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Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011


a day at the park with friends!
wow! muscles!
Turkey feast at school!
duck hunting!


Nina and Frazier brought home Anaya

As I look over the past year, my eyes brim with tears. I have watched the LORD move in a mighty way...in many DIFFERENT ways.

Gwen and I have had front row seats to MULTIPLE children that have come home through 147 Million Orphans. When the work load is heavy and the tasks at hand to keep this thing running feels dauntingly IMPOSSIBLE...the children's eyes that we have seen go from dark to light make it all worth it. Their little hearts going from empty and lonely to full of love make all of the hard work a joy instead of hardship. when its your passion, its not really work after all huh?

I am watching my oldest daughter, Grace (almost 16 years), blossom from an awkward teenager into a young lady. Her heart to care and advocate for the orphans of the world puts a smile on my face and joy in my heart. I cherish my time spent with her. The change in Michaels (13 years) diet (gluten free)has been an adjustment to say the least. It has been a little bit of an emotional roller coaster, but are adjusting and he is handling it great. He is the most loving BIG brother that I have ever seen. He knows when to tumble with the boys and when to hug on Josie Love. Annabelle's (10 years) heart is SO SO tender. The Lord has gifted her with so much compassion that it hurts. I have loved watching her grow and thrive in ANYTHING that she attempts physically. She can blend with the older ones, or lead the younger ones.....what a blessing she is! Where would I be without MillerAnne's (8 years) organizational skills? She gets the job done! IF I go out of town, she gets the little ones ready, lunches made, backpacks packed and waiting by the door for them to grab as they exit. She will definitely run a large company one day! My sweet, tender hearted Joshua is now in kindergarten! He is maturing in so many ways. He would surely die without physical touch. Socially, emotionally, and physically he is thriving! Josie Love(almost 6) is thriving also. Strangers can now understand her speech. Her agility is better than i could have EVER imagined. She ACTS like a school girl. She LOVES the structure and the social side of school. not to mention that her life is MIRACULOUS. And last, but certainly not least, Caleb (4 years). He is trying to transition from mama's baby boy to a BIG boy. His emotions are all over the map, and i am praying for patience each and every day! haha Oh how he fills my heart:)

Mike and I are closer than ever. We rely on each other more than I ever thought possible. For those who think the bond of marriage has anything to do with happiness, it doesn’t. These last few years have not been “happy” each and every day. Some days have been just downright crappy. The honest truth is sometimes just bitter to the taste, we’ve found a new normal…much greater than the cheap and often-temporary emotion of happiness. We have discovered a level of joy and gratitude that has reconstituted our marriage, our family, and us.

What a great feeling. For our hearts to feel SO full, that they are overflowing. To rely on HIM for JOY instead of "happiness" that our time here on earth might or MIGHT NOT bring. A NEW NORMAL...OUR normal, that no one else shares. It creates a bond that can never be severed.

While 2011 has brought some heartache, it has brought MUCH more JOY. I am SO thankful for health and LOVE that only comes from our Father. Happy New Year!!!





Friday, December 23, 2011




I dont know about ya'll but my house is OOZING with excitement. MillerAnne is sick, so I have been staying home with her while my "sweets" (father/hubby of the year) has been taking everyone else to all of the "festivities!" Some of you saw the pics of Josie Love with Santa on FB. The host of the party sent me pics and said that Josie's interaction with Santa was without doubt the highlight of the party. She rounded the corner and saw Santa and her eyes got as big as saucers! "Santa?!?! Is that you Santa? Are you coming to my house Santa?" when Santa replied "I AM coming to your house!" She started bouncing like Tigger all over the room, squealing, SO EXCITED that Santa was coming to HER house! I sat with tears flowing down my cheeks, while the party came to a halt in amazement at this little girl that was bubbling over with excitement. Caleb and Joshua wouldn't have ANYTHING to do with the white haired man that their sister had very obviously fallen head over heels in love with. Josie's response to Santa....as if to say "really? MY house? why Me?" I couldn't help but think of Mary and how she must have reacted the same way when the angel appeared to her and told her that she would carry the Messiah. Just a normal young girl called to do THE most important thing EVER to happen in the history of our world. WOW. All it takes is saying "yes" to the journey that HE has for you rather than what YOU have planned for you. I pray that in 2012, we ALL say "yes" to his plan for our lives this year...who knows?! you might all end up with a Josie Love:) could we all be so lucky?

