Sunday, September 14, 2014

Our Iowa vacation!

 Hello Everyone!!!  So things are back in the swing and we have started home school again.  I know I am once again behind on my blogging which really is sad because I miss it!!!  I sooo need to find a time of the day that works better for me to blog.  Evenings have become a little more crazy because of some needs of my babies.  So I am going to keep working on that. 

For now- enjoy pics of our Iowa trip.  The above picture is us at a Culver's.  Now if you have never been to Culver's - I am so very sorry!  ;)  They have amazing frozen custard, yummy food, and well let's say I love cheese curds as well!!!  I know not healthy which is why it is probably a good thing the nearest one to us is an hour away! 
 The rest of the pictures are from the state fair.  We decided that we would enjoy going to the state fair on our trip.  It brought back fun memories for me and Jason as we had gone together a few times over the years. 
 You don't realize how much you miss real pork chops until you move south where fish, crawfish, and other specialties are great, but their pork chops tend to be well......whimpy!!!  Sorry no offense.  It's ok I understand that Iowa is huge on pork production, and corn.  Other places not so much. 
 So it is a typical fair with loads to fact there are more pictures to come as well. 
 Lots of corn and you forget that there are literally hundreds of kinds of corn!!!  Yep, tru fact.  Squash, egg plant, and all those veggies. 
 Here is their ice sculptures- crazy that it was an alligator considering there are none in Iowa. 
 Now this....this is something that everyone in Iowa knows about- the Iowa State Fair Butter Cow!!!
 They do different "themes" every year.  They also sculpt different breeds of cows so they are different most years too. 
 This year was Field of Dreams :)... and yes the entire thing is made of butter!  Now my question is - how many Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls could you make with all that butter???  :)
 Live bees....  cool to see.  Of course my husband wants to do bees here one day.  Ummm.....not sure how I feel about that.  It makes me very scared.  BUT I would love the honey. 
 Yes, we did lots of random pictures because I made them!  He he he he he
 A giant chicken....  and Matthew....
 Now why do these pictures not correct themselves?  Anyone know how to do that?  If so let me know I obviously need some help.  THANKS!!! 

So this is the tallest stalk of corn ever (replica).  As you can see it is crazy tall!!!!  At the fair they always have this years tallest stalks which is fun too. 
 This just tells a little about the tallest stalk. 
 We ate at the Iowa Pork Association because as you can tell I just wanted to eat all the good Iowa Pork!!!  YUMMY!!!!!! 
 :) pork this time, but we need to get chewing!!!
 The following is a unique display for younger kiddos and you did all these various activities and they would trade you seeds for the toy corn, then you would feed that to the cows and pigs, and get pork.  Things like that and showed some of the processes that take place to get food to the grocery store.  Jonathan isn't happy in the above picture- not sure why?
 We all followed them around as they did their activities. 

 What cute chicks!

 Look how cute my babies in a huge tractor tire! 

 Go Joanna go! 
 My cute farmers....

 Learning how to milk a cow.  Which is what my grandfather actually did for many many many years.  My dad grew up milking cows. 
 Taking your food to trade in at the markets. 
That's a wrap for Michael!!  But he was soo cute!!!

Hoping someone out there still reads my blog :).  Will be posting more pictures and posts soon!  Feels good and hoping I can encourage others too.  OR at least give you a smile! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Congratulations Amy & Peter- It's a Disney Princess!!!!

CONGRATULATIONS Amy & Peter.....It's a Disney Princess!!!!!

Once upon a time there was a family that had 3 beautiful young children.  They loved their family, but also knew that God had laid another adoption on their hearts.

 Here is a part of their story......

We met Dawn during our first adoption as they used the same international agency we were using.  Over the course of the years following our adoption Dawn began to work for Christian Adoption Consultants and we knew God was calling us to adopt again.  After lots of prayer over options, we knew our next little one would join our family through domestic adoption, and that we needed the help of some experts to chart these new waters.  Hence the journey with Christian Adoption Consultants began!  

This revelation caused many messages back and forth with Dawn asking hundreds of questions of which she was always willing to answer them and get me really excited to start the process, but the answer was always wait.  Dawn was so understanding as this pattern continued for over a year!  

Finally, in November of 2013 God finally told us yes, it was time to move forward. I couldn't wait to tell Dawn it was finally time! We knew this process could take a long time for our family as we had a family with 3 small children already. In hindsight, this process was much shorter than we ever anticipated. It all felt full steam ahead.  In March we were home study approved and started presenting our profile the very next day.  We did hear several no's and were settling in for a long wait when our yes came along!  6 weeks later our sweet little girl was in our arms!  We couldn't be any happier and after years of feeling like a piece of my heart was missing, I finally feel complete!  I am so grateful for Christian Adoption Consultants because they were the key piece in leading us to our daughter!

