Tuesday, February 28, 2012

'Purpose' Can Be Plural....

I consider myself to be a pretty lucky girl. I know so many women who, at my age and at my 'phase' in life question their purpose;

Who am I outside of being a wife and a mommy? I've always wanted to be just a wife and mommy... I thought that would be enough; why do I feel guilty for wanting more? 

Don't get me wrong... I have asked myself those questions SO many times! I am so incredibly blessed to be living my dream... to be the main influence in my baby-girl's life, to be able to devote myself fully to my home and family, and to have the freedom I have on a daily basis to develop relationships and invest in my family. I KNOW I'm blessed and I hope and pray that I never take that for granted.

If you know me at all, you know that I am a deeply passionate person... almost to a fault. I take criticism to heart when it comes from someone I truly respect or admire (especially if you're my daddy ;-)). 'Disappointed' is a word that when directed at me, cuts me to my core. At the same time, when something is important to me I do it or discuss it with conviction and emotion.

 And sometimes, my passions just don't have direction... I feel lost and wandering, yet passionate; not such a  great combo :-/

~ I find myself wondering lately if my purpose is to teach, specifically special needs kids... they're one of my passions.
~ I wonder if I should be a crisis pregnancy counselor... those women are my passion.
~ I wonder if I should continue using my blog as a portal to try and reach women who are struggling through infertility and their adoption wait... those women are my passion, too.
~ I wonder if I should learn to be content with what I KNOW to be one of my purposes.... to be the best wife I can be to Joey and the best mommy I can be to Hannah.

And then I wonder if maybe my 'purpose' is plural... maybe there is a way that I can use each passion of mine to accomplish my purpose... or purposes.

When I read through my list of passions, I realize that they all have one thing in common...

Developing relationships with people.

One thing I know is true.... my place monday-friday, from 8-5 is here. At my house. With my baby. And my dog. And my husband.

This is where my mind and heart have been for the past few months. I KNOW without a doubt that I am contributing to my family, to their futures, and to their growth. I still struggle sometimes with the desire to contribute financially and to find something that's 'me'. I also couldn't fight the desire to do something that my kids; that Hannah.... and that Joey and my family.... could be proud of. I wanted something that was mine.

I was stopped a few weeks ago in the WalMart parking lot by a stunning woman... that's the best word I have to describe her. She was stunning on the outside but you could talk to her for just a minute and know that she was equally as beautiful on the inside, too. She was a consultant for Mary Kay and wanted to do my makeup and be able to include me in her 'before and after' portfolio.

Yeah yeah... I thought the same thing; "What a line. You just want my money."

But... I didn't feel that from her. She was genuine.

She came over last week and did my makeup but more than that she got to know me. She invested in me and told me her story.... and her story included her testimony. She didn't ask me for an order but she introduced me to Mary Kay... to the philosophy that faith comes first, second comes family, and only last should you be able to fit in a career.

I've known Mary Kay for a long time and I've always loved her products... though, I love her new products even more! No one had ever taken the time to introduce me to her... to Mary Kay... to the family that works for her.

When she left, I couldn't shake the feeling that she had just summarized everything I had been praying about when it came to finding my purpose. Before she walked in my door, all I knew was that I love people, and building relationships, and sharing my family's story, and well, I could EASILY include makeup in my list of passions ;-)

Joey and I talked for a long time last weekend. I talked to my mom and to a few close friends. I prayed about it. I struggled with the 'stigma' and 'cliche' that I felt people put on a company like Mary Kay or Avon or Arbon. I made a list of my passions....

I am so excited to tell you that I am Mary Kay's newest Independent Beauty Consultant!

I'm so excited for this new chapter in my life... for this new purpose that seems to encompass ALL of my purposes, plural! Joey's excited. My family is excited.

I have a lot of work to do. Relationships are important to me and while it's true that I will be selling a product (one that I have fallen head over heels in LOVE with!), my main goal is to invest myself into other women. I have learned to be vulnerable on paper (or... on blogger), but it's time for me to challenge myself to be vulnerable in person.

My story as a woman and our story as a family is unique... and really, nothing has ever gone the way we 'planned'. What makes our story impactful is that we fought tooth and nail each step of the way to do things 'our way' only to be shown without a shadow of a doubt that God's plans are and always will be bigger and better than our own. THAT is my purpose right now.... to use our story and my passions to show other women that there's more; more than they hoped and dreamed.

And that it's ok to want more. And that sometimes 'purpose' can be plural.

