Monday, November 11, 2013


Chaos is a good way to describe my days right now. I feel like I have been going non stop since I can't remember when (I can't remember much these days though so that may not be saying much).

We are leaving in just a couple days and everything is everywhere. I spend my days driving around to all different places picking up last minute things that I have forgotten. Seeing people I need to see. Tying up loose ends. All while juggling Matthew and Andrew like normal. Adam is gone to Colorado for the week and my mom is here to help. I may have been in a ball on the floor if she weren't here. Moms are great...

In a week from today I will get to meet my little boy for the first time! The reality of this hasn't sunken in yet...I'm not sure actually how it is supposed to. If I think about what I was doing a week ago and what I will be doing a week from now- WOW- what a difference. Soon Jonathan will be in our arms. He will be in a family. He will be unconditionally loved. He will be a SON!

Recently I have been an emotional roller coaster. My heart has been so sensitive to the reality of the orphan. A sweet friend of mine brought their little girl home from China on Saturday night. Getting to go to the airport to welcome them home was such a blessing for my heart! I even got to go see them today and play with them for a few minutes! Another friend is there right now getting their little girl. LOTS is happening in my little circle these days!

The other day I watched a video about adoption and literally cried myself to sleep. My heart was so troubled by the number of orphans in the world and my inability to fix the problem completely. The trauma and injustice that these little ones LIVE is so unfair to me. As I cried I asked God WHY?! Sadly the answer is sin. It is clear through out scripture that God cares for the orphan. It is clear through the part of the story that we have already seen that He has written for our little boy that He cares for the orphan! People are sinful though, and in a broken world there is a lot of collateral damage from sin. My heart so very much wishes that children were not a part of that.

In the turmoil of my heart over these issues there is also peace. I know that God is faithful. I know personally of so many stories of redemption through adoption. There are so many more that I will never hear of, but have changed lives. Thank you Lord for being consistent and steady. Thank you Lord for letting me be a part of another one of these stories. These redemptions!

Seriously with the packing and last minute thoughts I realize this post may make no sense at all. I can't usually remember what I'm saying mid-sentence these days so that wouldn't surprise me at all! :) Thank you for being gracious in your reading of this.

Just to catch up on my days of thankfulness before I joyfully crash into my pillow...

November 4- FRIENDS I HAVEN'T EVEN MET YET. There are people already in country that I have been communicating with that I am SO excited to meet! They are on the exact same journey as I am- and that has formed a bond that is strong even though I've never once heard their voice, seen their face, or touched them. SOON we will be together and I can't wait!

November 5- FRESH FACES TO ENTERTAIN MY KIDS. My mom and dad came to visit this day! So great to have new faces that my kids adore to keep them company for a while! Really wish my parents lived just down the street so this was more common- but I'm so grateful for what we get!

November 6- MY WEDNESDAY NIGHT SMALL GROUP. I have a wonderful group of ladies that I meet with in a discipleship group on Wednesday nights. We have been together for almost 4 years now! We have experienced many things together (Pregnancies, births, sickness, family deaths, good and bad kid situations, personal failure and victory). It is such a safe place where we know each other well and don't have to explain much or worry about impressions. I'm thankful for their sharpening of me and encouragement to me.

November 7- A GOOD CAR TO RUN LOTS OF ERRANDS IN! Like I said- I feel like I live in the car these days. Not so long ago we got a mini-van. And I couldn't be more happy about it! (Adam doesn't feel the same way) I have been so grateful on my days on the road that I have a reliable, comfortable car that I get to use. It is such a blessing!

November 8- GOOD FAMILY DYNAMICS. All of my years growing up my parents would tell me that you marry a family. It is true. You cannot choose one person out of a family to marry and expect to keep all the others away forever! I am so thankful that I married into a great family. Such a blessing! We celebrated Adam's birthday early since we will be gone on the actual day and we had both families present. It was a great time and I'm so happy that I do not have to ever worry about strange family dynamics. Another huge blessing from the Lord.

November 9- FRIENDS WHO ARE GOOD EXAMPLES OF WILLINGNESS TO LOVE EVEN WHEN IT IS DIFFICULT. I am so encouraged by those around me that invite the difficult into their lives for the glory of God. Adoption is hard and there are all different levels of it- but no situation is easy. I have great examples of what selfless love looks like and I am honored to be able to learn from them.

