Here is video #2 in the WDW series. The day we arrived, we kept it low key and went to Disney Springs for the evening before hitting the parks the next day. We did dinner at The Earl of Sandwich – YUM!- and just walked around and enjoyed the Christmas decor. I really wish there had been more time to spend at Disney Springs. It is such a cool place and just huge! You could spend a big chunk of time there. Check out the video below and tell me what you love about Disney Springs or ask questions in the comments!
So, as promised here is the first installment of our WDW trip videos. This one is of our travel to and arrival at the resort. It was such a crazy day. I got VERY little sleep and it was a long travel day……. BUT so worth it!
November is National Adoption Awareness Month. As an adoptive parent, I wanted to take this opportunity briefly share my heart on this subject.
Adoption is very personal for me. Without the miracle of adoption, I would not be a mom today. So here is my heart…..
To the couple who suffers from infertility, explained or unexplained, and wonders if they will ever be able to grow their family. I cry with you.
To the couple who seeks to adopt, but the paperwork and the cost make it seem impossible. I know what you face.
To the woman who is pregnant or has delivered and is standing in the valley of decision. I cannot imagine how you must feel. I pray that you make the decision that is best for both you and for your child in your UNIQUE situation. No matter if you choose adoption or to parent.
To the new adoptive parents who wonder how they will navigate this life in the best interest of their new child. I share your uncertainty.
To all parties in the adoption triad. Love each other, Support each other, Listen to each other and Respect each other.
To the parents who adopted through the foster system and wonder how to help their child grow up not being able to know their first family. I pray with you for wisdom.
To the countless family members and friends who support an adoptive parent, adoptee or first parent. Just be there. Provide support and a shoulder to cry on when needed. Live life with them.
And now to speak to my own story.
To my husband. We walked through all of this together. I love you and I love our family.
To our son. We love you and are so honored to be your parents.
To our son’s first family. We love you and are glad that we get to know who you are and that he will know who you are.
To our parents. We love you and know that you were walking through this along with us. You taught us how to be parents. Thank you.
To the countless friends who encouraged us and even helped us raise funds. Thank you. We love you all as our extended family.
To my readers. Thank you for following our journey. This month pray for all of those who are a part of the adoption process. Pray that no one is pressured or taken advantage of. Pray that only the best decisions are made. Pray that relationships are made instead of broken. Pray that every party is given access to the resources they need to deal with their part of this journey.
Yesterday I turned 40. Let’s just say that although some really great things did happen in my life during my thirties, there were also a lot of hard circumstances. I always thought I would be depressed at the thought of turning 40, and definitely never thought I would be announcing it to the world online. Don’t get me wrong, it does feel a bit weird and I’m not exactly a fan of getting older, but I find myself looking forward to my forties with hope and expectation.
At the time of my last blog post in August of 2016, we were newly taking on the adoption process. There were so many unknowns. Lots of excitement accompanied by fear and at times discouragement. How will we ever raise the funds? What will the
process be like? How long will we have to wait? It was quite the emotional roller coaster, but over and over again God proved to us just how much He loves us and that He is on our side. The funds steadily came in from the most unlikely places. Most of our adoption cost was funded by the generosity of friends, family and acquaintances. We were blown away. All of these people waited alongside us for Baby G to come home.
I believe it was in March of 2018 that we were home study approved, allowed to submit our profile, and were officially a “waiting family.” During the whole process we were impatient to reach that moment when we could “go live” with our profile, so to speak. Now we found ourselves in the phase of “hurry up and wait.” By the end of May, secretly both my husband and me were feeling discouraged. Would it be years of waiting? Would it be a lifetime of waiting?
I was a few months away from my 39thbirthday. At that point approaching 40 seemed a bit grim. Would I be entering my forties, still with no child for us to share our love with? I started praying, really pleading for God to somehow make it happen before my 40thbirthday, while feeling petty for even making such a request. God had done so much already, was I really going to be this whiny?
