Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Recap and Happy New Year!

oh my dear. . I feel compelled to write a "wrap up the year post". I don't even know where to begin. I'm actually having a hard time even remembering the beginning of this year! Hold on a sec, let me refresh my memory. . .

Jan / Feb: I can't think of anything from these months! What the heck? I don't even know what I did for my birthday which was Feb 2 (yep, go mark your calendars now)

March: Well, this is when Dumptruck joined our family. . .oh joy! Ok, Greg and the kids probably would consider this a highlight and I'll admit (only to you guys) that he was cute as a puppy. Now, however, I have 3 kids and do not need one more butt to take care of! As Brayden says, "Dumptruck: him's a good dog, but him's ugly!"

Also in March was our church BlockParty called, "Phun's Fair". This was a fun event, made more special by the Lord. Our entire team desparately prayed for good weather. We had temps that week in the 80's and were worried it would be too hot in the sun. So, we prayed together and stood back in amazement as God gave us a beautiful day at exactly 63 degrees (which is the exact temp we prayed for!). It was a God moment and will remain a standing stone in my life of remembering that God can do anything. It may seem like a small thing, but to me it was HUGE.

April - June: this is when our adoption talk began. Gracie turned one in March and we (Greg and I) began to discuss our next child. . .soon, we (and by we, I mean Laura and I!) began researching. In May, Greg and I flew to CA for a business meeting. I had lots of time to pray and drive up the coast (one of my alltime favorite things). I presented all of our research to Greg at a beautiful hotel overlooking the Pacific. I expected to come back with an answer, but that had to wait a few weeks. Finally after an evening watching American Idol and their African Children's Choir and before heading out to our Missions Service for our denomination, Greg told me that he had a final answer, "YES"! We quickly filled out all of our paperwork (and by we, I mean I! I would quiz Greg every time we got in the car for his answers) and began our journey.

July: We read about and then quickly accepted our referral for a beautiful little guy whose birthday sat 12.5 months after Brayden and was 8 months before Gracie's! Soon, our hearts were captured by little Henry Davis and we anxiously anticipated his joining of our family!

August-October: August was our Skate Event at church and September was our Women's Retreat with October holding our Fall Festival. Yep, I was busy, busy, busy!!! But, it was so worth it! I LOVE the team God has built up for us and have a blast working with them.

November was CRAZY! My sister got married! We had Thanksgiving! We left for Africa a few days later! Yep, crazy! We realized some things about our agency which caused us concern and began making plans to travel sooner than expected to get our little guy home. We pretty much decided we were leaving and left within 2 weeks. Oh yeah, and participated in our showers, bachelorette and rehearsals for my sister's wedding in the midst of it. I was freaking out, so Jess volunteered to go with me on a late night WalMart trip where we got almost everything done in one crazy trip!

December: well, this has hands down been the most exciting month yet! Possibly in my whole life! I lived my dream of going to Africa. I already miss it and can't wait to head back to the country that has stolen my heart. Liberia was amazing and I can't wait to see what God has in store for us there. I also met my son. How amazing to meet your 2 year old child. We had a rough beginning, as you know and have had rough days in the midst, but I wouldn't trade this crazy life for the world. He is a perfect fit in our family and I pretty much melt when he hugs my head (not just my body, but he grabs my head for hugs!) I also LOVE to see my kids hug each other, which is a frequent occurrence here! They just love each other, especially Gracie and Davis (whom she calls, "Dadis").

So, this has been an amazing year. I have learned so much and am oh so thankful for my Jesus! He walked this road with me and taught me so much. This was definitely a healing and growing year. Last year was pretty painful and this year I entered with a bit of trepidation. Yes, there has been pain but I have learned to find Him in it. Our pastor always encourages us to look for what God's trying to teach us about: 1. who we are, 2. who He is, 3. what He's up to, 4. Our strengths and weaknesses (I think there may be another point too. . sorry, Jon!). I have done a lot of seeking this year and a lot of learning, that's for sure. I am so thankful for all He is opening my eyes too. Africa has definitely been a theme. He has opened my eyes to pain and poverty that I had known about and not really let myself feel. He has given me a passion to be a part of His work in alleviating a little portion of this pain in the quest to show Jesus in a tangible way. We are still praying about what this will look like (along with other amazing families!) and researching organizations that are working there.

