Saturday, November 24, 2012

Jesus Calling

Thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity.  That is why I have instructed you to give thanks for everything.  There is an element of mystery in this transaction: You give Me thanks (regardless of your feelings), and I give you joy (regardless of your circumstances). This is a spiritual act of obedience-at times, blind obedience.  To people who don't know Me intimately, it can seem irrational and even impossible to thank Me for heartrending hardships.  Nonetheless, those who obey Me in this way are invariably blessed, even though difficulties may remain. 

Thankfulness opens your heart to My presence and your mind to My thoughts.  You may still be in the same place, with the same set of circumstances, but it is as if a light has been switched on, enabling you to see from My perspective.  It is this Light of My Presence that removes the sting from adversity.  

"Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
-Ephesians 5:20

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever"
-Psalm 118:1

"Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence"
-Psalm 89:15

-Jesus Calling

...I'm not the most thankful person at times..a lot of the time.  And I don't always like to choose joy, but this devotion today spoke to me in a powerful way-that I need to choose joy. Always. I will be choosing to find joy  daily.  My goal is to find at least one thing each day I'm thankful for from today until a year from now. Yep November 24th 2012-November 24th-2013. I know, I know most people start these kinds of things January 1st, but I march to the beat of my own drum. I'll be posting my thankful thoughts via Instagram, why? Because I'm totally visual and am not all that good at expressing with words. 
Find me on Instagram :) stephanie_nunes

ps...I'm starting off strong today's thankful post with a dead phone, so no thankful pic, BUT I won a blog design giveaway, that's why my blog here has a new look :) So today, I'm thankful that I won a blog design (shallow I know)  but I'm not techy at all, and could never do anything like this on my own.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

This is why

This is why I love Noonday Collection
This is why I (at times) blow up facebook with pictures and quotes of what this company is doing

Jessica, the founder of Noonday Collection is on an African adventure visiting the artisans of Noonday Collection in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda. 

We ambassadors were asked to make a keepsake for the artisans so that Jessica could show them who we are, and who you are.  
You, the women who wear their stories. 
This is what Jessica wrote to us after she gave them the keepsakes

"Bawled today as the women opened up your keepsakes and kissed the photos. 
 It was the uniting of women, 
of empowerment, 
of what God is doing"

The picture above is taken with the artisans in Ethiopia.  If you haven't had the chance to hear the stories of the Ethiopian pieces, prepare to be blown away.  

 Entoto mountain. 
men and women travel to this place where there is believed to be holy water, that will cure then from HIV.  
These women, their disease does NOT define who they are.
The pieces they create are truly a story of redemption.
Taking artillery pieces (old war weapons)
Melting them down and creating beautiful pieces
Pieces that tell a powerful story
A story of literally taking something used for darkness, for war, for death

And making into something beautiful. 

They are daughters of the King, just like you and I
They are beautiful
Their stories are powerful

You can help be their voice and share their story.

With the holiday's fast approaching, will you join me in a different kind of Christmas shopping?
Shopping that gives back
Shopping that gives the opportunity to be a voice for someone

If you're interested in hosting a Noonday Collection Trunk show, please let me know.  By opening your home for a few hours, you're opening up your home to allow stories to be shared, visions to be started and dreams to come true. 

That's why I love Noonday, because even if you're just helping one, to that one person it means everything

Saturday, November 17, 2012

One of those days...maybe weeks

Today was just one of those days I want to remember.  Nothing major happened, but it was just an all around wonderful day. Let me back up and tell you about this week though.

The week started with me running into, er, "tapping"the water heater in our garage with our car. Awesome right? Not, my husband didn't think so either, but he was very gracious with me.

Next,  literally the next day, I fell down the stairs. Which if you know me, isn't all that unusual. Sadly, I tend to rush, trip, whatever. I've fallen down and up the stairs quite a bit. One time I even fell up the stairs and broke a finger, true story. On my way toppling down the stairs, I ripped our alarm system straight out of the wall, again, awesome move on my part. Not. Since it lost power it started going off like crazy thinking some burglar tried to rip it out or something. Anyway, my trusty husband fixed it (thankfully, or we'd have to pay our alarm company big bucks)

But today, today was a good day.  A day where we could be slow and lazy, which hasn't happened in a long time.  I'm helping my friend Rachel with some styled shoots for her photography business, and she offered to take some pictures of Justin and I for out Christmas cards.  I definitely might have had some "failed" Pinterest attempts to recreate a picture, but she took a few that definitely made me tear up.

