A Kylie Update

Since it’s been forever since I blogged I am having a little bit of a hard time figuring out where to start. We had a busy summer, but not because we were so busy, just because life got in the way (does that even make sense?!).  I fear I don’t have a ton of photos to prove we did anything this summer but we will just wait and see what I can come up with.  So since it might take me some time to get myself together, I’ll start with what you all really come here to read anyway, right?  (and don’t worry…and update on Jenna is next!)

Kylie is really doing well.  I’ll admit, at the beginning of the summer, I wasn’t sure Steve was going to survive.  Kylie was going through the things most 2 year olds go through…namely temper tantrums.  She seems to be coming out of that phase now, thank goodness, but you can still hurt her feelings pretty easily and her bottom lip pops out the instant you mention the spanking spoon.

A word about the spanking spoon…we used cheap wooden spoons and we had one in each diaper bag, each vehicle and the house.  We actually used them rarely, but we did use them.  Since Kylie isn’t potty-trained, popping her on the bottom very lightly made a pretty loud pop and she really didn’t like it.  I’m not here to debate whether spanking, time out etc. is right or wrong.  It’s what worked for us.  In fact, I could count on two hands the number of times we actually used it…after about 3 times, all we had to do was bring it out and she would start to straighten up.  The first few times we’d pop her bottom (I highly doubt she even felt it…her feelings were hurt more than anything and the way she cried she was just downright mad) she’d start crying harder and screaming and then we’d put her in time out which really ticked her off.  However, after just a few minutes, she’d decide she was over it and she’d straighten up.  Our biggest and most frequent battle was meal times.  Coming to the table would almost always result in a meltdown.  We pretty much stopped eating out because of her behavior.  But anyway, she seems to be improving on that front.  Thankfully.

In general, Kylie is happy and is quite the ham.

Kylie birthday hat

She talks up a storm.  Unfortunately, she’s probably about 20% intelligible.  She will attempt to repeat almost every word you ask her to.  And there are some words that she says that we can understand.  Milk is one and sounds a lot like “Meeelk” with her sweet, southern drawl.  But so much of the time she babbles off a whole story and I can tell she is trying to tell me something but I have no idea.  Shortly she will start her testing to see if she qualifies for services in the public school system since she ages out of Tennessee Early Intervention on her 3rd birthday at the end of January.

Physically, she is still on the small side, but is making great strides.  She is in about the 25%ile (or less) on both height and weight.  At her 30 month check up, she weighed 26lbs 7 oz and was 36 inches tall.  To give you some perspective, last year at this time, she weighed 22lbs, 4 oz and was about 30 inches tall.  She has shot up like a weed but the weight isn’t keeping up with her, so she’s still in 2T clothes.  She is still somewhat of a picky eater and doesn’t eat much meat, but the doctor isn’t concerned, so we aren’t either.

Kylie had her first dental appointment.  I started paying for her to be on my dental insurance this year so I figured we might as well have her teeth looked at since it’s free.

Kylie dentist

I gotta tell you, I was worried about the visit, but the little sweetie did SO well!  It wasn’t a long visit and Jenna had hers too so Kylie got to see her.  We are happy to report, she has 10 teeth on top and bottom.  The bottom teeth are a little crooked, but all in the right spots.  But because of her cleft, the top is a little bit of a mess.  There are 2 teeth there that appear to be out of the gum line and in the roof of her mouth.  But again, the dentist doesn’t seem too concerned…we just wait and see what happens with her cleft repairs and when the baby teeth fall out and go from there.  Another milestone.

We had took our first vacation this summer since we went to China and I was in desperate need of the beach (lots more to come on this).  We were very concerned that Kylie might not like the beach/waves/sand.  She does love the water though.  I needn’t have worried.

Kylie goggles

This is our last meal at the beach…at a Greek restaurant no less.  This was the way we kept her happy at the table (recall eating out was a challenge at this time and vacation was no exception).  She literally ate her meal just like this.  I kid you not.  Again, the kid is a ham and she really gets going if she knows you are laughing at her.

