Needtobreathe

Needtobreathe is my favorite of my favorite bands. So, they’re my favorite. Ryan bought tickets for us to go see them here in Lexington this past week, and it is definitely the best show I have ever seen. They have definitely stepped up their game since the last time I saw them (even though I loved them just as much then as well). I’m not a big concert person, though. The last concert I went to was a Needtobreathe concert in 2010. I don’t really get into the “feel” of a concert or get all hyped up, I just like the music. I also end up spending most of the time watching the crazies who head bang to music that is clearly not head banger music and wonder why people yell “I love you!” at the band as if they are going to get down on one knee right there. There was also that girl two rows down from us who dressed up real nice and kept yelling “woo!” about every 2 minutes. She had a loud voice… I’ll give her that. I’ve also never been the type to go get autographs or meet the artists, because:

1) I’m a wuss…

3) It’s probably late (which it was) and I’m tired and want to race everyone out of there…

2) They are just people, and I need to remember that.

I think the last autographs I got were back in 1st grade at Disney World. And that’s different… Eeyore? It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience to sheepishly pose for a picture with Eeyore and then have him sign your hat (all while probably not saying a word because my wussiness started at birth).

That’s seriously the best picture we took. Oh well… I love him! Thanks, honey =)

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Cantaloupe

We had a sweet lady from the youth group over last night. Sarah has come over for many dinners at our house, and even when I warned her about our questionable dinner, she said “I like all the foods on your list!” (although she later admitted she “accidentally lied because she doesn’t like yogurt” haha). When she came over, she insisted on only eating the foods we were eating, even refraining from sprinkling cheese over her eggs and chicken (which turned out to be pretty yummy). Sarah made a comment about how she thought it was funny we put cantaloupe on the list. I agree. It is kind of weird.

Actually, we hadn’t eaten any cantaloupe until tonight because the only cantaloupes at the store were teeny tiny and not priced well. We decided to eat bananas in its place until we bought one.

Well, we bought one tonight so I could try out a recipe I was excited about. I got on Supercook today and tried to find recipes that incorporated our ingredients, because eating egg sandwiches or plain chicken breast is already getting old. I was so excited to see a “recipe” for a cantaloupe smoothie with two of our ingredients:

Cantaloupe

Yogurt

Woo! It is really quite tasty and sweet, which is much needed as I have not had chocolate in almost four days, people!! However, I did add like a tablespoon of sugar, which is not allowed, but it really doesn’t need it. Next time, no sugar (and no cheating…).

I promise we are learning more through this than how to be more creative with ingredients, although it is a plus as it has definitely helped me want to cook (gasp), lest I croak from food boredom.

What Day Is It?

So it is April 3rd (duh). That means we are only on the third day of our food fast. Today has been a lot better, but yesterday was a different story.

On my way home from work, I suddently wanted a Reese’s egg. Dern… not on the list. I did that a lot yesterday; thinking of something I wanted to eat only to realize it was only day 2, and I would just have to wait. Ryan really wanted Pringles and Doritos.

We went to Jason and Tab’s house to watch (the first 10 minutes and then leave and go to sleep) the UK game (and I just called the National Championship the UK game… what have I become??). Jason made us chicken and broccoli, which he also ate with us, and Tab cut us up some cantaloupe. Tab ate a chili dog and Doritos, but whatever. I guess she IS 36 weeks pregnant, but whatever. There was also that incident when Jason laid a Dorito on the coffee table on “accident”. We have really supportive friends (but we really do).

I just finished Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis. If you haven’t heard of or read it… do it. It was the perfect book to start off this food month, because it has put it in even better perspective. Instead of thinking we are struggling to simplify our choices in food, I am trying to remember and pray and find ways to do more for so many out there who simply eat to survive. Many can’t even do that.

7

 

 

This is the fast that Ryan and I are going to be doing for the next 7 months that I mentioned in my last post. We recently purchased Jen’s book, “7 : An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” and I have loved reading it. She just writes it as a journal of her and her family’s experiences during the 7 “experiment”. For us, this fast will serve as a way to make less of ourselves and make more of God while we continue to strive to simplify. It will also serve as a reminder to pray for our little one during these first 7 months of our wait.

Starting in two days (April), the first month is all about the food we eat. For the month of April, Ryan and I will only be eating the same 7 foods all month.

