Archive | January, 2012

Beauty From Ashes

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Beauty From Ashes

Posted on 27 January 2012 by Kari Gibson

My husband, Joe and I met Kari when she led our first ever mission trip to Uganda and Ethiopia in June 2010 with Visiting Orphans.  If you’ve read any of her posts about that trip, you will understand how completely WRECKED we were upon returning home.  Kari shared our testimony of how we ended up on the trip hereTo say God changed our priorities would be about the biggest understatement. EVER.  We came home ready to sell everything we had left and move to Africa and just prayed for God to show us where.  As a few weeks went by it became clear that His answer was, “Wait.”  And about 3 weeks after returning home, we got the call from Visiting Orphans asking us to lead a trip back to Uganda in June of 2011.  We are excitedly gearing up to lead our 2nd trip to Uganda and our first trip back to Ethiopia since going with Kari!  And this year, at least one of our own kids will be joining us! God has blessed us in so many ways in these trips and we have made lifelong friends on them that share our love for the least of these.  I can’t say enough about how God showed us things about Himself and His love for His people, and about ourselves and what He can really do in us and through when we TOTALLY surrender our lives to Him.  If you are even so much as thinking you might consider going on a short term trip, pray and ask for confirmation, then just go.  Seriously, don’t wait for everything to fall in place- if He wants you to go, He will take care of the details. 

Before we went on our first trip, God had begun putting adoption on my heart.  Joe wasn’t quite on the same page as I was, though.  He was open to the idea, but not ready to jump in.   International adoption, specifically Ethiopia, had been where I envisioned it happening, but as we know, God’s desires for our hearts are often much different and even grander than we could imagine.  Most of my friends, and even myself, if I am honest, figured I would meet a child on the first trip that would steal my heart and we would come back and start the adoption process right then.  But as much as we were moved to help the kids we met on that trip, adopting one of them never even came to mind.  It was very clear that wasn’t why God took us to Africa.  

It was about 3 months after returning home that HIS plan for us and adoption came to light for us.  On Orphan Sunday of 2010, God prompted me to check out a website,  I say, He prompted me, because honestly, adopting from foster care wasn’t just something I wasn’t interested in- I was pretty sure I didn’t have what it would take to “deal” with the system and all that comes with adopting a child from it.  But then I saw them.  Four siblings.  In my state.  Precious.  Away from their parents.  And most tragically to me at that moment…away from each other.  They were all in separate foster homes.  Instantly, my mind thought of my own 3 biological kids and how despite their typical arguments and fights, how only being able to see each other once a month would DESTROY them.  And just like that, God broke my heart for what breaks His.  I started praying for them.  I told Joe about them.  He laughed at me- you know, the, “you are OUT of your mind for even bringing up adopting 2 kids, much less 4!” laugh.  But I couldn’t stop thinking about them.  Praying for them to find a family.  Praying that God would allow us to be their family. That He would open Joe’s heart to the idea.  About a week later, I had my answer when I sat in bed crying.  Not being able to let go of it.  I told Joe my feelings and he said, “okay, let’s see what we can do.”

Friends, God had moved not just a mountain, but a WHOLE STINKING RANGE!

The weekend after Thanksgiving of 2011, we started the process to adopt through foster care in our home state of Oklahoma.  We applied to welcome up to FOUR (yup… not just 2) children, our hope being to prevent children from losing their sibling relationship in addition to everything else they lose when in the system.  We weren’t anywhere sure we could do it, but the one thing we were certain of was our God was more than capable, and would use us as HE saw fit.  A few months along into the process, we learned that the original sibling group I saw was no longer in need of a family- but man, did they have an army of prayer warriors lifting them up!  We grew more determined than ever to let God design our family. There were lots of days of frustration and impatience and just being, “ready to do this!”  But God used those months to grow us and prepare us for what He had planned, and looking back I am so in awe at how He put the pieces together.  

On December 21st, we brought home what we hope to be our forever children.  (In Oklahoma, there is a 6 month trial adoption time where the child/ren live in the home before the adoption is finalized.)  We welcomed a 10 year old daughter and her three older brothers, ages 11, 15 and 16.  They were very close to being split up in order to make them “more adoptable.”  But our God had different plans.  It hasn’t been easy. At all.  There are good days and bad days, but more and more that is changing into good days with a few rough hours.  There are cultural differences that are ginormous.  But our God is more ginormous.  Mostly, what I am seeing is that God can use ANYONE to do ANYTHING He wants them to do- all we have to do is let Him.  I have never loved my husband more.  I could have NEVER imagined him leading me and our family the way he is right now.  And I have NEVER been more excited and less worried about what tomorrow holds because, y’all I can look back at the last 2 years and know, I mean KNOW God will show us the way through anything.  

Here is one of my most recent posts from our blog that gives a real peek into the reality of  the difficulties faced when bringing children into your home, but also the mercies and gifts God shows on even the darkest days.  

Yesterday was hard.
I overslept, didn’t get up and at ‘em like I had wanted to.

And another fun evening of playing with the bigger-and-stronger than me kids left me with a pinch in my back. Plus, and I realize how stupid and trivial and completely of-this-world I will sound for saying this, but… It was the first day of a 21 day fast from Facebook. So, yes, I was a bit irritable. Justifiable? no… but, just being honest.
Several of the kiddos were up too late the night before in a cram-in-as-much-fun-as-we-can-before-school-starts type evening, so noone brought their “A” game when they finally woke up…which may or may not have been noon for a few of them. Yes, I really did let them. I know….
So anyway, it was one of those “resolve one issue with one set of kids then turn around, take a sip of coffee and start working on the next” kind of days, with a lot of, ” I don’t want to move!” and, “you can’t take away my stuff,” thrown in for good measure. And that’s just the stuff I feel comfortable sharing. There’s lots more that is too sensitive to tell. Hard stuff that comes with living in the system for over 10 years.
Let’s just say that by about 2 pm I actually texted Joe and said I might need him to come home. By this time, my head was pounding and at least 3 kids were so angry/upset with me they weren’t speaking to me. (Normally I wouldn’t mind the quiet that creates, but this time it was more than I thought I could handle alone.) Lo and behold, in walks a friend just stopping by to say hello. (J- you have NO idea how much of a gift from God you were yesterday!)
And just like that, the cloud started lifting. My spirit was refreshed and the cloud. started. lifting…laughter came back and siblings were friends again.
Dinner brought a prayer from one of the older boys, thanking God for the day we had- even though it had ups and downs and asking Him to bless our family and help us become closer…
and then…
and then…
we went to “hang out” with the older boys at bedtime. Just relax with them. Chat. And the conversation centered mostly on how important it is that we all just KEEP TALKING… and ended up touching again on how our family standards are meant to help keep us all under God’s authority.
And then…
the same man-child, who was perhaps the angriest at me of them all that afternoon, stopped rocking in his chair. Sat straight up and said that he wanted to say something.
“Before I knew about all this adoption stuff or that it was even going on, I asked God to help me in my walk. You know, be closer to Christ and stuff. Whoa… You know what? I think that’s what this is right here…being here!”
Read more about this amazing family adventure on their Blog- Give. Share. Serve.

