so friends, I get A LOT of people that ask me questions about fundraising for adoptions. [ I even have a section on this blog for fundraising ideas!]  We fundraised for about 2 years when we were adopting, and had a lot of success with it!  It was a great way to involve other people and invite them INTO THE STORY!  I know for some people, it’s really uncomfortable to ask people for money but I chose to see it that you are inviting them into the story.  giving them an opportunity to be a part of your adoption.  you see, EVERYONE is called to care for the orphan [James 1:27] and for some that’s adopting + for some that’s supporting the people who are adopting.  I can think of quite a few people in my mind that were a HUGE part of our adoption process by giving, praying, supporting, and helping us fundraise!

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So I’m SO EXCITED to share with you an amazing resource if you are adopting and don’t know where the heck to start!  my good friend + pretty much my first adoption friend Lauren is releasing her ebook “How to fund your adoption” today on kindle, nook, and PDF formats.  It’s chalk full of information that will get you headed in the right direction!

She’s also doing a big giveaway on her blog today - so head over and check it out!  you might just win you a Noonday Collection gift card, just in time for holiday shopping!

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is it weird that I sit up late at night missing my friends?  in my own town.  I’ve had this fear ever since I told them that we were moving, that it would seem like I was already gone.  like they would forget about me.  they haven’t done that at all – but I can’t help but miss them already.  miss knowing I”ll be at their newborns first birthday party next year, miss thinking about the dinner parties I’ll miss out on, and the group texts that I’ll feel out of place on pretty soon…we’ve lived so much life here, that it’s weird to think this place will no longer be our home.  at church the other week, we got sweet looks and pats on the shoulder from several of our pastor friends during the service.  I don’t really even have the words, it was just weird knowing that was one of the last wednseday nights we’ll gather with our church body in Midland and it made me a little sad.

moving on is hard.  it’s exciting.  it’s bittersweet.

we have a contract on a house in Bryan and y’all it’s our dream!  It’s got so much charm, and character, and was built in 1941!  I can’t wait to make it our own.  now we’ve been trying to sell our home in Midland.   a place that’s been our own since 2008.  the home we brought our kids back from Ethiopia to.  the home we’ve gathered friends and neighbors over meals, and parties, and play dates.  the home that friends feel welcome to simply walk in the front door to for almost 7 years.  when my husband texted me a picture of the for sale sign in the yard yesterday, my heart skipped a beat.  we would appreciate your prayers in all this moving/selling/buying process.  because y’all,

this. is. real.

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and I still have so much of this God sized story to share with you.  time has escaped me to be able to sit down, write and process.  we’ve been so in a season of preparation – that one would think there would be time for that, but alas.  it will come.  in His perfect timing.

this morning I got a few minutes away {while my cousin watches the kids} to have some chill time at my favorite coffee shop in the universe.  my college / hometown spot – common grounds.  so this morning, I will sip my cabenero coffee, listen to All Sons + Daughters on pandora, and take a deep breath.

Happy thanksgiving, friends. we have so much to be thankful for.  soak it all in this week.  eat too much turkey.  laugh with your family.  stay up late drinking wine with your sisters.  give God thanks for all He’s done and all He’s going to do.  even when things seem uncertain, and times are tough.  He is good.  He is working all things for good for those who love him and are called according to His purpose.  rest in that and be thankful.

love y’all.

  • Jennifer King - I understand your fears of being forgotten. Every time we move (thanks USMC!) our friends either get super close or act like we are the plague until we move. Thankfully we serve a God who knows and understands and love us no matter what. I’m praying for you and your family and friends during this transition.ReplyCancel

  • Andrea Worley - your spot on about moving, it’s so exciting yet bittersweet. prayers for you and your family during this time. :) happy thanksgiving!ReplyCancel

  • jen - I so get this. We moved from austin to Florida 2.5 mths ago and it was sooo hard for me to think about leaving the friendships i had there. Even still, i get sad thinking about the bday parties, baby showers and dinners out that i am missing. It’s hard starting over and moving to new things BUT just because it’s hard doesn’t mean that it won’t be the good and right thing. One of my main prayers for our move is that the Lord would use me to help foster and grow community and relationships here like i had in austin. I feel like He taught me so much about what true, intentional and gospel community is through my friends there and i pray i can be a part of that extending that to others.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Blair - Hi, mama. I’ve missed you. Reading you this morning, I felt like i was sitting right beside you in those muy cute tights in that swanky swank coffee shop..and my heart aches because I’m NOT! I miss you so much. Feel every word of this…have felt it many times before. So. beyond. excited to see what God has for you in your new space (a house?!?!?) since He moved you there…it will be amazing. In the meantime, feel every bit of the good bad and ugly…this is the good part of life. I love you.ReplyCancel

