Thursday, July 25, 2013

Don't Say No

Did you know that at one point very early on in our adoption process 
(like two years ago when we were still just getting used to this idea and starting to talk about it), 
we said no. 

The $30,000 price tag seemed impossible and very overwhelming. 

Thankfully, God doesn't care about a number,
 and He worked over and over and over again to reveal His call for our family to grow through adoption. 

This happens a lot. 
People are called. 
They know God has placed adoption on their hearts, and yet they say no. 
It's too scary. 
It's takes too long. 
It's too hard. 
It's too expensive. 

But what if in saying NO, we are missing out on one of the biggest blessings God has in store for us? 
What if instead of saying no, all of these people said YES? 

Today I'd like you to take a minute to watch my dear friend Wynne's story. 
She's the girl who introduced me to Noonday and who stirred my heart even more for adoption as I followed her adoption story. 
She also may be the only person I know who loves Africa more than I do...maybe.

Her story is beautiful. 
God is good. 
And His love for us is nothing short of overwhelming. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

30 in my 30's: #27 and how I've changed

So, when I turned thirty-one I compiled a list of things I'd hoped to accomplish in my thirties. 
Ironic how things work out sometimes because very shortly after I made this list and published it for all the world to see (and by that I mean the handful of faithful blog followers I've somehow convinced to come back to my blog on a regular basis, my mom, and the umpteen billion people who flock to my cake batter dip recipe) that God opened my eyes and I fell head-over-heels in love with Africa and all that that entails.

 And thus comes my problem: today when I look at my list, I'm kinda embarrassed. 
Where were my priorities? 
Were these things really the best I could come up with 
in terms of what I wanted to accomplish in a decade of my life? 
Seriously, tans and good fitting jeans were the best I could come up with? 

So, now I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.
 I could change my list, updating it to align with who I am today and where my priorities lie. 
OR, I could leave it as a reminder of who I was and hope to never be again. 
It's not that I was terrible or awful or a heathen, but I was not living the life God wanted for me.
 I wasn't putting Him and His desires about my own. 
I wasn't living to serve Him and others. 
To sum it up in one heavy word, I was selfish.

 So, in an effort to both remind myself of who I was and hope to never be again AND challenge myself to live a life I can be proud of, I won't change it.
 However, I will perhaps put a new spin on it, starting with #27:  
Write something and have it published.  

Writing has always been something I've loved to do. However, my goals in writing have changed.
 I'm no longer writing simply with the hopes of entertaining or wooing others with my way with words. Instead, when I write these days it's with the hopes of inspiring others to step out of their comfort zones in an attempt to be the best versions of themselves. So, while my initial intention when making this one of my goals was to write something funny and creative and clever (that was also probably relatively meaningless), I am so very happy that God had other plans. 

And thus, I give you my published piece: 

See that fuzzy girl to the far right? That's me. 
And see that paragraph under the picture? 
I wrote that. 

This is the Noonday lookbook that we have used this past season to not only market the current Noonday Collection but also to help us advocate for our artisans and inform women across the country that their purchases matter and that even something that seems small, like buying a new swanky pair of earrings, can make a difference in the life of another. 

In it, I talk about how God has given me a desire to serve others, especially those in Africa. 

It's not what I intended when I set this goal for myself. 
No one will even probably remember that it was written, except for my mom, of course (hi, Mom). 

It's not at all what I had planned when I wrote set this goal. 
No, it's much, much better. 

Because, if nothing else, God is using this season in my life to teach me time and time again
 this one simple lesson: 


And that, my friends, is a goal worth investing in for a decade. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

He is preparing their hearts.

They talk about her. 
They draw pictures of her. 
They fight over where she will sleep and who will be her favorite sister. 
They pray for her by name morning, noon, and night. 

Instead of pretending to go to the store, my three-year-old pretends to go to Africa. 
And my eight-year-old won second grade president this year after giving her speech that included things like making sure each kid in Africa has clean water and a roof for their church. 

Not only is God preparing my heart for my daughter to come home, but He is preparing my biological kiddos' hearts as well. 

Seeing them get excited about Emily is probably the sweetest thing I've ever seen. 
God is giving me a front row seat to watch them come to understand how He shows His love for us through adoption. 

