Wednesday, January 16, 2013

CrossRoads in Life: Small Town, USA

CrossRoads in Life: Small Town, USA: So, it's been a while since I've blogged.  I'm so not a good blogger.  Anyway, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's were amazing as always...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Small Town, USA

So, it's been a while since I've blogged.  I'm so not a good blogger.  Anyway, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's were amazing as always, however, I was a bit of a grinch this year.  That's right, I didn't do Christmas thought was, "who wanted to see me and the hubby on a card?"  Bad attitude, I know!

But, we all survived without our card, right?  Not much on the adoption home front.  It is definitely a time of testing for both Scott and myself.  We get several phone calls for a month and then for 3 months...NOTHING!  Some times, I am laughing and crying (at the same time). 

I knew this was gonna be a time that my faith and patience would be tested.  I just didn't realize the extent of the testing.  But, I am convinced, that my God will come through.  He's been tried and tested, time after time, and He has always proven Himself to be, well, God!

When I was a teenager (not that long ago), I hated Butler.  I couldn't wait to leave and NEVER, EVER come back.  This small town was horrible and I hated it. 

Amazing how things change when your priorities change.  When I accepted Christ as my Savior, I couldn't wait to move back to Butler.  Here, I was close to my family, I knew everyone and I needed a small town. Maybe you're thinking "needed a small town? Is she crazy?"

Yes, I am.   I love knowing my precious neighbors (actually the whole neighborhood) who keep a watch out for me and for my home.  I love knowing that my sister and her family are right around the corner (literally) and my mom is right up the street.  I love the personal relationship Scott and I have with Toni, our friend and future daycareprovider.  I adore the fact that we call our Pastors and their wives, not just our church leaders, but our friends and we consider them family.  I love knowing the people who come in and out of our church, those who worship beside us,  pray with us and for us, those who are there any time we need them.  I'm amazed every time some little children run up, hug us and call us "Aunt Amy and Uncle Scott." 

I love going to the bank, cleaners, grocery store, dollar store, post office and knowing those friendly people, usually on a first name basis. 

I love my little hair salon, kinda reminds me of Truvy's in the movie Steel Magnolia.  Where everybody knows everybody and it feels like family.  Work, most days, doesn't feel like work, but more like good times with good friends.  I love the people I work with and I love the ones we work on.  I never would have imagined that I would one day love Butler, but I do.

And today, more that ever, I appreciate small town life.  With tear-filled eyes, I look at Facebook, and see all the tee-shirt orders that are being placed to help offset the costs of our adoption, and I am amazed.  That sense of family that only a small town can bring, I feel that today.  I know why God has placed us here in this town, in this state, among all these wonderful people: He has great plans for a little baby to call this place Home.  He has plans for a little baby to have that same sense of family, not just us and our families, but ALL of you.  God always has great, great plans...We are forever grateful to each of you for your help, your prayers and your support.  Please continue to lift us up and to glorify and thank God in the process.

We are so blessed to live in Small Town, USA...and we love each of you, our family!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Just a Little Talk with Jesus

I really didn't want to get out of bed this morning.  But, decided to get up do Insanity and go for a walk and talk with God.  I have a lot of things on my mind these days and it's so important for me to get it all out with an ever-listening God. 

I've been reading a book called Kisses from Katie and I recommend it to anyone who likes to read.  I bought it on Saturday and I am half-way done.  Her faith encourages me and inspires me.  She is a young missionary to Uganda and has adopted 13 girls.  WOW!  A single, young mom in a foreign land...I can't imagine!  One part of the book that has pierced my heart is where she talks about the money she needs to send 140 children to school, run a household of 13 girls, pay employees and run her business.  Her faith is HUGE!

It made me rethink some things this morning on my walk and talk with the Lord.  He reminded me of His faithfulness to Daniel in the lion's den, the Hebrew boys in the fire and the Israelites who were being chased by Pharaoh's army (who drowned) but the Israelites crossed over on dry land (their feet didn't even get wet).  He reminded me of Mary, the virgin who had HUGE faith,  giving birth to the Son who would save the world.

