Saturday Apple Picking

We spent a fun Saturday in North Carolina picking apples with friends at Sky Top Orchard.  Being in the mountains always recharges my soul, they declare the beauty of the Lord like nothing else can.  Even the rocks cry out…

Waiting on the fence to pick apples

Ready for the picking…


Can he not grow a second older Lord, please???

He got one!

Up, Up, Up in the trees 

footloose and fancy free

Another one for Joshy

pretty pretty… I think they should sell all apples with their leaves on 

double fisted on dad’s shoulder 

An orchard is beautiful, but an orchard in the mountains is even better

Thank goodness for a strong daddy to carry all 18lbs of apples up the hill!

Praying for a restful sabbath Saturday for each of you!

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Jesus in the Kitchen and A Few Quick Left-Over Recipies

It seems like we have just broken yet another threshold in our appetites over here.  My kids just ramped it up and I am noticing that my usual pot of whatever is not stretching as far.  I am having to double recipes and then it is ALL GONE at the dinner table and my oldest is only 7!

So I have coined a new term, it is called Food Paralysis, and I have it!  I break out in a cold sweat at the grocery store, I have a mini panick attack at the thought of a whole week of meal planning, I stare aimlessly into my pantry at random times throughout the day and then just walk away because I got nothin’.  I am sure that I am going to need counseling soon because seriously – it can be rough!  I joke, but when you are trying to feed a large growing family HEALTHY non processed meals, that everyone will at least at a portion of without having to make three different meals for four different people it can put you into quite a tizzy.  I am LIVING in my kitchen… but this is good.

It is good, and right, and a lost art.  When we feed our family we are filling them up with more than just bread, we can offer them the bread of life.  We can become servants in the kitchen by pouring out what we have, our time, our creativity, our intention to nourish them, to grow them, to love them.  Really each meal is the opportunity for a gift to be given and a seed to be sown unto eternity.

So next time you are in the kitchen feeling the crunch… experiencing the dreaded Food Paralysis think of Jesus feeding His 5,000.  Think of how He had little and made it much so that he could feed their bellies but also touch their souls.  Think of Him reclining at the table with his beloved disciples breaking bread and sharing wisdom and love.

There is something to this food thing, and He is right there to meet us, right in the middle of our kitchens morning, noon, and night.  We just have to be looking for Him.


In the spirit of stretching our meals around here I am sharing 2 of my left over recipes, things I make with what we have left over or lying around that needs to be used up. Simple, easy, and good for their bellies…  (Bare with me I am not so much of a measuring girl or a recipe writer so I will do my best!)

Apple Cinnamon Morning Rice:

Whenever I make rice for dinner I double the amount so we can have the rest for breakfast.

Ingredients: Left over rice, Almond milk, Organic half and half or heavy cream, a pinch of salt, maple syrup, an apple cored and chopped, raisins and/or pecans


Add cooked rice to a pot on medium heat. Pour in some almond milk enough to make it a little soupy and a splash of organic half and half (or heavy cream). Stir until it is an oatmeal like consistency then add the cinnamon, pinch of salt, chopped up apples, raisins, pecans, and maple syrup to taste.


Dinner Time Veggie Frittata:

This is a dinner favorite around here.

Ingredients: a dozen eggs, diary of your choice, whatever veggies you have on hand, and whatever kind of cheese you like our favorite is a combo of mozzarella and parmesan.

Directions:  Saute whatever veggies you have on hand in a skillet on medium heat in a little olive oil or butter.  My base is always onions, garlic, and spinach or kale, and then I add whatever extras I have on hand.  Tonight it was chopped up asparagus and tomato.  In a separate bowl beat your dozen eggs and add a good splash (about 4 tbls) of heavy cream or milk of your choice and salt and pepper to taste.  Grate your cheeses (about 1 – 1 1/2 cup or so) and add to egg mixture and then add your veggie mixture too.  Pour into a greased 9×13 casserole dish and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

That’s it.  I slice it into squares and then serve it with spelt berry muffins and whatever fruit I have on hand.

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I’m Back! We’ve Moved, and Welcome to the Farm!

Hello out there!

I. Am. Back.

The question is, are you?

