Deuteronomy 4:35

You have been shown these things that you might know the Lord is God besides him there is no other.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Happy Birthday!!!

Happy Eleventh Birthday!! Here's to eleven wonderful years with the best and most darling kiddo in the world. Momma loves you so very much!! You have brought us so much joy and we are so blessed to call you daughter. I pray that God would use your life my sweet one radically and that His glory shines vibrantly through you each and every step of the way!! You are a true blessing!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Letting Go

It is that time of year again..Darling Kiddos eleventh birthday is just around the corner. Every year we do many things to prepare for this special day. I make a card just for her with her favorite colors, cook her favorite meals, and throw a big party.

So my darling kiddos eleventh birthday is in three days and we don't have a party planned. Every year about six months before her big day, we would begin planning the party for the year. It has always been grand, huge, spectacular, and expensive. Presents piled all around her, cake, games-you name it we've had it. As God has begun to change my heart and lead me to reprioritize my life, it was clear that this huge extravaganza was unnecessary and had to go. Instead of a big party this year, we are celebrating with a few people who mean the most-no big production and nothing that has taken six months to prepare for.

Which leads me to this..Reprioritizing can be painful. It has not been a big deal for the darling kiddo, but for me-down right hard. Why does it matter so much? Why do I base whether or not I am mom of the year on how great her birthday party is? Why have I made it such a big deal? Why do I feel like I need to spend a minimum of $100 on a gift for her? (This year she asked for a movie. It took everything within me not say-you have to get more than that!!)

As Jesus continues to change who I am a little more each day, I am thankful that He hasn't given up on me, but at times, being obedient and letting go is painful. So worth it..but painful. Praying that God continues to change and mold me into who He desires me to be and that I will be obedient regardless of the cost.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Over Eggs

So for those of you who know my dh, you know he is terrified to fly. It is an irrational and unexplainable fear. He has never flown and does not even entertain the thought without breaking out in hives!! Until now, this refusal to fly has been an annoyance but it hasn't been something that has caused too much turmoil in our lives. Emily and I have flown and he stays home. I go on international mission trips and he stays home- NO BIG DEAL!

NO BIG DEAL until now. Bringing our girl home from China requires flight. Flight is a must. The one saving grace is that he doesn't have to go. Chinese adoption law does not require both parents to travel in order for the adoption to take place. (Some places do and honestly because of my husband's stance on flying-we didn't even consider those places.)

He doesn't have to go..but how could he miss it? How could he not be there when I lay eyes on our daughter for the first time? How could he not be there to hold her, feed her, and love her the first moments that we can? So..I have been sending up some big prayers that God would erase these irrational fears and he would be given an overwhelming desire to overcome this stronghold keeping him back from flying.

I've been praying...

And today over eggs, my dear man casually says... Do we have to change any of the paperwork if I am going to travel to China to get Jillian? Tearing up I reply..Are you going? He says..YES!!!

Wow! God is sooo amazing and I am so blessed to be a part of all that He is doing in our family. Hold on tight my beautiful girl..Mommy, Daddy, and Emily will be over as soon as we can to bring you into our family. We love you so much and can't wait to meet you.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Best Day EVER!!

Today was the Best Day EVER because I spent the entire day with my darling kiddo doing something that we both love HIKING!! It is peaceful, serene, and free (can't get any better than that)! :)

She loved the waterfalls, rock formations, and beauty. She didn't love the mention of venomous snakes on the danger sign before entering the park, but she quickly got over those fears with a little encouragement. :)

How could a momma not love a day spent with her sweet girl-watching her skip rocks for thirty minutes, squishing her manicured (she's been with grandma) toes in the mud, and listening to her laugh. How I love this child.. What a huge blessing God has given me in her!!

We ended our perfect day the same way we end most perfect days-at the ice cream shop..non fat cookies and cream yogurt for me and chocolate marshmallow for her. This is our favorite ice cream shop in Utica. One we frequent after most hiking trips.

Sure seems like as she becomes a teenager..she is slipping away a little more each these days are gold to a momma who can't believe her precious girl is turning eleven in a few days!! As close to perfect as it gets this side of eternity!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Some of the Best Faces..

Some of my favorite snip its of last week! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Son..

So blessed by the last week in Swan Quarter, NC that I am still struggling to connect my experiences with words that adequately describe what I am feeling....

We spent the last week alongside our teens working with children, teens, elderly, and the developmentally disabled population in Swan Quarter-a very rural part of North Carolina. We worked mainly with the African American population there. Some of the most beautiful, loving, and open people I have ever met.

