Friday, July 27, 2012

New Blog...

Hi Bloggy Friends:

One thing I learned at SheSpeaks last weekend was that I needed to switch my blog over to WordPress and get a tad bit more professional as I begin working towards getting my book published.

So, that being said I am now blogging here. I have made the switch, although my blog doesn't look pretty yet! I was getting so caught up in not having the new blog designed when God whispered to my heart, "Launch the new site. It's about the writing, not about what it looks like."

So you can now follow me at

I will be blogging about faith, family, adoption, and orphan care. It will also be the place to get updates on my book and the publishing process. Oh yea, and it will be where John and I share the details of our next adoption - when the time comes!

 I will be leaving this blog up a while longer, but it will eventually be deleted. So please join me on this new adventure over at my new site.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Publisher Appointments

When I signed up to go to SheSpeaks I was given the opportunity to meet with publishers. I checked the box not realizing all the work that would be involved as I prepared for those intimidating publisher appointments. Satan began to have a ball as he tried to plant doubts in my mind. What was I thinking, meeting with four of the biggest Christian publishers?

I spent about a month working on my book proposal and One Sheet. There is so much detail involved in a book proposal! Two of the editors from my newspaper days looked over the proposal and gave me feedback. It helped that one of them had published a book. I was so grateful for their help,  because I seriously stink when it comes to commas! Twenty-eight pages later, my proposal was finished, my bags were packed and I was on a plane to North Carolina.  

During one of the first sessions I attended at SheSpeaks, blogger/author Emily Freeman said,

 "A writer trusts her instincts. She writes what makes her come alive, not what she thinks will sell. Trust what you want! Not what people say will work. Write it anyway!"

All four of my publisher appointments were on Saturday. I was nervous but I prayed that God would speak through me and that He would be glorified through our story. Here's a breakdown of how things went:

1st Appointment: The editor was a bit intimidating, but God gave me peace and I shared our story with passion. She listened but didn't seem completely impressed. She wanted to know why someone would care to know the details of my story (after all, I am nobody famous) and suggested I write my book not as a memoir, but as a How To type book. I just smiled and thanked her for the feedback. She did tell me that my writing was strong and solid. Folks, that compliment was just as good as a book deal for this girl! Anyway...she asked to keep my proposal in case anything were to come across their publishing office that I might be able to help with. Not really sure what that means, but I will take it as kind of a good thing! Oh, yea...she also said I needed a bigger platform!

As I left that first appointment, I could have felt very defeated! But I remembered what Emily had said in the session about trusting my instincts and writing what makes me come alive. I know in my heart that God is asking me to write our story (even though I'm not famous!). He's asking me to be transparent and real and raw - all to bring hope and encouragement to others facing the challenges of infertility and adoption. That's what He was asking me to do and He would make a way for it to happen.

2nd Appointment: I wasn't nervous at all. I went in and shared my story and the editor did seem to like the idea but didn't think the title was going to work. She said people would have a hard time searching Bringing Home the Missing Linck since our name is spelled the way it is. She complimented me on my writing and asked if I had considered getting a literary agent. She asked to keep my proposal and that was pretty much that.....
Oh, yea...she also said I needed a bigger platform! (see a trend yet??)

3rd Appointment: This is the one I was the most nervous about! I was meeting with a LARGE publisher who produces books for very famous people. No pressure or anything! It's funny that I was the most nervous about this appointment and it seemed to be one of my best meetings. From the moment I began to share our story, I could tell the editor was intrigued. She immediately told me that she thinks there is a need for a book like mine and she asked a lot of questions. Just one little problem...I need a bigger platform!
She said had my platform been bigger, she would have agreed to publish my book! She said I had great writing and a great story. She asked me to work on building my platform and when I have one to email her. She did keep my proposal!

4th Appointment: This was a last minute, extra appointment that I found out about a few days before the conference and I am so glad I agreed to meet with them. The editor asked a lot of questions and really seemed interested in my story. She also asked how quickly I could have the book complete. The one thing she didn't ask platform! She told me to keep doing what I am doing but didn't seem as concerned about my lack of platform as the other publishers. She asked me to email her my proposal and said I would be hearing something from them within about six months.

So there you have it! The appointments went better than I could have expected and I learned a lot in the process. Now it's a sit around and wait to see if I hear back from any of them. Oh, yea, and build my platform!

