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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Fishing derby


Every year our neighborhood has a fishing derby.  The boys have been practicing for this for weeks.  Clayton was very serious about this derby.  He has had the flyer posted by his bed for weeks.  Sadly, Clayton chose a spot where a giant bass was scaring off all the brim and didn't catch as many as usual.  

Elliot with one of his catches.

Oliver had a soccer game, so thankfully we got there at the very end.
Serious fisherman.

Waiting for the awards.
Elliot was so proud to get his prize and certificate. 
We love love love our neighborhood.

Haircut

We have tried to let the long hair go.  We have been patient with Clayton.  But, Joel finally put his foot down.  His hair actually doesn't look too bad in the picture below, but we are dealing with a nine year old.  Hygiene is not exactly on the top priority list for a 9 year old boy which includes brushing and caring for long hair.  His hair has cowlicks, it is course and super thick.  It sticks out EVERYWHERE.  He told us that only Megan (my cousin-in-law) could cut his hair and we had to bribe him a tiny bit!!!  :)

Before
After

and HE LOVES IT!!!!  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

He's growin' up!

(tear)

Ethiopia....

In 50 days I leave for Ethiopia! I just received my e-tickets for the flight! Wow! This is getting real. I am going to Ethiopia! I am excited and scared at the same time! I am excited to see what god has in store for me! Scared of flying! I will miss my boys and husband so much. I will not see the older two for 18 days. They are going to be at Disney world the 5th-12th and I leave on the 12th. Their flight arrives at dfw at the same time mine is departing. It is going to be hard but I know god has called me here and it is going to be amazing!! I continue to pray for all fear to go away. Fear is not from god. "if you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all." Isaiah 7:10

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ordinary Heroes!

I just got the list of all the people who purchased things from Ordinary Hero to help me put $1600 towards our adoption and some went to help pay for the rest of my mission trip.  I am blown away and thanking God for you.

You bought

1.5 Donkeys
14.5 Sheep
8 Watershoes
2 Raincoats
5 combo packs (shoes, blankets, 2 raincoats)
3 Amharic Children's Bibles
1 Fleece Blanket
Think of the impact this has made.

13 Children will have shoes
6 Children will be warm at night
12 people will stay dry in the rain
3 bibles will be probably read by many.
The load will be lightened for many woman with the donkeys
580 will be fed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Every SINGLE purchase will be given to the children in Ethiopia on my mission trip or on one of the 5 trips.  I will see the impact you are making.  You are such a blessing to them and to me.  Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus.  This was so eye opening to me.  Some of you bought some super cute ordinary hero attire!  It is so hard to resist.  I would love to buy every single t-shirt!!  :)

THANK YOU TO....

Rob and Julianne Amezcua
Matt and Stephanie Masullo
Mom and Dad
Greg and Pam Sanford
Valerie Shellito
Frankie Wilford
Haley Kim
Tammy Marnell
Hannah Alcorn
Jered and Meghan Case
Suzy Graham
Stephanie Stovall
Jenn Warren
Scott and Erin Pyka
Tim and Jenni Kimbrell
Scarlet Crawford
Sandy Leija
Chase and Ashlee Greene
Shelley Morrow
Laura Bowers
Barb Petrey
Melissa Culver
Sandra O'pry
Jodie King
Lowell and Suzanne Halpin
Jared and Kristen Schweers
Steve and Colleen Sosbee
Lisa Sogard
Nicole Scotch
Joe and Lisa Cavanaugh
Lydia Fletcher
Brady and Lisa McCain
Shelley Wood
Sidra Carzola

I love this quote from Katie Davis (an amazing missionary woman in uganda who has adopted 14 children of her own)

“I learned that I will not change the world. Jesus will do that. I can, however, change the world for one person. I can change the world for fourteen little girls and for four hundred school children and for a sick and dying grandmother and for a malnourished, neglected, abused five-year-old. And if one person sees the love of Christ in me, it is worth every minute. In fact, it is worth spending my life for. 
Many days, I am still overwhelmed by the magnitude of the need and the incredible number of people who need help. Many days I see the destitute, disease-ridden children lining the streets in the communities I serve and I want to scoop up every single one of them, take them home with me, and feed and clothe and love them. And I look at the life of my Savior, who stopped for one. 
So I keep stopping and loving one person at a time. Because this is my call as a Christian. I can only do what one woman can do, but I will do what I can. Daily, the Jesus who wrecked my life enables me to do so much more than I ever thought possible.” 


"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the right of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."  Proverbs 31:8-9

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Matt 25:40

"Religion that god our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."  James 1:27

This is not the end of my thank yous!!  You will be thanked, hugged, and thanked and hugged again!  Tell your families how much of an impact they have made too!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

And AMAZED AGAIN!

When you pray for God to show up big, he shows up BIG!!!  I CANNOT believe I won the Ordinary Hero grant contest.  I cannot believe I was in 8th place two days ago and then in the last three hours I flew into second place.  Sheep were flying off the shelves!!!  People were getting excited about helping those with less.  I am completely blown away!  Here is the link to the ordinary hero post http://ordinaryheroblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/april-grant-contest-winners.html

What started out as a contest to finish paying off my mission trip ended up doing that and more!!!

