Saturday, March 31, 2012

First "Professional" Family Photos

We are just waiting on Jackson's birth certificate to be mailed to our attorney and then we will go to court and finalize our adoption! I didn't send out birth announcements because I really wanted to include Jackson's Gotcha Day on the announcements we send out. So that being said, we decided to have some family photos taken and I will choose a few of these to put on the adoption announcements we send out in a few weeks.
I think they turned out good! Jackson wasn't screaming (which is a huge plus!) although he did yak on himself a few times. Thankfully he was wearing light blue and you couldn't see the wet spots too bad :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

My Little Easter Bunny

John and I were both off today (oh, wait...I will be off everyday from now on!) so we decided to try and take Jackson's pictures in the tulips at OU. I love tulips! They are one of my favorite things about Spring.
We tried to take photos last Sunday but Jackson had a major meltdown and screamed, screamed, screamed!
Today went much better and I just love these photos! Happy Easter, Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sweet Memories!

Today was my last day of work! I have loved every moment of my time at City Rescue Mission. God brought me here for a reason and He's taught me so much through the people that crossed my path each day! I will miss morning devotion, the clients, the staff. I may not be working at the Mission anymore, but it will always be a part of me - it's where I found my baby boy!
Here are a few photos from the past year.....such sweet memories. Such amazing friendships! I might have, okay I did, cry all the way home today!

 Sweet Girls! Some of the first kiddos I met when I started working at the Mission. This is a photo we took before they moved....
 Joe! He always knew I had candy and he always told me thank you! This might be the cutest face EVER!
 Heaven! Most mornings during devotion she could be found in my lap, with her head on my should and her thumb in her mouth.
 Amazing co-workers...we always had such a blast! Fondue day with Seth and Abby!
 Great friends! Justin and Abby! They were a big reason my job was so much fun!
 Levi! Those blue eyes and long eyelashes melt my heart. For weeks I brought a baggy full of cereal to this boy! You would think I had given him a million dollars! I will miss the way his face lit up each time he saw me and his great hugs!
 Thanksgiving Food Box Giveaway! 2500 boxes given to the near homeless. A very rewarding and awesome day on the job!
 This baby doll stole my heart from day one and I cried when I had to watch her and her brother leave the Mission.
 I had the privilege of mentoring this young lady during her time at the Mission. Me and Jessie!
 This is the only 3-year-old that's ever flipped me off, but oh how I loved him!
Look at that face!
 During my first few months at the Mission these babies were either in my lap or on my hip! I wanted to take them home with me!
By far a highlight of my job - loving on these sweet things! On many occasions I had a kid in my lap and a crowd at my desk digging through the candy in my drawer.

 Heaven with her Operation Christmas Child boxes!

 Maya got to dress up in the hockey uniform! She used to hang out at my desk and draw me photos - one time she drew a picture of me and John. She even included my dog.
 It made my heart smile!
 Gina and Kaliegha
 A great developement team...
 Margo was the first client I met and we share a love for cupcakes!
 My blue-eyed buddy Levi
 Marta and I
Jill and I

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Can a Cupcake Make a Difference? You Bet!

People who know me well, know that I LOVE cupcakes! I like to bake them, eat them, try new flavors! Yum, yum, yum! My friends and family also know that I have a heart for adoption, orphan care and Africa! So, you can see why I got really excited when I stumbled across this blog post this morning.

I can bake some cupcakes, sale them and raise money to help children in Africa! Sounds like a pretty good deal to me! A simple cupcake could make a world of difference. A sweet treat handed to a child in Africa could lead to them hearing the sweet message of Jesus Christ for the first time. God can use anything to touch a person's heart - even a cupcake!

So here's the plan. Proceeds from cupcake orders placed through my business, Sweet Insprirations, during the month of April, will be donated to the The Cupcake Kids

You don't even need a reason to order. Who cares if you don't have a birthday to celebrate. Just order a dozen cupcakes and make a difference! It's a pretty sweet deal!

