Friday, November 28, 2014

5 Things I Learned in November

Where has fall gone, y'all? It's totally escaped me, although the weather hasn't helped. It seems like it's been either unseasonably cold or hot. And then there was that Snow Day that happened before Thanksgiving around here. Anyway, regardless of what Mother Nature is up to or how fast time flies, here we are at the end of November.

I love the Christmas season, so I'm looking forward to our traditions that come with that. But, first, before this month totally escapes me, I wanted to document some things I learned ...

1. Listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving really isn't a bad thing. I've always been a must-wait-until-after-Thanksgiving-to-move-onto-Christmas-music person, which really doesn't make much sense because I buy gifts long before I eat turkey.

I blame Shaun Groves for changing my mind. His remake of Goo Goo Dolls' "Better Days" is fabulous. It's right up there with his version of "Joy to the World" as my favorite. My only complaint about his Christmas album is I wish there were more. But, thankfully, he says there's more coming next year.

{Listen and learn more here.}

2. Camping is fun. I've been camping probably four times in my whole life. All but one of those times I slept in a tent. Everything about camping except sleeping in a tent is fun. But the sleeping part kind of stresses me out. And then we borrowed my mother-in-law's RV and went camping with our friends. I'm sold ... as long as there's a bed for me. {Read about our camping trip.}

3. Murray is like Stars Hollow. My cousin Mary, whose family stayed with us one weekend in November, noticed. And I like the comparison. I can see it when I drive down my street that borders the park. I can see it when we're out and run into so many people who know us and love us. And I can see it when another parade goes down Main Street.

I've been watching "Gilmore Girls" when I fold laundry. How did I miss this show the first time around?! I'm so glad Netflix drew me in.

4. Cinnamon Moons are delicious. And easy to make. Thanks to my college friend Alexa who posted the recipe on Instagram, these are now in our breakfast rotation. Seriously. Copy this recipe now ...

2 cans biscuits
1 cup sugar
Tbsp cinnamon
1 stick of butter

1. Cut biscuits in half.
2. Mix sugar & cinnamon.
3. Melt butter and dip biscuits in.
4. Roll buttered biscuits in cinnamon/sugar mixture.
5. Cook 8-10 mins @ 350*. Makes a 9x13 pan.

5. Cooking a turkey is hard work. And I'm retiring from doing it after my one time. The meat was moist and good, so I might as well go out on top, right? {Read more about my experience.}

How's November been for you?

"Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. And it's on sale for just $2.99 for the last few days of this month. And if you'd read it, I'd love for you to leave a review at Amazon. Thanks, friends! 

I'm linking up with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky, who inspired me to document life this way. I love these monthly posts. Read more previous posts: {From 2013} June. July. August. September. October. November. {From 2014} January. February. March. April. May. June. July. August. September. October.

Want more stories? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Thursday, November 27, 2014

From our table to yours ...

The same year Ben was born our small group from church started a tradition. I'm not sure we knew it was going to be a tradition, but this group – equal parts kids and adults – gathered around a table for a Thanksgiving meal.

That was 2009. And, actually, Greg and I didn't get to go because Ben was born that Monday afternoon. We brought him home that Tuesday afternoon, just hours before they had our first Thanksgiving. Not only did we not go, but my friend Sarah – who had a boy just shy of a month old – made the green bean casserole I was supposed to bring. And then our friends brought us plates overflowing with delicious food. We weren't at the actual table with them that first year, but we were with them and they were with us.

Community works that way.

Four years later, we still gathered around the table for a Thanksgiving meal – and that time I broke out my china plates for the first time. For 11 years and 3 months, that china has been sitting around, supposedly waiting for a "special occasion." Truth be told, I was persuaded to register for the china and really wouldn't regret had I not added it. But I have it. And I decided having it sit there was pointless.

Really, everyday community is a special occasion.

We're not technically in an official small group with these people because we scattered to build relationships with other generations in our church, but these people are our community. We've mourned and prayed and dreamed and hoped and planned and played and cheered and cried and laughed.

My girlfriends even washed by hand the china plates I probably would have put in the dishwasher. They're into the ordinary details like that. They're helpful like that. We're in this life together like that.

{An excerpt from “Peace in the Process,” which is 
on sale for $2.99 for a few more days at Amazon}

So the tradition continued this year. The Sixth Annual Thanksgiving Dinner with Friends. Seems like we could come up with a better title, but that’s all I’ve got right now.

We’ve talked about going away from the traditional turkey, stuffing, veggies, and pies meal, but our Kenyan friend Daniel really loves this American holiday. This year I had a 15-pound turkey in my freezer because it was Greg’s prize for winning a target shooting contest at our church’s annual fall party.

So I volunteered to make the turkey.

I should note: This is the first time ever I’ve attempted to cook a turkey. And I think I’ll retire from cooking any more full-sized birds. You’ll see why.

The turkey thawed in my refrigerator for days. I studied the recipe for a moist turkey from my friend Corrie. I did wonder if cooking something whose steps had to be noted on my calendar was going to be worth it.

A day before cooking, I soaked the turkey in brine. I didn’t anticipate how much I would hate lifting the turkey out of the brine. Usually raw meat doesn’t bother me, but I’d never had to lift and hold an entire animal body, with bones and joints. I cringed while I dumped the brine out of the turkey’s body and moved the bird to the foil roaster pan.

I sliced up the orange, lemon, and onion to stuff inside. I cringed then too. But I was still motivated to do this well. Corrie recommended cooking the turkey breast-side down so the white meat would be moist, cooking directly in the juice. So that’s what I did. Everything was situated to go in the oven when I realized juice was leaking out of my pan and all over the stove. I ended up putting the pan on a towel in my refrigerator while I ran to Dollar General to get another pan.

Into the oven it went.

After about an hour, I checked on the turkey and spooned some of the juice over the turkey. I realized then my meat thermometer didn’t work and I somehow slit the foil pan as I was putting it back in the oven. The second pan. Another slit.

I had to leave the house to pick up Cate from school, so I put the pan on the cookie sheet and continued baking the bird. I realized as I was driving to school that the pop-when-done button that I wasn’t even relying on was slitting the pan because I was cooking the turkey breast-side down. I should have taken that button out, but I didn’t think about that, obviously.

