Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Childlike Faith

When Kindergarten let out for the summer of 2012, Brogan announced that she was going to be “the BEST reader in the 1st Grade”. She decided she would read 50 books before the end of summer (actually, she has just changed this date to July 25 – I don’t know why, she picked the date herself J ). As incentive to help her reach her goal, Marty and I offered her $0.25 for every book she read. So we began frequenting the library as often as we could and she read. And read some more. And is still reading. With these last library books at home, she will have read 27 books as of this week- leaving only 23 books to read in 4 weeks). This does NOT include the books she reads at her summer care facility – these are only the books we personally have witnessed her reading. She loves to read, but even more than that – she loves to give.

At 6 years old, she has a bigger heart than most adults I know. She was blessed with a giving, compassionate spirit. She has a heart for others and is super excited about our upcoming adoption. She and Swaid have been involved in the adoption plan from the very beginning. We don’t hold anything back – they understand that some kids don’t have parents and WHY some kids don’t have parents. We speak to them about it in truth and in love. Swaid is only 3, but he seems to grasp the general concept. Brogan has always been very wise – much too wise for a child J She understands what it means to be an orphan and although she still has some “6 year old ideas” about certain things, she wants to help these kids.

On the evening of Sunday, June 24, 2012, we handed Brogan and Swaid their weekly allowances. We asked them what they’d planned on doing with their hard-earned money and Brogan told us she wanted to use all of her allowance, as well as, her “book money” to buy things to send to some kids in Africa. Specifically, to the orphanages we visited and to one very special place where a VERY special 2 year old little boy named “L” lives. We talked about certain things they needed such as baby wipes, over-the-counter children medications, dental supplies, water purification tablets, vitamins, hard candy, etc. She recently went to the dentist and this was on her mind so she decided to send them all toothbrushes, toothpaste, and flossers – kid LOVES to floss, yall. She then asked us how she could earn even more money and after much discussion, she ultimately decided to just read more books at $0.25 a piece.

You guys, my heart exploded. Our daughter just told us she was going to spend her money on dental supplies for kids in 3rd world country orphanages! I wish I could say that her response surprised me, but honestly? This is the kid that when given the choice of buying 2 presents at the dollar store, will ALWAYS choose to buy one for her brother. This is the kid that routinely gives up her seat to her brother because she knows it will make him happy – without being asked to do so. This is the kid that once bought a present for the bully at school because she didn’t believe he had been given presents before. This is the kid that wishes upon stars every night for every child in the world to have a home. This is the kid that blew out her 6th birthday candles and wished for $100 so she could buy orphans candy and toys. This is the kid that prays at night and asks God to make her “a better person”. She may have just turned 6 in May 2012, but she is more mature than a lot of adults I know.

Naturally, I did what any proud parent would do in this type of situation: I took it to Facebook. Within minutes and without solicitation, we started receiving  matches for every book she reads. As of today, she’s up to $5.50 per book and has received dental supply donations from Germany Family Dental in Brandon, as well as, Tony Lee, DMD in Florida! If she meets her goal of 50 books by July 25, then she will have earned $275 & dental supplies for some very special kids across the world. Not only that, but by sharing her idea, she has inspired kids as far away as California to host their own Read-A-Thons to help in their family's own adoption fundraising!

We are so proud of our kids. Our children are incredible and we give ALL glory and thanks to their Maker for entrusting them to us!

Mark 10:15
15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Adoption Update

I’ve been a little quiet on the adoption forefront, but I will say this: we are working with an orphanage that has become very special to us. There are SO many great kids that need loving homes and I’m excited to be a part of this. I ask that you continue to pray for us as we wait. I hate waiting. Like, a lot. There is a certain little nugget that completely stole our hearts while we were there. His case is being investigated, but really, I cannot tell you anything else. Please pray that this little boy be reunited with family IF love and care could be provided. If it cannot be, we would love to welcome him into our homes with open hearts. Either way, we know God will sustain him. And me. I hate to wait. Like, a lot. And I REALLY wanna hug him right now J

Also, if you haven’t already  -puhleeze go over to my friend, Christen’s, blog and read all about her adoption and how you can help be a part of it!


Friday, April 6, 2012


The consumer idea of Easter is colorful eggs, chocolate bunnies, candy, and a whole lot of food. Traditionally, we can wear white now, (but only until Labor Day) so we buy pretty new clothes. We plan huge meals, invite family over, hide and find eggs and await a large, mythical rabbit to bring goodies overnight. I’m so confused about it all. We all know that Easter isn’t about baskets and baby chicks, but it’s hard to focus on the true meaning when all we see is STUFF.