To place an order, e-mail
For a list of some of my cupcake creations, click on the Sweet Inspirations tab at the top of my blog!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

3 Months!!!

Jackson is 3 months old today! WOW! During the long nights of colic, many people told us we just had to make it to 12 weeks...that everything seems to get so much better at 3 months of age! Boy were they all right. Jackson's tummy problems and acid reflux are under control and he is a happy, happy boy! He smiles and coos and brings so much joy to my heart! Here's a few of the major milestones this month:

  • He rolled over from his tummy to his back. He has this down and he is almost rolling over from his back to his tummy. Just needs to move his arm an inch...
  • He has a temper, temper! Whew! Especially when you take the bottle away!
  • We finally transitioned him to his crib. He slept in our arms or in his car seat for 2 1/2 months because the colic was so bad. Now he sleeps in his crib like a big boy!
  • He discovered his tongue and he really loves it! We even let him lick a Popsicle and his tongue was crazy, happy!
  • He started reaching for his toys on his play mat.
  • He likes to suck on his hands but could still care less about his paci, unless we hold it in his mouth. I guess it takes too much work for him to suck on it.
A few more photos from the last few weeks....

 Daddy and Jackson
 Facetime with Missy and Dude in St. Louis
 Sitting in his bumbo like a big boy...
 Yum, Yum! Don't worry, it's sugar free
 My little spider man is all smiles
 Daddy and Jackson at the park
Mommy and her Little Man

Friday, March 9, 2012

New Chapter, New Dreams

It's funny how in the midst of this crazy thing called mommyhood, (because I have so much extra time on my hands, you know!) God has placed some pretty big dreams on my heart.
I may be walking away from my job at the Mission, but God is beginning a new thing, a new season. I'm just trying to figure out how I'll accomplish these things between washing bottles and changing diapers!
Here's a glimpse at two of the crazy things dancing around inside my brain and heart. I sense God could have some exciting things in store.....

  • Finish my book about our adoption journey! I started it more than a year ago when I was working for a publishing company and it's my heart's desire to finish it. I thought I'd just be writing about a trip across the world to become a family - I had no idea I would get to include the amazing story God wrote for us through Jackson's adoption. There's two reason's why I want to write a book about our journey - One, I want our story written down for Jackson. Even though we will tell him about the amazing plan God had for him, there's something about reading it. I want to capture all the emotions and each step of the journey, through words, so that I never forget. Two, I want to share our story so that God will be glorified and others will see His faithfulness.

  • Go to Ethiopia! Yep, whether we adopt a child(ren) from Ethiopia or not, I have a huge desire to travel to the country that I have fallen in love with. It's been a desire of my heart for a while, but I just recently really began to pray about it. Just a few days after I began asking the Lord how I would ever get to Ethiopia, I saw an exciting Facebook post from my bloggy friend Erica. She's planning a girl's trip to Ethiopia this fall! Woo hoo! Holy Cow...I will be on that plane! I am so excited about the possibilities.

There's a few other areas that God is tugging on my heartstrings about, but I think these two areas are a pretty good start to this new chapter of my life!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Leap of Faith

I took a huge leap of faith today. I might even go so far as to say it was harder than being obedient when God called us to adopt.

I gave my notice at work. I’m quitting at the end of the month to be a full-time mommy to Jackson.

I have wrestled with this decision since he was born. Not because I don’t like being at home with him, because I love being at home with him! I love cuddling with him and watching him change. I can’t wait to take him to the zoo and story time. Despite wanting to experience all of these things with my Little Man, it took me longer to pull the trigger than it should have. The reason? I really didn’t want to give up my paycheck.
I don’t make a lot, but that extra little bit each month sure makes things easier and a little more comfortable. I’ve been very prideful. I’ve had a job since I was 18-years-old. I have always brought home a paycheck. Even though my hubby has practically begged me to just stay home, I wasn’t too excited about relying completely on God or him to provide – besides, I like to spend money a little too much (this is an area I am constantly working on!) and my husband is more of a tightwad. I didn’t want him telling me when and how I could spend money – I figured if I kept working, he wouldn’t be able to.