  • The Gray Matters - I definitely understand exactly the feeling you mean. I had it, too, and it hasn’t exactly gone away yet. Praying for peace as you guys transition. I know for me, the easiest and hardest thing to do has been to stand on our call to come here. Sometimes I want to scream, “WHY? WHY? WHY?” and other times I’m so grateful the call was so clear because it makes the tough days a little easier.

    So glad y’all found a home. We hope to see you guys and connect once you’re in BCS since we’re there fairly often.ReplyCancel

Noonday Collection from ETST on Vimeo.

this is a video that Kelle Hampton made on our #styleforjustice trip to Rwanda, and I just loved watching it.  It reminds me that the artisans I speak of at every show are REAL PEOPLE.  They are mothers, and wives, and sisters and daughters.  they are my friends!  They work so hard and have so much pride in what they do.  I mean, y’all it’s crazy that every. single. noonday piece. is MADE BY HAND!  by a real live human being who’s making a fair living wage for what they do.

it’s such an amazing opportunity as consumers to support their handiwork, especially during the holiday season when we are looking to lavish those we love with gifts!  

consider shopping Noonday Collection for all your holiday gift needs!

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here’s a list of some fun gift ideas for under $30!

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or maybe heirloom treasures are more your people’s thing?

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some ideas for the “timeless” sister in your life.

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or for that glittery gal in your life….gifts that shine! 

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can’t forget the jet-setting wanderlust girl! 

happy shopping!!! 

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being a first born, type-a, list maker, planner person….I sure am glad I married a guy who’s the complete opposite.  we do things last minute.  fly by the seat of our pants.  together we are spontaneous and make things up as we go.  back in May, I was at a girls dinner and came home and my husband had booked our tickets for our first trip to Disney!  and now….we lay in bed until 10pm booking another trip just 23 days ahead of departure…oh my.

one would think we would get our act together and actually PLAN a trip to Disney, but the pieces fell together and it is just perfect.  magical.  I could cry [actually I did] watching the “holidays at walt disney world” promo.  my kids, no doubt every. single. day. say “we’re going back to Disney world”.  to their teachers at school, to me, at church, driving down the road, while we’re eating breakfast.  and they remember their last trip in such detail- “we’re gonna ride dumbo”  and “meet mickey” and “ride mr horsey” and “see the fireworks”.  it’s quite precious.  so, cheap airline tickets, and a splurge for the holidays means the Elders are headed back to Disney the week before Thanksgiving!

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so  let me finally post my “tips for Disney” and a little recap that I wrote in the car on our epic summer road trip…

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On a wild hair, my husband and I decided en route to a wedding we have in North Carolina, we should take a road trip stop at Disney World!  There’s something you should know about me…I’ve been coming to Disney for over 20 years!  Mulitple trips with my family [when I was young, and as a married woman], our senior trip was at Disney + I even came to church camp one year at Disney.  My love for Diseny runs deep.  My parents actually came a month ago to “scout out” what it would be like with Camp + Asher.  Alison reminded me that we were talking about taking the kids to Disney the morning we were about to meet them for the first time in Ethiopia.  It’s something we constantly talk about- when can they go, how old should they be, how tall do they need to be…and on and on.  So deciding that we were just going to pick up and go just the 4 of us was sort of a big deal.  But oh, are we glad we did!  The FIRST day we took the kids to Magic Kingdom will be forever engrained in my mind.  I’m so glad we experienced Disney with them for the first time just the four of us.  I know there will be many more Disney trips, but nothing will beat this one.

