Thursday, March 27, 2014

Noonday Blog Train--What God is Doing in My Heart Through the Orphan Crisis

If you are here for the Noonday Collection Blog Train...WELCOME! Make sure you check out Desiree's Blog tomorrow!

In January I had the pleasure of attending the Noonday Collection Ambassador Conference. I was excited to go, and meet new people, see the Spring Line, and learn how to grow my business. I was not prepared for the work God was going to do in my heart.

God reminded me that weekend that He has BIG, BEAUTIFUL plans for my life. God reminded me that He called me Noonday Collection as a way to care for the vulnerable. He reminded me that because He adopted us as sons we are called to adoption. He reminded me that making sure that you use your purchasing power to help others is how we should be using our money. That's the calling he placed on my life.

So, I came home and we applied to adopt from Haiti through AWAA. I started emailing people and asking them to partner with me to change the world. And I prayed that God would help me be BRAVE. That when I'm scared that the money won't come in that He would blow my socks off and remind me that this is Him doing a great and mighty work through me. Through my family.

God has amazed me every step of the way. He has given me wisdom to raise money for our adoption. He has given us a support system that I couldn't have ever imagined I needed, but He did. He has given our girls hearts for their sibling(s) in Haiti. He's blowing my socks off. I doubted. I was hesitant. And God came through.

And the thing I LOVE about Noonday Collection is that God is coming through for our artisans. He is caring for them. He is blessing their businesses through your purchases. He is preventing children from becoming orphans.

Jen Hatmaker said something that whacked me upside the head. She said "I shouldn't be allowed to raise your kids because you can't afford to." It's true. I shouldn't be allowed to adopt your kids simply because you can't afford it. But that is what is happening all over the world, and this is what Noonday Collection is preventing by offering jobs to artisans.

My friend Jalia is living proof of this. Jalia's story rocked my world, but the truth is before Noonday Collection Jalia was in poverty, and because if your purchases Jalia and her husband Daniel have been able to employ 300 people in Uganda so that they don't have to give up their children, and they can house their families and feed them. In Ethiopia, women are able to take their ARV medications, in Haiti one artisan group is having to hire more artisans because their pieces are in demand.

Jalia and Me at Ambassador Conference

 Friends, how you spend your money and where you spend your money is making a difference in the lives of real people. So use your purchasing power to help defend the cause of the orphan instead of just getting cheap stuff.

And now, A GIVEAWAY!!! You can win $50 to spend on your favorite Noonday Collection pieces!!

                                                
                                           $50 Gift Voucher

 a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

It's OFFICIAL...We're ADOPTING!!!

After several years of changes in the adoption world we have found a new agency, and have been officially accepted to adopt from Haiti! We are beyond thrilled to begin this process to bring 2 babies home from Haiti.

This process is no small feat. We are going to need you (our friends and family) to help us raise money so we can bring our babies home! Our first step is to raise $2500 to pay the first initial fee to begin the Haiti program.

Here's where we need your help! We have a 252 piece puzzle that is a map of Haiti. For every $10 you donate your name will be put on the back of a puzzle piece. Once the map is complete it will be put together and our children will be able to see the 252 people who helped bring them home!!

This is how you do it (cue Montell Jordan):

Click Here:
Through Paypal, you can donate as much as you want.
For example; let's say there are 4 people in your family and you donate $40.
Then 4 puzzle pieces would have each person in your family's name on it.

Make Sense?

From the bottom of our hearts...THANK YOU!



Sunday, January 19, 2014

What God is doing in 2014

I have been avoiding writing this post. I am TERRIFIED of what is going to happen over the next year. I have NO IDEA what God is doing right now, but I do know He is calling me to be BRAVE.