I called and vented to Greg, who was busy at work. He tried to be encouraging: “Next time you’ll be better equipped.” Um, there’s not going to be a next time.

And then Ben said, “Momma, I heard you say a bad word about the turkey.” I asked him what that was exactly. “Stupid.” Honestly, I’m glad that’s all he heard because I’m pretty sure I muttered many other words in my head.

I texted with my vegetarian friend Sarah, who was sympathetic to the whole ordeal, and she mentioned she had cooked a turkey in a large Pyrex dish. I had one bigger than a 9x13, so I figured it was worth a try. The turkey fit – barely.

So I got a new meat thermometer from Kroger and put the turkey back in the oven {again} in a new, more secure pan. I had borrowed an electric carving knife from Jaclyn, but once that turkey was finished cooking, I was done.

Thankfully, Sarah’s husband Nathan volunteered to carve the turkey when they arrived. He also saved the gravy that I couldn’t get to thicken. I would have used the gravy packet that came with the turkey, but it somehow leaked all over my counter and under my microwave. So I went with turkey juice, flour, and milk. Clearly I didn’t know what I was doing, so Nathan and some corn starch solved the problem.

I had my turkey chaos. Greg ended his work day with a leak in his office basement. There was a weird smell in my kitchen. Jaclyn’s husband Bryan was still working when the rest of us were eating dinner. Greg had to leave for the city council meeting we had forgotten about when we picked the dinner date. Sarah and Nathan had dealt with non-functioning heat at their house earlier in the day. Kayla and Daniel seemed to have less chaos in this particular day, although their daughter was at dance class for the first part of the evening.

But we gathered around the table. I even got out the china again. Our nine kids who are 18 months to 8 years old gathered on a blanket in the living room, using paper plates. Yes, sometimes real life is chaotic, but we’re thankful anyway. God’s goodness abounds – even when there are messes and inconveniences and hard days.

Happy Thanksgiving, from our crazy table to yours.

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is on sale for $2.99 at Amazon for a few more days. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

{Three Word Wednesday} The Birth Moms

One of my favorite things about my ebook, “Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family,” is how both my kids’ birth moms contributed their words to the story. I knew from the beginning I wanted them to share their experiences, but I wasn’t sure how they would feel about that. When they each agreed, I knew our story would go to the next level. Yes, this is my family’s story, but it’s not just our family’s story.

My book received some wonderful endorsements, but the thing I loved about author Jennifer Dukes Lee's endorsement was how she saw all the lives that become intertwined through adoption and the prayer she offered for other potential birth moms :: 

“Peace in the Process” is one woman’s unexpected journey toward motherhood, but more than that, it’s the story of anyone whose life didn’t go according to plan. Kristin Hill Taylor shares a beautiful story of how God made a family – her family – through the beauty of adoption. Reading along, I imagined all of the adoptive families who would be richly blessed by reading these words. Even more, I prayed that this book would fall into the hands of many young women who might be weighing that difficult decision about how to handle an unplanned pregnancy. This book tenderly illustrates how God writes the most beautiful stories out of our deepest heartaches. 

{I changed their names in my book, but I describe them as they really are and share their quoted words throughout. The following includes some excerpts …}

I liked Mandy immediately and not just because she was giving Greg and me part of herself – literally.

The lunches we shared in January, February, March, and April of that year were filled with conversations about TV shows, hobbies and, yes, the forthcoming adoption. Her parents and siblings supported her decision but most everyone else in her life didn’t realize she spent her first year of college pregnant.

I’m thankful the open adoption provided another layer of support for Mandy: 

“You all quickly turned into a wonderful support system for me through this time. I was away from most of my family and friends, and I was living a secret from almost everyone who knew me. It was a rough emotional situation on me,” Mandy said about the open adoption. “Once you all expressed the want to be involved in the doctor’s appointments and delivery, I really didn’t think about it much. I was able to detach my feelings for the baby and realize I was carrying a child for you.”

A thank you note and the biggest care package never will do the trick. I can tell her time and time again I appreciated what she did and how she handled herself – not just for herself and her boyfriend, but for us and for Cate. I hope our girl has part of her determined spirit and positive attitude.

And then I can say it’s in the genes.

When Mandy, Greg, and I gathered in a booth at a Bloomington, Indiana, restaurant, this brave teenager told us how she was grateful to have a plan after half a pregnancy of wondering what she should do. Seven years later, she reflected on the beginning of this process that would change both our lives:

“When I found out I was pregnant, I was in my first year of college, recovering from my battle with cancer and finding out what a ‘normal’ life for a 19-year-old was. My parents had offered to help me take care of the baby, if that is what I wanted, but I didn't. I wanted my child to grow up in a stable environment. I didn't want her to have to ‘grow up with me.’ In a way I was being selfish because I wanted to be able to experience the true college life – turning 21 and being able to go to a bar without wondering who I would get to babysit, choosing where I wanted to go to college, and freeing myself from my parents. The more I thought about my options of parenting her versus placing her for adoption, I knew this was another struggle God put in my life to overcome. That's when I knew I was going to find the best family to take care of my baby.”

We continued meeting Leigh for doctor’s appointments. “We” usually meant 2-year-old Cate and me. Conversations with Leigh were easy even though I know making an adoption plan was hard on her momma heart. In Greg and me, Leigh found what she wanted for this baby boy – financially secure, religious, well-rounded people, in her words. “Having you two involved in the latter part of pregnancy was very important to me and helped me with the decision of adoption,” Leigh told me as she reflected on the adoption more than four years later. “It made me feel better getting to know the two of you more and being able to accept that this was the right decision I was making.”

Leigh’s dad and stepmom as well as others in her life were supportive of her decision and kind to Greg and me when we briefly met. We also found an ally in the obstetrician, who was a family friend of ours and had taken Leigh and our unborn baby under his care. “My family and everyone in my life at that time supported me of my decision, which made the whole process much easier,” Leigh reminisced. “I was happy to have that support system.”

… Once Ben was born, the nurse took him to a neighboring room to clean him up, which was Leigh’s preference. After hugging Leigh multiple times, Greg and I followed the nurse, who carried our son. She tended to him and then we held him. This great nurse even was good with the camera and took a picture that turned out to my favorite from the day.

