God has blessed us with more than we could ever need. He has not blessed us so we can have the latest iPad, game console or a new car. We have been blessed to be a blessing.

Keep up with our adoption journey and get a peek into the Hollingsworth household.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

We Go Paleo

Almost two years ago (man, time flies) I went almost Paleo for 2 weeks. I lost seven pounds. I gained it right back when I started eating my usual modern-American/Western foods. Over the past 6 months, I've gained a pound here and a pound there.

Meanwhile, the kids seem to be loosing their battle with asthma. It's not life threatening at this point, but when we are shelling out $165 a month PER KID for a daily control medicine and they are still having to get breathing treatments because of coughing and congestion... well, something's gotta give.

A new friend of mine told me in passing that her sister is some sort of wellness doctor. I cannot remember her title, but it's not really important. I got her number and we talked for almost an hour. In short she told me the kids needed to be on the Paleo Diet.

Now that the holidays are over and we are back in our own home, away from grandparents who mean well, but love to shower the kids with sugar, starches and more suger, we are going Paleo. So far, it's not going well. Raine can barely swallow eggs. Seth physically cannot eat meat that requires much chewing.

I Googled "Paleo for Kids" and found this great interview with a six-year old. Boy, can Seth relate to her pre-Paleo days. I hope he'll eventually relate to where she is now.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

This is My Christmas Post

FYI: This blog is maintained by me (April) only. This blog does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of my husband.

I was planning on holding my tongue fingers until after Christmas before I did my annual Scrooge post. But since I have bronchitis and was given a major steroid injection, I am wide awake at 1:00 a.m. this Christmas morn.

Usually by this time each year I have gone through my usual questions about the truth of Christmas. Then, a friend or pastor convinces me that Christmas is o.k. to celebrate. I quickly wave my hand over my forehead, wiping the sweat from my brow in relief because I just love shopping for toys to give to my kids. I love to watch them open presents on Christmas morning. Yes, my eyes would roll each and every time I heard a reference to Jesus’ birthday. But, for the most part, I enjoyed the holiday.

Well, this year is different. This year I read Deuteronomy Chapter 12. I’ll begin in verse 28 here, “Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God. When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? – that I may do the same.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

Not only does God tell us to worship Him only. He doesn’t even want us taking practices from other religions and using them for Him. His people have tried to worship Him in their own ways since Cain and Abel. Apparently Cain knew what offering he was supposed to bring for the LORD, but he chose to bring something else. When the Israelites were waiting on Moses to come down from the mountain, they knew that golden calf couldn't do a thing for them. They were planning on worshiping Yahweh the next day.
But let's think about something else for a minute. Would it be ok if we, today, each made our own golden calf, placed it on our mantel and said it was in honor of Him or His son? Would it be ok to use a Buddha statue in honor of him? What about a yin-yang? What if we took a holiday that was used by Muslims, scratched out all reference to "Allah" and replaced them with "Jesus." How would that make our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob feel?
I’m pretty sure He feels the same way about Christmas. I'm also pretty sure that he'd rather us observe the Holy Days He Himself set forth. Christmas is not a Holy Day. There is nothing Holy (set apart) about it.
The practices of Christmas started looonnnggg before Jesus was born. I could write all about it here, but there are plenty of other blogs, websites and even books (check your local library) about the history of Christmas. Yes, tomorrow I will be woken by my children who are so excited to open their presents. My four-year old will probably tell us it is Jesus’ birthday. I’m sure my kids will sing Happy Birthday Jesus as they blow out the candles on a cake their grandmother made. And I’m fine with that. Why? Because I know when they get older and begin studying the Bible, they will be able to see the truth. I have faith that one day my entire household will be worshiping the LORD our God in spirit AND truth. We shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wish I Had Time

I wish I had time to go through photos from yesterday and write all about our day... Eden's birthday. Let me just quickly hit the high points.

*Raine was sick and we spent over three hours at the doctor's office, getting chest x-ray, waiting for her Rx, etc. Raine was asleep while Seth and I decorated cake balls and cupcakes.

