Friday, December 30, 2011

“Here I Am” by Downhere

I have heard this song a million times but the lyrics just hit me tonight. It’s a really awesome song and my prayer for my life! Lord, use my life story, all of it’s broken pieces, and make it a part of your amazing glorious plan! (I have bolded my favorite parts.)

“Here I Am” by Downhere

Sometimes Your calling, comes in dream
Sometimes in comes in the Spirit's breeze
You reach for the deepest hope in me
And call out for the things of eternity

But I'm a man, of dust and stains,
You move in me, so I can say

Here I am, Lord send me
All of my life, I make an offering,
Here I am, Lord send me
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan,
Here I am

When setbacks and failures, and upset plans
Test my faith and leave me with empty hands
Are You not the closest when it's hardest to stand
I know that You will finish what You began

And these broken parts You will redeem
Become the song that I can sing


Overwhelmed by the thought of my weakness
And the fear that I'll fail You in the end
In this mess, I'm just one of the pieces,
I can't put this together but You can


Here I Am, all my life an offering to You, to You
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan
Here I am


You can listen to the song here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Desert Experiences

Some thoughts for your day…(summarized from none other than Girlfriends in God)

“Moses answered the people, 'Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today ... the LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.’” (Exodus 14:13-14, NIV)

We all probably feel like God has led us through the desert at some point in our lives. If you are currently in that desert, do you trust Him? Do you trust that He can and will make a way for your broken paths to be made straight when you call on Him? Instead of keeping our eyes on the circumstances of our desert, lift your eyes to your Savior. Call on God, and say to your soul: Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today...the LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still (Exodus 14:13-14, NIV).

Ahhh…all we need to do is be still and listen for God’s guidance through that desert. He is faithful!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Heartbreaker Christmas Song

“Father of the fatherless be with your sons and daughters this Christmas…Father let us not forget the children who are all alone this Christmas…”

Do those words bring tears to your eyes? Cause they sure do to mine. The lyrics come from an older song by Toby Mac that I had heard before but never heard the words until a couple of days ago. It just breaks my heart to think of all of the children around this world that are fatherless…at least fatherless on this earth.

While you are enjoying your family this Christmas, remember the 147 million children who do not have families to spend their Christmas with. Many of them don’t even have anyone to share the true meaning of Christmas with them. Pray that God will bring forth willing adoptive families all across this world to bring these children into loving homes so that next Christmas they will have a real home!

“This Christmas” by Toby Mac

Woman: Joy to the world
Let heaven and nature sing
Let heaven and nature sing

Toby Mac: Now Johny never got his wish on December 25
That's what he said when he left the orphanage
9 years old, but Johny was an old soul
Gonna spend his first Christmas in a real home
Showed me a picture that he drew the night before
Was a picture of a man standin' outside a door
I asked him who it was and he said someone I only
see in dreams
Comforts me when I cry myself to sleep

Woman: Father of the fatherless
Be with your sons and daughters this Christmas
This Christmas

Toby Mac: Believe in angels?
Johny asked me starin' at the sky
I said I do and saw a sparkle in his eye
Big brother for the weekend respondin' to the season
Took the chance that givin's better than recievin'
Two nights, a new family, some holiday cheer
We laughed and sang
Came on a midnight clear
We gave, received, and as we headed to close
We looked to the heavens and it started to snow
Down blessings

Woman: Father of the fatherless
Be with your sons and daughters this Christmas
(Toby Mac: You ain't livin' til you choose to give love and joy and peace to one of His)
Father let us not forget
The children who are all alone this Christmas
(Toby Mac: You ain't livin' til you choose to give, you ain't livin' til You choose to give)

(James 1:27)
Little Boy: Religion that God our Father
Accepts as pure and faultless is this
To look after orphans and widows in their distress
Merry Christmas everyone

Woman:Joy to the world
The Lord is come
Let heaven and nature sing
Let heaven and nature sing
Let heaven and nature sing
Let heaven and nature sing

Toby Mac: Believe in angels Jonnie asked me starin' at the sky
I said I do and saw a sparkle in his eye
9 years old, but Jonnie was an old soul
Gonna spend is next Christmas in a real home

Woman: Father of the fatherless
Be with your sons and daughters this Christmas
(Toby Mac: You ain't livin' til you choose to give love and joy and peace to one of His)
Father let us not forget
The children who are all alone this Christmas
(Toby Mac: You ain't livin' til you choose to give, you ain't livin' til you choose to give)
Father of the fatherless
Be with your sons and daughters this Christmas
Let Heaven and nature sing
Let Heaven and nature sing
Father let us not forget
The children who are all alone this Christmas
(Toby Mac: You ain't livin' til you choose to give, you ain't livin' til you choose to give)

Toby Mac: You ain't livin'
You ain't livin'
You ain't livin'

Woman: Let Heaven and Nature sing
Let Heaven and nature sing
(Toby Mac: You ain't livin' til you choose to give, you ain't livin' til you choose to give)
Don't leave me all alone
This Christmas

Little Boy: Merry Christmas Everyone


You can listen to the song here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Can you believe Christmas is in 5 days?!? What in the world? How did that happen??

I hope each of you enjoy this holiday season! I know how hard it is when you are struggling with infertility and loss but I pray earnestly for each of you, that God will comfort you and give you the strength to get through this holiday season. Know that what you are feeling is normal and it’s okay to grieve, it’s okay to feel sad, it’s okay to cry and it’s okay to ask for space. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself and always remember that Jesus is right there holding you up through it all.

For those of you that have new additions, through birth or adoption, enjoy your new little families and make many many happy memories this Christmas!!

Merry Christmas blogging world!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Reason for the Season

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to really make Jesus the center of this holiday season. Things have become so commercialized and Jesus is so often left out of the celebrations. Not cool.

I was talking to a coworker a couple of weeks ago that had the conversation with her kids about how Santa was not real because they had started putting Santa in a higher place than Jesus. They were concerned about behaving for Santa when we should all be concerned about behaving for Jesus! In a child’s eyes how can Jesus compete with a man who brings you tangible presents? Ouch. Made me really think about how we are going to handle Christmas and Santa and everything else about this time of year with our children.

Anywho, here is a recent Girlfriends in God devotional and I wanted to share.

How to Have a Joy-Filled Christmas Part 2

Today’s Truth
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son (John 3:16, NIV).

Friend to Friend
I believe the secret to a holy and joy-filled celebration of Christmas is found in giving. It always has been. Are we giving the wrong gifts to the wrong people? Maybe we are not receiving the right gifts with the right attitude. Over the next few days, we will examine several truths about Christmas that will lead us once again to the manger, where we will worship the Christ child and experience a Christmas holiday filled with love, peace and joy.

First truth:  We must receive God’s gift to us.

Luke 2:8-12“There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them; and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." (NIV)

Second truth: We must give the right gifts to Him.

Christmas is the birthday of Jesus Christ. Yet, we celebrate His birthday by giving gifts to everyone but Him.  What gifts does He want from us? What gifts are fit for the King? To answer that question, let’s go back to that first Christmas and see what gifts He received that first Christmas night.

