3 years.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

DRC || January 28, 2013
Today marks three years since we first met Ty & Levi. It has been three years of laughter, learning, healing, crying, fun, silliness, hurting, and somedays survival (these days are past us... but I still remember them like they were yesterday).

I have never blogged about our trip to Congo. Never shared our story. Or opened up about our trip. There are only a few people who know our experience that happened within those 8 days we were there. I am not sure it was intentional, but I was guarded. I felt some sort of shame because I did NOT love becoming an adoptive mama while I was there. Instead, I felt alone. Hurt. Scared.

It is going to have to be told in pieces because I learned so much.

Everyone has such a unique story about the day they met their children for the first time. When adopting older children, there is this unknown, especially if there is also a language barrier. Their past greatly influences their responses and actions. Their hurts and their trauma dictate their motivations and fears. Often we think that there is something magical that they are supposed to feel, some sort of gratitude that they are supposed to have, but really they are feeling afraid. There little lives have only known drastic change and change is difficult for a lot of people, especially children.

Our boys were afraid. In their short little lives, they had experienced so much tragedy and trauma that there was no other reaction that they could have had other then fear. We were simply unprepared to understand their reactions. It is the #1 thing I wished I understood in greater detail when we first met them... their past trumps our excitement. These two sweet little boys were thrust into our arms. We were crying tears of joy and excitement and they had just encountered another person that they were not sure was safe or worthy of trust. We knew we were safe; they truly thought that we were there to hurt them (their words).

How do we forget that they are afraid, that we need to show them we can be trusted, and that we are there to protect their hearts? How do we not realize that we have given them no reason to trust us? How do we forget or not understand that these moments, and many moments to come, are hard for them to comprehend? They just met us, they are not supposed to trust us yet.  Their guard is supposed to be up. They are not too young to forget their past. They will carry their past with them for the rest of their lives. We cannot love their past experiences away, as much as we may try, we can only help them cope with the past experiences and allow healing to begin in the deepest, darkest parts of their souls. A journey that we will continue for years to come.

Being on this side of three years ago, we have come to know and understand their previous experiences. We also know and understand the brain and body reaction to trauma. It is not surprising that they were not treated well in the orphanages that they had lived in prior to coming home, nor that there was trauma in the village that they were born into, but the responses towards things was shocking and hard for me to completely understand. It is difficult to not take personally. As a result of the physical abuse that they were accustomed too, their little heads and hearts thought we were going to be the same. That we were just as unworthy of not trusting as those that had hurt them. We would work on this for months upon months until we proved to them that we could be trusted. 

Our first meeting was priceless. We quickly scooped up our littles and loved on them with hugs and kisses. Continually in awe that we had actually finally come to the end of our journey of adoption. We gave them candy and simple toys that we had brought with us. Working at getting to know each of them. They grabbed the balls that we had brought along with us and we began our journey towards becoming our unique family. We played outside together, eating bumbas (suckers) and kicking the ball around. By the time dinnertime came around, I quickly realized that we had not yet been able to get to the grocery store that day. I had no food. Only snacks. Frantically trying to figure out what to do, I ran down to where another family was saying and asked for food. No joke, the first thing I ever fed my two little boys was Top Ramen. I remember Todd laughing and promising that I could cook.

As we tucked the boys into bed that night, I was feeling extremely blessed. We had a brilliant first day together. All four of us, snuggled into our little bed and fell asleep. It was the last day we would know peace instead of fear. 

But this moment, this day that we experienced three years ago, it was the day that radically changed my life. It is a moment in time that is so engrained in my heart and mind that I will never forget it. I remember the smells, and sounds. The anticipation of the waiting for the car to roll through the gates. I remember the laughter of people who we traveled with, as each of us anxiously waited to meet our little ones for the first time. I remember the joy of those moments. It was the day that God set aside to show me that I needed to change. That I needed to be radically different in my faith. That I needed to have a shift in perspective about his power and his direction for my life. This day was the catalyst for healing within myself and an acknowledgement that God has a very specific direction he was going to take me on. As I sent my boys off to school this morning, I was so thankful for all the turmoil our family has gone through in the journey towards healing. I was truly thankful that these two little faces have shown me how much I need Jesus. I will continue to tell our story. I will continue to share what God did while in Congo... and what miracles have been done because when we share, we allow God to be given the glory for his healing and redemption.



