It’s Been Awhile

A lot has taken place since our last update.

  • We replaced our washer/dryer and oven.  We found a scratch and dent place about 30-40 minutes from our house and will definitely go back for other items as needed.  We saved quite a bit of money shopping there.  After spending too much money every month at the laundromat for almost a year, it was time to finally buy a new machine.  Our dryer has been kind of frumpy lately, too, so we decided to replace it and purchase a set instead of dealing with replacing it later.  Then our stove decided to die on us, too.  So back to the store we went.
  • We went out to the tennis courts to hit a few balls around.  I used to play tennis way back in the day and have been wanting to drag Jason out to the courts for awhile.  It was a fun but tiring experience.  We both could hit the ball but with very little aim. It was definitely a good workout!
  • We had our custom ordered loveseat ordered and delivered from Biltrite.  We love this place.  You get to pick out the fabric/colors you want and whatever styles you like.  Our items have a lifetime warranty on everything, and it’s heavy-duty Amish made.
  • Installed curtains in all our rooms to hopefully save some energy this winter.
  • My sister came to visit us around Labor Day and we had fun bowling, golfing, playing pool and shuffleboard, etc with her.  This was my second time out at a golfing range and it was an interesting experience.  We were all a bit rusty. haha  Plus it didn’t help that it was insanely hot and humid outside.
  • Jason bought me some beautiful sunflowers for my birthday.  I absolutely love sunflowers and it was the perfect gift for me.
  • We celebrated mine and Jason’s birthdays in September.  We had a delicious dinner with hibachi for my birthday and Brazilian steakhouse for Jason’s birthday.  I absolutely love hibachi foods and usually only get to enjoy this for my birthday.  We tried out the steakhouse and it was delicious.  We’ve never been to a Brazilian steakhouse before, but I think we’d go back again.  I’m not a huge meat eater, but it was fun trying out the different meat selections.
  • We had a big end of the year volleyball tournament the end of September.  We didn’t play so great, but we all had fun.  We were at the tournament for five hours and were very much exhausted when it was done.
  • We attended a huge classic car show earlier in October.  Over 555 cars!  It was awesome.  We made it just over halfway through and were too tired to continue on.  After playing five hours of volleyball the day before, we were wiped out.
  • We participated in the Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to celebrate/support Jason as he is in remission from his CLL.
  • We finished writing the last of all our thank you’s from our adoption event from July.  (Yes we’re a bit late on doing this)
  • We paid off 2 more of my school loans!  That makes it 4 down and 3 to go!  Our plan is to be as close to debt free (besides our mortgage) by the time we adopt our kiddos.
  • And lastly and most importantly, we finished our first round of our adoption application and sent it out in the mail!  You can read about this experience, here.

So what’s next for us?  We’re coming up on our 11yr wedding anniversary this coming weekend, and then next week will be 15 yrs from when we met and started dating.  We look forward to our annual tradition of doing our scenic fall drive throughout our state.  It’s a great time for us to talk and catch up with each other and learn new things about each other.  As for our adoption process, we get to wait and see how our first application goes and hopefully receive a letter that we have been approved for the next step.

Here are a few pictures from our experiences the past few months.  Stay tuned!

 

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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.

 

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!