True, I'm not being chased by Pharaoh's army, captured in a furnace, raising 13 girls by myself in a foreign country or about to be eaten by a lion,  but I do face situations and circumstances in my own life that I need an increased measure of faith.

There are days that I firmly believe my God can and "will supply all of my needs according to His riches in glory" and that He will "give me the desires of my heart" and "direct our footsteps."  Then, there are other days, that I like Mary, question God and say "How?" 

On those days, today was one of them, He reminds me that "I the Lord do not change...I am the same yesterday, today and forever." 

It seems like the world just stops when the Master speaks into my life.  It's like..."Oh  yeah, you are so right God.  What was I thinking?"  And, once again my faith is renewed.  I love when He gently reminds me of all the things He has done, but even more, when He begins to tell me all the things He will do. 

My prayer is that I won't get all emotional over every little detail though out this whole adoption process and that my hubby and I will be in unity over every decision.  See, as a woman, we are led by our hearts and well, men seem to be led by their hearts. That's not to say they don't have a heart or emotions, because Scott is one of the most kind-hearted men I know.  But, they think logically while, ladies let's face it, we sometimes don't.  I want to take the first baby that comes along, not thinking though things clearly, but my husband brings me down to earth and tells me that the Lord has a perfect baby, a chosen one just for us.  He knows when we are ready and He is preparing our child and it's mother just for us.

We covert every one of your prayers and I know that you are praying...because we have a peace that can come only from the Lord Jesus.  And, when I don't, when I get anxious, upset and emotional, "just a little talk with Jesus makes it right."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Season for Everything

I love Ecclesiastes chapter 3! There truly is a time for everything.  And, now a time to BLOG. 

Okay, so since the last blog, my friend and co-worker Heather has uprooted to Auburn and started a new life.  Yes, I did cry and I do miss her tremendously...but she misses me too.  We have texted several times since she left and I'm doing my best to convince her to come home.  Seriously, I do believe there is a season for all things and I consider myself blessed to not only have worked with her, but to serve on a missions trip together and to call her "friend."  She truly is one of the funniest and kindest women I know. 

Heather and I in Cali!!!
Since there is a time for everything, God has blessed me with a new co-worker.  So, I'm beginning a new work/friend relationship with Amanda, and I'm very excited to see her grow in the God-given talent that she has. 

The Proposal July 4, 2004
Hmmmm....what else?  Oh, I know.  The 21st of this month I celebrated 8 years with the love of my life, Scott.  You know, the sleeveless t-shirt, swim-trunk wearing man.  That's him!  Gotta love him.  There was a season that I felt sure I would never marry...and once again, God showed me exactly who He is with exactly the right time, right place and the right person.  The Lord went over and above everything I asked for...He's AWESOME like that.

So, I know all of you reading are really wanting to know about Baby Singleton...well, so would I.  Just kidding.  We are up and running on the website under parent profiles.  We are so excited.  There was a season in my life when all I could do was cry, ask why and not understand anything.  Now, the time for laughter has arrived, and it is exactly the right time.  And the nursery is under way.  We've had lots of help.  Thanks to my hubby, my mom and Paw Paw Harper.  It's been a fun time and we're still not finished.

We will do our last home-study on Thursday, September 6, at 9:30 a.m.  Please pray for us that day and every day until Baby Singleton is home with us for good. 

I look back over the last few years, the tears, the depression, the hopelessness and loss of joy and I see now that the season is here to laugh, to dance and to thank God for every season.  It's what gives me character and makes me who I am.  The tough seasons are those that have strengthened me in the love and comfort of my Savior. The tough seasons challenged me as a Christian, I survived with the grace of Jesus Christ and am left in awe of ALL that He is to me. The tough seasons conditioned me and put me in position for this season. 