Saturday, December 19, 2015

Through each person that gave in the last few days, God provided all the funds & then some for our dossier (& keeping our referral). We are in awe... completely shocked.

Wednesday brought tons of fear and frustration for our family. In more then simply needed the funds we were praying for because when the enemy is trying to get you down, he works really hard at hurting you. We experienced disappointment in multiple ways. However, we knew God was going to work everything out, that was never an issue, however we wondered when God was going to work everything out.

Yesterday, while Jessica and I were planning our baking sale (which is still on!!!!!) God moved in the heart of one of our donors on AdoptTogether and completed our current need. In shock, we could not believe that in such a short time you all came together, alongside of us, and gave. It has meant more to our family then we could explain or imagine.

We are so thankful for every single person that gave. You have impacted our family so greatly. I am not sure if it was the donations, the mailing off of our dossier to our agency, the raw emotions that swept through our home, or a combination of the three, but when I received pictures of our little guy yesterday I knew he was my kiddo in a way I have never felt before (he seriously is the cutest little guy ever).

Our fundraising needs are not over. We have a number of expenses left... but today we are breathing a little easier now. Thank you. Thank you for your help. Thank you for sharing our story. Thank you for giving to help bring our little guy home. We are grateful beyond what words can express. I wish I could hug every person that donated. Cannot wait to get our little guy home.

Pies with a Purpose.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Idaho Falls Friends... Allow Jessica & I make you a pie... or cheesecake this holiday season. My uber sweet & talented friend decided she wanted to help with a quick fundraiser. We now have a plan. We are going to bake for you & your family this Christmas.

You will receive your amazing pie in a box wrapped up nice and beautiful! I promise it will not disappoint.

Apple Pie (suggested donation $14)+
Dutch Apple Pie (suggested donation $14)+
Peanut Butter Pie (suggested donation $15)
Chocolate Ganache Pie (suggested donation $15)
12 Lemon Cupcakes (because they are our favorites) with Lemon Frosting (suggested donation of $15 you can order 6 for $8)
+Apple Pie and Dutch Apple Pie can be ordered as FROZEN and you can bake on Christmas if you would like. Please indicate that in your initial email to me, otherwise it will be fully cooked and ready to eat.

Salted Caramel Sauce (suggested donation $6)
Caramel Sauce (suggested donation $6)

Here is how you order:
Email me at SummerRoughton@gmail.com to place your order & BE SURE TO INDICATE YOUR PICK UP DAY: WEDNESDAY OR THURSDAY. Please include your name, address, and phone number. I will send you a follow up email once the donation is made with all the pick up information on the paid invoice. You will donate through the PayPal link I send to you.

& that is IT!  All proceeds go to our adoption fund to bring home our little guy.

Share this MESSAGE!!!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

I want to thank everyone who continues to support us both through prayer and financial needs. Yesterday we posted about a HUGE NEED we had (and still have) to help us bring our little guy home. The need is still large, but has shrunk by $455. So instead of $5,208 we now need $4,753.

The money that we are trying to raise not only allows us to send our dossier to Ethiopia, but it allows us to keep our referral for our son. If we do not come up with this money in a timely manner (meaning quickly), we will lose his referral and he will be placed with another family.

Here is what we need... Prayers & Donations. Donate through our PayPal account (link on the side bar), our AdoptTogether account, or to us directly... Although AdoptTogether allows the donation to be a tax deduction for you so there are huge benefits. Please pray for us as we quickly scramble to raise these funds. We do not want to lose this referral. We would also love to hear QUICK fundraising ideas. Please know we are willing to try anything, but right now we need them o be fast.

Those little hands are our little guy... can you help us bring him home?


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

If I could underline any word in the title of this post, it would be the word HUGE.

Remember the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? Remember, everything seemed to go wrong. That is my day today. Not so much my entire day, but just my afternoon. Here is what went down... I promise it leads to a need.

Dossier is done and ready to be sent to our agency.
Photocopies made. Things filled out. In need of an address due to some changes.
Called our caseworker.
Asked if there was anything she needed me to include in my dossier packet.
Her response.
{big miscommunication}.
I have kicked myself repeatedly for not double checking everything, but since we changed countries midway, things are a little different.
I began to cry.
She began to figure stuff out.
I continued to cry.

