Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Hurst Family!

Now that my first Family Warrior family is home with their sweet girl, I decided to prayerfully consider new families waiting for a warrior. 

After reading a few family's profiles, the Hurst Family simply stuck out to me and I knew that I needed to step up to stand with them during their adoption process. 
They're bringing home "Quinnlee"!
Look at this beautiful girl. 
MANY people have advocated for this sweet girl, including her mama and papa. 
They fervently prayed for Quinnlee before they made the decision to pursue her adoption. 

The Hurst family has loved this sweet girl for years and are currently fundraising to bring her home. 
The Hurst's oldest daughter has been praying for a baby sister and is excited to finally have a little sister of her very own. Quinnlee is already SO loved. 

Katie's heart has been drawn to the country where Quinnlee lives since she was a young girl.
I believe that the Lord put that desire within Katie for a purpose. . .I love that she's ALWAYS held fast to her love for a country and people other than her own. 

I've been praying for the Hurst family for about a week now, I was going to make a post as soon as I got the confirmation email that I was their family warrior. But I decided to wait, today I realized why I waited. 
I had prayed for the Hurst family this morning and asked the Lord to bless them and to give me the wisdom and insight I needed to be a blessing to their family. 
Today I was in a car traveling into the mountains of West Virginia, 
suddenly there was a dark rain cloud overhead. 
The sky opened up and the rain poured down on the road in front of us. 
But moments later, the sun peeked out behind that dark cloud. 
I immediately thought of the verse that has been a huge source of strength and encouragement for this family during their adoption process thus far. 

“And The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” 
(John 1:5)

Though there was darkness for a mere moment, light won. 
I couldn't help but think of the Hurst family, they are currently on a journey that can be very difficult at times. I'm sure there have been sleepless nights and mountains of paperwork. 
But. . . 

It says in Matthew 5:14-16“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." 

The Hurst family are in the midst of a journey that they were called to. 
They weren't only called to be "a light" to Quinnlee and their kiddos here in the states, 
they were called to be the "light of the world". 
Katie shouts for many waiting kiddos other than her own and that alone speaks volumes in my heart and mind. So now while she shouts and raises funds for her own adoption of  this sweet girl. 
I know that I'm called to shout with her and help her on her journey. 
I'm SO excited to get know this family and help them bring their girl home. 

For the next two weeks, they are working on getting a matching grant of $5,000! 

Katie is currently making bracelets to help get her girl home.

Upon your donation she can make you a custom bracelet with text of your choice! 

Katie is also selling Usborne books to help fund their adoption of Quinnlee. 

You can read more about the Hurst's journey here . . . 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Worth it.

I haven't been blogging as much lately. 
But don't worry, I'm still praying for precious kids that need families. 
In this season I've been trying to fix my eyes on Jesus more than I ever have. 
So while this blog has been quiet, my heart hasn't been. 

There are a few kiddos lately have really captured my heart and have become regulars in my prayers. 

Sweet sweet Ivey.

A family that met Ivey this year said the followring:

"When we were in there, she asked the staff if it was possible to get a family for herself, but they felt the answer would be no- because no one would want someone as badly disabled as she was. . .  I am praying with all my heart that there is a family out there that recognizes that a person’s worth is not measured by what they can physically do- and will cross the ocean to call her daughter, because I truly believe she would be an incredible addition to a family. She’s spunky and overcame her hesitation about potential rejection, in order to ask me if I would please see if I could find her a family." 

This sweet girl ASKED for a family. 
Even though she thought the answer would be no, she asked anyways. 
My prayer is exactly what the family above said, that there is a family out there that sees that a person's worth isn't measured by what they can do physically. 
I know that there's a family out there that will look at her picture and know that she's their daughter.
They'll know that she's worth crossing oceans for.

This little sweetie threw her arms around my brother-in-law's neck and rested her head on his shoulder. 
She's not a favored child in her orphanage. . . mostly due to her mental delays. 
Hair cropped short, no pretty dresses to wear or bows in her hair. 
She desperately needs a family. 
A family to treat her like the precious girl she is, that they will see her potential. 
Because just like Ivey, Lynda is worth it. 

I was looking through photos on my phone a few days ago. . . 
I found the first picture I ever saw of my nephew. 

