Friday, September 27, 2013

And I Can't Stop Crying

Our Little Houses for Emily fundraiser is starting to come to a close. 
People across the country are cashing in their pennies to bring our girl home. 
And I can't stop crying. 
Every time a donation comes in, the waterworks are sure to follow. 
I'm running out of Kleenex over here, and I literally feel like God has given me a front row seat to watch Him move mountains to bring my girl home. 

He is so good. 
He is so faithful. 
He loves me.
And He loves my girl. 

I am so overwhelmingly grateful and humbled and blessed beyond measure. 

I'm also so blessed by the things people are telling me about the conversations about adoption that this fundraiser has started. My heart is so very full. 

We're coming for you, baby girl. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cutest Dolls Ever, My Girl is Famous, and a Giveaway

Have you heard about North American Bear Company
I just love them and all of their cuteness. 
Well, when they contacted me this past spring and asked if they borrow my girls for some marketing shots, I of course said yes. So, the girls and I headed to a land far, far away that is also know as our backyard, and I snapped a few shots of them with their new Sophie and Lili dolls, aka the cutest dolls I've ever seen. 

We had so much fun, and apparently the people at North American Bear Company liked them because this is what arrived in my mailbox this summer: 

Yes, that is Libby on the cover of their new catalog. 
She was so excited. 
Every girl needs her five minutes of fame, right? 

We just love their dolls.
Each design comes with the cutest little tag that tells you about your doll's personality. 
I love how they encourage my girls to embrace who they are. 
In fact, we love them SO  MUCH that we included the Lena doll in our thank you card that we send out with all of our adoption shirts. 

And North American Bear Company wants to give one doll to THREE of YOU!

Which one would YOU pick if you win? 

I am seriously thinking about just buying stock in them and giving them as our go-to birthday presents from now until the end of time. 
When I say we LOVE them, I am so not kidding. 

The giveaway will run from today until Tuesday night (October 1) at midnight. 

And thanks again, North American Bear Company, for giving my kiddo a really fun item for show and tell. 
You guys rock. 
The next time in Chicago, I'm totally stopping by the office to give you all high fives.

*While North American Bear is all kind of awesome and did send us some dolls to keep free of charge, these opinions are 100% my own.*

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Real Me

Hey, I'm McCall. 
Have we met? 

I mean, obviously you're here....visiting my blog. 
But between the adoption posts and the fundraising posts and the Noonday posts and the giveaway posts, I sometimes wonder how much of who I really am actually seeps through in my posts. If we met in real life, would I be who you expect me to be based on what you've read here? 
How does 'blog me' compare to 'real me'?

So today, I want to talk about 'real me'. 
Not 'here's what I'm working on me' 
or 'here's something that's important that I want to share with you me' 
or 'let's talk about adoption me'. 
Just real me. 
Hope you're not too disappointed.....

*First and foremost, I love Jesus. And my family and I try to live our lives in a way that is different from the world. This means we sometimes have a different view than most of those around us. We are okay with being different if it means being obedient and drawing nearer to Him.

*I am short. Think five foot even. Think three inches shy of needing a booster seat. 

*I am totally convinced that a fountain coke can cure just about anything. Little kids believe in band-aids; I believe in fountain coke. 

*I hate my hair. And by hate I mean HATE. There are many days when I seriously consider just shaving it and starting over, and I've prepared Lee that if shaved heads are ever in style, he can go ahead and sign me up. I just hate having to waste so much time on something that I'm just gonna have to wash and start all over with in a day or so. Boo on that. 

*If I wasn't responsible for my kiddos and their health and nutrition, I would totally eat Spaghetti-o's five nights a week. 

*I am a sucker for an acoustic guitar. Always have been. Always will be. 

*I laugh at myself. Often. Sometimes loudly. And I'm totally okay with that. 

*I don't eat salad. However, after years of dating and getting a salad with my meal, I can fake eat a salad better than anyone I know. In fact, if Fake Salad Eating was an Olympic event, I'd be bringing home the gold. It's a given. 

*I'm clumsy. I drop things. I fall up stairs. And if I'm wearing white, I might as well just go ahead and put food on it before I leave the house because it's only a matter of time before I spill something on my shirt. 

*I love my planner. I write things down sometimes just so I can check them off. However, my desk is a disaster, as is my car. Basically, if my planner is organized, my surroundings don't have to be. 

*I love Mexican food. No one else in my family loves Mexican food. If you're my friend in real life, and I'm constantly twisting your arm to go eat Mexican food with me, this is why. 

*As much as I love Jesus, Halloween is my favorite holiday. All the costumes and scariness and candy corn. Yes, please. Gimme. 

*I'm loud and random and often bust out in movie quotes...preferably 80's movies. 
I plead JustCantHelpMyself.

*My husband tells me that I have the sense of humor of a teenage boy. I'm not sure exactly what he means by this, but I choose to believe that it's a compliment. 

*I try very hard to watch my words. I know that words can hurt, and I used to really struggle with inserting my foot into my mouth. With age, I've learned to be very careful to word things so that they come out in the way I mean for them to. 

