doTerra raffle giveaway awesomeness.

Friday, January 16, 2015

our first ever fundraiser to bring our daughter home is up and ready.
click the picture and it will take you to the RAFFLE giveaway awesomeness.

Emergency Preparedness Kit 
retail value: $600

Being prepared for emergencies gives you and your loved ones the feeling of safety and security. Provide your family members with peace of mind with the dōTERRA® Emergency Preparedness Kit.

This kit includes:
• 15 mL bottles of the oils that are essential for every home: Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Melaleuca, Oregano, Breathe, DigestZen®, On Guard, Frankincense, TerraShield®, AromaTouch®, Purify, Clove, and Lemongrass
• 5 mL bottle of Deep Blue®

• Fractionated Coconut Oil
• wood storage box
• diffuser
• Family Physician® Audio CD.

fundraising update.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

i just wanted to share with you some of the amazing things that we have had donated in the last (7 days).  kind of crazy that 7 days ago we had nothing... and now we have some amazing artists who are donating.  i cannot even explain my gratitude in words... it just comes out tears.

click the names... they are linked to their gifts for the most part.

Lisa Leonard Designs |  3 necklaces
A Beautiful Mess |  amazing book
Dear Lillie |  over the rainbow print
Lindsay Letters |  print 1 & print 2
Jones Design Company | glory print
Noonday (Stephanie Nunes) |  jewelry
Noonday (Amber Cok) |  jewelry
My SUPER talented friend Amy Mackey
The Sign Cafe |  2 fabulous signs.
Mercy Ink | Give Your Life Away t-shirt
doTerra Family Physicians Kit | Sandy Clark
Snake River Nets | hand crafted fishing net

We are also going to be able to raffle off an amazing kit from doTerra.  

The Emergency Preparedness Kit includes: This kit includes 15 ml bottles of the oils that are essential for every home: Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Melaleuca, Oregano, Breathe, DigestZen®, On Guard, Frankincense, TerraShield®, AromaTouch®, Purify, Clove, and Lemongrass, with a 5 ml bottle of Deep Blue®. This kit also includes a Fractionated Coconut Oil, wood storage box, diffuser, and a Family Physician® Audio CD.  Valued at $600.  

they made me real.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

my heart has forever been changed.  adoption has changed it deeply.  it has wrecked me completely.  these two beautiful lives that have joined our crew have completely changed me.  i am so thankful beyond words for that.  i am glad that i am not the same.

they made me real.
they made me see jesus differently.
they made me understand my faith.
they made me know myself.
they made my hurts become exposed.

adoption is change.  lots of change.  not all of it is good, but most of it has been good for us.  it has been a beautiful thing for our family.  hard of course.  but good too.  we have not talked a ton with the kids about our haitian adoption, but tonight something changed.

all four kids wanted to know a little bit about haiti after they sat and discussed what they should name their new sister.

we started our haitian search by watching audio adrenaline's song Kings & Queens which had so much meaning when they first came home.  both the boys would climb up into my lap, not being able to speak very much english, and watch this video over and over and over.  tonight, levi sat on my lap asking questions about haiti.  all four kiddos gathered around the computer.  talking to one another. dreaming of their sister.  talking names.  the happenings of haiti.  the earthquake they saw pictures of on the screen.  the beauty of the country.  their sister became real to them tonight.  it may have been one of the most amazing things i have ever experienced.

she became real... yet still a dream.
she became a pursuit... yet it seems like it is far off.
she became apart of our family... yet she does not know us yet.
one thing i know for sure... she is a child of God.
and for that i prayed today in the carpool line.  i prayed for her heart.  for her heart to heal.  for her heart to already to start to connect.  to become apart of yet another family.

the adoption process is so slow.  but we are moving.  trusting that God has our daughter held close.  knowing that there is hope in this crazy insane plan God has for our lives.  in it simplicity... the idea of her waiting for us became real tonight.


just ask.