My prayer is that you too, will realize we all have to go through seasons.  It's a part of life...

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens: 

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

If you finish reading chapter 3, you will see that is says "no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end."  This is so true.  I couldn't begin to fathom that years ago, God had set apart for me, a precious man of God, who would not only be an amazing husband, but will also be an amazing father. 
I couldn't begin to fathom the different paths God has chosen for us, but I'm sure glad that He did.  It's gonna be worth it all to see our precious baby and know that the Lord had a season for this, but to get here, we had to go through all the others.  I wouldn't want it any other way.

"A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance."  These are the best times of our lives!  Until next time..

Friday, August 3, 2012

Rollercoaster of Emotions

So, I haven't blogged for a couple of days. It's been a rollercoaster of emotions at this place. Why? Well, I'm glad you asked!

Other than the obvious, adoption, there are so many crossroads that are taking place:

Anna Kate, my oldest niece, the first baby I held that I instantly fell in love with, who will be getting her driver's permit in September and starting high school this fall! Where does the time go?
Kade, our oldest nephew who was only three when Scott and I married. We were so afraid he wouldn't walk down the aisle as our little ring bearer and now, he is tearing up the golf courses with his skills. He has won almost every tournament he has entered. It's amazing to see the talent that God has given him.

Then of course, there's Emma Grace, who got high lights for the first time this year. I think I was more excited than she was. Emma Grace with her gentle spirit...I have no idea where she got that from.

I certainly can't forget about Carson and Zander. Carson is a hand full. If it involves a sport or a weapon, he's there. When we found out we couldn't have children, I remember my sister let me go in the delivery room with her for Carson' birth. What an amazing experience! About a month after Scott and I began dating, Zander was born and he was so sweet. Zander loves sports and he's really awesome! I have the cutest picture of these two on my front porch steps and they look like little won't be long and they will be the way time goes.
                                                                               And last but not least, there's Marlee. Our youngest niece who turns four this year. I remember being at the hospital the day she was born and I remember telling her mom not to put those ugly headbands in her hair (of course, now I realize how precious they really were). Now, Marlee is so grown and we had a tea party just a week ago.

I tear up when I think about how quickly they've grown. I know that's what they're supposed to do, but sometimes I just wish for those good baby-smelling days!
Finally, for about a year now, Scott and I have had the privilege to be a part of some awesome young people's lives. We have a ministryonWednesday nights called CrossRoads and it's for college, career and young adult. We have thoroughly enjoyed every single moment with them. We are so blessed to have shared in so many memories with each one. 
We didn't have a clue what we were doing (and still don't) and just trusted in the Lord to show us. And, He has shown us so much through this group. We started with a few and it began to grow. You never knew who might show up.

But, this time next week many will be on their way back to or beginning college. Many are just at a crossroad in life trying to figure out their next step while I'm holding back the tears and lifting up the prayers. As much as we like to "think" we've taught them, they have taught us so much more.
Like how to bowl, play cards, slide the right way on a homemade slip-n-slide and drive in Mobile. I went to my first concert with this group, learned how to study more (because they have a lot of questions and they know A LOT) and that it's okay not to have all the answers. They also have taught me about living life to the fullest, not to be so serious and to laugh a bunch (mostly at me and Scott).

See, all of these (our nieces, nephews and CrossRoads) are our "kids". We pray for them, we love them unconditionally and we support them. Love isn't about color, gender, age or bloodline.

We have fallen in love with all of these "kids" because we were able to share in their lives and get to know them. If you are a parent to any of these, I want to say thank you for allowing us to be a part of their lives. They have changed me for the better, made me want to be a better person and challenged me in my walk with the Lord.

So, as all of these are moving up, moving on and making decisions, I leave you with this: “…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go," Joshua 1:9.

We love you!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Jesus & Late Night Tinkles

You ladies know the older we get, the more late night tinkles we have to take.  So, last night was just like all the others with one exception.  I rolled over to get out of bed, again, looked at the clock and it was 3:16 a.m. 