Finally, Kylie loves her jie jie.  I have never seen a love like these girls have for each other.   Jenna aggravates her just like you would expect and for some reason, it doesn’t bother her to hear her whining or crying because she is the cause of it many times, but when the rubber hits the road, this love runs deep

Kylie loves jie jie

Y’all.  I die.  Jenna prayed so long for a little sister.  I thought the “new” would wear off pretty soon after returning from China, and honestly, there are times where Jenna is selfish and doesn’t want to be bothered, but hey, I’m that way too sometimes.  But in general, I can count on Jenna to take care of and watch Kylie anytime.  And not only does she watch her, but she has the best of time with her.  Having kids who are 10 years apart in age isn’t always easy, but for us, it hasn’t made their relationship any more difficult.  In fact, I think they love each other more because of it.  Several times, Jenna will come in from telling Kylie goodnight (she sneaks in after Kylie is in bed every night because Kylie whispers “jie jie!  Jie Jie!” from the bedroom) holding her heart and with tears in her eyes because she just can’t contain the love.  She told me one night, “I don’t know how you do it.  I just love her SO much!” 

Yeah, I know, baby.  I know.


I am…Alive? Back? No longer MIA?

I am Fun

Hi y’all.

Have you missed me?  I have missed you.  At least I think I have.  Smile  I guess you might have noticed that I took an unintended hiatus from blogging.  Not only blog writing, but blog reading too!  It’s been many years since I took that long of an extended break from writing on my blog, but also from reading blogs.

The only thing to blame?  Life.  Work was crazy.  Life was crazy.  Summer was crazy.  It left no time for blogging.  Actually, I guess I had time for it, I just didn’t make it a priority.

So what has been keeping me so busy?  Well, that’s something you’ll find out if you stick around.  It’s nothing earth shattering, but it is just our life.  I plan to start blogging again.  It’s kinda like scrapbooking (which has also been on hiatus for a much longer time than blogging)…once you pick it back up again and do a few pages, you get in the groove and it just gets easier.

Here’s just a tease of what you’ll see more of if you are even still out there…



I’m back but be patient.  It might take me a while to get back in the swing.


My Happy Place

This is my happy place…

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My lifegroup from church.  I love these people.  They, collectively, make up my happy place.



She’s 12

Oh my word.

How did 12 years pass already?  How did this chunky monkey…

baby jenna

turn into this beautiful young woman????

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12 years ago today, at the moment this post is set to publish, this girl came busting into our lives and they have never been the same.

She has made everything in our lives better.  Somehow her arrival sped up time…and I know in the blink of an eye, I will be posting a photo of her high school graduation.  And that almost makes it hard to breathe.

Jenna is getting close to being as tall as I am.  She is wearing the same size shoes as me and she’s turning into a wonderful young woman.

Jenna is the kind of big sister that a parent only dreams about.  She has experienced things that most people don’t in a lifetime.  I can easily envision Jenna and I being best friends in her adult life. I love her like nuts…

And today as we celebrate everything about her, I can only savor every second of the day today and the days to follow because all too soon, they will be memories.




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I can’t express how happy the above photo makes me.  I love to read and I wanted so badly for Jenna to love to read.  And she does!  And I am forever thankful.  It wasn’t that long ago that I couldn’t get Kylie to sit still for a book but now, she loves her books and we read at least 3 before bed at night.

Back when we were struggling with sleep issues, we were told to pick a couple books and read the same ones every night.  We ended up with Goodnight Moon, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and usually a Bible story.  Over time, Goodnight Moon has been retired and in it’s place is Llama Llama Red Pajama.  We went through about 3 Bible story books and then retired those.  Now, we do Alexander, Llama Llama, The Kissing Hand, Here Comes Trouble, There’s a Mouse About the House and Just In Case You Ever Wonder with some variations.  If she falls asleep before we get through them all, I stop. 

