Friday, August 8, 2014

Photo review and Give Away!

When you go as long as I have without blogging, it's kind of hard to get started again.  So what could I think of to help kick-start it?  How about an overload of kid pictures and a giveaway?  

Here is a little photo journey of the last few months...

Hopefully, I can keep up blogging now :)

And now, for the giveaway...

As many of you know, I am an Ambassador with Noonday Collection and our Fall 2014 line opened yesterday!  A bunch of ambassadors are coming together to do giveaways for the first few weeks of launch!
Today, you need to visit THIS BLOG for instructions on how to win the Sofiya Wrap Bracelet!

This is one of my absolute favorites of this new season!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Why Noonday Collection?

I have fallen totally in love with Noonday Collection.  In so many ways in love.  They provide good, sustainable income to women and families globally, they partner with International Justice Mission, they were founded by an adoptive mama and support adoptions through fundraisers....I could go on and on.  But instead, read what some of my favorite women online has to say about Noonday.  They spent time in Rwanda last week meeting our artisans, hearing their stories, and learning about IJM.

Jen Hatmaker writes, 
The partnership of justice and economic empowerment is so strong, so extraordinary, it is fundamentally transforming not only precious lives but entire systems, whole communities. It is changing the conversation from hopelessness to strength, surviving to thriving.

But, you really need to read her whole post here.

When preparing for the trip, Jennie Allen wrote, "I’ve been on several international trips and told a lot of stories, but I have never taken a trip like this. We are telling happy stories. And designing jewelry. And making new friends. And dreaming together. In Rwanda."

Rachel Meyers of She Reads Truth tells Teresa's story so well.

There are so many stories worth reading about this #styleforjustice trip.  Please take the time to read if you have it.  Maybe it will help you understand why I love this company so much.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Informational Meeting

First, let me say how shocked I am I have blogged three times this week!  What!?!

Last night was the informational meeting for our region regarding becoming foster parents.  It was scheduled late in the evening and kids were not allowed, so my mom babysat for us and off we went!  Honestly, the information in the class was not very new to me, as it was just a general informational meeting.  I have a degree in social work and my mom worked with child protective services my whole childhood.  I learned some of it by osmosis I think. 

The part that got me is that classes in a neighboring county have already been going on for 4 weeks!  My mom (AKA our primary childcare provider) lives in this county and this would have worked out SO well for us.  Instead, we are looking at having to do the classes in the county where we live.  These classes start in about a week and a half and are from 6-9 two nights a week for 5 weeks. The number of classes doesn't shock me, just the idea of working out childcare for Ethan and Ellie that much.  But otherwise, we actually left there feeling pretty encouraged about moving forward with the MAPP trainings to be certified.  My biggest concern was the stress of the next 5 weeks, doing the trainings, and our kids.  Ethan will do fine with it, but Ellie is very attached and I worry about her just screaming the whole three hours unless she is with my mom.

Fast forward to this morning and the She Reads Truth devotional I am currently following along with.  It was so spot on for me today.  SO encouraging. Reminding me of Isaiah 41:10, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." 

So I need to talk with my friends and family and get this childcare thing worked out because I think we are starting the process! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Playing Catch Up

So, the best way to really follow what is going on with us is through my IG account, because I pretty much post there everyday, it is really like a mini-blog for me.  Quick and easy.  I also have found a great group of foster/adoptive parents through a photo challenge called #knittogetherbyadoption.  Seriously, these are some awesome women.  But, just incase you don't follow me on there, I wanted to share some pictures of our family from Ellie's first birthday shoot.




Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I need this space.

I need this blog back and I need to write.  I have said it several times before, but I really feel so much better when I can paint my words on this virtual canvas.  I only have a short time before Ellie wakes up, so here is just a quick post.
We are doing well.  We have moved closer to Ben's work and the church we attend.  We joined an amazing homeschool co-op.  My work as an adoption social worker has picked up more and I am seeing more and more forever families be united.  I am finally finishing up my doula certification and moving forward with volunteering with Sufficient Grace Ministries.  Ethan is playing basketball in the city rec league and likes it, but not as much as soccer.  Ellie was diagnosed with a mild developmental delay because she could not get from laying to standing on her own at one year old.  She was referred to a physical therapist and after two sessions, by golly, she got it!  We are going today and hopefully be discharged.  Oh, and one more thing, Ben and I are attending a meeting this week to inquire about possibly being foster parents.  I know, crazy right? 

