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, January 30, 2012

Why Adoption, Part 3

I remember vividly the day God called me to be a mom.  I was just beginning college and I felt so discouraged by the lack of "direction" that I had.  I didn't know what I wanted my career to be and therefore didn't know what major to study and I just felt really confused because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  I was sitting in church next to my mom one Sunday and the pastor was giving a message on motherhood.  I remember so clearly how God spoke to me that day.  That day I knew without a doubt that God was calling me to be a mom someday.

Fast forward several years and you can imagine my confusion, frustration, disappointment and heartache when it seemed like that calling was never going to happen and that I was never going to get the chance to actually fulfill the role of a mother.  It had been a year since we decided to start a family of our own and all we were met with was failed attempts to conceive and one big mess of heartache.  I had always hoped to have a big family and I knew I desired to be a mom so when the news came that we basically had zero chance of ever conceiving on our own I was absolutely devastated.  How in the world were we supposed to have lots of kiddos if we couldn't even conceive?! It was all sort of like a bad dream that I thought I would surely wake up from someday.  You always hear about sad stories where people are infertile and it sounds awful but you never expect that you would actually be one of those stories....it was gut wrenching.  We knew the Lord had already opened up our hearts to adoption but in the midst of the pain it just seemed like putting a band aid on a gaping wound.  People offered it like it was a "solution" to having biological children but it just felt like an extremely inadequate attempt to make everything ok.  Everything wasn't ok, and adoption wasn't the band aid to fix it.
(In fact, I still feel strongly that way even today.  Adoption doesn't "solve" infertility.  It shouldn't be sought as something to take the pain away from the inability to conceive.  It's a wonderful option, but it doesn't erase the the pain of infertility so it should not be pursued for that purpose.)
I wasn't suddenly opposed to adoption now that it seemed like my only choice, it's just that I knew it wasn't ever going to take away the pain of being unable to bear a child.  I knew adoption was something God still wanted us to pursue someday, but it had nothing to do with helping ease the pain of our infertility.

It was a long journey...that road of infertility marked with pain and heartache.  I won't pretend I started out with great faith and trusted the Lord immediately in the midst of it all.  Faith is a journey and that was definitely true for me. It took time to work through everything and come to grips with the reality of our situation and finally be able to come to a place of complete faith in God.  I knew I WANTED to have great faith in the midst of it all but some days it was just really hard to come by.  I remember my prayer from the beginning was that someday I would be able to say, "If my pain brings God glory, then so be it."  By God's grace He brought me to that place throughout the journey and I did finally come to a place of complete trust in Him.  That doesn't mean it didn't still hurt...in fact it still hurts today (but that's another post for another day :)), but I knew who was in control and I trusted that He knew and still knows best.

We decided to pursue medical options to try and conceive but in the meantime we got down to business with our adoption research as well.  We started looking into agencies and researching the process, the options and everything involved in an adoption.  We had actually narrowed down our choices for an agency and we were ready to apply.  But, we were also in the midst of a HUGE decision regarding our fertility as well.  We had come to the end of our ropes as far as options were concerned for conceiving with medical intervention.  We decided we wanted to pursue our last option but we were unsure what that meant for applying with an adoption agency.  If things didn't work out and the medical attempts failed we didn't want to have to wait even longer to get going on the adoption process...we wanted to have the ball rolling  (remember, it had been 2 years since we wanted to have children so we really didn't want to prolong the wait anymore).  We called the agency to get their thoughts and they advised that we wait to apply for the program because if we were to get pregnant by some miracle (*I love remembering what a miracle it was that we actually did get pregnant! ;)) then we would have to cancel our application and all monies paid thus far would be lost.  We wouldn't get a refund, so it would be better to wait and see what happened first.

Well, that's what we decided to do.  We put our adoption plans and steps on the shelf and prayed like crazy as we rode the roller coaster of our last fertility treatment.

And then March of 2010 came and God blessed us with the miracle we desperately prayed for....our "shot in the dark" treatment had worked and we were expecting a precious miracle baby in December!  God was knitting together a human being in my womb and we were beyond grateful...blown away at the grace and mercy of our Lord.

So where did this leave all of the adoption stuff?  Because we were finally pregnant with a biological child did that mean we would forget about adoption?  Definitely not...our purpose for adopting was never to "make up" for the fact that we can't get pregnant....but you'll have to stay tuned to find out how the story picks back up again.

Happy Monday everyone...hope it's treating you well!

(Click here for Why Adoption Part 4)


Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Boards...check them out!

I finally finished some more boards and I'm excited to share them all with you!  Hopefully this will give you all some more ideas on what you would like on your boards if you want to order one.  I can re-create any of these in any color combo or with any phrase you would like....just let me know your order info and I'll get them started.  (To read my original post on the boards I'm selling and get all the info and directions for how to order check it out here)

Same format as the Family Rules Board...but with the characteristics of love from 1 Corinthians 13.  I've got this on the mantle in our bedroom...LOVE it!


Another great one for a master bedroom....these are 3 12x12 boards "And the Two Shall Become One"


Up close....


More Up close...


Even more Up close!