Friday, January 9, 2015

just asking.
it is something that i am not very good at doing.
because it opens my heart and mind up to rejection.
and i hate being rejected.
it keeps me up in night.
filled with fear and angst.
it breaks my heart into a million pieces.

recently i read the book Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty.  i sat completely stunned at one concept i picked up on in the book.  i am not even sure where it is or which chapter the words are etched into, however the idea behind the words has stuck with me.  it was simple, how are people going to know you need help if you don't ask or make your needs known.

so in an effort to put into practice my new idea of simply asking, getting rid of my fears, i began to dream and pray for
fundraising ideas 
and boldness to ask for others to help.

the FIRST fundraiser we are putting together a raffle that will feature something amazing.  i am patiently waiting to hear from some wonderful people who are going to contribute... but you will not want to miss it.

the SECOND is an online auction that will take place towards the end of february.  i am in the process of collecting amazing items & am so overwhelmed by what God is doing through those that are perfect strangers & beautiful friends.  in just 36 hours (yes you read that right... just 36 hours) i have received confirmation of donations from these beautiful and amazing artists.  i am blown away and completely in awe.

Lisa Leonard Designs
Dear Lillie
Lindsay Letters
A Beautiful Mess
Noonday (Stephanie Nunes)
Noonday (Amber CoK)
Jones Design Company
My VERY talented friend Amy Mackey
The Sign Cafe

i am patiently waiting to hear if other amazing artists will donate too... i know God is going to do amazing things with this fundraiser.  i seriously have cried every time i have received an email.

you also can donate (a tax deductible donation) towards our adoption through adopt together how awesome is that?  i am so encouraged and in awe as i continue to watch God simply show up & do amazing things.

all i had to do was ask.

this one's on todd.

Friday, December 12, 2014

to anyone and everyone who is willing to read:

do you remember when we shared our story that brought us to adopting the boys?  it was one of the biggest steps of faith that we ever took.  it was one of the greatest gifts we were ever able to receive.  it has repeatedly proven to be a picture of the gospel in ways that we never imagined.  adopting the boys has rocked our world, but more importantly it has rocked our faith.  it radically changed us in ways we had no idea that we needed changing.  our boys have brought us more joy than we could imagine.  it definitely has been tough at times, but the healing God has done in their lives is beautiful.

over the past two years God had done great things.  we seriously feel blessed to have our sweet family of 6.  but something seriously did not feel complete.  there was something more.  something else missing.  someone else missing.  over the past six months todd and i have been praying, thinking, talking about adoption again.  knowing what adoption entails, it is a discussion we do not take lightly.    as we did with adopting the boys, we began researching and seeking where there was a need.  our boys were considered "hard to adopt" because they were a sibling group, older, and boys.  so we said yes.  this time, we began looking again to where God would have us adopt from, as well as where there was a need.  that is when God lead us back to our previous adoption agency to work with our fabulous case worker who helped us bring home ty & levi and gave us a heart for a "special needs" (one that we won't disclose at this time, if at all) child, a girl, and haiti.

so here we are again.  but this time seems so different already.  we are walking a path we have walked before.  a long road towards bringing a child home into a family who is waiting.  we know the chaos that will come.  but this is different.  every child is different.  every country is different.  every situation is different.  so maybe that is why this feels different... but i think this is different because we are walking with our eyes a little more open.  we are totally different people, a completely different family than we were 3 years ago when we started the process with the boys.  walking towards an adoption that we have to fundraise.  walking towards a child who does not know us and we do not know.  walk towards a new version of our family.  all with arms open begging God to move and work and come and show us.

this time around we are fundraising our entire adoption.  (last time we only had to fundraise our travel expenses).  this is by far the scariest thing for me.  last night, i laid awake and prayed.  i begged God to continue to show up and move in our second adoption process.  i feel like this is asking a lot of people.  to help us.  to fundraise with us.  BUT we know that God has brought us to this place and he will give us what we need.  we are praying for exactly what we need.

our coffee fundraiser link

our [right now] need:
homestudy payment: $700
first payment for our agency: $8,000 (due with our contract that has already been signed, notarized, and waiting for our fees to be finished).
USCIS fees: $720
fingerprinting: $170

our [upcoming] needs:
fees due with dossier submission: $10,800
fees due with referral acceptance: $9,082
travel expenses (there are 2 trips): unknown
other fees: roughly $3,000

what i learned about sovereignty.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

last night i lay awake.
trying desperately to drift off into sleep.
but sleep evaded me.
for hours.
so what else could i do but pray.

today my littles all started school  they embark on a journey that will only last this year.  the only time they will be at the same school together.  but this new adventure brought a ton of fears that weighed heavily and deeply... robbing me of my sleep.

here is what today marked.
1. yet another school for ash.
2. both older kids switching classes.
3. the longest levi has been without todd or myself.  ever.  in 19 months.
4. the longest ty has been without todd or myself.  ever.  in 19 months.
(they have always been with one of us).
5. the first time the younger two has ever gone to school.
6. teacher conversations before the year begins.

