Monday, March 7, 2011

The FABULOUS Fish Fry!!!

WOW, WOW, WOW!!! We have had an amazing weekend, that's for sure!

Well, a few weeks ago, some of the guys in Jody's mens group started planning, along with some other church friends of ours, a FISH FRY fundraiser for Caroline Faith! And they started planning BIG! From the beginning they planned for 250 meals!!! We were so excited and thankful that they were doing this for us! We all started spreading the word about the fundraiser that would be at our good friends, Jay and Lou Anne Morgan's house!

At first, the guys from the mens group were all just trying to pitch in to cover the expense of the food, but we were told that ONE PERSON stepped up and said they wanted to cover ALL THE EXPENSES for the fish fry!!! How awesome is that?!! We still don't know who this person is who paid for everything, but we want to THANK YOU so much!!

As it got closer to time, and everyone started really getting excited about it, they decided they better up it to 300 meals! WOW!!! We couldn't believe it! Well, as last Friday got closer and closer, we realized that all the beautiful weather we had been having was about to end, and guess what was in the forecast??

RAIN!!! And lots of it. Well, I've told ya'll before how the Morgan's have the gift of hospitality! Unlike anything I have ever seen before! They love welcoming people to their home and serving others...and everything they do is so YUMMY and FUN!!

Well, I talked to Jay on Thursday morning before the Fish Fry to see if we should reschedule it because of the rainy forecast. Jay said he was great with just moving all the cooking into the garage, and then everyone could eat inside or out on their porch. (They have an huge wrap-around porch!) So, I told him we were IN if they were! :)

We started emailing and getting the word out on FB that the Friday night Fish Fry was still on...rain or shine!! We weren't sure how it would affect the turn-out, but we were all in agreement that we should go ahead and have it!

Well, Friday morning dawned, and sure enough, it was cloudy and rainy, but the rain did nothing to dampen our spirits! We were excited!!! We couldn't wait to see how God would use this to provide for us to bring Caroline Faith home, and we were thrilled about a fun night with friends, family and yummy food! :)

About an hour before we're supposed to leave for the fish fry, I got a call from a good friend telling me about a news article that just came out. I looked up the article and felt sick as I read about how Ethiopia might be cutting back on adoptions up to 90%. We didn't know (and still don't) if any of this would actually happen, but I was worried...and then the TEARS came!

Here we were, just about to walk out the door for a huge fundraiser for our daughter in Ethiopia, and now everything with adoptions in Ethiopia seemed so unsure. What did we do?

We PRAYED!!! I got on my knees with Jody right beside me and we gave it all to God...our fears, our concerns, our worries, and most of all, our daughter. She is in His hands. We both felt a tremendous PEACE wash over us after praying, and we knew that we could go to the fish fry that night with a renewed sense of PEACE and JOY!

We loaded the kids in the car, and headed to the Morgan's house...excited about the night ahead! We ran through the rain and into their house. When we walked in, Lou Anne said she had something she wanted us to see first.

Lou Anne is an AMAZING artist!! Back in late December, Jody had asked her if she would paint something for me for my birthday. He didn't really know exactly what...just something to do with the adoption. He knew that I would love it, that we had the perfect spot to hang it, and that Lou Anne would create the perfect thing!

Well, he was right! This is what I saw when I walked in their house...

Oh my goodness!!! I immediately started CRYING! Lou Anne was asking me if I liked it, and I couldn't even answer her through my tears! I just had to nod my head and give her a big HUG!

You see, not only was it amazing beautiful, but it was exactly what I needed to see! The picture of the heart in Ethiopia for Caroline Faith, and then the other three hearts representing Callie Grace, Carson and Caty just filled my heart with such HOPE! It was such a confirmation from the Lord. I felt Him saying, "Your daughter is there in Ethiopia. She is just as much a part of your family as the other three children I have given you. And I will bring her home. Put all your faith in ME and trust ME." It was an unforgettable moment in this journey that I will forever treasure.

We got Lou Anne to take a picture with us too! I am going to be doing a post soon of some of the other artwork that she's done for us! If you are interested in her information, please email me! She takes custom orders and her artwork is incredible!