We chose:

Whole wheat bread

Eggs

Yogurt

Broccoli

Chicken

Apples

Cantaloupe

And we will only be drinking water. I love milk. I will miss it.

I’m not sure how much I will really write about this publicly. I’m sure it will come up. I love that Jen Hatmaker wrote about her experiences for us to read about, but I don’t feel as though it needs to be done again (especially since I am by no means a writer). The only reason I’m actually putting this on here is so people will at least know why we aren’t partaking in the pizza when a group of us get together. So maybe people can call us weird while they’re reading this instead of to our faces (it’s fine, we’ll take it to our faces as well). I don’t want to make this into us being so holy… even though we are trying to become more like Christ.

And a word about fasting from God’s Word that Jen quotes in her book…

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”

-Isaiah 58:6-7

You see, I don’t want this fast to be about what we are NOT doing, but rather what we ARE doing and who we are seeking to become.

Now to get my pizza and chai in before Sunday…

We Are Official!

For those of you who may not know, Ryan and I are officially on the waiting list to bring home Little Tengi!!

Our dossier was overnighted to Portland, arrived yesterday morning (we paid for it to be there by 10:30a.m. yesterday), and I got a call from our case worker just a few minutes before 2 (11a.m. in Portland) letting me know that we were added to the official wait list! I was hoping we would get on by the end of the week, so this was a wonderful surprise! She said our paperwork was perfect, so organized, and she loved it… nothing needed to be redone or changed. I was sooo happy to hear that, because we have spent so much time and energy (and I have lost a lot of sanity) over making sure the dates matched, notaries were good for a long time, and everything was exactly where it needed to be. A lot of times, families need to make a correction in their dossier, so I was very thankful we did not have to.

Now the waiting begins…

We are #123 on the boy list and #144 on the girl list.

You may be wondering how long until we bring home our chillen now? Well, it’s still not a cut and dry answer. Our agency is currently preparing families to wait up to 24 months. That has yet to happen in any cases through our agency, but it’s better to be prepared for longer than for shorter. We are hoping ours won’t be super long since we have higher age parameters than most, but I am still trying to prepare myself for 1 and a half to 2 years waiting. I know that seems forever and I want to whine about it sometimes, but that won’t change much.

For now… I am just going to be excited! Instead of waiting to get on the wait list, our waiting counts for something. We get to keep moving up that list.

During our wait, we plan to do plenty of reading and research on parenting, adopting, Ethiopia, and of course, continuing to draw closer to the Lord and trust that His timing is better than ours. We are also going to begin a type of fast for the next 7 months starting in April that I will explain more about later.

Until then…

Give1 Total and A Shipment!

Thank you all SO much for the support you gave us through our feature week on Give1Save1. There is a new family of the week this week, so maybe hit them up with your dollar? =)

The total that you all gave this past week was $1,381!!! – coming from 20 different states and Canada as well!

We are so grateful and want you to know that we will be using this money for later on down the road. We actually already had all of the money we needed to submit our dossier, so this will go into our adoption fund for fees for our referral some day!

Speaking of dossier…

Saturday, we received our fingerprint appointment notices in the mail! Remember that thing I asked you to pray for at the beginning of last week? Well, yay! However, when we opened up our notices, our appointment wasn’t set until April 17th… almost another month away. You see, we can’t send in our dossier and get onto the waiting list until we get this done! I was not about to wait another month (well, I didn’t want to). I had been told by my caseworker that several families had been able to just walk in before the scheduled date and get it done. I asked around about Cincinnati and any experiences people had. Someone responded and told me her and her family had gone in on three separate occasions (all early), and they let them get them done. That’s all I needed to hear! After some moving around of schedules and getting a day off, Ryan and I woke up at 5:30 yesterday morning to head up to Cincinnati in hopes of getting our fingerprinting done.

We got there right after they opened. We got in line and when we went up to the desk I explained that we were trying to get fingerprinted for our adoption, we know we are early, and we are willing to wait. They guy asked how early are you? I said a few weeks… When he looked at the paper, he said, “Oh. Four seventeen… that’s next month.” He said he would get us in, but he needed to get the ones who had appointments done before us. We were in and out in about 30 minutes! Ryan went back into work that afternoon and he made copies of our dossier. We made sure everything was in order when he got home and headed to the UPS Store!

