Friday, December 23, 2011

Celebrate Jackson and Sophia!!

Well, it's been a busy week here for us.  There, of course, is the normal hustle and bustle of the Christmas season.  The cookie baking.  The gift purchasing and wrapping.  Various Christmas programs and activities.  Family visiting from out-of-town.  But, on top of all that, I have not one, but TWO Christmas birthdays.  Let's just say, that if I don't see another piece of cake until next month, that will be just fine with me. :)

Here's a look at my TWO Christmas babies THEN....

Sophia Hollis Gregoire


Jackson Von Gregoire

  And NOW....

Sophie is mischievious and fiesty, yet oh, so sweet when she wants to be.  With all her funny little quirks and expressions, she makes us laugh until our sides hurt.  She loves playing with baby dolls, yet can hold her own wrestling with Daddy and the boys. 



Jackson is a sensitive and sweet little boy.  He is always the first to tell me "Mommy, you're bootiful."  Melts.  My.  Heart.  He is funny and is always making a joke and keeping us laughing.  He loves to sing, and boy, does he LOVE to dance.  So does Sophia for that matter!

We love you so much Jackson and Sophia!  We wouldn't trade you for the world.  You have brought so much life and laughter into our home and this week we celebrate YOU.  Praising the Creator tonight for the gifts He has given us.

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" 

~Psalm 139:13-16


Friday, December 16, 2011

A Perfect Christmas

I always have the desire to want holidays to be perfect.  Don't you? 

A clean house.  Beautifully wrapped presents.  Tons of delicious foods.  Picturesque decorations. 

Everything.  Just.  So.

But this year, as I trim the tree and bake the Christmas cookies, I feel the anxiety beginning to build.  Slowly, at first....and then faster as the holiday approaches. 

Now, I am truly, TRULY thankful for family coming to visit.  I am SO excited, I cannot contain myself.  Really, I am.  I LOVE having people to our house, especially at Christmas time.  But, our house is teeny, tiny, and our extended family, is, well....big. :)  17 of us altogether under one roof for ten days to be exact.  And my need to control, and maintain order and perfection kicks in.  How will I possibly keep my house clean with that many people?  Where will all our STUFF go?  Where will we all sleep?  And so on and so on.

But you know what?  That first Christmas?  The one that took place in a STABLE??  The one where a poor, pregnant teenager was confined to give birth in a smelly barnyard?  A feedbox full of scratchy hay for a cradle?  A murderous king out to find and kill the newborn baby?  Yeah, that story.  Well, that one wasn't perfect either.  It wasn't even close.  And yet, something about it was, and still is, beautiful.  After all, 2,000 years later, we are still celebrating. 

Perhaps it was the simplicity of it all.  The fact that is was so ordinary, so relatable, that makes it beautiful.  Perhaps it was the love story of a God who so desperately loved His creation that He entered our world.  Emmanuel.  God with us.  I'm quite certain it was all of the above.

Growing up, holidays weren't always Hallmark-approved either.  Oh, they were wonderful alright, but often times they felt more like that first Christmas than the spreads I see on the cover of a Better Homes and Garden magazine.  Some of my fondest memories of holidays, however, were around my grandmother's table.  Or tables....depending how you look at it.  Her home was modest, but every year the dining room table was busting at the seams with people.  And when that table filled up, there was card table, after card table set-up extending into the living room.  Family. Friends.  Even strangers graced our table a year or two.  Never once would you hear Mimi say, "No room at the inn."  Anyone who needed somewhere to go was invited.  All were welcome.  And, it too, was beautiful.  Just like that first Christmas.

I am certain that it was the love that abounded.  The relationships that were formed.  The room that we made, not only in our homes, but also in our hearts for others.  It isn't the perfection I remember so much, as the imperfections. 

Are we more concerned with perfect table settings this year?  Things being "just so" on the outside?  Tons of gifts, perfectly wrapped?  Inward beauty taking a back seat to outward perfection?  I'm hoping not.  I'm praying mine is a home of laughter this year.  Of joy.  Of the pitter-patter of LOTS of little feet.  Relationships.  Food in the oven.  Fire crackling.  Christmas music playing.  Oh, I'm certain there will be messes to clean.  I'm even certain that on the outside, it may not look all that "perfect" to you.  But that's OK, the perfect is found in the imperfection. 