Well, then we went to the garage to see how all the fish fryin' was going! By the way, the fish fry was from 5-7, and when we got there at 4:50, people were already there picking up their meals! In the rain!! All the food was put in "to-go" boxes, so you could either take it home with you or take it inside to eat it! Great idea!

Here was one of the first trays of catfish...ready to be put into the HUGE fryer!!

Look at this FRYER!!! It was filled with catfish, french fries and hush puppies!! Maybe not the healthiest meal ever, but it sure was GOOD!! :) Oh, and there was delicious cole slaw too!

Sharon and her daughter Rachel, are some of my closest friends! They're really more like family to me! Sharon had on her cute apron and she worked hard all night taking orders!

Some of my other best friends...Amy (and her two boys) who is adopting a baby girl from China, Melissa who is our preschool minister, and Mimi who is a mom of 4...including precious triplet girls!! She has one of them in her arms! We were out in the garage where all the cooking and serving plates was going on!

More precious friends inside eating fish together!! Beth, Melissa, Neely, Julie and me...I can't even tell you how special these girls are to me! They have each helped and encouraged me so much on this journey!

Gotta love some Southern girls eating their fried fish together! Ha! Yeah, we totally posed for this picture! :)

Oh, and you might notice the donation jar in the picture. There was a bucket for donations set up at a table in the garage and then one in the kitchen. People could just donate whatever they wanted to!

My friend, Mimi's cutie pie triplet girls at the bar eating their fish and french fries! Is that not adorable?! Mimi and I have been friends forever. We grew up together and are like sisters. You know she's a great friend to bring all four little kids out in the rain to the fish fry to support us! :)

My sweet friends, Sonia and Kim, were the most amazing "order takers"! They had a great system going on and made quite a team! So thankful for all the hard work they did that night...and always with a smile on their faces!!

Carroll did a fantastic job of serving the plates all night!! He had on his apron and he was ready to go! Carroll is the husband of Sharon and father of Rachel (see above picture). Love this family so much! They have been so supportive of us and our adoption!!

One of Jody's best friends, Brett! Love this crazy guy! He was in the driveway (in the rain) sweeping the water out, so people wouldn't have to step in huge puddles!

Patrick and Clark had the job of putting all the seasoning/breading stuff on the fish before it went into the fryer! And they did a fabulous was delicious!!

Just a picture of the assembly line! I was amazed at how organized they were with took lots of people helping but everything was so smooth and efficient!

And guess what little cutie showed up at the fish fry to support her cousin-to-be?

Our precious niece, Ella Kate!!! I got to hold her and walk around with her while Drew and Erin were eating and I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT! :)

My sweet friend, Amanda and her adorable baby boy, me and Ella Kate, and Erin, my precious sister-in-law! There were lots of cute babies there that night! Makes me so ready to hold our baby girl!

Jody and one of his best friends, Jay. We were all at Ole Miss together and Jody lived with Jay for 2 years in college, so they've been good friends for a long time!

Caty and her favorite (and only) cousin, Ella Kate! Gotta love those blue eyes!

Our friends Terre' and Kevin, and Josh, Terre and Hannah taking their boxes "to-go"! Love all the boxes piled up so high! So glad they came that night!

Caty loved her french fries! I promise our other kids were there too, but I never got a picture of them! They were running around upstairs with their friends all night!

Me and my sweet friend, Michelle! I have a precious story to share with ya'll soon about something her sweet girls did for us!

And here is the unbelieveable crew of guys (and Jody) that put this whole Fish Fry together for us and worked hard for weeks before and all day and night on Friday to make it a HUGE success! Seriously cannot thank them enough for all that they did! They are amazing friends!!!

Brett and Matt were being crazy (as usual) and starting doing the "sorority girl pose"! I told them it was going on the blog!! :)

Finally, the very LAST batch of fish and french fries going into the fryer! I know the guys were so glad to see this!

Jody and Jay, the incredible host and fish fryer! Yes, his apron says "Jay Deen, Paula's other son"! Love it! Thank you so much for everything, Jay! Ya'll have done do SO MUCH for us on this adoption journey!

