Thursday, November 15, 2012

Court Date!

Most of you know this by now, but on November 6th we were notified that we got our court date for November 30th!  We are thrilled!  Hopefully I will be posting pictures very soon!  For those of you on the list, by the time we go to court we will have waited 3 months and 10 days for our court date.  But I do think it is because we got caught during court closure.  We are traveling with another family who got a referral a month after us, so things are picking up!  I am excited!  We are going to stay at Bethel Guest Home which is The James Initiative's sustainable project in Addis.  All profits go to orphan care and the community!  The guest house is awesome!  I definitely recommend!  

Sunday, September 2, 2012


We got the call on Monday afternoon, August 20th.  What is crazy is I had just emailed Kristin that morning asking her if they were giving out referrals during court closure.  I also told her "I am starting to bum out"  :).

I was driving home from some errands with all my children when she called.  I saw the 817 number and honestly it took me a moment for it to register who it could be!  So I answer the phone and it was Kristen.  I still at this point was not sure if she was calling with a referral because I had just emailed her that morning!  She starts in and says that she got my email this morning and that there will be referrals during court closure.  I was relieved to hear that, at the same time I wondered why she called instead of emailing me back.  So after she explained all that, she said "but I have your referral for you today!"  I think she liked throwing me off there for a minute!  I  mean what are the odds I would email her the exact same day she had our referral?  I hardly ever email her, so this was just plain cool!  I honestly didn't think our referral would be soon because there were some above us on the list and there had just been a referral 4 days before ours.  Since they have been giving out only a few a month, I wasn't expecting ours still for a few months.

So as soon as she told me this life altering news, I immediately started freaking out, I could not function!!  I was driving and shaky at best, luckily I was only a few minutes from home.  She told me her name and her age and then I got off the phone.  Some of you may know I have been to Gladney twice in the last year while I was in Africa and had met most of the children in the care centers.  So I was trying to recall "A" in my mind.  I had a few pictured that I thought may be her.  Anyways, immediately I called Ben, who actually picked up his phone!  I told him we have a referral and I think he thought I was playing a joke on him.  It took me a few minutes to convince him!  Ben had a meeting shortly after I called so we decided to conference call Kristin back.  The kids had no clue what was going on, I told them if they played quietly in their rooms, I would have a big surprise for them!  Honestly it was a blur, I really don't remember a lot of the conversation.  I think because the first email she sent was a bunch of pictures of little "A".  I could not think of anything else after that.  She is, well, quite simply, unbelievable!  We couldn't speak, she is mesmerizing! She has a smile that brightens up the room!  Her spirit and personality came through the pictures as well, she is pure sunshine!  The crazy thing is, the two times I had been to Gladney, I do not remember seeing her!

Krisitn proceeded after the pictures to walk us through a lot of information, like I said this part was a blur and my emotions were all over the place, so I read through the material later. Gladney does a great job of giving you all the information they could possibly find, it is very thorough.  For those waiting, be encouraged that even though the wait is brutal, because Gladney is so accurate, court and embassy should be a breeze.  We then told our other three children, who were all equally thrilled!  Especially my daughter who is excited about having a sister.  :)

The next steps are to wait for a court date, the courts are closed in Ethiopia until Oct. 10, so we will not get a court date until after the courts reopen.  We are praying for a court date soon after they open.  We hope to be able to go to court in November sometime.  After a family passes court they wait for the embassy to grant the child a visa.  This has been taking 6-8 weeks.  We are hoping if we go to court in November, we can bring her home sometime in January.  This is probably best case scenario.  It could be in February or later before she is home.  We are trusting the Lord with His timing!  We will wait on the Lord!  Thank you all for your kind comments and messages.  We are overjoyed!

Monday, August 20, 2012


We got our referral today!!!!! I am in shock!  I still can't believe it!  It was worth the long wait!  So unbelievably worth it!  All of you waiting, hang in there!

Our little girl is 20 months old and beautiful!  She has the best smile!  Makes me smile looking at her! We are overjoyed and thank the Lord!  I will post more details later, just wanted to get this out for all those watching the list. ;)

I literally haven't posted in forever, but I will try to update through the rest of the adoption process.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fried Chicken Tenders

Yum! That is all I can say for these. And the picture doesn't do them justice. I have a terrible camera and bad lighting. It may be like 5% camera operator as well. Many people have been asking me to post this recipe, ok well actually only 2 people have asked but it feels like it is snowballing, you know? So here we go, lets make some fried chicken!

