Monday, December 30, 2013

Starting Over..........

If you are one of the 5 people who actually read this silly blog of mine you know that this year I have been a super stinky blogger, lol I have gone back and forth trying to decide if I should keep attempting to blog or if I should just say good bye to it all together? Every time I think about it, I am reminded how thankful I am to have documented Isaiah's adoption journey and that makes me want to continue blogging, to continue documenting our lives, to have something to look back on and be reminded that through this crazy thing called life, God is always faithful. So along with some other changes I am making for 2014, consistent blogging is one of them. I have "met" such sweet friends through the blog world and my life is definitely richer because of each of them. I am still toying with the idea of making this private, but for now it will remain public. So grab a cup of coffee and get ready because I have been quiet for way too long and I am excited for the next chapter of this journey as I choose to find JOY along the way, every day!!

" I look up to the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made Heaven and Earth. He will not let you stumble, the one who watches over you will not slumber." Psalm 121:1-3

 

Friday, September 6, 2013

5 On Friday


Today I'm linking up with 5 on Friday :-)

  Every year on Labor Day our church a HUGE community outreach called Family Palooza. It is one big carnival for free :-) They have games, petting zoo's, pony rides, bounce houses/slides, inflatable water slides, face painting, music, train rides and lots more!! My boys had a blast. Isaiah went down most of the water slides just like big brother, lol the child loves water and thought he was big stuff doing what his big brother was doing.
Since I spend most of my time studying (and since I am currently living by Dave Ramsey and his envelope system) I decided to take advantage of $5 movie Tuesday and kids eat free at McAllisters and treat my boys to a movie and dinner :-) Noah has been begging me to go see Planes! I have to say it was a really cute movie and Isaiah shocked me with his reacting to the movie. He didn't move the entire time it was playing. It was so cute, every time he saw a plane he would yell "momma plane, plane" He go so excited. Both boys really enjoyed it :-)
Keeping it real, nursing school is draining me :-( I know I am right where the Lord wants me and I know He has me in school for a reason, but boy is it hard. I keep telling myself it will be worth it and it will be over soon, but seriously, ugh!! I am still trying to convince Isaiah that my Med Surge book is not a bible, lol
This season of nursing school has been especially hard these last 3 months. The class load has been extremely heavy, I failed my first two exams and have spent the entire quarter trying to pull my grades up to passing. I have really struggled with my time with the Lord this quarter. I don't sleep near the normal amount a person should and I stay frazzled with trying to study and retain all the information. From the moment I wake up I am going with either school, the boys, house/mommy duties or all of the above at one time! I keep telling myself this is a season, but not being able to get my designated quite time with the Lord every morning is really getting to me.
So it appears that I have a birthday coming up soon?? Yes, the big 3-0 is right around the corner and I am honestly not sure how I feel about it? On one hand it's just another day so no big deal, but at the same time I have been doing some major reflecting on the last 10 years of my life lately and am realizing all the amazing things the Lord has done in my life. The ways he has protected me when I didn't ask for it or think I needed it, the ways He has showered me with grace and mercy when I didn't deserve it and how He has used so many trials and road blocks to build stepping stones to where I am now and for where He is taking me. Stay tuned, I think a "I'm turning 30" post is in the making, lol

Monday, September 2, 2013

Confused

The thing about following the Lord is sometimes is can come with confusion. The weird thing is our God is not a God of confusion, yet tonight I am confused? Let me preface this with I am writing this post more for myself then anything. I hope to look back on tonight's post and see what the Lord was doing and preparing me for. You see, most people who enroll in nursing school have a goal in mind. They want to graduate, get a job at some big hospital, they have a specialty in mind that they want to work in, such as labor and delivery or pediatrics. They set their minds to it and get it done. All that is great and that was actually my mind set in 2009 when I enrolled in nursing school the first time to get my LPN, but then I graduated in 2010 and over the next 3 years the Lord would do something in my life that was completely unexpected.........He broke me..........

As ashamed as I am to admit before I graduated in 2010 all I thought about was me. Where was I going to work, how much money would I make, would I like the job I got, would I get to work with pediatrics, which is where my heart is? Then the Lord lead me to international adoption and blessed me with my sweet IZ and during that process He took me to Ethiopia twice, where He showed me things that will never leave my heart or my mind. Traveling to Ethiopia wasn't just about seeing where my son came from so I could tell him stories when he got older. It was about seeing the brokenness that sin has caused, seeing that beautiful place through the eyes of our Creator. It's been almost 18 months since I was there and I miss it terribly. I recently had the opportunity to go back for a week and had to decline due to finances. Oh how my heart wants to go back. 

This friends is where I get confused? Why did the Lord bring me back to nursing school? In November of 2012 I lost my nursing job very unexpectedly. I prayed, seeking His guidance and while I applied for other jobs, I also applied to nursing school because something in my heart told me it was time to go back and get my RN. Every job I applied for ended with a denial letter but every step in the process of applying for school was going very smoothly and next thing I know I received my acceptance letter in the mail. Okay God, I hear ya!!