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Machine Gun Camera

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Machine Gun Camera

Posted on 26 January 2012 by Kari Gibson

Guest Blogger- Caleb David

Machine Gun Camera: A Philosophy in Short-Term Missions

Let’s clear the air. The world of short-term missions has been rocked recently with many new thoughts, blogs, missionaries and scholars.  I’m not writing to defend the camp that seems to think that all short-term mission trips are destructive, nor am I siding with those who are stuck doing things “the way they have always been done” and are offended at the other viewpoint and prefer the distance of being behind the machine gun camera.  The point of this article is to help us discover that we need each other and that it can be done in a holistic and effective way. I do not consider myself a revolutionary and am aware that there is nothing new under the sun, but we can find new ways to engage and apply the resources and wisdom that is already available to us.

I grew up as a preacher’s kid and spent several years as a child in India and the course of my life led me to work for a great short-term missions organization called Big World Ventures ( for many years in which we facilitated thousands on trips. The next phase of life came after we adopted our daughter, Sakari, from Ethiopia and on a vision trip back to Africa with Children’s Hopechest (, the Lord spoke clearly for us to launch a unique hybrid of short and long term missions while engaging individuals, ministry partnerships and communities – One Child Campaign.

Our philosophy: We believe that the purpose of short-term trips are to create awareness, build Kingdom-minded relationships, successful partnerships, funnel resources with accountability, give voice and facilitate sustainable solutions while connecting communities long-term.  This is accomplished through many creative streams and strategic partnerships. The trip is not the end result – the real work begins once we get back home. The goal is to be as invisible as possible and empower the local churches, missionaries and communities to continue the work seamlessly even after the team leaves. This means working within the appropriate cultural and ministry structure and being willing to never be recognized for our efforts.

To be honest, I totally get what the seemingly jaded long-term missionary is saying because of their encounters and the overall structure of “traditional” short-term team trips.  They have to deal with the effects of those who drop in but exit as quickly as they come. The other side is that short-term teams have the potential to raise awareness, bring resources and encourage those who are putting it all on the line daily. I’d like to establish what a short-term trip should NOT be: a poverty tour, a yearly penance to feel good about ourselves, a quick fix for our elusions of heroism, or a way to fill a hole in our identity. Are we secure enough in our calling and identity to never get an ounce of credit? Each of us must use our areas of influence with purpose and dignity, with a sense of awareness of each other.

We have to think beyond the 10-14 days of our time in a nation – beyond handing out candy, evangelical tracts and putting on drama performances and crusades. Now, before I’m called a heretic, I’m not saying those things are wrong, but I’m asking us to re-evaluate our initial integration into a foreign culture. I humbly ask you to think deeper than the surface of someone repeating a prayer after you. We must make disciples (the concept of multiplication) and that takes time, trust and truth. We must model consistency in our love. We go because we love Him and His people. Any other motivation is wrong.  

Everything in our lives ultimately goes back to our identity. In order to be effective we must first know who we are and know that we can hear and follow the voice of the Good Shepherd. He has called us to love and perfect love casts out all fear. He came to seek and save that which was lost. What was lost?? Communion and relationship with God – we are to be ministers of reconciliation, not heroes with good PR. The Gospels make it very clear that we are to go, but I think that many times we focus on the action of going and not on the attitude or the aftermath of our actions while we are there. We must constantly check the motivation of our hearts and look past the marketing, the budgets and conferences.

I believe that the church is finally waking up to its responsibility for social justice. I believe the next revival that we will see will be one of compassion and justice. Both of those words require the awareness of a need and an action to bring reconciliation or peace. Tim Keller shares in his book, Generous Justice, “In general, to “do justice” means to lives in a way that generates a strong community where human beings can flourish. Specifically, however, to “do justice” means to go to places where the fabric of shalom has broken down, where the weaker members of societies are falling through the fabric, and to repair it. This happens when we concentrate and meet the needs of the poor. How can we do that? The only way to reweave and strengthen the fabric is by weaving yourself into it.”

It can be intimidating, so do we just sit home in fear that we will do the wrong thing? I submit to you a resounding “no!” Where does our heart, mind and spirit need to be when we are about to step foot onto a plane when God calls us to go? We will start more discussion on this subject in our next post and offer some practical tips that will help you to prepare for your next trip. The Father clearly lets us know the harvest is ready in Matthew 9:35-38. We need to keep short-term trips going but lay down our own agendas, take the time to engage those who are there on the front lines fighting every day and use their wisdom and experience to forge an effective strategy together.

Yes, the trip will change you but remember it’s really not about you. Before you book your plane ticket and embark on a life changing adventure, commit to putting on the cloak of humility, walking in wisdom and lifting up the name of Jesus, so that all men would be drawn unto Him not just through your words, but primarily through your selfless love in action. 

One Child Campaign

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Fire In Our Hearts


Fire In Our Hearts

Posted on 25 January 2012 by Kari Gibson

Our adoption story began 8 years ago when our friends adopted their son from Guatemala. God started a fire in our hearts for orphans. Both my husband and I knew, we would one day adopt. We have four biological daughters and one son who passed away as an infant. I felt very strongly that we were meant to adopt a son.

After years of praying and doors closing, we finally began the process of a domestic adoption. We attended classes, we did our paperwork, we created our family profile and we waited. In June of 2010, I felt strongly in my spirit that something was happening, but our call didn’t come. In December 2010, we began to feel called to Africa. We began the process of updating our home study and finding out more information. In January, we made the decision that we would accept boy/girl twins. It seemed silly at the time because it’s so rare to adopt twins. Not to mention, we already had four children at home. Adding two children through adoption would make us crazy right? Three days after we made that decision, we got an email from a friend that changed our lives forever……

“Are you interested in adopting 18 month old boy/girl twins?”

