Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Why is this Abandonment Decree taking so long?"

I wanted to get in one more update before 2011 rolls out and 2012 rolls in. I'm still having a hard time believing that another year has past by.  Time flies and I'm sure 2012 will soar along just as quickly.  The good thing about that...before we know it we'll be bringing our little one home!
We talked with our Agency Director this week and got some news.  The reason our Abandonment Decree hasn't come through yet is because the Congolese gov't has already issued a Decree for "our" little girl to an adoption agency in Italy.  I know...What?!  That in itself raises many questions (at least it did for me), but we don't have any answers on that right move on.
Our lawyer has talked with the agency in Italy and they have said that they are not going to be placing "our" little girl and that they will instruct the gov't to release the Abandonment Decree to our agency/lawyer.  Our lawyer asked the Italian agency to write a letter to the Congolese gov't, but they said they would be in Kinsasha in January and would take care of it in person.  
Our Director has told us her recommendation is for us to wait it out through the month of January.  The plan is that the Italian agency will instruct the Congolese gov't to release the Abandonment Decree sometime this month and it will be turned over to our lawyer.  After that our case will get under motion and most likely we'll travel in the Spring.  
If for some reason, the Italian agency doesn't carry out their part by the end of January, then we'll be given another referral.  I haven't wrapped my head completely around that one yet, so I'll just leave it at that.
Please pray!  Specifically, that before January comes to an end the Abandonment Decree will be in the hands of our lawyer.

It's a relief to have an answer to the question, "Why is this Abandonment Decree taking so long?".  I'm really trying to remember to thank God for the answers to prayer that He brings our way.  So we're praising Him for another question answered - it truly does take us another step closer!

We have the distinct feeling that 2012 will be an interesting year.  We're praying that it will be "interesting" in a good way! :)  Whatever God has in store for us, even those moments when it feels like everything is falling to pieces, we know that His Word promises that He is before all things and that through Him all things are held together.  
We're so thankful for our Great God and the many family and friends that are praying with us along the way!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Thomas family!

Our family wishes you a very Merry Christmas!
Thank you for praying and following along with our adoption journey in be continued in 2012!
We're praying that peace, joy and hope fill each of us to overflowing as we celebrate the birth of our Savior!

Looking forward to adding another beautiful girl to our clan in 2012!

Photos courtesy of Jaclyn McNeal

Monday, December 19, 2011

God Has Done Great Things!

Some of you have asked what ended up happening with our friends who were denied the Visa to bring their little girl home from Uganda.  As you may remember their case was sent to Nairobi for another ruling.  Below is what they posted today!  Thank you to those who prayed for this family.  God has done great things!  
While I laid in bed I began praying over and over that God would allow us to be one of those 40% of cases who automatically get the green light to go get their baby.  BTW, I have no idea where those statistics actually came from that were given to us, but hey, it gave me some numbers to work with:)  I knew it was unlikely and seemed to be the easy answer to our hearts plea, but it is what I prayed…over and over and over.
I walked into the office and opened up my email to see a letter from the Embassy in Kampala.
The subject title was
“Congratulations” and here is what it said:
“You couldn’t have had a better Christmas present than the approval to take Shabi home.
Merry Christmas”
By now I’m shouting for Josh to come in the office and figure all this out with me!  This was all just too good to be true.  We have had set-backs at EVERY step of the way since leaving for Uganda.  Surely this wasn’t what we thought it was.
We went to open the email but it was encrypted and didn’t have any way of opening it.  Those first few minutes were absolute torture as we tried everything we could to open the attached verdict.  We called Josh’s super-smart brother to see if we could forward it to him and see if he could figure it out.  A few minutes later he called saying that he opened it and that it was on its way back to our Inbox.
After refreshing the page 47 times while we waited, we received it…the approval notice for our I-600 and word that our case was on its way back to Kampala!  No questions asked.  No further investigation needed!
We cried.  We jumped.  We squealed.  The kids went absolutely CRAZY!
Then we sat down and thanked God with everything we had for answering our prayers with a “YES” this time!
We have to wait to hear back from the Embassy with a VISA appointment before we can schedule our airline tickets to go pick up our daughter, but she is coming!  She’s really coming home!
We know that we are very fortunate, as many families are getting opposite news from Nairobi, and we don’t take lightly that we are blessed to be able to bring our little girl home in the next week or two.  Friends, know that we are continuing to pray for your families and your processes!  We know our news is bitter sweet as you read it…
A big thank you to those of you who have continued to lift our family up!  Our God is so good.  He’s been so good to us all along.  I still feel like the ripples will continue as He reveals all the ways the Lord has worked throughout our process.
The best is yet to come!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Picture-Perfect Weekend

This past weekend we continued to celebrate JT's 40th birthday!
Time with my hubby + Time with great friends + One of our favorite cities = Amazing!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

You get the picture...(adoption update)

We heard from our Adoption Agency earlier this week.  They had talked with our lawyer and received some information specifically about our case.  The Abandonment Decree that we've been waiting for (for about a month) is being held up by Social Services.  The details surrounding why it's being held up are still not known.  
What we know right now is that from the time we receive an Abandonment Decree we have to wait 30 days until a Birth Certificate can be issued.  Our lawyer needs the Birth Certificate in hand before he can submit our case to court.  He's saying that it will take about 2 weeks for our case to make it through court and then we'll be waiting on the US Embassy to give us permission to travel - right now they are saying that process is taking around 4-6 weeks.  So...even if we were to receive our Abandonment Decree today - we're looking at March before we'll be able to travel and bring our little one home. 
First, it was November/December, then it was January, now it's March...Ugh!
Not the news we were hoping for and quite stinks.  
I feel like we're walking a tight rope right now - trying desperately to keep our balance...
We know God's timing is perfect, but every day we wait is another day that our little one is in an orphanage without a family.
We know God is in control of this situation, but every day we wait is another day that our little one is in an orphanage without a family.
We know that God is stretching and growing our faith and that He'll use this for our good, but every day we wait is another day that our little one is in an orphanage without a family.
You get the picture...

Keep praying. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Big 4-0!