My soul hurt because I just want to bring this little guy home. I get these precious pictures each and every Friday and he is growing. Growing up through pictures. It truly breaks my heart into a million little pieces. I just want to have him grow up with us all loving on him.

Here is how it is broken down. 
+ $10,145 Submission of Dossier (Due NOW)
- $1,900 (credit that they are giving us)
- $3,037 (money we have already fundraised)

So there is our need. Our dossier will not go to Ethiopia without this. I desperately want to bring this little boy home quickly. We have just passed our one year mark and we are in such a weird spot. Dossier complete, not funded. Little boy identified, waiting. Us with our hands up asking Jesus to move mountains and to do big things to bring this little boy home.

If you wish to help bring him home, you can make an end of year tax-deductable donation to our adopt together account (just click the adopt together image):

You can also donate through our paypal account on the right hand side of the page.

Thank you for continuing to partner with us. For praying for us and helping us bring our little boy home.

psalm 62.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

There are times when God whispers. That still small voice that reminds us of his word. Directs us back to a relationship with him or giving us a reminder to simply listen and be present. It is such a beautiful and precious moment that has the opportunity to awaken the heart and soul.

Psalm 62 was not one of those still, calm moments.
It had exclamation points.
Begging to be obeyed immediately.
Without question.
In one of the greatest ways ever.
He used people to show me.

Psalm 62:1-2; 5-7

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory; 
my might rock, my refuge.

On September 29th, 2013, I was prayed over during one of the darkest times of my life. The hardest time. The loneliest time. The most exhausting time. I truly did not think I was going to survive. Todd put me on a plane to Oregon. It marked the beginning of a two year journey towards clinging to Jesus. My ROCK and my SALVATION. A journey that began with a beautiful time of prayer.

Beautiful words from Jesus during a time of listening prayer; precious words given to precious women & then passed into my hurting heart. The paper that holds all of the words spoken hangs above my desk & will forever be treasured.

The word picture that would define the next 2 years was of me being in the middle of the ocean, being overwhelmed by the wind and the waves. Not completely drowning, but not really surviving either. The image was so distinct to me. I saw myself. Being hit repeatedly. Relentlessly. A few weeks ago God directed me to Psalm 62 by a dear friend. She was so passionate about clinging to the rock. Immediately I was brought back to myself struggling in the ocean. Being tossed and hit by the waves and the wind. The difference was this time I was clinging to a rock. I had finally reached my rock. I have figured out how to cling to Jesus amidst the repeated, relentless beating I felt I was taking. Now I was surviving. I am surviving. The exclamation points came when two other friends came to me the very next day and shared how God spoke to them through Psalm 62 at church. Laughing, I thanked Jesus for driving such a beautiful word picture deep into my heart so that I can treasure it and ultimately share it with others.

We have an opportunity in our heartaches and struggles. Everything is an opportunity. Every opportunity is different, but there is a choice nonetheless. We can give up, or we can fight. We can drown, or we can cling to the rock. Often all we can do is keep our head above water, trust me I know, I have done this for a VERY long time. Keeping out head above water is fighting. It's not thriving, but it is all we can do sometimes... as long as we are fighting to cling to the rock. Even if when we get there, we are still getting hit with the relentless waves.

little boy. lots of papers. needing help.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

It was such an exciting day yesterday.

Seeing our little guys face.
Hearing his story.
Allowing reality to set in.

Waiting in anticipation to hear from our adoption agency kept me checking my phone and email all morning. Finally, at lunch time, I received the call from our new case worker. There was this sense of buzzing going around in her office. She finally giggled and apologized, and said, "Everyone is working on your file."

From that moment, I realized that this was going to go fast. Less then an hour later I had our dossier packet, financial statement (almost all of what we paid transferred from the Haiti program to the Ethiopia program), and our official referral.

We needed a home study change/ update. After calling my case worker, she hopped in her car and came out and did it for us within 2 hours. She sent it off to Boise yesterday. We need this to resubmit our USCIS paperwork. We are trying to resubmit it by the end of this next week and the only hold up is going to be the fee that comes with the filing of the I600a. $720.

We could really use your help. If you have any amount to donate, please consider putting it towards our USCIS paperwork. This is the paperwork we need in order to send everything off to Ethiopia to start our process officially in Ethiopia. The sooner it gets there, the soon we get to bring him home.