Merry Christmas from my home to yours!



Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas crazies...




Rejoice on these days when you drag yourself out of bed, feeling sluggish and inadequate. Tell yourself that it is the perfect day to depend on HIM in childlike trust. If you persevere in this dependence as you go through the day, you will discover at bedtime that Joy and Peace have become your companions!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Ornaments!


If any of you haven't read my mom's post below about Ugandan adoption and my tree (which gives some background to this post), go check it out!

If you're looking to buy some super cute Christmas ornaments that give back, these make great gifts and fabulous decorations for the tree :-)


These two are 10$ each, and help the McKnight's adoption from Ethiopia. They come in several different funky patterns and colors...love love LOVE mine! They look great on the tree. http://desireemcknight.blogspot.com/p/fundraisers.html



I bought two of the ornaments below and gave one as a gift to my best friend for her tree! We both LOVE them. "These are fully customizable, you pick the country, placement of the heart, fabric choice, and personalization on the back side. Each ornament is filled with coffee beans from Ethiopia and is detailed with handmade paper beads, also from Ethiopia." You can buy one for 15$, or 2 for 25$. They are helping Kim and her family bring home TWO from Ethiopia! http://alittleloveinyourheart.blogspot.com/p/fundraising-shop.html


The two ornaments below are both sold on etsy.com and the money goes to another family adopting from Ethiopia. They sell a ton of awesome ornaments and other trinkets too! http://www.etsy.com/shop/ethiopiadad?ref=seller_info#



Merry Christmas!!!!

Love, Grace
Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ugandan Adoption/Merry Christmas!


Hello blog world! I am still alive...life has been busy lately so social media has taken a backseat....sorry! If you want to follow me on twitter, I am becoming a friend of it because it is fast and easy to empty my thoughts:)

i have had MULTIPLE emails about Uganda adoption. I even received one comment that just asked if I would blog about it, so here it goes...

Uganda is NOT HAGUE approved. There are really no "adoption laws". Sometimes the process runs really smooth, other times it is REALLY rocky. You will either need to travel twice and stay two weeks each time, or go and plan to stay 4-6 weeks.

There are several different ways to adopt from Uganda: 1) There are several agencies in the US that you can go through: LIFELINES and . You call the agency, they send you paperwork, you finish it all, and wait until they match you with a child. 2) google "childrens homes in Uganda," email them, and ask them if they adopt out. The few that I know that DO adopt out are: WELCOME HOME, REDEEMERS HOUSE, SANYU,GOOD SAMARITAN, GOOD SHEPHERDS FOLD, and SONRISE BABIES HOME. You might email and they say that they ARE accepting applications right now, or they might say that they are NOT accepting applications. THey typically only do a certain amount each year and then they close their application process. Some of them have attorneys that they use in country and they walk you through the process. This is how I brought Josie Love home.

There are a few "private adoptions." People that know someone living in Uganda, a child needs a home, and the people living over there get it all done. This is rare, and one of the reasons that Uganda is slowing and might close (in my opinion).

Uganda adoption is NOT for the faint at heart. It is difficult. Many days there is no rhyme or reason to how anything is done. You might get a court date, travel over to attend, and the judge decide he/she doesnt want to work that day and they reschedule you for the next week...YEP! CRAZY! Most countries have a "system" that you follow and you go through the process and bring your child home.....NOT SO MUCH with Uganda.

You will hear "easy" stories, and then there are MULTIPLE families who are LIVING in Uganda for three years in order to bring him/her home. If your paperwork is not written out just perfectly then they can stamp " no" and you are stuck there for three years. It is vital that the attorney that you use knows how the system works.

