Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Reflections

2011 has given me much to be thankful for.

2011 has brought me to 4 years of marriage to my amazing husband, Colin.

2011 has provided me with amazing love and support from family and friends across the globe.

2011 has graced me with a new music therapy job working with hospice clients.

2011 has chosen for me plenty of waiting that has helped me to trust and put my faith in God.

2011 has taught me that blessings can come from our deepest aches and disappointments.

2011 has blessed us with a beautiful path to follow--adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia!

2011 has renewed in us a steadfast faith and hope for what is to come.

Never be afraid to trust
an unknown future
to a known God.
~Corrie ten Boom

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas Friends!

We pray you joy and peace as we celebrate the birth of Christ. We are pretty excited that we will be having a white Christmas after all!

Enjoy the video below--it is of a Christmas flash mob at a mall. Really make me want to be a part of one someday! I heart Christmas.

With Love,
Colin and Jessica

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ethiopian Chickpea Stew

I have started experimenting with Ethiopian and African recipes! I adore cooking and trying new flavors, and this recipe does not disappoint. It is fairly simple to create and has many spices without being 'spicy'. This recipe was found on the Whole Foods website. Your home will smell amazing with Ethiopian aromas!


1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth
1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
Flatbread (optional)


Preheat oven to 450°F. Stir together paprika, salt, allspice, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, coriander, cayenne, fenugreek (if using) and ginger in a small bowl; set spice mixture aside.

Toss chickpeas with a tablespoon of the oil on a large rimmed baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. Roast chickpeas, stirring occasionally, until somewhat dried out and just golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes; set aside.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and chopped ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in reserved spice mixture and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until spices are toasted and very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and cook 2 minutes more.

Stir in broth, potatoes, carrots and reserved chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until potatoes and carrots are just tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover pot and simmer until stew is thickened and potatoes and carrots are very tender, about 25 minutes more. Ladle stew into bowls and serve with flatbread on the side.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Got Jewelry?

Hi Everyone!

Over the last week we put 4 new items on Etsy. We are excited to be able to use our creativity to help raise money for our adoption!

We ship out all our items within 48 hours of purchase. If you have any requests for personalized jewelry, please ask.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Once there were two women who never knew each other
One you do not remember, the other you call Mother
Two different lives shaped to make you one
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun
The first one gave you life, and the second taught you to live it
The first gave you a need for love, the second was there to give it
One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name
One gave you a talent, the other gave you aim
One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears
One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried your tears

One made an adoption plan, that was all that she could do
The other prayed for a child, and God led her straight to you.

Now, which of these two women are you the product of?
Both, my darling, both, just two different types of love.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

8 Years

8 years ago, on December 11, 2003, Colin and I connected for the first time. Most of you know the story, but some of you may not.

I was a freshman in college, sitting in my Wisconsin dorm room. Colin was in Gig Harbor, Washington. What persuaded us both to sign up for a free two-week trial to Christian Cafe online at the same time can only be described as God's arrangement.

Colin was about to close out of his account at the end of his trial, when he saw I had written a quick, "Hi, how are you?" message. Yes, you could say I made the first move!

The first month was purely a simple friendship, with short notes back and forth. But we soon got into handwritten letters and cards, and very long phone calls within the next couple of months. Ah, new love.

I am fairly certain our families thought we were a little bit loopy, and the long distance was difficult to cope with for the 2 1/2 years we were apart, but 8 years later, I love the man with all of my heart. He is a true gentleman and makes me so happy. The hardships we have endured do not compare to the blessings and memories in the making.

Now, 8 years later, we are making plans to begin our family through adoption! We couldn't be more excited.

Our sweet Christmas ornament! It has on it tiny paper beads and a painted Africa. Makes me smile.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

One Less

Music gets to me. It gives me shivers, produces uncontrolled emotion, gets me thinking. If I could choose just one song to sum up why we have chosen adoption, it would be One Less by Matthew West. It speaks to me. 

I found this video of Matthew's song...I don't think it is his original music video, but it is powerful. Please take a moment to watch it and say a little prayer for all the orphans around the world.

*Remember to pause the music at the bottom of my page if you are going to watch the video!