 Oh how I love answering people's questions!!!  

Can we adopt even if we have children?

 What if we have small children in the home?

 Is there really a need for people to do domestic adoption?

YES, YES, YES!!!!!!  To all the above!  For every expectant mother I believe there is a family wondering will anyone want us as a family for their most precious gift of a child?  The answer is YES! 

 Questions?  PLEASE contact me 

or call anytime 813-360-7368

WE ARE STARTING AN INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION PROGRAM!!!!  This is something we are passionate about.  Our desire through our infant adoption program, special needs adoption program, and international adoption program is to help families on their journey to adopt and care for children here in the United States and all over the world!!!  Email or call for more information. Our program is starting officially October 1st!!! 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Congratulations Joel & Katrina- IT's TWINS!!!!

Our double blessings
Joel & Katrina signed on with Christian Adoption Consultants in January.  After a couple of months their home study was complete.  
They got the call that they were matched in May!!  This past July they brought their double blessings HOME! 

Here is a little bit of their story......
 It's Friday the 18th.  Just a few hours away from knowing for sure whether or not these girls were to be ours.  The papers were to be signed at the 72 hour mark, which would be around 3:30 pm.  We began the day praying for all involved, that the Lords will be done, and that everyone would be at peace.  The birth mom text Katrina and asked if she could spend some time alone with the girls.  For the past several days we tried to bring the girls to the birth moms room so she would be able to spend some time with them.  We dressed them all up and took them to her.  She smiled, seeing them, and said,"wow they are going to be spoiled."  
   So we left them with her as we went to our room to pack some of our things, knowing we were leaving with or without the girls.  In our room we finally got the call that we could get our girls.  The papers had been signed!!!  We went to the birth moms room with a mixture of joy and sheer compassion for the birth mom.  As she gave Katrina a hug she said, "Please send lots of pictures.  It will be healing for my soul."  We were so amazed that God had now entrusted these two precious girls in our care.  
   In our room we thanked and praised God for the wonderful gift of these daughters.  That evening, in our hotel room, Katrina text the birth mom to show her our love and to tell her the girls were doing well.  She responded back, "I can't get over how precious they are but I will be forever thankful for you and Joel."  How that comforted us both to know that she was content in her decision and not regretting it.
   Here are a few photos of our darling daughters.

If you would like to have more information on how Christian Adoption Consultants works, 
How to start the domestic adoption program,
How we can walk you through this process,
or any other adoption question....

Please call 813-360-7368
or email me at 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

We leave tomorrow......

 So just some pics of our family as we went to visit our Life Group leaders and friends- for some swim time...... 
 So some fun stats about our upcoming in we leave early tomorrow! 
1300 miles to get there which will be spread out into 3 - 8 hour days.  We have learned that for us unless it is under 15 hours we spread it out.  That way we keep some of our sanity, our kids have the evenings to stretch their legs, and we actually don't miss out on our family time.  You know where you all talk and look at each other (hard to do in a 15 passenger van).  
 We will be in Iowa!  Where I spent 30 years of my life!!!  Home of HUGE pork chops, corn as high as an elephant's eye by the 4th of July!  Mostly small town living at it's finest with many farmers around. 

We will be visiting clients while we are there, staying at a camp that Jason and I met at, visiting some of our children's birth mother- (please be praying about this as of course this is a big deal and we are thrilled and yes there are a million emotions for our children, for us, and for their birth family), going to the Iowa State Fair, meeting up with family, and chillin' breathing in God's mercies!!! 
 Then we will travel down to Missouri- stopping to visit some Christian Adoption Consultant friends on our way through!!!  YEA!!!! 

My parents moved about the same time we did to the Branson, MO area.  So we have rented a cabin- again to visit my parents, visit some clients in the area, and chillax in the pool!!!  Breathe in God's blessing on our family!!!
 Yesterday I packed pretty much the whole day.  Today I loaded it all up except a few last minute things and a cooler for water, milk for Michael, meds for Michael, and a few cool snacks.  I think last night I counted 3 bags of snacks, diaper bag, 3 large suitcases, 5 small carry on type pieces, 3 laptops, double stroller, toys- each child packs a small bag of toys/books, backpack to carry Michael on hikes around the camp, portable seat for Michael, and a partridge in a pear tree ;).
 Of course we have brought bedding with us as well in one of the suitcases.  We will be staying with friends on the way too and from except one night.  So we booked a couple of hotel rooms for that night. 
 Now we realize that vacations are a privilege and not a right.  We take our vacations seriously because the money God has blessed us with we want to spend on memories!  Times laughing and being silly.  Times dedicated to focusing on our children and ourselves.  We haven't planned anything expensive for this trip, but will treat our children to special things we don't normally do - like eat out. 
So here we go!!!  2 more children to be tested for home school, clean up the house, finish some work things, and sleep well because tomorrow we rise early!!  :) 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tomorrow's my Birthday!!! 41 Things I love.....