So this past January I began the 15 month journey to get my RN. Am I doing it because I wanted to? Um negative. Am I doing it because the Lord made it clear this is the path He wants me on right now? You better believe it! I have learned that even when we don't want to, even when we think what is being asked of us is a little crazy, as His children we are to be obedient and trust in His plans, which are always far better than our own. 

So here I am, in the end of my 3rd quarter (three more to go, if Lord willing I pass this one I'm currently in) and I sit anxiously awaiting to see what the Lord is going to do with my nursing once I graduate? Medical missions? A job here in town? A move out of state, out of the country? I don't know, but I do know that He holds my future and for that I am forever thankful. So I will continue to push through the long nights, the lack of sleep, the stress, even the confusion, trusting in my God who is much bigger than my little simple mind. 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight."     ~   Proverbs 3:5-6

Friday, August 23, 2013

Looking Back

One of the things I love most about this blog is I am able to look back and see how God orchestrated every detail of my adoption and bringing Isaiah home!! The amazing things He did to allow me the blessing of being his momma leave me speechless at times, and if you know me you know that doesn't happen often, Ha!! I love blogging. I love the wonderful friends I have made over the last few years, I love the community and the fact that the Lord has used this little ole blog of mine to minister to other single mommas who are either in process or are praying about starting the process. Only God!! This year I have gone back and forth (literally back and forth a hundred times, lol) about closing this blog and starting fresh. I went through such a hard time after bringing Isaiah home and yes you read that right. Adopting a baby is hard, no matter how little they are, these sweet babies still deal with loss and there are still issues you will face once they come home. End soap box :-) Anyway, I struggled with trying to decide if I wanted a new blog for the new journey God has brought my boys and I to, but then I was reminded at how much I enjoy looking back and being reminded of God's Faithfulness and how every step of Isaiah's adoption journey was just a stepping stool to where my boys and I are now. If you follow me on Instagram you may have gathered that I have been going through a pretty hard time the last few weeks. Things have actually been pretty rough the last few months but have gotten increasingly worse over the last few weeks. The amazing thing about this rough season is again God is faithful!! Sweet friends I wish I could share with you the amazing things that have happen just in the last few days and I promise if I am able soon, I will. It is my life's prayer that every single thing in my life will always point to Jesus, that others would always see more of Him and so little of me. So last night I had the revelation that I don't need a "new" blog. Yes I need a blog makeover, Ha!! That though will just have to wait until the new Dave Ramsey budget says I have the money for that, lol but a new blog I don't need. I need to continue to add the pieces the Lord provides to the amazing story He is continuing to write for my boys and I and wait on Him to reveal the next chapter. I have so much more to write, to share but for now friends I need to stop and get some school work done. Would you please pray for me. This season of life has definitely been hard but what an unbelievable relief it is to know that I don't have to handle any of it alone. I can bring it to my Father's feet and rest in Him, knowing He is working out all the details. For He is my daily bread and meets my every need.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Ya'll I just have to post and give some major shout and praise to our amazing Heavenly Father and all that He is doing in my sweet friend's life and her husband's life. I met Kendra through the blog world :-) She lives in the Midwest and I am in the South, but honestly distance has not kept us from becoming really good friends and as I call her she is my sister from another mister, Ha!!! Seriously though, I just love her to pieces and am so thankful the Lord crossed our paths. I have enjoyed watching the Lord work in her life over the last 6 months and it would do your heart well to check out her blog here and read for yourself how God has been blessing she and her hubby's socks off :-) I have had the honor of praying for her and watching God answer those prayers in BIG ways!!! Now I can't wait to see what He does next for these two amazing people!! Don't ya just love my little prayer card I made for myself for praying for them? I totally hijacked this picture from Facebook a few weeks ago and enhanced it some, lol
 
 
While I'm praising the Lord, let me just shout PRAISE HIM, PRAISE HIM for bringing me through yet another quarter of school!! 2 quarters down, only 4 more to go!!! The best part is I am not officially done with all things that start with the word Anatomy, lol Seriously 6 months of Anatomy I and II was enough to make me pull my hair out. When I went to Haiti in May I knew I would be adding a lot of pressure to myself when I came home because I would come home right in time for finals, but I knew God was calling me to go, so there was no way I was going to not go. I went in my last Anatomy final with a big failing grade but because I serve an amazing God that is way bigger than any class or test I ended up passing my final with a 90% and passed all my classes!!! Now to breath for 10 days or so before starting back at it again. At least I won't have to look at anymore binders full of Anatomy pictures, lol


 This week Noah is participating in two VBS's, one in the morning and one in the evening. It has been so much fun watching him learn about Jesus and I have loved the conversations we have been having on the drives home about what he is learning. Noah LOVES putting Isaiah to bed at night. He actually thinks it is his job, lol so I just go with it. The first night I picked him up from VBS he asked me if Isaiah was still awake at home and I told him no, that I had put him to bed before I came to get him. He looked at me so serious and said "but mom, he needs me to put him to bed and tuck him in" Seriously, melt this momma's heart. When we got home that night at 9:30 I told Noah to quietly go in his room and get ready for bed (the boys share a room now, per Noah's request, lol) I heard Noah talking and I walked in to see this. He was laying in the rocking chair next to Isaiah's crib, holding his hand and was telling him all about his night at VBS and asking about his night. Apparently Isaiah was still awake when we got home :-) I tell ya, these two just constantly pull at my heart with the bond they share. Only God!!