Currently the easiest way is to donate through Paypal/ in person... Here is our donation link for Paypal.

it's a boy.

Friday, October 30, 2015

I genuinely want people to journey with me through the things we experience. Yes, some of the journey is sacred and private, but some of it is an adventure to be shared. I want people to see Jesus. To see how he guides and directs. To sense and know what the Spirit is doing in my life. To feel God move in unique and marvelous ways. That is why I would love you to read this as if you are on a my journey over the last month.

It started with a string of emails determining that I needed a phone call with our case worker in our adoption agency. I had too many questions that I needed answered and they just needed to be hashed out over them phone. She promptly called and delivered news that was difficult for me to hear. Hard for me to wrap my mind around. With frustration that was no ones fault.

We have been in our current adoption process for 11 months. God called us so specifically to a child, or a need of a child that we knew we could meet. In the beginning we were told that our referral for our little girl would come within 6 months. After waiting 5 months and not seeing any movement, the phone conversation became a must. Each of us baffled as to why there was no little girl with the need that we had felt God called us towards.  Not only was there no kiddo in Haiti, but there were no kiddos in any of the countries that our agency adopts from.  None. We ended the phone call with stating, "Call us with anything."

We took that to mean something. That there was something we needed to change. Something that was not going right. We decided we needed to pray and question our whole entire adoption. Do we even adopt? Do we switch to domestic adoption? Do we continue to wait it out?

Here is this past weeks timeline in a way that only Jesus could have written and directed:

Monday: Todd and I determine that since there is no needs for what we thought God had called us too, that we needed to explore other options. We looked at two domestic adoption agencies. Called one that we liked, emailed the second that we really wanted to work with.

Tuesday: We were confident a change was going to be happening, but not sure what that change was going to be. No email back from the agency. Our friend is using them and has told us how AMAZING they are at communication. I am not seeing it at this point.

Wednesday: Email could not be delivered. Call and actually talk to someone. She puts me in contact with the right person. Feeling good we will get a conversation on Thursday. Got a phone call from our current adoption agency, they were just checking in, but had no new news. Wanted to let us know they were praying for us.

Thursday: No one calls and the offices are closed at 3 pm. Start thinking that maybe we are just supposed to stop and not pursue any adoption. Felt discouraged. At 5:00pm my phone rings. Not abnormal. However, our adoption agency's name flashes across the screen. Todd laughs completely joking, "Watch, they have a referral for us."

Here is how the call went:
"Hey Summer it's Steph. I told you I would call with anything that came up. I know you wanted a girl from Haiti, but we have the most precious little boy."

"Okay. Tell me about him."

"He is 6 months old, living in Ethiopia, with the specific need you are willing to take. We need a decision fast, because we know that we can place him with a family, but you are first on our list, even though it is not Haiti."

"Can I talk to Todd and call you back by tomorrow? What does the rest of the process look like for Ethiopia?"

"Yes. Call me back by tomorrow night. {she explains the process}. Oh and I have pictures. I will send them to you."

And that is how God took us on our journey. Haiti, to no adoption, to domestic adoption, to no adoption again, to Ethiopia. To our 4th son.

We are adopting from Ethiopia. We have verbally committed to adopting a 6 months old little boy. While I cannot share his picture with you, I can share his preciousness. He is so absolutely precious, as every child is precious. But this one is mine... so I find him absolutely adorable.

Please pray as we switch everything to Ethiopia.  We are awaiting a phone call from our agency this morning telling us the next step in getting our stuff change with immigration and submission of our dossier. Pray for a speedy process. We will need to raise funds faster then before. Please pray for direction as we navigate the fundraising process with grace. We now need to come up with $11,000 in order to officially accept his referral. I know God can do it. I know he will do it.

learning peace.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Disclaimer: While I am not sure why I have to share this with you, I feel prompted to in order to create cohesion on the blog. Back in March I share the story of the heart of winter: survival to really be open and honest about our struggles, but not for the sake of sharing struggles, but for the sake of showing others that there are things that are hard that God allows us to experience. I did receive a little bit of negative comments and it really crushed me and my journey. So I stopped writing. However, over the last 6 months while my blog has sat virtually silent, my heart has roared and raced. My desire to be authentic, real and share the suffering that God is walking me through has been vibrant and humbling. Yet, I simple was afraid to share. My heart wanted to join the writers of #write31days, but anxiety and fear crept into my heart and soul. I froze. This last week I have been prompted by God to share authentically. To be honest no matter the cost. For the soul purpose of God being glorified. 

