Friday, October 31, 2008

You Can't Fix Stupid

In the words of comedian Ron White, you can whiten yellow teeth, you suck out fat, but you just can't fix stupid.

This post kept me up half the night last night (well, that, and a migraine). You see, I feel I am pretty good at "turning the other cheek" when it comes to people being ugly to me, etc. I tend to use humor to deal with comments that really hurt my feelings. I don't anger easily and I find it pretty easy to forgive simply because I've put my own foot in my mouth a few times (to say the least). But when you say something ugly and racist about my kids, I honestly have a hard time dealing with that. You see, I want to give that over to God and forgive you, but that cuts me to a level I never realized I had before having kids. So, I find myself in a new place. Do I call this said person and let her know what an idiot she is for saying ugly things about my kids (especially to someone that KNEW ME! Ummm. hello?) or do I just turn the other cheek and just realize that you can't change stupid? And, honestly, there can be no other excuse for these comments except that you are stupid. Well, and a racist.

I am posting this for several reasons.
1. To spit it out. To get it out of me.
2. To let you know that racism is alive and well.
3. To let you know that racism SUCKS.
4. To beg you, plead with any of you that are reading this...before you let another racist comment leave your mouth, please think. It's painful. It's hurtful. It's stupid. And you can't fix stupid.

**An update on 11/3. I called her and we had a great discussion. THANKS for all your advice and I am truly sorry I sounded like such a grouch in this original post. We should ALWAYS talk things's what we are scriptually supposed to do, and besides, it just makes things easier to get it all out there in the open**

Monday, October 27, 2008

Our Trip to Chicago: The Airport

Yes, we are back from Chicago and our New Kids on the Block concert. Yes, it was absolutely freakin fabulous! I was trying to figure out how to make this post short and sweet, but I just don't think it can happen.

We left on Friday morning. Picked up Kim and Chris in Greenbrier and headed to the park and fly. Took our limo to the airport and checked our baggage. As we headed through security, I noticed these three guys in front of us that looked, well, famous. They were pasty white and dressed completely in black. I turned to Chris, the music guru, and asked if the guys in front of us were "anybody." He immediately began shaking, putting his fingers to his lips, and acting a fool. I thought he was being a smart butt and even a guy from the other line took notice of Chris and was motioning to me like "what?" It was then that this said man noticed the pasty white fellows in front of us and also began acting like a fool as well. Chris then told us it was Jack White from the White Stripes. One of his top five all time favorite singers. This means a lot coming from Chris T. He's a music man and goes to A LOT of concerts. Now, I must say that Mr. Cool, Calm, and Collected Chris turned into a major mush ball when I told him we should get a picture of them together. "No, no, you can't bother him in Nashville," Chris said. Whatever. So, I walked up to him in the gift shop and after Chris introducing himself, this was the pic I snapped. I wish you could have seen Jack's face when we told him we were off to Chicago to see New Kids.

(this post has taken me 4 days to do since I am currently struggling with a migraine/sinus infection, so I decided to bust our Chicago trip up into several posts. Bear with me as I work at getting them uploaded. Trust me, it's worth the wait)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

There's Daddy!

I had to go get new tires on the car today so I decided to head to Franklin. Jonathan's Uncle David and Aunt Diane have a tire store there and not only do we get a family discount, but I want to support their business.

Mary Elizabeth and I went into the lobby to wait while Uncle David was getting ready to put the tires on. Aunt Diane and I got to catch up and M.E. was showing how she could "walk" (holding my hands of course!) and smiling and waving. Another lady walked in and took a seat near us. She commented on how pretty M.E. was and I continued trying to keep her busy. It was about this time that the front door to the lobby opened. Not looking up, I heard the lady say, "There's Daddy!" I immediately realized she was talking to M.E. and looked up wondering how she would know what Jonathan would look like. I was shocked to see a tall, stocky black man. Evidently, when the door opened, Mary Elizabeth noticed him and did her traditional killer smile and wave. The lady took this to mean that she knew the man and assumed he was her dad. She assumed wrong. I immediately smiled (trying not to die laughing) and just said "nope!" She stumbled all over herself and couldn't get out of there fast enough.

