Friday, August 15, 2014

pregnant with a promise

(this the is last day to enter my Noonday giveaway below! Go get some free jewelry) 

This is both the promise the Lord gave us and the reason I will NEVER hear Katy Perry's song the same again in my life. seriously. 
Here is an email I wrote to my family in November right after the Lord spoke to us about adopting. I didn't actually send it until April after we told our immediate family in person. But it shares our story of how the Lord spoke to us that it was time to adopt. I included the email instead of typing it all out again because it shares the entire story and a larger chunk of our journey.
Its the promise He gave us that we're holding on to now. Our church has a sort of declaration in the front of our sanctuary. On it, it says "pregnant with a promise" and that is something Ive held on to in this season. Though, I am not pregnant, I am at the same time. Inside me is this promise that I'm holding on to and clinging to. Praise the Lord.
Friends & Family,
I wrote this email in November and then felt like I was supposed to wait to send it. Freeland & I are so excited and ready to share the news, so here it is. I'm thankful the Lord had me write this out back then and not now because it would've been written so different now. Meaning, the emotion of some of this is clearly different now.. but our hearts are still in the same exact place and we are walking in more obedience, wisdom, etc etc etc now instead of just the whirlwind of it all! We are going to share the news on our blog as well, but here is some of the details behind it all: 
on 11/26/13 I wrote:

Well, I'm sure some of you may have known or wondered if/when the day was coming. Maybe you have been waiting for some sort of an announcement! ha.
Chapel is 12 months old. Per usual.. if we were following our trend I would be having our 4th baby in just 3 months. Obviously, that is not happening. And to be honest, I'm torn and sad about it. I would go as far as to say at times I felt like I was almost mourning the idea of it. I know that sounds dramatic. But at times it felt that way for some reason. (Although I am okay with the fact that we aren't pregnant too. I just never would have thought I would feel like I was missing something since I already have 3 children.)

But to be honest, its how it feels. It feels like something is missing. Clearly, I do love being pregnant.. and I LOVE having babies. So I acknowledge that and know it is a good thing and something I'm incredibly grateful for.
Soooo.. there is that.
Now, on to the point of my email. Freeland & I have had a ton of conversations around "will we have another child.. will we adopt.. will we foster.. how will the Lord use us to work with orphans.. will we advocate for children.. will we bring them into our home.. will we move overseas.. will we help run an orphanage.. will we not do anything?!?!!"

We know that the Lord has stirred our hearts for children especially children who have no family.
We've gone back & forth and wavered so much. I actually got pretty weary of it. ("it" being the back and forth and not just landing on a decision) I couldn't tell what the Lords desires or my desires were anymore. My emotions and thoughts and feelings changed daily.. sometimes hourly!

I told Freeland I just had to hear from the Lord because I was tired of wavering. I just wanted the Lord to give me a peace to do either or to just stop and enjoy where we were at and stop trying to come to a decision.

And so we committed to pray about it. I really felt like the Lord impressed it upon my heart to ask what HIS desire for our family was. I believed that the reason we were going back and forth and the reason we were experiencing all the emotions and the reason all the desires in our hearts were growing was because He was leading us into a place to pray and ask Him. 
I believe He was the one stirring up such intense and deep desires for us.
(these pictures were our family pictures last november. I remember taking them wishing they could be announcement pictures and thinking the next time we took family pictures there could be another child in them)

And what do you know - the next day after we committed to pray about it. He spoke.

And ummm He spoke really really loud.