My favorite

This one is my favorite.  It symbolizes so much.  A year ago, we officially announced our plans to adopt.  I have learned so much this year, met so many people. We're praying boldly that next year we will have a family of three to take pictures. 

Tomorrow marks our 6 month DTE date, about to enter month 7. 

God moved mountains this year. 

"And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen."
Matthew 21:21

Monday, November 12, 2012

A day in the life...

Want to know what a day in the life of waiting for a referral is like? Glad you do, because I'm in the mood to give ya a glimpse. 

Here's the deal.  I'm not gonna lie, the waits tough at times, and there are people who've been waiting much longer than us.  We're about to end our 6th month waiting.  6 months... if we were pregnant at the 6th month mark, I'd assume we'd feel a lot like we do now.  We'd be getting a room ready for the babe, we'd be dreaming of the day when we'd get to meet our child face to face, but the difference is..we have no due date, we have some estimations-but really, we have no idea.  That parts kind of fun-not. You see, I'm a bit of a planner...I like to know schedules and routines.  I can be flexible-if it fits in with the schedule ;) 

We are truly on an adventure, it's one of many twists and turns, laughs (you should HEAR the conversations that go on in our house.  Things we've learned in the last year that I NEVER thought we'd be just chatting it up about) and some tears.  But you know, it's all good.  Because HE knows, and HIS plans a perfect. So I give you, a day in the life.

-Awake. We're on the west coast and our agency is on the east they're 3 hours ahead. I check some blogs, Facebook, the yahoo groups and see if anyone has gotten a referral.  If they have, I LOVE waking up Justin and telling him-I live vicariously through this wonderful community of adoption. 

- During the day I get emails from fellow families along in the journey.  These emails range from a variety of different topics.  I like reading them, sometimes they're from people who have gone before us and have some great info, sometimes it's from families who have just started and need advice on what paperwork gets sent where (we ALL know how awesome the paper chase can be..not) 

-Some day's I debate emailing our family coordinator hoping for some info

-Some days I sit and think about a women on the other side of the world...someone who will forever be connected to us. I wonder what she's doing. Is she safe? Is she scared? I pray for her all the time.

-Once it's about 2pm here, I know we won't hear from our agency...and that's okay. It's just another day down.

-We end our day usually talking about the little guy. What he might be doing, if he's even born, what his mom or dad are doing. Things like that.

God's been more than gracious to us this far. I have a feeling (actually I know) He's just getting started. 

Now wasn't that exciting?! Just another day in the life! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Paid in full...

That's how much God has brought to our adoption fund
It's paid in full
Yesterday we got a donation for exactly what we needed to cover our estimated costs. 
I wish I had some profound thing to say, but literally... I'm speechless. 
It's been almost a year since we announced our plans to adopt
Our lives have been rocked to say the least
God has taught us SO much in this last year, and we're still learning
We're learning sacrifice
We're learning total dependence
We're learning to live out our faith
I remember thinking back when we started, $25,000...we didn't even have $250 to fill out the application!
It's here
I remember when we decided to sell my car, I loved it, but knew we needed money to pay for our homestudy, so we sold it, and God provided. 
We've learned some pretty strict budgeting tricks this year-it's a love hate relationship. Justin and I joke that we're happy that we don't have much money, it's easier to decided how to spend it haha. 

I had a friend describe the adoption journey as if it were a race 
(ps, I don't run, hate it, tried to love it, didn't happen)
It's so true, it's like this continuous race of hills, flats, twists and turns, unexpected pains in your side, and comfortable strides.  
It's like we just ran up a hill, got our water break, and now we keep running.  
I can see the faces of those who stand with us, those who have given financially, prayed with us, people who are in this with us.
They're on the sidelines cheering us on, giving us what we need to keep running
Because we're not done running, not at all. 
We finished a major lap, a huge lap. A lap we could only finish with God's provision
We've gotten our water, now it's time to keep running...

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen
-Ephesians 3:20-21