I cannot wait!!  A house full of life, and laughter and children.  Hearts set in anticipation of the One whom this celebration is all about.  An absolutely perfect holiday.

Looking for a place to spend Christmas this year?  I may just be able to scrounge up an extra seat or two at our table. ;)


Thursday, December 8, 2011

'Tis the Season

Christmas is such a special time of the year for our family.  I'm sure it is for many others as well, but for us, it holds some very beautiful memories.  Take a look:

~Charles and I were engaged December 19th of 1999.  The following week, we were spending Christmas together with his whole family in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

~A year later, we got married on December 16th, 2000.  We spent our first Christmas as a married couple together on our honeymoon in Hawaii.  Instead of a Christmas tree that first year, we had a Christmas pineapple!!  Mele Kalikimaka. :)

~Fast forward three years, and we found out ON CHRISTMAS MORNING that I was going to be a mommy.  Literally peed on a stick before my husband woke up and then wrapped it up as a present. :)  Merry Christmas to us!! 

~As if THAT weren't enough, on December 24th, 2007, our third child, Jackson decided to enter the world.  That's right!  My water broke in the church parking lot as I walked into the Christmas Eve service that night.  The next morning, my husband and good friend of ours loaded up the car with gifts and kids and brought them into the hospital room.  I got to spend the morning watching my kids open their presents from the comfort of my hospital bed.  I honestly could not think of a better way to spend my time there! 

~AND.....two Christmases later, on December 18th, 2009, we welcomed our youngest daughter, Sophia, into the world.  THAT time, we were home for Christmas!!

So, as I prepare for the Christmas season this year, it causes me to pause and reflect on all of God's many blessings.  Both tangible blessings in the life of our family, as well as the free gift of grace that was given to the world in the form of a baby 2,000 years ago.  Thankful that HE CAME HERE to rescue the world from sin.

"The Word became flesh and lived for awhile among us.  We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." 
 ~John 1:14

So much to be thankful for this year.  He is so good.  And so worthy to be praised.  Won't you join me this Christmas season in lifting our eyes and hearts in praise to the One for whom this holiday celebrates?

Oh Come, oh come Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears

Has come to thee O Israel.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come
Let earth receive her King.

Let every heart
prepare Him room

And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

O Holy Night
the stars are brightly shining.

It is the night of our dear Savior's birth.

Long lay the world, in sin and error pining
till He appeared and the soul felt it's worth.

A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices
for yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees
Oh hear, the angel voices

Oh night divine
Oh night....when Christ was born

Oh night.....divine
Oh night.....O holy night.

May HE be first in our homes and hearts this Christmas season!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Adoption Update

Well, this week was that time again.  Time for our monthly call from our social worker.  I was so excited to see her name coming up on my caller ID.  How much have our numbers gone down??  How much closer are we THIS month to bringing home our little prince or princess??  If you remember, last month we were holding fast at #88.  So.......where are we now you ask?  Drumroll please.......



What??!!!!?????  89?  How did we manage to go UP?  I didn't see that one coming. :)

So, upon further inquiry, it appears that this is quite normal.  Some months you just don't move at all.  And some months (as in our case), you move, just in the wrong direction.  Our social worker told us this can happen when a family initially receives a referral, but then ends up turning that referral down.  It automatically places them back at the front of the list.  Thus, shifting the numbers slightly back.  Not exactly the news we had hoped to hear, but ultimately, we are trusting in His perfect timing. 

So, in the meantime, you can support us by helping us continue to raise the funds needed to continue on this journey.  Here are several ways you can do that:

-BUY A CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT (OR TWO!):  Take a look at the handmade, wooden ornaments that my wonderfully talented father-in-law made:

Ornaments are selling for $20 and ALL proceeds go towards bringing our baby home.   Email me for more info or to place an order.

Looking for a fun and different Christmas present for those special kiddos in your life??  Here are a couple ideas.....