Anyway, she really likes to read and point to pictures and talk to me about them.  The other day I didn’t think I could take another night of Alexander or Llama Llama so I put them back in the bookshelf buried between all the other books so she can’t find them.  A few nights later, she finishes getting her PJs on and walks over to the bookshelf, finds BOTH books and pulls them out.  Then proceeds over to the stack of nightly reading books, pulls out the ones she doesn’t like and put the replacements in there.  My girl is SMART!

I love that Kylie likes to be read to.  We try and talk about the pictures and drawings in the book and they all facilitate her speech progression.  The girls in this house love to read and it make my heart happy.



Mark it off the Bucket List!

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to blog about this…

My bucket list is truly a work in progress…it’s quite short right now but I have been able to mark something off and it was something that has been on there even before I knew what a bucket list was. Here we go…
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Yes, my friends…that is myself, Jenna, Kylie and none other than Steven Curtis Chapman!!!!  EEEEK!  I mean, this has been a dream of mine since I was a tween!  I was stoked!  Let me share with you a quick story about SCC…I have loved his music since he was just coming out on the Christian music scene.  The year The Great Adventure was released, my answering machine at home had that song playing in the background.  I mean, I was ALL about it.  There were a group of us in youth group who wanted to go see his GA tour.  So we got up early on the Saturday tickets were to go on sale and stood in line at TURTLES (who remembers the music place Turtles???) to get tickets.  The funny thing was that I guess we thought everyone would be standing in line for his tickets but there were just a few folks there.  We got our tickets and they were in row H!!!  Like 8 rows back!  We were ecstatic and could not wait for the night to come.
So finally, concert night came and I’m sure we loaded up and laughed and giggled our way (chaperoned, of course) all the way to Starwood Amphitheater (am I taking anyone else down memory lane?).  We show them our tickets and file down to row H, front and center…just about the best seats in the house…I mean, 8th row…that’s good right?!  As we sat there talking and laughing waiting for everyone to get there, Rachel stands up and states (and if you know her, you will be able to totally picture this…) “I don’t know about YOU people, but MY ticket says row A!!!!”  So this was back in the day of dot matrix printing and sure enough the A in “Row” looked a lot like an H but sure enough, we were all on the FRONT ROW!!!  We rocked it out right in the front row with SCC and it ended up being one of my most favorite memories from my youth.

I have faithfully followed SCC and his family through the years and I wept the night the news reported the tragic story of Maria Sue.  Their adoptions played a huge part in our move forward to adopt and that we chose China.  I just really love and appreciate the work the Chapman family has done.  So when I found out I had the chance to meet them, I was stoked.  This was during the Show Hope 10 year celebration.  I was also able to meet Mary Beth…
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And their daughter (and catalyst for their first adoption), Emily..
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The whole weekend was great fun and I have more photos, but that will come later.  It was a great time and I am just so excited to be able to say I met this lovely family.



We always knew our girl was sweet, but apparently the mosquitoes know too!  A few weekends ago, Jenna noticed a mosquito-esque bug flitting around the car.  We managed to shoo it out without too much trouble and didn’t think another thing about it.  That is, until we got out of the car at our next stop and I noticed Kylie had a little bit right under her eye.  We ate dinner and it never seemed to itch or bother her, so I didn’t think much about it.

Then Sunday she woke up and the bit was red, angry and it was spreading down into her cheek.  Jenna had something like this happen to her when she was 3 and the pediatrician had us bring her in and gave her a shot of antibiotic because the bite she had was on her cheek and they didn’t want it to get infected being so close to her brain.  Kylie’s looked way worse, but I didn’t panic…just gave her a dose of Benadryl and went to church.  This is after the Benadryl (so you can imagine what it looked like before!)

bite 1

After church it really didn’t look any better than this, so I called the dr. on call.  She was totally not worried and said to keep dosing the Benadryl so I did and went on my way with the day’s activities.

Later that night, I was out with a friend and Steve texted me the following photo which was after a full day of dosing Benadryl.

bite 2

He dosed her one more time before bed and then put her down for the night.  I was out late that night and about 9:30, I got a text that he’d checked on her and didn’t think the Benadryl was doing any good.  We decided to wait and see what the morning brought. 

