For Those Who Are Waiting…

I think about you more than you know.

You’re in my prayers and come across my thoughts so often in a day.

I could say I “get it” because I’ve been there, but, at the same time, I only mostly understand.  I haven’t been in your exact shoes, in your unique journey, so I don’t understand completely.  But all who have waited are warriors in some same sense.  (And sometimes I wonder if it’s a sane sense.)  So I want to encourage you, to bring you hope…

But I also need you.  To remind me, to teach me.

I look to you to see how to wholeheartedly cast an unknown future into the hands of known God — more known than ever in times of utter dependence.  Have I really become so important, having someone so utterly dependent on me, that I forget the One whose provision I prayed, the One who still provides my daily bread?  Show me how to look ahead, because the future is not any more known now that the dream is true.  I see faithfulness in your stories, I see God at work, and He is no less at work now in mine.  It’s only just the beginning.

Here’s the part that will sound so strange.  Sitting here on the other side, it would be really easy for me to say that being a mom is the best thing I have ever done or could ever do.  (And when I hold her in my arms and look at her sweet, sleeping face that’s especially true.)  But it’s not.  Trusting God’s will and obeying His call is the greatest thing I can ever do.  I know I have received the most precious gift, a blessing that has allowed me the greatest privilege of my life – but not the purpose.  To bring glory to God, to know Him more and make Him known… that is my purpose as a Christ follower.  (What a humbling way, by His grace, He has given for me – THROUGH her – to do just that.)

It’s what you are doing right now.  Being faithful in the waiting.  Trusting God with your whole heart and your whole life.  Being so ready and yet being asked to wait.

The waiting, the waiting, the waiting… That desert place where the forming of our character has much more of an impact on our actual mothering than we will ever know.  Where our faith is molded through exasperation and tears, preparation and hopefulness.  It is the display of that same faith that will be the greatest gift we could ever give our children one day – not the perfect nursery, or the paperwork, or all the research, or anything else.

There is a time that’s coming for you (how I pray it’s soon!)…  But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that God is always intentional with waiting.  He has given each of us a very specific timeframe.  And it has nothing to do with who finishes their paperwork first, or who wants it more, or did I choose the right agency…  It’s much more heaven-sent than all of that.  Actually, it’s perfect.

So really, I don’t know.  I don’t know every story that leads to adoption.  I don’t know the raw injustice of infertility…  I don’t know the tremendous, crushing loss of a child…  I don’t even know the tender (or perhaps sudden) way God whispered it into your plans, even as He once laid on our hearts the way to His plan all along.

But I do know this about the waiting:

God gives grace upon grace upon grace.

In all things and for all things you encounter.

Press on.  Don’t you get discouraged.  Never give up.  Let go and yet hold fast – surrendering your expectations while clinging to the goodness and the promises of God.  It’s no small thing.  He is doing something right now that you could never dream.  And now is the time that matters.  It matters.

I was in this place less than a week before we got “the call”: https://glenhamsgrow.com/2014/11/09/when-words-are-weary-and-joy-runs-deep/  And it would be so easy for me now to forget what that was like.

The truth is, here I am now — completely, unfathomably in love with His gift — and He is still just asking me to trust Him.  Just like you.

There is a song of hope that rises each time you say with your life, I trust You.  It’s beautiful and painful, like childbirth itself.  I see you waiting… And I’m inspired.  Encouraged.  Soldiers of hope, help me remember the faithfulness of the One who brought me here.

And don’t you get discouraged.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” (Zechariah 4:10)

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What’s New?

This summer has really been a whirlwind!  I think the best way to fill your schedule absolutely to the brim is to consciously say you’d like to begin saying “no” more and intentionally begin to move things off your plate… yep, that’ll do it. ;)

Although we were recently out of town for 5-6 weekends in a row (who’s counting?) and went on vacation for a week (glorious!), I do have some updates on the actual adoption front.  The most popular question we receive nowadays is: “Have you gotten any updates?”  While we don’t really get any “updates” per se during the waiting period, I do have at least a few things to share…

We have a benefit coming up!!  My aunt has generously offered to donate a day of lessons in our honor at Wind Drift Farm on SEPTEMBER 27TH (date has changed).  She is a two-star Parelli instructor and will be giving workshops at discounted prices for this event.  We are so excited about seeing her in action and what she has so passionately put her heart into doing for a living… and, of course, to give others the opportunity to help bring Baby Glenham home!!!  Check out this flyer:

WindDrift flyer

We are also finally wrapping up the process of getting life-insurance policies in place for the two of us.  This is a requirement with our agency and one very last thing we need to take care of.  We had a lady coming to our house this past Friday to do blood work (if you know me well, you know this is one of my least favorite things — but at least I could lay on my own couch to get it done!).