Joey and I have agreed that 100% of my profit from my new purpose will be put in our Baby Smith #2 savings account. I love knowing this because if there is one thing right now that I am more passionate about than anything else, it is bringing home our next baby! I will do ANYTHING in my power to bring home my sweet baby and I already feel one step closer :-)

I will never use this blog to advertise my business or to pressure you to buy anything... THAT is not the purpose of this page. I do want you to know me and my family and this is our newest news.... obviously not the 'news' I'd LOVE to be sharing but it's news and it's big, all the same ;-)

I could use all the support I can get so if you use Mary Kay or would like to know more about her company (that is founded on faith!) or how to become a consultant, please browse around and let me know what I can do for you.... send you info, place an order of fabulous makeup for you, or answer questions.

If nothing else, your prayers would be appreciated! Anything new is scary and brings out insecurities and even more unknown than we already have.... prayer for success and focus would help me enough ;-)

And I'll leave you with a quote from my wonderful husband as we discussed my new journey...

"Well, make-up really is a beautiful thing!"

My Facebook page (where I'll post some awesome specials ;-));

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Week at the Gym

My mother-in-law sent this to me and I thought it was too good not to share..... 
If you read this without laughing out loud, there is something wrong with you.
This is dedicated to everyone who ever attempted to get into a regular workout routine
Dear Diary,
For my birthday this year, my husband purchased for me a week of personal training at the local health club.  Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 40+ years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try.
I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Christo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear.
Friends seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.
Started my day at 6:00 am. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting for me. He is something of a Greek god-- with blond hair, dancing eyes, and a dazzling white smile.  Woo Hoo!!
Christo gave me a tour and showed me the machines.. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring!
Christo was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time he was around.
This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!
I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Christo made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then he put weights on it!  My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile.  His rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT!  It's a whole new life for me.
The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it.  I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals.  Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot.
Christo was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. His voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when he scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying.
My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Christo put me on the stair monster.  Why the crap would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators?  Christo told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life.  He said some other senseless stuff too.
Jerkface was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl.  I couldn't help being a half an hour late-- it took me that long to tie my shoes.
He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom.  He sent some skinny witch to find me.
Then, as punishment, he put me on the rowing machine-- which I sank.
I hate that moron Christo more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anaemic, anorexic, little aerobic instructor.  If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat him with it.
Christo wanted me to work on my triceps.  I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the darn barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich.
The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher.  Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?
Satan left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today.  Just hearing his voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel..
I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and express thanks that this week is over.  I will also pray that next year my husband will choose a gift for me that is fun-- like a root canal or a hysterectomy.  I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I wore myself out blogging last week so I'm chilling out for a while  but I just had to share this video...

Bentley is our 4 year old Boxer/ Grey Hound mix that we rescued when Hannah was about 9 months old...and he is Hannah's absolute best friend. Bentley HATES it when Hannah's at school; he usually just sits in the front window watching for her all morning as if she's going to somehow come home at any moment.

Bentley was crying at the door all morning so I decided to take him with me to pick Hannah up.... and he was SO excited.....

(Obviously, I was in the middle of doing laundry... honestly, I've been working on it for the past 3 days ;-) AND... please excuse the color of my kitchen walls.... we're in a rental for a few months and I did not choose the turqoise; though, I probably would have if I knew my husband wouldn't kill me ;-))

Anyone know what 'MFEO' means?? PLEASE tell me someone know what it means!

Friday, February 17, 2012

TMI or Hilarious?! You Choose.... I Choose HILARIOUS!!

Our most thoughtful, deep, and insightful conversations usually happen on nights after bed-time when we're snuggled up on the couch watching a movie, possibly enjoying a glass of wine, and just enjoying each other's company. You can't really 'know' us until you're part of one of these intimate conversations.

Well, I want you to 'know' us. While some of you (eh-hem.... my mom ;-)) might think this is TMI, but if you're me or if you know Joey, this is HILARIOUS!

Me: "Ugh! Periods have to be the most disgusting thing in the world! Why was this one of God's inventions?"
Joey: "It's your punishment... you never should have eaten the fruit."

Me: "Oh nice...Your punishment is having to work. I work, too you know! Double whammy on women... What gives?!"

Joey: "As a result of your period, you get to enjoy the miracles of birth and motherhood. Sounds like a good trade-off!"

Me: "Oh really?!? Is THAT what I get out of this? Then I should be exempt from periods...MY anatomy doesn't even work!"

Joey: "Yeah, that's true........ (long pause)......... you must have really fudged up!"