Another master bedroom design...I did these ones on small boards, like 4x5.  "Truly Madly Deeply, Since 2004 (or whatever your marriage year is))


This is a board I made for a friend's in-laws....she changed up the "rules" ideas for a Grandparents' house.  


Another board for a grandparents' house

Hope those give you some more ideas.  I've got more in the works and I'll share them with you as I get them done. Remember, all of the proceeds from the boards are going to help give an orphan a forever family.  Please help support our cause!  And please share the word with as many people as you can...re-post on facebook, your blog, twitter...wherever you want! :)  Thanks so much!

(Oh, and PS....some of you have told me you would like one of the Family Rules Boards but I haven't gotten your info from you yet, i.e. rules, colors.  Please send me the info so I can get to work on them! Thanks!)




Friday, January 27, 2012

Why Adoption, Part 2

So...where did we leave off last time?....That's right, we were getting ready to start a family of our own.......

Well, a few months passed by without any positive "pee-sticks" and of course it got me really discouraged but we just hung in there and hoped that it would happen eventually. In the meantime the Lord really started burdening our hearts for adoption...specifically the boys we met in Congo.  I knew the Lord had laid it on my heart but Luke wasn't too sure yet.  He thought of it as something we would maybe do "down the road."  I asked him to pray about it and we both spent some time praying about it on our own.  In the meantime the missionaries had sent us an e-mail about the children in the home, wishing they had families who could take them in.  It spoke to us because we hadn't mentioned adoption to them at all....so it wasn't like they knew we were praying about it.  When Luke and I talked about it again we were both on the same page and really felt like God was calling us to do something.  So we decided to talk with our pastor and get his thoughts on it all.  At the time Congo did not have any agencies working in the country so we would have had to go through contacts the missionaries had in order to complete an adoption.  In addition, most of the children were older...like age 4 and up.  Our pastor encouraged us that adoption is definitely biblical, which we knew to be true (after all, it's an example of what God has done for Christians in making us a part of His family forever.  Romans 8:15-17 says, "15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him."  And John 1:12 says "12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." ).  So we definitely knew this was something God approved of and even set an example for.  Our pastor encouraged us to continue to prayerfully consider it and just see what doors opened up.  

We decided to talk with our parents as well and I guess get their "blessing."  We wanted them to know what we were considering and to ask for them wisdom and guidance as to what they thought about it.  Plus, we really wanted their prayers....this was a big decision we were considering!  Both parents were very supportive and encouraged us in our decision.  We were "hesitantly" excited as it seemed the Lord was really working in our lives.

So...the next big step?? We decided to e-mail the missionaries back and let them know we were interested in adoption, specifically from Congo and from their boys' home.  They said they would get us any info they could on what it would require and would keep their eyes out for young children (we felt more comfortable adopting a child or children as young as possible) who were orphaned.  We had no idea where this would lead but within a month or so the missionaries had e-mailed us with pictures of 2 children who needed a family. It was a brother and a sister and I can still remember their faces.  They were so sweet but so badly malnourished.  You could see all of the bones sticking out of their body and they were so small for their age. The missionaries estimated that they were about 5 and 7...but it was hard to tell because they were so malnourished.  They told us they didn't want us to feel any pressure, but they wanted to inform us of any children than came along, so that is what they were doing.  We prayed about it lots and talked with our pastor and really wrestled over the decision.  But after much prayer we just didn't have peace about the decision.  It was so hard to say no to those precious little faces, but we knew it was the right decision.  We e-mailed the missionaries and told them no and told them we really felt the child or children we adopted needed to be much younger.  So, they said they'd continue to keep their eyes out and keep praying about it.
We kept praying about it too and in the meantime we were still trying for a pregnancy.  But so far God had opened our hearts WIDE open to the idea of adoption and we were ready to follow Him in that way whenever He called us to do so.

Alright....the two little rascals (we're babysitting our friends' son, remember?)  I've got are making big messes....I better stop there and get some dinner started!  Hope you all have a blessed weekend, and a worship-filled Sunday!

Happy Friday...enjoy it!  I know I'm headed for a movie and the hot tub as soon as the babies are in bed!  Woohoo! :)

(Click Here for Why Adoption Part 3)


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday is back!  Sorry I missed last week...we were out of town on vacation and I didn't have internet access so I just skipped the week.  I'm sneaking in some time to get it done this week because I've got my hands full with 2 little boys this week!  Grahm's having a "sleepover" playdate while we babysit our friends' little boy who is about 3 months older than Grahm.  Two toddler boys, going non-stop in separate directions, on different schedules for 3 days....it's nonstop action around here!  You mommas of twins are pretty amazing. :)  They are fun to watch play together and laugh at each other, it's pretty cute.  Anywho...here's my list for this week:

1. Snow....we got to enjoy some beautiful sights of God's creation this last week while we were out of town and that included LOTS of snow.  I just love it when it snows....it's so pretty and peaceful and serene to watch the snow falling (especially if you're watching it from the comforts of a cabin with hot cocoa in your hands! :) ).