$1588 goes to my adoption fund!!!!!!!!!!!!

$2671 of products were purchased through ordinary hero, most of it being products that will help children in Africa!  WOOHOO!!!  Cannot wait to see who you are!!!

Thank you to all who did this, but the one who really DID THIS was God and all the glory will be given to him.  He touched your heart!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

AMAZED!

I stand here amazed and in awe at our AWESOME GOD!  I am not sure why I am amazed and why I am surprised.  Yet AGAIN, He has provided and I give all the glory to Him.  My mission trip is fully funded.  I am going to write this down because as time goes by, I don't want to forget what he has done for me.

I told my friend, Carrie, in November that I couldn't go on the mission trip because there was NO WAY we could afford it.  I crunched numbers and felt it was impossible.  But, God kept tugging  on my heart and Carrie kept encouraging me to just say "yes" and he would provide.  I did not feel that fundraising was the way to go as we have already been fundraising for an adoption, so I felt that if I am to go, it would be fully God providing the way.  In the beginning, two sweet friends just sent checks in the mail.  I never asked.  They just came.  Then, EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK, work would slow down and as soon as it was my shift to work, it got busy or someone called in.  I worked my regular shifts and worked almost an extra shift every week.  One prn nurse I work with has been cancelled at least nine times in the past several months.  Me?  NONE!!  He has provided.  Then, my sister-in-law bought some t-shirts for our family that put money in my fund.

Just this week, I was getting worried and letting doubt sink-in.  I decided to join in on the ordinary hero fundraiser where they give a $500 grant to the 3 top sellers of their products.  Also, 40% of what I sell goes to my mission fund.  What I loved is that you could buy products that would be given to children in Africa.  For example, donkeys, sheep, water shoes, blankets, back-packs.  I liked this idea more than asking people to buy t-shirts.  I still was not wanting to ask anyone to help me out...sigh...pride....But, the first night, my dear friend, Stephanie bought a donkey!!!  How AWESOME is that?  Today, I began to crunch numbers again.  My faith was wavering.  But, on my heart the whole time was "I am able, Erica, trust me, I will do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine."  Over and over again I heard this.  I just randomly looked up my mission trip webpage and someone provided EXACTLY the rest of the money I needed for my trip.  HOW INCREDIBLE IS THAT? I tear up every time I think about it!  I don't know who you are, but I THANK YOU!!!!

Why do I ever doubt?  As we began our adoption journey I doubted that we could do it because it was so expensive.  He provided.  Every step of the way, he has provided.  I doubted that I could make it on this mission trip and he provided.  The funny thing is that I encouraged my neighbor to go with me and she doubted that she could make it work financially and I was the one that was encouraging her.  I kept telling her God would provide.  Just say yes and he will make the way.  I guess it is easier said than done. HA!   Her trip has been fully funded too!!  She has completely blessed me in a huge way.  She has paid for ALL of my shots and we are having a garage sale this weekend that she wanted to do for me.  I am blessed beyond measure.  One day, I will learn.  I will just completely trust that He is in complete control.  One day, I will let go completely.  But, I am a work in progress.  He is constantly molding me and making me into the woman he created me to be.  For this, I am thankful.

God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. Ephesians 3:20

The Lord us done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.  Psalms 126:3

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  Hebrews 10:23

The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.  1 thess 5:24

Fishing

We have an awesome neighborhood pond that is less than 5 minutes walking distance from our house. It is fully stocked with fish and the boys love it! We went tonight and Clayton caught at least 15 on his own and Oliver and Elliot probably caught 20. They were biting like crazy and we wee just using mostly bread for bait. It was such a fun evening after such a crazy week!  Clayton was baiting, catching and releasing all by himself.  I was quite impressed.

Side note:Sweet Elliot always wants to hold my hand now.  Even at home.  So precious.  It is kind of hard to get much done around here, but I will just soak it up.  The first picture is "Sit right here and hold my hand".  Love!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Passed out

I just cannot keep my baby eyes open any longer!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ordinary Hero Fundraiser

Donate to Children in Africa.  You can purchase a donkey, a sheep, blankets, a bible, shoes, and raincoats through Ordinary Hero.  http://www.ordinaryherostore.org/Product-Donations-For-Children-In-Africa-c15/
There is a grant contest going on with Ordinary Hero that the top three sellers this week will get $500 towards their mission trip!  Help me get to Ethiopia while helping those in need at the same time.  Just put my name at checkout in the affiliate spot.

Saying goodbye!