That was definitely a first and although I'm sure it won't be the last, it sure was funny!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another yard sale update

This is going to be quick as I am EXHAUSTED. I have so much to say, but I must sleep so I will update more on Monday.

Our grand total for both days was over $6,000. GOD IS GOOD! We literally have a third of what we will probably need for this adoption from just ONE YARD SALE!

THANK YOU doesn't seem adequate, but it's all I have right now. We love you guys. You rock!

P.S. I think we found our girls name today (if we adopt another girl). It's Sarah Catherine. What do you think?

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Quick Yard Sale Update

Although we hardly made a dent in the amount of stuff here, I am in awe to tell you that we sold over $4,000 today.

If you are thinking, "oh, all the good stuff is gone and I shouldn't go on Saturday".....well, you would be wrong. There is TONS (and I mean literally me, we moved it back inside) of awesome stuff left. I am hoping some of you will post comments to tell me what you thought.

I hope it was worth the drive for those of you that came a distance (the farthest we heard was Huntsville, AL) and I hope to see many more tomorrow.

We are here from 7am-3pm on Saturday!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Yard Sale Reminder

I know I promised pictures, but with today's weather, pictures just weren't possible.

I am exhausted, but I promise you, if you can bear with us while it takes the hours it will take to get everything out....this is the BEST yard sale you will ever come to. There are RACKS and RACKS of NEW clothing at $4 each. 99% of it is sized and arranged by sex. They are bins and bins of shoes. These will probably not be arranged by sex and size, but I can tell you that they will all be $4 each and there are definitely more girl than boy (way more girl). As for clothes, there is everything from size newborn to size 16. There is a good amount for both boy and girl in all sizes!

There is a ton of used clothing that has been donated. Adult clothing and tons of kids clothing. All the used clothing will be $1 each and all the used shoes will be $1 each. There is a twin size bed, a crib, 2 tvs (one big screen, one regular size), a kids size wooden table with two chairs, tons of toys including a Dora house COMPLETE for $15, home decor, and just STUFF. So much stuff. Please continue to tell everyone you know!

We will be here Friday from 8am-4pm and Saturday, the 18th from 7am until 3pm. PLEASE KNOW THAT IF YOU COME AT 8AM ON FRIDAY, WE ARE DOING OUR BEST TO BE READY BUT WITH THE AMOUNT OF STUFF WE HAVE, IF WE AREN'T...I hope you don't mind digging! Please tell everyone to bring cash cause if we don't know you and know where to find you, we aren't taking a check. Please also let everyone know that EVERY dime of this sale is going into our adoption fund!

I can't begin to adequately tell you how blessed we feel this week. People have open their homes and their hearts and donated so generously to this cause. Words can't do it justice how much we love you guys and appreciate each of you. Please pray for good weather, good attitudes and I will do my best to post an update with pictures tomorrow night!

Monday, October 13, 2008


Home...what a powerful word. Seriously.

A year ago today, we brought Mary Elizabeth home.

She was so tiny. When we met her on October 5, she weighed 4 lbs. 1 oz. and by October 13 she was up to 4 lbs. 10 oz.

I don't remember our house feeling incomplete before her, but now I can't imagine what our life would be like without her.

Thank you Lord for bringing Mary Elizabeth home.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

How Big

Last week was fall break for the kids at school and Papa Eddie and Juju decided to take Anna to Washington D.C. for a visit. She had a blast getting to tour the Smithsonian, visiting the White House (including a self guided tour), eating in China Town (yes, she ate sushi), and visiting Kennedy's grave and the tomb of the unknown soldier. They snapped this pic of Anna in front of the White House right before they went in. You aren't allowed to take any type of purse, etc. so all they had was the camera on their cell phone. When they forwarded it to me, I just sat there and stared at it. How is it possible that Anna is that big? It seems like yesterday I could feel her moving around in my belly and now she is 10 years old.

