This weekend was a lot of work. A LOT. There were times (might have been the majority of the time) when I was overwhelmed, emotional, and on the brink of tears. After a long day setting up on Thursday (9am-midnight) I had a hard time settling down before the big day. And by hard time - I mean impossible. Hubs had to literally drag me to bed, eyes wide and head spinning. I might have cried. He pulled me into his arms and started praying....we spent probably a half an hour praying for the weekend ahead of us, for my ability to let it all go and sleep, the hearts of those who would be at the yard sale, and each and every helper who would be there. I am so so SO grateful for friends who pulled us through this week! I could not be more serious when I say that we could not have done it without you!
(Warning, I was really great with the pics in the beginning and got worse and worse as the weekend progressed so I didn't get pics of even half of our helpers...sorry guys. :( )
You think she's be crying...
But Jodi's still rockin' the positive attitude! ;)
...and lovin' the snuggles from Monkey! ;)
Some of the guys...
Just some of the set-up crew!
"Look mama! A dollar for baby sister!"
Mama and Monkey by our Ethiopia Info area!
Jodi - you were my rock this weekend! I know I did not have my stuff together like that when I was 9 months pregnant! Thank you for your massive organizing skills. Thank you for literally being a go-getter and collecting all those donations. Thank you for all your help setting up. Thank you for manning the cash register. Thank you for praying us through this weekend. Thank you for your uplifting spirit. Thank you for reminding me of God's promises when I was drowning in stress and losing sight of the end goal. You are an incredible friend and I am so thankful for you! (And thank you Ryanne for putting up with your mama this weekend and staying put - we did NOT want to be responsible for your early arrival!)
Jessica - you are such a shining light! You had a million things on your mind this weekend you could have been focusing on instead of our fundraiser, yet you were there...and you brought TREATS! Yes, you brought amazing cupcakes for the bake sale, but more importantly you brought a possitive attitude - and it rubbed off and everyone you came across! Thank you for your smiles, for your laughs, for your hugs, for your food (which was a huuuge hit), and for bringing your wonderful kids to play with mine! =) So thankful for you friend!
Lindsay - you are an amazing mother (and you and your preggo belly are so stinkin' cute)! It was way too hot of a weekend to ask preggo to stand in the hot sun! Thank you so much for being there anyway - and with a smile on your face! You were such a huge help with the kiddos! You amaze me with your ability to keep...what 5+ kiddos (?) relatively calm and organized. Thanks for keeping them in line, and kissing away the boo-boos, and reapplying sunscreen when needed, and making sure they drink plenty of fluids and fill their tummy with snacks! It was so wonderful not to have to worry about Monkey, because I knew you had it under control. Way to go super-mom! Love you to pieces (and your sweet girls too!) - thanks for being there!
Annika - you are my heart twin...seriously! If hearts could be twins, ours would be! I know that sounds wierd...but you know what's really wierd?!? How everytime something is just on my heart, you call me about it! Or you bring up something that God placed on your heart as I'm thinking about the same thing! Our hearts must be on the same wavelength or something, lol! Even though H needed her mama's milk and E needed you to play referree...I am so thankful you were there this weekend! Sometimes a heart to heart is the biggest encouragement of all, and I appreciate you always being willing to share yours with me!
Mike - you are a rockstar! Thanks for coming straight from work and being a major part of our set-up crew without one complaint (well, except maybe the heat ;) !! We so appreciate your dedication to our family and can't thank you enough for all your hard work and help!
Bear - you are so generous! Thank you for all your amazing electonic donations which flew off the shelves (or desk, whatever). And thank you for your generosity with your time. We know you guys had such a busy weekend and we so appreciate all your help! It was so nice to have some muscles (because believe me mine are rubber) to move things around without complaining! ;)
Kristen - you are so selfless! Thank you for dropping everything to help us the night before the big day. I was so overwhelmed and didn't know who to turn to and appreciate you being there in our time of need! You were so great at just getting things done...thank you for all your suggestions on how to set things up and where things should go! Don't know what we would have done without you guys this weekend!
Karmen - you are a God-send! I'm so glad that God told you to call me Friday night because YOU were exactly what the Great Physician prescribed! Thank you for conversations to get my mind off of things and lots of laughs. And THANK YOU for blessing our family with a night off and great food. Thank you for being there when I thought we were just gonna have to tough it out alone. You are an angel! ;)
Josiah - you are an amazing go-to guy! Thank you for be willing to do anything and everything this weekend! You were such a great help whether it was at the cash register, folding clothes, helping customers, watching the kids, carrying things into cars, ect. ect. ect... The list could go on and on and on! So thankful for all your time and energy spent with us this week (and to your beautiful wife and daughter for lending you to us) and so thankful for your friendship! We SO appreciate you!