There’s a child
Been abandoned out on the street
Now she’s waiting for someone to be her miracle
There’s a wife
Somewhere halfway around the world
Begging God for a little girl she can call her own
Well, worlds collide, and colors fade
And a man and wife brought their little girl home today
And there’s one less
One less
One less broken heart in the world tonight
Yeah, there’s one less
One less
There’s one less broken heart in the world tonight
We are called
To the widows and the orphans
But it’s easy to ignore their silent cries
Oh, but every single time
Somebody reaches into the darkness
Makes a choice to help the helpless
They let mercy save a life
Well the truth is we are all the orphans
But love has left the ninety-nine
Just to find the one
One less night alone
One less child without a home
One less birthday gone forgotten
One more soul rising from the bottom
One less
One less
There’s one less broken heart in the world tonight

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Pathways is the church Colin and I have been going to in Appleton. It has been wonderful for us--we just wish we lived closer so we could get more involved. We are about 50 minutes away! 

Our church put on the production, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever". It was great! Here is Wikipedia's explanation:

It tells the story of six delinquent children surnamed Herdman. They go to church for the first time after being told that the church offers snacks. Despite protests from other church members, the Herdmans are given roles in the Sunday school's Christmas play, in which they tell the Christmas story in a nonconventional fashion.

Sometimes telling a story in a 'nonconventional fashion' gets the point across better than a typical run-of-the-mill play, you know? Seeing the children act was a highlight!

It was announced during church that there would be a table set up with someone selling jewelry made in Africa! Wow! Perfect for me and for a husband doing his Christmas shopping. ;) He told me to pick out a necklace--don't have to tell me twice! ALL the proceeds went towards Heshima Children's Center, which cares for children with disabilities in Kenya.

While we were looking at the jewelry, we got to meet a mother who had adopted a girl from Ethiopia in the last few years. I loved speaking with her about her adoption journey and experience in Ethiopia.

I think God is so good for arranging these connections!


Each of us is an Innkeeper who
decides if there is room for Jesus.
~Neal A. Maxwell

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

8 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp dry sherry
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp water
salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken
5 tbsp oil
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, minced
2 small dried chilies, (optional)
1 (8 oz) can bamboo shoots, minced
1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts, minced
1 package cellophane Chinese rice noodles, prepared according to package

Cooking Sauce:
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp water
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch

Iceberg lettuce "cups" leaves OR Bibb lettuce for the wraps

Cover mushrooms with boiling water, let stand 30 minutes then drain. Cut and discard woody stems. Minces mushrooms. Set aside.

Mix all ingredients for cooking sauce in bowl, and set aside.

In medium bowl, combine cornstarch, sherry water, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and chicken. Stir to coat chicken thoroughly. Stir in 1 tsp. oil and let sit 15 minutes to marinate.

Heat wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Add 3 TBSP oil, then add chicken and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes. Set aside.

Add 2 TBSP oil to pan. Add ginger, garlic, chilies (if desired), and onion; stir fry about a minute or so.

Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts; stir fry an additional 2 minutes.

Return chicken to pan. Add mixed cooking sauce to pan. Cook until thickened and hot. Break cooked cellophane noodles into small pieces, and cover bottom of serving dish with them. Then pour chicken mixture on top of noodles. Spoon into lettuce leaf and roll.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Thank You


I want to give a huge, much-deserved THANK YOU to all of my blog readers! The emotional support, the etsy purchases, the uplifting comments, and the prayers sent out are so incredibly meaningful to me and Colin. I will never be able to describe in words how much we both need this faithful network and how thankful we are to you all for being here for us.

I want to say THANK YOU to Colin's family over in Washington (hi!). His family owns A Taste of Eden Bakery in Chehalis, WA. Over the last weeks they have graciously been taking our jewelry and tambourines to shows they sell their delicious baked goods at, and now have our crafts in their storefront. We feel very blessed that they are excited to help us in this way. Thanks!

We also have plans for a cookbook in 2012! It's gonna be great, 'cuz we all love to cook and bake!