That being said, I should explain that I’m a visual learner. I read things and try to comprehend, but actually seeing or doing something helps me to “get it”, especially in a biblical sense. I cannot fathom what a “cubit” is, but if you show me exact measurements then I’m totally there. For example:

1.     The book of Exodus tells us that Aaron raised a staff in the Pharoah’s presence, struck the water, and all the water in the Nile River turned to blood. I’ve been to the Nile River. It exists. It sounds pretty unbelievable, but somehow actually seeing the river and visualizing brings it to life for me. I get it. It is amazing and it is real.

2.      The book of Acts tells us of the Apostle Paul’s arrest and imprisonment in Rome. Scholars believe the prison in which he was held has a name: Mamertine Prison. I’ve been there. I’ve walked on the very
floor that he laid upon. It exists. It is real.


3.      The book of Isaiah tells us that Jesus washes our sins as white as snow. I have confessed
            to Him, I have felt His presence, I have felt His love, His forgiveness. He is real.

4.      The book of John tells us of the crucifiction of Christ. He willingly laid his life down for us. You and me.

5. And it also tells us that He rose three days later. The best visual I have of this is: me. I am here. Despite all my sins, I am here. I am here because he died for me. He is real. And He is amazing.

Today I’m in awe that 2012 years ago Jesus died for me. Today marks the anniversary of freedom for all people who come to Him and that’s pretty awesome. Does it still seem hard to believe sometimes? Yes. Yes, it does. Who does that? Jesus does. I’m reading the story of the crucifiction and the subsequent resurrection and it amazes me. I almost cannot comprehend it, but I have felt it and I know in my heart that He has Risen.  It’s a Good Friday, y’all, but SUNDAY IS COMING!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Day 2 - Monday

We kicked off day 2 with a breakfast involving Super- Human Honey. This honey’s label told the story of the earth’s first 2 “super humans”, one of which birthed a gazelle in her womb and all the earth’s creatures followed. I don’t even know. But the honey was good. At our table was a group of guys (and gals) from Visiting Orphans/Sixty Feet. It was cool because Marty and I went to Atlanta a few weeks prior and actually met some of the guys in that group. Even cooler, the wife of the leader of THAT group was with US on our September trip. She actually told us that this group was going at the same time AND they had extra room at the guest house so that’s how we all got to stay together.

After breakfast, our driver (and newest friend/family member) Harriet picked us up and took us to exchange ½ of our American currency. That is important to remember for when we get to Day 6. We exchanged our dollah dollah billz, y’all and became millionaires because every $1USD is worth like 2400 schillings - we walked away with 1.7 million of them. That's how ballers do, y'all. Afterwards we bought a Ugandan cell phone, hit up a coffee shop for a glass bottle Fanta (yes!), and were met by Harriet’s husband, Francis. THE COOLEST UGANDANS ON THE PLANET! Francis took us to meet our attorney and then dropped us off at an orphanage. It was a place we visited last year and over the past few months we kept in touch with them. We LOVE this place. The director and the staff are amazing. I could literally gush until I cried about all they do for the children there, but I won’t. We spent the afternoon loving on kids, helping do laundry, feeding, bathing, changing diapers (they are cloth. And disgusting.), and played peek-a-boo forEVER with the cutest little nugget on earth. He comes up a lot so I’m going to call him Nugget, henceforth. We could have stayed there all afternoon, but had a good walk back to our guest home and didn’t want to be walking in the dark. Although I am basically 140# of RAW FURY, it didn't seem safe. We spoke with the director before we left and she told us that a large group had just left that morning, so if we wanted to move into their guest home, we could. And be with those crazy kids for HOURS every day? HECK. YES.

After our eternity long, uphill-all-the-way, walk back in the blazing Africa sun, we ate dinner with “The Group” and hung out for awhile, thinking about all those kids. We called OUR own kids from our very low-tech Uganda phone (we bought the cheapest one we could) and told them all about our day. They were pretty excited that we were bringing them back presents. But I like to think they missed us too…..