We said yes without hesitation. We started communicating with the agency that had the twins’ file and got more information about them and their history. We found out that they were brought into the orphanage in June 2010. Remember that little feeling I had? We also found out how much it was going to cost to pursue their adoption. My husband is self-employed, and I am a stay-at-home mom. It was our slow time at work and we had just lost our biggest account. We did not have 30k for the adoption. It seemed like the worst possible timing. But we prayed and talked about it. And my husband said, “I believe God is asking us to step out in faith.”

The next day we began looking into adoption grants. Within a week we were approved for a grant and a loan. That just doesn’t happen often!!! Our daily pray was, “Lord, if you keep opening doors, we will keep walking.”

Things looked like they would move quickly and we would travel within just a couple of months. However, that was not God’s plan. It has almost been a year since we saw their faces and we haven’t met them yet. To say that it has been a painful wait would be a gross understatement.

We have had so many signs from the Lord, that this is the path we are to be walking. But I wont lie and say that it has been easy. It’s been hard. Satan’s attacks have been many. The tears have flown frequently. And I know that it will probably get more intense. Leaving my girls here while we fly to Africa for several weeks is something that I try not to dwell on. This is tough stuff.

But what I want you to take away from our story, is that this is not our story. It’s God’s story. We are just a small part of the puzzle. And I am just so thankful to be a part of it. He has grown us more than I can ever say.

We have learned so much about adoption. We have learned so much about ourselves. We have had so many incredible people step in and help us walk this road. We have seen God open doors where we didn’t even know they existed. Between fundraising and grants, we have raised 18k towards this adoption. It’s incredible to say the least.

These precious children who live on the other side of the world, have changed us. They have grown us. I can’t even describe the joy that I have at the thought of bringing these little ones into our family soon. Please join us in praying them home.

We have set up a charity site that makes it super easy for people to donate for our adoption. 

In HIS Grip, Audrey
Blog: The Brown Brigade

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Trusting in the Unseen


Trusting in the Unseen

Posted on 24 January 2012 by Kari Gibson

I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

First off thank you KARI for letting us share part of our story while she is serving in Haiti.  You don’t probably know me—a mom from Austin MN, an Assistant Principal at a local middle school with a son and a great husband-but you might know a story like mine or know someone going through this time in their life.

I was in a deep pit.

Yes, I know it is easier to look back, dust yourself off and be relieved after it is all over-but this is not what I am writing about today-I am telling about when I was in it, scrambling to get out, looking at everyone else around me looking down at me-unsure how to respond, how to help, and how to help me heal.

It started in July of 2010 with this picture:

We had begun our adoption process in January of the same year-with thoughts of waiting 2-3 years for the referral of a 3-4 year old boy from Ethiopia.  Instead we received a referral before the ink was dry on our home study!  He was beautiful-I knew his name, and his story and I loved him!  I didn’t think that type of love could come from a picture-but it did.  My husband and our son Kenny loved M from the start-we started dreaming about what our life would be like with M in it-all the challenges and changes that would come.

Then the wait started.

First we hit the court closure in Ethiopia, and then some of our paperwork had to be changed.  I watched the agency updates daily..waiting…wondering “when is it our turn”.  Finally December 22nd, 2010-6 months after accepting the referral we received our court date-early March 2011.
As my husband and I walked out of court in Ethiopia we were so excited-the judge had “approved” our case on the spot!  According to timelines I followed we were to expect to return to Ethiopia in early June to bring our son home-maybe even before his 5th birthday!  We would have the summer to adjust (and he could adjust to Minnesota weather before the “snow”) and hopes to start him in preschool in the fall so he would be Kindergarten ready for 2012.  I can remember 1 week after returning buying these outfits and starting the suitcase for him.  I can also remember thanking God for “passing” us right away-out of the 11 families that traveled together-only 4 passed at court-I kept thinking that I couldn’t have handled not passing right away-God knew what I could handle…right?

Then everything changed.

We received a call from our Social Worker-a piece of paperwork was not being released, we were no longer approved and had to wait for this letter-not to worry, should take no longer than a month.

No letter in March, April, May, or June.  By this time 7 families had already traveled out of the 11 and brought their children home.  The judge wrote another firm letter to require the release of the letter for our son.  We celebrated his 5th birthday without him.

July-our agency called to tell us that 2 of the 4 letters needed had been released…ours was not one of the letters.  And he had been suddenly moved due to and orphanage closure, hoping for updates on his health soon-as I had been waiting since early April for height/weight updates-something I cherished as a way to picture him now…one year after his referral picture.

Late July-almost a year since referral-we finally passed!  Letters had been released, now people were traveling to get him and bring him to the Capitol City-maybe October Embassy??  Fall in Minnesota is beautiful and we would be together for the Holidays!

Another slip into the pit….

Days went by for the call that he was in the Capitol city-then the call…. the one no one wants…the one that they say “We are waiting to get your husband on the line before we start” even typing this I still get teary eyed and my heart races.  The call where they tell you due to some unforeseen issues-we don’t think this adoption will go through.

My heart truly had been broken- I did not understand, the tears flowed as we met with our Pastor-as I walked into school and brought our son home to tell him, as I figured out a way to get up the next morning, and the one after that, and to keep breathing and praying for him to be loved-by anyone-for me.

Prayer given via email to our Church Members:

Pastor Mike has requested prayer for Rob & Jess Cabeen and Kenny. Their adoption was terminated. Please pray for wisdom and comfort.

Psalm 71:20-22

New Living Translation (NLT)

20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
but you will restore me to life again
and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
21 You will restore me to even greater honor
and comfort me once again.

22 Then I will praise you with music on the harp,
because you are faithful to your promises, O my God.
I will sing praises to you with a lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.

God is a wonderful, trusting God-looking back these times in the past year was dark, I mean DARK.  I had never been so low in my life…but I don’t think I had ever been so close to God either.  I reached for him while running everyday; I looked for him in the eyes of African children in the school I worked at.  I cried with him while playing drums in our worship band, I reached out for him through wonderful people like Kari Gibson, Jenn Hatmaker, and Amanda Herdina (Visiting Orphans) and I learned from him through our care group at church and bible studies.  Now I am able to tell you the truth—I question him-daily, maybe hourly at times.  “Why us?  Why him?  What did we do wrong?” I cried regularly for M, for our lives.  Each holiday or grief marker I cried for what I had lost, it was truly the roughest time in my life.