Many people are intimidated by the thought of making fried chicken. It is not hard at all. I usually just use tenders bc it pleases the family, but you can use meat on the bone as well. Also I sometimes let my chicken marinate in buttermilk for awhile but I did not have any. This is why they need drive thru stores bc I forget one thing from the store almost every time I go. It can not be helped it seems. Did I mention that brain cells drop drastically after you have kids. It's a weird phenomenon.

You will need:
Buttermilk (optional)
two cups flour
tablespoon or more of seasoned salt
1 to 2 lbs. chicken
oil for frying
two eggs

First grab a gallon size ziploc bag and put in the flour and seasoned salt. I use my own recipe of seasoned salt but I have also used Lawry's seasoned salt and it is good too. Make sure the salt and flour are mixed well.

Take the chicken and cut up into the size you prefer. I do all different sizes. I am using 1.5 lbs of chicken that has been pre-cut this time. Then I cut it up further.

Take a little chicken at a time and put it into the flour. Then I shake it around in the bag. Then place the coated chicken in the scrambled egg and cover the chicken completely with egg.

Then put the chicken back into the bag and shake. Double dipping the chicken gives it a little more crunch. Its worth the extra time. Do this until all the chicken has been dredged. At this point I sometimes put all the chicken back in the bag and leave it in the fridge for later. Or you can start frying!

Place about a 1/2in. oil in a skillet or a pan and heat to around 350 or med. heat

Fry a couple of minutes on both sides or until golden brown.

Transfer chicken to paper towels and there you have it! I always serve mine with delicious creamy mashed potatoes, green beans, and rolls. Yummy!

Friday, February 11, 2011

D is for dreams.......
I am a dreamer. First of all literally I am a dreamer. I remember my dreams when I sleep. Does this happen to anyone else? It's wierd. I wake up feeling confused. Dreams are always so strange too, sometimes I wonder about them all day.

But those aren't the dreams I'm talking about.

The dreams I am speaking of are the ones that can be reality if we want them to be.
There is really no dream too big. I call them God-size dreams. The dreams we have that insist we ACT. The ones that show us things are still possible. What is it you dream about? What is God asking of you? The best dreams are the ones God has placed in our hearts, the ones that match His. I guarantee you that acting on your dreams will always be harder than doing nothing, but don't let regret take the place of your dreams. If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere. Take a risk!! We step out in faith bc we know He will be there to guide us. What else is there? This challenge is for me as well, we can not shrink away. We must be doers. It. will. change. your. life.

On a superficial note, I do dream about having a bigger car for my growing family.
I know exactly where it is sitting at the dealership......I just don't know where the cash to pay for it is sitting.

Monday, February 7, 2011


It has been awhile since I last posted because I have been without a computer! Ben took it with him to Africa! Ben and Zach Kennedy were in Ethiopia for a week. It was the first official James Initiative trip. They had a great time. They were able to meet with other organizations that are in orphan care, visit orphanages, and visit with local church pastors. They were also able to buy 75 pairs of shoes for the street children of Addis, buy a cow for a local orphanage, and hand out lots of toothbrushes! Thanks to all who donated specifically for this trip! It was wonderful to be able to meet some needs now. I will keep you updated on the next steps for JI!

They were also able to visit the Gladney foster care center and eat with Belay! We don't have a referral yet so Ben was not able to find out any information on our adoption! Speaking of referrals we have been waiting 6 1/2 months for a referral. When we first got on the list the wait time for a toddler was 5 to 7 months. Now the wait time is 10 months! So it will still be awhile until we get a referral. :(
I am hoping by May! Things are really slow right now, hopefully they will pick up soon.

Did you read my last post about snow? Well since that post it has snowed and snowed.
We missed four days of school just last week. To top that off we are expecting more this week. What in the world? We did get to go sledding which was fun! Then my SUV slid all over the neighborhood which was not fun.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Snow day

We had our first snow day this last week. It only left enough snow to make a footprint. It was sad really. Yet schools were still cancelled. Schools are very cautious when it comes to snow here in our great state. Once, schools were cancelled because someone unexpectedly made a snow cone. Snow is a relatively infrequent visitor to Arkansas. In a typical winter we will see two or three snow “storms”. One of these occurrences will be considered severe. Severe translates into about two inches of snow. Here in the south, the first and only thing people do when it begins snowing is to buy bread, milk and eggs. It is critical to buy as much of these three things in whatever form they can be obtained. If the only thing available in the bread section of the grocery store is hot dog buns, that is what you should buy. No eggs? Egg beaters is going to have to do.

