Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Life as a Crazy Person.

If you haven't noticed by now, Ryan and I don't particularly like to sit still for very long.  I'm not really sure if this is a good or a bad thing.  My mom commented to me a couple of days ago how crazy our life has been over the past 3 years and how much change has happened.  She wondered how on earth I deal with it all and don't lose it.  Honestly, I feel like we thrive with change and craziness.  For some reason, God created us as a couple to thrive when we are dealing with new and sometimes terrifying things.  Honestly, part of the reason I love the constant changes is because it keeps me close to my husband.  We have to be honest with each other and it gives us a common goal to push towards.  We've learned that we absolutely need to rely on God to make stuff happen if they are supposed to happen and we need for our relationship to be healthy so that we can say "yes" when God asks us to.  Sometimes I think that complacency and unwillingness to make huge changes to your life can hurt your marriage and your trust in the Lord.

So about that house.....

As of this moment, our move to a larger house seems imminent.  The details that we've needed to fall into place, have done just that.  We're half way through the bargaining portion of putting a contract on the house in my previous post.  The seller has agreed to putting in a fence (for Maddox), a fridge, and paying closing costs.  Now we just have to talk price.  Hopefully we should know something by tonight or early tomorrow.  

Our next big TO DO is to sell our house.  I LOVE my house.  We've put soooo much work into making it a home and fixing all the issues that it came with previously.  We NEED to sell our house in order for us to move, but honestly, we don't NEED to move.  I would be perfectly happy and content in my house if I were to stay here another 20 + years.  But if God is asking us to bring in multiple more children into our home, which I'm starting to get the feeling that He is, then we need a bigger house. 

While Ryan has been frantically coming up with ways that we could sell faster, etc, I've just been sitting back and relaxing.  I'm certainly doing some mad cleaning and painting, but I really feel at peace that God is going to make this happen if that's what he has planned for us.  Nothing I do or don't do is going to thwart that plan.  I'm saying "yes" to Him and for the first time in my life, I'm trusting that He's going to take care of it.  I feel so sure right now that I'm doing His will and it's given me a real calm about the whole situation, which is probably a first. 

Let's be honest for a minute:  I've been racking my brains for the past couple of months trying to figure out what my "calling" is from the Lord.  I KNEW it was something to do with orphans or kids who didn't have homes.  BUT.... I had no idea what exactly I was supposed to be doing to help them.  I'd think about all the orphans in Africa and my heart would shatter.  I'd think about the orphans right here in SC and my heart would break.  I wanted to be a missionary, an advocate for orphans overseas, an adoptive mother of every child I could get my hands on that looked like they needed some love.  But wait.....a FOSTER PARENT?????  God couldn't possibly want me to be one of those!  The kids don't even get to stay with you forever.... 

Then I read this:
"That's the only way you can make a mark on the world that's worth making. By scooping up every ounce of love you can find down to the deepest reaches of your soul, pulling it out and splattering it across the world. I know it won't stick everywhere we fling it, but I'm positive it will stick. Maybe it'll even be reflected back later when they can see how important love really is in life. That's the best we can hope for and even just the hope of that will be enough for me.  We're also not worried in the least about running out of love to give. There's lots more where this came from. Bring 'em on." 
http://thefosterdad.blogspot.com/2006_01_01_archive.html

Maybe THAT is it.  Maybe its not about keeping the kids at all.  Maybe its about giving as much love as you can to every single one you are able to, for as long as you are able to, and just praying that God will do the rest. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Surprise!

I want to start by saying, No, I'm not pregnant.  Now is about the time for all of my friends to start having babies.  I've got one now through adoption and I don't really feel the urge to get pregnant, which according to EVERYONE I talk to, is what I'm supposed to "accidentally" do now that we've adopted.  I'll pass.  So now on to what the real surprise is.......

WE'RE MOVING! 

Ok, so I may be jumping the gun a little bit.....  Ryan and I are in the negotiating phase right now with a local builder and we hope to have a contract drawn up for a new house sometime in the next week or so.  That means our home will be going up on the market right around the first of the year. 

If all goes well,  this will be our new house:


This particular house has already been built as a Spec Home and is a whopping 3500 sq feet.  Now that it's finished, the builder needs to sell it asap.  So a lot of you are thinking "What in the world do they need a house that big for?".  Honestly, we don't.  This is where surprise #2 comes in.

We may possibly become foster parents and/or adopt an older child from DSS!

Ok this one is still up in the air.  We've got some research and some pretty intense praying to do about this one.  It's something that God has placed on my heart recently that we couldn't even consider doing in our home now.  Most foster kids come in pairs of 2 or more, and there is no way that we could fit 3+ kids in our house.  But in this new house......

