Friday, December 30, 2011

And the Paper Chase Begins again....

I can't believe I am even typing this, but it's been a year and we need to renew our Home Study. We sincerely thought we would have traveled to Ethiopia or in the process of preparing to travel to meet our Little by this time. Instead, we begin the paper chase again.

This time around things are a little easier. We do not have to gather as many documents and we're a little more experienced this time around with the process. :)

We remain faithful and thankful.

Here's a sweet video I watched again to remind and encourage us on this journey. They are a fellow AGCI (All God's Children International) family. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry HOT Orlando Christmas and OFFICIAL December Numbers!

Merry Christmas from us to you! We had perfectly blue skies and 85 degrees outside on Friday, a beautiful Sabbath in the lower 80's and for today....looks like we had a fresh rain over night which has left us with beautiful and clear blue skies! 

We're especially thankful this year for the birth of Jesus. 2011 has been quite a year for us. We may not always understand the narrow path we are on, but we are clear Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God our Father has all details figured out for us. 2011 proved to be a year to learn patience and reliance, more than we ever have, on our heavenly Father. 

The journey to adoption, and specifically international, is not easy. Sometimes it seems like time moves at a snails pace. Sometimes it all seems so distant and not remotely tangible; but then you receive a Christmas card of a friend's forever family, see a video of a family united, see Christmas pictures of fellow agency families with their littles, or are reminded of the STAGGERING numbers of children around the world needing loving homes. We're going to continue the marathon because we've been called. And just like all things which work together for the good of those who love our will be a GLORIOUS and PERFECT day for our family when we see our little's face for the first time! 

We will remain faithful.

So if you wonder how we're feeling this Christmas, this song says it all (except our journey is to Ethiopia):
(Merry Christmas by Third Day)

Official December Numbers



We wish you a Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah!
one less

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Be an Angel for Someone in Need this Holiday Season

Step 1: Grab Tissues.
Step 2: Find a Kmart or any layaway near you this holiday season.
Step 3: Give thanks for all the blessings we take for granted every day.
video platform video management video solutions video player

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

If you're like me you might be rushing to tie up those loose Santa ends!  EEEK!

Ok, so I have an idea for you guys! 

Pencil Rolls for your kids!

These aren't just any kind of Pencil Rolls...but ones that support one of my best friend's adoption journey! Check out Kera's ETSY SHOP HERE

If you'd like to learn more about their super cute family, check out her blog: 
Hopefully they'll be moving from "x4" to x5" sooner than later!!! 

Ok, I'm off to do some more Christmas sewing...LAWDY am I behind!!!

(fun to see the ornament I made last year for friends and family...hopefully 2011 will be the last Christmas without our little!)
You can see our post about this ornament HERE.

Merry Christmas from our Casa to yours!

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Year Ago this Sabbath...memory lane

As we begin Sabbath this evening I find myself reflecting on "where" we were this same weekend last year. I know we believed we would begin traveling to Ethiopia this spring, but instead AGCI has officially updated their website to state wait times are now 24-42 months. For me, this is placing what we thought was happening into black and white. We knew the time had lengthened, but it's not been in writing yet. So that's hard to take. 

Wednesday, we started our Christmas season with our 4th annual tradition. We went to Northland Church for The Story Tour.
Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman have a special place in our hearts as they stirred our hearts to adoption many years ago. Selah...what needs to be said??? They are amazing in concert. Francesca...WOW! This concert was amazing! Helps us focus on why this season is really important. Christ came and died for our story and our wounds. As I struggle with the wait, I am reminded to the song of Job from the musical story tour. Job's broken praise. In the midst of losing everything...I haven't lost everything like Job, but as I struggle to understand why our future baby's room will remain empty for many more months...I want to be like Job. Job still raised his eyes to God and gave praise. Give praise even when the world would tell us there is not much to give praise for. I choose joy. I choose to praise God even though I do not understand.

Now, as I reflect on where we were in the process this weekend last's our post from the December 11th, 2010 weekend:

It's that time of year when the holidays make everything feel so magical. I'm usually racking my brain for the perfect gift to give. 

This year...all I can think about is our baby.

