Saturday, November 22, 2014

Are you Blessed?

I have seen so many blog posts and Facebook statuses about people being upset about other people describing themselves as blessed. And it makes me sad that among Christians we are starting to quarrel about whether or not we can say we are blessed.

 So I've had enough, and have to throw my 2 cents in on the subject. I'm gonna set the record straight.

Did you know there is a difference in saying you are blessed and blessed (pronounced blesid)?

It's true. I consulted a dictionary.

Blesid is an adjective. If you remember from English class and adjective describes a noun. Like when Jesus says in Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in Spirit; for theirs in the kingdom of Heaven" he is describing the poor in Spirit. That word in Greek is actually saying that they are fortunate or prosperous. Jesus was literally telling those people that they were fortunate to be poor in spirit because Heaven belongs to them.

Blessed is a verb. An action word that means to "express or feel gratitude to; to thank" So when someone says "I am blessed." they are essentially saying they feel gratitude.

I say this because I feel like it is important to acknowledge that we have been giving many things in this life, one of them being life itself, and we should be thankful for that. We should be telling people we are blessed. We should be acknowledging that which God has given us.

So if you are one of those people who felt ashamed for saying you are blessed, and you meant it because you are grateful for ALL God has given you, you are free from shame my friend.

And if you are one of those people who was like "Yeah, stop saying you are blessed! You're not! That's not how Jesus meant it!", then know that those who are saying it are being grateful, and it's okay for you to be grateful too.

Hugs my friends!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

And we said No

She came into our living room and sat in the yellowish-orange chair. My girls ran around her and giggled. She played with Julia, and listened to all of her stories about My Little Ponies. She told Julia that Rainbow Dash is her favorite.

I sat on the couch under a quilt; tired, cold, worn down, nervous. I looked around my house and saw boxes of kitchen cabinets in the corner, clutter all around, and I could feel the vomit wanting to come up.

She asked us about our wedding, our parents, where our adoptive child will sleep. She asked if I would do my one on one interview with her and Paul took the girls for a walk.

She asked me about my relationship with my dad. She asked me about being sexually abused. She asked me if now was the time to adopt. I cried. I felt humiliated. I felt like all of our friends were judging us without even knowing the conversation was happening. I felt like I had failed.

Tears welled up in her eyes as she told me she knows that God has called us to adoption, that she knows we are good parents, that I am a good mom. She told me that God didn't give me a spirit of timidity but of power.

She asked me now the time for you to adopt?

She told me that there is no shame in postponing. She said that I am doing good, hard work in counseling and she doesn't want me to be distracted by the adoption process and stop healing. She asked me again "is now the time for you to adopt?".

She asked Paul to come in and talk with us. She told him our conversation. She asked us again "is now the time for you to adopt?".

She told us our options. She told us we could complete our home study and postpone referral. She told us that we could stop the home study process and start over again when we were ready. And she asked again "is now the time for you to adopt?'

Paul took a deep breath, and paused. He asked questions. He said that finishing our home study and postponing referral was a good choice. She gave us time to talk. We told her the same thing.

She got up to leave, and told us that she would see us in the morning.

Everything in the pit of my stomach told me that we needed stop. Paul was hesitating, and that meant we need to figure out why. Continuing this process wouldn't be right if we didn't know.

She hugged me, told me she was going to be praying for me, and left.

We have spent today trying to figure out why there was hesitation, and we don't know. We honestly don't know. but we know that God knows. We know that God is going to show us in His timing, and until then we will wait.

Waiting is hard, but we know He has called us to adoption. So we will wait until he says it is time.

So we said no when she asked if this is the right time to adopt.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween...4 years later

We spent the day with my mom and some friends in College Station. We went to eat lunch at Potbelly Sandwiches, we shopped for Aggie Outfits for Owen and Julia, we went to Step Off and then enjoyed the game. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we be Texas Tech. Paul and I took a picture on the field after the game "with" the babies. You can't ask for more.

We drove back to Giddings, and had dinner with my parents before heading home. On the way home someone cut Paul off, and he cussed at them. We joked about how if our children are born cursing it will be his fault.