Well, not crazy, but I have gotten into the groove of our life not being as chaotic as it once was, and I know that with foster care, our pace will pick up again.  It's a little selfish, but on one hand, I don't want to change our lives, but on the other, Ben and I have been feeling this urging for a while, to at least look into it.  I have been meeting more and more foster/adoptive parents and learning more intimately of their joys and struggles.  I have looked over the waiting child lists again and again and my heart is burdened every time.  I have even inquired about a couple of kids, one of which was matched just before my email to the agency.

Some people say they could "never do foster a child and then that child leaves..."  That is not a problem for me.  I mean, don't get me wrong, that will not be easy, but I have grieved before, and you know what, I'm still here.  I love how this foster mom puts it, "I am not afraid to grieve.  I am afraid of what might happen to these children if no one took the risk to love them."  I could go on and on, but that is for another day. I am just happy to be able to have written this much this morning.  Whew. That feels better!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

It is Important

We started attending homeschool co-op 2 weeks ago and so far we are really loving it.  Ethan is taking 3 classes and one of them is an Art through Literature class. His first week they were given a worksheet to fill out about what is important to them.  Ethan isn't really confident in his spelling abilities, so he asked if he could draw a picture if he couldn't spell what he wanted.  The box says, "What is important about me is I'm..." and he drew a picture.  At first I didn't notice what it was but at second glance I knew.  It is Shyla and Jakin's headstones with their butterflies beside the rocks.  He said what was important about him was that he is a big brother...amazing to me that his grief comes out like this sometimes.  It is important to him that others know he is a big brother to two other siblings.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Not Even a Smell of Smoke

In my reading this morning, I read about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  Allow me to summarize...

They refused to worship a King higher than God and were sentenced to death by fire.  The king even made the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual.

Now, if I were one of these three men, I would be sweating pretty bad at this point, I imagine.  Threat of death by being thrown into this furnace sounds like a pretty scary thing.  And they have already admitted to the king that their God COULD save them, but IF NOT, he was still the one true God worthy of praise (Daniel 3:18).

So anyway, these three guys are facing this pretty scary trial.  They are tied up and the king gets some really strong soldiers to throw them in this inferno. The soldiers who just get close to the furnace fall dead from the heat.  Good ol' Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego go in, but as the king is watching, he sees four men, not three.  The trio is called out of the furnace and everyone is amazed that the fire had not burned them or even singed their hair...there was not even a SMELL of smoke on them.  I don't know if I could go into a road-side convenient store and not come out smelling like smoke.

So, God had, literally, walked them through this fire, they came out unharmed and the king ordered everyone to worship the one, true, God.  And I know that even though they came out of that fire unharmed, I know in my heart they did not come out UNCHANGED.

I used to love this story as a kid.  I have heard it a thousand times.  But, today I heard it in a new way.  We all face trials and fires of some kind.  Some are hot. Some are hot times 7.  I want to have this kind of example to my faith.  One of my largest trials, for example, has been keeping my faith strong after the loss of my children.  I know that a loss like that can shake a person to the core and rattle their faith.  I don't want to be like the strong soldiers who fell flat to their deaths just by merely getting close to the flames.  Although I know it can be easy to lose all faith when the threat of a trial looms.  No, I want to be like the three faith-filled men who were prepared to honor God to their deaths, but instead got to see Him face-to-face in the thing that was supposed go kill them-kill their faith.  I want to be like that.  In my trials, in my hardest times, I want others to be able to look at me and not only see me, but see that God himself is standing right beside me in the middle of what could have been a death sentence for my faith. 

And when I eventually am called out of the hottest part of the fire, I want my faith to come out without even the smell of smoke.  But, I want to come out with...and I feel like it did...a major change and strength that can only come after you have walked through a fire eye-to-eye with the creator of the Universe.  How can you not be changed? 

So your furnace may not actually be a burning fire, but it's something.  Mine were in a sterile OR as my baby girl was quietly born, in the L&D room down the hall 14 months later when my son was delivered too little and too soon, and in a gas station parking lot when I handed a sweet seven day old boy I had mothered since birth, back to the one who carried him to be her son.

It is my prayer that others that saw me in these fires, saw not only me, but God standing with me (and my family) and as we walked out of the hottest part of the fire (the immediate, intense grief) that others could see God had not only protected our faith, but instead, we came out CHANGED.  We had a new perspective on fire and trials.

That is my prayer for my children as well.  Of course, I would love to think they would never face hardships, but, that is unrealistic and we know that trials build up character.  My prayer is whatever trial they face in life that they face it side-by-side with the one who made them and come out unsigned, but not unchanged.