Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fill Your Feed Challenge: Sole Hope

Today, I want to begin a series on Filling Your Feed.

I'm talking about intentionally filling your news feed on facebook and twitter or your RSS feed from blogs with news and information about what is going on in The Church around the world. Not just your church or my church: The Church. 

Fill your news feed by liking and following organizations and ministries. Then pay attention to what they are doing and find  creative ways to support them or lend a voice. It's not always monetary contributions but that's always helpful, too).

So, here is a way for you to get started if you think you might want to take some next steps in Filling Your Feed.

I came to know Sole Hope through some pretty random connections including an Instagram photo, Keystone in Indiana, an "old" high school friend stirred by two social media buffs. 

As I dug into learning about Sole Hope, I discovered an extraordinary organization flat out doing ministry right. They are the real deal. Asher and Dru Collie are the founders and directors of this incredible organization.

Their website ministry bio sums ups exactly who Sole Hope is and what they are doing. Sole Hope is:

"A group of passionate,

committed people who are putting closed toed shoes on African children, one pair at a time.

It all started with a chance encounter with a YouTube video--a video that broke our hearts, took us WAY out of our comfort zones, and lead us to Uganda and Zambia. Along the way, we realized we could not only help African children,  
but we could help African men and women by teaching them a simple trade—how to make shoes. And so we began.  

Then we realized we could teach others—homeless, unemployed, recovering addicts, and nonprofits—how to make shoes, so they could earn a decent living and raise funds for their causes. So Sole Hope is touching lives in the U.S. and Africa, and we’re only getting started"

To find out more about them visit their website: SoleHope.org 

Fill Your Feed: 4 Week Challenge

But, in the mean time,

I'd like for you to consider Filling Your Feed with their

Twitter and/or Facebook updates. 


Four Weeks of Intentional Social Media by asking you to join Travis and I in voting every day for Sole Hope in the Cultivate contest.

Yep, everyday, vote for Sole Hope to win a grant of 50K to continue and expand their work for the next 4 weeks.

You in? Great! Here is what you do:

Set an alarm daily to vote. 

It's easy to log in with your Twitter or Facebook account on the Cultivate site, too.

Take it a step further and tweet or post about them a few times a week. Send the link to a handful of friends that you know are on social media. Don't spam anyone; but get the word out.

Also, check out their Shoe Cutting Parties!

They involve church groups and ministries or social groups to come together to invest in the plight of the orphan and widow and impoverished in a tangible way while continuing to invest in the sustainability of the group they are supporting.

This is not just feel good about your own serving project ministry stuff. This project supports a community by helping them learn and grow and support themselves. This is called sustainable ministry! 

I'm gonna tell you right now, if you ask me to host a party for food products or accessories or jewelry, I will probably always gracefully decline or stumbled over my words in ways you've never seen this fast talked stumble. But, besides Noonday, this is the first party I have been eager to host for a cause in years! This is on my list and um, sort of on the list of our missional community... 

Here is a video of their workshop:

Monday, February 20, 2012

February Fundraising: Team Carpenter (Updated)

Update: Feb 21: Adding in Beachbody Products & Pampered Chef
Update Feb 27: Kids Tshirts & Onesies by Betsy Canevari 

Remember that time when all your friends surprised you and took over your fundraising task for the week in honor of your birthday?

Yeah, that was an amazing week.

Oh, wait that is happening right now! 

My girl friends are tweeting, blogging, starting etsy shops, pressing hundred dollar bills into my hand, painting and selling their hearts out and adding a billion extra tasks to their already busy schedules to help us in our adoption journey.

My heart is so full. And I keep thinking, Princess Carpenter, do you know how loved you are? I hope so! And then I keep thanking God for reaching down and stirring the hearts of this community not just for our little girl; but for the 147 Million Orphans around the world who God has called us to defend and care for.

Honestly, I had no idea this was happening until my phone notified me through twitter, facebook and instagram that all of this is happening. None of them told me this was coming.

And truly, for a former super-organized-planner-recovering-control-freak, let me tell you how much I absolutely love people just taking over and getting things done for me. I know that sounds backward; but it's the biggest blessing. I can barely write coherent correctly punctuated thoughts to share about the joy and love that is being poured out and into our family this week.

