Amazing – Fundraiser Results

I don’t even know where to begin with this post.  This past week has been a chaotic, stressful, exhausting, and challenging time for us.  We worked for three months sorting, pricing, packaging, planning for our fundraiser event.  We had no guidelines to work with.  We started with a simple rummage sale in our driveway to a bigger rummage sale at our church.  Then it expanded to serving foods/drinks, and then expanded again to having vendors sell at our event.  Which then expanded to a silent auction.  One simple idea kept getting bigger and bigger.  This whole journey has been incredible.  We have met some of the most gracious and amazing people.  When we asked for donations, we were provided with well over 100 families that had donated to us.  We asked for baked goods for our bake sale and received well over our needs.  When I reached out to vendors, so many perfect strangers were excited and willing to attend our event, donate silent auction baskets, donate their commission (or a portion of it), donate their time, share their excitement for us and the journey we are on.  Also, we received such amazing support from our church.  Everything we needed, they were there to help.  We give our many thanks to our pastor, to the church secretary, and anyone else who made our process successful, and for all the help they provided to us.  We made plenty of new friends throughout the past few months.

Now, don’t think this past few months has been sunshine and rainbows.  Haha.  We have been beyond busy.  This past week was a challenge, to say the least.  We had eight days to pick up over 50 tables to set up, so many boxes and items to transport (lots of larger pieces of furniture, too), sorting, pricing, planning where to set up the tables, what categories to have, etc.  We were blessed to receive help from our parents, some close friends, Christi’s boss and coworker, etc.  There were plenty of arguments due to lack of sleep and frustrations.  We started early and didn’t usually get home until close to 10pm most nights.  We functioned on eating one meal a day because we forgot to eat or were too busy to take a break.  We did share some laughs, too.  We got goofy at times, sometimes simply just from being over tired.

Then the fear kicked in.  Are we going to have enough room for everything?  Are we going to have enough tables?  Are we going to have enough room for all the vendors?  Will enough people show up?  What are we going to do with everything once the event is finished?  Are we going to receive enough helping hands during the event?  Are we going to receive any help to clean up?  Are we going to have good weather?  We prayed and prayed over every one of these questions, trying to hold onto faith that God is in control.  He put this desire in our hearts to adopt and have our family.  He has helped us every single step of the way as we went through this planning process.  Everything has worked itself out every single step we took.  The night before our event, we didn’t get to bed until after midnight, just to wake up a couple short hours later.  Trying to function when you are running on empty is, well, exhausting.  Running through our lists of things that still needed to be finalized… visit the store for last-minute items, making sure we have enough ice, getting our cash boxes ready, prepping the foods, packaging the bake sale items that were donated, setting up the silent auction, planning the spots for the vendors,  assisting the vendors in any way we can, etc.  You get the idea.

Then the event had officially started.  We saw so many new faces as well as familiar faces.  We had folks from our childhood show up; many we hadn’t seen in years!  We received so many donations for our adoption.  We met people who had also adopted or had been adopted or have known someone who had been adopted.  It was neat hearing the stories and about their experiences.  We received so many encouraging words.  It was so overwhelming, but in a beautiful way.  It is incredible to know how much support is out there for us; so many that are praying for us and are excited to follow us during this journey we are on.

Remember me saying that God has been there every step of the way?  He had provided for us.  He answered every single prayer; every single fear we had were taken care of.  We had plenty of room for everything.  We had just enough tables.  We had room for all the vendors.  We were blessed with more customers than we could have even imagined. We had friends and relatives show up and volunteer their time.  They helped guests load items to their vehicles, answer questions, assist us in ever way that we needed.  We had the most amazing weather both days of our event; not too hot, sunny, light breeze, etc.  Simply perfect.