-WOODEN STACKER TOYS:  We really do have some great friends!!!  Our friends, Josh and Tember Heft make homemade, wooden children's stacker toys out of completely organic materials.  They are absolutely beautiful!!  They have offered $5 from every toy sold to go towards our adoption.  You can check out their site at  Thank you Tember and Josh!!!  <3

5dollars DONATED- Stacker and Teether Gift Set,  All Hardwood  SAVE 8 dollars Organic, Natural TickiTackiToys

-BOOK SALE:  Have any little girls in your life?  Looking for a way to combat the message that our society gives them about beauty?  Stephanie Farley, author of the book, "God Made You Beautiful", has offered $5 from every book sale to go towards our adoption.  Perfect for stockings!!  Visit her website at to place an order today!  Just make sure to include a note that it is for our adoption.  Thanks so much Stephanie!

                                        God Made You Beautiful

So, there you have it!  And as always, you can check out the fundraising tab at the top of our blog for other ways to support our adoption.  I've said it before, but we really have been BLOWN AWAY by the generosity of so many of our friends and family!!  Thank you to everyone who has supported us in some way by purchasing a t-shirt or an ornament.  $20 may not seem like much, but all together, we are almost 2/3's of the way to our goal!  So exciting!!!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Got Thanks?

It’s that time of year again!!  I don’t know about you, but our week has been filled with finishing up all our school work so that we can move onto all things Thanksgiving.  Pilgrim and Indian costumes are being pulled out, Thanksgiving books are being dusted off and read, names like Squanto and William Bradford are being thrown around at the dinner table.  One new activity we did this year was to make our thankful tree (or our variation of one).  Take a look:

I particularly love it because I used our new laminator to laminate the leaves, so they can be wiped off and re-used next year.  Score!!

But as I reflect on the holiday coming up and all that it stands for, I am humbled by the lack of gratitude in my own heart this week.  Oh, it’s there alright on the outside.  As I’ve said, I’ve done my fair share of TALKING about being thankful this week with my kids, but does my heart reveal something different?  Was that a spirit of thankfulness welling up in my heart when my (almost) 2 year-old took marker to my couch?  Or when the kids were fighting…..AGAIN?  Or when I felt entitled to some “alone time”?? 

Then this…..Enter Matthew 5.  The Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit.”  Nope, not me.
“Blessed are the meek.”  Not me again.
“Blessed are the pure in heart.”  Ouch.  That hurts.
“The peacemakers…..the merciful.......those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”  You get the idea. 

And there I am  left.  Again.  Realizing that that little ole Pharisee in me is having a field day.  Like so many things in life, it is a choice.  Do I CHOOSE to be thankful?  Even when things don’t go according to plan?  Even when my so-called “rights” are infringed upon? 
And so again I remind myself…..

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his mercies never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
~Lamentations 3:22-23
Or, in some cases, every waking moment of every single day.  And THAT is something to be thankful for. 
So this Thanksgiving, I am thankful that HE sent His Son, His only Son, to die in my place.  Thankful that He came to this earth to wash away all sin, even the sins of the heart.  The ones nobody else sees but me. Why?  Because it was the only way a sinful man, like myself, could one day be in the presence of an Almighty God.  Thankful that it is nothing that we can DO on our own.  We cannot earn our way to Him. It is a free gift called grace.  And it is available each and every moment of the day.  Even when we don’t deserve it.  Even when we are ungrateful for that gift and turn away.  It’s still there.  Beckoning us to come.  To sit.  To bask in the wonder of a King who would step down from His throne in heaven to take my place. Our place.  Totally unwarranted grace.  All we must do is receive it.  And I’m thankful for that.
So today I've resolved to start my week of thankfulness (again), after already having started it again a couple times. J  Based on my leaves on the tree, can you guess how my week began?? J 

Thankful for new beginnings.  Thankful for His grace.  Thankful that He loves us so incredibly much.  Just plain old thankful today.  And that’s a good place to be.
Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Rich Man

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich
 man to enter the kingdom of heaven."
 Matthew 20:24

I know, thank God that's not YOU, right?  My thoughts exactly.  Because I grew up in church and had learned all the stories as a little girl, I was familiar with this verse.  Familiar enough to be thankful not to be him - or at least to pretend that's how I felt (I mean, cause really, who WOULDN'T want to drive a fancy car, live in a mansion and have gobs of money at their disposal?)  Certianly not me (insert sarcasm).