Beachbody by Lindsay Page (all month)

Also, my friend Lindsay, aka Super Woman, mom of 4, fitness trainer, is donating any of her sales proceeds this month to our adopt fund, too! If you have been thinking about ordering or trying any of P90x or related products, you can order from her page and she's donating the proceeds to us this month. Linds is so super passionate about helping families stay healthy and about loving on her friends.

Pampered Chef from Kristen Brace (all month)

Kristen just decided to share all of her February commission with me! Whoa! So, now y'all can shop at the amazing Pampered Chef as well! Click here to use Kristen's link. Kristen and Chris have been some of our close friends since we were both pregnant with Isaac and Austin. Our daily lives don't cross paths as often; but our hearts are forever entwined. Blessed by this sweet spirit!

Ongoing Support:
The Sassy Shop by Tiffany Pate

Tiffany has been coming up with creative ways to support us for the last few months because she is extremely passionate about adoption as well. And because, well, she's just incredible,too.

Right now, this is a wonderful gift for an adopting family or a family who has suffered from a miscarriage. You can contact Tiffany about this by twitter or email. Also, did I mention she's about to have a baby in a couple weeks! Edit: Guy Lee Pate joined us last week. He's still in NICU downtown at MUSC. Please continue to pray for him. We are hoping he can come home very soon! Pray for Tiffany & Chris & Holden as they wait for their brother.
Coffee Cozies by Sarah Fontenot

Sarah has been faithfully and creatively supporting us from the beginning. God laid on her heart to support us the day she heard about our adoption. So she started making these adorable coffee cup cozies on her etsy shop for us! She blogged about us here. She also consistently writes an inspiring blog about her faith and her family at Fontenot Four. One of her daughters is medically fragile and Sarah's journey in trusting the Lord through each up and down is truly full of so much grace and support.

Kids Shirts and Onesies Designs by Betsy Canevari

Betsy was my college roommate all four years at Taylor University. We get to see each other every couple years and are so grateful for our lifelong friendship. She has recently gotten pretty crafty and creative. She has been emailing me and brainstorming some ideas ans has launched a line for Spring & Easter that will support our Fund.

The shirts are $17 and the onesies are $13.

If you are ordering from Charleston, she might try to send a few orders at a time to me to save on shipping, etc. Please check out the photo on my facebook page or email me for details or post a comment below. Adoption is also close to her heart because her sister recently adopted a child through a domestic adoption.

These are her current designs for our fund:

Final Note:
You can check out our Donate page above to see more information on contacting us about other donations or products, etc. Thank you so much for being a part of this journey.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support. We are continually being encouraged by your giving. Learning from your generosity. Being spurred on to be more like Christ from all of you! 

Last Week's Deals: 

 Here are some specials for this week: February 20-25th where all proceeds are going into our adoption fund! Thanks all! This fundraiser is over &  we are so grateful for all the orders. But, please keep ordering Truth Cards for your family! (update 2/27)

Truth Cards by Jenna Surratt

We love Truth Cards in the Carpenter home! I blogged about how our families use them here and here (on my old blog). Jenna created Truth Cards out of a passion to teach her young children the Word of God.

She and her husband have been supporting parents with their discipleship process of the next generation for over a year now. My mom thinks that these should be in every Easter basket this year!

You can also read more about Jenna and Truth Cards on one of my favorite blogs: Naptime Diaries. Jessi, thank you for sharing about Truth Cards and our adoption this week.

Sabbath in a Jar by Stacie Gregory
This fund raiser is also over. But, please keep ordering the Sugar Scrub. You will love it! (edited 2/26)

Stacie introduced this sugar scrub at our Mother's Day sleepover last spring and it was a hit. (Um, yes, I have sleepovers sometimes at my parents house when they go out of town. Hilarious. I know!)  It's is incredible for your hands or your full body. I personally love using it when I have sore muscles or joints. It is very revitalizing for your skin and all natural! And not to make anyone uncomfortable; but my husband really loves how it smells. I have all three scents.

This is an awesome gift for birthdays, mother's day, hostess gift and just a massively wonderful splurge for your Sabbath day!

Also, Stacie just set this etsy store up this week to get her product out there. She also started blogging, and I guarantee you'll want to follow her at Bon Bons and All My Children.