*Her fever broke by the time we got ready to go out to eat, so we still celebrated Eden as planned.

*It felt weird and sad to celebrate my one year old's first birthday when we've only had her in our family for 3 months.

*I think it was the fact that we had a plate full of cake balls and cupcakes with a  "1" candle for our brown baby that got us lots of attention at Mr. Bill's. Some anonymous person paid for our meal. We were so humbled.

All in all, it was a great day. Raine is feeling much better today. BTW: She was diagnosed with strep.

Oh yeah, everywhere we went (doctor's office, outpatient x-ray, outpatient registration, etc. etc.) the kids were sure to tell those that commented on Eden's cuteness that it was her birthday. They are so proud of their little sister.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Happy Holidays from Charles Spurgeon

“We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and, secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and, consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority.”
(Charles Spurgeon, Sermon on Dec. 24, 1871)

“When it can be proved that the observance of Christmas, Whitsuntide, and other Popish festivals was ever instituted by a divine statute, we also will attend to them, but not till then. It is as much our duty to reject the traditions of men, as to observe the ordinances of the Lord. We ask concerning every rite and rubric, "Is this a law of the God of Jacob?" and if it be not clearly so, it is of no authority with us, who walk in Christian liberty.”
(from Charles Spurgeon's Treasury of David on Psalm 81:4)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Our First Feast of Booths

Well, my first attempt at celebrating the Feast of Booths was all but a complete fail. Why was I attempting to celebrate such a feast? Because it is one of the many “holidays” ordained by God in the Old Testament. Yep, there are actual holidays God has given us! Who knew? Now, why would I want to celebrate a holiday from the Old Testament?  Well, if it is important to God, it is important to me. After all, the Feast of Booths will be celebrated during the Millennial Reign (Zechariah 14:16). 

Just how is the Feast of Booths celebrated? Let's look at Leviticus 23:33-43.
 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Booths to the Lord. On the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work. For seven days you shall present food offerings to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present a food offering to the Lord. It is a solemn assembly; you shall not do any ordinary work.

“These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the Lord food offerings, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day, besides the Lord's Sabbaths and besides your gifts and besides all your vow offerings and besides all your freewill offerings, which you give to the Lord.

“On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the Lord seven days. On the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. You shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It is a statute forever throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
I gave myself lots of grace in this. I borrowed a friend’s EZ Up Tent instead of attempting to build my own. We would eat meals in the tent and spend as much time in it as possible. Sleeping outside in the late, but ever-so-hot summer with a baby was never considered. The kids and I would decorate it with “leafy trees” that we would gather from nearby. I wanted them to get as excited about our booth as they do about our Christmas tree. I also invited a friend over to celebrate with us one night during the feast. Chicken and dressing was on the menu as a means to get Jonathan excited about this “Jewish holiday” as he calls it.
On the night of the fifteenth day of the seventh month, I was driving home from the grocery store and noticed the full moon. I thought, “Don’t all of the Feasts begin on a full moon?” When I arrived home, I checked the internet to find that I had missed the first day of the feast! No big deal, we’ll just get the tent up tomorrow.
The next day during Eden’s nap, the kids and I assembled the ten. Note: when they named the tent “EZ Up” they mean that it is only easy if two people are putting it up. By the time I got the tent ready, I was too hot, sweaty, and tired for harvesting greenery. The next day was hectic as well, ya’ know with three kids and all! Then, by the third day it had started raining. I just left the tent up thinking it could withstand a little weather. The next morning, I walked outside and saw that it had been demolished! Now where was I going to come up with $150 to replace my friend's tent?

Later, I received an email from my friend informing me that rain would be coming on the evening of our marked fellowship. Since there was no tent anyway, we agreed to break bread inside the house. Then, the day before our scheduled meal, she emailed to cancel due to a minor illness. Bummer!

