Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Ache That Won't Let Go

Christmas is just around the corner. People are making lists of what they'd like for Christmas and out shopping. If you asked me what I want- I'd either give you the real, deep desire or the basic. For most people I'd just say clothes, shoes, books... but for those that know me well they already know what I want. What I have wanted for 6 Christmases now. I yearn to be a mom this Christmas. I don't just want to be a mom. It is not a "oh it would be so cool if we conceived or adopted." It is an ache that as hard as I try to get away from it- I can't deny. It is especially hard this year because I have been a mom now. I miss my foster kiddos and I miss being their mom. Most days I can push the thought aside- but it is still there. Then there are the days that it overwhelms me and I try to be strong. Those days I hide from people and cry. It is painful and messy.

With it being Christmas time it makes me think of the birth of my Savior. The world had be waiting for his for so long and finally He was here. Emmanuel with us. So beautiful and amazing. But what is sad to me is that so many people missed it. They ached for their Messiah but they missed Him when He came. Why? How does something like that happen? I think it happened because their vision and God's vision weren't the same. They thought the Messiah would free them from Rome. When Jesus didn't do that they turned from Him. They missed that Jesus did something greater than what they were hoping. He didn't conquer Rome- He conquered sin and death.

So how does this relate? Too often I let my aches and my vision blind me from God's vision. It does not look like I planned so I want to reject it. I'm like the Pharisees, so stuck on my way. My way would be nice. I would be a mom with 5 kiddos and a nice house somewhere in America. But God has something better. My way I would miss out on foster parenting. It was so hard- but rewarding. I probably wouldn't have gone to Alaska or be in Africa now. I wouldn't have gotten to teach some amazing kids or help out with a great group of teens. I ache to be a mom but I don't want to let that cause me to miss out on God's plan. His way is the best way. So as hard as it is, I wait. I don't know if you can relate or not. I just wanted to be real and call myself out on something I am struggling with.  This next month will be rough as we are in a waiting spot. I'm not teaching and that makes the waiting harder.  Please pray for me to not let my yearning to be a mom blind me from the call God has put on my life.

What I Would Have Missed:
                                      "Good Morning Mommy" Hugs From This Little Girl

                     Playing and skiing in the snow and being called "the cool Mom" at his school

                               A class of great kids and friendships with wonderful teachers

Volunteering in Africa and hearing "Good morning Teacher"   "You are beautiful Teacher"    "I love you Teacher" everyday.

                                                   Camping with rhinos and giraffes

Yes, I still ache to be a mom. But I have had a pretty awesome life so far. We'll see what adventures God still has in store.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

I'm Second

Many of you may have heard of the site I Am Second. Great site I highly recommend checking it out. . Over the past few months God has really been working on my heart in regards to that. In this life it is so easy to get caught up in yourself. Your wants. Your desires. Our flesh cries out for it. Putting God and others first doesn't come as natural. But it is what we are called to do. My husband and I have been reading the Gospels and Christ makes it pretty clear. In Matthew 10:26-28 he says,

"... but whoever desires to be great among you, let him be a servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave- Just as the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

As Christians we are supposed to be like Christ. Christ served- so we must serve. You can't read through the gospels without seeing over and over "and Jesus had compassion on them and met their need."  How many times are we so focused on our wants/needs that we miss out on meeting someone else's need? How many times are we moved with compassion and still do nothing? I've been reading "To Live Is Christ to Die is Gain" by Matt Chandler. There is an entire chapter on humility. He reminds the reader that, "A life of humility is based on the cross of Jesus Christ, which tells us that Jesus could have done NONE of it but decided to endure ALL of it." Let that soak in. Maybe read it again. Christ had a choice and He chose to serve us. If anyone who has walked this Earth has had a right to be served by others it would be Jesus. Yet he didn't sit back and have the disciples pamper him. It was the opposite. He served them (He washed their sandy, messy feet) and He served others. How can we not look at that and try to serve others?

I was taught once to use the JOY method to pray when I was young. praise Jesus first. pray for Others second. pray for Yourself last. But I think this goes beyond prayer. To have joy in this life we must put Jesus and others before ourselves. It is not easy. Take infertility for example. When I am weeks late and miserable my initial reaction isn't to praise God for it and be thankful for the opportunities I've had to serve others through it. No. I want to rant and rail "Why ME God?" But when I get in the I am Second mindset- it is not so bad. Yes, physically I am still a wreck but God strengthens me to fight through it. So some may be asking how on Earth can I flip it around and see my infertility as a positive? When I think about my foster kiddos, the students in my classrooms, and the orphans I hope to help here- not having my own biological children doesn't feel so bad. When I think of everywhere God has brought me and all the experiences I've had- I can trust Him that He knows best. Serving others and serving Christ gives me joy to fight through the struggles of infertility. When I focus on me- that's when the depression of infertility hits.

