Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mama's Got a New Ride.

That's Right...

I'm going to look so good driving this...

In 30 more years... 

...when this wears out. :)

Yes, I've done the unthinkable.  I've succumbed to the 'mommy minivan' lifestyle.  


When I'm done eating crow this week, maybe I'll give you a ride in it...
                                                                                            that's if you are lucky!

Go read here to see what I mean...Never Would Have Thought

**Don't forget our Kid's Giveaway is going on now!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Paying it Forward

    To be quite honest, this adoption process has been humbling to Jerad and I in the sense of having to raise funds to help bring our son home.  We have never been in this position before.  It's new territory.  A task that we have no experience in doing.  While I'm being honest, I think you could say we prided ourselves on "pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps"..."earning a living"..."working for our keep."  All things that were instilled in Jerad and I, both, at a young age.  I do believe we have a video of me mowing our 3 acre yard at probably age 5 or kidding!  While I don't believe there is anything wrong with this idea, and believe God created us to use our hands and work hard to Glorify Him through our actions, there is a gray area where I believe we teeter totter back and forth between being thankful for what God has blessed us with...and believing we earned our money all by ourselves. Then, the next piece to this puzzle we are learning about is what we do with this money we have been blessed with.  We tithe our normal percentage each month...but we are realizing there is so much more we could be doing.

I have to say I had NO idea that this adoption process would affect our 'giving.'

I have seen my family begin to transform from a 'me' focus to an 'other's' focus through the blessing of your generous financial gifts.

I have seen Jerad's heart soften to the likes of people I would HAVE NEVER thought he would have compassion toward.  He has selflessly given more of this time lately, than I have ever seen in the past 8 year's I have known him.  And let me tell you, nothing makes me love him more than to see him give of himself. 

Making Daddy's favorite breakfast one morning to serve to him in bed!  Or at least while he was watching Bass Master's.
I have heard our oldest daughter, Leah, make comments about saving money in her piggy bank to help bring her baby brother home.  She has decided to have a Lemonade Stand next Friday (8/5) at our dear friend's HUGE garage sale at 105 N. Cedar (here in Hillsboro).  So please come see her and support her efforts to help Blake. 

But I also want to thank you.  Thank you for helping us.  Thank you for having compassion on our son.  But most of all...thank you for helping soften our hearts toward 'giving.'  We are truly blessed.  And we hope to continue to pay it forward.

Will you join us?  Pay someone else's kindness to you, forward to others.  You might be surprised at how good it feels.  Let me know about it, I love to hear how God works in people's lives and hearts. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

It takes a village..

You know people say it takes a village to raise a child.  Well, I believe that wholeheartedly.  But I'm also starting to think it takes a village to complete an adoption!
I have to give some special shout-out's to our 'village.'

Andrea Roberts, Reece's Rainbow Advocate
Reece's Rainbow.--The mission of Reece's Rainbow is to rescue orphans with Down syndrome through the gift of adoption, to raise awareness for all of the children who are waiting in 25 countries around the world, and to raise funds as adoption grants that help adoptive families afford the high cost of adopting these beautiful children.
FYI-->In Central and Eastern European countries alone (this would include Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Romania, etc, but NOT Russia), there are more than 1.5 MILLION CHILDREN who have been abandoned by their families for one reason or another and are living in "public care" (that's the nice way to put it).  If statistically, 1 out of every 733 live births results in a child with Down syndrome, that means at any given time there are 2,046 children with Down syndrome who need families.  THAT'S JUST IN EUROPE!! 

Adoption & Beyond--
TO PROVIDE education, support and quality services for people seeking to build their families through adoption and to assist in gathering and preparing the social background documents needed in the process.
TO ASSIST women and men in looking at all life giving options for their child and by providing for their emotional needs as they prepare and participate in an adoption plan.
 TO SPONSOR workshops in order to educate the public regarding the positive aspects of adoption by presenting information on various adoption topics. 
--Learn more about this agency here: 

The Other Families--
These are the families who are mining the trenches along with us and have proven invaluable through this journey by lending an ear, providing insight, wisdom from experience, and encouragement... as well as prayers.  Let me introduce you to my friends who have become like family.  
The Hinz Family & Sterling-


The Farley's and Sergey

Grab This!


