I've got more than I ever thought I would...

It's been refreshing to have a little down time the past few days to reflect and remember all of the blessings God has so generously poured out over our family.  I had fun looking back through all of our videos and pictures from 2013...and if you know me, there are just a "few" to sort through!!

I am working on a post featuring some of my favorite highlights from the past year but for now I wanted to share a video that gives a glimpse into our year together as a family.

Michael recently found the song "Good" by Dave Barnes and the words hit home with me the first time I heard it.

There was a time in my life that wasn't filled with joy or hope, but with a lot of tears and sadness.
I wasn't sure I would ever have a family of my own or experience the blessings and joy I have been given.
Friends would assure me that life would change but there were days when I was alone in my apartment that I questioned...I wondered...I poured out my heart to the One who has always proved faithful.

And that He did...almost 10 years ago I married my amazing husband Michael and I never would have imagined that life could be so good.  Yes...we have our challenges and heartaches together, but at the end of the day we look around us and can honestly say we have more than we ever thought we would.

As the year comes to an end, I look back with a heart of gratitude for God's favor and provision that  has exceeded our expectations.  And as another new year dawns...we look forward with anticipation to what lies ahead as we continue to watch the story He is writing in our lives unfold.

Happy New Year!!


Make a joyful noise

Spencer recently started taking guitar lessons again and it has been fun to watch him grow.  
He has a natural talent for memorizing and learning new songs with ease.  
I love listening to him practice while I'm making dinner or playing with Lils.  
It also keeps her motivated to practice her violin so that she can get "better and better".  
Lily is also a big fan of hanging out in his room dancing around to all his music.  
We met someone recently who didn't know either of them but immediately noticed the unique bond they share.
Sometimes it is easy to take that for granted so it was a great reminder of how truly blessed we are.  
He is makes her laugh and be silly.  
And she looks up to him as if he hung the moon.  
I cannot wait to see another little one join our family and experience the love they have to share.  


Do You Believe?


"Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. 
 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10-11

What keeps you from Bethlehem?

For me...it is the business of this season and trying to check of the "to do" lists that never seem to end.
 If I allow it, this can easily take me away from the truth of that holy night.

The lyrics of my favorite Christmas song this year, Carl Cartee's "Do You Believe", says it well...

If God became a baby, to take the sinners place
to be our salvation...think about the meaning of that day.
Do you believe he made the world?
Do you believe he changed the world?
Do you believe he saved the world?

Oh, the meaning of that night...

The hands, that placed the stars in the sky, wrapped tightly around Mary and Joseph's fingers.
The voice, that spoke the world into being, cried out in the stillness of the night.
The love, poured out for our sins on the cross, reached into a mother's heart.

The light of the world became flesh so that we might have life. There is no greater gift.

Thank you Jesus for your love and pursuit of me even when I stray off course with the distractions of this world.

Oh that I may return to Bethlehem daily to be reminded of the never ending, all consuming love
that entered into the world that Christmas night.


Let us make a joyful noise unto the Lord!
Praying your Christmas was filled with the awe and wonder of the gift we have in Jesus.  


Waiting for you art giveaway winners!


We are beyond grateful for everyone who donated so generously to our adoption fundraiser. The past two weeks tears of thanksgiving have flowed down every time I was notified of a donation or received a check in the mail. 
 Such generous support from friends and family we know and many whom we have never met. 
 Your gifts of love on behalf of our daughter is truly humbling.

Since our last post we received our LID (log in date) on Lily's birthday which was an added celebration for her special day. This means we are ready to be matched and now we wait for a call from our agency. It could be weeks or months but one thing is for certain...God's timing is perfect and we wait with hope knowing His plan is sovereign and His faithfulness is new every morning.

Now on to the news you are waiting to hear...congratulations to the following winners!

"Be still" goes to Cherie H.

"Act" goes to Brooke M.

"Unto me" goes to Wayne H.

I have these pieces packed up and ready to mail out so you will be receiving them soon! 
 Praying that they bring you much joy as you share God's truth with those who enter your home.

Every gift that was given brings us closer to the amount we need to bring home our daughter to her forever home. Thank you for being part of her story and giving with such generous hearts.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." James 1:17

Our hearts are full.  