This photo of him sparked this post. 
I found it the other day when I was looking through files on my computer. 
I couldn't shake the look on Sam's face in this photo. 
After I saw Sam's face in late 2012, I started praying for waiting kiddos like Sam. 
They saw his worth and they crossed oceans to make him a beloved son. 

Sam nowadays.
A beloved son, brother, grandson, and nephew.
 The world may not see the two girls I listed above as "worth it", but I do and so does Jesus.
He sees their beauty and thinks that they are perfect.
I pray that he comforts them in their orphanages in Eastern Europe, that he sends people to love them while they're waiting for their families.
I pray that Jesus works in the hearts of the future mothers and fathers of the two girls I listed above.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

It all comes down to love. . . always.

This world often tells us what love should look like and who/what we should love. . .
This is something that I hadn't touched on in detail in my own walk, until recently.

I've been studying the Sermon on the Mount the past few weeks, numerous times I've sat there and realized that the Sermon on the Mount is one of the biggest expressions of love. Even though parts of the Sermon on the Mount can be hard to swallow at times. (Loving your enemies, anyone?)

He loves us so much that He didn't want to be apart from us, ever.
He thinks you're lovely and wonderful.
He loves to show you mercy. (Micah. 7:18)
He cares about us so much He tells us not to worry. . .

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:33-34 NLT)

Though things in this world will pass away and fade, love remains. Always.
I can't even begin to wrap my mind around the vastness of the love that Jesus has for me.
 Consistent, steadfast, never-ending love.
We were created in the image of a loving God.
As lovers of Jesus, we've been called to love.
I've decided that I want to leave a legacy of love, I want to stand before Jesus one day and know with 100% certainty that I loved. . . all because He loved me first.

". . . Once believed that love was romance, just a chance.
I even thought that love was for the lucky and the beautiful.
I once believed that love was a momentary bliss, but love is more than this.
All You ever wanted was my attention.
All You ever wanted was love from me.
All You ever wanted was my affections to sit here at Your feet. . . "

Thursday, April 3, 2014

My Week in a Relatively Large Adoptive Family.

So this post happened because of a joke my sister-in-law made about me writing a blog post about my stay out of state with her and her fam. I laughed pretty hard when she brought it up, but the more and more I thought about it the more it made sense. A lot of people think bigger families are weird and unnatural, I used to be one of those people. (I'm not saying bigger families are for every person. . . ) Before going to visit I had already changed my opinion on bigger families, my trip confirmed my change of heart. 
Big families rule, seriously. 

So some of you that know me personally, know that my SIL and her husband brought home two children from Eastern Europe last year. They also have two other children (and one on the way). I got to hang out with their crew for just over a week. There's a bit of chaos but it's pretty controlled, it was weird coming back home to my quiet life. . . I may be crazy but I've missed the chaos. I actually have dragged my feet writing this post because of how hard it was for me to transition back to my quiet life after my trip. 

One major thing that I really took away from being part of the crew is the importance of not stressing over the little things. The simple life is awesome. Maranda and Ed don't double as short-order cooks for their kiddos and I LOVED feeding their kids lunch for that reason .(Everyone got the same thing and there was minimal whining!) The kids know they have schedules and in between homeschool lessons they have access to the backyard where they're able to run, play, exercise, and explore. My nieces and nephews get to be kids! There are tablets, computers, and TVs in the house. . . but they don't spend their days in front of screens. These kids know how to play and have great imaginations, they bring me so much joy. 

S (who once spent all of his days in an Eastern European orphanage) would tell me of his adventures as a pirate and all about the fish he saw during his time at sea. J is the sweetest "puppy" you'll ever meet, complete with doggy sounds. R and D have become a pretty dynamic duo (R lived in the same Eastern European orphanage as S), you can often find these two dancing or collecting branches, leaves, and toys in the yard and making "sculptures" and "machines". 

Many mornings I woke up to a softly spoken , "I love you Aunt Family" from R or was the recipient of a random hug or kiss on the cheek. Not because I asked for those things but I think when you have lived life without a family and true acts of love. . . even the little things are a big deal. If I have to sum up R in one sentence. . . it would go something like this, "R loves harder than most people I've met and adores making people happy." Maranda and I would sit on the couch some afternoons and we'd watch tiny R pull her almost 11 year old Brother J around in the wagon. . . her little tiny cheeks turning pink as she strained and J clapping in the wagon behind her. I can already see Jesus working R's life and I can't wait to see her grow in him. 

