my God is so big

Two months ago, we prayed, “God, we need $8,000 right now. ¬†This is impossible without You.” ¬†We had almost the entirety of my husband’s mission trip to pay for, and we’ve been hoping all along to send our Dossier, with its $8,450 payment, in September. ¬†We needed $8,000 immediately. ¬†And then someone went to bat for us and most of the money for the mission trip just appeared. ¬†And then someone offered to give us their car to sell for the adoption. ¬†And then we got several donations to Project Puzzle Piece. ¬†And then we got permission from our agency to pay half of the payment, get reimbursed by my husband’s adoption benefit, and then pay the second half of the payment.

Here we are, in September, with a Dossier that is just missing one piece of paper (which should be on its way very shortly), and we’re only a few hundred dollars short of that payment. ¬†I set an arbitrary, probably unreasonable, totally wishful thinking date of September months ago, and we’re going to mail our Dossier within just a few weeks of that.

I’m overwhelmed. ¬†We asked God to be big, and to do something impossible. ¬†And He is.

Trip Packing for my Husband – the fun stuff

I usually pack for my husband. ¬†It’s just easier since I’m at home and I’m the one who does most of the laundry. ¬†I have been known to forget things, though, like socks AND church clothes on our most recent weekend out of town. ¬†Oops.

He will be leaving soon for an international mission trip, and I was going to write a post about the more practical side of packing him for that.¬† Then I found plenty of good info about that on pinterest (search, “packing for a mission trip”), so I decided to skip straight for the fun part!

Gifts and Words of Affirmation are my primary love languages. ¬†That means care packages, cards,¬†and things like that are pretty much my favorite things on earth. ¬†He’s going to be gone 11 days, so I started gathering little things for him here and there several weeks (read: pay checks) before his trip. ¬†One day during nap time, I spread everything out on the kitchen table and started brainstorming.¬† I tried to mix up light-hearted and sentimental, plus mixed things from the kids in here and there. ¬†I included little gifts or photos on some days and not others. ¬†Some days I wrote out a long-ish letter, and other days just a quick note. ¬†Here are examples of a couple of the more elaborate days, including a travel day:
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Then I put everything into an envelope, labelled it, and got it organized in something that won’t take up too much space.DSC_1595 DSC_1596

Also because he’s using a carry on, I had to be careful not to include anything that won’t get through the check points, and to just close those manila envelopes with the brad, so if they need to open them, it won’t tear them all up. ¬†You can see in the top pic that several of the days are just an envelope or even a folded piece of printer paper. ¬†Not every day is fancy!

Seriously, I love doing this for him. ¬†I might enjoy it more than he does. ¬†He’s sort of the King of Understatement, so it’s hard to gauge how he actually feels about things like this. ¬†But, hey, he doesn’t wonder whether or not I’m proud of him and crazy about him!

Okay, here are some other ideas for what’s in the envelopes:
-scripture cards with the verses written out
-activities for the plane, like a deck of cards, puzzle book and pencil, etc.
-snacks/candy/gum
-a short note w/ a list of relevant scripture for him to look up
-travel sunscreen packet and lip balm for a day he’ll be outside a lot
-photographs of our family
-list of reasons why I respect/admire him
-notes/pictures/hand prints from the kids
-cards: miss you, sappy, funny, a little spicy, etc.
-notes encouraging his leadership on the trip, etc.
-mini photo album

Here are pics of a few pages of the little photo album I made. ¬†These are at Dollar Tree, Target, or Walmart, and are really cheap. ¬†I just used stickers and paper I already had, so it wasn’t an expensive project! ¬†It was probably my favorite thing, and I kept it light and funny, so I think he’ll get a kick out of it.
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(And even left my scribbled out spelling error because I know he’ll laugh about what a terrible speller I am. ¬†Ha.)

Here’s another fun thing. ¬†I read on¬†one of the blogs I found on pinterest¬†that it might be a good idea to take your own pillow case. ¬†I wrote a note, prayer, and Psalm 116:7-11 on a plain pillowcase that I had lying around. ¬†I’m sure most of you reading are much craftier than I am and could do a cuter job with this:

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Okay! ¬†I think that’s all I’ve got! ¬†What do you do when your husband/wife is traveling, especially when communication is going to be minimal? ¬†I think some of these ideas could be modified for a deployment or longer-term mission trip, and I’m hoping to do something like this for my kids when we travel to Ethiopia. ¬†I’d love to hear your ideas!

If you’re really just here to hear about our adoption, don’t fret!¬† I know I haven’t updated in a little while, but we have been working hard on our dossier, and will hopefully be posting an exciting update soon!

Project Puzzle Piece, week 2 recap!

Project Puzzle Piece, week 2 recap!

We had some more donations this week, and some other encouraging news on the fundraising front. THANK YOU to our awesome family members and long-time family friend for their sweet donations this week!

Someone contacted us about a really neat fundraising opportunity during the holidays, and we got some good news about my husband’s mission trip fundraising. We sort of desperately prayed, “God, we need $8,000 pretty much right now. Obviously, we can’t do this. Can you please do this?” And He is! Slowly (by our silly standards), but in His perfect timing.

We DID get our “favorable determination” from USCIS! That usually takes much longer! For a lot of people, that is the last piece before they send in their Dossiers. For us, money is going to be the last piece, but we’re getting there. We are moving forward with a couple of other documents this week, and hoping to send the Dossier in September. We shall see!

James 1:27

Do you know how many times the Bible tells believers to take care of orphans and the poor? ¬†I have seen a few different answers, but the bottom line is that it’s an awful lot. ¬†Sometime in November, Logan and I began to realize that we were living in direct disobedience to those instructions. ¬†The last several weeks have been a roller coaster for me. ¬†My poor, sweet Logan has been such a trooper dealing with my many emotions and the dozens of articles, blog posts, scripture, and links I have sent him. ¬†Each night, I’ve had a long list of things I wanted to discuss at length. ¬†We’ve spent some time on several topics that we really haven’t talked about much before, and it’s been a sweet time of growth for us. ¬†Logan is really feeling a tug in the same direction right now, too, but he’s dealing with it in more of a task-oriented way than my sometimes-hysterical way. ¬†I’m so thankful God made us different – I can get emotional to get the conversation started, and Logan can step in as the leader and figure out what to actually do about it!

One of the main ideas on the table is adoption. ¬†We’re hoping to adopt a baby. ¬†That may sound a little crazy to a lot of people, but we have become absolutely certain that when God dropped this bigger house and bigger car into our laps, He did it for a reason. ¬†We have plenty of space, love, time, and attention to go around. ¬†We don’t really share the worldview that kids are super expensive, and we’re confident that God will provide financially.

Obviously, there are different types of adoptions, and we aren’t sure yet what our plan is.

There are many other plans in the works, too Рdefinitely a mission trip for Logan in the next year and maybe a new ministry/small business for me.  Lots of things up in the air and lots of details to work out.

But we’re really excited and trying to listen carefully to where He is trying to take us. ¬†Will you pray for our discernment?

“Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” ¬†James 1:27