Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Let's be the Hands and Feet

I stumbled upon a blog a couple weeks ago that tugged at my heart.  (First off, they are in WA, and well, lets face it....having been born and raised there it is "local" to me still.)  The Buoniconti family just adopted an HIV+ child a few months back.  It's been a hard road, but they are a close knit family, and they are leaning on God and following His calling to take care of Hunter.  His adoption was finalized on Dec 1st, but they still owe their adoption agency $10,000.

Last night, the father, Frank, was one of four killed tragically in a military helicopter crash.  On top of worrying about coming up with the money for the adoption, Kryste now is a single mother to 4 children.  I can't begin to imagine the absence that is left in this family.  My heart is breaking and I have never even met them "in real life".  Only read about them through their blog.  But that is part of being in God's family.  Because that is what they are.  They are my family.  They are your family.  We can't take the pain and shock and the rest of the hard stuff away from them during this season of their life they are now suddenly embarking on.  But we can lift the burden of the adoption fees.  And we can lift them up in prayer.  The hard road they were on just got a lot harder.  Let's be the Hands and Feet of  Jesus and do what we can to help them.

If you feel led, donate to the family via this link from Project Hopeful below.  Even if you don't feel led to donate or just financially are unable, please share this blog post.  Someone you know might feel led and might be able to.  And every single dollar adds up. (*all donations via the Paypal link below are tax deductible*)

Also, anyone who orders any custom Christmas cards from my design blog during this time, all proceeds from those sales will go to this family.

While we are lifting the Buoniconti family up in prayer, please remember the other families affected by this tragedy. There were 4 people who died in the crash last night. Praying for comfort for all of them.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Shop with a PURPOSE!!

This year it looks like we are off on a record-breaking-money-spending holiday season.  Retailers took in $7 BILLION in additional revenue over last year, for a whopping $52 billion for the weekend.  WOW.  Those numbers are staggering.

There are other numbers just as staggering..... the fact that there are around 147 million orphans in the world.  The fact that 1 billion people are hungry and malnourished.  How about that 30,000 children die EVERY DAY from completely treatable/preventable diseases.  Oh, did you know a child dies every 5 second from starvation?  Over 70 million school age children are not in school because they are out searching for food, begging for money, or even selling their bodies for money?

The list of numbers like that could go on and on.  I can't solve all the worlds problems.  Neither can you.  But we can help the ONE in front of us.  This year, shop with a purpose.  Celebrate the birth of Jesus by helping and loving on those whom are the "least of these".

Here is a small compilation of some great places to get Christmas gifts from where the money is used to help spread the gospel and make a difference in the lives of others.

~ Ugandan Bead Jewelry....Gorgeous stuff, hand made from recycled paper, and all proceeds help Ekubo Ministries and their work in Uganda.  The link goes to Christie's facebook pics.  Peek through the pics, comment on what you like and follow the directions to pay.  I wear my bead jewelry at least 4 out of  7 days a week.....and I am only a stay home mom!

~ African Sling Bags and Visible Grace T-Shirts... My amazing friend Ashby started Visible Grace a few years back.  They are currently in Nairobi Kenya having started to build a school and children's home for orphaned children.  (These are children NOT eligible for adoption....this will be their HOME).  The sling bags are gorgeous, and the t-shirts are fabulous and comfortable!

~Coffee, Coffee, Coffee...  Purchase fabulous fair trade coffee and $5 goes to helping bring a little boy home to his forever family!  I "met" Melissa during her blog makeover, and have come to adore her.  Her and her husband are in the process of adopting a little boy from Russia and need help getting him home!

~Sugar Scrubs, T-Shirts, and Necklaces....Darbi is another wonderful friend whom I "met" during her blog design.  Currently they are in the adoption process domestically, with the baby due next year.  Any of her goodies help fund the adoption to bringing their little one home.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011


God has been crazy at work in my family's life.  So many things I just still can't put into words, though I will keep trying.  Plus other things that aren't my story to tell.  Not yet, anyway.  But there is something that has been in my heart the last couple weeks, and God reinforced it loud and clear with a message from a dear friend, and I just had to share.