I am by no means saying this is easy. Far from it! We cannot do it on our own. It is only Christ in us that allows us to do so. But it is the only way to truly live. So this Thanksgiving I am issuing a challenge to you and also to myself. Let's try living Second. Put God first in all things. Serve others before yourself. This is how we share our faith and change the World. So who is with me?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lessons from Life and Dog Bites

We had one of those nights last night that you never forget. We've had many "Wow" moments along this crazy journey. I was planning to write about last week when after our field trip we had a little African butterfly (they had their faces painted at the park) snuggled up and fell asleep on my lap. In that moment I felt my heart change from wanting to adopt here to having an ache in my heart to do so. I know I am here to try to help these precious children that God puts in my path. I may write more about that later because now I have something else I need to write.

Last night I got bit by a dog. Now you may be asking "How is that life changing or a Wow moment? Shouldn't it just be an Ow! Moment?" We believe we saw a miracle last night and the more I look back at it the more I see as one. So as I sit here in pain I will try to shed some light on it. Last night we decided to go look at some German Shepherd puppies. Now due to some crazy circumstances (we finally got a rain/ dust thunderstorm, it was dark and windy outside, the pups were moved from their parents because of said storm, and other things I don't fully understand) when I walked by the daddy dog, he bit me. It hurt. I got to the other side of the fence before falling to the ground in pain. Ryan came over and calmly started taking care of me. I couldn't see but he said the blood was gushing and he thought it must have hit an artery. My shoe was immediately full of blood. The lady whose dogs we went to see got her first aid kit and started cleaning it. Ry applied pressure and tried getting ahold of someone to call an ambulance, because we are in another country and 911 doesn't work here. We stopped and both laid hands on my leg and started praying over it. Things did not look good at the time. I was getting dizzy and nauseated. I wanted to lay down and go to sleep. But I knew we needed to pray. Ry said I prayed in tongues but all I remember was saying "Jesus." Within a minute the blood started to stop. We bandaged my leg and went to the hospital. After limping around trying to figure out where to go I went in to see the doctor. He took the bandage off and there was little to no blood. He asked, "Why did you bandage it? Bite wounds need air unless they are bleeding badly." In that moment we didn't know what to say. The dog owner, Sandra, and I just looked at each other completely shocked. The doctor gave me a few shots (including rabies shots IN THE WOUND) and stitches. It was quite painful but during the whole experience I had a sense of calm. In the beginning I thought I might bleed out but after we prayed I just knew I was going to be okay. Ry kept his head about him as well. In this situation it would be easy to get angry or start the blame game- but that didn't happen. We constantly reassured Sandra that it was okay. She asked me at one point where I was from and I didn't think much about it until Ryan said I spoke in tongues. I hope that our attitude, praying, and the healing was a witness to her about God. We are going to reconnect in a few days.

Now I am still in pain and I have to get another Rabies shot in a few days, it would be easy to be upset about all of this. I got bit by a dog. I will be limping around for a few days and will probably have scars from it. But instead of getting upset- I am thankful. Thankful I didn't die and that God healed my wounds. Thankful for the peace and chance to show our faith to a complete stranger. Thankful to see that God is in control in all situations. I am in a foreign land and it can be scary sometimes. Going to a hospital in a country where HIV is common with an open leg wound is scary. Preaching in front of a crowd like I have been asked to do Saturday- is scary. But I can look back on this night and know that God is with me no matter where I go. That is comforting and for that I am so grateful. My lesson from last night: wherever you are whatever your circumstance, God is there with you too. We don't need to be afraid. Our God has got it covered!

Friday, November 8, 2013


This has been a crazy busy week. My heart and my eyes have been opened so much in these few short days. I have been avoiding writing in part because of the busyness- but also because I struggle with the words to explain. But I feel the need to try.

Most of you probably know that my husband and I are in Africa now. We've been here a little over 2 weeks. This week I started helping out at a preschool/ daycare. In my selfishness I dreaded getting out of bed that first morning. (I am not a morning person. need coffee to survive the AM) When I got to the school, however, it was so worth it. These beautiful children surrounded me with hugs and saying "good morning teacher" "you are beautiful teacher" "I love you teacher." Then I got to worship God, teach, and play outside with them. They stole my heart. Not saying it was easy. I went home worn out. Child to teacher ratios aren't the same here as in the States. But that is another story.

3 days ago I had a conversation with one of the children that started a change in my heart. The children's assignment was to draw their house and their fattest cow (cattle is a sign of wealth here. instead of asking how much $ you make you wonder how many cows they have). Thula was very artistic and drew a wonderful drawing of a house- but then he stopped. I told him well done on his house and that I couldn't wait to see the cow. He got a sad look on his face and told me he couldn't draw a cow because his father did not have one.