As we laid in bed that night, I realized I hadn't felt much movement from the baby that day. I tried to chalk it up to all of the moving I did, but my stomach was in knots. We decided to call the OB on-call to get his thoughts on it, and he casually told me that it was normal to not feel a lot of movement at 18 weeks, but if I was really concerned I could go to the ER for peace of mind. Paul didn't want to go, but I told him it was better to go and everything be fine than to not go and regret it. My momma instincts kicked in way before my children were born. I knew something wasn't right.

We got up and went to the nearest ER. When you are pregnant and say that you haven't felt movement from your child/children...they don't make you wait.

We went back to a room, and a nurse came in pretty quickly to check fetal heart tones. She could only find one heart beat, but reassured me that the babies were still small so it is sometimes hard to find both of them. The doctor came in and said he wanted to get an ultrasound to see what was going on. He said we would have to wait awhile because they had to call in the on-call sonographer.

Paul and I chatted while we waited. We were sure that everything was fine, but we just wanted some reassurance.

Once the sonographer arrived, she came in to get me. She told Paul that he wasn't allowed to come back to the ultrasound. This was devastating, but we knew that I would be back quickly. She told me that she would let me watch the ultrasound, but that she couldn't answer any questions.

She squirted the warm jelly on my protruding belly, and began the ultrasound. She asked if we knew the genders of our babies. I told her yes. I told her we were expecting a boy and a girl. She first found Owen, confirmed his gender, did his measurements, and checked for a heart beat. I never saw a heart beat on the monitor. I never saw movement.

She moved on to Baby #2.

She confirmed that we were having a little girl. She immediately got measurements, a strong heart beat, and I saw LOTS of wiggles (this little girl still wiggles).

She told me we were done, that she was taking me back to my room, and that a doctor would be in talk to me shortly. I asked if her there were two wiggly babies and two strong heartbeats. I was hoping that was I saw was wrong. She simply said "I'm sorry. I can't answer that." The doctor will be with you shortly.

I knew in my stomach that something was right, and I wanted desperately to be wrong.

As I went back in the room, Paul looked at me and said "Is everything okay?' I looked at him and whispered "I didn't see Owen moving. I didn't see his heartbeat."

A few minutes later the ER doctor walked in, and he looked like he had seen a ghost. He was very solemn. He sat down in the chair, and with tears in his eyes said "I'm sorry. One of the babies doesn't have a heart beat."

I felt like someone stole all of the air out of the room. I couldn't breathe. He said "I'm going to call your OBGYN and see what they want to do."

After he left, I felt like the room was spinning. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't cry. I couldn't think.

I looked at Paul and told him we needed to call my parents. As soon as my dad answered the phone I burst into tears. My dad knew something was terribly wrong. He calmly said "Cynthia, take a deep breath. What's wrong?" Through sobs I mumbled "We lost Owen." He asked if I wanted him to call anyone and I said yes. He told me to let him know what was going to happen, and we hung up.

The doctor came back in and said that my OB wanted to admit at the hospital where I would deliver. He asked if I wanted to go by ambulance or if Paul wanted to drive me. We said Paul would drive. (It's crazy to me that in the midst of all that was going on I could think about how expensive an ambulance ride would be.) We then waited to be discharged.

As we waited, my aunt showed up and I just started bawling. She held me. Prayed for me. Held my hand. She asked if I wanted her to come to the hospital with me and I said yes.

Once we were in the car we knew we had to tell Paul's family. I called my sister in law and Paul called his mom. Both were at church, but answered their phones. I could barely speak the words when I talked to Jenny. Saying it didn't make it more real.

We got to the hospital, and I was admitted into labor and delivery. The nurse checked for contractions and monitored Julia's heart.

The OB on call came in, and held my hand. He said he was very sorry. He told me he had talked to the doctor that was on call before, and he apologized for not having me come there. He said "we just couldn't have known."

Since I had seen the Maternal Fetal medicine doctor before, he let her take over care.

She came in, and did an ultrasound. She explained what had happened. She said it was a placental abruption. My sister asked if there was anything I could've done to prevent it, and she said no. These things just happen and we don't know why.

She said that I would need to see her throughout my pregnancy, and that Julia would need to be delivered between 37 and 38 weeks.