****I had so many amazing people praying for me as I worked on my proposal and met with these publishers! Thank YOU! Your prayers were felt!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fulfilled Purposes

Now that you know you have a God-Sized Dream, what do you do next? It can be overwhelming! I got home from SheSpeaks late Sunday night and was on a crazy high! I had a list of goals and was ready to tackle them.
Then reality smacked me in the face. You know...dirty diapers, piles of laundry, grocery shopping....

Don't get me wrong, I love my reality, but I started to get overwhelmed. How am I going to balance being the best mother and wife I can be AND use my writing to glorify God?

I need to write every day, I need to expand my platform, I need to blog AND work on finishing my book, I need to update my Facebook page, I need to transfer my blog to Wordpress, I need a new blog design. Oh. My. Goodness. I am tired just typing it!

Last night I got in bed, opened my Bible and God gave me a promise.

"I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me."
~ Psalm 57:2

Then another promise in Psalm 138:8 "The Lord will fulfill His purposes for me."

Then my phone rang. A dear friend called because she wanted to encourage me. She sensed the Lord doing something amazing through my blog, through my writing and she thought I needed to know. She shared how a loved one had read my blog and was touched by what he read. I cried. God affirmed in my heart again that I am to be writing for His glory!

That's what God-Sized dreams are all about. They are for His glory, not ours. And if your God-Sized dream makes a difference in just one person's life then God has fulfilled His purpose.

At SheSpeaks, many of the publishers told me I needed to focus on expanding my platform. More Facebook followers, more people viewing my blog each month, opportunities to speak and share our story. Publishers wanted a platform - the bigger the better, but each session I attended was focused on something different. It wasn't a big platform. It wasn't about thousands and thousands of Facebook followers. It was using your writing to make a difference in the life of ONE person!

Today I am linking up over at Women Living Well and I love what Courtney shared during one of her sessions. She said, "Just be faithful to use your writing to glorify the Lord. His Word will not return void."

So be faithful sweet friend! Hold on to God's promise to fulfill His purpose in your life and remember that if you touch just ONE person, you have made a difference in His Kingdom!

*** For more encouragment, check out Courtney's blog Women Living Well.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

You Want Me To Do What, God??

"God-sized dreams aren't easy. It's about who we become in the process,
 not how we get there."
~ Holley Gerth

Do you have a God-sized dream? You know, something that you know 100% that God is asking you to do, but you're scared silly. A dream that your tiny little human mind can't even grasp?

I've had or have a few of my own God-sized dreams....attending the University of Oklahoma, adopting a child, writing a book, going to Ethiopia, being an advocate for adoption and orphan care.

One of the God-sized dreams that I had for many years was to attend the SheSpeaks Conference in North Carolina. Seriously, I have dreamed of going for YEARS! Then, this spring, after I quit my job to stay home with Jackson, God made it pretty clear that this was the year I needed to attend. What??

I had just quit my job. The conference wasn't exactly cheap and even though I had watched God provide every penny for our adoption, I questioned how I could afford it. I'm sure God just shakes his head at my lack of faith.

I knew I had to go because I have another God-sized dream - writing a book about our adoption journey. SheSpeaks would be an amazing opportunity to learn more about publishing, meet with publishers, and invest in my writing.

John and I decided to tap into our savings account to pay for the conference, looking at it as an investment. I felt God nudging me to ask my Dad to help with my plane ticket. But truth be told, I was kind of hesitant to ask. I HATE asking my parents for money. But I swallowed my pride, called my dad, and spilled my guts about my dream of going to this conference and the opportunities that awaited me. Guess what, my Dad covered my plane ticket!

I spent several months working like crazy on my book proposal and praying for God to prepare my heart for all that He would do at the conference. I boarded a plane for North Carolina last Thursday and from the moment I stepped off the plane, God blew my mind.

I met amazing women. You would think that a group of 650 women, who are all speakers and writers, would be a bit competitive. Not. At. All. I have never experienced so much encouragement. On top of my brain being overloaded with information, life-long friendships were made.

I had the opportunity to meet with four of the biggest Christian publishers in the publishing world. This. Is. Huge. These publishers don't normally accept proposals unless you have an agent, but it was one of the many perks for writers at the conference. (I will write more about my publisher appointments later this week! They deserve a blog post of their own!)