·      The gift of trust

The gift of trust was given to Jesus by Mary, a teenage girl who was engaged to Joseph. I can only imagine what thoughts raced through her mind when an angel appeared to Mary announcing she would give birth to a son named Jesus. I am certain she could not have possibly understood what the angel told her, but she knew the one who sent the angel, and that was enough for Mary. I can almost guarantee you it would not have been enough for me if I had been in her place. After all, she was a virgin and last time I checked, virgins cannot be pregnant. What would Joseph think? Trust shines best in the darkness. Trust is a gift fit for the King.

Proverbs 3:5-6“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight (NASB).

·      The gift of obedience

Joseph gave Jesus the gift of obedience. He was betrothed to Mary, and in Jesus’ day, a betrothal was legally binding. While engaged, Mary becomes pregnant. Joseph knows he is not the father of this baby because he has never slept with Mary. His first reaction was to divorce Mary quietly, but an angel comes to him and explains that Joseph is to keep her but not sleep with her. Joseph’s response could have been many things but he responded with obedience.

John 14:15(NIV) "If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

Obedience is not just an outward action, but an inner attitude. I love the story of the small child who was riding in the front seat of the car. Wanting to be close to his dad, the youngster stood to his feet. Dad said, “Son, please sit down and put on your seat belt.” The little boy said, “But dad, I want to stand by you!” It took several attempts but the boy finally sat down. When his father bragged on his obedience, the little boy responded, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I’m still standing on the inside.” Obedience is a deliberate choice to do what God wants us to do. Obedience is a gift fit for the King.

·      The gift of praise

When the shepherds heard the news, they went to see Jesus for themselves. Afterwards, Scripture tells us they went on their way - praising God. Praise is a continual choice we must make again and again until it becomes a habit. A young hippie was sitting on a park bench, reading his Bible when he suddenly began shouting, “Praise God!  What a miracle!” A cynic walking by stopped to ask the man why he was so excited.  The hippie replied, “I was just reading how God parted the Red Sea and the whole nation of Israel walked on dry ground!” The older man snapped, “That’s ridiculous! Don’t you know the Red Sea wasn’t a real sea at all?  It was only a few inches deep.” He then turned and walked away. For a moment, the young man was confused and discouraged but it was only minutes until his shouts again filled the air. The unbeliever returned to ask, “What are you shouting about now?” “Well, I just read how God drowned the entire Egyptian army in only six inches of water!” Don’t let anyone keep you from praising God. Don’t let any circumstance deny you the joy of praise. Praise keeps us kneeling before the manger and is a gift fit for the King.

Psalm 150:6 (NASB) “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”

·      The gift of sacrifice

The wise men came, bringing gifts that required sacrifice on their part because they knew true worship always involves sacrifice. They brought gold, a precious metal, myrrh, an expensive perfume like Mary later used to wash the feet of Jesus, as well as incense, a rare and expensive product used in worship.

1 Chronicles 21:14 (NCV) “I won’t offer a burnt offering that costs me nothing."

Sacrifice goes beyond what is required or expected. The best gift, the most expensive and extravagant gift should go to the one whose birthday we celebrate. This year, give a sacrificial gift in His name.

As the Christmas season approaches, I encourage you to examine your heart and life. What gift does Jesus want from you this year? Is it whole-hearted trust? Is the Father waiting on your willingness to obey before revealing the next step on your journey? Do you live in the gear of attitude and praise? Is He asking you to lay everything down as a sweet-smelling sacrifice unto Him? The best gift we can give Him this year is our heart, soul and mind.

Yesterday, I revised my Christmas list from last year and it occurred to me that the name of Jesus is not on that list. To have a joy-filled Christmas, Jesus Christ must be in the backdrop of every gathering…every preparation… every plan and every holiday celebration. May it be so in our lives this Christmas.

Let’s Pray
Father, I celebrate the birth and life of Jesus Christ who is the very reason for the Christmas season. My gift to You this year is me … every part of my life in full surrender to Your plan and purpose. Please help me keep my eyes firmly fixed on You as I celebrate Christmas this year. May others see the joy and peace only You can give as I honor You on Your birthday.
In Jesus’ name,

Now It’s Your Turn
Consider the following gifts you can give to Jesus this year. Read and memorize the verses listed below. Record them in your journal. When you are tempted to get side-tracked by the world’s materialistic view of Christmas, remember the gifts that are fit for the King.

Gift of trust

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB) “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Gift of obedience

John 14:15(NIV) "If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

Gift of praise

Psalm 150:6 (NASB) “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”

Gift of sacrifice

1 Chronicles 21:14 (ICB) “I won’t give an offering that costs me nothing.”

Monday, December 12, 2011

Almost Pretending

It’s a weird feeling…being stuck between waiting and getting a referral. When our paperwork first got registered in Volgograd it all felt so real. We registered and bought our nursery furniture, all getting ready for that life changing call…and now we wait some more. It almost seems like we are pretending, if that makes any sense.

For people who are having a child biologically, they have a constant reminder that things are real and that there really is a baby on the way. They even have an approximate time that baby will arrive. For those of us that are adopting…no constant reminder…besides the lack of money in our checkbooks… :)…and no clue when that time will come. We have to go ahead and prepare so that when we do get that call we are semi ready, but it sometimes seems silly at the same time because we have no idea when that child will be arriving.

One of the things that I learned through our miscarriage though is to live in the moment. What I mean by that is that it’s okay to get excited about the future and prepare for things. I don’t have to worry about protecting my heart because God will protect my heart. We can be joyful and rejoice in what God has given us today and not worry about what tomorrow may or may not bring.

After the miscarriage, part of me wished that I hadn’t starting thinking of baby names and looking at nursery furniture and preparing for the future with my child. But through prayer and a little God given insight, I came to realize that God wants us to live joyfully each and every day. He blessed us with the pregnancy for 14 weeks and wanted us to live each of those days to the fullest, enjoying His blessing.

Today, God has given me the promise that there is a child on the other side of this that He has created for us to parent. I will rest in that promise and trust Him each day that He knows best and will bring us to that child when the time is right. So, until that time…We will continue preparing even though it does feel like pretend. :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Russia Process

I have gotten many questions lately about the Russian adoption process…I guess I have never blogged about it. Silly me.

Basically, right now our paperwork is in Russia, registered in Volgograd. We are waiting on a referral. That could happen today or in several months…no way to know. :) When we get that referral we will receive a picture of the child and the background information. Sometimes this information is questionable…they might have diagnoses on the background information that are not accurate, they might have diagnoses that are not identified, etc. For this reason, we will take all of the information that we receive and let a doctor from the UAB International Adoption Clinic review it and let us know their professional opinion. All they do at the clinic is work with international adoptive families, so they are used to reading these referrals. They will give us their opinion as far as if it looks like the child has fetal alcohol syndrome, if there are any troubling diagnoses in there, etc. At that point we will have the opportunity to accept the referral or turn the referral down and wait for another child. I can’t even imagine turning down the referral once we have seen the face of that child, but…it’s part of the process.