Determined to etch something in the memory of my kids in regards to this feast, I sweet-talked my husband into pitching our little, but serious, three-person tent in the middle of the living room. What a good sport he was! He even helped me get this photo:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Jump to Three Kids

I don’t blog often. It’s just not my thing. But today I’ve decided to take some time out of my laundry day to let you all know how life with three children is going. I kept hearing and reading that going from 2 kids to 3 was really difficult. When I read a particular blog post on the subject, I thought, “Oh well, I’ll just have to quit my business and do the best I can.” 

They were so wrong!

Going from 2 to 3 kids has been so easy. I wouldn’t say it should be easy for everyone. The main reason I think it is easy for us is because we adopted an 8 month old. She has already been trained to go to sleep on her own. She practically sleeps all night now. She is very happy and content… until she gets sleepy and I keep rocking her, refusing to lay her in her bed!

The jump from 1 to 2 kids was huge. Even the jump from 1 to 1.5 kids was huge. It was a lot harder to go to the grocery store with a 2 year old and a huge belly than it is now. Pregnancy wore me out. Newborns wear me out. Bringing Eden into our family has truly been, no big deal.

Na, in all actuality it IS a big deal. The big deal is that God has showered us with so much grace. He is all in this and we can feel his presence.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

From Adoption to Redemption: Our Attachment Plan

If you are a mother who has given physical birth, I’m sure you remember when the nurse first gave you your baby. You were the first person your baby saw. You held her against your chest and she took in all your smells. Over the following weeks, she realized you must be someone important. You fed her, changed her, and rocked her. After a few more weeks, she probably smiled as you entered the room. Maybe she even cried when you left.

As you are aware, I was unable to have all those moments with Eden. I didn’t give birth to her. I haven’t been there to change, feed, or rock her. She is now 8 months old and the “someone(s) important” to her are her nannies. In a few months, her new daddy and I will become the important ones. At first she won’t realize it. She may even wonder where her nannies are. She’ll wonder why she has been taken from her familiar bed and from the familiar sounds and smells of Ethiopia. Just because her life is “better” based on our standards, it doesn’t mean the adjustment will be easy for her.

So for a while, her daddy and I will be the ones who will hold, feed, change, and rock her. We will be the only ones meeting her needs. We will not be leaving her in the church nursery or with any babysitters for a while. We don’t know how long this phase will last. We remain hopeful that she will attach to us rather quickly and you all will be able to love her like you do Raine and Seth. But until then, we ask that you love her from a distance.

We appreciate each and every one of you who have prayed for us, supported us, purchased items from us, and given us money. While her adoption is almost over, her redemption is just beginning. What we need from you now, is time.

We love you all!

Grab some popcorn and a cola and enjoy the video I put together of our first trip!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

To Jew or Not to Jew

We were in our small group class Sunday morning, looking at Acts 2:42-47. During part of the discussion someone spoke up and said, “They had to leave everything since Jesus came to do away with the Jewish religion and replace it with Christianity.” Oh, my heart started pounding, I think smoke may have even come out of my ears. I shook my head and just looked down at my Bible in disbelief. 

Why did I get so angry? Just a year ago I probably would have agreed. Though now, having read the book of Acts with an open mind, I see that the apostles’ mission was simply to preach about the resurrection. They kept the feasts, the Sabbaths and even met in the Synagogues. They didn’t celebrate Christmas or Easter. They were Jews and they remained Jews, just like their, and my savior, Jesus Christ.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Together for the Good

I just got home from our adoption agency’s annual women’s event. The event features the testimonies of 4 women who play some role in orphan care. Out of the 4 speakers, one is a foster parent and one adopted from Uganda. 

Somehow, I missed the memo about this event. I found out about it last minute. A fellow adoptive mom encouraged me to sell my soaps there as a vendor. There is no cost to have a booth and all vendors get free admission. Sounded good to me, even though at the time, I had no idea what the event was about.

I arrived, set up my booth and sold one bar of soap before the speakers began. Our booths re-opened after the last speaker, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that God did not send me there to sell soap. 