I was filled to overflowing spiritually. Let's just say that my Bible reading and prayer time had been almost non-existent these past 7 months. Being a new mommy has many challenges and finding time to sit at the feet of Jesus is one of those challenges. I gained valuable resources for my writing during the conference, but more than anything God filled me up! He affirmed that I'm supposed to be writing this book. He kept His promise - I drew near to Him and He drew near to me.

It didn't dawn on me until the conference was in full swing, that God had fulfilled one of my God-sized dreams by allowing me the opportunity to attend SheSpeaks. It was a reminder that He will fulfill the other dreams He's placed on my heart in his perfect time.

What are your God-sized dreams? What's keeping you from fulfilling them? Praying you step out in faith and believe the One who has placed that dream on your heart! "Anything is possible for him who believes..." (Mark 9:23).

Monday, July 23, 2012

Welcome Home Mommy!

I was only gone for four days, but I feel like Jackson has changed SO much. He looks more like a little boy than a baby! I'm spending the day soaking in his cuddles and his baby ramblings. And I don't even mind getting sprayed by his spit bubbles. I look at him and see God's faithfulness. Because of Jackson, I have learned to love more like Jesus! He has changed my whole world!

I can't wait to share details of the SheSpeaks Conference with you. There's so much to share that it will take several blog posts. I am still soaking it all in. God was present. He did amazing things in my heart and affirmed that I am supposed to be writing, I am supposed to share our story, I am supposed to advocate for adoption and orphan care!

After all, adoption is a beautiful picture of God's love for us!

"He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance to his pleasure and will."
~ Ephesians 1:5

Friday, July 20, 2012

She Speaks!

My brain might bust from all that I've learned today at the SheSpeaks conference. Not to mention I might cry at how awesome God is and all He's already revealed to me through this experience. I prayed for a heart ready for all He had for me and I am overwhelmed by his faithfulness and how He has answered that prayer. Friendships have been made and the spiritual recharge I so desperately needed is in full swing ( I don't exactly have the time to read my Bible and pray the way I did 7 months ago).

I have met the most amazing ladies! I'll be introducing some of them to you on my blog next week. They are writers, speakers and just downright passionate about the Lord! They have so much to offer...I can't wait for you to meet them!

There's so much I want to share, but I promised myself I would go to bed at a decent time tonight. Today has been a whirlwind and tomorrow I meet with four of the biggest Christian book publishers. It dawned on me today just how big this opportunity is! I'm a little intimidated to be meeting with one of the biggest Bible publishers EVER!

Tomorrow I'll also have the opportunity to hear Tom Davis speak. He's written popular books like "Fields of the Fatherless" and "Red Letters" and is passionate about Orphan Care and adoption. Maybe he'll want to endorse my book ;-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:North Carolina

Saturday, July 14, 2012

7 Months!!!!

Happy 7 Month Birthday Little Man! You are getting so big and doing so many new things every day! I can't believe 7 months have already flown bring so much joy to my heart! I love you!! I think I better start planning that 1st Birthday Party! It will be here in the blink of an eye!

This Month You....

  • You began to smile and giggle when we played peek-a-boo
  • You had your first taste of homemade ice cream and sucker
  • You went to the lake and took your first boat ride with Missy and Dude
  • You tried juice (but it makes your stomach hurt!)
  • You can sit up like a big boy, although you prefer to be on your tummy so you can scoot around and roll wherever you want to go.
  • You babble and chatter A LOT! You said Ma, Ma, Ma, Ma, for the first time! Melt my heart! Although I know you don't know what it means yet.
  • You love to go swimming with Harmonee
  • You like to play in your exasaucer and discover all the new toys
  • You stayed with Justin and Jessica so mommy and daddy could go see a movie.
  • Your 1st Fourth of July!
  • You got a Big Boy car seat
  • You love playing with and feeling the water from the spray nozzle in the bathtub
  • You can stand up with help from mommy and daddy
  • You love to listen to your Pete the Cat books on the iPad
  • You learned how to turn your music on and off on the toy in your crib

Friday, July 6, 2012

One Year Ago...

One year ago, I was headed out the door at work to meet my friend, Shelli, for lunch. A coworker stopped me in the hall to ask if John and I would be interested in adopting a baby due in December. One of the clients at the Mission where I worked, was pregnant and wanted to find a family for her baby.
My initial thought was there was no way we could adopt the baby without me loosing my job. I remember Shelli and I talking about the baby and going over all the "what ifs". The more I talked about it, the more I felt like God was opening a new door for John and I to start a family. He moved mountains so that we could give that baby the family his birth mother desired for him to have. He's a miracle! An answer to so many prayers. I am still humbled and in awe of how God wove together the lives of 2 people at the Mission for the sake of a baby boy in need of a family.That conversation in the hallway changed me life!! Five short months later we welcomed Jackson Henry Linck into the world!
Our lives have been better ever since! How could it not be seeing this sweet face every day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Let Freedom Ring!

