Category Archives: Family

Happy New Year friends! I wanted to start this year off right by talking about last year, ha!

This last Christmas was a lot different than the previous one. Last year Sweet P had just had open heart surgery 2 months prior. So this year I feel like she really got into it a lot more and was able to enjoy herself better. We decided to cut WAY back on the gifts. I can’t even think about the amount she got last year without getting anxious. It was insane, but it was also her first Christmas with us so I don’t regret it.

We originally wanted to do 4 gifts: “Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read”. Ha, that quickly turned into 5 or 6 gifts that she was really wanting (plus her stocking). It’s hard to Christmas shop for her with my hubby because he wants to get her everything in the store! Bless him. I am the voice of reason so that’s how we compromised on 5 or 6 gifts.

Some highlights from December include:

  1. Staying at The Christmas Place in Sevierville
  2. PJ day at School
  3. Baba’s birthday and taking a quick road trip just the two of us
  4. Realizing we were the cover family for Holt International’s Magazine
  5. Sweet P’s first Christmas Play at church and she was an Angel
  6. Casey’s work dinner with the team he manages
  7. Sweet P’s school program
  8. Almost getting to move in to the farmhouse but not yet!
  9. Casey surprising me with a painting from my favorite artist
  10. Celebrating Christmas early at Nana’s
  11. Taking a ride on the North Pole Limited
  12. Making a gingerbread train
  13. Christmas Eve service at Church and also when Sweet P received her gift from her grandparents: A Frozen jeep
  14. Christmas Day celebrating Jesus’ birthday. Getting to see it through Sweet P’s eyes with her pure joy and excitement
  15. Dollywood with Nana and Mimi. Getting to see shows, ride rides (it was warm!), and seeing the new parade


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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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 year ago today we became a family.

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It just seems like yesterday that I was dreaming about adopting from China, that I was longing to be a mama, and that the WAIT of everything was driving me crazy. Now here we are, and one year has already passed. I wanted time to pass so fast last year so we could get to her, and now I just want time to slow down!

I don’t have the words to accurately describe what I’m feeling! How do you describe a joy that you’ve never felt before, the joy that she brings us all? It’s everything I ever imagined and more.

Of course it’s not all rainbows and butterflies y’all! Adoption is hard. The wait was horrible, the trials we faced were scary, her open heart surgery was terrifying, but you know what? Everything was worth it! I would go through it all again in a second because it resulted in her. Her laugh. Her smile. Her personality. Her strength. Her love. It’s all worth it. She was meant to be ours and that is so evident!

My prayer is that you consider the orphan. There are so many other children out there just waiting to bring someone joy and love. They are waiting on you. Domestic or international, it doesn’t matter. Let this blog post be your sign. Listen to that tug on your heart, step out on faith, and just watch God do His thing.

This is the exact moment that she was placed in my arms…

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Here come the tears again! Just look at that face. She was so sick, so confused, and all decked out in red white and blue.

Now here we are one year later…

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She is happy, healthy, and full of joy. Gosh, I can’t believe the difference! Honestly we look back on videos in China and she has blossomed so much in just a year. It’s crazy what love from a family can do for a child.

Our 1 year anniversary family photos pretty much sum up the joy she brings. Thank you Brittany Conner for capturing our sweet girl… 

To everyone who helped us along the way; I can’t post this without saying thank you. Thank you for helping us bring her home. Thank you for praying, for donating, for volunteering, for cooking, for ordering, for giving, for taking pictures, for loving us through it all. We would not be here without our community. We thank you!

Future mama; don’t give up! Your time is coming and it will be here before you know it. It’s hard, the paperwork is never ending, but I’m here to tell you it’s worth it!

We thank God every day for leading us to our daughter. It’s so evident that He designed her just for us! I tell people it’s like she’s always been here. She was our missing piece. Our hearts are full.

Here’s to one year, and a lifetime to go!

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1