The next day I had a conversation with the head teacher and she told me most of the children get so excited and fight over the toys is because the only time many of the children see toys is when they are at school. She asked me if children in America had many toys. My heart was broken. I remembered my childhood when I had so many toys that many sat on the shelf for days before I rotated them into the play schedule. I spent many hours marrying my Barbies to my Ninja Turtles and having them live in my toy castle. I thought of how my childhood would've been different if I had no toys. I came home sad and wanting to do something about it. I am resolved to do some awesome art projects with the kids and try to make them some toys they can take home.

I have been seeing all of these thankful post on Facebook this month and I think it is great. We should be thankful. There is a meme going around that says something along the lines of "November the month every one posts what they are thankful for before going back to complaining on Facebook the other 11 months." We have so much in the States. There are the basic necessities that we don't even think about that other countries don't have. Food, water, shelter, electricity... Can you imagine not being able to provide that for your family? We went on a field trip yesterday and half the children could not go because their family could not afford it. It was like the Botswana version of Disneyland and cost less than $20 USD. Some families here make less than that in a week and Botswana is one of the richer countries in Africa. I felt poor back in the States because we could barely manage financially. Compared to other places in the world- we were millionaires. I complained and was miserable about our financial situation but here they have so much less and are happy.

I am not writing this to make anyone feel bad. I just want us to see how blessed we are in the U.S. and encourage you to do what you can to help the less fortunate. I don't believe God blessed us with $ to keep it all to ourselves. It is easy to focus on ourselves and what we don't have. I do it too. But this life is not supposed to just be about what we can get out of it. In Matthew 25:40 (the sorting of the goats and sheep parable) Jesus says, "Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to me." Let's take our faith and start doing something with it. Feed the hungry. Adopt an orphan or give to a family trying to adopt. Give blankets and shelter to the homeless. Spend time with a widow or child in need. Babysit for a family that desperately needs a break. Fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. The list goes on. We can stand by and complain about these things or we can get up and do something.

Sorry I felt that needed said. I will get off my soap box now.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Quick Update

Dumela! (Greetings) We have made it to Botswana. This post will be fairly brief. I just wanted to give a quick update. I basically have 2 things to share.

A. We are in Africa. So far we are enjoying it and working on adjusting. Jet Lag has been rough. We had not fully gotten on a schedule when we moved from Alaska so we were still pretty much on Alaska time when we moved here. There is a 10 hour difference. So our bodies are having to adjust. In addition we are working on learning the language and the culture. They do speak English but we are learning some words are different from English in the States. For example Ryan asked for a napkin at a restaurant and the waitress gave him a look. Over here they are serviettes and napkin is the word for diaper. We are also are learning to convert dollars into pula (8:1) and Fahrenheit to Celsius.

B. If you saw my "We're Having a Book" post you know we were hoping I was pregnant. Unfortunately that is not the case. I have started using some natural remedies and we will see if that changes things. I'm hoping for improved health and anything else is just a bonus. Like all things I am learning it has to be in God's timing. He knows what is best and I just have to trust. I have to let go and believe. Obsessing over it makes me miserable and does not change a thing.

So like I said I am going to make this brief and leave it at that. Hopefully later I will be able to write more. Please pray for us as we adjust to our new life and culture. Thanks :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Story Behind: "We're Having a Book"

So I know I have been writing a lot about Africa lately. This post is going to get back to being more about infertility. Just a heads up.

As many of you know Ry and I have been trying for over five years to conceive. It has been quite the roller coaster. Infertility is so hard. It attacks you in every aspect: physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. Your body becomes not your own. While you are in physical pain and can be subjected to many doctors appointments and medicines. Those medicines can make you feel even worse. Ask Ry- I was not me while taking Clomid. It works for some people but not me. Then there is the constant monthly (if your cycle is even normal) reminder that you aren't pregnant. That can leave you in tears for days. You can beat yourself up about it and second guess everything you did that month. Maybe I drank too much coffee. Should I have ate more broccoli? And sometimes you wrestle with God. I cannot tell you how many times I have asked Why me Lord? So any way you look at it- infertility sucks. Sorry no other word to describe it. It is messy and can reek havoc on your marriage. When your hormones are making you psycho and you cry at the drop of a hat or get hurt/angry over nothing. Not the stuff Disney makes movies about. Just saying. (Luckily I got a good guy who stands by me and understands when I have my crazy moments.)

So long intro to get to the story of yesterday. With infertility being so hard sometimes even in the hard stuff you have to step back and laugh. I am late. That may explain my ranting. But anyway, yesterday I broke down and took a pregnancy test. Now I have taken at least 50 of these tests. I have taken so many we should have bought stock in them. Seriously. So after taking it I get:


What? I start getting upset. I KNOW how to take a pregnancy test. Why is there an error/ look at instructions message. Then the thought is whispered in my ear. Let's have fun with this. Instead of crying or stomping my feet in anger, I needed to laugh. So I saunter downstairs test in hand and wave for Ry to come over. I take his hand and lead him upstairs. Then in my most serious voice I said "Babe. If I am reading this test right (long pause) we are having a BOOK." The look on his face was priceless. After it all set in we both started cracking up and even posted it on Facebook.