Premeir Jewelry Party
hosted by Katie Walters  (This Wednesday, Feb 22- Event ended)

Katie surprised me a week or so ago telling me she was hosting a party on Wednesday, Feb 22, for Premier Jewelry. 10% of the sales go to our fund. I'll admit hosting parties with products has been more challenging than other fundraisers, etc. I so appreciated that she just planned it and invited people and even knew I couldn't be there. Did I mention she's still super morning sick with (surprise) baby number 5!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Aarons in our Life: Fist Bump Explosion of Grace

Some of you saw my cyber-adoption-melt-down the other day. I had posted that for the first time during this journey, I felt crazed and the weight of $28,000. At the beginning of this journey, Travis and I knew that God was calling us to step out in faith and not in a cozy little nest egg of finances that were all stored up and ready to go. We also believe we were supposed to live as much of this process out loud and online. We've been doing that. Mostly. I love the idea of being authentic, until I have to share my own struggles! Right?

So, we've been moving forward and writing checks and walking in faith. So, I thought. I realized I was more secure when we've raised a chunk of funds and can write all the checks quickly then when we had another bill coming and zero in the account. I was still so much more relaxed when we were one check a head, etc. And all of that is fine and good, and this fundraising is also our current calling, too. But, when I realized we were about $600 short from what I needed to pay, I crumbled.

I was tired and worn out and in pain. And did I mention the random dead animal and stomach bug? Anyhow, those things are normal; but they had worn me down. So facing this mini-battle seemed a lot harder than normal.

Wednesday afternoon and into the evening, through my crazy, I had a Moses/Aaron moment. We had several friends step in as Aaron did for Moses. Reach out. Lift our arms. Keep us steady during the battle. Some were expected-Aarons:  my covenant friends, my BFFs, my oikos circles. However, one particular couple wasn't. 

The other-Aarons are people we would not have expected at all to hear from. Not because they aren't wonderful; but because we just would not have thought of reaching out to them for help. Someday after this process, I'll recount more details of the message that read: "Call us, we wnat to help". It came from friends from a day gone by, or rather over a decade gone by, and a life lived in corn fields and tiny community that seems like once upon a time. But, really, they are our family and they are being obedient to God.

And, their obedience led to a fist bump explosion of grace that magnified a massive reminder of just who God is. 
We feel humbled and amazed to be a part of the blessing, but it's really not about us. It's not really their money or our money. It's God's money. And these babies are God's babies. He told us to go get them.
So, that was just the blessing. There was also sort of a scolding. As I sat on Wednesday night still swirling from the phone call, I heard God's gentle voice. Sort of scolding me, sort of reassuring. But, here's the jist of what I believe He was saying: "Jess, we are not coming back to this place." And by this place, I believe it was the place of heaviness, the place of the burden, and absolute fear and doubt that I had battled throughout the night before. I'm not meant to carry the burden. If I do, I'm climbing right up on the Cross and blaspheming the name of Jesus. So, He gently scolded me. Reminded me. "We are done with this. We don't have time for this. Let's go." I'm sure I'm going to have some hard days, and I'm sure I'll be at the end of myself again. But, there was a sense of finality. "We are done with this. Let's put it down."

And the friends who called, their words, the offer, the support and the community of the body of Christ, were all the reflection of the reminder that God is the Defender of the Fatherless. He is my Father. He's got this. Keep moving. Soldier on. 

And then there is even more. Isn't there always?

I think about Mose and Aaron again. And truly, that battle wasn't being won by Moses' power; but by God's power.  Do you think God really needs a man with a speech problem who killed someone and talks back to God, often, to hold his arms up to win a battle? No. But, that's how God decided to do it. And since God didn't really need Moses, did he really need Aaron? Of course not, and absolutely! He chose to use Aaron to reflect the Body of Christ. That is all symbolic. We get the blessing! But, it's all about Him! It's not enough that it's not about us. But, it's all about God's redemption and salvation of us that shows us just how amazing He is and flat out who He is! 

So for us, it was necessary community and loyalty and reflection of God lifting us up and God fighting for us. As the Aarons step into this battle with us, we are more and more humbled, changed and in awe of God. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Don't Say the "R" Word

So, did any body catch my blog yesterday? I used the "R" word. It rhyms with "Baffle" which is exactly what I was: baffled...

But if you did see my blog, it was up long enough to have over 40 hits in less than 2 hours (yay!) until I killed it. And now, I'm about to keep it real. I thought I wouldn't do this because I was concerned that Ch*&a might read this; and find out that we aren't perfect. But, here goes...