I know there are many people who choose a word for each year. I have never done that. I've always been the "make a New Year's Resolution and then break it girl". Last year my resolution started to change form. Instead of making it something I couldn't keep, I made it a goal to simply just follow God and not go anywhere unless He was there with me. I can honestly say that God changed my life in 2013, and I started some new adventures as I followed Him. However, as I began to read about the words people were choosing for 2014 I heard this small voice whisper "brave". My first honest thought was "I'm not doing this...it's silly.", but I kept thinking about that word...brave. I started thinking that I can be brave in 2014. Being brave is easy. I can step out of my comfort zone and go on a mission trip, I can ask for support from family and friends, and I can even be brave in how I parent. I can be brave. AND I can blog about how I am going to be brave in 2014, and it will be all nice and tidy.

As I sat down to start writing I thought it would be super neat to include the definition of the word brave. Here is what google told me:

brave

verb
: to face or deal with (something dangerous or unpleasant)

1brave

adjective \ˈbrāv\
: feeling or showing no fear : not afraid

I'm not sure what you thought when you read these definitions, but I closed my computer and decided not to write. Being brave is a lot scarier than I thought. I mean let's be honest here...who wants to face or deal with something dangerous or unpleasant? I personally am not knocking anyone over to get in that line. When you have to face or deal with something dangerous or unpleasant can you do it without feeling or showing fear? I don't know if I can.  I'm just being honest. I don't know. I don't know if I can be brave or be described that way. I take anxiety medicine to help me not feel like the world is falling apart when I am faced with those dangerous or unpleasant situations. 

So here I am 19 days into January, and I am just now writing about how I am going to be BRAVE this year. 

The truth is I don't know how I am going to be brave. I don't know what situations God is going to bring me to that are going to require me to be brave. 

Here is what I do know:

I know that in July of 2013 God made it very clear that He has called me to Noonday Collection as an Ambassador as a way for me to care for the poor and oppressed in our world.

I know that in August God called me to begin the Women's Development Program at Austin Stone Community Church in order for me to learn to seek Him, to deal with pain from my past, to learn how to Love Him and Love People, and to really deal with the darkness of my sin.

I know that this past weekend at Noonday Collection Ambassador Conference God showed me that not only do I fear being brave, but I fear dreaming BIG. Because of this I am not surrendering to Him nor being obedient to Him and that is preventing me from being radical in my life. 

So here I am. I am home with my precious family after a weekend of realizing that God gave me BIG dreams in college and I have stopped dreaming. I've become afraid to dream. I've become afraid to dream because if I do dream BIG, and I ask God to fulfill those dreams then it might possibly require sacrificing my comfort. 

I'm comfortable in my sweet home in Austin, Texas that has heat when I'm cold, air conditioning when I'm hot, a nice bed, cable, an alarm, my sweet girls, my cute hubby, and my dog. I'm comfortable here. 

But my dreams are bigger than my comforts. I have to stop being satisfied with being comfortable and start dreaming again. I have to be satisfied with God and God alone. I have to let go of wanting to be close to family and friends so that God can move. And God might move me. And it would be sad for my kids to not grow up near their cousins and grandparents, but we will be reunited in Heaven. So that I have to let go of. 

This weekend Jessica Honegger read something that I think will be etched in my soul for eternity. It was a text from her friend Jen Hatmaker. She texted Jen when she was leaving to go visit artisans when she started Noonday Collection. She was worried about not being the stay at home mom she thought she needed to be. And Jen said this "Girl, go! Your kids don't need you to stay home and take care of their every first world problem. You are leaving a legacy for them as you care for the least of these". (That may not be 100% accurate...it probably isn't, but it was something close to that).

Jen also said this weekend that the Bible is literal. When Jesus said "feed the hungry." He actually meant FEED.THE.HUNGRY. When He said "care for the orphan", He meant CARE. FOR. THE. ORPHAN.

I desperately desire to teach my girls to literally follow ALL that Jesus commanded us to do. Not just to do it metaphorically. 

This is going to require me to be BRAVE this year. It is going to require me to step out of my nice home, with all of my comforts, STOP worrying, and FOLLOW God. 

It is going to require me to talk to people I don't know and ask them to partner with me in this journey. To partner with me in hosting Noonday Collection Trunk Shows so that we can create economic opportunity for the vulnerable TOGETHER. Because let's get real....God created us to live in community.