My littles get it without any hesitation. 
They don't think about the fact that she isn't growing in my belly. 
They aren't bothered by the idea that she will look differently than they do. 
They don't worry about how people will accept her or what people may think about our decision.

They just love her. 

And that's exactly the way I think it should be. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Juggling and Dropping and Guest Posting.... OH MY

Hey, friends. 
This morning (by that I really mean this week), I'm feeling like one of those clowns at the circles, who in an attempt to juggle about twelve different things, drops them all on his head on his head. Yup, that's me...juggling and dropping and feeling a tad overwhelmed with all the adoption and family visiting and crazy kiddos who can't play outside because it's raining. None of these are terrible, but the combo is not working for me pizza and peanut butter. Apart? Delish. Together? Not so much. 

So, I'm taking a little blogging break today and bringing you some words from my friend Laura. 
She blogs here and is happily awaiting the arrival of her first son next week. 
He will join their family via domestic adoption, and I'm waiting to see his little face like I'm waiting on the premier of the new season of Parenthood

Here are some words from Laura. 
Check out her blog. 
She's funny. 

Adoption: Not for Control Freaks...Or is it?

As McCall recently said... Adoption is hard, y'all.

I'm going to go ahead and admit something right here:  I am a control FREAK.

Anyone that I knows me is probably throwing some Hallelujah Hands up. 

It's true though. I tend to be very particular, and I like things to go according to plan. My plan, preferably. I like my ducks in a row, my eggs counted, and my socks in the dirty hamper. (Do you hear that, husband?) I think this is probably my reaction to some pretty life altering events: growing up with someone with a mental illness, my mother's death, even my house burning down a few years ago. The more things that "went wrong," the more I tried to control everything else.

Adoption was a wake up call. 

My husband and I have known for years that we wanted to adopt, regardless of our fertility status. It was something we felt called to. We always assumed it would be international. Wrong. We also assumed that we'd have the luxury of time to prepare. Wrong.

Let me just say that God was working here. 

We finally decided one day a few months ago that this was the time to get our "house in order." We were going to start putting money back and find an agency. The best laid plans, y'all.

That night, we received a phone call about an expectant mother wanting an open adoption. What?!  I didn't hesitate to say yes.  A week later, we were in an open adoption plan for a baby boy to be born a short 120-odd days later. We had no adoption savings built up, no baby things, nothing! We had been taking for granted that our calling was International Adoption and a long wait. But we heard God calling for this immediate need. This baby needed us. This situation needed us.

This entire journey has been a lesson in releasing control, enjoying the experience, and trusting the Lord. He, literally, brought us to it, and He, definitely, is bringing us through it. We are overjoyed at how it has been fitted together, knowing completely that domestic open adoption is a perfect fit for us right now. 

So if you think, "Gosh, I could never do that..."  Think again. If you feel the calling, jump in with both feet. The time may never be perfect. The money may not be right there. But God is.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Grow Your Blog Giveaway: The Inside Scoop

First of all, I simply cannot say THANK YOU 
enough to every single person who donated and shared about the Grow Your Blog Giveaway. 
It exceeded my every expectation and my every hope. 

The number one thing I will take away from last week? 
There are some amazing people out there. 

It makes me wish our world was smaller. 
There are so many amazing women out there that I wish were my friends and neighbors. 
So many awesome, inspiring stories I'd love to hear over cups of coffee on my back patio. 
So many people who already love my girl. 

And for the sake of being transparent (and for the several of you who asked),
 let's talk for a minute about the details of this giveaway. 

I have been thinking about our adoption and planning out ways to raise funds for about two years now. 
Doing research, reading blogs, asking others. 
To clarify, I am a planner. I love making lists. I love schedules. 
And of all the things I'd planned out for our adoption, this was not one of them. 

This idea came to me on the couch last month...watching 'New Girl' reruns on Netflix...looking at Instagram on my phone....thinking about how if only MY blog were bigger I could maybe sell some more t-shirts (which you can order here, btw. This mama ain't too proud to beg.). 
And then it just came to me, the idea that others out there want to grow their blogs as well.
 So, I made a little list (it's what I do best...seriously. I make a mean list.) of a few of my favorite bloggers. This part was easy, as these are bloggers I've loved for a long time...I may even sometimes forget that I don't know them in real life. After I had my list, I hopped on the computer, quickly found their e-mail addresses, and sent them a message telling them what I was hoping to do 
and asking if they'd be willing to donate ad. space. 