We had a great, laid back, 4th of July! During the day, we stayed in from the Oklahoma heat and while Jackson napped, so did John and I.
We had some friends over for a cookout and then we watched the fireworks from our driveway. We literally have a front row seat. It's a nice perk!
Jackson didn't stay up long enough to see the fireworks and thankfully the loud noise didn't wake him up!
Here's some photos from our day....

Jackson loves his chair! He's my little firecracker!

 Happy 1st Fourth of July Buddy!
 I love this photo of me and my Little Man! Just melts my heart!
 Our great friends Justin and Jessica with their favorite Little Burrito!
 4th of July Family, white and blue all over!
 Jackson and his friend Harmonee celebrated together, but they didn't stay up long enough to see the fireworks...
 Emily, Harmonee, Jackson and Me
 John, Me, Jessica and Justin....
 Watching fireworks from our front row seats...the driveway!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy Half Birthday Little Man!

This photo says it all! Jackson no longer wants to smile. He has a new talent of blowing crazy bubbles and spraying you like crazy! Nothing like a shower of spit from your 6 month old! This morning that's all he wanted to do...his facial expressions are priceless! Happy 1/2 Birthday Little Man!

A few other highlights from the past month:
  • Jackson started eating veggies and HATED my home cooking! Once we switched to good ol' Gerber, he ate EVERYTHING....He's now eating fruits and veggies and there isn't a thing he's turned his nose up at.
  • He loves his toy crab and tries to eat it's eyeballs.
  • He can hold his bottle and is now drinking from a sippee cup
  • He took his first trip to the St. Louis and OKC zoo
  • He can reach and grab things really well. Especially his paci, which he just pops right into his mouth, but for the most part he likes to turn it sideways and gnaw on it.
  • He can sit up on his own for several minutes at a time. He's still a little top heavy, but he's getting better each day.
  • He loves to splash in his kiddy pool.
  • He got strep throat! Boo!
Here's a few more photos from our little photo shoot this morning. Once again, no big smiles, but many faces I want to always remember!

 I love how Jackson puts one finger in his mouth and chews on it....
 Watch out for spit....

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book Proposals, Platforms and Word Counts, Oh My!

I never wanted to write a book. Well, I take that back. I've envisioned myself writing children's books, but never a 60,000 word best-seller. I do short. Newspaper articles, blog posts, you get the picture?
I have always been good at expressing myself through writing. When I was about 9-years-old, I wrote a poem that was read at my grandfather's funeral. I later wrote an essay about him that was published in my middle school's writing publication. I have kept journals for years and I swear I will pay someone to burn those things after I die. Nobody needs to read the drama-filled journals from my earlier years.
I also love getting lost in a good story. You know the kind, that when it ends, you just want to cry.  I'd give anything to spend a few days with my nose stuck in one of those books, but I don't have the luxury of kicking back with a good book these days. I currently have 2, I've barely gotten to the good stuff, books started on my iPad and who knows when I'll get around to finishing them. After all, I have a book to write. 60,000 words daunting me, looming over my head, making me a bit crazy.
Yes, I have a book to write. God has given me a story that I can't just write in a journal, pack in a box and bury in the back of my closet.
Our adoption journey is a story that only God could orchestrate and I am still humbled that He chose me to play one of the main characters.
I can't NOT share it. What if one person reads our story and it encourages them at a time when they are in the pits of infertility hell? What if someone who doesn't know the amazing love of Christ, reads our story and is changed forever? What if, because of our story, more people become educated about the need for families to adopt African American and biracial children in the United States?
Writing 60,000 words scares me. I feel inadequate. The devil is already having a party, as he tries to plant seeds of doubt and keep me from doing what God has called me to do.
I might go as far as to say that this journey is scarier for me than answering God's call to adopt.
Bringing home a child. Keeping that child alive. Writing 60,000 words. Can they really even be compared? Maybe not, but I'm just being honest.
When we stepped out in faith to adopt, we had no idea how we would come up with the money we needed - God provided every penny.
He will provide every word for this book proposal and manuscript.
He will provide me with a platform. That's another detail that's getting my anxiety levels elevated. And if my platform isn't as great as I think it should be (or non-existent for that matter) God can still move mountains and get this book published.
The Bible study I am currently doing is on Nehemiah. He prayed for 4 months before asking the king if he could return to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall. He also never forgot that his success was not because of his own strength, but because the hand of God was upon him.
I have exactly 36 days to finish my book proposal, before I board a plane to North Carolina to attend a writing conference that I have dreamed of attending for years!
It just happens that the wife of one of my husband's friends (who lives in Florida) will also be attending the conference. Small world. We have committed to being prayer partners as we prepare for the conference and all God is going to do. She shared a verse with me that we are praying over one another and it brings me great comfort.
Psalm 37:23 "If the Lord delights in a man's ways, He makes his steps firm."
Tonight as I was driving home, these words echoed from the Christian radio station. "Trust Him with your desires and see what He does."
That's what I'm doing. Trusting.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Let's Raise Some Money for the O'Neal Family!