Then there's Mr. S. Before I went to visit I had kind of prepared myself for S to take awhile to warm up to me. I planned on a handshake and maybe a short hug. The first morning when I walked into the living room, S greeted me like we'd always known each other. S is a tiny warrior, he has an upper body that is about 95 times stronger than mine and he is one tough cookie. S is VERY brilliant and catches on very quickly! One of my favorite moments with him happened when we were on the trampoline. . . I was teaching his sisters how to do back bends and back walkovers (when you kick your legs and use your upper body to flip backwards out of a backbend) and he goes, "I try Aunt Family!". Within five minutes this boy was flipping his whole body weight over using ONLY his upper body. I can't wait to see what Jesus has in store for S, I believe that his story will touch thousands. 

God places the lonely in families. . . (Psalm 68:6)

Most of you know that I advocate for waiting children on Reece's Rainbow. These two are a big part of the reason why I've chosen to advocate for these precious kiddos. These kids aren't just faces on a screen in a country across the ocean. . . YOU can make a difference in the life of an orphan today. 
(email me to learn more.) 
I love a good before and after. . . (S&R haven't even been home a year yet!) Once orphans, now beloved members of a family. 
This is what redemption looks like. 

Here are some children from S&R's country that are waiting for their story to begin.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Twenty-one Days of Hope! Meet Lynda.

This is Lynda. Lynda currently spends her days in the same orphanage my niece and nephew once called home. . Lynda's hair has been cut very short and she often was put in boy's clothing. My sister-in-law and her husband met this little girl and even though they were there adopting Sam and Ruby. (So they were only a little busy!). . . Maranda knew that she needed to help "Lynda" find a Mama and Papa of her very own. So, I'm going to use Maranda's words instead of my own. . .

"We met Lynda when we were at Sam & Ruby’s orphanage this summer.  She was in the same groupa (the group of children who basically share life together…they eat, sleep and play together all day, every day). Lynda needs a family badly.  She was one of the least favored children in the groupa.  As you can see, her hair is cropped short.  Thankfully, they put a cute dress on her for this photo, but for several weeks at the orphanage we thought Lynda was a boy.  Most of the other girls in the groupa wore girls’ clothes and always had pretty bows in their long hair, but not Lynda or another little girl with mental delays.  These two girls were dressed as boys all of the time.  Lynda seemed to receive the least attention and was often found playing by herself.

She has a quiet, noble nature about her.  She was always very kind even though she received little attention.  She is in a “good” orphanage in that she is well fed and kept clean, but she so desperately needs a family.  On one occasion she wandered over to the play shelter where we were playing and was trying to eat Ruby’s cookie.  We didn’t have any extra (we brought treats for the groupa every three days or so) so Ed just picked her up to distract her and as soon as he did, she threw her arms around his neck and rested her head on his shoulder just soaking in the attention.  It was the most precious yet sad thing I’ve ever seen.  She just wants to love and be loved…to be a Daddy’s girl.  I wish you could have seen the smile on her face as she hugged Ed.  It was priceless.  For that brief moment, she was in heaven.

She has hydrocephalus and is globally delayed in her development but she is still very bright and has so much potential in a family.  Judging by the size and shape of her head, it seems that either her shunt isn’t working or she has never been shunted.  A shunt is crucial for people with hydrocephalus to keep the fluid from building up around their brain.  She needs medical attention, but most of all she needs a family.  Lynda will turn five in December.  Just like Sam, she will face the threat of being transferred to an adult insane asylum where she would likely die."

 Right now Reece's Rainbow is doing a campaign entitled, "21 Days of Hope." From February 24th- February 28th you can vote for a child daily (And yes. . . you can vote for the same child each day.) . The "Top 21" children will be featured between March 1st-21st, wouldn't you love to see Lynda featured?! So. . . starting today, once a day you can vote for Lynda! A free way to help a precious little girl get one step closer to a family of her very own. If you click on the Image below it will take you directly to the page where you can vote, so select Lynda's name and you can VOTE HERE for Lynda once every 24 hours! A free and easy way to help an orphan! Pretty cool, right?

