Thursday, June 30, 2011

21-Day Challenge-Workout 18, Baby Blake

Today's workout needs no words...this little buddy's picture speaks for itself.  I love to say "he is our son!"

As you probably noticed, today's workout is killer!  A great workout for a great little boy and a great adventure so far.  Keep us in your prayers!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A sense of community

As we began this adoption journey, my faith in the idea of 'community' has been reinstated. It seems a lot of times that people get so caught up in their own lives and own issues and own families and own activities, etc. that they forget about a whole world out there.  I know I'm a culprit of the same problem.  So it is easy for me to get discouraged by people's lack of awareness of those around them, lack of reaching out, lack of care.  But a few people have taken time out of their busy lives to make our journey to "Bring Blake Home" important enough to share! Read on...

The Driveway of Life
As a celebration of her 1-year mark of writing a blog, this friend of mine writes about all things.  But what catches my attention the most is her words about her daughter, Ella, who has DS.  I feel like I can learn a lot from her experiences with her beautiful girls.

Unseen Roots
If you want to laugh out loud one minute, feel genuinely touched by someone growing spiritually in their walk with Christ, or just totally relate to a story she tells--go read Tami's blog. She gave a shout-out to Blake and our journey!

Surviving the Chaos (and they just decided to adopt a little girl for their family)-Jamie is new in our area, but I feel like I've known her a while because of her relation to a dear friend of mine in this community.  Follow Jamie and Brent as they begin their adoption of a little gal from Africa.  So right now, they are literally "surviving the chaos.And thanks to her for introducing us to her blog followers!

Exposure Lead to Change of Direction--Thank you Malinda, for the sweet surprise I received when I opened the newspaper last week!

It's a Darn Good Life--Go check out Megan's amazing photography skills!  And I can't wait to see Malinda's family photos after seeing that she won Megan's giveaway for our Father's Day fundraiser!

Not to mention the people who have posted Blake's picture on their Facebook pages and have spread the news through word of mouth.  This journey has already brought more blessings to our life, in only 1 month, than we ever imagined.  So thank you. (and I hope I didn't forget anyone)


21-Day Challenge, Workout 17-Baby Danil

This little guy's family is very close to traveling home with him.  The pictures on his Forever Family's blog are so fun.  They show his true 'all-boy' personality, and his love to run around in his underwear!  Must be a boy thing...I wouldn't know...yet. :)

Let us know how many reps of each exercise you finish in the 60 seconds.  And let us know how your arms feel by now!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

5 Going on 15!

 So this past weekend Leah had the honor of being a flower girl in Jerad's cousin's wedding in Oklahoma City. 

She was so excited.  I couldn't help but think how fast this time will go and someday she will be the woman in the white dress--not the one climbing the candelabras and jumping between the pews.  But then I got sad, so I immediately returned my thoughts to the joyous time we had this weekend and how perfect our little red-head performed on her big day.

Here are just a few of the memories...

She even had her own dance with the ring bearer, who had equally as much energy and charisma!

She was so excited about her job in the wedding that she practiced in the motel before the 'big event.'

She held her own with the 'big' girls, observing every step the girl's 
made throughout the day and doing her best to fit in.
 ..and to finish it all off, a dance with the groom.  She is already talking about the next wedding she'll get to be the flower girl in...too bad it is a year away!

21-Day Challenge-Workout 16, Vlad V

His eyes remind me of Autum's, dark and piercing.  This little guy just caught my attention on the blog last week.  He's so sweet. Read more about him here 


Monday, June 27, 2011

Not sure why

Some of you who have followed our life the past few months know it has been nothing short of craziness...

For those of you who aren't familiar with all that we have been through, here is a short synopsis of what God has been doing in our lives and hearts.

 1. In late December, we felt God prompting us to slow down.  For me, that is a hard thing to do.  At that time, I wasn't sure in what respect I was to slow down, but knew that was definite.  Through lots of prayer, I began to feel God press me to let go of my wellness business downtown.  I only had the downtown location for a year (in May) and couldn't believe I was to let go of all I had built up through clientele, classes, instructors, programs, and services--not to mention the close-knit relationships I had built through teaching classes and personal training. I saw my work as a ministry and worked to maintain relationships through all that I did.  I continued to ask God "why?"  There was no logical reasoning why I was to let it all go...the way I saw it...all my hard work, sweat, and tears would just go down the drain.  But nevertheless, I closed my doors May 1.