so in bed i lay.  anxious hearts.  clothes laid out.  bags packed.  lunches ready.  levi so fearful that he has been sleeping with us for the past 5 nights.  prayers of a nervous mom that flowed for hours.  i am not sure if i have ever prayed for all four of my children with such desperation.  with such passion.  but something stuck deeply inside my heart as i prayed.  God is sovereign.  he is sovereign no matter what.  God will take care of my kiddos with or without me there.  but i need to give them to chance to see God be there, while i am not.

and today.  they did.  each of them.

levi came running up to me when he was done with school and jumped into my arms.  he never left my side for the entire day.  he went to a meeting with me.  laid on me.  made sure he was close to me.  it was so precious.  at the end of the day when i told him that i loved that he ran and jumped into my arms, he told me he wanted to do it again tomorrow.  then he asked to practice.  so we did.

jesus wins.

titus rocked school today.  seriously.  teacher said he was attentive.  that he was the most respectful child she had met.  that he helped diligently in class.  that he asked questions.  that he defended a boy who was bullied.  (ty said a boy was being mean to another little boy.  the little boys feelings got really hurt and the bully would not stop.  ty stood between them and told the bully he needed to be nice and apologize because they aren't supposed to hurt each others feelings.)  the teacher mentioned because of ty's size (he's big), the bully listened to him.  ty ran out.  hugged me & his dad & told us all about his day.  showed us his school work.  told us what he learned and about how he got lost in the hallway after going to the bathroom.  he cannot wait for tomorrow.

jesus wins.

jeremy got to school, gave us a hug, said goodbye to his brothers and was off.  he knew not a soul on that campus other than his siblings and a few younger kids from church.  but he went determined.  he said he was the only person who brought in a book so he didn't get to read.  he said his teacher is amazing.  that his science teacher seems fun.  that he met some friends.  that he gets to dress up in harry potter clothing for a picture his teacher is going to take of him.  we finished out the night reading together.  he is such an amazing reader.  i am so proud of his ability to adapt.  to make friends.  to learn and grow.  and be passionate about education.  i had to write 4 words that described him tonight.  creative.  smart.  authentic.  passionate.

jesus wins.

ash.  oh my sweet ash.  she adventured a little more hesitantly than jeremy.  she saw her teacher and went and said hi.  asked where they should line up.  and with a hug she was gone.  but tonight as we talked about school, she said simply this: "mom it is the first new school i have gone to that i didn't sit on the swings during recess.  i actually made friends."

jesus wins.

"the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His." 2 chronicles 16:9a

"the Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all." psalm 103:9

God rules with sovereignty.  his power.  his might.  and it is his rightful place as creator and ruler.  i did not understand that until today.  not the concept of what a sovereign God is, but a practical application on my most precious "possessions".  by no means should my children have been able to accomplish today.  but God is sovereign.  sovereignty came in the form of grace and transpired into a beautiful example to me about how He is the controller of their lives and of their destinies.  not me (obviously.  but i like to think i do.)  by no means should my two youngest children have had a great first day.  something should have gone awry.  not likely at school (although these two never had a honeymoon period, so they are as real as they come), but at home.  but that is not what happened.  they clung in a beautiful way to me tonight.  lot of hugs.  lots of excitement for tomorrow.  lot of non-verbal needs by way of hugs and kisses.  lots and lots of grace, love and hope (thanks dad for showing up right now in this moment.  hope was my dad's word.  as i typed it, i saw his smile and his nod of approval.)

tomorrow... i pray you are the same for these four sweet faces.  i pray that school continues to feel safe for our children.  that they continue in their honest feelings.  that they make friends.  show people jesus.  learn.  focus.  grow.  and have fun.  all the while remaining true to what God's word teaches them about grace, mercy, love, & obedience.

as i hugged and prayed for ty tonight, he hugged me tight and told me he missed me so much today.  all i could do was choke back tears (when i cry it scares him) and tell him for the millionth time today i missed him so much and i cannot wait for a big hug from him when he gets home from school tomorrow.  

my beautiful children.  grades K, 1st, 4th, & 6th.

being vulnerable.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

being vulnerable is hard.
i am sure it is difficult for everyone.
it is deeply hard for me.
admitting hurts and pain isn't easy.
it never has been.
most of my life i have hidden my struggles.
from a lot of people.

but after reading RECOVERING REDEMPTION by chandler & snetzer i am inclined to be a little more vulnerable about personal hurts and struggles.  (i highly recommend this book.  it seriously has changed my life in a way no other book, that isn't the bible, has changed how i view life, redemption, and hope).

we are currently living in and serving in a beautiful community of homeschool families.  it is seriously so breathtaking to me.  they are a true community.  a community of believers.  supporting one another.  lifting one another up.  encouraging one another.  and specifically within our church; it is saturated with homeschooling families.  precious homeschool families.

i wanted to be like them.
to be doing life in the trenches with them.
to simply homeschool my littles.
to love on them from home.