WOW! I might need a little attitude (and heart) adjustment!

I really am working on some of these issues… (more on that in another blog post!). The more and more I thought about it, the more and more I prayed, I realized that I was being selfish and ridiculous. I spent YEARS yearning to be a mom…my heart’s desire has always been to be a mom.
 Well now I have the title I dreamed of for so long. I am Jackson’s mom – it’s the most important job God has given me (aside from being John’s wife). Quitting my job should have been a no brainer, but sometimes it’s tough to step out and trust God completely.

I started reading the book “7” by Jen Hatmaker and this quote really hit home earlier this week as I continued to struggle with whether or not to walk away from my paycheck.

“God was confronting me with my greed, excess materialism, consumerism, envy, pride, comfort…”

Why in the holy heck would I not quit my job and be a mommy after wanting so desperately to be one for so many years? Well…besides being too dependent on my paycheck, I really, really LOVE my job! I cried this morning when I told my boss I would be leaving.

God dropped this job in my lap after a pretty bold prayer. John and I were just beginning our Ethiopian adoption process and the Holy Spirit had really convicted me that there were poor and hurting people in my own community who needed to experience the love of Jesus. I prayed for God to show me how I could be His hands and feet in my city. The next week, I was sitting in a job interview at City Rescue Mission, the state’s largest homeless shelter and several days later I accepted the job.

God has used this job to rock my world! Before our adoption, before this job, I didn’t think much about what was going on across the world, or about the homeless man on the street corner of my own city. God used our adoption and my job to give me a heart for the poor and the socially outcast. He also put me at City Rescue Mission because He knew there would be a young girl living there who would need a family for the baby she wouldn’t be able to provide for. My baby boy!

Leaving this job is bittersweet. I come to a job where Jesus Christ is the most important thing! We start our day with worship and devotion every morning. I am greeted by clients who are excited to see me, who constantly ask about Jackson. God has given me the opportunity to stand in front of 300+ clients and share our amazing adoption story and numerous other stories of God’s faithfulness. I have held many, many children who needed to be loved and encouraged. It was in those moments when I tied their shoes, or let them climb into my lap that I was being the hands and feet of Jesus. Through the many kids at the Mission, God taught me that I could love a child, any child, no matter the color of their skin, as if they were my biological child. He filled the emptiness in my heart when I was longing to be a mommy by allowing me to love the kids who desperately needed someone to notice them – even through an act as simple as bringing a baggie full of cereal to a small boy named Levi each morning.

This job has humbled me. It’s made me desire less of this world and more of Jesus. When I first started working at the Mission, a homeless woman who I didn’t know at the time, pulled me aside and prayed the most heartfelt prayer for the Lord to bless me with children – at the time that prayer was spoken, Jackson had already been conceived.

There have been days at this job where I have been filled with so much joy that I thought I would burst, other days I have bawled like a baby because I have had to watch a child, who had stolen my heart, walk out the door, knowing that I would probably never see them again. Working at the Mission has been a pretty emotional roller coaster, but through it all God changed me. He has given me a heart and a passion for social justice. He has begun (there’s still a lot to do) to strip away the ugliness and worldly desires that I have. He has taught me to love and accept those that the world would like to dismiss.

I’m sure I will cry a few more times before the end of the month rolls around, but I am excited to be a full-time mommy! I won’t ever get this time with Jackson back. He’ll be 3-months-old next week – the time flies! I want to soak up every minute, every smile, and be the one to raise my son.

This new season will have it’s challenges – most of all I need to get rid of my pride and trust Jesus. I need to let go of the things of this world and stop putting my hope in my bank account. I need to do what has eternal value - raising a son to know the Love of Jesus. Because He really is ALL that I need!