Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year

Hi friends.  It's good to be back and it's good to begin a new year.  I like new beginnings and fresh starts like mornings, Mondays, a new year and mercies that are new every morning.  With that said, I'm just going to jump right in and catch you up with what's going on in my family's life in future posts. 

I asked the Lord for a word to take with me into the new year.  He gave me 2.  How do I know?  Because I just can't get these words out of my head.  I think about them almost constantly and come across them as I read.  The first is "unconventional" and the second is "intentional."  We'll come back to the first at some point, but for now the word intentional has taken a front seat.  My birthday was December 30th and one of my dearest friend's is today, Jan. 1st.  Last year we celebrated it together because everyone else already had plans.  This year was the same, but we didn't mind and were thankful for our time together.  We agree that we feel like we get the short end of the stick with our birthday's being on or between the two biggest holidays.  It got me thinking about the word intentional.  In the same way that our friends and family have to be intentional with our birthdays and making sure that we're left feeling special in the midst of concentrating on other celebrations, I want to journey 2014 being intentional.  Being intentional is a blessing to others.  It takes a little more thought and effort, but people are touched, blessed and encouraged when we think of them and act on it.  I was so grateful for Stephen, Robin and Audrey who were intentional in getting me out and reminding me that I'm important to them.

Here's a list of things that I want to be intentional about.  I know it will grow, but this is where I'm starting.
*sending thank you cards
*birthday wishes, gifts and outings
*school-thinking out of the box and planning different learning activities
*finding serving opportunities for the kids and our family
*spending time with God and in His word
*special activities with Susan, who needs a bit more from me than the others do
*meal planning
*planning ahead (includes meals, school, and also summer activities and the like)

I'll leave you with our family picture, which shows how big the kids have gotten.  Sam is 10, Susan is 9, Jonthan (JB) is 6, Drew and Ben are 4 and Natalie will be two on the 12th.  I'm so blessed to have my bundle!






Ashley

Thursday, December 19, 2013

We're BAAACCKKK!

Testing, testing, is anyone out there??

I know, I know, it's been almost TWO YEARS since our last post on this blog.  Nothing much has happened in our lives over the past two years...yeah right!  I don't know where we'll start but we both agreed it is time to write again.  I feel like this blog was really the only chronicle of my life for quite some time.  Does that mean the past two years are virtually lost forever?!?

It's quite possible!  Haha!

I will let Ashley fill you in on the happenings at the Bailey household.

As for us, well my last post was around the time of my grandfather's death and funeral and we were excitedly awaiting the referral of a little girl from Ethiopia.  I'll spare you all of the details that led up to us walking away from the Ethiopia program and our former agency.  However, three days later we found our daughters through a series of God-ordained events.  They are in Africa, but I'll leave the country anonymous for safety's sake.  Hannah (5), Zoe (2), and Ameris (2) legally became ours in February 2013.  They were granted US Immigrant visas on September 24, 2013 and then a horrible suspension was put in place by their birth country's government and they can't come home until the suspension is lifted sometime in the next 10 months or so.  We had our flights booked twice to bring them home and had to cancel both times because of the suspension.  I was able to spend a week with them back in June when I filed our immigration paperwork with the US Embassy in their country.  They are absolutely precious and we can hardly stand the wait.  Their room has been ready for months, their closet is full of clothes (first summer and now winter) and all four large suitcases remain packed and in the office for the day that we finally receive that long-awaited news that the suspension has been lifted and we can finally bring them home!



Now, let me give a little back story so I can get to the latest excitement around here....

Owen was about two years old when we began to actively try to have another baby.  We were foster parents at the time and were definitely ready for another baby.  We tried and tried...and tried.  Nothing happened.  We finally got pregnant in January or February of 2010 but lost the baby a few weeks later.  That is when we felt the Lord leading us to adopt.  It has now been seven years since our last successful pregnancy.  That's hard to believe sometimes.  Seven years is a long time and time sure has flown by.  There were months, even throughout the adoption process, that we still hoped and prayed for one more baby.  Eventually, we really came to peace with the fact that our childbearing years very well may be over.  We're still very young (31 and 35) but sometimes infertility is unexplainable.

Now let's go back a few weeks from now.  I was sitting on my bed folding laundry and watching some old episodes of 19 Kids and Counting on Netflix when I received a text from Ashley:

Ash:  Random question:  Is there a possibility that you may be pregnant? 