Here is what the Lord spoke to me:
During worship at a women's conference at our church, the Lord spoke to me. I went to the conference with a little expectation of Him giving me clarity around this since we had just committed to pray about it. (which is why I wrote out the back story to this for yall if youre wondering why I just told you all that!) I wasn't sure if He would. And I wasn't even sitting and asking Him at the moment. (I was actually sitting down because I was distracted and annoyed.. so basically the opposite of trying to sit before the Lord) Anyway.. in the midst of a bad attitude He broke through and all the sudden spoke to me. 
Our pastor had just got up and shared a word that he had .. saying he felt like the Lord gave him the word "roar" for the weekend. Then our pastors wife got up and shared that on her way to the conference the Lord put on her heart the verses where He says 'God is our refuge and strength.. our help in trouble.. therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way.. though the sea will ROAR and the mountains will tremble .. (Psalm 46) She said this without knowing her husband, our pastor, felt like His word for the weekend was roar too. 
So clearly, yes, the Lord was speaking the word roar.  
I heard what they said and was still sitting down with my bad attitude. Repenting and trying to get back to a heart of worship. 
When all the sudden the Lord showed up.
He gave me a picture of Himself as a Lion. Literally, he showed me his face as a lion (think Aslan, from the Chronicles of Narnia if you want a reference) and He spoke:

"If you want to hear My roar .. go and fight for My children"
The End. 

 I mean, you don't really need much more after all that when the Lord speaks so clearly. 

It was overwhelming to say the least. It was one of those "I think that was an audible voice" moments. I immediately wept. Then I immediately wrote it down. When the Lord speaks that powerfully I don't think you can really do anything but say yes. All my questions, all the practicals, all my desires to have another baby, all the what ifs, the doubts, fears, worries, etc. VANISHED. I literally just wanted what the Lord wants .... and trust me, I want to hear Him roar. 
A passion and desire was ignited in me to see Him fight for what is His. To see Him be victorious, see Him be powerful, watch Him go to war and do the work. I will fight for His children.. if that's where He is - I want to be there too.
I should also note: as I was still sitting there screaming yes in my heart and laying down all my own desires and fears our speaker, Beni Johnson, got up and in the middle of talking stopped and just started repeating "mama be brave. mama be brave" and then went on. I mean .. all I could do was laugh. That of course is now stuck in my heart too.
Also, I think its only fair to share Freeland's response to all this. Right when I got home I woke him up and told him I knew it was time for us to adopt. His response: "I know".  Before hearing the story.. he knew. He was probably ready the entire time just waiting for me to join him. 
.... I'm very aware the Lord didn't say "I have this perfect beautiful easy baby I am going to bring in to your life" .. instead He said go and "fight" which I have to imagine means it will be a fight. It will probably look messy and scary and hard except it wont at the same time because I'm just looking ahead .. and when the Lord shows up as a Lion it doesn't really feel that scary anymore to me. So amen.
If you made it to the end of this GIGANTIC novel... congratulations. I just wanted to share all the details I could. And share the whole process with all of you. We realize our family - is your family too.. and our heart is that the vision and promise the Lord gave us would be apart of our entire families vision and promise! Feel free to let me know if you have more questions or if anything I said was confusing or if I left anything out. The Lord has spoken very clearly to us through his word, friends, and in prayer. I'm happy to share any of that if you would like. Thank you for always cheering us on and jumping on the adventure the Lord has taken us on. I will be posting it on our blog (today or tomorrow) and I will be sharing the details and story as it unfolds there so feel free to check there if you want more information too! 


So all that was from November. As I knew He would, the Lord has taken care of all the details so far. In the midst of Freeland's busiest year of residency we completed our 36 hours of training even with most of the classes being on days he was taking call. So many random things came up that couldn't be explained during that time. (like their system showing I didn't complete one of the classes I was at and a handful of other things that almost delayed us a ton) and each and every time the Lord swooped in and took care of it. 
Our home study is now officially approved (as of Tuesday, August 12th) Our last and final step is this Saturday (the 16th) and once their system updates to show we completed a final course on Saturday .. we will be waiting for a phone call!!
The kids know and are excited. They want a brother AND a sister! (oh Lord) 

