Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Prayer for the Broken Hearted

The lovely Ann Voskamp wrote A Prayer for the Broken Hearted. I think it is gorgeous writing. Do read:

Father of the broken-hearted daughter…
oh, hear our prayer…

Give Your daughter the wisdom to know it:
Hiding when you’re hurting won’t heal you and growing isolated can just let infection grow.
Give Your daughter the love to live it:
The secret way to heal a broken heart is to let love leak out like an ocean through all the cracks.
Give Your daughter grace to do the crazy impossible:
It’s the hurting and wounded who are always the ones called to be medics — to administer lavish grace, to cast the messy in the best, merciful light.
The best way to tend to your open wounds is to open your arms.  Out-loving is the only ointment that healed anything.
Let the broken choose it: When you’re most wounded by words, run to the only Word that always brings healing.
Let the broken see it: When you’re wounded and need dressing, look in the mirror, touch your face, and see how He clothes you in righteousness, wraps you in promises, swathes you in a Savior — who saves.
When you have Jesus on the inside, you’re never on the outside.
Let the broken say it: When you’re bruised by lies, believe truth and whisper it louder: I am my Beloved’s.
When Love’s got hold of you, there isn’t a lie in the universe that can pull you apart.
Let the broken trust it: Giving the benefit of the doubt — is what benefits the people of the Faith.
Doesn’t love always believe the best, not the worst?
And may that wind the brokenhearted daughter faces, may it fly her hair like a glory flag,
And may the hills that rise before her be but an exhilaration,
And may all her trials be but a trail,
all the stones on the way be but grace stairs to God.

In name of Jesus who broke His heart to heal ours…

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blessings of Brat Fry Fundraiser!

On Saturday, May 26th, our sweet friends at Mama Z's Bakery hosted a brat fry fundraiser to help us raise money for our adoption!

It was from 11am-2pm. We were surprised to find out that a girl volunteered to do face painting! A wonderful suprise!

The brats, hotdogs, and hamburgers were fantastic. Mitzi made the buns herself and they were delicious. :)

People bought raffle tickets for gift baskets that community members and businesses put together!

They drew winners at the end of the get-together.

We were humbled when we were gifted from two of the raffle winners. That's right. People bought raffle tickets for specific baskets/gifts, won, and gifted us with their prize!

Colin and I are just so thankful for the generosity of our friends and community.

So. Thankful.

A gift:


Back side:

 Yes! We were gifted with a baby quilt! A beautiful one. To have this in our home while we are waiting means the world to us. It is a precious reminder that one day, our babies will be home.

Second gift:

We saw this in a gift basket and shared that it was our life verse. Someone won it in a raffle gift basket, and gifted us with it! It now sits on our kitchen table.

A God-ordained meeting: During the fundraiser, we saw a van pull up. Colin recognized the man that got out, but couldn't place who he was. During our last fundraiser--a garage sale--we got connected through the sharing of a phone number with a couple that lived within an hour from us that had adopted their son from Ethiopia. We called them and also connected through Facebook.

Guess what? This couple and their three children were camping in the area and just happened to be driving down the road our brat fry was on. They saw a sign that said "adoption fundraiser" and pulled in, thinking it could be us, but having no idea we were having the fundraiser.

We got to meet the whole family, including Addis, their Ethiopian son. He was so precious. I think this made it so real to Colin and me! Addis is going to be welcoming a sister to the family this summer, also from Ethiopia! Please be praying for them.

We packed everything up at 2pm, and would you believe that as we started for home, it began to rain. We knew all day that scattered thunderstorms were possible--which I do love!--but God held out until just after our fundraiser.

He sure has been into giving us surprises!

Yesterday, we found out that our proceeds were $750! We were blown away. I think we blew all the way to Ethiopia. Wishful thinking. ;)

To everyone involved: the hosts, the volunteers, our community, friends, and new friends, thank you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Your love and generosity are something we thank God for every day! We are blessed.