The Lunnen Family


The Taylor Family

...and so many more!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Family in the Same State with the Same Call

Okay, so I've been following this family's journey to adopt their little daughter, Dariya from Eastern Europe.  You can get caught up on their story here.  What is so neat about this family is THEY ARE FROM KANSAS!  There's just something about local people being on the same mission, you know?  We live in similar conditions, with similar beliefs, with similar cultures, with similar surroundings...and to top it all of...we have similar hearts for adoption of special needs children.
They just brought Dariya home July 15th.  Here is a video of their homecoming...and if this doesn't bring you to tears...

Make photo slide shows at 


I'm trying to help you get a feel for what an International adoption is like by living through the adventures of other people.  You can read about the adjustments of bringing a child raised in an orphanage, along with special needs, into your home.  Read about how their other children have adapted to this new sibling and much more.  Plus it makes me even more anxious to be able to post a video like this on our blog page when we are
"Bringing Blake Home!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


This little girl was part of the 'heart change' we experienced.
     Because I'm on the road 2 day's a week traveling for my work, I listen to a lot of podcasts from iTunes.  I tell you what, I look forward to this quiet time of 'church' in my car each week.  I listen to the likes of Francis Chan, Matt Chandler, Erwin McManus...great men of God who can rock your world with the Word of God.  I've spent many a car ride laughing out loud, crying tears of shame/sadness, feeling my cup runneth over with joy, trembling from goosebumps creeping up my spine, and shaking with awe at the raw, convicting truth being spoken through these men-coming straight out of Scripture.
  Well, today's message was no less convicting.  It's topic was "Kingdom Priority."  It comes from the tiny book of the prophet Haggai.  To cut straight to the chase the underlying theme was: "Do we, as the people (the church), have something we are building into with our time and resources? Or are we using every excuse to build up our lives on earth?"  Thus the idea...where is your Kingdom Priority?  Excuses like...(and I'm a personal trainer, so trust me I've heard them all!)
I have no time.
I have no money.
It's too difficult.
I can't commit.
But what we do have is time, money, motivation to fulfill our own personal priorities and self-indulgences.  So what do we do with this newfound revelation?  Or reminder?
What Haggai realizes is that we have to have a heart change before anything else can happen.  Our first act has to be obedience, repentance from the heart.  It's not a physical action.  It's not a discipline, it's not wealth, it's not time. The minute the Israelites repented and addressed their 'heart' issues, God was with them.  Then, once the heart is secured...the hands will follow.  The most captivating part of this discussion this morning was this line..

"True heart change should always lead to the hands that follow."

This is what we have been saved to do. 
Trust. Love. Serve.
I don't think this message was arguing with us to become poor or to look down on people who are financially blessed.  I felt that through this message God was telling the Israelites, and those of us today because it still applies, to use our resources, time, and gifts for His redemptive purposes.

I write all of this to tell you this...
I've been asked if we have really thought this adoption process through, if we know what we are getting into, if we really want to do this...
And this is my answer to that.  We as a family have experienced true heart change (and are still being changed and molded), we have been humbled and blessed, we have experienced God's hand in our lives in a really personal way.  
Therefore, as a result... 
We are being the hands that follow.

Monday, July 25, 2011

This One's for the Kids Giveaway's

**FYI: We are extending this giveaway another week because of some technical difficulties and people not being able to sign up...
This One's for the Kids
How to Enter:
1. Click on the 'donate' button to the right of this post, in the side bar.  Pay with credit/debit or PayPal card--either $5 (2 entries), $10 (5 entries). This money is tax-deductible and goes directly to our Reece's Rainbow Grant. If you have a question about where this money is this.  Thanks!   
2.  Then go and post your name and how many entries you had under the comment 
section of each prize package you entered to win. Click on the words 0 comments to open up the comment box. You can spread your entries out over more than 1 package.
3.  Each set of prizes is posted under a new blog post so make sure to scroll down to view all of the available prizes.  (IF YOU CAN'T FIGURE THIS OUT, EMAIL OR FACEBOOK MESSAGE ME AND I'LL ENTER YOU)  :)

A winner will be announced Wednesday, August 10th!