I tried to make jokes about how Julia would be stronger and smarter because she survived. You know the jokes people make about eating their twin and such. I wanted to do anything to make the pain go away.

I finally gave into crying. Then I started vomitting.

I made my dad take Paul to run errands so that Paul could talk and not have to worry about me.

He is so gentle. I knew he would avoid talking about how he was feeling to be strong for me.

I asked my grandma to come to the hospital. It was a moment that I just needed her gentle hugs. She sat and let me cry.

I asked if Owen when to heaven. No one could give me a straight answer.

The next morning my OB came by and expressed his condolences. He told me to come down for an ultrasound after I was released. He told me that I would need to come in more often, and for more ultrasounds. He told me I couldn't do anything for a week. I needed to be on pelvic rest.

That was 4 years ago on Halloween. 4 years.

My daughter arrived safely. She is healthy and happy. She loves dressing up and is excited about Halloween and getting candy. She has become a big sister. She is beautiful and brilliant.

She is so excited about Halloween that she has been wearing her costume for 4 days.

And all I can think about is that day, 4 years ago when I lost my son. I was never able to hold him in my arms. I was never able to see his face. And I dread having to take my daughters trick or treating.

A few weeks ago Paul said "I wish I had a son." And I know what he means. One that he could see, hear, smell and touch. One that he could teach about football. One that he could teach how to blacksmith and work on cars.

My heart sinks when I think about our son. Owen is our son. But sometimes it doesn't feel like it because we can't see him and hold him.

I often wonder what he would look like, what he would like to play, what his favorite food would be. I wonder if he were here if I would I want to try for another baby.

I wonder if every Halloween for the rest of my life is going to be this horrendous or if one day I will enjoy it.

Monday, October 13, 2014

It Isn't Just a Dollar

Last week I was out running errands with my girls. We went to the dentist, Wendy's for lunch, and then Target. While I was at Target, I looked through the dollar section and grabbed a couple of bath things for the girls. One was some bath wash in crayons (that I thought came in the color of the crayon, but it turns out are just clear. Not fun.), and the other was bath paints. I like for my girls to have fun in the bath.

We get home, and go about our day and a couple of days later I remember I bought these nifty bath things for $1 each and it would be fun for them to do in the bath. (Paul was doing something downstairs so I was in charge of bath time. For some reason this is the most boring part of my day. I digress). Anyway, we quickly learn that the body wash crayons are clear body wash, not colored, and they get bored with them. But the bath paints were a huge hit. They used all five in a matter a minutes. The girls are giggling while they paint everything around them.

I remember sitting there thinking that I would like these $1 paints to last longer than this one bath, but then I thought to myself...what does it matter? They were just a $1.

Suddenly, I felt this tremendous weight on my conscious as I thought about that $1. That day I had spent $3 on bath things for my girls. I didn't think about that money when I spent it. I just thought "Oh, this will be fun for them, and it's only $1". But as I sat there as they played I began thinking about the 2.2 BILLION people that live on less than $2 a day. I had spent $3 on bath toys that my girls didn't like or used up in less than five minutes when there are 2.2 BILLION people* who don't even have that for food or clean water.

I became an Ambassador for Noonday Collection a little over a year ago. I decided to be part of this company so I could create a marketplace here among my friends for artisans across this world to be able to live on more than $2 a day. For those artisans to be able to have access to food, clean water and medical care that I often taken for granted.

I have worked hard to try and spend my money as as wisely as I can when it comes to where I purchase from so that I know that what I am buying is being ethically made. These things have become important to me after meeting Jalia, hearing her story, and realizing that she came from NOTHING and each purchase that I make wisely has helped her create a pathway out of poverty for her and the other artisans in her group.

But I sat there the other day throwing away money on things that my girls can survive without, and I didn't even think twice about it before I spent it. I very easily could have said "I would like to spend this $3 on bath stuff, but instead I will talk to my girls about those living in poverty and we can save it to support a child through Compassion International or put it towards our adoption fund." I could have taken that moment and made it a teachable moment for my girls. (Can I just say that my girls didn't even ask for these things...this was something I did.)

I know that I live in America and things are more expensive here than in many other places, but I also strongly feel like I should think about where I spend my money and what I spend it on.