*I ask a lot of questions. It's how I learn. I'm sure my teachers LOVED this about me when I was growing up. Or not. In fact, probably not. But it works for me, so I'm sticking to it. 

*I most certainly do NOT have it all together, although apparently I must fake this well because people regularly comment that I do. My response to that? Jesus. Just Jesus. 

And that's enough about me. 
Tell me about YOU. 
What's something that people wouldn't know about you just based off of an online relationship? 
Seriously. Spill it. 
And thank you. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Losing Sleep

Ever since we announced we are adopting, I haven't been able to sleep. 
I love sleep.....adore it, actually. 
And yet, lately it's just not happening. 

Part of it is due to worrying. 
I worry about my girl who is currently on the other side of the word. 
Did she eat today? 
Is she sick? 
Did anyone hold her? 

While I read stories and played hide-and-go-seek and sang 'Jesus Loves Me' twelve...yes, twelve....times, did anyone spend even one minute loving on her today? 

And what about tonight? 
Is she asleep on the dirt floor in Congo? 
Is she covered in bug bites? 
Is she alone? 

The thoughts are overwhelming. 
I long for the day when she's under my roof. 
I want her here...with her family....where I can take care of her and teach her and tell how very, very much she is loved and longed for every single day. 

Very early on in the adoption contemplation process, I read something along these lines:
Adoption does not exist so families can have children; adoption exists so children can have families. 

And my girl, my Emily, has one of those....she just doesn't know it yet. 

So instead of sleeping I think, and I worry, and I pray. 
And I get excited to watch God reveal His plans for Emily to our family. 
I get a front-row seat to watch God do something great. 
This girl, who He created and loves more than I can ever possibly imagine, 
is going to be a part of a family...our family. 
What a blessing to be a part of something so near and dear to His heart. 

And that alone is exciting enough to keep me awake until she's home. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I Am Wearing A Story {a Noonday giveaway}

Our society breeds selfishness. 
It's so true. 
That's not to say that we are all selfish by any means, 
but it's so easy to fall into the trap that society so cleverly creates for us as women.
 It leaves us feeling less than and unworthy and self-conscious. 
The desire to look a certain way that world around deems as beautiful-- it's just a disaster waiting to wreak havoc on our inner sense of self-worth. 
The truth is, we are never going to meet the unrealistic expectations that the world sets for women. 

We will never be content if we are trying to reach an unreachable goal. 

And a year ago, I was society's ideal target. 
The world around me was telling me that I was too short. 
I had bad hair.
I was overweight.
I needed longer lashes and smoother skin and better nails.
I wasn't dressing for my body type.

The world was talking, and I was listening. 

I allowed so much of how I saw myself to come from what society told me via movies and TV shows and magazines and models...the list goes on and on.

I was so busy thinking about ME, ME, ME that I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about others. 
I didn't think about my purchases and who they affected. 
 I didn't give any thought to how or where something was made. 
In a desire to feel better about my appearance, I was unknowingly feeding the machine that often results in unethical work standards, child labor, and even slavery.

I didn't take into account that I could play a role in working to impact the way women see themselves and their purchases. 

And then I started with Noonday. 

And now, not only am more confident in my appearance than ever before, but I am working to help other women become more confident too. 

In that I mean, I want to see women gather their self-worth from what they are doing and how they are living rather than simply through how they are looking.
I fully believe that doing for others results in a happiness that we will never find when we are simply living for ourselves. 

Since starting my adventure with Noonday, my comfort zone has stretched.
 I CAN wear big earrings and pull off more than one necklace at a time.
Who would have ever thought?!?

 And while the physical aspect of Noonday is great, it's the power behind the Noonday purchases that keeps me coming back for more. 

When I wear Noonday, I am wearing someone else's story. 

I am helping a girl in India break free from the binds of debt and poverty. 

I am helping a man or woman in Peru provide food for their families. 

I am helping a child in Ecuador attend school for the first time.

I am helping a family in Vietnam have a place to call home.

I am helping a woman with HIV in Ethiopia find a sense of hope and purpose.

I am helping a mother in Rwanda afford to keep her child.

Society can breed selfishness all day long, but I'm no longer falling for it. It is so NOT about me any more, friends. And I fully believe that is what God intended. In fact, I know it is, as He tells us so many times in scripture to serve others.

 In fact, Noonday is named for Isaiah 58:10, which says, 

"When you satisfy the needs of the oppressed, your night will become like the Noonday."

Something as simple as buying a new necklace can not only help me feel beautiful but can literally change the world for another woman somewhere in this world. While I get to style women and help them stretch their comfort zones and feel beautiful in the pieces our amazing artisans have created, I also get the opportunity to share their stories. 

There is power behind our purchases, friends.
It DOES matter where and how something is made. 
And I have found time and time again that the less I think about me, me, me,
 and the more I think about them, them, them, the happier I am. 
There are so many more important things to spend my time and energy on other than how long my lashes are or if I have my first wrinkle on my forehead.
And I can honestly say that I have never felt more beautiful. 

Society can keep it's unrealistic goals and standards no one will ever meet. 
I have found so much joy in helping others find beauty and self-worth in thinking about others and how something as simple as a piece of jewelry can pave the way for a brighter tomorrow. 