I want to say THANK YOU to Mama Z's Bakery and Java Hut here in Waupaca, WI. The bakery (where we get our espresso fix and yummy sweets) is just down the road from us. I think they are the first place we stopped in when we first moved here October 2010. The ladies are just the sweetest and have asked us to bring our necklaces, etc. in to be sold for the Christmas season. It has been a wonderful addition to our adoption fund. Thank you for your generosity!

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

Monday, November 28, 2011

Adoption Pre-Application

On November 7, Colin and I filled out our pre-application for adoption through All God's Children. I want to share with you all what the pre-application was like and also where we are at right now.

(Every time I write or talk about our adoption, I get so giddy!)

The reason for the pre-application is that the actual application costs $300, and if you don't qualify the first time sending it, you must pay again when you are ready to resubmit it. The pre-ap is completely optional, but we chose to begin with it, and are happy we did.

First of all, the general eligibility requirements are as follows:
  • We must be between 23 and 49 to adopt an infant. check
  • We must be married at least one year. check
  • We must have a positive net worth and an income of at least $10,000 per family member, including the adopted child. check
  • No felonies, all criminal history is reviewed and evaluated. none for us! check
  • Medical history is evaluated. colin had a tumor removed in 2007...waiting on a doctor's note to show it has not reappeared and that his quality of life or life span has not been diminished
The pre-ap was fairly simple to fill out. It asked basic information, such as contact information, occupation and income, past substance abuse or arrests, when we got married, and if we have current children or anyone else in our home.

In more detail we had to list our health information and we have since been given a worksheet to help determine our assets versus our liabilities, so we are certain we have a positive net worth. We are working on filling it out.

Then, we get to the adoption category. :) We stated that we are interested in an Ethiopian infant girl. We filled out that we would consider siblings under 4 years old. We are currently praying if we are meant to just adopt one baby or have the possibility of two open. It is a very tough decision...I will likely post on this topic down the road.

After we sent it in, we received a reply within a day or two. This is when we were given the financial worksheet and topics to think about.

We called the agency with a few questions. They were extremely helpful.

Basically, we are waiting to raise and save the first huge chunk of money that will be needed within the first three months (once we send in our application and are approved). $10,000.

If you would like to help us reach this goal, please visit our Etsy site:

We will make customized orders if you are interested in a particular bible verse on a necklace or any other requests!

All proceeds go directly into our adoption savings account. We are so thrilled to be on this journey and to include you in it! We have been very blessed with your support.

Love Always,

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

We. Love. Christmas.

So, the day after Thanksgiving, we break out the music. We break out the cheer. We break out the decorations, my Christmas piano music, and chop down our tree.

This year, we saved all but the music for Saturday, because we were in Spring Valley visiting my parents and got back too late.

So, Saturday, we turned up our tunes, and drove to a Christmas tree farm. Miles and miles of trees, it seemed.

We took a tractor and trailer ride to find our perfect tree. It was sprinkling out; I was secretly hoping it would turn into snow, but no such luck.

We walked, and walked, and walked some more.

Here she is, our voluptuous beauty.

Colin cut her down.

And we took her home. She ended up looking huge once we got her inside.

Here she is all lit up.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing,
Right within your heart.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

With Love

Hi Friends,

Since making the decision to follow God's calling for us to adopt from Ethiopia on August 21st, we have been filled with a hope so profound. Our faith has been strengthened and expanded.

I feel so blessed to be a part of this incredible support network--blogging! I think it is just incredible that I can type over here in little town Wisconsin and reach YOU, many states, countries, and even continents away. I have felt your love through our struggles and through our triumphs.

Some of you have asked how you can help us at this moment and through our adoption. Here are two huge ways you can be a part of this miracle.

1) Pray. For us. For our paperwork process. For fundraising. For continued hope and strength. For Africa. For the birthparents. For our future little girl who is growing her way into our hearts. For orphans everywhere.

2) Purchase an item off our Etsy site: With Love For Africa. Colin and I have been handcrafting these items (jewelry, tambourines, keychains) for the last few months. There are many options--both for those who have a heart for Africa--and the general public. All items are $5-$20. Please think of us when purchasing Christmas gifts this year--every little bit helps and is a bigger blessing to us than we could ever express!

