Thursday, September 3, 2009

Yes, I know I seem unstable or just crazy!

At the risk of looking like a complete nutcase, I am switching back to my old blog, Living in the Now. I will begin posting there. The address if you want to keep reading is

I hope you will join me there!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A conversation with Bella...

I have been talking to Bella alot lately about how she joined our family. I have actually had people say to me the past couple of months, that she looks so much like your husband, you could get away with not telling her she is adopted. They follow that with: "So have you decided if you will or not?" I am appalled! Adoption is not a shameful thing in our family. It is a blessing- something we are proud of and something we have experienced ourselves as children of God. However, I do understand that we have an understanding that others may not, and that is why I am not offended by that question.

It did spur me, though, to begin talking and telling Bella bits of her story. I have been talking to her about Guatemala being the place where she was born and other small parts that are appropriate for her. Today in the car, I asked her where she was born and she replied "Matamala, Mommy." She then said, "You and Daddy on airplane to get me." I told her yes and that we brought her home to live with us in our family forever and ever. As I watched her in my rear view mirror, she looked at me with her big, brown eyes and smiled BIG and said "You saved me, Mommy!"

Now, let me start off with saying that I have never said that to her nor have I included that in her 'story' of how she became our daughter. I must say, her adoption did not start because we wanted to save an orphan. Not that there is anything wrong with that reason. It just wasn't ours. We felt called to adopt and wanted to add to our family. It caught me off guard, but then I saw her face and realized her lingo. You see, anytime I leave Bella somewhere, like school or my mom's or a sitter, or even her with her daddy, when I come back, she runs at me with her arms wide open and says " Mommy... You saved me!!!!" I am not sure where or how she developed this tradition and language, because we never use it. It just makes me smile to know that less than 2 years ago, we picked up a 13 month old baby girl that was frail and scared and did not know how to show affection. In all my 4 visits, I had never even heard her laugh and rarely smile. But today... she is vibrant and affectionate beyond belief and literally bounces everywhere she goes.

It is wonderful to know that she has found her security in us. That she KNOWS we are there to take care of her and she rests in that and is confident in that. How many children do not have that confidence? How many children go to sleep every night with no one to kiss them goodnight or to tell them they love them? How many children are scared and lonely and sick and have no one to give them the assurance that they will "save them" in the sense that they know someone will always be there for them? My daughter doesn't have to worry about where her next meal will come from or where she will sleep or wonder why she is empty inside. Because of adoption, she can just be a child. That one thing alone is BIG. Please look outside of yourself and ask the Lord if He is wanting you to step out and do this. As Christians (and I believe, just as humans), we are called to take care of the least among us. I cannot bear to think what my daughter would be dealing with this day if things were different. I am not saying we are wonderful because we 'saved an orphan". I do not view her joining our family that way and never will. But, things are different for her now. Things are different for us now. Our eyes have been open and we will never look at things the same way again. Just some food for thought.

It reminds me that her adoption is a reality of what Jesus did for my life. He saved me and now I am full of life, know how to love and be loved and am no longer frail in sin and have joy unspeakable. WOW!!! Aren't you glad He saves???

What she has yet to find out, is that she, in a way, saved us. God used her precious life to show us how much He loves us and how He adopted us into His family. He also used her adoption to fuel a passion in us for the orphans in this world.

I don't think I will ever forget this converstaion today. My baby girl is wise beyond her years!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Well, a new school year begins tomorrow. I will be at a new school teaching kindergarten and Jake starts the 4th grade, while Bella is in the PK 3 year old class. We are going to have a great year! I am beyond grateful that the Lord opened this opportunity to me and my children. I am not going to write about school in this post, though. I have to say that preparing for this school year as a teacher has consumed my life this past month, especially this past week, and now I am ready to move forward.

I just read Katie, from Amazima ministries, latest blog post. It was written by her dad and I still can't stop the tears. I envy her, in a way. She is truly following Jesus EVERY day of her life. Ever since I saw the African Children's Choir perform when I was in my early twenties, I have wanted to live my life as a missionary living and working and caring for orphans. Jeff has felt this way, also. In fact, we talked about it on our first date. I really thought we would have been doing it by now. I still pray that God gives my family this desire of our heart.

Adoption changed our lives. After 7 years of wondering WHY I couldn't have another baby, I really feel that the Lord answered me this year. I know He spoke to my heart that we had to go through all that we did with infertility and with our adoption in order for us to have the passion for orphans that we have now. I know He is God and He could have done anything, but He chose to do it this way and (I never thought I would say this), but I am so glad He did. Not only did He fan the flame for the love we have for orphans, but He has used Bella's adoption to show me things about my relationship with Him and how much He loves me and how adoption changed MY life (spiritually-speaking!).

