Friday, August 26, 2016

We Passed!


On April 30th, I chose my agency. I went to an informational meeting and walked out knowing this was the one.

On May 16th, I had my educational meeting and signed up for the home study. A few days later I received the application and began working toward an approved home study.

Today, August 26th, I completed the last step in this process - the home visit.

It took four long months to get here. For the past four months, I've had a constant to-do list running through my head. What needs to be done, who's doing it, when it's getting done, how it's getting done, how much it will cost, what questions are left on the application, do i have all of the paperwork, did i make all of the appointments... It was a very long and very stressful list.

Four months.

In the grand scheme of things, four months is nothing. I can do anything for four months. Four months in a lifetime is nothing. Four months of work to bring my baby home is nothing. But it's still been a very long and very stressful four months.

The second the wonderful people from the agency left, I shut the door, leaned up against it and the tears started flowing. I actually thought to myself Ok, this is just lame and cheesy. Cut it out!

But I couldn't stop the tears and once I gave in, I didn't want to. All of those months of worrying and stressing were over. I made it. I'm approved, my house is approved - even Charlie is approved. The complete joy in that moment was bigger than I could contain.

Not to mention the sweet relief of being done! No more to-do lists. I still can't fully grasp it. I've had to stop myself several times today from running through the list in my head.




After lunch, I went to bed. I needed a nap badly. I needed to be able to sleep without worrying about what is still left to do. And now it's a to-do list of wants, not needs. Now it's nesting, not necessity.

So, what's next?

Well, now I work on creating a profile and I need to finish it in the next 2 weeks. This profile will be shown to expectant moms and it is how they choose me. No pressure, right?

I know that God has already chosen this child. He knows them by name. I will pray over every sentence and photo that goes into this profile, but I know that no matter what is in it - God will connect me with the right woman and the right baby.

Once my profile is complete, I will join the agency's network. That is when expectant moms will be able to see my profile.

Then I wait.

The wait could be very short, but there's a possibility it could take years. So I'm coming up with a plan. Things to do. Books to read. Places to go. The wait will be hard, but it will be good.

____________ _ _ _

Friends - your love and support means everything to me. I know I keep saying it, but it's very much true. God has used you to encourage me and confirm this path. To see the amount of people that already love and pray for this child has been the most beautiful glimpse of God's love. I can't begin to express how much that love means to me and how grateful I am for it. Thank you!


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Biggest News!



To be honest, I’m not quite sure where to begin. So much has been happening over the past 8 months. I will attempt to make this as short and sweet as possible – but I’m not making any promises. This has been the most incredible 8 months of my life and I’m really excited to tell you about it.

I’ve known for a long time that I would adopt, but I never thought I would do it alone.

Adoption came into the picture when I was 23. In December 2008, I walked out of my interview at Lincoln Charter School, sat in my car and knew 2 things to be certain – If they offered me the job I would take it and someday I would adopt. I just knew it. There was a peace in my heart that’s unexplainable. I feel that same peace today.

Fast forward to January 2016 – we were singing Oceans, by Hillsong in church a lot. It felt like we were singing it every week. It started as a song, but soon became a heartfelt prayer –

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders / let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me / take me deeper than my feet could ever wander / and my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Savior

I began asking myself How am I living for Christ? What is my leap of faith? I prayed for God to take me out of my comfort zone. To lead me to a place where I can only move forward under His power. A place where I have to live every day relying on His strength and not my own.

At the same time, I was longing and praying to be a mother. More than anything I wanted to feel the love a mother has – to love a child as only a mother can. I wanted to get as close as I could to feeling and understanding the unconditional love Christ has for us.

February 6th, at the end of IF:Gathering at church, they gave us each a domino. We were asked to write on it something we were ready to give to God. I remember thinking, why a domino? I don’t know if you’ve ever been 30 and single when all of your friends are married and having babies, but it’s not super fun. And I’d been holding onto that disappointment for a long time. But I was ready to give it up, so on my little domino I wrote my singleness and my future. Then I turned to Mel and asked Is singleness a word?

I put that little domino by the mirror in the bathroom and prayed over and over for the continued willingness to give up control of my life. I prayed for the patience and trust to let God run my life instead of trying to run it myself.

Then, like dominos falling, God set off a chain reaction and life started to get very interesting very quickly. Now I see why they gave us a domino. Did they do that on purpose?

February 17, Mel sent me a link to a blog post. A single woman named, Sara, had written about her experience as a foster mom. Mel knew I had been thinking about adoption and she encouraged me to contact Sara – so I did. We began emailing back and forth and Sara gave me amazing advice that would officially begin my adoption journey – All you need is enough courage to say yes. Just go. His peace will follow your obedience.

I had asked God to take me out of my comfort zone. I had asked God to make me a mother. Whether I was married or not, whether I was ready or not, God made one thing clear – get moving.

