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He giveth and giveth and giveth again!!!

SO…the countdown is on people–it’s on like Donkey Kong. And I am SO stinkin’ excited to meet 257 of my soon-to-be new VBFFs this weekend! Ok…truly its 250 new VBFFs…BUT if you count the audio people (who get the pleasure of having me ask questions EVERY day) and Karl our resort planner (who thinks April, Christy and I are nuts) then…it’s 257:-). April is my super-sweet sister who is one of my planning sidekicks. She is heading down (or up rather) to the resort tomorrow to work out last minute questions. I sent her with a LIST of about 25 questions. She obviously hasn’t read through them and emailed back “thanks–keep your phone close by during our meeting time”…so I’m wondering if she’ll really read number 5 outloud to Karl (you just gotta know Karl to know how funny this is!)…

5. Tell Karl we will have the Q&A Question Panel after the talk on Friday night in the Veranda room. We are calling it the PJ Party Panel. Is Karl and the resort cool with hundreds of women running back downstairs in their pjs? Does Karl want to wear his pjs? Does Karl think we are crazy?

Okay—so boarderline inappropriate? Yes. Funny? Yes. Super funny if and when you meet Karl? Absolutely! We heart you Karl! Sorry…under pressure I have to throw in questions like that…and keep it light…real…and funny. It’s the way I roll. THANK YOU April for making the hike up to the resort tomorrow. YOU rock my sister. You rock!

Now…on to more important business! What has been going on here? WELL…lemme tell you:). FIRST…we are penny penching where we can to make our dollar go as far as possible for the retreat. Instead of buying a bunch of signs I knew I’d toss–I had an idea to buy chalkboards I could write on and erase and rewrite on…check this out–you can buy these at IKEA for just $14!!! (If you want a black one though…you have to paint it. Don’t you think it looks better black though??) SO…for $14.99 you get a chalkboard on one side and a white board on the other…AND a rod for their roll of paper (you can buy the ginormous roll for just $4.99).

SOOOO…here’s a story that will make you laugh! A comedy of errors. SOOO…what happens when you try to save a buck usually? SO…I paint the wood black because I think it looks better. My hubby tells me, “You sure are spending a lot of time on those…”. THEN I have a great idea to buy chalkboard ink…you know–the kind you see at Trader Joes, at restaurants and groceries and such? SOO…I go to Dick Blick and this 20 year old guy behind the counter tells me, “YES! We have chalkboard ink! Let me get it for you.” He gets it for me…it was $10 a pen. Wow. Not cheap. I had to buy a handful. Wow. So much for saving money…right??

I got home to see if it worked…we painted on the boards…I thought it looked cool compared to chalk…

THEN I decided I better wipe it off just to write “Registration/Sign in” on there. WELL…guess what??? IT WOULDN’T COME OFF! It was permenant INK! NOT chalk-board ink!!!! SOOO…I went BACK to Dick Blick Art Supply store–showed the workers the “chalk ink” and they all gasped! They felt so badly–and I was laughing because I thought it was so funny. They asked if the chalkboards were ruined–and I told them it just depended on how you looked at it…and they were SO KIND to give me chalkboard spray paint FOR FREE and take back the $$$ pens!!! I left with spray paint to make the chalk boards BACK into chalk boards and a box of chalk. SORRY guys–I know the chalk ink is way prettier–but I’m sticking to chalk this time! AND…in the long run I’m back to saving money as I didn’t even have to pay for the chalk. They were so kind to give me that too!

SOOOO…in other Young news;)…Rosie is doing well–and she continues to be patient with the littles loving on her. AND BOY do they love her!

One thing I am really amazed about right now–is the Lord’s kindness and care. Truthfully–I always tell people that I never saw the Lord’s affection and care as vividly and REAL as I have since we started orphan care and adoption. ONCE AGAIN…the Lord has blown me away how He is caring for me as I trust Him and follow Him in caring for others. This morning, a precious mom/pastor’s wife/blog reader…and now friend came by to bless our family with dinner. Her name is April Houston and she has the sweetest heart–and such a passion for orphans/fostercare/adoption. She also has kiddos that play well with ours…and her 2 year old and Frank had quiet the morning icing cookies (before lunch time!). Sorry April…this is what you get when you come to our house! Sweets are some times around the clock here;) We let them ice their own cookies…MESSY…but I see this as a fine motor skills activity;)

How CUTE are they?!

THEN…after they left–it was carpool time and today I had the JOY of helping two friends out and had a couple of extras! I LOOOOOOVE this!!!! I think we need more kids honey!!! (Just in case you are reading Rico Suave…doesn’t this just look “right” in our house! Oh I just love it!)

AND THEN…just when you think the blessings couldn’t flow any more in one day…HE GIVETH AGAIN! The UPS man knocked on the door and dropped off a care package from another sweet friend/blog reader…all the way from Pennsylvania. Caytie Hirschburg I could just gobble you up!! Seriously–this family encouraged us all the way through our adoption time, and they are in the midst of waiting to bring home their sweetie too! We are hoping and praying they get the big phone call this weekend!!! There is something about us adoption mommas that just instantly connect…and even states away we know what is going on in one another’s hearts. I am sure sad Caytie can’t join us this weekend–but I *KNOW* she will be praying for us…and for that I am *SO* thankful!!! (I’ll let you all know if and when they get their big news too!!!! SO EXCITED!!!!!!) Now…you have to see the SWEETNESS that was in the care package…

Sweet treats for all! (Caytie…Frank got into the chocolate before I could stop him!! Boy…he is on sugar overload today isn’t he?! And Loo-bear just LOVED her princess tin and yummy candy jewelry. She even shared with her brothers…so sweet!) Alright the first reactions were initial SHOCK–“For real…presents and candy and it’s not even Christmas!”