But He gave me strength.

Each day after that day in August 2011 I felt him with me, carrying me through the tough times.  He helped me to type the emails to the other families-congratulating them on their new addition, letting them know how happy we are for them-and not to feel bad about their successful adoptions-celebrate being a forever family-we will survive.  God was with me during the conference calls after the news in August and He was loving on our little guy-even though he had no idea what was going on, and how much people-both in the US and Ethiopia were fighting for him.

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”

Hebrews 11:1

Then October came-and a little light cracked through the darkness in our pit-this might actually happen!  We waited and watched quite a dramatic turn of events evolve…and at Thanksgiving received word-he was in the Capitol City and would be submitted to Embassy within a week.  Praise God!  Praise God! Praise God!

Now not defy the odds, but if you have adopted from Ethiopia recently-you are aware that the timelines for Embassy can range up to 6 weeks, if not 8-12.  We set in for a late January/February travel date…hey maybe he would miss much of the snow I was so worried about for him—preschool-well he will get a lot of support and we still hope for Kindergarten 2012…we don’t care at this point-we just want to see him, hold him and love him.

Well 5 days into our Embassy Submission we got THE CALL-not only that within 48 hours I was on a plane to bring him home, before Christmas!  God is so good-his timeline was exactly how it should be.  I mean, we are three weeks into being a family of four and we are finally seeing snow-it has been so warm here that M and brother played outside during the Christmas break!  We have been to church and have dedicated M “Isaiah” and promised to raise him with a faith and believe in God.  I don’t think that will be too difficult as his journey thus far is a testament to the Spirit and the Ways in which He works.

At the Airport-December 23rd, 2011

Now I will admit, the transition into life of a family of four is not storybook-or easy.  It is tough, we are muddling through this one step at a time-but loving every step of it and we know that God will be with us through this next step of our journey.

May you be blessed,

Jessica Cabeen

Blog: Bring Home Our Family

Don’t forget to leave my guest a comment and cheer them on …. thank you for sharing!!!

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Not Our Plan But His


Not Our Plan But His

Posted on 23 January 2012 by Kari Gibson

Our adoption story begins with my own childhood and the day that I came to America as an adoptee from Korea. I was not brought into a Christian family, but looking back as a Christ Follower, I can see how God’s hand saved me not only spiritually but also physically through adoption. Feeling like I’d been given a second chance at life, my husband and I always hoped to adopt one day and provide the forever family that every child deserves. As the years went on and we had 2 boys by birth, we became comfortable with where our lives were and didn’t put much energy into pursuing adoption. I was blessed to be fulfilling what God had placed in my heart through developing an adoption ministry at our church and that passion seemed to be filling the desire I had to “give back”.

In February of 2010 I led a team to Ethiopia with the purpose of learning the process of adoption and to set up a partnership to bring orphans to our area for a summer hosting program with hopes of finding them forever families. We toured many orphanages over the 10 days we were there. It was at one in particular though that God would show me the plan He had all along for our own forever family. As Meskerem(14) and Zenash(6) walked in the room, so we could interview them for the hosting program, I felt something unexplainable in my heart. It was as if God was whispering to me, “these are your daughters”. I tried to tell myself I’d had too much coffee during the coffee ceremonies and that exhaustion was settling in, but all the reasoning in the world could not trump the Lord and His sovereign plan. As we finished the interview with the girls, we learned that they also had a brother, Worku(9), and that he was still living on the streets in Hawassa. I was so drawn to these girls that I couldn’t stop thinking about them the rest of our evening. When our team returned to our guest home, I was trying to process through the day and what I was feeling and what I sensed God had laid on my heart, which was that he had something in store for my family with this sibling group. I wrestled with so many thoughts wondering if the day had just all come to a head for me and if I had just felt overwhelmingly burdened for the orphans I came face to face with that day. That moment which was so unexplainable became the moment I chose to step into the throne room of God and be completely surrendered to Him and His plan. I knew He was asking me to tell my husband about them and so I emailed him and asked him to pray about these kids that I had met. I told him it was a sibling group of 3. It was way more than we had ever discussed previously when we spoke of adopting one day. We were thinking 1 little girl from an Asian country… this was 3 children from Ethiopia! As challenging as this was for me to fathom I had a peace that I didn’t understand.

I emailed my husband and asked him to pray about what God had laid on my heart. I expected this to be a conversation continued when I returned home, especially since it was not 1 child, but 3 and we were now in our 40’s with a 16yo and 12yo at home. But, again, as God’s plan is sovereign, I quickly received a reply from my husband saying “Yes!”. Once again God was showing us that He had been working this out in both our hearts without our realization.

The next day I received a call from the orphanage director indicating she had found Worku and he was now living at the orphanage with his sisters. Wow God, you don’t waste anytime do you? I had the immense privilege to spend a whole morning with all 3 of the kids on the last day we were in Ethiopia. It wasn’t an easy task as the director had to embark on a 4-hour ride from Hawassa to Addis where I was staying, but what a gift I had been given.

As I later sat on the deck of my guest home waiting to go to the airport, my heart ached and tears flowed uncontrollably with the thought that I was leaving a piece of me in Ethiopia. I didn’t know if the adoption of these children would actually happen, but we were going to say “Yes!” to God until He told us “No!”.

19 months later, we arrived home on September 11th, 2011 with our new forever family! It was a difficult process adopting older children as we encountered numerous roadblocks, doubts, faith rockers and challenges, but God’s plan reigned sovereign yet again, and we can now think upon 9.11 with gratitude and thanksgiving!

But the LORD’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken. Psalm 33:11

The challenges we encountered in the process are a whole other story, but you can catch them on my blog “Smore Stories”(named because our multi-cultural family resembles a smore): Now that we are home as a family, I use the site to share honestly, educate and stir people’s hearts in this beautiful, messy, God anointed love process called “Adoption”.

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My #1 Birthday Wish In Haiti (I’m turning 45)

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My #1 Birthday Wish In Haiti (I’m turning 45)

Posted on 20 January 2012 by Kari Gibson

I wanted to make a statement (to myself) that turning 45 years old was just the beginning of a new era. I wanted to prove, that 45 was the new 35, but then I realized that I wanted 45 to be the new 45. I don’t want to be the person I was at 35, because God has done so much for me since that time. So, as my birthday present to me, I decided to spend it doing what I love the most …. a mission trip! I’m getting on an airplane [today] and flying with 16 crazy people to celebrate what life is really all about … simply loving one another.

