My heart is breaking over the ban of Americans adopting from Russia. (If you are not familiar with the story, please visit http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/28/world/europe/putin-to-sign-ban-on-us-adoptions-of-russian-children.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1& .) There are roughly 250 Russian children that have been matched with American families. Many of these children have already met who they thought would be their forever families because Russia requires a visitation trip before the actual trip to adopt. Also, 46 American families were in the final stages of adoption. That means 46 families are either in Russia preparing to depart with their child or were preparing to travel to Russia soon. Since the ban becomes effective Tuesday, there is little hope for these families. Even the families that are in Russia now may leave there with broken hearts and empty arms, depending on where they are in final stage of their adoptions. All I can think about is the 46 bedrooms that are decorated and have closets full of clothes for a child that may never come home. Many of these parents have spent $50,000 or more in adoption and travel expenses.  

The driving force behind my passion is I’ve had the heart of adoption as long as I can remember. People often ask me why I want to adopt at all. There are currently 143 million orphans in the world. More importantly God commanded us to take care of the orphans. If only 6% of Christians adopted, 143 million orphans would be reduced to zero. I have a deep desire to be included in that 6%. Another question I get when I tell people I want to adopt is where and why. God has not revealed to us when, where or why but I do feel like it will be outside of the United States. Many people are appalled when I say that. (It’s not like a product that was manufactured outside of the United States.) They say there are thousands of children that need your help here. And yes, that is true but the reason I feel so compelled to adopt outside of the United States is because there are resources here set up by our great government to meet the basic needs of our children while in other countries children are dying due to the lack of proper nutrition and basic medical care.

Please join with me and praying for these families, the 120,000 orphans in Russia and the 143 million orphans around the world.

Dear 2012

Dear 2012,


I know you have a few days left but I wanted to take some time to let you know that you have been a good year. You brought a promotion to G, a new niece, two great trips to the beach, strengthened friendships, growth, good health and our first home. You’ve been so good in fact that it makes me a little apprehensive to ring in 2013. I hope and pray 2013 will surpass you, 2012. I wouldn’t define myself as superstitious but for some reason year 13 scares me. I am sure 2013 will be just as nice as you but I am a little nervous. Although I am not superstitious, I can be the type of person that “waits for the other shoe to fall.”  I know many of our friends will welcome 2013 with open arms. 2012, you haven’t been so nice to many of our friends and family. They’ve endured major life changes, illness and loss of loved ones.

New Years is one of my favorite holidays of the year. I feel like New Years Eve sets the stage for the upcoming year. I know I wrote about this before but the same group of friends have welcomed the New Year since 2006. I am thrilled the tradition is continuing. We will be sure to send you out in style, 2012. I am so thankful that no matter the changes that have occurred in our lives that this 8 year tradition is kept alive. (GASP, I just realized that we are getting old. This has added to my anxiety about 2013.) I am blessed to have these friendships. I also appreciate that a conscious effort is made among us all to stay focused on each other and what really matters.

What will 2013 bring? Will we decide when we want to start a family? (PLEASE NOTE: I said “decide when to start a family” and not start a family.) Will you bring career changes like this year? Will you bring more happiness than heartache? As I voice my concerns about what your successor will bring, I remind myself that my Almighty is the same yesterday, today and the days and years to come. The date may change but the One in control has not. I need to let go of my controlling issues because let’s face it; the control does not lie in my hands. There’s a reason Jeremiah 29:11 is my favorite verse. It is because it is the one I have to quote the most. I would make it my New Year’s resolution to let go of my controlling tendencies but resolutions for the New Year are one of my ultimate pet peeves. I can’t stand the rah rah of how we are going to do better in the New Year. Let’s face it, most of us don’t even remember our resolutions let alone try by Valentine’s Day. If you are going to make a resolution, make one daily. We are human; we need grace and motivation daily. Besides, this e-card sums up me.

I digress….

So thanks again 2012 for such a great year but the thanks really isn’t owed to you.  Thank you Lord for your blessings in 2012. I praise you for the plans you have for me in 2013. And let me make it a daily resolution to surrender my need to be in control to you.... oh yeah, let me be a little more optimistic too.