$5=2 entries
$10=5 entries
**1 additional entry is added to your total for posting "I entered into the "This One's for the Kids" 
giveaway to help Bring Home Blake" on your Facebook page or Twitter (don't forget to let me know if you did by posting this information in your comment box as well)
 Grand Prize Winner...all entries qualify you for this prize!

Prize Package 2-This One's for the Big Girls

$15 iTunes Gift Card
A perfect combination of fun and color for any girl.  Check out Carisa's other items at: A Little Knitting

Prize Package 4-This One's for the Little Girl's

A girl's 3-6 month Summer Dress with Matching Bow from Sugar and Spice
1 Aqua Moby Wrap for the swimming pool--it helps free up your hands for your other children, quick-drying
A Flip-Flop Quilt
1 Choice of any Nursery Scripture Print or Scripture Print with customization of verse and/or colors from  Amy J's Store

1 Bow Board with 2 customized bows

Prize Package 3-This One's for the Baby Girl's

A Baby Girl's size 0-3 months Sun Dress from Sugar & Spice
1 Choice of any Nursery Scripture Print or Scripture Print from Amy J.' s store
An Aqua Moby Wrap to wear in the swimming pool to free up your hands for your other children
A hand-knit afghan from Malinda

1 customized baby bracelet from AmyJ's

1 baby bib and burp rag

Prize Package 1-This One's for the Boys

A little guy's bomber hat. Thanks to Malinda!
Size 2T Boy's Outfit from Sugar & Spice
Matching Blanket, Brag Book, and Alphabet board
A Matching alphabet board to go with the doggie blanket and Brag book

Prize Package 5-This One's for the Room

This pink and black combination will look great in any girl's room!
Choice of any Nursery Scripture Print or Scripture Print with customization of verse and/or colors from Amy J.' s store

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Your Grace is Enough!

Autum has been waking up extremely early again this week so needless to say this mama has had little rest.  But this morning as I was in her room rocking her back to sleep, I felt an amazing peace. (yes, even through the crying)  As I've followed Lisa and Dave's experience with Joshua and the sadness, frustration, loneliness, and fear come out of this experience for them, I can't help but feel a bit anxious.
I can't help but feel some fear creep into my mind.
I can't help but to stress a little. 
Quick Update: Here's another video of Blake's little buddy, Joshua.

Yet, this morning I took advantage of the stillness of the house at such an early hour and prayed.  I prayed for Lisa and Dave.  I prayed for a miraculous healing of Joshua so they can come home. (which by this video, shows no sign of illness!) :)  I prayed for Lisa's family during this time of mourning for the sudden loss of her sister.

I also prayed for God to provide some moisture to our area of the country, as we are in an extreme drought.  And so many of the families in our community rely on farming as a way of living--so their crops are being compromised by this month long series of triple digit heat.

I prayed for some dear friends of ours who have moved to another state as part of God's calling for them to pastor a church plant.  I prayed for their time of transition to a new area, for friends, for their children to adjust, for them to be transparent as God works in their lives.

I prayed for our troops.  I prayed for their families.

I prayed for our Prayer Warrior child, Nadine.  For her family to answer God's call on their heart to bring her home to their's. 

And finally, I prayed for Blake.  For him to continue to feel God's presence, for him to know we are still working to come get him, for his health.  For our adoption of him to move along smoothly and efficiently.  I prayed for our girl's to adjust to life with him being around.

What I realized at the end of this time...I walked into Autum's room exhausted, frustrated, and angry.  But as she quieted down and I left the room, I realized I needed this time.  God may be waking her up early this week so I can get some quiet time with Him, in solitude, before the craziness of our day begins. To pray.  To intercede.  To be humbled.

I walked into church this morning with a new attitude for the day.  And it was summed up by the words that my church family was singing..."God, I see your Grace is Enough...I'm covered in your love...Your Grace is Enough for me...So remember your people, remember your children, remember your promise, oh God!"
**Don't forget our Kid Giveaway begins tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

This One's for the Kid's ...Part II

This One's for the Kids...Part II

First off, I want to thank all of you who donated to our 200 People Facebook Challenge....WE DID IT! $1000 in 20 awesome!  I am blessed by all of your support and encouragement through this journey.  I will blog later about how this idea of 'paying it forward' has had an impact on our family. 