I am a word researcher. I spend the entire year researching and learning about one word. Often I read books about the word I have chosen to learn about, do a word study through the Bible, and generally that single word is chosen out of sheer desperation, simply because I need my life to be saturated with it. This years word is PEACE.

I wanted to know God's peace.
To breathe the peace that God has to offer.
To experience the peace that only God can bring.
To allow that healing through peace to formulate the thoughts of mind, heart and soul because I was desperate.

Our family needed God's peace because God has been taking us on a journey of suffering and I deeply wanted it to end. I thought I could work my way out of the suffering and anxiety. I was feeling broken. Exhausted. Desperate. I simply wanted to feel the peace that I knew only God could give to me. The problem was, as I began desperately to understand peace, I was failing to trust that God will give me peace.

While suffering may seem like a harsh word, one that is set aside for those with cancer, health issues or a spouse who has walked away, I was reminded that we all suffer in different ways. God takes us through different avenues of suffering. Ways that are unique to each of us and create this desperation that we cannot describe. Sometimes suffering comes from consequences of our actions and often it comes out of something that we have no control over.

Our family is a season of winter. A season where we are depending so deeply on God, that we cannot quite explain it in words. For the past year and a half, we have been looking for a new church. Our ministry here in Idaho has been different then any other ministry we have ever experienced. (Different does not mean bad.  Different simply means different.) To be brutally honest, it has been hard and beautiful all at the same time. God called us clearly to Idaho almost 4 years ago, but he called us to leave Idaho 1 1/2 years ago and yet, we have not seen God specifically call us to a new place of ministry. Our elders at our current church have been such a blessing. They have prayed for us and encouraged us and walked beside us the ENTIRE 1 1/2 years. It has been so precious and beautiful. However, that does not negate the fact that we were called elsewhere, not knowing where that happens to be, and we are still in the same place that God made clear we needed to leave. Sense why we would feel the suffering? Why things would be hard? God has called us from a place and given us nothing to go towards. So, while it is not a terminal disease, it has been a constant state of unrest. Desperate pleading. Tears. Fear.

In search of knowing God's peace I began to search God's Word. Asking the Holy Spirit to directly show me the words he so needed me to read.

Isaiah 55:10-13

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the LORD,
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

In the moment I read these 4 verse I knew, without a shadow of a doubt that God was going to use our story to bring himself glory. God is creating a beautiful future for us. He is fighting for us (Exodus 14:14)... we simply need to be silent. He will triumph in his amazing grace (Isaiah 55: 13)... we have to wait and watch. To show honesty, so that we can proclaim the faithfulness that God has given to us, having walked well through our time of waiting (Psalm 40:3). He will rescue us (Psalm 40:1-2)... we must remain patient. He will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us (1 Peter 5:10)... after we have suffered a while. He cares so deeply for me, for our family, that what he allows us to walk through, will never return void and empty. He is working to establish us. To accomplish his purpose. And from that we will shout for joy (Isaiah 55 10-11).

In all of this, I have found peace. As we are waiting to hear from a church in North Carolina, not knowing what there decision is going to be, I have struggled with knowing that peace that God has so faithfully revealed to me in light of our year and a half of waiting. Last week was almost tragic to me, BUT GOD (praise Jesus for those two words) has shown me two things. One, he will give us restoration, confirmation and strength... establishing us exactly where he wants us to be. Two, another day of waiting is simply another day to pray for clarity and direction.

authentically real.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” 

― BrenĂ© BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

I recently began reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. It came recommended from a very trusted friend, who was actually sharing it with another friend who is walking through a series of difficult situations. Being in between books, I quickly downloaded it and began reading. Devouring the words that spilled off the pages. Feeling a rush that I was meant deeply to read this book. Past ideas began to flood my brain. Along with beginning to read this book, there has also been a series moments that I have pushed away; ideas of writing honestly about real life.  God had made is so clear that I needed to put "words on paper", but not clear where to start. While reading Mark Batterson's book The Circle Maker, I was encouraged again to put "words on paper", but reminded of my fears. My fear of failing, not being enough, not being heard or seen, and being rejected. In the end he poses one simple question, does that matter? If God calls us to do something, we do it, no matter if it is ever read or seen or experienced by another person. Obedience.