Because for some people that $1 could change their lives.

*information from

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

This Little Light of Mine

Yesterday as I was reading through the She Reads Truth devotional on "The Sermon on the Mount" my thought process changed a little. You see the reading was over Matthew 5:13-16 where Jesus talks about believers being the salt of the earth and the light of the world. I think you know what I'm talking about (here's the text):
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

While I was reading this I started thinking about this skit I did in youth group. There were 8 of us standing in a line, holding candles, singing "This Little Light of Mine". As we sang, someone pretended to be Satan and he would go around each one of and list off sins and then blow that person's candle out. That person would stop singing. This happened to every person down to the last singer when that person said "Romans 8:1 says 'There is therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.' In the name of Jesus Christ, Satan be gone." And then that person would turn to the next re-light their candle and they would start singing again. 

This reminded me that Satan wants to accuse me. He wants me to believe that have no value because of my sin and the sin done to me. He wants me to believe that because I was sexually abused, masturbated, sought out boys to make me fee valuable, had sex outside of marriage, lied, manipulated, feel anxious, doubt, judge others, etc. that I have NO value. And he wants to blow out my light. A light that Jesus lit. And I forget that I am NOT condemned because I am in Christ Jesus. I have value and worth not based on anything I have done or will ever do, but because I am a Child of God and 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells me that "If ANYONE is in Christ He is a NEW creation. The old has passed away and the new has come."  When God looks at me He sees that new creation. He doesn't see who Satan is talking about. He sees me as holy and blameless because Jesus paid my debt in full!

So if Satan is lying to you about who you are, rest in the word of God. Remember that You do not stand condemned before you Heavenly Father...the old has passed away and the new has come.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

On Being BRAVE!

I'm not sure where to start this post. I'm not sure what all I want to say here in this space. I have so much to say, but I don't know where the words are to say it.

I do know that I'm finding my voice, and I'm not going to let anybody stop that. I want this to be the time that I find the strength and the courage to use my voice to claim truth. To use my voice to encourage others to find and use theirs.

I feel like when it comes to sex we allow our voices to be quieted. We allow shame to come in and take root, and we allow our voices to be silenced. What we need to be doing is being BRAVE! We need to talk and talk and talk until we feel better. And then talk and talk and talk until we feel even better and then keep talking because we have found our voices, we have told the shame and the guilt to  "Go to Hell!", and we help each other heal.  (Thanks Ritz!)

In January, I decided I was going to do a word for the year and I chose the word BRAVE. When God laid the word Brave on my heart I thought He was asking me to adopt, go to Haiti, go on a mission trip...

I didn't realize that when God asked me to be BRAVE this year it was because dealing with sexual abuse was going to take every amount of courage I could muster and then some. I didn't realize that I was going to need my friends and family to stand in the gap for me when I had no bravery left. I didn't realize I was going to have to be brave by sharing my story with those people who are standing in the gap for me. I didn't realize that it was going to take being brave to tell God how I really feel about who He is because it's easy for me to look at Him as a far off impersonal God not one who weeps over the sexual abuse of His child and then continues to weep as the effects of sexual abuse continue to hurt for many many years. And I am learning that He cares about what I have to say when it's good, when it's bad, when it's honest. He is big enough to handle my doubts, my fears, and my anger. And He can help me overcome it.

So if you are reading this, and thinking "I get this! I feel this way!" use your voice and be BRAVE. Start with God. Start by being honest with Him, and then keep talking to everyone who will listen, and even those who won't because your voice is beautiful and your story is valuable and you never know what that person will hear and how it will encourage them.


Friday, July 18, 2014

A Story Worth Telling

Last week a group of bloggers went to Rwanda with IJM and Noonday Collection to meet women and tell their stories of redemption from some very dark places. There were many critics of this trip, but those people have probably never been in a place so dark that they wanted to scream their story to all who would hear it.

Over this past week, I too, have realized that I have a story to tell. A story that is sad and so scary. A story that I have prayed I would forget over the past 27 years. A story that haunts me as a wife and a mother, but I have a voice that will not be silenced and my story is worth telling.