Other things started to change as well. I had an unexplainable feeling that it was time to leave my job. I had planned to stay there one more year while I attempted to build a homebased business, but something told me that the time to go was now. I turned in my notice and finished the school year. It was pretty scary to leave that job with no guaranteed idea of how I was going to supplement our income, but it felt like the right thing. As we had done every Summer, after I finished the school year, we packed up and headed to camp with our youth group. The week started off good, as usual. Our cell phone reception was horrible, so I had to keep mine turned off most of the time. On the second evening of camp I turned on my phone to check for messages and I had a voicemail from our adoption specialist asking for me to call her so we could chat. I immediately thought it was odd and the wheels in my head started to turn. I found a wi-fi connection so I could check email. There was a mass email that had gone out to all of the waiting families with our agency, just letting everyone know that some profiles had been viewed by an expectant mother. She had chosen a family and we were instructed to contact the agency if we wanted to know if our profile had been shown to her. Well now the wheels were really turning! Could it be? No, surely not. Don’t let yourself get too excited. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. So many thoughts. Of course, I had to grab my husband to tell him. He was in shock too, and just like me afraid to fully let his mind go there.
The next morning we went to find a land line to call our adoption specialist. We heard the words that we never thought we would hear- “You’ve been chosen! This mom wants to meet you!” We were overwhelmed. Here we were in early June and this baby, a boy, was to be delivered by c-section on July 10. Just as a side note, the average time that a family waits for an adoption with our agency is 3 ½ years after submitting their profile. We were around the 3 month mark.
We scheduled a meeting for when we returned from camp. We were excited but still scared and guarded. This was just a meeting to see if mom really liked us enough to move forward. We were going “under the microscope.”
We got back into town and prepared for our meeting. Wow, some big decisions on both sides would be made at this meeting. We were discouraged when the meeting was canceled. Due to unforeseen circumstances, it would have to be rescheduled. So, we were given a second meeting date for one week later. Uh…… more time to think.
The day before the meeting, June 28th, I was at church in a rehearsal when I got a call from the agency. I assumed they were calling to confirm our meeting for the next day, I was praying that it wasn’t another cancellation. When I answered the phone, I was informed the baby had been born that morning! Wow! This changed everything. We had to go ahead and decide, without ever meeting mom, if we were going to bring this baby boy home. We had a matter of hours to make a decision to commit or not, and even if we commit mom can still change her mind. I ran home to talk to my husband so we could decide together. We cried, we prayed, we pondered. We decided that if mom still wanted us, this was our son.
The next day we drove 2 hours to meet mom and her family at the hospital. We all clicked instantly. We had heard horror stories of these hospital meetings not going well due to prejudices on the part of hospital staff or high emotions of the first family and their friends. We experienced none of this! This family welcomed us with open arms as one of their own and the hospital staff could not have been nicer. We visited with the first family all day long and then spent the night in the hospital with a little 5 lb 2 oz baby boy beside my bed.
Although we were feeling so much joy and our dream was coming true, we couldn’t help but feel a measure of sadness as well. While we were in our room rejoicing, a woman was down the hall in her room, pondering the hardest decision she would ever make. The following day, we spent more time with her and then in the evening we loaded up our car for the long drive home with our miracle baby, Landon.
Not only did I become a mom before my 40thbirthday, but God did me one better and made it happen even before my 39th! God is so good and cares even about things that we may think are silly. If it matters to us, it matters to Him.
So, to make a long story longer….. What have we been up to since August of 2016??????
We have been living our dream. Raising our son, maintaining a good relationship with his first family and now focusing on our health. We want to not just be there, but actively there for our son for the years ahead.
Since July 15 of this year, my husband and I have been on a journey of health and wellness. We have drastically changed our eating habits and have not only dropped weight, but have been feeling better and healthier. I am down a total of 26 lbs and 2 jean sizes!
We are continuing on this journey for the long haul, and I want to take you with us! This blog will now chronical my adventures in motherhood, our health journey, faith, fashion, DIY, recipes, product reviews- you name it, I will be sharing it.
So truly, welcome to my world…. Only this time it’s a whole new world! Here’s to my Fabulous Forties!
Life happened and I know I am sooooo late posting this week! I beg your forgiveness and will forever bow at your feet if you forgive me…. You will?! Great! Let’s get on with this post!
Ok. So at the end of 2014 I tried something called The Whole 30. I have to say, I was quite impressed. In 30 days I lost 14 pounds. I didn’t starve myself- I didn’t become a “gym rat”- I didn’t take diet pills. I simply ate healthy, whole, non-inflammatory foods. I felt better, looked better, slept better and discovered some food sensitivities. It was pretty remarkable. Not long after that my health issues started so The Whole 30 lifestyle fell by the wayside. Now that I am a year out from surgery and my digestive system had mostly recovered from the complications I experienced, I am ready to take the plunge once more.