So why am I sharing this? Life is HARD. Everyone faces trials of some sort. Jesus told us their would be trials. So we can focus on the hard stuff and be miserable. Or we can let it go and enjoy our life.

Jesus doesn't just leave us with a warning saying we'll have trials. The verse continues on to say:

John 16:33, " I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Take heart guys. Jesus has overcome it all. Don't let your trial bring you down. Let it make you stronger. 

PS. Now I am not saying this because I have it all down pat. I struggle with this too. 

Friday, October 4, 2013


In 17 days God-willing we will be in the air on our way to Botswana! (Well South Africa first- then Botswana) It is crazy to think we are almost there. We've done so much prepping for it and have so much still to do. It just almost doesn't seem real. I am scared of the unknown and leaving dear family and friends. But I am excited too. I know this is the path God is leading us down. A couple days ago I saw on Mandisa's facebook page,

"We often think our calling comes when we follow bliss, when actually it comes when we face our greatest fear. Your calling is where your talents and your burdens collide." from the Catalyst Conference
Africa will be combining my talents and my burdens. I have been told that I am good with kids and teaching. Also, that my spiritual gift is mercy. My burden is helping kids, especially orphans. So combine all that and you get me teaching and loving on orphans. That is what I'll be doing in Africa. That is what excites me so much I feel like I am going to burst. I can't wait to go even if it is just to impact 1 kid. My heart starts to race and I get goosebumps when I talk about helping those kids. 

But then there is the human side of me. The side that rationalizes that this is BIG. We aren't moving to another state. Alaska is kind of like its own country because its so different from the lower 48 but its still part of the US. We are going to a different continent and hemisphere. It is a huge change. Different language. Different money. Driving on the other side of the road. Using the metric system. Ect. It is overwhelming and scary.

So what do you do? Let fear hold you back or push past it and make a difference (or at least try)?  It'd be easier to stay in my comfort zone but that is not where I am supposed to be. So in 17 days we are taking the leap. Believing in faith that God will catch us and take care of all the scary stuff. Please pray for us as we go on this journey. I also want to encourage you if God if calling you to take a leap of faith. Trust Him and go for it! Let me know what it is so we can pray for you too.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


In the past couple years we have heard a lot about "the one percent."  Today I want to talk about a different number: the 8%.

I'll get to that in a minute. Lately Facebook has been exploding with baby/pregnancy posts. It seems like everyone we know (well not everyone but I'd say over half) is either pregnant or had a kid in the last year.  Which is great and we are super happy for our friends and family, but it leads us to question: why aren't we part of that group? Ry asked me that the other night. It is hard wanting to be a parent and not being able to especially after spending several months as a parent. I want to be mommy again. So why not us? My answer to Ry (and I don't know where it came from) was, "Maybe we aren't parents yet because we haven't met our kids yet." Over the course of the past five years of trying we have talked a lot about adoption. We've read books and done research. We were even foster parents. We want to adopt whether God allows us to conceive some day or not.

A statistic I read the other day blew me away. I have been reading Kisses From Katie (amazing book). In it Katie Davis writes,

"The truth is that the 143 million orphaned children and the 11 million who starve to death or die from preventable diseases and the 8.5 million child slaves, prostitutes, or under other horrific conditions and the 2.3 million who live which HIV add up to 164.8 million needy children. And though at first glance that looks like a big number, 2.1 billion people on this earth proclaim to be Christians. The truth is that if only 8% of Christians would care for one more child, there would not be any statistics left." 1

Whoa. Let that sink in for a minute. All it would take is 8% of us. And that is just 1 child. What if some of us took in multiple children. I know not everyone is capable of adopting or supporting another child. But what if the other 92% got behind the 8% and pitch in to help make it possible. There are churches that are doing just that and I think it is amazing. Anyone who adopts- you are amazing. Ry and I hope and pray to join you. We are going to Africa with the door to our home and hearts open. My prayer is that we can foster/ adopt multiple children. When I think of the children and the impact we could make I get really excited for Africa.

Not going to lie, our fertility struggle has been rough. But it will all be worth it if we can make a difference for a needy child. I don't know what is in store for us but I have hope.  We can make a difference. :) Jesus tells his disciples that others will know they are disciples by their love. That is something we (myself included) don't always get right. Most non-Christians think of the church as "judging." So let's change that. Go love someone today. God is the one who changes the world but we are blessed that sometimes He uses us.

1 Davis, K. (2011) Kisses From Katie Howard Books, NY p. 121-122.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mission Alaska: Life Lesson From Our Near Arctic Adventure

As I sit here trying to put into words what I am feeling right now, I am worried I won't get it right. I have so much going on in my heart and mind and am unsure words can do it justice. But I am going to try. Forgive me if I fail.

