One year ago today, our baby had open heart surgery. I’m crying as I type this just thinking back. I’m not sure I ever wrote a recap of the surgery so here we go.

While trying to remain calm on the outside for Sweet P’s sake, I remember I was an absolute wreck on the inside. Nauseous. Every emotion one could possibly feel was in the pit of my stomach. We tried explaining it to her the best we could, but I honestly think she had no clue what was about to happen. An example of that was this picture is exactly how she looked like when she went back to the operating room. Literally, they let her drive the car back there…

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Not sure what I would do without my tribe of love that day…

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Hours passed, and finally the surgery was done. I will never forget seeing her for the first time. I sobbed. I clearly remember the nurse saying “I know there are a lot of wires and tubes coming out of her but they all serve a purpose”. What she didn’t get was that I wasn’t crying at the wires and tubes, I was crying at her lips! For the first time, her lips were the most radiant beautiful color of pink. No more blue lips. Those tears I was shedding were tears of joy.

The surgery was a breeze compared to the days that followed. We spent way longer in the ICU than I cared for. A surgery like that takes a toll on your lungs and one of hers collapsed. It was pitiful knowing there was nothing you could do. She was such a fighter and worked hard on breathing treatments so her lung would inflate back up and we could go to a normal room.

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Y’all. She wanted nothing to do with her mama after the surgery. It’s like she totally regressed. It broke me and I was devastated. But you know what? She was mad and hurting. She had to take it out on someone, and usually you take it out on the person you love the most.

img_7788Finally, that sense of humor started coming back…
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7 days later we were headed HOME!

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Today, Sweet P’s heart is looking just like it should given her condition. Her doctor is very happy! She has zero exercise restrictions. She runs and plays and attends gymnastics. Looking at her, you would never know that she’s had two open heart surgeries in her short little life. God is faithful and we are beyond grateful.

“God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 

This post is dedicated to Sweet P’s biological mom. The woman I will never meet. The woman who was brave enough to let her daughter go, in hopes that she get the adequate care she much needed and deserved. She did. She’s amazing.
You’re my hero. 


When we were matched with our daughter her medical condition terrified me. A heart condition, really? It was very difficult for me to wrap my head around. We had no pictures of her heart. No recent hospital visit to know what shape it was in. The “what ifs” crept in. Imagine knowing your child has a heart problem, but you’re 7,000 miles away. All I could do was pray (and worry). We were matched with her at the end of January so come February it was time for Valentines Day. HEARTS. There were hearts everywhere. Everywhere I looked I was reminded of our daughter’s heart. Those hearts were like little notes from God saying “I’ve got this”. From February on, I had such a peace knowing God was in control.

I’m telling you this because I don’t want a medical condition to scare you. When you’re filling out those adoption papers and they ask you what medical conditions you are open to, really think and pray hard about it. Ask God to prepare your heart for whatever He brings your way.

There is a reason your baby was chosen just for you. Don’t ever forget that.

img_51645-2Dear 501,

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the giddiness between two newlyweds who were so excited about their first home together. You were everything we ever wanted, once we painted the porch and shutters blue. 🙂

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the burnt dinners from a girl who obviously was not meant to be a chef.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the screaming at the TV when Tennessee was losing.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the nights we couldn’t sleep because we were so excited about our future family.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the laughter shared here with family and friends. The late nights on the couch with my girlfriends talking about life.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the crying heard during our fertility journey.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the prayers prayed. Prayers for our family, friends, and prayers for our journey with adoption.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of the phone call we received in the living room the day we were matched with our daughter.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of the day our daughter stepped through the front door for the first time. For the very first time in her life, she had a place to call home. The day she graced your structure with her presence was my favorite day of the 6 years we lived here.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of the big dreams we have for our family. Dreams that are taking us on a new adventure in another home.

501, I’m thankful for your walls! I’m thankful for all of your quirks and all of your charm. I’m thankful God hand picked you just for us. I’m forever thankful for 501…img_5355-2

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One day on Instagram, I came across this account called “Rad Joy” and the name alone peaked my interest. I was so happy when I clicked over to their profile and saw these beautiful crosses!

Rad Joy is a husband and wife team that makes Surrender Crosses. These crosses are a visual representation of surrendering our prayers over to God. You literally write your prayers and burdens down, then nail them to the cross. They come with removable nails and little pieces of paper.