Now, while Anna was riding to Washington D.C. with Papa Eddie and Juju, Gram and Papa Sam got to spend the day with the boys at Camp Boxwell. Again, when she sent me these pics, I am once again reminded at just how big they have gotten. They will turn 7 on November 28. They are the BEST of friends and just love being together. Although they look like they are different sizes, don't be fooled. They are standing on an incline (although Luke will tell you he is taller). To the naked eye, they are identical through and through. To me, they are as different as night and day. Lord, I love my kids.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I'm assuming (and you know what they say about that)...

I'm assuming that you have all jumped over to Alison and Brad's blog to check out the fact that they raised ALL of their needed money to bring home the newest Bynum. I'm also assuming that you all know that the fourth member of their family was a girl (my boy vibes were obviously wrong) and that her name is Charlotte Marie. I'm also assuming you have seen their wonderfully fab pictures of Char's homecoming. If I am assuming incorrectly, you had better hightail it over there and check it out. Good stuff.

I am working at Bethany Christian Services again today as everyone is out of the office today to host their orientation. I just talked with Alison B. and she is bringing Charlotte to see me. Of course, she has another reason to come here, but I am so excited that I had to find something to do with the time otherwise I would be a nervous wreck. THANK goodness I put a camera in my purse this morning, although most of you that follow this blog know that it will take me forever to actually upload pictures.

I am wondering if Charlotte is going to give me baby fever? There is NOTHING like the smell and touch of a newborn and ooh, I just can't wait to get my hands on her. There is also NOTHING like the sleepless nights and days without showers, so I will need to remind myself of that while I am holding her and making plans to sneak that formal packet in the house!

So enough babble for a while. I am going to be working on yard sale prep this weekend and helping my friend Candy celebrate her 40th birthday tonight. Have a great weekend!

How This Works

First, I must admit that I am horrible about reading comments that people leave on my blog. Sometimes I see them right away and respond, other times I go a few weeks before I even realize that I have comments. Yes, I know I need to set it up so that I get notified every time I get a comment, I really should do that, I know.

Anyway, I had a comment on my last post and I thought I would take the time to post a blog about financing an adoption. Hopefully I can explain to everyone what Jonathan and I's take on "financing" an adoption looks like for us.

First, I should let everyone know reading this blog that to do a traditional domestic infant adoption (which is what we did with Mary Elizabeth), the costs can range anywhere from $12K-$35K. With our particular agency, the MOST you will spend is $22K but I have known others to spend upwards of that with other agencies. You will also find that other agencies will discount the fees based on the race of the child, health of the child and the likelihood of the child being placed. For instance, since a healthy white child is the most in demand, you will find that other agencies tend to charge top dollar for these children. Yes, it is sickening. That is why we choose Bethany Christian Services in Nashville. They charge a sliding scale fee based on each couple's income, NOT based on the child.

You pay for the costs of the adoption (formal application fee, home study fee, etc.) a little at a time until the big whammy which is the placement fee. The placement fee is due when you are placed with the child. The placement fee is the remainder of the set fee based on your income that you have yet to pay. For instance, if your determined fee is $18K and you have already paid in $4K in various fees mentioned above, you would owe $14K at placement. Yes, there are loans available to pay for this fee.

BUT, for Jonathan and I, we aren't comfortable with taking out a loan. Why? Well, there's a couple of reasons. 1. We are already parenting four children. The last thing we need is a fifth child named adoption loan. If we can't pay cash for the adoption, we personally feel that now is not the right time to start the process. 2. We are willing to work, and work hard, to save the cash for this adoption. We don't EXPECT people to help us, but if people WANT to help us, that is the reason we put the paypal link on the blog. We've had some people say, "hey, we don't have stuff to donate for a yard sale, but we feel called to help you guys out" so that's why we stuck it up there. 3. We don't want to be normal, and taking out a loan is normal. Is it bad? For us, yes...for you, it may not be...but when we welcome home Freeman #5 we want to be able to completely enjoy this child and not have a loan on our back.

Now, as for what happens if we don't adopt. We are keeping all the donated funds in a seperate savings account (that already has $210 in it! YAHOO!) If something happens and we can't adopt, we will refund every dime back to each person who has donated. On something like the yard sale where that can't be determined, we will donate those said funds to another family that is in the process of adopting.