Happy 40th Birthday to my best friend, the love of my life - my incredible husband, JT!
Jeff and I first met in the 6th grade and have been a part of each other's lives ever since.  We married 2 yrs into college and have essentially grown up together.  I would be crazy to say (and you would be crazy to believe) that the path our life has taken has always been straight and narrow and bump-free.

There have definitely been bumps along the way...some of them we've weathered really well...some of them have just thrown us all-together right into the ditch.  Thankfully, we've always managed, through God's incredible grace, to get back on track together.  Through it all, I truly can say that I can't imagine being on this journey with anyone else!

There are some things that I've loved about Jeff since the day I met him.  He still has an aura of confidence that I find comforting, he still makes me feel like the prettiest girl in the room (it's all in the eyes of the beholder!) and he still is one of the few people who can make me laugh really hard.

There are many other things that I've grown to love about him more and more each year.  His heart for hearing God and being obedient.  His passion for leading our family well.  His desire for forgiveness and reconciliation (girls, there's nothing better than being married to a guy who's always first to say he's sorry!).  And last, but certainly not least, his huge heart for adoption.  Our family wouldn't be on the journey we're on if it wasn't for the calling that God first laid on Jeff's heart to put our "love in action" and grow our family.

All this to say - Happy Birthday to my man!  I think you just keep getting better and better with each year!  Who says 40 is old! :)
I love you!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In all things give Thanks!

We got an email from our agency's the latest -
Our lawyer is working on abandonment decrees and Alli's should be coming soon.

Yes, this is exactly what we heard last week...and the week before...'soon' is becoming a word that I just don't like very much anymore. :)
What keeps running through my head?
In all things, give thanks
I find that when I do that, when I praise God for being in control of all things and working in ways that we don't always see or understand - I feel His presence and peace wash over me.
I'm so thankful for that today!

We'll keep you posted.  We're praying that 'soon' comes very soon! :)

I hope you enjoy a very Happy Thanksgiving with your family!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Charlotte Cup Champs

It was an amazing weekend to be an Angry Bird!  Anni's PUFC U10 soccer team won 2 games on Saturday, their semi-final and Championship games on Sunday - they are Charlotte Cup Champs!
Such an amazing group of girls - it's been so much fun to see all their improvement this season!
To top the weekend off, our sweet soccer families had a little surprise for Jeff and I on Saturday as well.  During our team lunch they surprised us with a birthday cake for Jeff (his 40th is right around the corner) and lots of "we can't wait for you to come home" gifts for our Alli.  We were blown away by their thoughtfulness and the way they have embraced our family and shared in our excitement to bring Alli home.  I can't wait until the Spring season - hopefully Alli will be running around the sidelines cheering on The Angry Birds with us!
I'll leave you with a couple pictures of our Champs!

Friday, November 18, 2011

He Alone is Worthy

After spending hours over the past few days praying...
for our Pastors in Haiti, many friends who are dealing with sickness and hurting, our friends in Uganda as they struggle to understand why their daughter's Visa was denied and pray for a miracle to allow them to bring her home, for Garren as he continues to heal from a brain trauma and we ask God to allow him to swallow once again, our sweet Alli as she waits for us in The Congo - begging God to allow her abandonment decree to come through so we can move forward...
When words just won't form, when all I can do is sit in silence, here is the truth that echos in my heart -
All Power and Majesty and Glory, to You Alone, Oh God!

We pray boldly.  Not because we always understand His ways, but because we know Who He Is and He alone is worthy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Come Boldly to the Throne of Grace

There is a family we know that has been on a journey to adopt a little girl from Uganda. They went in for their Embassy Exit Interview today and they were denied their daughter's US Visa. Here is a part of their explanation -
We were at the end of the process and it is just now that we are made aware that something at the beginning of the process was not done. Something so important that it may cost us our child. It is the type of circumstance where legality trumps the child’s welfare. Just because one document was neglected to be completed the whole case is shot.
They have been living in Uganda (with their daughter) for 2 months and are supposed to be on a plane home this weekend.  Their case is being submitted to Homeland Security to be reviewed, they were told to expect a final answer by Friday, but not to get their hopes up.  
They are praying for a miracle and we are praying and believing with them! Please join us and lift this family up.  We don't always understand God's plans, but we know He is our Everlasting, Faithful, Almighty God and He loves this family and this child. Pray that their case would be approved. Pray that this family would feel His presence.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  
Hebrews 4:16

This is my desire

So encouraged and challenged this morning.

This is my desire...
In times of joy.  In times of disappointment.  In times of waiting.
To be used by You.
(turn off my music at the bottom of the page before listening)

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Happy Day Project comes to an end

This past week has been so good for me!  It's given me the chance to be intentional about taking the focus of myself and placing it on others.  It's amazing how much happier, more content we feel when we're not caught up in being the center of the universe - when we're not concerned with whether everything is revolving around us or not.
As we head into Thanksgiving, I'm reminded how incredibly blessed I am and I am so thankful!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Happy Day Project - Day 6

I sat at Anni's Veteran's Day Concert yesterday and listened to a gymnasium full of elementary students recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing The Star-Spangled Banner - it was truly moving.  I was seated next to a young mom who served in Iraq.  To watch her face as the students sang and honored the Veterans in attendance sent tears streaming down my face.  I thanked her for her service and she thanked me for remembering.  Freedom is not free and I'm so thankful for the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country so honorably.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Plans are great. But missions are better. 
Missions survive when plans fail, and plans almost always fail. 

For us, our adoption journey is a mission.   
And trust me, we've had many plans for this journey - what country we would adopt from, how old our little one would be, how quickly we would finish our paperwork, how informed we would be, how long this stage and that stage would take, how quickly we would bring our little one home.  
Every single plan we've had, has turned out looking differently than we thought it would.  Each plan has failed to turn out as expected. But our mission remains intact.   
There are so many more "plans" left in this journey.  When we'll travel, how we'll function in Congo, what our first meeting with our baby girl will be like, how quickly we'll head back home, how our family will function once we get home...the list could go on and on. I'm sure many of those "plans" will not happen as expected either. But our mission will remain strong - to put our love into action, expand our family, "parent" all our children well, and ultimately point them to their Heavenly Father.