During the first day of our event, we met this group of three individuals who were shopping for this incredible organization, Nation of Visions.  Nation of Visions Annual Summit is aimed at providing individuals, communities and organizations with inspirations, in-depth Leadership professional development workshops, networking, and community service opportunities.  They were looking for items that could be packed up and taken to Africa to help those in need there.  You can find them on Facebook by simply searching for “Nations of Visions”, and you can learn more about them on there.  Any who, we told them that if they were interested, they could come back at the end of our event and take whatever they needed for their mission.  We were already blessed with the donations, we wanted to share our blessings with them, too.

During our last day of our event, during the last hour, we saw this elderly couple going through everything, filling boxes upon boxes of stuff.  Out of curiosity, I went up to them joking around about how they “really like to shop”.  They explained to me, that they like to go to rummage sales and purchase items to donate to local shelters to help the women with children and the homeless.  They are such beautiful blessings from God, with hearts of gold.  We couldn’t even imagine charging them, since we ourselves planned to donate to charities as well.  We had them take whatever items they needed for their donation, and their faces lit up.  We received so many thanks, but it was us that should thank them for being such incredible examples of how people should be.

We had this little girl show up, shopping with her mother.  She found this toy carousel and was in love with it.  My mom was talking to her and this girl asked, “how much is this?”  My mom loves children and gave her a price.  She noticed the girl was paying with her own “hard-earned money” and pulled out some coins.  My mom didn’t have the heart to charge her the true value, so she said it was a quarter.  The girl was happy and paid that quarter and carried her new toy around while she watched her mother shop.  She came back a little later with another item and asked my mom how much this new item was.  My mom told her it was a quarter.  The girl was digging through her little bag and pulled out a quarter and handed it to my mom saying, “Here’s a quarter, but it’s a little dirty, hope that’s okay!”  The sweet innocence of this child, melted our hearts.  Jason went up to this girl with two bags and told her to put any toys she wanted in this bag, and it would all be free.  She asked him if he was serious, and of course he said he was.  She was thrilled!   After all, we were blessed with all these donations, why not share our good fortunes with those that may be in need?

When our final day of our event was coming to an end, it was time to clean up.  We looked around the room thankful that so much had sold, but there was still so much that still needed to be packed up and removed.  Our good friend who had been there to help during the week and both days of the event, offered to help stay and pack things up.  Then, before we could even stand up to start packing up, a friend of Jason’s, a fellow dartball player, showed up saying he was ready to help us clean up and take down tables.  Moments later, the group of three we saw during the first day from Nation of Visions showed up ready to go through the items and pack things up for their mission.  We shared stories about our journey through infertility and adoption. They prayed over us and shared their stories and more about their program.   We had my dad’s best friend’s take all the clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. to donate to the homeless shelter they volunteer at.  I guess recently they have run out of or are close to running out of the clothes they have available, and are in great need.  What incredible timing, since we obviously needed to get rid of the clothes we had left over.  We helped them load up so many garbage bags full of these items, and hope their needs are now met. The whole experience was amazing.  With the help we received, we had most of the gym all packed up and tables put back to their rightful places before we left for the day.  We ended our night with a wonderful, inspiring, amazingly powerful prayer that was prayed over us and the journey that is ahead of us, by the pastors from Nation of Visions.  We exchanged our contact information, so we could keep in touch and follow each others adventures.  We can continue to follow them and their program and they can follow us as we go through this adoption process.  Our Lord is amazing, and has provided for us in every way we needed.  Even ways we didn’t know we needed him.  He brought these individuals into our lives for a reason.

So to conclude, Jason and I had a monetary goal that we hoped we’d reach at the end of this event.  We are beyond thankful and happy to say that we not only reached this goal, but we went over this goal.  We still have other donations that have been coming in and still need to receive money from silent auction baskets and other vendors that said they would donate some of their commission to us from their sales.  We still have a ways to go to reach our ultimate goal, but we couldn’t be any more thankful for the outcome we received from this adoption fundraiser event.  Thank you to everyone that has helped us.  Whether you donated your items, donated baked goods, donated silent auction baskets, donated your time, donated money, prayed for us, etc.  Thank you to my retired bosses church for their donation of items, to our old church for their donations of items, to our church, to friends and family, and even strangers.  If we are forgetting to list anyone, we still thank you, too! We couldn’t have done all of this without you, and we could never thank you all enough!