Soon, we will be closing down our fund-raising website: www.youcaring.com/babyglenham.  This project has absolutely blown us away.  When we first decided to adopt, we knew we had a lot of money to raise.  We bought the book Adopt Without Debt, and we decided to create a fund-raising site to see what it might do.  God provided over $19,000 toward our adoption.  He is so good!!!!  It was incredible to see Him affirm and provide throughout this process, and we give Him all the glory.  We can’t even begin to appropriately thank our family and friends who have so generously donated toward helping us bring our baby home.  And, as stated many times on the site, your PRAYERS are really your greatest contribution.  I will be moving the puzzle pictures over to this blog as we get even closer to our goal.  (Each donation helps add pieces to the puzzle; the last piece will be added when our baby is home!)  And if you are curious about why adoption costs so much (like we were!), check out a previous post here on the blog called Answers to Questions.

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Our online profile will be posted soon!!  We have submitted our content and photos for our online profile, which is basically the way that expectant parents from other parts of the country will see us and request to view our profile book.  Because we have chosen to be open to interstate placement, this means we could be chosen by a birthmother from anywhere in the U.S.  It is incredibly humbling to write a little about yourselves and share a few photos for an online profile… knowing that it could be the way you might be considered to be the adoptive parents for someone’s baby.  It’s an honor already to have that opportunity!

Lastly, I’ve been really blessed to find a second job (completely on the side from my full-time job at church) that I can do from home — and really enjoy!  My training in school was professional writing and editing, and I worked for five years after graduating college as assistant editor of a magazine before taking my position at church.  Doing a bit of online editing for a national publishing company provides some supplemental income that I can put straight toward baby expenses — not to mention sharpen my skills on something I love to do. ;)

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Thank you for continuing to pray!  We love you all and hope that we can continue to keep you informed and engaged in this journey we’re on toward adoption.  We will not really get any “updates” during the waiting phase.  When we get the call (which could still be a while to go, but hopefully not), it means we’ve been chosen by a birthmother.  So at that point, it then just depends on how far along she is in her pregnancy.  It could be another couple months after that or just a couple days!  It all just depends, and there is no way to know, but we are continuing to trust in God’s timing.  Knowing that the point isn’t as much for us to “find a baby” but to be used as a part of God’s plan to be a forever family for a child who was given a second chance at life.  To be part of that special person’s life who has made an incredibly brave choice.  And to be parents — raising a disciple of Christ.

Thank you for being our community!

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Thoughts and Updates

Summer has officially hit Wilmington, and I am love. ing. it… The weather has been absolutely gorgeous the past few weeks!  Even though we’ve had a lot to do at home that has kept us indoors, I’ve managed one pool day with girlfriends and we plan to hit the beach on Saturday to celebrate Trey’s birthday (which is tomorrow!!).

Our home inspection this past Thursday went really well.  Our social worker had a lot of grace with us: Several boxes remain unpacked, and pictures are not on the walls, but she said she was impressed with how much had been done in only a couple weeks. :)  We were “approved” (again), and now we just have to get our assessment updated (including new financial records, etc.), and we will become a waiting family again by JUNE 1ST!  Yay!

Yesterday being Mothers Day, I have to say I am very thankful that the day was not awkward or hard or uncomfortable for me…  It can be a difficult day for many mamas-in-waiting — just another reminder of what they don’t yet have.  I typically see a lot written about this in the blog world that I follow, as well as on social media, and I can totally understand that feeling of not-yet…

Holidays are just hard.  For many people, they are the most wonderful days of the year, and for others they are like salt in an ever-open wound…  Yesterday, I just felt very blessed and protected from any hard feelings.  Last year, Mothers Day was really exciting as we had just submitted our formal application to adopt the month before.  This year, even though a baby is still not a reality for us yet, I still felt really grateful.  Mostly for all the women in my life currently who have either mothered me in some way and/or shown me the kind of mother I want to be: my amazing mom and mother-in-law, my sister, my sweet living grandmother… The focus on these women helped a great deal.  As well as knowing my time will come.  And friends and family members were so sweet with gestures of cards and texts and even flowers.  The bottom line on all of that: I am so blessed to have such thoughtful people in my life!

