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First Outfits

Remember this really sweet little outfit/pajama set that I couldn't help but buy for our little guy?

Well, here is the first thing that Don bought for our future child. 

Interesting, huh? 


Coffee for a Cause

Check out America World's online partnership with Ground to Cup Coffee.

Ground to Cup Coffee gives people the ability to purchase high quality coffee with 40% of the total cost going toward America World's Orphan's Ticket Home campaign - you get to buy (and drink) great coffee and support a great cause all at once! Most of you buy coffee, right? Why not buy your coffee here and help care for the needy and “fatherless” around the world?  Want to check out their online coffee store?


It's that time of year again...

Hello, Fall. Mostly, I love you... but you do bring some unwelcome guests.

And wait until this guys starts to drop his leaves; he hasn't even started to change colors yet.

But he has been dropping a lot of acorns this year... is this on a cycle or something? The acorns are out of control! And they are attracting even more unwelcome guests.

You, Sir, are the reason I'm afraid to walk out of our house. I do everything to scare you away (slam doors, stomp feet, sound car alarms, etc.) but you still won't move. 

And then you look at me with those beady, hungry eyes...

And I run completely out of the way, weaving through the front landscaping and around to the other side of the car so that you can't get me... because I know that's what you want to do.  


Current Reading List

Here's what's on my night stand now... I'm not reading them all at once, but I do hope to work through each of them in the next couple of months.

Have you read any good parenting books? Marriage books? What books have impacted or helped you the most? I love recommendations!


Matching Grant

We recently found out that we were awarded a matching grant through our church's adoption ministry (in partnership with Abba Fund). We are so thankful for this provision as it will greatly help us pay the remaining $15,000 or so that we still owe on our adoption. I was talking with someone recently who said, "We often see in adoption that God funds what he favors"- we have seen this first hand! We are overwhelmed and thankful.

Many of you have supported us with your t-shirt purchases. It's been so fun to see people wearing them and to know that there are so many of you that are supporting us, praying for us, and are genuinely excited for us. I can't even express how much this means... seriously, when I think about it, I can't help but cry. I can envision telling our children about this someday and sharing the outpouring of love and support that we received to help bring them home! We are humbled by your love and kindness to us.

Right now we are in the process of sending out support letters for the matching grant. If we raise $5,000, we will receive $5,000 in the form of a grant. The donations are tax-deductible and are sent to Abba Fund on our behalf. Abba Fund then sends the money to our adoption agency to be used as we have expenses. 

I hesitate sharing this information on our blog because I don't want to coerce anyone and I wouldn't want anyone to feel like they had to give, but I also know that many of you have a heart for orphans and for helping us build our family, and you may genuinely want to give. If you fall into this last category, you can send me an email (jones.saraj@gmail.com) with your address and I will send you a support letter. The letter includes instructions on how to give to us via Abba Fund. 

Whether you give or pray or wear a t-shirt, we are thankful. Adoption can be a lonely journey, but I can't imagine having a better support system than we've had!


One Month Down

Officially on the wait list for one month... praying for an early referral!


Salmon 2010

Don describes fishing as "exhilarating"- that's not exactly the word I would use. In fact, that's probably the last word that would come to my mind. 

There's obviously something that I don't understand or appreciate, but I love seeing his excitement about it, and I'm glad he has a brother that enjoys it with him.  

This past weekend, they went salmon fishing in Michigan and had a great time. They hooked into 30+ fish and landed a bunch of them. 

Here are some shots of their trip:

These fish look a little prehistoric, don't they? I don't think I'd even dare put my big toe in this water knowing these guys were swimming around.  

Joe reeling in a salmon...

Nice one! (I mean that strictly in the sense that it's a big fish... I'd never want to catch or touch something that looks like this- if I had this fish on my line, I'd drop the pole and run in the opposite direction.) 

I'm glad they had fun, and I'm glad that they came home safe. (And, I'm glad that fishing season is almost over!)


An Ideal Woman

John Piper, on Ruth:

"Here we have a picture of God's ideal woman...Faith in God that sees beyond present bitter setbacks. Freedom from the securities and comforts of the world. Courage to venture into the unknown and the strange. Radical commitment in the relationships appointed by God....This is the woman of Proverbs 31:25 who looks into the future with confidence in God and laughs at the coming troubles: "Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come." Ruth is one of "the holy women who hoped in God...[and did] not fear anything that is frightening" (1 Peter 3:5-6). It is a beautiful thing to watch a woman like this serve Christ with courage….Whatever else the great women of faith doubted, they never doubted that God governed every part of their lives and that nothing could stay his hand...Nothing--from toothpicks to tyrants--is ultimately self-determining. Everything serves (willingly or not) the "purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will" (Eph. 1:11). God is the all-encompassing, all-pervading, all-governing reality." --John Piper, A Sweet and Bitter Providence, p. 35, 44 



We've been in the midst of a "Birth-week Celebration"... In honor of Don's 30th birthday, I tried to think of something special for him each day of the past week (a small gift, a favorite dinner, chocolate milk (since he loves it so much), you get the idea...). Every day was a surprise, so he always had something to look forward to- it wasn't expensive and it didn't take that much time or effort, but (hopefully) it communicated my love and appreciation for him. In fact, it was so much fun that I plan on implementing this type of celebration when we have our children... we'll see. 

In the midst of this though I was reminded that the greatest gift I can give to Don as his wife is to nurture my own relationship with God. This "gift" will have much longer lasting effects and will bless him infinitely more than warm cinnamon rolls on a Sunday morning (though I know he appreciated those, too!). 

When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. Insofar as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased. 
~ C. S. Lewis, Letters of C.S. Lewis (8 November, 1952)


Easy Apple Recipes

I just have to say up front that recipes that exceed six ingredients make me nervous. Knowing this about myself, I should probably cancel one of my many food magazine subscriptions... I love to look at the pictures and dream of someday making wonderful food. Then, I go in the freezer and pull out a pizza.

Anyway, after picking all of those apples a couple of weeks ago, I was determined to try at least a couple of new recipes. These recipes are so easy, I'm almost embarrassed to post anything about them... plus, I'm also wondering if these are the completely obvious recipes that everyone already knows and already makes. I hope that you do know them... and I hope that you do make them...

Caramel apples... poked with forks. Can you believe the grocery store didn't have any of those sticks that you are supposed to use? We had to improvise.

Apple sauce... who knew that homemade was so easy and delicious?

Fruit dip (especially good with apples). Thank you, Christina, for introducing me to this great recipe! I know this technically isn't an "apple" recipe, but it tastes great with apples, and it makes me want to eat apples. 

For the fruit dip, you simply beat together a package of cream cheese, 1 cup of brown sugar, and a tablespoon of vanilla until it's very smooth. It's delicious... you'll want a good supply of apples on hand just so you can keep eating this dip. 


30 Years Ago

30 years ago today, this little guy was born. 

 Isn't he sweet?

On his way to go catch some frogs... some things never change. He still loves to be outside on little (and big) adventures!

Do these look familiar?

I'm thankful that 30 years ago today, this little guy was born because now he's my husband and my very best friend. I can't imagine life without him.