God’s blessings to you all.

P.S.  As I am typing this, it is raining outside.  I even heard a couple rumbles of thunder out there.  Thank you God for giving us our two beautiful days and bringing the rain AFTER our event.  How amazing is that?!

Here are a couple pictures from our event that were shared by a good friend of ours.

 

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Quick Update

We’ve been pretty quiet on the blog lately, mainly because we have been very busy. Besides every day life of working and managing the home, we have been busy sorting through all the donated items.  We have been trying to categorize items and box things up so we can make room for the many more donations that are due to arrive.  Plus, we are still in the planning stages for our fundraiser event.  Organizing the vendors for the small business sales, the silent auction baskets, bake sale, etc.  It’s a lot to take on with not as much help as we’d like.  We cannot believe we are less than two months away!  There is still so much to do, and we’re feeling very overwhelmed.  We have to keep reminding ourselves that all this work will pay off in the end and that this whole process is very much worth the end result.  We have a very long road ahead of us; this fundraising event is only the beginning.  We will be attending an orientation seminar at the end of July for the agency and from there we will know what is next for us.  Stay tuned!

Lists and More Lists

I am the type of person who enjoys making lists.  I have always been an organized person.  I always had my movies in alphabetical order, books in alphabetical order, etc.  Everything had its place and purpose.  I create lists about basically everything.  I have a sense of satisfaction when I can cross things off my lists.  I feel accomplished.  Jason, on the other hand, is not an organized person, which is completely okay.  He can handle things being out-of-order and not perfect.  I guess, in a way, we kind of balance each other out.

One of my sisters loves to tease me because of all my lists.  She says I need to loosen up and just enjoy life.  She is similar to Jason in the manner of they are both more laid back individuals.  They kind of go with the flow and let life happen.  I tend to get worked up if I don’t reach my goals or complete all the items on my list.  I don’t like to feel like I failed by not completing tasks.  Jason and my sister would be perfectly content with having items not checked off their lists.  They would simply get to those tasks another day, and if not, then oh well.  Last year my sister and I started a goal to read books.  She had a goal of reading one book a month, and I decided to read 100 books in a year.  First thing I did?  Created a list of books I wanted to read.  Then as I completed books, I created a list of books completed.  Then a list of books I wanted to read.  The lists kept growing, and they continue to grow.  My sister joked and said I was taking the fun out of reading by having my lists.  I liked the challenge of having the lists and crossing things off my list.  Then as the year 2016 was ending, it was an amazing feeling knowing I could cross off my 100th book and even exceed my goal by reaching 106 books in one year.

During this adoption journey, you can bet your bottom dollar that I have lists.  I have lists of items that need to be taken care of for the fundraiser event we are planning.  I have lists of vendors we have.  List of people and organizations that have donated items.  Lists of items that need to be gathered for our application and home study process.  Lists of things I still want done around the house.  Lists, lists, and more lists.

As I’m sure you can imagine, I like my life organized and planned out.  I like to be in control of things.  So you can even further imagine what it was like when my life wasn’t going according to plan.  I created lists of things I wanted accomplished before we started a family.  I checked items off one by one.  When the time came where we were “ready” to start a family, it was very frustrating that nature wasn’t letting things happen.  Now I can sit back and laugh (a little).  While I was creating these lists and planning my life, God was probably laughing away.  God has our life planned out for us.  No matter how hard we try, we can’t change what his plans are for us.  We just have to trust and have faith.