2. I dearly missed being 'busy', seeing people all the time, continuing to grow relationships and my ministry.

3. Felt a 'heaviness' that I described to many as an uncertainty--something I hadn't experienced in a LONG time.  I had no idea why God was asking us to slow down, give up my friendships, and be 'still.'  I chose to fast, get in the Word like I've never done before, and just focus on my relationship with God, and give my kid's much-needed attention.  Even as I felt myself growing spiritually and my patience with my children grow, I continued to feel 'heavy.'  It was as if I was missing something...

4. Then we found Blake.  We had been browsing over RR website for a long time, I had read all the stories, had prayed for the children, and had considered someday adopting a child--just didn't figure it would be any time soon.

5. But God works in mysterious ways, He intervened in a quick way, moving Jerad's heart to adopt and here we are.  And immediately, the 'heaviness' was lifted. 

6. I still had questions, though, because I felt so clearly that God was asking me to slow down, take time for myself, rest. Focus on my family and just be 'still.'  To me, all this paperwork, etc. was not slowing down, it was making my life busy again....
But what I have only felt God reveal to me recently is:  It's a different kind of busy.  He is showing me that I need to slow down and focus on a less broad group of people.  I need to focus on myself, my children, and my husband.  I need to give them my energy, my patience, and my focus.  I am able to do this SO much better when I am not too busy giving myself away to everyone else.  I love being around people and serving them, but I can't just stop.  It's all or nothing.  Being at home doing this paperwork, has protected me from the influence of a lot of people asking me to do 'this' or 'that.'  I have spent many more nights at home, with my family, resting, and praying.  This adoption has slowed me down, believe it or not, it has kept me home.  Where God had wanted me to be from the beginning...He just knew it was going to take something I'm very passionate about to keep me 'still', something that touched my soul, something that would change my life.
He knew Blake could do just that.
God is already using Him in my life.  I can't wait  to see how He uses him to help others.
That's why I'm here. 

21-Day Challenge, Workout 15-Baby Joshua

Ohhh, baby Joshua!  I first met him as Baby Cliff.  His new family is there RIGHT NOW.  Working to bring him home.  Follow their story here:  I found myself crying tears of joy for them as I watched this video and looked over all their pictures.  What made me so emotional is that, this little guy is Blake's best buddy.  They are very close in age, live in the same 'groupa' and have the same babushka!  So I get to live through this family's experience and get a inside glance at where Blake lives and what type of care he is receiving through this family's visit.  I'm so blessed to have this to help with my anxiety and curiosity.  So this workout is near and dear to my heart.  Enjoy this video and say a prayer for Blake's little buddy...who will be leaving him soon.  Hang on Blake, we'll be there soon!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

21-Day Challenge-Workout 14-Baby Josephine

These pigtails are just so sweet.  This little gal's family is working hard to complete their paperwork so they can go get this precious angel and bring her home.  You can read about their journey here.

For today, record how far you think you made it during the intervals, or how many reps you did of some sort of cardio during the time allotted.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

21 Day Challenge-Workout 13-Baby Davis

 This little guys is being adopted by a family in Alabama that I have been following through connected friends in Reece's Rainbow.  They recently had a "Pillows for Davis" fundraiser and it was a complete surprise to their family, set-up by friends through an Etsy shop.  See, this is how this adoption community a family.
Go read more about their family and adoption progress here at:

For today's workout: Let me know what type of recreational activity you chose to do and who you did it with.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Free time...

For some reason, now that this little notebook...

Is going to be mailed to Adoption & Beyond in Overland Park, KS that contains A LOT of information about...
 And our first set of dossier paperwork was sent in a "Big Brown School Bus" (according to Leah)

 Which will get us one step closer to ...

Leaves us with a lot of free we patiently await the 3 month-closure of the SDA in Eastern Europe. (which we are praying will be shortened)

So for now, we...

  Practice eating our 'puffs'...

 Playing in the sprinkler with friends...

Spending some time making new friends...

...and most importantly headed to a wedding this weekend for Leah to be a flower girl...and a much-needed time to celebrate and dance our worries away!

21 Day Challenge-Workout 12-Baby Sterling

Grab This!