Next Tuesday, Sept 9 I will be starting a new lifestyle using The Whole 30 as a guideline. After the major health scare I had, I really want to be kinder to my body and be able to keep up with those beautiful babies we plan to adopt. This plan is very strict if followed “by the book”. For 30 days you are not allowed any grains, dairy, legumes, sugar or processed foods. AND absolutely NO cheating or you have to start all over. Since this time of year gets very busy for us with lots of events to attend, I won’t be doing a true Whole 30 since I will be incorporating cheat days. However I plan to do a strict Whole 30 after the first of the year. I must say that I am not especially looking forward to the first few days. The first time I did this, I would have killed someone to get a cheese quesadilla…. I was not a happy camper, but by the end it was TOTALLY worth it!
So, ALL of this being said, I want to take you all on this journey with me! I will be giving updates on my progress. I’ll also be sharing things I learn and maybe a few recipes along the way. I will be weighing myself in on the 9th and then plan to not weigh myself again until October 9, which happens to be my birthday!!!!!! What better gift could I give myself than the gift of good health and a smaller waist?! I hope you all will follow my progress and maybe even be inspired to make some changes of your own. Please comment if you have tips, words of encouragement or questions.
FYI you can learn more about The Whole 30 at whole30.com
This is a post for the ladies. Maybe a few of you out there can identify with this… I have, on more occasions than I care to admit, been told that I have a Mary Poppins purse. Does my purse look like that magical carpet bag that the beloved Disney character sported? Nope. My purse is like hers because I seem to have EVERYTHING in there. My coworkers would always come and ask if I had what they needed in my Mary Poppins purse. Nine times out of ten I would have exactly what they needed. Evidently being prepared for anything is my super power and my purse is my trusty sidekick. BUT, with great power comes great responsibility! You may ask, “Kellie, what is this great responsibility?”. Well, the responsibility is to keep this magic purse of mine organized so that not only do I have what I need for any situation, but I can find the items I might need quickly.
The challenge. A purse can be like a black hole and I’m just not magical enough to reach in and grab exactly what I need nor is my purse quite large enough to disappear in up to my waist to find what I need. Although, I must say that would be an awesome trick! Anyways, I digress… I have tried different things over the years to keep things organized and easy to find. Lately, the thing that is working for me is pouches. Yes, I said pouches… The kind of pouches that you normally use for your makeup. I am using several in my purse to corral all those necessities and I must say it works marvelously for me. All it takes is 3 steps!
First- You will need to unload your purse contents. It will look like a jumbled mess. Here’s a picture of my mess to make you feel better about yours!
You will need to decide what you need and what you don’t need. And gather all of the pouches you think you might need. Here’s a pic of my lovelies.
Second- Divide the contents into groups that make sense for you. I divided mine into makeup, medicine, emergency, hair stuff, oral care, moisturizing. I also set aside a pouch for my pens, idea notebook and tape measure. You will also need to set aside what I like to call “free floaters”. For me, this included, my wallet, coin purse, brush, comb and first aid kit.
Third- Get everything into a pouch home that makes sense to you. I recommend getting pouches with different designs so that you can associate that design with what’s in it.
Now you can put all of your lovely pouches and place them in your purse. Here’s a pic of my purse, happily filled with all of my pouches.
This may not work for everyone but it works for me. I love not having to dig into my purse to find what I’m looking for. It’s not exactly magic, but I find things so much faster this way!
This is my method… How do you keep your purse organized?
Hi everyone! It’s Monday! I would like to use this posting opportunity today to speak a word of encouragement.
There are so many people I know right now who are facing difficult or uncertain circumstances. It’s hard to have peace and trust God when you feel like your back is against the wall and that wall seems to be falling down on top of you. So many thoughts run through your mind. Why is this happening? Is God listening? Does God care? Are things really going to be ok? We can’t usually answer the question of why, but we can answer the other questions. The answer is yes. He is listening, He does care and things will be ok. You just have to remember that sometimes the road to “ok” is marked with some tough times. We get to decide whether or not we allow life to break us. Will we trust God in the face of adversity? Will we remind ourselves that God’s plan for us may be somewhat different than what we had planned for ourselves?