I have to admit, it’s been strangest at work…  I have begun training several different people on different aspects of what I do, in preparation for my maternity leave — although we don’t know exactly when that will come.  I feel bad about not having those answers, not knowing quite how much to give up or turn over… but the good news is, as always, God does.

I saw a devotion from My Utmost for His Highest the other day that I just loved and had to share with Trey:

If Jesus ever gave us a command He could not enable us to fulfill, He would be a liar: and if we make our inability a barrier to obedience, it means we are telling God there is something He has not taken into account.  Every element of self-reliance must be slain by the power of God.  Complete weakness and dependence will always be the occasion for the Spirit of God to manifest His power.

Isn’t it the truth?

At the beginning of every month, Trey and I sit down to review our budget from the previous month.  We have categories for everything we spend our money on and make adjustments as necessary in these monthly reviews.  We have been saving in the “child college” category since we first got married, and I can remember those first several months laughing that we might just maybe have enough for a textbook.  It’s pretty cool to see what slow, committed faithfulness will do to each category over time.  We have about enough for maybe half a semester at this point, and it’s not much… but it’s something.  And I think that’s how we most honor God: not with a big-bang decision to adopt, but slow, committed trust in His word over time…  That’s where we are right now.

In our current series at church, our pastor has talked about seeking God’s presence more than His direction.  He asked, “Would you rather be in the place you want to be without God, or right where you are with God?”  I can’t think of a better manifesto for the waiting period in adoption (or “waiting to wait,” like us).  It’s a privilege to know that God is inviting us to trust Him with His timing.  In any case, as our pastor reminded us, “Eternal beings are never in a hurry.” ;)

That was a bunch of random thoughts and updates, but I’m trying hard to just remain really honest on here and capture these snapshots in time of exactly how we are feeling and what we’re experiencing.  I especially want to thank everyone who provided encouragement and expressed thanks for my post on April 10th, “The Journey to Here (An Honest Account): Part 2.”  It was really humbling to receive such appreciation!!  That was a really hard thing for me to post, so I can’t tell you what it means to hear even one expression of impact.  So I leave you with a small suggestion: Share your stories… Never underestimate them.  They are so powerful!!

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When Adoption is Like Mount Everest

Well…

We’re “on hold.”

After all the excitement these past couple weeks, our adoption process is officially on hold.

A lot can change in just a few days!

With the good news of our condo being under contract, I’ve been in touch with our social worker about what that means for our adoption process.  Of course we will need to get an inspection done of our new place when we move.  This is just a quick visit, as we learned before… but we don’t move until the end of the month, our social worker comes down to do the inspection in May, and then she has to update our assessment.

So she said we have two options:  We could either be put “on hold” temporarily until everything is updated, OR we could continue allowing them to show our profile book to expectant parents, knowing that, if we are chosen during this time, the baby would have to reside in interim care until everything is complete.

We would like to avoid an interim-care situation.  So we chose to be put on hold.  (Which means: no chance of getting the call about a baby until our waiting period picks back up again, at least until some time in May.)

It was kind of a tough thing to hear… especially when we had just become a waiting family.  But it all just means that God has a specific baby in mind that we’re not supposed to meet yet.  The timing is perfect because it’s His timing.  And truly… after a couple days into our “hold”… it’s really a blessing.  We can finally get settled somewhere, start a nursery, have what we need, and be more prepared.  So even though it’s unexpected — it’s exactly right.

They always said the adoption process is a roller-coaster ride.

Actually, I think it’s a lot like climbing Mount Everest…

A month ago in Nepal, our mission team was often mistaken for “trekkers.”  We’d state where we were from as we traveled around the country, mostly living out of our backpacks, and people would automatically assume: “Ah, trekkers.”  Being that Mount Everest is located in Nepal, along with a slew of other recording-holding Himalayan peaks, it’s a world-renowned destination for hiking and other outdoor adventures.  In fact, we actually met a guy on our connecting flight from Qatar to Kathmandu who was on his way to climb Base Camp 1.  We also spent time with someone on staff at Tiny Hands in Nepal who had done the same climb herself.

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Heights outside of Pokhara.

One thing I had learned before is that, to climb Mount Everest, you can’t exactly go straight from the bottom up to the top (like one would assume: Point A to Point B).  You climb to Base Camp 1… and then you have to come all the way back down to the bottom.  Then you might do that yet again before climbing up to the next level… and then come all the way back down again.  It’s all about “climatization,” acclimating your body to the dangerously high altitudes.  When your body isn’t used to such heights, you can’t just survive in that environment all at once; you have to slowly acclimate.