It's hard to explain, but since we have opened up our heart to adoption-God has given me a whole new level of love for all His children. I am not sure that I can even explain it..but I see a child and begin to think that could be my son.. I have such an overwhelming ache to expand our family!! I have so much love to share because my Savior loves me that I literally am moved to imagine each child as ours. Seeing my husband holding and loving on these children last week just moved me to tears. I can't wait to share our home with as many children as God would allow us to. My arms are aching to hold them and my heart is so wide open that I spend at least a little part of each day in tears because of the waiting. Praying that God would allow us to love many, many more and bring them into His family through ours..

Mommy, Daddy and Emily are waiting anxiously to hug you Jillian. Can't wait to have your sweet face here and to be holding you in our arms. Hope you won't mind a little brother or maybe two..

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I have been going on these youth mission trips for three years now.. I know what to expect..I know that these trips will effect me...I know that I will come home stretched, expanded, and stronger in my faith... I know it but it never ceases to amaze me when I experience it again!!

Each Thursday night of our mission week, we have a special service. We look at the scripture in John 13 where Jesus washes his disciples feet..Then, we wash the feet of our teens, wrap our arms around them, and pray specifically for God to continue to build up their faith and use them to further His kingdom. I've done it before.. I have held these teens in prayer all year. I know them-their struggles, victories, worries, concerns. I watch them all year as they question, study, and grow. I think I know how they will be as a result of this week-how they will respond and what their reaction will be..or so I think.

I went to wash the feet of one of my teen boys who was broken in tears before the Lord. He was crying so heavily that it was difficult for me to get through prayer for him. He was sobbing in my shoulder as I wrapped my arms around him and prayed for his faith to increase and for God to continue to use him. I finished washing his feet and returned to my place in the circle and entered into prayer myself. I continued to hear the young man cry-looking up from my prayer I saw another one of our boys embracing the first and praying intently for him. Soon after, all of our boys moved around this young man and initiated a group prayer session right there all on their own!! I was moved to uncontrollable tears myself!!

These teens get it.. They are living out lives of radical faith that put me to shame at times. So what where they praying for??...The boys were praying about starting a ministry in the high school to reach other young men who don't know Christ..They are so burdened for those in their high school who don't know our Savior. They were in tears before the Lord because there are so many who don't know Him!!

What a challenge for me! It leads me to ask myself...Am I so broken for the lost? Have I shed tears for those who don't know Him? What am I doing personally to reach those who haven't heard the gospel??

I am so thankful God has given me these teens for this season in my life. What an immeasurable blessing they are.. I am praying that God continues to allow me to be a part of these teens lives and that they continue to be an example and a challenge to me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Catching Up on Blog World

After being disconnected for a week, the first thing I want to do when I return to the luxuries of home is catch up on my favorite adoption blogs. I have missed so much!! The Young family posted their homecoming video while I was gone.. Seriously I can't read one of her posts without bawling my eyes out. This is a must view.

Somehow being connected to these families and seeing them live their lives out for the Lord, encourages me and strengthens me to live out another day myself. Waiting for the Lord to reveal our daughter to us and bring her home can be so consuming some days, but God promises to renew my strength as I wait..... in need of some renewing today!

Friday, July 9, 2010

On the Road Again..Please Pray

Saturday at 6:15 AM, we pack 27 suitcases and 23 teenagers with 4 adults into two fifteen passenger vans to begin a nearly twenty hour journey to Swan Quarter, North Carolina. We will spend the week there loving on the less fortunate children and working on community buildings/projects or homes of the poor. This week is always an amazing time for our teens in our ministry and without a doubt it always seems to have a huge impact on me too.

I was looking back at my pictures,like the one above, from our first trip in 2008. We took nine kids that first summer we were serving here in ministry. Many of them had little experience with God, didn't know much of His Word, or really know a thing about my husband or myself. WOW, what a diffrence two years can make. Now some of those same nine kids who were so new to God's word in 2008 are living lives of radical faith for our Lord each and everyday. In the past two years, I have seen them do things like: lead the annual See You At The Pole Event for hundreds of students at our highschool, share during our church service what Jesus is doing in their lives, intentially build into other believers through leading small groups for students younger than they are, serve by working at Christian camps, and attend international mission trips to spread God's love and teach His word to unreached people groups!! God has allowed us to see so much fruit coming from the lives/faith of our youth. As I look at the picture, I just keep thinking..from these few I will build my church...

So this year we are are taking 27..three times what we had the first trip. On these few I will build my church-a hand full of dedicated teenagers..changed by the Word of God in their lives. I couldn't imagine that God would do what He has done! I praise Him for the way that He reaches out to us and uses us! I never get tired of seeing the power of God's Word working through lives of the teens that I am privileged to walk alongside daily in this life.

Pray for us as we embark on another week filled with service, learning, worship, sleep deprivation, bad food, and no cell phones. We are blessed to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of our teens and we pray that more are reached for Him this week. I am praying that like those first few who answered and continue to answer the call, some will begin to live lives of radical, obedient faith to Him!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lucky Ones

We live in America..Land of Plenty. While I am so thankful for all that we have, after spending another week in's got me wondering.