I am in a very different place in my walk with Him right now. I am trying to strip away everything that will hinder me from hearing His voice and being able to follow HIS lead. I want to be led to the place of divine appointment. I realize that I will have to leave some things and some friends behind as I press towards this goal for my life. I realize it will be uncomfortable at times. I realize it will cost me ALOT. But.... I am finally at that place of readiness. I thought I was at other times, but only realized that I wasn't quite ready.

I am now.

I am ready at press in, leave all else behind and discover what He has for my family to do.

I thought when we went to Guatemala this summer that we would come back knowing more about the direction God was leading us. I realized half way into our trip that it was going to be different than I thought. This trip did not answer specifics for us, but did give us insight into other things. I am grateful that HE knows exactly what we have need of and He is faithful to give it to us if we truly seek His will and desire and not our own!!

Our trip to Guatemala this summer gave us a glimpse into how it will be for our family to be on the mission field together. It allowed my children to bond in a way that hasn't happened since Bella came home. My children's relationship is totally different than it was at the beginning of the summer. But most importantly, our trip to Guatemala showed me and Jeff what we feel God is calling us to do. It has given us a clearer picture even though we don't feel closer to the exact place. Now, we just have to begin to get rid of the things that are hindering us, so that we can be more than ready when He opens the door.

I am ready to walk through the doors He will set before us and live my life broken before Him and serving Him whole-heartedly. I am willing to leave ALL behind to follow Him and I am ready to hear His voice speak so that I can follow. It is an exciting time and my spirit is bursting with the possibilities....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Yes, I get bored very easily. I changed my blog template, but don't get used to it. I plan to have it redone and replaced with a custom layout. I am just in the process of deciding which pictures I want to use. Once I do that, I will have it redone. Be patient while I am under construction, please.

On the potty-training front... I think it is safe to say that Isabella Claire is officiallyy potty trained!!! Can I get a WHOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!! We have done more dancing and high-fiving at this house than has evah been done here. I am SOOOO proud of her. Truly, it was answered prayer. I know that sounds silly, but I was really stressing over this. She HAD to be completely potty trained by Aug.10 and it wasn't looking good. The trip to Guatemala messed her up. Before we left, she heard, "Bella, don't potty in your panties." When we got there, she heard, "Bella, use it in your Pull-Up. There isn't a potty in this village." Then 10 days later, she heard, "Bella, stop using it in you panties." I can't say that I blamed her, but she seemed to take the attitude:"Lady, you can't make up your mind WHERE you want me to use the bathroom... SOOO I will do it wherever I please!" AND SHE DID. I realized she needed some time to get back into the routine of our normal life, so we stopped for a little while.

This past week, I prayed and reminded the Lord that He said in His Word that He cares about every detail of our lives. I took Him at His Word and told Him I needed help and some miraculous help He sent our way. In the past 5 days, Bella has gone from wetting panties to only having 1 accident total. CONGRATS to my Baby Girl!!!

Stay tuned for a new look soon!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I haven't done much blogging about our trip here. I posted alot of pictures on facebook while we were there and kept people updated with my statuses. This was an amazing trip for our family. When we were in process with Isabella, we did not get to leave the hotel with her on our visits. Until this trip,we had not been able to experience Guatemala, nor did we get to see its beauty. I always felt a disconnect with Bella's birthcountry... until this trip. It is no secret to those that know us, that we feel a pull and a call to work full-time with orphans in another country. While we are still not sure where or when that will be, we are more convinced it WILL happen since making this trip.

Once we returned, I tried to put it into words when we were asked by people,"so how was your trip?" It was hard to describe. I mean, we saw our daughter's birth country, we ministerd and loved on some precious children and their families, and we made some long-lasting friendships with people that have become like family to us. God was with us, worked through us and most importantly, worked IN us. But Jeff summed it up best when he told someone, "Our family was different in Guatemala." WOW!! That is so very true.

One of the biggest things that occurred is the bonding that happened between Jake and Bella. They bonded more on this trip than they did in the year and a half Bella has been home. It was supernatural and amazing to watch. My son was a diferent boy. He is a great kid, with a big heart and a desire to live a life that pleases God. He truly has a heart after God. He came into his own on this trip. He was walking in an annointing that was amazing. I truly think he will be a missionary or pastor one day. In watching him with the people in the village of Pueblo Nuevo, I saw the beginning of God doing something in him. I also realized that Jeff and I have an awesome responsiblity to lead him and guide him and help him find his way to God's will for his precious life.

I watched Jeff as he tore down walls that a teenage girl of the village had built around her heart. None of us on that team could have done what he did with her. As I watched him teach her how to make an oragmi star out of paper and do it without knowing a lick of Spanish, I fell in love with him all over again. I watched him while we were at a special-needs orphanage and witnessed a very special little girl steal his heart. I watched in awe as he touched her life and she touched his. Jeff was a different person on this trip. It was amazing to watch him.