Anyhow, apparently, the "R" word is illegal in South Carolina & online. I know people do it. I know there is a way. I know it happens; but now that I'm fully aware of it, I am responsible for the knowledge. (Insert a little bit of foot stamping. Sidebar: It's not fair!. Maybe: It's already hard enough to adopt, just let me run a stinking fundraiser!)

So, at first, I tried to read all the loop holes to the law online. I don't have a law degree so that was not fun. Then I try to figure out how to run this contest from a different state and bank account. Then there were massive tantrums: a certain oldest child of mine threw an epic tantrum over cleaning up toys. Then I threw a tantrum propelled by my child's tantrum. Then cried my eyes out from sheer exhaustion and feeling of defeat on our next goal. I'll tell y'all, $28,000 suddenly felt Enormous. And Heavy. And Suffocating.  And just plain Hard. Then I moved on to lying awake half the night from a back spasm courtesy of walking Gaylord Palms' massive property a dozen times followed by hiking all over Universal Studios.

 Oh, and to really keep it real, I'm all kinds of crazy in other places, too. Let's throw in the "re-entry" to normal life after leaving your kids. How many people know how that usually goes? And now we've got our fearless leader  down with the stomach bug from Satan, Justus' back molars visibly cutting up his swollen back gums, and an unidentified stench of something that must be dead in a wall coming from our sunroom and trying to creep it's scent into the main living area fumes.What am I doing about that you ask? Well, right now, I open windows and shut the door. Yup, that's what I'm doing.

In adoption world, Travis and I thought we only had 2 hours of online training left; and we found out it was 9 hours. We are urgently trying to figure out how to get this done to include it in our homestudy (this week), which is only waiting on FBI clearance and one referral letter. That is a silver lining! But, now we hadn't planned for an extra 9 hours.

So, all that to say, I've changed course on this "R"affle. Just go ahead and do a Give-A-Way for appreciation during our fundraising time. We will still set a goal and time for raising the funds and give-a-way for the American Girl Doll if we hit 2K in 4 weeks. But, if we hit 4K 4 weeks, we'll do a bigger give-a-way? I'm thinking other fun give-a-ways and awards too: Most Creative Fundraising, Most People Recruited to Give, Most Funds Raised, Most Social Media Posts, etc.

We will be asking for your flat out cash/paypal donations and your help spreading the word and asking for donations in $10 increments for us. We'll ask you to email us if you are recruiting off line. Or post comments on our blog as you recruit giving for us online? I'm going to work it out and make sure I don't do anything illegal or do a full on drawing based on "buying tickets".

But, what do you think? Would you go for it and still donate your time and your facebook and twitter status'. Would you help us raise the funds in $10 and $25 increments? Or ask people to support us monthly for the next 10 months? Can we maybe do points? Points for how much you help us raise? Points for social media? Points for donations? Or maybe commit to raise $100 for us? Maybe 20 people could help us raise $100? Or even better 40 people? Or should we just ask 400 people to donate $10?

It was a lot easier for me to run a "raffle" instead of sit here and flat out ask you to help us raise the next $2000-$4000 by straight up donations. But, I'm getting a massive nudge that as the "r" option slammed in my face, this was our correct direction.

Talk to me! Feedback appreciated! This is your chance to post on my blog or email me or facebook me!

I'm clinging to His promises and sovereignty today and a little Matt Redman "Never Once" did we ever walk alone. And I'm keeping it real. This is a rollercoaster summit climb, not a breezy ocean walk. We signed up for this and believe in all our hearts this is worth everything!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pluff Mud: Jesus Storybook Bible Curriculum/DVD that Needs to Be in Your Home

I am about to explode from excitement. I have a bazillion things to do before we leave in less than 24 hours for a business trip at a fancy smanshy resort and a free trip to Unviersal (Shhh! Do not tell the boys we are going to Disney without them!) and a doctor appointment for Baby J and my other little warrior still in bed at 9am with a tummy bug. But, alas, I'm so excited about this Jesus Storybook Bible Curriculum that I have to share it with all of you right now. I had no idea that I was going to receive a (free) copy of this in the mail yesterday; and I was not at all asked to write or talk about it. But, I really must!

If you are not familiar with The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones, I do apologize. (The "I do" just sounded British in my head!) This is essential household curriculum because it correctly introduces the Bible and the gospel to our children. If you want to skip all my personal details on how this is helping our family, just scroll down or click on the link right now to check it out. It is officially released on February 7th. Pre-orders are available on Amazon ; and I know it will be carried in other stores as well.