I hope that I have helped answer some questions that some of you might have been thinking, but not brave enough to ask. Again, I am not saying a loan is bad, it just isn't right FOR US and we personally believe that God has given us knowledge, skills and the means to save the funds to bring our next child home!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Yet Another FUNdraising Update

My dear friend, Laura H., suggested we put the handy dandy paypal link on our blog that you will see ever so boldly at the top of this blog to the right. We aren't putting it there to beg for money, we are putting it there because we know that some will want to financially help with this adoption. We officially opened our savings account with $100 and will be putting all donations from the paypal and any other fundraising opportunities directly in that account which will not be touched for any purpose other than adoption fees. You probably won't hear me mention that little paypal link again, but I wanted you guys to know why we stuck it there. I also wanted you to know that I WILL update from time to time where we are money wise, as I think this is helpful to others who might be starting the adoption process as well and/or are wanting tips on how to help pay for an adoption. We love each of you and more than money or donations, we covet your prayer in this next chapter in our life! Love, Brea and Jonathan

Yard Sale Update

UPDATE: YARD SALE FOR BLOG READERS and everyone you forward this to: Friday, October 17 8am-4pm, advertised to public for Saturday, October 18 7am-? PLEASE don't come before 8am on Friday as I have got to get the kids to school and I want it to be fair for everyone!

For those of you excited about the yard sale, I wanted to wet your appetite with a little update on some of the stuff we will have for sale. PLEASE pass this on to your friends and family and encourage them to come shop. We are hoping to raise enough money to be able to pay for our home study (which is roughly $2K). If we make more, we will be ecstatic...if we make less, we will just plan another yard sale!

Anyway, as of today this is what I know we have to sell next Friday/Saturday. If you want to donate any stuff, please feel free to contact me at I actually had someone email me and say that they figured we didn't need any more stuff. We need anything and everything we can get (not to sound too needy!) We realize that right now times are tough for everyone and we are so thankful for anything people can donate.

Sizes 0-16

12 (yes, you read that right) racks of Gymboree and Boutique children's clothing. All of it is new with tags and it will be arranged by size and sex. Obviously the smaller the sizes, the more there is. All of this will be $4 each except for Gymbo leggings which will only be $2. BINS of Gymboree and Boutique shoes are $4 each.

at least 2 racks of brand new boutique clothing that will be priced at $10 each. This clothing retailed for around $80-$100 each so that is why the price will be higher on these items!

*Creative Memories
*Kitchen Stuff
*Home Decor
*Used kids clothing and used adult clothing. awesome brands and a huge range of sizes. Most of it will be $1 each
*HDTV Big Screen TV - works perfectly
*Entertainment Center for Big Screen TV - like new
*other furniture
*Dyson vacuum
*American Girl stuff (including some pretty hard to find dolls-these will be kept inside so please ask for these or email for more info)

THANKS for everyone that has been SO generous thus far and thanks for your support! I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fall Cleaning

As the adoption fundraising yard sale is rapidly approaching, I was recently inspired by something that I heard Suze Orman say on Oprah. Now, please note, I am not a hugh (ha ha) fan of Suze or Oprah, but I just happened to turn it on this day and I did agree with Suze's statement.

She was discussing personal debt and was comparing one couple that was $90K in credit card debt to another couple who, after retiring, were living debt free in an RV traveling around the US. She and Oprah went and toured the RV and the place was immaculate. Her kitchen cabinets were neatly organized, even her clothes were neatly folded and sorted by color in the drawers. Suze noted that this is how people who don't have debt live....because they actually appreciate what they have. She also went on to say that people who have debt tend to live in states of chaos, etc. and tend to have clutter, unused items laying around, etc. It inspired me to take a look at myself. Am I living like we are in debt or like we are debt free based on how my home is organized. I was actually a bit embarrassed with what I found.

Soooo....I am fall cleaning. There are items I have moved from house to house that I have never used. It's not that I have even kept them because I think I might use them, but more of a sentimental thing (oh, my college roommate gave me that). As I looked at this stuff with a new perspective, I realize that it is just crap and that the majority of the crap is stuff that I don't really use and it ends up stressing me out. The more I pull out, the larger the yard sale pile is becoming.

