Such a Beautiful Mess!

This past month has been a doozy! I have come to the realization it is a beautiful mess. Such a beautiful mess I’m in!

One I wouldn’t trade for anything! Our adoption process is moving! We are plugging a long… I could tell you all the paperwork that we’ve gotten in the past few weeks but it really doesn’t make sense to me, so to type it all probably won’t make sense to all of you! The good news is there is movement! We are praying for the DRC and that they will begin issuing Exit Letters again soon…like very soon. I have been clinging to the verse Exodus 14:14 THE LORD HIMSELF WILL FIGHT FOR YOU. JUST STAY CALM. So that’s what I’m doing…praying and staying calm!

Earlier this month Titus so simply and beautifully asked Jesus to come live in his heart. It was a beautiful moment on the way to school, and his faith astounded me. When we talked about it later he was so sure, “Yeah Mom, Jesus lives in my heart now.” Jesse and I are so proud!

We have been practicing sign language and often play, What’s the sign for? both boys are gaining a lot of ground and their vocabulary is growing…again I’m just so impressed by them!! We have a lot to learn but we are all working on it and are anxious to teach and learn with our sweet girl!

Sunday (Feb 2nd) is race number 2 in the Run for the One fundraiser/ run-a-thon! This is a race I’m very excited about since it starts in one of the local caverns. Its going to be such a fun run! For this race we have 5 sponsors! WOW!! Thank you so much! And remember you can sponsor after each race too, a dollar a mile..or more if you so please!! My big sister has decided to join in on this crazy endeavor! She too is running 14 halves this year and is being sponsored by some very sweet and awesome friends of hers!

It is so humbling to have so much support! I honestly don’t think I can say THANK YOU enough!

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Here is a list of the races that we are planning!!

Jan 4th River Road Run **DONE!!**

Feb 2nd Natural Bridge Caverns & Feb 16th Austin City 1/2

March 2nd Moes Better 1/2 & March 23rd Alamo 1/2 & March 29th Women Rock Dallas

April 12th Zooma Texas 1/2

May 3rd Biggest Loser 1/2

June 8th Wounded Warrior 1/2

July 20th Orange Leaf 1/2

August VIRTUAL RACE

September 27th Salt Lake City Chosen 1/2

October New Braunfels Chosen 1/2

December Illumination 1/2

If you read all of those… then yes, you saw 3 in March and none in November…That was kinda on purpose. Busting 3 out in the beginning gives us a little wiggle room whens it comes to the timeline of all the other races! Just looking at these makes me tired…is that a bad sign?! Nahhh!!!

We hope that the crazy weather hasn’t gotten you down and that you and your families are all well! Friends, be still…The Lord is fighting for you!!

You can Sponsor all 14 races here:

You can Sponsor individual races here just leave a note as to which one!:

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It’s a marathon not a sprint…

For the past five months I have been training for my very first marathon. I have been running and enjoying it since the boys were born,. My big sister turned me onto it. She told me that as a mom running is an awesome way to get out and refocus, and for a solid 5 years running has really been my escape. On days where I am grumpy Jesse has sweetly asked, “Do you want to go out for a run?” He knows me so well 🙂 It has often been a time for me to pray, a time for me to really refocus and just a time to run. It is really freeing!

When we moved down here to Texas, running was a little harder not only because of the crazy heat and humidity, but also because of the change in our schedules. Zeke started school, Jesse’s new job was a “normal job” where he worked 9-5 so my running took a back seat. I did push Titus some in the jogging stroller, but he weighed like 40lbs and we live in a hilly area. Needless to say it wasn’t really fun running with him. My escape wasn’t much of an escape while pushing him.

Luckily, our gym has a run club that I got to join! I started running with them in April, and at that same time we decided that we would have a team for the Chosen Marathon. I have done 6 half marathons and told Jesse that if we were going to ask people to run for us then I felt like I had to run my first full marathon. He responded, “Yeah, I don’t feel that way.” So he is going to be running the half, and good for him! So that was that. I told my super marathoner friend I wanted to do the full, and I was committed. Then I sweetly talked a few more of our running friends into the full. Why? Because misery loves company of course! Over the past 5 months we have suffered, sweated, ached and mostly just ran together. These friends showed up at 5am on Sundays to log crazy miles, we shared running tips and the mutual disgust for this crazy decision! But every once in a while when I would complain…because yes, I am the team complainer…. “Who’s idea was this? Running is dumb! Why are we even doing this!?” They would kindly remind me, “This was your bad idea. Yes, running is in fact dumb, but we are running to bring your daughter home.” I would remember, yes there is a reason, a beautiful reason. These friends have sacrificed so much and I am so thankful to them.