 
Lastly, I am SO THANKFUL for this little reminder I saw on Instagram today. My mind is sometimes a very scary place, lol with all my thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams and throw in some anxiety and there are days where it is a perfect recipe for disaster, Ha!! Yes, far from what some believe this girl is a hot mess on the inside and I am just so thankful for my Jesus who loves me anyway and is a constant in my life and is always reminding me in His ways that everything WILL be okay, to just continue trusting in Him and His timing. Clinging to Him right now during a season that has brought on A LOT of anxiety in me that I am fighting daily to push away and replace with truth. Would love it if ya'll would pray for me.  
 
 
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
1 Peter 5:7

Friday, June 14, 2013

Someone Had A Birthday!!!

My sweet Isaiah turned 2 this past Monday!! I'm still trying to figure out where that year went :-) I'm having his party in a couple of weeks so for his actual birthday we went to his all time favorite place to eat, CooCoo aka Chick-Fil-A and celebrated there with my mom, sister, niece, nephews and my sweet friend and her kiddos. A friend of mine made his cake. She is great at taking my crazy ideas and turning them into an awesome cake!! I especially love how she put an I and Z block on the bottom because that is what I call him sometimes, my little IZ :-) His face was priceless when he saw his cake. To say he is a fan of Elmo is the understatement of the year, lol He is obsessed!!! Everything is ELMO!!! Rumor has it a real live Elmo will be making a guest appearance at his party :-) I told my friends who are coming either their kids will have a blast or need therapy, depending on their love for characters in costume, Ha!!!
 
 
 
Isaiah,
 
I can't believe you are 2 already!! It was just 14 months ago we were stepping off the plane after our long journey home. I stay amazed to see what God has done this last year, and am so thankful He chose me to be your mommy. You bring me more joy than I ever thought possible and I honestly have a hard time remembering life without you in it. It feels like you have always been here. I absolutely LOVE watching you and Noah together. For 18 months as I waited to bring you home I prayed that the two of you would have a strong relationship. God answered those prayers BIG time. The two of you are almost inseparable. When you wake up in the morning you stand in your crib and holler for "momma" and "bubba" You are definitely Noah's shadow and you look at him as your keeper. Noah is so sweet with you, always wanting to teach you things and you just look at him as though you are hanging on to every word. You want to do EVERYTHING he does!! You currently love everything baseball, because Noah is playing baseball. The two of you are just so sweet and it makes my heart swell to see the bond you two share. I am blessed beyond words by you two.

 
Some fun fact about you right now:
 
About 6 weeks ago you had tubes put in your ears. Since coming home you had struggled with constant ear infections and fluid in your ears. Not only were you on antibiotics too many times for my liking (the nurse coming out in me, lol) but the constant fluid was causing you a lot of balance problems, as well as stunting your speech. Your vocabulary consisted of about 3 words and when you did try to speak you sounded like you were under water. They tested your hearing before the surgery and they actually had to put the volume as high as it would go for you to even hear it. It made me that much more anxious to see how you would be after the tubes were put in. The surgery itself lasted all of about 12 minutes!! You did great and the tubes quickly got rid of all that nasty fluid :-) the only bad part was watching you come out of the anesthesia!! You were so pitiful and were not yourself AT ALL!!!! You spent the next 2 hours screaming uncontrollably. We came home and you took about a 3 hour nap, and woke up your happy, smiling self :-) The best part is now 6 weeks later you are talking up a storm!!!! You are still working on putting words with your thoughts. You get really excited sometimes and start trying to tell me something and than end up doing hand gestures to go along with what you are trying to tell me. It is seriously so cute :-)
 
You LOVE Elmo, ALL things Elmo :-) You have a specific Elmo you sleep with along with your taggy that I took to Ethiopia for you when I traveled to bring you home. You have to have those two things to go to sleep. Your sleeping Elmo as I call it is really cute, you push it's belly and it says "Elmo so sleepy" and now you have started saying that when I lay you down. It is so cute!! You also love playing with cars, ball, and you LOVE to be read to. You could sit for hours and read book after book. You enjoy being outside. For your birthday you got a water table and you absolutely love it. I'm anxious to take you swimming this summer. You love the water :-)
 
