"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Few Of My Many Blessings...

A few of my many blessings...
To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. ~Johannes A. Gaertner

Monday, November 21, 2011

Month In Review...(where do I begin?)

It's been such a long time since I've blogged about what we've been up to, that I thought I would do a quick month in review (basically the highlights in pictures).

October was a busy and fun month for us. We started off by participating in our 2nd annual Africa Hope Run. Our church began this awesome 5K/10K race last year in an effort to raise funds to support orphans in Malawi, Africa. Grace had only been home a few months the last time we participated. This year she was ready to take the race by storm.

Here is Grace at the "starting/finishing" line. She was so excited...she still tells everyone that she"won" the race.
The "big boys" ran the race.
The "little boys" walked the race.
Grace ran AND walked the race. Here she is on the final leg. She had such a great crowd cheering for her as she crossed the finish line.
Celebrating after the race...
The high school girls had a great time as well. I love that Alyssa's friends come out to help support a cause that is so close to our hearts.

October was full of costumes and partying. Alyssa's first high school dance was a "masquerade" dance. She was dressed like a rock star with her friend Annie. They both looked a little too cute to be serious rockers. Her friend Haley did a great job of being cute AND creepy at the same time...

The SECOND high school dance of the year was called "Fall Ball." Once again, Alyssa and her sweet friend Annie looked adorable.
Alyssa is blessed with great friends.
OK...back to costumes. Our family has been hosting pretty cool Halloween parties for years. We pride ourselves on our Halloween spirit. Last year we passed that party torch to Alyssa and she hosted a great party for her friends. This year was no exception. Alyssa invited a bunch of high school kids to party at our house.
Grace was allowed to attend (some of) the party...she is still quite a novelty with Alyssa's friends. Her Little Mermaid costume was a hit as well.
We were lucky enough to find a great DJ (and a great deal) for the night.
Times have sure changed. I am pretty sure that if I had a Halloween party in high school, I would have probably had a few cassette tapes and my giant "boom box" to provide the music (and NO laser light show).

We watched a little soccer...Grace and her cousin Kayla...
We carved pumpkins.

Grace had fun dressing up for preschool.

And, of course, trick or treating was a blast. I can't believe the time has come for my boys to have such bizare costumes. I used to dress them in such cute costumes. Now, they are creepy and weird.
Thank goodness for cute little "Ariel" or my kids would have completely embarrassed me.
Grace and her BFF Kemily.
October and November also included some fun time with friends.
I was able to travel to Chicago TWO times to be a part of the taping of the new "Rosie" show on the OWN network (long story).
Here we are outside of Harpo Studios. It was fun to see the studio where Oprah taped her show (I was also lucky enough to attend a few of her tapings in the past).

Here we are IN the studio. We saw a few celebrities (Jim Belushi, Jane Fonda) and had fun seeing the production side of the show.
AND, last but not least, Grace made a new friend (and so did I)! We were able to meet a fellow blogger and her adorable son. He was welcomed home from Ethiopia this year. It is so nice to get together with other adoptive moms and their sweet kids. The kids seem to really "click" and recognize that they have something special in common.
So, there you have it- a little look at what our last month has been like. Busy, fun, and always interesting.

Now that I've caught you all up to speed, I can start writing about what has been heavy on my heart...my passion for, and desire to serve, the beautiful and remarkable people of Ethiopia. I have some REALLY incredible things to share about some great opportunities for YOU ALL to serve in your own way...details to come soon!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Help Influence The Next GOP Debate...(it only takes 30 seconds)

This Tuesday, November 22, the GOP presidential candidates will debate foreign policy in DC.

Now will you submit a question for Tuesday’s live debate?

To make the process easy, ONE crafted three questions below. If they can get enough of the same questions submitted, they hope CNN (who is co-hosting the debate) will notice and make sure one of the questions gets asked.To make the process easy, they've crafted three questions below. If they can get enough of the same questions submitted, they hope CNN (who is co-hosting the debate) will notice and make sure one of the questions gets asked.

First, pick your favorite question below:

  • If you favor cutting foreign aid, can you justify cutting off potential access to new markets for American goods - all to save less than 1% of the federal budget?
  • A number of well-respected military leaders, including General Petraeus and former Secretary of Defense Gates, believe that development assistance is critical to US national interests. If you disagree, which programs that fight AIDS, malaria and other preventable diseases would you cut?
  • Do you believe that Ronald Reagan – who thought America should be a beacon of hope and a moral leader in the world - would support cutting foreign assistance that is saving millions of children from AIDS, malaria and polio?

Then submit your question to CNN here:


Let's make sure the fight against extreme poverty is a priority in the presidential campaign, so let’s try and get a question asked at this nationally televised debate. Submit your favorite question and then ask your friends and family to do the same.

Thanks for helping shape the debate!
( Taken from and email I recieved from:
Sarah Huckabee Sanders
ONE Vote 2012 Campaign Manager)

PS: The debate will be live on CNN at 8pm ET on Tuesday night, so tune in to see if one of our questions gets picked!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Crazy Busy Life...