The next morning I was off work for Memorial Day and things had definitely not improved.  Not only had they not improved but she now had a runny nose which was yucky green.  With no symptoms leading up to that, I decided to visit our new local ER.

bite 3

Clearly she can put on a sad face when needed.  Is that not the most pitiful looking baby?

bite 4

And she wasn’t impressed with the blood pressure cuff they were using on her.  However, we were in an out from the TriStar Spring Hill ER within an hour and was armed with prescriptions for broad spectrum antibiotics and anti-nausea meds just in case.  Later that afternoon, we got a dose of antibiotics in her and she was clearly feeling fine.

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24 hours later and the difference was amazing.

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A week and 1/2 later and the bite is gone but she still has a little bit of a dark circle under her eye.  Hopefully she’ll build up her immunity soon.



I am…A Conflict Avoider

I am Fun
Of all the things I am, this one is pretty big.  I will avoid direct conflict at all costs.  Sometimes it takes the form of being a peace maker, but I do hate conflict.  So, what happens when someone offends me?  Whether it be on purpose or accidentally?  I stuff.

If you upset me or make me mad, rather than just tell you about it so we can work it out, I stuff it inside, deal with it internally and then hopefully get over it.  I just hate conflict.

I even hate conflict that I’m not involved in directly.  If I am in a group of folks (or like a meeting at work) and two other people start to disagree, I immediately have the urge to step in, make a joke (defense mechanism) and try to diffuse the situation.  It is slightly ridiculous I realize, but it is just the way I am.  Even when I’m reading blogs, reading some of the comments makes me uncomfortable.

Let me give you another perfect (albeit silly) example.  Steve DVRs those shows like Lizard Lick Towing.  I absolutely cannot stand to watch them, one because I think they are dumb (sorry fans, but it’s just not my cup of tea) and because of the constant conflict they are in the middle of all the time.

I’m just not an in-your-face kinda girl.  Now, mess with my family and like any other Mama on the planet, I’m gonna come up fighting.  But most of the time, I will vent to a close friend or two and then I’m going to take some time to stew on it and then eventually I’ll move on.

So if you think you’ve offended me in the past…you very well could be right.  But then again, you’ll probably never know!!!


Making Music

Kylie has always enjoyed music.  And dancing.  But lately, she REALLY likes to dance.  And she really does like music.  I was spring cleaning the bonus room recently and I found two pan lids.  I put them near the trash since there were no matching pans and a few minutes later my ears were ringing…this is what she discovered all on her own…



A New Look!

Welcome to my new blog!  If you remember, I used to be Just Haven't Met You Yet, which was a throw back to Buble's song and play on words for our pending adoption.

Now that we've been home with Kylie more than a year, I felt like Just Haven't Met You Yet didn't make much sense, so for the past months, I have batted around a number of different blog titles.  Finally, in keeping with the song theme, I landed on Accidentally In Love. Why this title?  Because in my life, I never knew love could be like this.

The pursuing love of a patient God who never quits coming after his prodigal daughter and bringing her home.

The amazing love for children who were not my own, but who were loved as if they were.

The fierce and sacrificial love for two girls, one born from my body and one born in my heart, who love me unconditionally despite my parenting failures.

The continual love for a man which grows wider and deeper every year and his perfect love for a woman who doesn't always get it right.

I never knew love could be like this.  But I'm so glad it is.  I'm definitely...accidentally in love.

You'll notice some tabs at the top of the blog now.  One of them is all about our adoption journey.  It includes our adoption story, our adoption timeline and a few links to posts that might be helpful to other adoptive families. Also, our Gotcha Video resides there!

There are social media icons right over there -------------------> click on any of them to link to me directly. The contact one should take you to a page which lets you know how to email me.

Right underneath that is a box where you can enter your email address and you will receive an email everytime I post an update.  Handy, no?  :)

Further down is a search box.  If you seem to remember seeing something on the blog and need to find it, just type the word in the box and all the posts with that word will pop up.  My blogroll and blog archives are still there where they always were.

