"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thankful

blessed?...overwhelmed?....Not sure what the best title is.  I missed the 30 days of thankfulness that many people did on facebook and I really missed being thankful on Thanksgiving because I was kind of bitter that I had to work ALL day.  Although, I was thankful for a fun day spent with my co-worker, Lindsey and we sang Christmas music all day (of course, while we were loving and feeding and taking care of the tiny babies)!!!  But, I am so so so so very thankful.

I have been on the verge of tears for the past week.  Not sad tears.  Joyful, happy tears.  I am just completely overwhelmed with God.  I am not sure if it is the excitement of the Christmas season and how completely amazing and incredible it is that God sent hope to the world in the form of a tiny baby.  If I just sit and think about that for just a moment, tears flood my eyes.  I LOVE seeing the looks on my kids faces when we get out all the decorations and prepare our home to celebrate Jesus's birthday.  I Love how Elliot plays with the manger scene and points to baby Jesus and the butterfly (Angel) that sits on top.  So precious.  I am so overwhelmed that God has blessed me with this family and these three boys.

Or, is it the hope for 2012 that we will be holding Annie in our arms forever and she will have a family forever??  This excites me and brings me so much joy.  I am so thankful that he opened our hearts and eyes to adoption.  I cannot imagine our lives right now without the excitement and anticipation for this baby girl.

Or, is it the excitement that I get to go to Ethiopia in June!!!!!!!!!  6 more months.  I cannot believe that in just a months time, I have changed from completely terrified and making up excuses for why I can't go to completely excited and thankful that I have been given this amazing opportunity and CAN. NOT wait to go!!

Or, is it the blessings that I have all around me?  My family that supports me and loves me through all times, and that love and care about Annie.  My friends who are an amazing support.  My co-workers (who are also my friends) who talk about Annie with me.  Or the co-worker who felt the Holy Spirit leading her to help support my mission trip.  Or my BOSS who takes the time out to ask about Annie and looks forward to her arrival.  I am so completely blessed and completely overwhelmed.

Or, is it because I am so completely thankful where this journey has taken me this year?  I have always wanted to completely trust God in everything I had.  I could never really let go and really trust.  I always have held on to things so tightly afraid of what might happen.  This year, I have held on to my faith and my Savior more than I have in my entire life and it is so comforting.  I am so thankful where He is taking me and leading me.  I am so thankful for His guidance and hope for our future.

This morning in BSF, we talked about this verse:

Hebrews 4:16
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

It hit me.  The tears came.  That is why I am thankful.  That is why I am overwhelmed.  I serve an amazing and powerful God that sits on a throne of GRACE and I can come to Him and he is my help and my comfort.  I don't have to do anything, just believe and I can just sit at His throne.  His love for me is so much more than I can comprehend.  This past year has been hard, but full of so many blessings and I am so thankful, blessed and overwhelmed by his grace. I am full of Joy and Hope!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Singing Els

"It's the most wonderful time of the YEEEEEEEEEAR!!"
Funny boy!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

At the Halpin House, Black Friday does not mean spending ALL night and ALL day out shopping for steals and deals.  I DO NOT like crowds and DO NOT like staying up all night.  I already did that this week waiting for my sweet niece to be born.  I just am not made to stay up all night.  It is a lazy day spent at home, Christmas shopping in my pjs online, Joel playing some football with his friends, and decorating for Christmas.  My kind of day!  Especially after working all day on Thanksgiving.

We started the morning off with this yummy breakfast that I found on pinterest!
 I got most of my Christmas shopping done and then we were ready for our tree decorating party!  I was so excited to get our tree out that we bought after Christmas last year.  We had to get a new tree due to the "baby rampage of 2010" (as Clayton calls it). 
 The boys did a great job this year decorating.  We didn't have a huge lump of ornaments at the bottom of the tree.  They did most of the decorating themselves.



 Hanging Annie's pink slippers on the tree that Rachel bought her.  Annie, we are thinking about you and praying for you this Christmas. 
Her little princess crown ornament from Gigi.  I love knowing that others are thinking about and praying for this little girl.I also LOVE having a little pink bling on the tree!


 Then it was time for the traditional Christmas tree decorating Feast.  This has been a tradition in my family since I was a little girl and I love carrying this tradition on with my family. 
 The Feast would not be complete without our lime sherbert punch. 

 This year I surprised the boys with a Lego advent calendar.  Needless to say, the were so excited!

 Joel hung the star and our tree was complete!
 The stockings I made!!  Clayton asked what it was supposed to spell.  Ha!  Guess I didn't realize it would look that way all hanging together.  It spells JECOEA!  It spells Joel, Erica, Clayton, Oliver, Elliot, and Annie!!  My family!  I think they are so cute!!  I love how they spread all the way across the mantel.


 I made this wreath too!

I love this season to celebrate the birth of our Lord! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Charlotte Rose


So. In. Love.
Happy Birthday to my newest niece and congrats to my sister Erin and brother-in-law Scott.  She is beautiful and completely perfect!
Charlotte Rose
7lbs. 5 ozs.
She is worth it all, Erin!!  Love you...you were AMAZING!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving Feast


Oliver celebrated Thanksgiving today with the entire kindergarten.  Oliver was so excited for this day.  They had prepared Indian hats for the feast and they had lots of Thanksgiving food to enjoy.  Elliot came with his thanksgiving chicken nuggets.  Oliver was not acting like himself during the feast.  He was really quiet.  As soon as I took him home...FEVER!!!  Sorry to the rest of the 100+ kids at the feast....maybe a few Indians and pilgrims got sick the very next day....we are not thankful for yucky germs, but very thankful for a quick recovery and his health.