Okay now that I have got that out there I have to decide where to even begin. See in reality I am probably talking about 2 years of our life but its more than that. I think its a culmination of everything that has happened in my life at all. We recently moved from Alaska. Two years ago God rocked my world and opened the door for us to go to Alaska. At the time I was hesitant. Alaska is cold and far away. Not for me. But I obeyed. See He dangled the chance of Ryan's dream being fulfilled. It was too much for a good wife to say no to. For those that don't know we left for Ry to become a military pilot. He had interviewed that Spring and got denied. The panel suggested he would do better next year if we made the leap and moved. So that was the mission. Move so Ry can be in the military. Or so we thought.

We got to Alaska and even with a record breaking year of snow- I fell in love. Alaska became home. Spring came and Ry interviewed. He got the call that he was selected to pilot a C130. We were ecstatic. We felt all our lives had led up to that moment. Ry had dreamed of being a military pilot FOREVER. He went to mechanic and flight school for that purpose. We met amazing professors that gave him great recommendations- for that purpose. It was the dream and it was becoming real. Things were going well and then we started hitting hurdles. Weeks turned to months and a year later we still hadn't gone anywhere. We started questioning. There was a range of emotions from anger to fear to depression. Then one day Ry told me I think I want to apply to Africa. I was floored. WHAT! NO! That is not the mission. That's what I thought but I said okay. Maybe it would make him feel better. It wasn't the plan so it was not going to happen.

We waited a few more months with no word from anyone. That was a tough time for us. But I have to rewind a little. We became foster parents while we waited on the military. I've wanted to be a mom FOREVER. That is my dream. It wasn't happening naturally. We sought God a year before about foster care. He said no then. That summer, not long after we started the military process, God gave us the green light. We had 2 kids. These kids had it rough. Their stories are heartbreaking. They came into our home and became our kids. We were a family. Well we were for a time. God took little girl away first. She went with family. Oh how that broke my heart. Then around the time we started seeking God about Africa we noticed a change in our boy. It was like a switch went off in him. He went from calling me mom (not to my face- just to his friends and teachers) to intense hatred toward me. Things spiraled and he left us too.

Right after he left we got the calls. With in an hour God opened the Africa door and closed the military. Shock cannot begin to describe what I felt. But it was God's plan not mine that wins out. I know we are supposed to go to Africa and I am excited to go now. What happened? I cannot fully explain it but I'll try.

Today I got closure about our foster kids. For months I have heard from friends "You did the best you could." "You did your job." "God is proud of you for taking care of those kids." Those words were encouraging but I still had that doubting voice in my head. Did I really do the right thing for those kids? I was a far from perfect mother. Maybe someone else could've done better. Today I heard from a friend who saw our boy and said he was doing well. When I heard that I felt closure. I felt mission complete. That got me thinking about our whole time in Alaska. We thought we were there for the military but we were so WRONG! The military wasn't our mission. Our mission was to be there at that time for those kids. I know God sent us there for other reasons too and we'll never know the full impact we had. But I believe even if it was just for them- God would have sent us. The Bible says that God is the father to the fatherless. Their heavenly father loved those kids enough to send 2 crazy young adults 4,000 miles from home to take care of them for half a year. That is insane. Talk about love. And God loves us all with that intensity. Sorry I am just overwhelmed right now with joy and love. It is so hard to explain. I hope I'm not messing this up.

So how does Africa tie into this? Africa is our new mission. I don't know exactly what it will look like. We got Alaska TOTALLY wrong so I am scared to make any predictions. I just know its something. Something that I will hopefully 2 years from now be overwhelmed trying to explain when we come back to visit. All I know is we have closed the door on our Mission Alaska and are proceeding in faith toward Mission Africa. God has a plan and I can't wait to see it unfold. Maybe we will see people get saved. Maybe Ry will love it and never want to leave. Maybe we'll get to impact kids or even have our own kids. Maybe I'll open an orphanage (FYI- I'd love that). Who knows? All I know is I want to complete whatever mission God has for us there. Big or small. We want to make a difference. God has us in the place we are, for the time we are, for a reason. Are you ready for your Mission?

2 years ago when we first got to Alaska
Leaving Alaska 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Poison Ivy Ramblings