 So here we go I thought I would share with you 41 things I Love..... since tomorrow is my 41st Birthday! 

1)  I love little surprises my husband comes up with for us to do.  It doesn't have to cost money even, but just the thought and time he takes to put something together for us to do makes me smile and fall in love with him again!
 2)  I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!!!!!  I love working with adoptive families walking them through the process of adoption!  Answering questions, talking on the phone with them, encouraging them, and praying with and for them.  I love working with birth mothers when I get the chance.  I love doing home studies for families preparing to do an adoption.  I LOVE IT ALL!!!!  I am one Blessed Person!!

3)  I Love meeting our clients!!!  Some are local and I get to see them more often- even better!  Since our clients are all over the United States we don't always get the pleasure, but when we do- I LOVE IT!!!!  :) 
 4)  I love our job even more because Jason and I get to work together from home!!!  What a great bonus!!!  To be married to someone who shares your passion!  He is amazing at doing profiles and paperwork for our clients.  He also does a lot of web based work as well for adoption. 
 5)  I really love babies....children really of all ages.  I think this may be why we have 9 ;).  He he he he....but who can resist this????  NOT ME!!!
6)  I love the people we get to work with!!!!  We have amazing leaders and co workers that treat us with respect and are very gracious with us!!!  Makes it even more of a pleasure to do what we do! 
 7)  I love CAMP!!!!!  As in I love being a counselor, working with students of all ages.  Currently I am very involved  in jr/sr high youth ministry and I love it!!!  Even though it isn't easy....I still love it.  I love witnessing, praying, being with youth!!!!
 8)  I love HOME!  We have had quite a few changes in the past few years....but now when I come HOME- this is it!!!  I love the feeling of knowing that unless God calls us elsewhere- this is it!  This is our home.  It is nice knowing that you are settled and you love where you live! 
 9)  I love special memories with our children!  Taking them on "dates" and getting to know them better.  Treating them to something special.  Love it!
 10)  I love coming home to this!  Squeezes.... everyone yelling MOOOOMMMMMMM!!!!!  :)

11)  I love the great outdoors!  Which is another reason to live on 3 acres!  Space, trees, grass, gardens- I love being close to what God created! 
 12)  I love watching miracles happen.....  I may be tearing up right now, but just the thought of this little man makes me cry with joy!  Just knowing that I serve a God who creates miracles daily-----  whew....  I just can't help myself!!!

13)  I love TEACHING!  Now for those who don't know Music Education is what my degree is in.  I love teaching!  It is a passion of mine.  I was a band teacher, then I taught about Jesus at camp, and now I get to teach families about adoption.   I was always and always will be a teacher of Jesus in our home as well as math, English, science, history, geography, reading, writing, and much more at home! 
 14)  I love watching my children play.  I love playing with them just as much!!!

15)  I love Mountain Dew ;)
 16)  I LOVE THIS MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  After 17 years he hasn't left me in the dust.  He hasn't written me off.  He hasn't said forget it.  Instead we have kept working through things bit by bit.  Little by little God has given us grace for the moment to get through some really crazy tough things!!!  AND WE ARE STILL IN LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I don't know what I did to deserve my handsome man, but I am thankful daily that God sent him to me!!! 
 17)  I love music!  Music is a love language of mine.  It is where I find deep worship and God speaking to me.  It is something I have loved since I was young.  It is something I enjoy!!

18)  I love our friends and family who have supported us through the years.  Some have come and gone due to distance and time.  Some have stayed.  I love that people have reached out to us and supported us even through the craziest of times! 
 19)  I love helping and serving others.  I loved doing missions week.  I love seeing a need and being able to fill it.  When I used to teach in a small town I was also a volunteer EMT and that was an awesome way to serve. 

20)  I love prayer time.  I have so much to be thankful for, so much to seek God's face over.... and so thankful that God loved me so much as to send His one and only son to die for me.  My prayer time is a time I take seriously because it is how I get to know my Jesus.  It is a way I can really truly accept His grace and love for me.  Only then can I pass it on.  
 21)  I love blogging!!  Even though I don't get nearly as much time as I would like to do it- it is definitely a love.  I enjoy encouraging, being real, sharing, and just being me.