Our friends Jason and Joely are probably just WEEKS away from going back to Ethiopia to get their son and bring him home FOREVER! Woo hoo! There's just one little glitch.... they are still $4500 short of being fully funded.
What do you say we help them out by doing a little giveaway....
Here's a photo of the prizes....a handmade African doll, a framed print of Africa that says Ethiopia in Amharic and three GREAT books - Fields of the Fatherless, Crazy Love and Radical.

Each person who donates at least $5 to the O'Neals adoption fund will be entered to win this prize pack. Come on folks...let's bless the socks off this couple and help bring their son HOME!

Here's the rules...

1. Visit Jason and Joely's blog and make a donation! Remember, at least $5 to enter the drawing...but let's bless them! Maybe $10, $20 or $30.

2. After you have made a donation, comment on my blog post  or on my Facebook page and let me know that you have donated.

3. Spread the word through your blogs, Facebook, etc. We will do this until Friday, June 15th.

Friday, June 1, 2012

We've Made A Decision

Two years ago, John and I made the decision to adopt from Ethiopia. There were many reasons why we chose international adoption.The statistics of children dying from preventable diseases were staggering. At one point in our decision making process, I considered domestic adoption (John was certain he wanted to go international). I knew that we could give a child a chance at life if their birth mother had adoption as an option and not just abortion. However, I didn't have all the facts about domestic adoption and the thought of having a relationship with a birth mother scared me. More on this in a bit....
SO....we began the long, long, process of international adoption. It wasn't long after we made the official wait list, that wait times began to drastically increase and huge changes began taking place with Ethiopian adoptions.
Many of our friends left the Ethiopia program to pursue other adoptions, but John and I felt like we were supposed to hang in there. I remember how hard it was when our friends left the program. I had so many mixed feelings. I believed (and still do) that God could move the mountains standing in the way of Ethiopian adoptions. I was sad that so many people seemed to be giving up so easily.It was a very emotional time. John and I continued on the wait list and as each month went by, the wait time increased and we received more depressing news about the time it was going to take to finish our adoption and the increased fees associated with the longer waits.
In July 2011, John and I were pretty content with our waiting game and had come to terms with the fact that it would be years before we brought our kids home. God had a different plan. There was a young girl, living at the homeless shelter where I worked, and she wanted to give her baby up for adoption. She was about 4 months pregnant at the time.
There were a lot of hurdles, but God made every detail fall in place and that baby boy became our son. It was God's plan.
After Jackson was born, we had to place our Ethiopian adoption on hold because of rules that Jackson has to be at least a year old before we can adopt another child. These past few months we have been praying and considering the future of our Ethiopian adoption.
I've known for a while what we needed to do, but I didn't want to face the reality that I would likely never get off a plane in Africa and be united with my child.
We have decided to leave the Ethiopian program.This has been one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make. Our hearts will forever be tied to Ethiopia and the orphans there, but there are many reasons why we believe it's best for us to leave the program.
It's not as much the long wait times, as it is the rising costs, that have swayed our decision to withdraw from the program. The longer it takes, the more money it costs, and we don't have an unlimited bank account. There is also the concern that adoptions in Ethiopia will stop all together.
Although we won't be adopting from Ethiopia, we will always have a heart for the children. We will continue to support ministries working in Ethiopia and families adopting from there. I have a huge desire to go on a mission trip to Ethiopia and feel like God is opening doors for me to do so in the near future.
So what's our plan for the future?
We have decided to pursue a domestic adoption of an African American or bi-racial child, once Jackson turns a year old, through our local agency. There is a HUGE need for families to adopt African American and bi-racial children here in Oklahoma. We learned that in the past 10 years, not a single African American family has adopted from the agency we are planning to use. Seems like a lot of families want a white baby that blends with their family. This breaks my heart!
One of the reasons I have struggled with leaving the Ethiopian program, is because I didn't understand how God could take us down that road, let us fall in love with those precious children and then redirect our course.
I'm beginning to understand a little better now how He used Ethiopia to prepare us for the path He wants to take us on.
God knew I needed to have a heart for the world. He led me to Ethiopia. God knew at one time I was one of those people who was unsure if I could adopt an African or bi-racial child. What would people think? Now, I can't imagine NOT having an African American child (and to be honest, I really, really, want a sweet baby girl!).
I've written this before, but I will write it again. It's just an amazing testimony of the plan God had for our family and how He uses EVERYTHING to achieve his purpose!