Edit: Lynda is one of the 21 featured kiddos, THANK YOU for your votes! Now she could use your (tax-deductible donations! When the Voice of Hope fund hits $7000, $2100 will be added to Lynda's fund!  

Lastly if you're interested in learning more about Lynda, email me and I'll connect you with the right folks.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

White as snow.

We live in a society where it's commonplace to place blame on others. . . most times I don't even think it's intentional. We just know that it's much easier to not place blame on ourselves, we can still hold our heads high. We go on with our daily lives and choose not to think about how our actions affect those around us. The battles that we fight within we fight in secrecy and those aren't our fault either. It's very hard to see past our sin, to realize that we need to forgive. We create a mess and take residency in it.

I spent many years blaming my actions on people in my family, even on my closest friends. Then through many conversations and meaningful relationships, I realized that I didn’t' have to fight my battles alone. I realized that when I accepted Christ and asked him to forgive my sins. . .He accepted me. He accepted my bad days and my battles, He loves me so much. Christ did a work in my heart, it then became clear that the next thing I had to do was forgive those around me. I needed to stop placing blame on others for my decisions. It says in Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.” When we forgive those around us and confess our sins, we get cleaned up. Jesus takes us in His arms and scrubs layers of gunk off of us, He whispers in our ears that we're not alone. Through His forgiveness we are made new, we no longer have to live in our mess.

Where I reside we've had a lot of snow as of late. I told one of my friends that I was so tired of the inconvenience of snow and began to complain. She quickly told me that seeing fresh snow doesn't upset her, that she sees it as cleansing. Physical snow falling from the sky reminds my sweet friend that she's loved. That even though we hurt each other and in turn hurt Jesus. . .When we forgive and confess our sins we are given new life. Through forgiveness, we begin to see that the people around us deserve second chances as well. It says in Ephesians 4:32, “ be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. “. . . it doesn't say to be kind and forgive each other only when you feel like it. Always forgive, especially when it's difficult to do so. After you make the decision to forgive those around you, you will begin to feel love like never before. Your once messy life will take on a whole new meaning and your relationships will change for the better.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Family Warrior!

So most of you know I spend some time hanging out over at Reece's Rainbow. I've been a "Prayer Warrior" and "Angel Tree Warrior" and now I get the pleasure of being a "Family Warrior". At first I kind of pushed it aside and decided to not commit to it. . . Mostly because I have so much fundraising of my own to do for my missions trip to Eastern Europe. But all day something tugged at me to read through some family profiles and make a decision. I knew that I needed choose a family and stand with them.

So after a ton of reading I chose The Williams Family, I had read their story before. But after reading it last night I knew that these were the people that I needed to commit to helping. This is an excerpt from their Reece's Rainbow FSP (Family sponsorship Program)  . . .

"After the adoption of their two youngest domestically Crystal kept being drawn back to the beautiful faces on Reece’s Rainbow. In the summer of 2012 another Reece’s Rainbow family posted on Facebook about a girl from Eastern Europe needing a host family for the summer, they thought this would be a great opportunity and excitedly agreed to host her. They fell in love with this thirteen year old girl and started making plans to make her their daughter; up until this point Jared had not really been on board about going overseas for adoption. God had even bigger plans for them; they both felt someone would still be missing from their family. After much prayer they found Grayson and knew he was meant to be theirs as well. God still was not done in his plans for this family. The 13 year old girl was not able to be adopted by Jared and Crystal due to some extended family that she still had, and even though this devastated them they believed it was in God’s hands even if they could not see the plan yet. Just as God had led them to Eastern Europe he had then led them to Callen who was in the same orphanage as Grayson. They lost a daughter on that trip but gained another son."
Reading that broke me, I realized that as much as my trip to serve in Ukraine matters to me . . . Berkeley matters and so do her parents and siblings. So I'm looking forward to praying with and praying for the Williams family, I'm excited to get to know them! I can't wait to see the photos of Berkeley with her family, as soon as I saw her photo I couldn't help but smile. As most of you know I ordered bracelets in bulk for  Angel Tree. Well, I'm bringing them back! This time for the Williams family!

When you donate to the Williams' family ( forward me your receipt at I'll send you some bracelets and you'll help this family get one step closer to bringing their sweet girl home. 

Learn more about the "Family Warrior" program by visiting the link above.