Pizza and a POD
Announce you're having a pizza party and people will come! Insert the words Pod-packing pizza party and the guys won't even know they've been roped in. Pizza is all they hear. Throw in some amazing friends who gave up a Friday night to come help the crazy move-in-a-month Swope family. Add in 10 kids and all that work just became a whole lot of fun.

My mom came over two days this week and we packed over 25 boxes. My friend Sharon came over all day yesterday and we packed another 15+ boxes. She headed home at about 3pm. Soon after I left to get the boys and meet JJ at our new house to do a walk-through with our builder. That lasted 3 hours but it was so much fun to hear all the details about our new home.

Sharon came back at 6pm along with my other friend, Teresa. JJ's friends Jim and Jason came by after work. They all brought their kids, too. We ate pizza and then loaded all those boxes and four rooms of furniture into a POD that was delivered to our house yesterday. I couldn't believe how much fit in there and there's still room for more!

What a day. What a week. Lots of packing. Lots of progress. I feel so great about all that we got done. Our house is really starting to look like we're moving. Empty walls. Empty rooms. Empty closets. Yay!

Tonight we have an engagement party/cook-out to go to so that will be a great break and a fun get-away. All our Pod-packing friends and a bunch more will be there so I am looking forward to just hanging out and relaxing.

Hope you're having a great weekend. Thanks for your prayers. I can see how they are being answered!

Packing Pauses and Perspectives
We put the packing on pause while I traveled this weekend to speak in FL. Now I feel so behind. How will we get everything packed in a month? I hate feeling like this. My personality really likes to see progress and the boxes are still in the same place they were in when I left last Friday.

I am trying not to get anxious during my packing pause. I am trying to look at this from a different and more positive perspective. I am trying not to focus on what we haven't gotten done, but celebrate the little and big things we have.

We had our current home inspection yesterday and it went well. Two big check marks! The buyer, Realtor and two inspectors were here all afternoon. (Side note: They showed up at 3:30pm and I still had on my pajamas. You'll have to read yesterday's journey blog to appreciate that little tid bit!)

JJ cleaned out our shed while I was gone, which is a huge accomplishment since it was full of yard stuff and anything else we wanted to hide. We don't have a shed at the new house so he had a lot of stuff to part with. It was gone by the time I got home on Sunday.

Yesterday afternoon (while I was still in my jammies) I got my power points done for my next retreat in two weeks.

Last night and tonight I ate dinner with my family, spent some fun time together. Snuggled with Andrew and rubbed his back while he fell asleep. I worked with Joshua on his literature project that is due tomorrow. It's been a good two days as a family.

Oh, and JJ and I went on a date this week. Instead of jumping back into packing Sunday night while our kids were at a youth event, we went out for coffee. It was a working date but a date still. We planned our week together. We drank lattes and laughed in the Target Starbucks. Then JJ shopped with me for some cute summer tops - he held them while I scanned the racks. When we got home he patiently watched me try each one on and told me how much he liked them. My heart smiled a lot. Well, until he said I looked like a watermelon - then quickly clarified it was the colors of my shirt and not my shape.

Thank you Lord for new packing perspectives. You've helped me see that I can reduce my stress about all this packing stuff by making a list of not what I need to do - but what I've already done. Hmm, I wonder what other areas of my life could use a new perspective...

God Supplies
Well, blogging this week has proved to be harder than I thought it would be. I guess I thought it would take longer to get going but once we set our closing date for May 15th, the frenzy began!
We've been non-stop planning, gathering supplies, and packing.

God has supplied abundantly more than we may even need in supplies! But boy am I thankful He has. We have over 100 boxes broken down in our garage to use - provided by our friends Mark and Melissa who own a bookstore and by Lysa and Art who own a Chick-fil-A. We also got 2 of those super duper tape guns from Mark and Melissa and another one from our friends Butch and Mandy, and they gave us 3 boxes of bubble wrap sheets which are perfect for dishes!

We started with the hardest part first, our three large walk-in attics. JJ unloaded box after box, plastic tub after tub into our bonus room. I went through each one, deciding what to keep, what to give and what to toss! We blessed the Salvation Army with 9 boxes of clothes today.

I had forgotten how much hard work this would be, how very exhausting it is to move. I've looked around and grunted, "Surely we could have fit another child in here." Many times as my head pounded and my muscles ached my body grumbled, "Why are we doing this?" And in those moments I've closed my eyes and remembered the faces of the children on the DVD who are waiting for someone to bring them home - someone to chose them for their family. More than once I have put down my tape gun and driven to our new home to "see" the place God has chosen for us to build our family.

If you are in a hard place and wondering why you are there, questioning if you have made the right choice - I hope you'll pull out a photo or read an old journal and remember how God got you where you are. If you are not sure if He got you there, simply bow your head and tell Him today you are choosing to trust in Him with all your heart, tell Him you're not going to lean on your own understanding (but on His), acknowledge Him in all your ways and believe that He will make your path straight. Then take a photo or write something down so you can go back to it next time your are filled with exhaustion or doubt.

Once again, thank you for your prayers and the joy you have shared with us. I am so glad you are along for the journey with us!!!

We have a signed CONTRACT!
Thank you so much for praying for us. God has blown our minds with the details of His provision for our house to sell. On Friday we had a conference call with our lender and much to our surprise we were able to accept the offer (which was about 6,000 less than we thought we needed). Because our builder is contributing so much to our closing cost, there is enough to buy down the interest rate which put our house payment where we needed it to be. We spent all of Friday night and Saturday praying, processing and making sure we had all the details right and God clearly told us to sign the contract. So, we did!!

We get to determine our closing date so today we're looking into moving costs, and seeing what is realistic physically and financially. There is that extra cost of principal and interest if you move on a day other than the last of the month, so we're trying to figure all of that out, too. We're either moving April 30th or mid-May.

We're on Spring Break. Perfect timing, huh? As I shared last week, we're going to have some local fun, (no the kids haven't slept in the van yet :->) clean out our attics and start collecting and packing boxes.

I am going to try to blog this week about little and big God-moments we've had along the way that lead us to this final decision. I can't wait to have this story to share with our new daughter/daughters because it's her/them coming into our family that brought us to this new place in His plans for us.

Thanks SO much for your part in all of it - your PRAYERS and encouragement!!!!

We got an offer on our house!
Hi there!!! I am so excited and a little numb. We got an offer on our house today. It's $19,000 less than our asking price but it's an offer! I've been totally distracted and consumed by number crunching this afternoon. We've got to figure out our bottom line since we are still crunching numbers for taxes and adoption expenses. Spring break is next week and it is looking very low budget and very local. My kids asked today if they can sleep in our van one night as an adventure since we aren't going to any hotels. I said "sure." Beats the Hampton Inn for $150!

Will you say a little prayer for us that we know what God wants us to make our bottom line. He clearly gave us a number to offer on the new house so we know He knows what our lowest asking price should be on this one. We know we don't have to move so we want to be wise in our negotiations and trust God with the outcome.

Also, about the adoption DVD - thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement. We watched it all the way through once Monday night and finished at 1am. Then took a break last night. It's so much to process. Tonight we're praying and looking at house numbers so we'll probably wait and watch it again this weekend. God's given us such a peace about the process and the timing. What an adventure of faith.

I'll keep you posted :-).

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