Infertility and Depression led to
the decision to adopt which led to
God leading us to Ethiopia, which led to
God giving me a heart for the poor, the orphan and the world, which led to
Me praying for God to show me how I could serve that population here in the U.S., which led to
My job at City Rescue Mission, the states largest homeless shelter, which led to
Meeting our birth mom, which led to
Our incredible adoption story and amazing son, Jackson Henry.

Whew! Maybe, just maybe, God called us to Ethiopia, if for no other reason than to change me. To prepare me for the journey He had in store. To give me a heart for the poor, the orphan and a heart for African children and biracial children.

And I have a whole different outlook on having a relationship with birth mother's. It doesn't scare me anymore. Having a relationship with a birth mother is a chance to love her, pour into her life, share Christ. It's an honor. I am so grateful that I know Jackson's birth mother. That I was there through the majority of her pregnancy. That I was able to hold her hand the day we found out she was having a boy. That I was with her in the room when Jackson was born. That I can pick up the phone and call her to wish her Happy Mother's Day. That she sent me a Mother's Day card. One day I'll be able to share all of this with my son.

I know there will be people who don't understand our decision, who don't support what we are doing. We've already dealt with that and it sucks. We are doing what we feel is best for our situation and I just ask that you respect our decision. God already answered our prayers in a way we could have never imagined. His name is Jackson Henry! We believe God knows the face of each and every one of our children and we can't wait to see how He grows our family.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Confessions of a Baby Food Maker

Carrots made him gag and scream.
Peas were a bit more peaceful.
Green beans were tolerated better than carrots, but not as much as peas.

Maybe my homemade creations are too chunky. Maybe he takes after me and just hates most veggies. Although, I do like me some green beans. Whatever it is, it's only been 2 weeks and I'm ready to trade in the Baby Bullet and go get some Gerber to save the day!

Making the food isn't the hard part. It's actually pretty simple and doesn't take all that long. The part that stinks is the extra planning it takes to thaw the food out and make sure it's ready before my Little Man hits major meltdown mode because his stomach is rumbling like a freight train.

Seriously, he has a temper like no other. He gets so worked up that he's not savoring his veggies, but on the verge of choking to death . I'm starting to dread lunch and dinner! Life would be a lot easier if I could just pop open a jar of store-bought food.

Now, now...I know some of you are just appalled that I would feed that stuff in the jar to my baby boy. After all, it's packed with all kinds of gross stuff and super bad for his growing little self. But seriously, I ate it and I lived and millions of other children do too. And honestly...I didn't start making Jackson's food because it was better for him (I know, I may not get mom of the year). I only did it because it was going to save this stay-at-home mama some moo la!

Sigh. I'm thinking I can trade in a couple of Sonic Dr Pepper's each week for a little feeding time sanity. Wouldn't you if feeding time looked like this???

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Celebrating Kicking Cancer's Butt

This weekend Jackson and I went to Texas to celebrate and cheer my mom (his Lolli) on as she walked the Survivor Lap at Relay for Life. Her life changed drastically last October when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, but after a double mastectomy and chemo, she has kicked cancer's butt! My mom is seriously the strongest person I know. She has been through hell, yet I've never heard her complain. Two weeks after her surgery, she made the 4 hour trip to my baby shower. She was at the hospital for Jackson's birth and stayed with us a few days just a month and a half after surgery. She mowed the yard after a chemo treatment and if you didn't watch her closely she would try to mop the floor and do laundry when she wasn't supposed to. Not to mention, she couldn't keep her hands off Jackson, although she wasn't supposed to lift him! She is one tough cookie, well actually, she's just STUBBORN! :)

Here are photos from Relay for Life! It was a great night and our family has so many reasons to celebrate! I don't believe that God gave my mom cancer, but I do know that He will use this for his Glory! It's only because of Him that my mom was able to walk Friday night and be called a survivor!

