The crazy journey of our family living this beautiful life for our awesome God!
"...Whatsoever you do, do ALL to the glory of GOD." 1 Cor. 10:31

Monday, June 25, 2012

Our New Ministry is Launched!!

Sorry I've been pretty hit and miss here....I haven't been terribly busy, I just really haven't been in the mood to write at I just keep not getting on here.  But, I've got something exciting I want to share with you all!

Remember several months ago when I said my husband and I were working on a new ministry but I couldn't say yet what it was?  Well, we finally launched that ministry last night at church!  It's been several months, at least 7 or 8, in the works but we finally got everything put together and finalized and it's up and running.  So what is it?  It's called Mercy's Reach and it's an orphan sponsorship program for street kids in Congo, Africa.  We are partnering with some missionaries in Congo who run a home for street kids, taking them off the streets and putting them in a loving environment where they can learn, grow, be taught spiritually and hopefully thrive.  The life these kids experience on the streets is rough, so this ministry is so vital.  These kids sleep in abandoned shacks, they have no one to look out for them, they scavenge what they can for food, they experience brutal things at the hands of other street kids (rapings, beatings, burnings, etc).  Their life is full of unknowns, scary and hard.  They experience things no child should ever have to go through.  If I were to imagine my son in one of their shoes it makes me want to throw up at the horror of it all.  BUT, there is hope in the midst of this dark world of street orphans.  God is sovereign in every life, even the lives of these precious children.  And through the missionaries we know, He is providing hope, healing and a future for these kids.

So why should we be involved in caring for these orphans as well?  Well, let me explain.....

The stories of these children are extremely emotionally compelling and the statistics are heartbreaking but it wasn’t until we began to study orphan care out that we realized, that beyond the emotional pull, it is a command in the Bible that one of our jobs as a Christian is to care for those orphans and widows.   We should care because God cares.  

There are many verses in the Bible that show God’s heart for the orphan, widow and afflicted.  

      -    James 1:27 "Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is to look after orphans and 
            widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the the world." 

          Hosea 14:3  “In you the orphan finds mercy.”

          Psalms 10:14, 17-18  “You are the helper of the fatherless. LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, That the man of the earth may oppress no more.”

          Psalms 68:5-6  “Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families.”

          Isaiah 1:17  “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.” 

          Proverbs 31:8-9 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”

The Lord has used these verses to show us that this is God’s heart for the orphan and we should have the same heart as God as we are the image of Christ.
      And there is a uniqueness in Christian orphan care.  Unbelievers are often involved in humanitarian work, celebrities give thousands, people give time, etc.  But they don’t care for them by praying that these people will someday worship God and that He will be glorified.  Our ministry should be unique because of our focus on the glory of God in the lives of these children as well as our own lives. 

“The world does not need more people to feel sorry for the poor, the world desperately needs Christians whose lives have been transformed by a passion for God, which flows into a passion for others.”

So what should the proper perspective be for the Christian?
            -The Bible gives us a proper perspective of how we’re supposed to view our care and love for others.
            -Christ said in the gospels that loving God and loving our neighbors are essential characteristics for Christians.  And our “neighbor” is not just the people around us.
            -Our compassion, based on the truth in God’s word, should compel us to action, not just to feel sorry for others but TO DO for the glory of God. 

So a little bit of background of how the Lord led my husband and me to start this ministry.....
-It all started in 2008 when we went to Africa with some missionaries and saw a world that is 180 degrees from what we experience here in America.  It was there, seeing the boys home ministry through the missionaries, that God began to work in our hearts to consider adoption sometime down the road…..which you all know we are actually now in the process of doing.
-I think as God opened our hearts to adoption, He also led us to begin considering how we can help in orphan care and what our responsibility is.  We are the visible representation of Christ on earth and as His hands and feet we are called to be an influence, not only around us, but across the globe. 
-The Lord has led us to couple with the missionaries in establishing a sponsorship program for these children to help provide for their basic needs.  
-Our purpose in establishing this ministry is to obey God’s command and to help provide for these children physically (i.e. food, housing, clothing, schooling) but also to partner with the missionaries in impacting these children spiritually, through prayer, letters, correspondence and their knowing that their Heavenly Father cares because we have shown His love to them.

