Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Craziness... ;)

First of all, I am blown away by so many people in this world with cheerful giving hearts! One of my good friends, Christine, whom I met when I first began attending college at Ball State (our love for Marines brought us together!) contacted me about an idea she had. She wanted to give $1 for every donation, shirt order, or puzzle order. She created an event on Facebook and spread the word and with her help, we got 20 donations/orders in the timeframe of her event! I was amazed at how many orders we got in such a short amount of time. Mainly from people we don't even know! It's just awesome!! Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts for everyone who donated or ordered!! And thank you, Christine, for doing this for us! We appreciate it so much!

While the costs of our adoption still worries me, I know that God will take care of it and will provide... On our end of it, we're saving as much as possible and making lots of little sacrifices here and there in order to save money. I know some people think we're crazy, but after Pastor Scott's sermon on Sunday, I've realized, yeah, we are crazy! So crazy about doing God's will for our family, that we'll do whatever it takes! Like he said "Instead of raising your standard of living, why don't you raise your standard of giving?" Made me realize that just because we're not "up to snuff on all the popular trends", it's okay, and it's for a greater purpose!

Here are some of our cost cutting techniques.. I'm sure there are more that I'll think of AFTER I post this! :)

Minus this past week (we had a great friend visiting us), we've gone out to eat maybe 3 times this year? We've tried cutting out on eating out completely. If we're out and about, I usually pack some PB&J's. Crazy? Sure - but it beats wasting $20 on a quick meal that is just gonna give us indigestion! I don't shop, except for stuff we need (toilet paper, groceries, etc.) and even then, I use coupons. I've been able to buy groceries and necessities monthly and stay right around $150, but definitely no more than $200 (and I don't just buy junk food!). 

As far as clothes shopping, we haven't bought any clothes at all this year for any of us, besides the kids' Easter outfits - and yes, I used a coupon for those! And paid less than $10 total! I bought a couple things at a consignment shop for the kids, and paid $3. The only "major purchase" this year has been Michael's dress work shoes - unfortunately no coupon for those, but we did shop sales shoes!

Haircuts?  I haven't gotten my hair cut in over a year... I know, I know... Supposed to have a trim every 6-8 weeks.... Just haven't had the time or wanted to pay $30 to cut a few inches off... I will eventually... I cut the kids' and Michael's hair myself, so that saves on money as well!

What's that? We used to try to go on dates at least once a month, and I know they're needed, but between Michael's work and school schedule, the time, honestly, has been rare... We've had date nights here and there, and when we do - it's usually date nights in: kids at my sister's or mom and dad's when they were down here (free babysitters!), food at home, grab a movie from Redbox (with a coupon code of course - so it's free!). Or date night out: grab something to go and go someplace pretty (and free - thank goodness we live in Florida - SO many free and pretty places to go).

Yep, shut that off today. We've been talking about it a lot and finally just did it. It's rarely ever on - honestly, it had been off for about 2 weeks straight until this past week. Why pay a monthly fee for a tv that we don't watch? Instead, that'll go to our adoption fund!

We turned our Impala in (it was on lease from years ago) and used part of our tax return on a cheap used Focus for Michael to drive to and from work. Paid cash and we no longer have any car payments! While Michael misses the pretty Impala, it's nice to know that we own two vehicles outright and have no payments to make to the bank for them!

This has been one that I've really been struggling with. It's something Ilana truly enjoys, but it's one of those costs that I kinda wondered if it is needed... It's expensive and time consuming now and will only get more expensive and more time consuming. It was hard because this is one of the few things that brought Ilana out of her shell, but after praying about it and really thinking it over, we decided it was best to do for now, so we can put that extra money towards the adoption costs. I sat down with Ilana and explained it all to her in 4 year old terms, ready for her to respond with pleas and frustration, and got the exact opposite. Again, like she frequently does, she catches me off guard and makes me question myself... She calmly replied with a "That's ok, Mommy. We need to remember my brother or sister who doesn't have food. I bet they don't have gymnastics either, so it's ok!" How would a 4 year old respond that way when you take away one of the things they love most?? Where was the whining, crying, or the beloved "No fair!!"? Instead, just pure contentment. What a blessing my daughter is. And goodness, is she wise beyond her years!

I was so worried about upsetting her or not making her happy... After that incident, I remembered my favorite blogpost I've read and decided to go and reread it... What Missy says is just awesome... Too awesome not to share and if you want to read the whole post, go HERE.:

"Darlings, we love you so much. You will never even grasp how much we love you until you have children of your own, and then you'll get it, and then you'll apologize for the ways you treated us ;) But our goal is not to please you. Our goal is to please our Heavenly Father. And nowhere in the bible does the Lord command that we save our money to send our kids to college.

But the Lord does command us to care for the orphan around fifty times. He does tell us to care for the poor around 300 times. He does tell us that when we care for the neediest, we are caring for Jesus Himself. And in chapter six of the book of Matthew, He tells us to seek His kingdom first, and let Him worry about the rest, like college tuition. Because it's all His anyway.

They said that one day y'all would resent us for using 'your' college money to go and get your sister out of an orphanage in Ethiopia and bring her home to you.

But I know my babies. Even at your tender ages, I know your hearts, and I have already seen you weep for the least of these. I know the prayers I offer up to God that He and not the world would shape the desires of your hearts. I am trusting Him to answer those prayers."

Love, love, love it! And it's so so true! So call us crazy! I already know we are! So crazy for our precious child in Ethiopia that we'll do whatever it takes to bring him/her home!! :)

As for the adoption process.... We're still waiting for our I-171H (from the FBI fingerprints) to come in the mail. I swear I stalk the mailbox around 3-4pm everyday! Our neighbors probably think I'm nuts because if I'm home, I'm always out there the second the mail truck leaves (I've learned the exact sound of his truck as it approaches our house!)... Crazy? Yeah, probably... I've come to know, that's just who I am... Crazy!