We decided late October we were being called to adoption. Last year we attended a Steven Curtis Chapman concert and heard their family's story and journey. Since, the idea had been tugging on our hearts. What is interesting is that Tim nor I ever shared that the burden to adopt had been placed. 

For me, the need grew stronger when attending a Women of Faith Conference in Atlanta, GA with some of my girlfriends.

For Tim, the need grew stronger after having lunch with his father where Dad Reiner shared a story he had heard on NPR. The story of Scott Simon; Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other.

One Sabbath afternoon in October Tim asked to talk. It was then we realized the same desire. 

Initially, we believe we were being called to China. Little did we know then, this was not God's plan. Since, God has led us to Ethiopia.

I could explain "why Ethiopia" for quite a while, but the simple fact is....there is a need.

In Ethiopia there are over 4 million orphans.

4 million.

It's hard to imagine the number.

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. 
Psalm 82:3

Since that one beautiful Sabbath we have become part of the All God's Children International family, nearly completed our home study and have been reading all we can to educate ourselves.

A "little" of the paperwork we've faced and we have much more to go.

This Sabbath, I find myself so thankful for the support of family and friends as we begin our journey.

I will keep our blog as up to date as possible as we continue our journey.

One Less has begun.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Buy a Brick. Build a School.

How about this Christmas we all buy at least one brick? One of our AGCI momma's daughter was the voice of Zala. Isn't her voice precious? She's already a little world changer. 

Consider skipping brunch with friends and buy a brick this Holiday Season. Your $20 could be the last brick needed to build their school. 

Melkam Gena!
(Merry Christmas in Amharic - main Ethiopian language). 
the reiner casa

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I'm Racing for Gina and Abby!

Help me fundraise. It's fun and it makes you feel good.

Hi Everyone,
I just signed up for the Race for Donna in Jacksonville, FL on February 12th, 2012. I am part of Team Gina. Gina McReynolds is the wife of Tim's childhood friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer while 28 weeks pregnant with their third little. Her little bub just turned one and she is still fighting with an amazing faith and fearless attitude. In addition, Heidi and Becca (my sisters 'in laws'), have a dear friend who is 28 and just graduated law school. In October, she too was diagnosed with breast cancer. I cannot imagine being young like these women, having bilateral radical mastectomies and then fierce chemotherapy.

Please consider sponsoring me on this run. It's my very first half marathon and first run I am taking seriously and training. I am taking the training seriously because Gina and Abby are special women in a sea of many other brave women who have or are battling breast cancer. Please select the link above for more information on Gina and how you can sponsor. Any help is beyond appreciated. Please feel free to share this email and link with others.

Much love,
Erika Reiner

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Official November Numbers

I decided to start training for a half marathon to support the fight against breast cancer. My brother's wife and hub's sister are best friends with a sweet girl who just graduated law school and was diagnosed with breast cancer this October. She had to have an immediate bilateral mastectomy and is about to begin chemo. Also, my hubs has a childhood friend whose wife was diagnosed with breast cancer while preggo with her third little. Her third bub just turned one. She too had bilateral mastectomy and is in progress with chemo. She hopes to run the 1/2 marathon we are training for...AAA-MAZING!!! Both of these women have faith that can move mountains and a strength rarely seen. 

We are training to run for them. Thanksgiving morning was a training run for me and so we hit a Turkey Trot with some friends. It was really chilly but the run was a lot of fun. We had friends in town visiting their family. It was the perfect way to start Thanksgiving!!! Plus it worked off a few calories in preparation for the annual FOOD BINGE...I love me some pie! Plus, the hubs makes homemade apple pie only for Thanksgiving and Christmas....MY FAV!!! His pie did not disappoint!! WHOA....HEAVENLY!!!

So you saw our title - "Official November Numbers". Maybe I should get to the reason you stopped by and looked. HA!
We have not moved one space but there are lots of AGCI families finalizing their process right now or traveling over to Ethiopia for their trip to meet their littles. So we trust the process even when it's sooooo difficult.


(a little hometown Chicago shout out!!!! Go Bears!!!)