Our great friends, Matt and Kim! Matt and a few others worked so hard for weeks planning this fish fry for us! And then Matt cooked and Kim took orders and served dinner all night long! I know they were exhausted! Thanks so much! We love ya'll!

I wish I had gotten a picture with ALL of our friends who were there that night! As usual, I was talking more than I was taking pictures! :)

Well, it was starting to get later into the night, and the crowd was finally starting to thin out. All in all, we think about 275 meals were served! At the end of the night, all that was left was one small tray of catfish and hush puppies...and some tired, but happy friends!

Someone ran to the back to start counting the donations...

and as you can see from this picture, I was already overwhelmed with tears before we even knew the total!

Crying as they read the total for the fish fry...$5,742!!! But wait, then people started saying they hadn't had time to add their money yet! Well, we ended up leaving that night with $6,200, but it wasn't over yet...

Trying to compose myself enough to thank everyone! Jody did a great job of it...and I later got a few words out! :)

Well, so I know ya'll want to know the total amount raised for Caroline Faith! After an amazing Friday night, and then even a few more donations coming late on Saturday and then on Sunday morning, the grand total for the rainy night Fish Fry Fundraiser for Caroline Faith was...


WOW!!! Needless to say, we are COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED with gratefulness and thanksgving, and we are praising God for His faithfulness and provision!!! I'm sure it's obvious what a HUGE confirmation this was for us after hearing some unsettling news that Friday afternoon. So glad that we did not reschedule the Fish Fry because of the rain. God in His complete sovereignty knew that we would need His confirmation on the night of Friday, March 4, 2011. Seeing the painting, being surrounded by good friends and family, watching God provide abundantly for our was such a beautiful picture of God's perfect timing.

And I know the day we bring Caroline Faith home will be another beautiful picture of His perfect timing. Trusting Him fully in that.

I know this is the longest post ever in the history of blogging, but I wanted to leave you with the email that Jody sent out on Saturday morning. Thank you to ALL OF YOU who have helped us, prayed for us and supported us on this adoption journey!

He titled the email "gamechanger for our family"...

Last night was one of the greatest blessings our family has ever received. It was an unforgettable mile marker on this incredible adoption journey that the Lord has called us to. As Alison shared last night…there are no words to describe our thankfulness for EVERYTHING each of you did and continue to do to help us bring our baby girl home from Ethiopia . Thank you for being a living example of what Jesus Christ calls the church to be. We will not be the same after this amazing outpouring of love from each of you.

Eternally grateful for each of you,

Jody, Alison, Callie Grace, Carson, Caty, & Caroline Faith (coming soon)

Praying and fasting today that Caroline Faith will indeed be...

coming soon.

“Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I HOPE for." Job 6:8


Kelly Jo said...

The tears are flowing!! To see those men work together to serve and love on your family and help bring Caroline Faith home is just so amazing to me!! I pray that I can raise my boys to have hearts like theirs!! Such a blessing!!

Amy said...

ALISON! That is amazing! I am so happy for you guys. Love it!

Also, if I had known you were having a fish fry, we might have made the trip. I LOVE fried catfish.

Elle J said...

Beautiful, Alison!! What a great support group you have surrounding you in all your life's journeys. You are blessed and deeply loved. Amen!

The Mulder Family said...

Oh my goodness I have tears right now...that is absolutely AMAZING!!! What a great idea & loved how everyone pitch in to help too...GOD IS GOOD!!! Praying continually for you guys on this's a fun one!!

Anonymous said...

That is AWESOME!!!!!!!!! Oh, I am so happy for you! I love watching God work in all of this. He will bring your sweet girl home. I heard about the news from Ethiopia on Sat and you were one of the first people to pop up in my mind. Glad to see you are not letting Satan get you down. God is in control! And she is worth every second of this journey.

erica said...

WOW!!!!! What an awesome story! I loved hearing all about the fish fry and seeing all the photos (and now I'm hungry, too!) Love the painting as well! You've got great friends, and it's so encouraging to see God working through His people! Congratulations!! :)

jill funkhouser said...