P.S. a gift of $ application fee of $600.....=God knows what He is doing!

Also, yesterday? God gave us a double rainbow.


Our Home Study Application Is In the Mail!

Last Friday we chose our home study, as we sent in our application to AGCI (All God's Children International). 

Today, we sent in our application to our hopeful home study agency: Catholic Charities. We also had to send in a $600 application fee.

Living in Wisconsin, we had four options of agencies. After calling all four agencies and reviewing the information they gave us, we made our choice. We are praying it is the right one and that we will be approved. 

Since sending in our AGCI application last week, we have 6 months to complete all of our home studies, our education, and our dossier. It is going to be a busy 6 months! 

Busy is awesome, though. Because as soon as we get all of these things done, we will be put on the waiting list!

If my information and math are correct, it looks like this will happen by the end of November. Oh my. 

We are putting our hope in God and trying to learn how to wait quietly.

November, come soon!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Our Contracts Are In the Mail!

Today was a big day for us!


chose a home study agency
signed a bunch of paperwork, including our contracts
got this paperwork and our contracts notarized
and sent everything, along with our first big payment of $6390 off to All God's Children!

Once AGCI receives our paperwork, they are going to mail us our adoption planner and home study binder. We still have to officially apply to our home study agency, which we are hoping to complete this next week. Then we'll be rollin'!

Tomorrow, our sweet friends at Mama Z's Bakery in Waupaca are putting on a cook-out at their bakery for us! All the proceeds will go toward our adoption. We are so blessed that God placed them in our lives. They are going to be great aunties!

We stopped by to see them today, and we learned that community members have donated beautiful gift baskets and crafts to raffle off for us! Wow!

This is so special to Colin and me, this outpouring of selfless love from our small community. We don't have family nearby, but we have family right next door.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

About Dominic and Eyouel

Dominic in Kenya                       Eyouel in Ethiopia

Colin and I have been sponsoring Dominic and Eyouel since early this year through Compassion International. There are over 2500 children from all over the world waiting to be sponsored.

In February, I wrote:

Sponsorship allows children opportunities to learn, receive nutritious meals, get regular health screenings and medical treatment when necessary, learn about the love of Jesus, receive personal attention, play with other children in a safe environment, and know that they are loved by adults who care about them.

Sponsorship is all of these things........

............but so much more.

Colin and I have enjoyed growing a relationship with our boys. We receive letters from them every couple of months, and we send them letters even more often. Compassion also sends us information on the boys' countries and more specifically, their villages.

We are beyond excited when we open our mailbox and see that we have received a letter from them! Luckily, we have two boys, so Colin gets to open Dominic's, and I get to open Eyouel's. Otherwise, I am sure there would be some arguing! :)

As much as our hearts love these letters, I imagine our boys must love ours even more.

Especially since we spoil them with coloring pages, pictures, and stickers!

We pray for Dominic, Eyouel, and their families every night before bed. We really feel bonded with these boys.

We had a discussion that if anything were to happen to their families, if no one else in their country could care for them, and they were put up for adoption, we would adopt them immediately. They are like sons to us.

We pray our sponsorship of them will allow them to stay with their families. We hope we may one day get to meet them! Compassion International does sponsor tours, so that sponsors can meet their sponsored children and families!

Children in poverty are susceptible to believing its darkest message: You don't matter. Every time we write Dominic and Eyouel, we let them know we love them, that God loves them, that we pray for them and their families, that we are proud of them, and that they can do anything through God who gives them strength.

Dominic lives with his father, mother, and 3 siblings in Kenya. He is responsible caring for animals. His father is sometimes employed as a farmer and his mother is sometimes employed as a laborer.

Dominic lives on the plains of Olepolos, home to approximately 12,000 residents. Typical houses are constructed of earthen floors, mud walls and tin roofs. The regional diet consists of maize and beans. Common health problems in the area include malaria and respiratory infections. Most adults in Olepolos are unemployed but some work as laborers and earn the equivalent of $20 per month.