Last week's snow flurries qualified as one of these instances. The threat of snow caused mass pandemonium at the grocery store. I wish I had taken a picture. I was there on my regular weekly shopping run. I rarely listen to the news and had not realized the magnitude of what was about to hit our state. We were packed in like sardines. People were just grabbing what they could off the shelves. It didn't matter what it was, they were in a hurry to get out of there. They were all rushing around, I'd be surprised if some of them even stopped to pay. After all, they needed to get to the gas station, this is basic survival training. You absolutely MUST top off your tanks. You don't want to be caught without gas at a time like this.

Thankfully, I managed to get out of there in one piece. I can be quite scrappy when I need to be.

I am even more thankful for the pretty little snowman that Ryan made.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

C is for.....chocolate! I love chocolate, and usually in large amounts. It is very important to my over all health and more importantly, my well being.

Here is the food pyramid. These are all the food groups. See that top one there? They say this one is to be used "sparingly" Who decides this anyways? How on earth did they convince themselves this was a good idea? Sparingly? Come on people.

I leave you with a great recipe for Molten Lava Cakes. They are awesome!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Really Awesome Beef Stew!

This is a great recipe for the cold winter months. It is hearty and delicious! I never grew up liking stew at all, but this recipe is awesome. It is easy to make and so very flavorful, you will never see stew the same way. It's a must try!

You will need
1 to 2 lb chuck tender steak
3 to 4 slices bacon
3 carrots
2 potatoes
fresh green beans
1/2 of a yellow onion
4 cups of beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoons parsley
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic

Start by cutting up the meat and vegetables.
Feel free to add more meat and vegetables than what I have above. I don't really measure how much I put in, but the above is my best guess. I usually put in a couple handfuls of fresh green beans, and a couple handfuls of cut up baby carrots. If you use the big carrots, I would use two to three. Also I use three thick slices of bacon or 4 regular slices for this dish.

Place the cut up slices of bacon in a pot or dutch oven over med. high heat with a little oil so the bacon doesn't stick. Did I mention this is not low-fat? Don't be skeered....

Cook the bacon until done and transfer to paper towels, it will come back into play later.

Leave two tablespoons of bacon grease in the pot and save the rest for the next step. Then throw in the cut up meat. Sear the meat on all sides and remove to a plate. It does not need to be cooked through.

Once the steak has been removed, lower the temp to medium and there should still be some grease and juices from cooking the meat at the bottom of the pan, if not add two more tablespoons to saute the vegetables. Then throw in the carrots, onions, and green beans. Cook until the onions are translucent. About five minutes.

Once they are cooked add the two tablespoons of butter and let melt. Then add the 5 tablespoons of flour and stir. It will turn into a paste around the vegetables.

Next add in the beef broth and stir. Then add in the two tablespoons of tomato paste. Once these are stirred in add back the meat and its juices, add the garlic, italian seasoning, bay leaf, and parsley. At this point put on the lid and either cook it on the stove over medium heat or stick it in the oven on 325 degrees for
1 1/2 hours.

After 1 1/2 hours add the cut up potatoes, then either put back in oven or on stove for 45 more minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are tender.

Here it is in all its goodness! Yum!

Then get you a big ol' helping and sprinkle the bacon bits on top! I also add a little salt and pepper. So So Good!

I serve this with either rolls, or garlic cheddar biscuits, or yummy cornbread. I will give you those recipes another day.

*Do not use stew meat in this dish, stew meat is tough and chewy. I use chuck tender steak which you can find at walmart, or you could use sirloin or any other tender cut of meat. You will not regret it. Also if you can add just about any vegetable...celery, mushrooms, etc. Try this as soon as possible it will make your winter a little more bearable!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

You must listen to this!!!

If you want to hear more David Platt sermons or his entire series on what the Gospel demands go to
and below sermon resources for each chapter of his book he has sermons that go along with each chapter. I would highly recommend reading the book too! It has changed my thinking completely. It is time to make huge sacrifices for Christ. As he puts it "We are His plan A, there is no plan B."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

B is for......Books!

I love books! Love, Love, to read. I love to read fiction and non-fiction. Generally if I am going to read non-fiction it is Christian books. And of course I love reading the Bible. I also really like Fiction! I am one of those that has read the Twilight series and loved it! For those of you who haven't read it, you need to. Right now. I also like Christian fiction, such as the Left Behind series or the Mark of the Lion series. Have you heard of Francine Rivers? She wrote the Mark of the Lion series. Its awesome.