I put so many bad things in my body every single day! It is horrible! The number one item is diet dr pepper! It is my crack! I love it so much! But, it is so bad! I never drink water! So, today I said goodbye....and no, we cannot still be friends!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter 2012

Easter 2012 may go down as the most memorable Easter EVER!!  It all started on Friday.  Actually,  let's go back to Thursday morning when I get a text from my friend Kristy saying her son was throwing up.  Little did I know that this was going to make a HUGE impact on our coming week.  Guess where our kids were the night before?  At Kristy's house...(not blaming you, sweet friend).  Friday night, it begins.  The stomach virus!!!!!!!!!!!  The first thing I did was look at Joel and say "GET OUT OF HERE!!"  What would the church do if their pastor was stuck at home with the stomach virus on Easter morning.  I envisioned people sitting at church just waiting to hear about the resurrection of Easter and Joel was not there.  So, he packed his bags and checked into a hotel for the weekend.  We had people offer their homes up for him, but a stomach virus is not something you want to invite into your home.  Especially THIS ONE!!  Saturday morning, we woke up and everyone was fine.  ALL DAY LONG!!  I had high hopes of church on Sunday. I just wanted to make it to church.  But, as it happens frequently, I was leading worship and that frequently leads to a sick kid and me staying home.  We prayed all day for healthy tummies.  Saturday night, Midnight, Clayton goes down.  This virus grows power with each victim.  He was SUPER SICK!!  We were both up all night and everyone was so sad that we could not go to church this morning.  I asked Joel to live stream church from his iphone for me and he did.  THANK YOU!!  I got to worship in my pjs!  
This is my view of church on Sunday!
Then the sermon.... Joel took his phone up to the pulpit, so I had a view of the ceiling and sometimes part of his face!  I heard about half of the sermon and then someone called him (phone was on vibrate) and it shut off.  So, I have no idea how it all ends :).  (I will be listening to the podcast tonight)! Thankfully, after two days, we had Joel back!!!  WHEW!!  I managed to hide all the Easter eggs we had stuffed for my aunt's house and we had a hunt in the backyard.  The bad thing is that all the candy in every egg is the same.  
The stomach virus continues.  It hits Elliot on Sunday night (of course in the middle of the night after I have had no sleep and no husband for 2 days). Then on Monday it hits me but with even more power.  Aches and fever added to the misery.  I could not even get out of bed!!  AWFUL!!  Sorry kids.  They had to fend for themselves.
Last but not least, JOEL on Wednesday!!  Stomach virus-5 Halpins-0
I spent the last two days with a can of lysol spraying every surface possible.  I even sprayed the car.  Stomach virus, you are NOT welcome back here!!!!
So, there are no cute pictures of us in pastel Easter outfits (not that I had those anyways) or of us running through the grass picking up easter eggs.  There aren't any pictures that exist of this lovely week besides the two you see here.
So glad we are on the other side and BIG sorry to those that have received this horrible "gift" from us.  

Eye update

We have something great to rejoice over here! Over the past 6 months the right eye has gone from seeing 20/40 with glasses to 20/30 with glasses and now he can see 20/20 with glasses! We are so excited to see his eye doing so well! We will continue to patch the eye (much to all of our dismay) and hope to see more improvement over the next 6 months! Hooray!

Big brother lessons

This afternoon Clayton was teaching Elliot step-by-step  how to punt a football. He kept asking Elliot which hand he colored with and Elliot kept saying "white". I think els was thinking he was asking him a color. He showed him where to put his fingers on the ball and Elliot learned quickly. I just watched and soaked in this sweet sweet moment. Clayton was so gentle and so tender with him. So glad I had my phone right by so I could capture the moment.

Vaccinated!

I went with my awesome friend, Hannah, to get our travel vaccinations today! We got typhoid, yellow fever, hep a and polio booster. I hate shots but I was brave. We decided that we will go back next month for the meningitis vaccine after the nurse used the words "lose your limbs" and "morgue" in the same sentence when we asked if we should get it! Yikes! Better safe than sorry! Only two months from today and we are off to Ethiopia! So blessed and thankful that I get to experience this with such an amazing friend!
Brave, Hannah!
Bracing for the Worst!
One more left!
All done!  That wasn't so bad!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Notes from the closet

We have been hanging out in the closet for over an hour. There are tornados all over the metroplex. The sirens have been going off and the boys' school is on lockdown. I am so worried about them! I just saw a post on fb from Oliver's teacher and he is obviously ok. She is "trapped in a bathroom with 7 hyper 5 year olds."So far I have organized(ha! If u knew me well), completely cleaned out the closet and now blogging (because what else would I be doing?)! Praying for our boys to come home safely!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Celebrating 1 year

We decided to go celebrate our 1 year dte anniversary at an Ethiopian restaraunts. I had no idea where to go and a friend texted me that there was a groupon for an Ethiopia restaraunt in dallas. I was so excited. I paid$15 for dinner for two which was two appetizers, two entrees and two desserts. We were both kind of nervous because we had no idea what to expect. The waitress basically told us what to order and we just went with it. Our appetizers were both yummy. We had sambosa and cechebsa which was chopped up flatbread with a sweet spicy sauce. It was so good. For our entree we had doro wot which is a spicy stew with chicken and a boiled egg. We also had rib eye tibs that kind of reminded me of fajitas but a different flavor. You do not use silverware at all. Injera is a spongy flatbread and you tear off pieces and eat the food with that. The sweet waitress came and gave us a tutorial on how to eat it. We loved all of it! It was fun to be surrounded by Ethiopian people today. Almost everyone there was Ethiopian. I just soaked it all in and thought about Annie. Perfect way to end our day!

Neighborhood egg hunt