Dominic attends school and Sunday school. He walks 2 km each way.

Through fill-in-the-blank letters, we know that Dominic's:

best game is: football
best song is: Praise the Lord
best food is: cornbread and vegetables
best school subject is: counting numbers
best Bible story is: little children and Jesus
best color is: white

His prayer request--that we pray for his family.

Eyouel lives with his grandmother. He is responsible for running errands. He has 2 siblings.

He lives in Jimma, home to approximately 290,000 residents. Typical houses are constructed of dirt floors, mud walls and tin roofs. The regional diet consists of maize, bananas, and potatoes. Common health problems include asthma, HIV/AIDS, and waterborne diseases. Most adults in Jimma work as day laborers or street vendors and earn the equivalent of $23 per month.


best game is: soccer
best food is: fitfit
best school subject is: english
best pet is: sheep
best Bible story is: Moses
best color is: yellow
best song is: ABCD
best holiday is: Christmas

His prayer request--that we pray for his family and his country.

Would you join us in praying for them, their families, and their countries?

We just love the little darlings so much! Yet, it pains our hearts when we consider their living conditions and their health. To know that most people in the areas they live earn less than $300 a year strikes my soul. It leaves a bitter sense of urgency inside of me that I could be doing more. Spending less. Giving abundantly. Loving until I collapse.

Live simply so others may simply live. ~Mother Theresa

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Orientation Call

On Friday, May 18th, we had our orientation phone call!

We were very excited for this call. Very.

We went over our orientation packet, which included an introduction to All God's Children International and the Ethiopia program, policies, our contracts, our next steps, post-adoption requirements, a fee schedule, and a few other forms.

We were able to clarify any questions we had. We are so happy to be working with AGCI. We have such peace that we chose to adopt through them. They are so helpful and they made sure we know that we can call them at any time if we have questions or just need to talk about our adoption.

Our next steps are signing and notarizing our contracts and various forms, and choosing a home study agency. Living in Wisconsin, we have four agencies to choose from. We called all of them, and were able to talk to two. We left messages with the others, and are hoping to receive a call back and have our questions answered by Monday. Once these steps are finalized, we will be sending all of this paperwork to AGCI with our first payment.

A God thing: Our first payment will be $6390. We do not have to pay the program fee of $1000 if we contract by June 29th because AGCI honored Mother's Day with this fee waiver. The total amount of money we have in our special adoption fundraising account is $6204! Almost the exact amount that we will be needing to send in! Wow. To God be the glory.

Once we send in our paperwork with our first payment, we will receive an adoption planner and a home study binder. Then we will have a LOT more paperwork to complete. We will have 6 months to do our home studies, education, paperwork, etc., but this may only take 2-4 months.

When it is all completed, we will be put on a waiting list!!! We cannot wait for this moment. 

Giveaway Winner Revealed!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our giveaway this week!

We had 16 entries!

AND, the WINNER is.......................

Amanda from All in His Perfect Timing!!!!!!

Amanda is a new mother to handsome baby Luke. Congratulations Amanda!

You can e-mail us at or leave a comment on this post with what you would like from our Etsy shop.

Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Last day for my GIVEAWAY!

There are only TWELVE hours left that you can enter into my:


Enter by midnight, Friday, May 18th!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Orientation Call Scheduled

Our orientation call with All God's Children is scheduled for this Friday, May 18th at 1:00pm!


Did you hear about our GIVEAWAY?!?!?

Click on the link to read yesterday's post. You only have until Friday. There are several ways to enter, but the easiest way is to simply go to our Etsy site and leave a comment back at my post letting me know what item you want if you win.

If you follow my blog, that's another entry!! SO simple.

*There MIGHT only be one entry so far.*

Pleeeeeeeeeeeze enter.

Otherwise I might look like a fool drawing from a bag with only ONE paper to pick from.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Guess what, friends?!?