Lastly, at the very bottom of the right sidebar is a link to my blog BUTTON!  That's right!  If you like my blog and want to put a button on your own blog, you can find the code to it there.  So cool!

Thanks to Courtney at A Faithfulness Told blog, my blog has a new, more updated and way less busy look! Y'all, you need to check her out here.  She basically asked me a few questions and went to work!  It took just a few days and her prices are SO ECONOMICAL!

I highly encourage you to hop over and visit her blog.  If you see something you like, contact her, tell her you saw her here and let her do some work for you!

Thank you Courtney!  I love my new blog!  In fact, you could say, I'm accidentally in love with it!


Under Construction…

For those few die hard readers out there, my blog is going to be undergoing somewhat of a facelift over the next several days.  It shouldn’t take long and I’m pretty stoked about the changes!

But no worries, I have plenty of blog posts in my head just waiting to be written…so keep checking back.  Hopefully the next post you’ll read is one introducing the new look AND a new name!  The address will be the same, so you won’t have to change anything, just the name and look of the blog is changing.

Be back soon!



Every first and last day of school (or thereabouts), Jenna and I have a tradition of celebrating those exciting days. 

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YUM.  Panera Bread.  We always get the same thing, our favorite cinnamon crunch bagels, toasted with honey walnut cream cheese and a big Diet Coke.  I’m not sure who looks forward to it more…Jenna or me!

jg panera

This is the last day of school picture from a year ago.  She looks older even to me.  I now have a 6th grader!!!


Good Times

I have said it once, but I must say it again and again…I could not have imagined a child being a better big sister than Jenna.  She is truly one of a kind…when she wants to be, of course!  Smile

She always plays with Kylie and is happy to watch her from time to time while I shower or try and do a little laundry.  I couldn’t be more proud of my girls.  And I can’t wait to see how God continues to knit these lives together like only He can.

Just to show you how much Kylie enjoys Jenna, watch this video.  Obviously, she’s doing something this mama is too big and too old to do and Kylie is having a ball!



Prayers for Oklahoma

There’s really nothing I can say in regards to the tragedy in Oklahoma that hasn’t already been said.  The question of “why” is still in my head.  I am grateful that my adoption buddy, Amy M. is safe…she lives in Shawnee.  You have no idea how many times I refreshed my Facebook page to see if she’d posted an update on Sunday…and then again on Monday.  My friend Rachel’s in laws are safe…they live not far from the area which was hardest hit.  So very lucky…

My heart breaks for the parents who kissed their children goodbye as they left for school that morning never imagining in their wildest dreams it would be the last kiss.  The last hug.  The last “I love you”.

Let this serve as a reminder that none of us are promised tomorrow and to take extra time to express our feelings to the ones we love most. 

And in the meantime, pray hard for all those affected by this tragedy.

fwp oklahoma


Long Overdue Introduction

Back in January, right around the time Jenna and I did the Passport to Purity weekend, my van started to die.  We took it to a mechanic and discovered the fix for my 10 year old van with nearly 200K miles would be about $2000.  The van wasn’t even worth that. 

And the van wasn’t actually functional because it wouldn’t hold gas.  We were having to fill up with a gas can.  This happened the beginning of the week that Jenna and I were to leave for Chattanooga to do P2P that Friday.  NOT convenient.  So, we rented a car to drive there knowing the following Monday was a holiday and we could use the day off to car shop.

Monday started early and we dropped Kylie off with my friend Jill.  Because we drive our vehicles until the wheels fall off (or the gas tank falls out, as it were), it’s been a long time since we’ve been car shopping.  And since we weren’t expecting to have to buy a new car, we didn’t really know what we wanted.  So, it was truly an all day affair.

But in the end, we purchased a 2012 Toyota Camry.  The only “luxury” I wanted in a vehicle was a sunroof.  And I was pretty picky about color.  I do not want to drive a white, cream, silver or gold car.  I like the darker colors.  No offense to you all who drive those color cars.  I just personally don’t to drive them!

As luck would have it, they had just what I was looking for.  Smile This is not the greatest photo but it’s the only one I have.