So we have made the move safely. We are enjoying time with our family as we prepare for Africa. I did get a poison ivy rash. The rash is not the normal rash- been there done that. It is the worst rash I have had in my life. My arm looks like it could be in some sci-fi movie where aliens burst out of eggs laid in a lady's arm. It is raised and has huge blisters and is utterly disgusting. We have been going back and forth on whether or not to go to the doctor. We really didn't want to spend the money. So I started on one of my tirades about it hurting and of course it happened when we don't have insurance. But God stopped me in my tracks. I was reminded that I at least have that option. Where we are moving they have things must worse than my "zombie bite rash" as Ry calls it and they can't go to the doctor. It was a reminder of how blessed I am. I know we are going to encounter some crazy stuff over there. Culture shock is coming. The statistics are so sobering. I just cannot put my head around their reality. My heart breaks for the Batswana and I have not even met them yet. This is going to be tough. I write this to ask you to pray for us and for the Batswana. Ry and I have really felt that God is calling us to bring light there. Africa used to be called the Dark Continent because no one outside of Africa knew anything about it. Centuries later it is the dark continent for other reasons. Death, disease, poverty. We want to bring the light of Jesus to them. We can't do this alone. We have already felt some spiritual warfare and know more is coming. So please, please, please pray for us.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Roller Coaster

So after spending time with some amazing people this week and uploading pictures from ERNC I was on the verge of crying. Wow I am going to miss Alaska. The people, the scenery. I love it here. Which is crazy because if you saw me a little over 2 years ago I was throwing a fit about coming here. Asking Ryan "Are you sure God wants us to move to Alaska?" and then asking God "Are you sure we need to go there?" I have cried every time we have moved. Yet once we were settled, I loved where God sent us. It is just a reminder to me of God's sovereignty. He knows so much better what is best for me than I do. I try to remind myself of that when I start freaking out about Botswana. I am so excited to go and serve but it does not keep me from being human and having a roller coaster of emotions. Some days I am full of faith and ready to tackle those mountains in our way (well God tackles them- but you know what I mean). Then there are days where I am so stressed I have to push it all aside and take a break (like yesterday when we were working on prayer cards and looking at the calendar trying to decide our move dates). I have noticed something though. I have one of those panic moments or extreme grief moments where I feel I am being tested. Example: When OCS called with what would be the perfect placement and my heart broke because I had to be honest and say we were moving soon. I was sobbing after that call and had that "if we weren't moving we might have gotten to adopt" thought. I rebuked it and prayed for strength. I had a Matthew 26:41 moment ("Watch and pray so you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.") The next day I got an
e-mail that I had been waiting a month for from the orphanage where I feel called to volunteer. It has become a cycle. We get down about something but in the next few days God sends us reassurances that we are doing what we are supposed to do. God is so amazing. Thank you everyone who is praying for us. This journey is not easy but its worth it.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

What is on my mind right now

Ryan made me post my previous blog entry (I was just writing to get my feelings out and didn't plan on posting it). I am so thankful he did because I have gotten so much encouragement from you guys. I really appreciate it and it means a lot to me. Doing much better today :)

One of my favorite songs lately is "Kings and Queens" by Audio Adrenaline (see link below). After not listening to it for awhile because I would cry when I heard it- I listened to it again yesterday. Yep still makes me cry. I thought of M and K and said an extra prayer for them. It also got me thinking of Botswana and the orphanages I will hopefully be working in. I started crying tears of sadness as I prayed for the orphans of Botswana but those tears turned to tears of joy. I am so thankful Ryan and I will be able to do something to help those children. This is the call God has placed on our lives and it is so amazing seeing the pieces come together. Before church last night we found out the gender of my sister's baby. Ryan had predicted it correctly. We started talking about it and he said he just always knows. So I asked him what gender our kids will be. He said he didn't know yet and he did not know if they'd be biological or adopted or what race they would be. He just knew we would have a lot of them. He had seen the same vision of us being surrounded by kiddos. It is hard seeing facebook statuses about pregnancy and knowing we may never experience that. But then I think of the kids that need a family. The kids we will be able to welcome into our family. That takes the pain away. 

Last post I asked for prayer for me. This time I ask that you pray for the orphans and children in foster care all over the world. Thank you :)

This is the YouTube link to the video of "Kings and Queens"

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Cheyenne got spayed, shots, and micro-chipped yesterday. She should be ready for Africa. Just need an international health certificate for her. But needless to say she was not feeling well last night so we stayed in to keep an eye on her. We decided to watch a movie and to my surprise Ry picks out What to Expect When You're Expecting. He was trying to pick a decent girly movie since we are constantly watching "guy" movies. I had some reservations about it but went with it. If you are going through infertility this may not be the best movie for you to watch. I had tears in my eyes through most of the movie. It brought up some emotions that I try to stuff down and not think about. I do have to say they had a couple going through infertility in the movie. I am normally not a J. Lo fan at all but I really related with her character. At one point she goes into the speech I think every woman that has difficulty conceiving says or thinks. Ry looked at me and said that sounds familiar. That feeling that you are a failure as a woman because you can't conceive. At the end of the movie Ry asked when's it going to be our turn. We are going on five years of trying and most of the time we do okay. But I think those feelings are like an undertow, dangerously below the surface ready to drag you down at a moments notice. I know God has a plan in this and when I focus on that I do okay with it. Having the foster kiddos helped but now that we are moving we can't take anymore. I have been trying to find my place in this move. I have sent out my resume several places to volunteer with orphans or in a hospice preschool but have not heard anything back. I have an ache in my soul to be mothering kiddos whether they are mine or not and I just feel restless right now. We are in this in between/ limbo place. I know this is where we learn and grow but its also where it is the hardest. I feel like an Israelite in the desert saying "God when will we get there?"   Sorry I'm just trying to be real with you guys. I try to make these post encouraging but today I'm not there. I'm broken and I could use some prayer. When we had to give K back (that was so hard. We would have adopted her in an instant if we could have) I had a vision of this beautiful stained glass window. I was confused until God reminded me that He could take broken things and make them beautiful. So I'm not there yet but I pray that someday I will shine like that window and reflect God's love.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