People ask if we're discouraged that things are not going exactly as planned.  I'm not sure that discouraged is the right word.  Some days, we feel sad.  Sad, because we just long to bring our little one home.  But I think true discouragement hasn't set in because we know the One who holds this mission in His hands.  We'll hold our plans loosely and rest peacefully in knowing that when we're on a mission from God, His plans never fail!

The Happy Day Project - Day 5

"Refresh Someone Today"
There is nothing more refreshing than God's Word.  Today I decided to let God's words refresh those around me.  So...I left notes with God's promises and truth on the pillows of my man and all my beautiful daughters (even Alli's is waiting on her little pillow for her), I wrote a family verse on our kitchen chalkboard and I sent a note to Anni's teacher with encouragement and a special verse just for her.

But the most incredible thing is that in going through God's Word, looking for verses to encourage my family and Anni's teacher - I was encouraged...and refreshed.  I love that God's Word just has a way of doing that!

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  
Romans 15:13
Praying that you are refreshed and overflowing today!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Happy Day Project - Day 4

Today is Share a Good Book Day!
There just really is nothing better than curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee.  Instead of passing on an actual book to someone today, I decided to pass on a couple of book recommendations to all of you!  Here are two books that have inspired me, challenged me and changed me.

Read them both!  Even if you're not normally a "reader", I promise these 2 books will be worth the effort.  And if you'd like to borrow my copies, I'd love to share.  Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Happy Day Project - Day 3

Today was Give a Giftcard Day.  God calls us to live generously and this is an area of my life I hate to admit I struggle with.  Not that I don't want to be generous, but it just doesn't seem to flow out of me like it does out of some. I know truly generous people - they are generous with their finances, their time, their talents, their praise and encouragement - I LOVE these people. They can spot a need a mile away and they are the first to respond.

Honestly...this is an area I'm praying God will stretch me in.  Today was a good step.

So thankful today that I serve a generous God who gave His everything for me and daily lavishes grace and love on me!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Happy Day Project - Day 2

Today is Handwritten Note Day!  I LOVE handwritten notes - I love getting them, I love sending them!  Words are important to me and I especially love the written kind.
My husband always teases me about the length of time it takes for me to write a note, a blog post or even an email (of all things!) - just hit send, just hit send! :)  But it's important for me to feel like I've expressed my thoughts well.  It's important for me to feel like the words I've written are a true expression of my heart.
I guess my problem comes in thinking that every email I send out needs to have me pouring out my heart in it. :)
Oh is the day for pouring my heart and thoughts and prayers into handwritten notes for several special people in my life.
Happy Handwritten Note Day! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Happy Day Project - Day 1

Today starts The Happy Day Project (if you're wondering what that is see the link on my sidebar).  I'm excited to spend time this week thinking about others and spreading a little bit of "happy".  Today we were supposed to take a treat to someone.  I decided to take a treat to someone{s} - a very special group of ladies  that I have the privilege of sharing a building with each weekday.  Our Children's Ministry (The Cove @ Southbrook Church) shares a building with our weekday preschool - Southbrook Christian Preschool.  Our weekday preschool's director, Raina, is a great friend of mine and I love serving alongside her in ministry. Since my office is in our Children's Ministry building I get to see the preschoolers and teachers each day of the week as they come to school.
This morning Raina asked if I'd come and share a devotion with the teachers before their school day began - which I was so happy to do! These ladies are amazing and I love having the chance to encourage them and tell them how valuable they are!  I also wanted to bring them a treat - who doesn't need some chocolate goodness while dealing with almost a 100 two, three, four and five year olds?!
I made them Toffee Crack (I honestly don't know what it's real name is)
It's YUM and sooo easy!  Here's the recipe:
Line saltine crackers in the bottom of a cookie sheet (one with a lip). Melt 1 stick of butter - add 1c. of brown sugar to the butter and stir until it caramelizes a bit.  Pour the butter/brown sugar mixture over the saltines.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.  Take out of the oven and pour a bag of chocolate chips over the top.  Let the chocolate chips melt and then spread until even.  Place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.  Take it out and break into pieces.  Enjoy!  Just a word of warning - it's addictive! :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

No Abandonment Decree this week :(

We've been praying...our agency told us that they were expecting several abandonment decrees this week - obviously we wanted one of those to be for our case.

We got the news today that several abandonment decrees were received (so happy for those families), but ours was not one of them.  So we continue to wait...and pray.

Our sweet case worker, Cherie, told us that they are expecting ours SOON and to just hang in there a little bit longer.  We sure are trying.

We'd love for you to pray along with us that next week will be our week!

November is Here!

Yay!  November is here - which means that turkey and stuffing and all things delicious are right around the corner... and Christmas is just around the corner...which means that the time for bringing our little one home is just around the corner (we're praying hard!) But I'll post about that another day.
Right now, let's just focus on November!  What better way to start off our month of thankfulness than by spreading around some "happy"?!
There are so many great blogs in the blogsphere, but one that I absolutely love is Joy's Hope.  This coming week I'll be linking to a project that she and a friend are launching -
Happy Day Project (see the link in my sidebar).
I'm excited to take part in this and start off November in such an amazing way - thinking about others and spreading some joy!  If you want to join in the fun, click on the Happy Day Project button in my sidebar and linky up!   

Friday, October 28, 2011

Late Night and the World - It's Dad here!

It's 12:02 am on Thursday night and I am watching one of the most bizzare baseball games ever.  Dropped fly balls, poor throws, home runs followed by clutch hits and then more home runs.  So many ups and downs!  My nerves can't take much more!

But as I go through the emotions that this game has thrown at me, I am reminded of how many emotions we have experienced going through our adoption journey.  Times of pure joy and times of pure frustration. Right now we are in one of those times of 'Pure Frustration'.  For 6 weeks we have been waiting for our lawyer in DRC to obtain what they call and abandonment decree.  We know from our lawyer and our agency that all of the background checks on Alli have come back good.  Why we are still waiting for the abandonment decree only God knows.  It is very hard to get answers.  Things don't run in a timely manner in DRC.

