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