Monday, December 28, 2009

Encouragment

I have been reading, "When God Weeps", by Joni E. Tada over the past couple of weeks, and tonight I came to a paragraph that hit home within my heart:

"Emotions are one of the least reliable yet most influential forces in our lives. One day we are hopeful; the next, we hate. Despair at one time; delight, the other. Emotions are the surging, restless tides that keep ebbing and flowing, drawing us up, then pushing us down."

As you may well know from reading this blog, or if you have seen me lately, the "ebb and tide" of my recent emotions has been such discouragement. A constant reminder is ever pressing down, adoption fundraising. I know many of you have been there, are there, and I know you stay awake at night with the same concern I do, "how will we get our little one home? WHEN?What if it doesn't come?"

This process is bring into the light my fragile, fleeting trust in the Lord's provision. Have I not seen Him provide? Do I not know the stories since the beginning of creation His compassionate and abundant provision for His people? Did HE not create this child? Does HE not love her far more than I can imagine. I think my heart hurts for those precious little ones in Ethiopia, how much greater does His? He has His own good plan regarding our family, and we will be faithful to Him, however that provision looks, and what ever HIS timeline of that provision is. (And my finate self still seems to think that I can worry this child home!)

Last night I was so discouraged, thinking, "the economy is too bad, the money will never come, adoption is for the rich, we will never come up with the funds in time, our house isn't nice enough, big enough,if it is this hard on the front end, how will we ever come up with our dossier, referral and travel funds, how will I be able to look at sweet Evangeline and tell her we can't......" on and on "I of little faith" went.

This morning, the Lord encouraged us, and showed us HE can make a way home for Eliana..... do you see my little "chip in" button? It had a little boost today!!!God is using his faithful servants, some of whom do not even know us, to bring our peanut home! My heart is thankful and glad, and I am reminded, should I only sing praise and bless the Lord when I feel the circumstances He has blessed me with are good? By no means! Oh, how I long for a heart that does not ebb and flow with the tide of my own comfort and happiness, but is steadfast and thankful in all circumstances, knowing that He who calls the stars out one by one, who knows the grains of and on the shore, who knit together every life, both that of the noble and the silent orphan in Ethiopia, is good and just and fair. He who holds all of creation.... oh, for a heart that will allow Him to hold me, all days, at all times and throughout all that He has called me to do and IS doing!

Today, I am thankful and encouraged!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Our Week and a Sneak Peak at New Designs!!!

(Kenny says I never post any pictures of him, so here's a sweet one he and Samuel took today :)
We have been doing a bit of baking and crafting this week for Christmas. The kiddos love to celebrate and the anticipation and excitement in their eyes is contagious. On Wednesday, we made up about 17 pints of a bean soup mix to give as gifts this year. It is a yummy, healthy recipe, and frugal! Evangeline diligently helped me with the ribbon, while the beans played (er, scattered all over the house!) the extra beans.
I have been looking at/ pricing advent candles for awhile, but pretty much am refusing to buy anything right now. Adoption fundraising has given me a motivation like never before to NOT BUY! Soo, we came up with a way to make our own advent candle with supplies on hand. (I did have to buy 4 candles. They were like 20 cents each :)
I cut four small holes and one large hole in an inverted pie pan (a foil one), and stuck the candles in. Next we glue gunned trimming all around to cover up the pie plate. I'm paranoid about fire, So I used fake trimmings. It turned out great! The 3 purple candles represent the prophecies about Christ, and the red candle represents the sacrifice of Christ. We light one small candle each week preceding Christmas (starting with the 3 purple candles and then on to the red. ) Then on Christmas eve we light the large white (pure and spotless!) candle in the middle. The light of the World has come! It is exciting the watch each candle be lit, leading closer and closer to Christmas day!
Here are a few Flitterbug orders from this week...thank you to everyone who has purchased a dress....they are our baby's ticket home!
And....here is a sneak peak at some new patterns! The first week of January I will be adding LOTS of new fabric and patterns. Rompers, reversible sunsuits new dress patterns and ........ much requested DESIGNS FOR BOYS!
You will be able to mix, match and coordinate your kiddos....and each pattern will have a multi-season, "grow with me" appeal. I love outfits my kids can get more than one year out of, so I have found/ made up with patterns that do just that!