So as the dad, who is sitting here watching this game, I am also sitting here wishing that we would get the OK to bring out little girl home.  My request is simple, please pray that the abandonment decree comes through soon.  Once this happens the adoption process can begin in earnest.  When we receive the abandonment decree, the lawyer can then get a new birth certificate and then proceed with the adoption.  We are told this part of the process will not take long.

As many of you know, I have a birthday coming up the end of November...all I want is a travel date to DRC so we can go and pick up a special little girl....I hope God is reading this!!....Go Rangers!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I'm so thankful today. Thankful for a husband (who's coming home tonight after about a month of way-too-much traveling) that encourages me, challenges me, prays with me and most importantly continually points me to God's truth. Thankful for our daughters (3 here at home and our sweet little one still very far away) who motivate me everyday to be a better mom than I was the day before - to spend more time laughing, dreaming and praying than I do sulking, working and worrying. Thankful for the ministry I'm involved in that keeps me on my knees and continually seeking God's direction, purpose and peace.  Thankful for our adoption journey and the way God has opened our eyes to the world around us.  Thankful for the many people we've met along the way, who have made themselves available to be used by God!  I'm most thankful (on this Thankful Thursday) that God choses to use imperfect, unimpressive people to carry out His purposes!  This is the "group" I want to belong to - those who are fighting for the broken, are holding onto love, are reaching out to the lonely - who are changing the world!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Praying and Believing

Jeff and I had a conference call yesterday with our Adoption Agency's Director and the sweet gal who is handling the DRC cases - such incredible women with huge hearts for children and families!  Although we were thankful for the chance to talk with them and get an update on our adoption, we were a bit saddened by the reality of where we're at in the process.  We've been praying that we would be able to celebrate Christmas with our little one, but it's now looking like we won't travel to bring her home until Feb 2012.
We've known from the beginning of this journey that there would be unknown turns and unexpected delays, so although we're sad, we're not discouraged or frustrated.  We know that our Agency and Lawyer are working on our behalf and above all else, we know that God's timing is perfect!
Part of the reason for this new delay is the Elections that will be taking place in the DRC on November 27, 2011.  In other parts of our world, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding elections and the reaction to the outcome.  Even though I really dislike all the election commercials and spin that happen here in the US, I am so thankful that our elections are organized, safe and fair.  We have much to be thankful for!
As we talked with our Agency yesterday, one of the things that they are trying to accomplish before the elections take place, is to open a Transition House and have all our referred children moved into it.  I know with complete certainty that God hears the prayers of His people - so would you please join us in praying for this move to take place before the end of November.
Again I find myself pleading with God to keep our sweet girl safe.  I'm so thankful that He's holding her in His hands - I believe with all my heart that He knows her, sees her and loves her with a perfect love!  So for now, we'll continue to pray, trust, believe and eagerly anticipate the day when we'll get to bring her home!

"Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."  Hebrews 4:16

Monday, October 3, 2011


It was a beautiful fall weekend here in the South!  I love this cooler weather and the pumpkin spice lattes, chili and cornbread that come with it!
My Mom and Dad visited with us last week - unfortunately it rained pretty much the whole time they were here.  They did, however, manage to get a lot of projects checked off our "to-do" list.  They painted a wall in Abbi's room, they painted ALL of Alli's room - along with a desk and rocking chair that we'll use in her room as well.  So despite the rain - they had a very productive trip!  You just have to LOVE parents that jump in to help out anyway they can!!  Thank you sooo much Mom and Dad!
I really don't have any new adoption news to share.  We're still waiting...and waiting...and waiting.  Waiting is always difficult and I seem to swing from one emotion to the next.  I had coffee with a sweet friend on Friday and she reminded me that God never wastes times of waiting - He has so much for us to learn during this time - to continue to shape us and mold us into the parents we'll need to be for our sweet addition.  So thankful for the reminder!
I did email our adoption agency last Tuesday to ask for an update.  I'm usually not one to do that - I figure they'll let us know if important news comes their way.  But it had been a couple of weeks since we'd heard anything so I thought I'd give it a try.  They confirmed that we're still waiting for an abandonment decree so that a birth certificate can be generated for our little one.  After that our case will be ready to submit to court.  We're continuing to pray that she'll be home by Christmas, but we know without a doubt, that God's timing is perfect!
So we continue to wait...and drink pumpkin spice lattes! :)
Happy Fall -

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

No news is good news...I'm not so sure about that!

There hasn't been much news on the adoption front the past couple of weeks.  We are in the midst of the "waiting period" and it's not so much fun!  We know that our dossier has been in The Congo now since Friday, August 5.  We're assuming that it has been translated by now and we're waiting for our case to be submitted to Court.
We're spending this time learning a bit of Lingala (the language that our little one is familiar with), working on her bedroom and trying to research ways we can bring her culture and customs into our home to ease with her transition.
I guess the saying is, "no news is good news", but I'd sure LOVE to hear that our case has been submitted to court and things are progressing!

In other news...our good friends the DeMaio's are in Ethiopia this week bringing their sweet baby girl home.  If you're interested in following along with their story, go here.  We're so excited for them and can't wait until they get home!  Look at this sweet mommy and daughter - priceless!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011


Relief is about the only word that I can come up with to describe how I feel right now.  We were so  excited at the start of last week because our agency's director was in The Congo and we were anticipating new pictures of Alli (maybe even some video) and an update on where our case stands.  I'm not going to go into all the details, but I'll just say that this visit was very difficult for our sweet director and her heart was broken by all that she saw while she was there.  In the end, we did get new pictures of Alli and word that she's doing as well as can be expected.  Please continue to pray for her!  Also, please pray for our director and her staff - they are incredible and work tirelessly on behalf of many families and kiddos -  their hearts truly care for each one!
I'll admit that I was longing for happy news and happy pictures this past week.  And even though that isn't exactly what we got - my relief comes from knowing the best news of all - God loves our little Alli more than we ever could and He is holding her in His hand.
We still can't show her face, but here is the latest picture of our sweet girl.  No smiles yet, but we know they will come once we get her home! Pray that time comes quickly!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Anni's story