2.  Normal hormones....this may sound weird, but I had a lot of pretty crazy hormones after Grahm was born and it's been quite a roller coaster of a year trying to get things back to normal.  I remember saying countless times, "I just want to feel like 'myself' inside again."  My body is finally leveling out and I feel so great inside and it's awesome to feel like myself again.  I have so much joy and it's awesome to wake up everyday excited and ready to face the day ahead.

3.  Toddler conversations....have you ever listened to 2 littles having a conversastion together?  It's so cute and so funny to listen to.  I have no clue what they are saying but they talk to each other like they know exactly what the other one is saying...cute stuff.

4.  Mischievous faces....I know this usually means trouble is around the corner but it cracks me up when my little guy looks at me with this mischievous little face because he's got some crazy thought in his head and then he giggles when I see him and it's just pure sweet fun.

5.  Hobbies....I love having a "release" and getting to spend some time doing things I enjoy.  It relaxes me to sit down and work on things like my art boards that I'm making or some other project I'm working on.  I love having a project to work on and put my energy into.

6.  Our friends, Tyler and Mel....this is who we got to go to Jackson Hole with and we just had an awesome time with them.  We haven't known them for a super long time so it was fun to get to know them more and spend time hanging out together.  I love their company and their "like-mindedness" to us.  They are such hard-working, disciplined people, but also lots of fun and very giving.  The kind of people you know you can always count on.  Good friends to have. :)

7.  Living near family....I know it can make life pretty crazy sometimes because there is a lot to keep up with when we have both of our families in the same area, but it really is such a blessing to have them nearby.  I am grateful for the "free" babysitting and also for the relationships we have because we get to share in each others' lives on a regular basis.

One of those "mischievous" little faces :)  Got to be the cutest little mischievous face there is!


Alright...time to go chase another little one. :)  Oh, and I'm working on some really cool projects right now to add to the boards ideas.  I can't wait to share them with you all!  Have an awesome weekend!

Happy Thursday....be thankful and share it with others!



Monday, January 23, 2012

Why Adoption Part 1

I figured perhaps it's about time that I write something about why we are in the process of adopting.  People are often curious about our journey to this decision and why we're doing what we're doing so I thought maybe I would just write a post about it and give you all a little insight into how our hearts and lives led us to where we are today.  Plus, if you are thinking about donating to our fund or buying an art board then I thought you might want to know why we are adopting so you know why you are supporting us.  Plus, I love looking back over the paths we've taken and seeing God's fingerprints all over each part of our lives and seeing how He has directed our paths.

The path that has led us where we are starts way back before Luke and I were even married.  It was a small thing, but in little ways God had placed a love for Africa in our hearts that at the time we had no idea where it would actually lead us.  When we got married we talked about this love for Africa with each other and hoped that someday we might actually get to visit.....little did we know. :)

So....life happens, we're married about 3 years and through a variety of circumstances we end up listening to some missionaries our church supports while we are in Utah on a Youth Group Missions Trip.  We knew the missionaries and had heard them before at our church, so it wasn't necessarily new to us.  They are from Congo, Africa and have been serving faithfully there for years.  After the service Luke and I were talking and I said to Luke, "So, what did you think?"  Luke replied, "We need to go (meaning we needed to go to Africa, somehow, someway and help).  What did you think?"  "We need to go," I replied.  And that did it.  We both knew God had called us to go to Africa and work with the missionaries and so we set the ball in motion to do just that.  The following fall we made our trip to Congo and spent a few weeks there serving.  It was a life changing experience, one that neither one of us will ever forget.  And we still say to this day that we can't wait to go back, we just don't know when.  While we were there we got to work with some boys who were from a boys' home that the missionaries run.  The home is for boys of all ages who are homeless/orphans and found on the street.  Their stories broke our hearts.  One young boy was put out on the street at just 5 years old because his family thought he was cursed.  Can you imagine?! 5 years old?  Let that sink in for a minute.  Think of a boy you know who is 5 years old and then imagine him living by himself, surviving on the streets of a third world country.  Our hearts ached as we thought about the tragedy of it all.  Innocent children, without the love of a mother or father, left alone in this world to fend for themselves.  If you are a parent, imagine your own child left on the streets without anything or anyone, basically left to die.  They've done nothing wrong, but they are thrown out to survive in this ugly world all by themselves.  Even now, just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.  It is unfathomable to me that children around the world are suffering in such horrific ways.  But when we were in Congo, we came face to face with the reality of it all...there was no denying it.  Children around the world are hurting and they need someone to fend for them, love them, support them, protect them.

We came home from Africa changed inside.  God had rearranged our hearts in a way that they could never go back to the way they used to be.  We knew it all meant something, we just didn't know specifically what yet.  So, the next part of our journey on the path to adoption began.  We decided we wanted to start a family of our own when we got home and so we started down that road, expecting to be like most every other couple we knew....reading a positive sign on a "pee-stick" in a few weeks with hopes and dreams of a child we would hold in our arms in 9 months.  Well, as usual, God had different plans.  :)

I'll tell you more about those plans next time.....I'm going to pause there for now.  Stay tuned for more on why we've decided on adoption.