Happy Saturday to you all!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

SALE!!!!

I have a few new dresses left over from a recent show.... these are long sleeved Flitterbug dresses. The regular price is $38 plus shipping. I am trying to give our adoption fund a little boost before Christmas, so I am offering these dresses to you for:

$18 and that includes shipping!!!!
(from left to right)
Size 6 to 12 months: Fall Paisley
Size 24 months: It's A Circus!
Size 2: Paper Doll Cut Outs
Size 3: Blossom Blur (brown, pink and turquoise)
Size 4: Happy Paisley
Size 5: Ornaments on Blue
Size 6: Periwinkle Dots on Black
How To Order:
*Email me (jubug231@aol.com) and tell me which dress you like
*I will confirm that dress is still available (first come first serve!)
*Then you can click on the "chip in" button on my sidebar and donate $18. Your dress will ship TODAY and arrive to you in about 3 to 4 days!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Our Little One's Name

For years now we have "known" our little one's name. Over the past few months we have had many conversations with adoptive parents...."do you keep your child's given name as their first name, or give them a first name?" We have choosen to give our baby girl a first name, and keep her Ethiopian name (or, if she was not named by her birth mother, to keep the name the orphanage gave her) as her middle name. The kids and I had a cute way planned to announce her name, but seeing as I have misplaced my camera (again!), our cutsie idea will have to wait.

Her name will be "Eliana", which means, "God has heard and answered our prayers."

How could we name her anything else, this precious child who has been, is, and will be covered in so much prayer! (Evangeline and Eliana can both share the joys of repeating, spelling, pronuncing and explaining their names to everyone :)

Please pray for Eliana, as we journey on through the cliffs and caverns of fundraising!

We are coming, Eliana!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Flitterbugs Giveaway!!!

Would you like to win a flitterbug dress or skirt? Energizer Bunny's Mommy is doing a product review and giveaway of my flitterbugs! Hop on over to the below link and just leave a comment for your chance to win..... actually, you can leave comments and enter as many times as you would like!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Discouragment

Have you noticed I have not posted anything of substance over the past couple of weeks? My heart has been full and heavy, and I have not blogged about it because...well....I do not want to offend anyone (not that many people read this blog!) However, because this blog is our "adoption journal", because this IS an important part of our adoption journey, and mostly because I COVET your prayers and encouragment, I decided to share with you my heart.
Adoption is expensive. Why? There are a lot of real, legitiamate cost. Homestudy, medical checkup and tests, plane tickets...on and on the list goes. Two of the "biggie" costs are the agency fee and the country fees. Half of the agency fees are used to run the orphanage/transitional home (Hannah's Hope) in Ethiopia. Now, the counrty fees. Think about a counrty (Ethiopia) in which a large majority of your population are children. Adults are dying of aids... few have a job, few have food, poverty abounds. There are 4.6 MILLION orphans. Hum...who do you tax to gain revenue to get these kids off of the street and into an orphanage. THAT is what counrty fees go to...to meargly feed, house and clothe a large majority of the population. That keeps them somewhat alive, it does not provide them with a family and a future.
A month ago we sent out about 60 support letters. Let me say these letters are NOT the sole way we plan to fund our adoption, yet we have for months prayed that the Lord will use the generosity of His people to bring our little one home. I know many famililes do not feel comfortable sending or receiving adoption support letters. We have received them before and have been happy to be a part of giving an orphan a home. I see them as no different than a missions trip support letter. I realize in these letters we ask for a donation...it is a generous gift which we do not EXPECT the recipients of these letters to give, but did anticipate some friends and family wanting to be a part. What we did not expect, is over 4 weeks time of sending the letters, is to receive not a penny, not so much as a word of encouragment or support. We are on a timelime of when fees are due, we are 30 days into a 90 day timeline of our whole adoption process being stopped if fees are not paid. I realize that some of you reading this also received a support letter......I AM NOT REBUKING YOU, I am only trying to be honest in sharing the discouragment in our hearts. I realize we do NOT live in a town that has a culture of adoption. Churches here have not "caught the vision" of being "a father to the fatherless". I realize we live in the south, and anyone over about the age of 35 seems to be fine with a prejudice attitide. We have been SHOCKED at the comments we have received concearning our adoption. I am not even talking about race/skin color comments...... I am talking about adoption in general. I had thought about posting some of my most asked question/ comments...most of them made by Christians....... but I won't. They just are not worth repeating.
Through it all, I realize that my trust in the provision of the Lord is not as it should be. I KNOW that He will provide, but I do not rest at peace in that. I find myself walking around the house, thinking of what I could sell on ebay......thinking of crazy fundraising ideas. (Anyone want to join Kenny and go get paid to donate plasma? Yea, crazy fundraiser ideas.) I do not rest at peace in the will, the timing and the provision of His ways.
Oh, we beg for your prayers. I know this is the hard, difficult journey the Lord has called us on. We long for your prayers!

