December 21, 2010

Picture with Santa


We went to see Santa and this year went much better than last! He was thrilled with the electric train set right before we got to santa, and then right before mihcael put him on Santa's lap, he started kicking and screaming. So I sat on santa's footstool and stuck him in my lap :) Santa gave him a sucker and so that upped his points in Myles book. Maybe next year he'll be all smiles!

December 16, 2010

sent off!

I'm SO excited today that I got to send off our fingerprints to request our 'no records found' report from the FBI! (hon, if you've got a hidden past, I need to know now! haha) Myles has been sick this week and it's been so cold until today that we've been homebound. We are also sending off our Christmas newsletter in batches, with the first batch out yesterday!

I also was really hit today while reading Kristi's blog (www.weloveourlucy.blogspot.com). She's traveling around Ethiopia taking photos of orphans to plead their case back here in the states to find them forever homes. She also had the wonderful privaledge of traveling to meet her adopted daughter's birth-family! To read about her experience meeting the birthmom and extended family (that looks just like her, she said) made it very real to me that somewhere across the world, Marlee Joy is growing inside a beautiful and heroic woman who will struggle and give us the best gift ever. I broke down and prayed fervently for her today. Would you say a prayer too?? Love her and her little miracle so much already.

December 15, 2010

Merry Month of December!

So here are some pics from Myles Birthday party, our Pinelake Clinton 'Tacky Christmas Party', the Christmas Tree, and our Christmas card stack :) It's been a merry month so far, and we're really looking forward to making it to visit Santa before the seasons over, so y'all have that wonderful pic to look forward to! haha, last year he was kicking and screaming! We're also really excited to be making the snowy drive to my hometown in Pennsylvania after spending some sweet family time here with Michael's side! Hope you all have safe travels and a wonderful time this season with family and friends!!








December 11, 2010

2nd Homestudy Mtg, Fingerprints,& turning 2!




My little man is getting SO big-today he turns 2!! Happy Birthday Myles! He was our little 'snow baby' born on a beautiful snowy day in Mississippi! Last year at his first birthday party we celebrated at the house with friends and family, and this year we spent his special day at our friend, Case's, birthday bash-jumping!! Myles had a blast, and tonight we're having the pancake supper, with cake and ice cream for the family! I'll post some pics of the day next time ;)

In adoption news this week: on tuesday we went for our 2nd homestudy meeting and had our 'couples interview'. 'no, ma'm, we've not been in marriage counseling before'. ;) We had fun retelling our love story, and the traits we love about each other! We paid half of our homestudy fee-hooray! Then, we went over to the police dept. downtown and finally found the right place. We got 'inked'. I thought it was so telling that the lady fingerprinting us made Michael close his eyes and totally relax his hand so she could do the fingerprints correctly! Hey, he doesn't like to be out of control-even to get his prints done :) These usually take the longest of all the documents to be processed and returned to us, so we wanted to get them done early! Next week-Online adoption education here we come!

December 5, 2010

All God's Children International

This is mainly for friends and family who want to know more details about our agency-AGCI. Click on the title of this post to watch a video on AGCI. Their website is www.allgodschildren.org


They are a well established, christian, adoption and orphan care agency/ministry. They are excellent in their communication, have great organization, and the staff is SO helpful and caring! Hannah's Hope was our selling point on this agency though. The children who are adoptable (have paperwork proving they are indeed, orphans)are taken from government run orphanages and brought to this wonderful home to prepare for and wait to be adopted. They are given nutritional meals, clothing, bright colorful rooms, a playroom, 'nursery school' for the toddlers and up, and the best part are the 'special mothers' who each take care of no more than 6 children at a time. These women are SO loving and caring, and my heart is at ease knowing Marlee will be loved so well here while she waits for us to come get her!

November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Myles is getting some back molars, see?!!

Reading with Daddy!





Just thought I would share some pics from our Thanksgiving week. We had a 'feast' at school, and spent some time eating with Michael's family! My new nephew, Reese, was my favorite 'Turkey' of the week for sure!

November 24, 2010

1st Homestudy Meeting

We had our first Homestudy meeting this past friday afternoon and I've been a little slow to post about it partly due to my sinus infection that hit and partly because I was a little disappointed that we couldn't 'officially' start our Homestudy due to lack of funds at the time. I didn't realize that we had to pay half the homestudy fee right up front and the other half just before we completed the homestudy. So we had a great informal interview with no real headway.