Art giveaway & fundraiser


After spending many hours in my art studio recently preparing for some upcoming shows, 
I decided it would be fun to host an art giveaway.

That’s right…you have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win one of these original pieces of art!


"Be still" 
24x24 mixed media on birch board. 
 Inspired by Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God." 
 This piece will go to the first place winner.


10x10 mixed media on birch board. 
 Inspired by one of my favorite verses Proverbs 24:12 
"Once our eyes have been opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do,
God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, 
knows that we know and holds us responsible to act." 
This piece will go to the second place winner.


"Unto me" 
6x6 mixed media on birch board. 
 Inspired by the verse for which my art and photography business are named...Matthew 25:40 
"Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."
This piece will go to the third place winner.  

As many of you know, God began stirring our hearts over a year ago to consider adopting again.
 In March of this year we took the leap of faith and began the process of filling out paperwork to bring home our daughter to her forever family (you can read more about that here).

We have experienced the miracle of adoption first hand with our daughter Lily and we are so grateful that we said “yes” (even in the midst of our fears of the unknown) and didn’t miss out on the blessing she is to our family.


We are now just weeks away from having our “LID” (Log In Date), which in the adoption world is a huge milestone that marks another step closer to being matched with the little one God has chosen for our family!

We are not all called to adopt; however we can all do something to help be the light and hope
to children who wait to know the love of a family.

So…perhaps you are looking for a practical way to give back this season AND
possibly win something you can keep for yourself or give as a gift!

We ask that you consider making a donation of $5.00 or more to enter
(for every $5 donation your name will be entered once)
Simply click on the “donate” button at the top of the blog to enter for your chance to win.

If you are unable to donate, you can also enter by leaving a comment that includes
your name and email address so that I can contact you should you win.
 All winners must have a shipping address in the United States or Canada.

All donations go directly toward our adoption expenses.
Every dollar makes a difference and helps us reach the amount we need to bring our daughter home.

The art giveaway will end at 11:59 PM CST Monday, December 9th.
There will be three lucky winners chosen from all who participate!
 Winners will be chosen at random and will be announced Wednesday, December 11th.



Henan Kids International Fundraiser {spreading hope...transforming lives}


Three years ago this Sunday, marks the day that our world collided with a beautiful little girl from the Henan province. We received a call from our agency, completely unexpected, knowing that only weeks prior our dossier had been logged into China. Little did we know how quickly our hearts would be knit to this precious angel and broken for the children still in waiting.

November is National Adoption Month and this Sunday is Orphan Sunday. As believers, we are all called to do our part to defend the fatherless and be a voice of hope to those without a family.

"We can do no great things...only small things with great love." -Mother Teresa

It is with great love and joy that I share with you a wonderful opportunity to do your part to give hope to the orphan. I will be selling a limited amount of "born in my heart" China art to benefit Henan Kids International.



Henan Kids International is a group of adoptive families who have children from Henan.
 Their motto "love changes lives" falls right in line with their mission to transform the lives of the children living in the orphanages of Henan through acts of service and love.
 They sponsor surgeries, raise funds for orphanage supplies and volunteer their time.

Above are examples of the art that is available to purchase online using the paypal button at the top  of the blog.

The larger pieces are 6x6 painted on birch board with a 1 1/2 inch border that comes ready to hang.

The smaller mini canvas magnets are 3x3 in size.
I have a limited amount of each design ("forever", "so loved", and "hope-love").

Please specify the design you are ordering in the pull down menu.
(each piece is hand painted and may differ slightly from the photo above)
Please allow 1-2 weeks for delivery.  If you have additional questions please email me.

Shop with a purpose and give the gift of hope to children who continue to wait for their forever families.  These will go on a first come first serve basis...deadline to order is November 15th!

I will be giving 30% of all sales to HKI and the additional amount raised will go toward our family adoption. 
Thank you for spreading hope and transforming lives.