So...onto the next thing!!!  Some more fundraising items for our Kid can 'buy-in' starting Monday.  Check out these other great donations my friends have graciously donated, and many of them are hand-made.  Such talent!  I will be combining these items into several large packages you can put your name in the raffle to win!  And don't forget all entries qualify you for the Wii!!
Lullabee Fleece Blanket by Lesli

A cute summer dress and matching bow, size 3-6 months

A little shirt and pair of capris, size 2T

An infant's summer dress, size 0-3 months with matching bow

A little boy's shorts and rocker t-shirt, size 2T

A small, lightweight girl's quilt.  The colors are great!

2 Lucky winners will get a choice of any Nursery Scripture Print or Scripture Print from Amy J.' s store

 -4 lucky winners will get a choice of any Child's Initial Bracelet from Amy J.' s store, custom-sized 
And 2 Lucky winners will get a choice of any Nursery Scripture Print or Scripture Print with customization of verse and/or colors from Amy J.' s store 
 Here are some more samples of her work.
 ...and another one.
..and I LOVE this one.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Prayer for Peace

Do you remember a few day's ago when I asked you to pray for Joshua and his new Forever Family-Lisa and Dave?  Lisa is the woman who provided us with all the new pictures of Blake.  Here, I'll help remind you of who their little guy is...(he does not like bath time, as they are learning)

Anyway, I asked you to pray for their safe trip home...but they have run into some MAJOR hold-ups.  They are still in Eastern Europe because Joshua (pictured at right) had a mass show up on his right lung during his routine X-Ray before leaving his country.  Long story short, they believe it could be either TB or Pneumonia...and they keep getting conflicting reports on this--even though he has been vaccinated for TB and has shown no symptoms of this...they are asking him to stay in-country for 6-8 more weeks or undergo a difficult procedure in a foreign country with doctor's she does not know...anyway, go here to read the entire story.  If that wasn't enough, Lisa's older sister was found dead in her apartment by her mother Monday night...yeah, makes me stick to my stomach to type this...which was about as unexpected as Joshua's diagnosis. 
...I feel like Lisa is family in some sort of weird way because of our two boy's being in the same groupa, similar ages, play-time buddies, etc.  She has a heart like ours and answered the call to adoption, just as we did.  She loves God and trusts Him completely.  She is broken right now.  She is hurting.  She is torn between consoling her hurting family at home and making a VERY hard decision about their new son.  So she is asking us to PRAY.  PRAY WITHOUT CEASING.  Even though you don't know her, do it for us. 
Pray for crazy peace.
Peace only God can instill in her heart. 
Pray for God's will to be done. 
Pray for a miraculous healing of Joshua's lungs before tomorrow. 
Pray for Joshua's doctor to have compassion on this family. 
Pray for the State Department and for the CDC to make a decision to bring Joshua to the U.S.

Thank you.  We  know God hears our cries.  He knows our hearts.  He loves to help His children.  So intercede on behalf of this family. 
In Him,

Monday, July 18, 2011

This one's for the kids.

"This One's For the Kids"

Our next fundraiser will begin July 25th and run until Aug. 3rd.  A winner for each prize package will be drawn the morning of Aug. 4th through

Here are a few sneak peeks of what will be available for you to win...

A Wii!!!!!  Plus 2 games--Wii Sports & Wii Sports Resort

 Stock up on New Music!

Bow boards...Jerad's mom is also selling these as a personal fundraiser for "Bring Home Blake"-contact me if you want to order one, or two...
Puppy Dog Blanket and Brag Book (photo album)

3 Locally-Made Blankets/Afghans

Aqua Moby Wraps--A wrap made for the pool to free up your hands for another child that may be running around.  Lightweight, fast-drying.
A Coby Snapp Digital Camcorder.  Upload your children's crazy antics to youTube in an instant!
And our lovely model :)
A hand-knitted blanket made of soft, rainbow-flecked yarn. Thank you Malinda!! (go read her blog here)

An older girl's AWESOME blue hat!  I LOVE this color.  Check out Carisa's other knitting projects at A Little Knitting

 This one's for those with little boys!!
Is this NOT adorable?  I may have to order Blake one to come home with.
Check out the information about this hat, here.


...Can't wait to show you more.  This isn't even the half of it!