I think, for me, just realizing that I have two choices… I can worry and agonize over things I cannot control or I can trust God to do the “heavy lifting” and take care of me. I choose the later! I serve a big God who can handle these situations far better than I ever could. I choose to rest in Him… Believe me, this is not easy for me… I am a world-class control freak! I like to know what is going to happen and when. I am impatient by nature. I am a worrier by nature. BUT …….. God has my back, so for me to worry and be impatient serves no purpose.
So, all of this to say… As we start this new week with new challenges of its own, let’s remember to rest in God. 1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” Whether you are facing something as serious as death or just a stressful work week, God cares and He has your back! I feel secure knowing that He is in my corner.
I hope you all have a blessed and productive week! I will see you back here on Thursday for another post!
Hi everyone! I hope you all have had a wonderful, fun, eventful, relaxing, productive summer!
You many wonder why I titled this post “Turning It Up a Notch”?????? Well, let me just tell you why! I am ready to turn it up a notch by getting back to blogging more regularly! I will be posting blog entries at least 2 times a week. I will be shooting for Mondays and Thursdays. I hope you all will continue to pop by and see what I’m up to. My posts up to this point have mostly been about my faith, my struggle or adoption….. All of those things will still be represented but I am ready to venture into DIY, cooking, crafting, decorating and other such related posts! Please help me spread the word about this blog by telling your family and friends. I feel confident that there will be something here for almost everyone.
While I have your attention, I might as well tell you all why my posts were few and far between this Summer……. As most of you know, my husband and I are youth pastors at a church in our community. My husband has been at the church for about 13 years and I have been there with him for the last 6 1/2. This year he became eligible for a 7 week sabbatical! Since I work at an elementary school and get the summer off, we decided that he would take that time during the summer as well. So, after youth camp wrapped up in June we took off on a 3 week long road trip then came back home and worked on our house and our adoption paperwork. We had a wonderful time! We were able to focus on each other and enjoy our time together. So, that being said, I focused on my husband rather than on my blog. I’m sure you all understand that while I love sharing with you all, family comes first.
BUT……… Hang on to your hats! ‘Cuz we’re takin’ this thing to a whole- nutha’- level!
Don’t forgot to pop in on Monday to see what I’m up to– I’ll be sharing some stories from our summer travels! Also, if you want to make sure you don’t miss a post, subscribe to my blog on the right hand side of your screen. You’ll get an email every time I post!
At this time one year ago I was on an operating table. What should have been 2 hours turned into 4. I would wake up to a new reality. The door to biological motherhood had been nailed shut. A full hysterectomy had taken place. In the following days it would be confirmed that I had not been crazy…. That the doctor I had tried to make understand was wrong…. The new doctor I had found had saved my life. In the following days I would learn that my ovaries were full of cancerous cells, which were on the verge of invading the surrounding organs and lymph nodes. It had been found in time.
How do I feel about all of this? I feel lucky. I feel blessed. I thank God that my situation had a favorable outcome. I know that had I waited just a little longer to have surgery, the outcome could have been very different.
Today, one year later, I stand in amazement of what God brought me through. I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for the chance to continue living my life and planning for the future. Today I can celebrate.
Life is fragile. We are not promised tomorrow. Today is the day we must choose to celebrate what’s important. What’s important to me? First, God is important to me. Without my relationship with Him, I am nothing. Second, my husband. He is my best friend and the love of my life. Third, my family. I would not want to do life without them.
God was working my life a year ago and He’s still working today. I believe that I will continue to walk in healing and health. Biological motherhood may not be a reality for me but motherhood will happen with God’s help. We have started submitting the paperwork for adoption and are trying to raise the funds to make our dream of parenthood a reality. We are telling our story to as many people as possible. We are living proof of God’s faithfulness and continuing work. We pray that God would place the right baby and birth mother in our lives.
My talented husband has created a website for our adoption fundraising effort, adoptingbabyg.com. The web site is a gathering place for our supporters. Some go there to see how they can pray for us and view updates. Some have expressed the desire to contribute financially. The site allows those people to do that…… And some just simply want follow our story and view our progress.
Please take a moment to visit the site. Pray for us and share it with others. We want others, who face similar circumstances, to know that they are not alone.
Thank you so much for stopping by to celebrate with me!