My hubby challenged me to write about what I’ve learned the most over the past decade. I think the heart of the challenge, what has God changed the most in my life. I recently told one of my good friends … “I don’t think you would have liked me much 10 years ago!” They looked at me with a surprised look and responded, “Why?” It’s humbling to look back at how selfish I was with the blessings God gave me. I really lived a life that was all about me. I can’t believe that God has so much planned for me, but my stubbornness and immaturity held me back from the true blessings. I had no clue what it meant to live-dead or absolutely no interest in sacrificing my comfort, ambition, and purpose. The single most life-changing moment in my life was when we adopted Zoie. Adoption radically changed my life. I’m grateful today that He never gave up on me … patiently directing me as I tumbled all over the place until I fixed my eyes on His plan.

I’m definitely a work in progress, but God has changed the way I want to spend my time, how I spend my money, and my focus on what’s really important to Him. The past 10 years, I’ve grown up as a mom, and a wife, and a friend, but most importantly, I feel like I finally tapped into what God created me to do. I’ve stopped asking God to give me the desires of my heart, but ask Him to give me the desires of HIS heart. I make mistakes every day, but I’m learning how to have the freedom to learn from my mistakes and stop beating myself up for making them. I want to allow myself permission to have the freedom to be different, to make mistakes, to be vulnerable, and to keep my candor about the craziness of life.

My biggest challenge I’m tackling right now in my life, is not taking the time to self care. I have a tendency to take care of everyone around me with intense compassion, but I often forget to take care of me. I hate to admit this on my blog, but let’s keep it real … I’ve gained 23 pounds and stopped exercising. I joke about being a little “fluffy” but, I know I need to really take care of my physical body, too. I’ve committed this year, to get in shape and learn how to eat to live, instead of living to eat. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis last year and have kinda been in denial about the disease in my colon. I need to be gluten-free, but haven’t taken the time to make this life change in my eating. I’ve made a lot of mistakes the past year and I want to have the courage to self care. I want to continue to have an abundance of energy for my 3 kids and hubby to enjoy all the amazing adventures to come in my life.

Tomorrow, I turn 45 years old. I can’t wait to wake up in Port-au-Prince and head to the orphanage we’re serving for two days and hold a child in my arms – simply loving. My #1 birthday wish I to have the opportunity to love big on children who may have never heard about Jesus or the words … I love you! I want the day to be absolutely nothing about me, but about what God has planned for the day. I’m asking Him to pour His love and spirit through our team, so that every single person we come into contact feels His love through us. What a gift to give fully our time, energy, and love. I’m asking God to send a special child in my path that I can give the gift of the blessing.

Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. 1 Cor. 13:13

Would you please pray for the “Simply Love Haiti” Visiting Orphans team for the next 7 days as we serve in PAP and Pignon. We’ll have the opportunity to work for 2 days with a tent-orphanage and then up in the mountains in a tiny village. We’ll get to live in an orphanage and spend the day working at a clinic and loving the community. The people are deeply affected by their Haitian religion practices, Voodoo. It is the dominant religion of Haiti. Please pray for our protection and the salvation of the people we minister to.

Next week, please stop by here every day and read the amazing guest posts from a variety of readers …. moms, adoption stories, and mission-hearted stories!! Please, please, please leave your comments after you read their stories!!! It’s the best way to encourage more people to open up and share their life, too. I want to especially thank YOU for being a part of my life. I love you- readers who have made a difference in my life every day right here on my blog.

If you have enjoyed or learned something from this post … please share.

