Monday, November 3, 2008

I Blame It On My Husband

It's totally Jamie's fault for my lack in blogging lately. Because he is seemingly perfect, I feel I must find something to place blame on him for. And I choose blogging absence.

He has been gone for about four weeks and he carries with him my outlet to the world wide web. Otherwise known as a computer. So my access to the internet has been slim. Almost non existent at times. And while I did experience some slight eye twitching the first few weeks, I actually welcomed the not so self imposed computer fast the last few weeks. The extra time allowed me to get caught up on sewing, house cleaning, and studying of fine literature. Or caught up on all my DVR shows. I'll let you choose which one is truthful. I know, I know you think I'm an expert seamstress....

So, needless to say, it's still Jamie's fault.

There has been so much that has happened in the last month that I hardley know where to start. So I'll just blurt it all out. It's sure to be poetic. Or a list:

1. We met the mother who chose us (can anyone say Awesome?!)
2. We saw pictures of the baby ( double Awesome)
3. It's a BOY! (triple Awesome......ok, you get it)
4. He's coming earlier than we thought
5. I'm freaking out just a little
6. But only because I'm so stinkin excited
7. I can't quit buying baby clothes
8. It's a problem
9. No, really I'm addicted to the baby section
10. And my nursery still isn't finished

So there ya go. Not much at all.

First let me tell you that, this adoption thing.....well it just continues to surprise me. The minute I want to yell to the world that "Our baby is coming!" (much like Paul Revier) I also want to tuck it all away and not share so many details. I know it's weird. But the more I think about it, the more I want it to be his story to share. Surprise #1. I really never saw that coming.

Surprise #2. We had such a connection with the mother. Not that it was a huge surprise, but man....it was pretty awesome. (Last time I'll use that word....promise). She is amazing. She is now the last person I think about when I go to bed at night and the first person on my mind each morning. As cliche as that sounds, it is totally true. And meeting her made me realize how hard it will be to walk out of the hospital with the baby she carried and birthed and know how heart wrenching it will be for her. But this too is something we know God is in control of.

We are so very excited to be preparing for a baby. And I'm not even telling a lie when I tell you he will be here in five weeks. HELLLOOOO!!!! I said five weeks! So the lists at my house? Well you know they are a plentiful. Not to mention a few little itty bitty holidays coming up. Oh, you know Thanksgiving and Christmas. You ever heard of them?

But I'm not too worried. Baby trumps all preparations in my book. So if you are reading this and you normally get a Christmas gift from the Autry's, I hate to break it to you that your all time favorite gift of the holiday season will have to pass this year. But I would like to give a shout out that we are still open and available to be on the receiving end of those presents. I'm just saying.....

We would like a new television. It's for the baby.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Guess what we're getting this year for Christmas?

So, it looks like we are going to have a Christmas baby! We got the call last Thursday night that we have been chosen by a mother who is due December 22nd.

In 81 days we will be parents. We're just a little bit excited to say the least.

I was sitting at home by myself last Thursday reading the latest Christianity Today magazine. (I'm throwing that in so you think I'm all holy). Jamie was still at work in Memphis, so I had some time to myself to read. Which is always nice. Can I get an Amen?

Anyway, it was about 8:30 and the phone rang and it was our social worker. My first thought was that she was calling about a question I had emailed her the day before. But that is not why she was calling. She said she had some news and I held my breath. She said "You've been chosen" and all I could say was "Are you serious?". Like she would call someone and say that and then say....oh, just joking. But it's all I could say. And I said it over and over again. Finally, she started telling me all the information and she paused mid-sentence and said "You may want to write all this down." I said "Oh, good thinking". I was actually surprisingly calm though on the phone. It wasn't until I hung up that I was screaming and crying. Actually it was more like wailing.

I couldn't believe it. I'm still, a week later, in shock about the whole thing.

I called Jamie after I could finally make words come out of my mouth. Of course, he did not answer his phone. So I did what any good wife does. I called him right back. He answered the second time. I could barely speak through all the sobbing and he thought something terrible had happened. All I could say was "WE'VE BEEN CHOSEN!" and all he could say was "Are you serious?". Not sure why we both think people would play evil jokes on us.

We are both so overjoyed. The mother wants to meet us and I am so excited about that. Now we have an actual mother that we are praying for. I haven't even met her yet and I can't even explain the feelings I have toward her. It's unlike anything I've experienced before. It made this whole thing a lot more real now that there are actual people involved. The reality of her situation makes my heart ache for her. I choose not to go into details on this blog because everything I know is her story. It is her life. It is not mine to share. But we are praying for her during this sure to be difficult time.

It's so important for people to understand why we are adopting. While it is in fact true that we desire a child, we chose adoption because we believe in finding Christian homes for children who might not otherwise have a family. Adoption was not created to give babies to infertile couples. It is a way to provide loving homes for children of all ages, races, and backgrounds whose biological parents realize they can't provide for them. It comes at great cost to those parents. And we do not take that responsibility lightly.

We are greatly blessed that she deems us worthy of the task and we can't wait to welcome baby Autry home.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This is My 100th Post!

I can't believe I've stuck with this blog that long. I'm a little bit of a "throw yourself all into something and then quit a few weeks later" kind of person. As much as I like to think I'm not like that, it is totally true.

For example, when Jamie and I started dating, he played golf a lot. In my mind I thought "Golf can't be that hard, it's just a stick and a ball". "I'm sure I could do that". So, I started going to some driving ranges and thinking that I am going to learn how to play.

(As a side note, I should also mention that I have a sort of warped perception of my athletic abilities in that I think I have them. I played on a church softball team several years ago and was terrible, but I'm so competitive that it didn't seem to cross my mind that I needed to be good before I was talking trash.)

So the golfing begins. And then it ends about 2 weeks later when I realize the amount of work it would take to actually ever make it onto the course.

Last year, I decided I wanted to learn how to sew. Lucky for me, my friend Hannah sews and I thought she could teach me. I went for a few lessons and made an apron. It did turn out very cute but it did in fact take me about a month to make. But for that month.....I was totally into sewing. I purchased different materials, looked up patterns on the internet, bought one of those tomato pin cushions and everything. But then after the apron project, I moved on to the next activity. But still to this day in my mind I am 100% convinced that if I had a sewing machine, I would be a great seamstress.

Two months ago I decided that I needed to get in shape. So I committed to training for a 5K. I researched to find a race several months away, looked up training programs, and even bought new tennis shoes. That lasted about a month as well. All the running messed up my evening routine of watching television. And let's just be honest, Jon and Kate Gosselin have to have people watching their show...I mean they have eight kids, how else can they get money? I like to think of myself as being a contributor to the greater good of the entertainment society. The employees at Direct TV do have to feed their families after all and they don't need my exercising taking food off their kids plates.

I also have a plastic container full of paints and brushes, a closet with canvases, and two unfinished paintings.

And the funny thing about all of this is that if you were to ask me, I wouldn't have a problem telling you that I was good at all of these things. "Marcie, do you paint?" "Why, yes I do. I also sew, play golf, run, bake, have an abounding knowledge of useless medical information, and decorate".

I've never really struggled with self-esteem obviously.

So, to make it to my 100th post is a feat. This blogging thing has actually stuck around for awhile. There are few things that do. Lucky for you readers, this is one of them (see there is that not struggling with self-esteem thing again).

At least our child will be exposed to many different things right?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Tie that Binds

Today we had an adoption training class all day in Memphis. If I'm honest, I wasn't really looking forward to sitting in a class all day on a Saturday. But it turned out to be a wonderful day.

We learned a lot about talking to our children about adoption and different issues that can come up. It was very informative and very educational. But, that is not what I took away from today.

Every person that talked to us today had their own adoption story to tell. Whether they were teaching us about newborn care or fetal alcohol syndrome, it all related to them because they were adoptive parents who had been there. They got it.