And for a little holiday cheer...the hubs saw some stockings in a catalog and asked if I could make them. We had some pretty generic stockings and LOVED what he picked out so I was totally up for the challenge. I love how these turned out! So fun! This is the hub's. I still have to make mine. I'll be posting how I did it over at my Threads of Fler blog. I'm behind on both blogs but will be getting up to speed soon! Promise!!!
Cheers! Happy Holidays!
one less...still waiting

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Got Me Some Kisses Today!!!

Not this kind silly....

I am sooo excited!!! My copy arrived today!

 I've been following 147 Million Orphans for a while now and they have shared bits and pieces of Katie since I started keeping up with Gwen and Suzanne's blog. These women are INSPIRING!

Rich Stearn (World Vision President and author of Hole in Our Gospel - another must read if you haven't yet) says, "When you think of what one young woman can accomplish by simply being open to God's call no matter the cost, you begin to ask questinos like, Am I really open to God's will for my life? Through Katie's life, we're reminded how God can use ordinary people to do extraordinary things for Him. We simply need to be willing to be used."

Get Yours Now
50% of ALL profits go to Katie's ministry Amazima Ministries.

Go get's fall! Grab your Kisses from Katie, a cup of warm, and a blanket...ENJOY!

November 6th - Orphan Sunday

November 6th is Orphan Sunday.
 “defending the cause of the fatherless” (Isaiah 1:17)
1 child matters
1 God and Father to all

1 child matters in a sea of 18.3 million orphans worldwide (Christians Alliance for Orphans)


The Numbers

  • Total estimated number of orphans worldwide:  163 million
  • Estimated number that have lost a mother: 55.3 million
  • Estimated number that have lost a father: 126 million
  • Estimated number of “double orphans”:  18.3 million
  • See breakdown by country here.
  • Number of caring adults it takes to make a life-long difference for an orphan:  1

defend the cause...
1 year & 4 days waiting to bring our bub home

Friday, October 28, 2011

October Numbers

We just received our October numbers.
I haven't looked at our Lilypie timeline in a while and tonight I realized it has been a few days...YES DAYS...short of 1 YEAR in the process of bringing our little bub home through AGCI.

It's really hard to imagine. This past year has brought a lot of learning through the journey. I'm going to have to reflect in a post on our 1 Year Milestone.

Without any more delay..........


(lets go DISCO for our boy number!!!)

We'll catch up later with ya...

October has taught us a VERY important, yet VERY difficult, lesson that I am still trying to wrap my head around and sift through the details....

We must ALWAYS remember:

God is good ALL the time and in ALL circumstances.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Disney's Night of Joy

September has been action packed for us! Stay tuned for more September goodness!

Every year I hear Z88.3 broadcast about Disney's Night of Joy and every year it sneaks past us. I have always wanted to go and this year, when I heard Matthew West was going to be there....NO QUESTION...WE WERE GOING!

Arriving to the Magic Kingdom! All the fall and halloween decor was out in full swing!

Jeremy Camp LIVE in front of the castle! This was unbelievable! His concert started a little late because it was raining so bad. We even contemplated....BRIEFLY...about not going, but we were just too excited to miss out.

 Between concerts our local christian radio station was playing all over the park. What an unreal way to experience the park!
So we played for a bit, listened to Z88.3's music and then caught up with Winnie the Pooh! I have loved classic Pooh for as long as I can remember. Mom says I loved Pooh Bear as a little. In fact, around all my family, my name is Erika Pooh. Ssshhh...don't tell. haha!

We saw Sidewalk Prophets, but for some reason, I can't find my pics of them....they were soooo good! 
And FINALLY, at 11:20 pm...yes, you read that right....ALMOST was time for MATTHEW WEST!!! I won't lie, I was kinda dyin. LOL  That is some kind of late for us!  

Matthew West is one of my FAVS! We saw him a year or so ago when he began touring for his "Story of Your Life" album. AMAZING!
He was amazing again and totally HILARIOUS!
We didn't hit the hay till 2 am and it was totally worth it. We even ran into some of our friends. The next day we saw them at church and they we're just as snoozy as we were. HA!

You better believe we'll be going again. 


Monday, September 19, 2011

Whatcha Readin???'s that time again!

Whatcha Readin???