Even with the celebration, I knew there was heartache for Leigh:

“I grieved as any mother would do after delivery and losing her child. It was a feeling of being torn apart because even though I knew it was the right decision, it was still hard to let him go. I cried for many days and still do every now and then, but I still know it was the right thing and wouldn't change my decision for anything,” Leigh said years later. “I think that adoption is a great idea for any mother who might have reservations about having a child at a bad time in their life. I’ve never believed in abortion, and to give someone a child that might not be able to have one or that might be able to give them better opportunities in life is wonderful.”


I'm also linking up this post with Jennifer Dukes Lee's #TellHisStory and Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

{Giveaway} Their talk is more than small

I was a shy kid who didn’t always muster the courage to talk to people I knew when I saw them in the grocery store. It was painful, really. But I have these two kids who talk – a lot. They still sometimes surprise with their banter and detailed stories.

But I’m glad they’re not shy like me.

I try to remember that when I crave a quiet moment.

Their words are honest and real. Sometimes they even use the wrong words. But their thoughts are often compassionate and authentic – characteristics that can be rare these days. Their stories make me laugh and bring me back to what’s important. Their jokes aren’t funny yet, but I have hope they will be one day.

In my ebook, “Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family,” I talk about how nothing has been more sanctifying in my life than motherhood. Much of the spiritual growth that has happened in my life can be directly traced back to my kids’ words. They may be just 5 and 7 years old, but they’ve helped me learn what Jesus meant in Matthew 18:3 ::

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Reading “Small Talk: Learning From My Children About What Matters Most” by Amy Julia Becker was so good for my momma soul. With so many other things I could have been doing, I wanted to read her stories – the real-life, ordinary moments she shared with her kids that prompted her to gain eternal perspective.

Yes, she shared about her relationships with each other three children have become deeper by discussion life – and all the changes and people that come with it. But she also uses conversations and moments with her children to reflect on what God is doing around her.

I’ve long been a fan of memoirs, but “Small Talk” gave me a chance to pause in the middle of my own chaos and remember how God shows up among all those words my own kids speak.

And I know it will do that for other people – regardless of how old their kids are or whether they have kids of their own. In fact, I already bought it for a friend as a gift because I figured texting her all my favorite parts really wasn’t an option.

ABOUT THE BOOK :: Almost every day, one of Amy Julie Becker’s children says something that prompts her to think about life in a new way. “Mom, does Santa love me?” William asks, after his mother explains the meaning of Christmas…In a chat with her dad about the children who died in the Sandy Hook shootings, Penny asks, “Did they go to heaven?” …”You was a jerk, Mommy?” asks Marilee one morning in the car. These conversations refine her own understanding of what she believes, why she believes it, and what she hopes to pass along to the next generation.

Small Talk” is a narrative based upon these conversations. It is not a parenting guide. It does not offer prescriptive lessons about how to talk with children. Rather, it tells stories based upon the questions and statements Amy Julia’s children have made about the things that make life good (such as love, kindness, beauty, laughter, and friendship), the things that make life hard (such as death, failure, and tragedy), and what we believe (such as prayer, God, and miracles).

Amy Julia moves in rough chronological order through the basic questions her kids asked when they were very young to the intellectual and then spiritual questions of later childhood. It invites other parents into these same conversations, with their children, with God, and with themselves. Moving from humorous exchanges to profound questions to heart-wrenching moments, Amy Julia encourages parents to ask themselves— and to talk with their children about— what matters most. It’s a 230-page soft cover book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR :: Amy Julia Becker writes about faith, family, and disability for, the New York Times Motherlode blog,, The Huffington Post parents page, Christianity Today, The Christian century, and numerous other publications. Her first book, “A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny,” was named one of the Top Ten Religion Books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly. Amy Julia lives in western Connecticut with her husband and three children.

Book website. Book trailer. Author website. Twitter. Facebook.

AND THE GIVEAWAY :: I’m so glad one of you will win a copy of this book. Just use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter to win. A winner will be randomly selected on Tuesday, Dec. 2.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing a copy of “Small Talk for this giveaway as well as a copy for me to review in exchange for this post. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. Amazon affiliate links included in this post.

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

For Ben, who loves loudly

“I’m going to be 5 – one whole hand,” Ben says, holding up his hand, to a lady we’ve never met while we’re waiting for our van’s oil to be changed.

That’s his personality in a nutshell. He’s never met a stranger and he likes to proclaim news. He talks often and moves much. For as much as he likes attention, he doesn’t like to perform when prompted with questions like “What letter is that?” I don’t usually believe his “I don’t know” answer.

He’s just become interested in sharing words that start with whatever the letter of the week is at school. Recently the letter of the moment was F. On the way home the other day, he started listing F words while remembering the pictures and items discussed at school. Fire truck. Frog. Family. And then I added others. First. Forest. Frank. Fancy.

“Fancy? That’s not my style,” he says. I chuckle because I’m a little surprised he even know what that means.

“No, buddy, you’re not fancy. But you’re funny. And ‘funny’ starts with F too,” I tell him. 

He’s an entertainer. He likes to make people laugh and he loves well.

Although his sister may dispute the loving well part. He likes to pester her by calling her “Catie,” a name nobody else has ever called her. He likes to push her buttons and push his way into her room when she’s screaming she doesn’t want him in there.

He pushes my buttons too. Too often, I get on his case with too harsh words. Being a boy mom is hard for me some days. He’s amazing and aggravating in the same moment. Nobody else in my life has pushed me to God like he has, but I’m not sure anyone has ever made me see the world with more joy.

I have absolutely no doubt this boy was meant for our family. He’s the epitome of an adventurer and encourages us out of our boxes. He’s loud and messy and reminds me of what matters at the end of the day – and it’s not a clean house. He’s funny – although I do wish he’d stop trying to make up his own jokes.

This year he’s endured allergy shots – one shot in each arm twice most weeks since the end of January. He’s learned right from left and befriended nurses, especially Jodinna. He’s loved well at the pediatrician’s office – and, really, wherever he goes. Being allergic to trees, weeds, grass, and dust mites hasn’t stopped him from loving the outdoors.

