Monday, October 31, 2011

What has God promised?

It's getting real, y'all.  On Friday morning, as I thought about sending in our contract and a large sum of money, I started to panic a little bit.  Things are turbulent in Ethiopia right now with the adoption process.  There are adoptive families experiencing incredibly hard times in their journeys.  So every fear you can think of was running through my head . . .

What if we pay this money and Ethiopia closes its adoption program?
What if we experience the nightmares that some families are having to endure?
What if I get pregnant and we have to stop the adoption?
What if it takes longer than 2 years?

I was getting consumed and overwhelmed with the "What Ifs" when God spoke straight to my heart.  (Don't you just love that we serve a living God that SPEAKS?  And doesn't just speak to a high priest or prophet, but speaks to little ole me wrapped up in my fears.)

God said, "Cole . . . I have a purpose in every step of the journey, not just the final destination." 

He brought Hebrews 11 to my mind and continued to speak as I read and meditated on the Word. Verse 13 says, "All these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance."  If God's purpose was just found in the final destination, claiming the thing promised, then those men of great faith listed in Hebrews 11 would be sad, sad stories to study.  The life they lived and the things they endured would have been for nothing.  But that isn't the reality!  God had a purpose in every twist and turn on their journey . . . to conform them to His image, to make His glory known to all nations through them.  And this truth hasn't changed.  I must have faith that as we seek God's will and walk in obedience, not just in this adoption, but in life, His purposes will be fulfilled.  Whatever is in our future, whatever twists and turns this journey takes, whatever hardships we endure . . . God is faithful and I can trust in Him.

As I continued to meditate and wrestle with this, I asked the question . . . What has God promised us in regards to this adoption?  I guess I wanted to know what I could hold on to when things get hard.  I wish I could say that He has promised us that a little Ethiopian boy will be part of our family, but I don't think that is true.  Don't get me wrong . . . that is what we hope for and that is the final destination that we feel like God is leading us to walk towards.  But as I prayed, the only promise that God spoke to my heart that I could cling to is that He will be with us as we walk in obedience.  This whole process might not end the way we think or hope it will, but God will still be faithful to His promise.  I don't feel like He is calling us to adopt just to later squash our dreams, but it may look completely different than we expect.  But whatever path this journey takes, God will be with us and will be using it to make us more like Christ.  Hebrews 11:8 resonates with me in a new way . . . "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going."  This is us . . . we have no clue what this journey will look like, but we know the One who does and will place our faith in Him.

These hours of wrestling through this were hard on my heart.  Many tears were shed as I confessed my fears and heard God speak, as I laid down my expectations and even desires on the altar, as I sought to have the eternal mindset of those spoken of in Hebrews, "they were longing for a better country - a heavenly one."  God was gentle with my heart, but led me to a new place of faith.

Later that afternoon, I shared my fears with Chad and asked him the same question I had wrestled with . . . What has God promised us with this adoption?  He thought about it for a few minutes and then said, "That He will be with us as we follow Him."  I lost it.  I needed a confirmation of what God had spoken and He gave it through my husband and at the same time united our hearts in faith for the journey that lies ahead.

I'm humbled and overwhelmed at God's grace, gentleness, and the fact that the Creator of the universe would be so intimate with us.  I know this is an experience that I will need to look back on when things get tough to remind me that we are in God's will and that He will never leave us.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My God is so big . . .

When I started to write this post, all I could think about was one of Ava's favorite songs . . . "My God is so big, so strong and so mighty.  There's nothing my God cannot do!"  True, true!

You'd think I would have learned by now.  God's way is the best way . . . always.  God's timing is the right timing . . . always.  Why don't these truths stick?  Why is it so hard to trust my Creator and Savior? 

In June when God spoke His call for our family to adopt, we were so ready to go!  I wrote this post after finding out that with AGCI we would have to wait until December to apply.  I really was crushed at the beginning.  So much so that I wanted to chose a different agency.  Praise Jesus for a wise husband that has learned how to calm me down, get me rational again and point me to God! Amen?

Quickly I had a true peace about the time of waiting and actually looked forward to what God had in store.  These past few months have been busy, stressful, and amazing.  God has taken both Chad and I to new depths in our relationship with Him.  I can honestly say that our marriage has never been healthier and more God-honoring (I hope!).  God has used this time in major ways to refine who we are individually and as a family seeking to follow Christ.