You go for your 2yr check up in a couple of weeks. At your 18 month check up where you were actually 20 months old, lol
  •  you weighed 22 pound 13 ounces and were 31 1/2 inches long. You are still playing catch up but you are healthy and that is all I am worried about.
  • You wear a size 6 shoe and your clothes range from a size 2T-3T depending on the brand.
  • You are a very good eater when it comes to fruits and veggies but you are not a fan of most meat and dairy. You love yogurt but hate cheese, cottage cheese and it is sometimes a struggle to get you to drink milk. When it comes to meat that is at times a bigger struggle. Needless to say you get your protein from other sources :-) You are my little plant based eater, lol
  • You love having your picture taken, especially when Mommy will turn the camera part on my phone around and you can see yourself as we take pictures. You think that is so funny :-) Your smile lights up any room!!
  • You have recently started acting interested in the big potty!! This brings your momma much excitement, lol but I am not holding my breath. You have sat on the potty a few times but I am not pushing you. You are very smart and recognize when you need your diaper changed, so here is hoping that leads to some summer time potty training :-)
  • Music is one of your favorite things. Your favorite song of all time is "Me Without You" by Toby Mac!! No matter what you are doing, if that song comes on you stop and start dancing! A few months ago the group For King and Country came to our church to perform and you had such a fun time. You stood out in the middle of the aisle with your hands in the air, dancing along to the music. I love seeing you worship in your own little way!!
Isaiah you are such a joy! You have come so far since coming home last year and I will never stop praising the Lord for your life and what He has done!! Your life is a story of Redemption, God's Love and Grace, and Restoration. I look forward to watching how God uses you and your brother for His Kingdom.
 
 "But now, this is what the Lord says
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine"
Isaiah 43:1
 
I love you to the moon and back my sweet IZ!! Happy Birthday!!
Love, Mommy

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Confirmation In Haiti

I have been home three days and honestly have no idea how long it will take me to process everything the Lord did during my time in Jacmel, Haiti the 11 days I was there. I could have NEVER dreamed or imagined what the Almighty had up His sleeve for my time there. One thing He made clear was His desire for me to use my spiritual gift of nursing for medical missions. While I don't know just yet what that is going to look like, I do know that is why He called me back to school when He did. I have decided to spend the next 12 months finishing school and staying in constant prayer that He would continue to make His path for my life known and that I would be obedient.
 
Haiti is such an amazing beautiful place but so dark at the same time. The enemy is alive at every corner, prowling over the poor and desperate. Voodoo is overwhelming there and the amount of people who think that is the answer is overwhelmingly sad and real. There were times that I just wanted to scream at them to turn from the darkness and turn to JESUS, their Savior and light!!! If only it were that easy. Sadly there were many who heard the Gospel and yet still turned from it. I can only hope that the many seeds that were planted will grow over the coming weeks and months and that those who turned will soon find the Light.
 

 
Our six days of medical clinics went amazing. The sick were healed in the name of Jesus, the Gospel was preached and over 30 people gave their lives to Christ!!! It was incredible. In every child's face I saw HOPE, with every smile I saw JESUS and with every "thank you" spoken in my broken French with a Kentucky twang I saw relationships being built with the Haitian people and the local churches and pastors who we were partnering with. I'm thankful that even though we are gone, that the wonderful pastors in Jacmel will follow up with those we helped and Lord willing more lives will be won for Christ!!
 
There is SO MUCH MORE I can/want/need to say about my trip, and who knows maybe I will, or maybe the experiences will stay forever etched in my heart, never to leave, always reminding me to go to all nations and preach the Gospel, even if for one soul, one is still a soul for Christ. I hope as the days continue I am able to come back to my little space here and write more. For now I will let the pictures tell a little part of the story.











"I raise my eyes toward the mountains.  Where will my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2
 
 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What Is It??

I don't know about ya'll but whenever the Lord is preparing me for something new, usually a big something new that comes in the form of an unexpected change in my life when I least expect it. Take for example when He lead me to the decision that I needed to find a new church home when I brought Isaiah home. I never would have thought that was what He wanted for me and the boys, mainly because Noah enjoyed going and had a few little kiddos that he really enjoyed seeing BUT the Lord knew it wasn't the right fit for ALL of us and after certain things happened that don't need to be mentioned the Lord made it crystal clear my boys and I needed to find a new church home where we would all be accepted and welcomed and most importantly loved by the Body of Christ. The decision was hard, but then again when is following God easy? If ya'll say all the time, you are just lying, lol

The Lord lead us to a wonderful church where not only have we been welcomed with open arms and loved on by many, but where we have all 3 grown individually and as a family. Noah has learned more and looks forward to going to church, Isaiah has come to know his helpers in the nursery and doesn't scream his head off while having a death grip on my clothes, lol and he actually has fun playing with all the little kiddos in his class. As for me, after dealing with hurt and mistrust from two separate churches and building a wall that guaranteed my heart would be protected, I have slowly taken down that wall and by no other way than by answered prayers and the loving Father Himself, I have met some wonderful ladies who I hold dear to my heart, who have mentored me, prayed for me and encouraged me along my walk. Did I mention that our Senior Pastor and teaching pastor ROCK and I leave their every weekend full of the Spirit and feeling that much closer to the Lord through their teachings. Seriously ya'll I LOVE my church and everything about it!! Even if some do call it Six Flags Over Jesus!! I think the name fits it because that building of believers has taken me on an awesome ride this last year and I can't wait to see what the future holds and what the Lord is going to do through those He places in my path every weekend.