The precious children at Elikia Center

We would love for you to get involved with praying and giving financially to help provide for these children.  If you want more info, head on over to the website we have set up for Mercy's Reach and it has details on how the system will work, you can find it here.  There are also pictures and stories of the children there for you to take a look at.  Feel free to message or e-mail me and ask for more info if you want/need.  

I'm really excited to see how the Lord is going to work in this.  We know He has led us to do this and we can't wait to see how He is going to continue to lead and work.  Thanks for all your prayers!

Oh...and  just so you know, here are some stats that are worth taking a look at:

*Approximately 143-210 million orphans worldwide.
*Every 15 seconds another child inAfrica becomes an orphan to AIDS
*Approximately 1 billion people do not have enough to eat…that’s more than 3 times the population of the US
*More than 1 billion people live and die in desperate poverty, attempting to survive on less than $1 per day.
*Every 6 seconds a child dies of hunger and related causes…that means in 1 day all of the children in Twin Falls would be gone. In one month Idaho would be childless.
*Eleven million children under 5 die each year in developing countries and more than 60 percent of those deaths can be attributed to hunger and malnutrition.
*Lack of vitamin A kills a million infants a year
*8.5 million children work as child slaves, prostitutes or under other horrific conditions
*2.3 million children live with HIV
*Each year, 14,505,00 children grow up as orphans and age out of the system by age 16.
*Each day 38,493 orphans age out, with no family and no place to call home
-In Russia and Ukraine, 10-15 percent of these kids commit suicide before age 18
-60 percent of the girls become prostitutes
-70 percent of the boys become hardened criminals

Friday, June 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday/Friday...Father's Day Style

I know, I know, I'm a day late, sorry.  I had no time to get on the computer yesterday so today will have to suffice!

Hopefully you all remember that this Sunday is Father's Day!  Be sure and take some time to honor the men in your life, whether your husband, your dad, your grandpa, a strong, influential man in your life growing up....take the time to tell them thank you and show them they are loved.

In honor of Father's Day I'll be devoting my list this week to the 2 greatest Dad's on earth! :)  My father and my husband! Since I'm doing both, I'll have a few more than 7 this week.

1.  My dad's unconditional love.....this man knows how to love and he knows how to love well.  You will never doubt his love for you.  He is such a kind and gentle man and it is such a blessing to have a dad that I know will love me always, no matter what.  He is such an awesome example to me of my Heavenly Father's love.  I'm so thankful I grew up with a father like so thankful.

2.  My dad's always-evident joy....if you know my father, then you know that he radiates joy.  He is such an example of a joyful disposition.  He loves to laugh, make jokes and smile and trust me, he'll catch you if you have got any kind of scowl or attitude on your face (I remember LOTS of days as a teenager when he would say to me, "fix your face." :) )  I think he puts a smile on the face of every person that he comes in contact with....what an example to me of the kind of person I would like to be.

3.  My dad's work ethic...this man is a work-horse!  I don't think I know a harder worker than him.  He is a tried and true farmer through and through and he works so hard for his family.  He has an awesome no-quit attitude and has taught me a lot about the value of hard work.  I'm thankful for all of the countless hours, sleepless nights, early mornings and late evenings that he put into his job to provide for his family.

4.  My dad's compassion....he truly cares for people and he is one of the most thoughtful people I know.  He genuinely hurts for people when they hurt and he longs to take away the pain and do whatever he can to help.  His arms are one of the most comforting places for me to go when I am struggling in life....his hugs say a thousand words and wrap you in such love and care.  I have stained LOTS of his shirts with my tears as he sought to comfort me through my trials.

5.  My dad's example as a husband....he is so thoughtful and such a romantic and he set a high standard for the guys in his daughters' lives.  He LOVES to surprise my mom, shower her with special gifts and write her sweet notes.  He taught us a lot about what it means for a husband to show his wife love and affection.  He is known for randomly buying mom flowers, just because, and for putting a lot of thought into giving her special gifts to show his love.

6.  My dad's generosity....he has got to be one of the most generous men I know.  He is always quick to open his wallet and give whatever he has to help someone out or to just show them he cares.  He is not stingy with his money and doesn't hoard it for himself.  I learned so much of what I know about generosity and sacrificial giving from him.

7.  Onto my husband...his love as a father....anyone who knows him, knows that he LOVES his little boy.  He is always so excited to see him and spend time with him.  He has so much fun with him and just loves on him in such an awesome way.  I'm so thankful my son has a father whose love is evident.