Regardless, please keep us in your prayers.  We know that God will make this move happen if thats what he has for us.  We love our home now, so we certainly wouldn't be devastated if He asked us to stay for a while longer.  Please also pray that both Ryan and I keep the ultimate goal in perspective when/if we do buy this new house.  If he provides the rooms, then we will fill them.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Scooby Doo

So I'm breaking rank today.  I know this blog is about adoption, but its also about family and life in general.  I talk about Ryan and I talk about precious Layla all the time, but I never talk about the HUGE goofy dog that you see frolicking/bounding around in all the below pictures.  Maddox aka Scooby Doo is as much a part of this family as any of us.  No, he's not human and in the grand scheme of things, really is just a dog, but good grief I love that monster of an animal. 


The crazy thing about dogs is that they do one heck of a job at showing me how God loves us.  Its so hard for me to figure out exactly what God's love for us looks like, because I've never seen it physically shown to me in its fullest by any other human.  I know some of you are going to think I'm nuts for saying this, but dogs do a much better job of showing us how God loves us than people do. 

They are always happy and super excited to see you no matter how long you've been away. 

They are patient and gentle with old folks and kids (at least Maddox is).

They seem to know when you are hurting and won't leave your side.

They protect you when you're in danger, no matter what it costs them.

They love you no matter if you love them in return.


Now if only I could love  others the way this big goofball loves me.......


Monday, December 5, 2011

Adoption Day

This morning we all woke up bright and early, put on our nice threads, packed Layla and her bag, and drove up 385 to Greenville.  Normally, I'd be at work and Ryan and Layla would be sleeping in.  Today was different, special. Today Layla went from officially being an orphan to our daughter.  Anyone who knows us well knows that Layla was never an orphan and she was never anything but our precious baby girl.  However, according to the law, we were merely her guardians.  A lot of people have asked me about our Adoption Day this past week.  I played it cool and tried to make it seem like I wasn't at all emotional, worried, or excited about it.  After all, the hearing we had today was merely a formality.  I didn't realize how much of a burden it actually was not knowing if you would be seen as good enough parents or if some random person would come take your daughter away at any moment.  But on this glorious day, in God's perfect timing, that weight was lifted and I got to look at my chubby cheeked little girl who I so desperately love as my own, officially.  So from now on, THIS day, December 5, 2011, will be burned in my heart and mind forever as our family's Adoption Day, and one of the best days of my life.

378960_10100223374587458_12722972_46430052_510113311_n.jpg


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pictures!..... FInally.....

Thanks to my awesome mom for taking these.  Now if only I can find time to take pics when Ryan isn't working..... I guess 3/4 of our family is pretty good.


























Wednesday, November 23, 2011

4 Months!

Layla turned 4 months old last night at 8:57.  I can't believe how fast she is growing up.  This is also the weekend last year that we decided that we were going to adopt.  It's insane how much life has changed in just a year's time.  We are taking pictures of our family this weekend, so I hope to have some new ones to post soon.  Until then, I'll leave you with a short video of Layla and Ryan practicing her Wonder Woman impression. 
video
I so love my little family.  Even if we are weird.... :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

(Re)Discovering Relationship

This blog has been quiet the last couple of days.  I've wanted to write something, but I didn't want to just write over and over again how hectic my life is right now (not like that will ever change).  I want this blog to be a place to store profound issues and victories in my walk with Jesus, but also a place that I can simply share my day and how Layla is growing.  I never want it to be so overwhelmingly intense that you have to brace yourelf to read it.  I never want it to be so trivial that you see don't care to read it at all. I hope I find a balance eventually that will be just right.

So the Church has always taught me that I should have a relationship with Jesus.  This is obviously an on-going process and one that I have even come close to getting right yet.  What the Church has never taught me is that I should have a relationship with the Holy Spirit.  He's always been this intangible, spirit-thing that is more like a guiding force than a person.  I mean, something called the "Holy Spirit" has to be just a spirit......right? Plus he/it is in me....aka my body....so he/it can't be a person or anything.....right?  And if he isn't a person then he doesn't really have feelings or need relationship.....right? 

So get this: What if the Holy Spirit was a person; not the physical kind, but the Jesus/ God kind?  Woah. That changes EVERYTHING.  What if I'm supposed to have a relationship with the Holy Spirit, just like I do with Jesus/ the Father?  (For all you theologians out there: I know they are ONE, but they are also different.  I know that by having a relationship with Jesus, we have a relationship with the Holy Spirit, in a roundabout way, since they are ONE. But we shouldn't forget that the Holy Spirit is the one inside of us....and the one that we seem to never pray to.....ex: I hear "Dear Lord" "Lord Jesus" "Holy Father" etc etc all the time, but RARELY hear "Dear Spirit" etc.)  I don't mean to claim to know much about this subject at all.  Honestly, I know very little about the Holy Spirit and how the trinity works.  I'm not sure anybody really knows anything about the trinity works though..... 

