I am just totally blown away by our friends and family. Blown away by the body of Christ – active! I’ve said from the beginning with adoption, I don’t feel like everyone is called to adopt but I do feel like everyone is called to help take care of orphans & to be a part of the story.
James 1:27 says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
I have seen our friends truly do that. I truly believe that God gives everyone their own gifts, talents and abilities and even just preparing for our home study I saw everyone use their gift! Whether it was helping me organize/decorate my new office space, make something for us to eat for breakfast, help me move furniture, fixing my shutter outside, call/text/facebook/email me to tell me you were thinking of us and praying for us – it all meant SO SO much to us! If you know me well, you know that it’s really really hard for me to let people help me. I would like to think it’s not a pride thing, but I don’t know what else it is? I think I just don’t want people to spend their time and energy and money on helping me – but the truth is, I love doing all of things for people and I know I’m not the only one. My good friend, Ben, gave me great perspective on this one time – he said to me, Wynne – how do you feel when you help someone? I told him I feel blessed, I feel good, I like it. He said ok, well then when people help you what do you think they feel? Oh….. I agree. I think that when you are helping someone, it’s often YOU that ends up more blessed. So I’m trying to hold onto that and know that my friends and family get deep joy to help and bless us because I know it blesses them too! So thank you thank you!
I happen to snap a few fun photos of my little worker bees the day before the home study! Moving furniture aroundThank you Allison, Alison, Lauren (my new neighbor!) & Graybo!!
Grayson is obviously so excited to help. I think he’ll have more fun at my house when Camp is there! They are going to be best buds – I know already!
That brings us to the day of our HOME STUDY!!! Thanks to my dear friend & life coach & studio manager, Alison, we had yummy coffee cake and so I had a little breakfast spread. You know I love to host and so I think the hard thing was trying to get our case worker to know this was pretty normal!
After talking to some other Gladney moms, I really wasn’t too nervous about this day. God gave me peace and I did get a little butterflies right when she pulled up – but it really wasn’t anything to scary! Our case worker, Andrea, was really nice! She’s a young Oklahoma blond and when we weren’t talking home study – we were talking family trips, dogs and college football. It was pretty natural and I am so so blessed and thankful we had her do our home study. She happen to be in Midland (her area is normally Oklahoma & Arkansas & way west Texas) and so she scheduled our home study. We could have been waiting longer, so thank you Lord. Everyone keeps asking how it went & each time I would talk about it I would remember various questions or things about the day.
We sat in our family/tv room on the couches from 9-3 with the exception of our chick fil a lunch in the kitchenWe got to tell her our whole adoption story (which really made me want to video it soon so we don’t forget all the little details!) and how we met/got married. It was actually really fun to get to think about to all the major events in our lives and to see how God has worked. When you say it/write it you really get to think about it & it just made me even more appreciative of what He’s done. The questions she asked us would be good for any potential parents to answer (I’ve even joked with Alison that I’m going to write them down & interview her and Brandon soon-ha). It was really neat to hear Stephen answer and for us to vocalize what our goals were as parents, what we want most for our child, what our expectations are for the process, and generally how we want to raise him. All good things that I think every potential parent should talk through with their spouse. I was really thankful for her guidance on how to handle various issues that could come up with raising an adopted child and overall felt encouraged and supported. We did both have individual interviews and again, just another opportunity to think about your past, your family, yourself and talk through some things you wouldn’t ever really vocalize. I felt like it was a therapy session, ha, which I loved! We did take a tour of our home but I tell you I really shouldn’t have cleaned the baseboards. It was a successful day but at the end of it, let me tell you I was just exhausted. I never thought I’d say that I was tired of talking (much less about myself!) but I was.
As soon as she left, we watched her leave and saw our new awesome neighbors outside in their driveway – so before we went out to say hi I decided to blow out the candles (Stephen gets mad, but if I’m home I open every blind/turn on every lamp/light every candle- I can’t help it, I’m turning into my mom). Anyway, I was blowing out these big pillar candles and my hair was down & got into the flame and I caught my hair on fire! Can you imagine if I would have done that while she was there? Lauren & Michael got a kick out of it. Again, just so thankful to have such amazing neighbors. Thank you both for helping us SO MUCH this week!!!
Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. We love you!
(L to R: me, Delie, Caroline, April Hilda, Julia, Genesis, Shea)
I can’t believe that tomorrow morning at 6 am, I will be on a plane with these ladies to El Salvador. Getting to go abroad to take photos and tell peoples stories has quickly become a dream of mine. Ever since I took the class at our church this time last year (Digital photography for ministry) I realized what a ministry photography could be. I never really thought of it like that before – but that class opened my eyes and my heart and I’ve been trying to give back my gifts and talents to bless others. I have been literally begging God to let me go to another country to take photos. I did a post about it here: http://elderadventures.blogspot.com/2011/02/just-do-it.html but I am so grateful this opportunity is here!! I just wanted to let yall know where I’ll be the next week & also ask you to pray for me and the other women. We are going to teach these ladies how to dig into God’s Word and do daily devotionals. We will also be cooking & delivering meals with the women, going to the Foundation to play with the kids and teach them some english and much more. I have a mission – specific stories to tell. I pray that I will be able to effectively tell these stories & ask that you pray with me that God would give me confidence to be me & do what He’s made me to do.