8.  My husband's commitment to raise godly children....he is hands-on, completely involved in raising our kid(s) to love God.  He doesn't leave the disciplining all up to me...he steps right in and takes charge and shows his godly leadership and is involved in training our child(ren)s hearts to follow after God's.  I'm so thankful to have this kind of partner in child-rearing.

9.  My husband's time commitment to his family....he isn't one of those "as long as it's quality time, it doesn't matter how much quantity" and I'm so thankful.  He believes in both quality and quantity time and it shows.  He spends as much time as possible with us, just being together as a family.  I know he sacrifices plenty of "guy time" so that he can be with Grahm and I and invest in our family.  What an awesome gift he gives us with that.

10.  My husband's balance in our parenting....he keeps me balanced and gives me such a good perspective.  When I'm quick to lose my patience, he is always slow to wrath and lovingly patient with our kid(s).  When I'm overwhelmed, he takes control and shows me that everything will be ok.  When I'm at a loss, he steps in and gives me a helping hand.  When I ere too much on the side of "harshness" he is loving and kind.  He is so helpful to me to keep me balanced.

11.  My husband's willingness to be a partner in parenting....he doesn't put the whole burden on me.  He gives me breaks, spends time alone with Grahm, steps in when I just can't do it anymore and is just as aware of the fact that we are parents as I am.  You know how guys can sometimes be clueless, like if you are out somewhere and they can forget they are still a dad and the burden of keeping track of the kids can all fall on mom because it is natural for her to always be "on"...well, he isn't like that at all and I'm so thankful.  He is just as much aware and keeping track of and taking care of Grahm as I am and it's such a blessing to not have all of that burden resting on my shoulders.

12.  My husband's hands on parenting...he changes diapers, feeds Grahm, puts him to bed, bathes him, gets him ready, plays with him.....he isn't hands-off in any area of the parenting and it's so awesome to have such a committed partner.

I love my father so much.  I'm so thankful that God put him in my life, I am truly blessed to have grown up as his daughter. Father's sacrifice so much for their kids and carry so much burden on their shoulders and my dad always bore those burdens with grace and strength.  He showed me how to love and how to be filled with joy and I couldn't have asked for a better father.  I love you dad! :)

My dad loving on our son the day he was born :)

And I am so thankful for the dad that Luke is to our son and that I know he'll be to our future kids.  He is everything I could have hoped for in a father for my children.  He is present, loving, kind, patient, involved, helpful, a godly example and so much more.  He is truly a blessing from God in my life.  I love you Luke.

The men in my these 2 to pieces! 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend celebrating with loved ones, whether friends or family!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Psst...We Don't Get a Do-over

Just a few words that are pricking deep into my heart today.....

Are you being intentional?
You know, we only get 1 life.

The days go by so quickly and it's so easy to get caught up in living our own lives like this is all we've got and this is what it's all about....working, moving up the ladder, having fun, planning our schedules, buying that cute outfit that we've wanted so badly, trading and working for better and more and stuff stuff stuff.  We become wrapped up in a vortex of a meaningless pursuit of stuff, fun and "happiness."  It all seems good at the time and it all seems to bring us "joy" and contentment but it causes us to completely lose focus of why we're even here in the first place.  It results in an unintentional life.

And in case you didn't know, we don't get a do-over in this life.  We get one life.  We've been given one blessed opportunity to live out our days on this earth and when it's over, it's over....and then what matters?  Well, if we are a Christian, we'll be spending an amazing eternity in Heaven...the rest of our lives...Eternity.  Do you have any idea how that compares with this life?  It doesn't.  70-80 years on earth compared with eternity in either heaven or hell?  I know our minds can't really comprehend eternity because it's not something we've ever experienced but we will be spending eternity somewhere.  (So obviously the most important question is where are you going to spend eternity?  It's a long time people, so it's probably most definitely something worth figuring out.  The Bible gives us all the answers on where we'll spend eternity and how we can spend it in Heaven...check it out if you don't already know.  Or ask me, I'd be more than glad to share with you what the Bible says.)  But my main point in this is to Christians who will be spending their eternity in Heaven.  If we've got a brief 70-80 years on this earth and the vast majority of our "lives" will be spent in Heaven then don't you s'pose that we should be living for that eternity?  Since that is what will make up most of our existence you would think we would be living this life consumed with preparation for our eternity in Heaven.  