Erik - you are a muscle-man! Thank you so much for all your heavy lifting this weekend. I still am in awe that you spent your whole day with us. It was so nice to have some extra hands to help customers load away the huge furniture. Thanks for giving me relief from my mental exhaustion ($2.50...what?!?!) my emotional exhaustion ("Why are you crying?" "I dont know...I'm tired") and my physical exhaustion. Thanks for letting me off the hook (or forcing me off the hook, lol) and cleaning up for me! You rock!!!
Lori - you are an idea wizard! Thanks for all your great organizational ideas and for making our yard sale look that much more prettier (and yes I know that is not proper English, lol)! You didn't even ask, you just did...and that was exactly what we needed at that exact time. I love that you "get it" because your sister has gone through it....its so wonderful to have someone to talk to who understands. You are an excellent listening ear and I'm so thankful for your frienship! Don't know what I would do without you! =)
Tarah - you are a life-saver! Thank you so much for making the drive and showing up to help us in those last few exhausting hours! And POPCYCLES?!? Would have NEVER thought of it! Thank you for knowing what I needed even when I didn't! It has been beyond a pleasure walking with you through this adoption journey and I hope I can be as much of a support to your family as you have been to mine! I love love LOVE that our children will have each other to lean on and play with and relate to in the coming years. Your friendship has been a wonderful new addition to our lives and we are so thankful for it!
It started out as just a couple boxes (which at the time I was proud of)...but with a little request on FB it quickly turned into....
Piles and piles and piles of donations!!! Thank you to each of you who donated something, no matter who small...it all added up to a very wonderful display!
We loaded everything under the carport....and with lots of help it actually started to turn into this...
Have I mentioned how blessed we are???
God brought some pretty amazing people to our yard sale. It was so cool to hear their stories, to share ours, and to see them open their hearts. God is good!
The first was a woman who strolled up with her teen/pre-teen son pushing an empty stroller. I honestly didn't think too much about it at first until she told me I couldn't look at her funny because she just dropped her 3-year-old off at pre-school! Well that started us off laughing and somehow we ended up talking about our adoption. She told me she had just met a fabulous Ethiopian family at the Ethiopian market up the street. Say what?!? There's an Ethiopian market? Here?!? She described to Hubs and me exactly where it was and a bit about the amazing family who owns it (and their beautiful young daughters who I had to meet - her words ;). God just totally placed this woman in our driveway to connect us with some Ethiopians IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD! And on top of that amazing revelation, this family just blessed the socks off us! They not only loaded a stroller full...but they showed up just as Jess was setting up the bake/lemonade sale and realized she had forgotten the cups. This wondeful woman insisted on running home (just down the street) to get some for us. I gave her our email/blog address and insisted we get our kids together for a playdate. She sent her son back soon with a bag full of cups. He rolled up on his bike and handed the bag over...and his bike too! Seriously?!? Seriously. He said he had just got a new bike and wanted to donate his to our fundraiser. TEARS! For real!?! That mama raised her boys with HEART! Hubs insisted on trading for the camp chairs we had for sale when he heard that the boy's mom was drooling over them earlier. THEN the kid sent over his older brother later to browse for shoes! Seriously - this whole family was just wonderful! Thank you Jesus for letting us meet them!
The second encounter was a man who my husband knew somehow (never did ask how they had met before). Apparently his wife owns an Italian restaraunt downtown here and they have (get this...) 21 adopted children - 19 of them from Ethiopia! Ages range from 6-32! Is that not incredible?!? And because of the restaraunt they are pretty well-known. I can't tell you how many families came through our yard sale since him and told me about his family! Its so amazing to have such a well-known figure in the community setting such an example of Christ's love.