{please know that todd and i are NOT against public school.  we are NOT against homeschool.  we are NOT against christian schools.  period.  we believe that everyone has a choice and NO ONES choice is wrong.}

so we started to plan towards that idea of homeschooling.  we even knew what we were going to do with homeschooling.  we knew what curriculum.  we knew what groups we were going to be joining. we just knew.

but really.
we didn't.

about 1 1/2 months ago i started to really see my inabilities.  they are NOT ladened in fear.  trust me.  they are true inabilities in this moment.  i struggle with depression.  (there i said it.  it's out there.  it's real.  it's hard.  and God is healing my daily.  always has been.  i started talk therapy when i was 9 years old.  i have been getting help ever since... there is your public service announcement.)  i allow stress to affect me and my circumstances (which things are forever changing and it is hard right now).  it is debilitating.  it's been this way since i was in high school. i started to notice some old habits coming back.  BUT i also saw some self-regulating things coming naturally.

(insert time of self-evaluation).   what was i going to do?  why was i feeling like this?  how was i going to make these thing change?

todd and i began to talk.  i began to share my heart behind the hurts i was feeling.  the stresses i was beginning to experience.  i began praying.  evaluating.  and then there was something that i simply could not shake. it was the idea that i needed to be my kiddos mom & not their educator.

there it was.
i prayed for clarity.
i begged for clarity.
i could not get it out of my heart and mind.
it wasn't in the hard times i felt this.
it was in the good times.

i knew change was about to take place.

two things were said to me when i shared the news with two amazing moms.  each backed me 100%. first one affirmed me when she told me that she knew she needed to simply be mom to her 3 adopted sons.  the next came from my bestie who said she felt that God wanted my "yes" in homeschooling, but was directing me another way and needed my obedience there as well.

now please understand, if we felt directed to homeschool, i believe that God would have given me everything that i needed to do that as well.  but it is not where God has us right now.  he has levi in a great kindergarten class that the teacher wants to meet with me and talk about how she can walk this year with us.  titus's teacher cried with me as i realized he was my hardest child to let go of this year.  jeremy's teacher (a guy teacher which he always does best with) has harry potter all over the walls (jeremy just finished book #7 yesterday).  ash's teacher is so understanding of her test anxiety that she has already told ash that she can take tests at lunchtime/ recesses/ sit next to her.  told her that if any other the other teachers don't listen to her (she rotates classes) to come to her and let her know.  i could not ask for a better circumstance.  so God has us here.  in this moment.

we walk with Jesus daily.  begging for clarity and understanding.  each of us as moms are trying our best to do what is right for our children.  we are trying to keep sanity in our hearts, minds, and homes.  we fight hard for our children in different ways.  none of those ways wrong; they simply look different.  i want a home that has a sense of ease within its walls.  a peace that oozes from within... that rushed deeply over the hearts and souls of my children.  i want them to have a childhood that is different and wonderful and amazing... not easy, because that is not real life... and i cannot give them that by simply being their educator.  i need to be healing platform.  we need to grow as a unit without that hanging over us.  i know this year will be filled with a whole lot of different, however... we are following Jesus.  we are striving to have our children be completely emerged in who God wants them to be.

if you do not have adopted kiddos, you may not completely understand my need and my urgency.  and that's okay.  (if you know me... you know that this is NOT LIKE ME AT ALL).  but i am fighting for my kiddos.  harder than you can ever grasp and understand.  if you walked daily within the walls of our home... you may get a glimpse... but unless you jumped inside my head (which i do not recommend) there is no way to "get it".  but please, lets not pretend that we grasp each others circumstances completely.  because even if we walk similar journeys, they are still different.

i have a public school education.
todd has a public school education.
& we still love jesus.

 this is last years picture.  wait until tuesday for this years.
the changes these four have made are phenomenal.

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