God has also used this time to show how big He is.  I look back now and can't imagine going through this last week of beginning paperwork at that time.  We mailed our contract to AGCI today.  Along with that goes $7390.  Did your jaw drop?  That's a lot of moolah!  A lot of moolah that we didn't have 4 months ago, but have today!  Through family, friends and even strangers, God has provided what we have needed so far to start this process.  We are able to walk forward at this point without completely freaking out about these beginning payments.  Because of this, we have a greater trust as we look at the money still due . . . He will provide!

How humbling that I am now praising Jesus for these past few months and absolutely wouldn't want it to have happened any other way.  When will I learn?!  I'm sure God is asking Himself that same question!!  We can look back at God's hand in all of this and move forward with great confidence into more unknowns.  We can share of His provision and plan to our kids, our family, our friends and anyone who will listen in order to bring Him glory.  God is good!

Our packet of info . . . lots of paperwork!

Can't you tell Chad loves reading a 20 page contract?!

 Nothing to do with the adoption, but aren't my Who Dat kiddos cute?!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Worshiping in Walmart

Last week I wrote about how excited we are to be accepted into AGCI and given the green light after four months of waiting to even begin the adoption process.  I asked for prayer, though, about our home study because the agency closest to us requires extra training before you can begin, but wasn't going to be offering that training until January.  The thought of waiting once again was misery.  (This process is confusing so let me clarify . . . Our adoption agency, AGCI, is based in Oregon.  Our homestudy has to be done by a social worker in our state.  AGCI has a few cooperating agencies in Louisiana that we can choose from to do our homestudy.  I was just automatically assuming that we would use the agency that is geographically closest to us.)

Well . . . thanks for praying!  God worked it out Ephesians 3 style and did "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine!" 

Meredith, a friend from college that is also adopting through AGCI (read their story here), messaged me about checking with the social worker they used from the Louisiana Baptist Children's Home.  She said they didn't require any extra training and might be able to get us started faster.  I had resigned myself to waiting and was really trying to trust in God's timing.  But at the same time, I know that your social worker is a big part of the intense journey and I just felt unsettled about working with the agency in Baton Rouge.  So I called and left a message for Ashley, the social worker, on Friday and was anticipating a call back today.

What I did not anticipate was the conversation I had while I was at Walmart with the kiddos this morning.  Ashley called and the first thing out of her mouth was, "I've been waiting for you to call me!"  What?!  Seriously God?!

Let me explain . . . Ashley's boyfriend and I went to college together at Tech (I didn't realize the connection).  He had seen on facebook that we were pursuing adoption and had told Ashley about us so she was just waiting to get my call.  She's even read my blog!   Unbelievable!  Just in the few minutes we talked, she had such an excitement about working with us and was so encouraging.  After promising to call her back when I wasn't with both kids and the chaos that is Walmart, Ava and I had a little worship service on aisle 13!  How good is our God?!

Ashley and I talked longer this afternoon and that peace that I had been seeking came flooding in.  She gets it.  She loves Jesus and so she gets the bigger picture and why we feel called to adopt.  She is ready and excited to walk this journey with us.  She is on top of things . . . my kinda girl!  I've already got a to do list and we even already have our home study scheduled for December 5 & 6!

Do you realize that had I just gone with the Baton Rouge agency, all that happened just today would not have happened until February?  Go ahead and do another happy dance.  Come on . . . you know you want to! 

I'm in awe of God.  I am praising the Father to the fatherless.  No matter how much we want to hold our son, no matter how much Ashley loves helping families pursue adoption, no matter how fast we want this process to go so we can have Easton home . . . God wants it more.  God loves the orphan even more.  He wants to set them in a forever family.  He wants to heal their broken hearts and traumatized minds.  He wants to use His church to show concern for "the least of these" that He most definitely is concerned about.  He wants the truth about the price that Jesus paid for OUR adoption to be proclaimed to all nations.  He wants it more.

I'm praising the One who sees and loves and works in ways that are indeed "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine."  Praise Him!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

His Bride

Today in Sunday School I had to teach Romans 9-11.  Seriously?  Talk about a jam packed section to cover in 1 hour!  The commentary I use has 200 pages devoted to those three chapters, which is way more than I am able to read, not too mention comprehend, in one week of preparation.  All of this is still going through my mind, even after teaching it, because it is so amazing . . . our God is so amazing!