Today, Kenny stopped by for a quick lunch. I went to get the mail as he left....in it lay our first support check. The sweet family who sent this knows who they are...know that you have encouraged us in a way you will never fully realize. We love you (and are doing a little happy dance because of you!) I realize that very well could be the only support check we receive. We will press on, trusting the Lord and waiting on Him. Please pray that we will trust in His provision!

Great Giveaway!

Wanna be a part of a great freebie? Go here and enter to win some great stuff! Love this adoptive family!

t-shirt-contest

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Our Favorite Pizza

Today, the kids and I did a lot of baking. I felt they need a break from all of my sewing, so after we finished up school and a bit of cleaning, they helped me out in the kitchen. Since I am always misplacing our favorite recipes, I thought I'd post them here. At least then I know where they are :) Here we have our new favorite:
Jam Twists
For the dough mix: 3 C. flour (I grind our wheat, but white flour will make the dough lighter)
4t. powder
1 T. sugar (or sucanat)
1 t. salt
3/4 t. cream of tarter
Then cut in: 3/4 c. butter
Add: 1 C. milk
Stir just until mixed. Turn out onto floured surface. Roll into a large rectangle (about 1/4 inch thick). Brush with melted butter and then spread about 1/2 jam over dough. ( We like our homemade jam from last summer's blackberries...yum!) Fold rectangle in half. Cut into 1" strips. Twist and place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes. Frost with glaze (powdered sugar plus a little milk and vanilla) when out of the oven. YUM!
And, our favorite pizza. I did not use fresh ground wheat in this one, nor did I let the dough rise, as I did not start dinner until 30 minutes before we ate. Yup..... this is a quick meal! (yea.... I added a few peppers from the garden :)
Pizza Dough
1TB. yeast
1 C. warm water
1 t. sugar
1 t. salt
2 TB oil
2 1/2 C. flour

Mix, knead and let rise. Roll out and make your pizza! (I double the batch and make bread sticks as well) Bake at 400 for 10 to 15 minutes.

Yummy breadsticks..... nothing but nutritionless white flour and clog your heart up cheese :)

Samuel helped me out with the laundry tonight. Yup..... that big pile is a small portion of the clean clothes needing to be folded. About 30 seconds after I took this picture, Samuel reminded me why it is not a good idea to let your diaper rash baby "air out" for more than about 10 seconds. And wouldn't you know, his target was the one item I needed washed and clean for in the morning. Love that kid:)
Happy Tuesday to you all!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Drop and Shop Sale