So, Ben, keep doing what you’re doing. Love well. Love deeply. Love loudly. Keep singing your songs – even though I don’t like all the racket at the dinner table. Keep exploring and learning – even if you want to do it on your own terms. Keep embracing this life because your joy is contagious.

Happy 5th birthday, Ben! You’re one whole hand now.


A Thanksgiving week baby, this boy reminds me that God wants to give us the desires of our hearts and perfect us in the process. My ebook “Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & Family” tells of how God is faithful to do just that. In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month, “Peace in the Process” is on sale until the end of the month for $2.99. {Buy it here.}

Read excerpts from my book about Ben’s birth, the second adoption process, and how mothering two was so hard in the beginning. Look back with me on Ben’s life :: Ben is 1Two Years of BenCelebrating Three Years of BenBen is 4And read about when we went camping earlier this month because thats what Ben wanted to do for his birthday. 

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

{Three Word Wednesday} Document The Stories

Before I had kids, I scrapbooked regularly. Greg and I would live life – and then I would document it. When I had one baby, I kept up with the scrapbooks pretty well. And, trust me, I took many pictures!

Now, Greg and I are loving life with two kids, who are almost 5 and 7 years old. But there’s not as much time for preserving the memories in albums when we’re spending evenings at the soccer field, working on homework in the afternoons, and spending time with other families we love.

Even so, I still want to remember the memories we’re making. I want to document their words and moments. I want to tell stories about what God has done in our lives. The way I document stories has changed, but I’ve managed to find some ways that still work for me.

{Join me at Circles of Faith, where I share eight ways I document our family’s stories.}

A wise, older friend once told me she was finally organizing all the memories she had in boxes and albums once her kids were grown up and out of the house. She reminded me now is the time to make the memories and worry less about preserving them perfectly.

That’s something I think about when I see the piles of pictures and toss another paper into a box or binder. I know my family is going to be better off if we’re living this life God’s given us together rather than stressing out about documenting it.

Speaking of documenting stories, Ive love sharing pieces of our adoption story all over the internet this month in honor of National Adoption Awareness Month and as part of my ebook launch. Today I'm sharing about my Thanksgiving baby at Britta LaFont's blog. 

You can see a list of all the posts here and "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is on sale for $2.99 this month. 


Want more stories? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Why Adoption Awareness Month Matters – to everyone

Not everyone will adopt – and that’s okay. God certainly doesn’t call every family to the same thing, but he does encourage all of us to help the least of these, which includes orphans that may never have a family to meet their basic needs or families in your communities who need extra help to survive.

National Adoption Awareness Month is a good time to think about these orphans. Regardless of where you live or how much money you have, there are plenty of ways you can serve these children who are loved and wanted and chosen by the Creator of the world.

COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL :: Yes, you can sponsor a child for $38 a month and ensure medical, physical, educational and spiritual needs are met for a particular child. This sponsorship becomes a relationship as letters are exchanged. My kids especially love when our two sponsored kids draw us pictures. Coloring is a universal language, apparently.

But if you can't or already do sponsor a child, you can also make one-time donations to help with critical needs. We especially love gifting families and communities items from the gift catalog.

You can also give to the Child Survival Program. These centers help babies who aren't old enough for the monthly sponsorship program and their mothers. So you donation would help prevent illnesses with medical check-ups and immunizations, provide nutrition for pregnant women and babies, prepare moms with child-care training, and proclaim Jesus to these women in poverty.

SAMARITAN’S PURSE :: This is the ministry that organizes Operation Christmas Child, which sends shoe boxes packed with toiletries and treats to children in more than 130 countries. Samaritan's Purse has worked with local churches and other ministries to send these shoe box gifts to more than 100 million kids since 1993.

This year, the shoe boxes are being collected at local sites this week. You can find out what to pack inside the shoe boxes, where they can be dropped off, and where they are shipped at the Operation Christmas Child website. We stuffed shoe boxes with friends from church last week. It's a great way to get kids involved in giving and make a difference in someone else’s life.

We’ve also purchased items from Samaritan’s Purse gift catalog.

LOCAL CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS :: We love how the staff at our local crisis pregnancy center values life and encourages mothers. Donations and volunteers are always welcome. And this doesn’t always mean going out and buying something. When my kids would move out of a diaper size but I still had unused diapers in that size, I just bagged them up and dropped them off. The staff here sorts them and re-bundles them. We also donated our crib when we no longer needed that piece of furniture.

FAMILIES WHO ARE ADOPTING :: Having been there, adoption processes are better endured with friends. We had friends pray, help with fund-raisers, write letters of recommendation, and encourage. They came alongside of us and shared in the journey.

FAMILIES WHO ARE FOSTERING :: Sometimes families who foster become home to a child with such little notice, meaning they don’t always have the right sized clothes. I’ve saved tubs of my kids clothes as they out grow them, but I like to pass them along to other families who can use them. From what I’ve heard about the foster system, families venture down a sometimes rocky road when they open their home – sometimes for a short time and sometimes forever – to these children. Not only are they adding a person into their family, but they’re navigating a bureaucratic system that seems to cause frustrations and disruptions.

LOCAL FOOD PANTRIES :: If you’re in Calloway County, the Needline Food Project is an easy, consistent way to help families whose cabinets may be bare. Every other month, a neighborhood coordinator will come pick up your bag of groceries and deliver it to Needline. My family picks up extra canned goods when we do our regular grocery shopping and even the kids understand it’s a way to give back to our neighbors.

This time of the year there are extra opportunities to give through various gift collections. Each of us can’t participate in them all, but we can all give in some way. I encourage you to find a way that fits your family, build some traditions around helping the least of these, and support those in the process of expanding their families.

In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month, my ebook "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is on sale for $2.99 at Amazon. I'm sharing an excerpt about how God hears the desires of our hearts regardless of our words at Mandy's Hearts Undaunted blog today. Come join me there!

Want more stories? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Monday, November 17, 2014

Giveaway Goodness :: The After Party

Thanks to all of you who joined me for my inaugural Facebook party! Even if you weren't able to make it, the giveaways will stay open throughout Tuesday and then I'll randomly select winners Wednesday morning.

Here is what you could win ...