Fall is creeping in VERY slowly down here in Florida. I sneak in a pumpkin spice latte in hopes I'll trick myself into believing it's cool outside during daytime hours. Thankfully the sub-zero temps in our office make the lattes a welcomed treat!

Anywho...without further ado...
here's my list!
Stumbling Into Grace
Oops...not kindle version but you get the point...haha!
This was a great book! We saw Lisa Harper speak this year at Women of Faith. She is HILARIOUS! This book is about being a little clumsy in life and letting God pick up those pieces. I found this book to be a nice refreshing way to end the day in devotion. I COMPLETELY identify with being clumsy in life. She will leave you thinking about stories from the Bible slightly different. I love new perspectives. I passed this book on to my sister-in-law...hope she likes it as much as I did.

Jesus Calling
I am still reading Sarah Young's book. I find myself in the morning feeling out of balance without reading the day's devotion and Bible verses. God most definitely worked through Sarah on this book. More often than not, each day's devotion has been EXACTLY what my heart has needed to hear. If you haven't picked this book up, I encourage you to snag one up! L-O-V-E!

Doing Life Differently
by Luci Swindoll
I have to admit. I wasn't sure if I would totally get into this book. Oh, I could NOT have been more WRONG! Luci's life and adventures really speak to me. She talks about going out of our comfort zones and realizing God is doing some of His best work in us. She talks about how each point in life we're in is the PERFECT point of life to be in. She talks about cherishing each place we find ourselves in and seek God in that space. There is always something to learn in our circumstances. I'm only half way through but loving every minute! She has some of the most amazing stories....she's been ALL OVER the globe! INSPIRED!

I've decided to join the Bloom Book Club

Angie Smith (wife of Selah lead singer) and an AMAZING blogger. I first learned of her through my dear bestie, Kera. Kera has been following her for ages and I have loosely followed her. We had the privilege of hearing Angie speak at WOF this year and she IS HILARIOUS!!! She is also VERY real! I picked up her book ANNNNNDDD it just so happens it's the next book for the Bloom Book Club.
What Women Fear
I have never done a book club, much less an online one. I'm really excited to connect with other ladies as we pass through the pages. Looking forward to learning more of what God wants me to learn and sharing the experience with other "Women of Faith".

sooooooo....WHATCHA READIN???
Any good recommendations?

one less

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thankful and Prayers Requested for Gina

MY POST FROM Threads of Fler :
This Sabbath Morning I am thankful.
I just finished reading Sarah Young's"Jesus Calling" devotion for the day.

I do not have to figure everything out for my life. I have a Heavenly Father who does that for me. If I stand still and rest in His peace, He will lead the way.
In lieu of the fall season upon us, I decided it was time to craft a new plate for display.
I decided on a design, our monogram for our last name, and simply the word "thankful".

I think it is really easy to focus on ourselves and the things we wish we could change or would like to happen in our lives but for some reason they are out of reach. 

Yesterday, I learned of Tim's childhood friend's wife receiving devastating news. For over a year she has been fighting breast cancer. She was diagnosed mid-pregnancy with her third child. She delivered her child early when it was safe to do so and baby is doing fine. They have three children 5 and under. She had a bilateral radical mastectomy and immediately began chemo and her treatment plan.

Yesterday she shared the doctors have found the cancer has now spread to several hotspots on her lungs. She plans to have them biopsied to see if her course needs to change, but is faced with losing her life WAY too soon. She is planning on making video diaries for her children and husband. I simply CANNOT imagine what she and her family is going through. Life does not make sense sometimes.

Thankfully, God can make sense of it all. If not today, there will come a day where there will be NO MORE tears and we'll see Jesus face-to-face.
Please join our home in praying for Gina.

Friday, September 16, 2011

September 14, 2008: Our Day

September 14, 2008 Daytona Beach Shores

This Wednesday we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary. What I find hard to believe today is that I love him FAR MORE than I did the day I promised to God, Tim, family and friends that I would love him forever. 

Here's a link to our photographer's blog post to our wedding day....LOVE looking at these again. SO FUN to remember that day and weekend.