This little guy's family committed to adopting him about the same exact time that we did.  His mother and I have emailed back and forth as we go through the same experiences together involving paperwork, emotions, and insecurity in fundraisers, etc.  But it has been so amazing becoming a part of this new 'family' through our journey to adopt Blake.  So pray for Sterling today, and you can go to their family blog to read more.

For today's workout, let me know how many reps you were able to do for the the 1:30 time span.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

21-Day Challenge, Workout 11, Baby Genevieve

Grab This!

This little gal is about to meet her family soon--they have submitted her adoption dossier papers at the beginning of June and hope to be receiving their court date in the country she lives in soon.  Much of International adoption is about waiting on paperwork, patience is a lesson well-learned by the end.

Check out her family's journey to bring her home, here.

For today's workout, keep track of the highest number of reps you complete for each exercise and record it in the comment box.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

21-Day Challenge-Workout 10, Baby Sergey


This little boy is special to me because me because his mommy was a key factor in helping us make our decision to adopt.  She and I began emailing back and forth a long time ago, just after she began this adoption process with her husband and their kids!  She and I prayed and fasted together, over long distance emailing and phone calls.  She is hoping to bring baby Sergey home in July or August.  Say a prayer for the Farley family today! Read their story at

For today's workout, let me know how you are feeling by this second week...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Day in the Life of...

So some of you who have adopted children with special needs may be wondering what the life of your child will be as an adult.  You have him or her under your care for the years leading up to school, through school, and possibly somewhat after he or she graduates...but then what?  For me, this was one question that I did have an answer too.  I contract work out for a highly-motivated, highly-interactive day service provider called Disability Supports of the Great Plains.  What my previous idea of a day service provider was, has been completely blown out of the water.  These are just a few of the highlights...
Annual Rock Springs Trip-
The clients get to camp out, canoe,
ride horses, shoot guns, archery, hike, and explore.

Dance and Party (and don't forget karaoke) 
there's always a good reason to celebrate!
 And of course, exercise with me!  
"Rowing the Boat" with bands
Doing a little Zumba
 Dancing to the Cha Cha Slide

Music lessons, piano or singing

And this doesn't include the friendships, jobs, and relationships these adults have along the way.  I am so excited to think that someday Blake will be able to interact with people just like him, who love him just as we do, and who will make sure he gets the best care.  Thank you DSGP for this opportunity for our loved ones who need just a little extra care.


21 Day Challenge-Workout 9, Aisha K

Baby Aisha innocent.  Look at that hair!
She is in an orphanage in a region that many people have not adopted whoever commits to this little girl will open the doors for many children without Forever Families to be known...and hopefully adopted!

Read more about her here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

21 Day Challenge-Workout 8, Baby Tabitha

This little face is just beautiful, and the red hair--you all know how partial I am to red heads!  Anyway, read more about her here.

For today's workout keep track of how long it takes you to complete each round and record it here.  Rest 1 minutes between each complete set.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!

I have to say my children are pretty blessed to have the daddy they do.  Nothing melts my heart more than the smiles he has when he walks in the door after work each day to 2 little girl's anxiously awaiting his arrival.  He has grown in so many ways, since becoming a daddy.  But I would have to say most recently the biggest thing I've seen change in him is his heart.  God has been working on him gently over the past few months to prepare him for this journey of adoption.  And looking back now, I can see how God meticulously planned it to happen in His perfect way.  In His perfect time.  No one else could have brought about this softness of spirit in his heart, but God.
I have to say I love this new gentleness of spirit I've seen come out of my man.  I won't lie, I still love his rugged, outdoorsy, man's man appeal--but I also am drawn to his desire to take this little boy, Blake, a child we've never met, but both feel very drawn too, into our home.  To become ours.  To support.  To save.  I'm not sure I've seen him give of himself so fully, step out in complete faith, and move in obedience to God's calling on our hearts--ever before.
Thank You Jesus, for revealing this side of my husband that only you have known about, to me.  I have to say I am really digging it.  Even if I only get glimpses of this man, between the outdoor channel marathons and bait shop talk...

 By the way, that is Leah's swimsuit.  We don't let her fish in a t-shirt and panties. :)

 Also, a mother I've gotten to know through this community of adoption is currently in the country we are adopting from and will be visiting the exact orphanage that Blake is living in tomorrow. Her little boy Joshua and Blake are very similar ages, so we naturally were drawn to each other through this interest.  She played a key role in advocating Blake to us through her journaling and pictures.  So we are forever indebted to her for this.  Her blog is Building our Village.  Check out the pictures she has already posted and keep checking in throughout the next few weeks as she goes through the same exact process we hope to be going through by December.