"Peace in the Process" & Cinnamon Rolls :: I've shared excerpts from my ebook all over the internet this month. And it's on sale for just $2.99 the rest of this month. BUT someone is going to win a copy of it. AND some homemade cinnamon rolls from my friend Barb. Y'all. Cinnamon rolls are my favorite dessert and Barb's are the best of the best.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

"Love Idol" by Jennifer Dukes Lee & DaySpring Magnets :: Letting go of perfection has been one of my journeys. One of the greatest resources in doing this has been Jennifer Dukes Lee's "Love Idol" book. I spent time earlier this year blogging about this book and its message for my soul. It's become a foundation in so many other messages and lessons from God in my every day life as a wife, mom, believer, writer, and friend.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ebooks by Britta LaFont, Kayse Pratt & Victoria Osborn :: My writing friends have been such an encouragement to me this year, when I've poured much energy into my blog and self-publishing my ebook. I'm excited to share these three ebooks with you. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Slugs & Bugs' "Under Where?" CDs :: Randall Goodgame and I became friends when I organized some Slugs & Bugs concerts here throughout the past several years. He graciously endorsed my book. Plus he sings a fun song that celebrates adoption

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Copper Anchor 8x10 Print & Magnetic 4x6 Picture Frame and Memo Board :: The lovely Lisa Larson from The Copper Anchor redesigned my blog earlier this month and now she's letting someone choose a print from her shop, which is raising money for her family's adoption. Plus I'm throwing in a magnet picture frame and memo board because I like those kind of things and figured you would too! 

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"God Made Light" by Matthew Paul Turner & LIGHT mix CD :: My word this year has been LIGHT. God's used that single word in more ways than I ever expected. I'm always a sucker for a good children's book. Matthew Paul Turner self-published this lovely book that I'm gifting to more than one child in my life for Christmas. So I wanted to gift someone this book plus a mix CD of some songs that have encouraged me this year. {This book and accompanying night light, note cards and puzzle are also available at DaySpring.}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Trades of Hope Bracelet :: My friend Becky sells Trades of Hope items that educate and empower women all over the world. I liked Becky's description of this specific bracelet; "The Uganda wrap bracelet is made of paper beads. It's a bouncy wrap that's fun to wear and fun to play with, as my boys have proven.". 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{You can find all these giveaways and the associated chatter on my Facebook page. I'd love to connect with you there too.}

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

{Review} Trading Secrets

This was a quick, entertaining read. In fact, I read it in less time that it took to fly home from Disney World, thanks to a three-hour layover. I don't usually read young adult fiction, but this one seemed worth reading when I was asked if I was interested in reviewing it.

I haven't read Melody Carlson before, but I appreciated how she weaved Amish culture and beliefs in with this coming-of-age story. She's an author I'd share with my daughter when she's older.

The book begins with a teenage girl named Micah facing the misunderstanding-turned-lie that she wasn't actually a boy like her long-time pen pal, Zack, assumed. While circumstances that set up the story were unrealistic, the plot flowed easily and the characters seemed to face realistic internal conflicts.

ABOUT THE BOOK :: Released in October, "Trading Secrets" brings young adults a tale of worlds colliding, secrets being revealed, and friendships forming. Teens will enjoy this story of miscommunication and mishaps along the way to the truth.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR :: Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books for teens, women and children. Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia to lighter topics like house-flipping, but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. She's won a number of awards (including Romantic Time's Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website.

I received a free electronic copy of this book from Revell Books via Net Galley. This review is my own opinion.

In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month, my ebook "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is on sale for $2.99 at Amazon. Want more stories? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Friday, November 14, 2014

Living with diabetes

I’ve spent much of this month writing and sharing about adoption around here. But I recently learned November is also National Diabetes Awareness Month. 

For the past decade, I’ve been injecting insulin since my Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis. I was going on 25 and settling into what would become our hometown not even two years into marriage when my doctor – who I met for the first time that day – told me my pancreas wasn’t producing insulin. I needed to be hospitalized to get my 500-something blood sugar down and have a crash course on drawing insulin into syringes, injecting said insulin, monitoring my blood sugar levels, and counting carbohydrates. Every bit of this was new to me.

{Read more about my diagnosis and treatment since in a post from earlier this year.}

I barely read nutrition levels before I spent three days in the hospital learning the basics of diabetes while discovering feeling better – energized, rested – really was possible. I didn’t know I felt so bad until I started feeling good again.

I was scared to leave the hospital. I was scared to manage this disease. I was worried about food choices and insulin intake. I felt burdened by these new responsibilities. But I just did it. The fear drove me to learn and manage and cope.

Thankfully, diabetes doesn’t scare me anymore. Sometimes I think I’ve actually become too comfortable.

I don’t inject insulin with syringes anymore. I wear an insulin pump that mimics a working pancreas. It’s programmed with ratios and formulas that actually give me more freedom – something I was suspicious of before I had a pager-sized device in my pocket or waist band nearly all of the time.

I’ve learned more since January 2004 than I ever did in a high school or college science class. I’ve had doctors care for me in the medical and intellectual ways I needed to move forward and manage this chronic condition in ways I would never be able to do alone. I’ve learned when to best exercise and can nearly always guess at my blood sugar level based on how I feel.

Like anything in life, there’s still room to learn more and do even better caring for myself. So that’s what I’m thinking about this month.

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Camping out in community

My boy wanted to go camping for his fifth birthday. {I’m going to discuss camping in this post, not so much how I can’t believe we’re even discussing Ben turning 5 …} But November 23 is a little risky for camping in Kentucky. It could be lovely weather. Or it could be bitterly cold. So months ago, we decided to go camping the second weekend of November. It seemed safer.

Turns out, the weather was chilly – mid-50s during the day and into the 30s overnight. But both the weekend before and forecast for the upcoming weekend were even colder. Score one for Mother Nature, really.

But my boy had a blast. And so did the rest of the family.

We went with our best friends. Boys slept in tents and girls slept in the RV my mother-in-law graciously let us borrow because, really, I don’t sleep in tents. My pregnant friend Sarah and her 18-month-old daughter braved a tent with her husband and two boys the first night and decided to join us inside the second time. She pretty much wins a Mom of the Year badge for camping while pregnant and with a toddler.

The other seven kids were 8 and younger, if you’re keeping up with the group.