SO, there it is in a nutshell. there are many children that need a mommy and daddy in Uganda. But, if you are one that needs structure, and KNOW for certain what the process is going to look like......stay away from Uganda. it is HARD. no ifs, and, or buts.

okay, so I am going to brag on my daughter just a little bit. Mike was headed to Wal-mart the other day and Grace asked him to get her a "little Christmas tree" for her room. he looked at her a little perplexed, but came home with a "little tree" under his arm. Later that night we were sitting by the fire and Grace was on the computer just "googling" like crazy. I asked her what she was doing and she said "I am looking for ornaments with a cause..I want to fill my little tree up with ornaments that either help bring a child home, feed a child, or have SOME purpose." WOW. Why havent I thought of that? thinkin' that might be a project to do throughout the year (collecting) so it will be ready for 2013:)

While my stockings are hung and my head is spinning. I am LOVING/feeling overwhelmed/trying to relax and enjoy this CHRISTmas season. Wishing you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!





Monday, November 28, 2011

December 1st if you are in the area come on out for our 147 Million Orphans Event

SHOP & SHARE the SPIRIT of Giving @ Christmas
9am-4pm @ HARPETH HILLS CHURCH OF CHRIST
on Old Hickory Blvd

UGANDAN EARRINGS ARE IN ALONG W/ COW HORN EARRINGS ... We have the new FLAG LOVE 1 tee, KISSES FROM KATIE book (sale for bulk buys), new youth tee, the ever so popular HOODIE, new chocolate and red MAYVALL BAGS and so much more !!!



Here is a great chance to buy w/ your heart and help provided FOOD, WATER, AND MEDICINE TO CHILDREN IN NEED ... When you give the gift of 147 to someone they know and understand the needs of orphans ... Our commitment to love them right where they are and show Christ !!!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

thankful while exhausted

While Katie was home we were talking about November being "orphan awareness month". Her response was "there is a month reminding people that there are orphans??!" the look on her face showed that she was SOOOO perplexed. It was a sad reality for me that we have to have a special "Orphan Sunday" for believers to acknowledge all of the orphans in the world.

This past week Facebook and Twitter have been blowing up with "thankfulness." I can't help but think back to my conversation with Katie and think "it has to be a holiday for us to share how thankful that we are?!?"

In my Jesus Calling this week she talks about how we CHOOSE to be thankful. We should choose to be thankful each and every day. EVEN THOUGH each and every day might be difficult. I LOVE the holidays. I LOVE to build a fire, snuggle on the couch, and for each and every one of my little chickens to be gathered in my hen house. BUT, being at home each and every day is HARD. It is exhausting. My kitchen stays a mess from everybody eating constantly, my laundry is overflowing out of my laundry room, and my older ones go to bed WAY late, and my little ones get up WAY early. The holidays leave this mama WEARY.

We don't have to act like it is all bliss. Christ wants it to be hard, so we rely on HIM. In my weariness, I am SO thankful. I wouldn't trade these dark circles under my eyes for a fresh face and wide opened eyes. Most days I CHOOSE to be thankful. Feeling thankful doesn't come easy when my four year old is screaming, I'm giving Josie Love her meds, breaking up arguments between my two middle girls...I CHOOSE to be thankful.

If I give thanks regardless of my feelings, then HE will give me joy regardless of my circumstances. Finding JOY in the hard isnt always easy, it is still JOYFUL, and for THAT I am THANKFUL.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

heartbreak



There have been 3 times in my life that I felt that my heart was truly broken…not just heartache, the kind of pain where I could hardly breathe and I felt as though I was going to die. My heart hurt so bad, that I felt like I would never recover. Domestic adoption opened my heart and eyes to not only a child in need, but the heart of a mother. Through our adoptions I fell in love with my birth moms. I couldn’t help but think about my bio children. I would NEVER give them up. NO WAY, it would be my VERY LAST RESORT. I would have to know WITHOUT doubt, that my children would not survive if I kept them with me. As I looked into their beautiful brown eyes, I saw myself. They were just like me, just dealt a different hand at life. They had no hope, and no one for support. All alone. Their mothers heart was the same. They LOVED deeply. Not only to give their child up…but not knowing where they might end up…in the state system or with a family?