Without too many details, life has not been easy these last few years.  For years I would literally drop to the ground almost daily crying and begging for the Lord to show me the way out or to just end my misery.  But He never did.  When I was down and as broken as I thought I could be, He always gave me the strength to get back up.  I'd ask for a way out, and he'd give me a feeling of calm.  (For the record, NOT what I wanted from Him.  I was tired of the going on, I was just ready to be DONE.)  I figured when He stopped giving me what I needed to go on, then I could quit.

Now on the other side of the murky darkness, I wouldn't change anything.  Those years have made me who I am right now, today.  I am more patient, I have learned to bite my tongue before saying hurtful things, I am a better parent because of it, and most importantly, I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt, that God is there for me.  I might not agree with what He gives me, I might not want it, it might not be the answer I wanted from Him, but I KNOW He is there and He will give me whatever it is I truly do need.

It's easy sometimes to still mourn the lost time, though.  My husband lost time with the Lord and withdrew from his family, I lost time with my husband, I lost time being JOYFUL.  While at church a couple weeks ago, we sang a worship song with the lines "He will redeem the lost years, He will wipe my tears"  The second I heard that, I made a mental note to tell my husband as soon as I got home to NOT be mad over the last few years, but to rest in the knowledge that the Lord will REDEEM those years.  It's okay to just let it go.  As soon as that song was over, it was time for the Children's Ministry leader, Leah,  to come up to pray for the children and release them to go to the back.  But before the prayer, my dear friend stood up front and basically said  "I don't usually do this and talk to specific people from the front, but I really felt the Lord wanted me to do this.......Jenn, God wants you to know He will redeem lost years.  He will give that back and don't fret about that time you feel was lost." 

I started crying and felt PEACE.  He just told me basically Himself to rest in Him and not worry about lost time.  Leah didn't know what I was thinking right then, she was on the other side of the room....she also doesn't really know the depths of the darkness of the last few years.  But He does.  And He used her to tell me it's going to be okay.  And it was reinforcing to me that that message was what I needed to share with my husband. 

God is so good....and just rest assured He is there.  And if you are feeling guilt, remorse, anger or anything like that over lost time, remember that the Lord will REDEEM those years.  Just give it up to Him. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Consumed with Guilt

Guilt is overtaking me.  It is a tangible presence right now.  For brief moments I can escape it, but then it slowly creeps back up to overtake me. 

Some people know, some do not, for I have not made a big official announcement, but we are expecting another child.  There is part of me that (after the shock wore off) wants to shout it from the mountaintops.  We were not trying, it definitely was not planned, and we were DONE having children unless we adopted.  My pregnancy with Isaac was so tough, as was the delivery and recovery that I gladly would of given my uterus away to whomever wanted it.  That is how done we were.  But this child is still a blessing.  I blessing that I am very happy about!  For just a moment.  Then the guilt takes away my joy.

I have friends who have struggled with infertility.  Some of them finally have a child of their own, but it was a very long, discouraging, painful road, and the wounds are still not healed.  Others still don't have a child, though they desperately want one and would make amazing parents.  Other friends thought they had a child only to have that child taken away from them.

Logically I know it is ALL part of God's plan.  But why can't it be them who is receiving this blessing?  Why me?  I have two amazing wonderful gifts from God as it is.  Don't get me wrong....I want this new baby.  But the guilt that I am expecting while so many friends are hurting makes it so hard.  I can't breathe from the weight of it.  When I can escape it momentarily, I'll happily pull out the ultrasound pic where I can already see an obvious head and hands though I am just now 11 weeks.  But then I remember.  I remember the guilt, I remember the friends hurting, and I quickly shove the picture back into the envelope and hide the envelope back in the pile of paperwork on the counter.  When I have friends who do ask me about the pregnancy, I answer politely but reserved.  Afraid to let the joy I feel when I allow myself to to slip into my voice. 

I know I have to get past this.  I know that I will only be able to get my peace from the Lord.  I know Satan is there with his lies telling me I am not worthy and I am believing him.  Praying I can drown him out soon and listen to only God's truth.

Friday, August 12, 2011

It's a Blog Shower!!!