Many of you know that I've been stressin about the financial side of this adoption journey. I haven't been totally resting in God's providential hands, I guess you could say. WELL, He showed me a thing or two! The very next day we had over what we needed to start our homestudy! what?! yea, God wasn't content to just provide, He wanted to go above and beyond and show me how able He is.

So I called our social worker monday morning and she's out all week due to Thanksgiving, but I got to leave her the good news on voicemail so we get to start paperwork next monday!! Thank you to all of you wonderful friends and sweet family and just followers of God who have given! Marlee will hear of your love :)

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!! we'll be here celebrating with the Manuels, and it's nice that it's low key and no traveling since I've been in bed for days, and just got Myles back from the doctor today with a sinus infection. I'm so ready for us all to be well longer than 2 weeks at a time! Did you hear it's suppossed to go from being 80 to 49 on friday?!? just another Mississippi Thanksgiving!

Bless you all!

November 14, 2010

Adding another "M"

So when we started talking about having kids, we also started throwing out names like most couples do. One afternoon after work Michael came straight in the door, got the phone book, and plopped down on the couch to scour it for names for our baby! Along the way HE decided to name every child we have an "M" name so we will all be the same :) awww...yes-we are THAT family!! We didn't find out what we were having with our first biological child so when He came, Myles Nathan He became! We were at a loss for boy names and finally went to Margaritas (our fav. local mexican restaurant) and Michael just said out of the blue, what about Myles...I said I like it-sure! Nathan is after the prophet Nathan in scripture. We pray He will have a heart for God and speak His truth boldly to the world.

The girl name was easy :) I had the most wonderful aunt who passed away from breast cancer 6 years ago. She was a model for me of so many qualities I wanted to emulate...gracious, giving, fun-loving, hospitable, serving, loving, encouraging, and such a wonderful mom and aunt!! oh, and her name started with an "M" :) I wanted to honor her memory by naming our daughter after her. Her name was...Marlene, but we decided to drop the 'n' and make it a little more modern. MARLEE!!

Her middle name is after the matriarch of Michael's family :) The grandkids lovingly called her 'JG'. She lived a long and full life, and finally got to go home with Jesus this past May after battling cancer. She was an excellent wife and mother who taught me a lot about southern cooking, and raising a family! She was smart, witty, sweet, stubborn, and so full of love for others! She was known and loved by everyone in the community, and we miss her lots. What an easy choice of middle name. JOY!!




I know Marlee is spelled with a 'y' in this pic, but myles had hid some blocks and I couldn't find another 'E'. At the time of the picture he was crawling up me and pulling at my arm for the camera so i was kinda in a hurry to snap it!! Forgive me ;)

November 11, 2010

Coffee Fundraiser!

Everyone knows a coffee drinker, right?! Good! Then you can click over to our new coffee fundraising store and order some for home, and some for gifts!

Our first fundraising effort is a coffee store from Just Love Coffee Roasters! They are a wonderful company who provides families and organizations fundraising opportunities for adoptions and benevolent causes!! They provide fair-trade coffees from all around the world (including Ethiopia!) as well as apparel and accessories.

We LOVE coffee over at the Manuel house, and I've worked several coffee jobs during and after college, so this was a fitting fundraiser for us! The Just Love Coffee company does all the leg work so you can just buy online and they send it right to you, and they send the check right to our adoption fund! hooray :) One step closer to our baby girl!
Thanks, and enjoy some good coffee with a good read!

I just finished 'The Hole in the Gospel' by Richard Stearns (President of World Vision)


It rocked my socks!

November 5, 2010

Orientation

I sure did feel like a new freshman on campus tonight.

Tonight, Michael and I had our 'orientation phone call' with our adoption agency, All God's Children International. We were sent a big ole packet in the mail that arrived yesterday late, and we had a big day today so we didn't get a chance to look through it before we started-ugh oh! It really was fine, we learned a lot about the process we'll be going through, service agreements, fees (yikes!), time frames (about 18 months), etc.

We are so excited to start this process, but the main thing we need now-our 'next step' is $ MONEY $. I am really bad at this y'all...really have always hated fundraising, but there's no way around it here ;) We need a big chunk of change right up front to the tune of $7,000+, and then there will be increments we will need to pay as we go. Please pray for my faith. (Michael rocks in this area!) I told him, I know God can provide, but will he? I've heard that 'God funds what He favors' so I'm excited to be on this faith journey!

We will be sending out support letters and brainstorming fundraising ideas in the next few days, but in the meantime you can donate to our adoption account by clicking on the pay pal button on the top right of the blog.