Instead of spending all of our time focused on all of the things in these chapters that we don't know or don't fully understand or are very debatable, I chose to focus on what I feel is the heart of it . . . the church.  Jews and Gentiles could both be God's people, but had to come the same way . . . through faith in Christ alone.  The Jews had to set aside the law for a righteousness from Christ and the Gentiles needed to get rid of the arrogance they had developed toward the Jews because neither had room to boast, it was all about Jesus!

We spent some time reading in Ephesians 2 to help us understand the metaphor of the root, natural branches and wild shoot in Romans 11.  I loved studying Ephesians last year and Paul's teaching on the church has really stuck with me.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

The Jews and Gentiles needed to embrace their oneness and newness that Christ provided them.  The church wasn't to be full of Jews and Gentiles, but of a new humanity that wasn't characterized by hostility and division, but by peace and unity through Christ.


Ephesians 3: 8-11, "8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Why did it matter that the Jews and Gentiles embrace their newness in Christ?  Because through the church, the Gospel and wisdom of God would be proclaimed!  When two become one through nothing in themselves, it screams of Someone greater at work.  When two, who couldn't be more different, cast aside those differences and embrace unity, it proclaims the price that was paid for that unity.  When two, who might have many reasons to be bitter and judgmental toward each other, choose to love instead, it reveals the Love that is within the.

How beautiful is that?!

The other thing I love is that this is plan A.  The plan was "hidden for ages", but is clearly God's "eternal purpose" instead of something God just came up with on the fly when a Gentile was interested in Jesus.  God has always been about His ways and His salvation being made know in all nations (Psalm 67:2).

So what does this look like for us?  How do we proclaim the "wisdom of God?"  By being the Church.  Not the "I dress up on Sunday and pretend like everything is perfect and put a little money in a plate and say amen and then go home and live however I want" kind of church.  But a biblical Church.

We bear with one another in love and even (gasp) confront one another in love.  We love each other enough to call out sin because it is not worthy of the calling we have received and profanes the name of Christ we wear as His ambassadors.  This proclaims the Gospel to a world that needs to know a love that puts others first and is willing to go through conflict for good.

We come together as people with different personalities, spiritual gifts, talents, strengths, weaknesses, pasts, fears, desires and yet we hold tight to our unity in Christ and trust Him to use our differences to accomplish the mission He has put before us.  This proclaims the Gospel to a world in need of a purpose, of something bigger than themselves.

We get on our knees in prayer for a man around the world, whom we have never met, that is facing extreme persecution and possible death for his faith in Christ.  We intercede for him because of the one thing that unites us . . . Christ.  This proclaims the Gospel to a world in need of true community, true brotherhood, a true family.

Without a doubt, we are to be verbally proclaiming the Gospel both individually and as the church.  But I love that God, in His wisdom, designed the church to proclaim the Gospel just by being the church.  When we live biblical lives together, we make Him known.  We could never do these things apart from Christ, our sin would always get in the way.  But we've been freed from sin.  And the One who freed us, will free you too!

So today, as I continue to meditate on God's Word, I'm overwhelmed with the beauty of His plan.  I'm thanking God for the Church, and asking Him to give me a greater love and appreciation for His Bride . . . and the Groom, who made it all possible!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Best Day

Seriously . . . this has been the best day!

Talk about same-day service . . . Tiffany from AGCI called this afternoon to let me know that our application has been accepted and we can officially more forward in the process!  I just submitted it this morning!  For a girl that has been waiting for months, this is music to my ears!  The next step ise our orientation call with Tiffany next week.  It is kind of the "buckle up your seatbelt because here's what is ahead" call.  Yay for progress!

To top it all off, we found out today that Chad and I get to go to the SAINTS game on Sunday night!  Who Dat?!  Some of our incredibly generous friends (we love you JB and Liz) worked it out for us to go as a Pastor Appreciation/Early Birthday prize for Chad!  The great thing is that for my birthday, Chad got me the Drew Brees book and "coupons" for a Saints game.  He wasn't sure how exactly he would get us to a game, but he was sincerely hoping to get to take me.  God is so good to His children . . . even with a football game!

So I have literally been dancing around all day with excitement!  Thanks for sharing in my joy.  And like I said before . . . go ahead and do a little happy dance with me!