Every person sitting in the classroom was traveling down the same road we are, except different circumstances had led them there.

Each of us was connected by this thing called adoption. And it made me think that this is exactly how the body of Christ is. Although we are all traveling down different roads, we all struggle with different things, we are all blessed in different ways, we may all live scattered across this globe, we are connected by the blood of Jesus. So really all Christians are also connected by adoption because we are all heirs to His throne.

And as corny as this may sound, it really is a beautiful thing.

I've just been thinking about the whole bigger picture of adoption and I really can't shake the feeling that I'm a part of something that is so much bigger than myself. A few people have told us that they admire us or are proud of us for adopting. Which I think is sort of silly really. Mostly we are adopting because we desire a baby. It's not some heroic feat. We are being obedient to a call God placed on our lives. And mostly I have gone about it kicking and screaming that it wasn't easier. But to sit there today and see so many adoption stories come full circle was a little overwhelming.

They were all, every single one, amazing stories of God's abounding faithfullness. And at that moment I felt so unbelievably unworthy to be chosen to be a part of something like this.

The truth of it is, the waiting is hard. But you know what? I know that what God has in store for us is going to be so worth it all.

"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed." Habakkuk 2:3

Monday, September 1, 2008

Week 1 of Waiting

I thought that after we got our approval, there would be a big burden lifted off of us. No more paperwork, no more water testing, we would be approved and waiting to be picked. I thought that would be easy after all the ordeals we had been through the past several months.

But of course, I was wrong!

Now, all we can do is wait and pray. There is no goal that we are actually "working" towards. We are just simply to wait to be chosen. And I think about it all day.

I have walked through the baby section in every store I've been in this week. I have trouble going to sleep now. I have painted the babies room and put together the crib. I have been searching online for a cute, green glider/rocker. I have sat in the floor of the nursery about 15 times. And I have prayed quit unceasingly for our future baby.

So, the waiting......well not so easy. It's quit consuming.

In adoption, there are so many things that are unknown. This makes the planning quit difficult, but at the exact same time it is exciting. While I don't get to experience a positive pregnancy test (which, let's face it, is just a stick with pee on it) or nine months of being pregnant, I do get to experience this waiting (without gaining weight....hopefully) and I will get to experience a phone call to say we have been chosen. And I will get to witness first hand one of the great mysteries of heaven; the unconditional loving of a child that was not born of us, but placed in our hearts. And while this may seem different to some, it seems very natural to us.

To say we are excited would be the understatement of the year. We are also anxious, nervous and scared. But I have to think that this is how all expecting parents feel. And we are in fact expecting parents.

So, week one down. Who knows how many more to go!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Excuse me for my bloggy absence

I know I haven't been around. And I know that most of you are probably tired of reading how hot I am. Actually the weather hasn't been that bad the past few weeks, but I was really hot before. Obviously. Either that, or I was trying to post anything just to keep my blog account open. Not that they shut them down or anything, but it has been quit awhile.

So the biggest news is that WE ARE APPROVED!!!!!!!! Yay!! We got a call Thursday night from our social worker and she let us know that everything looks good and that we are all official. Whoo Hoo!! We haven't signed our contract yet, but that should be coming this week. They are showing our profile though and that is very exciting!!

In other Autry news, two of my dogs escaped and I had to pick them up in the rain on the main highway. I actually had to run down the median in my high heels. Then I had to lift both of them up and put them in the back of my car. They both weigh about 175 pounds. Ok. So that might be a lie. But it felt like it.

Also, I have been working. A Lot. Which is the reason for the lax in my bloggity life. But I figure unless you people start paying me to write, I guess it's more important for me to be out in corporate America. My cell phone provider actually prefers to get paid after all.

And finally, the Olympics. We were a little bit addicted. And in the middle of the Olympics we got a DVR. And I have to argue that this is the best invention of my lifetime. And I realize that I am only 27, but I'm pretty sure nothing will ever compare. Unless we figure out how to actually grow money on trees. Or an automatic eye brow plucker. That would be nice.

I said finally, but really the last thing is that we have started decorating our nursery. And I cried a little. Finally, after four years, we get to start a nursery. And I totally know it could take us a long time to get chosen, which I figure could play into my decorating scheme seeing as I only have a crib. I have built the perfect nursery in my mind, but the problem is that most of the things I see in there are not even in existence. I am actually sitting in the nursery at this very moment. And I love it. And I am so excited!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hot?

Is anyone else hot or is it just me? (and of course by hot I mean temperature wise)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Mess of Emotions!

As we await for our upcoming approval, I find myself having all kinds of mixed feelings.

The reality of becomming a parent is freaking me out a little. I mean, I love children, I always have. I know that God has set this path of adoption in front of us, but the reality of bringing home a baby makes me a tee bit nervous.

It's weird, because I have been desiring it for so long, and now it is becomming more real. Each step gets us closer to the day we bring our child home. And I have so many emotions already about that, I can't even imagine what it will truly be like.

It's sad to me that during our overwhelming joy, someone else will be overwhelmed by grief at the loss of their child.

I'm scared that the infant will have a hard time adjusting, being taken away from everything he/she has known for the last nine months.

I sometimes get mad that we live in a fallen world where mothers have to give up their babies and people have to deal with infertility.

I know that our lives will forever be changed, and while that is exciting, I'm a little sad at the closing of this era.

As much as this child will be ours, I have to deal with the fact that I did not give birth to him/her and that means his path will be different. He will not be able to do the science experiment in middle school where he goes home to look at his mom and dad's earlobes to see if they are attached or not and then look at his to see which genetic trait he got.

And although all of this is different than "normal", I still rejoice that God chose us to go down this path. It's hard and I know it will get harder. But I know that God will do great things in this child's life. In His providence he led mine and Jamie's hearts and lives together knowing that we would fully be open to welcome all sorts of children into our family (and dogs). In His providence he will lead us to the baby for our family. And although sometimes it's very difficult to know how to pray for this situation (praying for our future child ultimately means the circumstance of an unwanted pregnancy and painful relinquishment), I know that God in his divine providence has worked all the details out long before I took my first breath.

When my birth mom gave me up for adoption, God knew that one day I would be going through the process to add a baby to my family through the same avenue. That thought is just amazing.

So although, I do have so many different emotions, I can rest in the fact that God has his hand over every detail. He will give us the wisdom to handle what has been given to us at the time we need the wisdom (and not before!). I just pray that he keeps reminding me of that!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Surrender

I don't have any insight tonight. No profound truth that I've recently realized. I don't have a funny story or an animal resue to speak of. I don't have anything sarcastic to say. I am simply here.

I am breathing, I am resting, and I feel more at peace tonight than I have felt in a long time. I am surrendered.

It seems funny to me to say that I am surrendered. That always seems like something that I am trying to attain and yet never achieving. Almost like it's prideful to actually say it. If that makes any sense what so ever.

I left work this evening at 5:00 and listened to my voice mail. Jamie had called me with the news that our water test came back clear. Our water has been healed thanks to the Culligan man.
When I heard the message, I simply smiled and told God thank you and sat in silence for the next several minutes, just resting in His presence.

You see, I'm a little bit of an emotional roller coaster of a person. My emotions can swing back and forth really in a matter of minutes. When I have good news, I call lots of people and when I am a crying mess I also call lots of people. My life is an open book. But tonight, while I was driving home in the silence of my car, I simply grinned and thanked God.

This is a big thing for me because in doing those two things (smiling and saying thanks) I was aknowledging that He is the one whose hand is over this whole adoption process. Not that I didn't know that before, but practically speaking, there is so much paperwork, so much figuring stuff out, so much bacteria to get rid of in my water! It's easy for me to feel completely competent. To handle things and check them off my tidy little to do list. And then when they get completed to move to the next thing, thinking I handled it well. When the truth of it is, if I am surrendered and I find out bacteria is in my water, I should simply accept it and know beyond a doubt that this is also from God as much as all the good stuff. But, on the contrary, I kick and stomp my feet and wonder why He has put another burden on us.