Besides this excited (and slightly overwhelming) first step in our adoption journey, we have a new nephew today!! Steven 'Reese' Farris was born this morning at 7:54. Weighing in at 6lbs 11oz., and 19inches long. Pretty great for being just over 3 weeks early! He's so beautiful and healthy-what an answer to prayer! We are all thrilled he is finally here :) I'll post pics tomorrow since I was so enthralled today I completely forgot to take pics! (bad aunt, shame!)

We have to thank the Curtis fam for watching Myles tonight during the call and then for the evening while we took a much needed date night out to eat and a little Christmas shopping!

October 27, 2010

expecting...

Remember my rock post two weeks ago? This is a post about how Michael and I are responding in faith to the Lord.

I have been so hesitant to post about this, and I've been so anxious to at the same time. I'm partially hesitant because I wanted to post this awesome pic that our photographer, Robby Followell (followellfotography.com) took of our family recently, but he's got to edit and get them back to us in about two weeks. I've been hesitant to publically talk about what I'm about to say because I wanted it to be "official". But, I've been super excited to tell the world because what mama wants to keep a secret that she's EXPECTING A BABY?!

Michael and I are, as of today, officially in the adoption process with an adoption agency called All God's Children International. We were accepted into the Ethiopia program, and so we are expecting a 0-12 month old baby girl from Africa!!!

We are thrilled!!!

It's been a very long application process-which I wasn't expecting, but is good practice for me since this whole journey is going to be long, patience building, up and down emotionally and bottom line unpredictable. We have more questions than answers, but the time line from start to finish is an estimated 18-24 months. If the rest of the trip is like the application process I'd look for the latter end of that time frame!

I'd encourage you to email me questions, check out www.allgodschildren.org, and p.r.a.y. for us! We want to keep y'all up to date with our journey of adoption to our baby and so this blog will be the main tool to do that. I'm more of a weekly blogger, so bear with me :) And you will play a vital part in this process....yes, YOU! We need your prayers, and so does our baby and this baby's family in Ethiopia (whom we don't know). We will be working on a prayer letter for yall in the coming weeks :) for now, we're just celebrating!!

Thank you Jesus for "setting the lonely in families".

October 19, 2010

I'm married to an Ironman!

Michael's been training for ever for a Half Ironman (70.3 miles) race in Austin, TX. Well, this past sunday was race day! I just have to brag for a minute on my man. He has been SO disciplined in exercising and training and it has spilled over into every facet of his life. He's been growing spiritually and in the Word every day...really studying hard. He's been spending time with Myles and going on date nights with me. He's doing a lot at work these past three months and training at the end really had to increase so I was really looking forward to "being done", but I have to say I'm not going to just give this discipline in his life a wave goodbye. i've seen second hand how much it's done for him, and it's made me want to implement it into my life too. don't worry, I'm not entering a race anytime soon-and I doubt he is either!!

Anyways, I didn't have my camera because I can't find it...probably another product of no discipline in my life :) but I did have my video so I wanted to share some clips with you. First comes the swim (1.2 miles) in which Michael caught a bad cramp in his left calf that never came out the whole rest of the race! ARGH! but he still had a great time seeing as he held onto a kayak for 5 minutes. Then he jumped on his bike for a 56 mile hilly ride. He wasn't able to run the half marathon (13.1 miles) after that because of the leg, but he was determined to finish and so he WALKED the whole thing in three and a half hours. (determined???)

I've been trying to decide if that's super inspiring or really crazy....I think I settled on both! Get ready for a little spandex :)

video

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October 13, 2010

My Rock

"My rock has African paint on it."

What?! I know it doesn't make any sense yet, but let me explain.
This past weekend Michael and I had the privaledge of eating with the staff of our church and talking about where we've been and where we're going. Nothing fires me up more than a "vision talk"! haha, and we had a great one!

Our churh is beginning a 2 year journey where we are all being challenged to
Outlive our lives. We're all given today, but not promised tomorrow and what we do with it is up to us...and it's SO very important to the Lord!

What exactly do we mean by that? well, In short, we're calling the church to live a life of faith. To Grow like we've never grown before, Go outside of our comfort and culture and serve others, and Give to kingdom causes.

We were each asked to take a rock as a symbol/reminder that God is moving and that He has something specific for us to do in these 2 years.

After dinner a friend of mine who has recently heard God's call to serve Children in Africa said "My rock has African paint on it". I laughed at his half humor, half purely contented face. but that sentence kept coming back to me as I've been praying.