Monday, November 14, 2011

For Noah

My nephew Noah has type 1 Diabetes.  I love him and his parents so much.  His mom, Rachel, wrote a blog post today on the difficulties of life with diabetes and it is heartbreaking.  Read her post here.  What can you do to help?  Read and sign this petition please.  We are praying everyday for a cure for him and this could be something that can change his life.
The artificial pancreas represents the most revolutionary development in diabetes care since the discovery of insulin, and JDRF is working to ensure that this development is not delayed by unnecessary regulatory roadblocks. Sign our petition to urge the FDA to advance, not delay, the development of an artificial pancreas.  http://takeaction.jdrf.org/site/PageNavigator/APAC.html

Please pray for Noah and his mom and dad!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

ETHIOPIA!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have incredible and exciting news! I am going to Ethiopia!!!!!!!!!!! I am going on a mission trip this coming June. For the past month, God has been stirring my heart for so many things. One was the changes in our age request and next he was changing my heart for missions. Not that I never thought missions were a need and something that God has called us all to, but I just never thought it was something I could do. I continued to pray about it, continued to try and come up with excuses of why I could not go and well, none of the excuses mattered. My eyes continued to be opened and my heart broke more and more for this country. I said "Yes" and I have never been so excited. I am not going to ask "how" this is going to happen. I am just going to follow! I cannot wait to serve the people from the country where Annie will be born. I cannot wait to show the love of Jesus to the people of Ethiopia. I cannot wait to hold and love on orphans. I am going with ordinary hero and also going with my friend, Carrie, who is also adopting. I cannot wait to experience this with her as we will be raising Ethiopian daughters really close to the same age. Carrie went this year and this is her video.  It is AWESOME!!  The next video is from Ordinary Hero.  Just watching these videos will show you why I am going to Ethiopia and why we are adopting from Ethiopia.

Ordinary Hero~ The Orphan from Kelly Putty on Vimeo.


I am so thankful that God has led me to adoption and to missions.  I am changed and hope to be further changed.  Things that were so important to me two years ago mean nothing.  As painful as some of the pruning has been, I am so thankful for where it has taken me.  Maybe God is calling you to Ethiopia!

Changes

God has led us to increase our age request to 24 months.  He put this on my heart and it was not something that I wanted to do.  I fought it, cried over it, and prayed about it for weeks.  This is not what I had in mind.  I pictured a tiny little baby in my arms.  I pictured it being easy for her to attach to me because she would not know any better. But a toddler?  Right on the brink of the terrible twos, taken away from her country and everything she has ever known, flown across the world to live in a really loud home with three crazy brothers.  I am afraid I won't know what to do.  I am afraid she won't like me.  What if I can't bond with her?  I am afraid. But, the Holy Spirit continued to work in me and this was not something I could let go of.  I was confident that this was what God wanted us to do, but it was so hard for me to let go of all the questions and fears.  But, I also couldn't let go of the fact that 8 out of 10 people that are adopting from our agency are requesting infants. That list is LONG!!   So, what happens when they are over that stage?  Would I completely miss out on the blessing that God has for me since I was being selfish and continuing to pursue what I want?  Yes, I would!    I continued to pray for peace over this decision, but I never felt it.  Last week, I finally decided to give up the fight and surrender to what He was calling us to do.   I was confident, but not at peace.  As soon as I changed our request, I felt at complete peace.  He gave me that peace and comfort as soon as I decided to walk in obedience.   I am so excited where he has led me and I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us!!  


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Another Sunshine Award

Today, Clayton gets the Sunshine Award.  I am so proud of him!  I can't believe both boys got the sunshine award within weeks of each other!  




So proud of you, Clayton!

Saturday Nights

Saturday night has almost become a joke around here.  When my kids get sick, it is usually on a Saturday night and it has happened A LOT this year.  Elliot got sick on Saturday night before mother's day.  Then another Saturday night this summer.  The last illness lasted 5 weeks.  The virus took a week to attack its next victim, so for 5 weeks someone was sick.  Elliot was on the first Saturday night, then Oliver the next, Clayton the next week, Joel was sick the next Saturday night, and then me. We have been free of illness for two weeks now, and well, here we are, it is Saturday night and someone is sick AGAIN!  The hardest part is that I am usually serving with the kids on Sunday mornings or leading worship on Sunday mornings.  I am so going to get fired!  At least I am married to the pastor and he can put in a good word for me.  They are going to begin to think I am faking.  I DO NOT like missing church.  If they are going to get sick, a tuesday would be good, maybe wednesday.  Is that too much to ask?  Oh, Saturday night....here we go again....

Saturday, November 5, 2011

She's About to POP!

We had such a fun shower for my sister Erin this weekend.  Charlotte Rose (or Kate but I am voting for Rose) will be joining us at the end of this  month.  We are so excited and cannot wait to meet her.  This shower theme was so fun to decorate for and make food for.  My sister, Jenni, did an awesome job and really shocked us with her creative side!!










 Doesn't Erin look so cute?


Now that she has been showered, we are ready to meet you, little Charlotte!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

7 Months

We have been DTE for 7 months!