Monday, December 30, 2013

In My Jammers Is My Favorite Place To Be

Ok, so the title of this post isn't entirely true. 
We all know that Africa is really my favorite place to be. 
But, this time of year, in my jammers is where it's at...again, not literally. 

Christmas was good. 
Much, much better than last year when we all had the flu. 
Nothing says Christmas like wiping noses and taking temperatures. 

We visited with family, we opened presents, and we ate until our bellies were well past full. 
We are thankful and spending the week enjoying new toys and watching new movies as a family. 
I feel like 2013 was truly a year of action for our family, so we are really using this time as a time of rest.
 In case you missed the memo, being active makes you tired. 
And tired people need to rest. 

The worst part of Christmas this year? 
A broken camera. 
Phone pics only? 
Mom of the year, people. 
Made over mustache pics is the best I can do today, so let's just laugh and then ignore the lack of Christmas pictures, mkay? 

Coming soon to this here blog: 
2013: What I Read
2014: My Word of the Year

Be back soon and hope your Christmas was all kinds of merry. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

But Your Baby Will Be....Black

 Today I want to talk about the hard truth of adopting a baby whose skin color doesn't match our own, and it comes down to one simple statement: SOME PEOPLE SIMPLY WON'T UNDERSTAND. 

People will say hurtful things. 
People will think even more hurtful things. 
People will judge. 
People will be upset by this. 
People just won't get it. 

And that's okay. 
We realize that God doesn't call us all to the same things. 
In fact, I even like this-- if we were all called to do the very same things in the very same way, not much would get done. 

Today at Libby's Christmas party at school, we talked to her classmates about adoption-- not in  a formal way, just through several individual conversations.
It was obvious some of the kids had never heard of a white family adopting a black baby.
 But after a minute of thinking about it, they seemed to just accept it. 
She will be our daughter. 
She will be Libby's little sister. 
And once they thought about it, they got excited. 
Emily will have a home. 
She will have a family. 
And we will have her. 

The kids get it. 
They understand that you don't have to look alike to be family. 
Now if we could only work to teach adults the same message. 

So far, I have learned two big things through our adoption journey: 

1. Waiting is hard and not my gift.
2. Some people do not think before they speak. 

I've had people ask me if I know she'll be black.
I've had people tell me that we are know, in case we somehow missed that. 
I've had people tell us how lucky our daughter will be (this, by the way, is NOT what we believe-- we are are NOT her savior; only Jesus is worthy of that title. We are not trying to be heroes or good Samaritans. We are simply following God's call for our family. Period.).
I've had many people turn their noses up to the fact that we are adopting internationally rather than domestically. 
And I've had a lot of people make very confused faces and stare in silence. 

But, you know what else I've had? 
I've had so many friends and people I have never met go out of their way to pray for and support our adoption. 
And that, my friends, is something to be thankful for. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bitter is Not Better: Christmas is Hard When You're Waiting

 My Dear Emily, 

Oh baby girl, I miss you. I miss you every single day, but Christmas is about to do me in. I want you home, with us, where you belong. I want my family to be all together under one roof. I want to know that you'll eat until your belly is full and to be able to hold you when you're not feeling well. I want to know that you have all the clean water you could ever possibly need, a good bath with bubbles, and a mom to tuck you in at night. I want you to here to watch 'The Grinch' with Libby, to sit on my lap while I read The Night Before Christmas... again, and to build a gingerbread house with Hollyn. I want you to wake me up in the middle of the night to ask me if it's morning yet and to pick out presents for you. I want you to be home for Christmas. One day soon, sweet girl. We are coming for you. 

Love you all the way to the sky, 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Jesus is the Reason (A Guest Post)

Hey friends! Crazy busy week wrapping up the Noonday season and whatnot, so today I have a SPECIAL treat for you! I'd like for you to meet my precious friend Rachel. LOVE her heart for Jesus, her desire to make her marriage work, and her passion for making her home the happiest of happy places to be. I've been there, and let me just tell you-- it's one of the happiest places ever. And today she's going to share with you some ways you can work to keep Christmas focused on Jesus. LOVE her heart and LOVE her ideas even more!