We had the perfect weekend. Closest friends and family spent a relaxing weekend on the beach at Tim's parent's condo. We surfed, played in the pool, ate amazing food, lounged, laughed our heads off and had a beautiful wedding. A hurricane was due to hit us that weekend. YEA, we did plan our wedding on the beach during peak hurricane season!!! haha! Luckily the hurricane changed direction at last minute the Wednesday before and created the most amazing weather. 

What an amazing day! 
Three years later we've learned that life has many twists and turns, BUT if you trust God on your journey things work out better than any project plan you could craft yourself.

We have the above photo framed in a frame that has JOURNEY written at the bottom. Jeremiah 29:11 is written around the frame. This could not be MORE true for our lives.

I love you husbando del sol, hubs, thistle, and all the cute nicknames we have had over the years! I hope to love you till we are old, gray, and running around on hover-rounds! LOL

your biggest fan

Thursday, September 15, 2011


We just received our OFFICIAL September numbers!

Oh my....we were NOT expecting such a big DROP in numbers! 



Time to head to the bookstore to pick out this month's book for our little! That's really been a fun tradition for us each month. Wonder what it will be?!?!?

We have  A LOT to share about what we've been up to this FABULOUS month of September, but I'll have to save that for another few posts. Things are a little busy around the Reiner Casa!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2011: A Day of Remembrance

10 years later after September 11, 2001 we are a nation changed. We are a world changed. 

I remember all the details of that morning. I was in North Carolina visiting my family from California. I was preparing to fly back to Cali. I was seconds from home when I heard the news that the first tower had been hit. I rushed home. Mom and I sat on their bed and watched in horror as the remaining morning unfolded. We sobbed. A nation so brave then and now. So much loss in our amazing country that morning. 

I sit here today comfortable. Sipping coffee and able to read my morning devotion because of bravery and honor our country cultivates. 

I will NEVER forget 9/11. It has been burned in my memory.  I pray our nation remains safe today and the days surrounding 9/11/11.

What I will also never forget is that GOD has the final word. Not a terrorist. Not satan. 

I will NEVER forget.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kisses from Katie

I first learned of Katie from 147 Million Orphans org .

Katie's story is beautiful and courageous. If you're interested in her book, you can hop over to 147 MILLION ORPHANS to pre-order your book today.

We had the tug on our hearts for a while to care and/or adopt an orphan. We did not understand what the stirring in our hearts completely meant at the time. 

Today we are clear. The Bible is clear about our role as Christians. I do not believe everyone is called to adopt (domestic or international), but I do think there is so much we can do to serve. 

1. Feed your community.
2. Support your local church's missions.
3. Donate clothing and food.
4. Support you local hospital's medical missions.
5. Find a family through your child's school who they are supporting.
6. Support a friend's mission.
7. Run a grocery errand for an elderly neighbor.
8. Support a community going through a natural disaster (tornado, earthquake, tsunami victims).

9. Just get creative! Do not change the channel on the news. Find an evening news broadcast to learn about what's happening around the world. Don't close your eyes to what is happening in America and around the world. It's a difficult task to see so much going on in the world, but it's a really good exercise.  We quickly learn how blessed we are, how much need there is around the world, and how it's not about the "ME".

We see this in Christ's life on earth. He spent his life serving and meeting basic needs. He didn't need a lot of money to do that. Just simple acts of kindness. 

So the challenge to myself and you this week:

How can you extend a helping hand to those around you? 

Step outside your comfort zone just as Katie did.

one less 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Joshua and the Jordan River (I'm gonna throw in some August #'s too!)

Before I share our August numbers, I want to talk a little bit about Joshua, the Israelites and the Jordan River.
Read Joshua 3:1-7; Joshua 4:1 - 5:1
(If you have the the One year chronological Bible it's pages 331-333)

God commanded Joshua to send the priests with the Ark to cross the Jordan first. The moment their feet touched the river's raging waters, the river's waters created a wall and provided dry land for the Israelites to pass on. There were a lot of other idol worshiping kings and people who feared the Israelites because they knew the God they served was all powerful. 

After everyone crossed, God commanded Joshua to have one person from each tribe (12 tribes) to gather a rock from where the priests were standing and place at the river's edge as a memorial. God then asked they do the same at the place the priests were standing. 