If we choose to accept the referral we will then wait for a travel date. The last family from our agency that adopted from Russia waited 6 weeks between accepting the referral and traveling for the first trip. We will travel to Volgograd for one week (well, we will be gone one week…but travel time is about 24 hours each way, so we aren’t exactly in the country for a whole week) and get to meet our child and spend some time with them each day we are there. At the end of the trip we can officially accept the referral or again, choose not to accept.

We then come back to the US, :( BOO, and do some more paperwork and wait for the next travel date. During this period, there is a possibility that we could lose our referral. The Russian government puts first priority on Russian families adopting, so if a Russian family comes forward interested in our child, they will get priority. This is something that I just can’t think about because I can’t imagine how hard that will be after meeting that baby. Please pray that this doesn’t happen, that God allows the referral that we get to be our child that we bring home!

At some point, typically 1-4 months after that first trip, we will head back to Russia and do some more stuff - court hearings, physicals, psychologicals, etc. The second trip we will be in Russia 3.5 weeks! Loooong trip. Sometimes this trip is broken into two trips, so we would have to make THREE trips to Russia. Yikes. All of this traveling is what makes adopting from Russia so expensive. At the end of the 3.5 weeks we finally get custody of our child and can come back to the US!

So, that is basically the process in a nutshell. Hope that helps answer some questions! :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Prayers for our Child

Becky had mentioned on her blog a while back about a neat (Neat? Who says neat these days?) baby present that she had received. I got her to send me the details and here is what came of it…

IMG_0563 Sorry about the reflection of our chandelier (Jamie would be so disappointed in my photography skills).

“Prayers for our child” prayer cards! There are 31 of them each with a prayer and corresponding Bible verse on the back that gives you guidance about how to pray for your child each day. For example,

IMG_0564 ANDIMG_0565 ANDIMG_0566   Aren’t those fun?? Barry thinks the scrapbook paper is too girly, but I thought it could work for either gender...

I have loved using them to pray for our own child and have also been able to give a set as a baby present. The most time consuming part of making them was getting the Bible verses and prayers typed up and with the right spacing. If you are interested in making some I can give you further directions, just shoot me an email. You can also use my pattern here. 

Thanks for sharing Becky!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

“Stronger” by Mandisa

Another oldie but goodie…

“Stronger” by Mandisa

Hey, heard you were up all night
Thinking about how your world ain't right
And you wonder if things will ever get better

And you're asking why is it always raining on you
When all you want is just a little good news
Instead of standing there stuck out in the weather

Oh, don't hang your head
It's gonna end
God's right there
Even if it's hard to see Him
I promise you that He still cares

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain't gonna last forever
And things can only get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger
Gonna make you stronger, stronger, stronger
Believe me, this is gonna make you ...

Try and do the best you can
Hold on and let Him hold your hand
And go on and fall into the arms of Jesus
Oh, lift your head it's gonna end
God's right there
Even when you just can't feel Him
I promise you that He still cares

'Cause if He started this work in your life
He will be faithful to complete it
If only you believe it
He knows how much it hurts
And I'm sure that He's gonna help you get through this

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain't gonna last forever
In time it's gonna get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger

Check out the video here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Praise that Perseveres

I started trying to edit down this devotional because it is sort of long but there was just too much good stuff in there! I encourage you to read through this devotional from none other than Girlfriends in God :) as they talk about praising God through the trials in life. One of my favorite quotes here…“I’m reminded that in every situation, I come to a crossroad and have a choice: I can pout or I can praise. I can turn away from God because I don’t understand or I can turn toward God in full assurance that His understanding is enough for the both of us – even if it hurts – even if anger lingers – even if doubt looms.” (Emphasis throughout is mine.)

April 29, 2011 (see, drafts have been building up a LONG time)

Praise That Perseveres

Today’s Truth
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:25, NIV)

Friend to Friend
Andrea lives in Lake Mary, Florida and is the proud momma to four beautiful girls. Two of her daughters are identical twins who have cerebral palsy and are severely disabled. Over the past 14 years, Andrea and her husband have been through the ringer. Her days are spent caring for the twins. And they are grueling days: filled with many tears, outbursts of frustration, and bouts of anger. There have been times that she has felt abandoned by God. Andrea admits that on many days, she has called out to God like the psalmist did: Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer (Psalm 4:1, NIV).     

Through it all, however, Andrea has determined that she will praise God in spite of the daily complications. “I have always prayed for healing for my girls,” she shares. “I believe that with the mere thought of our God that my girls could be restored. I know that if He heals them I will spend my life praising Him for that miracle and telling others of His goodness. Of course, although God can heal them, I’ve had to learn to spend my whole life praising Him simply because He is God – whether He heals the girls or not. I decided very early on that God is still God no matter what He allows in my life. I can trust Him even when I can't understand Him.” She thoughtfully finished with this statement: “It sounds easy, but it hasn't been.”

Oh, how I can relate to honestly like that! How I’m drawn to this type of God-courage. Her challenges are great, but she is determined to praise God anyway. When I hear stories like Andrea’s, my heart stretches toward trusting God. I hear and feel that the trials in her life have led her to a greater dependency on God and a deeper trust in His sovereignty. I’m reminded that in every situation, I come to a crossroad and have a choice: I can pout or I can praise. I can turn away from God because I don’t understand or I can turn toward God in full assurance that His understanding is enough for the both of us – even if it hurts – even if anger lingers – even if doubt looms.

Have you been to these crossroads?

God shows us a powerful example of praise that perseveres in chapter sixteen of the book of Acts. During the Apostle Paul’s second missionary journey, he and his ministry buddy Silas encountered a collision of faith and trouble while in Philippi. After Paul cast out a demon that was terrorizing a young slave girl, he and Silas were seized by disgruntled Roman citizens and dragged to the marketplace before the rulers. They were then wrongfully accused of public disruption. They were stripped, beaten, and unlawfully jailed without a trial. After the flogging, Paul and Silas were taken to the in the inner cell of the prison, normally reserved for the most dangerous offenders, and their feet were placed in stocks.

Though they had every reason to sit and stew because of the injustice of their situation, Paul and Silas chose to trust in God's plan and praise their Lord, Jesus Christ. Though they had open wounds and would have been in severe physical pain, Paul and Silas chose to glorify the name of God. “After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them,” (Acts 16: 23-25).

Then God shook the earth and the prison foundations and loosed the chains of the prisoners. In horror, knowing he would be held responsible for the escape of the prisoners, the jailer raised his sword to kill himself – but Paul stopped him. He and Silas hadn’t fled. They stood amidst their dark circumstances and spoke and sang with confidence in their God.

As a result, several people, including the jailer and his family, came to believe in Jesus Christ. “The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’”

“They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.’ Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household,” (Acts 16:29-34).

Though we won’t always rejoice in our circumstances, we are commanded to always rejoice in the Lord. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:4, 6-7).

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance,” (James 1: 2-3). When we praise the Lord through, and in spite of what we face, our praise becomes our deliverance through the trial.

“We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us…,” (Romans 5:3-5a NCV).