November 10- CHRISTIAN FAMILY CHAPEL. Ugh... many tears this day. This was the last day at my home church before our trip. I'm not sure there is a way to explain how thankful I am for this gathering of believers. The Bible teaching at our church is PHENOMENAL! I have grown in too many ways to count since my time here. The community I experience is to be envied by ANYONE! I am loved well by people in this church. Love is not just warm fuzzies, but also challenges to grow and to be corrected. At one point during the service I stood quietly and let the voices of everyone singing wash over me. I am very much going to miss this while I'm gone. I'm excited to experience the body of Christ in another culture- but I am VERY spoiled with the one I have here. I am so thankful for the dedication to preaching God's Word, proclaiming the Gospel, discipleship, community, and desire to see God's name spread through out the earth. CFC... you are precious to me! So thankful that when I went on a date with a boy that I knew right away I wanted to marry- who was moving to Florida for a job at a church- that it was THIS church and I get to be a part of it. It blesses me continuously!

November 11- THE DYNAMIC DUO! Our adoption group was small tonight- mainly due to current adoptions happening (pretty amazing!)- but God knew just what we needed and it was a great time. Carrie Lantry and Kristi Russell have blessed me (and so many others) in countless ways. YOU GUYS- I got meals BEFORE baby! I know people provide meals after baby which is such a blessing- but when I showed up tonight these two told me that meals were covered for the next two nights so I didn't have to think about it! AMAZING! They also told me that they are going to clean my house for me before I come back and make sure everything is taken care of. They just did this for another friend of mine who returned home too. They are a duo that can't be stopped! Thank you ladies for blessing me and my family- and so many others.

It can be tempting to get consumed in all that I have to accomplish in the next couple of days. I am so thankful that I decided to count my blessings each day this month. WHAT PERFECT TIMING!

Lamentations 3:21-24 says, "This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him."

I have recalled to mind and it has proven true- the Lord is faithful each new day. Because of this I have hope in Him.

Closing out with 3 days, 14 hours, 22 minutes, and 33 seconds until I leave! YIKES!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Days of Thanks

I know that on social media people usually post what they are thankful for each day of November. I haven't been on social media in almost 2 months for a few different reasons but I figured I could be publicly thankful here instead! :) For those of you reading this blog post from a link on is automatically linked to post there so I didn't just lie. Haha. If something has happened in your life via social media in the past 2 months- but sure that I don't know about it and please tell me in person. :) The things I'm thankful for are a little involved... so here it goes.

November 1- LAUGHING GAS! As people close to me know...I haven't been to the dentist in... well a long time. I had a cavity filled last time I went and it was a bad I just didn't go back. Not the best decision- but live and learn. Anyways. A tooth was hurting me and I knew it was time to visit the dentist again. I didn't want to go back to the the first place and found via suggestion of friends a new dentist. I went for my cleaning/xrays/consultation and had a FABULOUS experience. The staff was so friendly-every single one of them, my cleaning was great...I didn't even feel assulted after they flossed my teeth! They confirmed my cavities and I made an appointment to go back the next week to get it fixed. They told they had laughing gas and so I figured I would give the dentist another go and try it with laughing gas. I dreaded my appointment the whole next week but didn't cancel! (Big personal growth.) Let me tell you...I still love this new dentist. And I have an even bigger love for laughing gas. That was a MUCH better time than I ever expected. I shared with a few people my experience and considering it resembles a drunk girl that is embarrassing herself I won't share every detail with you. I did work hard to remember all of my crazy thoughts and made notes on my iphone before everything had worn off so I could tell Adam about the experience. You can think what you want about all of this... haha. Bottom line is- I am thankful for laughing gas. I had a much better dentist experience with it and will return again- not even with dread- but with anticipation. So shout out to Dr. Krantz. If you're in Jacksonville- go to them- they are great.

November 2- HOW OTHERS CARE ABOUT/FOR THE ORPHAN HAS BLESSED OUR FAMILY IN THE PROCESS. I had always heard that adoption takes a village. I know why now. It is true and we have the BEST village! Here are three stories that have overwhelmed my heart. I hope that you never think something is too small to do for an orphan. Be a part of a village...find one and join an adoption journey! Your heart will be blessed. Obedience to care for orphans can never be a bad thing!