We did all the camping stereotypes – roasted marshmallows for s’mores, roasted hot dogs, grilled burgers, went on walks, checked out the lake, and got up each morning with the sun. We layered our clothes and nobody really complained about it being cold. We ate well and talked much.

And two other families who have boys my boy’s age joined us for a lunchtime birthday party on Saturday. That’s when we roasted hot dogs and sang “Happy Birthday” to Ben two weeks and one day early. They boys played football and shot at a foam target with Ben’s new bow and arrow set that he’s thanked me for 18 times since. {Daddy wins for picking out that gift!}

When the guys had taken all the kids {well done!} to play on the baseball and soccer fields, Sarah, Jaclyn and I sat around and talked. We discussed what we’d do different next time – such as not try to prep a few of the foods we attempted in that itty-bitty RV kitchen. But the fact we were discussing “next time” means this time was a success.

This is a subject people seem to have opinions about. So, do you like the camp?

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

{Three Word Wednesday} I Get To ...

Welcome to Three Word Wednesday! If you’re joining me from Beth Stiff’s lovely place, I’m so glad you’re here. Please make yourselves at home. 

152 Insights to My Soul
If you’re not sure what Three Word Wednesday is about, then please stay and let me tell you. Three Word Wednesday is a chance to pause in the hustle of life and hear God. Sum up what you’re hearing in three words. Those three words are enough. But I like stories, so feel free to elaborate with your words or pictures. Then link up your post below each Wednesday and visit your link-up neighbors. If you don’t blog, you’re still welcome to participate. Share in the comments below or on Facebook.

Feel free to grab the Three Word Wednesday button from my sidebar and share it at your place. 

And one more piece of business :: Ava Watkins, you’re the winner of “Bread & Wine” in Beth’s giveaway last week. We hope you love the book as much as we do.

Without further ado, I GET TO …

My kids were helping me unload the dishwasher recently when my 7-year-old daughter Cate stopped with a stack of plastic cups in her hand and said, “Didn’t we do this yesterday?”

Yes, we sure did. I reminded her that we eat multiple meals each day, thus continuing the unending cycles of loading and unloading the dishwasher. And as a family, we work together when things need to be done.

{I should have launched into how when Cate was born we didn’t even have a dishwasher. I washed all those bottles by hand. And then when she was about 8 months old, we had our kitchen remodeled, thus clearing the space for a dishwasher in our other house.}

But, yes, we unloaded the dishwasher yesterday. Because I cooked dinner yesterday too. And I did laundry who knows how many days in a row. And I drove you kids to school. And … the list could go on and on.

My girl’s question reminded me of how many chores and outings and tasks I do over and over again. Too often I take that repeating cycle for granted. I just go about our routine, sometimes even complaining about more clothes and more dishes that need washing, like the household chores own my time. But, really, shouldn’t I be thankful I have people to clothe and feed? Shouldn’t I be grateful we have machines that I can load and program to help me with my work?

That same evening – after the dishwasher was unloaded and loaded back again – I gathered in my basement with some other women for our weekly study of Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free.” At the beginning of the video session, Beth Moore said something that applied directly to Cate’s question not an hour earlier: “Don’t let familiarity cheat you of a blessing.” She was talking about how we assume we know what a scripture will speak to us because we’ve heard it so many times.

But her words applied to my heart that night in a different way.

I made a mental list of all the things I do every day that I don’t see as blessings. Dishes. Laundry. Dinner. Errands. Taking insulin. Setting my alarm. Packing my girl’s lunch. I see these things as chores and responsibilities.

But I love my life, especially the people in my house. I should go about those oh-so familiar chores and responsibilities and tasks with an attitude of “I get to …” rather than seeing them as a never-ending list of what I have to do before the day is done.

I want my attitude toward all these things that I do nearly every day to reflect how I feel about my people. I want to love my husband and kids through my housekeeping and meal planning. I want to serve and help and create and finish because I get to – and there most certainly is a blessing in that.


I'm sharing this post in two other link-up communities I love :: Jennifer Dukes Lee's #TellHisStory and Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Monday, November 10, 2014

Let's party! :: On being {mostly} an extrovert

I’m an extrovert, but I have plenty of introvert tendencies. Officially, my personality falls in the extroverted category, but it’s only a moderate advantage over the introverted version. I like to plan and host parties. I get my emotional fill from being around those closest to me. But after prolonged socializing, I like to retreat for a short time. I don’t like speaking in front of crowds.

So when I was invited to share our adoption story on the local Christian radio station last week, my immediate reaction was mixed: Yes, I’d love that opportunity. But it’s totally out of my comfort zone.

I’ve long considered myself a writer, but certainly not a speaker – mostly because my hands get clammy and I worry about the words that’ll come out of my mouth. When I write, I can draft words. Speaking has always seemed to require confidence in the first verbal draft.

Here’s a small world story. Eddie invited me on the radio. I know Eddie because when he left the Murray Ledger & Times, I was hired. So we’re both former reporters who occupied the same desk in the same newsroom at one point. He went onto do a couple of those jobs, settling in at the radio station. I’ve been mothering and freelancing and doing various other projects.

When I got into his radio studio Wednesday morning one of the first things he said to me calmed my nerves: When I wrote at the Ledger and made a mistake, it was out there in print. Now if I make a mistake, it’s out there and then gone. Of course, I’m still more confident writing, go figure.

I appreciated his perspective, even though in my head, I know people sometimes hear and remember more than we think they do. But the mistakes aren’t staring you in the face when you speak into a microphone in a small studio without an audience staying you in the face. And by you, I mean me. So, really, the radio interview was so much better than speaking to an actual audience. Of course, when my time was up, I got some texts, phone calls, and Facebook comments that helped define who my audience had been.

Anyway, the radio interview was a good experience. Eddie asked me about our adoption story and my book and I talked about how writing the story was therapeutic, how I hope the book encouraging others, how adoption helped build my faith, how the book on sale this month, and where to find my words on my blog, on Facebook, and on Amazon. {And this month

I wish I had asked him if we could record the interview. I wish I had remembered to take a picture. But those details slipped my mind when I was getting myself ready to speak words into a microphone for who knows who in western Kentucky to hear.

And speaking of my extroverted ways that have introverted tendencies, I’m having a Facebook party! I’d love for you to mark your calendars {because, yes, planning is part of my personality too!} to join me on my Facebook page on Monday, Nov. 17 from 8 to 9 p.m.

