these days…

I wonder

…what your smile looks like

…the sound of your voice

…what your first word was

…what makes you laugh

…your favorite food

…what makes your face light up

…your fears

…what your dreams are made of

…what your little personality is like, and your heart

…what frustrates you

…how you are growing

…how your snuggles feel

…the smell of your skin

…what it will be like to kiss your cheeks

…to hold you

…to hear you say “momma”

…what life will look like with you in it…

oh how we are dreaming of you, sweet “K”! not a single day goes by that we aren’t thinking of you and talking about you. you are so deeply etched in our hearts and minds. We love you so much!

missing africa

Since moving back home a year and a half ago, it still hits me… images and memories, the ache for what was and that season. The longing to go back. As time passes, those moments have become less and less. But still, they come…

Two nights ago, after work, I was on the computer. And I clicked on the link to our mission blog where I journaled our 2+ year season with Mercy Ships. It was like the present stopped, and I found myself taken back into time… back to West Africa. I could almost smell it. And feel the heat, and hear the sounds. I felt the emotions all over again as I read entry after entry. It was here that it hit me again. That ache in my heart to go back. The longing for what was… what life was like and what I was doing; what I was experiencing and learning. Better yet, what I was giving and what I was receiving. My life over there was purposeful, intentional, and so meaningful. So rich. I want that again. I miss so much. The simplicity, the pace of life, the culture. It feels like another world, another lifetime. I am reminded again of how grateful I am for that season the Lord gave us.

These moments are still hard for me to express and put into words sometimes.

Yet, it was in that moment I felt like God was telling me that we are not done with Africa. Or missions. I know, we are adopting from Uganda, so we’ll be back. Aside from that, though, I think we’ll be back again. No, I don’t know when. Or what that looks like. It won’t be for awhile. Right now, family is our season. We are growing. And with another adoption in the future, it will be several years. But, it excited me nonetheless. For the future, and what’s to come. And how the Lord will direct us, and to where. It may not be until our kids are older, or even out of the home. Only the Lord knows, really. I expressed this to my husband, and he has sensed this too. Needless to say, I don’t think we’re done with Africa. :)

Then, the very next day, I met one of the housekeepers at the hospital where I work over lunch. And can you believe where she was from? Sierra Leone! Oh how this made my heart so happy! I knew by her accent that she was from West Africa. So we chatted about Salone. It brought back so many memories. It was like God put her in my path that day to connect the two worlds I still live in, and to bring me a taste of that dear continent that holds so much of my heart.

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what little girls are made of

il_570xN.309101218Our daughter turned 18 months old earlier this week <3

Sugar… I am going to make peppermint bark tomorrow! It will be my first time making it, so I hope it turns out… especially since I’m making them as Christmas treat gifts for my co-workers. I found the recipe on pinterest. #surehopetheyturnoutlikethepicture

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Spice… You probably noticed I gave my blog a “new look.” I wanted a change, and this works for now. I really like the clean and simplistic layout.  #hopeyoulikeit

And Everything Nice… My generous Twin sis (our girl’s “Mimi”) bought her niece her very first clothes! It was so exciting to open the mailbox and find a package addressed with our daughter’s name. Can you believe that I haven’t bought her any clothes yet? #lotsofwillpower

I just LOVE what it says…

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She and I have always loved “footie pj’s” on children. They are so soft and warm. And babes are so cuddly and irresistable in them. Both of us can’t wait to have her wear this and snuggle her tight!  #sheknowsmesowell

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And would you look at those too cute corduroy pants and precious little sweater! I can just picture her in these. Thanks, Mimi!!  #futurecutestkidever

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I have a friend whose son is from Ethiopia. It has been so special to have a friend that has walked this journey of international adoption before, and now walks it again with us. She thoughtfully gave us these clothes for our girl as a happy referral gift. I love the “skinny jeans” and the pink and silver. Thank you, Ang!  #firstclothesfromafriend

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There is going to be a lot of giggles, dresses, ribbons, shoes, lip gloss, and dress-up in our future! Oh what JOY!  #cannotwait  #feelingblessed

the joy of Christmas

Today Christmas arrived at our house! :)

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We went to our favorite tree farm just miles away from our house. We found and cut our tree, and arrived back in under 20 minutes! That’s what I’m talkin’ about, folks. :) We usually have a red, white and blue tree. Yes, we’re a little patriotic around here. :) But this year I wanted to change it up a bit. So, its covered in gold and silver.

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I pulled out my Christmas boxes from the closet, and transformed our humble home with a touch here and there of this season of Joy.

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By the way, I heart candles. So they are especially in abundance in our home this time of year.  I love the soft glow that the tree lights give, mixed with lighted candles, and the  flames of the fireplace. It gives such a cozy feel that I enjoy.

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My most loved decoration is my Willow Tree Nativity. The birth of the Christ, the Savior of the World, is what this whole season is all about. I look at it and see great humility and glory all wrapped up in a tiny babe… overwhelmed by the greatest gift of His Son!

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May you adore Him this season and experience His joy.

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The above ornament is for our daughter, her second Christmas ornament. This year’s ornament represents the year we learned of her: the initial of her name. :)

Baby Girl,

We pray your Christmas is special and full of joy and lots of laughter. Although we wish you were here with us, you are our Christmas wish come true! You are in our hearts and minds across the miles. We know our time together will come to be… until then, we continue to dream.

shop with purpose

Each year, as Christmas draws near, I am torn by the “material excess” of the holiday, and I find my heart wanting to give less and less “things.” I find myself desiring to give gifts that will meet a practical, immediate, life-changing need in someone’s life;  Where upon its gift, the receiver is given a renewed sense of hope… or a tangible reminder of a God who loves them, down to the day-to-day need for food, etc.

If you are looking for a way to give a meaningful gift or donation this season, I follow each of these organizations and am passionate about what they do. They are selling some pretty cool stuff that would make wonderful Christmas gifts. All proceeds go towards their cause/ ministry, helping to sustain women and their children:

Amazima Ministries “Kisses from Katie” (Uganda)

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Because Every Mother Matters (Ethiopia)

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Noonday Collection (International)

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Holt International (International)

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Happy shopping, friends!! :)