The Lord gave me another promise this week too! I will have to share that with you all. I have no idea why the Lord was so gracious to speak as clearly and as powerfully as He did. We could have easily just felt a desire to pray about it.. searched the scriptures .. (which we did all those too) and then decided to simply step out in faith knowing that in His word He calls us to care for the orphans. At one point I thought He spoke the way He did because 'obviously' my faith was so small.. I wouldn't have ever said yes without it. I don't believe that is true. I know its not. My faith isn't small at all. But whatever the reason was.. I'm incredibly grateful. It feels like the biggest gift and so compassionate and loving of the Lord to do. It fires me up and stirs my heart in a way that can not be explained .. as if the Lord literally came down from Heaven and touched my heart and ignited it. Praise the Lord. I know for everyone their journey to stepping out in faith or becoming parents, adopting, saying yes to new things etc looks different. Thanks for reading what ours has looked like and believing with us! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Noonday Collection Fall Launch + a giveaway to celebrate my own personal launch

Noonday Collection Fall 2014

If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the NOONDAY. Isaiah 58:10

This is the heartbeat behind Noonday. This is what my heartbeat has been over the last year. This is my "why" and I'm so excited to share it with all of you today! 

First things first, (I cant get the IGGY song out of my head every time I read that. Anyone else? no?) If you're visiting from the Noonday Blog Train, welcome! I'm so glad that you're here and I am so excited to kick off our fall launch and the start of our blog train with you.

If you are a regular reader here, my fellow Noonday Ambassadors & I are celebrating the launch of our Fall Collection with blog posts & giveaways for nearly an entire month! You can see the first entry and giveaway here from my friend Carina at Lovely Little Whimsy.  The next post after mine will be from Carmen over at first thing tomorrow morning. Keep following along for almost an entire month of giveaways from Noonday!! You can enter every single one if you want!

As most of you know during the very end of spring/beginning of summer I began my relationship with Noonday Collection as an ambassador! It felt like a huge scary step of faith. It was harder for me to say yes to than adopting yall. I know, that is insane! But its been so fun and Ive learned so much from the Lord already! But now that the fall is kicking in to high gear and our fall line is live I am officially launching my business here on my blog with all of you! Lets pretend the summer was my "soft launch" and now I'm officially - officially launching my relationship with noonday!

Noonday Collection Fall 2014

Noonday Collection's mission is to create economic opportunity for the vulnerable. We partner with artisans in the developing world, empowering them to grow sustainable businesses. By creating a marketplace for their goods, we create dignified jobs at living wages. This allows our artisans to earn more in order to support their families. We also offer no interest loans and make advance payments on orders. This way we are able to shoulder the costs of materials and build a lasting relationship based on trust. We offer scholarship programs and emergency assistance. Noonday Collection also donates a portion of sales from adoption trunk shows to place orphans in forever families.
Noonday Collection is not a charity and we do not believe that providing a hand out is a sustainable long-term solution to poverty. We aim to be a sustainable business that gives women across the United States a way to make a lasting difference in the fight against poverty and injustice. This is what makes this movement so special. To learn more about Noonday's impact, click here:

artisans with noonday collection

If you asked me a year ago if jewelry was something I was passionate about I would have just given you a blank stare probably. I love getting dressed up and fancy but 'Fashionista' is not a word that would ever be used to describe me. So it just really makes me laugh that the Lord would put something that fuses fashion & design to advocate for people in front of me!

You have to know, this is not a about selling jewelry for me. I was not looking for work nor is direct sales something that just stirs up a passion in my heart. However, being an ambassador of hope, empowering women, giving a voice to the voiceless.. seeking justice and loving the orphans, widows and poor .. those are things that stir up a huge passion in my heart.

Basically over the last few years and mostly this last year the Lord has straight up interrupted my life by opening my eyes to all the layers of poverty & injustice all over the world. It feels like He gave me this little glimpse into what His heart is all about and what He created me and so many other women (probably you - reading this) for. He then left me in a place where I could no longer wait until the "one day" when Freeland & I could go and engage what was happening. (meaning, when residency is over) He took that interruption and empowered it by lighting a fire in my soul to engage and advocate and do something now.