Yesterday was the first day of school for the Thomas girls.  Averi and Abbi were mildly excited and came home mildly pleased with how their first day had gone (you know how it is with teenagers!).  But Anni...she was a different story.
I have to go back a little bit for you to fully understand what an incredible story this really is.  A few weeks ago, our Children's Ministry started a series of lessons on the missionary journeys of Paul.  Heidi, our Elementary Director (and also a great family friend) and her team have done an amazing job of expressing to the kids the opportunity we have each day to be "missionaries" for Jesus - to share with others about Him wherever we are!  Anni soaked in every word and really took to heart what she was learning.  
The day we got her teacher letter from school she was so excited to find out that her best little friend from the 3rd grade was also in her 4th grade class.  She told us that she knew God had answered her prayer that they would again be classmates because He wanted her to do a better job this year of telling her friend about Him.  In the days leading up to school starting, we prayed and Anni "rehearsed" what she wanted to say to her friend as she shared God's love with her.  The first day of school came and Anni was beyond excited!  We prayed together in the morning that God would give her courage and help her be bold in sharing God's love with her friends at school.  When Anni hopped off the bus later that afternoon, it began to bubble out of her that she had talked with her friend at recess and that she had shared with her who Jesus is and how much He loves her and then she and her friend had prayed together.   
Now I have to sadly admit that as Anni was sharing her story, my "adult" mind wanted to analyze what she had said to her friend, what they had prayed together - did she say the right words?  Did her friend really accept Jesus?  And then God pretty much whacked me upside the head (I certainly deserved it!).  Child like faith is so pure - it isn't corrupted by all our highfaluting "adult" thoughts.  Anni's faith yesterday was mighty and strong and I know that it touched the very heart of God.  
As I was driving to work this morning, tears were streaming down my cheeks - to think that our 9 year old, heard God's voice asking her to speak His name and love to her friend - she listened, obeyed and opened her mouth!  It challenged both Jeff and I, how many opportunities do we let pass by where God asks us to open our mouths and we refuse.  
We are so proud of Anni - she has a light and boldness that we know God will continue to use in amazing ways - not just in the future, but right now, in the 4th grade!  
We love you Anni - keep shining for Jesus!

Sweet Blessings

Yesterday was a day of sweet blessings!  I love those days when it feels like God Himself is reaching down and hugging you, just because He wants to!  He doesn't have to...we love and serve Him because of who He is, not because of what He does for us, but on those days, when you feel His loving touch in such amazing ways, it's indeed a sweet blessing!
Blessing #1 - We received our I-171H approval in the mail. This was the last piece of paperwork that we were waiting on.  This says, Yes!  You are approved to adopt a child!  Now all we have to do is wait and pray that our lawyer and our case will receive favor and approval through the Congelese Court System - quickly!!
I'll share Blessing #2 in a separate post - coming soon!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Great Question

I've just started this book...I absolutely LOVE when books hit me square between the eyes and really make me examine where I'm at! 
One of the things I love about our adoption journey is that adoption and caring for orphans is now deeply ingrained on the hearts and minds of our family!  Our prayer is that as we, and thousands of others, continue to share our stories, the body of Christ will wake up and understand what God requires of us. 
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."  
James 1:26-27
"Obviously, not everyone is called to adopt, but every believer is called to act. That means not merely feeling sorry for orphans. Sentimentalism is no substitute for action.  Adoption and caring for orphans is about responding to God’s grace properly: first with gratitude toward Him, and then with active love toward others. How is He calling you to love the orphan today?"
Great question.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

Love God, love others as yourself...

Be sure to turn off the music at the bottom of the page, so that you can hear the words and heart of this beautiful woman of God!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Our Dossier is on it's way!

Our dossier is on it's way to The Congo!!  It left FL on Monday and was in Memphis yesterday - our agency is tracking it and they'll let us know as it continues to make it's way to our lawyer in DRC.
We also got our Biometrics Appointment in the mail - Monday, August 8!
Sweet progress - all leading us closer and closer to bringing Alli home! :)

Thanks for continuing to pray with us - especially for Alli's protection.  She lives in a very dangerous and unsettled part of the world - it's so comforting to know that she is held tightly in our Heavenly Father's hand!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sweet 16

Yesterday was our oldest daughter's 16th birthday.  I'm writing about it a day later because I'm still trying to come to terms with it! :)  I feel like I've said it a million times in the last few months, but time really does fly by and the time parenting our girls seems to be growing so short!  So while I try to come to terms with this birthday, let me spend a few moments loving on our Abbi -
Abbi is our first born and she does exhibit some of those common first-born traits - she can be quite head-strong and on occasion a tad-bit bossy (of course, I mean that in the most loving way!).  But Abbi can also be very laid back and easy going!  She's beautiful, inside and out and we love her so much!

Abbi, thanks for making us laugh
at the most unexpected times. :)
We are so blessed to be
your mom and dad.  XXOO

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sent with LOVE!

We were so excited last week to find out that our agency's director will be making a trip to DRC and is willing to take along care packages for our little ones (and she'll also bring back new pictures and video!!)
It was so much fun to pick out outfits and toys to send over to Alli!  It's so amazing to think that the very things that we packed with such love will actually be worn, touched and held by our sweet girl!  It makes it seem like we're close to her even though we're still an ocean away.
So here's what we're sending over (it all had to fit in a 2.5 gal ziploc bag)

Sent to Alli with LOVE!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Be still my heart!

I feel like most of what I've posted lately about our adoption journey has been timeline and checklist related - we've done this, we still need to do that - you get the drift.  I feel like these timelines and checklists are insulating my heart a little bit right now - protecting me from getting too attached or too excited about the reality of where our journey is leading. But I realized this afternoon as I gazed at the one picture we have of our sweet little girl, that the emotion I've been trying to keep in check is starting to overflow!
We know her name and I've memorized every inch of her picture - her perfect little mouth, her sweet cheeks, her beautiful long eyelashes - be still my heart!  The literal ache to hold her catches me off-guard at times!  I find myself waking several times in the night, asking God to protect her - to hold her in His hands - to somehow help her know that she's loved and thought about and prayed for!  That her family is coming for her soon!
We can't show her face until she is officially a "Thomas girl", but I just wanted to give you a glimpse of the priceless little girl that has stolen our hearts!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sweet Averi