When I was 5 years old I was sexually abused by a foster child that lived in our home. A place where I thought everyone would be safe; he took safety away. I remember very very vague details. I remember him coming to my kindergarten classroom to check on me, and I laid on my mat during nap time PRAYING that my teacher would think I was a sleep and send him away. I remember when I was in first grade I walked by his room and he asked me what I was going to be for Halloween and I told him a yellow crayon and then he asked me to have sex with him. And I said yes. I said yes. He told me not to tell. I remember nights of him being on top of me with a pillow over my face. I remember laying on the floor in front of my door waiting for him to come in because he was going to come, and my dad finding me and telling me to go back to bed.

What I don't remember is when it started, but I do remember when it ended. It ended when I watched something on TV about AIDS and became terrified that I would get AIDS from him and told him to stop or I was telling. He stopped so I didn't tell. He took my voice. After he left my home, I told my parents. And after that we didn't talk about it. And for years I haven't talked. For years I've allowed my voice to be silenced. For years, I've worried about what others would think so I didn't talk I just pushed it all inside. I never healed and I felt like my story was not worth telling.

And now I'm married and I have 2 beautiful daughters, and I daily live in fear that someone will sexually abuse them and take their voice and they will feel that their story is not worth telling.

And I'm tired of living in fear.

I'm tired of feeling unworthy.

I'm tired of pushing my feelings inside and fake smiling.

I'm tired of someone else silencing my voice.

I'm going to speak up.

You see, I'm worth healing. I'm worth living free of anxiety and depression. I'm worth be healthy. I'm worth it.

That 10 year old boy may have been abused, but that did not make it okay for him to abuse me. He knew what he was doing to me was wrong and he told me not to tell. He took advantage of a 5 year old girl and then left me to deal with the ramifications for the next 27 years.

Make sure you understand this: Healing will come for me.  But my voice does not need to be silenced. I don't need to get over it and move on. This is part of who I am, and I'll be damned if I'm going to shut my mouth any longer.

Don't tell me that I should've talked about it sooner. Don't tell me that God works all things for the good. Don't tell me that I need to trust Jesus and this will go away.

The pain of abuse reaches far and wide my friends F A R AND W I D E. This abuse effects my parents, my siblings, my husband and my children just as it effects me. And the effects of abuse don't go away. They are there forever. They are scars are on my heart and my soul. There will ALWAYS be evidence of it in my life. As long as there is evidence of it in my life then I'm going to tell my story because someone else has a story that is similar and they need to know they are not alone, just as I need to know that right now.

So when you meet someone who has a history of abuse in there life please let them tell their story. There is value in it. That person's life is valuable and to not listen to their story makes it seem like you don't value them. They need to know they are valuable because someone has told them they are not, and the wounds need to heal.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Community of Friends

I am absolutely floored by the community we have. Our church is very big on living in community, and there have been times I've wondered if we did, but God is showing me how much He has blessed me. Right now we are putting in tile floors. Not the most fun job in the world, but we have a community that has stepped up to help.

I understand that this is such a minor detail in life, but to have people come along side you and say "Hey, I've done that before...I'll help!" or "I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'll learn and I'll help!" is so huge. Even our sweet neighbors who blessed us by watching our girls so we could have a little time to get stuff done without them was so HUGE!

Thank you Lord for our friends! They are a blessing!!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18

Oh dear friends! I feel your prayers and they are mighty.

I've seen this verse from John 14 many, many times. It has really hit home with me this morning. In John 14:18 Jesus is telling his disciples that once he leaves this earth they will not be left alone. The Holy Spirit is coming. He isn't actually talk about the fatherless in this verse. However, his disciples thought they were going to be fatherless. They knew a time was coming when Jesus would no longer be there and they felt scared. What would they do? They had given up everything to follow him.

But this is a promise from Jesus. He wasn't going to just leave us with no one. Someone else was coming. The Holy Spirit was coming. The Holy Spirit who was going to "teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" (v. 26).

I imagine that if I had been one of Jesus disciples I would've been terrified. Everything I knew was going to change. This man that I gave up everything for was going to die, and then who knew what was going to happen. I tend to live in fear anyway so I'm sure I would've been a whole bucket of a mess, and while dealing with Peter,  Jesus would've smacked me and said "Get it together! Haven't you been listening to me these past 3 years!".