I know this post seems to be all over, but I am trying to convey how this trip truly changed our family. I liked being there. It felt right. It felt like home. It felt like we belonged. I think why all of it felt so perfect is because we, as a family, were walking in the calling God has for us. Which just shows me more than before we left, we HAVE to get back to doing what He has called us to do. We are seeking His will and waiting for His voice. Over the next few posts, I will post pics from the week there. I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I am so proud of my son, Jake. He was amazing on this trip. This was his second time out of the country. The first was a little over 2 years ago when he met Isabella for the first time. He was a sight to behold in Guatemala. The first day we were in Pueblo Nuevo with Pastor Marco and his family, Jake spent the morning playing with Pastor Marco's son. They threw the tennis ball to each other for over 2hours. Jake taught him how to throw different kinds of pitches. All with a language barrier.

The second day we interacted with the children of the village. We did their children's program with them. This included an arts and crafts project, serving them food and then playing with them. Jake and Cassie (Bobby's daughter) taught them how to make origami stars. Now, keep in mind that Cassie had to teach Jake (with him having no prior knowledge) how to do this the night before. Cassie is a very good teacher! The children loved it and I cannot express what it did to me to see my son doing this with these children.

He was able to transcend the language barrier between them and show them the love of God. On the third day, while we were passing out the food to the children, Jake passed me on his way to bring more plates and looked up at me. He said, "I just love doing this. I could do this for the rest of my life." Needless to say, I dissolved into an emotional puddle. I mean, how many 9 1/2 year old boys (and I mean full out BOY) do you know of that would make a statement like this on their own? Not many... I taught a class of them last year and I don't know of another one in there that would have gone on this trip without complaining at some point. Jake did NOT complain one time. We went some days without eating between breakfast and supper. If you know Jake, you know this is miraculous in itself! :) But seriously, my son walked in an anointing this week and it was a privilege to see.

I know God has BIG things in store for him and I pray daily that I am able to lead him in the way, with the help of my Saviour.

"I love you, Jake and am so proud to call you my son and to hear you call me Mom."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Not What I Expected From This Trip

The title of this post says it all. We leave tomorrow to come back home. We left a week ago today for what was to be my family's first missions trip. I had alot of expectations. I had an agenda. It was MY agenda. How many of you can attest to the fact that your agenda hardly ever happens on trips like this one? My last post had a funny spin to it, but all kidding aside, the events of that Sunday will forever be ingrained in my heart and mind.

I left the U.S. thinking that I was going to get to Guatemala and love and minister to the people there- to show them the love of God. We did that to the best of our ability, I believe. But God had another plan. One that included doing a work on the inside of me. Actually, starting a work in my heart. I am somewhat of a perfectionist. I struggle with grace-- giving and receiving it. I have high expectations of myself and that bleeds into high expectations of others. That can wreak havoc on relationships. Not just earthly ones, but my relationship with my Saviour. I struggle with having to have it all together before I can go to God. Now, I know in my head that goes against the Bible and everything I have learned about the character of God. But that is just the truth of my struggles. What I am about to write is going to be hard for me to admit, but I feel it is necessary.

God's agenda was to show me how little I love people. I mean actually LOVE people. It is one thing to say "I love you" to someone. It is another thing to DO IT. We met with a very wise missionary today. (I will have to share the story of how our pathes crossed at another time, but it was truly God-ordained.) In talking with him, God began to show me that I needed to re-evaluate my life as a Christian. He began to show me that I am somewhat of a Pharisee. Actually, He began to show me this earlier in the trip than today, but today just sealed the deal, if you will. As I watched the children of Pueblo Nuevo and their families earlier this week, I realized that they were easy to fall in love with. You see, they have very little, yet they have so much. That may sound a bit clicheish (my made-up word), but it is the truth. The children loved each other. They watched out for each other. They were giving to each other. They even tried to give their things to my children. The families had such a strong sense of community. What was not to love?

Then God began to speak to my heart. He reminded me that it is easy to love people like these people. But then He reminded me that I can't just love people that it is easy to love. He began to remind me of the harshness I sometimes judge others with. He began to remind me of verses in James about extending mercy and grace and love to everyone... not just those who 'deserve' it. Because in actuality, grace and mercy only need to be extended to people because they have done something that warrants it. Not to perfect people. Let's face it (here comes another cliche), there are no perfect people! Therefore, logic suggests that we should be showing grace and mercy to eveyone that is breathing. Then, a situation happened where I had an opportunity to either get angry or show that love and mercy, and yet again, I failed miserably. But this time, instead of condeming myself, I just repented and asked Him to help me react differently next time. He tenderly (once I calmed down) reminded me that I "don't sin by letting anger contol me" Ephesians 4:26 and I "must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don't just listen to God's words. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. If you claim to be righteous but don't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless." James 1:19-26

Then, as we sat talking with this missionary, he began to share some of his struggles. How many of you reading this know that one of the biggest lies we can believe is that 'I am the only one that struggles with this or that. I am the only one that feels this way. I am the only one that reacts this way.'? Well, I tend to fall for this one hook, line and sinker. As we talked, I began to see that he struggles with the same things I do. I am not alone in this. He made the comment that he believes there are 2 types of people- ones that are totally in love with Jesus and ones that aren't.