It has been a while, ok more like 6 months, since I blogged and while it is not the suggested method to drop out of blog world right when community begins to happen, I just had no other choice as things around here reached a pivotal point (more like defcon 5).  I had no extra time for anything other than keeping up with my family.  Family first and sometimes being simply home, is just that… simply…home. You have missed a bunch in the past months so let me give you the quick catch up / run down…

First we lost our Pa Pa and my Daddy a few months ago to liver failure after a life long battle with alcoholism.  I say lost, but certainly he is not lost, in fact I would say he is finally found and with the Lord…free.  Hard for us, and so sad to walk through.  Still hard some days, I am sure I will share more about that in the coming days…

Second we wrapped up school and still have yet to start our new school year because we have been busy unpacking boxes so second grade and kindergarden here we come… in about a month… when I can find my curriculum and a pencil and some scissors would be nice too…

Third, we closed on not 1 but 4 houses total over the past month and now call South Carolina Home- whew it has been a long journey from which I am sure I am still suffering some post traumatic stress from…

And Last we bought a farm house in the middle of nowhere in SC and are settling into rural life on our 16 acres of land. So with out of the way… I am hoping you all come back and join our journey as we figure out God’s plan for us out here on this piece of land we now call home.  We have lots of big plans but right now are just trying to unpack the mountain of boxes that loom in our garage.  There are days I love it out here and there are days I don’t feel so cut out for farm life and just want to go back home.  Like today when the kids found the baby kitten they had named “little puddin” dead next to our back porch and out of all four kids I was the one to burst into tears… yea that’s me tough girl, right? So without further ado here is a little welcome to the farm photo tour for you.  The inside of the house will come with time and when I actually hang the first thing on the wall you guys will be the first to hear about it!  Looking forward to sharing it all with you… Carrie

The  Farm House

A view through the trees

The long winding driveway, dispite it’s bumpy ride probablly my most favorite part of the new homestead

Our side pasture

The big trucks drilling our soon to be well. Bye bye brown water.


A few of our watermelons and cantaloupes that we have been enjoying around the table

One of the still alive wild kitty cats that call our porch home too. All 8 of them are beautiful to look at and help with mice control but they won’t let us get too close.

The boot line up. We have officially traded in the flops for more appropriate footwear for the farm.

Going fishing with Dad at our little lake.

A misty morning view from the front porch

Our first wild flower bouquet the kids and I made.

It’s good to be back and I hope to hear from you soon!

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Welcoming Your Weakness: with a free printable

Weakness isn’t something that is embraced, rather it is something we avoid, strive to outgrow, or even cover up if necessary.  At best we are taught to grow spiritually in Christ which will make us strong and at worst we are encouraged to fake it until we make it.  In fact, the body of Christ has bought into the lie too, filling Sunday morning pulpits and bookshelves across America with the self-help gospel.  Read the bible and apply it to your life and you will become strong, like a tree planted with deep roots… unshakable.

If that is true, if we can read His word and apply it as some sort of fix to our human condition, why isn’t it working better?  Why is the world full of tired and overwhelmed Christians generally defeated before their feet hit the floor?

It’s because we run FROM weakness rather than TO it.

We would rather have the drive through Gospel than come face to face with our own frailty.  We would rather pull up in our own comfortable spot, request from the menu what we crave, and get a fast fix for our ailments- at least for the moment.  No matter that in 20 minutes we will be starving again – famished for actual nutrition – and need to make another pit stop, where most likely true satisfaction and fulfillment will not be offered because those aren’t offered on the dollar menu of faith.

So we find ourselves on the constant quest to out run our weaknesses, to “ARRIVE” in some form or fashion.  We formulate plans, and have quiet times, and join yet another bible study group all in the hope of fixing what ails us.  And when once again we are face to face with the reality of our lack, our inability to produce anything beautiful, we put on a smile and hope to God no one notices what a fraud we really are.

Self help in true relationship with Christ doesn’t even exist, it can’t because we all, like sheep have gone astray, each of us to OUR OWN WAY.  Sheep can’t help themselves.  Even at our best attempt, our works, the best most spiritual ones, are like filthy rags.  There is not one righteous, not. even. one.

So where does that leave us?

It leaves us hopeless and in need of a Savior.   But not just a savior who can save us from hell, but one that can save us from ourselves.

Our weakness is HIS strength, it’s His opening, His invitation, and our good.  If He fixed us and we became better, stronger, more able to live apart from Him, we would do just that, live apart from Him.  But that is the point, we are looking for fixing so we can “get on with OUR life” and He is looking for relationship.  We want a means to self sufficiency and He, He just wants us.

Our weakness, when we welcome it, can be the very thing that gives us God.  It can be the daily, moment by moment reminder of our deep and desperate need for Him.  It can be the one thing that we thank God for, because it is the one thing that keeps us needy, dependent, and His.

I wish as a body we celebrated it more.  Celebrated our complete lack like Paul did with the believers at Corinth when he said, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Cor 2:2-5

It is not in our weakness He makes US strong, NO!  It is in our weakness HE IS MADE STRONG!