Why This is Essential Material for the Carpenters and Maybe for You, Too

I do not want to just teach our kids that they need to know these stories or imaginary stories like the characters of Cars , Toy Story and Santa Claus. Austin has often asked me about who lives in the "real world" based on Spider Man or other characters. He wants to dream and pretend and imagine; but he wants to know truth/the Truth. (No, I haven't yet blown Santa; but I'm super tempted.) So, our desire is not just to teach good stories, we want to teach Jesus! 

Our desire and mandate as parents to teach the Word to our children is not to teach only fear and trembling over sin and simple behavior modification as we daily teach them the Word. We are part of parenting group that always encourages us to teach the why and not just the how.

That is hard. I'll be honest. My parents did an amazing job of teaching us about Jesus; but I come with a lot of legalistic baggage. I am haunted by the voice of one of the administrators from my high school reminding us to "look like good Christians" at a basketball game. So, that programming stuck for me. I truly struggle every day to keep my filter focused on Jesus. I truly want the easy way out of the list of right/wrong. I want black/white. I want to do enough to be good enough to not need Jesus. I do, and I dare say, you do, too. Even if you don't really know you do it, you probably do. We all do. That's the fight all the time. Even when we surrender and confess with our mouth that we want to follow Jesus, we still try to climb right back up on the cross and save our selves. Just like Paul, I don't really want to fight that battle in myself all the time; but yet, if I'm honest, I fight it.

So, how with all of that going on, do I then portray and teach Jesus. Well, first of all, as Ann Voskamp's life message encourages us, it is all Grace and all by the power of God that any of us move forward in a proper direction. Yet, that Grace is propelled to pursue Truth. So, then we are responsible for the Truth and how we teach our babies. I want to teach my kids about Jesus and Grace. I want it to be real. The Truth. The only Truth that they filter the rest of life throughout. I want to help them come to walk with God and see and fully grasp their identity. I want them to know Jesus and want to know Jesus

And even after all the right reasons, it is all too easy to fall into the pattern of behavior correction and not heart inception especially when your oldest child's picture is in Wikipedia next to "strong willed". When he is arguing with me relentlessly, I truly want to throw a "Jonah was in the belly of a fish for three days because he didn't obey" line his way. And maybe all of you are more subtle than that; but at the underlying call of my parenting, I get tired and I want to say and teach the correct view of God and Jesus and the Holy Spirt; but I am not always sure how.

For my husband, he didn't grow up knowing the Bible stories the way I did either. So, some of these stories are fairly new to him, too. As an adult, diving into a child's book, it's very easy for these to just be stories for children, too. It's easy to stumble over the Old Testament names; and to be unfamiliar with how it all ties together. It's partly wonderful because he is building a less tainted theological foundation; but yet, he is building on one that was not built for him as a child.

So, that is a lot of dialogue to get to this point. However, I want all of you to understand that I think the message of the Bible and the Gospel and Jesus being clearly and properly communicate to our children from day one is essential and imperative. The Jesus Storybook Bible, for us, is the one tool that helps us do that. Maybe it's easy for others; but for us, we need some focus and support. We need God's grace to dump into our lives and words as we teach the next generation.

About the Curriculum

So, each story continually focuses our attention back to Jesus, the Rescuer. Each story points to the need for the Cross. Each story decreases human strength and increases God's power. This is truly the thread in the Bible. This is not made up. When we read the actual Bible, this is the truth of the Word. But, often, when we read to our children, we don't point them back to Jesus. We point them to a good moral. A good lesson. Sure, there is application. James tells us not to just be hearers of the word; but doers. 

The first lesson begins with explaining what the Bible is and how it compares to other stories. It walks the kids through comparing a books called Rules of Life, Stories of Heroes, or the Bible.  "But although this book does have rules in it, it is about much, much more." and "Although, this book has stories of heroes in it, it is about much, much more....The Bible will tell me all about God and all about Jesus. All the stories in the Bible, even the ones about rulers and heroes, have something to say about God and about Jesus." 

Do you see that? Do you see how Sally & Sam & the JSB team are helping us?

Onto the curriculum details. If you are a homeschool mom or a Sunday School teacher who has a say in curriculum or a family who does family devotions weekly or nightly or just a parent who wants to learn how to teach your children about Jesus and the Word, this is for you. 