Our friend Brittney came along (we were going for a “run” later), so she took pictures for us…

Paid and ready to go to Portland (after the UPS lady worked her magic and stuffed it in that envelope)! It should be in Portland by 10:30am, which is 1:30pm our time!

Hopefully we will hear back about being on the wait list soon! OH MY.

Fungi Tengi

First of all, thank you all so much for sharing our story and supporting us financially during our feature week on Give1. It has been such a memorable week… so many things going on in the background of our life right now, so it has been such a blessing to us as we try to figure out some tough things.

 

We are currently at $909 donated so far, and we still have the rest of today and tomorrow! If you have been thinking about giving, we would be so humbled and blessed if you did. If you have been holding back from donating, because you feel you can’t give much so you don’t want to at all… please give anyway. We have had so many people give us $1, $5, $10, and that all adds up! I squeal every time we get another email telling us we received a donation… no matter the amount.

 

Donate here

 

We will give you the final state total tomorrow! I think we are currently at 16 states and Canada. I’m not sure how to count that, but it’s pretty cool that we’ve gone international! 😉

 

Yesterday, I was able to take the day off to spend time with Ryan’s brother and his wife and their two little ladies. We had so much fun.. it was such a beautiful day! We went to a pretty, secluded park, went on the horse farm tour, and celebrated Ryan’s dad’s birthday! Ryan’s parents also made it in town yesterday evening and will be with us all weekend! It’s his dad’s birthday today… Happy Birthday, Dad!! To celebrate, he gets to go watch Hunger Games with us tomorrow 😉

 

I’ll just post the pictures now and shush up.

 

Haha! I told him to, don’t worry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for the title… last night we also discovered a funny bean-like growth coming out of our carpet at the bottom of the baseboard. I’m not kidding. Good thing Ryan’s brother was there to inform us it is actually a mushroom (so no mold, phew… but still). The tore off the baseboard and found some lovely dampness from a leak and a bit more fungus. I’m not sure what in the world we are going to do now, as we would have to have someone come tear a hole in our wall. We have money set aside for home improvements, but I was more interested in some new carpet/flooring (which will still have to come thanks to the leak) and finishing the redo of our den.. not radicating a mushroom garden.

Has this ever happened to anyone else? I’m gagging thinking about it.

Command vs. Cause

We have heard from quite a few people what a great thing it is that we are adopting a child. “It is such a good cause!” We have heard the labels “noble” and “good people”. While I appreciate the kind words and encouragement folks have given us, a lot of it just simply isn’t true. We are not adopting because we are good people or super caring. Our child will not be lucky to have parents like us. We are like every other wretched person in this world – None is righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10) – bad. Adoption/orphan care is not a cause. It is a command, and we are humbled that God has given us the grace to accept.

Throughout the Old Testament, the Lord commands His people over and over to not oppress the poor, the fatherless, and the widows (Deuteronomy 24:19-21,Deuteronomy 26:12-13, Isaiah 1:17 to name a few). When Jesus humbled Himself and came to earth, He began commanding His followers DO something about those who were poor, those who had no fathers, and those without husbands to care for them. From the beginning of time, God has been about caring for ALL, even the undesirable. He commands His people to do the same.


“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

James 1:27

I often hear how marriage is a great representation of the gospel. It totally is. So is adoption. I was not born a child of God. I was born a child of Satan (spiritually, that is). As far as I can tell, Satan is a pretty horrible father. He is selfish and manipulative and basically just looks out for his own well being. Guess what? So are we.. Until God called us to be His sons, we were Satan’s sons. And when God adopted me, I became HIS, not just kind of His.
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.

Romans 8:15

I am God’s son (yes, I am a girl, but it is significant that God calls His children sons because of the cultural idea of the first born son – not daughter- receiving the inheritance).

Let’s bring this circle back around…

Just because we were adopted does not mean we all have to adopt. However, we all are commanded and called to care for orphans. Since I am adopted by no act of my own, I should, at the very LEAST, want to care about the orphans and take an interest in adoption. How can we understand our spiritual adoption unless we support a culture that cultivates earthly adoptions? I like how Russell Moore says it in his book, “Adopted for Life” :

Without the theological aspect, the emphasis on adoption too easily is seen as mere charity. Without the missional aspect, the doctrine of adoption too easily is seen as mere metaphor.