It’s the best of both worlds – a party with interaction and conversation but without having to get out of your soft pants or even brush your hair. There will be discussions to join, prizes to win, and new friends to meet.

Not that a reason is actually necessary, but I’m having a Facebook party now because I have multiple things to celebrate ::

  • Lisa Larson of The Copper Anchor made my blog so pretty. 
  • I’m thrilled to be hosting the Three Word Wednesday link up that my dear friend Beth entrusted to me. 
  • My ebook is on sale this month because it’s National Adoption Awareness Month. I know some of you may be tired of hearing about it, but it’s my favorite to story to tell so I’m enjoying sharing about it now that the project is finished and out there.

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Friday, November 7, 2014

On boundaries that gave peace {and a giveaway!}

The following is an excerpt from “Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family.” I’m choosing this portion of our story today to continue celebrating National Adoption Awareness Month. I never expected adoption to be our story, but it’s been the greatest testimony of God’s faithfulness. This is a little bit about how we got there and how boundaries actually freed us.

All the talk of trying to become pregnant monopolized my life. I had a job. Greg had a job. We had friends. We went on trips. But trying to have a family dominated my thoughts.

One day in August 2006, I thought about having a family in a way that didn’t involve blood vial, pills that made me crazy, and medical procedures. We heard about a local high school girl who was interested in finding a family to adopt the twins she was carrying.

Here I was wishing and hoping and pleading and praying and crying out to be pregnant and God stirred within me a new – albeit slight crazy – hope. We expressed our interest in adopting the twins through the high school principal, but we never heard anything else about it. Looking back, I realize God planted a seed. It was the first time I’d ever considered adoption.

Meanwhile, my doctor referred us to a big-city reproductive endocrinologist in September 2006 – about 21 months after I stopped taking my birth control pills and declared my readiness to get pregnant.

By this time, we also had learned Greg’s contribution to the pregnancy equation wasn’t helping our odds. The specialist – better known as a reproductive endocrinologist – talked about the possibilities of pregnancy given the issues in both our bodies and, of course, scheduled more blood work for me.

The most basic explanation is my body doesn’t make enough of the right hormones to sustain my eggs, meaning the quality and quantity was low. Along with the endometriosis, the specialist strongly suspected I had poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, a condition that would explain my imbalance of female reproductive hormones. So if I were to get pregnant, I’d have to have hormone supplements, too.

My new doctor helped us connect the dots and eliminate or correct any variables that were standing in our way. While he talked about sperm, eggs, ovulating, implantation, I thought about how perfect conceiving life is. The precise timing necessary to create a baby is more exact than anything we as imperfect people can control. In fact, it’s perfect, which is proof enough to me that God creates babies. He aligns all the variables and perfects a process inside our imperfect bodies. That is why I believe every baby has a purpose. Now, granted, babies don’t come into perfect situations, but they are here for a reason.

With that said, somebody could argue: Why ever go to a doctor if God is control of conception? I’ll tell you: We as humans need hope. God gave these doctors minds to help people like me that want to make sense out of what is – or in some cases, isn’t – going on inside our bodies. Even so, God is most certainly in control of making living miracles.

In the following weeks I grasped for more answers and hope, so I read a book called "Infertility: A Survival Guide for Couples and Those Who Love Them" by Cindy Lewis Dake. What stuck with me was a chapter on boundaries. I don’t really remember what Dake said, but I do remember coming away with the desire to set some emotional, financial, and physical boundaries.

Having Type 1 Diabetes, I knew pregnancy was going to be physically hard on me. There would be additional insulin shots and probably more blood sugar ups and downs than I had in normal life. I also knew infertility left me emotionally drained. While talking through all of this with Greg, we realized we needed to create boundaries for ourselves before we went to our follow-up appointment with the specialist in Nashville. And this was it for us: If the doctor recommended in-vitro fertilization, we would stop trying to get pregnant and turn our attention, money, and energy to adoption.

In October 2006, after 22 months of trying, a doctor who knew far more than we did told us our best odds of getting pregnant would come with IVF. We thanked him for the information and headed home. In those two hours in the car, I had more peace than I’d had since I threw away my package of birth control pills.

We had absolutely no idea what throwing ourselves into adoption would mean, but for the first time in my life I was experiencing the peace that passes all understanding. And I had yet to learn about a teenage girl who was just a couple months into her unexpected pregnancy.

And there’s a giveaway! A few years ago, the sweet Cindy Lewis Dake friended me on Facebook after she happened upon a blog post of mine that I quoted her book – the one I mention above, the one that helped me move toward adoption. She donated a copy for me to giveaway in celebration of my ebook release and National Adoption Awareness Month.

Use the Rafflecopter below to enter to win. A winner will be chosen randomly Friday, Nov. 14.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I shared a similar excerpt earlier this week at Jennifer Camp's You Are My Girls blog. It's one of my favorite places on the internet, so sharing a piece of my story there was such a blessing. I'm sharing this post at the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood Gathering

Want more of the story? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is on sale at Amazon this month for just $2.99. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

God orchestrates details

We loved everything about our daughter’s independent, private adoption process. We built a relationship with her birth mom in a way we wouldn’t have been able to with an agency in the middle.

On Cate’s second birthday, we started taking steps toward our dream of a second adoption and met with our social worker. And, yes, we dreamed of another independent adoption process. But we assumed we’d have to proceed with the “normal” agency adoption route. (Yes, I realize there’s actually no normal in the adoption world.)

My husband, Greg, and I both knew we had been blessed by our first adoption process and considered it a little greedy to hope it would happen again like that.

So we chose an agency in Fort Worth, Texas, and made plans to attend an orientation there a couple months later because we already had an extended family vacation planned to the Lone Star State. I filled out grant applications, gathered documents for our home study, and made an appointment to meet with our local attorney to update him on our desire to adopt again. That last matter was important because I’d already put his name on countless forms.

More evidence of life not being what I expected, our attorney called a couple days after we met with him to tell us he found us a birth mom. Well, actually, the birth mom found him and he thought of us.

I couldn’t even orchestrate this miraculous timing if I tried. And Lord knows I tried.