Thank you all so much for the supportive comments you have given through the years and last few months especially. They mean so much to me!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Sounds of Hope

Last Sunday, after our Ethiopian food experience, Colin, Lia, and I went to the Sounds of Hope tour concert in Mequon, WI. Best. Concert. Ever.

The bands were: Building 429, Leeland, and Royal Tailor. Leeland is quite possibly my favorite artist/band. I had 3 of his cds and now own 4.

The fourth album, The Great Awakening, stirs a fresh desire for personal and worldwide worship revival.
Leeland is a fantastic songwriter and not only sings with a God-given passion, but speaks with a faith so magnificent. I was so inspired from the words they sing and speak, and their love and advocacy for orphans world-wide.

In the middle of the concert tour, the lead singer of Building 429 stopped to advocate for child sponsorship. He gave a powerful testimony of how he used to think sponsorship was 'dumb'. Now he sponsors 5 children after seeing the powerful effects a small contribution can have on these children--not just the food and schooling it provides--but the LOVE it shows these children and families. The love from both you and God. Life-changing.

ROYAL TAILOR (Hold Me Together)

LEELAND (Follow You, Sound of Melodies, Tears of the Saints)


BUILDING 429 (Listen to the Sound, Glory Defined)

I leave you with a clip of Leeland live, singing "I Wonder"
with his brother and sister. Amazing harmony. Amazing lyrics.

One man wakes, awakens another
Second one wakes his next door brother
Three awake and rouse a town and turn the whole place upside down
Many awake will cause such a fuss
It finally awakes all of us
One man awakes with dawn in his eyes, truly then it multiplies.
~Anonymous poem turned song by Leeland of the late 1700s revival era~

Liebster Blog Award

Lovely Heather from Everyday Evans awarded me with the Liebster Blog Award. Woohoo!

The Liebster Award spotlights up-and-coming bloggers who generally have less than 200 followers.

Upon receipt of the Liebster Award, there are a few very simple rules:
1. Copy and paste the award on your blog
2. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you
3. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
4. Hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.

Now for my picks:
1. Lia at foodgetaboutit!
2. Kristen at Faith, Fertility, and Domesticity
3. Jen at Adventures for Four
4. Hannah at Life Happens
5. All in His Perfect Timing

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ethiopian Cottage Restaurant

Last Sunday, I got to experience Ethiopian cuisine! I went to Ethiopian Cottage Restaurant in Milwaukee with Colin and my 'person', Lia.

Me and Colin.

Me and Lia.

 The Moseb is a traditional Ethiopian basketweave table. We sat in a circle around it.

 We ordered two appetizers: Beef Sambusa (two thin shells stuffed with a blend of minced beef and spices) and Kategna (2 pieces of Injera bread spread with kibe, garlic, and spicy sauce).

 For our entree, we shared a sampler platter. I forgot to take a picture until we had nearly demolished it, so this one is off their website. On our sampler was Alicha Wat (beef with a mild sauce of onion, garlic, and ginger), Doro Wat (spicy chicken with Berbere sauce and a hard-boiled egg), Yemisir Wat (red lentils in a spicy onion sauce), Dinch Alicha (potatoes and carrots cooked with onions, garlic, ginger, and other spices), and vegetables served on Injera.

Injera is the Ethiopian equivalent to dinnerware! All the above food was served directly on the Injera bread with rolled up Injera as well. Injera has the consistency of a crepe, but is slightly tart and spongy. It is made of teff, a traditional grain in Ethiopia. You must eat the food by scooping it up with pieces of Injera.

 Colin had Bedele, an Ethiopian beer. It was light and citrusy.

Lia and I had a glass of Ethiopian honey wine.
It was more of a dessert wine: sweet with a taste of honey.

We had such a wonderful experience, we can't wait to go back! It was special being able to taste the cuisine of the country we are adopting from.

I recommend it to any foodies! You will be familiar with many of the tastes--the spices are delicious.

I need to learn how to make these dishes myself! I will post any great recipes I find.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Answered Prayer

Last Sunday, Orphan Sunday, I spent the day in prayer, reading my Bible and a few devotionals. I have never been one to pray for God to send me signs, but I prayed specifically that He would send me one if it was His timing for us to begin the paperwork process for our adoption.