[ON a side note…did you spot that fun pillow in the back?? ANOTHER find at IKEA…and just $10!]…

Happies for Baby Isaac…he loves the blankie and has been rubbing it on his sweet cheeks!

More out of control with the candy…

Sweet little outfits for ITY…

We even put one on him to see how it fit! HOW cute is this…

And THE most perfect sayings on bibs:)

And truly–the sweetest, dearest thing for my heart…scripture to encourage—I love this Caytie!

With the sweetest note tucked inside…

Caytie also sent the MOST incredible laminated poem–that I am going to share at the retreat. It’s just perfect. Perfect. Exactly what I needed to hear…and what I think all these ladies coming need to hear. I even ordered 250 cards tonight with the poem on it to gift to the mommas there. I’ll share it next week on my blog with all of you. Oh I can’t hold out! It is just too, too perfect and too TRUE of His grace…

He Giveth More Grace
by Annie Johnson Flint

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affiction He addeth His mercies,
To multiplied trials His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.

Thank you sweet Jesus for pouring out your love to me today through these friends…and for taking such good care of me! How thankful I am…and how I can’t wait to pour back out His love this weekend. May it be none of us–all of You and may You receive all the glory!

Much love to all of you!!!

kristi johnson - February 1, 2011 - 12:15 am

wow, that might be the sweetest gift EVER!! thoughtful, kj

april - February 1, 2011 - 2:20 am

great post. love the pics. my isaac LOVES our dog too!how sweet of her to send those gifts to you and your children! I LOVED the chalkboard story and now im really wishing we had an IKEA near us! I would have loved to join you girls this year but it didnt work out. I hope you all have a WONDERFUL time and if this ever happens again I will try hard to be there!

Christy - February 1, 2011 - 6:50 am

What amazing friends God has put into your life! A true blessing from Him! 🙂 Can’t wait to hear all about the retreat!

Becca - February 1, 2011 - 7:03 am

Okay….i definitely needed that this morning!!! Don’t you just love ikea??? We have the same pillow;). Oh, and the poem…you had me crying before 7!!! So praying that we have a picture to show you on friday

Ashley - February 1, 2011 - 9:00 am

Please pray we can make it to the airport on Friday…we’ve got about 3/4 inch of ice and expected to get 20 inches of snow on top of it today…….I NEED to get to GA on Friday to be with you all!!!

Caytie Hirschberg - February 1, 2011 - 9:25 am

Oh sweet Andrea, it was just something little. You pour into all of us out here in bloggy land…just wanted something to let you know we care and value you, your heart, your realness and your love for God! I have learned so much through you and your encouragement has been incredible! I am so glad that you loved “He giveth more grace” My Nanna use to sing this old hymn growing up…she was such a godly woman who loved with everything she had! So. special. for. me. that you are using this at the retreat cause you know my HEART will be there and will be praying for all my fellow adopting mommas! Can’t wait to hear all about it…I want DETAILS!!! xoxo Caytie
Ps. love the chalkboards and how incredibly cute does ITY look in that little outfit!!

Abby - February 1, 2011 - 10:08 am

God is going to do some amazing things at the retreat…can’t wait to hear about it:)

Alison - February 1, 2011 - 12:11 pm

What a precious gift from Caytie! And I have to tell you I got our Seeds CD in the mail yesterday…we are obsessed with it! Gotta blog about it today and send people over here to get the coupon code! We heart Seeds!!!

Dawn - February 1, 2011 - 12:21 pm

I REALLY want to be insanely jealous- ok so I am…..due to our ‘big announcement’ that is coming out Saturday- I knew I couldn’t come to the retreat. So I will deal with it, but I am still jealous!!!!

PRAYING for all the AWESOME WOMEN that will be there and be refreshed for GOD! Loving all the many countless hours you have put in over a LOOONNNGGG time to do this. LOVE seeing the many Blessings the Lord is pouring over your sweet spirit!

NOW just so you know being camp directors for 11 years- I GET how much work goes into what you are doing. On top of your Wiphan work, and being a mommy! So know that we have been and will continue to pray for this to be AMAZING OUTPOURING OF GOD!!! BLESSINGS on this very special weekend…..and hoping and praying that one day- I can actually meet you for real to just give you and your sweet family a hug 🙂

missy - February 1, 2011 - 1:20 pm

your posts always encourage me. though this one kind of depressed me since i don’t have an ikea. that pillow is awesome. 🙂 love your creativity!

Rachel - February 1, 2011 - 2:50 pm

1. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!! Fun! My buddy Erica will be there having fun for me! : )
2. I am TOTALLY getting one of those chalkboards!
3. I am TOTALLY stealing the scripture gift idea–so neat!

Loved this post! Thanks mucho!

Sandi - February 1, 2011 - 5:09 pm

Isn’t it amazing how God uses others to lift us up at exactly the right times? Praying for an amazing, relaxing, fun-filled, spirit-filled (pajama friendly) retreat for all!