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The Son of My Heart

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The Son of My Heart

Posted on 17 January 2012 by Kari Gibson

Many of you know this story, some of you know part of the story, and a few of you may have never heard of my Ethiopian friend, Abenezer.  I will start at the beginning.
My first mission trip ever was with Visiting Orphans in July 2010.  My friend Kari Gibson was leading this trip, and God provided all the finances I needed to go on this incredible adventure.  My prayer before this trip was that I would be able to make a difference in the life of one person.  I knew what I saw would be overwhelming, and I knew I could never make a difference in the world, but was hoping I could make a difference in one life.
One of the most memorable parts of this trip was our visit to Korah, the village outside the city dump in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  An amazing group called Project 61 had begun a sponsorship program for kids from Korah.  These kids could now be placed in a boarding school with 3 meals a day, a bed each night and education.
My first day in Korah, I met 3 incredible kids.  Sentayu, Binyam and Abenezer.  These three teenagers followed me everywhere and treated me like a princess.  They would carry my water bottle, my backpack, and when we were hiking to the community soccer field and back they each had an arm on mine to make sure I didn’t slip in the mud. Sweet, sweet boys.  Binyam spoke English very well, so I talked to him the most, and he would translate for the other boys.  Sentayu smiled a lot, and Abenezer quietly followed us around.  When our team supplied the kids with a meal of injera, sheep and veggies, the boys insisted I sit with them.  They even offered to share their food with me – wow – not sure when they had eaten last, but they were worried about me.  I hugged each of them goodbye, not knowing that was the beginning of a relationship that would change my life.
On the last full day in Ethiopia, we got a BIG surprise.  Six of our team would be able to spend the night in Korah.  We would sleep in the shelter with some of the kids who were being sponsored.  It was a giant sleepover!!  It was sooo much fun!  The kids made us coffee and popcorn.  Someone brought in a TV and VCR and we watched a movie together, all crammed in a little room and sitting on wooden benches and wood slat floor.
When we arrived at the shelter, Abenezer was one of the first kids I saw. I was SO happy that one of my boys was there!  He ran up to me and gave me a big hug, which surprised me since he had been so shy a few days earlier.  He sat next to me the entire evening, looking through the photo album of my family.  Within 20 minutes, he knew the names of each of my kids and Shane.  He poured over that album, staring at it. memorizing each face.  While we watched the movie, this sweet 14 year old fell asleep on my shoulder.  By the end of the evening, he was calling me mom, and I was calling him my son.  The next morning, my team had to leave.  I hugged Abenezer goodbye, gave him a pic of my family, and told him that God had BIG plans for his life and to trust in God.  I told him I would never forget him.
I meant that, but I had no idea what God had planned.
In October of last year something amazing happened.  I got a phone call from my friend Kari.  I had purchased 2 t-shirts from her and was entered into a contest.  Much to my surprise (and Kari’s), my name was drawn and I WON a mission trip back to Ethiopia.  WHAT?!?!  It was a wild feeling…and a bit scary.  Why had God given me this trip?  What did it mean?
Well, February 2011 came around and I was on my 2nd trip in 6 months to Ethiopia.  We went back to Korah, but since it was February, all the sponsored kids were away at school.  We did, however, have an incredible experience in Korah.  A beautiful 14 year old girl named Mercy was very sick.  Her mother, Mulu, asked our team to pray for her daughter.  Mulu is an incredible lady, with more faith than I had ever seen.  Mercy had actually died several months before, but after a prayer from Mulu her daughter was raised from the dead.  Yes, dead.  She was alive but, still sick.  When a few ladies from our team prayed for this sick girl, and sang over this sick girl, they didn’t know they were about to witness a miracle.  Less than an hour after our team left Mercy and Mulu’s house, Mercy came walking down the street.  Compeletely healed!!  We sang praises to God, and took Mercy shopping for a new outfit for her new life.  It was an incredible day.
God made it possible for 5 members of our team to take a 5 hour trip to Shashemene school, near Awassa, to see our kids.  Two of our team had sponsored kids through Project 61 and wanted to meet them.  Kari and I wanted to see the kids we had met the summer before.
Abenezer had no idea I was coming.  When we arrived at around 10am, all the kids were in class.  We had to wait until noon to find the kids.  Even then, this is a HUGE school, so as I was waiting in the cafeteria, wave after wave of kids came in, but no Abenezer.  Finally, one of the Korah kids came running in to me and said “Abenezer is coming!”.  I saw him out the window and ran to him and caught him up in a big Mama Bear hug.  He was shocked to see me, and there were tears in his eyes when he looked at me.  I had wondered if he would remember me, since so many Americans tour Project 61.  Then he showed me something that rocked me to the core.  He told me he wanted to show me his belt buckle.  He lifted his shirt, and on his belt, made into a buckle, was the photo of my family I had given him back in July.  He was wearing my family around his waist!!  Wow.
Abenezer gave me a tour of Shashemene school, I saw his dorm room, the restrooms, the cafeteria, and the beautiful campus.  I asked him to remind me to give him the gifts I brought for him.  He told me he had a gift for me, too.  We stopped back in his room and he pulled his backpack out of his closet.  In this backpack was a package, wrapped in shiny red paper, just for me.  In it was three necklaces that he made     for me ( I am still wearing one of those as a bracelet, I never take it off) and a comp notebook.  In it were drawings for each of my family members, and at the end, his entire life story.  What an incredible gift…that he had been keeping in his backpack for the day he would see me again.  Again, wow.  Remember the picture album he looked at over and over again at the sleepover?  I brought that album back with me and gave it to him to keep.  I also gave him an Amheric bible and reminded him that God had big plans for His life.  I told him I loved him, but God loved him even more.  I told him to keep seeking God’s will, even when it is hard.
We had a tearful goodbye, and I told him I hoped to come visit him again soon.
At this point I started trying to figure out a way to make Abenezer a more permanent part of my life.  I asked about adoption…not a possibility since he did have a living birthmom (whom he had not seen in many many years).  Also, adopting a pre-identified child is VERY difficult, if not impossible in Ethiopia right now.  Next, Shane and I talked about getting him a student visa.  If we were not able to do that, we wanted to at least get him a tourist visa so he could spend a summer with us.  We visited with an immigration lawyer about what it would take and prayed. A Lot.
My greatest fear was that I would tell Abenezer that we wanted to get him a visa…then something would go wrong, it wouldn’t work, and he would be crushed.
In August of this year, Shane and I had the opportunity to lead a trip to Ethiopia and Rwanda with Visiting Orphans.  I was SOO excited for Shane and Alexis to meet Abenezer.  The reunion was awesome.  We met with a big hug, and sparkling eyes.  I introduced him to everyone on our team, and we had some great conversations.
Here is where things get crazy.  I have only told this story to 3 or 4 people.  Even now, almost 3 months later, I’m not sure how to explain it.  Abenezer told me there was a prophet in the village, and that the prophet had told him some amazing things.  She told him that he would be a man who shared the Gospel of Jesus around the world.  He wanted me to meet this prophet.  When he found her I almost fell to my knees right there.  The prophet was Mulu, Mercy’s mother!!!  When she realized I was “Abenezer’s Mother”, she was so excited to talk to me.  Abenezer, Mulu, Henok (our translator) and I all went into a small room away from everyone else.  She told me that she dreamed about Abenezer before she had ever met him.  She knew this boy would be traveling to another country to talk about Jesus.  In fact, three days before this, she had told Abenezer a Forenge (foreign) woman would be coming with a group of other Forenge to visit him.  She had had a vision about that very moment in that room with the four of us talking about Abenezer.  Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.
I knew in that moment that I did not need to be afraid to tell Abenezer our plans to bring him to America for a visit.  It seems God had already told him.
Sooooo….now, we are in the process of getting his visa.  I know God will provide, but I feel like I need to share this story, and give you the opportunity to help us bring Abenezer home.  He has his passport, but now is the hard part.  Visas are not given easily.  Lawyer fees and visa fees and airline tickets are expensive.  But it seems God has a plan, who am I to question it??  Please be praying fervantly for this precious boy and for our family and for this situation.  I do belive God has a BIG plan, which means the enemy will be working hard against it.  I can’t wait to see how this story unfolds!!

Don’t forget to leave a comment to cheer on my guest blogger …. thank you so much for sharing.

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40 Crazy Things To Do On A Snowy Day

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40 Crazy Things To Do On A Snowy Day

Posted on 14 January 2012 by Kari Gibson

Welcome to My Crazy Adoption Blog!!  The blog reads just like a magazine.  I blog daily for moms and advocating for adoption and orphan care in a crazy way!  I’d love for you to check out posts, videos, and articles from top to bottom- it’s my passion to blog with a purpose and have fun making new bloggy friends along the adventure.  The best way for me to meet you is by becoming a regular commenter.  I read every comment and respond to as many of you as I can.  You can also email me if you want to chat privately.  Thank you for stopping by and joining the craziness!

I leave for Haiti in a few days, so stop by and read all the new posts from incredible guest bloggers.

Moms, I found this super cool blogger Frugal Upstate that had a great article on snowy day activities to do when school is closed and your kids are starring at you to be fun!  I came up with snow ice cream, but Jenn came up with 40+ things to do outside & inside.