As you can imagine there is a lot of time to think during these runs. Sometimes I listen to music but for the most part I am running quietly with a friend, (because my lungs can’t handle talking!) so I think, and I pray and during one run I decided I would compare this adoption process with a marathon, Here is what I came up with….

It’s a marathon not a sprint…So so true, international adoption is not fast. I’m really not sure there is a quick way to do it. It takes time, time to collect paperwork, time to have that paperwork processed, time to wait and see what will happen next. It is a very hurry up and wait deal.

It’s one foot in front of the other…over and over and over again. Like running, which is one foot in front of the other, adoption comes with many steps. Follow those steps and you will be successful, step by step…one foot in front of the other that’s the way to the finish line.

You will hit the dreaded “wall”….We have tried our best to train and prepare for this wall… this wall sucks! But when you hit the wall in the adoption you can’t quit! There is a child for you, you must push past the wall press on push forward there is a race to finish. I am a SUPER slow runner and I by all means have no desire to win, but I do have a goal… finishing well in both adoption and marathon.

You need support…With out the support of these running friends I wouldn’t have done long runs. If my sweet friend hadn’t picked me up at 4:30am (Yes A.M.!! WE ARE CRAZY!!!) I wouldn’t have gotten up, I like sleep! These friends have pushed me, encouraged me and strengthened me. I am so lucky to say that we have the same support and love with our adoption. Our church family is even supporting us by having a water table in the race…I just love them!! We would be lost without support.

There is reward when it’s all said and done…I’m not talking about just the bragging rights (but I will focus on the fact that I ran twice as much as Jesse for a while) but it’s an accomplishment, I have trained for this. Now the medal at the end of the race won’t be as sweet as the precious face of my daughter when the adoption is complete, but I think anything we wait for or anticipate can bring us joy.

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This is just a part of the BEAUTIFUL scenery we get to run on Saturday!

So Saturday morning all four of us will be participating in the 4th annual Chosen Marathon/Half Marathon. Like I may have mentioned, Ill be doing the full marathon 26.2 miles, Jesse will be running the half 13.1miles and the boys will be running their first race ever the Kids Fun Run. They too have been training and Zeke is taking this pretty seriously! It’s awesome. I hope he loves running! Please pray for us!!

And Thank you again to all of our TEAM TAPLEY EVER AFTER team mates, your support means so much to us!

The boys and I out for a run!

The boys and I out for a run!

Fundraising….Its just so Amazing!

Here is some exciting news on the fundraising front…

We had our “Every Cent Counts” change drive and it honestly blew me away. What I thought would be a fun ‘collect your change and I’ll meet you to pick it up’ evolved into a multi city collection, and a coffee shop event where God showed us we were supported and loved.

For those of you who don’t know, at the end of the change drive, we set up at a DELICIOUS coffee shop so people could meet up with us and hand off their change. We had the puzzle there, and all our t-shirts for sale too. It was a come and go night, people dropped of their change had a coffee and went on with their evening.

Many times through out the night I looked around and was so overwhelmed with love. God really showed me that night that we are right where He wants us. He has placed us in New Braunfels, TX and knows exactly what He is doing! *imagine that right?!* So often through out this journey, and especially that night Jesse and I talked about how crazy it is to feel so rooted here. Rooted and loved, it’s just amazing! SO after an amazingly fun night we rushed *not even kidding* to the closest CoinStar to count up the change…there was no way we could roll all that!! With the sales of shirts, and other cash donations we received over $2,000 from the Every Cent Counts fundraiser! Isn’t that AMAZING!!?? We are so thankful!! SO THANKFUL!! It amazes me how fast pennies added up. It amazes me that y’all were willing to just give up this spare change. It amazes me that once again God saw fit to reach His loving hand down to do a mighty work in our lives and the lives of others through this simple little event! It was such a joy to just BE with everyone, to be loved on and love on others.

BUT that’s not all!! Oh no sir!! Last week we got to have dinner with a lot of these same people. How great are our New Braunfels friends you ask? SO GREAT!! The greatest even!! Last Monday Chick-Fil-a hosted a Spirit Night for Tapley Ever After, where we all came and had dinner and Chick-fil-a generously donated a portion the sales that night to our adoption. So obviously you know by now, I LOVE CHICK-FIL-A! I love it and I was so excited that they would allow people to do this. So the basic run down is this, we showed up and had dinner with our friends, I got to drink cup after cup of sweet tea and at 9pm we went home flying high on cloud 9…or maybe the sugar high either way, I was super happy! Again half way thru the evening I looked around and got emotional and prayed, “Lord, you have placed us here. You have given us these people, this support system. Thank you!” We found out that from that night we earned just over $300, from just showing up and having dinner…best fundraiser ever!!