Ready, Set, Go!

When I talked to All God's Children International (AGCI - the agency we will be using) in June, I was so excited and ready to get started with the adoption process.  Screeeeeeeeech!  That was the sound of the brakes.  They have a policy that you can't start the process until your youngest child is 1 year old, which left us with 6 months of waiting to even start.  I wrote about my feelings/struggles with waiting here, but God quickly gave us a peace about the 6 months.  We've used these months to pray, raise awareness and do a lot of fundraising.

My contact at AGCI told me that as it got closer to Grayson's birthday, we could start working on some of the paperwork and homestudy stuff to get a little head start.  I decided this week to send off for our birth certificates . . . just because it was good for a task oriented girl like me to be able to finally mark something off a list! :)  I called the homestudy agency to find out about the process (more on that later), but I ended up needing to call AGCI to ask a question.

I emailed my contact, only to get a reply that she was no longer working there.  Boo . . . I really liked her!  Yesterday I got a call from our new contact, Tiffany.  I gave her my big schpeel (is that really a word?  I use it, but definitely don't know how to spell it!) and she answered my question.

Then she rocked my world.  She let me know that they changed the policy since Ethiopian adoptions are taking so long.  You can now start the process when your youngest is 6 months.  There was a mixture of excitement with a huge dose of "Why didn't anyone call me?!"  The thought, "We've been waiting for 4 months and now I find out we could have actually already started . . . grrrrrrrrrrrrr!" came in my mind, but praise God, He quickly replaced it with nothing but thanksgiving!  We are getting to start 2 months earlier than expected . . . hooray!  I know God's timing is perfect so I won't spend another moment thinking of what might have been . . . all is as it should be and I'm so grateful for what God has done in us these past few months.

So we can start . . . officially!  (You can do a little happy dance . . . I did!)

I was a runner in high school.  Hurdles actually.  I know some of you just fell off your chair . . . can't imagine this short girl getting over those hurdles, much less running fast while doing it!  Anyway, sometimes when you would be at the start line, in the blocks, ready to run, you would getting a little over-anxious and jump the gun, false start.  Most times you would get a second chance before being disqualified.  That second time you knew you couldn't afford to false start again.  It was so hard to want to get out fast, but have to reign yourself in a little to ensure you didn't jump the gun.  What usually ended up happening was being over cautions which resulted in being the last out of the blocks and having to catch up during the race.

That is kind of how I feel.  I was so ready in June, but had to put on the brakes.  I had settled with peace into the waiting game.  So when the gun went off, I found myself still in the blocks!  I never expected to be told we could begin NOW, today, so I almost didn't know what to do with myself!  I was so excited, but a little in shock.  Don't worry . . . it didn't take long to get myself in gear.  I submitted our official application this morning with our application fee.  First step: done! 

One thing you can pray for us about is our homestudy, which is the next big step.  We have to use Catholic Charities in Baton Rouge.  I spoke with the international social worker and she was very  nice and very helpful . . . big praise.  The tricky thing is that they require 10 hours of training before you can even start the homestudy process.  No problem, we can do training.  The training is a 2 hour class once a week for 5 weeks in Baton Rouge.  Not ideal, but we'll make it work.  But here's the kicker . . . she said they might not be offering the training again until January.  AHHHHHHH!  You  mean that we've been given the green light only to have to put on the brakes again for another 2 months because they don't want to offer the training that they require?!  A little frustrating!

So I'm going to call today and see if there is any way they will offer training sooner or let us begin now with the promise that we will do the training in January.  Neither of those options may work and we might be right back to waiting another 2 months like we thought.  Not gonna lie . . . I'll be disappointed.  But I'm trying my best to cling to God's guidance and sovereignty in ALL things!  Prayers appreciated!

Thanks for rejoicing with us that we've taken a step toward our little boy Easton!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Don't Adopt!

Below is post from the blog of Dr. Russell Moore . . . a seminary professor, author and adoptive father.  His words are honest, true and cut to the heart of anyone considering, praying, in the process of or in the middle of an adoption or foster care.