The creeping up only to turn around and go straight back down seems frustrating and counterintuitive and inefficient.

But the thing is:

Even when you’re stopped or headed in the exact opposite direction… it’s still progress.  

You have to go through that process in order to make progress.

So here we are, seemingly being “held back,” when in the bigger picture — ultimately — we are moving forward.  Being under contract is exactly what we wanted to happen, and this “hold” is just a part of the process of the timing we’re in.

Necessary to get from here to there.

A part of our story that God is writing.

And if faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains… who’s afraid of a little altitude?

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Hometown Baby Shower

We had an awesome baby shower in my hometown on Saturday!!

My mom, sister, and two friends from home hosted this very special day, and it was SO very encouraging to us…

Perfect timing.

I think all along I have pictured our “waiting” period to be very different.

Isn’t that the time when everything we need to do is done, and we just sit around and wait, praying together every day, poring over Scripture by candlelight, and twiddling our thumbs until we get “The Call”?

Waiting has looked very different for us.  Of course we are praying, but waiting has been a whole lot more active than I anticipated.  Sure, all our paperwork is complete.  But all the usual preparations still have to happen: registries, guest lists, adoption fund-raising, researching pediatricians, recalculating your budget, thank-you notes… trying to sell your condo so you can actually start a nursery with all the gifts your moms are currently storing for you. ;)  It’s all very exciting, and there is nothing bad about any of these things.  But unlike the waiting period I pictured — with soooo much time on my hands — turns out I still have to be just as disciplined about carving out time to pray… reading devotions on motherhood… reading books about babies… and spending quiet time with God.  These things do not naturally become easier because all the paperwork is done.

So here’s the thing about showers: Far more than the gifts you receive (which of course are so appreciated and needed), it’s always more about having all the people who love and support you all together in one place.  It’s that reminder of these people in your life who are there to help you, love you, and encourage you.  I can’t even describe how overwhelmingly grateful we are for the family and friends we have… and to know the love this baby has already.  It’s truly incredible!

Here’s a recap in pictures…

Dad made these wood tiles, and my sister did the lettering... They are so talented!

Dad made these wood tiles, and my sister did the lettering… They are so talented!

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Trey and me with our hostesses.

SONY DSC

It was Trey’s very first baby shower… and he did great! ;)

There was someone very special we were thinking of that day that we wanted to honor...

There was someone very special we were thinking of that day and wanted to honor… This letter/poem was displayed in a frame.

I love this moment captured between Trey and one of the ladies at my home church. They have welcomed him in with open arms, and he loves them just as much!

I LOVE this moment captured between Trey and one of the ladies at my home church. They have all welcomed him in with open arms since day one — and he loves them just as much!

There is so much love in the community of believers at my church in St. Pauls, as these pictures show.

There is so much love among my church family in St. Pauls, as these pictures show.

So grateful Trey's mom and Aunt Carol got to come!

So grateful that Trey’s mom and Aunt Carol got to come!

We got lots of help opening presents!

We got lots of help opening presents!

And we received some amazing gifts.

And we received some amazing gifts.

Next generation of Tarheel fans...

One happy Tarheel daddy!

I can't wait to read this.

I cannot wait to read this.

We are so thankful to everyone who came and to everyone who helped make this day what it was.  You blessed us more than you know…

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(Today's adoration scripture over at everybitterthingissweet on Instagram.)

(Today’s adoration scripture over at everybitterthingissweet on Instagram.)

Heading to Nepal

Today, I will board a plane with an awesome team of people and fly out to Nepal to work with human-trafficking organization Tiny Hands International.  As we prepare our hearts, we know that God has gone ahead, and that HE alone is the author of justice and freedom and redemption…

While we are there, we will be flying out to a couple different border-monitoring stations along the Nepal/India border.  These stations are where workers intercept trafficking as it happens.  (15,00 women and children are trafficked from Nepal into India every year — every year!)  We will also visit 3-4 children’s homes, a center for empowerment (where women are ministered to post-rescue), Beauty for Ashes, and meet with Tiny Hands staff in charge of investigations and analysis.  It will be an incredibly powerful mission — we greatly appreciate your prayers!!