But, we don't.  We get caught up in this brief, vapor of a life, thinking that this is it...this is our ultimate existence and we spend our time focusing all our energy on making this life the best...not in a spiritual way, but in a "my plans, my money, my schedule...doing what I wanna do" kind of way.  And none of it will matter when we arrive in Heaven to spend eternity with the Holy God of the Universe.  The Bible tells us that "moth and rust corrupt, thieves break in and steal" so don't waste your time accumulating more on this earth, but rather, "store up your treasures in Heaven" where they have eternal value.  Why?  Because "where our treasure is, there will our heart be also."  And as Christians, our hearts should be focused on God and Heaven, not this earth and it's materialistic, corruptible stuff.  

So are you being intentional?  Are you investing in your own enjoyment and pursuit of "more"...more success, more stuff, more money, more cars, more clothes, more more more?  Or are you investing in things of eternal value?  The hearts and souls of your children.  The neighbor across the street who needs to see the love of Jesus.  The dying, hurting and starving people across the globe.  The orphan without someone to love them who needs to see the love of Jesus through you.  The homeless who hurts for love and truth.  Your relationship with your Lord and Savior who you will be spending eternity with, compared to all the things that eat up our time on, sinful friends, the pursuit of entertainment, the internet, etc.  

Just think about it today....are you being intentional with this life?  Remember, you don't get a do-over and before you know it, it will be done so make the most of it today, investing in eternity.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Here's my list for the week....hope you're remembering to take time and be thankful for all the graces God gives us on a daily basis!

1. Late night fires outside.....just another reminder that it's summer!!! Well, most days it's summer around here! (We did have up to 70 mph winds the other night!)  But I love sitting outside around our fire pit with friends until late into the night, just talking.  There's something about just sitting around a fire that creates a bond and just seems to lend to good conversation.

2.  Spending evenings in our backyard....Luke and I have been spending a lot of time out back, after Grahm goes to bed.  It's so beautiful and peaceful out back and we just sit outside and enjoy the beauty of it all.  We look out onto farm ground so it takes me back to childhood and growing up on a farm and I just love the open space and feel of being able to see miles around.  I told Luke the other night, if I had to pick a favorite place in the world, it would probably be my backyard on a warm summer night.

3.  The power of the Holy Spirit....I've been reminded in several ways this week about the power of the Holy Spirit.  I think it is easy for us to forget or downplay the reality of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit and it leaves us with a gaping hole of attempts at self-sufficiency.  So many times I try to do things in my own strength or I try to "change" others on my own and I forget that the Holy Spirit is alive and working...not just in my life but in the lives of all those around me.  I'm thankful for the reminder from God that I can trust the Spirit to work in hearts and bring about God's purposes.

4.  A day at the lake with friends and babies....highlight of my week was getting to sit on the shore in the sand and watch my little guy thoroughly enjoying the water and sand while I got to sit and chat with good friends.  Motherhood can be so isolating and I spend most days doing it all by myself so it was wonderful to sit and share in it with other women and do it together.  Plus, who doesn't love sitting out in the sun watching your sweet, swimsuit clad chubs of a kiddo be completely content and full of joy as they splash and play in the water?! :)

5.  God's sovereignty, not just in my life, but in the life of those around me.....I had a good talk with some teens this week and the Lord reminded me that He isn't just sovereign in my life...He is working a sovereign, perfect plan in the lives of those around me as well.  Sometimes it's easy to isolate ourselves from the big picture and get focused only on the plan for our lives.  But I love remembering that God's sovereign plan for my life might also be a part of His sovereign plan for the lives around me and just as much as He is perfectly, lovingly, and affectionately carrying out His plan in my life...He's doing the same exact thing in the lives of those around me.  That makes for a pretty awesome, pretty big God. :)

6.  God's grace in choosing us to participate in His plan of redemption....we've been studying evangelism in youth group, in small groups recently, and I was reminded this week of the awesome truth that God gives us the PRIVILEGE of partnering with Him in reaching the world with His good news of salvation.  The same grace He's extended to me is the grace He wants me to go tell others about and He's allowed and planned for me to be a part of this process.  He is the God of the universe and didn't have to bother using humans to get His work done, but He does and it's gracious, awesome and beautiful.