Here is where this gets hard for me to write. I fall into the group that is not. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Jesus. But, I am not totally IN love with Him. I have allowed the cares of this world, the things of this world, bitterness, unforgivness, and other things to come between me and my Saviour. At first, I got offended by this thought. I couldn't even admit it to myself. I did not want the light of His Spirit to shine on that closed up part of the deepest part of my heart. But let's fact it, you can't change until you admit what needs to be changed.

I. Am. Ready. To. Change. I am ready to fall in love with Him all over again. In order to do this, I have to lay aside EVERYTHING else. In my realtionship with my husband, we sometimes have realize that we have allowed life to happen to us... to let the every day mundane things we have do, to wedge between us, we have to stop and regroup. We have to begin to get rid of everything that is absolutely not necessary and begin to spend time together. That is what I have to do when I get back home. I must begin to rid my life of the things that have wedged between me and my God. I must fall in love with Him- not just love him. There is a big difference between the two.

Another thing that we talked about, was putting on this front and hiding things about us because if others see that in me or know I struggle with this or have this burden, they may not like me. Instead, we must do as the Word of God says and 'bear one another's burdens'. We cannot do this for each other if we judge one another. It is time for us to get real and stay real and live real. I don't want to be a Pharisee anymore. I want to be a disciple. I want to love people. I want to, as Tom Davis says in the book Red Letters, live the red letters of the Bible. I MUST begin to live this way. In the past, I have tried to do this on my own, only to fail and end up having to write a post like this one. This time, I am going to do it His way.

So, as you can see, He had a different agenda. One that has been hard to accept and hard to admit. But one that I know is going to be life changing for me. So, I am returning home and returning to the basic "Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, sould, mind and strength and love your neighbor as thyself." Instead of it just being a Bible verse I learned in Christian school, it will become something I strive, through Him, to LIVE daily.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Today started off with lots of rain and my bad attitude. I did not want to go walk the streets of Antigua in the rain. It had to be done with either a fanny pack on my waist or a baby girl in her "pocket", as she calls it. Add to it that Bella did not get much sleep last night and woke up in whinny mode. We prepared to get ready for a good hour or so and that just gave me more time to get an even bigger attitude. I had to go back in the house to change because I realized that once I got wet from the rain, my light-colored capris would expose my behind. At that point, my attitude got even worse.

Now... some of you reading are thinking how petty I was being and I admit (at least, I will admit it now)that I was. But no one had the courage to tell me. Until... we were standing in the rain and Terry flags down a tuk-tuk driver and before I know it, I am being shoved into one by my husband for my 9 1/2 year old son and half of my daughter in a back pack sitting on my lap. Halfway through the ride, Jake turns around and looks at me and says these words... "you know, this trip IS all about Jesus. Not you." WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, Jake... you have been used by God to set me straight and to do it quickly and with the blutness I needed at that time. I then realized I had 2 choices. Either I could reprimand him (but for what- stating the truth?) or I could humble myself and realize that I was wrong and did have a bad attitude and had momentarily forgotten why I am here. I decided on the latter and immediately repented. My attitude was fixed.

"Thank you, lord for using my own child to get me back on track!"

Saturday, June 20, 2009

We are here!!!

Well, I am a little late in posting (are you surprised? I have lost lots of readers because of my failure to post). We made it here yesterday afternoon. The flight here went very well. Bella was a trooper. She loved it. She periodically tells me "I had fun on the airpane, Mommy." Jake, of course, is a pro and loves flying. He fell asleep from the hum of the plane before we took off in Houston. We spent yesterday unpacking and doing a little walking around Antigua. We ate supper at Rainbow Cafe'. I love the atmosphere and the food was quite good, also. The children of the families here with us have really taken well to each other and they spend all day playing soccer or hide and seek throughout the house. It's as though they have known each other forever!

I must admit, it is a little strange, but not too much, to be back here. During our adoption, as well as after, I had no desire to return. In fact, I swore never to come back. I had bad feelings because of the problems we had, but have sinced realized that Guatemala should not have to "answer" because of what Susana did. It is really neat to see the country and the people with different eyes and a different heart.