I have always wanted a big family, and have actually thought about the idea of adopting many times, well before I even met Jason. After Jason and I met, I told him many times that I want a house full of kids.  I tell this story all the time, but I will share it again in case you never heard it before.  We went through our marriage counseling, and the Pastor asked us how many kids we both wanted.  Right away my response was “At least six!”  Jason quietly replied, “I don’t know.  Maybe two.”  I countered his response with, “The lowest I can go with is four”. This story cracks me up.  No matter how hard I try to plan things out, things just didn’t work the way I wanted.  But, this does not mean the doors have been shut for us.  We can hopefully still have the family we wanted.  Whether it’s one child, two children or the full six that I always wanted.  I’m so excited to meet our future children and bond with them in a way I can’t even imagine.  Yes, I have a list of personality traits or hobbies that I do look for when reading all the children’s profiles, but it does not mean I would say no to a child that doesn’t “match” with my list.  I am beyond curious to see what child(ren) God places in our lives.

So, are you more like Jason and my sister, or more like me?  Anyone else obsessed with lists?

So Many Children in the World

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Not sure if you know, but there is a website online where you can view the profile of children that are available for adoption called http://www.adoptuskids.org.  There are pages upon pages of children that are looking for a loving and forever home; it’s a bit heartbreaking.  All these children want is to have parents who will care for them and keep them safe. I check this website randomly to see who is added or who has been removed (I’m assuming they have been adopted, so hooray for them!).  I seriously cannot help but to fall in love with all these children! I wish I had unlimited funds and a home large enough to adopt every single one of them. I know that sounds a tad bit crazy, but my heart turns to mush and full of so much compassion seeing all these children.  Reading each child’s profile and questioning if they could “fit in” with us and our lifestyle.  While reading every single profile, I smile when I find a child that would be perfect for us.  The simple mention of LEGOs, and I imagine Jason building LEGO sets with the children.  Or when the profile mentions the children want a home with cats; I smile because we have four kitties that these children can love on.  I am reminded by a Bible verse, Matthew 19:14, “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Even though I know we cannot give all these children a home, I know that they are in God’s hands.  Jesus has his arms around these children. I truly believe that there are children out there that would absolutely perfect for us.  I cannot wait for the chaotic household, where we are chasing after our children, telling them to get their homework done, to clean up their rooms, to stop picking on each other, to eat their food, to do their chores, etc.  I’m sure I will complain and change my tone once we are in those situations, but for now, I look forward to those days.  I also look forward to the cuddles, the sweet hugs, and comforting them if they get an owwie or are simply having a bad day.

On Saturday, we spent a couple of hours with our friends and their four children enjoying lunch and walking around the mall.  Children are children and of course will act out, but I loved how great our friends are with parenting.  They know how to handle their children in a calm matter and tend to know exactly what their children need (at least that’s how it looks to me).  I couldn’t help but smile while watching different situations that would arise; imagining how Jason and I would handle those situations.  I’m very grateful that we have plenty of friends and relatives with children around us, and that we will have plenty of opportunities to ask for advice from them.

As for the rest of our weekend…not much fun took place. We took care of things around the house such as mowing the lawn, laundry, tidying up, and then we did our weekly grocery shopping trip. We live such exciting lives! Haha It was nice to take a break from planning for our fundraising event, and just have some quiet down time before our lives get insanely busy the next couple months.  It was getting to the point where I would wake up from my sleep with anxiety about everything that needs to get done.  Whew! Just need to take a deep breath and breathe.

Until next time. xoxo

Asking for Help

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As most of our friends and family know, we aren’t good at asking for help.