And I know this all seems silly now, because we got good results today. But the thing is, I acknowledged Him immediatly. This is not something I regularly do. I realized that it had nothing to do with filtration systems, or bleach, or stupid total coliform. That this whole thing has just been one more circumstance that He has used to teach me to be simple in my thinking. To not analyze everything. To not be overly emotional. To simply say thank you.

To be still and know that He is God.

And that is what I am experiencing. I am surrendered tonight. I don't know what the next step will bring, but I know that my God will direct my future the same way He has my past. I don't know why I go through all the steps I do because I always end up in the same place.....resting and knowing that He will not leave my side.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

What we've been up to

I realize that it's been a ridiculously long time since I have written, and I do apologize for that. I know that it's been hard to get through the week. I am deeply sorry.

There has been a lot of action on the Autry fronteir. In the last two weeks, I've gotten a new job, we've moved Loop De Lou offices, and Jamie has fully installed our pipes for our filtration system which is being installed tomorrow. So, we're moving right along towards parenthood as it would seem. Who new that installing pipe was a prerequisite for being a parent? We didn't learn that in health class.



Anyway, good thing I have a husband who can do anything. He wasn't happy about crawling under our house in the middle of summer (he hates spiders), but it's for a kid.....so he didn't really have a choice.



Also, today we found a dog on the side of the road and brought her home. We are such suckers for pitiful animals. I think they can smell the weakness and they seek us out. She is unbelievably adorable though. We named her Bonnie. We're hoping she sticks around. We trying to give her lots of food so she'll know just how weak we really are.


As if two dogs weren't enough. One day we hope the amount of children we have could equal the amount of canines. That way each dog gets a kid to take care of.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Great News!

Well, it might not seem like that big of a deal, but we're pretty excited about it! We found out that we DON'T have to build a shed right now!! The filtration system we picked out was way smaller than what we thought. So it can go underneath our house in the crawl space. This obviously will save us quit a bit of money!!

I just wanted to give an update, "Project Build a Shed" has been cancelled!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Filtration Schmiltration

We met with a water filtration specialist last week. He worked with us for three short hours to let us know what kind of system we needed.

He held the key to unlock all the knowledge to the wide world of water filtration (WWWF) (sort of like WWF, except without all the wrestling) (and without all the men in spandex) (but pretty much with the same amount of water).

He presented us with three types of systems. We, of course, chose the cheapest, because call me crazy, but $3500 for clean water just seems a little excessive. Our poor kid would never be able to go to college. "Sorry honey, in order to bring you home, we had to spend your college fund on water filtration."

Oh, I kid. There will never be a college fund.Mamma likes shoes too much for that.

Anyway, we also found out that in order to install said filtration system, we needed a dry place to keep it. So the rain wouldn't fry it. That would not be good in the WWWF. Especially since they like to make them with gold. Or so it seems.

So we also have to buy a shed. But since my husband can make stuff, we have chosen to build one. Project Build a Shed starts on Saturday.(sort of like Project Runway, except without all the models). Check you local listings.

It's a good thing though we're having to do this before the kid comes. Now we have a place to send him when he's bad.

Or maybe not. I feel like our social worker might frown on that.

After the shed is built and filtration system is installed, we did find out that the company we are using will test our water for us for free. So that's a nice little bonus. They say it's a 100% guarantee that it will cleanse our water of all bacteria. It's a good thing, because even if it was 99.9%, I'm pretty sure, for us, it wouldn't work. We would be that .0000001% (or whatever....I'm not good at Math).

So it looks like we are well (pun intended) on our way to bacteria free water. And adoption approval. And then maybe one day, a baby.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Only in the South

I have been thinking recently about Southern life. I have compiled a list. Because I love lists. And because sometimes it's hard to make paragraphs out of randomness.

Southern things I don't do:

1. go to the tanning bed (anymore)
2. color my hair (well, not recently anyway)
3. wear big hats
4. wear broaches
5. switch purses for seasons
6. feel the need to match
7. make white beans
8. wear big jewelry
9. say "darlin'"
10. watch Nascar

Southern things I do:

1. fry things
2. fish
3.watch college football religiously
4. cook cornbread
5. feel like food and comfort go hand in hand
6. say "bless her heart"
7. say "ya'll"
8. Use lots of butter
9. have sweet tea in my fridge at all times
10. look out my back window and see this:

This is Jamie's mom and grandma using the paddle boat in our pond. I cracked up laughing when I saw this. Two grandma's, coated in their tanning oil, paddling around the pond, trying to get some exercise. I mean, this is just something you don't see up North. I'm certain of it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day

So yesterday was Father's Day. And I don't know why Father's Day is so hard.

Two years ago on Father's Day, we were in the midst of infertility. I had started charting (don't worry....I won't go into detail about that!), and we were almost at the 2 year point of trying to conceive. We knew that the probability of there being a problem was high.

I was several days late with my monthly friend and my hopes were high. I knew we had timed things right. I was praying earnestly that maybe it worked. It didn't. And my monthly friend came with a vengence Father's Day morning. I layed in the bed and was a blubbering mess.

I should have taken that as a sign and just stayed at home in bed. But we couldn't because our niece was getting dedicated that Sunday and we needed, and wanted to be there for that. At our church they have baby dedication once a year on Father's Day.

Lucky us.

That year they also showed a slide show of all the children in the church with Andrew Peterson's song "Family Man" playing in the background. It was sweet, but I felt like it was a cruel joke. I couldn't hold it together. And I completely lost it when I looked over and saw Jamie wiping tears from his eyes. I was chewing gum and started crying so hard that I sucked it down my throat.

Precious memories. How they linger.

Thank the Lord we are in a much different place now. Although our circumstances haven't changed, God has really changed our hearts. We are indebted to His grace. We are in awe of His faithfullness.

But yesterday was another Father's Day, and another baby dedication. And I found myself crying again. Only silently this time, not hyperventalating and sucking gum down my throat. The truth is that it does make me sad. I can envision the father Jamie will be and it hurts that it is difficult. I see it in my mind, him holding an infant and looking at that child with awe. I know the kind of daddy he will be and yesterday was a painful reminder that our path is different.

Different is ok. Different is actually good because our God ordained it to be that way. But different sometimes stings.

As I sat in church, silently praying that I wouldn't fall a part, God spoke to me that I have MUCH reason to celebrate Father's Day. He is the ultimate Father. He is there to comfort us when we are crying so hard we suck gum down our throat. He is there to hold us when all our plans fall apart and tell us that His plans are best. He is there to correct us when we think we can control things. He is there to welcome us back when we realize we can't. He is there to listen when we have too many words of frustration. He is there to soothe us when all we can do is tell Him it hurts. He is good. He holds our hands as we sit silently crying on Father's Day. And he will share in our joy as we one day hold our sweet child.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Stuff They Don't Write About In Romance Novels

Jamie and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary yesterday. Six years ago, I became a Mrs. and moved into a double wide infested with mice and bad water.

We sure have come a long way. Minus the bad water part, we're pretty much a picture of the American dream. We live on a three acre lot with a big pond in the back, we have a nice house, two dogs, a car that breaks down a lot, we're infertile. You know, the stuff dreams are made of.

In all seriousness though, every single thing could be taken away from us and as long as we still had each other and the love of our Savior, it wouldn't matter at all.

So how did we celebrate? Well thanks for asking.

We went out on Saturday night to the movies. We chose a matinee because well, the price of going to an evening movie is $8.00. And I would rather spend $8.00 on a Starbucks drink. Or, you know, towards the electric bill. I do like air conditioning in the summer. Call me crazy.

