Monday, April 30, 2012

We've Hit the Big Time!

Sorry the blog has been quiet this past week.  Life got crazy.  It's normally crazy, but this time it got REALLY CRAZY.   YAY EXAMS!

Something super cool happened today though:  My adoption/foster care/TFI advocate story got featured on LifeSong for Orphans Blog.  I find this flattering and yet kind of funny at the same time.  I really don't think our story is that amazing or out there.  We're just regular people that God has given a passion for orphans to.  Its really awesome to see how the stuff that I see as normal has touched people's lives.  Anyways, head on over and read our story at:

Just for fun, I thought I'd share this little picture of heaven with you all. Snoring away.....

Friday, April 20, 2012

To My Daughter

My little Layla Bean,

You're turning 9 months old on Sunday.  Where has the time gone?  It seems like just yesterday that you were trying to roll over by yourself and sit up without toppling over.  Now, you can cover the length of the room in 2 seconds flat.  You can pull goldfish out of a container and eat them all by yourself.  You push a walker and laugh at Diego for the short period of time that Daddy lets you watch TV.  Your constant babble and dorky laugh fill the quietness of our house.  Just the other day, you snuck into one of the bathrooms and decided that the toilet lid was a drum for you to beat on.  You're sassy, loud, and love to be the center of attention.  You've never met a stranger in your life.

I love that you've picked up some of our crazy antics and facial expressions.  Sometimes, I think you have my smile.  We aren't always the best parents, but we try our hardest to make sure you're happy and know that you're loved.  I hope that we're setting a good example for you to follow.  I hope you're able to see how much your dad and I love one another.  I pray that you'll always know how much you mean to us by the time we spend with you and not the gifts we give. 

One day you'll grow up to be a beautiful woman, but for now you're my little Layla Bean with an infectious laugh and a daredevil streak.  Always remember that you were fearfully and wonderfully made by God himself, and you are just right for our family.

We love you.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What Am I Advocating For?

The answer is pretty simple, really.  I'm advocating for healing and understanding; for kids whose lives are crumbling beneath them to find love in Jesus and his followers. 

Recently I decided to tackle the task of bringing an organization from Illinois to little old South Carolina so that these broken hearted kids in our own backyard could be shown a Savior who loves them deeply.  The Forgotten Initiative is a group of regular people who knew God was telling them that feeling sorry for these children wasn't enough. 

As the South Carolina Advocate for TFI, I've already gotten to see how a helping hand and a little love can bring the life back into the lives of some of our overwhelmed social workers.  Just knowing that there are people who care about them and are praying for the work they are doing can mean the world to someone.  I was devastated when a social worker told me that she was glad that not everyone thought they were terrible people and simply out to break up families. 

I wasn't sure whether to celebrate or cry on the day that three young teenagers walked into an emergency shelter after school and were literally ecstatic to show me the new shoes they were given to wear to school the next day. 

I was in shock when I heard that case workers have to bring children into the agency and bathe them because they are covered in filth.  Then to make matters worse, they have to put them back in their dirty clothes because they don't have any clean clothes to give them.

I saw how priveledged my life has always been when I heard that many teenagers in foster care have to drop out of school during their senior years in high school because they have turned 18 and are suddenly on their own with no idea how to make a resume, set up a budget, buy a car, get a bank account, fill out the FAFSA or apply for college. 

Is this America?  Does this happen in our neighborhoods?  Does this happen to our childrens' friends whose parents were killed in a car accident or were caught up in some shooting?  Are there people out there that let their boyfriends stick pushpins in their babies and claim they didn't know?  Are their kids who are born to parents that are just kids themselves? 

We can't sit idly by and let children suffer for the sins of their fathers.  We can't punish a little girl whose father was abusive to her.  We can't expect an 18 year old boy with no place to live and no food on his table to wake up every morning to go to high school.  We have to show them love.  They need a Savior and a God who is bigger than their circumstances, but they need us to show them that God.  Healing can come for these little ones, but we have to be willing to let God use our hands and feet to bring it to them.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Rise of a Home

While we are plugging along with the rest of our lives, something fascinating is happening.  Every day a crew of workers head over to this place:

Ryan loves the building process, so we drop by on our way home from dinner and take in what has been going up on this plot of land.  It is a constant physical reminder to me of the spiritual fact that a home doesn't just appear out of thin air.  You have to BUILD a home.  There are millions of tiny pieces that go into a home. Each one important. Each one with a purpose.

Since this last picture, shingles have gone on and electical wiring has been run.  Next up with be installing the windows and doors that are currently sitting in the garage. 

I love our new house, but there is one room in particular that I keep finding myself in over and over again.  This room.  This second story medium sized bedroom.  This place that will someday house two twin beds on either side of that window.  This space that will hold squeels and laughter, crying and screaming.  This will be the room where two little boys who need a place to rest their heads will find a pillow just for them.  This is my favorite room of all.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bantu Knots and the Best Website EVER

Today is a good day.  I just stumbled upon Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care.  Today is a really good day. 

Layla's curls have definately gotten more manageable over the last couple of weeks.  I changed it up quite a bit and decided that I just wasn't doing it right.

So now I rely on a couple of awesome products to help me, since I really don't know what I'm doing :)
1. Just for Me 2-in-1 Conditioning Detangler
2. Wide tooth comb
3. Just for Me Curl Smoother Creme
4. A shampoo that I can't remember the name of right this second....
5. Plastic Hair Elastics

Her hair is not as tangled as it used to be and has grown A LOT in the past few months.  I've had to start putting it up in sections because it is too short to hang flat, but too long to not look ridiculous.  I'm kicking myself because I don't have a picture of how I normally put it up. 

Regardless, I found this AMAZING website on how to take care of "chocolate" hair.  She even tells you how to cornrow and put beads in their hair.  PTL!  What I'm really psyched about is the Bantu Knots hair style.  The tutorial is here .  Let's just hope Layla will sit still long enough for me to pull it off!

No worries, I'll upload some pics as soon as I am able.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Kids on Race

First off, I'm sorry for the prolonged silence.  I've had some MAJOR school projects due lately and, to be honest, I've been living my thought life in Panem killing people and protecting my husband in the Hunger Games.  Needless to say, I haven't have much to say that wouldn't make me look like a freak. :)

I was parusing my blogfeed this AM and found this post.  If you're unsure of the importance of talking to your kids about race, and don't think you're actions say your biased, please read this post and watch the short documentary by CNN.  Its quite eye opening to say the least.

Rage Against the Minivan: Kids on Race (a CNN Study)