Hello there everyone. What a joy it is for me to be able to join my sweet friend McCall over here today to share my heart with you all. It is kinda funny how McCall and I came to know each other. We actually met via Instagram, crazy but such a blessing. All of you know about Noonday, thanks to McCall and her passion for the company, but McCall came to my house and allowed me to host a trunk show and we clicked right away. Social media is the best. So again, I am grateful for McCall and her allowing me to do this.

 Anyways, I guess a little bit about me. My name is Rachel Cox, I am a recent college grad, and newlywed. I didn't think graduating college was a big enough change so I threw marriage in there two weeks after graduation. But really, I am married to my best friend who is working on his PhD in Civil Engineering at Mississippi State University. We live in Starkville, MS in a super old Victorian home that has been divided into apartments...old things make me happy. I work for a new church plant here called Redeemer Church, and I work primarily with college students at MSU through our college ministry called Four Corners Mission Network. I love Jesus with everything that I am, and I strive to make my life about making his name known and proclaiming his true gospel to those around me. I love to create in my free time, and thankfully I am married to an engineer with a passion for woodworking and using his hands so I call on him a lot.  Also, I love to blog, check out my random thoughts, recipes, and our latest projects over at Oh Simple Thoughts. But enough about me...let's get to the reason I am here. Jesus.

In the midst of Christmas, I wanted to provide some perspective or encouragement about what it is we as Christians are called to really observe and celebrate during this month of festivities. Many of you have heard of Advent I am sure, and you may have a million different thoughts or opinions on what you think it is. I know some people celebrate Advent by giving candy or gifts each day to their children to get them more excited than they already are about Christmas day, or some use the Jesse Tree to celebrate this time leading up to Christmas. I am not going to use this post to say one is better than the other...but I want to challenge us to stop and consider what we do during this holiday season and why we do it. 

Christmas for the believer is a time of true celebration. Why? Well I can tell you it is not because of decorations, lights, hot chocolate, presents, or even time with family, though all these things are so wonderful to enjoy. No, Christmas is about celebrating that our Savior God, who is almighty and so worthy of our praise, became flesh, and dwelt among us. (John 1:14) He became fully human, "so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." (Hebrews 2:17) So for this reason we celebrate. We were a people without hope, dead in our sins and carrying out the passions of our flesh (which these things by the way do not have to manifest themselves in what we may consider "obvious sins", the passions of our flesh can be glorifying ourselves through a perfectly decorated and clean home, or an excessive amount of spending on gifts, or become self absorbed and making life about us...) But despite all this God sent his son, to become our hope. (Ephesians 2)

I could go on and on about the importance of this idea, but I encourage you to preach the gospel to yourself daily, whether you have been a Christian since childhood or for only a few years. We all need to be reminded of the hope that only is found in the person of Jesus Christ. We are filled with hope, so we celebrate Christmas out of the overflow of joy that comes from being filled with that hope of salvation. So where does Advent fit into all this? Well I think that it is an excellent thing to do, that practically can prepare our hearts for a celebration rooted in hope and not materialism. Advent is simply a time of prayer, fasting, and anticipation of what is to come. For Ben (my husband) and I we made an Advent calender and filled each day with verses about Jesus' birth. Some are prophecies and some are directly from the accounts of Jesus' birth. We read these most every night and talk through them together. We also included various Christmas activities for each day, such as take a baked item to a neighbor, drink hot chocolate, sleep under the Christmas tree, make a Christmas ornament. 

We want to enjoy all the things we love about Christmas too so please do not read this post and think you can never do fun Christmas things again without feeling guilty for not focusing on Christ's birth. No, out of the overflow of hope, rejoice, and drink some homemade hot chocolate with your sweetheart and kids. I think this is a time to be enjoyed and a time for us to slow down. However, the reason we enjoy and slow down is not because of family, time off work and out of school, gifts, giving, or amazing is all rooted in the gospel, just as everything in our life should be. In Acts 20:24 Paul says, "But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." That is a powerful statement...our reason for life is to testify to the Gospel. The gospel that begins in the hope found in a baby's birth, Jesus Christ. So why not make Christmas about Christ, and not us. Why not teach our families and children to rejoice in the Lord during this month and not gifts. This is such a prime time to teach the gospel to others.

So I encourage you all now, to stop. Praise the Father for sending his son, born of a virgin, in a humble manger, to become the redeemer for us and our ever increasing sin. He is worthy of our praise today, friends, praise him, not gifts, or activities relating to Christmas, but praise HIM. I hope and pray this encourages you the way it encouraged me. As I have been pondering what to write I have become so excited about the Gospel and my amazing Father God. I pray you experience the same excitement. 