I just don’t think we will ever be able to say ‘Thank You’ enough. We have been so blessed by your giving, by your encouragement and by your prayers. We stand humbled and in awe, overwhelmed by your goodness! Thank you!!

 

P.S…. We don’t have any news as far as a new referral but we trust God and His timing! Thank you once again for your prayers!

We Love a good cup of coffee!!

We Love a good cup of coffee!!

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Such talented friends played live music while we chatted up our friends!

These jars were so full by the end of the night!

These jars were so full by the end of the night!

The Lewis family ready for dinner at Chick-fil-a!!

The Lewis family ready for dinner at Chick-fil-a!!

It was pretty crazy in the store so many of our friends ordered and ate at home!!

It was pretty crazy in the store, so many of our friends ordered and ate at home!!

How many times did I say Amazing…OOPS!!

Summer Lovin’

Summer is in full swing around the Tapley Home. We just celebrated Titus’ 5th birthday, we are now seasoned Schlitterbaun pros, and we have become a family of putt-putt fans! As summer winds down 😦 we are getting prepared for a 7th birthday and the start of another year of kindergarten and 1st grade. BUT we still have 5 weeks of summer left and that means more pool, river and bahn time with friends. Have I mentioned how much I love summer!?

In the midst of the sun shiny fun, we have gotten more news on our little girl. We have received her abandonment story and now know she is in an amazing foster home. We have sent off our first care package to her (I got my first taste of buying little girl clothes SO MUCH FUN!!) and we have sent her a letter as well as more pictures. I have stopped stalking the mail man as now we have all of the documents we needed. All of our info is finally on its way to the DRC! There is one more document we are waiting for on the DRC side; once we get that, we will head into the court process. This is where our little girl will become a Tapley. This (like every other part of this journey) will take time, and with time means we must be patient. Once we get word that we are in court it is just a waiting game. It could last 8-16 weeks give or take. While we are in this stage there’s nothing we can do. Please begin to pray for patience for us. We aren’t there yet but know it is around the corner!

FUNDRAISING UPDATE:
Jesse and I counted up puzzle pieces today and we have sold 458 pieces! What an amazing blessing!! We are so SO thankful! With that being said we are almost at the half way mark, there are still just over 500 pieces left to sell. As we enter the court process we will be getting our next invoice, selling these last 500 pieces will really help us with that! Have you gotten your piece of the puzzle yet??

We just printed a new batch of T-shirts and will be introducing a new design soon!! So be on the look out for that! Here is the shop link: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TapleyEverAfter?ref=pr_shop_more

ALSO Chosen Marathon and Half Marathon are approaching fast! Team Tapley Ever After begins training this week! We would love to have you join us on our team! If you are interested in running with us here is the link sign up under Team Tapley Ever After. Your full registration fee will benefit bring our daughter home! http://www.chosenmarathon.com

Lastly we ask for your prayers! We need them!! Here are some specific things we are asking…
*safety for our sweet girl
*patience for us as we press on
*financial support- grants and puzzle completion

We are so thankful and continually humbled by your giving spirits. Thank you!!

Our sweet girl...trust me she is LOVELY

Our sweet girl…trust me she is LOVELY


King Titus celebrating his 5th Bday!

King Titus celebrating his 5th Bday!

The boys adding a piece to our journey puzzle

The boys adding a piece to our journey puzzle

Chasing the Son

Here is a few updates:

We sent out our i600a (petition for an orphan) and are anxiously awaiting the approval and paperwork that will stem from that. By “anxiously awaiting” I mean I pretty much sprint to the mailbox the minute I see our mail lady, which isn’t until almost 5pm every night!! And in all reality I’m not expecting anything till late next week…oh well though, I suppose that little bit of sprinting is good for me!

