our adventures in life, love, faith and adoption

Thursday, September 11, 2014


A couple weeks ago we found out we are now #21 on the waiting list with our agency. We of course were a little excited to have our number change (it's been 10 months), but we were also told that it's not due to any new referrals, but to families leaving the program to pursue other adoptions or ways of expanding their family. 

Shortly after we renewed our home study this summer our agency told us not to renew any more paperwork (specifically our immigration approval that expires next week) because things in country are just not moving at all right now. We are not really sure of any further details, other than the country is going through a lot of change regarding inter-country adoptions and right now signatures needed on a child's case to refer them to a family are not being given out.

Every time there has been news like this (and many times in between) Andy and I put a lot of prayer into whether we should pursue other options, close this door, or open another one simultaneously. Our patience with waiting runs thin and the thought of ending the waiting often tempts us to just throw in the towel. I remember one recent night in particular when we both looked at each other and decided to pray and seek wisdom about starting a new chapter in our lives. My heart was so torn, especially because we do know we were called to this path, yet we never imagined the waiting and sacrifice of our own desires in the process. I opened my Bible reading and devotion for that day, and right there in front of me was the title, "A Word for the Struggler": 

"There is an old adage that says, 'Don't bite off more than you can chew.' It's wise not to take on more responsibilities than we can handle. At some time, however, we will likely feel overwhelmed by the size and difficulty of a task we have agreed to do. This can happen even in our walk of faith in Christ when our commitment to God seems too much to bear. But the Lord has an encouraging word for us when our confidence wavers. 
'Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.' – Hebrews 10: 35-36"
This and many other words of confirmation that week reaffirmed for us that for now, we are where we need to be. I certainly wish we could look into the future and see where this experience is taking us, but of course life doesn't work that way. So we continue to hope, to trust, and to put our own desires and timelines into the hands of the only One who truly knows best. (Something tells me that whatever the plan is, the end will be sweet.) ;)

xo,







Sunday, September 7, 2014

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The family that cheers together...


We have high hopes for this football season. A certain redhead is a die hard fan no matter the dismal results we've been seeing for the last several years. I'm fairly certain that along with roads paved in gold in heaven, the Bills will win a Super Bowl. Let's hope we can see that here on earth as well ;) The win today was a start.

#gobills #diehardfan #wearethatfamily

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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NYC: 9/11 Memorial + US Open

This past weekend I did a little adventuring with my mom and brother! We took a really quick trip to NYC to see a couple matches at the US Open, and while we were there we also went down to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

We arrived in NYC early Sunday morning, and the matches at the Open didn't start until 11am, so we went to the memorial and museum first. I thought both were extremely well done and aesthetically very beautiful, but they were both extremely heavy and sobering. You could cut the emotion with a knife it felt like, and many of the details and installations were quite raw in the types of information they displayed.  
The installation below was the most intriguing to me from an artistic standpoint. The blue squares are all done by different artists as they were asked to try and represent the color of the blue sky on the day of the attack. Each square was done in watercolor, and I just love the beauty of all of them put together.
After we were finished at the museum we went to the stadium. It was SO HOT and SO HUMID. I'm not sure any of us were prepared for how that combination would feel on asphalt and metal stadium seats, but we had such a good time.
We were able to catch the Sharapova/Wozniacki match in full, and that was really exciting to watch. My brother makes frequent trips to the city on business, and over the years he's made friends with a particular cab driver who now drives him every time he goes. He drove us on Sunday, and came with us to the Open :)
We caught a little bit of the Federer match, but it was quickly postponed due to flash flooding and really heavy rains. We laughed because our goal was to make it out of the stadium before everyone else, so that we could catch our flight, but we were too excited to see the Federer match and ended up evacuating with everyone else a bit too late.
The rains came and because we had to try and beat everyone out of the stadium to our car in order to make our flight on time, we had to run through the rain instead of taking cover until it stopped. That resulted in being ABSOLUTELY DRENCHED and landing at the airport sopping wet with nothing but the clothes on our backs. Ha! Fun times. Our flight ended up being delayed a couple hours, so there we were in the airport soaking wet and freezing. Suddenly "I Love NY" shirts from an airport stand seemed very appealing just to get something dry on :)
It was such a fun trip, and so fun to go together! Now it's back to work and back to school, and somehow I'm scratching my head wondering where the summer went! Crazy! Hope you all have a wonderful week and great 'first days' :)

xo,
Kristen

Friday, August 29, 2014

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Line Dancing


For her birthday my mom really wanted to go out line dancing. We had never been, but there is a great line dancing bar near us, so we decided to go all out and make a night of it! I just had to take these pictures because to not document my parents in cowboy boots, hats, and plaid would have been a darn shame! 