I think the biggest struggle for us has been giving our complete trust and faith to God in His timing, not ours. It's very difficult to 'let go and let God'. We are so ready for a baby, we are ready for our next few years to be consumed with paperwork, home studies, and tons of waiting (we think!), but are we ready for the financial side? We are beginning to learn that we must just trust God to provide.

Just a few short hours after I prayed that prayer, I got a strong urge to check our adoption e-mail ( I was humbled when I discovered a sweet blog reader friend gave us a generous donation for our adoption fund. I cried. He delivered.

Since then, we sold two very cute bracelets off our Etsy site!

So we are trusting! We excitedly filled out our pre-application Monday, November 7th, and recieved our review on it the next day. We have to go over it and then call an adoption coordinator with questions. We've got a few. :)

Praising and Trusting,

"That is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith." ~Romans 1:12

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Orphan Sunday

Today is Orphan Sunday. A reminder to do our part in caring for the orphans however God has called us to. This might be through prayer, sponsorship, foster care, donations, Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, serving meals, missions trips, visits to an orphanage, adoption, or just getting the word out.

The goal for today and every day is that 'God’s great love for the orphan will find echo in our lives as well'.

I feel so honored to be on an adoption journey right now. God defends the fatherless and blesses the childless. The best part is--God adopted you and me first. We are children of God.

The statistics are mind-boggling. I have been truly humbled. I have so much to give. Most of all, I have an endless supply of love to distribute.

Watch this 2 minute video for more information.

Defend the cause of the fatherless. ~Isaiah 1:17

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Potstickers and Dipping Sauce

Potstickers and Dipping Sauce
Makes: 4 servings

For the Filling:
1/2 lb. ground pork or ground turkey
2 green onions, minced
2 Tbsps. minced canned bamboo shoots
1-1/2 tsp. minced ginger
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. soy sauce
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
1 clove garlic
22 potsticker/wonton wrappers
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2/3 C water
          For the sauce:
          6 Tbsp. soy sauce
          1/4 C Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
          2 tsp. sesame oil
          2 tsp. chili garlic sauce
1. Combine dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
2. Brown meat.
3. Add onions, garlic, bamboo, ginger, and pepper.
4. Combine cornstarch and soy sauce. Add to ground meat.
5. Put approximately 1 Tbsp filling on each wrapper. Brush sides of wrapper with water to seal edges.
6. On medium high heat in a fry pan, add the oil. Add 1/2 of potstickers. Cook to brown for 3 minutes or so. Add 2/3 C water to fry pan. They are done when the water has evaporated.
7. Make second batch and serve with dipping sauce!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Saw What I Saw

Hi Friends!

I just can not believe it is November already. Really? Thanksgiving is coming soon and Christmas music is peeking its way into the light.

Although I do not enjoy the chilly temperatures that go along with this fall into winter season, I am excited for these holidays (and, dare I say it, our first snowfall??). One might say they are my favorite.

I am praying there aren't too many more years of holidays that are just 'us two'. I can't wait to spread the joy with a special someone one day. But, that can wait for another post, another time.

What's new with me lately?

God has answered a prayer of mine so loud. He has blessed me with client referral after referral! I signed a music therapy contract with a hospice provider this summer, and basically had to build up my client list from zero. I am up to 29. 29!! I can't believe it. God is providing. Separately, I also lead 2 music therapy groups a week for adults with mental disabilities. Whew.

2 weeks ago, Colin and I were invited to our neighbor's home for dinner. They are a family from India, and let me tell you, I now LOVE Indian food!! The ingredients and spices are incredible. I think I now have an excuse to go recipe searching. :)

This is a music video I found of Sara Groves' "I Saw What I Saw". It was inspired by her trip to Rwanda. The words hit me every time I hear it.

Blessings to you all!
And all of us have had that veil removed
so that we can be mirrors
that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord.
And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us,
we become more and more like Him
and reflect His glory even more.
~2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Dress-Up

Colin's co-worder and our friend Sherri invited us to her Halloween party, which was last weekend. We also went last year, when we had just moved to the area. She is just the sweetest woman and we just love her and her family.