I LOVE Lara over at the Farmers Wife Tells All!! Her dear friends hijacked her blog to throw her a Blog Shower since they are anxiously awaiting a court date in Ug*nda for their adoption of a sweet little boy. The Shower/Giveaway is to raise the last needed funds for plane tickets, lawyer fees, and in-country living expenses while awaiting adoption finalization. There is a Grand Prize for the giveaway of a brand new Canon Rebel T3i with stock lens and a zoom lens! Head on over to check it out! (yes, I randomly stop by her blog just to drool...hahaha...would LOVE to get my hands on that camera!)

If you grab this button below and blog about it, you can get an extra entry, too!

Baby A Shower


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Autism Speaks Fundraiser

Can you imagine hearing the words "your child has autism"? In a split second, life - as you know it - has changed. For a different family every 15 minutes, tomorrow will never be the same.

My friend Lacy is walking in honor of her son in the Autism Speaks walk in Portland at the end of this month.  Her teams goal to raise for the walk is $1000 and they are at $60.  In an effort to help fundraise, we created a puzzle where she is "selling" the pieces for $5 each.  Upon buying a piece of the puzzle, your name is written on the back of that piece and the puzzle with the names of everyone who helped sponsor this walk will be displayed in the home.

Please consider clicking the donate button below and sponsoring a puzzle piece for $5!  For more information you can go to the 2011 Walk Now for Autism Speaks website also. 


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Beautiful Things

Two posts in three days??  REALLY?!?!  Am I sick?  Nope!  I just have FABULOUS people and events to write about!!  <3

I have said it before, and forewarning, I will say it again,  I love the people I meet doing what I do!  One of them is Mitzi.  I just gave Mitzi's blog a makeover, and in the process started getting to know a wonderful woman with a heart for Jesus who knows that daily she needs Him.  Mitzi and her family are following the Lord and moving to Zambia with LifeSong soon, and with everything that has been happening in their life, she is hosting a giveaway in celebration!  (and I LOVE a good giveaway *almost* as much as I love the people I meet!)  She has some adorable items up for grabs, along with some credit towards my design site.  Head over and check it out!  And while you are there, read up about Mitzi, her family, and their heart.  I know you'll be glad you did!!



Monday, June 20, 2011

On Distant Shores

One of my favorite things in bloggy world has been the people I have been blessed enough to "meet".  Some of them have just been through finding each others blogs, and others have been through my designing blogs.  The following family I met when I did their blog.  Robert and Darbi are a wonderful couple in the beginning stages of a domestic adoption.  They just finished their homestudy and are in the waiting stage.  While they wait, they need to raise funds. 

They have these adorable t-shirts they have designed that they are selling.  You will notice on the tee's and on their blog the dandelion.  While Darbi and I were interacting about her blog, she explained to me WHY the dandelion.......  "I love the dandelions. They are so symbolic to me. There was a song that helped me so much through such a rough year last year that says "Dandelions, you (God) see flower's in these weeds". What is so fascinating about these is that through their weed state (their death) comes new life from the seeds. I think it totally symbolize what our lives are about and even more so what God put in motion to bring about this adoption."

Please take a minute and stop on over at On Distant Shores and say hello.  Maybe even buy a great shirt for a fabulous reason, or donate just because.  <3



Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Visible Grace

Today I wanted to inform you about a fabulous non-profit and my even more fabulous friend who started and runs it.  Ashby Rauch started Visible Grace a few years ago.  In Ashby's own words, Visible Grace is "a non-profit organization committed to providing faith-based education to children in need. Our goal is to help alleviate poverty by empowering children through education. With a holistic philosophy, we believe that children will best learn when they are cared for physically, mentally and spiritually."

Their first major project is to build a school and home for orphaned children in Nairobi, Kenya.  They have purchased 10 acres of land, have blueprints of the buildings, and just received their building permits from the Government.  They are hoping to begin laying the cement foundation this summer.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video and get a glimpse of Ashby, the country and people she loves and is trying to help, and learn more about Visible Grace.  If you would like to donate to this wonderful organization, head on over to the webpage

Recycle Love is also teaming up with Visible Grace this summer.  We are fundraising to send two people to Africa this July with Ashby.  Our goal is to send Pete Dryden and Jesse Beam to Kenya to document the work that Visible Grace is doing.  Pete and Jesse will be able to brig new light to the work going on there, and bring that vision back here to the States.  By sharing the documentary they make, we can educate and inform more people about Visible Grace and the home/school in Kenya.  