On other fronts, my friendships have expanded and grown and also retreated in some areas. . .this is both amazing and difficult at the same time. . .it's hard to have life change and difficult to discern what He's doing. However, as our small group has studied "Trusting God" this year, I am learning to do that yet again (I HAVE taken this class like 3 times already!). . .it's a journey, that's for sure and I'm thankful that He walks it with me. What an amazing, intimate, tender God we serve. Thank you Jesus! You are So Good to Me! and I don't deserve it at all. . .I can't wait to see what you have planned for 2008. Please change me, Please Use me, Please have YOUR will be done, no matter what!

Happy New Year to anyone actually still reading! I said it was a recap, not that it'd be short! If you've been reading this for any length of time or know me at all, you know that brief is not something I do well! Thanks for joining me on my journey this year. I appreciate your interest, your care, your prayers and your friendships more than you know!


Missy said...

Great re-cap Brandi. Wow, what an amazing, whirlwind of a year you have had. Isn't it hard to believe that the idea of Davis wasn't even conceived in your mind or heart this time last year. At least that is what I'm gathering from your post, I would never presume to know what was in your heart :o)God is good, no, I take that back, God is great and I just love when He takes us on these incredible journeys. I'm so ready for the next one.
Happy New Year.
Love you friend.

Jess said...

what no pictures??? I actually read it all it has been one crazy year for you! So fun!
Love you!

Christine said...

I bet Africa was amazing. I hope you get to bring home your son soon! Happy New Year!

Kelly said...

It's January 1st, and I've managed to update my own blog, read your recap, as well as add your birthday to my calendar. I think it's going to be a productive year :) I'm glad we've been able to get to know each other better in 2007, and know 2008 will bring us working on even more events together! Love you!

Karin said...

I read the whole thing... and after my eyes rest for a minute, I'll come back and take notes! I kid... but I found the last of the entry very encouraging...about pastor Jon always encourages his church to look for what God's trying to teach you about in situations ( I hope I read that right... I told you, I'm going to go back and take notes!)
I am also amazed at the short time of the adoption process... as my wait creeps... races... past 2 years! How great that Davis captured your heart from the get-go and you were able to bring him home in time for Christmas! God is so cool!
Thru the midst of chaos, you have this joy about you that shows... a hope... like your blog says! Thanks for keeping it real and for sharing!

Jamie said...

Wow, sounds like an amazing year! I can't believe how quickly your adoption went!

steffany said...

Whew! What a year!

What was the skate event about?
Dumptruck? Do I need to search older posts to find out the meaning to his name?
Feb 2nd birthday- check
3 beautiful kids- Praise God!

It looks like God did some amazing things this year!
I am glad I found your blog before 2008! What if it gets boring?
Doubt it!
Looking forward to sharing in your New Year!
God Bless!

Cassie - Homeschooling Four said...

This has been a year that you'll never forget and will change your life forever! Thanks for sharing it with me.

Blu and Darbi said...

Hey girl!! I loved your recap! Sorry I've been out of touch for awhile!! I'm ready for my routine to be back! Holidays are fun, but I thrive on routine! By the way, Blu read your blog with me and as I scrolled down, he said, "Is Brandi OCD like you?" I was like "I don't know why?" And he showed me that you have your "favorite websites" all alphabetized.. :)

Love ya!

Chrissie said...

Thanks for visiting my blog :) It is so nice to meet other people who have a heart for Africa and specifically orphans. Congratulations on your sweet son. He is adorable as are your other two children.

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jaz said...

There's enough excitement in your life that I'm thinking maybe I could just read your blog and live vicariously in 2008... Seriously, I loved this recap! I look forward to seeing what God has for you and your fam in '08, too!
Love your not-so-brief-either friend,
Jamie Z. :0)

Alward Family said...

Since Davis is home you won't have the crazy adoption stuff in this year's recap but now you have three children which is a whole other kind of a good way!

Happy New Year,