So that brings me to the most adventure the Lord has brought me on, because let's face it life isn't crazy enough being momma to my two precious boys, going to school full time, homeschooling Noah and praying about our future and where the Lord wants us? God is awesome like that though, He proves over and over that what our humanly minds think we can't handle, we CAN handle with HIM!! So in just a little over 36 hours I am boarding a plane and heading to Haiti!!! Yep, the Lord has called me to go to Haiti with a group from my church for a 10 day medical mission trip. To say I am excited, anxious, nervous, and just giddy is an understatement. I have longed to go to Haiti for years but the timing was NEVER right. I knew when they announced the trips for this year that Haiti was definitely a trip I wanted to go on but being in school and being unemployed I wondered how in the world it would work out?

I can tell you I wasn't able to work anything out when it came to scheduling and finances, but our God worked EVERY SINGLE DETAIL out, down to the timing of my exams for school and provided every single penny in ways that only HE could!! I honestly don't know why I am surprised but I am and am still in aww at how the Lord works in my life!!! So humbling to say the least. I can not wait to get to Haiti but of course my mommy heart is aching that I will be away from my boys for 10 days but at the same time my mommy heart also wants my boys to grow up seeing their mom living out her Jesus. Being His hands and feet wherever the Lord calls me. I don't want my boys to remember me for being a safe Christian and only following the Lord when it feels safe to do so. Those who know me best know that I was forever changed when I came home from Ethiopia 15 months ago after my first trip and I have not been the same since. It has been my constant prayer that the Lord would make my path known to where it is He wants me to go, no matter where that is. I never want to miss out living His Will for my life because I was to busy making excuses or allowing the world to clutter my judgement.

So as I prepare to leave I ask myself, "what is it" that the Lord is preparing me for? I feel the slow paced change with things, I feel it in my heart and I know it is coming, but what is it? I am moving forward with anticipation and waiting on Him to reveal it to me in His timing. Knowing that no matter what it is, it will be an adventure because let's face it, following the Lord is never boring :-)

 
My sweet boys at our favorite place Chick-Fil-A (I may or may not be currently addicted to their new cobb salad, lol)
 
The picture is not that good, but the picture below is Noah practicing his bible verse on the way to his baseball game last night. I just love his hand!! May the Spirit always fill his heart always and forever.

 
Checking out exactly where Haiti is and where his mommy is going to be for 10 days. I must add that he is seriously convinced that I am bringing home another brother for him when I come home. If only it was that easy :-)

 
Getting in as many kisses as I can before I leave. Lord give my heart the strength to be away from these two blessings for those ten days!!

 
If you think of it sweet friends I would covet your prayers for my trip. That the Lord would guard my health and heart while speaking to my heart and showing me what it is He is calling me to do next. Also if you would please pray for my boys. Pray that time would go by quickly for them and that their little hearts are guarded as well and that Isaiah does well with my absence as far as our attachment, and for my sweet Noah who struggles with my absence and struggles with his routine being messed up. Pray that the Lord would fill his days with activity and fun and remind him what it is Mommy is doing.
 
Thanks so much friends. I shall return in a few weeks :-) With lots of God stories and pictures I am sure!!

 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Isaiah's Gotcha Day

I still can't believe my sweet boy has been home a year already. While time continues to fly by, I still have moments where I look at him and it still feels like he has always been here in our little family. There are few words that can describe the journey the Lord has taken me on this last year. The lessons He has taught me through the relationship that grew between my son and I, the hearts I saw softened by Isaiah and his smile, and the faith I saw grow in friends who stepped out and followed God's calling in their own life after hearing how God worked in my own life. All because I chose to say "yes" when so many thought I should say "no" I look at his sweet face and it breaks my heart to think of how many people are missing out on this amazing blessing of adoption.
 
For Isaiah's Gotcha Day celebration we had some yummy Ethiopian food, some cake that a friend of mine made me from the vision I had in my head :-) and some friends came over for dinner. Their daughter came home with Isaiah and I just love that the two of them get to see each other often and will always share that special connection to each other from being together in the transition house in Ethiopia.
 



 
 Yes, I know the flag is upside down, lol I had little helpers helping me hang it up and I didn't realize until after the picture was taken that it needed to be fixed :-)

It was a labor of love, but after 3 weeks of staying up till 2am almost every night between school work and preparing for a mission trip the Lord has called me on, I finally finished Isaiah's Gotcha Day video!!! He absolutely LOVES to watch his video. Almost daily he will walk up to my computer desk and point to the screen and say "mom, mom" with a sweet smile. That in Isaiah's language means turn the video on :-) I won't lie, it is a video made for him, not for anyone else, so yes it is long. 18 minutes, lol so if you want to pull up a chair and get comfortable feel free to watch it. Click here

I'm still waiting on my blog update. I didn't realize how long the wait was for the person I chose to do it :-) Time to get back to studying, packing, studying and packing :-) Until next time!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Orphan Care Summit 9