 The kit for, The Jesus Storybook Bible: Curriculum by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Sam Shammas, comes with 3 audio cds that include audio of each story; the Storybook Bible; and a DVD with videos and downloadable curriculum. 

They have a sample lesson on their website. And here is the Scope & Sequence.
Each lesson packet comes with a lesson outline. There is a time frame break down with the Welcome, Activity, Story Time, Notes for the Teachers (some of which are from notes from Dr. Tim Keller), explanation of the Story, Questions, etc. There is a section that refocuses each child on Where is Jesus in this Story? I downloaded and then re-uploaded the sample lesson on their site for you.

So, for a class room or older children, this is a full lesson. For our Austin, we can even just pop the DVD player in and let him watch and listen to the videos. We can then read through the lesson plans and pull out some modified questions and truths to continually discuss and review with him during our normal day in the car or at dinner, etc. Continually referring to these lesson plans for each stage of our kids understanding will be a long term benefit of owning this entire kit.

If you haven't caught on, let me say again that I believe reading through these lessons as adults is also essential. I truly feel that this Storybook Bible continually aligns my thoughts in the correct thinking of who God (the trinity) is. The word theology is either held in esteem or fear by most Christians. But, it's just the foundational knowledge and correct thought on who God is. This is basic theology for children and adults. I guarantee this will point you and your family to a closer understanding of Jesus. 


Like I said at the top, I also am posting about this now, I see that pre-orders on Amazon are already available. The price right now is around $80. Also, Barnes & Noble and others carry it. I am not sure if the price will go up or not; but if you think you want it, you might want to go ahead with pre-order. Cover price is listed at 129.99.

"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock."  Matthew 7:24-25

The foundation is essential.

(P.S. I've committed to blogging again this year. My next step is to really work through better editing. I struggle there, as you can see. So, I know it's important, and I'm really working on it. But, I appreciate each of you reading a long with a few typing errors. In college, I had the freedom to spend in editing mode for hours. Well, those days are non-existent. I also speed read, so I struggle to slow my brain down enough to catch it all the first time. I had given up on blogging and writing for a long time because of the fact that I knew I had spelling errors too often; but I believe it's time to just keep writing and the editing skills will come. So, I'm a writing work in progress. Thanks for the grace in advance.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

8 Minutes That Reinforce My Inability to Shut Up About Adoption and Orphan Care

I stumbled was lead to Mandie Joy's blog once again today, and caught up on the latest work of our Father in her life and role as a foster mom...and ambassador for the fatherless. Her first post was amazing; and if that wasn't enough, her post also included a video by Eric Ludy entitled Depraved Influence.

I might play this 8 minute video to myself every day. CJ Mahaney in his book, The Cross Centered Life, urged me to preach the gospel to myself. What does that mean? To review the redemption story from Abba on a daily basis. To realign my wayward heart. To shrug off the distractions that so easily entangle. To preach the gospel of the Cross to myself. And in this video, I believe I can hear the song of my heart. I can feel the blood pumping into every chamber of my heart. 

I hope you'll set aside some time to watch it.


I've always been a chatter box. And every single extended family member of mine will probably nod and make a sidebar comment or give testimony to that. God is teaching and me and I am learning very slowly how to slow down my roll. But, not on this. Not on the gospel and not on it's propelling call to defend the fatherless.

I hope each of you who reads this can see and know that we don't feel special for pursuing our daughter and her adoption. We are not elevated into a new status level in the Christian kingdom. In fact, we feel more insufficient than ever. We have faced more reality of our weaknesses than ever. Yet, since we started walking this path, we have been a living breathing testimony of 2 Corinthians 12:9.

I spoke to a friend the other day who is considering adoption. We both laughed at how God has turned our lives upside down. And echoed each others hearts and confession that neither of us are "that good" at this entire Mom-thing. Yes, our kids are well cared for and loved and spoiled. But, at the core, we are not soaring on our own mommy-powers. In the paradox of all truth from God, we are soaring on the power of the Holy Spirit's infusion and we are body of Christ.

We are the hands and feet of Jesus. We are part of the redemptive story. We are bearing witness.

And now, we will join the fight. Fists pounding and feet stamping.
We know we are on a mission. But, our daughter is on the other side of the world. And we need to get to her. And we need your help. And we so appreciate those who are walking this journey with us.