My heart and soul desire to be completely and utterly transparent, real and vulnerable. The obstacles in my way are the fears I have and the walls I put up. As a pastors wife, I am guarded. As a friend, I am open. But where is my ministry within my walls? Naturally there is purpose in caution. There is wisdom in guarding. But in understanding that living authentically means being more open in all areas, my heart is being to warped and change. Even now I struggle with the power of my voice. So, I push my fears aside and write.

My heart wants to practice greater compassion, courage, and connection. In a deep and healthy way. A way to show others what life can be like. What life would look like if we have a beautiful, authentic, healthy relationship with one another. Embrace the real life that is happening so that we can encourage and care for one another deeply.

Here begins my attempt at these things.
Here is my brave. 
Here is my courage. 
Here is my authenticity.

I want, need, and desire to blog with consistency and real-ness. Not because I have too, but because I want to love well, encourage deeply, and be completely transparent in God's grace and mercy towards me.

doubt showed up... so did Jesus.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Just when doubt entered, God seems to once again show up.

My earnestness of prayer has deepened significantly.  It has become a necessary, priceless time that I spend with Jesus.  It has began to shift my view as to how deeply I hear and am able to communicate with God.  The simplicity of my change is to simply sit and listen.  To widen my heart and soul to simply hear God.  To hear what He choses to reveal in my heart and soul... in the quiet moments of great beauty and preciousness of our relationship, a deepening and desperation is happening.  In those quick times of revelation, it catches my breath and I sense freedom.

After feeling utterly defeated last week when we found out that our referral could, and had a strong possibility that it would take up to 12 months, I began to pray and ask for peace, and maybe some understanding.  Even the smallest tinge of understanding.  I sat in silence and heard nothing.

Doubt set in.
My heart sank.
I questioned our adoption.
Still asking for peace, understanding and now assurance.
Because I was doubting.
Was this what we were supposed to do?  Adopt again?

On Tuesday, during my morning of quiet listening prayer, I worked up the courage to boldly pray for our adoption.  More specific, the fundraising part of our adoption.  How do you ask for help when things seem so far off?  How do you ask people to come along side of you and ask them to help you fund something when you will not hear any news for about another year?  How could we fundraise with this extremely hard timeline?  {once you start fundraising... everyone asks if you have heard anything & my heart was hurting}.

So I prayed and asked God what were we supposed to do with this next step, very specifically asking if we were to make our fundraising efforts known to others.  What God showed me was SO CLEAR.

I heard, "No.  Pray."

It's difficult knowing exactly when I made peace with our new timeline.  I suppose it was shortly after I was told about the referral wait time, realizing that there is nothing we can do to make things go any differently, nor is there anything our agency can do to change this timeline.  Even as I type this, there is doubt swirling around in my head and heart.  My heart aches at the time that we will spend apart from our daughter who we will not know her face for another 12 months.

I continued to pray for an affirmation of hope.

Then an affirmation came in the form of a monetary blessing.  It was a late night email check.  The simple words "new donation received" from our Adopt Together account.  My heart felt weary.  For reasons I cannot describe.  We are not even that far into the process and I was weary.  That even bothered me.  That I was feeling weary.  Opening the email, I sat in SHOCK.  UTTER SHOCK.  I thought I read the email wrong.  I asked my bigs to read the amount to me.

I sat lifeless.

How could I have doubted what God had called us to do?
How could I have questioned the timing of all these things?
Was my faith so small that I had to have something this big happen?

Todd was in an elders meeting, so I texted him a screen shot of the email.  SHOCK.

I texted my sister-in-law, the greatest prayer warrior, and she respond with this: "This is so encouraging.  Obviously God wants Elf [side note: Levi wanted to name her Elf, after watching Elf at Christmas... thus the name.  It is now what my sister-in-law and I refer to her as] home, and it solidifies that God provides during fundraising."

God wants her home.  As Todd put it, that donation is a game changer for us.  He wants her home.

After sharing the good news with my dear friend Kara, I got this back: "God sees you and hears you.  He sees your daughter and hears her too!!"

He hears her.  He knows what she is dreaming, thinking, and holding inside.  Oh how my heart broke into a million tiny pieces.  Todd told me, when I began to doubt, that she needs us to fight for her.  We are fighting for our daughter.  She is waiting for us.