Colin and I always have such a difficult time deciding on costumes! Last year, we were cowboy and cowgirl. This year, we were so stuck. I feel like most costumes for sale are either too gory or too revealing for a family party.

I came across some black cat ears, so that's what I was! I wore a black dress, thick black stockings and black boots, along with my ears. And I donned looong black eyelashes, black fingernail polish, and drawn-on whiskers.


Now for Colin, he decided to be.... an inmate! It was perfect. A police officer (and former correctional officer) turned inmate.

Considering the party was over a week before the actual holiday, we felt funny driving in our costumes. We joked that on the way to the party, Colin should pull up to some random person and ask for the directions to Canada! Ha! We are so not daring though.

Enjoy sweet treats, stay out of trouble, and keep safe this weekend. :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Behind Our Exciting News!

On September 24th, I shared our exciting news to you in a video. I am thrilled to finally express the 'behind-the-scenes' of our news.

It's a flutter in my heart.

            A desire stronger than any I've experienced.

It's a need to protect, provide, and simply, love.

            A love like the Father loves us.

It's a passion to study, to grow.

            And a heart to learn, and pray.

It's taking risks.

            A trust so deep, faith abounds.

It's asking God to break our hearts for what breaks His.

            He provides.

Colin lived in Washington. I lived in Wisconsin. We connected online through Christian Cafe on December 11, 2003. And God slowly revealed to us our story that He planned before we were even born.

Through handwritten letters and nightly phone conversations, we 'knew'. After a few plane flights, Colin proposed on December 25, 2004. Colin moved to Wisconsin the summer of 2006 and we married January 6, 2007.

We've always been the best of friends. Together, we've wanted nothing more than to start a family together. That desire has only grown over the years.

While infertility sometimes rips families apart, I think it has brought us closer together. When it gets rough for one of us, the other is there to provide comfort. When we are hurting, we pray.

From the beginning of our relationship, God laid adoption on our hearts separately. Specifically, I have always felt led to the orphans in Ethiopia. There has never been a question in my mind that we are meant to adopt from there.

On Sunday, August 21 of this year, driving through Appleton, Colin said, "It is time." I think I asked him a few too many times if he was sure. I knew that if we were in this, we needed to be in this whole-heartedly. God has only confirmed this decision since then.

I broke down, suddenly filled with a hope that infertility never gave me. I have never been one to cry happy tears. Now I know them well. It's an emotion God reserves for extra-special moments.

It is difficult to express in words the need for us to adopt from Ethiopia. We have recieved many questions from others, and often they revolve around conceiving a biological child. We would love to someday bear a biological child. But for now? Our focus is adoption. Our hearts are for the orphans, and that will never change.

We are head over heels in love with this baby girl from Ethiopia that isn't even born yet! God arranged this beautiful love story. He is the master of it. He adopted us--now we are going to adopt for Him.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." ~James 1:27

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Glimpses of Africa

Happy Tuesday. :)

Over the last several weeks, I just can't get enough of Africa! Between browsing Etsy, spending too much time on Pinterest, finding inspirational adoption blogs, and searching Gotcha Day videos on YouTube...I just can't get enough.

Here are some glimpses of Africa we have added to our home.

Africa wall plaque Colin created. It says, "I will not leave you as orphans. -John 14:18". It has a pink heart where Ethiopia is located. In between family photos:

 Above our dining table, I made some printouts of an Africa map and also a mama and baby giraffe. It is a sweet reminder of what is to come:

On a ledge in our kitchen, I used a printout that says, "Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage. -Psalm 27:14" It is next to a pink candle and, well, some candy corn:

 Some Ethiopian coffee we picked up from Caribou. And, a set of Starbucks mugs we've had for years that have an Africa on them with a poem that says, "On a faraway hillside, Manolo rakes his coffee beans in the sun. He is preparing them for their pilgrimage north. A journey where they will be refined by fire. Each morning, I am greeted by coffee from a land I have never seen, but I have tasted its beauty. Thanks to Manolo.":

 Last, I had to add a picture of Mercedes, one of our two himalayans. All I had to do was place this Africa cutout on the floor and she curled up next to it:

"The joy of the Lord is your strength." -Nehemiah 8:10

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Curry Noodles with Chicken

3 Tbsp oil
4 cloves garlic
1 lb chicken breasts, cut in strips
2 peppers (red, green, and/or yellow), chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/8 head cabbage
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3/4 box angel hair pasta, boiled
3 Tbsp curry powder (adjust to flavor likings)
2 dried chili peppers, optional

Add oil to pan and cook cut up chicken. Add onion, green pepper and garlic. Cook 1/2 minutes. Add cabbage, cooked noodles, curry powder and soy sauce. Toss well. Serve!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Balance Beams

Talk about balance can be found all over--friendly chit chat, self-help books, and Oprah magazine covers. What is this balance that is spoken of?
  • Dedicating our lives equally to family, friends, work, chores, and me-time?
  • Equal and minimal distribution of our energy?
  • A way of living that diminishes the stress in our lives?
  • Simplifying our lives so we output less effort for others?
I read the following words this morning on Ann Voskamp's blog. They've really got me thinking about my life, my priorities, and perhaps what Godly balance vs. worldly balance looks like.

The world, your community...even your family — they are going to try to push you back to the middle. North America feels pretty comfortable in the middle. Balance, everyone says. I don’t know what Jesus is going to say to you.... How He might direct your life now….

Just don’t assume God wants you to live in the middle. Be open to the possibility — of something radically different.” ~Shaun Groves via Ann Voskamp

I just adore these words, and yet, I find myself rereading them over and over to grasp meaning and relation to myself.

What if we lived for something more than ourselves and our day-to-day jobs, tasks, and routines?

What if we stepped out of the box and did something selfless today? Something we are frightened of. Something good for somebody else.

What if we looked at the bigger picture of Life? Our purpose? Creation's purpose.

I read that God gave the world more than enough resources (food, water, means for clothing and shelter, etc.)....He just didn't distribute them equally.

That is why He created man. In hopes we would be selfless and share our resources that He has entrusted us with.

I know I have a lot of thinking and giving to do. Praying and hoping. Living and loving.

Here is a video of Francis Chan speaking about is wonderful.

Let's try to not cling to our balance beams, but to know, jump around a little, get out of our comfort zones. It could be a beautiful dance.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Guess what?? I won my first giveaway! Sweet Alison from Lovin' Much sponsored a Restoration Hope giveaway. 100% of proceeds from Restoration Hope purchases go to support the orphan crisis in South Africa. I can't think of a better giveaway to have won.

I got to pick out a t-shirt. I chose this one:

Hope. Doesn't everyone need a little bit of this? This tee serves as a reminder to me of the abundance of hope I have that I will be a momma soon and that this hope extends to Ethiopia, where a little orphan girl will be waiting for her hope of a family. I am so excited. So filled with hope.

"The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you." ~2Peter 3:9 NIV

Saturday, October 8, 2011

He Had a Dream

He looked at me as we were waking from sleep this morning.
With a sparkle.

"I had a dream about our daughter," he said.

"What?" It took me a few times to realize what he was saying.

"Tell me more!" I pried.

"She was beautiful."

"Did she have big brown eyes?" "Yes."

 "Chubby cheeks?" "Yes, and frizzy hair," he gushed.

"I'm SO jealous!" I said.

He went on, "She was two years old. We were in an adoption office. She gave me a hug!"

He had the most content smile, remembering.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ordinary Heroes in the Mennonite Church

I visited the Ordinary Hero blog and this video was posted. It touched my heart to watch it.

This Mennonite couple just adopted their first baby from Ethiopia, a little girl. She looks just so precious. The parents share what inspired them to adopt. A beautiful testimony.

I can't wait for our turn to bring our little girl home.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Our First Fundraising Event!

Hi All!

I feel like I have so much to say and just not enough time to say it! First of all, I can't wait to share with everyone our story. A look into why Colin and I are going to be adopting from Ethiopia and how we are so excited that God designed our years together so perfectly that in His timing we have been led into this journey--a journey that just has me so giddy inside I can't express fully the excitement!

The story will be coming soon! Please ask any questions you may have and I will answer them.

Colin and I have been busy bees'll see!