Fourteen years ago today, our sweet Averi was born!  The years sure do fly by and with Averi off to Church camp this week, I'm reminded again of the season of life we're in with our 2 oldest daughters.  We're learning to let go and some days that's easier said than done.  We've always tried to hold our girls with open hands - knowing that they are first and foremost daughters of the King...but we're treasuring each day and year - each moment - that God gives us to love and adore them!  The calendar pages just seem to keep turning and birthdays keep coming...and even though we are anxiously awaiting a new arrival in our family and heading back to the "toddler stage" with her; I keep thinking how quickly the days are passing with our older girls and how I want to treasure each one!
Averi will be a freshman this year - a JV cheerleader - simply beautiful inside and out!  She is often sought out by friends, known for her listening ear and encouraging words.  These teenage years can be pretty rocky terrain, but she's learning to take careful, steady steps and throwing in a few brave hops and jumps just to keep things interesting!
Our prayer for Averi remains the same as it has been since the day she was born - that she would keep her eyes focused on Jesus and shine brightly for Him!
We love you sweet girl and are so blessed that God chose us to be your Mom and Dad!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The journey continues...

After accepting our official referral, there were 2 pieces of paperwork that we needed to have Authenticated.  First, we sent them off to our Secretary of State to get the Great Seal on them (we sent them overnight on Tuesday, with another overnight envelope inside and received them back on Friday).  We then sent them on to a Courier Service that will make sure they end up at the Department of State and the Congo Embassy in Washington DC before heading to The Congo.  Today we are applying for our Passports and then all that will be left to do is wait - we all know how good I am at that!! :)
No major news, just wanted to keep you up-to-date on the journey!   If you're looking for a specific way to pray right now - pray for the protection of our little one in The Congo - that God would hold her safely in His hand!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy Day!!

Today we received medicals on Leonie!  Her full name is Leonie Eliane Nana, she's 2 years old and there were no major red flags with her health!  We also received word that she is 100% ready to be adopted, which means that no living relatives were found.  
This means that we can officially accept her referral and finish up the last 2 pieces of paperwork needed to complete our dossier.  One step closer!!
We also received a letter today from the Department of Homeland Security stating that our 1600a paperwork was received and our biometric appointments will be scheduled.  Another step in the right direction!!
We're so thankful for God's perfect timing and how He continues to direct each step along this journey!  Thank you for praying along with us!  Our agency and lawyer all seem anxious to move the rest of this process along as quickly as possible (woohoo!!) - so we'll keep you posted!
See the picture of the girls at the top of our blog - that's pretty much how we're all feeling today!!  Happy Day!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Quick Update

Our family leaves for Michigan tomorrow, but I wanted to give a quick update before we head out!
First of all, our good friends, the DeMaio's, are in Ethiopia this week meeting their sweet little one for the first time - their court date is today, Wednesday.  Since there is a 7 hr time difference, I was up several times in the night praying for them to pass court!!
Second, our "package" is off to USCIS - we'll now wait for our fingerprinting appointments.
Third, our dossier is just about put together (at least all we can do until we officially accept our referral).  We'll finish up a couple of things and send it to our agency before we leave tomorrow!
Fourth, we'll continue to wait for medicals to come through on the little one we have an "unofficial referral" for - once we have those, she will become our official referral!  I told the gal at our agency a couple of days ago that I'm thinking it might be quicker for me just to hop on a plane, head on over there and take her to the Dr myself!  :)
We know God's timing is perfect, but we sure are excited!  We look at her picture at least a dozen times a day - we're waiting patiently (we're trying) for that day when we get to meet her face to face - unspeakable joy!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Beautiful People

"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths.  These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern.  Beautiful people do not just happen."  Elizabeth Kubler Ros
This makes me think of the song that says, "Jesus send the rain".  It's through those downpours of life that we seem to become more like Him!  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An Amazing Gift

Over the past few weeks there have been a couple of pretty major directional changes in our adoption journey - very soon, I'll be able to share more, but today, I can say this:
1.  We've changed countries from Ethiopia to the Congo (DRC)
2. We've changed adoption agencies from AWAA (which we still LOVE) to Celebrate Children International
We'll be part of a group of families who will be adopting from the Congo (through CCI) for the 1st time.  If all goes as planned, we'll be traveling to bring our little one home before the end of 2011.  WooHoo!!
So here's the part of the story I want to share with you today...The fast pace at which this process is moving is super exciting, but also challenging.  The challenge has been that we've had to come up with a very large amount of up-front money very quickly.  Impossible?  Not with God! We started praying and asking family and friends to pray along with us!  A couple of days later, we were blown away (but not surprised) by the answer God provided!
As Jeff was talking with a friend about our situation - this friend said, "up until this point our family has followed your adoption journey and have supported you with our prayers, but now - we're going to support you with our finances.  We've got it covered - all of it!"  This amazing family is fronting the full amount!
What a beautiful picture of how the body of Christ is supposed to work! God blesses us so that we can bless others!  God provides for us so that we can be His hands and feet here on earth!  This family gets it!  I'm reminded of something I read in the book Radical - it says, You and I stand on the porch of eternity. We will soon stand before God and give an account for our stewardship.  We will not wish we'd given more to living the American dream.  Instead we'll wish we'd given more to being radically obedient and generous with all God has entrusted to us!

I love that this precious family will forever be a part of our little one's story!  What an amazing gift!

Friday, June 3, 2011

The plans I have for you...

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD..." Jeremiah 29:11
God has been revealing His plans for our family at a rapid rate the past couple of weeks and I once again stand amazed at what happens when you truly surrender your plans and open your heart to His plans!

We have incredible news to share very soon, but today, which just happens to be my birthday, I will only say that my heart could not be any fuller than what it is!  God truly has chosen to pour His blessing out over the past couple of days and we are in awe of His goodness and greatness!

We also are in awe of those who choose to "live for long-term treasures that they cannot lose instead of living for short-term treasures that they cannot keep"!  You know who you are... and we are humbled and amazed by the way you have chosen to bless our family!

I have incredible stories to share over the course of the next few weeks - I can't wait!  For now, we are doing our best to walk obediently one step at a time - continually amazed at the path that God is revealing!

To be continued...