I just got in a few new fabrics... I was able to get a great deal on some beautiful fabrics...yea! Click on the fabrics page to check them out. I have limited amounts of these fabrics. Tomorrow, from 10 to 12 noon, I will have a Flitterbugs table at a "Drop and Shop" sale. I have a few smocked garments for sale as well. It will be held at Northside Pediatrics (in the back room). Other vendors are: Stella and Dot jewelry, Mary Kay, It's All About You Monogramming and many more. Stop buy...oh and no need for a babysitter...bring the littles!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Our Thanksgiving Trip

Last week we headed down to Mobile for our annual Thanksgiving with Kenny's side of the family. We had a great visit.... lots of pictures to follow!
Here we have the 5 Johnston grandkiddos..... Samuel, Evangeline, Landis, Molly Chandler and Camden! I am kicking myself that I went all week and did not take a picture of the kids with Nana and PawPaw... the kids love them so much! Kenny's grandma has a lemon tree which grows the biggest lemons... isn't that amazing!?! (Samuel refused to let go of his "uicie" for the pic)

We went over to Dauphin Island one morning for a walk. This was Samuel's first trip to the shore... and he LOVED it! He did NOT want to leave. Can you spot him running back to the water. This would had been a great Christmas card picture....but as soon as we sat down...off he ran!

Wonder what we were thinking about as we looked out on the water to "lands afar"?


Me and my hubby..... who always drives on trips so I can smock :)


Sweet Samuel kept pointing to the water and squealing, "OOOHHHH!"


Landis and Evangeline sure look like twins in this one... they had fun collecting shells..


I am glad to be back home, and am lovin' getting into the advent season. We got a tree and decorated the night we returned home (how crazy is that?!?) and I am trying to do something special to celebrate Christmas with the kids each day this month. It is only the 2nd....we will see how long I can keep it up :)


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Conference call and on to the contract!!

We had our first scheduled conference call with AGCI this afternoon... it was great! I am thrilled to finally be "in" the process. Soooo, we have about 83 days (yea, I counted it out) to turn in our contract and orientation packet with $7,390. (That covers contract fees, orphan care fees, homestudy review and adoptive parent education workbook). We are praying the Lord will provide, knowing He will provide.... and, on I go sewing! I've also been walking around the house tonight trying to find anything that is worth something to sell on ebay. Hum, slim pickins :) After we finish the homestudy, we can apply for various adoption grants, etc, but we have to sign that contract and be homestudy approved first! Oh, we are sooo eager to sign that contract and move on to the next step! I open to any and all fundraising idea :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Orientation call tomorrow

I'm sorta bummed.....our orientation call with AGCI was supposed to be today, but UPS did not get out orientation packet here in time, so we had to reschedule for tomorrow. Just one day difference, but I am sooo eager to get along with the adoption!! I think everyone who sets out on the adoption road thinks they will work hard, fund raise quickly and get the paperwork in fast.... who doesn't want like mad to get their little one home??? However, the reality is, sooo much of the adoption process, even fundraising is totally out of our hands. I know that the Lord will provide financially and make straight the path for this child, but I am impatient and want it to happen NOW! It is so hard to go about the duties of the day, do what I must do, all the while looking at my sweet kids and "seeing" the face that is not there... the little one waiting for us whom we must fight to get to! I can only press on, but I cannot speed it up. Until then.... I sew :) Here are a few of the items I have made this week...

The count down is on. We have 11 weeks and 3 day to basically come up with just over $9000. This will cover contract fees, the homestudy fee and a few other fees. After the homestudy we can apply for a lot of adoption grants, etc; this first set of fees is the big hill to climb.

Back I go to sew :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We're Approved!!!!