I am writing this post as part of the Summit 9 Blogger Giveaway. When I found out about the giveaway I was so excited, as I wanted so bad to go to the Summit this year but being a single momma of two boys, still unemployed from losing my job last year and being in nursing school full time there was no way I could afford it this year :-(

For those of you who are not familiar with the Summit I copied some information from their site directly: The Christian Alliance for Orphans’ annual Summit has become the national hub for what Christianity Today recently called, “the burgeoning Christian orphan care movement.” Summit IX on May 2-3, 2013, at Brentwood Baptist Church in Nashville, TN is expected to draw 1,800 to 2,000 pastors, grassroots advocates, organizational leaders and church ministry heads. Alongside more than eighty workshops, the unforgettable plenary sessions will include David Platt, Randy Alcorn, Michele Bachmann, Bishop & Donna Martin, and other global leaders. Summit inspires, equips and connects for adoption, foster care and global orphan ministry.

Doesn't that sound amazing!! The Summit came to my hometown in 2011 during which time I was in the paperchase process of my adoption. I remember thinking how awesome it would be to go but I had just recently started a new job and was unable to get off work. Thankfully my mom went to it for me and just seeing her facial expression as she told me about the sessions and speakers made me wish that much harder that I would be blessed with the opportunity to go one day. She still talks about everything she learned and experienced that year and because of her experience there I have met and become friends with some wonderful Godly people with incredible hearts for orphan care. Things my mom shared with me over the weeks helped me understand not only why God had called me to adopt (when so many thought I was crazy and shouldn't as a single mom) but that is also when the Lord started the reveal very slowly something he would make crystal clear 18 months later about what He was preparing me for and would call me to do.

Fast forward 2 years and I am home with my sweet Isaiah, nearing his first Gotcha Day celebration in a few short weeks and here I am hoping and praying the Lord would allow me this blessing of attending the Summit9!! Why do I want so badly to go? Well, I'm glad you ask :-)

During my time in Ethiopia the Lord broke me and showed me things that my head and heart had truly not been prepared for. The images of children wondering the streets, barely clothed, without shoes, some begging for food or money and others trying desperately to get you to allow them to wash your shoes in exchange for money. The memories of seeing little boys who were no bigger then 3 walking down the mountains alone, with no expression on their face, just dirt. Seeing children dig in the garbage, eating stale injera that had been laying there for who knows how long. These images will never leave me. I would lay in bed at night not able to sleep, thinking about those children and wondering what were they doing? Were they still walking alone, had they stopped to sleep on the side of the road? When I saw their sweet faces, I saw the face of my son who at the time was asleep in our home, in his bed, safe and without any worry about where his breakfast would come from. It was during that first trip that the Lord began to reveal to me that my journey was not going to stop once I got Isaiah home. Really, my journey was just beginning.

After I brought Isaiah home I couldn't stop thinking about Ethiopia and missing it terribly. I missed everything about that beautiful place and the people there. I began praying that the Lord would reveal to me what He was calling me to do. Over the next few months through Scripture, prayer and a God appointed meeting with a dear friend that Lord made clear what He was calling me to do. Not only did I partner with a dear friend of mine and beginning an organization aimed at orphan and widow care called Partners For Ethiopia. (You can read about it at partnersforethiopia.org) but the Lord also called me back to nursing school to further my education, so that I can do medical mission work once I graduate. 

The Lord truly broke me during my time in Ethiopia and He has spent the last year putting me back together, allowing me to see things through His eyes and with His heart. Through more Scripture, prayer and many conversations with those He has placed in my life, I see that orphan care is more then just adopting a child or children. Don't get me wrong my adoption journey was an incredible experience full of God's Grace and Provision but there is so much more the Lord calls us to do for the least of these. All of His children need to hear how loved they are by their Heavenly Father, they need to see Christ in us and feel safe and secure, even if they are still waiting for a forever family to call their own. Why should any orphan ever feel alone, scared or unloved?? They shouldn't!! 

On Maundy Thursday the Creator of the universe bent down to his knees to wash the dirt from the callused feet of his followers. And as he scrubbed away the dirt, he scrubbed from his Bride all possible justifications for ethnic and economic hierarchies. He radically upset cultural norms. And now he calls us to go low in foot-washing-like service to one another. What does that look like for you? For me it means letting go of what I have known to be normal and follow Christ wherever He leads me. Currently that means going to Haiti in 6 short weeks for a 10 day medical mission trip with my church. I can't begin to express to you how excited I am. Anxious to see what the Lord has in store for me.

So there you have it. Why do I want so badly to go to the Summit9? Simple, because I love and am passionate about orphan care and ministering to all of God's children. I want the opportunity to hear wonderful speakers and soak up every word like a sponge. Feeling called to medical missions, it would be an amazing blessing to hear David Platt speak, as it would be awesome to attend The Global Church session. Along with my desire to attend the session Maximizing the Impact of Your Ministry to enable myself and my friend/partner to learn how to best utilize our tools and resources to impact the children and widows we are working with in our ministry Partners For Ethiopia.