We went to see Kung Fu Panda, you know the new animated movie. I think we were the only "couple" there. Animated panda's don't exaclty scream "Romantic Date Movie". But, it was a great movie. The best part about going to a kids movie at the matinee price is that there are in fact lots of kids there. Something funny would happen in the movie and those kids would start laughing and couldn't stop. And you know how little kids have some of the goofiest laughs. We would get so tickled just listening to all the laughing.

We decided to keep with the theme of the evening and have dinner afterwards at Asahi, a Japanese steakhouse in Jackson. It was a cozy little romantic dinner with me and Jamie and 8 other strangers. I wispered sweet nothings in Jamie's ear as the Japanese chef made fire rings and lava filled onions. It was such a great meal, but I have to say that my intestines were a little upset with me afterwards. They didn't seem to love the meal as much as I did.

Yesterday on our actual anniversary, we got up and went to church and then came home to spend a quiet evening alone. It was really great. Then we decided to bust out the board games.

Something you may not realize about me is that I am a little bit competitive. Not to the point where I almost throw the scrabble board for Jamie taking my spot where I might have played a 42 point word, no nothing like that. Or not to the point where I get so mad I could cry and then do. No, no. I'm not that bad. But, just a little bitty twinge of the "I like to wins".

We played two games. A game of speed scrabble (we made this up) and a quick little game of Trivial Pursuit. Because those questions are SO easy. I don't know who those people were trying to fool with their questions. Of course I know what world leader decided in 1987 to take a year sabbatical and travel the world over in search of the meaning of life. Who doesn't know that? Or what NHL team had to change their logo because the fans thought it was short for "habitants". I mean EVERYONE knows those things. We really even shouldn't play that game. It just puffs us up with all the knowledge.

After game fest '08, we decided to go enjoy the evening out on the dock. Jamie brought our fishing poles out. It must have been the perfect time of evening and we were using the perfect bait because we caught a ton of fish. We would just cast and catch. It was a lot of fun until I caught a fish and it threw up on me.

Nothing says romantic anniversary evening like fish throw up.

It was all over my shirt, sunglasses and face. It was awesome. Jamie said in all his years of catching fish, he had never witnessed a fish throwing up. I'm so glad he finally got to experience that. That's just the kind of wife I am. So selfless.

And to top off the romantic anniversary weekend, Jamie's dad brought home a paddle boat. So now we can get out in the pond and paddle around and catch fish. This was just my thought when I was walking down the aisle six years ago.

After we came back inside we cooked a frozen pizza, got in bed and watched a movie. Jamie fell asleep half way through it and I had to watch the last half straining to hear through all the snoring. This really is what dreams are made of.

Please feel free to call me to plan your next romantic getaway.

And Jamie, you know I wouldn't have it any other way. I love you! Happy Anniversary!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Scars

The summer before my senior year of high school, my foot got ran over by a car.

I wish that I could say it was in some daring feat to rescue an animal, or something cool like I was in a high speed car chase and I was trying to out run the cops. But the reality of it was, I was about to be a senior. Out where I'm from we spray paint very clever and ceative things on road signs like "Class of 1999" or "99 rulez" or "The Class of 99 wuz here". Because we are so original. Well, I happend to be in the back seat of a car full of mischevious girls and saw a great place for the spray paint to go. I told my friend who was driving to "stop the car!". Before it had come to a complete stop, I attempted to get out of the back seat. I, unfortunately was also wearing flip flops.

The comibination of the car still rolling, flip flops, and getting out of the car = foot being ran over.

I literally had to ask my friend to "Back up please, because my foot is stuck under your back tire."

Only after I pulled my foot back in the car did I began to scream at all the nastiness that was now the side of my foot. I was a trooper though. Didn't even go to the doctor. More out of stupidity than anything else. We were aftaid of getting caught with the spray paint. We also had to come up with an eloborate story of how the said incident happened because my friend didn't want her mom to know she had run over someone's foot. Our story involved me falling on the corner of some concrete slab. It was very believable.

I also told my parents in High School that my boyfriend and I got stuck in a field because we were looking at deer.

Lying has never really been my strong suit.

One time I got caught sneeking out of my house and told my parents I had fallen asleep in my bed with all of my clothes on (with shoes also) because I was putting together new outfits and got so tired, I just had to lay down.

If God has a sense of humor (and I'm pretty certain he does), then I can't wait to see what is in store for us as parents.

Anyway....

I have this huge scar on my left foot from all the running over and such. It took a long time for it to actually turn into a scar. It was a wide, gaping wound for months. But eventually it did.

I really don't think about it much, but every now and then a pain will shoot across it and make me remember that night. I usually laugh and think of my sweet friends from home.

I was laying awake in bed the other night and I found myself getting a little upset about our infertility. This surprised me. Because, mostly I don't ever think about it anymore. Sure, I think about the fact that it's quit possible I'll never be pregnant, but now, when I think about those things, it's not with a sense of sadness. It's more of fact. It really and truly does not bother me that I don't have to go through birth and delivery. A little excited about that fact if I'm honest.

But the longing to create a child with my husband is still there sometimes. It's not hovering, it's not all encompassing, I don't dwell on it anymore. But sometimes, there is a twinge of pain. Just like the scar on my foot.

The scar will always be there. But it is not something that I'm ashamed to talk about or that I want to even hide. It's apart of what makes me....well, me. It's apart of our life story. As I was thinking about this, it was such a reminder to me that wounds do heal, but they don't vanish. And that's ok.

The scar of our infertility will always be there. But it's just that now....a scar. It's not a wound, it's a reminder of where we are currently in our life and the path that has led us here. And I'm thankful for it, because it has shaped us into who we are and the people that we will become.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

We Like to Stay in Touch with Nature

This past weekend, we went on a camping trip with our friends the Smiths. We had a great time. Jamie and I really love to camp. And I mean real camping. Tent, sleeping bag, no air matress, lots of bug spray, and no showers. We smelled nice.

It's so refreshing to be out in nature, so far that cell phones don't pick up service. Sometimes I long for simpler days, before technology and instant communication. I totally believe I could be a nomad. I couldn't do it by myself though, Jamie would have to capture our food.
I also got injured on our trip. But I must say that I am pretty proud of it. I like when I have scars from cool things like hiking. It would be even cooler if I could have a scar from a sword fight. But that is probably not very realistic. Who knows though right? Never say never. We could be pirates instead of nomads.
Here are some pictures:


Our tents (ours is the one back in the woods....we are SO primitive)


The Grill Masters and Jamie in mid-squat.


Jamie's so excited that he really just can't hide it.


Me with three of my favorite girls: Parker, Chloe, and Lilly


Allie and me doing what we did best....sit. Really one of my favorite pass times.


Part of my injury. I fell on a rock while trying to take a picture. Good thing I caught myself with my elbow, knuckles, and camera. They say that the elbow is the softest place to land and not boney or painful in the least. And that camera's do wonders at breaking falls. She (my camera) is ok though, only walked away with a cool scratch on the lens. We're counting our blessings.
And now a video of all the beauty, narrated by someone who sounds like she is out of the movie "Deliverance" minus the creepy banjo kid.
video

We had a great time and can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

sometimes hope seems lost...

We've had another positive water test for bacteria. That makes three. In case I haven't been clear about this whole thing, I wanted to go into more detail about it.

At our home study (2 months ago now), we handed in all the rest of our paperwork and thought we were well (no pun intended) on our way to approval. But we found out that since we are on a well and have a sceptic tank that we needed to get our water tested. And also turn in a document of our sceptic tank installation. The document was easy. The water testing....not so much.

Our initial test, tested for four things: nitrite, nitrate, total fecal (gross, I know) coliform, and total coliform. I will spare you all the boring details about the differences between all of these things. But rest assured, that I do know them after two months of studying water.

Well, we got a positive for total coliform. Basically this means that there is some sort of bacteria in our water, but they're not sure what kind it is. It could be a natural bacteria and it could not be harmful. This is what we are thinking it is because we use/drink our water and have not been sick. But the agency is still requiring a negative test. Which we really do completely understand.