God gave me this verse this morning.  Exodus 14:14, "The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent."  (Lets just marvel at the silent part for a moment.  Such a beautiful affirmation of my hearing what God clearly was communicating.)  This verse will mark the journey towards our girl.  He is fighting.  He is fighting for her.

Click on our ADOPT TOGETHER.  Count the zeros for yourself.  This is the second time we have had a large sum of money anonymously donated... so thankful that I just found out that Adopt Together will pass along a thank you note for me.

Adoption is a BEAUTIFUL MESS... and completely written by Jesus!

the heart of winter: survival.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

my heart does not know where to begin.
i have pondered and thought through this post for months.
perhaps years.

but it is now i bravely share where i am and where i am living and growing through.  i are deeply imbedded in winter.  not a winter of weather, but a winter of suffering.  hurting.  aching.  it is not depression, but a heart that is aching for something else.  something different.  something to change.  a heart that is wild and raw; a heart of winter that would seem to be all-consuming and never-ending.

mark buchanan, in his book spiritual rhythm, describes winter as the absence of light, God, friends.  i have profoundly felt the void of these things.  i felt the presence of darkness, the silence of God, the absence of trusted community.  in that void, that abandonment, i have suffered.  i have wept.  i have hurt.  i have lost hope.  i have longed.  i have ached for change.  it has felt all-consuming and never-ending.  and recently, it has purpose.

did you read that?
my winter has a purpose.
it has a purpose in my heart.
it always has had purpose.
and now i see it.

"i believe every heartache and hardship, and the profound loneliness such things bring, has a back door.  they allow us enter into a communion with Christ we don't usually experience in our days of ease and song.  most of us have had our deepest encounters with Christ not on mountaintops, but in valley floors." spiritual rhythm on being in winter

in an effort to be authentic, i admit that this journey has been years.  it has been a dark and desolate time and for me and it is not over.  i am on my valley floor.  on my knees.  looking up.  begging God to change things.  begging God to make himself abundantly present in my life.  to speak into my life with purpose.

everyone experiences a desolate time in their lives.  it is harsh and hard, but it is a time where we deeply grow in our faith.  it is where we encounter God in such a beautiful way.  where our growth is beautiful.  where we find a passion for Christ.  where we are refined and redirected.  where we consider what God has for our lives.  it changes who we are and who we are called to be.  it draws us deeply into communion with who God is and who he is calling us to be.  but lets not forget it is painful and often we do not listen.

i do no hear God.
i break my silence.
even when God does not.
it is this brokenness that shapes me.
and i strive to listen.

it is muffled, but in my listening & am hearing Gods whisper.  i am seeing direction and an understanding of what it means to walk well in the midst of "winter".  my winter stands firm, it does not waver, but i am working desperately to do things differently, understanding the pureness that prayer brings is key in my growth in my faith, that waiting has a beautiful purpose, and that this time in my life will only bring a deeper growth that no other season can bring.  it is now that my faith is being built because of sheer desperation that can only come in these moments of refinement.

it is now and only now that i am beginning to see the blessing that comes from a time like this.

"those who sow with tears shall reap with joyful shouting." psalm 126:5

while i await my joyful shouting, i will continue to be pruned with a flood of tears, i will prayerfully seek Jesus, looking up from my val

ley, knowing that God has given me a way out.  or he will give me a way out.  but until that time, i am learning.

learning deeply to find joy.
to look for it.
to seek it out.
to share that with other people.

because when my winter is over, i want to shout it from the top of the mountain.  scream it from the top of the mountain.  i cannot wait until that time.  but for now... i survive.  however, i want to speak truth so that when my heart heals and God changes things for us, i can shout joyfully the top of the mountains as the psalmist says.  so that i may live authentically before others in my life.  to share life with others because life is a beautiful mess.

auction closed.

Friday, March 6, 2015


doTerra Physicians Kit: Sandy Clark

please remember this is an adoption fundraising auction.  we are working hard at trying to raise the funds we need to make our haitian adoption happen.  


Physicians Kit
The Family Physician® Kit is a collection of ten nurturing essential oils, including six single oils and four blends. 