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I have really loved the car and I haven’t missed the van too much at all.  I think the trunk of the car actually has more room than the back of the van did.  It’s not as roomy so I’m not sure what we are going to do on vacation when we have to drive for several hours with both girls AND Katie.

It’s been very good for our gas consumption because it gets so many more miles to the gallon with my long daily commute. And it’s got a bunch of bells and whistles that are standard now that weren’t 10 years ago when I bought the van.

I don’t name my cars, but if I did, I’d call her JP in honor of my friend Jill who kept Kylie ALL DAY LONG.  I can’t imagine this process with a toddler in tow.

And you might not be able to tell, but yes…yes it DOES have a sunroof!  Smile


Mother’s Day 2013

Well.  Mother’s Day came and went and I don’t think I took a single photo.  It was a very great day/weekend, but I just didn’t document it like I should have.  I guess that’s what having a toddler in the house does to you. Smile

I did have a productive weekend in that I got more of my spring cleaning done.  And since I’ve been on that kick, my very thoughtful daughter bought me gifts for Mother’s Day that were functional to that point.

I got a new laundry hamper for my closet.  I’ve always used the net kind that popped up and came with an old bed-in-a-bag.  Jenna was horrified and thought it was high time for a plastic hamper!

I also received a bathroom basket.  I have had the same one in the bathroom ever since we moved in and I guess she thought it was getting too small so I got a bigger one.  Smile  Steve wandered off and came back with new underwear.  I’m totally serious.  Functional.

But then I also got a gift certificate for the local nail salon which will be enough for a mani/pedi which it is past time for!  I did get to spend quite a bit of time with my fams and that was nice.  I did get at least on photo from the day.

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Spring Cleaning!

I’ve had the spring cleaning bug for a while now.  And I don’t mean the I-need-to-Lysol-down-the-doorknobs spring cleaning.  I mean the purging kind.  When we moved from our 1000 square foot house into this one, I felt like we’d moved into a mansion!  There was empty space everywhere and I swore this house would never get cluttered up with junk like the other one.  Famous last words.

The last year or so, I’ve used the excuse about having a toddler in the house (see above) and I’m over it.  There’s stuff everywhere and I just couldn’t stand it any longer.  So I decided every weekend we didn’t have plans, I was going to tackle one room…clean out the closet, every drawer, under the bed etc.  I used an app called Cozi and made a list (those of you who know me well are not at all surprised that I made a list!)  The list has multiple heading of rooms and then every single thing that had to be gone through is on the list.  For example, my bedroom had things like:  go through dresser drawers, sort shoes, clean closet, clean off cedar chest, go through bedside tables and on it goes.

So all that to say, I’m about half way through the house and this past weekend, I was able to do Kylie’s room, the linen closet and the master bath.  All that’s left is Jenna’s room and the bonus room.  But those are the worst ones.

Normally here’s how my housecleaning goes…start in the kitchen…wiping down the counters…oh, here’s a book I finished reading.  That really needs to go upstairs on the bookshelves in the bonus room.  Here we go…up to the bonus room.  Putting the book on the shelf, I spy my hair brush.  Hmmm…how’d that get there?  I better go put that in my bathroom or I’ll forget and never find it.  Now to the bathroom.  Put the brush away.  Holy cow…that bathroom trash is overflowing.  I need to take that out.  Haul the trash can downstairs to the pantry to get the trash bags and empty said can.  Look at the mess in the pantry!  I can’t even GET to the dang trash bags.  Better clean that out.  And so NOTHING EVER GETS COMPLETED!  I call it housecleaning ADD.  (incidentally, this happens to me at work from time to time when I need to get through my emails…perhaps there’s a pattern??)

Anyway, this list keeps me on task and I get total fulfillment being able to mark something off the list.  I have been know to, when making a list, put something ON the list that has already been done JUST for the pleasure of marking it off!  Sad, I know, but true.