The funny part? 

They all said yes...some within the first thirty minutes.

And I cried. 

Then I headed over to Etsy to see if I could round up a few additional prizes. 

They all said yes too. 

Moral of the story: DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK!

 You just never know!
 And what's the worst that could happen? 
They'll say no or won't respond. 
If I had a penny for every time I've been told NO in my life, 
well, let's just say I wouldn't be so worried about selling t-shirts to bring Emily home. 
And my girl is worth putting myself out there and stretching my comfort zone.

After that, the rest was easy, I simply headed over to picmonkey and made some images for Instagram (this is because my phone is one step away from being considered museum worthy and officially labeled an antique. Those of you with newer phones could skip this step.).

I created this one for Pinterest: 

And these (plus two more, but you get the idea) for Instagram, facebook, and Twitter: 

After that, all I really did was share on social media. 
I will say that I am so very thankful for Twitter, and facebook, and Instagram, and Pinterest, and the amazing Blog world, and so in awe of people who fundraised pre-social media. 

Not only did I help raise some much needed funds to bring my girl home, but I have 'met' some of the most WONDERFUL people this past week!

And I cried some more. 

I am so humbled by all of the people I don't know who donated for Emily. 
I am even more humbled by the people who are ALSO currently fundraising to bring their own kiddos home. 

You donated and shared and donated and shared, 
and we are now
closer to having our girl HOME with us!  

$1200 in one week from people I don't know, people I may never know. 
My heart is humbled; my God is good. 

And now I'm off to e-mail miss Stephanie Clark and tell her just how very happy I am for her! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sharing My Heart

So, this grow your blog giveaway is blowing my mind. 

Seriously, all these people from across our country giving whom I've never met donating their hard-earned dollars to help bring my little girl home. 
I've cried and smiled and been shown the hands and feet of Christ through each donation. 

If you've given and entered to win, thank you. 
I can't wait to see where the total will land come next Monday. 
And I really can't wait to see who the winner will be! 

And don't forget-- once you've donated ONCE you can earn entries every day by sharing about this giveaway!

One of my favorite things about this journey to our girl is that God is placing people in my path who share my heart and desire to do my part to help with the orphan crisis our world is facing. 

And today I'd like to introduce you to my new friend, Angie. She has a really cool thing going on to help bring HER baby home to her. 

In her words, here is a slice of her story: 

In 2012, on a warm Saturday morning in November, my husband and I waited anxiously in a bright orphanage.  At 9 am, that November in Taiwan, it was our turn, our time to become parents.  The director arrived, carrying a serious(ly adorable) 6 1/2 month baby boy into the room. I burst into happy tears. Quiet. Happy. Tears. After months of waiting, piles of paperwork, and an indescribable amount anticipation, we were finally in Taiwan, holding our son for the first time.  

As most adoptive parents will tell you, the months of waiting, pictures, and videos could not prepare us for the incredible love we felt that morning in November. As we looked into our son’s curious eyes, we knew he would not be the last child we adopted. We did something crazy, in fact. Something inspired by our awesome God, who calls us to do things that seem crazy to many in the American world. We reapplied to adopt again, with our agency, that very month. Our son is going to be a big brother!

Now, we spend our days chasing, laughing, gardening, giggling, and dreaming. Life is pretty beautiful. Last month, we also announced the grand opening of an etsy shop, The 1500 Tree Project. On the surface, the 1500 Tree Project is a way to fund our second adoption. 1500 trees made. 1500 trees sold. One fully funded adoption. But really, it’s so much more than that.

 It’s cutting leaves out of colorful paper while my son toddles around the living room, babbling away. It’s thinking about designs as my husband plucks away at his bass guitar, practicing a bluegrass tune. It’s piecing together a tree when we chat about our days and our prayers, with the low hum of the baby monitor buzzing in the background with our toddler’s sleeping breaths. The 1500 Tree Project is love and hope, poured into a little 6×6 canvas. Joy really is the heartbeat of our shop and the spirit I pour into every piece I produce.