I am so grateful to adoptive families that are willing to talk not just about the joy and the warm fuzzies of a new addition to the family, but about the suffering, dying to self, draining, hard moments that come with the journey of orphan care.  It makes me take a deep breath, go back to the call to adopt that God clearly spoke into our lives, and cling to the Spirit to keep me moving forward in the unknown that is before us.  Unknown to me, but thankfully not to the Father to the fatherless.  He knows who Easton is.  He knows the tragedy that will make him an orphan.  He knows the trauma Easton will endure.  He knows what we will need to love him, care for him, and do it in such a way that Easton's heart will heal, that he will feel secure, and that ultimately Easton will surrender his life to the Savior that has been with him all along.

"Don't Adopt" by Russell Moore . . .

If you want your “dream baby,” do not adopt or foster a child: buy a cat and make-believe. Adopting an orphan isn’t ordering a consumer item or buying a pet. Such a mindset hurts the child, and countless other children and families. Adoption is about taking on risk as cross-bearing love.
For years, I’ve called Christian churches and families to our James 1:27 mandate to care for widows and orphans in their distress, to live out the adoption we’ve received in the gospel by adopting and fostering children. At the same time, I’ve maintained that, while every Christian is called to care for orphans and widows, not every Christian is called to adopt or foster. As a matter of fact, there are many who, and I say this emphatically, should not.

Love of any kind brings risk, and, in a fallen world, brings hurt. Simeon tells our Lord’s mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, that a sword would pierce her heart. That’s true, in some sense, for every mother, every father. Even beyond that, every adoption, every orphan, represents a tragedy. Someone was killed, someone left, someone was impoverished, or someone was diseased. Wrapped up in each situation is some kind of hurt, and all that accompanies that. That’s the reason there really is no adoption that is not a “special needs” adoption; you just might not know on the front end what those special needs are.

We live in a time in which our commitments have become the opportunity often for simply a narcissistic self-realization. Weddings have become events for planners and photographers putting on what seems to be a state dinner honoring the “love of the couple.” Children often become props in a life of parents who are seeking to grasp whatever they believe the world owes them. It’s easier to pull off that kind of an illusion of self-centrality with your engagement photos and wedding party than it is with children, though. Children are alive. Children are persons, with individuality that can’t ultimately be suppressed. Children, of all sorts, are, by definition, unpredictable. Children shatter your life-plan. Adoption certainly does.

It’s worth it.

But Jesus tells us we ought to know that a king going into battle must measure his troops, a tower-builder must count the expenses of the project (Lk. 14:28-31). Those who see adoption as a warm, sentimental way of having a baby are mistaken and dangerous. There are far too many who plunge in without counsel, without a commitment to fidelity no matter what. They search around for a baby who fits their specifications. And babies never fit your specifications…at least not when they grow up.

If what’s behind all of this isn’t crucified, war-fighting, eyes-open commitment, you are going to wind up with a child who is twice orphaned. He or she will be abandoned the first time by fatherlessness and the second time by the rejection of failing to live up to the expectations of parents who had no business imposing such expectations in the first place.

We need a battalion of Christians ready to adopt, foster, and minister to orphans. But that means we need Christians ready to care for real orphans, with all the brokenness and risk that comes with it. We need Christians who can reflect the adopting power of the gospel, which didn’t seek out a boutique nursery but a household of ex-orphans who were found wallowing in our own blood, with Satan’s genes in our bloodstreams.

If what you like is the idea of a baby who fulfills your needs and meets your expectations, just buy a cat. Decorate the nursery, if you’d like. Dress it up in pink or blue, and take pictures. And be sure to have it declawed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2nd Raffle Results

And the winner is . . .

Brooke Rhodes!

Congrats to Brooke on winning the professional photo session with Joe Fontenot!  Brooke has a family of 5 guys that I'm sure will be overjoyed at the thought of a photo shoot. :)  

(FYI, I use the Random Number Generator at to pick the winner and my friend, Terah Sampler, was my witness!)

Thanks to everyone who donated to enter the raffle!  I know everyone except for Brooke is disappointed that they didn't win, but you have all been a part of helping us work toward raising the $30,000 we need for our adoption.  One day, when you see a picture of us holding our sweet Easton, you'll know that you had a part in the journey to make that moment a reality!  Hope that gives you a little warm fuzzy and takes the edge off of not winning! :)

I'm still debating on whether to do a raffle in November.  I have a great bundle of fleur de lis stuff (coasters, magnets, notecards, picture frame, embroidered tea towels, earrings) that would make a great Christmas prize, but I'm a little worried that people are burnt out on raffles and might need more time before the next one.  If you have any feedback, let me know!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

We've got great friends! :)

Don't worry . . . this isn't one of my usually "wordy" posts! :)  God has been teaching me so much and refining me constantly, but I'll save that for another day!