Anyway, I have made some great progress by adjusting my process.  When I find something in the room I’m cleaning that belongs in another room, I put it in a box or bag and it goes up to the bonus room.  The bonus room isn’t being used right now (for obvious reasons!) and so those things will and have just piled up.  The bonus room will be the last room to be done and by then, there should be plenty of empty space in the other rooms so those things which have landed there will find their space eventually.  I also make a lot of donations and I take the tax write off at year end.  To do that, I have to inventory every item I’m donating so I can have back up for my tax write off. I’m making a big ole pile in there for that as well as a few more expensive things that I plan to try and consign or sale (no, I refuse to do a yard sale).

In the end, I think it will end up being a great thing and we will all feel so much better in a uncluttered and eventually CLEAN house!  YAY FOR SPRING CLEANING!!


Summit 9!

A few months ago, I signed up to volunteer at Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit 9.  This conference is where many people with a heart for orphans from all over the US and world come together and learn about what’s going on in the world of adoption and foster care.

This year, Summit was hosted by none other than Brentwood Baptist Church.  It is a huge conference so it was all hands on deck, so I took two days off to volunteer to help.

Turns out, it was the largest Summit EVER.  They had to close registration after 2,500 signed up (first time ever).  As a volunteer, I was a breakout host which meant, I was able to be in many of the break out classes.  Unfortunately, the ones I was assigned to were pretty large and I didn’t get to pay attention too much, but I got to talk to some pretty awesome folks, so I was thrilled.

Here’s one of the main evening times.  The times where everyone was gathered to worship really did rock my socks off.


Lemme tell you…there is NOTHING like worshiping in a crowd of Jesus-lovers!  You can see quite a few empty spots in the balcony.  This was the last session of the conference and many, many folks had already left.  I wish I’d gotten a shot of one of the day before.

I was fortunate to host one of Dr. Karyn Purvis’s classes on connection.  For those of you who aren’t in the adoption world or don’t know, Dr. Purvis has done ground breaking work regarding attaching with kinds from hard places or who have experienced trauma.  She is an amazing, amazing woman.  Many adopted families read her book The Connected Child and a for 2 years in a row, I attended her Empowered to Connect conference that BBC also hosted.  I was able to meet her briefly before her class and she was just as nice as could be. 

I was also able to meet Barbara Rainey who you might recognize as the wife of Dennis Rainey from Family Life.  The Rainey’s also created the Passport to Purity program that Jenna and I did back in January.  I was able to talk with Mrs. Rainey for quite some time before their session and was able to tell her how awesome the P2P program was.  She was so nice and told me to tell Jenna how proud she was of her for completing the program and to hang in there that she could do it!  I wish I’d gotten a pic of us, but I was too nervous to ask her or Dr. Purvis for a photo.  FAIL.

Friday night’s worship began with some worship music by Nicole C. Mullen.  HOLY COW.  That was some rockin’ worship!  That woman is amazing.  Jenna had to opportunity to meet her after.  She signed a book she wrote for Kylie.

Summit 2

And then she was nice enough to pose for a photo with Jenna.  This woman does much to mentor young girls and I’m pleased Jenna thought what she stood for was cool.  Nicole took quite a bit of time to talk with Jenna and encourage her.

Summit 3

The evening concluded with one of the pastors I respect most…and he did a BANG UP job.

Summit 1

There is nothing like hearing David Platt speak on adoption.  He has two adopted children, one from China and is so passionate about adoption.  If you are interested in hearing some of his talks similar to the one he gave at Summit, go here.  If you’ll remember, I had the immense pleasure of meeting David at our agency’s picnic right after we received Kylie’s referral.  He is truly an amazing man.

Another one of my favorite speakers was Bishop W. C. Martin.  If you want to get fired up for the fatherless, just spend some time with this fella.  I am about 1/2 way through his book Small Town, Big Miracle and I’d highly recommend it.  One word of caution though…read at your own risk.  You could walk away changed or at least motivated and inspired.

As you might remember, I have really been struggling to find a channel for my growing passion for adoption/orphans.  Summit really helped me in getting closer to knowing what exactly I might do with that passion.  I am so glad to have been blessed enough to be part of such an amazing conference.