I don't know if orphans know they are going to be orphans before they become them. Some may. Some may know they have one parent, and that parent is dying. They may know that once that happens they have NOTHING. That must be terrifying. And that must be why Jesus tells the disciples (and us...because after all the Bible was written for us) that they were not going to be left as orphans. Someone was coming! Jesus was sending the Holy Spirit! (And I know he uses the word "I" there. It's because of the whole God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit...3 in one relationship. And let's not forget the 2nd coming. That's a whole other post.).

I can't help but think that orphans in orphanages feel like someone just left them, and no one is coming. They feel very much like the disciples did. Hopeless. The disciples had Jesus to tell them "Hey! I'm sending someone for you!". And I want my daughter to know that Jesus is sending someone for her. He is not going to leave her as an orphan. Mommy and Daddy are coming. He has provided a family for her. She can have HOPE! Just like the disciples had HOPE that they were not going to be left as orphans.

I'm sure that you are wondering why I just said "daughter" in that paragraph above. I know that you are wondering what has happened. Well, since yesterday Paul and I have prayed over that little girl I told you about. And we have decided to express interest in adopting her. We don't know what anything looks like. I literally sent the email to our agency 30 minutes ago on a Saturday morning. So we probably won't hear anything until at least Monday if not later.

And y'all, I'm scared. I'm scared to set my adoption parameters aside and adopt outside of birth order. I'm afraid that they will tell us NO! I'm afraid.

But God is doing a MIGHTY work in my heart. He is calling me to put down my parameters and take on His. He is calling me to open my heart to a little girl who needs a family so He can fulfill His promise to her of not leaving her as an orphan. Because that promise in John 14:18 is for her too. God doesn't want to leave her as an orphan physically or spiritually. So He is sending us to bring her into our family and tell her all about Him.

Will y'all pray for us? Pray that we won't live in fear. Pray that we will be BRAVE. Pray that we will find our courage in Jesus. Pray that our little girl will be well loved until she can come home. Pray that she will rest in the arms of her Heavenly Father while she's waiting for mine.

I will keep you updated, but in the mean time would you please pray about giving to our adoption? At the top of the page is a map of Haiti. If you click on that map it will take you to our Pure Charity page where you can donate any amount to help us bring our girl home.

Thank you for your love and support!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Paper Pregnancy and a lot of other stuff

WOW! It's been a long long time since I updated anything about our adoption so I'm sure you are all so curious!

Well, we are officially paper pregnant! Meaning we are in the Home Study stage which is LOTS and LOTS of paperwork. LOTS of doctors visits, LOTS of book reading, LOTS question answering, LOTS and LOTS of things.

I'll admit, I'm a bit overwhelmed by it all. Looking at the paperwork and all that we need to get done has scrambled my brain, and I've kind of put ignored. I know that sounds horrible because the longer we take with our part the longer the process takes, but I want to be real. This is hard. On top the paperwork we need $2100 in order to pay for our home study. I guess I'm having a hard time focusing. What is more important turning in paperwork that we can't do anything with until we have $2100 to pay for our home study or raising the money first and then worrying about the paperwork?

This is where my brain is at. Overwhelmed by so much with adoption stuff, but then also trying to live in the moment with Paul and the girls.

We also asked to have access to waiting child list of Haiti Children, and there is a sweet little 5 year old girl that has my heart. We requested younger than Amelia, but this girl. I can't explain it. I see her sweet face and I'm wondering if God is trying to tell me to let go of my concerns about having older children in our home and just go with it. Honestly, I haven't even talked to Paul about it. I haven't had the words to express my heart. I don't even know. But I know this little girl is older, and less likely to find a home, and she is precious. She is created by God and needs a family. So, here I am pouring my heart out to each of you that may stop by this little space, and asking for prayer. Please pray that God would just lead us to the child or children that God has for us. That we wouldn't pass by one because they don't fit our criteria. Pray that we will be open, wise and discerning.