No matter what difficult times we encounter, God is worthy of our praise. When we choose to praise, we choose to trust God. When we choose to trust God, the broken world around us lifts their eyebrows in wonder – just like the Roman jailer. Sometimes a sacrifice of praise is required. Offer it. We can and should choose to bless His name through the pain, which astonishingly can bring His joy into our hearts.

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, Thank You for being trustworthy and praiseworthy! I ask that You will nudge me to trust You each time I approach the crossroads of faith and trouble. In spite of the burdens on my heart and challenges in my path right now, I praise Your name and celebrate that Your hope will never disappoint. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Now it’s Your Turn

  • What steps can you take today that will help you remember to praise God when you come to the faith/trouble crossroads?
  • Sometimes life does not turn out like we thought it would.  OK, not just sometimes, but most times.  Is there any part of your life that seemed to take a bad turn, and then God showed you that it was indeed His perfect plan?  What good did you see coming out of it?
  • Let’s talk about today’s devotion on my facebook page:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

“Daylight” by Remedy Drive

Continuing posting old drafts…I guess I never posted the lyrics to this song. I am sure everyone has heard it by now but I still love it. Actually, it was my ringtone for awhile. It’s such a great reminder that this life and all of the troubles that come along with it are temporary. Daylight is coming!

“Daylight” by Remedy Drive

Has everything you've counted on
Left you right here with no warning
Have your dreams become invisible
Wait with me dear till the morning
Light will make the night burnout

Hold on
Daylight is coming
To break the dawn
Daylight is coming

The brightest stars are falling down
Is hope lost in the black skies
The darkness must precede the dawn
Wait with me here till the sunrise
Wait, your night will soon fade out

Hold on
Daylight is coming
To break the dawn
Daylight is coming

Daylight is coming

Hold on
Daylight is coming
To break the dawn
Daylight is coming [Repeat]

Check out the song here.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Very out of character for me, I didn’t get a picture of it, but Barry and I registered a couple of weeks ago! We debated it for awhile…is it too early, are we crazy, etc. but finally decided to go ahead and register for the basics and then we can add to it once we get our referral. I am a planner planner planner and although God has taught me over the past few years that I can’t plan everything, things like this that I do have control over, I must plan for.

I will say, I felt the teensiest bit silly registering, obviously not pregnant. Luckily, I don’t really care what people think of me most of the time, so it didn’t bother me, but it was a little weird. They do not make baby registries easy if you are adopting. For instance, we had to put an expected arrival date. We obviously have no clue, so we just randomly had to pick a date. At least Babies R Us had a place to check if you were adopting…that’s gotta count for something.

And THEN last weekend Babies R Us had their furniture on sale 20% off, so we went ahead and purchased our baby furniture! We decided on a convertible crib since that will accommodate our child at whatever age that they come to us. And it was delivered today! Look how pretty…

IMG_0571Ohhh, ahhh. The rest of the pieces were special order so it will be a bit longer before we get those. It’s so exciting getting a few things in place for our baby whenever he or she arrives! :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Victory in the Battle

I am finally going through many of my blog post drafts that have been piling up for quite some time. I like these thoughts I found somewhere about the battles that we face every day…

“We can praise God for what He will do long before He does it. We can prepare a victory table before the battle begins, knowing that the battle belongs to our God. And don’t you know that a pre-battle victory party irritates the fire out of the enemy? I love that!

Celebrating the battle’s outcome is simply a matter of celebrating God, acknowledging His power on our lives, and walking by faith in the victory provided before the battle was even fought.”

Pretty awesome that we can have peace even in the midst of trials because we know that the Lord has already won!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

USCIS Pointless Fingerprints

This past Monday we engaged in one of the most pointless things we have ever had to do. I understand getting fingerprinted and all…but we have already been fingerprinted and have FBI and ABI clearances. So why oh why does the US Citizenship and Immigration Services need to do it again and themselves? We had to drive to Birmingham, which is about 3.5-4 hours away, for a FIVE minute fingerprinting appointment. Seriously. FIVE minutes. All they did was use the live scan machine and take our prints…no official paperwork, no interview, no nothing but brief fingerprints. Sigh. At least we have friends and family in Birmingham and made a weekend of it, but still…I don’t get you USCIS.


Monday, November 14, 2011


Just some thoughts (from somewhere…probably Girlfriend in God) for your day on worry…

Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks (Philippians 4:6, GW).

Worry literally strangles our peace and weakens our faith.

Worry is a control issue.
Worry is wasted energy.
Worry is consuming and unhealthy.
Worry is a joy thief.
Worry is the interest that we pay today on tomorrow’s problems.
Worry is practicing atheism.
Worry makes everything seem bigger than it really is.

When we choose to trust God, we are choosing against worry. In Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah voices a powerful prayer of faith that should be our prayer as well. “You, Lord, give true peace. You give peace to those who depend on you. You give peace to those who trust you.” It is simple. God rewards our trust with His peace.

Friday, November 11, 2011

National Adoption Month!

Now that it is mid-November, I thought it was time to welcome National Adoption Month on my blog. :) NAM is a time to raise an awareness of the need for more adoptive families and to celebrate current adoptive families! There are approximately 147 million orphans worldwide, 107,000 children and youth in the US foster care system waiting to be adopted, and 280 children in foster care waiting to be adopted just in Alabama! Every day in November Children’s Aid Society, my employer, is sharing an adoption fact on Facebook and Twitter – check it out to better educate yourself and help us find homes for all of these precious children!

Friday, October 28, 2011


Ever heard of it? Me neither. But, guess what? Our child is in Volgograd!! We don’t know who our specific child is yet, but we are being registered in the Volgograd region of Russia so that is where our child is! Craziness. Storytime…

I was out of town for the past 3 days at an awesome staff retreat at Lay Lake. Side note: I love my coworkers. I carpooled on my way up and we got delayed because I had a spur of the moment conference call that I had to be on. (This is all pertinent to the story, so stick with me.) We pulled over at a fast food restaurant so that I could concentrate on the call and the girls I was riding with ate while I was on my call. Since we were running late I got my food to go and asked one of the girls to drive my car the rest of the way so that I could eat. When we were about two exits away from where we needed to get off the interstate and drive 30 minutes down a country road to get to our lake house, I get a call from our adoption worker, Terri. She tells me that Russia wants us to register in the Volgograd region and she needs me to sign a couple of documents and overnight them to her. Russia only accepts paperwork on Thursday’s, so if we couldn’t get it to her then we would have to wait another week.

Here’s the kicker…I ask her if Russia randomly assigns you to a region and she says that no, they normally assign you to a region once they have a particular child in mind!!! What, what? Now this child could be already available for adoption, or almost ready for adoption, we don’t know but we do know that this process is moving VERY quickly and our baby is in Volgograd!!!

Now back to my story…so when she tells me all of this I am freaking out, literally shaking. God thing #1 - I was not driving, my coworker was. My debate was…track down a FedEx/UPS store in the middle of nowhere and be very late to our meetings or head to the meeting and wait a week. We decided on option 1. :) God thing #2 - If we hadn’t been running late because of the unexpected conference call we would have been at the lake house already and would not have gotten back out and driven an hour out of our way to sign the papers. Therefore we would have had to wait another week! God TOTALLY orchestrated it all!!