The third family had a silent entrance, yet I expect will become very good friends in the near future! Out of the front seat stepped out a blonde-haired, fair-skinned woman and her mother (I assummed). Out of the back seat, she pulled out her daughter, a toddler girl with thick head of gorgeous black curls, chocolate skin and big brown eyes. I knew in an instant she was Ethiopian. I just knew! I told her that her daughter was gorgeous and asked how old she was (17 months) and called for Monkey to introduce him. Those two hit it off right away! Monkey ran around showing her where all the cool baby toys were stored. We got to talking about her adoption (her daughter came home at 4 months old, from Ethiopia) and then I told her that all the proceeds from our yard sale were going to our adoption. We started talking about more specifics and found out (get this...) that they ALSO adopted through AGCI! Talk about a small world!!! They live just down the street, just moved in, and are trying to devolop a network of adopted families to connect with! I immediately invited her to join our Seattle AGCI Group and shared with her my email/blog address for details. (She emailed me the NEXT DAY to find out more). I showed her our Ethiopia Info poster board I had made, which had tons of pictures (thank you Janice) of Hannah's Hope (AGCI's orphanage) and the special mothers (caregivers) and she instantly recognized her daughter's special mother in the photos. It was such an amazing connection to make! Its cool enough that we have a network of families from our agency in the Seattle area, but to have a family, with a daughter close in age to my son, JUST DOWN THE STREET?!? Only God could orchestrate something like that!
The whole weekend blew my socks off! I laughed at how some people would barter you down by nickels and dimes and others would round up to the next dollar or add on an extra donation just because...(well, its a great cause, right?!?)... I was amazed how it all came together, but amazed at how hard it was. I'll tell you something - I don't think I would ever do a yard sale just because! I must really love my daughter! =P
Our total hit...
Ooops, try again...
(Monkey was NOT digging the picture taking)
Really about $1,500 now....and we're still counting!!!!!
Friends and family were FBing and texting in what they wanted to buy, and we're still waiting payments on a few things. We have a couple big items we're still going to list on craigslist and I sold a couple of my "Heart of Africa" tshirts and got a few orders too!
PLUS!!! Two days before the yard sale, we got a call from Lifesong for Orphans that we were accepted for a tax-deductable account with them! Meaning...they are accepting tax-deductable donations on our behalf! It was an amazing extra we could tell people about.
If that wasn't cool ENOUGH!!! The Nix family set out business cards, offering their window washing services to our customers and donating 10% of the proceeds our adoption as WELL! Seriously you guys....as if you didn't do enough already! We feel so blessed!
Just one more amazing thing - some friends (who may =P have been our inspiration/trigger to adopt) threw a yard sale the same weekend up in L-town (our hometown) donating some of THEIR proceeds to us as well! You guys...that is beyond generous! Thank you for being so selfless! You are amazing!
Could we BE more blessed?!?! God is so good!
When we finally finished up on Saturday (an hour and a half AFTER hours) my hubby got called into work right away. =( Just when I thought Monkey and I were left all alone with the overwhelming clean-up, Erik and Lori (who were helping ALL DAY) offered to do it for me. That's right, not HELP me, but do it FOR me. Erik did all but tie me to the couch to force me AWAY from the clean-up zone. I asked them to just put it all under our carport and back our van up in front of it and we would get to the rest when Hubs got off of work. Has yet to be done...but hey! We're tired, ok!?! =)
I spent most of the rest of the evening crying from pure exhaustion. Well, that and the sweet gift I received in the mail from one of my BBC friends...
The very next morning I headed to church early...still in that crying-because-I'm-tired mood but SO filled with joy and feeling so blessed! I dropped Monkey off at nursery (which made him burst into tears, because let's face it...he's been a little deprived of his parents this weekend) and sat down next to Erik & Lori in church. Cried my way through every song during worship...and then just when I thought I had pulled myself together, we had communion, during which we sang "How Deep The Father's Love For Us". OH the tears... Because you see...no matter how difficult this weekend was physically and emotionally, it doesn't even compare to the price Christ paid for our adoption into His family! HE died on the cross for ME (and you!)...measly little me, who sins on a constant basis and forgets to tell Him how much I love Him...and paid the ultimate price so that I could be with MY forever family! Nothing could have put it more into perspective for me than that. So when I think that this process is hard...when I'm losing patience in the wait...when the cost seems too high...who do I need to turn to? No wonder HE is my only comfort - HE knows how hard adoption is because He achieved the impossible to adopt me! HE knows how hard the wait is because He waits on me over and over and over again, just for me to screw it all up again. HE knows the cost, because it cost him HIS LIFE to bring me to Him. No one "gets it" like He does.
Let this be an encouragement to all of you in your adoption journeys no matter where you are at. Whether you can't quite take the leap of faith because the cost is terrifying...whether you are having problem after problem with your paperwork...whether the wait is seeming unbearably long...whether your separation from your child is breaking your heart to pieces...lean on your Heavenly Father who has walked it all ahead of you! All of our adoption stories are different, but Christ knows them all and will ultimately be the one to bring you comfort.
As you listen to this song below (pause the music at the bottom of the page first) please join me in prayer, wherever you are today thanking and praising our Heavenly Father for His unfailing love!
Almost there baby girl!