Welcome to our world..... He's a keeper ;-)

Happy Friday, friends ;-)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Out of Control!

We (meaning adoptive parents and/or potential adoptive parents) often complain/vent about the difficulties that come with the adoption process… the lengthy home study process, the cost of adoption, the ‘unknowns’ that come with ‘the wait’, the emotional rollercoasters, the uncertainties of our future, and the ups and downs of it all. We like to discuss the lack of control we have over the adoption process…. from infertility issues all the way to bringing our baby home.

Why don’t we talk about all of the control we DO have?

AP’s~ You know what I’m talking about… not the financials, not the background check and fingerprints, not the home visit or physicals, not the reference letters or tax forms…

For those of you who haven’t gone through the home study process or for those of you who haven’t worked with an agency and completed family intake forms,  allow me to explain;

I’m referring to the following questions that we have all answered at one point or another in our adoption journey… the questions that are not options to answer but give us options as parents;

·         What races are you open to?
o   Caucasian, African American, Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, or a combination of races.

·         What age child are you open to?
·         Boy, girl, or both? Which would you prefer?
·         Would you consider adopting a sibling group?
·         Are you open to twins, triplets, etc?

·         Would you like an open, semi-open, or closed adoption?

·         What special needs are you open to?

o   Blood disorders (in baby or family history)
o   HIV or AIDS (in biological parents or in baby)
o   Psychological disorders (in family history); Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar, Depression, suicidal tendencies, addiction, physical abuse tendencies,  
o   Mental Retardation
o   Limb deformation or missing limbs
o   Deafness
o   Blindness
o   Family history of Cancer
o   Spina Bifida
o   Short life expectancy
o   Alcohol/drug use or smoking during pregnancy
o   Down Syndrome
o   Cerebral Palsy
o   Learning disabilities (in family history)
o   Heart defects
o   Premature baby (low Apgar scores)
o   And the list goes on……

I cringe every time we have to answer these questions. All I can think is…

How DARE we place limits on our children? How DARE we assume the role of deciding what our family will look like? How DARE we?!

But we do. Every. Single. Time.

Our friends have a precious new baby boy… he’s perfect, beautiful, ‘normal’… and he has Downs.

They didn’t get to choose. They didn’t have a checklist of what they were ‘open’ to when it came to the health future of their children.

Friends of some friends of our’s;  their son was born with a genetic heart defect that would surely shorten his life. He passed away at the age of 3…. Because he fell off of a play set and hit his head.

They accepted the plan for his life.. they embraced it. They prepared themselves and their family to lose him one day but to savor every single moment that they were allowed to have him.

And he died from something they never could have planned for.

They didn’t get to choose. They didn’t have a checklist of what they were ‘open’ to when it came to the health and safety of their children.

Every student I taught for 2 years… healthy kids, happy, well-adjusted, loved, smart. They all had Autism. Their parents took home perfectly healthy, ‘normal’ babies when they left the hospital…..

They didn’t get to choose. They didn’t have a checklist of what they were ‘open’ to when it came to the health and safety of their children.

A boy my brother went to high school with; Straight A student, team captain of the soccer team, accepted into the top colleges in the United States, full scholarships, homecoming king…. Whose family and friends are getting to know the person he is today after a horrific car accident changed who him forever.

They didn’t get to choose. They didn’t have a checklist of what they were ‘open’ to when it came to the health and safety of their children.

A young mom who’s blog I read; Carried a full-term healthy baby-girl. Mom stayed home for a long maternity leave and savored every second of her daughter’s first few months of life…. And lost her baby-girl to SIDS while she was at work and her daughter was at the sitter’s house.

They didn’t get to choose. They didn’t have a checklist of what they were ‘open’ to when it came to the health and safety of their children.

They didn’t get to choose… bur God chose them.


If they HAD been able to choose, would they have chosen the way He did?


I’m so burdened today. We have learned about a few ‘special needs’ babies this year and those real-life situations have forced us to consider our family’s future with those ‘special needs’.

Spina Bifida, Downs, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Schizophrenia

We accepted them all…. But we got to choose.

Joey’s and My Family History…. In a nutshell;
·         Skin Cancer
·         Macular Degeneration
·         Depression
·         Vision problems
·         Crooked teeth
·         Scoliosis, hunch-back, spinal disk disorders
·         Infertility
·         Rheumatoid Arthritis
·         High Cholesterol
·         Heart Disease; bypass surgeries, heart attacks

Ok. I’ll stop.