Noonday, for me, in this season is about just that! Its about sharing stories for those who want their stories heard, creating a marketplace to empower people and help others out of poverty, getting to wear gorgeous handmade items that have the most incredible redeeming stories behind them, gathering with women and sharing our passions, engaging people right around me to jump in with me, advocating for the vulnerable .. those things I get excited about! Those are just a handful of reasons I said yes when I felt the Lord asking me to step out in faith and join the Noonday team.

I could cut and paste so many solid things from Noonday and some of our biggest advocates trying to relay my heart for what this all is. Instead, please let me beg you to read all of these:

One of my favorite things about Noonday is that its not just about being an ambassador. YOU are the one empowering these women too! There is nothing fancy or different about what I am doing than what you could do too! Noonday allows us all to partner together to empower and change lives. I just happen to have all the samples at my house. But you can do the same exact thing by simply purchasing their items or inviting your friends over and allowing us to share what we do! How easy and amazing is that?

Okay, another favorite thing because I just cant stop, is that we have the ability to also partner with families who are adopting to help them raise support for their adoption! As you all know, we are in the process of adopting and while we aren't in need of raising support for it, I love helping others raise their support! This is really what I love to do with my trunk shows! Its so fun! You can do adoption fundraisers with noonday and they are so sweet! The one I did last Friday had me in tears. Seriously. To combine 2 things so dear to my heart and support both at the same time blows me away! We spent a lot of time in prayer, a lot of time encouraging my friend adopting and lots of time sharing updates on their adoption and talking about their kids! How much fun is that? If you are adopting or know someone who is, I would love to partner with them! Please let me know! (or any ambassador can too!)

Here are just a handful of pictures of our artisans. enjoy seeing their strength and pure joy captured in photos:

artisans with noonday collection

Noonday Collection

Noonday Collection

Noonday Collection

Noonday Collection

*photo originally posted by Wynne Elder on Instagram. Taken by Paige Knudsen

artisans with noonday collection

These are not just "poor people". This is not charity. All of our artisans have a name, a story, a family and all of them are working hard learning and creating beautiful handmade pieces of jewelry for each of you! These women are brave, strong, passionate, skilled, hard working and beautiful. Noonday isn't a sob story or a heart breaking story. Its a story of redemption that should leave us all feeling empowered and in awe!

So much more to share. So so so much. Lets wrap it up though and get to the fall line and my giveaway....

So without further ado..  here are just a few of my favorites from our fall line:

"Get excited, because our new Fall lookbook is live! This season, we fell hard for Fall—the lush jewel-tones, crisp foliage, and buttoned-up looks inspired us and made us long for cooler climes (summer’s no joke here in Austin!). Best of all, we got to capture the story of women across generations and countries joining hands over a common cause and a well-loved pair of earrings as we explored the special bond between mothers and daughters. We’ve put a lot of love into this season’s lookbook, and we can’t wait to share it with you. In fact, we’re so excited to spread the word that we’re offering up a special treat when you share the lookbook with your social community! - See more at:"

Noonday Collection Fall 2014
this bag. oh my

Noonday Collection Fall 2014

Noonday Collection Fall 2014

Noonday Collection Fall 2014


Noonday Collection Fall 2014

Now, for the good stuff, the giveaway!

In honor of our fall launch and me officially launching my business here with all you blog readers, I am giving away one of my most favorite pieces from the new line! I wear it all the time. Its simple and so so glamorous at the same time! Its our Sofiya Wrap Bracelet. Its made in India with faceted glass beads, cotton cording and a metal chain. Its named after our dear artisan, Sofiya, which you can read about here. It wraps 3 times around my wrist and I LOVE IT.

Noonday Collection Fall 2014 Giveaway

Noonday Collection Fall 2014 Giveaway
 Gorgeous and so glamorous right??

Go here and check out the new fall collection.. come back and tell me what your favorite piece is (or list all your favorites) in the comments section! I created a raffle copter to track the entries - but if you cant figure it out just leave a comment and let me know.. I still want you to enter and win! You can receive multiple entries with all the steps listed in the rafflecopter if you enter that way! Let me know if you have questions!! Get to shopping!

a Rafflecopter giveaway