So the plan for this late night post was to say...there's another baby coming tomorrow in our family!!! Sonya and Dra were all set for an early 5 am induction...BUT JUST NOW I got "the call" from Dra saying they are on their way NOW!!!! Pink or blue we don't know yet- but we will soon...and oh I just can't wait to hold that baby! With all of the grief they have experienced in the past year, we are so ready to share this joy with them tomorrow. Please keep my sweet soul sis and Rich's best bud in your prayers as they welcome this sweet new baby into their family. Livi is READY to be a big sis again!
So for months now, our family has been counting down weeks, days, "sleeps", and finally just HOURS until we were all going to be reunited again.That's right, Joe and Court and their gaggle of kiddos :) were supposed to be coming home tomorrow (as in MONDAY, the 13th!!!) night. We've skyped about how excited we are with them, planned all the fun things we're gonna do while we're together. On this side, we've sat around the pool and talked about how much MORE fun it will be when they are all here. Tiffany and I have literally said about a hundred times that we couldn't WAIT ANOTHER MINUTE to see our sweet sis, Court and spend a month making memories again. We'd even planned funny ideas for how we could show up at the airport and make a big scene for them...bottom line, friends, this has pretty much been the number one thing we've looked forward to for...well...7 months...since the day they left! :) But the point is, we were counting down until "Monday, the 13th, at 6 pm!!!!"
So how did I snap this picture TONIGHT...
...of my sweet ray of sunshine, Briley, holding my newest love, Jude Warren for the first time????
The answer: BEST SURPRISE OF MY LIFE!!!
See, last night, my Dad had planned a big birthday party for my Mom. I'd thought it was a little odd that he kept asking people to bring their kids...I thought it was weird that he kept saying we'd swim after dinner...a little out of the ordinary that GAVIN was coming all the way in town for it...and oddest of all that he invited several of OUR best friends, along with our family...for "Mom's party". Well it was her party, but just as we'd all eaten our fill of Nathan's delicious ribs, I noticed another car pulling down the driveway. I didn't recognize it, but that wasn't that suspicious. I was in conversation with my cousin so I really just kinda glanced at it and kept going. Then my Dad said, "Ok can I have everyone's attention one more time??? This is the REAL SURPRISE of the night pulling up!!!"...and as if perfectly cued for that moment, that car door flew open and out came a Briley, a Braxton, and a Bear running across that field. It was so surreal and I was taken aback by my own flood of emotions as I BURST into tears and took off running toward them myself. It was truly the BEST SURPRISE EVER!! We actually ALL took off running because my Dad had actually KEPT THIS FABULOUS SECRET from ALL of us (except Gavin who never would have come to the party otherwise :))...so there we were- me and Tiff squeezing little Courtney (sorry to disappoint, people, she's still as perfectly teeny tiny when she left!!!) to death, Nathan was jumping up and down with Joey, Rich got to Brax first and almost squeezed the life out of him...we just ran around in circles like a bunch of wild indians crying and laughing and absolutely not believing our eyes. Too good to be true. But true! Dad and the South Africans tricked us all.
And when I lay down my head last night (after Courtney and I text JUST BECAUSE WE COULD -which was technically the same as our daily black berry messaging, but felt better because we were actually "texting"), I couldn't stop smiling again that one of my favorite memories probably of my whole life got to happen on that day. That's why I love surprises. Real surprises sneak up on you and make you so happy on a day that you just didn't even know you were gonna get to feel that way...you know what I mean? That was yesterday. And I realized that the BEST things in life, the really BEST things like surprises and family and deep love...are FREE. Absolutely free. Isn't that GREAT???
We spent today with them... and we'll spend every minute we can with them over the next month. If I have learned ANYTHING over the past 7 months, it is that we cannot take for granted the time we have with each other...to squeeze each other's bodies while we're together :)...to be able to just sit and talk...to just hold each other's babies and soak in the summer sun together and really SOAK it in, every minute. Because there have been so many days gone by this year that we could not...and so WE WILL!!!!
So excited about this next month of memories and joy...and so thankful tonight for the gift of surprises! So happy that my Jadeybug will get to really know her 4 cousins she's just come to know on a computer screen. So happy Court will get to see me struggling as a new mommy of 2 and be able to BE with me as she gives me her priceless advice. In person. Gotta love that. So happy Joey will get to stop in and visit Rich and Nate and sit across the desk like they have a hundred times before and just BE together...laugh and talk about senseless stuff like they do...
Today I am posting on behalf of my dear friend, Hayley (also Courtney's wonderful sister!). Anyone who knows her probably knows that she and her sweet husband have embarked on the journey of a lifetime, following Jesus' call to adopt EIGHT precious children. It's been so challenging to all of us who know them to see them just step out in faith, and so amazing to watch God provide one more stepping stone at a time as He has continued to provide all of the answers to the HUGE questions! As my sis-in-law, Tiffany, and I started praying about how WE could help, we decided the best way was rally as many friends as we could get the word out to and try to round up CLOTHES for the kids. Obviously, this task is HUGE in and of itself, but we are trusting God to help us, one donation at a time...and we need YOU (yes YOU!) to help us get the word out, too!!!
This Saturday, June 4th, is the drop off date for any items you have...from 10 until 2 pm. We will be set up in the parking lot of Brentwood Baptist church. They are adopting 7 boys and 1 girl (10 yr old but wears size 6). For the boys, they basically need everything from size 10 and down. These are the items that would be most helpful: SHIRTS SHORTS PANTS DRESSES SOCKS SHOES BELTS PLAY CLOTHES DRESS CLOTHES HAIRBOWS :) UNDERWEAR * ranging in sizes from 18months to 10 in all clothes *shoe sizes range from toddler 7 to a kids 4.5
The Lord has been so good to bless them with the bunkbeds that were still needed when we sent our first email. Things like towels, linen sets, and OUTSIDE toys (like bikes!) are still needed.
We are all praying that these kiddos make it home in the month of June. Please join us in this prayer for this sweet family... and especially their 8 precious children who are almost home!
How can YOU help??? 1)By PRAYING for this sweet family. We are praying that these kiddos make it home in the month of June!!! 2) By gathering any donation items for these kids- both new and gently used are gonna be soooo appreciated!!! 3)By passing this info along to neighbors, friends, family and coworkers...anyone! Send an email out if you know of people who have children these ages who may have the clothes they need. We hope to make this drive an incredible blessing for this dear family!
For anyone in the Spring Hill area, you are welcome to drop your items by my house Thursday or Friday to save yourself the trek to Brentwood on Saturday. Please leave me a comment, email me, or call me and we'll get a plan.
Where do I start?...Seems like my life "started" one day when I met a boy named Rich in French class. A few years later, he asked me to marry him on a beach in Charleston, SC (one of my favorite spots on this earth)... and a few years after that, we fell in love again- this time with a chubby faced, long legged, brown eyed baby girl that we call Shaelyn Jade. Two years after that we welcomed our blonde hair and blue-eyed boy Jude Warren into our crew! Time is flying by and we are soaking up every minute we can as a family of 4! This is a peek into our lives as we seek to follow Jesus wherever He leads us, and bring glory to His name each day. I am SO BLESSED and I feel, most days, that we are living "somewhere over the rainbow..."