Story #1- At the beginning (and all the way through) my good friend Kristi Russell asked me continually about our adoption journey. Through different things I shared with her she heard a need that she could help meet. I didn't tell her it was a need, but she was gracious enough to take on a labor of love for Jonathan's sake. The packing list our agency sent us had a LONG section of it dedicated to medical supplies we would need for our trip. I was overwhelmed with the cost and collection of all the items. Kristi called me one day and said that if we were ok with it she wanted to head up an effort to collect all of the list for us. I'm pretty sure I cried. It was such a help to know that I would not have to think about any of that list again. (My mind is always in a million different places these days!) I knew she would get it done! She helped with a letter that went out to Matthew's pre-school class to help with some items if they wanted. There wasn't much response from that, but Kristi still took care of it! She went to others she knew would have certain items, or that would be willing/want to help. There are lots of people that bought bandaids, clorox wipes, ibuprofen, and a bunch of other things that I don't even know about. I'm not sure who all sacrificed time and money to make sure we didn't have to tackle the list ourselves! I am so thankful for you if you were one of those people! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I knew even more when I saw the pile of items that it would've been much more stress to collect than I initially even thought. All of you bought one or multiple items for us that would've added up to a lot of money/time for us. These are the unexpected or uncalculated costs of adoption that can easily overwhelm. I am so thankful for Kristi's helpful and observant spirit. I very much appreciate her sensitivity to what was needed, and willingness to get it done. I know she is very busy herself, but she knew that this was a way that she could participate in caring for the orphan, and she made it happen! I am so thankful for those of you that used your resources and time to care for the orphan in a way that you may not think was that big of a deal, but is such a HUGE blessing. Here is the final product! As you can see...this was a large project!

Story #2- Diapers are always overwhelming to someone brining home a baby. For both Matthew and Andrew, people had diaper showers for us. It was such a blessing! The cost of diapers adds up FAST! This was another need I didn't ask someone to help meet...they thought of it on their own and acted. Blessing upon blessing! An elementary aged girl that is a friend of our family had a birthday coming up. She decided that she wanted to ask her friends to bring diapers for Jonathan to her party instead of presents for herself. You guessed it...I cried again. Will the waterworks ever end?...I don't think so! I have learned through other's acts of kindness towards us through out this process, that I am a selfish person. I am thankful for this lesson and have already started to look for ways to bless others like I have been blessed! Cassie...I am amazed by your selflessness in this, and your love for our family...all 5 of us! And thank you to your friends that I don't even know for doing what you asked and brining diapers to your party!! I will think of you often as I change Jonathan's diapers...which I'm guessing will be pretty frequently. Haha.

Story #3- A friend of mine has triplet girls who are AMAZING! For years she has shared with me sweet things these girls choose to do! They have always been a testimony to me. What should have come by NO surprise to me based on their history...they blessed my socks off by caring for Jonathan. At our gift card shower one of the girls gave us money for Jonathan. WHAT A SACRAFICE for anyone, but specifically a child! Adam and I both cried when we opened it. All three girls made the sweetest card for Jonathan that will forever reside in his baby book. Their mom told me a few weeks ago that they were making bracelets to sell to make money for Jonathan. I told her that this was so sweet! I had no idea where they would sell them or how they would make money, but my heart was so touched by their generous sweet idea. This past Wednesday night my friend told me that her girls wanted to give me something after church. I met them out front and they handed me a bracelet they had made for me with Ugandan colors like the ones they sold...

Cool huh?! And then they handed me an envelope...

Inside the envelope was $61!! YOU GUYS!!! These 7 year old little girls worked hard making bracelets and selling them. God blessed their sweet efforts with $61! That is a lot of money to me...I can't imagine to 7 year olds! They chose to do what they said they were going to do with that money and gave it for Jonathan! Yes...more tears were involved. I asked the girls what they wanted me to use the money on...formula to fill his tummy or diapers to keep his bottom clean. They giggled and squealed and said FORMULA! Haha- I guess dirty diapers weren't something they wanted to think about. I guess it isn't something I really want to think about either to be fair. :) 

So- as you can see- these stories blow me away every time I think about them! I have been so excited to share God's goodness through the acts of others with you all! He is good and continually faithful. I'm thankful for those that were obedient to His prompting to be the instruments of His faithfulness to us and the fatherless. 

November 3- GOD'S FAITHFULNESS. This month is National Adoption Month. A month for drawing attention to the need of the fatherless. I have been very aware of this month for the past few years, but am extra thankful for the way we get to participate this year! During National Adoption Month an orphan will become a family member!!! This is AMAZING you guys! If you were in my mind as I type this I would be yelling this at you! :) God is so good! He keeps His promises, even to the least of these. He is fulfilling His promise to Jonathan this month in providing for him a home in our family! We are so lucky!! God has been abundantly faithful during every tip-toe, step, and leap of faith we have taken in the adoption journey. Thank you LORD!