Includes 5 mL Essential Oils: Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Melaleuca, Oregano, Frankincense, Deep Blue®, Breathe, DigestZen®, and On Guard to help families address a multitude of health issues.

retail value: $125


glory print: Jones Design Group

please remember this is an adoption fundraising auction.  we are working hard at trying to raise the funds we need to make our haitian adoption happen.  


11x14 print

retail: $32
value: $25


bonjou bangles: Noonday with Stephanie Nunes

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

please remember this is an adoption fundraising auction.  we are working hard at trying to raise the funds we need to make our haitian adoption happen.  

 ambassador for Noonday Collections

blog | shop 

Embellished with colorful leather and festive fringe, these upcycled bangles are sure to make you smile every time you put them on.
2.6" in diameter
upcycled metal & leather


single tag: Lisa Leonard Designs

please remember this is an adoption fundraising auction.  we are working hard at trying to raise the funds we need to make our haitian adoption happen.  

lisa leonard

 single tag necklace

{sterling silver}

Each dainty sterling tag is cut, filed, hand-stamped, polished and drilled. Choose a word or name that carries meaning to you. Maximum 9 characters. It's strung on a sterling chain with a freshwater pearl. Simply beautiful.
customize this sweet necklace as well.
i cannot get over how simply beautiful this necklace is.


handmade home book: A Beautiful Mess

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

please remember this is an adoption fundraising auction.  we are working hard at trying to raise the funds we need to make our haitian adoption happen.  


these sweet girls inspire me deeply.  i am in love with their book Happy Handmade Home and they graciously have donated this to our auction.  if you have not yet picked it up, you now can join our auction and get yourself a copy & help bring our girl home from haiti.  sounds like a win-win to me.  i promise this book will not disappoint.  

they have inspired me to step out of the notion of perfection and live in the beauty that creating something beautiful can hold.  i will share my newest project, taken from their inspiring book soon.  i am in love with how it is turning out.

watch for my DIY from this book this week.


petite original: Lisa Leonard Designs

please remember this is an adoption fundraising auction.  we are working hard at trying to raise the funds we need to make our haitian adoption happen.  

lisa leonard

 petite original

{sterling silver}

Simply gorgeous! These petite charms are hand-molded and cast in precious sterling silver. Stamp these charms with a meaningful name or word. Choose colorful fresh cut birthstones to make it even more meaningful. Starting price includes one charm and one birthstone. Charms are strung from sterling silver link chain. This necklace is also the perfect gift for a little lady. Classic and full of meaning! 
customize a petite original necklace.
how adorable is this necklace?  it has always been one of my favorites.


open circle: Lisa Leonard Designs

please remember this is an adoption fundraising auction.  we are working hard at trying to raise the funds we need to make our haitian adoption happen.  

lisa leonard

open circle necklace

necklace {sterling silver}

Classic and absolutely stunning! The open circle necklace is hand-molded, cast in sterling silver and hand-stamped with your precious names or phrase. The charm is strung on sterling link chain and finished with a cream freshwater pearl. Both sides can be customized to make it truly one of a kind! It’s sure to be an every day favorite!
customize this amazing necklace as well.  
this is one of my all time favorite classic LLD necklaces.


custom watercolor painting 8x10: joyfully ruined

please remember this is an adoption fundraising auction.  we are working hard at trying to raise the funds we need to make our haitian adoption happen. 


this is a creation of your choice.  
you choose the colors.
the script style & layout.

there are limitations as to the length of the script i am able to create. 
it needs to be able to fit & still look amazing.


spirit lead me: Beth Cupitt Art

please remember this is an adoption fundraising auction.  we are working hard at trying to raise the funds we need to make our haitian adoption happen. 

Beth Cupitt
beth cupitt art
shop | instagram

spirit lead me 
beth did this hoop design specific for our auction.  her talent astounds me deeply.  please head over to her shop and check out her work.  it is beyond beautiful.


tetris cuff: Amber Cok Noonday

please remember this is an adoption fundraising auction.  we are working hard at trying to raise the funds we need to make our haitian adoption happen.  


tetris cuff
want to know something cool about this piece? 
you cannot get it anymore.
how awesome is that?
but you can get it here.


polka dot wallet: The Ruffled Stitch

please remember this is an adoption fundraising auction.  we are working hard at trying to raise the funds we need to make our haitian adoption happen.  


can you even handle how amazing this cute little wallet is?


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