But upon reading this weekend, a new thought hit me.  That IS me.  I AM that rich man.  Maybe not according to American standards, after all we live on only one income, own only one car and live, with our four kids, in a townhome.  But, none-the-less, we are the 10% of the world's population that even has the opportunity to do THESE things.  Not to mention, drink clean water, run to the grocery store in a pinch, and have access to life-saving medicines.  Yes, contrary to popular belief, I AM that rich man.  And chances are, if you are able to read this post on a computer screen right now, you are too. 

So now what do I do with that piece of information now that I know it? 

"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do.  God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us accountable to act." 
 Proverbs 24:12

So now I am trying to process.  And pray.  And ask God, "What makes it so hard for that rich man?"  "Why is he so materially-rich, yet so spiritually-poor?"  "Does he even have a shot?"  "Do I?"

My life is full of comforts.  Electricity.  Running water.  Transportation.  Savings accounts.  Entertainment.  All good things.  But what do I do when my pantry runs bare?  Cry out to God?  No, I head to the store.  What about when I am feeling anxious or melancholy, or even bored?  Do I spend that time talking with the God of the universe?  Probably not.  More likely I call a friend, eat, or turn on the TV.  It seems that the more comforts I have, the less I NEED Him, or so I think.  Could it be that these very things, the things we have worked so hard for, are driving us away from Him? 

Now PLEASE don't get me wrong....electricity is NOT a bad thing.  Neither is putting money in a savings account or owning a car.  But, now that I know this obstacle makes "going through the eye of a needle" easy in comparison to entering the kingdom of God, how do I go around it??  After all, we do live in this culture.  Are we able to own these comforts without coming to depend on them?

And the answer I have come up with is this......I don't know.  I don't.  I'm sure it's possible, but everytime I think I have it figured out my pride knocks me down a little bit and I'm left, once again, feeling not-so-sure.  But of course, God's timing is perfect.  Just this week our pastor spoke on some of these very things and I left thinking "Yes!!  That is good!  Great sermon!" 

But then I heard it.  That little voice.  Speaking to my heart.  "Now what?"

"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do.  God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us accountable to act."
  Proverbs 24:12

How are you going to take what God has laid on your heart and put action to it?  How am I? 

Well, for me, we are going to start with putting limitations on TV.  Time that was normally spent watching mindless TV just to "relax" can be replaced with more reading of God's Word and more time connecting as a family.  Trying to focus in on the things that are most important instead of hiding behind those comforts we, as the "rich man", have come to depend on.  For you, it may not be television.  Maybe it's food.  Surfing the internet.  Facebook.  Shopping.

Whatever it is, I challenge you to ask it replacing time that COULD be spent pressing in to His heart?  Is it contributing to a nation that is materially-rich, yet spiritually-poor?  And, then, instead of thinking, "Great thoughts!"  "Thanks for posting!" - instead ask, what does God want ME to DO with this piece of information?

"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do.  God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us accountable to act."
  Proverbs 24:12


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Art and Craft Fair - This Weekend!!

Come support adoption this weekend and start your Christmas shopping a little early this year!  This is where I will be...

4000 Route 202

Friday, November 11th
6:00pm - 9:00pm


Saturday, November 12th
10:00am - 4:00pm

We will be there....selling our ornaments. :)  There will also be TONS of other vendors there, as well as a bake sale and an American Girl giveaway.  Yes, that's right!  The author of the American Girl, Lanie books, will be there and they will be raffling off one doll at the end.  I know one particular little eight-year-old girl who is especially excited about this!!

So....if you are around, and looking for something to do this weekend, come out and join us!  Looking forward to seeing you!


Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Look at What's on my Nightstand These Days...