In fall 2012, after the miscarriages, I got very sick. I ended up getting shingles in my inner ear which triggered a vestibular disorder called labyrinthitis.  It happened completely out of nowhere; loud ringing in my ears, loss of balance to the point I couldn’t walk, dizziness, excessive vomiting, lost hearing in one ear, loss of head control (basically a bobble-head effect), etc.  It was one of the scariest moments I have ever experienced.  How you can be perfectly fine one moment, and then bam, this hits.  Through the tears and throwing up, I was questioning Jason as to what we should do. Something was obviously not right.  We decided on calling 911 to have an ambulance come and get me.  Once we got to the hospital, they ran a bunch of tests on me and couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong.  An Ears, Nose, Throat (ENT) doctor was called, and he kind of took thinks lightly, almost as if I was faking this.  I was sent home with a bunch of medications, a walker, and scripts for in-home occupational therapist and physical therapist.  Mind you, I was only newly 27 years old at the time.  After about a week, there was still no change.  I then had to see my primary doctor and was sent back to the ENT.  Once the ENT doctor saw me, his tone changed and he even said “Wow, this is much more serious than I thought.”  I did some research before I saw this doctor and saw that shingles could bring on labyrinthitis, so I mentioned that I had a rash on my hand after the miscarriage and that I have had shingles in the past.  He realized I was not given the right medicine and gave me a new one.  Some things started to slowly clear up, but still ringing of one ear, hearing loss in that ear, loss of balance and dizziness, which meant I was still stuck using that walker.  I did more extensive physical therapy and eventually saw a speech therapist because I was experiencing cognitive delay.  As you can imagine, this was a horribly difficult time.  Not only did I miscarry our twins, but my whole body was basically falling apart. I was beyond depressed, and was at a loss of what to do. I called our pastor and basically sobbed on the phone to him.  He was incredible.  He listened and he gave me wonderful words of comfort.  I decided, it’s not about “me” fixing things, it’s about me handing everything over to God.  I couldn’t do things on my own anymore; I needed God to “take the wheel”. I stopped saying, “I can’t do this”, and focused on “I can”.  After 8 months of using the walker and teaching myself how to walk again, I finally walked without the walker. Such an amazingly, proud moment.  Unfortunately, the tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and loss of hearing in that ear is permanent, but I am so thankful that I can walk and function again.  My labyrinthitis is considered “cleared”, but since it was so severe, it basically changed to a new vestibular disorder called Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD).  What I experience is far from severe; sometimes I will have random moments where I feel dizzy for a few minutes and my anxiety picks up.  I just need to sit back, breathe slowly, and relax and then everything kind of goes back to normal.  This disorder is very much treatable with medicine and would cause no issues with being a mother and raising a family.  I am not on medicine for this right now; mainly because my situation isn’t bad enough.  I have come to know what triggers my dizziness and try to avoid these triggers.

Now, as you can imagine, everything I went through was far from easy.  I had to get out of my comfort zone and accept the help from the occupational therapist, the physical therapists, speech therapist, doctors, and family.  My parents were awesome during all of this;  my parents made us meals and my mom came over to do our cleaning.  My mom drove me to all my appointments and hung out with me during the day before she went to work (2nd shift).  I had to get out of my comfort zone and Type A personality, and accept this help.  My husband…I cannot thank him enough for everything he did for me. He was my rock and strength. These eight, hard months, brought us much closer together. I learned, more than ever, that I can depend on him during hard times.  His encouragement and love was everything I could ask for, and more.  Not only was this scary for me, but I’m sure it was very scary for him, too, to watch his wife basically fall apart and knowing he couldn’t fix me.  He sat there, day after day, listening to my cry and yell and scream about how life wasn’t fair.  When I began to question God, he was there to help me through that, too.  I seriously could not thank Jason enough.

So what does this have to do with our adopting?  Well, we had to step out of my comfort zone of asking for help, and actually ask for help. We asked for help with donations for our rummage/fundraising event we’re planning. We asked for help with financial donations.  Asking for help from vendors/home sales businesses for our silent auction.  Talk about sounding like an annoying, pest.  This is not like us at all. We usually try to take care of our own business and do things on our own.  But, we had to realize that adoption isn’t about “just us”, anymore.  We do have to depend on family and friends to help us through this.  Adopting is a huge decision, and we definitely need the help and support of our family, friends, and heck, even strangers.  We apologize if we come off sounding annoying.  With that said, thank you to everyone that has been helping us!! We cannot thank you enough!