What Jenna is Up To

I feel like Jenna doesn’t get nearly as much attention as she ought to on this blog, so this post is all about her.

We are nearing the end of her 5th grade year and she has rocked it academically this year!  She has made all As and Bs every 9 weeks so far and she’s on her way to closing the year the same way.  She’s never had more than 2 Bs and the rest As (Honor Roll) and last 9 weeks she walked away with all As (Principal’s List).  Math isn’t her strongest subject by any means but she is working hard and pulling Bs when she can’t quite get to the As.  We are SO proud of our big girl!

We just received her ERB scores back.  The ERB is what her school does for standardized testing.  I know those tests are sometimes viewed as a parent’s worst nightmare, but our school doesn’t over emphasize them and I actually enjoy getting the scores back to gauge how she’s doing. 

At our last parent teacher conference, I got her test scores and she was in the 90%ile on every single subject!  Even math!  The teacher did say she was kind of…ahem…BOSSY.  Anyone that has spent any time around JG knows that to be true.  But I do think her heart is pure…it’s her delivery that needs some work.  So we talked about it at home and she is working hard to be kinder and more open when she wants her friends to do something.  I flat out asked if she was a bully and they adamantly said absolutely not.  PHEW! (Not that I thought she was, but you know, I just wanted to make sure!).

Last week they had awards day at school.  I attended just in case she got something.  I know who the “smart kids” are in class and they usually rack up on the subject awards, but I knew she’d get one for perfect attendance.  I was surprised when she not only got perfect attendance, but also an award for Excellent Conduct and for making Honor Roll or Principal’s List all year!

And here she is in assembly receiving her awards…

Jenna remains the best big sister I have ever witnessed.  She is so patient with Kylie even now.  And she has occasionally babysat for Kylie while we both had something else to do.  Most times she is aggravating Kylie to give her hugs and kisses and when she does, that makes Kylie ignore her all the more.  But the times where Jenna really pays attention to and plays with Kylie, Kylie giggles and laughs and runs and just loves on Jenna like nobody’s business. 

In fact, last night, Jenna watched her for a couple hours while I was at Bible Study.  When I got home, Kylie was in her lap watching TV and she ran to me just babbling and talking up a storm about Jenna.  I have no idea what she was saying, but she was in the best mood and had clearly enjoyed being with Jenna.

Last Sunday before church, I wanted to get a picture of Kylie in her Sunday dress.  I squatted down and asked her to say “cheese”.  Instead, she walked over to Jenna and pulled her hand down so they could have their picture made together.  And of course, Jenna was thrilled to bits.  Kylie was happy also and I caught this photo which has turned out to be my. favorite. photo. ever.  It totally captured two sisters’ love, don’t you think?

Oh, how I love these girls.  I am SO blessed!


I am…A Fixer

I am Fun

Oh yes, I am very much a fixer. And I had no idea I was one until I pointed out how my husband was one and he basically said, “It takes one to know one!”.  The first time Steve realized he was a fixer was after we had exhausted all our fertility treatment trying for a sibling for Jenna.  I still highly desired another child and could not understand why God would not remove the desire but yet not give me the one thing I wanted.  (Oh, how ironic…). 

We were on our way to church one Sunday morning when I was lamenting this fact and Steve just kept firing off fixes to me, “Well, maybe this” and “Maybe that” and I finally told him I just needed him to listen to me.  Not to try and fix it.  And the light bulb went off.

It was several years later when I was attempting to fix his current problem (whatever it was) and he pointed out to me the very same trait I’d called him on.  And he was right on.  I have the gifts of mercy and encouragement. And because I can feel your pain, so to speak, I also try to fix it.  Just ask my friend Katelyn.  I know she gets tired of telling me what is going on in her life because I am constantly trying to fix it for her…which is better know as…giving advice.

I have come to realize this about myself and try not to give unsolicited advice.  But being a fixer is ingrained in who I am. It’s something I really have to watch with my kids, especially Jenna because as a mom, it can be very tempting to try and fix her problems too, which can become a problem.

I guess there are worse things… Smile