So started the decontamination efforts with the bleach that I wrote about in a previous post. We have decontaminated our well twice now. And now we can chalk up three positive tests for total coliform in our water.

And also, our car just broke down. The day we got the latest water results back. Seriously. I really couldn't make this stuff up people.

My friend has called this water issue "the infertility of adoption". I think that is a pretty accurate description. Failed test, after failed test = easily discouraged about the hope of ever starting a family.

But I know what the truth is. The truth is that God does have the child for us and if it takes bacteria in our well to slow things down to lead us to that child, then that is what it takes.

I am disappointed, I am frustrated. I also trust God completely. I don't understand why difficult things happen to us, but I also don't understand why God chooses to bless us.

He is Lord of my life and I do trust Him. Even when my feelings fail me, my water has bacteria in it, my car is broken down, and I can't seem to understand His ways. He will lift my head when I can't seem to look up. He will carry me thru the waters so I will not drown. He will walk with me thru the fire so I will not get burned.

I can rejoice because He is my redeemer and I am his. Circumstances are ever changing, but my God is constant. He is not intimitaded by my circumstances, he has ordained them so that I can fully surrender to Him and learn to rest solely, quietly in His hands. When things seem out of control to me, He is fully in control.

So sometimes, if I'm honest, hope does seem lost. But the truth is, my only true hope is in Christ alone.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It's In the Little Things That Battles Are Lost and Won

The more and more I am trying to figure this Christian life out, the more and more God keeps showing me that it is the small things that matter most.

Which is easier, to stop and help someone in need or to hold my tongue when I have been bothered by something?

I think all of us have a natural bent towards generosity (especially if we are Christians). It is not very difficult to make someone a meal when they are sick or even to go on a foreign mission trip to help orphans in an orphanage. Who wouldn't want to go and hold babies? (Ok, so maybe that could be hard for some people.) What I'm saying is that sometimes I think we romanticize this view of service. While I am not discounting the actual act, we are called to do these things, I am questioning our hearts motive.

I think our hearts are deceiving. Well, I only think that because scripture says so. Anyway...God has really been showing me that it is in the small decisions of life that truly test a persons heart.

So what kind of heart does God desire? One that is pure in all situations.

For me, it is easy to sit and enourage someone who is having a tough time. It is much more difficult to hold my tongue when someone stops in front of me on the ramp getting onto the interstate. It is easy for me to bake cookies for someone who is celebrating a birthday. It is difficult to not try to prove my point when someone has wronged me. And I can even say for myself it is much easier for me to go on mission trips and serve than it is to show patience to my husband sometimes.

To me, it all goes back to our hearts condition. It is in the little things of life where I believe the battles are lost and won. I know God desires a humble spirit and a contrite heart. It doesn't matter if I am feeding the homeless or scrubbing the floors that my dog has gotten dirty for the 15th time this week.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Very Special Day







Dear Jamie-
Tomorrow is your birthday. 32 years ago you were brought into this world. I didn't know it at the time, but that was a wonderful day. The day God ordained for my future husband to be born! I always find myself so thankful on this day. Thankful that you were born, thankful that you were raised the way you were, and thankful that God thought I deserved to be your wife.

This is the 9th birthday I have celebrated with you. I can't believe it's been that many! I really can't wait to share 60 more! (that would make you 92...you gotta stay around at least that long)

Happy Birthday sweet man of mine. I love you more with each passing year and I never even knew that was possible...

With all my love-
Marcie


Who wouldn't love to live with this?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

We Know Real Missionaries!

For those non Northbrookers who read this blog, I wanted to let all of you know that our dear friends, the Bustrums, left yesterday morning on their way to Lisbon, Portugal.

The Bustrums have been in our small group for the last 2 years and we have gotten to know them so well. They are really more like family to all of us. The goodbye's on Sunday were bittersweet. We are sad at the hole they are leaving in our family, but we are so excited to join hands with them as they serve in Portugal.

They each have a blog which they will be updating throughout their journey. They are on their way now to Virginia for two months (and two weeks now!) worth of training, and then mid-July, possibly first of August they will be off to Portugal. They are an amazing family who have a heart for the lost. You can check on their adventure at two places: Hannah blogs at tea time and Mark blogs at hot coffee.

Please remember to be in prayer for this family as God uses them as his workers in Lisbon, Portugal!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Primal Wound.....Not For Me

I'm an adopted child.

I was given up for adoption and placed with a foster family for 6 weeks. My parents got "the call" about a little girl who was available. They were on their way the very next day to pick me up. My dad, a teacher, ran around the top of the gym in his school because he was so very excited about getting a baby girl.

That is the truth of my birth. I do not know my birthmother. It was a closed adoption and I have very little information about her.

I came across this today and I must say that it really strikes a nerve. It is a book called "Primal Wound". I do not want to say anything about the woman who wrote this because I am sure she is a very nice person. But I wholeheartily disagree with her. I have not read the book but read her position.

In this statement she says that the truth is "Every adopted child will experience abandonment and loss". Really?

Because I have to say my whole life I've felt more wanted, more loved, more support than a lot of people I know. My parents desired me. My mother and father prayed countless hours for me. (And I sorta believe this is the reason for my struggle with thinking I'm so awesome.)

I fault my biological mother none for placing me for adoption. Not. One. Single. Bit. I am so very, very grateful for her decision. I have a special place in my heart for her, even though we have never met. She gave me life.

For someone to write generalizations like this is very frustrating. I did not, do not, will not ever feel abandoned. God has a specific purpose for my life and my adoption was all a part of that plan.

I understand that not everyone's adoption story has a happy ending. There are a lot of issues in adoption. It's not always poptarts and roses. But for me, I don't believe I was abandoned, I don't believe my birth was an accident, I don't believe I could have been parented better by my birth mother. I absolutely believe I was parented by my "real" parents. And I am not in denial about that. PLEASE!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Many Mountains to Climb

We're searching
Longing to hold you in our arms
And adore you in our hearts.

There are many mountains to climb and
Sometimes we can't seem to find our way over.

We keep pushing, working, trying to make it possible to climb the mountain
But sometimes it feels we may never make it to the top.

Stumbling block after stumbling block
Seems to make our path harder
We have to move them and keep on climbing.

We know we will not stop until we reach the peak.

Then, we will be able to hold you in our arms,
let you sleep on our chest, smell your sweet baby goodness
And then we will know why there were so many mountains to climb.

They were leading us straight to you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

seriously?

We got another positive test result on our water. Looks like more waiting....

We're getting pretty good at that.

A Tale of a Water Test Gone Bad

Jamie and I found out at our home study visit that we were going to have to get our water tested before approval because we are on a well. Very surprisingly, my initial reaction was totally laid back. I was all like, "No worries, what's one more thing, it will be good to get our water tested anyway."

Well, then I found out the cost and the procedure. Let's just say we felt a lot like Bill Nye the Science Guy. I even had to wear latex gloves. It involved a cooler with ice, sample bottles with perservatives, filling up water to an exact line (couldn't be below or above) and running our water for long amounts of time. I had to fight the urge to put on a white coat and wear plastic goggles and do the evil science laugh. You know...muuuaaahahahaa.

So, I traveled to deliver the samples packed in ice with in the alloted time frame. I had to sign that I was the one who took the samples and date and initial everything.

Then, a couple of days later we hear that one of the tests is positive. My first thought "Of course it is." Because really, it is the Autry way. And I'm sure you all wouldn't be surprised to know either that it was the most expensive test that we needed to redo. Seriously people, you probably don't want to be our friends.

We were told we needed to "decontaminate" our well. I felt like I was in the middle of a CSI episode. I would totally be that blonde girl with the southern accent.

Decontaminate is really a fancy word for "pour bleach down your well". So this is what we did. Or so we thought.