One of my biggest prayers, personally, is to be present in each moment.  It would be such a disservice to this mission if I were not fully engaged in the ministry we are doing.  There are a lot of exciting things I am coming home to, and it is truly a discipline to literally check out of your life for 10 days.  But this is my life, too.  This moment, today, is where God has called me to be.  And I am only promised today.  I am so thrilled for this unbelievable opportunity… I can’t believe all that we will get to see and be a part of!!  As much as I could think ahead to so many things, for now God has called me to be part of a team that will be His hands and feet in another part of the world, to love on His children there…

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I’m so grateful that He allows me the opportunity to see beyond my own little bubble, calling me to greater faith, getting me out of my comfort zone.  There is nothing about the adoption process, or the timing of when our condo will sell, that we can control.  Trusting Him with the unknown — however scary it may be — is honestly delighting my soul because that’s where faith flourishes.  And that’s what pleases Him.  There are other purposes for this mission, but I know that all of this is equipping me to be a better mother.

A lot has been set in motion lately with our adoption process.  This past week alone, we ordered our profile books, we’re getting close to halfway with our fund-raising (www.youcaring.com/babyglenham), and our social worker completed our final home assessment.  The assessment is a 13-page document that contains everything we have worked on since we first submitted our formal application to Bethany last April: our financial records, our health check-ups, our references, how we were raised and disciplined, our parenting philosophies, our background checks, our record of adoption training and education… I think I said “This is crazy!” about three times as we were reading through it.  Not in a bad way, but just because it’s like our whole life in one huge file!

Having those things complete make me feel at peace before I leave.  And then — when I return — we wait.  I hope I never lose this transit sense of being we have established over this past year and over these past several months.  We are always in the in between, dependent on God, waiting on Him to provide daily manna.  Our faith has deepened as our control has lessened.  We do our part, but we look to the Lord expectantly for what’s next…

“If knowing Him more intimately is my end goal, there’s not one single thing I will face today that can’t serve to draw me into this.” -Sara Hagerty

Thanks for your prayers for our team!  For health, safety, and for great impact to be had in and through us, and for those we will encounter…  Love to all!!

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Winter Blessings

Even with the threat of snow and ice last week, I never expected to be out of work for three (frozen-solid) days right before the weekend…

But what a blessing those snow days turned out to be!!!

After getting some work done — and of course turning into kids again one morning when we decided to go sledding (so fun!!) — early on the evening of our second night iced in, I began a project that lasted the rest of our time until we were safe to leave the house again…

sledding

I’ll admit: for a long time, I’ve been a little bit paralyzed to start making our profile book.  Unlike international adoption, in domestic infant adoption through an agency, profile books are what expectant parents use to choose who will be the adoptive parents of their baby…  They browse through the profile books of those who are approved to adopt, and, in getting a glimpse into the lives of these couples, make that life-changing choice.  It reminds me, in a way, of John 15:16 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you.”  At no point in this process do you ever feel entitled to any control — which is incredibly humbling.  And, ironically, a great blessing.

Typically, I would be all over something like this.  I love to create, I love pictures, and I can work on a project for hours with little to no human interaction.  (Which is probably the reason why the introvert side of me felt absolutely no cabin fever over those three snow days — it was awesome!!!)  But when it came to putting together our LIFE into ONE book that had such implications… I just couldn’t decide how to get started.

Until God iced me inside my house and gave me no other choice…

(Sneak preview - sorry about the fuzzy computer shots!)

(Sneak preview – sorry about the fuzzy computer shots!)

I can’t even express what a PRAISE this was and the amount of gratitude I felt…  After hours and hours of solid focus, the majority of our book was near completion.  I almost sent an e-mail to my women’s small group to say “Praise!!!  I spent my snow days creating a 20-page Shutterfly album, and it was amazing!!!!”  But… I didn’t.

So many other things are falling into place.  We have two baby showers lined up (one in February and one in March, thanks to some amazing friends and family), and our registries are nearly finalized.  A good friend recently helped me pick out fabrics for a very special project that will end up in our child’s room, AND after our trip to Hobby Lobby and Joann’s, let’s just say there might be yet-another DIY project in my future. :)

I’m even doing something I never thought I would do as an expectant adoptive parent…

Shopping for maternity clothes!!!