When will we realize that the only good in our life will ALWAYS come from Him?  It is not that I can gain wisdom and knowledge and become stronger and better and more able to stand on my own two feet.  That, in fact, is a false gospel.  Because truly the more wisdom I gain, the more I know my Savior, the more I see truth, the more I see how sinful I am and the greater my need of Him becomes.

The gospel of truth is my daily dependance on Him for EVERYTHING, and then in return, my glorification of Him at every victory in my life!  That I would boast in nothing but the cross and Him crucified!

So can we welcome our weaknesses and stop hiding them?  Can we welcome them as our door of dependance and the key to our daddy’s heart?  Can we celebrate the fact that we are all equally broken and our only victory will be in direct proportion to our reliance on Him?  Can we stop the quest for self help that will lead to self sufficiency? Because self-help will only take us down the path of pride and destruction.

Let us not deceive ourselves into thinking that we should aim to “have it all together” or that anyone we know has such a life, because in truth only the One who makes it all, can and has the power to, hold it all together.  Let’s stop competing for the title of the best charade and let us encourage one another in our weakness.  Let us not be afriad to live in the truth of our brokenness and deep need.  Because that is what makes us His!  Our broken need opens the door for our dependance on Him and that should be our goal and aim…More of Him.

“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but ONLY God, who makes all things grow.” 1 Cor 3:7

Download the free printable here.

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An overdue update…

Life. is. crazy.  I don’t know of a better way to recap the past few months other than that!  Here is a quick picture rundown of the highlights.  There has been an adoption (finally!), Disney, a welcome home, Christmas, a birthday, and lots of other stuff going on around here.  One of our newest crazy life decisions is doing a Whole 30 and then moving onto a Paleo eating lifestyle.  Wow, talk about throwing me for a loop, it has been HARD!  More about my break-up with grains and sugar and our new life to come, it has been 5 weeks and I still feel like I am swimming in the deep end and need a raft!  But at least I haven’t drowned yet, right?

Ok now for the good stuff…

It is final and official, what sweet words to type- this is us with the judge.

Playing choo choo in the court house lobby after we finished the hearing- be still my heart!

We left that afternoon for a 3 day whirlwind Disney trip. Totally insane and absolutely NO sleep, but a fun memory to celebrate with the kiddos!

The best part of our trip was that I got to watch fireworks holding my boy. Three years ago when the battle began I stood in the same place without him (he was too little and frigile to bring along with us that day). I cried and cried knowing what we were facing. That night I told God that the next time I saw fireworks I wanted it to be with my boy in my arms- I pleaded with Him. I never imaged it would take three years, but what a joy it was, to FEEL God’s faithfulness that night, I know I don’t deserve an ounce of it, but I am so thankful He gives it to us anyway. Praise be to God!

On Christmas eve we got to welcome home darling Jonathan from Uganda and celebrate with his forever family, what a great way to celebrate Christmas! 

Here he is, home in daddy’s arms, SO SWEET! 

MG had a birthday, and turned 5. She was all excited to dress up for her dinner out! 

Birthday kisses from brother…

and Daddy… she is one lucky girl!

Ok, now that I am caught up it’s onto figure out what is for dinner.  Blessings to each of you! Carrie

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Facebook vs. The Book: A Personal Inventory

If you added up all the moments this last week that I spent on Facebook, ALL of them, even the just responding to messages or glancing at an update on my phone- they would exceed the amount of time I spent reading God’s Word.

There.  I said it.  It is not pretty, and it is 100 % convicting. But, I felt led to share it because I would guess it is the same for many of you.

If I am honest I think it boils down to 3 key factors, at least for me it does… connection, worth, and significance, and where I find these 3 things.  Or at least where I think I will find them.

When I am home raising my four kids and muddling through our daily routine I long for all three of those – desperately.  And in my immediate lack I turn to Facebook, or email, or other’s blogs looking for it.  I go seeking out a quick fix if you will.  A new picture on Facebook or a message from a friend.  I look to see what some of my favorite blog friends are up to.  And while none of this is wrong or bad, it just fills in the space because Facebook, blogs, emails, and twitter can’t bring me TRUE LASTING connection, worth, or significance.

Sure they can squelch that immediate desire, but then it just leaves me hungry for more. And then what happens next is astonishing.  My quick fix quickly turns against me flipping the tables into a deeper need that turns to an ache and then the temptation to feel sorry for myself takes over.