Our parent’s parents didn’t get to choose. Our parents didn’t get to choose what they wanted to pass on to us or not.

They didn’t get to choose…..

And now we do.

Outside of my complaints about ‘the wait’, money, and how we can’t do anything to speed this stinking process up, through all of those stories, with all of those sweet kids, and knowing all of their loving parents, I have to ask myself one thing…

How DARE I choose?

How DARE I limit my family? Who am I to put a cap on what we can handle and what we can’t? Who are we to decide which ‘needs’ our children will have and what they’ll look like?

A sweet family we know through the adoption process; open to many things, not including drug use, smoking, certain ethnicities and drinking during pregnancy… knew about their precious baby for months…. And knew nothing about the drug use or alcohol or that other ethnicities would play into the genetic makeup of their child until the day their baby was born.

They weren’t necessarily ‘open’ to those things. But those things now make up their child... their perfect, beautiful, miracle baby.

They got to choose.



Wrong. God chose…

And even when we have the chance to choose…

God chooses.

And for us, God will choose.

And He will choose perfectly.

A wonderful, strong, loving Christian family; Struggled through infertility for years and whose daughter was their biological miracle. Brought a baby boy home through an open adoption… when he was only a few months old, were told that their baby was blind. HOW blind he was… it was too soon to tell. He would never drive or play sports and school would be a challenge… he would need a lot of support throughout his life.

He’s now 23 years old….. He was the fastest and strongest football player and broke records in middle school. He graduated high school with honors. He made the Deans List every year in college. He graduated recently and is now the head coach of his college Lacrosse team. He has a perfect driving record. He’s engaged.

He’s my brother.

So here we are… almost a year and a half into our search for #2. On occasion, we’ve complained about the process and about the wait and about how little control we have but we are in NO place to complain and we should feel no desire to because…

God will choose.

He doesn’t need our input.

He will choose perfectly.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

'L' Is for the Way You Look at Me.......

Just some pictures from our day and a Happy Valentine's Day from us to you!!

We both got beautiful flowers from our Valentine!
(I LOVE how happy she is in this picture... pure joy!)

We opened lots of (Dora) presents...

Ms. Molly, our absolute favorite babysitter, came by with yummy treats and made our day even better...

Daddy came home early from work...

We ate at 'someone's' favorite place... Outback!
(Thanks to her First Father who gave us a wonderful gift card for Christmas!!)

And we loved each other a whole lot!


Monday, February 13, 2012

If I Was a First Mom

If I Was a First Mom
(to the tune of "If I Was A Rich Girl... na na nananana nanananana" ;-))...

~ I would ask potential adoptive parents,

"How do you fight or argue? How do you resolve conflict in your marriage? What are your views on marriage or parent/ child counseling?"

~ It would be important for me to know,

"How do you handle your finances? Do you share or split responsibility? Do you have a monthly budget?"

~ I'd ask them for honesty,

"How do you plan to discipline your children? Should each child be disciplined the same way? How do you feel about spanking? At what point is spanking taken too far?"

~ I would want to know,

"How will you respond if your child grows up to have different values than the one's you raised them on (concerning education, religion, sexual preference, political), "

~ It was important to me growing up...

"If possible, do you plan to financially support your child financially if they choose to attend college/ trade school/ community college?"

~ I'd ask,

"If at some point your child begins making decisions that are negatively affecting them or those around them, what means of intervention are you comfortable with in your role as parent (forced intervention for a minor, wilderness camps, boarding school, sending your child to live with a family member, reporting drug/alcohol/physical abuse to authorities, etc.)?"

~ I would need to know,

"When do you plan on telling your children their adoption stories? How will you tell them?"

~ They would have to say 'yes' to,"

"I'd like to write my baby letters as he/she gets older... of course they'll be letters you can read, as well. How/when would you share those letters with your child?"

~ I'd love to be able to...

"I would enjoy sending gifts on special Holidays. Is that something you're comfortable with?"

~ We'd have an open adoption....

"I know that we have set specific guidelines for the contact and openness we'll have as he/she gets older and there is NO wrong answer to this question, I just appreciate having those guidelines and expectations in place early on; what would you consider as being too open or being too much contact (birthday parties, school events, baptism, Holidays, texts, phone calls)?"