Regardless, when Jesus ascended into Heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit down to be our counselor and to dwell within us.  He even said that it was better for us that this happen.  So why have we forgotten that He's even here?  Why do we push Him to the background of our lives and only ask for help from the Father and the Son?  I don't have any answers.  All I have is more questions and this gut feeling that there is a whole nother PERSON of the Godhead that I never really knew was there. 

On the lighter side:


Check out my ridiculously adorable little Layla.  She is getting so big and she looks practically NOTHING like she used to. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Ugly Truth



There is a huge part of me that doesn't want to write this post.  I'm scared of what you all will think of me; of my faith and my God.  This past week I've had this underlying feeling that I needed to sit down and be still.  I knew for some reason that I needed to read.  I had no idea what or why, I just knew I had to.  I picked up a book this evening that has been sitting on my shelf for about 2 years.  My brother gave it to me for Christmas a while back.  The book is called "Forgotten God" by Francis Chan and it's all about the Holy Spirit.  I think I've been putting off reading it for the exact same reason that I'm both scared to write this post and know that I have to.

According to Chan, there are two main reasons that people don't ask the Holy Spirit to show up more in their lives.  1. They are scared that if they do ask, that He won't show and they'll be disappointed and lose faith in God.  2. They aren't sure that they want Him to show up because they are scared of what He might ask them to do.  I'm going to go ahead and bite the bullet and say that I fit into BOTH of these categories, but I'm really struggling with #2.  I want to be courageous and I want to live a godly life and do His will, but only in my head.  In real life, I'm a coward.  In real life, I want people that I work with to like me.  In real life, I want to have nice things and a nice family.  In real life, I don't want to get fired for sharing the gospel with my coworkers, or eventually, my students.  I don't want my neighbors to think I'm cookoo, or to be THAT person that people make fun of for actually thinking that the Holy Spirit can do miraculous things.  I'm wholly concerned about being popular to you, and not at all concerned about letting The Counselor that God gave me actually show up in my life.

The really sad thing is: I know this and can see it in all I do, but I'm still too scared to change anything.  I love my God, and I love Jesus, but I'm not sure I've ever really known the Holy Spirit.  Honestly, I'm ashamed of myself.  I know God has so much more planned for my life.  I know He showed me how much I'm lacking in my relationship with Him so that I'd do something about it.  Killing my pride is so much harder than I thought.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Homebody Bound

First, I want to apologize for being away for so long.  I'm in serious denial that I have too much going on in my life.  I want so badly to be able to see all of my friends and family more than I do.  There are so many times during the week that I think about how badly I need to go hang out with (fill in practically anyone's name).  I feel terribly guilty about how I'm not there for so many people on so many occasions. 

So I'm going to be honest for a minute: I'm exhausted.  I'd really love to stay at home for an entire week and only see my family.  It would be so nice to be able to shut off my phone and just be at home.  I miss sitting around the house reading.  I miss sewing and painting and playing with Layla until she's exhausted.  I miss putting her down for a mid-day nap and actually being there when she wakes up.  I miss baking and even watching a good show on TV.  I even miss cleaning.....yes, it is possible to miss this. 

Deep down inside of me, my inner intravert is crying out.  You see, I've always known that I would rather sit at home reading a good book or painting than being super social.  And with Layla's arrival and my ridiculous schedule of school and work, I've had very little time to be still and quiet. 

A friend of mine and fellow blogger just made her New Year's Resolution because she didn't want to wait until January 1st to do something that she needs to start now.  I think I will do the same.  This may sound completely opposite of what I should be doing, but I want to make a resolution to stay at home and be still more.  I want to be artsy and know that I'm spending time nurturing and growing in relationship with my Jesus, my husband and my daughter.  I absolutely realize that this means I will probably spend even less time with people that I love that I hardly have any time to spend with now.  But for a season, I need this.  I need to remember who I am and stop long enough to be able to hear God's voice in my life.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Juggling

It's been a crazy couple of weeks in the Shumpert household.  With weddings, midterms, hosting community group, and job craziness, We've been QUITE busy around here.  Regardless, Layla is 12 weeks old.  WHAT?  I know right!  
We went to Harmon's Tree Farm today to pick some pumpkins today.  We went with our friend Stephanie and her super awesome little boy.  We had such a great time going on a hay ride and even playing putt putt.