How many times have I been out there on my computer looking really just to pass the next 10 minutes or honestly seeking to connect with a particular friend when all of a sudden I am hit by deep feelings of inadequacy.  The comparison game begins and what looks on Facebook or some blog to be a flawless life begins to erode my own sense of self-worth.  Even though I know what I see isn’t the whole story, it still creeps in… and I am left with feelings of doubt and lack.  Like everyone else is doing this or that and everyone else’s kids are this and that…. it could go on and on.  Because when I go to social media looking to be filled, I often end up getting filled up with something I wasn’t looking for.

For me, my computer can be a great tool for ministry but it can also be a total time waster if I am not careful.  This is not an antisocial media post, because social media can be used for so many life-giving things and has its place in life.  But for me the question is what place am I giving it?  Do I flip open my screen before I flip open the Word each morning?  When I have a moment of quiet time am I spending it with the ONLY one who can REALLY fill me up, or am I squandering my time looking for a counter fit?

The Book, God’s Word, is the only true source of life.  And when I invest my spare moments in it rather in at my computer than I am in less danger of getting lost on Facebook, or scrolling through twitter to only come away feeling bad about myself or comparing my family to someone else’s family who looks awfully perfect in their latest blog post.

We live in a Facebook world.  Facebook, Twitter, blogging, the internet, I mean whatever you want to call it, it is not a world of quiet book reading and spending time in solitude.  It is fast paced and instant.  And God is, well, not.

And because of that, because I am used to instant feel better fixes, I find that I have to force myself – discipline myself, to choose HIM.  It is much easier to crack open my screen and loose the next 10 minutes looking at everyone else’s life.  In fact it may even feel better for a time, because lets face it, when you spend your time looking at others that is less time you have to think about yourself.  And escape can feel good.

BUT. When I choose Him, He DOES fill me up.  Not the instant, immediate gratification kind of filling.  More of the stick with you forever kind.  He slowly and lovingly pours Himself into me, shaping me, molding me, speaking hope and life to my weary places.

When I invest my time in His book, it NEVER returns void.  And that is a promise I can bank on.  Such a better investment of my time than scrolling through endless pages on Facebook or running to grab the phone to post the latest cool thing we are up to.  And when I am filled up and living for His approval, not the approval and validation my list of Facebook’s friends or blog readers, I am free to use this world and all that is in it for His glory.  So I can pop into Facebook and encourage a friend without getting sucked into it.  I can share something God has laid on my heart here on my blog without being driven by how many people will read it or how many followers I have.

In the end when I find connection and worth and significance in Him, than the rest will fall into place.  Because He will be leading me.  It is just that I, need to be purposeful about seeking it from the right source.  Going to where the water is living rather than searching through dry wells.  We all have the desire to matter, to make our mark, to be important.  And in Christ and to Christ we ALL ALREADY DO.  We matter to Him and that should feel better than a thousand strokes of the “like” button.

Will you join me this year and consider taking some of the time you give to social media, blogging, or emails and putting into Him this year?  Going to The Book BEFORE you hit Facebook or type that email?  To invest where the promised return is more than 100 fold?

I promise you, you won’t be disappointed, for His well never runs dry…

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Well, since we are celebrating over here, it is a perfect time to let you in on our secret…

There have been many good guesses at what we are up to, most of which was the announcement of a new child, but the answer to that one is NO, at least not this year! (but all those who kindly suggested that would be a good idea to send me a message and I will give you my husbands email address so you can make that wonderful suggestion to HIM!!!) :o)

Our big news is the announcement of our new Family Business ADOPTED PRINTS PHOTO BOOKS

God gave me this sweet little story called Love Brought Me Home over 4 years ago now and since then we have prayed for a way to make this a reality.  I had wanted to get the story published in a way that other families could personalize it so that they too could have a sweet PERSONALIZED story to read to their little ones, and IT IS FINALLY HERE!


And LIKE us on Facebook!!!!  You all know that I am not best friends with Facebook, but it seems the best way to get the word out.

So GO DO IT!  And if you do that tweety thing, you could do that too!

If you are not an adoptive family, then contact all the ones that you know and tell them about it, AND LIKE US ANYWAY.  And IF YOU ARE AN ADOPTIVE MAMA, then can you spread the word to your community of other mama’s like you?

We are excited, we have many more books planned, and welcome home announcements to add, and maybe one day we will add some of our cute handmade dollies to the site too!

We are praying that THIS IS A BLESSING TO OTHERS…

A way to celebrate rescue…

A hand to pull you out of the hard that can so easily overtake you during this journey…

An everyday way to celebrate the joy of lives saved and welcomed home…

A little bit of our love, in your home, and in your kiddos’ hearts.

That’s what I am hoping for!