Another very important reason I want so badly to attend is to bring back everything I learn and help empower others to step out in faith and live out James 1:27 The enemy worked overtime during my adoption journey trying to place doubt and fear into my head. I want people to know it is not able how much money you make or if you have the ideal family dynamic to adopt. I was a single mom, fresh out of nursing school with a 5 year old who had been praying for a brother. Of course I was praying the Lord would bless me with a husband, but the Lord had other things in store for me and my boys. Would I change one thing about my adoption journey? Never! I am so thankful that the Lord called me to adopt, because not only did He bless me with my sweet Isaiah, but He also opened my eyes and heart to what breaks His and continues to use my experience to grow me and prepare me for the next season that waits.

Thank you so much for considering me for this amazing opportunity. I know whoever wins will be blessed and I hope and pray the Lord allows me this opportunity.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Seasons

Seasons come and go, some lasting longer then others. One thing is certain, with each season there comes change and sometimes life lessons. My pastor once said "learn from the past, don't live in it" and that is exactly what I am trying to do. This current season I am in is coming to an end and with the end brings joy, sadness and harsh reality. Through it all though the Lord is faithful and is teaching me new lessons and stretching my faith, reminding me that even during the times where I feel alone, He is there and He is enough.
 
I honestly don't even know if anyone still reads this little blog of mine, but just in case there are one or two of you who do, I thought I would let you know that with the end of this season, also comes the end of this blog. Don't get me wrong, I am still going to be blogging, but right now I feel it is better for me and my boys to start fresh. So I am currently in the process of setting up a new blog with a new address. This blog was great to have to journal my amazing journey to bring Isaiah home and I am thankful that he will have a way of reading about how God orchestrated bringing him to his forever family. I am excited to start a new chapter with a new blog. I have been quiet for a while not blogging, and trust me I miss it!! That is one of the reasons I can not wait to have the new blog set up!! You may be wondering why the need to start an entirely new blog and don't worry I will be posting all about that on the new blog. Until then I wanted to give ya'll the opportunity to join the boys and I on our new blog. So if you are interested in following along you can e-mail me at  aqueenandhertwoprinces@gmail.com
 
 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Will You Say Yes?

BUSY!! There is no other word to describe my life right now!! With normal every day things with the boys, starting school, celebrating Ethiopian Christmas this past weekend (that gets a post of it's own because WOW what an amazing day it was spent with TONS of sweet friends and their kiddos who have all come home from Ethiopia over the last year) as well as something super special and awesome that the Lord has been orchestrating and yes that is all I can say about it right now but trust me in the coming weeks I will be sharing some big news!! (No, I haven't met my Godly husband, yet lol)

Anyway, I thought now would be the perfect time to share another guest post with you guys while I still work to find my sanity with all my school stuff this week. This post if from my friend Lindsy from http://wordfromthewallaces.blogspot.com After reading her guest post you MUST go and check out her blog and their recent awesome news that is adding another bit of awesomeness to the beautiful story God is writing in their family. Enjoy!!


I'm not a fan of adoption timelines. (You'll see why below.) But there's no easier way to share our story and journey than to lay it out timeline style so, here goes:


September 2005 – We decided to adopt during pre-marital counseling.
October 2005– We got married:-)
June 2007 –Began researching placement agencies and decided to adopt from Ethiopia. I read every adoption book ever written.
August 2007 – We found out we were pregnant with our son. We put our adoption plans put on hold.
June 2008 –Moses is born!
October 2008– I attended an adoption seminar (The first of many!) and we decided on a placement agency.
March 2009 –Officially applied to adopt from Ethiopia.
July 2009 –Home study #1 complete.
August 2009 –Dossier #1 complete.
August 2009 –We found out we were pregnant with our daughter! We put our adoption plans on hold.
April 2010 –Meadow is born! Adoption journey begins again.
July 2010 –Home study updated.
July 2010 –Dossier #2 complete.
July 2010 –William is diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. Adoption plans put on hold.
Second half of 2010 – Blur of surgeries and cancer treatments.
February 20, 2011 - My step-mom is diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer.
March 10, 2011 - My step-mom passed away.
March 22, 2011 –William is given a clean bill of health!
April 2011 –Meadow is diagnosed with calcifications on her basil ganglia (brain). We are unable to proceed with our home study update (required because of William's cancer) until a “diagnosis” is given by the pediatric neurologist.
August 2011 –Meadow is given a clean bill of health - aka God healed her and the brain calcification's were gone! Home study update #2 completed.
September 2011 – Dossier #3 mailed to Ethiopia.
October 19, 2011– Ethiopia denies our case. (cancer)
October 26, 2011– Switch to the Democratic Republic of Congo pilot adoption program.
November 2011 – Home study update #3 completed. Dossier #4 mailed to the DRC. Officially waiting for a referral for the first time in 2 ½ years!
November 18, 2011 – Matched with a 3 ½ year old little boy!
February 10, 2011 – We learn the little boy we have been matched with was claimed by his uncle and sister. One less orphan! We are back on the referral list.
May 7, 2012 - Referral Day: Take Two
May 31, 2012 - A request has been made for the Consent to Adopt our little guy in the DRC! The first of many steps in the DRC court process.
June 7, 2012 - Our two boys transition back to their mother.
September 6, 2012 - Our two boys come back to us under very difficult circumstances.
October 9, 2012 - Our two boys officially become our foster kids!
October 30, 2012 - End of first 30 day waiting period in the DRC court process. Getting close to filing for court!
December 7, 2012 - We learned our little boy is not ours. He was returned to his family and for that we are grateful.