22)  I love FB, Instagram, Pinterest, and other fun internet things that keep me connected and places where I can learn more about so many things.  I can keep in constant contact with clients, read great articles on connection with my children, find great sensory activities to do, and see crazy fun pictures of my friends. 
 23)  I love pizza, angel food cake, fried pickles, watermelon, honey dew, and meat on the grill.  Oh yes, and ICE CREAM!!!  YUMMY!!!

24)  I love swimming!!!  I love going to a pool, the beach, water parks, water balloons, splash parks, anything with water!!!!
 25)  I love dancing.  Not as in serious moves or anything like that, but just dancing.  Secret time...  sometimes during prayer time I put in my headphones and just dance before the Lord.  I also like just being silly as well.  Sometimes your joy just needs to explode.

26)  I love reading scripture and books that help me learn more about scripture.  There was a definite time in my life this wasn't true, but the more I grow the more it is definitely true.  I used to think that I knew enough about the Bible, but I have learned that isn't possible.  Now when I read the Bible I find sooo much more.  Believe me this is a God thing.  Thankful..... 
 27)  I love going out on little adventures.  Whether it is to the park, out to eat ice cream, to a National Park, vacation, to see something new, museum, zoo, beach, whatever- I love going out and about.  :)

28)  I love my church!  Not just the building...but the people, the worship, the uneasiness I get when the pastor is preaching and I know I need to change my attitude and heart about a few things.  Life group and sharing together as a Body of Christ! 
29)  I love a challenge!  As in one thing I have always loved is when someone challenges me and says it can't be done.  Ummmmm.....those are fighting words!  ;)

30)  I love making lists and checking things off my list.  :)  Yes, I am a list person and I am not afraid to admit it! 
31)  I love theme parks!!!  Busch Gardens, Universal, Sea World, Disney parks, any of them!!!! 

32)  I love rides!!!  The faster, higher, scarier- I'm in!!!!
33)  I love playing games.  Boggle specifically.  As in I am very competitive on this particular game....  I love Wii bowling and boxing.  I love card games, board games, and outdoor games. 

34)  I love cheering on people.  Especially my husband and children, but others as well.  I know this may shock you, but I was a cheerleader back in the day.  I definitely have the mouth for it ;).  But I love cheering people on in a game, or in life, or in whatever they are doing.  I enjoy seeing people try hard and do their best! 
35)  I love matching shirts/outfits.  I know it may be a sickness, but I can't help it. 

36)  I love my quiet time......  many afternoons in our home we have a "quiet time rotation".  Where the kids have stations of doing a educational computer game, reading, writing, quiet play, homework, etc.  That is the time of the day I do a lot of work, but that is also the time when I get to pray, focus on my goals, read my Bible, dream, and just chill! 
37)  I love being crazy!!!!  Yes, hard to believe really I am sure ;).  I just think you only live once and sometimes you just have to do something silly.  I blame this on my mom since she was always ready to embarrass me or be crazy herself. 
38)  I love seeing my children grow in their faith!!!  NOTHING is more rewarding that seeing God move in the hearts of your children.  PRAISE GOD!

39)  I love racing!!!  OK it isn't like I go to the indoor race track often.  I have done it a few times, but I do love racing.  I know I shouldn't race on your way to church.  You have to be safe, but sometimes......  I can't help it.  It is just a part of me.  Like get out of my way!!!  I am coming through!!!!!  :)  Don't be scared- I am a very safe driver promise!!!
40)  I love my children!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Nothing keeps me on my toes, on my knees, and pushing towards God than my children.  They give me the greatest joys and yes push me to the edge often in the same minute.  I am thankful daily for each and every one of them and their personalities.  They challenge me to be a better person and to keep growing! 
41)  I love being who God made me to be.  This may sound obvious, but I am happy with what God gave me.  I know my life is far from perfect.  I am just happy to have what I have.  I feel content with my life.  :)  I may not have a perfect body, lots of things that others do, or whatever, but I love what I have. 
Whew!!!  If you read all that- wow!!!  That is a lot.  Of course you may have found out more than you wanted to know!  :)
One thing I always share every year on my birthday is about the miracle God did in my life now 33 years ago!!!!  33 years ago (in 2 days) I found out I had cancer.  We were on vacation and my "stomach" started to hurt.  When my parents took me to the hospital they ran tests.  The tests showed that I had cancer. 

That cancer proved to weigh over 5 lbs. in a little 8 year old girl's body.  When they went to do surgery they found out it was malignant.  It took many doctors several hours of surgery- scraping everything in my abdominal area, taking out anything not absolutely necessary to live, and putting me back together again.  I thank God daily that HE HEALED ME!!!!!  There is NO other explanation. 
I am 33 years cancer free and thankful to be alive.  What do I want for my birthday?  More Jesus and my family.  Because after God heals you like that- that is all you need.  :)

To read my full testimony- GO HERE!!!  :)