We have our Etsy store up and running! We have T-shirts and Metal Stamped Keychains for sale. Every purchase helps get closer and closer to our huge financial goal and more importantly, our little girl! Here is the link to our store…. http://www.etsy.com/shop/TapleyEverAfter

We also have an amazing opportunity to have a team in the Chosen Marathon & Half Marathon (October 26). The race is here in New Braunfels, Texas and it is an event set up to benefit adoptive families. We are so excited to be a part of this run! So, team Tapley Ever After will be running to help bring home our little girl, to help her into her forever family. If you would like to walk with us, run along side us OR “Sleep Walk” (sign up with our team and just sleep in!!), please sign up under our team. We will have much more info coming up for that…BUT if you sign up this week (before June 9th) you can help us win a contest against the other teams: Whoever gets the most runners on their team will win a “significant bonus towards their adoption fund!” Here’s the link to go sign up 😉 http://www.chosenmarathon.com

We also still have PLENTY of puzzle pieces left, if you’d like to have your name on the puzzle you can click the tab above this post or to the left where is says “buy a pc of the puzzle”. We cannot express how amazing it is to see all the names going on this puzzle. It has been such an amazing fundraiser, BUT it’s not done yet, so if you haven’t gotten your pieces, go for it get them while the getting is good! 😉

With all that…we have welcomed summer into our house with open arms. Zeke finished up Kindergarten like a champ and is a little sad to not have to go to school, but is ok trading school for time at the pool. Titus is excited to have brother around all the time again, and is loving the summer life. Jesse was telling some friends the other night how in Alaska if the sun is shining, we are out in it making the most of the long days and the little warm sunshine we get. He reminded me of one of my favorite summer sayings, “If the sun is shining and you aren’t out playing in it, then you must not love Jesus very much!” All that to say, I haven’t lost my Alaskan mentality, when the sun is shining we are out in it in some way. Yes we use sunscreen and drink a lot of water but I’m tellin you…I was made for the heat!!

We can’t begin to express how full our hearts are, the love and support we get from you all is overwhelming in the best way. Jesse and I just sort of sit back and laugh (me, with tears in my eyes) sometimes at what the Lord is doing. He is so good and we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. This journey is long and we are so blessed to walk this journey along side some of the best people!

On our way to Schlitterbahn. Who does't love having a water park 5miles from the house?!

On our way to Schlitterbahn. Who does’t love having a water park 5miles from the house?!

A crazy beautiful year

Im feeling very reflective today…One year ago today I drove out of my hometown and left all that was familiar in the rearview mirror. The boys and I boarded a plane and said goodbye to Alaska and Hello to Texas. Jesse was already in Texas (he drove all of our stuff down) waiting for me and the boys to arrive, while we knew God called us to leave our comfort zone (our home, family, friends, church family and all things familiar) we had no idea what that would look like. Fast forward a year and I am in awe. In awe of all the things He has set up before us. I feel so blessed to have an amazing church family, an amazing group of friends and a support system that just makes me laugh…how did we get so lucky, so blessed?
Now don’t get me wrong, this was hard! I cried many a lonely tear wondering if I would ever make friends and wondering what in the world we were supposed to be doing here. Why He moved us to Texas and What for!?
When we began church shopping we found and fell in love with Northpoint Church. This church body became our friends and our family. We love NPC and the people, we love the heart and mission of the church and are so glad to be apart of this body. We are thankful to the people of NPC for accepting us with open arms and loving on us when we need it and holding us to a higher standard of life.
In the fall Zeke started Kindergarden and I started at a new gym. Who knew that a gym could be a community of people that I could grow close with and find great friends! That’s exactly what happened. There is a weekly bible study at the gym that I was invited to and I tell you what, it really helped me deepen these friendships and allow me to have a place of my own. These girls are amazing! And again I am so thankful for them and the community we find at our gym.
As I look back on the year it’s amazing to see what God has done! He has strengthened our bond as a family. We are a family of four that has had to rely on each other for many different things. We have also had so much fun being tourist in San Antonio walking the river walk and in Austin watching the bats fly from the Congress St. bridge. We went to the circus, floated the river, spent many lazy days at the pool, went to a pumpkin patch, we did Sea World, Six Flags and Schlitterbahn, we went to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving to see Granny and the rest of the Tapley Family, we celebrated Christmas with Wassailfest, and we bought a house and have eaten more than our fair share of BBQ! It has been a crazy beautiful year, on top of all that family of four fun, we began our adoption process. Who would’ve thought last year when we left Alaska that we would be adding to our family!! Not us, but God did!! Nothing surprises Him!
In all reality I look back on this year and see growth. Change brought forth growth in our family. Not only Spiritually but within our family. How exciting is that! We love living here in New Braunfels, we love the heart of this town and the community we joined.

It’s home…

The boys at Wassailfest

The boys at Wassailfest


Jesse and the boys visiting Granny in OK

Jesse and the boys visiting Granny in OK


Z & T with Santa Shamu at Sea World

Z & T with Santa Shamu at Sea World


Jesse and the boys in Austin at the Capitol Building

Jesse and the boys in Austin at the Capitol Building