In honor of YOU and your incredible support of Colin and me and our adoption journey, we are hosting a GIVEAWAY!

Are you excited? We are!

The PRIZE?!?

Any item from our Etsy shop. We've got jewelry (men's and women's), Ugandan paper bead jewelry, keychains, and even tambourines!

Here are SIX ways to enter:

1: Leave a comment on this post telling me what item you will choose from our Etsy shop.
=1 point

2: Leave a separate comment telling me you follow my blog.
=1 point

3: Share the link to this giveaway on your blog, facebook, etc. You may do this up to one time per day for all five days of the giveaway per media outlet! Leave a comment letting me know you did so each time.
=1 point per share

4: Purchase coffee, hot chocolate, or a mug from our Just Love Coffee fundraising shop. Our favorite coffee is the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. So delightful. Leave a comment.
=5 points for each item purchased

5: Purchase an item from our Etsy shop. Leave a comment.
=5 points for each item purchased

6: Make a secure donation to our adoption fund through the donate button on the right hand side of our page. Leave a comment.
=10 points for any amount. ANY? Any.

For each point you rack up, your name will go into the drawing one time.

This giveaway runs from now, Monday, May 14th through Friday, May 18th at midnight.

A winner will be announced and notified by Monday, May 21st!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Enat is Mother in Amharic, the language of Ethiopia.

My thoughtful husband blessed me this Mother's Day with a bracelet that says Enat:

Mother's Day is so difficult.
So complex.

We are ever so grateful for our mothers.

We are in awe of the sacrifices they have made for us.
We are who we are because of their raising us.
The clothed us, fed us, sheltered us, gifted us, taught us.
And So. Much. More.

We miss them.
We are far apart.
From opposite sides of the state to opposite sides of the country.
But, we have them.
And we are ever so honored that God has gifted us with one more Mother's Day to celebrate them.

At the same time, our hearts ache.

For our babies.
A continent away.
And years away from our arms.

For birthparents.
And their brave decisions.
Their sad hearts.

For those without their mother.
Never known.
Far away.
Or in Heaven.

For those with broken relationships.

For those without their child/ren.
Angel babies.
Earth babies gone to Heaven.
Children far away.

For those deeply desiring to become pregnant.
And it's not their time.
Or it may never be.

For those on waiting lists.
And they haven't yet been picked.
Or they are far from referrals.

It hurts.

I am praying for all of you.
You are all in my heart.

May the Lord bless you.
May He heal your heart.
May He nurse your wounds.

May He give you the desires of your hearts according to His will for you.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Orientation Packet and a Celebration Meal

We received our orientation packet via UPS today!

So excited! We are going to spend Friday reading through it all, and then schedule a time for our 45 minute orientation phone call with All God's Children.

To celebrate, Colin and I cooked a traditional Ethiopian meal together. We made Doro Wat (chicken with spicy berbere sauce and hard-boiled eggs) and Injera bread.

To learn more about Ethiopian cuisine, see our explanation and restaurant experience.

We cooked our meal from an African cookbook that Colin gifted me with for Chrismas. Our meal was amazing! We can't wait to experiment more.

Our Doro Wat cooking:

Injera cooking:

Finished meal:

Perhaps I will post these recipes for you sometime soon!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


It is official.....

Colin and I are APPROVED into the Ethiopia program through All God's Children!!

We are so thrilled and grateful.


Next steps: We are being mailed the orientation packet, and then we are to call to set up a 45-minute orientation call with the adoption coordinator to go over the packet and ask questions.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Our Himalayans: Mercedes and Dahlia

We have two female Himalayan cats, Mercedes and Dahlia. They are both going on 5 years old. We got them both during our first year of marriage. They are adorable, lazy, spoiled, and entitled.

Because Himalayans have such long hair, it is easy for their hair to get plenty knots, which soon turn matted if not combed out daily. So, every year we get them groomed professionally. This includes getting a shave that makes them look like lions!