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now for my tips: 

  • get to magic kingdom early
  • my disney experience app – plan your fast pass before hand
  • bring juice boxes, water bottles, snacks with you in backpack
  • rain cover for stroller
  • kids under 3 are friends of micky + free
  • we got day passes
  • stayed off property [hotwire] and drove our own car
  • naps in the afternoon are key if you want to come back for the evening activities
  • ponchos or rain jackets for all
  • meet micky at hollywood [it’s inside too!]
  • honey I shrunk the kids @ hollywood is fun playground for kids
  • dream with micky at MK – on the side of the castle there are shaded areas w/ benches perfect for little ones to watch from
  • enjoy seeing the magic + wonder through your kids eyes

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We woke up super early Monday morning and taxied over to Magic Kingdom so we knew we’d  be there on time [ we later decided it was best/cheapest if you aren’t staying on property to drive your own car + park[.  I couldn’t wait to see the faces of the kids when we drove through Disney on the monorail to the Magic Kingdom, and it was priceless.  Camp sat in my lap and called out everything he saw as we whizzed past.  We got there early enough to see the “welcome show” at Magic Kingdom before the gates opened at 9am, and that was one of my favorite parts of the day: we both literally had tears in our eyes as Micky + Minnie welcomed us to Disney.  I can still hear Camp + Asher saying “Micky! Minnie!” and waving to them like crazy as they came in on the train.  Such priceless memories!  Walking into MK, I absolutely knew Camp would go crazy over the castle because every time we watch Frozen and the Disney castle comes up he says “disney! disney!” and he absolutely did the same seeing it for real in person.  First thing we did was take our picture in front of the castle, then we headed to Fantasyland.

My mom said the key to Magic Kingdom was getting there early, and she was right.  Before 10 am we had already ridden the tea cups, dumbo, peter pan’s flight and it’s a small world!  After a quick snack break, we decided to walk around and stumbled upon Country Bear Jamboree in frontierland.  So cute!  Asher loved the music and the animals, and so did mr. camp.  It seemed like we just kept hitting everything right- on the way to ride the train, we came across the Dream with Micky show at the castle and had the perfect spot in the shade under a tree to watch the fun.  This was also one of my favorite parts of the day!  Camp + Asher calling out all the characters they saw, and dancing to the music.  I really had forgotten that so much of Disney is about DREAMS!  It sounds cheesy, but it really did inspire me to keep dreaming and believing that dreams DO come true!  We have to believe, and believe in each other!

Another fun favorite was the move it, shake it celebrate street parade dance and then onto the Disney Train!  We rode around the park and stopped back at Fantasyland for some splash park fun, and Camp’s favorite Micky Philharmagic 3D show!  We were sorta melting down at this point, but one more stop at Dumbo for our fast pass then it was back to the hotel to nap.  The key to Disney for us, was naps!  Too bad the kids didn’t want to nap after we got to the hotel, so we had fun swimming at the hotel for a few hours, then when we had worn them out enough it was time to nap!

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We got all cleaned up and headed back to MK that night and it was nice to stroll around the park.  We had a yummy dinner outside during a quick rain storm, and then we rode the carasole because camp wanted to ride “mr horsey!”  It was absolutely adorable to see them strapped into their own horses, having the best time!  Stephen + I fast passed my personal MK fave, Space Mountain and took turns riding it.  While I had the kids, we went and watched the sunset over the castle and it was dreamy.  I reminisced over all the years of memories I have at that place, and how today was a new day

It was the most special to see the fun, joy and magic through Camp + Asher’s eyes.  This trip wasn’t really about “us” it was about them – and that’s what parenting is, dying to self.  there is so much joy in this!

Stephen took the kids back to the carousel while I rode Space Mountain, and after we met up and found a spot for the light parade!  Camp was hilarious during this!  He has never met a stranger.  He was talking to everyone around us, going up and touching them and he even got in a selfie!  There was a young guy asleep on the ground and Camp went to pull his hat off of him and gave him a hug.  Hilarious!  Camp + Asher were singing let it go and putting on a show for everyone.  Once the parade started, Asher got on stephen’s shoulders and I held Camp.  We started walking back while we waited for the castle portion of the show, but that part was awesome too!  it was one of my favorites.  I again, had tears streaming, as I just remembered and thanked god for this moment with the kids!  so magical!