How the "decontamination" works (I really like using that word...it sounds official) is that you pour the bleach down your well, and then you run all the water faucets in your house until you smell the beach. After you smell it, you turn the faucets off and leave everything off for 7-24 hours. The bleach is supposed to kill any sort of bacteria we could possibly have.

Jamie went out and poured the bleach down the well. We turned all the water on and waited and waited. We kept smelling and nothing. At one point, I said "I think I smell bleach" and so we shut the system down. We left and went about our business for the day.

On my way home that evening, I got a call from Jamie. He said "Well, you didn't smell bleach this morning because I poured the bleach down the wrong pipe."

He evidently poured it down a cut off to our house. I mean really who can blame him. He looked down the pipe and saw water, it was an honest mistake. The bleach then seaped into our side yard and killed lots of grass.

Oh, just a typical day in the life of the Autry family.

Needless to say, we had to do the "decontamination" again. I feel the need to put quotation marks around that word. Much like Dr. Evil on Austin Powers with the word "lazer" or "laser" (which one is it, not sure).

We smelled the bleach almost immediatly this time. We're pretty sure we did it correct. I had to repull the sample yesterday and I took it to the lab. We hope the "decontamination" worked and that the test will be negative.

We will totally use this against our child when he/she is a teenager and misses his curfew. "Do you know that we had to get our water tested and our well decontaminated just to get you, and this is how you repay us".

Oh, I kid. I'll just let them know how much they cost.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Because I am nothing without my lists

It's a list of all the exciting things and not so exciting things going on in our lives currently. It was hard to fit all of these things in paragraph form. So I did what I do best....made a list.

Exciting Things:
1. Tax refund
2. New baby bedding (sent to us by a friend...how excited was I about that?!)
3. A freshly cut yard (thanks Jamie!)
4. A sweet word today from God (you know, that's always cool)
5. Amazing friends
6. Cooking a new meal tonight (and a new dessert)
7. Upcoming Blessings Brunch (I'm way excited about that!)

Things that are not so exciting:
1. Positive test result for bacteria in our water
2. Waiting for the rest of the tests to come back
3. Prolonged approval for adoption because of our water
4. Bills
5. especially electric bills
6. Gas prices
7. My eyebrows (in desperate need of plucking...i hate doing this)

At least there is an equal number of exciting and not so exciting things!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Abundantly More

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen" Ephesians 3:20-21

I found this today and I was amazed at how much it spoke to me. I think sometimes it's easy to focus on our situation/circumstance at hand and see what is missing. Often times our prayers, although sincere, focus on the things that are missing. Asking God to provide patience in dealing with this or that, asking God to provide wisdom, asking God to provide financially, asking God to provide stability or maybe freedom from a certain sin. While all of these things are good....we do need to ask God to provide for us where we come up short (which is indeed in everything), the part that I often miss is recognizing where he has already provided and praising Him for his provision.

I tend to focus mostly on my need. I am thankful that I recognize my need. For me, this was a huge turning point in my spiritual journey. So, I don't want you to think that I am down playing that in the least. Realizing our need for God and that we are sinners is ultimately why we need to be saved. But I think what I so often miss is recognizing and aknowledging that God is doing a work inside of me and I am being changed each day.

He is able to do abundantly more that we can ever ask or imagine. And he does. I think I just sometimes miss it because I am focusing on my needs. And then it hits me like a ton a bricks at how much God has completely transformed my heart. He has done more that I could ever ask or imagine.

I remember praying so fervently that God would bless us with a baby. I knew that the desire to have children was placed in my heart by God. I could not understand why it was so difficult for us to conceive. I didn't understand for so long why God would put the desire in my heart to be a mom, buy yet not allow us to get pregnant. It didn't make sense to me. ME. That was the center of my focus for several years. And then one day I realized that it wasn't about me.

And now He is doing abundantly more than I could have ever asked or imagined according to His power that is at work within me. God is answering our prayers for a baby. It is not coming in the way we thought it would initially. But it will be coming. He is answering our prayers and blessing this process of adoption. I have never experienced anything quit like it. I am one of those people who usually is always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Anytime I experience anything good, I know that just around the corner there is a catastrophe. But today, I choose to thank God for his work within me. I choose to hope in our future. I choose to acknowlege that He is doing abundantly more than anything I could ever ask or imagine. And I choose not to think that something bad is lingering near by. God truly is blessing us and I am choosing to be ever so grateful to our Father for considering us worthy of His blessing.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

So you think YOU can dance Smith girls and Ronnie?

Think again. Nothing compares to these moves. It's an official Autry and Smith dance off.

These are the moves that made me fall in love with Jamie in college. He now uses them to get our dog to "dance" with him. Nothing says Easter like an 80's love ballad and a dance party in the kitchen. My favorite part is the lunge move on the sink. Seriously ladies....he's all mine.

video

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Multitude of Muffins

So. Today was our home visit. Our social worker was scheduled to arrive at 9:30 a.m. In my mind, that is breakfast time. But maybe to you early risers, that's more like brunch. Either way, I thought I should have something baked.

My solution= mini muffins.

They're little, you don't have to have a plate to eat one, they are delicious, and let's face it....they are just so cute. Everything is cuter when it's tiny. Especially my bottom. And my clothes in high school.

Any how, I borrowed some mini muffin tins from my sister in law. I bought the packages of muffin mix (you know the kind where you just add milk....you didn't actually think I would make these from scratch did you? You might have forgotten where you were reading). I wipped those babies up and had timed it just right to pull them out right before her arrival. We had the coffee brewed and mini muffins cooking and all was right in the land of high carb breakfast.

Jamie decided to take a peak at the muffins while they were cooking. Here is our converstation...

M: "Do you think we'll have time to eat a few before she arrives?"

J: "You know, I just hope we have enough of them" as he stares at the three pans of muffins in the oven.

M: "Do you think I made too many?"

J: "There are 32"

M: "Well, that should be enough for three people. Or maybe we could feed the 5,000? "


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Well...

I'm speechless today.

I have so many different emotions going on that I truly do not know what to say. I feel a little bit like I'm surrounded by a giant bubble and I just float throughout the days activities. Nothing really seems very important.

I seriously can't quit thinking about the fact that Jamie and I will be parents. It's very true that we have no idea when that time will come. But the truth is now, that it will come. And really, I just can't believe it.

I'm scared, excited, sad, overjoyed, overwhelmed, and at peace. How in the world do all of those things exist inside of one person? I am a walking contradicion. One big bottle of oil and water.

It's becoming more real to me as we complete each step of this process. I have three more pieces of paperwork to complete and the BFPOP (big fat packet of paper) will be done. We have one more visit, which will be at our home, and then we're done with the homestudy process. We'll be waiting to hear if we are approved. Then the wait begins for an expectant mother to sacraficially consider adoption and choose us to raise her child.

For so long, the idea of being parents seemed out of reach. Now it's becomming a reality and I just don't know what to say.

How can I have so much love for a child that I've never even met?

Well, I guess I wasn't really speechless. It's probably a pretty safe bet that I'll never truly be speechless.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Meeting and some Mexican food...a perfect combination

We went last night for our second meeting with our social worker. This one was quit a bit longer. She met with Jamie while I watched some videos and then we switched. It was sort of like an interview really. I was just praying the whole time that Jamie didn't bust out with any of his inappropriate jokes. 'Cause he has a few.

This meeting went just as smoothly as the first. It was laid back and informal. I didn't even wear my fancy boots this time. I was happy and comfortable in my wallabees and courdaroy pants. I'm not sure how to spell courdaroy. I just looked it up in the dictionary and I couldn't find it. Probably because I don't know how to spell it. That or the fact that it is a .97 cent dictionary from Wal-Mart. It's not exactly all inclusive. Either way, I was comfortable.