If you saw my last blog post about prayer, then you know that I love everything this represents! What a great reminder that once we give God our burdens, they are His to carry! This WILL be going in my prayer corner at our house. I got the signature Surrender Cross in weathered oak. To view all of the designs, click here _KLP3284

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I recently got an email asking about my prayer journaling so I thought I would share some basics to get started! Prayer is so powerful and it wasn’t until I started to intentionally write mine down that I really realized that. To be able to go back and read over my prayers and see how God moved is truly amazing. Prayer is our one and only contact with our heavenly Father, and He hears us! I don’t know about you, but knowing this makes me want to pray and pray often!

I think a lot of times the thought of this can seem intimidating. You might not know where to start or how to write prayers (I’ve been there)! It’s really easy to get started and please remember that these are only my suggestions of what works for me:

1. I highly recommend that you read this book. I’m in the middle of it right now and I wish I had this years ago before starting my journaling. It’s totally changing my prayer life. Anne gives easy and straightforward insight on the power of prayer and how the Bible says to pray:

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2. Buy a journal. This one is a little obvious, but a good journal is key!  Everyone is different. You might want a small one or a big one, but I always get leather ones because they are the most durable. I usually get mine from Barnes and Noble. I’m on my third one like this:

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3. Be thankful and give praise. I start my journaling by simply thanking God. The Bible says “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4 – and that’s exactly what I do. There is nothing to big or too small, He loves to hear about what delights us! If it’s a day that I’m especially thankful for coffee (I know you moms feel me) then I will thank Him for it! Thank Him for the things that you are truly thankful for, be authentic! Here’s an example of what I might start out saying:

“Dear Father,

Thank you for this beautiful day, thank you for allowing me to wake up, and thank you for coffee! Thank you for the birds that I hear outside, they really brighten my day. Thank you for Sweet P and her laugh. Thank you for healing her, she’s my light and joy. You are the mighty creator of it all, and I praise you!”

Now to be honest, it feels funny at first when you’re praising God on paper. But think about all the songs we sing that give Him praise. “Bless the Lord oh my soul, worship His holy name” “Our God is an awesome God” “How great is our God”. We sing praises all the time so writing them is really no different. If you can’t think of the words to say, then write out a song!

4. Write your prayers. After being thankful, I’ll write my prayers over to God. Notice I used the word OVER. When we pray, we are literally handing them over for Him to handle. They are His. It’s no longer my burden to carry. Think of it like an email. Once you hit that send button, you ain’t getting it back. Did you know”Amen” means “so be it”?  I love that! Once we finish our prayers, we are literally saying “let it be”!

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5. Be specific. This one took me a while to realize! God wants us to be specific when we pray. I used to be too broad with my prayers. Saying things like “Please be with Casey today”. Ummmmmm, hello… It’s Jesus. He’s already with Casey. Duh. So I try to be specific about WHY I want Him to be with Casey. “Please protect Casey as he drives to work. Guard his heart, give him a clear mind”. Let Him know the specifics, Jesus loves details!

No matter what, we don’t have to be fancy. If you don’t have time to write and you’re praying as you clean the house, He hears you. When you’re driving in your car (don’t close your eyes y’all) He hears you. He’s always listening and waiting on you to reach out.

These are just a few suggestions on how to get started in prayer journaling. If you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you!  Have a great day friends!

One of my favorite memories growing up was taking a family vacation every year. It’s something we want to continue to do as a family with Sweet P.  I’m so thankful that my parents and my in-laws get a long so well – they made this trip so much more interesting fun! 🙂

This year we went to Gulf Shores. We chose it because we can drive there in a day, the beach is white sand with lots of shells, and the water is clear (I like to see my feet!). We found this condo on the beach and we highly recommend it! We would definitely stay there again.  The last day we were there we starting seeing a lot of jellyfish and hearing of people getting stung (including me, ouch!) but it didn’t stop us from swimming. I’m very grateful for this time together as a family…

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Below is my all time favorite photo of Sweet P with whom I now call “Flip and Flop”. My mom had her sandals stolen at the beach then Debra had her sandals stolen a few weeks later when we were at Splash Country. Not only that but when they were parasailing, the banana boat that took them to the bigger boat was going so fast that everyone riding flipped off. Ohhh, the memories. “Flip and Flop” just makes sense! 🙂