Last night we had our final team meeting & made aporns for our new friends. Genesis & I are rooming together at Suyapa’s house (see her cute apron we made her!). Shea & Julia are our team leaders – so be lifting them up in prayer too! Can’t wait to show you images when I return. Expectant that God is going to MOVE!
Last weekend we took the trip down to good ole’ Waco! It was a little bit of a last minute trip but it was my youngest sisters birthday & so we had a good excuse to go home! We make it out to Waco so much in the fall (football!) but the spring is a bit harder – so I was excited to have an excuse to go hang out with my family, eat at all my favorite local spots & get some shopping done too. We went the long way so we could stop at iKea to get some stuff for my new office spaceI cannot WAIT to show you the photos! Once the floors are in & the rest of my ikea furniture is put together I’ll show you. A trip through Brady always merits a stop at Hard 8 BBQ – man it’s good! The chopped turkey sandwich with lemon butter sauce on a jalapeno cheddar bun is moving on up on the “last meal” list.
Friday night we went to none other than Georges! A little pre-birthday celebration for MH with the fam + Nick & Ginny! It was so fun AND I was SO SO glad to get to see my friend Katie!! If you read my post about “our adoption story” here – http://elderadventures.blogspot.com/2010/10/our-adoption-story.html the “friend” I speak of is Katie! Katie’s mom, Becca, is my “Midland mom” and mentor. We became close through Op Camp last summer and it was totally a god thing that she became my mentor. Her daughter, Katie, was about to graduate from Baylor (or had you already?) and came to junior high Op Camp as a mentor. We had never met before but became friends that week. One day we were sitting next to the Ga Ga pit chatting it up. Talking about our life stories. She asked why we didn’t have kids. You see, Katie is one of those people that can just ask you questions that most think are uncomfortable & can always tell you like it is. love that about her. I gave her the quick run down (which I’m starting to think I’ve never really talked about on here – I’m also thinking that I would LOVE for Stephen & I to record a video of us telling the WHOLE story up until this point because there are just TOO many details that I don’t want to forget!) then she said….
“have you ever thought about adoption?”. NO, no katie I haven’t. She replied, “well, I think you should pray about it.” Ok….
She had NO IDEA what frenzy she was starting. or rather what God was starting but just chose to speak it through her. I’ve told her mom the whole story & I know she’s told Katie but I hadn’t really gotten to tell Katie in person. It was so fun to hug her neck & update her on the adoption process and tell her that EVERY TIME I tell someone our story, it begins with “well, last summer at camp, my friend katie asked…..” It’s amazing how God can use us if we just stay focused on him and are obedient to the Holy Spirit pushing us to say things to people that otherwise might be uncomfortable. So, thank you thank you Katie for your words. None of us have ANY IDEA what the eternal ramifications they will make. to god be the glory!
Ok, back to our Waco weekend. it was full of fun things! family lunch at food for thought (thank you stephen & rachel for making us eat healthy!), family trip to Congress for new baylor shirts & new TOMS wedges for me!!! yeah!! Mom & me time getting coffee and doing a little downtown waco shopping, then dinner with aunt & uncle (thank you sonny bryon’s BBQ!) and the big game!!! I love baylor sports and it was so fun to see college game day in waco for the first time ever. Saturday morning’s at my parents house when we are all in town are my favorite – mom always makes great breakfasts, lounging in the family room drinking coffee, playing with the dogs, and this time – watching game day camp out in waco! The game was fun toosaw some baylor friends & had fun cheering on the bears.
It was a great weekend & it was our first weekend to make it home in time to go to church without having to get up at the crack of dawn, which is always a bonus!
I’m not sure how many of you read both my photography blog & this blog (hello mom) so I just wanted to copy & paste some of the highlights that I said on there- or you can go read it all & see photos here….. http://wynneelderphotographyblog.com/?p=1028
But God did some amazing things in my life on that trip & I just wanted to put some of them here and then add a few words. The whole trip was really God ordained and I just had to share both places. I also wanted to say how amazing it was to get the opportunity to share our adoption story with different people. My good friend Sommer got me my precious necklace (see below) the night before my big WEP launch party – and I wear it pretty much every day. Because even though I haven’t been there yet, my heart is in Africa and the “C” that I have since gotten for “Camp” makes my heart so happy. So naturally I wore it in Vegas & it sparked some really great conversation about adoption. **on that note, I really really want a wrist tatoo but can’t decide what I would get! help! something that would be useful for sharing Jesus with people, ideas are welcome!! ** I can’t wait to see how God uses us to reach others & it’s been cool to see people reach out to me- already since I’ve been home a very well known photographer, Dawn Davis, has reached out to me on Twitter ( I can’t say enough about how that silly tool has built me some cool friendships) about adoption! It’s just cool to see people be so passionate about it & I am already that way and we aren’t even done with the paperwork process! Just thankful for open doors!!!
