Saturday, December 22, 2012

Giving this Christmastime


OK So blogging has not been my strong suit the past few weeks...Okay, months... Things have been pretty quiet on here because my life right now is completely opposite....CRAAZAY..... I wish I could tell ya all exactly all the craziness right now but let's just say we can't complain about things being slow or boring..... Levi is doing amazing. He is growing like a weed, learning to communicate
and even how to fight like the rest of the kids lol.... I will update and back date post soon... I hope....

SO ANYWAYS.... I had to take a moment before Christmas and blog about something important to me.... The past few years we have been really trying to refocus and turn upward in our Christmas season as a family. We so want to focus on  Christ and the true meaning of Christmas and how we want our kids to experience it. When we first got married Christmas was all about presents and buying lots of them for each other as well as family and friends. We knew it was about Jesus but other than going to Christmas service we didn't really reflect that in our time or giving.... then little Evelyn came along and it made us start to think...we talked about what we wanted to teach her and how we could make it not about presents and Santa..... well I can just say 4 years later we are still a work in progress... we have tried different things and I am sure will continue to talk about and find new ways to focus our families attention towards Christ during this season.... the one thing I wanted to share about is that we are trying to focus on GIVING.... well that seems pretty easy since that's what so many do focus on... giving
gifts to each other, making Want lists, etc... but I am talking about giving to Christ... it is HIS birthday now isn't it? But how can we give to Christ?
Well when we look at His word He talks about giving to the least of these... to those who are poor, outcast and truly needy... SO at Chrsitmas time we look for ways that we can specifically do that... we try to give and give more in those ways than giving fun and
extravagant gifts to each other.... we have birthdays and other special times we can spoil our kids or each other and we don't want Christmas to be that time...

SO I wanted to share about 3 Ministries that are dear to our hearts. These are ministries in Uganda that we have visited while we were there,  shared meals with the board members/staff,and believe are most definitely doing the Lords work to minister to the least of these.

#1 Sixty Feet- God put sixty feet in our path about 2 years ago. He honestly shook our little world upside down when He opened our eyes and hearts to the Children that this
ministry is working with. They have been and are doing AMAZING things in Uganda and we were blessed to go and serve in 2011 with their fist missions team. We now call the board members
good friends and continue to see God moving mountains for these children through this ministry. Children and prisons should not be used in the same sentence... read about this kids HERE.
#2 Ekubo Ministries- I somehow met Christie online and we chatted back and forth for a few months. When I was in Uganda this past Oct for our adoption I knew I wanted to go out and see the work Christie and her husband George were involved with in their village. This was one of the best days I had in Uganda. It was wonderful spending  time out in the village and getting to talk with Christie. She is very real and straightforward and we got along very easily ;) She invited me into their home and also gave me a tour of their land where they have a couple small classrooms, a small church, and an unfinished clinic and babies home. They have opened their home to more than a dozen children at a time and many call them mom and dad now as they raise funds to legally adopt them. They always have open doors even when their 2 bedroom house is full beyond full. They are the real deal and Gods doing awesome work through their family. Right now through Christmas they have a matching grant up to 10k to help so they can finish their babies home where they will be able to take in more children while they seek to reunite them with family. Read about Ekubo HERE.
#3 Ekisa is amazing.... this was definitely the one of the highlights of our time in Uganda this past Sept. These girls and their staff are the straight up the hands and feet of Jesus. Started by Emily and Emily :) Ekisa is a ministry in Uganda whose main purpose is providing a home to children with various special needs. These children are amazing and truly are living a full life at Ekisa. They are happy and full of joy and SO well loved. On top of this Ekisa also puts efforts towards educating families and the community about special needs and on top of that their entire staff are Ugandans who either have some kind of special need or their child has a special need. They are doing some amazing things and God is doing some awesome work through this ministry. Go HERE and read about Ekisa and how you can help with their 25k in 25 days fundraiser!