Last weekend just begged of me to start a new book.  It snowed.  Yup, snowed!  I know it is only the very beginning of November and the leaves are still on the trees and all, but it snowed just the same.  About 5-6 inches!  Isn't God so amazingly creative AND powerful to make both leaves AND snow fall at the same time???

So, what did I do?  I cuddled up next to the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and I started this book:

No Longer a Slumdog

Order your FREE copy HERE

K.P. Yohannan, the author of No Longer a Slumdog, is the founder and director of Gospel for Asia, a non-profit organization that reaches out to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the slums of India.  It is sure to make you think.  Check out their website if you are looking for any Christmas gift ideas apart from the norm this holiday season.  So many awesome things to choose from!!!

Up next on my nightstand???  This book:

Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption

I CAN'T WAIT TO READ THIS ONE!!!  I have been literally waiting since the author, Katie Davis, first announced on her blog that she was writing a book.  Katie's blog was what first inspired us to adopt.  It was her stories and her pictures that caused me to fall on my knees and beg of God to use me in some way.  The book takes place in Uganda and is about Katie's real-life testimony of leaving her middle-class, suburban life to serve orphans halfway across the world.  50% of the proceeds from the sale of this book, go to help fund her ministry, Amazima.

One more to share with you.....

Safely Home

This book, taking place in China, is all about the underground church.  Although names and dates are fictitious, the story itself is compiled of stories that have happened at one time or another.  (And speaking of nightstands, this particular one is still on mine and is a library book that is now way over-due. :)

So, there you have it.  A couple more books to pique your interest.  Hope you are having a wonderful Saturday afternoon!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We're Making Progress!

Super excited to announce today that we are moving down the list towards bringing our baby home!!!  Last month we wrote that we were #97.  Today?  Drumroll please.....

We are officially


Now, I know that doesn't SEEM like a huge difference, however, considering the courts in Ethiopia are closed for the months of August and September, it is.  That means that within just the past couple weeks, since the beginning of October, children have been referred, approved and brought home.  That's exciting news!!!  Things are moving along nicely. 

Now to clarify, that doesn't exactly mean that 87 couples will bring home children from Ethiopia before us.  It just means, that as children become available, our agency will begin the process of looking through the list for a suitable family that meets the necessary criteria for that child.  

Please pray along with us as we wait out the next several months.  Hoping to move into the 70's by November!  Thanks for all your prayers and support!  We are still selling Christmas ornaments to help off-set the cost of our adoption.  Email me if you are interested in purchasing one. 

Thanks so much!!!  Have a great week!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Birthday Week!!!

We were celebrating Joseph this week....Gregoire style!  Yes, in our house, that means birthday WEEK!  A whole, glorious week of all things birthday.  Special plate, favorite foods, movie picks, parties and so much more!!!  Here is a look at how we celebrated our newly six year-old:

Hot Chocolate in bed followed by birthday breakfast at Friendly's

Joseph's birthday dinner request:  hot dogs and french fries :)

Birthday boy

It's movie night.....followed by a sleepover in the basement.

Happy Birthday Joseph!!!

A baseball-themed party

Joseph wanted nothing more than to play baseball with his friends in the backyard.

Love this picture!!!

What a fun birthday present....digging up dinosaur bones.  Thanks Pappas'!

We love you so very much Joseph Charles!!  Thanks for being the sweet, boisterous and incredibly passionate little boy that God created you to be.  So thankful for these past 6 years with you.  

Love, Mommy

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

5 Reasons You Should NOT Adopt :)

Reason #1:  ADOPTION IS TOO EXPENSIVE -  One of the most common questions we have heard throughout the adoption process has been, "Why is adoption so expensive?"  And quite frankly, we don't know.  A child needs a home......a family is willing to provide one.  So, where does the problem come in???  Here's the thing though that we have learned.....regardless of how much an adoption costs, we have a heavenly daddy who is in the habit of providing for the things He favors, and He favors the adoption of orphans into forever families.  We have seen evidence of this over and over in our own lives.  When we first made the decision to adopt, there was no secret fund.  We did not have money set aside, or a savings account set-up for this.  Charles remodels bathrooms and I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mama of 4 kids.  Some months, we  JUST.  GET.  BY.  And yet, within just a few short months, God has provided over $18,000!!!  People, get excited with me!!!  That is incredible!!  And we cannot take credit.  Not one iota.  :)