Me:  Haha, I guess anything is possible.  Hasn't happened in seven years with no prevention.  We would welcome it!

I went to the bathroom and pulled a dollar store test out of the cabinet.  I dusted off the box before opening it.  You see, I had every intention of taking the test and sending Ashley a picture of the negative result, just to be silly.

Much to my absolute shock, it turned positive in ten seconds!!  I double checked the box--maybe this was just an ovulation test and that's why there's two lines!  I mean, it's been seven years!

Me:  I can't freakin' believe it!  THIS JUST HAPPENED!!!  **insert picture of positive test!  I'll spare you that sight!**

Ash:  Are you kidding me??????

Me:  NOOOOOO!!!!

Ash:  Holy crap!!!

Me:  Josh and my mom are going to insanely excited!!!

Ash:  As am I!!!

Of course the conversation went on for days and we cried over the sweet way the Lord used Ashley to tell me I'm pregnant.  I mean, seriously, the possibility of being pregnant was nowhere on my radar.  Who knows how long it would've been before I figured it out!  I guess not too terribly long since I'm already sick as a dog and sleep a total of 15 hours a day right now.  How did I forget this part of pregnancy??  Lord, help me.

So, that's where we are.  Right now, there are three children in our house.  Within eight months, there will be SEVEN.  We are so excited!!  I know we'll be tired.  It will be hard.  It will be an adjustment.  But what a blessing!

There are so many things I want to share with you about the past year in particular and how God has provided over $80,000 over the past 12 months to bring our girls home!  I guess I'll just have to take it one post at a time.

Pictures will come soon.  Joshua is almost 11, Jesse is 9, Owen is 6 1/2 and baby Wilkerson #7 is due early August!!  I think it's time for another photo shoot!

So there you have it.  We look forward to living life with you once again and pray that God will use us to encourage you in the every day things of life.

God bless and Merry Christmas!!

~audrey

Sunday, January 15, 2012

One Life Ends and Another Begins

It's been a rough week.

First I came down with a nasty stomach virus last Saturday night.  This was the virus that just wouldn't quit.  When I thought I was feeling better, I'd eat a little something and be back in the bathroom within 30 minutes.

My sweet Papa, my last living grandparent, passed away last Monday.  I boarded a plane for Little Rock Wednesday morning.  I prayed that my stomach bug was gone....it wasn't.  I wasn't able to eat normally until Thursday!  Papa's was the first military funeral I'd ever attended.  What an honorable celebration of life.  I am so blessed and thankful to have been able to attend.  I have pictures and video of my trip that I will share soon.  Ashley was scheduled to be induced Thursday morning.  I've had the privilege of attending all of her other births and I was heart-broken that I wouldn't be able to attend the grand finale. However, thanks to modern technology, I was able to attend the delivery afterall!  Stephen (Ashley's husband) called me on Face Time (like Skype) about thirty minutes before Natalie's birth and I was able to "be there" for the final minutes of labor and the delivery.  It was such a special time and I am thrilled that I didn't miss Natalie's birth just because 700 miles separated us.  Stephen propped me up near the TV in the delivery room, where I listened, watched, and waved to the nurses.



What a fun story that will make one day.  Natalie Praise Bailey was born at 11:44am, weighing 8lbs. 9oz.  She looks exactly like her oldest brother and sister.  Absolutely precious!



I'm home now and it was wonderful to be greeted by Josh, my sweet boys, and a really clean house!  I missed them so very much but I knew they were in great hands with my dear friends Sharon, Ali, and Kelli.  Thank you ladies again for all of your love and support while I was away.  You are truly a gift to me!

One last update:

The boys' video and $1 Challenge has raised almost $600 in the past six weeks.  But we can't stop now.  We're so close to the finish line!  The race is in two weeks.  We are hoping it will be our final big fundraiser before we bring Zoe home.  We have about $13,000 left in fees.  Once the race is over I will begin applying for adoption grants.  Most of them take 6-8 weeks to process.  If we don't have any hang-ups in our paperwork, we're hoping to get our dossier in the mail by February!  Once that is sent, we'll be finished!  I'm praying we have a referral by my THIRTIETH BIRTHDAY:  May 25.  As I boarded the final plane yesterday, my eyes filled with tears and butterflies filled my stomach:  The next time I board a plane, it will be bound for Ethiopia....and ZOE!