As I sell something that might still have some emotional attachment at the yard sale, I will gently remind myself that it is just stuff and that I would much rather have a child in my arms than a mess in my cabinets.

Thought for the day...

I haven't done a random thought for the day in a while so I hope you enjoy!

When describing the size of your yard sale on a craislist ad, please remember that HUGH is the guy in the movie Notting Hill, not a proper adjective describing the size of your HUGE yard sale.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

So close...

My friends Alison and Brad are so close in reaching their $12,000 in 48 hour goal. If you haven't checked out their blog, go there now and DONATE. Last I heard, they are almost at $10K. Help them bring Norah's new baby brother/sister home!

I'd Vote For Jack

How incredibly cute is this? Chris put this together and I just loved it!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Monday 9/29: A Day of Blessings!

Monday morning at 9:00 am, Mary Elizabeth "officially" became our daughter. The technical term for this is finalization and trust me when I say, this was the EASIEST part of our adoption journey. We met our case worker from Bethany, Carolyn, and our attorney, Ned Williams, at the courthouse at 8:30am. We were fourth on the docket and I'm not really sure if I knew what to expect. What I definitely didn't expect was for Mary Elizabeth to sleep during the entire process. And I don't mean a cap nat...sister slept so hard I'm surprised she didn't snore right there in court. Even when the judge came down to hold her for pics, she never woke up!

We left the courtroom and waited while Ned and Carolyn went and got the official paperwork. We were so blessed to be joined by both my parents, Papa Eddie and JuJu, and Jonathan's parents, Papa Sam and Grandmother (also known as Gram which is what my kids have been recently calling her!). It was seriously that simple.

As we left the courthouse, Gram snapped this pictures of us leaving. Not the best, but you will notice that Mary Elizabeth sprung to life right as we walked out the doors with a smile on her face as if to say, "hey, I thought we were going in there!"

Jonathan and I took Mary Elizabeth to lunch at Mimi's Cafe at the Streets of Indian Lake, which was great. M.E. ate like a horse. I'm not sure if I have mentioned the fact that she no longer eats baby food. She just doesn't like it. For lunch she had their yummy carrot/raisin bread, roast, potatoes, carrots, and broccoli.

Daddy went back to work and M.E. immediately passed out in the car for her afternoon nap. It was at this point that I thought it was only appropriate that I call my friend Alison to tell her it was official. If you have followed my blog longer than a millisecond, you have heard me mention Ali B. Her daughter, Norah, and Mary Elizabeth are the best of friends and Alison has literally walked this adoption journey with us!

When she answered the phone, I could just tell that something was up. Alison is so laid back and I could sense excitement in her voice. What do you know? She had just found out that Norah's birthmom was pregnant and due any day with Norah's little brother/sister (they don't know the sex). She had just found out she was about to be a mommy again to Norah's biological sibling! I can't imagine getting a phone call like that, but the spirit of Christ completely was with us in that call. What an amazing testimony of their relationship with Norah's birthmom!

The last 72 hours I count myself blessed to have watched this family prepare to minister to Norah's birthmom. In all the excitement of preparing for another baby, they have never stopped to think about what is best for them. To GOD be the GLORY for this miracle...and they need our help!

In the next 48 hours, they need to come up with $12K to pay for this adoption. Now, I know economic times are not the best and many people are laying awake at night wondering where their money is going, but I can promise you that a donation to this family's adoption fund is something that you can feel good about. This is a family that is committed to raising their children to know the Lord as their savior, they are committed to Norah and this baby's birthmother in ministering to her in whatever way that looks like. Even if it means that she decides to parent. Did you catch that?

EVEN IF SHE DECIDES TO PARENT THIS BABY, they are willing to care for this baby for whatever time she needs to make a decision. So I challenge you to take a few minutes and check out her post here and put them a check in the mail, or even better, zap them a payment through paypal. Even if you had planned on giving to us, we are still a ways off from starting our process, and I would rather you give to them.

We love you Alison and Brad and can't wait to meet this new little guy (of course, my vote is boy!)