If you are interested in helping Recycle Love send Pete and Jesse to Africa, visit HERE.  And if you are local, we are having a FREE benefit concert here in town on Saturday June 4th, 7:00pm.  Hope to see you there!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Lots of stuff going on!!

I have been absent from blogging for over a month again, and it's from lack of time to just sit and write!  Things are kind of crazy around here with lots of different things going on, which I'll update on later.  For now I would like to point out two very very important things happening that are near and dear to my heart from two non-profits that I work with.

First off is the Love Feeds RaffleLove Feeds is a non-profit that's main mission is to feed and clothe people in need, both here in the US and in other countries.  I am directly involved in this non-profit, as I am their Oregon coordinator.   Entries in the raffle start at $1, but the more you spend the more you get.  A $25 purchase option will get you 60 entries!!!  There are 4 prize packages with fabulous prizes!!  Please go check it out!  :)  LOVE FEEDS RAFFLE!!!!!!   (here is a sneak peek at the Grand Prize.....rest of the prizes show at the raffle page!)

Next thing going on is for Recycle Love.  We are fundraising to send 2 people to Africa to work with Visible Grace and document the work going on there.  The goal is to show people here in the States all that is going on to educate them, get them excited about Visible Grace's work, and maybe get more financial supporters.  Our goal is 420 people each donating $10.  Check it out and see if you would like to help with our fundraising!  

Anyone who would like to repost about either of these two fundraisers going on right now, it would be GREATLY appreciated!  We are running out of time on both.  Thank you!!!!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No two are alike

When I was pregnant with Jazmine, I was tiny and petite, no one even realized I was 7 months pregnant if I had a sweatshirt on, I wore my regular jeans the entire pregnancy, she kicked and kicked and kicked for hours upon hours every single day, I was never sick, never tired, and honestly, minus the fact that she was competing to be an Olympic Soccer player in my tummy and actually bruised me from those kicks, it was a cake-walk.  Well, until labor...haha.  But 22hrs later and a very smooth delivery, I held a gorgeous baby girl (who was supposed to be a boy, though I was the only one in the room NOT shocked that I was holding a girl not a boy).

Jazmine got started in the world and never stopped.  She was walking at 9 months, running at 10 months, counting to 10 and saying half her alphabet by her first birthday.  By the time her brother came along when she was 15 1/2 months old, she could count to 20, knew colors, shapes, alphabet, and could easily get across what she wanted/needed using words.  She was a sponge.  She would sit forever in my lap and read books with me soaking up all the knowledge I was actively trying to give her.  And as soon as the books were put away, she was on the run again.  She was writing her name 2 years ago, and could add and subtract any amount of numbers under 10 (ex 1+5+3+8+5) almost a year and a half ago.  To this day she continues to amaze me with her knowledge, focus ability, attention span, and her grasp of complex ideas.

Isaac had me sick 24/7 for months.  I was exhausted constantly and was trying to chase a toddler all day long in the middle of that.  I needed maternity clothes by 3 months, by the time I was 6 months along I had people thinking I was due ANY DAY and asking me "How come you haven't had that baby yet?" since I was so huge.  I was miserable.  By 7 months I was ready to ask the doc to let me have a c-section just to get him out I was so "done" with being pregnant.  When he moved it was slow and deliberate rolls.  And he didn't move very much.  To the point where I was in the doc office getting monitored every week or so to check for heartbeat, fetal movement, etc...

After only 7 hours of labor, Isaac was born.  He thought it would be fun to come out not breathing and give me a heart attack when they had to call the code team.  The little joker went ahead and started breathing just as they walked in the room, so they weren't actually needed.  Just a little chaos to stop this mama's heart from beating.  Speaking of this mama, something happened to me and I was only able to hold him for about 5 seconds before they took him away and worked on getting me stable.  It was definitely not the experience I had expected after the ease of Jazmine.