So here is to being BRAVE in 2014, and all that God is going to do as I SURRENDER and OBEY.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A little about love and loss, and Emily

Three years ago we found out that our sweet baby boy had died in utero at 18 weeks. We had been in College Station for a football game, and when we got home I was feeling nauseated and told Paul I was worried because I hadn't felt  Julia and Owen moving very much. We decided to call the OB on-call and he said because I was only 18 weeks pregnant that it was completely normal for me to not have felt a lot of movement, but if I was really worried that I could go to the ER. We went just for peace of mind.

Once we got there they tried to find heartbeats and could only find one. The nurse told us not to worry because that was normal at 18 weeks. The doctor ordered an ultrasound. Paul wasn't allowed to go into the ultrasound with me. As I went in, the sonographer told me that I could watch, but she couldn't answer any questions. I remember laying there as she did the ultrasound and praying that I would see that everything was normal, and we would go home.

She asked if we knew the gender of the babies. I told her we were having a boy and a girl. I told her there names. I watched as she looked at Owen. I watched as she confirmed he was a boy. I watched as she took measurements. And I watched as she tried not once, but twice to find a heartbeat. Nothing ever came up.

I then watched as she moved to Julia, and took measurements which were more difficult because she was very active. I watched as she confirmed her gender. I watched as her heartbeat came up and I listened to how strong it was.

I laid there, and I hoped beyond hope that I had missed something. I hoped that I had just blinked and missed his heartbeat. After she told me we were done and we would hear from the doctor soon, I looked at her and asked "but we have two moving babies with heartbeats right?". And I'll never forget her response. She looked away from me, and said "I can't answer that question. You'll hear from the doctor shortly."

As she wheeled me back in the room, Paul asked me if everything was okay. I remember looking at him and saying "I don't know." I described everything I saw, but I really didn't know that everything was okay with our babies.

We waited what seemed like an eternity, and the ER doctor finally walked in. As soon as I saw his face I knew something was wrong. He was so sullen. He sat down, and said "I'm so sorry, but you've lost one of your babies. We are going to transfer you to your hospital and you will be seen by a doctor at your OB practice."

My heart sank. I was devastated. I just started crying, and I think I cried for days. I called my parents, and I was shaking as I told my dad. I couldn't even get the words out of my mouth. I had to repeat it so he could hear me. I called Paul's family on our way to the hospital and told them. I kept praying it was a nightmare I was going to wake up from, but I couldn't.

It took me a long time to put on the clothes I wore that day. It took me a long time to eat at places we ate at that day. It took me until this past weekend to even go back to College Station. College Station was a place I had good memories of. I got engaged there. And now I've lost a child there and it was the last place I wanted to face.

But God took us back. And he surrounded us with friends and family who helped make this past weekend memorable. New memories were created. My girls had A BLAST while we were there. I laughed while I was there.

With all of the tradition that surrounds Texas A&M I think that's what makes it hard for me to not be mournful while I'm there. It will always be a bittersweet place for me, but it will be a place that holds special memories for our family too. God redeems and restores. He redeemed College Station, TX for me this past weekend so that I can enjoy the pomp and circumstance of Aggie Football with my family.

I know that seems silly, but the reality is God loves me so much that I know He doesn't want me to only have negative feelings about a place He created for His glory.

So I want this redemption to take place for a little girl named Emily too. Emily lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She lives in a place that has the highest rate of sex trafficking. She lives in a place where it is impossible to be a girl and maintain innocence. But God is already working to redeem her story. He has called my friend McCall to adopt her, and take her out of this place. Right now McCall and her family are working to raise money for their dossier submission, and they need your help! Please go to LeeMeandthegirls.blogspot.com and learn how you can help bring Emily home and be a part of her redemptive story.  All it takes is $5 for you to make a difference and you will be entered to win some amazing stuff in a GIVEAWAY!!

Go now! What are you waiting for?!?