Now normally this wouldn't phase me, but since I always take a LONG time to tinkle, I also had a LONG time to think.  I usually come up with some good stuff on the pot or in the shower.  But, never at 3:16 in the morning while still half-asleep.

It's amazing to me that Jesus will talk with us anytime, anyplace.  So, while on the pot, He gently reminded me of John 3:16,  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that none should perish but have everlasting life."

Why on earth was the Lord speaking to me about this at 3:16 in the morning on the toilet?   I had a few minute to think about this since it takes me forever.  And, as we all know, when He's got our attention it's for a great reason.  No sleep for me for the next little while.

He began dealing with me about the lost and about our future birth mother.  See, I've been so busy asking for prayers on our behalf that I've not really given her much thought.  I prayed for several who are lost, who once knew the Lord and have fallen away, but then I gave all my attention to the Lord and praying for our birth mother.

It went something like this: "God, I don't know her but You do.  You know her comings and going's, her thoughts and her heart.  If she doesn't know you as Lord and Savior, allow us to speak into her life and reflect the love of Christ to her.  Give her peace over her decision and guide her footsteps.  Mend her broken heart, for I can't begin to know how she feels, but God you do.  You gave Your Son, Jesus, so that we could all be adopted into Your family...You know the great sacrifice and the courage that it takes to make this decision.  Thank you for her and her loving decision to place her child so that he/she can have a better life than what she can provide.  And, thank you God for your decision to sacrifice Your Son so that we all could have life abundantly."

I don't know about you, but sometimes the late night conversations with Jesus are the best...even if they are on the pot!  Take the time today to listen for His voice and please, when you pray for us, pray for our birth mother, whoever and wherever she is because she is loved by God.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Stainless Steel Appliances & Swim Trunks

Today is Home Study day #1.  I was wide awake at 8:30 a.m., not early but it is my day off, thinking of all the things that had to be done.  Sweeping, making the beds, laundry and making everything smell good was on the top of my list.

Not sure why I thought the smell would affect our home study, but that wasn't the craziest thing I did in preparation for this day.  That's right...I cleaned the stainless steel appliances until they were gleaming.  On my hands and knees for quite a while, spraying and buffing, standing up and looking, then spraying and buffing some more. I laughed at myself for truly I had lost my mind. 

What in the world were shiny appliances going to do for us?  Really???

The things we women do!  But, the things the men do!  I come downstairs dressed, makeup and all(again, my day off) and I find my precious hubby in swim trunks and a tee shirt with the sleeves cut out.  I just look at him...he already knows.  His reply was "Surely the social worker doesn't think we just sit around looking dressed and pretty all day long?"

With the "look" and a firm voice, I got him to take a shower and change clothes.  Then, I told him "we are taking a picture for our baby's scrapbook."  I don't know about your husband, but mine is no fan of a camera.  Anyway this is what we got:
Day 1 of Baby Singleton Journey

Now, I'm sitting here nervously anticipating the social worker's arrival.  I figure I might as well make wise use of my time.  I've looked out the kitchen window twice in eight minutes and still no social worker.  Does she have any idea that my nerves are on edge?  Hurry up already and let's get this over with! 

Can't you tell I've been meditating on Phil 4:6-7? " Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Finally, she arrives and she is awesome.  All the cleaning and worrying for nothing.  She made us feel so comfortable and it was like talking to an old friend.  We LOVED her!!! 

Fingerprints were all that was left to, after a fist bump and a celebratory "We Survived" dinner at Hardee's, off we went to the county jail.  Can I just say that's a place I never want to live in? But we were blessed that our friend Brian worked today and got us right on in!

So, paperwork in the mail on its way to Mobile to our precious social worker.

Just goes to show that although I can't help but be anxious...God gently reminds me that He holds our future.   And, He's got it all under control:  worry, anxiety, peace, the social worker, the jailer, the post office, stainless steel appliances and swim trunks!