referral!

Did you hear the scream from Knoebels Amusement Park about 11 days ago?!  Well, that was me!  On the craziest of craziest of days, with spotty internet access and tired, dirty, happy kids, we got a voicemail from our agency saying to check our email — we have a referral!
Just two days after this post about waiting, our referral came!  So many details in this story are already amazing, and God’s timing is no less amazing.  God’s fingerprints are all over her story!  Next step?  More paperwork 🙂  And in the next six months or so, we will have 2 trips to Ethiopia, bringing her home on trip #2.Have a heart for adoption?  My etsy shop has been a huge blessing with all the expenses that come with this journey.  Now we are saving for those two international trips.  Every purchase from my shop helps our family in this journey.  Thanks in advance!

Adoption:  The waiting stage

As I walked past our future daughter’s room this morning, I was reminded of how long this wait has been.  We officially started the paper chase for this adoption over 2 years ago.  Our dossier has been in Ethiopia for over a year now.  We have had to update our home study and are in the process of getting the paperwork ready to send into USCIS to ask for an extension of our immigration file with them.  It was nice to have the initial paperwork over, but now we are getting to the point of having to redo it because it is expiring.  When will the wait be over?So many people ask me if there’s any news.  And the answer is always no.  Sometimes the wait seems a burden.  How can we plan for the future if we’re not sure when our trips to Ethiopia will be? Sometimes the wait seems pointless.  But then, I’m reminded that the wait is God’s plan.  His perfect plan.
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Maybe the paper chase stage was easier because it was in our hands to get the job done.  Now, everything is totally out of our control.  And in the end, that’s the best place for it to be.

As you wait, tell yourself again and again that you have not been singled out. Remind yourself that you are part of a vast company of people who are being called to wait. Reflect on the biblical story. Abraham waited many years for his promised son. Israel waited 420 years for deliverance from Egypt, then another 40 years before they could enter the land God had promised them. God’s people waited generation after generation for the Messiah, and the church now waits for his return. The whole world groans as it waits for the final renewal of all things that God has promised. In ministry, it is vital to understand that waiting is not an interruption of God’s plan. It is his plan. And you can know this as well: the Lord who has called you to wait is with you in your wait. He hasn’t gone off to do something else, like the doctor you’re waiting to see. No, God is near, and he provides for you all that you need to be able to wait. {Paul Tripp}

Can’t wait to look back and see how God was creating a beautiful picture of His grace in our little lives.

Organizing memories:  making keepsake notebooks & memory bins

Disclaimer: If you love to scrapbook the official, correct way, then this isn’t for you. Carry on.  You’re doing a great job!  If you love the thought of having scrapbooks for your children’s memories but don’t have the time, talent, or budget for the supplies, then this is for you!Today I’m sharing how I organize keepsakes and memories for my 4 boys. This system is tried and true, as I’ve done it this way for 11 years and wouldn’t change a thing.

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There are three super-simple steps to this process:  Find Supplies, Gather, Upkeep.

1.  find supplies for your system

I use 3-ring notebooks for paper keepsakes and plastic boxes with lids (Memory Bin) for larger items.What do I put in the 3-ring notebook (“Keepsake Notebook”)?

  • school work
  • artwork
  • pictures
  • journaling pages (cute sayings; favorite food, color, toy at each age)
  • clear sleeves filled with small keepsakes, ticket stubs, brochures from trips
  • another option:  file box with folders by year or grade

What’s the Memory Bin for?

  • keepsake baby outfits or blankets
  • larger souvenirs
  • family heirlooms or gifts for when they’re older
  • key to choosing box:  practical & durable, not necessarily pretty

2.  Gather

Designate a landing spot to put all the papers, artwork, and keepsakes you want to save.A couple times a year go through your pile of memorabilia, file and store.  Your kids can help you decide what they want to keep.

Print photos a couple times a year to include in the notebook.

3.  Upkeep

Repeat the gather step as often as makes sense for you. I used to do it 2-3 times per year, now it’s more like 1-2 times per year.  Whatever works.  Don’t be a slave to any organizing system — make it work for you!It’s definitely a lot of fun to get the Keepsake Notebooks out around birthdays.  My kids love to look through books that are all about their lives.And when my kids leave the nest,  it will be freeing to be able to hand them their Memory Bins & notebooks!

How do you organize all those keepsakes in your home?

DIY Yo Yo Wreath

Several months ago I was thrilled to find a big bag of vintage yo-yo’s at a thrift store!  I didn’t really know what I would do with them, but I scooped them up anyway.  
Their vintage character can never be fully reproduced.  Lovely.
I could have made a pillow top or small blanket.  Maybe that will come, but it sounded like too much work at the moment.   For easy vintage charm that just required a few simple steps, I made Yo-Yo Wreaths!  And you can too!  Even if you don’t find vintage yo-yo’s at your thrift store, they’re easy to make.  Keep reading…
But before I show you how I made these simple wreaths, take a look at the finished product to get your inspiration flowing.
Super simple steps:Make your yo-yo’s
Prepare your wreath base
Glue yo-yo’s to wreath base
Add buttons (optional)
Hang & enjoy!
No vintage yo-yo’s?  No problem.  Follow this great tutorial to make your own.  Best of all, you can up cycle fabric and clothing just like our great-grandma’s would have to make these original yo-yo’s.  No sense in spending money on this project if you don’t have to!  No sewing machine required, either.  Yo-yo’s are hand-stitched, and easy enough for your kids to try this summer while fighting boredom 🙂  I also like to take projects like this to work on during long car trips.
Wreath bases can be whatever you want.  For one, I used a regular grapevine wreath.  For another, I used a cheap frame from the thrift store that I painted first.  This gray wreath was simply spray painted.  Then, I wrapped some fabric and lace scraps on one section to add interest and to give the yo-yo’s a flatter base to be glued onto.
Finally, I raided my button stash and added some right in the center of the yo-yo.  They look a little more like flowers now.
Will you be trying your hand at making some yo-yo’s?
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