I've learned so so much this year from all of the moms we've met. Some of these questions came from their insight and some are just questions that I WISH a mom would ask us... the questions that dig deep, that force you(as potential AP's) to really think and consider the future. I'm not even sure there's a 'right' answer to these questions. Yeah yeah, home studies cover lots of stuff but moms don't see those (although, we did have one Mom ask to see our's, and we were happy to share it with her). When you're talking to a specific mom, you have to consider a life long relationship with them... a forever relationship. While we're not right for every baby, we're also not right for every First Mom. Anyone can look good in pictures but I've been amazed at the depth and insight of moms who aren't afraid to ask some hard questions... we could be raising their child, after-all.

If you're an expectant mom and you're considering adoption for your baby, ask away! Don't be intimidated by families that look 'better' or 'more able' than you.... . you have time and you're allowed to ask questions.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tweet, Pin, Like, Share, Blog!

I never understood Twitter.

(Ummm... I still don't.)

I mean, I know how to use it but then what? It reminds me of Facebook...

Anyway! We DO have a Twitter... Tweeter.... Twit....?

If you'd like to follow us, click below and we'll be quick to follow you back :-)

On certain posts, I'll also include a 'Tweet' button... if you do find that post 'Tweet-worthy', feel free to pass it on. You're only doing us a favor by re-posting, sharing, Tweeting (Twitting?), and re-blogging (I'm working on a 'Pin It' button, too).... we've met 11 AMAZING Moms and First Moms this year because you guys have done just that!

If you don't 'like' us yet but you really do 'like' us, you can do that here.
('Liking' doesn't really seem like that big of a deal but even if you don't 'share' our page, it will show up in your news feed... and you never know who might see it!)

I know this can get annoying... please don't be annoyed. The only reason we 'remind' you once in a while is because it works and well, we've done all we can by ourselves. Now we need your help.

 We met one of our moms (who chose us and later decided to parent her baby) because her sister's friend saw that one of HER friends 'liked' our page and when she heard about her friends' sister and her adoption plan, she remembered our page and wah-la!). You don't have to know an Expectant Mom to make a difference.... just 'like', share, blog, re-post, Pin, or Tweet as you feel so inclined :-D

For those of you who do 'share' us, you'll never know how grateful we are that you see something in us that makes us share-able... I HOPE one day you'll know.
(AND, if there's something else we're not doing that we should be doing to further spread the word about our search for Baby Smith #2, please please tell me!!)

And since you kept with me through all of that.... a goofy picture of our goofy girl to start your week off right ;-)

(Photo credit~ Allison Fowler Photography)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Love, Sex, Lingerie... and the Lord

Another question I get quite often;

How have you and your husband made it through 5 years of infertility and everything it involves? Many couples don't stay together or their marriage is so broken from stress and guilt and frustration that it seems beyond repair..... how can I make sure my husband and I don't get to that point? Is trying to get pregnant even worth that risk to our relationship?

The answer is simple;

You love each other so much that your love can get you through anything.



That phrase somehow implies that those who don't make it through the tough times just don't love each other enough. Those of us in the throws of infertility, or the adoption wait, or cancer, or marriage counseling, or bankruptcy, or the loss of a child take some kind of sick comfort in the fact that if we're still together, then we're at least better than those who aren't.

I'm not being mean. I've done this, too.

Valentine's Day is around the corner and like I said before, it's never been my favorite "holiday"; flowers are beautiful but they end up dying, chocolate is delicious but it makes me fat, a fancy dinner is special but breaks the budget because food can't be a 'normal' price on Valentine's Day, and lingerie is beautiful but it stays on for 2 seconds, costs $1,000,000, and doesn't really make a woman feel sexy... and really?!? Who in the entire WORLD looks good in lingerie besides VS models? C'mon guys.

I digress;

I've read lots of love stories lately so I can't help but give some thought to our own 'love story'. The details aren't very note-worthy but if I had to pin-point defining moments in our marriage, (and let's face it, defining moments are typically the one's that have the potential to ruin us) they all bring me back to our struggle through infertility and our adoption waits and I have to ask myself the same question many of you have asked me....

How HAVE Joey and I made it this far?

We held each other. We prayed together. We encouraged one another. We supported each other. Our relationship grew stronger through the tough times.

We loved each other.... and we stayed together.


 Huh. It sounds good.... but it's not right. Yes, we did all of those things but what's hidden between the lines isn't quite as nice. There's no question that Joey and I love each other more than anything in the world but here's how our 'love' really got us through the darkest parts of our marriage....