Reason #2:  MY HOUSE IS NOT BIG ENOUGH - Well, mine isn't.  Period.  In case you have never been to our home, we live in a 1,700 square foot, 3 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath townhome, AND WE ALREADY HAVE 4 KIDS!!  There are certainly days when I wonder how we will make it work, but then I am reminded.  And humbled.  And grateful.  Grateful for the roof over our heads, and the clean water that we drink, and the closets full of clothes.  And I am reminded that we have so much.  So very much.  And it is in those moments, that I am able to look at what we have with a new perspective.  So....we may have to wait a little longer in line for the bathroom.  Maybe we have to re-organize closets, even give away some of our "stuff" to make more room.  But you know what?  I'm OK with that.  Because in the end, I know that it won't matter how big the house, or the amount of "things" that adorned it's walls.  It will be the love and the memories that were formed there.   

Reason #3:  WE HAVE A LOT GOING ON ALREADY - Oh, how I can relate!!!  This was the VERY thing I said to God when I felt Him laying the idea of adoption on our hearts.  "But God!!!  We already have so much on our plates!  Why this?  Why NOW?"   To tell you the truth, there are days when I wonder "Can we really do FIVE kids?!!!?"  Heck, some days I wonder if I am even equipped to do one! 

But then, I am reminded.....

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
~2 Corinthians 12:9

Nothing pleases God more then when one of His children, willingly acknowledge that they NEED Him. That they can't do it on their own.  When we do this, we surrender our lives to Him, and in the end, it brings glory to the Father.  

Reason #4:  WE ALREADY HAVE KIDS....."OF OUR OWN" - Sadly, we have come up against this thinking.  People constantly seem perplexed as to why, a couple, who seemingly has not struggled with infertility, would adopt.  Especially when we already have 4 bio kids.  But the truth of the matter is, there are 147 MILLION children in this world without a mommy and a daddy.  Without a family.  Without a home and without food to eat.  That statistic just doesn't sit right with me.  And it shouldn't with you either.  Especially when I look into the innocent faces of those four littles whom I birthed and wonder, "What if the roles had been reversed??"  What if it weren't "them", but us??  What if my children were just another statistic?  Would their lives matter enough for someone to take a chance on them?

Reason #5:  ADOPTION INVOLVES TOO MUCH "RED TAPE" - Let's be honest.  Sometimes it does.  :)  The journey to adopt can be a difficult one with many ups and downs.  Although we have not experienced any of this yet (and Lord-willing, will not!!), we have known others who have.  The potential "problems" that could come up, many times, are enough to scare people away.  But in reality, getting pregnant and having babies "the old-fashioned way", isn't without risk either. Pregnancy can be physically draining on the body, and unfortunately, we are not always guaranteed a healthy, happy baby in the end. 

Now, please let me clarify.  I do not think that everyone is called to adopt internationally.  I don't even think that everyone is called to adopt.  Period.  But for some of you, the very reason you read this blog may be that God is also laying the idea of adoption on your heart.  And you have so many reasons why it just couldn't work. I have been there!!!

Or....maybe it is not adoption at all.  Maybe God has placed another plan on your heart. He uses us all differently you know?  In order for us to truly BE THE BODY, we all have a different function, and that is OK.  What has He placed on your heart to do?  And what are your excuses?

This week I finished up reading the book of Jonah.  Although I am obviously familiar with the Sunday School version of the story, I had never actually read the book for myself.  Oh, how I could relate!!  More than I cared to admit.  Jonah??  Really??  Oh, why couldn't I be more like Paul!! :)

In the book of Jonah, the prophet is instructed by God to head to Ninevah to tell the people of God's impending judgement.  It was a people who were far from God.  Who were down-right cruel to the Israelites.  And Jonah?  Well, he didn't like them much.  And although you would have thought he would have taken great pleasure in this task, Jonah knew something about God.  He knew God's compassionate and merciful side.