What does God have in store for me in these next months??

Will I truly walk out my faith in obedience to the Lord, and with the Joy set before me, endure? I knew my rock was metaphorically going to be a "heavy load to bear". but at the same time, I'm excited. I'm pumped about the journey I get to go on with God. I love an opportunity for God to be BIG, and do something that only HE can pull off. As far as specifics...check back next week and I'll post where we feel God is leading us!

September 30, 2010

one less

'one less' has become a new sort of buzz phrase for me lately. It's referring to the orphan usually in my frame of reference, but here in this interview, Matthew West points out when we follow Christ's call to love our neighbors as ourselves there will inevitably be 'one less' broken heart in the world. and with each adopted orphan, there's 'one less' fatherless child in the world's population of 143 million orphaned children. I'm about that.

One Less by Matthew West (The Story Behind The Song) from emicmg on Vimeo.

September 12, 2010

No Compromise

So this past wednesday night I got to hear Michael preach out of Galatians 6. Paul is passionately teaching the people it's Jesus' work on the cross that matters, and not the cross + the Law. They didn't get it. They were afraid of what people in their culture would think of them if they went all in to follow Jesus. They were afraid what Jesus might call them to...discomfort! Never mind, I'll just stay immersed in my culture and in my comfy, predictable, easy existence. guess who I saw in those galatian people? ME.

Over the past year God has been (very graciously might I add) tilling the soil of my heart to see if I am someone who really will follow Him wherever He leads. "The Lord's Spirit moves to and fro across the Earth to see if there is a people who will follow Him." By the end of this message I was pleading with the Lord that He would find me when he was looking over the Earth, and that I would be found faithful when He called. I honestly wanted to fast forward to heaven when I would be perfected in righteousness for Him, but He whispered to me that He was already pleased with Me. really? I need to let God's love for me sink in...deeply, everyday. So, with my "not yet perfect" self, I'm choosing to not compromise each day.

Paul showed the Galatians he was a legit follower of God's by the beating marks on his back. How does my life look different from those around me in my culture? Lord, lead me!

September 2, 2010

A High Price



I wanted to share something that my sweet friend and partner in ministry, Katie, shared with me last week. I can't forget it, and God has really used her words to strengthen my faith. We were sitting around after a long day at work talking about life and the topic of our friend's adoptions came up. I told her that if God would call me to that, the MONEY factor would just prove to be a mountain that would be immovable. I was admitting my fear at following my Lord in every area of my life. The Cost of discipleship is high. Jesus said to "take up your cross and follow me". That isn't an easy command, and I regret to say it...I've been holding some of my life back. Willing to follow if the cross wasn't too uncomfortable, or the journey too long.

Well, what Katie said next totally changed my attitude and my perspective. I was looking at finances as an immovable mountain, and she was seeing it as an opportunity to watch God move in power. She started tearing up as she told me how glad she was that adoption was so costly, because it's such an amazing picture of God's rescuing ransom of us. To not be able to afford the high price to adopt an orphan into a family, but to love them so much that you do everything you can to get them...is just like God's rescuing adoption journey of us; to bring us into His family forever cost Him EVERYTHING.

God is able. He is the creator of the ends of the earth-and what He calls us to, He will equip us for. These are all truths that I say, but I needed to be reminded of lately. Our small group is going through a study called "Chase the Goose" in which, we've been challenged to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit wherever He calls us. somewhere along the way I've taken the risk, danger, and struggle out of following Jesus, and made it just a comfortable way of life. I love that He's stirring in my spirit to follow His! I feel more alive than ever. I'm excited at the possibilities, and a little scared of the journey He has for me too. But I know following Jesus is worth more than anything-He is the greatest treasure!

So here it is God, my everything in response.

And thank you for such a wonderful friend in Katie!

August 26, 2010

July in Pennsylvania

So Our camera was out of commission most of the summer until Michael helped get me a new one. Unfortunately we didn't have it when we took our summer trip to Pennsylvania, but mom and dad made due even though my brother had my mom's camera in India! Gotta have pics of their grandbaby :) We had so much fun visiting!

"GG" (Megan's grandmother) and Megan and Myles snuggled up for a visit! If only Papa would have jumped in, it would have been four generations!
We went to an animal park and he LOVED feeding the baby deer! We got to see lots of animals.
Myles loved skinny-dipping in the backyard. I see a heiny! he thought it was kind of cold to swim in Pennsylvania, and I agreed, but he enjoyed splish splashing anyways.
Just waking up to pancakes and cookies for breakfast with Papa on the floor-only at their house does this happen!!
We saw ducks at the zoo and Myles (my feather headed duckling) loved feeding them!!