40 Things to do on a School Snow Day- click here for list!


“When I was a kid having a school snow day was like an unexpected gift-suddenly, for no reason you get a WHOLE DAY, right smack in the middle of the week.  No school!! The thrill! The joy!

Every time there was so much as a flake in the sky we’d scramble for the radio and listen anxiously hoping against hope that in the regular mix of morning show banter and songs we’d get that magical list of schools that were closed.  And oh the anxiety if we caught the list half way through. . . we’d have to wait another 10 minutes until they ran through it again!

As an adult with 2 primary school aged children to entertain I have to admit that snow days don’t fill me with quite the same joy they once did.  I work on letting go of my anxiety about all the things I’m “supposed” to be getting done and use it as a special day to connect with my kids.  With a little thought and inspiration you can use snow days to build special memories with your kids-even teens!”

To get you started on your own snow day fun, here are 40 fun things to do on a school snow day.


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10 Favorite Photos That Make Me Smile


10 Favorite Photos That Make Me Smile

Posted on 12 January 2012 by Kari Gibson

The past month has been a whirlwind of family fun. I thought it would be fun to show off my top 10 photos of my adorable family and friends.

#1 – Thank you Ijames Family for the amazing Christmas cookout and hayride- it was the wildest ride of my life (aka Jack Bauer!)

#2 – This was my mom’s 15th annual Christmas Cookie Party. You throw the best parties, mom!

#3 – Christmas Night. Santa visited our home before we left for our 14 day road trip (thanks Santa!!)

#4 – Road trip craziness!! Headed to CO and AZ with 1 van + 3 kids + fun!

#5 – Gibson girls enjoying the snow and sun!

#6 – I love my big, crazy family!!

#7 – Sisters-of-the-heart

#8 – Zoie wonders if that tongue could really be real?

#9 – We had the best day at the Phx. zoo! We have our own “Bear” in the family (way to go Michael)

#10 – Hannah wearing Nanny Gibson’s wedding dress.


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Do You Want To Be A Crazy Guest?


Do You Want To Be A Crazy Guest?

Posted on 10 January 2012 by Kari Gibson

I’m traveling to Haiti with 16 mission-hearted people to simply LOVE big for 7 days this month with Visiting Orphans. Do you want to be a guest here on my blog? I’d really like to collect your crazy stories about mommyhood, adoption, and missions. I want to continue to use your stories to inspire readers to make a difference. There IS a place for short term missions with a purpose to go and share Him to all who are lost. I want to hear about your God-Adventure. Moms and Dads, you are making a difference every day in the life of your children. I want to hear the heartbeat of your daily craziness. If you have adopted or are in the process of adopting domestically or internationally, I want to know your adoption story at a deeper level – how did you open your heart to allow God to expand your family in a radical way. I’d also love your family crafts or favorite recipes to share.

It’s easy to be a guest blogger:

  1. Email me your story ready to post- you are the writer & editor.
  2. Share 1-3 photos of your family or subject clip art.
  3. Include your blog link to share with readers (if you want)

Please send me your guest posts before Jan. 20th. Thank you so much!!!

Happy 4th Birthday Zoie!!!! We thank God every day for you!!


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Is It Possible To Live A Simple Life?

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Is It Possible To Live A Simple Life?

Posted on 09 January 2012 by Kari Gibson

Today’s Live Dead Challenge- Simplicity: Seek First His Kingdom. I remember a time in my life when life really was simple. We lived in an adorable country-style home on a farm. We gathered eggs and lounged on a big porch during the day playing. My son and daughter have the fondest memories of Sunset Inn. I remember when hubby and I started getting tired of the “simple life” and yearned to be closer to town and have a bigger house for our growing family needs. 10 years ago, we sold our home and built our dream … it was bigger, better, and beautiful. Our focus was all about comfort, having new things, and convenience. Then God asked us to give it up. I wish I could say that I submitted easily and let go, but God had to pry each of my fingers off what I was clinging to.

The past 5 years, we’ve tried to sell our “dream home” without a single nibble. I assumed God would sell it quickly, once we let go, but He had a different plan. We wanted to simplify our lives, our finances, everything … selling our home would mean the freedom to adopt again or GO where He calls us to go. In Matt. 6:25-33 it reminds me daily that God wants me to FIRST seek his Kingdom. “Jesus says, Fall into freedom; trust me, stop worrying about what you have or don’t have.”

The funny thing- today we have a house showing. I believe with all my heart that God can sell our home despite the crazy economy or the desires of our heart. I love the Live Dead challenge today ….

“Read Matt. 6:23-33 and let it sink in. Mediate on it. Bathe in it. Shower with it. Roll in it. Spend time with it. Seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness until you find the profound silence that Kierkegaard wrote about. After the silence, ask yourself what it is God is saying to you. What does it mean to the plans you have made? What effect will you let it have on what you do and how you live this day?”

Join me today and pray for the unreached people group- Sudanese Arabs in East Africa, There are very few believers and almost no churches- public or house-based- among them.

PHOTO: I took this pic at the home of my dear friend, Seysai, a sweet leper man in Korah, Ethiopia.

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What To Do With A Lost Heart?

Posted on 06 January 2012 by Kari Gibson

One of my dear friends, Caleb David has a tattoo on his arm that reads- Break my heart for what breaks Yours. Every single day he is reminded that God is weeping over his lost children. When hubby and I lost our baby boy 16 years ago, my heart broke with unimaginable pain. Holding our son when he took his last breath radically changed my heart forever. I knew, as a mom, I would never be able to hold him again in my arms, love him, cuddle him, play with him, nurture him, or comfort him…. he was lost. Words cannot describe the anguish and despair of my heart. The only thing that brought me comfort was knowing he was with his Heavenly Father. But, with all my heart … I wish he was still with me, his mommy.

God planted in my heart a deep compassion for lost children. It was the “pearl” He gave me from the loss of our son. There are days when my heart feels so broken … I want to just go. I’m learning daily what it means to be a mission-hearted person who has committed to live dead. I have to let go and allow God’s timing to direct my steps. I especially want to learn at a deeper level- how to PRAY for unreached and lost people groups. Here are a few things that I learned today- Day 2 of the Live Dead Challenge ….

Lost: Parable of the Father’s Heart

I read Luke 15 – click here.

“In this story, we see the broken heart of God revealed. This father was actively watching, waiting, and yearning to be reunited with his lost child. This is exactly the way God feels about every one of His children who are lost and separated from Him.”