So with the help of my trusty iPhone and TomTom (what did we do before technology???) we found this…

Bar-DBar-D Western Store that handily doubles as a Fed-Ex/UPS store.  And this…

Bar-D at computeris where I sat to print off the forms from my email that I needed to sign. Note the deer above my head. (Of course, keeping with what you could imagine from our location, the computer was a dinosaur and I had to call my worker back to have her send me the forms in a different format, still had problems downloading, but finally got what I needed). And this…

Pawn and Gunis the gun and pawn shop one of my coworkers had to seek out to find a blue pen for me to sign my forms! NO one keeps blue pens around these days and Russia needs every signature to be in blue ink. Another side note: These pictures are not painting a pretty picture of Alabama…it’s not all like this, I promise.

It was quite an adventure to say the least, but $26 dollars later we got them mailed off! Since I wasn’t with Barry, he had to leave work early to get his papers sent overnight also…but we did it! God got those papers in the right hands at exactly the right time! Now we wait and see if this is really going down as fast as it appears it might. Please be praying that God continues to orchestrate things in His perfect timing!!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Camp Life

Wow. I had an amazing weekend this past weekend. Children’s Aid Society, my employer, hosted a camp for 14 and 15 year olds in foster care for three days and I enjoyed myself more than I can put into words. Many of these children will end up aging out of foster care, meaning they are on their own at 21. Completely on their own. No mom and dad to come running back to when they need money, no parents to encourage them to go to college, nowhere to go for Christmas, no one to call when they have a good day or a bad day. Can you even imagine? I STILL need my mommy and daddy!! :)

Check out these startling statistics…one in four of the 20,000 foster care youth who age out of the child welfare system each year are incarcerated within two years, one in five become homeless and only half graduate from high school. I encourage you to read this article on “The Aging Out Dilemma Plaguing the Foster Care System.”

It is so so sad to see. However, this camp was amazing for these kids, and for all of us that worked it! We did regular camp activities such as rock climbing, zip tower, archery, painting, etc. and then we also had workshops that taught sex ed, nutrition, exercise, budgeting, etc. Real life skills that these kids are really going to need. I can’t post any pictures of the kids because of confidentiality, but here is me…

zip line Zip-lining! Can you find me?

archery Archery! My first time shooting a bow and I got all 5 arrows on the target!

Before camp I was dreading it and scared of what we might encounter. That’s a tough population and I historically do not like teenagers. BUT I loved it! I got to see a side of these kids that I normally don’t see. I work with a lot of families that are struggling with their teenagers and when I teach GPS classes I am preparing these families for the worst case scenario. And this camp showed me that these really are great kids! They have challenges in their past and in their future, but they are great kids who are fun to be around and there’s more to them than their struggles.

In all honesty I left thinking…I could do this…I could adopt a teenager. Wow…what am I saying? :) I bonded with my girls so much that I really would prayerfully consider adopting one of them if they ever became available for adoption. Never in my life would I have thought I would say that, but I just did. So there you go. Don’t be surprised if you see me stalking Heart Gallery Alabama and AdoptUsKids looking for my girls pictures…

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Next Step…

Woop-woop! We just completed our next step in this adoption process…our USCIS paperwork. USCIS stands for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Basically this paperwork included a cover letter, an application (Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of An Orphan Petition), our approved home study, copies of our birth certificates, marriage certificate and a certified check for a fairly large sum of money. :) USCIS will determine our eligibility as adoptive parents and the eligibility of our child to immigrate to the U.S.

Once they receive our paperwork they will notify us letting us know that we can set up our next set of fingerprint appointments. Why they require you to get fingerprinted again is beyond me, but that’s how it goes. We will have to travel to probably Atlanta for this appointment.

AND…Our paperwork should be on it’s way to Russia as we speak…or actually as I write!! I talked to our worker, Terri, yesterday and she was waiting on one last thing and then would be hopefully sending it on today. Talk about C-R-A-Z-Y!! We do not need to have our USCIS approval before we make our first trip, so everything is really lined up and ready to go for our referral!! It’s going so fast!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bible Verse of the Day

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15a, NIV).

RULE in our hearts…not to just have a place in there for Him. Not to just have a peace that comes and goes depending on our circumstances. We must allow Him to RULE our hearts with peace. To control our hearts with the peace that only He can give. A peace that transcends our circumstances. That peace will then control our thoughts, emotions, conversations and actions. Are you letting Jesus RULE over your heart with peace??

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Adoption Update

And…we’re approved! :) Our home study was officially approved by our agency 2 weeks ago (slacker blogger, I know) and since then we have been submitting additional paperwork, signing a ton of papers, etc. that will all be submitted to Russia soon! When we got the email letting us know that our home study was approved we were also told that we needed to be prepared to possibly travel before, get this, the end of this year!! What!?!?

Because of the fact that we requested either gender and most families request girls, we could get a referral a lot faster than the original estimated timeline of 12-18 months. Now, we also might not. It could still be next July or later before we get a referral but there is a possibility that it could be a lot sooner. Craziness.

When we got that email we had a little freak-out because Barry is still in “school” at work and really can’t be missing work until July, 2012. We debated for a while if it was stupid of us to go ahead and submit our paperwork to Russia when we have a potential conflict with our schedules. On one hand God is totally in control of the timing of placing a child in our home but on the other hand God also gives us brains to think logically through things. We debated for awhile and finally went back to the fact that GOD IS IN CONTROL. We submitted our application exactly when the Lord made it clear to Barry that this was the path for us and we have been at complete peace with everything since then. It didn’t feel right to talk about holding off on submitting things to Russia, so we decided that it really is completely in God’s hands. If we have to travel before Barry is out of class than the Lord will work out the details.

Makes us a little nervous, but we still feel like we are exactly where the Lord wants us. So…please join us in praying that the Lord will go ahead of us (as we know He does) and orchestrate the timing perfectly according to His will.

Exciting times!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Jeremy Camp

Jeremy Camp

I don’t know how much you know about Jeremy Camp, but I learned something very interesting about him while we were in Disney World at “Night of Joy”. His wife died when they were 23 years old, literally months after their wedding. When I learned that it made the lyrics to several of his songs so much more meaningful knowing that he has experienced such heartache and is still praising the Lord. I have had the song “Walk By Faith” in my blog post queue for quite some time but after reading a recent article about him, decided it was about time to post it. I am sure you have heard it because it’s been out for awhile but the lyrics echo my heart.

I also encourage you to take a minute to read this article about his testimony. Here is an excerpt…

In the passing of a loved one, would you be able to turn your earthly sorrow into heavenly hope? Could you truly lean on the Lord, trust in the power of His word and see that His plans toward you are for your good?

Camp, a talented singer/songwriter, wrestled with these questions and others from the depths of anguish after his wife, Melissa, died on Feb. 5, 2001.

"Why didn't you heal my wife?" he wailed in the weeks afterward. "I had faith. I believed. Why?"

The answer he heard from the Lord was not the one he wanted: "You are not supposed to know why. That is not my purpose for you. I want you to have a testimony of walking by faith."