 Mom walking her Survivor Lap!
 Me, Autry, My Sister Myka and Jackson ready to walk for Mom
 The second lap was for Survivor's and their caregivers. My dad walked with my mom and two special girls also joined them. My mom kept Autry and Kirsten from the time they were babies until they were old enough to go to school. Sweet!
 We fight because we believe in Miracles and my mom is proof! Me, Myka and Jackson wearing our Relay shirts!
 Jackson and his Lolli - I absolutely love this photo!
 One of several luminary bags made in my mom's honor
 Pop and Lolli showing off Jackson
 Autry and Jackson
 Me, Jackson and Mom
 My family, minus the son-in-laws!
 My mom is so ready for her hair to grow back, but I think she looks pretty cute sporting a baseball cap!
My mom had this little shirt made for Jackson to wear! So glad she had this little guy to make her smile during these past few months! When she was diagnosed, she told the doctor she would do anything she needed to do, as long as, she was at the hospital when her grandson was born! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

5 Months!

Happy 5 Months Little Man! Mommy isn't sure how she feels about how fast time is flying by! You are growing up and doing new things every day! I love that I am home with you each day so I don't miss any of these milestones.

Special Things That Happened in Month 5!

  • You started checking out your feet and reaching for them.
  • You love to blow bubbles when you have cereal in your mouth. You mastered eating cereal. We can't shovel it in fast enough.
  • You actually decided you liked your pacifier and love to suck on it and play with it.
  • You had your first fever, double ear infection and snotty nose.
  • You pooped EVERYWHERE on our way to Pop and Lolli's and mom had to give you a bath with baby wipes in the Target bathroom. You were happy as can be during the poop fiasco.
  • You were dedicated at church!
  • You are laughing and smiling and squealing so much.
  • You sleep through the night and don't need a night time bottle any more.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What A Difference A Year Makes

Last Mother's Day was full of sadness and heartache. I ached to be a mother. Church was so emotional. I sobbed through the baby dedication and Mother's Day video. I remember telling myself that I NEVER wanted to forget the ache in my heart and the pain of not having a child. Even when I was wiping snotty noses and dirty bottoms, I wanted to remember just how much it hurt to have empty arms.Last year several people at church prayed for me and believed that this year I would be blessed with a bundle of joy! What a difference a year makes. This year, Mother's Day is all about this sweet face! I love this Little Man something fierce!

God heard the cries of my heart and answered my prayer for children. Today I didn't just celebrate my first Mother's Day, but John and I dedicated Jackson at church! What a special day! Our preacher asked all the mommies to stand, as well as, all those yearning to be mother's and he prayed for us. I remember standing two year's ago, when I was one of those who wanted nothing more than to have a child. I am so glad he included all those wanting to be mother's. Mother's Day can down-right suck for those who can't have children, have lost children or have lost mother's.

John and I were thankful that we got to celebrate with both of our mom's! All of our family came in to celebrate Mother's Day, Jackson's Dedication and the finalization of his adoption. I am thankful that I got to celebrate with my mom! She has had a rough few months, but she is a cancer survivor and one tough cookie!

Here are a few photos from our weekend of celebration....

 John, Jackson and I with our moms/grandmothers. Jackson made special footprint butterflies for his Lolli and Missy
 Me and My Mom....
 John and his mom
 John and I with Jackson before he was dedicated at church.
 We had SO much to celebrate this weekend. Mainly this sweet boy! Love him!
 Mommy, Daddy and Jackson
 Pop, Lolli and Jackson
 Justin and the Little Burrito
 Missy, Dude, Aunt Adrienne and Jackson
Our families (minus Jackson's Auntie M) celebrating!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day and Adoption

It's 3 a.m. and I just finished rocking Jackson. I went in to peek on him and he was wide awake doing his airplane. He didn't want to eat, he wasn't crying, he just didn't want to sleep. Maybe I should have just left him alone, but it won't be long before my Little Man decides he's too big to be rocked.