{Join me for the rest of the story at God-sized Dreams, where I’m sharing about God’s faithfulness.}

That second adoption process led us to our son, Ben. I tell this story and others from my journey to motherhood in my new ebook “Peace in the Process: How God Built My Faith & My Family,” which is available on Amazon. Adoption is an everyday conversation at our house, but this month is National Adoption Awareness Month, so I’m hoping the topic finds its way into other homes and hearts.

I'm linking up this post with Beth Stiff's Three Word Wednesday, where she's sharing some news that you'll want to hear. I'm also sharing at Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart and Jennifer Dukes Lee's #TellHisStory.

Want more stories? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Case of the Mondays :: 6 Things I Want to Tell You

I don't know about you, but this time change is messing with me. First of all, I was in bed and asleep last night an hour before my usual bedtime and then I was up at 5 a.m. Y'all. I don't do 5 a.m. But I couldn't go back to sleep.

So I got up and worked on some things.

And I realized there are some things I want to tell you ...

1. Lisa Larson of The Copper Anchor redesigned my blog. Isn't it lovely? And speaking of Lisa, she is having a fabulous sale this month on her gorgeous prints that would be lovely on your wall or framed as Christmas presents. They're all $5 and all the money she earns goes toward her family's adoption fund.

2. I'm sharing excerpts from my book on different blogs this month in honor of National Adoption Awareness Month. Today I'm at the Creative Home Keeper, where I'm sharing about how when we follow Jesus we have to rearrange our lives ::

"In the process of life, God rearranges our desires and our decisions. He fills our hearts with convictions we never anticipated being important. He perfects us through real life that often looks nothing like we imagined. Sometimes it’s hard, but we’re always better for it."
3. "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is my ebook and its on sale this month! It's available on Amazon for just $2.99. You can even gift ebooks. And you can read Kindle books on any computer or mobile device with the free app.

4. I will be sharing more about my ebook and adoption on the local Christian radio station on Wednesday morning. Thanks to morning show host Eddie Sheridan for the opportunity! Turn in to Elevate FM on 89.7 in western Kentucky or listen live online starting about 8:10 a.m. or a little after.

5. Holley Gerth's best-selling book "You're Already Amazing" is just 99 cents today and tomorrow on any ereader. That's 93 percent off! You'll want to jump on this deal. {Read more about his deal from Holley herself.}

Free Magazine for Kids6. I got an email this morning from Compassion International about its free magazine for kids. Um, yes, please! So I signed up and I am excited to share it with my kids, especially Cate, who has been interested in learning more about how to help other kids. {Read more on this subject in my recent post called On Living in the Light.}

Plus, this is fun mail, which is always nice among the bills and junk that show up regularly.

I think that's all for now. I have a couple of fun announcements coming soon. And there are more giveaways coming soon. So, stick around and invite your friends to like Kristin Hill Taylor :: Writer on Facebook.

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Saturday, November 1, 2014

It's Adoption Awareness Month!

November is National Adoption Awareness Month.

Obviously, we’re constantly aware of adoption around here. My kids both know they’re adopted, although one {I’m sure you can imagine which one …} talks about it more than the other. Not only is one child a girl and the other a boy, but their personalities are different. Cate is so aware of adoption that she likes to talk about it to whoever will listen.

I’ve shared about this before here and elaborate on it in my book. So, in honor, of National Adoption Awareness Month, I wanted to share the excerpt from "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" that illustrates perfectly Cate’s awareness of her own adoption:

The first-year teacher was discussing the life cycle of a mammal with a dozen first- and second-graders when she drew upon comparison to shield the bulk of the bird and the bees talk: “You know, like you were born from your mom.”

My daughter Cate decided to inform her class: “I wasn’t in my mom’s belly. I’m adopted.”
I’m sure she caught her 22-year-old teacher off guard. But that was that.

But the story said more to me. It made me thankful Cate recognizes her birth story is different than most of her friends yet she isn’t ashamed to share it. Being adopted is normal for her because we’ve talked about it since the day she was born. These are the conversations we have regularly, each time revealing more details about her birth mom, our time with this young woman who helped us have a family, and her birth we witnessed.

In 2013, Cate wanted to know more about the seven nights we spent in the hotel waiting for the interstate adoption paperwork to be approved by folks in Indianapolis and Frankfort, Ky. I showed her pictures of her birth mom for the first time on her 6th birthday. It was the sweetest, most revealing adoption conversation we had shared.

This topic is an ongoing dialogue around our house. The word “adoption” has long been in Cate’s vocabulary, but we gradually elaborated on the details of her story with her. From the time they were just days old, strangers have told us how much Cate looks like me or Ben resembles my husband’s family. Sometimes we grin and nod. Other times we let them in on this story of ours.

My husband and I are raising a girl who remembers details and isn’t afraid to tell the truth along with a boy who embraces life to its fullest. We’re bringing up two of the best things God has ever done for us. Adoption is the story of how we became a family. It’s one I will tell over and over as long as someone listens. And now I’m glad to know my girl will tell it, too.

May you embrace the adoption stories near you, and not just this month but always. May you find ways to serve orphans. And may you know like these earthly adoption stories our heavenly Father adopts us and chooses us to be part of his forever family.

In honor of this month all there is to celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of Jennifer Jackson Linck’s “Bringing Home the Missing Linck: A Journey of Faith to Family.” Yes, it her family’s adoption story, but it’s also packed with lessons of trusting God and believing him even among life’s detours.

And because I adore Jennifer’s heart and love how she tells real-life stories, I’m also giving away a copy of her ebook, “Trucks, Tantrums & Trusting Him: Confessions of a Boy Mom.” But, don’t worry girl moms, you’ll take plenty away from this one too. In reading Jennifer’s words you’ll remember how God’s glory really can shine among the ordinary moments of our lives.

So there will be two winners chosen randomly on Wednesday, Nov. 5 – one will win a hard copy of “Bringing Home the Missing Linck” and the other will win a PDF copy of “Trucks, Tantrums & Trusting Him.” Just use the Rafflecopter below for multiple entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I talk about adoption often around here, especially with the recent release of my ebook. A year ago, I spent the month publishing an adoption series with pieces of our story as well as guest posts from others. You can see all those posts here.

Want more stories? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."