And we would love for you to join this journey with us. 

Pray with us! Pray for the financial means to bring our child home, a favorable legal process, and the wisdom to parent our children well.

Buy a Tree! Join The 1500 Tree Project by purchasing a tree from our shop today.  They are $25.00. We are stepping out in faith and pray for financial provision. Airlines won’t fly us around the world for free, doctors need paychecks to buy their children dinner, social workers like money to purchase a cute top from time to time, and even orphanage nannies deserve a little monetary compensation for countless 3 am feedings. Purchasing a tree is the simplest way to support our adoption financially!

Share our Story! Like us on facebook! Pin us on pinterest! Follow us on Instagram!  Share this post with your friends! Put us in your e-mails, your church bulletins, your bible study handouts, your weekly newsletters. And, if you are a blogger…we would love to write a guest post for you, too!

To celebrate our adoption, and thank McCall for allowing us this guest post, we are offering a 10% coupon code to Lee, Me, and the Girls: Finding our Way readers! When you check out on etsy, use the code: OURWAY to receive your discount. Valid one week only!

Where will you fall in The 1500 Tree Project?

Much love,


It takes a village, friends.

Happy Thursday to you and you and you.
We're headed to a home study visit. Please pray I don't throw up....or put my foot in my mouth...or both.
That would be bad. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

GROW YOUR BLOG GIVEAWAY {An Adoption Fundraiser}

Well, hello there bloggers!
If you're new around here, here's the skinny: 

My hubby and I are adopting a little girl from the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
Our daughters have a sister. 
And she is one very loved little girl. 
And we want to get her home as quickly as possible. 
I can't imagine the heartache that will come my way if we reach a point in our adoption where we are forced to put things on hold because we don't have the funds ready and waiting to proceed to the next step. 
My momma heart just can't handle that. 

Adoption is expensive. 
Think $30,000 expensive. 
That's five times the amount we paid for my car....literally. 
And needless to say, my piggy bank's not busting at the seams with thousand dollar bills. 
Thankfully, God is so much bigger than the amount of money we need to bring Emily matter how many zeros are at the end of that number. 

We are trusting that since we are following His call to care for one of His children that He will provide what we need to get her home. 

So, in order raise the funds needed to bring our little Emily home as quickly as we can, 
we have teamed up with some awesome ladies. 

And we want to help YOU grow your blog 
or Etsy shop or online business!

So, here's how this will work, 
for every $5 donation you make towards bringing Emily home, you will be entered one time to win a FREE sponsorship add for the month of AUGUST on these blogs plus some awesome blog treats.

 After your minimum donation of $5, you can earn additional entries for sharing about this giveaway on your blog, twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.

 Five dollars can make a difference.
 Five dollars can work to change the life of our little girl. 
Five dollars can mean one less orphan in this world. 

Think big. 
Think thousands of blog views a day. 
Think many, many new followers. 
Think of all the new people you can share your story or talents with.

One of you should clean up your place, do some dusting, and break out the good China... you are about to have some serious company over at your blog!

Here's the amazing blogger line-up that will EACH be giving away a free sponsorship spot in August to our ONE LUCKY WINNER: 

{These six women are amazing. They are well-spoken, inspiring, humble, and regulars on my reading list. If you aren't familiar with them and their blogs, you are truly late to the party.} 

And that's not all! 
One lucky winner will also receive these seven amazing goodies to help his or her blog grow, grow, grow! 

This is one giveaway I would seriously like to win.

The giveaway will run from July 8-15.
You can enter each day!
After making a minimum donation of $5, you can then earn extra entries for sharing.
So share and share away, friends.

You can donate $5 for one entry,
$10 for two entries,
$15 for three entries,
or $20 for four entries.

And each and every penny donated will go to help bring our daughter HOME to us!

I seriously get chills just thinking about there being one less orphan in this world.
God is so, so good.

And truly, please hear me when I say thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping to bring my daughter home to our family.

Here's were you can make your donation:

And here's where you enter to WIN IT ALL:

The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter at random on midnight the night of July 15th.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your part in bringing Emily home! 
You can rest assured that you just MADE my day!