Friday, May 20, 2011


I love how God works!  It's like puzzle pieces coming in from all different directions, that on their own look oddly-shaped and out of place...until the moment when they all come together and the puzzle starts to make sense...a picture is starting to form.  Let me try to explain what I'm talkin' about -
There's a lot going on right now in our family, in our adoption journey, in my ministry/work at church.  And to top it all off, I've been in a "restless season" lately.  Which I have to say, for me, is not a bad thing.  I've learned over the years that in these seasons of restlessness, I hear and see God in incredible ways!

Two weeks ago, I was asked to lead the devotions for our staff meeting.  I had them start out by working on a few brain teasers - just as an illustration of how easy it is for us to get stuck in familiar patterns of thinking (which of course, is the reason that my 3rd grader is much better at brain teasers than I am).  So true in life as well - we get stuck in "our box" where things are comfortable and familiar.  You have to admit that, at times, familiarity can seem like a good old friend. However, what God has really been impressing on me lately is that I need to go beyond the familiar!  Familiarity can keep me from fully depending on Him.  It also can keep me from living the radical life He has for me (just as a side note, if you haven't yet read the book Radical - you really need to).  More than anything I want to live a radical, all-out life for Jesus Christ!

A few days after sharing the devotion with my fellow staff members, I happened to have a Saturday afternoon all to myself - JT was on a business trip and all our girls were out and about.  As I sat in our bedroom praying and reading God's word, God kept bringing a single word to my mind - Un-tie.  After about the 3rd time this word popped into my head, questions started coming...What does that mean?  What do you want me to un-tie from?  Are there things holding me back?  Is there sin in my life that I need to deal with?  I have to say that no real "answers" came and I left that time feeling a little bit frustrated because I didn't know what to do with this word - un-tie.

The next day was Sunday and in typical ministry-fashion, an extremely busy day!  Even though there were many things going on in our Children's Building, I felt the unmistakeable nudge from God to go down to our Main Worship Center for the service.  So I got sat down just as our Worship Pastor (filling in for our Lead Pastor for the day) started with the message taken from the 3rd chapter of Jonah.  Not far into his message, he came to the verse that says,  ..."Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh...".  He shared with us that the Greek word for went is translated as....loosen or UN-TIE.  What?!  I actually looked around me to see if everyone else had heard what he'd just said.  It was like one of those moments when everyone else was kind of blurry and it was like Pastor Greg, up on the stage, was looking right at me and the word U.N.T.I.E. came out sort of slow and exaggerated.  As God's message continued that day - some of the things that I need to un-tie from became clear.  And the thing is, they're not all necessarily bad things - just things that are holding me back from being fully obedient to what God has in store.
Here's the crazy thing...we don't yet know all that God has in store (although, God has definitely been "stirring" some things in our family). This is one of those times when we can only see the light right in front of our feet, but we know that as we walk obediently with God, He'll continue to light the path!

All this to say...we're praying like crazy!  Our family has decisions to make in the next months that seem scary and unfamiliar and out of the box - but we know that with God all things are possible.  We don't want to settle for a life that we can comfortably live in our own strength.  We want to live a life that is only possible by Christ living in us!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy 9th Birthday Anni!

Tomorrow is Anni's 9th birthday!  I'm writing this today because tomorrow we'll be spending all day watching her play in her State Soccer Tournament in Sumter, SC.
Nine years old - wow!  Where do the years go?!  As we watch Anni transform from a little girl to a little lady right before our eyes - I'm reminded again of what an amazing gift it is to watch our children grow! Anni is our soccer-playing, horseback-riding, sweet-spirited, super-passionate girl!
We love every inch of her!

Anni, we're so proud of the lovely little lady you are!  We know God has amazing plans for you.  He created you with such passion and determination.  We're praying that you'll use every bit of it for Him!  We count it pure joy to be your mom and dad and we're waiting with great expectation to see what the next years hold!  We love you sweet girl!
Keeping shining for Jesus!

Hugs, Mom and Daddy

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's been awhile...

Alright, so it's been awhile since I've posted anything.  It's been sort of a weird time for me - nothing horrible, nothing spectacular - just weird. Lots of "processing" going on - for me that is almost a full-time job.  It's quite consuming!  So after all this processing, here's where we're at...
1.  The MOWA in Ethiopia is now known as the MOWCYA - here is the latest word from our adoption agency...after a time of transition, this newly named Ethiopian agency should be able to process more letters than they were previously processing.  Great news!!  God is so faithful!
2.  We are about 1 month out still from getting our paperwork sent to Ethiopia.  Once again, we're waiting on ME.  There are times when I just can't seem to get it together.  I still have a couple pieces of paperwork that need to be notarized and I need to complete our family picture pages and then I just will need to double check everything.  So we're almost there!  Pray that I'll get it together sometime soon and get this handled!!
3.  Our family is eating healthier.   I've reconnected with Trader Joe's and I'm loving it!!  As I told the girls, "God gave us 1 body and He told us to take care of it" - so that's what we're trying to do.
4.  My mom and dad are coming for a visit!  We're so excited to have them come.  They were supposed to come a month or so ago, but because the recovery from my mom's surgery didn't go quite as planned - their visit was delayed.  We're so thankful my mom is doing better and they are able to come south for awhile!
5.  It takes pride to be anxious - I'm not wise enough to know how my life should turn out.  I LOVE that!  I love that God's plans for me will always be better than my own!!
6.  Garren Janes and his family are still in my daily prayers.  See the link to Pastor Geoffrey's blog in my sidebar.  The faith and strength of this family is truly amazing and it points straight to God - which is exactly what each of our lives should be doing.
7.  "How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it"  G.K. Chesterton          

8.  "God intends for each of us to live for a greater glory and a greater story, than our own."  Dan Allender
I'm so grateful that I can be a part of God's bigger story - my prayer is that He will write the pages of our family's story in ways that we could never have imagined!

I think that's it for now.  I'll add a few pictures just for pure enjoyment!

Anni - our soccer girl

Anni and Averi in Hilton Head playing mini golf.  We were missing Abbi, she was at home taking her driver's training class.