7.  Watching Grahm dance....I'm gonna have to get a video of this and put it up on my is hilarious.  The kid has absolutely no rhythm or coordination at all!  But he has got some sweet moves....if you put music on he will go to town, dancing like crazy.  He is so funny to watch and it makes my day to watch my little sweetheart having so much fun.  Love that kid...he lights up my life on a daily basis.  :)

Lovin' life on our little playdate to the lake.  He couldn't have been happier!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Please Help Us Save the Tax Credit!!! It only takes a minute!

I am asking for your help today.  The adoption community greatly needs your help, please.  I've mentioned before that adoption is very expensive and the finances of it are one of the greatest strains on families in the beginning.  However, the government has helped in this area in years past by providing the Adoption Tax Credit.  It provided a maximum $12,650 tax credit to families who complete an adoption.   This is a huge help when the costs for adoption range anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 and up!!!

Well, the tax credit is in jeopardy.  It is set to expire and is no longer a refundable credit.  In addition, the amount is being drastically reduced...all the way down to $6000!  This could mean far fewer forever families for children in desperate need of love and permanency.

So what am I asking you to do?  Well, I've already written my Senators and asked them to address this issue.  Now I'm asking you to do the same.  I've made it super easy for you and written out a letter that you can just copy and paste from my blog. You don't even have to send a hand-written letter.  I was able to just e-mail my senator, which makes it even easier!  I will also include a link to the website that provides all contact info for all US Senators.  So it's as simple as a few clicks on a keyboard.  Would you please take just 5 minutes, I promise that's all it will take, and send a letter to your Senator as well?

If you want to add to my message, please feel free, but I thought it would make it more feasible for people to do if I included a pre-written letter for your convenience.  Here is the info you need:

The link for the Senators' contact info:  US Senators Contact Info.

The letter to write:

Dear Mr. Senator:

I am writing you to petition that you would please campaign to save the adoption tax credit.  This tax credit is something that helps thousands of children find love and permanency and provides substantial financial aid for the families involved.

The adoption tax credit provides financial benefits to families that open their homes to children through adoption from foster care, inter-country adoption, or private domestic adoption.

The adoption tax credit with a maximum of $12,650 in 2012 has helped to offset the high cost of adoption for hundreds of thousands of families since it was established in 1997.  The IRS estimates that the credit benefited 96,949 children and their families in 2010.  With more than 100,000 children in the U.S. foster care available for adoption and countless millions of orphans and abandoned children around the world the continuation of the adoption tax credit is vital to providing love, safety, and permanency through adoption to as many children as possible.

The current adoption tax credit is set to expire on December 31, 2012.  If that happens, adoption may require a cost insurmountable for many American families, resulting in fewer children finding love and permanency through adoption.  Although the credit remains through 2012, many families will not benefit because it is not refundable.  In 2013, the credit will decrease to only $6,000 and will be available to very few adoptive families.

Congress must act now to pass legislation that will protect and extend the adoption tax credit and encourage the right of every child to grow up safe and loved in a family of their own.

Would you please make this a matter of importance for your office and pass the word along to your fellow Senators?  Your action in this matter will make a difference in the lives of thousands of children and families. Please act today to positively affect the lives of these precious children.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter, it is greatly appreciated.

   Your Name

Alright...there ya go!  I made it as easy as 1-2-3!  Please please take a moment to do this for us, it would mean so much to us and so many other families who are in the process of adoption or will be in the process of adoption, not to mention the lives of the precious children being affected.

**Some of the info contained in this letter is courtesy of Bethany Gaddis.**

Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Movin' Up!

So....we got our new numbers this last Friday!!  Let's just say our agency had a really busy, good month.  We are now #.....

Our agency referred 11 kids to 7 families this last month!  There were even 2 sets of twin baby girls!  So we are now at 14!  Not every month will be that big, but it was awesome to have a really good first month!  
Oh..and my little "photo shoot" with Grahm, trying to get a pic of him with #14 was quite interesting.  So, I'll include the rest of pics here so you can laugh at his craziness as well....

It was a miracle I got one decent shot!!  He kept trying to eat the paper and wanted to wrestle instead of take pictures...figures. :)  

Hope you all are having a great Tuesday!!  

Friday, June 1, 2012

Awesome New Fundraiser!! Check it Out...and Thankful Thursday

I'm super excited to tell you about our new fundraising project!!  An awesome company, Back to Africa/Heart of the Bride, has approved us to sell their jewelry to help raise money for giving an orphan a forever family!  I'm so excited about this opportunity!  I absolutely love their jewelry, have a few pieces of my own, and I love the mission/purpose behind the company.  It is a win/win situation because the sales benefit both widows and orphans in Africa.  