Saturday, October 1st, we held our first fundraiser. Our apartment complex had one day that we could do garage sales, so we decided to do it. We just knew this was meant to be in time to dedicate 100% of the profits to our new adoption fund bank account. We rummaged through our things and also had a friend, Colin's coworker--Sherri--donate a lot of children's items to our sale. Bless her heart. She is the sweetest.

Here is a picture of me and some of the many dozens of cookies I baked up the day before. We had some left over, but it gave me a giggle when one customer raved and raved about my glazed lemon cookies. I think I should open a bakery. Wink.

AND, here is what we have been CREATING! This is just a sneak peak of the fun.

My mind has been swarming with fundraising ideas. I have visited craft stores quite a bit recently and always have come out with more than what was on my list. Colin and I have created an etsy site and will share it will you all when we have everyone put up in about a week or so!

My heart is bursting from all of the support from all of you. Infertility has been a long, hard road, and I now feel HOPE. Hope that I will become a momma to one very loved little girl. And Colin will become a dad. In His perfect timing.

We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. ~Colossians 1:11 NLT

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Our Exciting News!

Hello friends,

A few weeks ago I mentioned I have some exciting news to share with everyone. If you have been anticipating our big news, you will want to watch this video from Colin and me to you!

Note: You may want to pause the music at the bottom of my blog before watching the video.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Hi all! I missed you dearly and look forward to catching up with everyone.

Colin and I flew out to Washington to visit his family September 4-9. It was a wonderful time and flew by, yet we felt like we were there for weeks at the same time. You know that feeling?

I have so much to share with everybody, but will have to start by sharing our trip.

Sunday morning. Before leaving for our flight out of Green Bay.

Up high in the sky. Green Bay to Minneapolis to Billings to Seattle/Tacoma.

I love AND dislove flying. Luckily Colin is very good at comforting me when turbulence hits.

I always enjoy seeing the plots of farmers' land high above.

And mountain, oh mountains, how I adore thee.

Colin and I were waiting upstairs so that we could surprise his brothers and their families. We snuck up on them, and boy, were they surprised!

Monday, we relaxed at the park and enjoyed a cookout at Andrew and Amy's house. 
Me with baby Ella- Colin's cousin's precious. She enjoyed my turquoise necklace.

Colin playing with Josiah, Ella's older brother.

Mount Rainier. LOVE.


Tuesday, we took a ferry boat to the San Juan Islands. I have a thing for ferry boats.
(Grey's Anatomy, anyone?)

Roche Harbor. Looking out towards Canada.

Beautiful ocean and mountain.

Top deck of the ferry, catching a breeze.

A heart hole in the cement. Meant to be.

We ate dinner at Rosario, a mansion on the water. I had clams and mussels in a white wine broth. Yum.

Wednesday- setting bakery goods up at the Puyallup fair and mexican food.
Daniel and Crissie- Colin's younger brother and our sister-in-law. Adorable.

Thursday- Pike Place Market in Seattle!
I would come here weekly if I could for fresh seafood, produce, and goods.

The Tasting Room wine tasting in Seattle. My first wine tasting experience. Jim (Colin's step-father), Maggie (Colin's mom), Amy (our sis-in-law), and me.

Loved it.

Of course we needed to visit a chocolate shoppe afterwards. Colin and I shared 4 truffles.

Maggie, Jim, Andrew (Colin's oldest bro), and Brian (Colin's second oldest bro). Watching the opening season Packer game.

Our niece, Mariesa.

 Our niece, Natalie.

Their mother, Amy, and our nephew, Caleb.

That's it! Packers won and we left for home the next day.

We flew first to San Jose, California. Guess what? Our plane had a leakage. So we got to stand in line for over 3 hours trying to rebook new flights to get home to Wisconsin. Finally, the plane was fixed, and the 15 of us passengers left over, boarded and flew to Minniapolis, where we stayed in a hotel and ate on Delta's money for the delay they caused. Finally, we flew back to Green Bay Saturday morning.

We are happy to be home. We love adventure and family, but we are homebodies to the core. Nothing beats the quiet, sights, and comfort of your own home.

And sleeping in your own bed. 'Night!