Pretty cool, huh?

“Walk By Faith” by Jeremy Camp

Would I believe you when you say
Your hand will guide my every way
Will I receive the words You say
Every moment of every day

Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
Well because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me

Help me to win my endless fears
You've been so faithful for all my years
With the one breath You make me new
Your grace covers all I do

yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, ya

Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
Well because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me

Well I'm broken- but I still see Your face
Well You've spoken- pouring Your words of grace

Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
Well because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me

Hallelujah, hallelu
(I will walk by faith)
Hallelujah, hallelu
(I will walk by faith)
I will walk, I will walk, I will walk by faith
I will, I will, I will walk by faith

You can listen to the song here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


“Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NLT)

One of my best friends lost her baby yesterday. She was 10.5 weeks. My heart feels like it is literally breaking for her. I know that pain all too well and have sobbed right along with her. I can really feel her pain because I have been there and know how absolutely terrible it feels.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV)

This was the Bible verse from my devotional yesterday morning. Little did I know how pertinent it would be for the day. My Girlfriends in God devotional went on to say,

“Compassion is not just sympathy. It is empathy….the more pain we experience, the more compassionate we will be. We must learn to use our pain in the right way, not lashing out, but looking within to share the pain of others. There is a choice in every pain, an opportunity in every trial. Pain makes us focus inward or outward. It makes us martyrs or merciful. The choice is ours.”

I love that whole paragraph. Because of what I have gone through in losing our babies I am able to truly share her pain with her. It hurts me to watch her going through this more than I can put into words, but God is allowing me to share with her the comfort that I have received from Him! He is giving my pain a purpose and using it to comfort a friend in return. Only God could orchestrate such a thing.

Please be in prayer for my sweet friend.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Past Few Months in Pictures…

IMG_0187 I went to Atlanta to visit my sweet friend Courtney and her adorable baby Harper Kate.

IMG_0186Went to the original Chick-Fil-A which apparently is called the Dwarf House…still have no idea why.

Went to Camp APAC for a week but have no pictures yet to show for it.

IMG_0188Barry learned to crochet. (In his defense, this was not his choice).

IMG_0251 I flew a helicopter. Very intently too I might add.

IMG_0256Then Emily and I went on an exciting plane trip together…you’d think I would have at least cropped our feet out…

IMG_0259Posed in front of a real army helicopter while I “showed hope”.

IMG_0272Went to the beach with our Nashville friends and buried their son.

IMG_0279Saw an awesome sunset on our anniversary beach trip.

IMG_0296I apparently wore my Show Hope shirt too much.

IMG_0320Stayed at the most amazing hotel in the world in Orlando for a grand total of $69 for 3 nights. Awesome. Deal.

Also figured out how to take the time stamp off the camera.

IMG_0321Ate a giganticly yummy pizza.

IMG_0332Went to Magic Kingdom and got arrested. Or whatever is happening here.

IMG_0329Rode some roller coasters.

IMG_0353Made some weird faces.

IMG_0356Got wet.

IMG_0357Jammed with Jars of Clay, Toby Mac, Mercy Me, Newsboys, Jeremy Camp, Skillet and many others at Night of Joy!

Used the word ‘jammed’ for the first time ever.

The End.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

“Held” by Natalie Grant

I have heard this song a lot lately and I think I tear up every time. I am constantly in awe at the feeling of being held by our Savior. He never promised us life would be easy here on earth but He did promise us that He will never leave us through it all.

“Held” by Natalie Grant

Two months is too little
They let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling

Who told us we’d be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We’re asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it’s unfair

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive

This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive

This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

If hope is born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our savior

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive

This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

Check it out on YouTube here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Living Life

We were in Orlando this past weekend for our now annual “Night of Joy” trip (I’ll post pictures later…maybe…I historically haven’t been very good about posting pics) and I was reminded of the following quote.

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” - Brennan Manning

As we were standing there listening to Jars of Clay, a lady in front of us was chewing out a Disney employee because he wouldn’t let her go past a certain point (crowd control). She was using hand motions, yelling and using very mean angry words...the whole 9 yards. I was just so frustrated as I stood there watching the event unfold.

Now, I know that at a Christian concert not everyone is saved and I also know that even when you are saved anger is still very real. Satan knows our weaknesses. But it was just a reminder to me, and very convicting, that those of us who are saved, need to place our lives and our actions in His hands every single day. We have to continually pray that He will use our actions and our words to bring Him glory because people are watching.

I say all this not to point fingers at this lady and say she must not be saved. I have no clue about her relationship with the Lord, that is between her and the Lord. What I do mean to point out in all of this is that the world is watching each and every one of us. Watching how we live our lives. Watching how we react in difficult situations. Watching the words that come out of our mouths. And what do they learn if professing born again Christians act just like the world?

We all sin. There is only one perfect person who ever walked this earth, Jesus, in case you didn’t know :); however we are supposed to imitate Him. To strive to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to Him. The Bible says…

1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”

1 Thessalonians 1:6 “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, when you received the message with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, despite great affliction.”

Philippians 3:17-18 “Be imitators of me, brothers and sisters, and watch carefully those who are living this way, just as you have us as an example. For many live (about whom I often told you, and now say even with tears) as enemies of the cross of Christ.”

1 Timothy 4:11-16 “Command and teach these things. Let no one look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in your speech, conduct, love, faithfulness, and purity. Until I come, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift you have, given to you and confirmed by prophetic words when the elders laid hands on you. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that everyone will see your progress. Be conscientious about how you live and what you teach. Persevere in this, because by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.”

Ephesians 5:1-2 “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

1 John 2:4-6 “Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”

Romans 12: 2 - "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

1 Peter 2:12 - "Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us."


What do unbelievers (and believers alike) see when they watch you live your life?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Making Lemonade Out of Infertility

I am guest posting today over at Jamie’s Rabbits. Come check out my post on the embarrassments of infertility…well…on the things that should be embarrassing if I had an ounce of modesty left in me. :) While you are at it check out the rest of Jamie’s blog. She’s one of my favorite people and she’ll make you laugh even on the worst of days. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness? Um no.

For those of you not on Facebook this post might not make sense to you. But for those of you on Facebook you more than likely will know exactly what I am talking about. Lately there have been Facebook statuses that look something like this… “I am ___ weeks and I am craving _____”. The first time I saw it I thought the person really was pregnant…um, why would I not have thought that? Luckily, the Lord has brought me to a good place and for the first time in a long time I AM genuinely happy for my friends/acquaintances when I hear pregnancy announcements. HOWEVER, that has not always been the case and like I have posted about before here (I encourage you to check it out if you didn’t read it back in the day), Facebook can be a very painful place when you are struggling with infertility.

It seems like people are ALWAYS announcing pregnancies, complaining about pregnancy symptoms, making comments about wanting it to be over, etc. Those comments HURT when ALL YOU WANT is to experience the exact same thing! YOU want to be the one announcing your pregnancy, YOU want to be the one experiencing terrible heartburn and not being able to sleep at night. Pregnancy announcements cause such a roller coaster of emotions for those struggling with infertility and with Facebook those announcements and following updates can be constant reminders of what you are trying so desperately for.