Would love to hear from you all, and to meet some more social media friends just like McCall. Check out my blog, Oh Simple Thoughts, if you have some time and say hey! Blessings to you and yours this Holiday Season, and Merry Christmas!

xoxo- Rachel Cox

Monday, December 9, 2013

These are a few of my favorite things (A GIVEAWAY)

So it's no secret that I'm all kinds of crazy about Noonday Collection
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would love it as much as I do. 
I just can't enough of knowing that my purchases are literally working to change the lives of those in need around the world. 
And you know what?

Have you finished your Christmas shopping? 
Have YOU hosted a Noonday show? 
Well, let's chat for a minute.....

You have until TOMORROW to place an order on my site (be sure to select me, McCall Aldridge) as your ambassador OR message me about hosting a show in January or February. If you don't live in MS, no problem! I can connect you with an ambassador near you!

 If you do either of these things by tomorrow at 3 pm CST, 
you will be entered to win the scarf of your choice. 
Which would you pick?
 Tough decision, folks. 

AND did I mention that your order WILL be in in time for Christmas???? 
(The last day to order for guaranteed Christmas delivery is December 17th.)
You can't beat that!

And in case you need a little help deciding that to order, here are a few of my favorite Noonday things: 

Metallic Pearl Bracelet (made from artillery in Ethiopia) 

(search my Instagram to see me wearing these since they arrived on my doorstep)

Jalia Ombre Necklace (made from paper in Uganda)

our home and gift items-- LOVE them all, and they are on sale right now!

The delicious Cozy Zip Wrap 

The Angelica Infinity Scarf (it's backordered but WILL be in for Christmas)

 So, finish your Christmas shopping 
and watch to see who will win TOMORROW (Tuesday, 12/10) 
at 3pm CST! 

Happy shopping and good luck! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

These are My People

A few weeks ago, I had one of those really great days. 
It refreshed my soul and stirred my heart. 

I was invited to come and set up a Noonday table at a fundraiser
 for a home for abandoned baby girls in India. 
Little did I know I'd never want to leave. 

It isn't often that I'm surrounded by people where words like Dossier and Visa are just part of regular conversations with no explanation necessary. 

The room was filled with missionaries, adoptive mamas, and people with big ole' hearts for serving others. 

These are my people. 
And every once in a while, a little time with your people can do a whole world full of good. 

We have adoption news. 
It's big. 
And we're sitting on go. 
But waiting for one more email before we can share with all of you. 

Prayers would be appreciated; a girl can only keep good news a secret for so long. 

Monday, December 2, 2013


Confession time: I did not partake in the daily Facebook thankful list during the month of November. However, I am exceedingly thankful for so many things. So here you go, fashionably late, my list of thankfuls for November: 

1. my family, albeit currently incomplete
2. the fact that my car is still spite of the odds and many many miles I've put on it
3. friends who understand my heart and get where I'm coming from on a regular basis
4. the fact that our adoption is officially half  funded
5. working for Noonday Collection and knowing that my work is making the world a better place for someone else
6. the amazing adoption community that I never realized existed and am now blessed by every single day
7. good books that come around at perfect times
8. hot tea
9. road trips to see old friends
10. more experienced, wiser women who spend time investing in little ole me
11. Libby's love for music and her keyboard...and the headphones that go with it
12. 'Parenthood' reruns
13. slippers
14. blogs that inspire
15. pictures of my kiddos
16. little moments that makes big memories
17. gifts that give back
18. nights when bedtime is easy
19. hand-me-downs for my littles
20. snuggling on the couch
21. dancing in the kitchen
22. candy....all the candy
23. good music that makes me smile
24. laughing until I cry
25. living close enough to my grandmother that I can see her often
26. an automatic setting on my camera that allows me to capture one or two decent shots of our family...out of the two hundred or so that we took
27. friends who share my take on motherhood
28. all things pumpkin
29. Christmas movies playing on repeat for the next twenty-three or so days at mi casa
30. Hollyn's made up cheers that she does randomly all throughout each and every day

Here's hoping your Thanksgiving was superb and that you have much to be thankful for. Care to share one of the little things in life that you are most thankful for? I'd love to hear it!