“When the devil has kidnapped a child of God, it is God who hurts the deepest, who suffers most.”

“Today as you pray, rather than pouring out your heart to God, ask Him to pour HIS heart to you. Our King is a wonderful  and loving Father who suffers deeply at the loss of His children. If we love Him, we will listen. Eventually, we will feel His broken Heart. If we love Him we will, like the mighty men of old (2 Sam. 23) make His longing our MISSION no matter what the risk. What is the cry of God’s heart? His is weeping over His lost children, watching waiting, and earning for them to come home.”

How to pray for unreached People Groups: This is explained in length in the journal.

1- Pray that the Word of God would rise.

2- Pray that the Lord of the Harvest wold send forth laborers into the harvest field. MISSIONS!!!

3- Pray that the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, will be poured out on all flesh.

4- Pray that the cross will be unveiled.

5- Pray that the Holy Spirit would unite the Body of Christ.

6- Pray for men and women of peace.

I’m praying today, that God will pour unity, blessing, and joy in the Holy Spirit to the precious people I serve and love in Korah. I’m praying that there would be loving, trusting communion between them. Praying specifically against any jealousies and the lies of the devil. Lord, I pray for the missionaries working among the village of Korah. May Your blessed unity prevail day after day in protection.

This photo is so special to me … I took it at Return Ministries in Kampala, Uganda.

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What A Radical Phrase …. to Live Dead.

Posted on 05 January 2012 by Kari Gibson

What do you think it means to “Live Dead?  “This is such a radical phrase with 2 very powerful words- Live & Dead combined together. I was instantly intrigued to learn more about this ministry. The best part, some of the authors and artists of the book live in my neck of the woods. In fact, we even took Sammy Liben to get his tattoo from Transformations. As I’m learning about what it means to live dead … honestly, the book is so challenging, I’m doing it afraid. My prayer for the next 30 days is to open my eyes to a more intimate (extravagant) relationship with God and sharing my journey with you. If at any point you want to join me- you can purchase your book here Live Dead-Take the Challenge.

At the end of each day, they challenge us to record our thoughts, reflections, and prayers. Today a few things came to mind-”The whole church must take the whole gospel to the whole world” The gospel is what God has done, is doing, and will do in Christ A Christ-centered gospel demands therefore a Christ-centered missionary. If we are to be faithful in proclaiming Christ, we must know Him intimately.”

“There is no hero of the faith who did not linger daily with Jesus.”

“There is no ‘Go’ without ‘Lo’ First we are called to Jesus; He is with us always, and we with Him. Then we GO … to the uttermost parts and pressures of the earth.”

I’m praying specifically today for multinational teams to be formed to go and LOVE the unreached people groups. I want to be a mission-hearted person who has committed to live dead.

John 12:24 LIVE DEAD “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.

Please pray today for the Rashaida Group: They are a desert people group in East Africa (fierce warriors of more than 100,000 people.) We do not know ONE who believes in Jesus as his Savior.

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My 2012 Craziness (What’s Coming Up?)

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My 2012 Craziness (What’s Coming Up?)

Posted on 04 January 2012 by Kari Gibson

I survived our 14 day Christmas road trip with my 18, 15, and 3 year old kids (that’s another post) and took advantage of the 20 hour drive home to write down a few things that are coming up in my life. My hubby and I got so excited about the new year, we both agreed that it most definitely will be a crazy adventure. It’s really only been the past 3 years that I’ve had the courage to pray for God-Adventures. Do you pray for adventure? He has shown my little family His faithfulness in 2011 and continues to grow us through pain, mistakes, and miracles.

We are still waiting for our home to sell. It’s been over 5 years since we put it on the market without a single nibble. We continue to have faith that it will sell, but reminded everyday how grateful we are to live in a beautiful home, when so many people I love throughout the world struggle just to live.

We have started the process to bring Mercy here for medical treatment. I want to ask you to commit to praying for Mercy and her mother, Mulu, who is a widow, that God will expedite the paperwork needed to process her passport and medical visa quickly. I will keep you updated here on my blog  and together let’s help Mercy have a second chance on living a healthy life. We will start our new project, OPERATION: MERCY this month. Our goal is to raise $5,000 for all Mercy’s needs in Addis Ababa and in the US.

I have 2 upcoming mission trips scheduled for 2012. It was YOU that filled up the “Simply Love” trips to Haiti (Jan) and Ethiopia/Uganda (June) in record time. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you, the mission-hearted who has committed to live dead. I’ve started the 30 day Live Dead Challenge and hope you will buy the journal and join me learning how to live dead and love the lost, unreached and unengaged people groups around the world.

I want to personally thank (you) readers of this blog, who stuck with me during our adoption to Zoie and all the new readers who have jumped in with both feet to radically live James 1:27. For those of you who are adopting, fostering, caring for orphans, going on a mission trip … we are all in this together. My crazy bloggers, we made our point clear- we are not focused on individual successes, but diligent on working together making a difference in the life of a child desperate for love. Your generosity and kindness have made it possible to crown over 7,000 princesses in Ethiopia and Uganda, as well as mission-minded projects throughout 2011! I can’t wait to see what adventures God has planned for us in 2012!

Adoption Fundraising Families: check out here- Simply Love Kit for all your fundraising needs. What makes fundraising with Simply Love products so unique and different: you pick your designs and products to fit all your fundraising needs. I truly want to eliminate your stress and offer you exceptional services to help you raise funds to adopt.

Mission-Hearted Fundraising: you can use Simply Love Kit for all your mission trip/orphan care fundraising needs, too!!

Guest Bloggers: I want to continue to share your adoption stories. Email me if you are adopting or fostering and want to encourage, challenge, inspire, support or make us laugh at any stage of the adoption process. I also want to encourage you, the reader, to leave a comment when you read their stories. It means so much for the families to read your words of support.

Mommyhood: I have major changes coming soon- my son will graduate in May, my daughter turns sweet 16, and my 4 year old keeps me striving to stay young & healthy. I want to have a family that is free to be different, free to make mistakes, free to be vulnerable, and free to be candid. I’m reading the best parenting book, Grace Based Parenting and want to share at a deeper level what I’m learning as a mom, with my own family. I want to learn from you, too. I’ll keep up posting yummy recipes and family craft ideas. Come follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Is there anything NEW you want me to write about or share here on the blog this year? Let me know in the comments.

If you have enjoyed or learned from this post, please share it:

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