Isaac was also able to walk by 9 months...but usually chose not to.  He was in no hurry, and I used to joke he was lazy.  When he didn't know his numbers, shapes, colors, etc... by the time Jazmine did, I was asking the doc about him being "behind".  I read and read and read convinced I was not doing right by him.  Jazmine knew all this stuff....what was I do wrong that he didn't?  Even worse, what if he wasn't learning this stuff because he couldn't.

Isaac will be 4 next month.  He can recognize all the letters in the alphabet, tell you his phone number and address, including city and state, he can write a couple letters.  He isn't writing his name yet, definitely can't add and subtract like his sister could, and runs out of interest in anything that has to do with that sort of stuff after about 2 minutes.   He CAN use most the tools in daddy's tool bag very effectively, throw a ball with crazy accuracy, swing a baseball bat like a pro, take things apart in a half a second, tell you what plants and bugs you can eat if you are trying to survive in the wild (thank you, Bear Grylls) and repeat every step of how something was made once he has seen it on How It's Made.

If I want to keep comparing....then is my Jazzie behind?  The good Lord knows she can't hold a screwdriver to save her life...haha...yet alone actually use it effectively.  Her aim leaves something to be desired, and she can't throw a ball that well, and is terrible at swinging a baseball bat.

My point is that my children are very different.  I am finally almost at peace with that...celebrating what they are great at, encouraging them in what they need help with, and taking advantage of what they are interested in currently to grow their little minds.  I can't force Isaac to write all his letters....Lord knows I have tried with an epic fail.  I can't make Jazmine be better with her hands and more athletic.  I have tried that, also with an epic fail.

My amazing children are who they are and they are PERFECT just as they are.  I am trying to stop Googling, stop being a perfectionist, stop comparing....just enjoy who they are and where they are.  And I get better at it every day.  


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wasting my gift

I am not a boastful person, so these couple paragraphs are going to be uncomfortable for me to write in a way. I usually underplay most of my accomplishments. Truth be told, I feel guilty about them most days. I am by no means anyone that people would consider "gifted" but I have been blessed enough to be successful at pretty much whatever I set my mind on.

Sports came easy to me. Softball, soccer, dance, karate, running....if I wanted to do it, I could. And pretty darn well. In school I basically got straight A's. It's not like I was one of those people who didn't have to study, because I did. But not too much. My friends would take hours and hours on their chemistry or calculus homework, I was done in an hour or so. At times, teachers played favorites to me because I did catch on so quick. I felt bad for the other students.

In my work life, I was blessed there, too. I started out as a hostess in a restaurant, but I was a good one. I could clear a lobby and fill an entire restaurant in a matter of minutes. Actually, I was so good at my job, other restaurants in our chain would call and ask me to come be lead on expected busy nights. I worked hard and worked my way up the ladder. Hostess, server, supervisor, manager, corporate trainer, general manager.... If I wanted it, I got it. By the time I was 27 I had everything I wanted from work. I was traveling, had the restaurant of my dreams, had received every award I wanted, had helped to develop and roll out nationwide training programs, I was training new managers, and I was even being sent to restaurants that were having trouble to help the management team "fix" things. And it had been easy. I didn't even go to school for it, and I knew more than the people with their nice little 4yr degrees. I was blessed.

A few years back , as we all know, I took on the job of stay-home mommy. Now, I am just going to leave that topic alone. LOL. I'll let ya know in about 18-20 more years if I was any good at that one. ;)

And it's not just school or work related. It all seems to come easy. My husband(boyfriend at the time) was running a painting business, and after a day on the job with him I was prepping houses to paint better and faster than he was. Working on our car and hubby can't get to the radiator or water pump, no problem. I'll just put them new ones in myself...can't be that hard.

I have been teaching myself some HTML and all my blog and web work is because I wanted to learn, so I Googled tutorials and don't stop until I learn what I want. And it's not all techinical/logic based stuff like I thought it was. I found out I have a creative side. Who knew?!?!? Not me! I spent 30 years of my life saying that God created me without a single creative bone in my body. I was wrong.