Merry Christmas

My family has made a true effort to focus on what Christmas is all about and not to get so worked up about all the other stuff. One side of our family is not exchanging gifts because we felt we are blessed in abundance and do not need any more "stuff." Many people call me a Scrooge because this was all my idea. But honestly, I cannot tell you how much more enjoyable this season has been. I've been able to enjoy time with my friends and family instead of standing in long lines and fretting about finding the perfect gifts. Seriously, I shared a meal with friends every day last week. I'm not saying this to toot my own horn because it has been a conscious effort not to loose focus. And I still could have done a better job. I do hope that Greyson and I are laying the foundation for our future children.
The other morning while I was getting ready, I heard "How Many Kings" for the first time. I was putting on my mascara and my eyes started tearing up. I was overwhelmed with God's love for me. I was reminded once again what the season is about and what we should be celebrating.
I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas.

How many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only one did that for me

The Story of Us

Seven years ago today, I was hosting a going away party for one of my sorority sisters and roommate along with some other friends. It was near the end of my fall semester as a sophomore. We had just got to know our neighbors at our apartment complex across what we called the courtyard. Before the party started I invited our neighbors to come over who were having a party of their own. They had several friends in town to watch their former high school football team compete in the TSSAA State Championship Games. (Little did I know about TSSAA at the time and how I would later work with them at both of my first jobs. )
I was getting over a bad breakup from the start of the semester. I was ready to meet someone else. I know my sorority sisters where thrilled I was finally moving on. They had heard enough whining and crying from me to probably last them a lifetime. How they remained my friends during that time, I will never know.
Once our party proved to be bigger and better than our neighbors, their party joined ours. Across the room I saw one of my sorority sisters talking to what I thought was the cutest guy ever. I walked right up behind her and whispered in her ear dibs. I can be bold at times but I think this was the boldest I've ever been. She left the party mad and didn't speak to me for two days.
I started talking to that cute blue eyed guy who talked with a country twain and was dressed in a Polo Oxford. I have to add I was wearing a baby blue halter top that still hangs in my closet to this day. Before I knew it the party was winding down and we were still talking. We exchanged numbers and became Facebook friends that evening. (MTSU had just had Facebook about 9 months. This is when it was limited to college students. And your university could only receive its on network after numerous requests to Facebook. Photo albums had just become the latest new application. When we met I only had two albums.)
Three days later he finally called. He still laughs to this day about how he strategically waited three days to call. We exchanged a few phone calls, Facebook messages and texts on and off for two weeks. Then he called and asked to take me on a date. I had just finished my final exams for the semester and I was staying in town a little longer to be here for my best friend's birthday. I was very skeptical of this. The reason being he went to school over an hour away from me. I was afraid he would come to town and expect to stay the night. That turned out not to be the case at all. He was nothing but a gentleman. He picked me up and took me to Logan's. That was a big deal for us college kids. When it came time to pay, he pulled out a $100 bill. He later told me he had found it that afternoon at the car wash, haha. After dinner, we went over to one of my friend's apartment because she was leaving for basic training. He hung out with us for a while then left when it was getting late. Two weeks later he came in town for New Years Eve. This was the start of our annual New Years Eve Party with my college friends that continues to this day.
After New Years, I left to go to Orlando for week with my neighbors from Florence. Greyson had to get a new phone after that week. He says all of our texting that week caused his old phone to die. When spring semester started, he began coming in town on a regular basis to take me out. Things progresses pretty slowly. We didn't even become in a relationship with one another on Facebook until spring break, ha ha! We also didn't meet each others' parents until that summer. I was the first and only girl he ever took home. The rest was history.
I am so thankful that seven years ago today my future husband walked in to my living room. I couldn't imagine my life with anyone else. I think it is special to be married to my college sweetheart. We both have grown so much over these past seven years. It is hard to believe we were both so young when we met. We were just 19 and 20. But the reasons we fell in love with one another still remains. Those things haven't changed. I am still the strong willed girl and he is still the calmest and most patient boy. Here's to seven years and many more to come. Happy Anniversary, Greyson.