Oh...and on a completely different side note....we made it home from our little mini-vaca!  I was afraid we were going to get snowed in!  It was crazy!  It was so much fun though....we got to snowboard quite a bit and my body is paying the price!  There was so much snow and it was just awesome taking in God's breathtaking creation.  Grahm had fun with his grandmas and aunties.  However, the day we got home (yesterday) he broke out in chicken pox!  Figures, right?!  That's a fun thing to come home to! ;)  So the poor little guy is feeling a bit down and just riding out the "fun."

Here are some pics of our trip this weekend.....

Our vaca crew

Just hanging out with an elk in the background...normal stuff, right? ;)  
Yeah, Luke was in Heaven.

Outside our cute little cabins...such a quaint little place to stay!

Happy Monday...almost Tuesday everyone!  Make it a good week!




Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Be a Risk Taker

News Flash: In case you didn't know, we've only got this one life to live.  I'm sure most of you already know that, but I think most of the time we live like we've got an indefinite amount of time and many lives to live.  But all we have is right here, right now.  God has given us this one blessed life and only He knows the number of our days.  I love the lyrics in the song by 33 Miles that say "You only get one time around, You only get one shot at this...One ride, One try, One life to Love."  We only get one ride around this earth and as much as we may like that to be different or we live trying to prolong this one life, why not instead realize and accept that we only get this one life and then live making the most of it?  Stop living in the future and start living in the now.  Stop living in the safe zone and start living in the adventure zone.  Stop waiting for the "next" thing that is going to make everything good and start living large right where you are.  Stop saying you'll do it "later" and just do it now.  Stop waiting for tomorrow and start living in today.

The way I see it, why would we want to play it safe and stay in our comfort zone and just "cruise" through this life and then end up at death's doorstep with nothing much to say about the life we were given to live?  We have been given an awesome opportunity, the Opportunity of LIFE.  The Holy God of the Universe has seen fit to give us breath and place us on this earth.  So what are we going to do with what He's given us?  I think so many of us just find it easy to fall into a routine of "normal" life and kinda just put things on cruise control and live life without taking any risks and without making each day count.  It's so easy to "dream" about doing things or to say we'll do it "later" or when the circumstances are right....I have enough money, I have a better house, I have a husband, I have a wife, I have kids, I have no kids at home, I have..I have...I have...I have....and in the meantime we keep waiting for tomorrow and stop living in today and making the most of what we have right here and right now.

But here's my question:  Why not live big and take risks?  I mean, really?  Like I just said, we only have this one life so why play it safe and not take any risks?  Why not step out in faith and throw yourself completely into the arms of God and let Him take you and do with you whatever He pleases?  Maybe sometimes we see the life of faith as some boring, uptight, no excitement kind of life where we just go to church, sing our hymns, don't do anything bad and follow the rules.  But that's not what faith is about.  Faith is the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)...faith is going for it even though you don't know what's around the next corner, but you're gonna do it anyways because you are going to trust your God, who is the almighty, all-powerful, all-knowing God, to lead you where He wants and to take care of you no matter what.  Or maybe it's because when we think of Him "taking care of us" we think of Him providing money for us, giving us a nice house and nice clothes and keeping us safe when we drive to town.  I wish we could see that faith is sooo much bigger than that and when He promises to work everything for our good (Romans 8:28) that doesn't mean that He is working things out so that we will be comfortable and all of our needs wants will be met.  It means that He is working things out so that we will have the best chance to enjoy Him to the fullest because we are bringing Him the most glory possible.

After all, if we only have this one life to live then perhaps we should figure out why we even have this life and what we are supposed to live it for.  Doesn't it seem pretty pathetic and pointless to just live it for our own fun and enjoyment and getting what we want?  His Word says we are created for His glory.  Our purpose on this earth is to enjoy Him fully by bringing Him glory.  And the thing is, He knows that if we are living to fulfill this purpose then we will get the most JOY out of life possible.  He created us so He probably knows best, don't ya think?

So maybe we should start taking those risks, stepping out in faith, considering what God might want us to do with our lives. Things that may seem uncomfortable or scary for us but that in the end will bring us the most fulfilled life possible.  After all, with God there really aren't any risks anyways.  We see things as risky or scary but if we are following God and trusting Him and doing what HE has called us to do, then it isn't a risk at all because our lives are held in the only hands that are perfectly and wholly capable of holding us.  You wanna end up at death's door step and look back and know that you lived a fulfilled, awesome, blessed life?  Then live it in faith, following God with your whole heart and your whole life, taking whatever "risks" He might have for you.  Life would be so much more exciting if we stopped living in our comfort zones and started living in the "faith" zone and really took to heart the command in Ephesians 5:15-17 "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."  


Don't be foolish, make the most of what you've been given, this one life, live it sold-out for God and follow His will, which is to live for His glory in all the earth, because this is all we've got.

Ask God what He might have for you and be willing to be an open door, don't box His answer into what you might want or what is comfortable for you.  Have the faith and be the "risk-taker" that is willing to say yes to whatever it may be....from staying where you are and witnessing to the gal next door to taking your life across the ocean to Africa.  Open your heart and your mind to whatever God wants for your life.