Russell Moore

We are not adopting because it is a good cause. We aren’t adopting because it’s the right thing to do. We are adopting because as we learned more about our own adoption and God’s command to care for the unloved, we would have been disobedient to God’s command in our lives.

So, call it what you may; nice, sweet, exciting… but it’s not so much a good cause. We are simply being obedient (it’s about time, Brianna!). This is no more a good cause than it is for you to love your husband, wife, children, momma, dad, friends. We are just trying to love the way He loved us (trying, folks… we know we’ll fail! ;)).

**If you have any questions about how you can care for the poor, orphans, and widows, I would be happy to help with resources and organizations we support! Shoot me an email at bctenges@gmail.com**

UPDATE: We are up to $815 this morning!

As far as states go, 14 states have been represented in the donations, as well as a new country – Canada!

We are on until Saturday, and we would love your support if you so feel led! What a humbling week it is has been…

Our Feature Page

A True Man

I know a lot of you out there have the greatest husband in the world… so do I.

Let me introduce you to my man, Ryan.

Mostly, you all read about me or things from my perspective. This will still be from my perspective, but whatever…

Let me just keep it to five things I love/cherish/respect/admire/etc/etc about Ryan. Otherwise, this would take all day. And please know my lame attempt at putting down my feelings on this matter will not do it justice. I must try, though!

1. His love for the Lord.

I mean, maybe that’s an “obvious” or widely used phrase for ladies when speaking of their husbands, but ehhh… it’s so true of Ryan! This was the first thing that drew me to him (his stinkin’ good looks didn’t have a thing to do with it). As we got to know each other through our phone conversations, I remember being impressed (and rather intimidated!) by the way he disciplined himself to become more like Christ. He didn’t even become a Christ follower until he was 25 (now almost 31…), and he was blowing me away with his knowledge and passion for God’s word.

2. The way he pursued me (and still does pursue me!).

When we met at camp, I had previously made a promise to God and myself to not pursue any more guys… it is meant to be the other way around. I knew I had to let my future husband completely pursue me. After Ryan got my number the last night of camp, he called me every single day (I think there was one day where he didn’t call, but I didn’t freak out or anything…) after that. He would remind me, “you know, you can call me too”. I told him I knew that, but I don’t think I ever called him first until he made his first visit to see me. It was still sparingly until after we were officially together.

He sent me flowers. He sent me at least a card a week (still have them all!). On the envelopes of the cards he would write, “My Dearest Brianna Barger” or “The Future Mrs. Brianna Tenges” (after we were engaged, of course!). My roommates delivered my gifts from him with some gagging, but they were actually happy for me (right?). He never made me question our relationship. Ever. When he came to visit, he wouldn’t even hold my hand until we were in an official boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. It was so respectful! When he would leave, I never wondered where we stood.

Once we were together, he let me snuggle on him as much as I wanted (within reason!). I am a very snuggly person, so he let me be myself and show him love through holding hands, laying my head on his chest, hugs, and kisses. We call each other sickening names… boo boo, schoopie… I think he called me baby turkey for awhile? It’s gross, I get it. But I LOVE it.

To all the single ladies out there… PLEASE allow the man to pursue you. That’s how we were created, and it is the best feeling to know that he wants YOU and is thinking of you. Don’t throw yourself at anyone but your hubby (which comes after he pursues you!).

3. The way he leads.

He challenges me in all ways; spritual, mental, physical, relational. He mentors a boys small group and they look up to him as a role model (as they should). But ultimately, he wants to point them back to Christ, not himself (even though he’s so cute! I mean…).

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes this part is hard. This is where the curse comes in. Genesis 3:16 says “..Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” It is meant that the men be the leader in the household, but because of sin, us ladies think we will do a better job. Not that we shouldn’t contribute or have opinions and voice them, but I’m no feminist. HOWEVER, this becomes a struggle for me at times when I try to control my husband. Ultimately, he doesn’t let me, but he values my input as much as his own, and I do not feel devalued or unappreciated.

4. His commitment.

When Ryan commits to something, he stays with it. HELLOOO he committed to me… not easy. But really, we met and married within a year, and the whole relationship was long distance. He committed to it anyway. **Once again, ladies… if a guy willl not committ, run far away. Guys… if a girl will not committ, run far away. Both you and the non commital one should be with someone he/she wants to commit to and it be reciprocated.**

Whether it be our church’s softball coach, his many new responsibilities at work, small groups, etc… he stays committed (even when I think he should quit… I’m so supportive!).