Favorite Photo Friday {family fun in SC}

I'm trying to catch up on the backlog of photos I have from this summer.  
These were taken from our family trip to SC in July to visit my parents for their 50th wedding anniversary.  
The beaches in SC are perfect for Spencer's love for skim boarding.
He was in his element body surfing and loving the big waves.  
Lily on the other hand was content playing in the sand and building sandcastles.  
She loved spending time with her Aunt Debbie and Uncle Jim as well as her cousins Marlee and Kelly.  
Lily adores the beach.  Even tonight as I was tucking her into bed she asked me when we were going back to the beach :))
One night we headed out to Murrells Inlet to take some family photos at sunset.
This is one of my all time favorites of them...I love the way they are walking hand in hand looking at each other.  
In true Spencer fashion he asked if he could jump over Lily.  She was a great sport as you can see her giving him big smiles and a round of applause for clearing his jump :))
The bond they share has been close from the day they met.
 Spencer is only with us every other week and tonight Lily spent about 30 minutes making him a card and asked if she could mail it to him.  Michael helped Lily address it and they walked it out to the mailbox tonight...now it's just waiting to be picked up tomorrow :))

They are the light and joy of our family and we look forward to seeing another little one running around in the photos with them in the days ahead.
{Some of you have asked about our paper chase...we are waiting to receive our approval from immigration and hoping that we are nearing the end of our 60-90 day wait.  Once we receive the approval all dossier paperwork will be authenticated and then translated by our agency to be sent to China...yay!!!}

When I look at Spencer it is hard for me to believe that he was Lily's age when I first met him.
How quickly time passes and how proud we are of the young man he is becoming.  
I love the innocence and wonder of these photos...wish I could freeze these moments in time.    

Together as family...not something I'm always able to capture behind the camera but thankful for this as a reminder of our time together.  
My sweet Mom and Dad on the night we celebrated their 50th anniversary.  
What a blessing it is to have parents who show love and commitment through the joys and valleys of life.  
So grateful for the gift of family and the blessing to all be together to celebrate my parent's milestone.
Even my grandmother surprised us by making the trip to be with us which was an added gift we will always remember.
2013-09-12_0016These are a few i-phone candid photos from the week that capture more of the fun we had.
Thank you Mom and Dad for setting a great example for our family and leaving us a strong legacy of faith, hope and love.  We love you!

the long road


Back to School

This week Lily starts back to her regular schedule for preschool.  
She reminds me daily that she is "almost 4" and that she will soon be as tall as me :))  
One of my prayers for her during our adoption journey was that God would give her a bright mind that was eager to learn.  
She thrives on learning new things, loves to do her speech homework and she is persistent to keep trying even when it is hard.  We are humbled daily by God's provision and the way He has answered our prayers.  
2013-09-09_0005 Lily has a fun sense of humor...most days there is a big smile on her face and a joy for life that is contagious.  
Other days she can be more serious and quiet but that is definitely an exception to the rule.  
Her favorite question lately is "what do we do next?" or "what do I do after nap?"  She is a girl on the go who loves structure.  With all the new things we have added to her week (violin, ballet, soccer and speech) I'm thinking a picture calendar with all her activities might be a good thing to make together to help her (and me) keep it all straight :)  
One thing we know for sure is that she LOVES ice cream and with eyes like this it's pretty hard to resist a sweet treat every now and then :)) 
We cashed in a free cup of yogurt at Sweet CeCe's after taking these pictures.  
We were supposed to share it but as you can see with her gigantic bites, I mainly got the leftovers.  
Even with chocolate lips... her smile always brightens up my day!


Orange Crush


Lily started several new things recently, one of which is soccer. Last Saturday was her first game. She was grinning ear to ear and so excited to be on a team (the Orange Crush) with her own jersey! When she saw her number was "3" she said, next year it will be "4" because I'll be four!


You teach your kids to share and not take things away from others so the concept of taking the ball away from the other team is still something she is figuring out. She mainly likes to run and dance around the ball at this point which is pretty cute but not so helpful for making goals for her team :)

Her coaches are SUPER patient and encouraging and she always comes away from practice saying "I did such a good job!" At her last practice I was talking and missed her kick the ball in a goal and she came running over to me saying "Mommy, why didn't you clap for me?"...busted...she doesn't miss anything!!


Even in the extreme heat of the day she was smiling and having a ball which is what it is all about. fun...experience...and working together.

I love her joy for life and willingness to try new things.

No soccer game this weekend...we are headed up to the lake to enjoy some family time on the water.

Have a great holiday weekend!!

the long road
© One Less Broken

Website design by CoffeeShop Designs