A few weeks ago, when we were submitted to Embassy, I thought that was evidence our case would go quickly. A few days ago, we received an email stating they were ready to interview the police officer in charge of Eden’s case. We got word that the police office would go to the Embassy at their earliest appointment. I thought, “Alright, we’re days away from clearing!” We then found out that the Embassy was backed up until August 7. No big deal, that is just one more week. I pictured me waking up the next morning with an email saying her appointment was on August 8. The next morning, I did get an email, but the appointment wasn’t until August 13. Seeing that 13 was like a punch in the gut. I know, looking back now, it’s not that big of a deal. It is just 2 weeks, though it is 2 weeks away from getting our daughter. 

Then, we started finding out that not only are plane tickets high, there are no seats available on returning flights until late in the month. 

Let me just get to the point here because I really don’t feel like writing all the details of what has happened in between. It’s just a bunch of me trying to come up with a solution instead of being still and knowing that God is God. 

So tonight, as I sat in that room listening to other mothers’ stories, I knew why He sent me to that event. It was not so I could sell a total of 9 bars of soap. It was so I could see what other parents have gone through and see that this little problem of ours is just that… little. I have been so foolish to dramatize this and make it feel so huge. Though even if it were huge, it wouldn’t be too big for my God. He created Adam from the dust. He parted the Red Sea. He saved Daniel from hungry lions. He made the lame walk. He made the blind able to see. Most importantly He rose from the grave. So, this little problem regarding seats on an airplane… that’s nothing to Him. 

He may still choose for us to wait until September to travel. But that would only be because it fits into his plan – not because He couldn’t clear seats on the plane.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Whata My Bid

My husband's one and only post:

As we come toward the end of our adoption process plane tickets have gone up to 3X what they were just a few months ago. With the ticket prices so high comes a need for more money than expected. Therefore, LAWNGISTICS, LLC is offering a One Year Weed Prevention Program to the highest bidder. The highest bidder will receive:

Four (4) Pre-Emergent/Fertilizer Applications between September 1, 2013 and September 1, 2014.

This program includes 4 pre-emergent/fertilizer applications only. It does not include post emergent weed control applications (although those can be purchased seperately). The timing of the applications will be based on need as determined by weather and Lawngistics for the maximum amount of weed prevention possible. There is a 15,000 square foot maximum limit. 
Bidding starts at $300. To place your bid, simply leave a comment in the comment box. Watch the bid and feel free to comment more than once. Have fun!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bible Challenge

I will be posting photos of our trip soon. I want to write a detailed post about everything - not necessarily because I want you all to read it, but because I want to have it documented for myself. I took a journal thinking I would write in it each day. Who was I kidding? I hate journaling by hand.

On another note, I want to do a Bible challenge for you. On the radio today, I was listening to a certain pastor, who will remain nameless. He made the statement that folks were angry at Paul because he was preaching the doctrine of grace. About 3 or so months ago, I would have agreed. However, I have recently read the book of Acts a few times with a clear mind, removing all preconceived notions and doctrines. I found a totally different story. Paul kept saying that he was being attacked for preaching about (fill in the blank). Can you tell me what it was? Can you count how many times he said it? Ready. Set. Go!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Last Fundraiser

This is Fantu, we call her Eden. She became our child on June 24, 2013. We are now waiting on the US Embassy in Ethiopia to approve immigration.

During this time, we are fundraising for plane tickets. When we traveled the fist time for court, plane tickets were higher than expected and they can be even higher for this trip. I decided to make good use of my soap making hobby and sell my bars as a fundraiser.

Australian Outback contains tea tree essential oil and eucalyptus essential oil. Note: Each bar may differ in color and shape.

Mississippi Mud is a reformulated version of my Cocoa Butter soap. Smells yummy! Too bad it isn't edible! 

Oats & Honey gives a super lather and a little exfoliation.

Each bar is approximately 4 oz and costs $5.

If you need your soap shipped, please add that as another item. I can ship 8 bars for $5.95. up to 40 ship for $12.95. If you live in Tuscaloosa, I will be happy to deliver or meet you in town.

Soap & Shipping
If homemade soap isn't your thing and you would still like to help, we welcome donations.

If you are an adoptive family and would like information on selling my soap for a fundraiser, email me at aprilhwth (at) gmail (dot) com.