I imagined what it will feel like finally holding her in my arms on the flight home.  This is the year!  Zoe is coming home!  Will you help share our video if you haven't already?



~audrey

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's Race Time!



It's here! It's time! The Trot-to-Adopt is three weeks from Saturday! The shirts are awesome but you have to register by January 20th in order to guarantee you'll get one on race day, January 28th. But there's more....if you don't live in the Augusta area but would still like to participate, you can register for the race online, raise sponsors right where you are, and we'll mail you your shirt! Please help us spread the word and if you're already registered, start asking all your friends, family, and neighbors to sponsor you as you run for a precious little girl in Ethiopia! When we ran last year for the Digsby family, I was able to raise $100 one Wednesday night at church! We are praying that God would use this race to spread awareness about adoption and help us raise the rest of the money we need to bring our sweet baby girl home.

SponsorshipForm

Thank you for all of your love and support!  I hope to see you ALL on Saturday, January 28th!



~audrey

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Thankful Countdown...Tuesday

Today I'm thankful for the time that our little family, all 7 of us, got to spend out together this morning.  I'm thankful for our special tradition of getting Christmas ornaments for all the kids.  I'm thankful for our picnic and playtime at the park.  I'm thankful for such a beautiful, though warm, fall day.  I'm thankful to have my wonderful husband home for the week and that his basketball duties for the week end today.  I'm thankful for the quiet house that I'm sitting in right now.  I'm thankful for time to read, to write and to do some much needed editing.

I'm thankful for the book I'm reading right now.  I've had the book for a long time, but haven't looked at it in I can't tell you how long.  It's called The Prayer That Changes Everything: The Hidden Power of Praising God and it's by author Stormie OMartian.  Perfect timing, right?

Praise is not just something that we are called as Christians to do, but it's something that we NEED to do and God knew that from the very beginning.  Praise draws us closer to God and as we are drawn nearer to his heart, "it releases us from negative thoughts and emotions."  I needed to hear this.  I've been tormented with negative thoughts towards a certain person for quite a while now and the thoughts have consumed me.  I've prayed and prayed and spoken scripture, but just haven't been able to get free from them.

"We don't want to think futile thoughts that lead to darkness and misery. (The Bible says) 'Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened' (Romans 1:21).  We want to have the transformed and renewed mind God has for us (Romans 12:2).  Praise and worship is where it begins." 
-The Prayer That Changes Everything

Talk about "a word in season"!  God is so good about that and I'm so very thankful.  I hope this has encouraged you as much as it has me.

Ashley

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Thankful Countdown...Saturday, Sunday and Monday

I am so behind on my countdown, but it shows you what kind of weekend I had...busy!

This is one of those posts that feels more like a sacrifice to write because I'm tired and don't feel like writing.  I'm sitting in my recliner in my bedroom with my feet propped up and NO ONE'S HOME BUT ME.  I'd rather be editing some pictures or laying on the couch, but here I am.  I can't not write in response to God's goodness and I need to put my thoughts on something besides myself right now.  One of my favorite hymns says,

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  
Look full in his wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of his glory and grace."

Oh, how I need for the things of this earth to grow dim!  I'm thankful for the hope that we have in Jesus.  I'm thankful that all is not lost and we can run to him anytime and anywhere, and I do.  I'm thankful that when we turn to him in thankfulness and praise, our hearts and our perspectives are changed.  God is truly so good.  He's my Father, my comforter, my strength, my rock and my refuge.  Without him I would be crazy and depressed.  I'm not joking.

I'm thankful for the blessing of a large family.  It's not easy, but it's SO GOOD!

I'm thankful to have my family home this week.  

I'm thankful for a home that's filled with laughter and joy.  

And I thankful for a peaceful, loving and godly husband.

Ashley


Friday, November 18, 2011

A Thankful Countdown...day 8

I think my count is off, but that's ok.  Bear with me and I'll figure it out:)! 

Today I'm thankful for cool days and morning walks with friends, even if it is while I'm doing a shoot:).  I'm thankful for warm cups of coffee and all things that inspire.  I'm thankful for art and that it's expressed in so many different ways.  I'm thankful for the ability to bless others with my talent.  I'm thankful for God's creation, the perfect inspiration.

Ashley