The last two meeting we have had to travel to Memphis which is about an hour and a half from our house. And sometimes, I think it's a little bad because I get really excited about that because I know we are going to go out to eat. I mean, not that I don't look forward to our interviews and all, but a chance to not cook and have food prepared for me is like a vacation. Imagine the kinds of things that will excite me after we actually become parents. I might even start liking Wal-Mart.

And just for the record...I heart Mexican food. I could totally eat that cheese dip everyday and never get tired of it. The chips we had last night were toasted to perfection. It was a little slice of salty cornchip goodness dipped in white Mexican cheese heaven. I went to sleep with a smile.

We have one more visit with our social worker. She will actually come to our house to make sure it is "child friendly". So we have to lock up all our guns and get a fire extinguisher. When I say "our" guns, I'm sure by now you know that means Jamie's. I've never shot one in my life.

****I have to interupt this blog to tell you that it is snowing here. Major accumulation on the ground. Well my husband, being the dear heart that he is, just went outside knocked on my office window and pointed to my name he just peed in the snow. ****

Anyway...because this post is getting long and out of control, here is a summary. We had a good meeting, we ate some good Mexican food, and we set up our next visit. After that point she will determine if we are approved and then if we are, we'll just be waiting for an expectant mother to choose us.

That's all for now. Hope your weekend is happy and bright. Our weekend will be white (and the yellow part where my name is).

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Update on Process

I have sent this blog to our friends and family as a way to keep everyone updated on where we are in the adoption process. So this will be a short post to do just that. Don't worry, I'm sure something crazy and funny will happen to us any day now for me to get back to regularly bloggy programing.

We had our first home study visit at our agencies office. It was very laid back and informative. Our social worker just basically got to know us as a couple and learn a little about what led us to adoption. I told her I was adopted, so that brought up lots of questions. Which was fine with me because I never mind talking about it.

Jamie and I finished our self-studies. Whoo. Hoo. I feel like as far as the paper work goes this was the most indepth, intense part. So it is sort of a relief to have that behind us.

I have started going through the rest of the paper work this week and am making good progress. I would say "we" are going through it, but that would be a bold face lie. I just hand Jamie the papers he needs to sign. This has proved to be very successful. Who knows what kind of document I could slip in there. He could sign away his whole fortune to me. If he had a fortune. And then if he did, I would probably have already tapped in to that anyway.

I have started working on our profile. I have to say that I am really enjoying it. It helps that I have a little bit of a design background and own a stationery company. I feel like it might be an unfair advantage.

We are continuing to pray for our future child and his/her mother.

And I realized yesterday an amazing truth. I was driving home and it hit me that our circumstances have not changed over the last 4 years. We are still childless. But I realized how much my heart has been changed. I realized that God loves me so much that he has allowed us to go through this trial to show us that He is all we need. It was a little overwhelming to be honest. I broke down and was a blubbering mess. Thank goodness my eyes get puffy when I cry, we only had to meet friends as soon as I got home. I'm sure no one noticed my red, swollen lips and dried snot on my nose. How do you explain..."I'm not crying because I'm upset"? Well good thing they didn't ask. I'm sure they would have thought I was losing it.

This whole thing is starting to become more real. It's a little bit amazing that God chose us to be a part of it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Today we begin the journey to meet the child God has for us...

As I'm sitting here this morning finishing reading the book of James, it hit me that I can't remember the last time I cried due to infertility.

James 1:2-3 says to "Consider it pure Joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance..."

Have I persevered? Am I on the other side of this suffering?

As I reflect on this, I think my answer is yes! I can't remember the last time I cried. I can't remember the last time I wished I could go look at maternity clothes. I can't remember the last time I got mad when I got my monthly visitor.

I am ok! I think that I have learned to let go. Let go of the idea of having a biological child. More importantly, I think God has shown me that His way is best.

I can't wait to add a baby to our family through adoption. I love children and always have. I thought that not being able to have them would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me. But you know what? It's not.

Through this experience God has taught me so much about himself and myself. For the first time in my life, I began to understand how sinful I am and why I truly needed God to save me. Before, I went to church on Sundays and prayed sometimes when I needed something. I had no understanding of God's glory, grace, and forgiveness. I knew the bible stories and the Sunday school answers. I had asked God into my heart because I didn't want to go to hell. But I had little understanding of making him Lord of my life.

But now? Well now I realize that I am needy. I need a savior. I am sinful. My goal in life is to bring glory to God by my every attitude and action. Not just on Sundays, but day by day, minute by minute. God is my creator, the creator of this universe. He gives me my very breath. Why wouldn't I want to live under His hand, under His control, under His guidance everyday? Obviously He knows more than me!

You see, He knows the whole story and I know the now. He's had my days numbered and my life planned even before I was conceived. He is the one who has led us to this place in our lives. He is the one who is leading us to our child. Whatever avenue our children come to us from, they were designed by the Father to be raised by our family for His purpose.

We don't know what this adoption journey will be like. We can't say for sure that everything will run smoothly (but we are the Autry's so there are sure to be bumps!). But we do know that God is in control and that is all we need to know.

I can't remember the last time I cried. My heart is full of peace and a new kind of joy. It doesn't matter what this life brings, what matters is my response to the One that brings it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentines Day

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (even mohawks.)"*I added that part in*
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I am very thankful today. I'm thankful most days, but today I am exceptionally thankful. The reason is because I get to share my life with someone who lives out this scripture everyday.

I can never find or use the right words to describe my husband. But those who know him, know what I mean. His love for me is never questionable. His devotion is unwaivering. His gentle spirit is like none other. He is funny and easy going. He is all man but has a sensitive side that he is never afraid to show. He always places my needs before his own. Always. He makes me strive to be better just seeing the way he lives. He loves people genuinly. He is a giver. And even if he does have a mohawk, it makes me love him even more because he is uniquely Jamie.

He is my love. Even when he doesn't pick up his socks. Or cuts his hair into a mohawk. Or shaves his head with dog clippers.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Tribute of Sorts

Jamie's hair.

It is a topic of much discussion in our home. When I first met him, his hair was the same length as mine. He grew it out real long in college because he said..."The chicks dig it".



This is Jamie in college with Jill (his sister) at her graduation.



We call this the "feathered" look. He used gel to feather the sides back. Classic 90's.


At this point in his life I don't want to say that he was "ignorant" because that seems very harsh, but his mother did offer him $500 to cut his hair and he declined. Call that what you like.



This is Jamie and me on his graduation day from college. We've gone a little shorter. And yes, I know I used to be way cute in college. Thanks for noticing.



This is shortly after Jamie decided to finally go short. Now...doesn't that look great?! (That's Braden in the picture...so this is about 7 years ago).


This was after we were married. We were in my friend Adrienne's wedding. Shortly before this day, I came home to find Jamie with his head shaved. He used a very savy new haircutting device known as dog clippers. Ladies...he's all mine.



This is this summer, he decided he would start letting it grow out again. I actually really like it this length.


This is after Christmas. It's starting to get a little out of control.
I have been encouraging Jamie for a few months now to please get his hair cut. Today was the day. And this is what he just emailed me...




It should grow back right? He thinks it is very funny and I think he is trying to give me a heart attack. The reason I wanted him to get his haircut this week is because we have a Valentines Gala this Saturday night.

Good thing we'll look real classy. Nothing says class like a "classic" mohawk.

I have tried to convince Jamie that he is in fact not in a rock band and mohawk doesn't exactly scream..."Yes, we are great role models, please give us a baby" or "Hi, nice to meet you, let me build you a baseball field". Not that I have anything against mohawks, but I believe you have to have a certain personality. Or a lot of tatoos. And not wear polo golf shirts and shop at Old Navy. But maybe that's just me.

Looks like we might break out the dog clippers again...