And finally, thank you so much for those of you who have supported us financially and through prayer. Whether it be through buying a puzzle piece, buying some AWESOME Jamberry Nails, or Advocare so that our friends can support our adoption we truly appreciate it. From the bottom of our hearts. I'm moved to tears every time someone says they want to do an adoption fundraiser for us. Y'all $37,000 is a lot of money. It was pretty much my teaching salary. So having people walk along side of us in this time to donate to our adoption so that we can bring these babies home is humbling. I really don't have words. Thank you doesn't seem like enough. But it really is all I have. We love you all! Even if we haven't met! You are part of our story, and we love you!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Noonday Blog Train--What God is Doing in My Heart Through the Orphan Crisis

If you are here for the Noonday Collection Blog Train...WELCOME! Make sure you check out Desiree's Blog tomorrow!

In January I had the pleasure of attending the Noonday Collection Ambassador Conference. I was excited to go, and meet new people, see the Spring Line, and learn how to grow my business. I was not prepared for the work God was going to do in my heart.

God reminded me that weekend that He has BIG, BEAUTIFUL plans for my life. God reminded me that He called me Noonday Collection as a way to care for the vulnerable. He reminded me that because He adopted us as sons we are called to adoption. He reminded me that making sure that you use your purchasing power to help others is how we should be using our money. That's the calling he placed on my life.

So, I came home and we applied to adopt from Haiti through AWAA. I started emailing people and asking them to partner with me to change the world. And I prayed that God would help me be BRAVE. That when I'm scared that the money won't come in that He would blow my socks off and remind me that this is Him doing a great and mighty work through me. Through my family.

God has amazed me every step of the way. He has given me wisdom to raise money for our adoption. He has given us a support system that I couldn't have ever imagined I needed, but He did. He has given our girls hearts for their sibling(s) in Haiti. He's blowing my socks off. I doubted. I was hesitant. And God came through.

And the thing I LOVE about Noonday Collection is that God is coming through for our artisans. He is caring for them. He is blessing their businesses through your purchases. He is preventing children from becoming orphans.

Jen Hatmaker said something that whacked me upside the head. She said "I shouldn't be allowed to raise your kids because you can't afford to." It's true. I shouldn't be allowed to adopt your kids simply because you can't afford it. But that is what is happening all over the world, and this is what Noonday Collection is preventing by offering jobs to artisans.

My friend Jalia is living proof of this. Jalia's story rocked my world, but the truth is before Noonday Collection Jalia was in poverty, and because if your purchases Jalia and her husband Daniel have been able to employ 300 people in Uganda so that they don't have to give up their children, and they can house their families and feed them. In Ethiopia, women are able to take their ARV medications, in Haiti one artisan group is having to hire more artisans because their pieces are in demand.

Jalia and Me at Ambassador Conference

 Friends, how you spend your money and where you spend your money is making a difference in the lives of real people. So use your purchasing power to help defend the cause of the orphan instead of just getting cheap stuff.

And now, A GIVEAWAY!!! You can win $50 to spend on your favorite Noonday Collection pieces!!

                                           $50 Gift Voucher

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


After several years of changes in the adoption world we have found a new agency, and have been officially accepted to adopt from Haiti! We are beyond thrilled to begin this process to bring 2 babies home from Haiti.

This process is no small feat. We are going to need you (our friends and family) to help us raise money so we can bring our babies home! Our first step is to raise $2500 to pay the first initial fee to begin the Haiti program.

Here's where we need your help! We have a 252 piece puzzle that is a map of Haiti. For every $10 you donate your name will be put on the back of a puzzle piece. Once the map is complete it will be put together and our children will be able to see the 252 people who helped bring them home!!

This is how you do it (cue Montell Jordan):

Click Here:
Through Paypal, you can donate as much as you want.
For example; let's say there are 4 people in your family and you donate $40.
Then 4 puzzle pieces would have each person in your family's name on it.

Make Sense?

From the bottom of our hearts...THANK YOU!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What God is doing in 2014

I have been avoiding writing this post. I am TERRIFIED of what is going to happen over the next year. I have NO IDEA what God is doing right now, but I do know He is calling me to be BRAVE.