A few years later, JosieLoves birth mom was walking down a red dirt road. I cant help but wonder what she was thinking. Had she recovered from her delivery? How did she know that her child needed medical care? Was it her droopy eyes? Was she so ill that she couldn’t care for her baby? I cannot fathom laying my child on the steps of the hospital steps, walking away from my child, NEVER to see them again. A mother, just like me, SAME mother’s heart. After she left, did her milk come in? Did she have a reminder DAILY of the decision that she made that would FOREVER break her heart? Six years later, is she wondering “did I do the right thing?” is she even still alive? A mother’s heart…just like mine.

I had NO IDEA when we started the paperwork for a domestic adoption 6 years ago, that my life would be WRECKED. My heart would ache more than I ever knew was possible. The scripture Proverbs 24:12 would ring in my ears for the rest of my life. “Once you have seen, you cannot pretend that you do not know. For the Father that knows your every thought, KNOWS that you KNOW! “

How can I not help? How can I not do everything possible to help these birth moms that have NO choice but to give their child away? I HAVE to educate, I HAVE to share what I have seen and how my heart hurts. I have to call on HIM to sustain me and give me grace. I have to realize that not everyone has seen what I have seen.

If I could have one wish, it would be this: I could take my heart out and let every “believer” FEEL what my heart feels. If you could just FEEL and KNOW what I do about Christ’s heart for these widows and orphans. There would NOT be 147 MILLION orphans in the world. You would be WRECKED for the less fortunate the same way that I am and my sweet Savior is.


Monday, October 31, 2011

HELP US pray down the number!


The past few months have been full of WARFARE. I think Katie coming into town, Tosha bringing Abigail home, and the fact that we have hundreds of families fundraising for their adoptions with their gear has made satan just a little agitated. our team of women at 147 might as well have had targets on our foreheads. WOW! he sure does like to wreak havoc. He attacked Katies body, strep throat and then blisters all in her mouth and tongue....(you think he wanted her to speak while being at home?) The list goes on and on from Tosha getting sick to husbands getting sick...Gwen and I are weary. There was a point today where we both wanted to just crawl back in the bed and pull the covers over our heads!

So, rather than stay in bed...we SHALL NOT BE DEFEATED! we are assuming since you guys read our blogs that you must have a heart for orphans also. We want you to join us in lifting the fatherless up to their HEAVENLY father each and every day.

Call it a campaign, initiative, or project ... The name is not important, but the ACT is ... 147 Million Orphans is launching PRAY DOWN THE NUMBER AT 1:47 PM project Nov. 1st ... It is simply an invitation for us all to join together and allow God to make an impact through prayer for the orphans of the world !!!

This is how it all got started...words from gwen:

Let me tell you how it happened ... I always know when God has a direction for me by the way he delivers the message ... IT SIMPLY POPS IN MY HEAD WITH ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS AND DETAILS ATTACHED ... I know it is ALL him when I have not been thinking of the idea, up late at night trying to figure it out, or even have it on a TO DO list ... IT JUST POPS IN MY HEAD (kinda like my first 147 Million Orphan's shirt for our adoption) ...So the story goes like this ... Emily and I were on the phone talking about the wait for everyone in the adoption process ... We were talking about how the process is a MUST and when delays, road blocks, and mountains come our way that we can not lose hope in the FATHER'S PERFECT PLAN ... And then as soon as I hung up the phone God whispers - PRAY MY DAUGHTER PRAY ... GET ALL YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS TO PRAY W/ YOU AT 1:47 pm DAILY ... The orphan crisis is not a quick fix, but a long hard journey with the LORD trusting him and loving his people !!!