All that to say, when I saw this post I just thought the girl was pregnant but then farther down in my feed there was another status update that followed the same pattern. I started to get confused at that point and then through some investigating found out that it is a Facebook game to raise awareness for breast cancer. Um, what???

First of all…it doesn’t. There is nothing about that status update that has anything to do with breast cancer. It does not raise breast cancer awareness.

Second of all…it can be VERY hurtful to women (and men) who are struggling with infertility and loss. It is making light of something so special and rubbing in their faces yet again that they are not able to post an honest status about being pregnant.YOU might think that it is silly for such a little Facebook game to cause that roller coaster of emotions, but it does. Approximately 1 in 6 women experience infertility, so chances are there are many women that YOU are Facebook friends with that are dealing with it. PLEASE think before you post!!!

One of the blogs I follow blogged about this exact topic, so I know I am not alone here in my annoyance of this game. Check her post out here…there was some HEATED discussion in the comments section.

What about you? Were you annoyed or hurt at this “game”?

Monday, September 5, 2011

“Make It Me, Lord”

A friend sent this link to me and I wanted to share. A girl named Brittany Baker wrote the below song after visiting Maria’s Big House of Hope (One of Show Hope’s homes for orphans in China who have special needs). It is my prayer too!

“Make It Me, Lord”

Pulling into a ‘Great Big House’ on Father’s Day night
Hoping to SEE the needs of the orphans plight
But when she called me ‘Mama,’ then my heart did break
All they need is a family; who will fight for their sake?

Brittany holds Dreena during her visit to MBHOH

Make it me Lord; take my hands.
I may be broken Jesus, but I’ll fulfill your commands.
Help me live out your example of love,
That they may know it comes from above.

Walking into a small room with mats on the floor
Seeing so many children that are broken and poor
But when I put the boy down, he reached up to me
All they need is a family to love unconditionally.

Make it me Lord; take my hands.
I may be broken Jesus, but I’ll fulfill your commands.
Help me live out your example of love,
That they may know it comes from above.

The needs are so great; our hands are so small.
Give us ears to hear Your specific call.

Make it me Lord; take my hands.
I may be broken Jesus, but I’ll fulfill your commands.
Help me live out your example of love,
That they may know it comes from above.
That they may know it comes from above.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Infertility Treatment Vs. Adoption Wars

Dawn at Creating a Family wrote an article today that echoed some of my thoughts from my post the other day and I wanted to share. During both our infertility journey and now the adoption journey we have received many questions. Some more intrusive than others, some out of genuine curiosity and some out of I don’t know what. Another big one we have been getting is, “Why would you adopt internationally when there are so many children in the US that need homes?” (I get this one A LOT because part of my job is recruiting adoptive parents for the children in foster care in Alabama.) All I can say to that is that a child is a child regardless of where they live and this is just the path the Lord has us on. No way is better than the other, God just has a child for us in Russia!

Anywho, most of those questions don’t bother me when I know the intent is out of genuine curiosity. But sometimes I DO feel like there is judgment behind the questions and that is what Dawn really talked about in her post today.

My favorite part of her post said, “I don’t have a problem with real, honest to goodness questions. I’m all for increased dialog and understanding. But the intent of a real question is to receive information. Many of these so-called questions are veiled, or not so veiled, attempts to judge the other person’s decision. These questions come with an inherent sense of the superiority of one method of family building.”

Check out her post here. I’ll give you a minute to read it…now what did you think?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Wall Art!

I was given the opportunity by Easy Canvas Prints to design and review a canvas for a VERY discounted price! It was quite exciting because I had been wanting to create a canvas print for our master bedroom for a long time but have not wanted to invest the money. My awesome friend Jamie took the picture for us last year and I have been dying to use it. I got the canvas in the mail yesterday and I love it!

IMG_0299(Don’t mind the date stamp that I STILL have not figured out how to remove from my camera…) IMG_0301Our walls are a sage green…it’s hard to tell that from these pictures. Although I don’t know why anyone would care either way…

I was really happy with Easy Canvas Prints. They had a very easy to use website with plenty of options in designing your canvas. I ordered the 24x36 canvas, which is the biggest they offer and just stuck with the .75” wrap, although they also offer a 1.5” wrap. I liked that the website rated the quality of your picture once you uploaded it so you knew if it would look OK blown up. You could also edit your picture on their website to make it sepia, black and white or full color. It shipped to me within a few days and I am very pleased with the quality. I would totally use them again! Check them out if you are in the market for a canvas!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Adoption Does Not Equal Pregnancy!

I just wanted to share a little annoyance in my life right now. I knew this comment would come, and boy has it!

“Well, you know what is going to happen, don’t you? I know so and so who adopted and got pregnant right after they brought their child home! That is totally going to happen to you!” Or something to that effect.

Oh how it is so annoying. I know people mean well and I know they are just sharing their experience but it really does grate on my nerves.

First of all, that is NOT the reason we are adopting. It is not a way to have a biological child. It is not a back up plan since we have not had a biological child. This is the path the Lord wants us on and it’s not a path that we have chosen to get us a biological child. Who knows what God has planned for us, but we are not adopting for that reason.

The funny thing is that I almost hope that we don’t get pregnant just to prove all of those people wrong. That is crazy to say, I know, after trying for over 3 years to get pregnant. But I honestly feel that way. I am as excited, if not more so, about this adoption than I would be if we were pregnant again.

Second of all, I DO believe that God sometimes uses infertility to bring children into loving homes through adoption. Sometimes He allows infertility for a season and then blesses couples with a biological child, but it does NOT always happen this way. And by people making the above comment to me it feels like they are implying that having a biological child is better in some way. Or that they think we are “settling” by adopting. I am probably reading into it, but that is how I interpret it.

Moral of the story is even if you know of someone who has gotten pregnant after adopting, that is the exception not the norm and that’s not my hope in this. It is not helpful to share such stories with families who are adopting. It cheapens the adoption in some way, at least in our minds. Oh yes, and if you have already said something like the above statement to me, I don’t hold grudges, so no worries. :)

Anyone other adoptive families out there get annoyed and frustrated by comments people make??

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Our Baby’s One Year Heaven Birthday

I can’t believe it was a year ago today that our world came crashing down on us. It was a year ago today that we went in for a routine 14 week checkup and our baby did not have a heart beat. A year ago today our baby went to be with Jesus. A year ago today I felt like life would never go on. I didn’t want life to go on.

Today, I have hope. I still don’t understand it all. I still don’t know why it happened. But I do know that the Lord allows everything to happen for a reason and that He really and truly can make beauty out of the ashes. My relationship with the Lord has grown in leaps and bounds in the past year. I have been able to minister to so many people that I previously would not have been able to reach. If we had not had our miscarriage we would not be pursuing adoption at this time. Now, I am not saying that I am glad that we lost our baby, but I am saying that God has a reason for allowing things in our lives. He has a specific baby in Russia that he wants US to raise. And I couldn’t be more excited about that.