Have an awesome Tuesday....take some risks, live in faith!



Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cool Stuff to Share About

So I've got a couple of things I wanted to spread the word about......

First, I'm headed to a conference/retreat in March for moms, about adoption.  I'm sooo excited about it and I can't wait to go.  It is called Created for Care and the goal of the retreat is to support families by providing them with adoption resources as well as providing resources to encourage them in their walk with their God who led them down the path of adoption.  Any women are welcomed to attend.....whether you have already adopted, are in the process of adopting, just thinking about adoption or you just have a heart for orphans and adoption but aren't necessarily planning to adopt yourself.  So far I'm flying solo this year but if it sounds like something you are interested in, there are still a few spots left in the March retreat.  Just visit Created for Care to find out more!  The retreat is put on by moms and they sacrifice lots of their time to do this awesome work...it's all volunteer!  They try and keep the cost as low as possible for the women attending so they have some fundraising they try and do to help defray costs.  They are selling some pretty cool things on their site, so if you wouldn't mind supporting their cause..check out their store, Created for Care Store.

Alright, second thing, I've recently met a new "blog friend" :)  and she is currently in the process of raising funds for the adoption she and her husband are in the process of.  She makes some really cool baskets full of all kinds of goodies and raffles them on her blog.  The newest basket she is raffling is a Beautiful Things basket and there are ALL kinds of cool things in it!  So, head on over to her blog, Love Made a Family, and check it out!  It is soooo worth buying a "ticket," there is about $600 worth of stuff in it!

I'm still selling my boards to help give an orphan a forever family, so please let me know if you want to order!  I'll be posting some new ideas soon!

Have an awesome week!  (Oh, and I may be MIA this week, we are headed out of town on Wednesday, through the end of the week, for a snowboarding vaca in Jackson Hole!  Yay!  Can't wait!  But I've got LOTS to do between now and then so I may not make it back on the internet before we leave.)


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thankful Thursday...and "Boards" announcement

So I've got some really cool news!  Lots of people have told me that they would love to buy one of my Family Rules boards, but they either don't have rules or they don't have a family/kids.  Well...here's the great news!... I can make LOTS of other kinds of boards.  I have TONS of ideas and designs that I can use so pretty much you just need to tell me what you would like on the board, i.e. a verse, a quote, a flower, a family saying, a song lyric...pretty much whatever you can think of...and I'll do it for ya!  How cool is that? :)  I'm working on one right now that is a non-family rules board so as soon as I get it done I'll post it on here so you have an idea....they are just stinkin' cool!  And I can do different sizes as well...I'll go through all of the sizes I've got available right now and when I get it all counted up I'll post on here the different size options.  So...send your orders my way!  Don't forget, all of the proceeds are helping give an orphan a forever family!  :)

Alright..so what have I got to be thankful for this week?  Here it is....

1. Connections...you know, like the people kind of connections, like the "someone who knows someone who knows someone" kind of connections.  It is just awesome when you know someone who has "connections"  and you can get connected with someone who offers something you need or can do a favor, etc etc.  I love being able to "network" and use connections because there are so many people out there who have so much to offer and it's just a matter of getting connected with the right people.  Ok...that was a lot of "connections"...prize goes to the person who correctly guesses how many times I just typed the word "connections!" Ha!

2. Helpful people....you know the kind of people who have absolutely no idea who you are but they are just a genuinely good person and they go out of their way to help you?  We've been doing lots of research for our "secret ministry" this week and I've sent out lots of e-mails and phone calls to people I've never met and they've gone out of their way to help me and tell me everything they can or point me to someone else who can help....remember, gotta love "connections." :)

3.  Babies in their diapers...I don't know about your kiddos or the kiddos you know, but my little guy is the cutest little naked baby on earth and I love it when he is just playing on the floor in nothing but his diaper, seriously so sweet.

4.  Faith...life is so much more exciting when we live by faith.  It's easy to want to play it safe and try to control our own lives but when we give it all up to God and let him control everything from the big picture to the tiny details it is such a blessing because that is when we get to see His awesome sovereignty and His fingerprints all over our lives.

5.  Watching my baby sleep...is there anything sweeter than watching a little one sleep?  We have a video monitor and I am guilty of just sitting and staring at it, watching my sweet little angel sleep in his crib.  I always like to take one last peek before I crawl into bed for the night and it actually just broke my heart the other night that he's not always going to be my little baby and it probably won't be so sweet watching a 16 year old sleep someday! :)

6.  Laughter...who doesn't love a good laugh?  I love everything about laughing...watching other people laugh, laughing myself, laughing so hard you cry....I think it's one of those fun things that God has chosen to bless us with and I'm so thankful He gives us laughter in our lives.  How dull would we be without it!  I'm a firm believer in finding something to smile or laugh about everyday and always being able to laugh at yourself.

7.  People who have been willing to write books to encourage and even entertain the rest of us who don't write.  Make sense?  I'm just really thankful there are people out there who are gifted to write and are willing to put in the work to share their thoughts and hearts with others.  I love reading and it wouldn't be possible if there weren't people to write those books I read.