SO WE AT 147 ARE ASKING YOU TO COME ALONG SIDE OF US AND HELP US TO ASK OTHERS TO PRAY DOWN THE NUMBER AT 1:47 PM ... where ever you are just stop and lift up orphans to the FATHER - pray for friend's adoptions, pray for the orphan who is hungry, pray the for the orphan that is sick, pray for the families sitting on the fence about adoption, pray for orphan/adoption ministries, pray for those serving orphans, ... WHATEVER GOD LAYS ON YOUR HEART ABOUT THE FATHERLESS - pray pray pray !!!

put in on your calendar, make it an appt. on your phone, write it on your hand, put a sticky note on your mirror or do them all ... LET'S ALL STAND TOGETHER, WATCH OUR FAITH GROW AND THE NUMBER GO DOWN !!!




Thursday, October 27, 2011

overwhelmed, joyful, and humbled



CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO!!! I AM TOTALLY HUMBLED TO TEARS AT THE PEOPLE ALL OVER THE ENTIRE WORLD WEARING OUR GEAR!!!!



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

David Platt/Katie Davis




thanks for all of the gluten free recipes! I'm hoping to make all of your yummy suggestions sometime soon!

My weekend has been filled with Homecoming game, get together for Katie, Homecoming dance, after-party at my house, fundraiser for Katie, a trip to Birmingham, and fall break starting. I was so proud of my daughter Grace. She and a few friends were determined to get up and travel after being up late for Homecoming.( a few pics for you!) We spent Sunday in at David Platt's church because Katie was speaking. Afterwards, we had lunch with his sweet wife Heather. My belief that behind every good man, there is a FABULOUS woman...proved to be true! She is an ANGEL! Gwen and I have been friends with her via Facebook. It was such a blessing for our hearts to weave together another layer of friendship face to face, since we all hold the same love and passion for what life should hold while living here on earth. We are praying her to China as soon as possible to bring her sweet baby home!

You would think as busy and as exhausting as my weekend was that I would walk away depleted. It was just the opposite, while my body is weary, my cup is so full! David's sermon was so challenging. He spoke about our first step being salvation. Our destination being the Father and not heaven. The second step is the HOLY SPIRIT, being filled with Him and me using my gifts for His glory. He explained that the fathers must go first, and the rest of the house will follow. in our society, fathers have lost their way. the abundance of materialism has led to pride, and through pride our minds get clouded of what His will is for us rather than what "we" have accomplished. Our "gifts" become forgotten and ignored and we try to thrive within ourselves instead of how we were made to serve and using our gifts. He then, challenged us to simplify our lives so that we can focus on what HE is calling us to do and BE in life. Is it to increase my giving? calling me to sell something? leading me to sacrifice? serve nearby? serve on the other side of the world? short-term? long- term? ABANDON my life to Him.

I really can't do his sermon justice. His passion is so contagious, I walked out of the sanctuary wanting to sell or give everything I have away. FOR HIS GLORY, so that I might not be clouded with materialism so that I can see my calling and gifts CLEARLY. Katie explained that if you look around at your circumstances, you get TOTALLY overwhelmed with all of the needs. Her goal is to see the ONE that is standing in front of her, help that ONE, then take the next step to see the next person that is in her path. His manna is only good for ONE day, it is ruined by tomorrow. We have no guarantees for the future or the next day, only for TODAY.

Gwen and I fly out Thursday to Arizona for the Together for Adoption conference. Pray for the families that will be there to open their hearts to what God has for each of them and they will be MOVED into action on behalf of the least of these! Pray for our families while we are gone:)

I had multiple people approach me and tell me how much my blog ministers to their heart. It was SUCH a blessing. Thanks for your encouragement!

Friday, October 14, 2011






The past few weeks have been a complete whirlwind. With Katie being home, we have tried to fit in as much quality time as possible in between her “jetsetting” from state to state on her book tour. I cannot believe that she will be heading home to Uganda in less than a week. It makes my heart sad for me and happy for her. I cannot wait to see how the surgery heals Grace’s leg. I am going to pray that in NO time, she is running all around the yard with the rest of her sisters. There was a day when I said the same thing about Josie Love…we BELIEVED God for it, and it ALL came to fruition. Because HE is the ULTIMATE healer, and He WILL do what HE says that HE WILL DO!