And today, I'm partnering with some of my fellow ambassadors in an attempt to help others feel beautiful and recognize the power of their purchases through participating in the Noonday blog train, where everyday a different ambassador shares a story and gives away a piece of Noonday. 

Want to get caught up on the blog train? 
Check out yesterday's post from my dear friend Jenna and tomorrow's post by my friend Emily.

Up for grabs today is one of the new market totes made in Rwanda. 

See the cute red one? 
Well, it's for one of YOU!

To enter, simply follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter giveaway tool. 
The tool will automatically pick a winner on Sunday night. 

Good luck to you and you and you!
And please hear me when I say that you are so not defined but what society is screaming today. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Banana Bread for Cheaters {a recipe}

I know, I know--- yesterday a do-it-yourself project, and today a recipe. 
What has the world come to?
Blame it on fall. 
Every fall, I craft and bake like no other time of the year. 

And today, I give you Banana Bread: For Cheaters.

This is what I like to call ‘I want something special and yummy and homemade, but I don’t have time to be in the kitchen all. day. long’. It also happens to be nothing short of delicious.
All you need is four things:
-two to three mashed up bananas (the browner the better)
-one box of yellow cake mix
-two eggs
-one cup of chocolate chips

Simply mix the bananas, dry cake mix, and eggs until they are well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and bake in a well-greased bread pan at 350 for forty-five minutes. It’s all the goodness of cake with the added bonus of bananas.

Also, have you checked out SEVENLY this week? They are partnering with Mercy Ships to provide last-saving surgeries for children in Congo. That could be my Emily. That could be her brother or sister. Please check out this cause and how you can help. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Instagram-ing It Up {a how to just for you}

It's no secret I love Instagram. 
In fact, it's my favorite means of social media (shhh....don't tell facebook). 
However, I don't love the fact that some of my favorite pics can only be viewed on my phone. 
That is, until today. 

Thanks to a friend, I found an awesome, easy tutorial that takes your pics from Instagram to a 4x6 JPEG image that you can then print wherever you so choose. 

So, for $.28 each, I had some printed today at Wal-Mart. 
I also collected some cardstock, scissors, and magnet strips (also from Wal-Mart for a whopping $.97). 

I glued the pics to the cardstock. 

Once the glue dried, I cut them out and stuck the magnets to the back. 

And there you have it-- in about thirty minutes and for about $3.00, I made some of the cutest magnets I've ever seen. I also made sets for both grandparents as a 'just because we love you' happy. 

You can check me out on Instagram (username leemeandthegirls). 
I'd love to see your new Instaagram print projects posted there!

Also, this weekend I'll be representing Noonday Collection at a fundraising event for Charity Water
I'll be donating my commission to help provide life-saving clean water to those in need.
Usually my commission goes into our adoption fund, but not this time! 
So, if you've been eyeing some Noonday, this is a great time to order! 
Just select me as your ambassador during checkout and put CHARITY WATER as the trunk show. 
And remember-- Noonday makes great Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, and give yourself a gift gifts!
The fundraiser will remain open through Tuesday, September 17. 

And oh, there are so many things to love about Noonday. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

And a Million Sprinkles

Well, it's official: my girl is nine. 

We celebrated at home with a cake that had nothing short of a million sprinkles on it. 

And the fact that Hollyn added over half of them?
Yeah, pretty sure I deserve some sort of special mom award for that one. 

But, my girl felt special.....

...and loved.....

....and celebrated. 

And that's what matters....

....even if it does mean I'll be cleaning up sprinkles until I die or Jesus comes back, whichever happens first. 

And Hollyn? 

Well, she wants her birthday to be here RIGHT THIS MINUTE. 

Sorry, kiddo.
January is taking its good ole' time. 

What is your FAVORITE birthday memory as a child? 

Mine is when I turned seven and a had a skating party. 
It was the coolest, circa 1987. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Nine Years of Libby

Nine years ago today, my whole world changed. 
Libby did not come on my timing, but she certainly came just when God wanted her to. 
And being her mother is one of the greatest blessings I've ever known.

Happy birthday to the girl who made me a mom and rocked my world in the best possible way. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Just What We Needed

So sorry I've been MIA this week. 
Ever have one of those weeks where you can't seem to keep you head above water? 
Between adoption errands and car troubles and Noonday goodness and playing catch-up from being gone all weekend, I feel like I've been living in fast forward the past few days. 

That being said, last weekend could NOT have come at a better time. 
My getaway with Libby was nothing shy of perfection. 

She spent time with her favorite person on Earth. 

They caught up and made lots of new memories. 

And my girl and I agree that alternative birthday was the way to go this year. 

Oh, and I might have had a good time too. 
Sorta kinda. 

Time with my best friend is priceless and precious and more fun than I can handle. 
Okay, that's not true. 
I can handle it and only wish we could see each other more often. 

Here's hoping your week was way less crazy than mine has been.
Tomorrow we'll be celebrating Libby's birthday at loud party, no last minute planning, no stress. 
And I can't wait.