Today we spent the morning eating, going to the arch and the market. The streets are made of cobblestone and while it is really neat, it is doing a number on my hips. Bella is enjoying being close to me in the sling. She calls it her pocket and I am enjoying it immensely. She has been really affectionate (more than usual) and spends alot of the time smoothing me with kisses and hugs. She has started a few new things since we arrived. She is telling me "I wub you, Mommy" without any prompting from me. And today, we went to a store called Nim Pot. As soon as we walked in, Bella screamed and came to life like I have never seen before. She saw a table filled with VERY colorful ceramic boxes. She proceeds to use her newest sentence: "Me needs that, Mommy" with the most serious sassy-girl attitude possible. Need you ask if she got one. :)

Jake is holding out for a drum set thingy he wants at the market we are going to tomorrow. He wanted to buy everything from all of the children that approached us with the things they were trying to sell. It broke his heart, he told me, to tell them no. In fact, he didn't. He would tell them "no, gracias" with the most sad look on his little face. He is having a blast and keeps saying that he can't wait to play with the children we are visiting this week in Pueblo Neuve and in the chilren's home we will be hanging out in on Friday.

Tomorrow we are going to Santa Domingo, the arteisan's market and San Fransico (not Calaifornia... its a monastary that was destroyed in an earthquake). We are taking the dads to El Arca for steaks for supper. We may even take a ride in a tuk-tuk. It should be a very eventful day. Here are some pictures from our time her so far. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Jeremiah 29: 11-14

The message in church on Sunday was about finding God's will for your life. The pastor made a statement that really made me start thinking about waking up every day. He said that when you get to a place where you wake up asking God: "Why are you allowing me to breathe Your air today?", you know you are on the path to finding God's will. Think about it. This is really getting down to the nitty gritty, as we say in the south. The only reason we open our eyes every morning is because He allows it!

Well, lately, that is what I do; except I have not been that exact and have not asked it that passionately. He read Jeremiah 29:11-14 (which are my FAVORITE verses in the Bible) from the Message. I just thought I loved it before. Hearing this version, put a whole new twist on it.

"... I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out-- plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call to Me, when you come and pray to Me, I'll listen. When you come looking for Me, you'll find Me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed."

WOW!!!!!!!!! Notice the words in italics. 'When you GET SERIOUS', ' ...want it MORE than ANYTHING else', 'I'LL MAKE sure you WON'T be DISAPPOINTED'. This show me that He is longing for serious seekers and promising BIG things for their lives. I want BIG things for my life.

We are going to Guatemala on a missions trip Friday. God has already orchestrated some major things for us. It is no secret that our ultimate desire is to be living full time out there and working with orphans and families in need. We have both had this desire and felt the pull for many years. It was in our hearts even before we met. We are unsure of what the future holds for our family, but these verses assure me that 'when we get serious about finding Him", He won't disappointed us. He won't leave us hanging. We won't have to wander and wonder. He WILL give us clear direction and that is what I am resting in these days.

I won't lie to you. Part of me doesn't want to board that plane on Friday. But it isn't for the reasons you may think. Granted, I am not a big fan of airplanes, nor do I like depending on them to get me where I need to go. But that is not why. I am not nervous about bringing my children with me. I am not anxious about being gone for a while. The reason that I don't want to go is because I already know that I won't want to come home. CRAZY!! That is what some (most) of you are thinking. How do I know that I won't want to come home if I haven't even left yet??!! Well, that is an easy question for me to answer. My heart is with the children... already.

I looked at a picture last night on our AAB website that shows where we will be working. The pastor and the children of the village. Tears began to well up in my eyes. I don't even know them, but yet I feel as though I do. I see them when I look into the eyes of my daughter. I feel them when I hug her tight and kiss her cheek. Jeff and I have always known that the ministry the Lord has for us was going to begin when we started this journey of adoption. THIS much we knew and still do, even more now than ever before. The rest... well, that is up to Him...

I will leave you with this verse that I am taking with me to Guatemala. It is burning in my heart tonight...
"Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He's the one who will keep you on track." Proverbs 3:5&6 ~ The Message

This is all that I have. And surprisingly, it is enough.

Friday, May 29, 2009


"Intimate refers generally to the innermost nature or fundamental character of something. Intimacy refers to a familiar and very close connection with another as a result of entering deeply or closely into relationship through knowledge and experience of the other." (wikipedia) This is what my Saviour is calling me into.... intimacy with Him. I laid awake for over an hour last night with this one word piercing my mind, heart and soul. I have been serving Him since I was 13 years old. At times with my whole being and at times barely getting by. The truth is that during the 'barely-getting-by time', I wasn't really doing any good to Him or myself. Now, I am about to get real honest here. I hesitate, but know that I have to in order to turn the corner, so to speak.

I am not a "grace" person by nature. Grace is hard for me to accept. I tend to be hard on myself and harder on others. Perfection is my enemy. I need to have it 'all together' in my mind to begin a task. No matter what that task may be, I struggle with it. I don't risk things because I am not a risk taker. Perfectionists often aren't. So, with Christianity being about God's unconditional love and His grace, you can imagine (and maybe experience) how that is hard on my relationship (since perfection is not attainable during this life-time!).