Note: Colin also bathes them bimonthly...what a warrior!

Here is Mercedes before and after:

Dahlia before and after:

I think they lost 20 lbs. each!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Blessings of Garage Sale Fundraiser!

On April 27-29, a friend (from Colin's men's fraternity church group) and his wife hosted a garage sale fundraiser for our adoption! They sold grilled hotdogs and brats as well. Other men from Colin's group donated items to be put up for sale.

We feel so blessed to have these men praying for us and helping us to bring our babies home!

My family also donated wonderful items to our sale--for this we are so thankful! Colin and I set out our handmade jewelry and tambourines with a sign telling our story. We were excited to sell quite a few jewelry items and tambourines.

Today, I joined Colin at his men's group, because our pastor performed the Resolution For Men ceremony from the movie Courageous (a must see!). The guys just got finished reading the book and one guy from the group had beautiful plaques made for everyone. The wives and children were all invited to watch the men take their oaths and receive their plaques.

During his group, we were presented with the money raised from the garage sale.

We received $1,061.30!

God is so good!

Another blessing in the making is that anyone who contracts with All God's Children by June 29th will have their program fee reduced by $1,000. This is in honor of Mother's Day!

We are feeling so joyous. So grateful. So blessed. So humbled. SO excited!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Our First Phone Call!

We were out and about running errands today and got back in the early evening to find.....

....that we got our first phone call from All God's Children since sending in our application Tuesday!

Just 3 days later. Oh, I am SO excited! It is really happening!!!

A message was left on our phone by an adoption coordinator. It was brief, but she said that everything looks great! She is going to send our application along to a social worker, who will be the one to officially accept us into the program if everything looks good to her. The coordinator will give us a call back if and when this happens! Praying!

In the meantime, Colin and I have to write and send in a personal statement about our history of infertility/treatments/emotional processing, etc. We'll get this done this weekend. Trust me, we want to get started!

Once, prayerfully, all is set, we will be mailed an orientation packet and our contracts!

I am the most excited I have ever been. This is really happening. REALLY!

Thank you for all your support and all prayers you have and will send our way. We will forever appreciate you!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Our Reading Nook

Over the month of April, when we were focusing our prayers on our adoption, Colin and I created a prayer corner! A special little reading nook.

We had been wanting to create this for a while, but we figured our 1 month prayer commitment was the perfect opportunity for inspiration. Many of the items we already had on hand--we just repurposed them from room to room.

Our frame wall: the framed Africa, Following Jesus One Step at a Time, and Joshua 24:15 verse I created on my computer, the Jesus Is photo was handed out in our church bulletin, the bottom two pictures are our sponsored boys, Dominic and Eyouel (so handsome!), and the top center photo we purchased off of 100 cameras. Children in impoverished countries are given cameras and their photos are sold online. Such a neat idea!

Ethiopia time! Colin made this plaque for our wall. What a wonderful husband! Ethiopia time is 8 hours ahead of us here in Wisconsin. It is so neat to think about what our sponsored children are doing in Africa at a certain time of day, and soon, what our children will be doing. Always praying everyone is safe and their needs are being provided for. That they are LOVED. And loved on.

My new favorite spot in our home has been wonderful for me. It helps me to focus on reading and praying. It helps me to relax! I am a type A stressball at times! I feel like I always need to be doing something. I am learning that praying and learning IS something!

Our corner is positioned by a window/sliding door, so I can look at trees or squirrels out running around. I am a nature girl.

Do you have any special place you go to relax and get centered?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Our Application Is In the Mail!

May 1st. The day we sent in our application to adopt siblings from Ethiopia.

I may never be able to look at another May 1st the same way again! This has been a long time coming.

So thrilled!
So excited!
Can't contain my emotions!

We prayed over our application before we sent it out. So grateful for this moment!

We will be hearing from All God's Children regarding our application within three business days of their receiving it. THREE!