The past few weeks, I have had my nose in books learning all about “Celiac Disease”. (which is a really scary word for “gluten allergy”) One of my children has been diagnosed with it, so I have had my nose to the grindstone figuring it all out. I am at a really good place. I have learned SO much, and have baked some REALLY YUMMY things! All of my children have jumped on board and helped with this new journey that we are on. On Tuesday and Thursdays Caleb and I turn into “Betty Crocker” and “the Pillsbury dough boy” except that we do not use any of their “boxed items”..it is mostly from scratch. I have found some really good “baking mixtures” that make DELICIOUS cookies, brownies, cakes, etc…so I am thankful. I have always cooked dinner. Through the years, depending on the season of preschoolers, about three times a week. I had forgotten how much better food tastes when it is made from scratch. I turn on my worship music, get out my sifter and I am unstoppable!!! I had forgotten how much I REALLY enjoy baking. Maybe what I thought to be a nightmare, Is going to be a blessing? It made my heart sing when all of my children were eating my chicken wings tonight…ooohing and aaahing at how yummy they were. (Just a homemade bbq sauce that I whipped up...no biggie! Hahahha) I won’t mention that before they started eating, I told them that the first one that complained about my dinner was going STRAIGHT TO A BATH AND BED and if they didn’t believe me…JUST TRY ME!!!

It’s the little reminders that God gives us to remind us how much HE loves us... when they kiss you each night before bed and say “I love you Mommy!” The beautiful trees that look as though they have been hand painted all different colors this time of year. But, it’s also the BIG reminders when you bake for 5 hours straight that they are TRULY blessings. Little treasured gifts that God hand picked especially for me so that I can giggle during the day. What would our world be like without a childs laughter? WOW! We are truly blessed.

If any of you have a gluten free recipe that you think is a “MUST HAVE” for me, send it my way!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

SUCH a SWEET SWEET blessing....

It has been such a blessing to have Katie home. The look on her face as Josie ran towards her car the first day that she drove up was priceless. I had forgotten that it had been a year since she had seen Josie Love....wow how time flies.
Her time here has been a frenzie of media phone calls, interviews, speaking engagements, and people approaching her and standing with their mouth open....quite comical actually. She looks around trying to figure out what is going on!
We had FABULOUS fall gear party on Tuesday. We celebrated Katie's book, her heart to serve by faith each and every day, and that God brought us together to do our part in loving "the least of these"



Josie helping Katie sign her books!



showing Auntie Kate how she can write her name :)

As I read through Katie's book, I was reminded of my time in Uganda while trying to bring Josie Love home. The other night, we were out together eating yogurt and I asked her all about it. I can't remember if I cried a lot. I can't remember a lot of the details. We had a really neat conversation about the heart wrenching/tears of joys/mind boggling moments that we had during that time. I don't think I even realized how much I had blocked out. Isn't it funny how the things that cause the most pain in life...become your biggest passion. think about it... if you are a cancer survivor, you become passionate about bringing awareness to finding a cure. Diabetes, MS, CP, the list goes on and on. People spending time and energy in his/her passion trying to bring awareness to the very thing that ROCKED them to the core at some pint in his/her life.
I had several people mention how weary I must be at the book signing/sale the other day. And I AM TIRED, but when it is your passion, it is not work. I often wish that I could just take my heart out of my chest and give it to someone else for awhile, to let others feel what I feel when it comes to the fatherless and children that have HIV/AIDS. My blood rushes through my veins with an ache to educate, encourage, and enable! Just one little taste of it, and you would NEVER go back:)




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suzanne
I am a lover of Jesus. I have the most fabulous husband that anyone woman could ask for. The Lord has blessed us with 7 beautiful children. I started this blog so that friends and family could follow our trip to Uganda to visit Katie Davis. I have decided to keep blogging to help bring orphan awareness to the world around me.
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