My experiences make me think that maybe the beautiful people in Patalup, Guatemala are the lucky ones. For the past two years, I have packed up craft foam, blingy stickers, gifts, and many necessesseties to take to them when I go. I shower them with stuff the whole time that I am there. Believe me, they are grateful. While it does meet some basic needs, maybe my attempt to bring them more stuff-to help them live more abundantly like me-is all wrong. Maybe what I really need to live the kind of radical faith Jesus calls me to is to be more like them-have less stuff! Maybe they are really the lucky ones because they aren't tempted to buy the next new tech fad or to purchase that designer pair of shoes. They certainly have less of the world to contend with then we do.. Maybe this is a blessing.

In my family right now we are really struggling with how to live in this world, but not be of this world. We desire to honor God with the way that we spend our time, money, and energy. How do you balance it all? There's a new iphone out right now and people all across America are waiting in line to get it and paying top dollar at that..while our churches are struggling financially to support ministries for the poor/unsaved/hurting in our community. How can we spend money on that when children are starving?? How can we justify having cable when there is so much more to be done? Why do we need twenty plus pairs of shoes in our closet, when most children don't even have one pair in Guatemala? As I ask myself these questions, I know the answer that Jesus wants me to give, but how do I get to the place where I give the same answers He would? I have to admit to you that I struggle at times with loving the world and all that it has to offer.

I am a work in progress for sure and my prayer continues to be that God would break my heart for what breaks His and that I would obeidently live out the kind of radical faith that being a sheep of the Most High demands..
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Monday, July 5, 2010

Don't Wish It Away..

So, it's the fourth of July again! An annual event, no doubt, that always indicates to me the fleeting days of summer are coming to an end even though they have just begun.

This annual event at our house is similar each year. My darling kiddo insists that we attend the town fireworks despite the fact that she is terrified of loud noises and even more afraid of explosions in the sky. In addition to my kiddos irrational fear of fireworks, my dear husband hates them. He just doesn't enjoy being crowded together with the rowdy crowds watching lights go off in the sky. Don't get me wrong, he loves America and the Fourth. He is as patriotic as the next guy, but the local fireworks is not, I repeat not, his favorite place to hang. So each year, we pack up our chairs, blankets, bug spray, and the like-head down to the stadium-take our place across the street-and I watch the events unfold. As the fireworks begin, my dh becomes even more disgruntled because of the rowdiness around and my darling kiddo covers her ears with her hands and buries her face in her knees-holding on until the end. All the while, she claims that she is enjoying herself. It is almost comical that she insists on putting herself through this each year. About this time, my dh makes his annual announcement that next year, we are definitely not coming!! Soon enough we are all rolling in chuckles as we watch the absurdity of the three of us-dh annoyed, darling kiddo riddled with anxiety, and momma just giggling to herself.

It was during this comical, annual event when it hit me. Don't wish this time away! I have spent so much time the last few months wishing this wait away. I want Jillian here so badly that I just want this time to hurry up and be over!! Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.... If I am lucky, I only have seven more fourth of July events with my darling kiddo under my roof.. ONLY SEVEN!!! How did this happen? How did she grow up so stinkin fast? Being her momma is a privilege and I truly have loved every single moment. I just wish there was some way to stop her growing and get Jillian here at the same time!! Then again..Don't wish it away. Lord, help me to patiently cherish each moment that I have and not wish it away! I am truly blessed in the waiting.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Waiting...And Waiting Some More

Our silent, but thoughtful, future big sis!!

So we had our last visit with our social worker from Counseling and Family Services on Friday. She was supposed to interview our darling kiddo, but given that she is not a conversationalist and the attempt seemed futile-our social worker abandoned the idea very quickly..Don't know why that child is sooo shy-DID NOT COME FROM EITHER OF US!!! Our homestudy visits are done!!! YAHOOOOOO!! One step closer to getting our girl home and launching our beautiful, darling kiddo into big sisterhood.

The bad news :( is that we have to wait until the 29th of July to finish up our 10 in person training hours (in addition to the already 20 hours we completed for AGCI) required by the state and another 5-6 weeks for DCFS to approve our homestudy! This means realistically we won't be logged in to China Center for Adoption Affairs until around Christmas time. Well.. I am trusting that the Lord will use this waiting to prepare us because if I don't trust-I will surely go crazy!!!

If you get tired of reading about our waiting there is an amazing bunch of posts on the site http://www.babeofmyheart.comthat are worth reading. This really sweet momma just returned from Ethiopia with her new son, Issac. If you aren't a crier prepare to be changed. Seriously..worth the read!