A little about the jewelry:  The jewelry is handmade in Africa by widows/women in need to help earn a living and support their families.  It is made out of recycled paper and every bead is unique, which means every piece of jewelry is unique.  No one else will have exactly the same  piece as you because they are all special and unique!  They are beautiful pieces and they all have a unique touch to them.  

A little about Back to Africa:  Back to Africa is a ministry/company that exists to help alleviate poverty in developing nations by providing income for vulnerable families and women through fair paying jobs created through Back to Africa Trading Co.  

How it works for us:  The profits we make on the jewelry that I sell will all go to help fund a forever family for an orphan.  (Please remember the care I have to take in how I "word" our fundraising....but if you know us and have been following along, you know the story.)  So not only will we be helping alleviate poverty and provide sustainable income, but we will also be raising funds for an orphan.  

I've included pictures below of everything that I'm selling, along with prices.  So if you want to make an order, please just e-mail me or comment on this post with your contact info and we'll make arrangements for payment and shipping.  

Rafiki Long- $20
This is a multi color bead's awesome because it goes with just about any outfit.  (Model is wearing multiple Rafiki necklaces)

These 3 are all the Kupenda Necklaces- $20
They are similar in make to the Rafiki but they don't include as much multi color.  They have beads of mostly one color family on them.  There are red, blue, green, grayish, and yellow/orange Kupendas. 

Rafiki Short-$12
This is the same necklace as the Rafiki Long, just in a shorter length. Again, great multi-colors.  (Model has multiple rafiki necklaces on.  They are great for layering.)

Rafiki Wrap Bracelet-$16
I LOVE this piece.  I own one and I wear it just about everyday.  It is a continuous strand on a coil of wire so it keeps it's shape on your wrist.  

Let me know if you want to order something and I'll be glad to take care of it for you.  Thank you in advance for your purchase....we are so so grateful.

And would you mind re-posting this or sharing it on facebook and spreading the word to anyone you know?  We would greatly appreciate it!

And, I'm still making and selling custom Art Boards, so if you have an order, please let me know!  

Oh...and as promised...a little Thankful Thursday (sorry it's a day late!):

1.  My mom and sister in Malawi, Africa....I absolutely love that they get to be there for a couple weeks and see the Lord work in their lives and the lives of others half way around the world.  If you've ever been to Africa, you know that you can't leave unchanged.  I'm so excited for them to experience that and see how the Lord uses them.

2.  A friend's adoption referral!!...a sweet friend of mine received her referral this week of a precious baby girl.  I know she and her family are just overjoyed and I'm so excited for them!  Makes it a little more real for us as well knowing that that will be us eventually!  

3.  14 deaf kids in Malawi, not 1 or 2!!...So part of what my mom and sister were going for is to help teach some sign language to a few deaf kids that the director had found out about.  Apparently the kids have no language at all and so mom and Annie were going to go see how they could help.  They were told there were only maybe 1 or 2 kids but they arrived and there are 14!!!! How awesome is that!! I love how God worked that out.  Can't wait to hear how it goes!

4.  Sleeping in!....Grahm spent the night at Grandma's house last Friday and so Luke and I got to just stay home and sleep in on Saturday!! Granted I couldn't make it past 8/8:30 since I'm so used to getting up early every morning, but felt amazing to not have to get out of bed and get going right from the get go!!  

5.  Good conversations about spiritual things with friends....we had a few really good conversations with some dear friends this week about a variety of spiritual things.  I love sharing ideas/insights and seeing how God is working in the lives of those around us.

6.  Our new fundraising opportunity!! I'm so excited and thankful that I get to sell this beautiful jewelry.  It's just an awesome opportunity!  It helps those in need, it provides the purchasers with some beautiful pieces and it helps us with our adoption.  So thankful Back to Africa chose us to participate in this program!

7.  Flowers around my house...I got to plant some flowers in our buckets out front and out back this week and I LOVE the addition of flowers to our house.  It makes me happy every time I drive up to the house and see their beauty all around.  It reminds me of Jesus' words when He told us to look at how beautifully he's "clothed" the flowers, yet He cares for us even more!  How awesome! :)

I hope you all have a great weekend!!  Enjoy the sunshine!

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