So a lot has happened in the last couple weeks. The most common question I have been getting lately after people talk to Ry about what is going on they turn and ask me how I feel about it. Before that was a tough question to answer. I was still overwhelmed by the idea of us going to Africa and it had not fully kicked in that it was happening. Then I had my last day with my students and then my last day at work. I cried. I am so blessed that everywhere God has sent us I have had awesome coworkers. Reality was starting to set in and then anxiety. I am a checklist type of person. That is just my nature. I'm a planner. I started trying to do that with Africa and I just became overwhelmed with the mountain of things to accomplish. Passports, visas, selling things, raising money... As I focused on that mountain I let fear creep in. Instead of looking to The One who can move any mountain I was looking at what I could do. Scary. But then I started listening to the new Audio Adrenaline cd and singing at the top of my lungs (yes I was that crazy lady singing in her truck). My focus shifted. God started whispering in my ear "Do you think I am going to call you to do something then leave you to do it all on your own? Don't you remember I am the God that nothing is impossible for? Stop stressing. Let me handle it." So I let go and I'm telling you tears of joy began running down my cheeks. I began to get excited. It was like a slide show in my mind. I saw pictures of us surrounded by kids. I saw us laughing and playing. I saw children running to us in tears and us picking them up loving them. I saw Ry flying. Then I saw myself as a teenager at youth camp and God telling me I was going to rescue children for Him. Flash forward to youth convention this year where God told me I may not have biological children but I was going to be a mother to dozens of kids. I thought we were going to Africa to fulfill the dream God put in Ryan's heart. Now I see He is going to fulfill mine there too. So if you ask me now I'll tell you I can't wait to go. I am going to miss so many people and I know it is going to be overwhelmingly hard. But we are going for a purpose. We are going to shine the light of God's love on the people of Botswana. Show them there is hope even if they are part of the 25% of the country infected with HIV/AIDs. We are going to show orphans that they still have a Father who loves them. They are not alone. Ry and I have been praying for months "use us God. Wherever you want us to go- we'll go". Now we have our answer and I want to go.

So other than to update you on what is going on with us I want to encourage you. I know a lot of people seeking God's will for their life or going through tough stuff. Don't look at the mountains in your life. Look at The One who can move them. It may take longer than you expect but God is in control. At the end of John 16 Jesus is telling His disciples there will be sadness in this life, but He ends by encourage them that God is bigger than our troubles. Let Him overcome it for you.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Alaska to Africa

If you are reading this you probably have heard our news. Ryan and I are moving to Botswana, Africa! We are planning to be there by the end of summer if everything lines up. Ryan has felt called to Africa since he was a teenager. God woke him up in the middle of the night and told him to go to Africa. He got online and showed his parents a missionary aviation video.
For me it has been more recent. Like all of our other moves, he has been ready before me. God slowly changed my heart from being opposed to being excited. When I was younger my pastor and his wife moved to Africa. I remember as part of their farewell party they played "Please Don't Send Me to Africa" by Scott Wesley (or a song similar). I was freaked out and prayed I would never have to go there. Twenty years later I was saying the same thing. Then I researched Botswana and my heart broke for the people there. Below are some of the statistics that changed my mind and my heart.
We have moved a lot in our six and a half years of marriage. Our first move was to Virginia. As newlyweds we felt led to go back to school and finish up our degrees. In VA we learned to make it on our own and bonded as a couple. It was there that we both got our training. Afterwards we moved back home to try to figure out our next step. It was important to get that time with our family. It is also where we got our pup Chandelle. From there God led us to Alaska. Here we have continued to grow. We believe those moves and everything else in our lives has been leading us to Botswana. David wrote in Psalms that God orders our steps. Looking back we can see that He has done just that in our lives.
So what will we be doing there?
Ryan will be flying medivac, humanitarian, and charter flights for Flying Mission Services in Gaborone, Botswana. This is a great Missionary opportunity.  Ryan will be able to use his training to help those in need and spread Christ's love through his actions. St. Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the gospel always. If necessary - use words." 
I am still trying to find my place in this plan. I am hoping to be volunteering at an orphanage or preschool. Orphans make up 10% of the entire population of Botswana. There are so many children in Bots that need to hear about God's Love! My calling has always been to work with children so I look forward to seeing how I can serve in Botswana. 