Ok from my other blog……
I know it sounds crazy to say that I had a very pivotal moment in my life & in my business in Vegas, but it’s true. The whole trip was totally God ordained. I don’t know how else to say it but I finally felt like I was where I am supposed to be. He gave me this sense of confidence that I haven’t felt in a really long time – not in my skills as a photographer, but in who I am in HIM. Who He made me to be is who I am & I finally got to a point again last week where I was more than ok with that. All the little quirks & things that people jokingly have given me a hard time about all my life – those are the things that make me, well me! and I felt like I was free to be me. It was an exhilarating feeling. I heard a few really amazing speakers that really hit home to me: Jamie Schultz is an amazing mom & wife & photographer & designer and throughout her talk I found myself really relating and it was like she was giving me permission to be ME and not who I should be in this business, but who I am. I ran into her later that evening and got a chance to tell her that & afterwards went to dinner with the girls and just cried tears of joy. I also heard the amazing Me Ra Koh who is the “expert photographer” on the Nate Berkus Show. I saw her on his show a while ago & when I saw her in the bathroom at WPPI, I stopped her and said something (please keep in mind this is NOT something I would usually do! But this week I’m telling you God just gave me the guts to not be afraid to talk to anyone, even if they are a famous photographer!, just to be ME and to confident in that). After we talked outside the bathroom, I met her husband and then I went to her platform class later that week & just loved what she said! She talked a lot about being confident as women and in photography & she talked about story telling through photographs. I left totally inspired and encouraged – Me Ra, you are amazing and I will never forget you! I also heard the fabulous Jasmine Star and she challenged me to better myself. To think about what my strengths are & to think about my weaknesses and start working on them. She encouraged me to have a balanced life – to live the life I want to live! I wrote down at the end of the talk she said “being me can allow me to live the life I want” and I LOVE that. It was just this ongoing message of “being me”.
I am just so thankful to work in an industry of such amazing people. I met the wonderful people of Thirst Relief and can’t wait to get involved in their efforts to bring clean water to people around the world. Some other awesome kingdom minded photographers that want to use the gifts God gave them for good. I am so encouraged, so inspired, so refreshed and so so thankful that I am working in the photography industry. You know, ti’s like we don’t really have too many “co-workers” so it’s so fun to go to a conference and get to meet other people from around the country that do the same thing you do. Thank you Jesus!
Last Friday (February 4th) was the “day of great news”. It was Friday that we got the call to schedule our Home Study!!!!!!! It’s this coming Tuesday, March 8th. So if you think about it – be in prayer for us!!! This is huge people! The case worker was already going to be in Midland for another home study so she extended her trip by a day to come meet with us. What an answer to prayer. She called on Friday afternoon right before I had a meeting with a client & I just couldn’t contain my excitement! Right after my client left, I started getting everything ready to actually paint my new office space (2nd living room). With the addition of sweet Camp, we are playing musical chairs with the rooms in our home. The guest room is becoming Camp’s room, the guest bed is going in the office, and my office is going in the 2nd living room (that we never really use!). So it’s all GOOD stuff just a lot of moving around! So last weekend was spent doing home stuff. Which I personally think is fun when I’m in the mood – we painted the room, re-did the trim on every door/hall/etc in the house, touched up paint in hall & kitchen, got some new electrical cover things, cleaned out the beds in the front of the house, cleaned up the back yard, powerwashed per say the house (the day before the 60mph winds…great idea) and started to put together all my new ikea furniture for my new office space. It was quite fun/challenging. I know you married couples hear me on this one!
Stephen also had a really big praise with work! A project he’s been working on for a long time finally went through – praise the Lord! It’s really amazing how God provides just when you need it. Thank you Lord for your provision and care for us.
We also got some really new amazing neighbors! I plan to tell you more about them when I can hunt them down for a photo, but let’s just say God is good and He knows what he’s doing when he places people across the street from you. Our street just got a little bit cooler – they are an awesome christian couple that are our age and we have already clicked! I feel like we’ve been friends for a while. It’s semi tempting for me to see Lauren’s car at her house while we’re both at home during the day because I’d love to just run over and visit all day! But they are still getting settled in…so I’ll give them some time. haha. but I’ve heard them say “we are a little bit social…” on numerous occasions so I know we are going to get along just fine. We already have some other awesome neighbors that live next door to them – so we are just loving it all! You know when your parents talk about their best friends who they used to be next door neighbors with? Well that’s how I feel this is going to go! Michael’s parents are good friends with my aunt & uncle so we have been face booking with them for a few weeks now – it’s SUCH a small world. Praise you Jesus for amazing neighbors!!
Oh yeah, and just so you can see a picture (so boring without!) – After we sent in all of our paperwork, we had to get fingerprintedOh joy. That was a fun little excursion for us!