I don't know about you, but our lives are hectic and BUSY around this household. It is really easy for Jeff and I to become disconnected. I often tell him that during these times, I feel like we are just roommates and that we manage to survive because we truly are best friends. We work well together. While this is a good thing, it can also become our greatest enemy. By that, I mean, that we get into this groove of life happening and tend to forget to stop and just connect on a level other than "business as usual". Does anyone reading this understand?? I get so frustrated and want the merry-go-round of life to just stop and let me off. I need connection with my husband. If I need that connection with my husband, how much more do I need it with my Saviour, Friend, Lord... my very reason for living?

At the times that Jeff and I get to this CRAZY point in life (work, baseball, church, friends, bills, housework, etc. ), I often will find myself saying that I don't just want to love him, I want to be in love again. Not that I have fallen out of love with him, its just that I long for those first days of love. You know what I am talking about. The times when just hearing his voice brings flutters to your stomach. The excitement you feel when his car drives into the driveway at the end of the day. That is when we have to STOP and regroup. We have to slow down 'life' and reconnect.

When God created Adam, He did it for companionship. He wanted to have a relationship with him. Truth be told, He doesn't need us. He CHOSE us. Each of us. He just wants a relationship with us. How would I feel if my children never wanted to spend time with me? If all they wanted was food, and clothes, and toys. It would crush me. Some of my favorite times are when they crawl up in my lap and just want to be with me. Or when they are playing and see me and stop long enough to just hug, kiss or smile at me. THAT makes my day. Yet, I do that to God all the time. I let life happen so much to me, that I just check in every now and then. I have to go deeper again. I used to be there, but I allowed the cares of this world to infiltrate my life to the point that I have lost some realtionship with Him. The only way to have knowlege of or experience the other person in a relationship is to spend time with them. I am ready to go there, Lord.

That is where I am finding myself these days. Wanting... longing... needing.... desperately needing and longing and wanting to fall in love with my God again. So much baggage has begun to accumulate, that I just want to simplify, stop and just fall at His feet and get reacquainted, if you will. He is calling me. He is wooing me. He is waiting for me to show up. I am ready!!! I am so ready that at times it is overwhelming. I truly feel that this summer will be a time of new beginnings for me (and my family), but mostly for me to return to my First Love. My spirit is bubbling and I am excited to see who I am in Him when I emerge on the other side of this journey He is calling me to begin.....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

We're back!!

I know I was supposed to post from the beach, but we did not have a good connection. We ended up coming home early because 3 out of 4 of us were sick! Bella, Jake and I went to the doctor today and loaded up on medicine. Hopefully we will be better soon and my voice will come back, too!

We had fun, but it was different this year than others. You see, we are going to Guatemala with AAB in 3 weeks and that seems to be all any of us can think about. Nothing else seems to be able to pale in comparison with it. Everything else seems trivial. I feel a passion welling up inside that cannot be put into words. Am I nervous? YEP! I don't like flying and I am nervous about being in Guatemala with it not being for our adoption. Am I excited? BEYOND Excited! I KNOW we are supposed to be there at this exact time! I will share more about this later, but canNOT wait to see what God has in store! Bella needed a passport and I let mine expire (remember, I had no intentions of ever going back, so why did I need a passport?!;)) It usually takes 2-3 weeks for an expedited one (which we did for both) and ours took 1 week! God has given me so many confirmations about us going-- it truly is amazing. AND all of our original adoption documents we had to send along with her application, came back, too. We were a bit nervous about it.

I will post pictures of out trip to Florida this weekend. Isabella had a great time swimming. She actually used her arm floaties and jumped in without any help. She was swimming around the pool like a little fish. Jake had a great time and didn't want to leave early. He went fishing with his daddy and caught a fish!

The most exciting thing, though, is I am officially off of school for the summer and get to spend it with my amazing children and THAT, my friends, makes me so happy!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah for summer vacation!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Has it really been that long...

Has it? I should have known better than to actually think I would be a dedicated blogger during the start of baseball season and ending of a school year! My intentions were good, but I failed miserably with my actions. I hope I still have readers. I must say... I don't think I would even be checking this blog because of the infrequency of its author! But, to those of you still with me, let me say "Thanks!". Now, let's catch up...

Well, I attended the Orphan Alliance Summit in Dallas with Terry. IT CHANGED MY LIFE! I had some very God-ordained meetings (which I PROMISE to share with you in the coming weeks), heard some things I needed to hear to get me moving in the right direction for His plans for our lives, had a BLAST getting to know Terry and realized there is MUCH left to do! We had been thinking and praying about going to Guatemala with Across All Borders during Spring Break next year, but after attending the summit, both Jeff and I feel that we need to go in June. So, our family is going to Guatemala! We are beyond excited!

