Please continue to pray for movement and for children to be placed in forever families!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Hey sweet friends!

As many of you know from my last blog post, I recently wrote a children's book. It has been for sale and I have been anxiously awaiting my personal copy. I told people about the book because I had reviewed it 200 times!! It looked great on computer! I figured there was no way that it could get messed up :)

Well.... unfortunately, what looks right on computer is wrong in print secondary to small issues. The dedication page was placed with the first illustration which threw the whole book off by one page (wrong font with illustrations). It's not horrible, and still reads in correct order, but I am currently working very hard with my publishing company to get this corrected!!

Please wait to purchase until I give the go ahead for the revised copy!

I am so so so so sorry to the people who have already purchased!

Please contact me if you have any questions!

Thanks for all the awesome support.

Many lessons learned on this first book thing :))

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Little Secret :)

As you can tell by the title of this post, I have had a little secret for the past several months!

NOOO.... I am not pregnant :)

I have been fast at work writing a sweet little children's book! It officially went on sale this past week! Sadly, I haven't gotten a copy in the mail yet (my publisher is slower than Amazon and Barnes & Noble!) I should have just ordered a copy off there! Anyway :)

Here's a sneak peek at the front cover.... be warned... it's P.R.E.C.I.O.U.S!

I know. I know. Some of you are probably thinking or responding like friends and family did!
"Abby, what in the world?!?!"
"where did this even begin!"

So here's the story behind this little book!

In September, as we neared the end of Miller's journey in the helmet, Lee and I began having short conversations that went something like this:
"How are we going to tell Miller about his helmet when he gets older?"
"Maybe a photo album?"

Randomly one day I thought, "surely someone has written a children's book about plagiocephaly! There are children's books about everything!"
So I began to search. And search. And search.
The ONLY book I could find was written several years ago by a mother, but her book was only available as an e-book now. I needed a tangible book!
So I gave up.
But my mind didn't stop churning!
Before I knew it, I had developed a manuscript in my head. (insert feeling insane at this point).
Insanity drove me to action, so I went to the only place I knew to go: GOOGLE

I think I typed the words "how to write a children's book" :)))
Research. Prayer. Research. Prayer.
Talking to Self-Publishering companies via email and phone.
No one in the world knew about my crazy wanna write a children's book thoughts (except God).

Then one day... as Lee and I were painting... I popped the question!
"Lee, I think I want to write a children's book."
Lee smiled. "okay. About what?"
"Miller's helmet"
I seriously have an amazing, supportive husband! He never thinks I am "too" crazy.

I did not write this book to "make money" (that actually makes me laugh because the percentage we receive off of each sale if very, very small!) We put more money into this book than I forsee us ever making!

I DID write this book to encourage other families who have children with plagiocephaly. I also wrote it to educate people about plagiocephaly. I so longed for some encouragement when Miller had his helmet. I would have loved and cherished a sweet children's book. I wrote this book to bless other moms! Over the past few months I have ran into moms in public with little boys in little blue helmets. It has been an honor for me to look those mamas in the eyes and say "what's your address... I am going to send you a book in the mail!"

Lee and I are excited about this book. We are excited about the education and blessing it will be to other families. I cannot wait to deliver copies to Miller's doctors and orthotists!

I will insert here that this was a SELF-PUBLISHED book... meaning, I called a company and asked them to publish it. Self-publishing companies will take anyone, as long as you pay :)
So do not think that I presented this to some Traditional company and they thought it was so good that they published it... hahaha!! Not at all how it went :)

My publisher is Trafford Publishing Company. They have many third party re-sellers who have my book for sale as well. I HONESTLY do not know what all companies or book stores have it for sale. I DO know of the below 4 places. You can click the links to see the book.
I did not name the retail price. My publishing company had complete control over that. I would have sold them for 5 dollars! :)
I "think" Barnes and Noble has the least expensive I have seen (other than the e-book).

I am suppose to have a website and facebook page up and running soon. I will let you know when they get that completed.

Also, all of the books online are paperback books. I BEGGED for hardback, but that wasn't an option at the time. HOWEVER, once I see the book in print and approve, I will be able to order hardbacks and sell them myself. I plan to order a bulk of them and sell for lowest price I can. Let me know if you would be interested in one of these!

Tell whoever you want to about the book! Please, please tell your sweet friends who have babies wearing helmets!!

Below are the links where book is for sale!




TRAFFORD (my publisher)


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

4 months DTE

December 31 marked 4 months of being on the official waiting list with our agency! We are thankful to be 4 months closer to our little man! How much longer you ask??
A lot! Our agency is telling us to anticipate 24-30 months of official waiting.
30-4 = 26 more months

We are praying that the Lord will move mountains on behalf of the orphans in Ethiopia! We pray that we meet Malachi sooner than later. 26 more months isn't set in stone, however, we are preparing to wait as long it takes!

It's funny how we make plans for our life and then we give our life to God and He totally uproots our plans! He changes them into His plans. This "wait" and journey of adopting our son is constantly refining us and teaching us to say "not our will, but Yours" to the Lord.

On a sweet note! Miller can say "Chi." He points to our countdown wall in the kitchen and with his country little accent he says "Chiiiii."
Of course, at this point he only thinks that Chi is the countdown wall... but it makes my heart smile to hear him say Chi and to begin the process of teaching him about his brother!

Happy New Year!