If you wish to enter the giveaway without donating to our adoption please email me at 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

So Stinkin' Excited

So, there's lots to tell and only a little time to do it, as the girls and I have big plans today that include popsicles and swinging time. 

BUT, there is a reason to be EXCITED!
Next week I will be hosting the giveaway to top all giveaways in an attempt to be one step closer to bringing Emily home to us from Congo!

Here's  little sneak peek at what's to come.... 

Tell your friends. 
Tell your neighbors.
 And tweet it 'til the cows come home. 
I cannot WAIT until July 8th. 

Speaking of bringing our girl home, our shirts now have homes in TWENTY-FOUR STATES! I would so love to fill this map, print it, and show my girl just how many people played a part in bringing her to her family. 

 And a little shirt update: 

We had prayed for 200 shirts to sell in our first batch. Did the math yesterday.
 Guess how many shirts we sold?
 Exactly 200. 
God is so so faithful, friends. 

And not only are our shirts selling like crazy,
 but we've sold more prints and bracelets than we'd expected as well! 

Emily, you don't know it yet, but you are so loved, little girl.
Get ready, 'cause we are coming for you! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Adoption is hard.

Adoption is hard. 
There. I said it.
 And I can promise it won't be the last time I say it, as we are only just getting our feet wet in the process of bringing our daughter home. And while the paperwork and the waiting is hard, this time I'm specifically talking about the mom part of adoption. 

I long to see my girl. 
I long to hold her. 
I can't wait to squeeze her little cheeks and hug her all day long. 

Me, very preggo with Hollyn

When my other daughters were growing in my belly, I was not in complete control. 
No mom ever is. 
BUT, I could make good choices--
 I could eat right, take prenatals, wear my seat belt, avoid roller-coasters, drink lots of orange juice, 
and go to the doctor at the slightest sign of ANYTHING abnormal (and I did. Sorry bout that, Dr. Pearson). 

Emily is my daughter, but I can do none of these things for her. 
Instead, I sell t-shirts and plan giveaways and fill our paperwork....lots of paperwork. 
And I worry. 

Assuming things go as planned, Emily is already born. 
She's in Africa right now. 
Will she eat today? 
Will anyone be there to hold her when she cries? 
Does she have malaria? 
Is she with her mother? 
I so hope she is. 
I hope she has as much time with her birth mother as possible.
 But I don't know. 
And I probably never will. 
And that's hard. 

I am not necessarily a control freak.
In fact, in most areas of life, I'd say I'm anything but.
 But in adoption I have NO CONTROL AT ALL, and that's hard.
 I can't take care of her. 
I can't make sure she gets what she needs to grow and be healthy.
 I can't comfort her. 
I can't protect her. 

And no one understands. 

I don't live in an area where international adoption is booming. 
In fact, I don't know of anyone else in my area who has adopted internationally.
 Even more, I don't know of ONE other family in our state that has adopted
 from the DRC or is in process of adopting from the DRC. 

And while I have some of the most wonderful friends ever,
 I don't have any close, real life friends who have adopted internationally.
 I say REAL LIFE FRIENDS because I have several close friends I have met through the wonderful blogging community who are in process or have littles home already. 
Several of which are Congo moms like me...thanks for answering that prayer, Jesus. 
And while I am so thankful to be able to hop on the computer and get my questions answered,
 it's not the same as sharing a cup of coffee with someone else who really gets it. 

Adoption is hard.
And like I said, this is only the beginning. 

But I find comfort in the fact that while I'm sitting here stressing over fundraisers 
and posting t-shirt pics 'til I can post no more, 
I know that God is pathing the way for Emily to come home to us. 
She will be worth every fear, every hard moment, 
every feeling of isolation, every moment of worry,
 every tear that's been shed, and every sleepless night. 
But that doesn't make this part any easier. 

Do I ever doubt that this is God's plan? 
Absolutely not. 
In fact, I believe that the best things in life don't come easily. 
But that doesn't mean it's not difficult. 

And I already appreciate the nine months of pregnancy, when you know that, Lord willing, you will wait no more than forty weeks to see your baby's face. That's something I totally took for granted when I was pregnant, but now I realize that sometimes timelines are such a blessing. 
If only adoption came with the same guarantee....