So go and spread the word, will you?  And then stay tuned because when we hit 100 likes we are going to do a giveaway we are at 2 now – me and the hubby – so help us out :o).

And in all seriousness and from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.  Even just for reading, you all are such a source of encouragement to me!

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Here I Raise My Ebeneezer: It is OFFICIAL – He Has Been Entrusted to Us!

Caleb built this last night in his room with his legos.  He had wanted to show me his work all morning but it wasn’t until we after we got word that he did… What a sweet prophetic picture, our family of 6 holding hands with the cross uniting us together, I stand amazed…

After 3 long years of battling, countless tears, nights awake – paralyzed by fear, and SO MANY prayers, IT IS OVER…and It has just began all at the same time.  I am – fall on my face – humbled, grateful and in awe that God would grant us the privilege of loving our boy for forever.  This is not our victory it is ALL HIS.  He fought this battle and HE ALONE has won this day.  Glory to God in the Highest!

This heart that beats within me today has changed. It is not the same heart that was inside me 3 years ago.  Because this heart, has wrestled with God.  I have, in the midnight hour, literally fought with Him.  I have cried out in anguish, I have shaken my fists angry and I have bowed my head low in utter, all out, weary submission.  And I can say without equivocation that HE IS GOOD, HE IS TO BE FEARED, AND HE IS MY FAITHFUL FATHER.  I have known all along that this was in HIS hands, but that HIS hands LOVED US enough to let us fight in this battle with Him and that He has handed us the victory… there are no words.

It has without a doubt been the most scary, the hardest, the most trying 3 years of our life.  Feeling hunted EVERY DAY, not knowing when the next attack would come, not knowing how long we would have to fight, having sadness hang over every happy moment.  We have fought for JOY and many days it was illusive.  We have had anger instead of love, we have struggled with fear instead of trust, BUT HE REMAINED FAITHFUL.

He has carried us, He has allowed our feet to don the battle field along side of Him, and He has used each of you to help hold up our arms when we had no strength left. WE ARE CHANGED.  We are deepened.  We have seen angles encircling over head and I have, in my own heart, heard His still small voice.  Now I know, THAT IT. WAS. HIM.

It isn’t so far-fetched that angels came out of the sky singing “Glory to God in the Highest” or that a star led the wise men to the babe, because HE LOVES US and IS WITH US, in more ways than we will ever know.

And SO today, We raise OUR Ebenezer , like so many who have gone before and erected alters of remembrance and praise, so will we.  We will mark this day not  as men who have won a long fought battle, but as servants entrusted with the most precious of gifts.  We bow and we worship because OUR GOD is FAITHFUL.  And this day is OUR PROOF, OUR MIRACLE, OUR COME DOWN THE MOUNTAIN WITH OUR BOY IN OUR ARMS AND THE RAM ON THE ALTER…

And as we raise our Ebenezer we also lift up a petition of healing for the others involved in this battle.  It is not lost in our hearts that anguish and loss is part of THIS DAY.  With all our hearts we wish it could have been different and ask that HE BE WITH THE HURTING and bring healing to the captives and ultimately bring freedom to the chains that bind.

Here I raise my Ebenezer, Here by Thy great help I’ve come…

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:  He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Psalm 37:5-6

Innumerable Thanks and Love to each of you who have walked this road with us, THIS IS YOUR MIRACLE TOO!

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A Sneak Peak at Our Big News…

We are working hard over here.  Myself, my Hubby, and the kids too.  Everyone is doing there part to help with our big news.  WE ARE EXCITED, about what is to come, but right now we are just grunting it out.  Working with our noses in computers and behind the camera doing all sorts of things.  I am especially excited to share it here with you, MY FAVORITE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD!  You have hung here with me for over a year and read along while we limped, and prayed, and lived, and I hope this will go on and on, but along with it we are launching a little project close to my heart.  Something that has been in the works since we were waiting to travel to Ethiopia 4 years ago.  God is bringing it to fruition!  We may be crazy(and have some serious sleep deprivation), but it sure is fun watching a little dream come to life!  Here is your sneak peak- there will be more details to come in the weeks ahead so get ready because I am going to need you to pass the word along, (you know you want to!)…


Love to each of you…

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Fall Festival Time – 2013!

I went to the annual fall festival tonight accompanied by my handsome husband, buzz lightyear, 2 Thomas’s, and one beautiful butterfly… she was a very naughty butterfly today and was not supposed to get any treats.  But after about 10 minutes in- I caved, not sure if it was compassion or sheer exhaustion, but either way, she was a happy bouncy little butterfly the rest of the night, gotta love parenting!!!



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