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 yesterday...here'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 well...today 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!