Our Washing Machine Timeline (not quit as exciting as the adoption timeline, but still)

We, here at the Autry frontier, have washing machine problems. I would say the main problem is that we don't want to drop the money to buy a brand new one. That problem would be called frugal. Or, in our case, poor. Washing machines ain't cheap these days.

So in an atempt to get my readers updated on this ever important, life pressing issue, I have decided to construct a timeline. Really, I just need people to pitttty me. And I do include additional "t's" to really point out the fact that I need a lot of pitttty.

May 2007:
Spin cyle on our 15 year old hand me down washing machine goes out. Husband is out of town all summer (ok, that's a little dramatic, but he was gone a lot).

May 2007 - November 2007:
Wring dripping wet clothes out before putting them in the dryer. Every time I washed. Every. Single. Time

May 2007-November 2007:
Develop red "raw" spots on the insides of my thumbs after wringing out towels. Every. Single. Time.

October 2007:
Dryer starts to work inconsistently due to the over working of the machine because of the dripping wet clothes.

November 2007:
A "new to us" washer and dryer was graciously given to us by a couple in Clarksville who had purchased a new set. I hook those babies up and can't wash clothes fast enough. The spin cylce works! Clothes are not dripping! I don't have to wring them out! All is well in the land of laundry.

February 2008:
Spin cyle on new washer breaks. Seriously.
Determined to not wring out clothes again, we call the repair man because the washer is fairly new.
$122 later, it is now in working condition.

We just hope it stays that way.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Yet Another Tornado

You know it's not going to be a fun night when the weather man comes on and says there is a chance for severe weather. Here in west TN we are all too familiar with severe storms. I feel like we are "tornado shy". Living in this area and hearing those words provokes in most a sense of anxiety. Maybe not fear per say, but a definate alertness and awareness to be on guard. The storm shelter industry is a booming business. And I have to say our storm shelter was one of the best purchases we have ever made. The peace of mind is worth every single penny.

I can not imagine how the students at Union University felt as the tornado was tearing apart their dorms. Seeing the images of that campus hits home the point that tornados are not to be taken lightly. They are real and they are dangerous.

But in the middle of all the rubble, all the mess, all the disaster, I stand in awe that not a single life was lost on that campus. There were no storm shelters to run to, no underground basements. These college kids got in their bathrooms and prayed that God would spare them while listening to the roof of their dorms being torn off.

God's protective hand was on that campus last night. While there are injuries and lots of loss of belongings, every life was protected. After seeing all the damage, all we can do is stand in amazement and sing praise to our Father because we truly witnessed a miracle.

Please be in prayer for Union. For the misplaced students, the faculty and staff, and the parents whom I'm sure are weary. I know that much will be needed in the upcoming days and weeks as far as clean up goes. We also need to pray for the leadership of that university in making decisions for the rest of the semester.

"The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not hurt you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all evil and preserves your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever." -Psalm 121:5-8

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Obviously our goals in life are different...

I mentioned in the last post that we are starting to work on our self studies. This is an 11 page packet of questions. Questions about our personality, goals, marriage, upbringing, the way we view discipline, and how we feel about biracial adoption. I've only gotten through the first five questions. Jamie has not started. But after much nagging, I mean gentle encouragement, from me we did start discussing this last night.

One of the questions asks you to list personal goals for yourself and your family. This was a difficult question for me to answer. I think I came up with something profound like..."Our ultimate goal as a family is always to be God honoring and bring glory to Him through everything that we do. All of our other goals are null and void if this is not our first priority."

That's good right?!

Yeah, I thought so too.

So after asking Jamie about his goals, this is what he had to say...

"I love to fish, so one of my personal goals has always been to catch a big one."

I'm afraid we're never going to get a baby.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Personality Type? I'm clueless...

So. It's 12:30 and I am still in my pajamas. Now I realize that some of you might read this and gasp. But for me, it's a personal achievment. I live for days I don't have to get out of my pj's. Does this make me lazy? Well...I don't think so. I like to think of it as saving the environment. The less clothes I dirty up, the less I have to wash, the less water and detergent gets used, the less electricity gets used...and so on and so forth. So really, I'm going green. Al Gore would be so proud. I know that my friend Jennifer totally understand this position. That is why she and I are friends. We appreciate the feel of cotton on all parts of the body at all times of the day.

As I've been laying, I mean working diligently around the house today, I decided it would probably be a good time to start on the next amount of paperwork for the adoption. It is 11 pages of questions about myself. Now, typically I would love to answer questions about myself. It would be my perfect day....pj's and talking about me. But then as I dove into the questions, I realized it is much more difficult than I thought.

The very first question "Describe your personality; include what you view as your strengths and weaknesses."

I realized, that I actually have to come up with weaknesses.

Ok, that was just a joke. I know that I have some. Less than most. But still.

In all seriousness though, it is very hard describing your personality. I can look at any of my friends and describe their personalities without question, but when it comes to myself I'm not sure if I'm actually describing how I am or how I "want" to be. Because I'm sure those two are very different.

I want to be a fashionista. The real me is still in flannel pj's and an oversized sweatshirt with a little bit of beef stew on the front of it at 12:30.

I want to be a people person. The real me doesn't like going to Wal-Mart because of all the people.

I want to be adventurous. The real me would much rather just stay at home.

I want to be a deep thinker. The real me gets hung up in the Britney Spears drama and has to resist the urge to buy Us Weekly.

So you can see my dilema. And of course I can't write things like, "well my biggest weakness is that I hate to grocery shop because I think Sam Walton had a secret ploy to take over the world with his superstores and stupid yellow smiley faces." I have to write things that will make people like me. Which is hard for me. It's hard for me to be really honest about myself. I can't figure out why.

So if one of you reading this could just leave me a comment and describe my personality that would be great. I would totally take your word for it because obviously I am not qualified to describe myself. I think that I am a superhero, when in fact I was hiding in the bathtub the other day because of the wind.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I feel like my purpose for having a blog has been fufilled

I do. I feel like I have arrived in the blog world and completely fufilled my purpose for having a blog.

Why?

Well I'll tell you. Someone got to my blog by doing a google search for.....

"Can you build a deck on a double-wide?"

Why yes. Yes you can. Good luck with your deck building adventures. I'm always here to lend out advice and know how on all things trailer related. You came to the right place my friend. I can give you lots of info on double-wides and Jesus.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I know an Israelite

I figured out something yesterday. I am an Israelite. I am one of those people in the desert that God saved, but still wanted more and complained about it.

That's me.

I started this blog almost a year ago to chronicle our adoption process. Well, that didn't happen because we decided to put the process on hold for awhile. So for the past year I have been writing (very irregularly lately) on random occurances in our crazy lives.

Well, now. Here we are. We are sending our adoption application off today. Now I can begin sharing with the world (aka..my three friends who read this) all of the ups and downs that come with adopting a baby.

So the Isrealite thing? How does that tie into the adoption process? Well, thanks for asking.

I have come to a somewhat peace with our infertility. I say somewhat peace, because I'm not quit sure how one can ever be fully at peace with this situation this side of heaven. So I'll stick with somewhat peace. Which is perfectly ok with me. But this is what I caught myself saying on numerous occasions over the past few weeks...."You know, if we were going to be infertile, I at least wish we would have the means to afford adoption."

See that? That's an Israelite in the desert right there. I believe how it was spoken yesterday at church was something like this...."God, if you are going to lead us out in this desert, at least give us some food and water."

Oh, those crazy Israelites. Why couldn't they see that God was in control and provided their every need?

Probably the same reason that I can't see that. I rely on myself. I see things mostly from my perspective and how I think things should be.

I guess what I need to realize is that God has led us to this place in our lives. Why, oh why, would he do that if he was not going to provide in every way for us? The answer is that he wouldn't. He will provide in His time and on His terms. I guess I just need to quit complaining...and just start doing paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork. Oh, ther is a lot of paperwork.

Have I mentioned that adoption takes a lot of paperwork?