My point is that for the most part, I have been able to do or accomplish whatever I have wanted to. Whether the gift from God is the ability to do all these different things, or the gift is that I can do anything I set my mind to I am not sure. It doesn't matter. Either way it is from God. And what I am doing with it? More and more lately I feel like I am wasting it. I should be doing more to glorify HIM with them. How does fixing a radiator or being great at math or a fabulous career or my recent creative outlets bring glory to HIM? And if I still keep finding stuff after 35 years that I am good at, what more is there that I have yet to uncover? And what am I supposed to be doing?

What talents/treasures/gifts do you have that have yet to be discovered? And are you using the gifts you already know you have to bring glory to the Lord?


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Love Feeds

WOW!  It's been a month and a half since my last post.  Might be my longest hiatus thus far.  February was crazy crazy crazy busy, and well, March...just haven't been able to put my thoughts into any sort of organization when I had something to share.  So I have tons of drafts and no postings.  LOL.  Maybe I will work on editing some of those into readable posts sometime.  :)

As for now, though, I do have some very exciting news!!  I am honored to announce that I will be an Oregon coordinator for Love Feeds. Love Feeds was founded by my friend Audrea and her husband.  Their mission statement is.... 

The Love Feeds mission is to be more like Christ and feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the unclothed, look after the sick, and take in the stranger that needs a home. It is to show the love of Jesus by meeting the needs of the impoverished, homeless, orphaned, and less fortunate, not only here in America but around the world. Matthew 25: 35-40.

My role here will be to first off, spread the word about Love Feeds.  I will also be working on collecting donations; half of which will be donated locally, and the other half sent to the LF headquarters where it will be distributed to other countries.  Items for donation will range from baby formula, to shoes and clothing, to items for care packages for the homeless, to monetary donations to buy these items.  For anyone interested in finding out how they can help out, I will have a wish list of items posted on the side of my blog by tomorrow!

I am so excited to get this opportunity to work with an organization I feel so strongly about!   Thanks Audrea for this opportunity!   

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Well I mentioned the other day that I had someone new to introduce you to....so without further delay I'd like you to meet Amy. She blogs over at feet 2 our faith. Amy and her family are in the middle of adopting two children from Uganda. Currently there is a fundraiser going on to help Amy's family through Uppercase Living. Let me tell you....I have never heard of Uppercase Living until this fundraiser started. And now all I want to do is shop!!  I wanted to tell you about this great fundraiser, and I also thought it would be fun to learn more about Amy, her family, and their adoption journey.  Below is Amy, in her own words, answering some questions I had for her.  Oh, and remember.....head over and check out the Uppercase Living fundraiser on her blog!   <3

Our family is: Brian (a dairy farm manager, loves photography, missions, Indian movies and P90X), Amy (SAHM, Star Diamond Beachbody Coach, runs our photography business Silver Sand Images, loves people, blogging, missions, reading and exercise), Jensi (5th grader who loves horses, is a constant entrepreneur, plays basketball and loves to write), Anneli (3rd grader who loves to read, play imaginatively and is an excellent gymnast), Oliver (a homeschooled preschooler who loves dinosaurs, tractors and making spaceships out of couch cushions) and Darrah Kate (a 20 month old who loves to dance, explore her siblings possessions, pretend with Oliver and has a best friend: her elephant Fluffernutter). We have three children who await us in heaven as well: Timothy, Hope and Oskar.

God led us to adopt. This was a decision that was not made by emotion but rather out of obedience. We knew that orphans were living without families all over the world. The command in Scripture to care for the orphan as well as the psalm that declares God is a Father to the fatherless and that he sets the lonely in families spoke deeply to our hearts. I have also had a life-long desire to have twins. One of my pregnancies was a set of twins but about halfway through, sweet Timothy went ahead to Jesus. I have accepted that perhaps I will join those in Hebrews 11 who did not see the answer to their promise in this life, but will receive it in full in Heaven. However, after our son Oskar died, I felt the Lord encouraging me to not give up in praying for another set of twins. Of course I assumed my next pregnancy would be a set of twins, but it was not (it was Darrah Kate...who is arguably as busy as a set of twins!) After feeling “settled” with our 4 children, God reminded me of praying for another set of twins. I stayed silent regarding this and told God that if He were referring to adoption, then He needed to speak to Brian about this. Less than 2 months later, Brian called me broken over the orphan crisis and the above mentioned Scriptures were burning in his heart. He asked me if I had ever considered adoption. I smiled and answered, “well, yes I have.” That week we decided to follow God in obedience to adopt and have never looked back.