I would say the only thing I dont like to read is when it is an "assignment". Generally I am not favorable of studying. I did not like this about college. I would avoid it at all costs, and most of the time I got away with it. Then there was spanish.....I will own up to the fact that I lacked a certain something as a student of foreign language. That missing something, which I will call initiative, did nothing to endear me to the teacher. It couldn't be helped I'm afraid. I was a classic underachiever when it came to school. It just took up too much time, college is supposed to be about hanging out right? It just made too much sense to me not to have it that way.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My husband says I am a complex person. He seems to think he could write a very long book about all my quirks. He sees quirks, I see innovation. Sometimes, when you are an innovator, it is hard for people who see you every day to recognize it. I try not to fault him for his lack of insight in this matter.

So I'll try to share things that make me who I am. I realize you know some basics about me but there is always more. I realize it may be more interesting to me than to you. I plan to make this even more boring by going through these alphabetically.

Naturally we will start with A!

A is for Animals. I love animals! More specifically I love having pets. Frankly, I dont understand those who do not like pets. We have a dog and 2 cats. Ben wishes we did not have the latter.

Here is a picture of Gauge

We love him! I mean he has pretty much destroyed our back door because he freaks out when it is storming. We let him in a lot but he can be a real baby when there is even a hint of a strong wind. He also has destroyed some toys and stuffed animals. We once had to take him to the er bc he ate two giant turkey legs. He can be a real mess. But he is great with the kids. And generally he is pretty well behaved.

Here is a picture of our cats. The one on the right is Sam, the other one is Oscar.

Sam is the sweetest most well behaved animal you will ever meet. She's awesome. Even Ben can deal. She likes to curl up beside me at all times.

Oscar (I think) is awesome too. He was found outside in our backyard in Gauge's mouth. I heard some hissing and cries coming from the backyard and ran out there, and sure enough Gauge had him in his mouth, like he was a chew toy. Oscar was a tiny little kitten and scared to death. I quickly grabbed him out of Gauge's mouth and ran inside to look him over for injuries. He was fine, besides being covered in drool, he looked pretty good. We asked around to see if it was a neighbor's but no one claimed him! I was pretty excited about this. He wouldnt let anyone touch him for a couple of days but soon adjusted and grew quite comfortable with me. He was so used to living on the street that he would snatch food right off our plate and run off. This is why Ben thinks he is from the devil. Ben does not share food.

I grew up always having pets so it suits me well. We always were the family that would take in a stray. So animals will always be a part of me. I used to want to be a vet until I realized I would probably cry all day long. I just cant stand to see them in pain. Plus you have to take a lot of chemistry. I dont believe in chemistry.

Basically there is not an animal I dont love. Dogs, cats, horses, cows, pigs, etc. I would make a great farm girl.....except for the manual labor and rising before the sun is up.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Really excited about this conference coming in Febuary!
Come check it out!

We are all meant to play a part in orphan care.
Every. single. one. of. us.

Take time to think about your part in caring for the least of these. I promise you will never be the same. While your thinking, check out this post. It will make you think some more.

"Once our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows we know and holds us responsible to act."
Proverbs 24:12

Come to the conference!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Have you ever.....

Have you ever wanted to know what would happen if you flushed a bunch of rocks down the toilet? I know the answer.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you push the emergency button in the elevator? Just ask me.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to topple over one of the displays at Wal-Mart? I can tell you all about it.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you empty an entire bag of fish food into a fish tank? Let me fill you in.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to mix juice into your brownie batter? I've got the 411.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you looked through a complete strangers purse? Yep, I do.

I learn so much from having kids! Its awesome. Lets face it, some days I'm ready to fall on a sword. :) But most days I just can not help but laugh. My kids must account for somewhere around 100% of the broken things in my house. Generally, the breakage is not well-received. But afterward, like way afterward, I can look back and laugh. After all its just things, right?

But the memories...they are forever.

Here are the usual suspects

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I came across this quote and wanted to share. I am reminded time and again, that I need to play more. We get busy taking care of our children and forget to PLAY with our children. It is amazing how much can be accomplished just in play. We get to connect to our kids in the most simple of things, and we are reminded that life should be Fun! God takes pleasure in the simple things, in the ordinary things. Rejoice in the daily routine as God does!

"A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown -up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon.

It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we." Orthodoxy G.K. Chesterton