Tomorrow is really cool though………

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Recap: Day 1

I haven’t posted since our return from Uganda and I really cannot offer a good excuse. Lots happened while we were there, so I’ll take the next few days to re-cap our trip, but in a nutshell we: loved on lots of kids, lost our American currency, visited some beautiful places, marty hacked his head open with an axe while chopping wood at an orphanage, we saw the Nile River, we visited an emergency room, we had an awesome 11 hour layover in Amsterdam, our visa card got cancelled, we ate $19 hotdogs outside of Anne Frank’s home, we made several new friends and got to reconnect with old ones, oh, and we met a boy……

Day 1     We arrived super late at night after 2 super long flights, one of which I was seated by a cranky old lady who spent 8 hours hogging my armrest and turning off my air vent. Fortunately, I’m passive-aggressive in nature so instead of actually saying anything I’d regret, I kept my bitter thoughts to myself and Facebooked about her the first chance I got. I felt much better after that. This was upon arrival in Amsterdam where I enjoyed a delicious breakfast at McDonald’s. You can take me out of America, but you can’t take America out of me.

The last leg into Entebbe was pretty uneventful. When we arrived at the airport, we were met by our driver, Tom. Tom was pretty awesome and had the best laugh EVER. He took us to our guest home, Adonai 3, where we were greeted by Ms. Sarah and despite the fact that it was midnight, she greeted us with big hugs and the most beautiful smile EVER. We’d stayed here last September and she remembered us. Despite having no air conditioning (because it’s AFRICA and a/c is a LUXURY), we slept well………

Friday, March 2, 2012

I Want Some Chipati

This photo above? THIS is what a Ug*ndan Feast looks like and let me tell you, it was AMAZING! Mama Catherine not only has a heart of gold, but she is an awesome cook. This is the kind of food we’ll get to eat in a few weeks and I am so ready for it. In the meantime, I’m supplementing an actual post with our menu this week. Mainly because I already had to type it out and I didn’t want to duplicate another “writing” if I didn’t have to. Yes. I’m that lazy.

Friday: Hamburger Helper, carrots
Saturday: Poppyseed chicken casserole over rice, broccoli, mac n cheese
Sunday: Chili and cornbread
Monday: Chicken and dumplings, green beans
Tuesday: Tacos, refried beans, chips and salsa
Wednesday: Chicken pot pie
Thursday: Omelets, sausage, pancakes
Friday: Pizza, salad

So, yeah. There’s that.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Hero's Not Afraid to Give His Life.....

On my drive in to work this morning, I listened to a song called “Hero”. The lyrics very plainly stated this:

“A hero’s not afraid to give his life,
A hero’s gonna save me just in time”

Immediately my thoughts went to those faces of the children in Ug*ndan Remand homes. Where is their hero? Who is going to save them? Is it America? Is it me? And then reality struck me. We are not heroes for being obedient. These children already KNOW their hero. Their hero saved them when He laid down His life on that cross. These kids are extraordinary. In their culture, they are unwanted. By our standards, they have nothing. In a caste system, they are truly the least of the least. They have no name brand clothes, no Nikes, and no PCP or iPods, but what they do have is faith that could move mountains. And that’s all they rely on. They get it. I am so, so wrong. I went to Ug*nda thinking I was going to help some kids, but in reality they encouraged me more than I ever thought possible.

Our trip is coming up shortly and it hit me this morning as I was “feeling sorry” for them. You guys, they are my brothers and sisters in Christ. They are YOUR brothers and sisters in Christ. Our circumstances may be different, but we are all the same. Our lives have no greater value than that of an “unwanted”. He loves them just as much as He loves us. Sure, we each have a different, personal story to tell, but in “the big picture” we each have our own roles to play. My role is not to be a hero. My role is to follow in obedience to adopt, to mentor, to mother. Our God is up to some big things in their lives, I just know it. Those kids who I sit around feeling “sorry” for? They may one day be called to rise up and lead their country. I can’t keep questioning God, “why?” It’s His plan and by His glory it’ll be done.

In the meantime, I’ll take comfort in knowing that while I may not understand a lot of things, I do know we share the same hero.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Matt 10:29-31...Not Even a Sparrow.....

"Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows." - Matthew 10:29-31






They are on my heart today. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, Y’all

Wow. Contrary to popular belief, I did not give up blogging for Lent. It just seems that way given my track record of sporadic postings as of late. But! As many of you know, MP and I have been preparing for our next UGA trip so that has taken up a lot of our time. Well, that and two kids, two full time jobs, two dogs, one potential income-producing side job, potty-training, weekends out of town, weekends with company in town, laundry, couponing, homework, school projects, and mandatory weekend naps. Also, we’ve been collecting playing cards for one of the remand centers In Kampala, baby formula for another and at the same time, we’re still trying to complete our dossier. If you have no idea what a “dossier” looks like, let me give you a visual. Take a brand new ream of paper of say 1,000 sheets or so, and imagine it is made up of your most personal and private documents. For example:

1. Home study report + Agency license + social worker License.
2. All state requirements regarding adoption.
3. Bank statement.
4. Marriage certificate / Birth certificates
5. Infertility letter (if any)
6. Employment letter per adopter.
7. Proof of residency and home ownership.
8. Financial information
9. Tax returns (3 years)
10. Medical clearance letter per adopter health
11. USCIS Approval – I-171h
12. Recommendation letters
13. Photos
14. Post placement obligation
15. Criminal clearances from abroad
16. Copy of Passports

Now. Make four or five copies of everything. Get EVERY.SINGLE.DOCUMENT.NOTARIZED. Seal each one in a nice plastic report cover. Recover from carpal tunnel syndrome. Do a victory dance. And don’t be afraid to Tebow.

We leave in two weeks and still have a lot to get done. When we get back, we are going to be some Fundraising FOOLS, y’all. We have been blessed tremendously by you guys and we cannot thank you enough. We’ve come a long way, but still have money to raise

When we get back, we’ll be designing T-shirts (for real this time), so get ready. We still have some Ug*ndan paper bead necklaces for sale ($15). Also, we’ll be making more crosses to sell ($20 includes shipping). They would make wonderful Easter gifts, so keep that in mind!!!!

You guys, HE is pretty amazing. It’s awesome to see how He paves the way in our obedience. I am ashamed at my initial doubts. I never doubted that He COULD, but honestly, I doubted that He WOULD. I once heard someone say, “God finances what He favors.” It’s no doubt that God loves the orphan. He also loves our obedience, so if you have EVER felt called to adopt, but hesitated because you didn’t think you could afford it, DON’T LET IT STOP YOU. If He has called you to it, He WILL make a way for it to happen. Trust.

Donations are great and if you want, you can click the Donate Paypal button, but above all we need prayer. Please join us in praying for our little nugget or nuggets (oh yeah, we’ve been approved for two). Pray that the Lord will be preparing them for us as He is preparing us for them. Pray for good health. Pray for healing hearts. Pray for comfort of their losses. Just pray.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Uganda. Four Weeks from Saturday. OMG.

We are preparing for our 2nd visit to one of most beautiful places on earth - Uganda - and I literally CAN. NOT. WAIT. This visit will be to well, visit, and volunteer and love on kids. We are staying at the same guest house we stayed at last September so I feel pretty good about that, but I am nervous y'all. Last time there was a group of us and a leader and we didn't do anything but show up when we were supposed to. We didn't handle  the itinerary, we didn't worry about money exchanges because someone ALWAYS had schiilings for us to exchange our good ole USD if need be. We didn't worry about eating or traveling or transportation - these were all provided worry-free. MP and I are going on our own this time. We DID find out that a group Visiting Orphans and Sixty Feet will be there at the same time and AT THE SAME GUEST HOUSE so there is comfort in that. Although we aren't "with" them, we are still totally with them.

That was the most rambling post I believe I've ever made. And I'm ok with that.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Once Upon a Time, I Had a Blog....

It has occurred to me that I had a blog one time. One that I actually got to, ya know, blog in. If I were one to make resolutions that would have definitely been it, but I don’t. So instead, I bask in my glory days when blogging was more of a hobby and less of a chore. Life has gotten a little out of control right now and something had to give. That “something” just happened to be “The Pickle.” Sorry.

Right now we are *thisclose* to being 100% paper ready to adopt our lil UGA nugget. That means my heart and my head are *thisclose* to ‘splodin with excitement/nervousness/love/joy/fear. Pretty much any emotion you can think of, I’ve got it. Multiplied by a million. We are now on an 8 week countdown til our next UGA trip. Gulp. It is a very real possibility that we may meet our next child and the thought of that renders me feeling overwhelmed, yet useless. It consumes me. I have a hard time concentrating on anything right now because of it. I want to be there. I want to KNOW who our child is. I want to bring them home. Like, NOW.

But we wait. And then we’ll wait for a referral. And then we’ll wait for a court date. And then we’ll wait for a travel date. And then we’ll wait for a ruling. And then we’ll wait for a visa. And then we’ll wait til we all come home. Together. Have you noticed a pattern yet? There’s a lot waiting involved. And I don’t wait well.

In the meantime, I find myself nesting already. It’s insane. No drawer or closet is safe at my house. My heart is being prepared for something so wonderful I can’t imagine. My house is being prepared to rival Niecy Nash in TLC’s “Clean House”. The cleanliness and organization of it all would make hoarders cry. Part of me does it because I know it’ll be NUTS with three littles running around. Part of me does it because I actually enjoy it. But most of me does it just to pass the time in between.