I am a little nervous, though. You see, our adoption was very scary and hard and I did NOT enjoy the emotional roller coaster we were put on by our attorney. The only place we went in Guatemala, was the orphanage to get Isabella and our hotel. We did not go to Antigua like most traveling families during pickup. We figured that since our attorney had kicked in the glass at PGN after being detained during an abandonment inquiry and having it air on YouTube just a few weeks prior, as well as PGN attempting to stop our adoption by listing our names in the Prense Libre that Labor Day, it might be a good idea to stay low-key in our little hotel in Guatemala City! I will admit, since I have never done so before, that I did not fall in love with the country of Guatemala, nor with the people. The only people I feel in love with was my daughter, her care givers at the orphanage and her birth mother. The only people I really had contact with was my attorney. I DID NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH HER!!!! So, needless to say, I was bitter for a while and vowed to never step foot in Guatemala again.

Now, before some of you begin typing me a nice little comment telling me how horrible I am, just listen and let me try to explain myself. I will admit that was a very childish and ridiculous thing to feel and way to handle it. But, if we are being truthful (and I am), we can all say that at some point in our lives, we handle things this way. Then, after time, we realize it and some may even admit it!;) I also should have learned to never say never... that is when God teaches you a lesson about HIS plans! God used the country of Guatemala to give me one of the greatest blessings in my life and I had to work through my bitterness and anger toward Susana in order to see what His plans for my family include. I AM THERE now. With all of that being said, we are now going back for our first mission trip as a family and can't wait to see what is in store for us there and how the Lord will use us to minister to the children in Guatemala.

We are in our last week of school this week. Today is our last full day and the rest of the week are half days, out at noon. I am changing jobs next year and have to move my things out of my classroom. Jake has 2 more baseball games this season and we leave for the beach Friday after we get out of school. We will have a week-long relaxation by the pool with family and friends and then back home to begin potty training and packing for Guatemala! I will bring my computer with me and plan to share some exciting stories of how God seems to be lining things up for us to move into his CALL on our lives.

I PROMISE TO KEEP UP WITH THIS BLOG FOR THE SUMMER!!! (really... I do! I'll even post pictures!)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Part I

I feel something bubbling up on the inside of me. It has actually been simmering all my life (since I was 12). At times, it is a simmer and at times it is close to bubbling over. The problem is that I have never allowed it to- to bubble over, that is. I have always seemed to keep it in check. Either out of fear or just plain laziness.

Let me start by back- tracking. I became a Christian at the age of 12 and always knew that my calling involved children. I knew that I would be an elementary teacher and I knew that whatever else I did would involve children. I don't remember the age I was when I decided that I wanted to adopt. I do, however, remember sitting in my church service one Sunday night in the mid- 90's when the African Children's Choir was visiting. I sat in that service with tears streaming down my face. I left that service with tears streaming down my face and cried for a while into the night. I decided at that time that I wanted to one day be in another country living (not just visiting) with the orphans of the world. Loving them as MY children.

Many of you know that Jeff and I went through 6 years of infertility. Adoption was always our first choice, but I am VERY hard headed and let the cost of it get in the way. I would always tell people that I would rather adopt to grow our family, but I could not afford to adopt... that was for "rich" people. I was limiting God and planning it all out for myself. I am a planner. REALLY. I . Am. God let me struggle and strive, but eventually we found His way and Isabella joined our family.

I am guilty of allowing the cares of this world, along with MY desire for things and such, to cloud God's plan for my life. Lately, I have been feeling like I am just missing "it", but felt so far-gone that I could not get on course again. I felt like my prayers were hitting a brick wall. You see, I struggle with the concept of 'grace'. I am a perfectionist and seem to require it of my self and others. This can be catastrophic to one's Christian walk. Defeat is inevitable for someone like me who will not rest in His grace.

Two weeks ago, I was reading blogs on my break at school. I left to go make a copy and when I returned, my computer screen was not on the blog that I had left it on. I have never read the blog that was on the screen! I scrolled down and saw a post talking about a book the writer was reading. It was called Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. My heart started to pound as I read about it. I immediately clicked on the book link to find out more about it. I knew I HAD to buy this book. I called Life Way Christian Bookstore to see if they had it and they did. I planned to stop after school, but when the time came, I was too tired and traffic was heavy. I just went home. I was up ALL night long that night, tossing and turning, hearing the words I read on the books website. God wanted me to buy that book and I knew if I didn't, I would be in direct disobedience to Him. I bought the book the next day!

Crazy Love is changing my life! The Lord has used it to rock me to my very core. It is turning me upside down! I have been a Christian since the age of 12 and I am now realizing that I have never fully served and loved Him as I should. Everything looks different, feels different and is different. I HIGHLY recommend you read this, but be warned that you will be faced with some major decisions about yourself and your walk with God. I have not made it through the book. I am an avid reader and can finish books in no time, but this one is different. I am having to slowly digest it and allow God's word to infiltrate every fiber of my being. It has not been comfortable, but it has been necessary. This "stumbling" onto this stranger's blog has set me on a course-- one that is prepared by God for my life!