Our baby is safe in the arms of Jesus and while I still ache that I was never able to hold her, kiss her, watch her take her first steps, say her first words…I am so blessed that I was able to carry her for her 14 weeks here on earth. I would never trade that time I had with her and I can’t wait to hold her one day in Heaven.

Until then, life does go on. God has given us the strength to get through the past year and has blessed us with hope again. Today, I choose to celebrate the fact that our baby has been with Jesus for a year! While it is sad for us here on earth and while my flesh still misses her, what a great life our little girl is leading with the Lord!! Thank you Jesus!!

“Beauty Will Rise” by Steven Curtis Chapman

It was the day the world went wrong
I screamed till my voice was gone
And watched through the tears
As everything came crashing down

Slowly panic turns to pain
As we awake to what remains
And sift through the ashes that are left behind
But buried deep beneath
All our broken dreams
We have this hope

Out of these ashes beauty will rise
We will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes
Out of these ashes beauty will rise
For we know joy is coming in the morning
In the morning beauty will rise

So take another breath for now
Let the tears come washing down
If you can't believe, I will believe for you
Cuz I have seen the signs of spring

Because out of these ashes beauty will rise
We will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes
Out of these ashes beauty will rise
For we know joy is coming in the morning
In the morning

I can hear it in the distance
And its not too far away
Its the music and the laughter
of a wedding and a feast
I can almost feel the hand of God
Reaching for my face
To wipe the tears away
Say its time to make everything new
Make it all new

This is our hope
This is a promise
This is our hope
This is a promise
It will take our breath away
To see the beauty that's been made
Out of the ashes, out of the ashes
It will take our breath away
To see the beauty that He's made
Out of these ashes, Out of these ashes

Out of these ashes beauty will rise
We will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes
Out of this darkness new light will shine
And we'll know the joy that's coming in the morning
In the morning beauty will rise
Oh beauty will rise
Beauty will rise

Sunday, August 21, 2011

And the Adoption Roller Coaster Begins…

In case you weren’t aware…adoption, especially international adoption, is a crazy roller coaster. Country and agency rules and regulations are always changing, time frames can never be counted on, you never know when you’ll get a referral, when you’ll be able to travel, there are a ton of different individuals and agencies that you are dealing with so there are many places for the ball to drop, and on and on it goes. We got our first taste of this roller coaster last weekend (we went to the beach for our anniversary and I just HAD to check my email on the beach…shouldn’t have done that). The email that I got from our agency told us that families interested in adopting two children must now put that they are open to children ages 9-42 months. 42! That is a huge difference from the 24 months we were previously requesting.

We had prayed so much about one child versus two children and really felt at peace with our decision to adopt two children but this new requirement through a wrench in our plans. When we were requesting two children closer in age I knew it would be more difficult to care for them and meet their unique needs coming from an orphanage, but I believed we could do it. When the children are closer in age they are following similar routines, interested in similar activities, etc. But if we were to get a referral for a 9 month old and a 4 year old…they have VERY different developmental needs. Speaking from an adoption professional perspective I honestly don’t know if any family could give each child exactly what they need when there is that big of an age difference. It’s different when you have a biological child, or another adopted child, that has been living with you for 4 years and then you bring another child into the home.

Soo we talked and prayed about it all weekend and decided to change our request to one child. It breaks my heart to do that but I really do feel like we will be better able to meet the needs of each child better separately. We still plan on adopting another child in a couple of years, but we believe this is the best choice for each child in light of the new requirements.

We had our last home study visit this weekend also and it went great! She is going to work on writing up the home study and should let us see the rough draft in a couple of weeks! We’re moving quickly!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Home Study and Our Request

Our first home study visit went perfectly! We really like our worker and it was very low stress. This first visit was really all about the basics such as how many square feet our home is, what kind of foundation it is on, how close the nearest fire department is, how long Barry’s commute to work is, our financial form, etc. etc. I am assuming that during the second visit she will dig a little deeper into things such as our infertility, loss, childhoods, etc…so we will see!

We also made the decision…that we will be adopting TWO children! :) We have played around with that idea for awhile and the more we talk about it/pray about it, we both feel very comfortable with the idea…soooo we are taking that as our answer! We are requesting 2 children, either gender, ages 9-24 months. I asked if there was a pattern with the gender that Russia matches families with that request either gender and apparently there is a long wait for girls because so many families request girls. Sooo, since we are open to either gender more than likely we will get a referral for two BOYS! In fact, another family with Children of the World received a referral for a 9 month old little boy VERY soon after completing their home study. That makes me nervous because Barry cannot travel until July 2012 because of his work schedule. I know God is in control but it does make me a little nervous!

That’s the update for now! Hopefully we will have our second visit in the next couple of weeks!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Blessings in Odd Places

I’m not sure that we define “blessing” in the right way these days. Think about it for a minute…how would you define a blessing? Would you define it as a positive thing that happens to us? As a gift bestowed on us by the Lord? The answer to our prayers? Well, blessings don’t always look like that. They aren’t always great big happy gifts with big bright bows on top. Blessings, I believe, should be looked at a little differently.

“A blessing is not always easy, painless, simple, comfortable or expected. A blessing often comes, wrapped in the mystery of darkness. But I am learning this truth - anything that makes us cry out to God can be counted as a blessing. Why? Because when we are desperate and in pain, when we have no answers and the darkness is closing in, we cry out to God, just as the disciples did - and He comes! Not because we have earned His presence or His mercy, but because we cried out with a tiny seed of faith, as His children, knowing He is not only able, but willing to come.” – Girlfriends in God.

I posted the song “Blessings” by Laura Story a couple of months ago and if you didn’t check it out then, go check it out now. The chorus says,

“Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.”

Looked at in this way, infertility can be a blessing. Loss can be a blessing. Anything that you might be going through that causes you to call out to Jesus is a blessing because it is through those times that we draw closer to Him and He is there. He uses those times to refine us and to show us His love and mercy. God never said that this life would be easy but He did tell us that we would not have to go through it alone. I thank God for the experiences that He has brought me through and praise Him for His blessings during those times!!

What about you? What has happened in your life that you can count as a blessing?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Our First Home Study Visit!

Yay! Our social worker called yesterday to set up our first home visit…tomorrow! It’s so weird being on this side of things. With my job at APAC (Alabama Pre/Post Adoption Connections) I don’t conduct the home study visits but I process all of the paperwork for families in my area going through APAC who are adopting from foster care. I am normally the one preparing them for the home study visits, calming their nerves before the visit, etc. And now I am having a home study myself. So weird.

I am honestly not worried or anxious at all about the visits. Is that weird?

Anyway, the first visit is tomorrow evening…and I am maybe even excited about it. Since when is it exciting to have someone pry into every private part of your life? I guess when there is a child or two on the other side of it! :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Our CA/N clearances finally came in! Right at 12 weeks as expected. Now we wait for our home study worker to contact us to set up our first home visit! Yay!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

New Twitter User!

I have been asked by several blog readers if I have a Twitter account and until a few hours ago I didn’t really want one. :) BUT I was convinced that I needed to do it, so I caved and I am now a Tweeter! Follow me @Lisa_H_Williams!