Why Botswana?
*Botswana is about the size of Texas
* There are 2.2 million people that live there
*1 in 4 are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS (That is over 500,000 people and the numbers could be higher)
*Due to AIDS being so prevalent there, 10% of the entire population are orphans. Over 200,000 children without parents.
*Average life expectancy is 50 years

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is coming up so today instead of a penmanship test I had my class write thank you letters to their mom using their best cursive. As I am going over directions several students are excited to do it but a few start grumbling. "I can't come up with a whole paragraph." "That's too many sentences." I said 6 and one could be Happy Mother's Day Mom. I couldn't believe it. Then I thought back to before I became a foster mom. I had no clue how much work motherhood would be. I thought because I had worked with kids for half my life that it would be easy. Boy was I wrong. Yes, my years of experiences made me better prepared but I was not used to being on call 24-7. I was not used to the sleepless nights worrying they'd fall out of bed or need me. Every peep I heard from their room made me jump and spring into action just in case. I could go on and on about: diapers, cooking, cleaning, driving to appointments, missing work because they are sick.... Now that the kiddos are gone I have all this time and I have no clue what to do with myself. As exhausting and hard as it was, I miss it. While cleaning out their room I found a tracing of little ones hands and a "Weekend News" talking about how much fun he had with us from M.  Those papers are going in my scrapbook because I treasure those precious memories. To all the moms and dads out there as we prepare to celebrate you I just want to say y'all are awesome. Your kids are probably like my students and I was pre-kiddos. They have no clue how much you do for them yet you do it anyway. You are amazing. Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

10,000 Reasons

It has been a rough week. Without going into too many details the last couple of weeks have been emotionally exhausting. I got called names I have never been called in my life and heard some of the most hurtful things. We got to the point where we had to let go of a child we loved very much. I loved him but he had hatred in his heart toward me. It has been very easy for me to wallow in self pity but that is not helpful. What I've learned with losing both kiddos is that when you focus on your self and your hurts/ your needs you hurt worse. Only when I focus on God and pray for the kids do I feel peace. One of my favorite praise songs is "10,000 Reasons" by Matt Redman. I love the line, "Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me let me be singing when the evening comes." I may be having the worst day of my life and be heartbroken/miserable. Still there are things to praise God about. When I'm praising Him it takes the focus off of me and my pain eases. I pray that everyone had a better week than we did but either way God is good and worthy of our praise.

The foster care door seems to be closing in our life but we see God opening a new door soon that we are excited about. Once everything is official I will share more.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Not Perfect

I have a lot on my mind right now and not a lot of time to type. This may be short. Life has been absolutely insane. So many appointments and that's not even the half of it. So that is why i have not been writing. Lack of time. I'm either too busy or too tired. My verse that I keep reminding myself (and it was actually my students penmanship test verse today) is Isaiah 40:29-31
"He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint."

So I am trying to continue on. I heard something on the radio the other day that I wanted to share. I really related to it and I think some of you may too. There are days that I feel like an absolute failure at being a mom. I get that nagging thought in the back of my brain that says this is why you can't conceive. So I was in one of my down moods and I hear the lady on the radio talk about how she felt inadequate compared to this super mom she knew. But then she thought about Mary who was just a teenager when she had Jesus. She didn't have any extra preparation. She was just willing so God chose her. That got me thinking. Nowhere in Scripture to my knowledge (correct me if I'm wrong) does it say Thou shalt be Supermom and never mess up raising kids. Yes we do have the example of the Proverbs 31 woman to look up to and strive for however its okay to not be perfect. I don't need to put all that pressure on myself to be perfect and compare myself to other moms that I think are perfect. So moms out there give yourself a break. Its okay. On those tough days just be willing and let God take over and give you those eagle wings.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

recap and fast forward


I know its been awhile but life has been super crazy. I recently had a birthday and after bdays I like to look back over the year. A lot happened over the past year of my life.

*  I started a new job teaching 4th grade. It was a big change from preschool but I really enjoy it.

* We explored a lot more of AK. We still have a lot of places to go though.


 North Pole


* I started driving again. We only had one vehicle until this winter. So now I drive a truck. It has been an adjustment- especially when its snowing or icy. 

*We have kiddos now. That was probably by far the biggest thing that happened this year. I can't say its always been easy. Like life it has ups and downs. There have been those moments though that you can see that this is what God wants us to be doing. It has given me some clarity to our whole infertility struggle. If we were able to conceive we might not being doing this. We probably would not have the impact we are having.  Its been a big reminder that my life is not my own. I could just live my life how I want to but then I would miss out on so much God has for me. I don't want to be so focused on this life that I miss out on the eternal. I'm not sure I'm explaining this well. All that to say I know God has big things in store for this next year. Please pray for us as we try to sort out which path God is leading us down this time. Thanks :)