So I said YES.

After many months of counseling, prayer, family support and research I chose Domestic Infant Adoption, picked an agency and began the legal process to become an adoptive mom.

On May 16, at an educational meeting at my agency, my caseworker gave me the first official paper to sign. This paper was the beginning of my home study. I was SO excited. This is it! I’m really doing this! …And then I forgot how to sign my own name. After months of talking and planning and praying – it was really starting. Like really starting. And I couldn’t remember my own signature. My counselor called that a stress response. Yup, that about sums it up.

The end of May arrived and so did the paperwork. Lots and lots and lots of paperwork and document gathering and doctor appointments and meetings and planning and stressing. Night after night of writing and re-writing my responses to the questions in the home study application. Not to mention all the work my family, friends and I have been putting into this house… and we aren’t even done yet.

The last step in this home study process is happening on August 26 – the home visit. I’ve never been more nervous to have house guests.

In case you noticed something different and are wondering – Yes, this is why I’ve been more forgetful, more stressed, less involved, quieter. Life has been very busy.

But friends, life has never been more exciting.

Don’t mistake excitement for ease, though. This has been hard. I’ve had to face a lot of fears and insecurities and there is still so much unknown. There are so many questions I can’t answer and all I can do is wait to see how God shows up in each circumstance – because I know He will show up.

Here are the details – the type of adoption I am pursuing is called Domestic Infant Adoption. That means I will be matched with a birth mom during pregnancy. I do not care about race or gender. I do not know when I will be matched. I can be matched with anyone in the United States, though I am praying for a local adoption. I would like to have an open adoption and hope to develop a loving relationship with the birth mom.

So there you have it – my adoption journey in a nutshell. Believe it or not, that is the short version. Eight hard and exciting months boiled down to 1,050 words.  

This process has been so much work and so much stress, not to mention all the unknowns in my future – but it’s nothing when I think about my baby. It never ceases to amaze me how real this child is to me. I don’t even know if he or she exists yet but this love is so strong, present, hopeful. I don’t know my baby yet, but my Lord knows them by name and I will wait on His perfect timing.

My family of two will soon become a family of three… but don’t tell Charlie.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossian 3:17

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If you’d like to stay up to date on my journey, check back here! I’ll be posting more to keep you updated on the process. You can also follow along on my Instagram account @ginnersaint. This journey is only just beginning and I’m so excited to share it with you!



Sunday, April 3, 2016

April Desktop Wallpapers


Spring in is full bloom around here and there's new color and life popping up everywhere. Including a the bunnies that made their home in my back yard.

So this month, I used photos from my last trip to the incredible Longwood Gardens. I hope you enjoy these wallpapers.

Click "read more" for download links. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Brush Lettering - In Real Time


Learning brush lettering has been a great adventure. I love exploring different styles and techniques. My primary source of instruction has been instagram - there are so many artists sharing their art through that platform. It's awesome of them to share their skills, techniques and tools. I follow a lot of artists and I learn a lot from those 15 second videos.

But don't even get me started on Instagram's new feed algorithm. The chronological feed is one of the main reasons I love instagram - if they go away from that it's just going to turn into Facebook. And nobody wants that. 

Anyway...

I've had a few people ask me how I'm learning hand lettering. 

First, practice. Lots and lots of practice (and lots of paper). 

Second, I'm a big ol' copy cat. I look at the way others are writing - the size, thickness, variations in the base line and how they write each letter.

Since instagram videos are almost always sped up to fit within the 15 second time limit - hand lettering looks a little easier than it really is. Now, I'm in no way claiming that I know what I'm doing - but below you'll find 2 real time videos. It'll give you a better idea of how slow I write (though I should really go slower) and where I take breaks to move my hand.

I hope you find them helpful!







For those of you looking for some examples of amazing lettering - below is a list of artists that I follow on instagram. They are all incredibly talented.

@throughpaintandpen
@flaxandwooldesigns
@brimpapery
@greentiestudio
@kingblottothethird
@tierneystudio
@winkandwonder
@mattvergotis
@stefankunz
@letteringcamp
@bysarahkim
@lissletters
@jennyhighsmith
@amandaarneill
@iamlynati
@handlettereddesign
@erin_nielson

(And that's the short list)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

March Wallpapers

Late is the new black. You haven't heard that one? Well let's make it a thing, because these wallpapers are coming in a week late.

Oops!


My family and I recently spent a week on Eleuthera - an island in the Bahamas. It was beautiful. My favorite part was getting to experience swimming in clear water for the first time in my life. It was incredible.

I tried out some night time photography for the first time. The photo above was taken at around 10pm at night - if you look closely you can see stars in the sky. It's one of my favorites from the trip.

In this post you'll find 9 desktop wallpapers - without and without the calendar.

Click "read more" for download links.