I encourage you to pray and consider how you can give a gift this Christmas that can make a difference in the lives of others whom Jesus called us to love and care for, a gift worthy to be given to the King of Kings.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Homecoming

OK So we have actually been home 3 weeks now and I think I kinda forgot about blogging... guess I have had my hands full or something.... If we are FB friends you would see that I have been updating new pics and info on there but I just kept forgetting to make time to blog....
I arrived home with our sweet little boy Friday October 26th. Josh and I left September 16th and he came home after 2 weeks. My time in Uganda was amazing, hard, long, and too short.... I hope to write more about that time soon. There feels like way too much to update tonight but here are the pics of when we came home and our family and friends met us at the airport. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Room For Levi

I am not able to post much right now so I wanted to share some photos of our little guys room that I took on my phone before we left. Josh had the vision and did a lot of it and I helped. :) I think it turned out really great and was fun to do. Something he can grow into that's not really babyish. Hoping he will like it and like his crib. I think he will really like rocking chair. 
Josh painted the Canvas's
We made the mobile from little stuffed animals from UG 

Can't wait to rock our boy to sleep :)
These were Josh's when he was young, made by his Grandma C
Teddy from Daddy (all the kids have one) 
Josh painted this, he made a stencil. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

2 Years Old

My littlest girl turned 2 today and we are so so blessed. We are thankful first for just being here to celebrate with her since we leave in just a few days! We had a party for her last weekend and then today made it special for her and focused on her big day! 

 ZoĆ« Hosanna. You are a beautiful and sweet little girl with the most precious blonde curls and blue eyes. You love horses, pillow fights, playing at the park, wrestling with your sister, watching movies, climbing and snuggling. You have such a sweet personality and love to laugh. We are so blessed to have you in our family and pray that God does mighty things in your life and that you love Him with all your heart. 

She was So excited for her present! 
Loves loves horses
I love this girl. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Surprise

This morning I set out early to run a few errands and then go to our church and help set up for a father daughter tea that my friend Heather asked me a few weeks ago if I could help her set up. As I was driving there I was thinking... wow I am crazy, I should be home packing or something ;) I texted her and told her I was there and she told me to come in since she was already there. Well turns out I wasn't really there to set up for a tea party.... I was seriously so confused as I walked in and saw a couple dozen of our family and friends shouting "Surprise!" 

My Sister-in-law Bethany had created a wonderful party with some of the cutest decorations and yummiest food {also must be noted, she had her wisdom teeth out like days before this!}. We were blessed with gifts and prayers for our little guy and our upcoming trip. It was such an unexpected surprise that we are so grateful for. Here are a few pictures.... {disclaimer, I am wearing no makeup and it is super obvious I have had numerous late nights lately.... wish I would have known I was going to be photographed before I ran out of the house!
My confused entrance
Such cute decorations
And this is so adorable, with notes to Levi
This is hanging in my house now ;)
My sister-in-law Beth and I, she did an amazing job
Heather and I
My mom, sister and I
Josh and his brother and friend Josh
 Dani and I 
Josh and his sister
The Steiners
Opening gifts
LOVE this blanket my mom made
Everyone praying for us

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Court Date!

We got it! We got it! We got it! A court date!

Yesterday (Labor Day) we were getting ready to go to breakfast with Joshs mom and my phone rang... I didn't recogzize the number since after switching phones a few weeks ago my contacts have been a mess. I decided to answer it and it was totally not what I was expecting. Our agency contact said " I have good news and it's coming up soon!" She said she woke up to an email from our lawyer with our court date and despite the holiday she couldn't wait to tell us! Boy was I glad I answered my phone! Josh could tell something was up from the excited way I was talking and came in to see who I was talking to! I asked her if I could call her back so I could get the girls a snack and some toys to busy them while Josh and I talked over some details on the phone. When I got off I was somewhere between total bliss and "oh. my. goodness. I have SO...  much to do!" We got back on the phone with her and went over what we needed to do and when the best time to book our flights for would be. After getting off the phone we were just in a haze and sent out a mass text/FB post to tell everyone our exciting news!

SO our court date is...... SEPTEMBER 20th! and we leave September 16th! That's only like 12 days away! Feels totally unreal but now we are rushing around getting everything we need in order.  Honestly even though a Sept courtdate was my prayer I was thinking Oct was really more realistic so I had begun talking myself out of it so to say I am happy is a huge understatement!

-Please pray for us as we get stuff together.
-Pray for our girls as we will both be away from them for 2 weeks and I will be be away from them even longer!
-Pray for our fears and worries, pray Josh and I would be bound together as we face stresses.
-Pray for the details- flights, guest house, driver arrangements.
-Pray for our little guys heart as things will be changing for him and he will not understand completely.

And now back to Running around like a chicken with it's head cut off!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fear

In our Women's Study at church we have been doing a study on Fear. I have heard quoted that the bible speaks on fear over 300 times. I don't know if that is accurate or not since I haven't counted personally but I do know it is a common theme. For me I often mask my fear using other terms to describe how I am feeling.. worried, stressed, concerned, anxious, overwhelmed,... but really it's all the same. I am fearing something or someone. This study is perfect for the season I am in right now because it is VERY easy for me to be feeling fear on a    daily basis. Some of my top fears are in some way revolved around our adoption and plans associated with it. 
I fear leaving my daughters and husband for 6-8 weeks.