21-Day Challenge-Workout 7, Baby Alexander

 Baby Alexander is no longer a baby, he is now 5-years old and faces going to the institution in his country very soon.  Children of this age are at high risk of dying within the first year of life in a institution.  He is adorable!

For today's workout: let us know what type of recreational activity you did and if anyone participated with you!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

21-Day Challenge-Workout 6, Baby Elvira

 Such a sweetie.  Read more about her here.  She is anxiously awaiting a "Forever Family!"  How can you turn down that sad little face?

For today, tell us what cardio you chose and how long it took you to complete the distances I suggested.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Gives me Goosebumps...

Why we were finding out that our adoption process will be put on halt until September...another family was doing this...Ohhh, I long for the day when we are walking away from the orphanage with Blake.  What a glorious day that will be.  Praise God for this family and the joy they have brought to this little gal's life.  Only God could orchestrate something so beautiful.  Hope you enjoy!

21-Day Challenge-Workout 5, Big Boy Nathan

Nathan is an older child that needs a Forever Family. You can read more about him here.

For today's workout, let me know where you are the most sore..where are you really feeling it?

Today's Cardio Bonus:
Go as hard as you can at your cardio of choice for 30 seconds, then rest 20 seconds...repeat this 16 times (or as many times as you can)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

21-Day Challenge, Workout 4, Baby Kenny

Baby can't help but smile at this little guy's contagious grin.
He is HIV+ and still awaiting a Forever Family.

For today record how you are feeling by now.  Take your time going through today's stretches, breathe deeply and relax into the poses.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

First road bump..

Okay, so today we received notice that the government of the country Blake lives in is restructuring it's State Department that handles all adoptions.  So as of July 11th no adoptions will take place for "approximately 3 months" while they make changes.  So while this is taking place we will be unsure as to what the new requirements will be to adopt from this country...such as age requirements, family size, financial obligations, different set of paperwork, etc.  The way our stateside assistants are making it sound-this restructuring will end up being a very good thing in hopes it will help streamline the adoption process and hopefully result in us getting Blake much easier and quicker.  But, we trust that God is bigger than this hiccup and we will choose to love Him more!  He knew about this law going into place way before we even felt His lead to adopt--so we will choose to:
Rest in His Perfect Peace.  
and continue to Praise God for Who He is. 
As part of this restructuring the country has cut their list of 'special needs' in half meaning that many families who were wanting to adopt a young child with a special need from this country may not be able to do so until he or she turns 5-years old now.  So please pray for those families who are feeling lost and helpless in this time of struggle, feeling like they have lost their child...there is potential that the list could be expanded so many are setting their hopes on this change to take effect.  Fortunately, Down Syndrome is still on the list as a 'special need' so we are safe in this aspect so far in our adoption of Blake.  But many other's aren' PLEASE keep all these families who have become very near and dear to our hearts and minds in your prayers. 

So for us for now, we will continue on with our paperwork and fundraising and pray and fast fervently while we watch God work.
He knows us more than we know ourselves.
He loves us more than we can fathom.
His understanding and wisdom far surpasses our capabilities of knowing.
He is in control.
What an amazing God is He. 

21-Day Challenge-Workout 3, Baby Daisey

Grab This!
 Baby Daisey, so precious!  Read her story here.

For today's workout, keep track of how far you travel doing the timed cardio intervals described.  Record what cardio you chose and how far you made it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Father's Day Fundraiser Winner's Announced!

Okay...I've been so anxious all day to get a chance to sit down this evening and set-up my account to draw the 2 winner's of the Father's Day gift card giveaway.  
So, here we go...

The $100 Lowe's Card winner is:
Meg Duerksen

The $50 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card winner is:
Tami Driggers

Yay! So excited for you both.

Thank you to all who entered and supported our efforts to "Bring Blake Home."  We raised $275 so we were pleased!  Thank you to those of you who posted this on Facebook and blogged about our journey as well, people have been so gracious and we are truly blessed. 

21-Day Challenge-Workout 2, Baby Olivia

Meet Olivia.
So sweet.  You all know I'm partial to chubby baby's!
Read her story here.

For today post how many rounds you made it through before the 15 minutes was up.  Are you sore from yesterday's workout?