"I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity."
~Jonah 4:2

And because Jonah knew this, because he did not want to see God's forgiveness extended to the city of Ninevah, he had some excuses of his own.  So, what did he do?  He ran.  He ran from God, as far as he could go, in hopes that God would not ask of him to do this very thing.  Oh My.  How I've been there before.  Every one of those reasons you see at the top of this post, are me running from God.  They are MY excuses.  MY insecurities.  MY reasons for not doing the very things that I knew God had placed on our hearts. 

The good news to this story, however, is that God does not give up on us, even in our short-comings.  He pursues us.  Even when we don't want to be pursued.  And once He's gotten our attention, He sets us right back on the path He wants us to go.  Of course there is more to the story of Jonah.  A thrilling storm at sea.  An adventure into the belly of a great fish.  A city on it's knees in worship.  But that's for you to go and read on your own.  To see how the story ends.

For now, I am praying that you would ask Him, "What is it that you would have ME do?"  For His glory.  For His fame. 


Without excuses.  Without running the other way. 


Monday, October 10, 2011

A Perfect Fall Day

Today we had off from CC.  We took advantage of the beautiful weather and headed to Harris' Dairy Farm for a little field trip.  Join us as we take a look back on our adventure!!

Harris' Dairy Farm

We LOVE having Daddy home during the days!  He got to join us today.

Feeding the cows.

Milking barn.  We even got to see how the cows were milked!!

Looks like Sophie is having a meaningful conversation with this cow!!

The kids had a blast learning all about the cows.  Of course the highlight was the cows pooping.  We're still talking about it over here. :)

Our motley crew. :)

At the pumpkin patch.

We were chauferred out to the pumpkin patch via tractor.  Through the creek and everything.  Super fun!

My four littles.  When is number 5 going to join our ranks??!??

A ladybug for our little lady. :)

After lunch and a fall craft, the kids LOVED playing and splashing in the creek.  They were covered from head to toe in mud, but they sure did have fun!

We ended with a candy scramble.  Yikes!  A bagful of candy just a couple weeks before Halloween.  What were we thinking??

We ended our field trip back at our house painting pumpkins. 

So that was our day!  A nice little break from the norm on this perfect fall day.  How did you spend it??

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
~Psalm 118:24


Friday, October 7, 2011

Contact Info

So, somehow I am able to figure out how to create a blog, but I am unable to figure out how to comment on my own post!! 

Soooo.....if you commented that you were interested in ordering an ornament (or are planning on it), instead, email me directly at

Thanks so much!  And...if anyone out there in blog land can walk me through how to leave a comment, that would be great too. ;)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall Fundraiser!!

So, the next part of our fundraising endeavors is to begin to raise money for our referral (the referral is the part where we get matched with a child!).  It is the monumental point in this process when we first get to see a picture of our sweet baby.  Although we still have a ways to go before we get to that place (approximately a year - 18 months), we are excited to get to this next step. 

In the meantime, as we wait, we are continuing to pray that God would provide the funds needed to continue.  As I was reading in the book of Amos this morning, God reminded me of the importance of looking back at history to provide assurance in the present. 

"I brought you up out of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness to give you the land of the Amorites.  I also raised up prophets from among your children and Nazirites from among your youths."
~Amos 2: 10-11

Over and over we see these reminders throughout scripture.  God calls attention to all the things He has done for the Israelites, not because they are incapable of remembering on their own, but to give them assurance in the present.  To remind them of His faithfulness.   And although I like to think I am different, I am not.  My memory is short-term.  As quickly as God answers one prayer, without the continual reminder of His history of goodness to our family, I forget and begin to worry about the next obstacle.  Praying that "He who began a good work...will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)"

So, looking forward, I am excited to unveil our newest fundraiser.  Drumroll please........My wonderfully talented father-in-law made these Christmas ornaments:

Fall Fundraiser - "One Less" Christmas ornaments

We literally called him with the idea and about three hours later he texted us a sample picture.  He is truly gifted.  A week later, he had made 30 Africa-shaped ornaments for us to sell, and my mother-in-law painted them!  Amazing! 