We fought. A lot. Sex became a calendar event... a chore. We blamed each other... you know the lines, "You have slow swimmers!" "Well you have a crappy uterus!" "You want a baby more than you want me." "You aren't the person I married." "If this is how we're going to be, I don't want to be married!"
We spent money on infertility treatments. Lots of it. We isolated ourselves for fear of letting others' in our darkness. Some nights, we slept in different rooms. He second-guessed our marriage.... and so did I. We swore at each other. He avoided me and I avoided him. We cried... and we hurt.
(That's the ugly side of infertility and adoption... the part where you're both hurting so much that it's almost impossible to be strong for the other person. The part before.)

When I look back I, too wonder how we made it through some of those dark times. How can anyone make it through not just infertility, but through the loss of a child or cancer?

They all hurt us and break us ... and change us.


We stayed together because not staying together was never an option. We had faith because God had proven himself faithful before and we knew He would again. We forgave because He forgave us first. We did it all together but when we tried doing it all apart.....

we always came back together.

So yes, we love each other but our love for each other isn't what got us through some of the darkest times in our marriage...

God's love for us is what got us through.

"I am absolutely convinced that nothing- nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable- absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way He loves us." ~Romans 8:37-39

We're here and we're strong and we're together not because of how much we love each other but because of how much we love God. ...

If you have the capacity to love God with "all of your heart and all of your soul and all of your mind," and truly rely on His word, you are also capable of loving your husband (or wife) with all of the love that Christ gave you. You will make mistakes. You'll fight and scream and cry but you CAN come back together.


I never worried about the kind of man I was going to marry.... I knew he would be a leader. I knew he would be compassionate. I knew he would be patient. I knew he would love the Lord. And I knew that when I looked into his eyes, I would know how much he loved me.

I knew all of this because I knew I wouldn't settle for a man who was less than my Daddy, my original Valentine... and my Daddy is all of those things.

Joey, my present-day Valentine, is a leader and he's compassionate and he's patient. He loves the Lord with everything that's in him.... and when I look into his eyes, I know how much he loves me.

 And he loves me that much because he loves God even more.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reminder to Open Adoption-ees

I'll admit that Valentine's Day hasn't always been my fav... but when it comes to open adoptions, it really is the perfect time to let your child's First Parents (and may others') know that you're thinking about them and love them.

I have made these crafts a tradition for most Holidays... Christmas, Valentine's Day & Easter unless I find a super-cute one on some other day. Hannah and I have been busy this week not only putting together our Valentine's Day goody-bags for her very first school party, but we've been making these cute cards, too...

There are TONS of people who love this little girl and every one of them will get one of these cute cards this year; grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts & uncles, and her First Parents and their parents... all equally in love with her and all deserving of a special treat to let them know how much they mean to us.

I got the kit to make these at Target for $5 and it included enough cards and stickers to make 20 Valentines (I cut out the photos and stuck them on with the stickers)! Now really, for $5? What's your excuse? ;-)

 I also ran into WalMart yesterday and found this entire wall of similar kits (to make photo cards, frames, mailboxes, door hangers, and SO much more!).. these kits were all $5, too!

(Did you know that WalMart doesn't really like for you to take pictures of their displays with your phone-camera? They don't. I told them that I was posting it on my blog and it would surely bring in some sales ;-) HAHA!)

I'm a advocate for open adoptions, true... but if you're an "AP" who has an 'open adoption' with your child's First Parents, please remember this;

There are only TWO other people in this entire world who are capable of loving your child as much as you do. The least they deserve is a special thought once in a while (and that special thought should always include a cute photo ;-)).

These crafts require a lot of work... especially when your child is young like Hannah is. One day she will be able to make these on her own but I needed to start early so she would grasp the concept of sending special people a thoughtful, hand-made gift.

(I am NOT however, in denial about the fact that no amount of 'prep' at this young age will make Thank You notes anything but a fight as she gets older.... oh, how I remember those Thank You notes. Wait... I STILL write those!! At what age do children write their OWN Thank You's? That day can't come soon enough!!)

Pin It

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Then & Now; Lessons From My Daughter

Then: When a shirt fell off the rack at a store, I would leave it and move on.
"Mommy, we have to pick up that shirt!"
Now: I pick it up... I want my daughter to pick up after herself, to not be lazy.

Then: When a store employee was rude or short to me, I would treat them with the same 'kindness' that they used with me.
"Mommy, is she sad?"
Now: I kill them with kindness.... I want my daughter to be the bigger person, and to give the benefit of the doubt.

Then: I used to plow through the intersection when the light was yellow.
"Mommy, red means stop."
Now: I stop... I want my daughter to follow the rules.

Then: When I got to the register and decided I don't want something that's in my cart after all, I would stick it in the magazine rack.
"Mommy, why did you put that there?"
Now; I put it back... I want my daughter to be responsible.