While in Hilton Head we got to hang out with the McCrumb family (our "cousins" from Maine) - such a great family, we always enjoy getting together with them!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


There has been word that the MOWA in Ethiopia is talking about cutting Ethiopian adoptions by up to 90%.  I think we can all do the math and understand what that would mean for the many families who are in the process of adopting right now - including ours.  We are being encouraged not to speculate or to be anxious, but simply to pray!  So that's what our family is doing.  We don't know what the future holds for Ethiopian adoptions, but we do know the One who does.  We're trusting Him today!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Make today count!

I was listening to the song "Never Grow Up" last night and thinking about how much I love my girls.  I've never really been a mom who longs to go back to a certain age or stage.   I'm one to think that each new stage and age is fun and exciting and full of surprising experiences!  But last night, I was reminded again of the short years we have with our little ones and how important it is to make each moment count.  
I've been struck lately with how difficult it is to see your kids hurt as they get older.  When we have little ones, normally hurts are fixed with a band-aid and a snuggle; tears are wiped away and things are better.  But as our kids get older, the hurts aren't so easily patched up.  Hurt feelings, disappointment, fragile self-esteem, broken hearts - these things don't call for a band-aid.  A hug still helps, but the painful effects of these hurts are so much longer lasting.  I find myself crying much more frequently for my girls now then I did when they were younger.  Don't get me wrong, there were definitely times when they were cranky, non-stop-crying little ones -when I shed tears of frustration and shear exhaustion (you know what I'm talking about), but now...the tears are purely from a momma's heart breaking for her girls. 
I'm not sure exactly why I'm writing this - I guess as a reminder of how much, as a parent, I love my girls and how much more perfectly my Heavenly Father loves me...and them.  How His heart must break as He sees and feels our pain...Oh How He Loves Us (turn off the music at the bottom of the page before listening to this)
I hope you're encouraged by how beautifully our Father loves us.  And if you're a momma - I'm praying that we make today count with our kids!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"God, please give me a gentle heart"

There are so many hard things going on right now.  I find myself sitting down to pray and just being at a loss for the right words or really any words at all.  I'm so thankful that at these times God knows exactly the thoughts and concerns that we don't have words to express. 

The words I do know to say today..."God, please give me a gentle heart"

Once in a while we meet a gentle person. Gentleness is a virtue hard to find in a society that admires toughness and roughness. We are encouraged to get things done and to get them done fast, even when people get hurt in the process. Success, accomplishment, and productivity count. But the cost is high. There is no place for gentleness in such a milieu.

Gentle is the one who does "not break the crushed reed, or snuff the faltering wick" (Matthew 12:20). Gentle is the one who is attentive to the strengths and weaknesses of the other and enjoys being together more than accomplishing something. A gentle person treads lightly, listens carefully, looks tenderly, and touches with reverence. A gentle person knows that true growth requires nurture, not force. Let's dress ourselves with gentleness. In our tough and often unbending world our gentleness can be a vivid reminder of the presence of God among us.

- from Henri J.M. Nouwen's Bread for the Journey.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pray for Garren

In my sidebar, I've added a link to Geoffrey Janes' blog - Geoffrey is the Campus Pastor at Southbrook Monroe.  His son, Garren, collapsed Friday at school and has been hospitalized since.  This is a special family and I would ask for you to bind your prayers with those of others from around the world as we lift them up and ask for God to be glorified in this difficult situation.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Home Study Visits #2, #3 and #4 - We're Finished!

In the past 2 weeks we have completed all our necessary Home Study visits.  This is a picutre of the girls with Hollie, our social worker.  Hollie has been fabulous through this process and has made it so much fun!  We've done alot of laughing, which has made the process much less daunting. 
So now we just wait for the finished report and then we'll be ready to submit it to Immigration and also to America World.  We're getting closer and the excitement is really starting to build at our house!  I know this year will pass by so quickly and we're praying that by the end of it, we'll see our sweet Thomas girl #4 for the first time! 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Keeping you Up-to-Date on our Progress...

Today Jeff and I had our Dr Appointments - these are needed for both our Home Study and Dossier.  Our girls will go for their appointments on Monday - which are just needed for our Home Study.  Luckily, they don't need the same extensive examination as Jeff and I do (mainly, they don't need to have blood drawn or TB tests done).  I'm thankful for that, because, I just have to say that my arm is quite sore and I'm sure that the girls wouldn't have cared for the needle pokes and pricks. :)
So we continue on...we're waiting on paperwork from our Employers and then our 2nd Home Study visit on the 27th.  We're continuing to send (fax or email) pieces of Dossier paperwork to our America World Family Coordinator, she reviews them to make sure we are completeing them correctly - which is so helpful, because I'm a nervous-wreck that I'm going to do something incorrectly.  So we're getting there...
It's a beautiful thing!

Friday, January 14, 2011

First Home Study Visit

Our Program requires that we have no less than 4 face-to-face visits with our Home Study social worker - today was Visit #1.  Our social worker's name is Hollie and she's wonderful!  We met at the Christian Family Services' office and it was just a basic "get to know ya" kind of meeting - we had several pieces of paperwork that needed to be turned in and we set up the date for our next visit - which will be at our home on January 27th.  We have our Dr appts set up for next week and after that all the Home Study paperwork that we are responsible for should be complete.  We're making good progress and I'm so thankful for the incredible people who are helping us along the way!
On another note - the girls had another snow day today - a full week off from school - woohoo!! 
Yes, I know all you northerners are having a good laugh right now. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Days

For the past 3 days we have been "snowed in" - I use that term lightly! :)  In Michigan, this would be considered normal winter weather and life would continue on as normal, but here in the South - this is a "blizzard" and everything shuts down! 
This is what we've been doing around the Thomas household for the past 3 days - playing in the snow, playing cards, making/eating snowcream, doing puzzles and "crafting".  Yes, crafting...we went on an outing today to Michaels - really the road are as clear as can be...we got all our supplies and came home and put together super cute chalkboard picture frames - they are going to be thank you gifts for a few fantastic ladies that volunteer in our children's ministry!  I was over the moon happy with our crafting-selves today...the girls, Crafting just isn't their thing, I guess. :)  Oh well, it's been great having a few days to do some fun, out-of-the-ordinary things - Happy Snow Days!