We began with the countries closest to our hearts: China (we served there for 2 years) and India. China’s adoption timeline is running 4-5 years and we wanted to adopt while our oldest girls are still children. India has a policy that 4 children in the home is too many...and we’d need to adopt older than our oldest, something we came to understand was not in our other children’s best interest. We then considered the neediest areas in the world: Africa. We pursued adoption from Zambia and applied to an agency, but just as we did, they closed their Zambia program due to the corruption in the Zambian government. They recommended us to our current agency, Generations Adoptions, and after much research, we took this recommendation. They work in Mexico, Uganda and Ghana. We chose Uganda because our hearts drew us there.

We are nearing the end of the first 1/3 of the process. We have completed our home study...almost. We await a document that takes up to 4 months in Ohio. (It’s been 2 1/2 months so far.) Once that is finished, then we will apply to USCIS (Immigration). Then we will be able to send our dossier to Uganda and await our referral.

We do not yet know anything about the specific children we will adopt. Our agency works with a babies home that is a ministry arm of a local Ugandan church. All of the children in the home have been abandoned and most are double orphans (have lost both parents). Most children are under the age of 2, although age is sometimes difficult to assess given malnutrition and lack of history. We have requested at least one boy and have mentioned a preference of twins, although we are okay if they are not.

Advice...I don’t know that I’m far enough along to give advice! I would repeat some advice given to us: “If you know this is what God is asking, do not delay in getting going. The process is so lengthy, just get started!” I would also encourage interested adoptive families to do good research into agencies and ask lots of questions about where the children will come from. There is sadly a lot of corruption in the adoption “market” and one must be vigilant to find an agency that comes highly recommended with no record of shady dealings. I would also recommend that they get involved in the blogging community, whether or not they choose to blog themselves. I have met the most amazing people this way and they have taught me much and encouraged me along this sometimes difficult path.

Other things about our family...we have a passion to serve God overseas and feel we are constantly trying to go. However, we have been placed in this NW corner of Ohio for a reason and we are embracing that as His place for us for now. We would love to one day go overseas and serve in some capacity as an entire family of 8...but we will wait for God to reveal that plan in His time!


Saturday, February 5, 2011


Okay, I am cheating!  Yes, I pulled this pic from one of my older favorites.  But this so perfectly is the love that my children share for each other which makes this mama's heart overflow with more LOVE than I even know what to do with!...... (I'll try to not cheat tomorrow...hahaha!) 



Hello!  Okay, yesterday was just one of those busy days.  Basically left the house at 6:15am and not home until around 9:30pm.  So I am just now posting yesterdays pic....and I see LOVE in the beauty that God gives us everywhere we look.


Thursday, February 3, 2011


Tomorrow I will have an actual post introducing you to a wonderful new friend! Today, I just have my Love Strand Challenge Photo. This one is about my love of quiet time to just be......Every morning I wake up before everyone else, grab my coffee, and relax to prepare for the day.  I'll read, pray, listen to worship music....  It starts my day off on the right foot.  And honestly, it makes my day with my family that much better!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I have to say this is one of my fav new pictures....my dear husband riding a pink bike down the street just in order to show his precious princess girl how to ride without training wheels.  I love how he adores his daughter!



I am terrible about blogging and totally sporadic. I might post daily for weeks and weeks at a time, and then nothing....for a month at a time. So to challenge myself to post something every day, I joined up with Amy over at feet 2 our faith (you'll hear more about her another day!) to do her Love Strand challenge. The goal is to post one picture a day for the month of February, with the theme of the picture being something to do with LOVE.