Tonight, AGCI called to let us know we have officially been approved for the adoption!!!! Our application took quite a bit longer than usual due to an insurance glitch, but finally, the journey has begun. On Tuesday afternoon Kenny and I have our joint conference call with AGCI and then move onto the contract (read: FEES!) My mind is running with more fundraising ideas. After I got off of the phone with AGCI and explained to the kids what the approval meant, Evangeline came to me with her little Hello Kitty wallet. She has been working hard to earn and save money to buy some bitty baby items from the American Girl catalog. "Here Momma," she said, "you can have this money for our child. I don't need it. You can use it for her." Somewhere in Ethiopia sits a little girl who has a big sister who loves her very much!! Praising the Lord for the good news tonight!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Skirts are Here!!!


Introducing the Flitterbug Skirt! Fun to twirl in and can be worn year round. Skirts come in sizes 1 to 8 and are $25 a piece. Choose one fabric or a variety of fabrics. I will update my pages and skirts will be ready to order!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Book Worms

If you have ever been to our home, you have probably noticed something. Books. Everywhere. We love 'em. We spend an insane amount of time with 'em. Even wild child Samuel pulls himself, plus a stack of books up onto the couch and "reads" mulitple times a day. I took this picture a few hours before Samuel discovered he, at 19 months, can climb out of his crib. Not gracefully however; he crashed onto his head. Samuel gives me about a heart attack a day.


This week has been an occasion in our family...Evangeline seemed to "get it" with her phonics and is beginning to read a bit on her own. Today, she read her first book, all the way through!!! (I did help a bit.)


The kids had fun taking their quiet time today.... we have 2 big containers to "house" our baby chicks and heat lamps (don't worry, theses are new, clean containers), and the kids rested in them. Twenty five baby chicks should be arrive in the mail tomorrow!

No real adoption news this week.... our insurance application is in for the kids, and once we have a confimation on it, we can finally move onto the next step!

Monday, November 9, 2009

SALE! SALE! SALE!


I have a few "model" dresses marked down to sale! These are new dresses which will ship within 24 hours of placing order. If you are interested, email me (jubug231@ aol.com) and let me know which garment you would like. First come first serve!

Turkey Day!
Turkey Day- Size 3 long sleeved Flitterbug Dress with hairbow- Regular price ($43)

Sale Price: $25

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Polka Dot Christmas


Polka Dot Christmas- Size 2T short sleeve dress and hairbow- Regular Price ($30)

Sale price: $20

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Little Pilgrims

Little Pilgrims- Short sleeve size 5- Regular price ($25)

Sale Price: $18

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Pizzaz

Pizzaz- Short sleeve size 8- Regular price ($30)

Sale price: $20

Email me with any questions....and watch for more sale items this week! Happy Monday to you all!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Good Adoption News!!!

Yea! We turned in our "official" AGCI application and application fee a little over 2 weeks ago. Normally, it takes 1 to 3 days for social services to review your application (AGCI social services) and give you an official acceptance/ denial. (Then you come up with big contract money and start the homestudy:) We had a glitch..... our health insurance isn't technically insurance; we are part of a Christian share group, which we LOVE. Technically, it HAS to be insurance which will cover any preexisting condition; in case we get our child home and discover a major medical problem. Share groups must be becoming popular, because AGCI had 3 other families submit an app this week with the same health insurance problem. We have been really anxious the past few weeks, waiting to hear our "fate". Megan at AGCI called last night (I LOVE that girl!). Here's the plan. We will purchase a very basic, high deductible policy just for Kenny, one that we can add our child onto (and that covers preexisting conditions). I'll email AGCI our receipt of sale, and on we move to the next step!!!!! We are thrilled! Now I just have to search and find that policy :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fall Festival

Yesterday after church, we went to my parents for lunch. I got some good lovin' on our nephew, baby Pearce. Such a cute fella! Here he is, being a frog. (Katie, I hope it's ok I grabbed this from your blog!)

We then headed out to the fall festival at our church. It was a lot of fun and the kids were all smiles!


I had planned on doing a study with the kids this past week on Martin Luther and the Reformation, but like so many of my plans, it got lost in the busyness of the week. I hope to retry the plan this week...... no need to wait until next year's Reformation Anniversary to teach the kiddos some church history!!

Happy Monday to you all!