My sweet little sleeping angel. :) 

Alrighty....gotta get the goober up from his nap. :)  Don't forget about the boards...keep sending your orders my way and keep passing the word....you know how much it means to us.




Wednesday, January 11, 2012

All in God's Time


I don't know about you, but when I sense the Lord is laying something on my heart to do or be a part of I
tend to want it to happen RIGHT NOW. I'm not impatient or anything. :)  I'm the same way with projects or other random ideas I get.....as soon as I think of something I want to do, I want it done now, I want to jump in head first and just get rolling!  I'm not always a fan of waiting and taking the small steps that are required to sometimes get to the big picture.  I see the big picture and I can't wait to make the big picture happen...don't bother me with all the details and the steps in between!

For example, take a cool DIY project....most DIY projects take time and there are steps involved in getting them done...from going to the store to get the supplies, finding time to sit down and work on one step at a time, going back to the store to get a supply you forgot, sitting down to work on it and then getting distracted by dinner or laundry or the child who just dumped the trash all over the floor (yeah, been there, done that :) ), going back to the store to get another supply you forgot, sitting back down to work on it and finally a month later my project might be done. :)  Is it just me or do your projects work this way too?  But I see the end project and I know all of these steps in the middle and I get frustrated because I want to be at the end product, right now.

Take something bigger...like mothering...I see the potential in my kid(s) and the activities and projects I can do with them and even though Grahm is only 1 I want to read a captivating novel with him, build a fort, teach him to cook with me in the kitchen and teach him his numbers, shapes and colors...oh and how to sign all of that as well, plus do fun learning/craft projects, right now.  Not to mention all of the character building I want to instill in him and all of the awesome things I want to teach him about God...oh, and yes, right now.

Or how about a ministry opportunity?  We work with the youth group at church and about twice a year we get together with the youth pastor and his wife and we brainstorm ideas and methods we want to use and come up with projects, themes, and plans for the teens.  I get so excited about everything we've talked about and all the ideas we have, but of course, I want to see it all come to pass...right now.

Are you sensing a theme here?  :)

But...I know that isn't how God always works and I know that isn't always the best way of doing things either.  I just get so excited about the "end product" and I can't wait to see it happen.  And then as a result, I get overwhelmed by all of the details and steps that have to take place in the meantime that I lose sight of the end and get frustrated.  I've been thinking about this a lot lately because first of all...adoption is one of those BIG, LOTS OF STEPS, LOTS OF TIME, etc things before you get to the "end product."  There is no other way to do it but to just take it one step at a time and be patient, waiting on the Lord's perfect timing.

Also, I know I mentioned in a previous post (check it out here) that the Lord has really been working on Luke and my hearts and He's been pushing things around and prodding us in some big ways.  When this first started happening we didn't really know what to make of it or where in the world God was going to lead us with it.  But He hasn't stopped stepping on our toes and placing thoughts on our hearts so we know we've got to do something.  Well, a month or two ago an idea came to mind and Luke and I started doing some talking and researching and we've got some awesome ideas about what God might want us to do.  I don't really want to talk about it in specifics right now because it is still in the works and I can't say exactly how it is going to pan out yet.  But, I can say we are doing lots of behind the scenes work right now and we are so excited about what God might have and what He's laid on our hearts.

But, like I mentioned, I'm struggling with the same problem of wanting it all to come together...right now.  I see sooo many steps in front of me and so much work and it just looks like this crazy, winding road with lots of little roads that detour off of it and end up having to make their way back on to the main road because they were the wrong direction or didn't end up being what we thought they would.  Who knows if that made any sense to you?? (Luke laughs at my analogies because they often times don't make sense to anyone else but myself. :)  )

So I got to thinking about how God might feel about my "right now" mentality and He brought some thoughts to mind from His word.  Scripture has plenty of examples of people who had to take LOTS of steps and wait patiently for the Lord to bring about the end product.  Noah is a big example...can you imagine what it must have felt like to be told to build a massive Ark, load it with food, get all the animals gathered up and pack for thousands of animals and his family for hundreds of days!  I'm not a fan of packing for 3 of us for a 3 day trip, let alone an entire family and thousands of animals for hundreds of days!  Oh, and on top of that, building the car that I would be driving for wherever I was going and it was going to be 120 years before we left! Ha! I would have been beyond overwhelmed by that task and I definitely would have been praying for a miracle for the ark to just appear and all the animals to be waiting at the door. :) But I love the example of Noah in Genesis....after God explains everything He's going to do and tells Noah to build this massive boat and get on it with all those animals it says at the end of Genesis, "Thus did Noah, according to all that God commanded Him, so did he."  That's it, plain and simple...Noah just did it.  What a testament of patience, obedience and faith.

Or think about David, God had told him he was going to be king, but instead of that happening right away he got to run around in the desert for years, fleeing for his life, hiding in caves and avoiding Saul's men.  The Psalms are filled with David's struggles and his faith and how he continued to trust in God despite feeling like there was no light at the end of the tunnel and that what he was told was going to happen seemed like it never would.