Haha… guess I should explain that one.  While preparing for my upcoming mission to Nepal, I’m in need of some long, flowy tunic tops to wear.  Unlike Kenya or other places I traveled, women in Nepal don’t wear long skirts and dresses.  (In this culture, it’s immodest to show your ankles; feet are considered unclean in general, and you must cover your ankles, as well as never sit with the bottom of your foot facing someone.)  Women wear pants, but your backside MUST be covered.  Nothing even slightly clingy that will show your shape at all.  So, as I’ve endlessly searched for long, mid-thigh-hitting tops that are completely shapeless, I suddenly had the idea to shop in the maternity section… and have had great luck!!  I guess I get to have that experience after all. ;)

There is still a lot going on and much to do… in particular, a very very humbling “next step” in our process that has to do with our community of support… which you’ll be finding out about very soon.  In the meantime, God just continues to amaze me with His goodness and grace.  Knowing me better than I know myself and providing before we even know to ask.  As a friend said recently,

“He is so creative and loving.  He doesn’t need us, but in His goodness, He has created us all to work together in His redeeming story.”

At this very moment, I could NOT have said it any better…

So we wait in winter… and prepare for what the spring might bring.

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Advent

“Advent — this is the season of preparing that prepares us for any season of life — because we are preparing our lives for Christ to enter in.” (Ann Voskamp)

We love you already.

A new ornament for the tree: We love you already.

At all times, in all things… “Let every heart, prepare Him room.”

This year, our Advent season has comprised both preparations for the birth of Jesus and continued preparations in our adoption process — making it a Christmas season full of joy and anticipation!!

The most recent step in our adoption progress was our home visit this past Thursday.  (Yep, the Thursday before Christmas.)  You might think the timing of this would only add to the busyness of the season, but I personally think the holidays are a great time for a home visit… the house smelled like cookies, and it was decorated all merry and bright! ;)  But seriously, I really had no idea what to expect… so of course we cleaned really well, and I took a half day off work.  Turns out, it was actually pretty short and sweet!  She took a look around, asked some questions, and the whole thing was over in about 20 minutes.  The only thing she recommended we get that we didn’t already have was a carbon monoxide detecter.  Other than that, we were good to go!

home visit

Waiting for the visit.

I had kind of a moment when our social worker was walking from our bedroom back into the living room… I suddenly pictured us sitting right there in our living room filling out our applications back in April, and for a split second it seemed like only yesterday.  Then here was this person, a real live representative of our adoption agency in our home, and it was as if all the paperwork and interviews and meetings and reading and waiting had all been just a flash.  Before we knew it, we were sending her off with goodies in hand, back to Raleigh, and that was that.  Time to complete our profile book while she writes up our assessment, and we are still looking to be in the “waiting” phase come the second week in March. :)

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Cozy.

As always… ’tis the season for cookies!  One thing I have learned about myself is that I am a seasonal baker — which will probably change once we have kids. :)  For now, we keep it pretty healthy around here most of the year, but at Christmastime, I really enjoy baking for all the parties and festivities!

Linzer Christmas cookies

Linzer Christmas cookies

linzer cookies

Adorable sweet treats.

linzer

All ready for my small group’s Christmas party!

Preparing for an annual Cookie Swap.

Preparing for an annual Cookie Swap.

White chocolate cranberry cookies for family.

White chocolate cranberry cookies for family.

Last year's peanut butter cookies.

Last year’s peanut butter cookies.

This Christmas has also included a search for the best Christmas lights in Wilmington… Off we went on a “winter adventure” in these 70-degree temps we’ve been having!

arches

Magical!

Trey at the North Pole. :)

Trey at the North Pole. :)

A beautiful home in Parkview.

A beautiful home in Parkview.

And currently we are preparing to host Trey’s family over Christmas, which will be so much fun… our first time hosting!!

fire

Complete with a nice warm fire on the hearth. ;)

Last night, the family celebrations began with a gathering on my dad’s side (an annual tradition).  We are SO looking forward to more family time ahead!

The "Marvin Reas" at the Rea/Freeman Christmas.

The “Marvin Reas” at the Rea/Freeman Christmas.

landfall

Classic!

It’s been fun and full, and I can’t help but to think about how blessed we are…  For the families we have, for a comfortable home, for all the joy in what’s to come, but most especially: for the hope we have in a promise that’s our reason to celebrate at all.  There is much to do in preparation for all that this time of year entails.  But if nothing else on the to-do list gets done, we can honor Him with our hearts lifted in worship, knowing that it’s not what we’re doing for Himbut what He’s done for us.  That most mysterious gift that infuses the air with a hopefulness, joy, and gratitude unparalleled in any other season… lifting an aroma of adoration and anticipation, awe and wonder…

“Let all within us, praise His holy name.”

…filling every space in our lives in this Advent “season of preparing.”

And that makes it the most wonderful time… of the year. :)

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