Our "One Less" ornaments will be selling for $20 apiece.  Message me if you're interested!  ALL proceeds go towards bringing our baby HOME!!

Just as a reminder, there are still a few other continuing fundraisers going on.  Here is a re-cap:

-Photography:  Many of you may know, that Charles has been asked to photograph several weddings over the past couple years.  It is a hobby that he thoroughly enjoys (and one that he is quite good at too, I might add!!).  We’d love to photograph your next event!  Family portraits in the park, pregnancy pictures, weddings, family reunions……all proceeds will go towards bringing our child home!  View sample photos by visiting 

                                -Looking to BUY or SELL your home?   Now I KNOW I've gotten your attention!  I'm sure you're wondering what in the world this could possibly have to do with our adoption, but here it is:  Our good friend, Mary Pappas, is also a realtor with Prudential Rittenhouse Realty Group in Harleysville.  She is highly motivated to sell homes and just so happens to have a heart for adoption!  Mary has offered to donate HALF of her commission towards our adoption costs for anyone who buys or sells a home with her!  Now THAT'S a good friend! :)  I know you will LOVE her!  Mary is incredibly personable, honest, hard-working and absolutely loves people!  If you are looking to buy or sell your home, and are in need of an agent who will work for YOU, you may contact Mary at or by phone at (215) 262-4458 (cell) or (215) 256-6543 (office).

We actually just had our first home sold through Mary Pappas!  Thank you Jamie Courts for thinking of us when purchasing your NEW HOME!  And special thanks to our good friends, Mark and Mary for their extreme generosity and heart for the orphan!

                                -Just Love Coffee sale:  Purchase coffee and support our adoption, ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!!  Just Love Coffee knows coffee, and they just so happen to have a heart for orphan-care around the world!  Visit  $5 from every bag sold will go to bringing our child home.

                                -Book Sale:  Have any little girls in your life?  Looking for a way to combat the message that our society gives them about beauty?  Stephanie Farley, author of the book, "God Made You Beautiful", has offered $2 from every book sale to go towards our adoption.  Perfect for Easter baskets!!  Visit her website at to place an order today!  Just make sure to include a note that it is for our adoption.  Thanks so much Stephanie!

                               -WOODEN STACKER TOYS:  We really do have some great friends!!!  Our friends, Josh and Tember Heft make homemade, wooden children's stacker toys out of completely organic materials.  They are absolutely beautiful!!  They have offered $5 from every toy sold to go towards our adoption.  You can check out their site at  Thank you Tember and Josh!!!  <3

We are working on a few more fundraisers for this fall/winter.  We will update you as we add any!  Thanks so much for your support!  It is truly because of the generosity of others that we are even able to BE on this journey!!!  So, so, so, so thankful for His provision (and His continual reminders of it!)!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

First Week of School

Well, life has been a whirlwind around here ever since school started back up again.  I've meant for some time to post pics of our first week back, but, well, since it's not on my "absolute necessity" list, it keeps getting pushed to the bottom. It's right down there with putting up my fall decorations. :)

So, I guess better late than never.  Here is a look at our first week back to school.

Salt Dough Maps of the United States

Mummifying Apples Experiment

Kaya working on her writing.

Joseph has been loving math these days!

Our memory work board that we do every morning.

Sophie wants to be just like her older siblings.  This may be why she always has marker all over her little body.  Hey, it keeps her happy! ;)

The Mayflower

Littles are practicing their alphabet in shaving cream.

Schools in session.

We've been having a blast (most days!) and learning lots. 

Now, don't think for a minute that just because school is back in session that we have put our adoption on the back burner.  We may have finished up our dossier and now are on the waiting list, but we still have some work to do!  We will be spending the next 6-18 months continuing to raise the money needed to bring our child home.  About $13,000 left to raise.  Right now we are working on a new fundraiser to be unveiled SOON.    Check back in the near future, as I am hoping to have pictures up shortly.  CAN'T WAIT to show you what we have been up to!!!