We had so much fun, even though we had NO CLUE what we were doing. We were too late for the lesson they give before the night kicks off, so we just jumped in and did the best we could. What surprised us is that each song actually had a specific dance and set of steps to it, so you had to know what you were doing to go out and dance to that song. The DJ sort of took us under his wing and would give us a sign when the next dance coming up was an 'easy' one… that way we had half a chance of catching on before it was over. Ha!

We had a great time, and it was fun trying something new! Happy birthday Mom!! We should take those new cowboy boots on more adventures this year :)


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Last time we left off Andy had built shelving to frame the tv on our black wall:

I knew I wanted to have some lighting on this side of the room, and I wanted to have it on the wall above the tv, but I had no idea what it should look like or where I was going to find it. I also wasn't sure how we were going to install it without having wires running all over the place. A couple weeks ago, we were at Target looking for something completely unrelated to this when Andy spotted some brass spotlights. I knew right then they would be perfect.


The brass on the spotlights ties into the brass that we have on our lamp bases on the other side of the room. I also thought they would be classy without being too traditional. Andy installed them on the wall, and then we ran the cords down and to the back of the tv, then out to the floor on a power strip so we can turn all three on with one button.


We installed some plastic casing around the white cords and then painted it black to blend in with the wall. You can still see the cords popping through a little bit at the top, but everything still looks much more streamlined than if we had just painted the cords themselves. After we had the lights all hooked up, I finally decided to grab some frames to go along each of the top shelves. I found them for $2 and $3 at Dollar General (except for the big ones with the white mattes) and filled them with some pictures we've taken this summer with a few of our excursions.

Wanna see something crazy? I found a picture we took just as we were about to redo the living room with new paint:


^^ That right there is what this wall looked like before the black paint, shelving, lights, and frames. I am so much happier with the "after":


This little wall of ours has come a long way! I literally stared at it for years not knowing what to do to make it more appealing, but it's finally to a place that I love. I'm still working on what to do with the bottom shelves on each side, but I think I have an idea, so I'll be sure to share when I figure it out! For now I'm going to sneak around and see what else I can turn black with my leftover paint ;)

Have a wonderful week!

xo,

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I think creating in any form carries with it a certain unpredictability. I'm finding this to be true both with writing this blog and photography. I have days and weeks where I am bursting with ideas to share, things to say, and images to create. And then I suddenly fall into a slump where I create nothing. I binge-watch netflix and find joy in the mundane without documenting a thing. I think that's ok. Being forced to create all the time would make it more like work and less like inspiration.


Anyway, I think I'm finally coming out of a slump. This last few weeks have left me a little sad and a little drained, but I think I did enough resting and renewing that I have the pep in my step back again. :) I wanted to share our Rose of Sharon tree with you. It's rather monstrous and unruly in person, but it's also quite beautiful. It's bursting with flowers right now, and I scooted out our back porch last night while andy was grilling a quick meal and captured a few shots.


I love that there is so much beauty in our jungle of a backyard. I have to remind myself to look for it sometimes, though.

I hope you are all having a great week!

xo,

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

We started the process of updating our home study paperwork so that we can renew our immigration approval when it expires mid-September. Our immigration approval expires every eighteen months, and this is the third time we are renewing. I never thought we'd be so well-versed in this step, but I am thankful that it's at least not as overwhelming the third time around as it was the first.


We have heard no new news from our agency regarding the status of adoptions in Ethiopia. There have been no referrals for nine months, and the signatures needed to approve a child to be matched with a family are few and far between. Admittedly, we are in an emotional season. It seems to come and go, often with a long stretch where we are coping well with waiting, followed by a series of events that bring our emotions back up to the surface. We are ready to be parents, and honestly, the thought of one more Christmas card with our child not in it is hard to swallow.

We have a wonderful series going on at our church right now entitled, "Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe". This past weekend we reflected on the myth that "God won't give you more than you can handle." This phrase is used so often in Christian circles, and yet it is not biblical. (The misconception may come from 1 Cor 10:13 regarding temptation, and that God will not give us more *temptation* than we can handle and will always provide a way out so we do not have to give in.) As Christians, we will often face far more in the form of trials than we could ever handle in our own strength. As a result, we rely on Christ and He sustains us, while also building our character. We certainly could not handle the stress and emotion of this process ourselves, and there have been many days where I am so thankful for God's strength – the encouragement of friends and family, the grace our social workers show us as they answer our millionth question, and our financial blessings throughout this process. When the time comes that we are on the other side of this road, I have no doubt that our story will be one filled with God's miracles that point back to Him and His faithfulness.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.
– Psalm 40:1-3 

xo,




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