Then: I would say a simple, "Thank you" when getting off the phone or leaving a store or the doctors office.
"Mommy, that lady was nice!"
Now: I add, "I really appreciate your help,".... I want my daughter to be grateful.

Then: I used to drive over the speed limit.
"Mommy, are we going so fast?"
Now: I set my cruise control to the speed limit... I want my daughter to be safe.

Then: I would leave our trash on the table when we left a restaurant.
"Mommy, we need to find a trash can."
Now: I throw it away... I want my daughter to respect people and the jobs they do.

Then: I would pass a homeless person and literally turn my head the other way so I didn't have to make eye contact with them.
"Mommy, what does that sign say?"
Now: I look at them, I pray for them, and i help them if I can... I want my daughter to be compassionate.

Though I have learned powerful lessons from the people and experiences in my life, and have much more to learn, no one and nothing has taught me more about life and love than my daughter has....

Then: On nights when I was completely and utterly exhausted, I would skip a conversation with God and tell myself that I would pray in the morning.
"Mommy, we didn't say our prayers!"
Now: I pray.... because if we aren't praying for our daughter, then who is?

Monday, February 6, 2012

To Baby, Love Hannah

If you know our baby-girl then you know how special she is. She leaves an impression on everyone she meets and it's not because of anything she does... it's because of who she is; and once you meet her, you never forget her. She's compassionate, and thoughtful, and sensitive, and has the gift of empathy, and she's funny, and smart.... and she's 3. Hannah doesn't miss much; she is somewhat aware of how tough this past year has been and she is more than aware that she is going to be a big sister. Four times this year, she has been ready and excited to bring home her baby brother or sister. Even though Joey and I, at times, have trouble understanding why our next baby hasn't come home yet, Hannah seems to 'get it'... we're waiting for HER brother or sister; not ANY brother or sister.

I want so badly for all of you to know Hannah and after tonight, you will...

What happened tonight was a moment that I will never forget. It's a memory that will be forever etched in my mind and this is a video that I cannot wait to show Hannah's baby brother or sister one day.

Getting ready for bed tonight I asked Hannah what songs she wanted to sing before bed...

"Mommy, I just want to sing songs to my baby brother or baby sister."

So we did....

(No idea why it's blurry...sorry :-( )

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I have received dozens of emails about IVF from many of you ladies since I started this blog; Did we ever proceed with IVF? How did we make that decision? What does the Bible have to say about IVF? How do I deal with other people wanting to put their opinions about IVF on me? What if we make the wrong decision and waste all of that money? Etc...

About 2 years ago, Joey and I found ourselves, once again, at a point in our lives when we had to have this discussion. We had many failed IUI cycles under our belts, tons of leftover Femera and Clomid in the cabinet (if you know what that is, sorry :-( ) , Ovulation Predictor kits under the sink, and a few more RE bills to pay off but we were ultimately faced with the decision between making Hannah and big sister through adoption or IVF....

Not "Do we get a Honda or a Toyota?", "Should we have Taco Bell or Chick-Fil-A for lunch?", "Boots or heels?", "Boxers or briefs?"

After lots of discussion, hours of prayer, and many discussions with my parents about their IVF vs. Adoption decision they made years ago, Joey made a decision...

The decision would be mine to make.

It was my emotions that would go crazy, my arms that would have more bruises and holes in them from needles, my job to remember to take my medicine, and my body that would be put to sleep. No one ever doubted that Joey would be affected every step of the way, too but he knows me...better than anyone... and he knew that this decision had to be mine to make.

If you know me at all, you know that writing is my outlet so when faced with this life-changing decision, I wrote.

I want to share what I wrote for any of you who I haven't had this discussion with... for anyone who is facing this decision.... for anyone who thinks they might. Our decision isn't the 'right' one for everyone but it was the right one for us.... but the process is the important part; not the end result.

I had no idea when I typed that first word where I was leaning and I didn't have a 'hunch'.... but by the time I typed that last word, I knew......

Philippians 4:6-9  "Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude. Then God's own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:1, " Continue, my dear ones, to stand firm in the Lord."

Sometimes we focus on all of the obstacles, and we let detours take our eyes off the goal. We become distracted looking at obstacles or problems, but we must keep our eyes focused on the goal that is set before us. He, who is with us at the beginning of the race and will see us through to the end, accompanies us in the middle as well.

Hebrews 2:13 says, "I will put my trust in Him; here am I and the children whom God has given me."