To serve as a visual reminded for generations to come. "In the future, your children will ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' Then you can tell them, 'They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the LORD'S Covenant wen across.' Theses stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever."

Pretty amazing story, eh!?!? 

This week's Sabbath School lesson hit me pretty hard for various reasons; work challenges, several Ethiopian orphanages closing, empty back bedroom, etc. 
We all have our own list.

Here's my take on this story:
I feel like we all face "armies" in life. Time when we are facing what feels like the impossible. We all need God's twelve stone memorials. We need the stones in the middle of the river where the waters are raging and we feel like we're Peter beginning to sink. We need them at the river's edge so that in the midst of raging waters we see up ahead God's memorial to remind us that after "walking through" and trusting, God will prevail. Finally, we need the twelve stones in our rearview mirror. We need those stones to remember that when facing the impossible, we'll make it through and to the other side, just like He has done for the Israelites and will also do for us. 

Happy Sabbath!

Now, for some August numbers (again, received on Friday evening's Sabbath...pretty cool)!

(...and I do love me some 80's

(...and do love me some 60 Minutes every Sunday night!)

We haven't picked out this month's children book to journal in for our bub like I was sharing 


but when we do, we'll share what we chose.

Have a wonderful Sabbath today!

one less

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Scrubby Scrubby in the Sink!

A few of us went up to Women of Faith in Atlanta this year. This is my 2nd annual trip and plan on going as many years as I can. Love it! 
We were some of the first to arrive Friday morning to IMAGINE!
One of my favorite songs right now is "Blessings" by Laura Story. Her and her husband have a beautiful and challenging story where, all the while, they have held fast to Christ and His promises.

Mary Graham said Laura Story lives in the Atlanta area so they invited her to be part of WOF!!! What a surprise for all of us!!! She sounds even better in person! 
(left to right: Becca my sis-in-law, Sarah my new friend, Kera my bestie, Kristi my bestie, and K2's momma Irene)
We're missing a few lovely ladies but I forgot my camera so all I have is this one pic from when we first arrived Friday morning.
I'm pretty sure my begging may have worked because I think Kera (in the middle) sent me a text last night about it! YAY!!!
Day 1 had so many take-aways from; funny stories, tearful testimonies, practical tools for everyday life, and clear reminders of how much we are loved by an Amazing God. I really cannot explain what it's like to be in the presence of God, women of faith (note: I didn't say Baptist, Methodist, SDA, Lutheran...NOPE....same God and we're all children), family, best friends, and new friends. I just find myself so thankful to share this part of me with others at such an event. Connecting on the most important level. Loved this weekend! 
On Sabbath, my precious friend Kristi (she's wearing blue in the above pic...and if you haven't noticed...she's Kera's twin) came to our room. She had in her tiny hands this hand knitted bundle of blue, yellow, and faint green all neatly tied with blue yarn. 
Flan had made me homemade dishwashing cloths!!! I love them! I opened them up at home and both the hubs and I were afraid to use them. They are JUST SO NICE!!! What if I ruin them? Tear them? Discolor them? I had to double check first. 

Flan gave me clear instructions to use them as normal but when washing, no bleach. This cloths are AMAZING! I love using them when doing dishes. I have even found myself leaving out some dishes from the dishwasher just so I can use them. 

Doing dishes has become SOOOO special to me! 

Thank you Flan first for being my sister in Christ and simply beautiful you! You are perfect to me! Secondly, thank you for such a special and thoughtful gift. I love them!

So who's in next year for WOF???


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Women of Faith 2011: Atlanta

Today is the day!
Women of Faith 2011 is here!
A few of us will be driving up to meet our "Fireflies" group in Atlanta for a weekend of renewal, grace, and inspiration. 
Last year, Steven and Mary Beth Chapman sealed my heart once again that we were being called to adoption. I didn't understand completely. I knew we were struggling to have a family, but this was one of the final "nudges" and "tugs" on my own heart. I didn't understand our circumstances and sometimes I still do not, but I knew there was a purpose for me to be at this conference. 
We went not knowing what WOF was all about and uncertain if we would even like it. We met wonderful women. Suzie and I received a backstage tour with World Vision. We love this lady. I cannot remember her name, but will never forget her story and kindness. We sponsor a child on the west bank gaza strip. He is precious. We write often to each other. I saw his face and knew he was ours to sponsor. I fell instantly in love with our little guy. Perhaps this is what adoption will feel like?