God's timing is perfect, His ways are not our ways but He knows far better than us and He knows the perfect way, when, how and where.  There is a reason for all of the "steps" we have to take to get to the finish line sometimes.  Ecclesiastes 3 is full of truth about God's timing and how there is a time and place for everything.   There is a reason it isn't "right now" and sometimes it isn't for me to know what that reason is but it is just for me to be faithful and "Thus do it, according to all that God has commanded me."  God will bring about His purposes and His plans in His perfect way and considering He is the omniscient God, creator of the universe, what better hands to leave things in than Him?

So, if you are waiting on something, or you are overwhelmed by all of the "steps" you have to take to get to the end result of something, take heart and just be faithful.  Remember that God has a perfect plan and His timing is perfect...just trust Him and be obedient, that's all He asks.

So I'm gonna keep plugging away at all the steps we are taking with our adoption and with all the steps we are taking with this new ministry opportunity and I CAN'T WAIT to tell you all about it...you'll just have to stay tuned..but it's oh so exciting!  And I'll probably keep taking a good month or so to finish each DIY project I start...hey, at least I try. :)

Happy Wednesday...enjoy it to it's fullest!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Important Stuff...Please Read

So I learned a bit of discouraging news today. :(  I found out that we are not technically supposed to use the internet (blogs, facebook, etc) to raise funds for an Ethiopian adoption.  Their government doesn't approve of this and so we have to respect that or it could cause a lot of problems in our adoption process.  It is really discouraging to me because the internet can be such a great resource to get the word out and to reach LOTS of people.  It seems overwhelming to figure out how we will raise funds without using the internet, BUT, I also know that God has His hands all over our adoption and He'll use His people in ways that I can't even imagine right now to grow our family through adoption.

So, that means I need to take off my fundraising post for the family rules boards.  BUT, I will still be selling them for a fundraiser...I just can't talk about what it's for. :)  So I'll still have the link on my blog to buy the boards and you can still order them through me the way I described, I'll just change the original post so that it doesn't say anything about our adoption.

And..you can still spread the word for me. :) So I guess I'll be relying on you awesome peeps to get the word out and tell people what it's for.  If you already contacted me about ordering a board, just e-mail or facebook me, or comment on any of my blog posts and give me your info and I'll get going on the boards.  Here is the info again on the boards.....

Family Rules Boards...(Or "Whatever You Want Them to Say Boards" :) )







Sorry the pictures aren't great quality...they were taken on my phone. ;) 




So, if you would like to order one I can custom make it for your family rules.  For my sisters' boards I interviewed their kids and then added some rules from the parents as well.  There is typically room for about 10 rows of rules, but I can "double up" rules on some of the rows if they are short enough.  It's done on a 16x20 canvas and I can coordinate the colors to match the room you want it in.  For example, my sister's living room is red so I went with more red tones in the designs I used.  


So...here's what I need from you if you would like to order one....
1. Either leave a comment on this post or e-mail me with your order information.
2. Include your family's last name, it will read "The ____________ Family Rules"
3. List the rules you would like included on the board, if you want a specific order, be sure to let me know.
4. Specify the color scheme you would like me to use
5. Include contact info for how I can get back with you if I have any questions or clarifications

So what's it gonna cost you?  Just $40 will get you one of these beauties! :)   We would be glad to accept any donation that you want to give, so I won't turn down a donation of more than $40. :)  

How are you going to pay?  Well, I've added a Paypal button to my blog for this and I included different amounts so people can donate what they would like.  If you live near me I can just take your payment in person.  

How are you going to get it?  Well, obviously if you live near me I can just hand deliver it to you.  If you are out of state then I can ship it to you. Shipping will cost about $10-12 per board depending on where you live.  I know it's kinda pricey..but the size of the boards makes it kinda tricky.  There is an option on the paypal button for shipping and when you order, depending on where you live, I'll let you know the shipping cost that you need to select and pay for.  

Ok...I think I've covered everything.  Let me know if I haven't!  I would really appreciate it if you would spread the word and tell anyone you know about it...just point 'em towards my blog.  It would mean so much!  Thank you Thank you!

Oh...and one other Note...I'll have to delete/edit this post soon to take out the parts about fundraising and adoption, so I'll leave it for a few days so people can get the word, but then I'll have to change it, so when it's different and if it confuses you, sorry....the boards are still for the same purpose, just no explanation. :)  Ok...I think I just made all of that really confusing! :)  

Happy Tuesday people!




Sunday, January 8, 2012

Real Love, Final Part

Have you forgotten I was even doing this?  Yeah, I know...it's been a LONG while since I wrote on 1 Corinthians 13.  In case you forgot, I was going through the characteristics of love that are listed in 1 Corinthians and studying them a little bit more in depth and trying to make them a bit more personal.  It kinda got put on hold during December but I didn't forget and I've got 3 more characteristics, so one last post on love.

It was quite fitting, this morning the messages in both Sunday School and morning church had to do with loving others, in a direct and indirect way.  Man, they were some good messages.  My heart was just challenged and encouraged and poked and prodded all at the same time!  I interpret sign language for the morning service message and so I usually get the message a few days before so that I can familiarize myself with it before Sunday morning.  I told pastor that I don't like having to read through them before hand because it isn't fair because then I get convicted twice!

