Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Trusting He Will Come Find Us

I have much to journal (my memory fails me often); and I want to remember all that has happened this summer. But in the meantime, this song is one of my favorites right now.

Your love is like radiant diamonds
Bursting inside us we cannot contain
Your love will surely come find us
Like blazing wild fires singing Your name

God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies
And these Halleluiahs be multiplied

Feeling burdened for some specific people right now. Praying and pleading that God reveals Himself to those who do not know Him. Praying that He goes after their hearts and mind like a blazing wildfire, and that His love bursts forth in such a way that they can’t deny Him.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Celebrating 6 Years in Chicago!

After the Summit (I wrote about that here), we decided to stay the weekend in downtown Chicago! We had never been to Chicago and were super excited to explore the city! Let me just say, Chicago is a GREAT city and I can't wait to go back!!

We stayed in an absolutely charming hotel not far from The Magnificent Mile (and only a few blocks from the "L"). Definitely recommend this place!!

The famous "Bean" in Millennium Park.

While walking from Millenium Park to the Willis Tower - I had to stop and get some Garret's popcorn! And they aren't exaggerating when they say "handcrafted happiness" - absolutely YUM!

View from the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower!! The elevators whisk you up 103 floors in about 90 seconds - our ears even popped while riding to the top! :)

Out on the Ledge of the Skydeck!!

We also made sure to enjoy some authentic Chicago deep dish pizza and bruschetta from Lou Malnati's!


To end our first night in the city, we went to Motown at the Oriental Theater!

On our second day in  city we explored The Magnificent Mile (Michigan Avenue), The Water Tower, and Chicago's Sports Museum.

Took a break from the cold and wind with some decadent cheesecake and coffee!!

On our last night in Chicago, we went to Wrigley Field and watched the Cubs play. I was bundled in all the clothes I had brought - it was 40-something degrees!! But we had tons of fun!

We absolutely LOVED Chicago - and will jump on the opportunity to go back again someday. It was a fun way to celebrate 6 years of marriage, as well as, find encouragement and refreshment during this season of life at CAFO's annual Summit!

And for those who are interested - while in Chicago we got updated that we had moved 3 spots on the list. Per our agency policy we can't advertise exactly what number we are on social media sites - but there is movement! :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

CAFO - Summit 2014

Jeremy and I were blessed to attend CAFO's summit again this year. We found crazy good airfare (umm, like $105 round trip, good - thank you Spirit!) and thus we decided to go again. On the flight up to Chicago we talked about whether we thought it was going to be "as good" as last year; and, whether we thought it would impact our lives as much as last year. We came to the consensus - that sure, it was going to be good, but we just didn't see how it could encourage us as much as the year before, simply because we were just in a different place.

But, oh were we wrong - - - it.blew.us.away... again! We received incredible encouragement and learned tons of new things. There simply are no words to describe the feeling of being surrounded by so many people who are like-minded, and ultimately love Christ.

One of my favorite aspects about this year was the celebration of nations, tongues, and tribes. There were 35 countries represented this year at Summit. Even more inspiring was that many people who prayed during the Summit would pray first in English and then finish by praying in their native language. We even had the privilege and experience of worshiping in Portuguese and Korean (these were the two languages of one worship leader and special guest). Another aspect that I greatly appreciated was that CAFO invited and encouraged dialogue amongst people with differing views, as well as, confronted the criticisms of the Christian orphan care movement head-on with wisdom and grace.

All in all, the words of Dr. Russell Moore in an article he posted about this year's summit not only resonate deeply with me, but describe my feelings about the summit best- "Every year that I come to this summit, I’m reminded of just how indebted I am to be part of this group of extraordinary people, people of whom I’m not worthy" (para 7). [Read his whole article here.]

Yes, there are times when this journey is long and hard. But everyday, in the quiet place of my spirit, when I turn my eyes back to Jesus and focus on Him, I'm in awe that He trusted us with the calling to adopt as we grow our family - and I'm so grateful His thoughts and ways are higher than mine.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

April's Blessings

So April has brought a great blessing, and a little movement on the adoption front.

But, first of I must report the great blessing - Jeremy has been promoted to an assistant store manager. We have been praying and waiting for this for a long time! Over the past two years, there have been many lessons in patience and persistence when it came to his career. He has grown a lot as a manager and we are so thankful for this promotion. Every time he interviewed for a position we committed to give God praise whether he got the promotion or not - and we did - but, oh how awesome it is to give thanks and praise as we celebrate his new position!

On the adoption front, we moved three spots. Movement is movement, and we are thankful, but this movement was not related necessarily to referrals (I think some families have dropped from the Ethiopia wait list - for different reasons I'm sure, but the wait with no movement has been grueling). We are hopeful to see movement in the next two months or so. From our understanding, over the past several months Ethiopia has been conducting an investigation among their orphanages and the overall orphan status of children to determine if international adoption is still needed. It has been reported that Ethiopia affirms the need for international adoption is very prevalent, but they also want to ensure that it is the last option when necessary. Upon concluding the investigation, a new policy to advertise each child for local adoption via the newspaper, radio, or any media outlet for at least two months has been implemented. So, overall we are thankful to receive some clarification on what has been happening in Ethiopia over the past several months and what to expect in the months to come. There seems to be anticipation that referrals will pick-up in a few months, but I am still approaching it all with a very tentative outlook.

In the meantime, we are gearing up for Secret Church tomorrow night. We have two couple friends coming over to join us for the intense bible study and we are super pumped about what God has for us to learn.

 And, in light of Easter this weekend... take a minute to listen to this song, it's so beautiful!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Gloomy Days and Bluegrass Music

It has been very cold and gloomy here over the past several days. I simply can't believe it's mid- March and we still have temperatures in the 40s! I am definitely ready for springtime. However, I do love the mountains and for some reason, the crisp, cold air and rain reminds me of the mountains...and some bluegrass music definitely makes me think about the mountains. So in the midst of hope being deferred, I ran across this song by Alison Krauss the other day and absolutely love it. The lyrics articulate my heart perfectly.

"Jesus Help Me To Stand"

Through trials, troubles and care
I know Jesus my savior is there
Giving me faith through darkest days
Keeping me on the narrow way

Jesus savior, help me each day
Fill me with hope, fill me with faith
Darkness retreats at the touch of Your hand
Jesus savior, help me to stand

Jesus lived through darkest pain
Rejected by men, despising the shame
Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief
He gave his life so we may be free

Jesus savior, help me each day
Fill me with hope, fill me with faith
Darkness retreats at the touch of Your hand
Jesus savior, help me to stand

I know that Jesus died for me
Cancelled my debt at Calvary
Rose from the dead, unlocked Heaven's door
Trust in his love and live evermore

Jesus savior, help me each day
Fill me with hope, fill me with faith
Darkness retreats at the touch of Your hand
Jesus savior, help me to stand

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hope Deferred

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,     but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

There has been no movement (a.k.a referrals) within the months of January or February. *Sigh* 
I honestly feel kinda of hopeless about the whole thing. The lack of referrals is definitely not due to the lack of children in need of forever families, but instead a gridlock of politics. The dynamics in Ethiopia seem much more convoluted then simply processing paperwork and referring children in need of adoption. 
Not sure what to do next...
except that I know my hope is definitely deferred for the time being.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Guatemala - Feb 2014

So, every February for the last seven years, I've gone on a medical mission trip to Guatemala. Laura and I started going as nursing students and have continued going each year. Its an awesome trip and I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to go! Since returning home this year, I decided I needed to take the time to document the experience. So this photo book is a compilation of the past 7 years!

Shutterfly photo books offer a variety of layouts and cover options to choose from.