We have been so blessed by a few friends lately and I just wanted to share . . .

Our friends, Calvin and Erica Ho, are also adopting a little boy from Ethiopia.  In fact, they are #1 on the list so should be getting that life-changing phone call any day now!  You can follow their amazing journey on their blog.

Erica is one talented and crafty lady!  When I saw that Erica had made the cutest Africa shirts for her kiddos, I did what any girl who can't sew would do . . . I begged for her to make some for mine!  I found cute, but cheap fabric and little t shirts and a week later Erica sent back these amazing shirts!  I love that this is a way for Ava and Grayson to spread the word about our adoption as people ask about their shirts.  Believe me, Ava has NO problem telling anyone who will listen about her brother Easton from Ethiopia!

I absolutely LOVE these shirts!  Thanks Erica!

I got Ava's shirt in a 3T so she'll probably be able to wear it until she is 8!!

Our friends Paul and Joy Hanson also found a creative way to partner with us in our adoption.  Their little boy, Isaiah, was having an "African Safari" first birthday party.  They invited family and friends to bring change to the party to help us bring Easton home from Africa!

Paul and Joy embraced this as an opportunity to not only bless us, but to teach their son about God's heart for orphans and how we can all be a part of showing that Love in tangible ways. 

Thank you friends!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

2nd Adoption Raffle: NOLA Photo Session

Hooray for our second adoption raffle!  We'll officially start the adoption process in December and the need for some major moolah will come quickly!  We know God is going to provide all we need to bring Easton home, but we love that He does part of it through our friends, family and fun prizes to raffle! 

I'm seriously SO excited about this one!  However, I've got some sad news for all my far away friends . . . this raffle is only available to people who can physically get to New Orleans (you don't have to live in New Orleans, you just have to be able to get here!).  But don't worry, I promise that next month's raffle will be shipable to anyone who wants it!

If you're like me, this is the time of year you start thinking about Christmas cards and Christmas prizes.  Who can take our picture so that it looks better than just a random snapshot while you hold the camera out in front of you with one arm?!  Professional pictures would be wonderful, but how can we afford them?  Do I really have to get my dad a tie and my mom a book for Christmas for the thousandth time?  Do I really have to venture out into the madness of the mall during the holidays to buy something that my loved one might not even need or use?

If this is you, then this raffle solves all your problems!  You can have professional pictures for your Christmas card AND have your amazing photos printed as a special gift for your family this year!

We are raffling a professional photography session in New Orleans AND a cd of your images ready to print!

Our friend, Joe Fontenot, is an amazing photographer and is being incredibly generous in offering his services to raise money to bring Easton home!  You can visit Joe's website to see his talent, but I've also included some photos below so you can get an idea of his photography style.

This offer is valued at $285 . . . you read that right, someone will win this prize worth almost $300!  Joe will work with the winner about the date, time frame and location(s) for the photo shoot.  He is experienced in taking pictures in all areas of our beautiful city . . . French Quarter, City Park, NOBTS campus, etc. 

The raffle does not include any printed pictures, but you will receive a cd with each final image in a size and format that works best for printing.  You can choose a printer in the city or use an online source such as Shutterfly to have quality images printed for a very small cost (as I said . . . great gift idea!).

So here is how the raffle will work . . .

A $5 donation will receive 1 entry for the raffle.
A $10 donation will receive 3 entries for the raffle.
A $20 donation will receive 7 entries for the raffle.
If you give more than $20, I'll let you know about the number of entries!

Steps to enter the raffle . . .

1. Use the Donate (PayPal) button on the right side of the blog to make your donation.
2. In the memo or notes section of Paypal, write your email address.
3. I will email you an entry number(s).
4. I will use a random number generator to pick the winner.

After you donate, if you share the link to this blog post on your blog or on facebook, I'll give you an extra entry! Just comment on this post to let me know that you shared the link!

I'll announce the winner on Wednesday, October 12 so you have a little over a week to donate and spread the word!

Remember that all the donations will go to bring our son home from Ethiopia! Thank you for walking this journey with us in such fun ways!