Girl, you brought tears to my eyes just reading this and wishing we had friends that were like this. We have no support, so it totally saddens me, but I am so excited for you all and wish we had those friends as well. Love it, love it, love it!
What a blessing!

Makenzie said...

I love it Alison!! I am so glad that God is blessing your journey to Caroline Faith. And that fish looks mighty tasty!!

Anonymous said...

WOW Alison!! That was one awesome fundraiser! Praying for good news with the adoption process and that we will both have our sweet ones home SOON! =)

Bonnie Nieuwstraten said...

Wow~ I am overwhelmed and SO happy for you guys! And please know, this news from Ethiopia has hit me hard too, even though my sweet girl is already home. My heart aches for those of you who are waiting, and I am praying like crazy!!

Kelli said...


Amazing story of men of faith coming together... look at what can be done!

So excited about what God did.... AWESOME!!!!!

Andrea said...

WOW!!! That is Awesome Alison!!!!

Allison said...

This is so amazing!! The second I read that article I was in shock and saddened, we haven't even applied yet so what did this mean for us. But then I realized it's not about us it's about HIM and his children, so I went home curled up in bed, read my bible and prayed for the children and my sweet friends who are waiting for their babies to come home!! God is so good and so are the friends that he gave you to walk on this journey with! We love you already Caroline Faith!!

Stephanie said...

Wow! That is so awesome! Love how God uses something like a fish fry as such a huge blessing!!

Unknown said...

What a tremendous blessing for your family!

The O'Neal Family said...

Wow, that is AMAZING!!!! I'm with Kelly Jo, I loved seeing all the guys so excited to be doing what they were doing. We all know how much us mommas love this stuff but to see the men really stepping up to do this stuff is heartwarming! So happy for you Alison!

Kelly said... THAT is a fundraiser!! Go God! So happy and encouraged to hear that total.

Unknown said...

Allison, you are so so bad. When I got to the Lou Anne part the tears started. Made it hard to read from then on. What a precious flow of words from you. Love ya, Tommy D
P.S. You are a special lady (and not just for putting up with Jody)

Joyce said...

You know, it was like God even ordained the date for you: March 4th - or - march FORTH.

What an amazing story. You are very blessed in your friends and faith community.

Nicole said...

Amazing and tasty!!

Shannon said...

WOW!!!! Love reading this and seeing how our Father provides!! What a fun and original idea too!

woosterweester said...

Alison, that is so AWESOME! What a double blessing: good friends to support you through the journey and funds to bring your baby home. God doesn't do anything half-way, does He!

Hannah said...

So glad yalls fundraiser went so well! I really like what you said about the new news on Ethiopia though. We got the email from AGCI yesterday and are trying not to be discouraged! I love your positive attitude and I know God will bless your family with a little girl, I'm glad yall felt some affirmation after prayer!

April said...

LOVE this idea and I am so happy it was so super fruitful for you guys!!! :) Might have to borrow the idea soon!

Christy said...

WOW! It is amazing how loved on you guys are, and what I have prayed for. You have been in my prayers since I heard the news from Ethiopia.

Laurie said...

What a big God we serve! So excited about all the He's doing to bring your little girl home. I know it will all work out for His glory and your sweet family's good!

Ashley said...

My heart is overwhelmed with joy for your precious family! What an amazing rainy night :) The news was given to us Sunday night at church and it has been a little tough the past few days. Please know that your rainy night fish fry has encouraged this waiting mommy :)

meredith and justin said...

This is incredible, Alison! I am so happy for your family. You are right, God's timing is perfect. I can see His hand all over our adoption stories, and I don't think He is planning to let go anytime soon. I am excited to see how He answers our prayers.

Polly said...

Alison, I'm in tears. I love that our God is so faithful and will go all out to confirm HIS plans for our lives. God is for Caroline Faith and therefore, no one can stop HIM! Praise God for these sweet friends of yours!

The Runyans said...

don't know how i found you, but i'm crying. . .wow. . .what a God we serve!!!! we are starting our process now. fixing to turn in our homestudy packet this week!!! :)