November. Thanksgiving is coming. I have so much to be thankful for, yet I find myself in a place where I can barely get through the day without complaining about the crazy, hectic schedule that our family has created.
Yes, I realize that our life is busy because we CHOOSE to be involved in a variety of activities (sports, clubs, dance, music lessons, volunteer opportunities...the list goes on).
Here's the thing...I am a type A person living in a Type B household and I don't enjoy the chaos. I read blogs written by busy moms who so eloquently describe their days and show beautiful photos of their homes and perfectly tidy lives...really? I try not to be envious, but
when I look around I see dust. Lots of dust (it sort of worked during Halloween, but I really must get it under control now...) The funny thing is, people tell me that I am organized and that my house looks great...they don't SEE my disorganization. They don't see the hidden piles of papers in the laundry room or the baskets of CLEAN laundry in my bedroom that still need to be put away (I knew we built a two story house for a reason...no one is invited upstairs!). And, they definitely don't know how disorganized I FEEL on the inside. I feel frustrated and overwhelmed with our busy schedule and disorganized house. I gave myself a break after bringing Grace home because I felt I deserved a year to adjust. It was sort of my "maternity leave" of sorts. Well, the year has come and gone.
So, I am writing these words no to complain, but to hold myself accountable. There are so many ways that I can improve the craziness that is our life and home. I love organization. I crave organization...now I just need to make it a priority.
So, I began reading a new book.
It is called Throw Out Fifty Things, Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life.

Sounds perfect for me. I begin by cleaning the clutter out of my house and then I move on to the clutter in my mind. There are so many things that I am not taking the time to appreciate because I am too busy yelling "come on, hurry up, let's go!" I absolutely adore the days that we stay home as a family. Days when we don't have activities, sports, work. Those days are few and far between. BUT...I know that we can do better. We can make an effort to say "no" to some of the activities and slow down to enjoy our home and time in it. We have so much to be thankful for- it's time to appreciate the people and things we have been blessed with! Right now, we are just going through the motions of everyday life. I want to work extra hard this holiday season to STOP and appreciate the beauty of the holidays and why we are celebrating and enjoying such an awesome time of the year.

I took a few minutes to read from Jesus Calling the other day. Like so many things in my life right now, I am frustrated that I haven't kept up with my reading or devotions. I picked up the book and read for a couple of minutes. This is what it said:
"...When you realize that your mind has wandered away from Me, don't be alarmed or surprised. You live in a world that has been rigged to distract you. Each time you plow your way through the massive distractions to communicate with Me, you achieve a victory. Rejoice in these tiny triumphs, and they will increasingly light up your days."

That is what I am going to shoot for..."tiny triumphs."

*taking five minutes to read a devotion book
*Cleaning out ONE cabinet in the kitchen (even if 15 are still chaotic)
*finding the matching hats/mittens/ski clothes needed for winter
*straightening the linen closet (learning to fold a fitted sheet...anyone else?)
*dusting the family photos hanging throughout the upstairs hallway (and enjoying the memories of the photos while I dust them)
My list could go on forever. I am just so thankful that I have a family who supports and loves me even when my house is a mess, I am crabby because of chaos and I didn't cook a healthy dinner. And most importantly,
His grace is enough and I know that I am doing a great job in His eyes...tiny triumphs...tiny triumphs...tiny triumphs...(my new mantra).

Still to come...my month in review. I have a few great pictures to share (as well as a couple of funny Grace stories). Hoping to take time to blog again very soon!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

AWESOME giveaway and some great Christmas ornaments!

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE head on over to our friends, the Henderson's, blog and take part in their awesome giveaway! You must act fast. The winners will be chosen on 11/11/11.

They are giving away TONS of cool adoption t-shirts, ornaments, accessories, and beautiful artwork. PLEASE make a donation to their adoption fund and you just might end up with a TON of cool stuff!!!

The Hendersons are also selling these super cute Christmas ornaments. I am making every effort to give gifts this Christmas that will help adoptive families or organizations that give back and are helping to support orphans and projects in Ethiopia...why not give a real gift this year?

Grace wanted to wear one of her many (I know...ridiculous) holiday dresses to pose with the Henderson's ornaments. These make great gifts - you could even make a nice size donation to their adoption fund (as a gift in someones name) and give the ornament to represent the donation you made...you could even use these to add to Christmas gifts as a very special tag attached to show your love of orphans!
Please go check out the Henderson's blog...
We traveled to Ethiopia with JT when we brought Grace home. Grace and Tedi are buddies from the same orphanage. We are hoping they can continue to be lifelong friends and we are so excited that this awesome family will be adding another little one from Ethiopia! Please pray for them as they embark on their second adoption. They are a wonderful family and we are honored to call them friends...who would have thought we would meet such awesome people when we started this adoption journey? ...another reason why adoption rocks!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Orphan Sunday

Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.”
(Thanks for the great quote Natalie and JT)

Today is Orphan Sunday...let's not forget those who wait and still need our prayers and our support...