This year we head to Atlanta full of excitement and anticipation of what's in store for us at the conference. A chance to connect with friends and family. This year we have more friends going and so excited to share this experience with them! We are missing Suzie this year...sigh, but there's always next year!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

What Is Your Take???

At this year's conference, I was gifted a book called, Jesus Calling.
Daily devotionals for 365 days. 
At first glance, another short story/thought 365 day devotional which has nice thoughts, but not profound...UNTIL you open the book and read Sarah Young's foreword. I was hooked.

Over the last couple years on our journey, my relationship with our Father has grown deeper. I hope and pray I continue to grow and learn to let go of myself and fully trust. I am a "fixer" by nature. Look at the profession I chose. A nurse. An ER nurse. An ER nurse who thrived off caring for the sickest of the sick and the bloodiest of the bloody. Morbid? Maybe. Odd? We are.  But really, I LOVED the pace, quick thinking and  rush of saving a life. I was very good at cutting off emotion to get through and do what needed to be done. 

Do you see a common theme in the above??? "I". Yep, a lot of "I's".  I always knew working in the kinds of ER's I have worked that this was a gift from God. Truly. I have held brain matter in my hands of a 17 year old boy who had just graduated and was off to college, driving his new fast car which took too fast a turn along a winding road. Somehow, we were fine with brain matter in our hands. Again, odd. But let me be clear, if we did get emotional and let these things get to us, we were no good for our patients who needed us to be on top of our game. If we didn't cut off, we'd cry our way through nearly each day at work with things we saw. So please don't think I am calloused. Being "fine" with brain matter is all it is at the moment, but I still remember leaving work and standing outside my apartment in Chattanooga, TN on good 'Ol East Dallas Rd and actually smelling the air and listening to the birds. Something that 17 yr would never be able to do again. I still see that poor little 17 year old's face as though it was yesterday I took care of him. I see many faces as there are those patients you'll never forget. Patients and families you prayed with. Lives saved. Lives lost. It stays with you. I loved being there for people in their most dire times. 

I guess the point is that I know how to cope. I know how to fix. I am good at coping. Good at smiling. Good at fixing. Blessing and my worst enemy.

The reason the last two years have been so significant for me is that I have learned that some things I just can't fix. I have also learned that I need to be "OK" with not being able to fix things. And that it's "ok" to not be fixable if that is God's will. And in all things being God's will, there is a plan far greater than what I had thought or planned there to ever be. Weren't we promised this in Jeremiah 29:11? Yep.

So back to this book. From the moment I began reading, July 13th, to be exact, each day has shared something significant for me. The book is about hearing God. I mean, REALLY, hearing God speaking to you. Each day is written as though God is speaking directly to the reader. 

Though my relationship continues to grow in Christ, I do find myself wondering at times, "Erika, is that REALLY God speaking or just what you want to hear?" I find myself in doubt; not able to let go and let God.

Today, I woke begging God to speak to me. Begging for clarity. Begging for direction. I drove to work talking, like a crazy person, to my windshield (really to God). I have a few things on my mind...hehe.

Every day before I get into the grit of work, I sit down with a cup of warm (aka coffee) and read a devotional. These days, Jesus Calling. Today's was to be still in His Presence and not to worry. God has a plan for the journey. And no matter how hard the journey, I'm not alone, He is with me/us and carrying us.  Really?!?! I felt like this day's devotion was written just for me at that very moment. 

Erika, quit begging. Quit talking. 

Just listen and let God.

So in lieu of this FABULOUS book, I'm curious of your thoughts.

How do you know God is speaking to you and that it's not just you telling yourself something?

And P.S.
TOTALLY go get this book off AMAZON since sadly Borders is closing...sigh. It's amazing! They even make a children's version...LOVE! My little miss Belle, Ashley's bub, had one on her desk. She thought it was fun that we were both reading the same book. Oh how I love that little. 

How cute is that little blue bird?!?!?

Can't wait to hear your thoughts?