I share our story a lot. God spoke to us a couple years ago about the importance of sharing our story. Not because we are awesome - because He is writing it for us. Because we are simply the pen in His hand. So we share. In person, over the phone, on our blog and through speaking engagements. More than once, after sharing our story I've gotten the comment "Well, at least we know what worse case scenario looks like."


But I don't see our story that way.


Our desire has been to simply say "Yes" to what God puts in front of us. In the world of adoption, more often it is saying "Yes" to who he puts in front of us.


So we said "Yes" to adoption as an engaged couple when we were CLUE. LESS.
We said "Yes" to adoption when we were newly married and broke.
We said "Yes" to adoption when our world had been turned upside down by cancer.
We said "Yes" to adoption when we were deemed unfit to parent a child from Ethiopia.
We said "Yes" to adoption when we were scared of corruption.
We said "Yes" to two little boys in need of a home and a family because we had both.
We said "Yes" to foster care when we didn't really want to be a part of that broken system.
We said "Yes" to His will when our little Moise went back to his home in his village in his country.


Saying "Yes" is simple. And it's not. (Does that timeline above strike you as simple?!)


We've said "Yes" as best we could but it's never ended the way we expected. When you give your life away and realize you are simply a pen in the Writers hand, His story becomes your story and that story becomes far greater than anything you could have written. Not easier. Not safer. Not more fun. FAR. GREATER.


While we eagerly wait for the return of our Savior, we do our best to say "Yes" to the things and the people He puts in front of us now.


I'm guessing there is something in your life, dear reader, He has placed in front of you. Let me encourage you to allow Him to write your story. You are simply a pen in the Writers hand.


Will you say "Yes"?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My 2012 Top 10

Yes I know I should have posted this yesterday like everyone else, lol but the big party animal I am I didn't even make it to the ball drop, lol I enjoyed a dinner out with my family and then came home tucked my boys in bed and hit the hay pretty early :-)
 
I did want to document about our year though, so better late then never right?
 
For those of you who don't know me personally or haven't been reading my blog that long, you won't know that this time last year I was actually in Ethiopia. I actually rang in the new year with my best friend Lesli while flying over the Atlantic Ocean :-) Here were were preparing to leave DC for Ethiopia on December 31, 2011
 
 
One of the best moments of my life! Finally holding my little boy whose picture I had been looking at and praying over for 2 months!! January 1, 2012 was the day I met Isaiah for the first time!
 
Of course I have to give a shout out to my Kentucky Wildcats for winning the national championship!! My boys and I definitely bleed blue :-)
 
During the LONG 15 week wait to go back to Ethiopia my sweet Noah turned 7!!! Seriously, where does the time go?!?! This precious boy made me a mommy for the first time, my little miracle from God!! I am so thankful for him!!
 
After an 18 month journey full of excitement, stress, fear, bumps, joy, Grace and the Lord's Provision on April 21, 2012 Isaiah and I walked through the gates of the airport and were greeted by Noah running up to us before we could even get through the gate, lol
 The sweetest picture of my two boys, finally together!! Poor Isaiah he was exhausted, lol
 
Getting ready for his baby dedication at church. What an amazing feeling it was to be able to stand before my church and the Lord and dedicate my sweet boy to Him and commit to raising both he and his brother in the Lord's way.
 
My first Mother's Day with BOTH of my boys!!
 
It had been my prayer that Isaiah would be home to celebrate his first birthday! The Lord answered that prayer and we had so much fun celebrating with family and friends!!
 
After a crazy adoption journey and two trips to Ethiopia, it was great to get away for the day with my big boy for a day of fun at Holiday World! We had so much fun and made lots of great memories!! That was also the first day Isaiah stayed with a friend of mine for the day and he did great :-)
 
My church's newspaper contacted me and wanted to do a story about myself, my boys and my adoption journey. What a humbling experience that was. I was excited to share with others the amazing ways the Lord provided for my adoption. This is one of the pictures they took for the article. 
 
My mom, sister and I were blessed to be able to go to the opening night of The Story Tour. The first show was at our church and it was AMAZING!! If you ever get the opportunity to go, do it!!
 
After being sick for a year and being diagnosed with a condition that would have caused me lifelong problems, the Lord completely healed me!! I am still in awww and so thankful for the many people who prayed for me during that time!!
 
2012 came with it's fair share of ups and downs, but through it all the Lord was faithful. I am excited to see what He has in store for 2013 (praying it includes a husband, lol) I pray that each of you have a year full of God's blessings and that most importantly you know Him and have a personal relationship with Him!! He loves you so much and is waiting for you :-)

 
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