This is Myles and his "GG" Great Grandmother on Megan's side, playing with Papa's old blocks!

Busy Busby's

I started a post yesterday and then my battery charger died for my computer and I had to wait until today when Michael got us both a new one...thanks hubbie! on to the fun news!

I'm giddy.

Our good friends, Cody and Melissa Busby,(www.roadtomercy.blogspot.com) have just gotten to fly to Uganda (on tuesday) to pick up their precious little girl, Mercy, to finalize their adoption and bring her home!

We are just so excited for them and the addition of their third daughter :) Michael met Cody when he was attending Park Place Baptist Church and Cody came on as the Youth minister. Michael was in college, but wanted to help out with the middle schoolers. Soon, the guys ended up in seminary together and formed a super secret club. haha-not kidding! Michael and I were good friends with Cody and Melissa even as we were called to serve at Pinelake Church and did a lot of ministry events together. When we found out they were adopting, we couldn't be happier for them! I know it's been a long year and a half as God has stirred their heart and directed their steps toward Mercy. Be praying with me that they get a court hearing soon so they can finalize their process in Uganda, get Mercy's visa issued to her along with a passport so they can come home to Kansas in three weeks!!

Right now Melissa and Mercy are staying with wonderful family friends who recently moved to Uganda. Beth and Jeremy and their 7 (yep, I typed that right) kids. Check out what they are doing on mission at www.lovegodandloveothers.com!

Michael and I would love to travel to see them and meet them at the airport for our first "airport welcome home party" in september...Lord willing!

August 14, 2010

Happy Anniversary!


Today is Michael and I's 6 year anniversary!! Congratulations hubbie-I sure love you! Michael totally impressed me with a surprise dinner out last night at local 463...yummy! The filet and chicken special didn't disappoint, and neither did our starbucks afterwards :) Michael's present came in the mail yesterday too. A pair of 'Toms' so he could be cool in this clinton town. And the best part is a pair of shoes was given to a child in need because of his new shoes! I love gifts that keep on giving. At lunch yesterday Myles, Michael and I had some great '5 guys' burgers and then they let me pick out an outfit to wear for the evening while they played in the fountains! I headed straight to Anthropologie :) found a cute dress on clearance-yes! The day was great-then today Michael had another surprise! He totally out did himself and got me a massage at aqua the day spa. Thanks for the special anniversary, baby, and for being a Godly husband-I LOVE YOU!

August 9, 2010

Least of these



This is a video made by my friend, Gabrielle, who now works (and must raise her own support) for a new ministry called "Sisters in Service" based out of Atlanta. This new ministry is amazing, and needs much funding. The website is www.sistersinservice.org It's been incredible to talk with her about the world's poorest and most needy who are often women. What a chance we have to lend a helping hand!

August 7, 2010

Who dat?

I'm definately a blogging novice and so I thought I would kick off my blog with a good old fashioned "roll call"! I'll explain "M and M" a bit...it's our family nickname since we all have alliterated names beginning with "m" and ending with the same. Yes, we are that family!


I'll start with my feather headed duckling...Myles! Myles was born into the M and M's on December 11, 2008 and has been enriching our lives ever since. My husband and I are amazed constantly by the wonder of a child and all of the new things he does. Right now he's really into anything with wheels-things that go, just like he does! He loves the color blue, his buddy, Brylie, Char-Char, and beloved Mac! He's interested in his frog potty, and loves his animal "big-boy" room.

My smokin hot hubbie, is none other than Michael! Around town he's a bit of a celebrity, being a pastor and all :) Michael is incredibly intelligent. In fact he was a pre-med major before God directed him into full time ministry. Now he is serving God at Pinelake Clinton and teaching the church to hear and follow God's voice. what a catch! He loves his laptop and watching movies after he's got a thorough play time out with Myles!

and lastly is me, Megan. I'm a stay at home mom and wife and part-time preschool teacher. God has been so gracious to me to bring me to such a great family, church and community! I danced my whole life until mid pregnancy and then hung up the dancing shoes full time to just enjoy it part time :) (once a dancer, always a dancer!) I'm passionate about my God and He's placed the orphan on my heart. Some random things about me: I like to bake and EAT sweets! I love movies and fiction books, hate flying, have horrible sense of direction, and I'm creative-with many outlets!

Come hang out with us as we journey this side of heaven...on our way home!