Before, we began the adoption process, God gave my husband a dream. In it, he stood at an altar and Jesus approached him and told him "GO". Jeff asked "Where?" Again, Jesus said "Go". Jeff, again said "Where?" Jesus replied, "I have something for you, Amanda, Jake and Isabella to do." Jeff, of course, asked "Who is Isabella?" to which Jesus told him "It is the daughter am going to give to you. Now, GO!" Jeff waited a while to share this with me. In fact, he didn't share it with me until we were already involved in the adoption process. You see, at the time, we were trying to have another child and my endometriosis was getting worse. It looked like a hysterectomy was inevitable and he did not think the timing would be right to share that dream with a VERY emotional woman that was unable to have the one thing she desired most in this world. He was right. I would not have received it!

When we started our adoption process and Jeff shared this with me, we were both very excited! We felt that our adoption and Bella joining our family was going to be what God used to launch us into the ministry He has for us. Along the way, things got very rough for us with the adoption and we allowed the weight of it to overtake us. By the time Bella came home, we were so emotionally, physically, and spiritually worn out that we have just become stagnate. I KNOW that God led me to the book Crazy Love for a purpose. I believe that He is beginning to stir up my spirit, light a fire and passion in my heart, and turn our lives upside down!

I hope I have expressed what I wanted to without confusion. It is all jumbled up inside, but I HAD to get it out or I felt as though I would explode. SO much more needs to come out and I will be sharing much more in the next few days. Check back with me soon... Part 2 to follow...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Things that make you go, "AWWWW"...

"I love you, Isabella!"

"I wuv you toooo, Mommy!" She started saying this this week. Her speech is becoming more clear and her sentences are getting longer. She is starting to tell stories and sing songs. She is such a blessing to us! All those months of pain and heartache and longing just melt away when I hear this!

We went to the IHRA races yesterday afternoon with Jake. My camera was dead!!!! My mom kept Bella for us. It was nice to spend some time with my little man. He made sure I was comfortable all afternoon. He would not take a pair of earphones from Jeff until he knew I had some, he wouldn't sit down in the only chair available until he asked me if I wanted it. They had a few floats go by on the side track that threw beads (it was the Mardi Gras nationals), and he made sure I caught enough and then offered me his best-looking beads. It was the SWEETEST thing to experience. This is the last year his age will be single digits! He will be 10 years old in Sept. and it has been such a blessing to witness him turning into such a young man. All those years of wondering if I was doing and teaching the right things and if he was listening and learning were answered yesterday. He is such a great kid and I am enjoying watching him grow into the man God is molding him to become. I am so privileged to be called Mom!

Have a good week!

Friday, March 6, 2009

I WON, I WON, I WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My friend, Tricia at gave me a Blogging Award. It is called the Lovey award. Here is the reason I was nominated and won:

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find friends and be friends.They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships will be propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly- written text into the body of their award."

1. The Pineapple Princess

While, I don't consider myself worthy of this award, I am thankful that it has been bestowed on me. I need to blog more often. We have a busy weekend planned and I can't wait to share it with you!

Thanks, Tricia, for this award. You inspire me to be a better blogger and to give my all in all that I do!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Glad you decided to join us over here! I am excited about this. I feel like I am refreshed and ready! I originally started blogging during our adoption. I really enjoyed it. Ever since Bella came home, I have struggled to keep up with it. For some reason, it just reminded me of that difficult time of waiting. Now, I am ready to just 'be' me.

I decided on the name of this blog, because I feel like the things I deal with in life are a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I am learning which things I need to keep and which things I need to let go. Letting go is a HARD thing for me to do. I am a Type A personality, a little (or alot, depending who you ask) OCD. That spells a PERFECTIONIST!! I am learning that it can be a good trait, if used in moderation and at the right time! NOT AN EASY THING FOR ME TO DO! I am really an "all or nothing, black and white" kind of gal. Thankfully, God knew this and paired me with a man that IS NOT!! We just complete each other and that still amazes me! God is really changing my heart and tilling up the ground. I have discovered some not-so-pretty things, but am ready to deal with them. He is also showing me where grace fits into my life. I am thankful for the season I am entering and looking forward to seeing myself on the other side!

I am still trying to set up all of my gadgets and blog lists. I just wanted to welcome you. Stay tuned... I was given a blog award last week and am trying to get the award transferred to here. My friend did not know I was setting up a new blog and I need to find out how all of that works. By the way, I installed the blogging template for my blog. Those of you that know me, are AMAZED! I am a complete novice at this technology stuff!!! I found a free template at They have some really cute templates and the give the step-by-step instructions for using them. Trust me, if I can do it, SO CAN YOU! See ya...