(44 of 53)(47 of 53)(49 of 53)(50 of 53)the second day – the kids slept in!  we were so tired and worn out from the day before, and didn’t leave the hotel to go to Hollywood until 10am.  It was super super hot that day.  When we got to Hollywood we went straight to the Disney Junior live show!  Camp loved it – he stood up the whole time and screamed and squealed and sang along.  Right after we stopped and met Jake!  so fun to watch them see them for the first time in person.  after that stephen + I had fast passes for rocking roller coaster so we took turns riding.  when he rode, we had snacks outside the brown derby, and when I rode they went to play at honey i shrunk the kids play ground.  then we had lunch at sic fi!  my fave!  kids did pretty good and it was our one nice meal at the park.  worth it!  went back for naps and there was a storm so pool was closed, kids didn’t nap so we got dressed to go back up and it started raining as soon as we pulled out of hotel.  we sat in car at Hollywood for awhile b/c the rain was so bad.  we decided to brave it and ran into hollywood to meet micky.  classic and priceless – asher at first gave micky her puppy!  they waved and hugged him and loved meeting micky.  then we went to muppet 3d and camp loved it.  hilarious.  got some souvineers and headed home!  hollywood was hard with them – 1/2 day would have been perfect there.

well…if you are still reading [hi mom!]….but in reality, this is just for my own personal memories.  I didn’t record the other day at Disney, but as I read these words, it takes me back.  If you are planning a trip to Disney any time soon – ENJOY!!!

  • Lauren Staats - We are going the Saturday after Thanksgiving for the first time with our kids! Ahhhh I’m so excited!!!! Thanks for the tips/ideas, your family could not get any cuter!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Ellen Peek - Wynne- I have just recently stumbled onto you blog. I found it through threads of adoption and infertility. So many of your words have been good for my soul. I don’t know that I have ever emailed anyone- but when your post about disney appeared on my little feed- OH MY SOUL- you spoke my language! Thank you for your openness and your vulnerability before the world. The loneliness of this season in sweetened by your encouraging words. You are a blessing!ReplyCancel

  • The Gray Matters - We went the week of Thanksgiving when I was younger, and it was amazing; Christmas stuff is up, the weather is great, and the memories are still magical! Have a fun trip!ReplyCancel

  • Allison Ramsing - Ahhhh, have so much fun at Disney! I used to work there and love seeing the joy that people get from a trip to Disney.ReplyCancel

  • Katie Zahn - Those bright smiles at the wonder of Disney are too cute for words! I’ve never been, but my daughter (3 years old) loves all things Disney as do I, and I can’t wait to take her one day! Hope you’re enjoying your trip!! Seeing the world, especially holidays and special things like Disney World, through our children’s eyes is one of the most amazing things in the world!ReplyCancel

  • look back at 2014. - […] an Africa trip would be complete without a family road trip across a few states to take kids to Disney for the first time.  After a family friend wedding in NC, we sent him on his way and me + kids started our tour of […]ReplyCancel

  • Hannah Templeton Williams - thanks so much for this, Wynne! We are going for Weston’s 3rd and this has all been noted mentally and written down so we can visit some of these places! We are so excited! Thanks for taking time to share these tips!ReplyCancel

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so excited to have a little “home” both on this blog [here] and now on instagram to share our journey with essential oils!  join me on instagram here! @wynnesessentials

monday I’ll be joining some friends to do a #myoilyday where I take you through a day in the life of an “oiler”!

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this is a little sneak peak of my morning routine – very helpful for mama stress/anxiousness/depression/just overall emotional health! I’ve also put the aroma glide rollers on all of these bottles since I wear them daily!

joy – I put this over my heart every morning, and I love the smell.  it does just what it’s called – helps me feel joy!

valor – I put this either on the bottom of my feet, layered with joy on my chest, or on my wrists.  they call this one “chiropractor in a bottle”

stress away- this is like a “vacation in a bottle” – such a sweet smell and I literally keep this with me in my purse all day.  going to the grocery store with two toddlers, where’s my stress away?!

progessence plus – this is an oil I think every woman, no matter the age, needs.  it’s helping so much with my cycles.  I roll this on the vein on my forearm each morning as well.

ningxa red – yall, I just started drinking 1 oz of this stuff in the morning, chilled in the fridge, and I’m starting to feel more energy throughout the day!

oh, and the little jar that says “face” is frakensince and coconut oil that I put on my face as my moisturizer at night.  “the gift” for sure.

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Ninxia Red

if you want to learn more about joining our amazing community and getting started with young living essential oils, click here.

you can comment on this post, or email me [wynne[dot]elder@gmail.com] and I’d love to help answer any questions!