I know there are many people who choose a word for each year. I have never done that. I've always been the "make a New Year's Resolution and then break it girl". Last year my resolution started to change form. Instead of making it something I couldn't keep, I made it a goal to simply just follow God and not go anywhere unless He was there with me. I can honestly say that God changed my life in 2013, and I started some new adventures as I followed Him. However, as I began to read about the words people were choosing for 2014 I heard this small voice whisper "brave". My first honest thought was "I'm not doing's silly.", but I kept thinking about that word...brave. I started thinking that I can be brave in 2014. Being brave is easy. I can step out of my comfort zone and go on a mission trip, I can ask for support from family and friends, and I can even be brave in how I parent. I can be brave. AND I can blog about how I am going to be brave in 2014, and it will be all nice and tidy.

As I sat down to start writing I thought it would be super neat to include the definition of the word brave. Here is what google told me:


: to face or deal with (something dangerous or unpleasant)


adjective \ˈbrāv\
: feeling or showing no fear : not afraid

I'm not sure what you thought when you read these definitions, but I closed my computer and decided not to write. Being brave is a lot scarier than I thought. I mean let's be honest here...who wants to face or deal with something dangerous or unpleasant? I personally am not knocking anyone over to get in that line. When you have to face or deal with something dangerous or unpleasant can you do it without feeling or showing fear? I don't know if I can.  I'm just being honest. I don't know. I don't know if I can be brave or be described that way. I take anxiety medicine to help me not feel like the world is falling apart when I am faced with those dangerous or unpleasant situations. 

So here I am 19 days into January, and I am just now writing about how I am going to be BRAVE this year. 

The truth is I don't know how I am going to be brave. I don't know what situations God is going to bring me to that are going to require me to be brave. 

Here is what I do know:

I know that in July of 2013 God made it very clear that He has called me to Noonday Collection as an Ambassador as a way for me to care for the poor and oppressed in our world.

I know that in August God called me to begin the Women's Development Program at Austin Stone Community Church in order for me to learn to seek Him, to deal with pain from my past, to learn how to Love Him and Love People, and to really deal with the darkness of my sin.

I know that this past weekend at Noonday Collection Ambassador Conference God showed me that not only do I fear being brave, but I fear dreaming BIG. Because of this I am not surrendering to Him nor being obedient to Him and that is preventing me from being radical in my life. 

So here I am. I am home with my precious family after a weekend of realizing that God gave me BIG dreams in college and I have stopped dreaming. I've become afraid to dream. I've become afraid to dream because if I do dream BIG, and I ask God to fulfill those dreams then it might possibly require sacrificing my comfort. 

I'm comfortable in my sweet home in Austin, Texas that has heat when I'm cold, air conditioning when I'm hot, a nice bed, cable, an alarm, my sweet girls, my cute hubby, and my dog. I'm comfortable here. 

But my dreams are bigger than my comforts. I have to stop being satisfied with being comfortable and start dreaming again. I have to be satisfied with God and God alone. I have to let go of wanting to be close to family and friends so that God can move. And God might move me. And it would be sad for my kids to not grow up near their cousins and grandparents, but we will be reunited in Heaven. So that I have to let go of. 

This weekend Jessica Honegger read something that I think will be etched in my soul for eternity. It was a text from her friend Jen Hatmaker. She texted Jen when she was leaving to go visit artisans when she started Noonday Collection. She was worried about not being the stay at home mom she thought she needed to be. And Jen said this "Girl, go! Your kids don't need you to stay home and take care of their every first world problem. You are leaving a legacy for them as you care for the least of these". (That may not be 100% probably isn't, but it was something close to that).

Jen also said this weekend that the Bible is literal. When Jesus said "feed the hungry." He actually meant FEED.THE.HUNGRY. When He said "care for the orphan", He meant CARE. FOR. THE. ORPHAN.

I desperately desire to teach my girls to literally follow ALL that Jesus commanded us to do. Not just to do it metaphorically. 

This is going to require me to be BRAVE this year. It is going to require me to step out of my nice home, with all of my comforts, STOP worrying, and FOLLOW God. 

It is going to require me to talk to people I don't know and ask them to partner with me in this journey. To partner with me in hosting Noonday Collection Trunk Shows so that we can create economic opportunity for the vulnerable TOGETHER. Because let's get real....God created us to live in community.

So here is to being BRAVE in 2014, and all that God is going to do as I SURRENDER and OBEY.