I fear being in a foreign country alone without my husband.

I fear not being able to handle all the responsibility of handling money, legal stuff, court stuff, paying our driver, and traveling home on my own. 

I fear something happening out of "my control" and everything falling apart. 

I fear Levi getting sicker or something happening to him before we get him home. 

and then I even fear ridiculous things like packing for Levi and everything I bring being too small or too big or him not liking the formula I bring, or the bottles, or the baby food, or snacks. Or not getting every little thing done around the house I *think* I need to. 


Some of these things are legitimate concerns on some level but lets just get down to it... I can not control any of it and me worrying about it just shows my lack of faith. I know in my head that the Lord already has each step laid before me.  The word is clear I can REST knowing He guides me BUT how often do my actions and motives fail to reflect that?  


Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, In this I will be confident. Psalm 27:3

Lately I have felt like an Army has been rising against us. So many things feel crazy right now. We have some big trials that have been added to the regular old adoption stuff and it just feels like the "odds" are against us. BUT...


I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4

OK so I can't say I am totally there yet (freed from all my fears) but I can rest knowing God is my stronghold, He knows the future and is working in my heart and life to sanctify me and move me closer to that place. 


Monday, August 13, 2012

Auction Results!

WOW!  What a whirlwind this Online Silent Auction has been! God totally blessed it and made it SO much bigger than I expected. We had over 100 items from donors all over the country. Many items from friends and family but many more from people I don't even know personally.We are so thankful for so many who came along side and helped make this auction successful! We had an AWESOME spread, with so many amazing items. On my end it was fun watching some of the bidding get a little heated and bids go back and forth between people who really wanted something. :)

THANK YOU to all who donated items and even shipped it to the winners! You gave some awesome stuff and if it wasn't my auction I would have bid on it all!  Your generosity made this possible and we are so very thankful. 

THANK YOU to all who bid on items, whether you won or not we wouldn't be anywhere without you. We hope you had fun and we are so thankful for your support. 

THANK YOU to all who shared about the auction through your Facebook Page, Pinterest, Blog, email, or word of mouth! It made a HUGE impact and reached SO many people! 

and a VERY Special THANKS to my amazing friend Taryn! When I asked her if she wanted to help she immediately said YES and totally ran with it. It was because of her we got the majority of our auction donations. I stand in awe of how God has orchestrated this story. I met Taryn when we both went to Uganda last September on a mission trip with SixtyFeet. It was on that trip that Josh and I made some amazing friends that have been huge sources of encouragement and support to us this past year despite being hundreds of miles away. It was through Taryn that God brought us to adopting Levi and she has prayed for and supported us so much. It's crazy we almost let our fear get in the way of us going! God is definitely in the details... I totally see that even more clearly recently. So thankful! 


SO now to the results! The final bids ended with
$1,830.00 
and that total keeps going up as winners have been giving above what their bids were! We are almost there and preparing ourselves to be ready to go when we get that long awaited court date! {Pray for Sept}
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now a little housekeeping. If you bid on any items in the Auction please check HERE if you won. You *should* have received an email from me but a few have said they haven't so here's what you need to do... 


What we need from you is to send your winning amount thru our Paypal button on the righthand side of the Auction blog as soon as possible. (Would you also consider donating a couple extra dollars to help cover paypal costs?)

After you have made payment please e-mail me at {fortnerfamily03 at gmail.com} with the item(s) you won and a good mailing address. If the item you have won requires that you have contact with the donor for personalization/etc please also send a good e-mail address that we can forward on to the donor.

 After I receive your payment and information I will THEN contact the donor to send your item to your mailing address or contact you via email if your item needed to be customized. 

Thank You for doing this a quickly as possible so I can wrap it up and you can get your items asap. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Silent Auction Is Now OPEN!

We have SO many amazing items that you do not want to miss out! There is definitely something for everyone! Shop for yourself or a gift and then PLEASE share with your friends. That seriously makes all the difference! 
If I could go shopping a few of my favorites would be...{click pic}

$25.00 Wild Olive Gift Certificate
 Hand-made Vintage Modern zipper case
Hand-Made Ugandan Bead Hoops
Custom Child's Pillowcase
James 1:27 Cross
Marvelously Made Photography Session 


I could go on and on... so check it out!