5. His thoughtfulness.

So yesterday when I got home, I had my “official” Panem I.D. If you don’t know what I’m talking about… you should. It’s Hunger Games, people. Anyway, yes… I ordered one of those I.D. cards (I’m in District 12, by the way..). He made fun of me for getting one. But you know what he did? He had a People magazine laying there next to my shiny card. The People magazine had an article in there about the actors from Hunger Games (the actress who plays Katniss is from Louisville… woo woo).

He gives me little surprises like this a lot. He knows how much I love thoughtful gifts over a gift that was given just because it is Christmas. He comes and hangs out with me and the little man at work, he goes to Pet Smart with me even when he knows I’ll beg him to get another kitty or a puppy when we go (it worked once…).

Basically, my man just rocks. He loves God… I never doubt that. He loves me. I never, ever doubt that. While I know he is just human and he cannot fulfill me, he does the absolute best he can to love me the way Christ loves the church. His love makes me want to be a better servant of Christ, wife, and friend.

What more could I need/want/ask for…?

He would say more hair, but eh.

When will Little Tengi be home??

We get this question a lot in variance. I used to try to give a very detailed explanation of when we think it may be and why. Now I just say: I don’t know.

We really don’t. However, I will give you an update on where we are in the process and what the average times of the different steps are that we have left.

If you want to know what we have completed, check out our Adoption Timeline.

Currently, we are just waiting for a letter in the mail to tell us our appointment for fingerprinting from USCIS (Immigration Services). Once we get that in the mail, which should hopefully be like, tomorrow, we will either wait for our appointment date or possibly (if we are feeling rebellious) try to go early and see if they will let us in. I have heard of many other families who have done this with no problem rather than wait a couple of weeks to be able to send in their dossier.

Which leads me to…

Our dossier. A dossier is just a bunch of paperwork which includes our home study (which was also a lot of paperwork) and a lot of documents signed and notarized saying we aren’t crazy and we can provide for a chillen. There were a lot more, but that’s boring stuff. This has taken us since December to compile all of the documents, so we are thrilled to be sending it off soon (hurry fingerprint appointment!!).

After we send off our dossier, we can officially be put on the wait list!! Then begins the waiting…

Currently, there are 132 families waiting for the referral of a girl and 114 families waiting for the referral of a boy in our agency’s Ethiopia program. The average wait time for a boy is 19 months and the average wait time for a girl is 20 months. Yes, I know, that is a long time.

However, our agency doesn’t do age group lists (a list for families waiting for a 1 year old, 2 year old, etc). When a child becomes available, they start at the top of the list and move down until they find a family who matches the parameters for the specific child (age, special needs). Our current parameters are either gender up to the age of 5 years old, so we will be placed on both the boy and girl list. We are hoping that since our age range is a little wider than most (a lot of 0-12 month waiting families), that we may not need to wait as long. However, that’s not a given either… at all.

After our referral, we will wait on a court date, fly to Ethiopia, stay for a week, get passed (hopefully) by court making our son or daughter legally ours (!!), come home, wait to be cleared by embassy, go back and get our chillen, come home. That whole process can take another 6 months or so as well. Or less. Or more. Truly, only God knows!

So join us in praying that our fingerprint appointment will get here soon (today??) and we can get on that waiting list in the next couple of weeks! And pray for our little one, wherever he or she may be…

Give1Save1 UPDATE:

Our first full day brought us $311 to help bring our chillen home!! Thank you SO much! Thank you to all of you who have shared on your Facebook walls and told your friends. Thank you former Give1 families for supporting us… that means so much!! Let’s see what God is up to today =)

Also…

Ryan had a fun idea to keep track of the states people gave from and how many from each state… kind of a competition between states and a fun way to keep track of the many states represented in our Give1 week! Texas is kicking booty, and we hardly know anyone in Texas… they are just that great. Helloooo, Kentucky… we live in you. Step it up! 😉

Arizona – 1
Tennessee – 1
Kansas – 1
Ohio – 1
South Dakota – 1
California – 1
Illinois – 2
Indiana – 4
Kentucky – 4
Texas – 11

That’s 27 people in 10 different states! Let’s see if we can get 5 more states represented today!

Head on over to our feature page here, and watch our video over and over (and represent your state! 😉 ).