A good friend of mine's dad is a missionary in Argentina and he was here this morning, speaking in Sunday School (I'm so happy for her by the way that she gets to have them visit..she hasn't seen them in 2 years!  I'm so thankful for people like them who sacrifice their lives to spread the gospel, they give up a lot.)  Anyways, his message was soo good and just reminded me of some truths about love and what the Bible has to say about it. In one of my previous posts on love I referred to Jesus' words that the 2 greatest commandments are to love the Lord your God with all your being and to love your neighbor as yourself.  I was reminded this morning that we can't say that the love of God is in our hearts if we aren't loving others.  We can't love God without loving others.  1 John 4:20-21 says "If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also."  It's pretty plain...we can't love God without loving people.  And loving people isn't just tolerating them, it's loving them with the kind of love that is described in 1 Corinthians 13.  It's loving those who hate you, despise you, curse you and use you....loving them in a way that shows them the love of God.  Remember, "they'll know we are Christians by our love." 


I think I want to spend at least this whole week thinking on one thought that really hit my heart hard...hopefully it gets you thinking as well...."Does the world see, through us, that God loves them?"  Am I doing everything I can to show through my actions, words and attitudes that God's love is in me and because of that I love them....and it's not just lip-service...there are actions behind my words.  


Here are the last 3 characteristics....


Love...



Hopes all-I encourage others.  I am hopeful in God's will and promises.  I am positive, not pessimistic or complaining in attitude.  I trust God's word and know that He truly does work all things for good for those who love Him.  I do not have a negative, poor me attitude towards life and my circumstances.  There is a sense of real hope and joy that others can see in me and it influences them and their attitudes.  

Endures all-I am patient and longsuffering.  I am willing to go through anything, even the horrible wrongs of others, with a patient, strong attitude.  My love is unconditional and will last no matter what it goes through. I will love my family no matter what and I will love others despite their failures or wrongs against me.  I will love no matter what kind of hardship I am experiencing.  My love is not a roller coaster that dies with the lows in my life and rises with the highs.  

Never Fails-I love others no matter what!!  My love is permanent and can always be counted on.  Others do not have to question whether they are "in my good graces" or not from one day to the next.  Love is powerful.  

These three are some of my favorite characteristics in this passage, they just remind me of the enduring, penetrating power of love that crosses all boundaries and breaks rules and leaves it's fingerprints all over!  

So, go leave the fingerprints of your love on someone else's life this week.  Happy Sunday and I hope you have a great week!




Friday, January 6, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Ok, so I know I'm late on this one again...yesterday was A DAY..if ya know what I mean.  I was all over town running errands and what not, busy as a bee and then I got a call from the hubs saying that he was 2 hrs away (he was working out of town) and stranded because his car broke down so he was being towed to a mechanics nearby.  So.....that was the beginning of a very long evening. :)  He ended up having to leave his car there and get a rental to get back home and I think by the time we all made it home and had our heads on straight it was 9:30 and I was sitting down to eat dinner!  Yeah, it was ridiculous.  And today we're scrambling around again cuz we have to borrow a trailer and head back up to the car and haul it home.  So...I don't want to neglect thankfulness this week so I'll try and post my 7 really quick here.....

1.  God's protection and safety.....I don't think we even realize how many times God keeps us safe and protects us from danger..probably because we don't know what could have been and we only see the good.  There are a lot of things God keeps us from and I'm very thankful for that.

2.  The "little" things...Luke could have broken down in the middle of his commute which would be a long ways from any town in either direction, but thankfully, even though it was 2 hrs from home, he broke down next to a big city and was able to get to a mechanics fairly easily.

3.  New beginnings...I love the idea of a new year and getting to "start over" per se.  I know it's cliche' but I like setting resolutions and feeling like I've got a fresh start and can wipe my slate clean.

4.  Haircuts...don't you love it when you get to go get your haircut after waiting forever!! I've been putting mine off forever...it's been since September!  and I desperately needed one and was able to go get one this week...I love getting a haircut and not feeling like everyday is a bad hair day anymore! ;)

5.  My husband's thoughtfulness....he had some slow days this week and so he let me get out of the house a couple of times and it was great.  I got to do coffee with my mom and get my haircut and in return Luke took Grahm to get his 1 yr shots!!  Husband of the year award right there!

6.  Watching a baby's "firsts"...Grahm has been practicing his walking skills this week and I just love watching a little one learn a new skill.  Their face just lights up when they "get it" and they think it's the coolest thing ever and they practice over and over and over again.  Such determination in such pint-sized bodies. :)

7.  Green lights when you're in a hurry...ok, sounds dumb, but don't you just love it when you are racing to get somewhere and you get to hit every green light on the way?? I always silently thank God for working it out for me so that I could get where I need to be just a little bit quicker. :)

Alright...gotta run and pack up so we can leave.....I'm still taking orders for the Family Rules Boards...so just let me know!  Have an awesome weekend peeps!



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