Sometimes we question if we are on the right path. Then, every so often, we catch a glimpse of the bigger picture, and He blesses us with the knowledge that He truly is at work....working overtime.

The untrained ability to put my thoughts into words on paper has never failed me. Until now.

There are times in our lives when we are faced with a fork in the road; will you take a left turn or right? The obvious answer for a believer would be that you will turn where God leads you. A problem arises when you can fully see God’s grace, blessings, and promise no matter which way you turn.

Here I am, blessed beyond belief with a life more fulfilling than any life I could have imagined and I am at a fork. A really big fork.  A fork that will ultimately determine the future of our family. It isn’t tough enough that this decision is enormous in itself but it also brings with it many pointed and sometimes painful opinions of others. Not that others’ matter… or do they? In a situation such as ours, I can see God using other people to guide us toward the path the will bring the most blessing and peace from Him. What if that’s what this journey is about? What if both answers are the right answers and our job is to find the one that will bring the MOST of what God has to offer us.

If we turn left, we will add another precious child to our family through the gift of adoption. Undeniably, unequivocally, irrevocably the most miraculous way to have a child… and I know this through personal experience. It is a fact that the anything-but-simple and selfless act of someone placing their own child into your arms forever evokes unexplainable feelings. You have been hand-picked by God to be the parents of one of His precious children. For whatever reason, that baby cannot have your DNA in order to be your child. Simple (and fine with me since the genes I have to pass on to a child are not favorable). On this road, our job is easy; listen, follow, obey, and sit back and watch as God reveals to you the child He has chosen to place under your responsibility. What an honor! Taking this turn in the road will surely bring with it blessings in abundance from God and will result in our already special family becoming more united through the gift of adoption.

If we turn right, we will attempt to add another precious child to our family through IVF. Notice how I said “attempt”. Though not guaranteed by any medical standards, we as believers know that God is sovereign. If He wants us to conceive, He will allow us to conceive. Aside from all of the moral, medical and rational arguments surrounding IVF such as frozen embryos, medication, and the foreboding statistics, my question is this; If God wants us to conceive, He will allow us to conceive, right? Huh… I guess that’s what I just said, IVF or not.

In my research on Biblical principles versus IVF (well, to be honest, while reading my toddlers Bible to Hannah at night), I keep coming across the stories of Hannah and Elizabeth. Hannah’s womb was ‘closed by God.’ She didn’t have surgery, take medication, and undergo fertility treatment. Her issue was simple; God had different plans for her. Whether or not adoption was what it is now back in Bible-times is beside the point. Hannah had to learn to accept God’s plan for her life… and once she did, He shocked her! She was ‘blessed’ with a child. What do we know about God’s plan?! And Elizabeth! She and Abraham thought they were too old to have children, although age was different back then, too. All of a sudden, Elizabeth is pregnant and not only once… again and again and again.

I have tried over and over to write my pro and con list for adoption versus IVF. At the end of the day, there is a simple truth behind my desire to proceed with IVF… I possess the desire to experience pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong, being pregnant scares me to death! Miscarriage, complications, being sick, labor without an epidural, complications in labor, passing on my terrible genes to our child, and the list continues. My mom reminded me the other day that I cannot allow my life to be dictated by fear. She was obviously insinuating that fear should not over-ride my desire to be pregnant. I still feel that putting my body and our finances at risk are selfish measures to take just to ‘attempt’ to conceive. God truly knows the desires of my heart and He has promised them to me! If I truly desire to experience pregnancy, I have to get to a place in my heart where I trust that He will allow me to do just that. But do we try to force Him by continuing with IVF? Is that 'forcing God'? Is that possible?

I could go on forever. God has called us to lay aside our selfish desires but He also promises to grant us the desires of our heart. I am excited at the thought that God is giving me what could possibly be a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to take a leap of faith and follow Him. Most people would think that means I am ready to proceed with IVF. Not true. I am ready to proceed with adoption because THAT excites me right now, right where I am in my life and with my family. The desire to experience pregnancy is still strong but stronger still is my desire to follow God’s plan that will bring the MOST blessing and honor to Him. In that, I believe that there is a precious child waiting to be born and chosen for our special family. After that, it is up to God to decide how my personal desire to experience pregnancy will manifest itself in the future. What I love about the dynamic of our family is that each child born into it will bring with him or her a story of God’s mercy, love, grace, and will be known as a miracle to everyone surrounding them… whether they are hand-picked by God or grown inside my belly.

And here we are.... waiting for number 2 :-)