As I rocked him and listened to him suck on his pacifier (he's all the sudden decided he likes a paci), I silently prayed for my baby boy and thanked God for letting me be his mommy.

This weekend is full of celebration. It's my first Mother's Day, all of our family is in town for Jackson's dedication at church and we're also celebrating the recent finalization of his adoption.

As I prayed, it dawned on me that although this is a weekend of joy and celebration for me, it could be heartbreaking and emotional for Jackson's birth mom. I rocked him and I cried. I prayed that God would comfort his birth mom this weekend. I was once again reminded how much grief is mixed in with the joy of adoption.

I kissed Jackson's head and cuddled him close, sad at the thought of his birth mom never walking into his room to discover him doing his "airplane" and seeing him smile in a way that will just melt your heart.

It's not that I ever forget Jackson's birth mom. Her picture is in his nursery. We sent her a photo book for Mother's Day. But I've been so caught up in the amazingness of this weekend, that I didn't really stop and think about how Mother's Day might affect her.

I don't know if she'll feel sad or if the day will pass by without much thought - I do know that I will think of her, that I admire the decision she made and will forever be grateful for giving me the most precious gift. She will be a part of my Mother's Day celebration, after all, she's Jackson's Mother too.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Letter

Dear Jackson Henry -

As I've cuddled you and rocked you the past few days, I realize just how fast you're growing up. The past 4 1/2 months have flown by and although I'm glad our long nights of colic induced screams are over, I'm not sure how I feel about buying 12 month pj's for your chubby little self.

There are so many moments and memories that I never want to forget; like the way you suck one finger or the sound you make after you sneeze. And you sneeze a lot and it's never just once or twice - try five or six times.

I love coming in your room each morning to find you on your tummy doing your "airplane" and being greeted by your amazing smile.

I don't even mind getting showered with your morning cereal when you decide to blow bubbles and make a big mess.

Each time I rock you and stare into your eyes, I swear your eyelashes have grown another inch. Your long, beautiful eyelashes are just a reminder that God cares about the details. And oh, baby boy, He cares about you so much.

I never want to forget the way you look wrapped in a big, fuzzy towel after a bath. Your hair wet, drops of water on those long eyelashes and your little rolls of sweet baby chub!

You're starting to look more like a little boy than a baby, especially in those 12 month pajamas. Be still my heart.

The way you pooch your bottom lip out and growl when you get upset...these are the little things I never want to forget.

Today as we were reading "God Found Us You" I couldn't hold back the tears. You are such an answer to prayer and God knew you would be the one to call me mommy.

And sweet boy...being your mommy is better than I could have ever dreamed!


Your Mommy

Monday, April 30, 2012

Our Adoption Announcement!

We finally got to send out our adoption announcement! Yay! Thanks to a great friend for designing it and for a great photographer for taking the photos. I think they turned out pretty darn cute!

Happy GOTCHA Day!

Today was a BIG day for our family! We had our court date to finalize our adoption and celebrated Jackson's official GOTCHA Day!
I was a nervous wreck. I'm not sure why. From the moment Jackson entered this world, he has been mine. I didn't need a judge to tell me that. I had weird dreams all night about the court date. I dreamt my dad had food catered in and we all went through a buffet line before going before the judge. Weird!
Since we don't have family in town, our great friends Justin and Jessica went to court with us.
Justin was the first person to know about Jackson - before he was ever Jackson. Justin worked with me at the Mission and knew from day one that we were going to adopt the baby...he and Jessica have supported us throughout our journey and love the Little Burrito so much (nickname from Justin!).
We were allowed to take photos during the hearing and I am SO glad. I am kind of a photo freak.
It was short, sweet and so fast that I didn't even have a chance to cry. On the way to the court house I was trying to keep it together. I thought tears would come at any moment. But I did tear up as I rocked my baby boy before his nap today.
Today is such a day of celebration. A day to remember God's faithfulness and all that He has done for our family. Jackson's story truly is a miracle and I am just so in love with my Little Man!
Here are a few photos from our day....

 Justin, Jessica and the Little Burrito
 Let's make this thing official!
 John, Jackson and I with Judge Bonner
Please disregard my shirt hiked up and my pregnant look in this photo. How embarrasing. Might need to do some cropping! :)
 With our attorney
 So thankful for great friends who love Jackson so much!
 Jackson's special day! Happy Gotcha Day!
Can't you tell he is excited about it!