Well, what better way to start off the month of LOVE than with a picture of my birthday girl whom I LOVE more than life itself?!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Miracles in a Witchcraft Village!!

Today I wanted to introduce you to a couple of great people/groups of people.  This first amazing lady I have written about before, but, well, I love her to death and she needs our support!  My dear friend Christie gave up all modern comforts and abandoned her "American Dream" life she was living to move to Uganda.  There she has landed herself smack dab in the middle of a witchcraft village.  And every day she works to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  She tells everyone about the love of Christ, but more importantly she SHOWS everyone His love.  Christie and her fiance George make an amazing team!  God is doing things through them in Bugabo Village that leave me speechless.  Houses have been built, schools have been built, children are getting sponsored, etc...The most recent thing is that someone emptied out their entire savings account to fund the building of a borehole so the village can finally have WATER!  There are still things that need to be accomplished in the village.  Head over to Christie's blog and look at her "Faith List" and search your heart to see if you can donate or help in any way.  Every. Single. Dollar. Adds. Up. 

Another great group of people working to not only help Christie in the village, but also help locally in their own hometown is the people over at Love Feeds.  Right now Audrea is collecting formula and clothing to take with her when she goes to the village this summer.  She is also doing $4 on the 4th donations, looking for people to sign up to donate $4 on the 4th of every month.  The money from that will be dispersed to whichever project is currently being fundraised for.  Head on over to Love Feeds and check it out!  Oh, and while you are at it check out the store....they are selling SUPER CUTE reusable grocery bags with their logo on them for only $7 including shipping.  And well, hey.... I just might know the person who made the logo.  ;)


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stroll down memory lane....

I was trying to clean up my hard drive the other day and found some old pictures.  And as old pictures usually do, they brought back tons of memories.  One particular set of pictures really got me.  However, first let me start this off by saying  I am a control freak who obsessively has to plan.  And then I have back up plans, with back up plans, with more back up plans.  In my crazy mind, if I think about all the potential things that can happen, I can plan for them.  That way, no matter what, I am prepared and already have a plan of action.  Little did I know, there was no "back up plan" for what was coming my way.......

Back in 2005, life was great.  I had a wonderful career, an amazing fiance and a whole list of "plans" for our future.  My now husband Lenny, then fiance, had just got done with tons of different surgeries to repair damage from his diabetes, and I had just changed jobs.  I had taken a GM position at a restaurant in a resort that was just in the process of opening.  It was as close to my dream job as I could get, I thought.  Things were going great!  So great, that we decided it was a perfect time to start a family.  (Yes, I will throw it out there....we decided to try to start a family before actually getting married.  However, after about a month of trying we decided we really wanted to be married first, so we eloped.  And I will save that story for another day...haha.)

Anyway, like I said, everything was going great.  Then one day I am at work and Lenny calls.  He suddenly went blind in his one eye.  I called his surgeon who said we needed to get him to the hospital as soon as possible, that blood vessels from surgery had ruptured.  I spoke with my boss about the need to leave and drive the 1 1/2hrs to take Lenny to Swedish Hospital in Seattle.  He was furious.  Asked why he couldn't drive himself, then said if I truly felt I had no choice I could leave. I leave, we get to the hospital, Lenny has emergency surgery.  They needed to keep him overnight, so I called in for the next day.  Call me a bad employee, but loved ones need to take the front seat in my mind.

Fast forward a month.  I had just found out we were expecting literally the day before, and had NOT told work yet since I wanted to be sure the pregnancy lasted.  I had already miscarried before.  Lenny called and left me a voicemail on my personal work line reminding me to eat and drink lots of fluid since I wasn't taking care of just myself anymore.  (I would go a 12 hr work day with no food, and minimal water, or anything on a regular basis.)  I always listened to my voice mail on speaker phone so I could multitask, and someone walking past my office heard the message, spread the word and of course people started talking.  Later that evening after I got home, my boss called.  He asked if it was true about being pregnant, and I said yes.  He then started in about how he "misjudged" my dedication,  and he proceeded to fire me.  When I brought up not being able to fire me for being pregnant, he said it was because of the day a month earlier that I went home early and called in the next day.  My perfect planning was slowly unraveling.