Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Snow of the Decade!!!! (and a CRAZY goal almost met) NEVER snows like this here!!! We've had a BLAST in the thick, packed snow today!! We get dustings, but NEVER a huge snow like this!! The kids were beyond excited when they woke up to a WINTER WONDERLAND!!!
We hit the neighborhood early this morning along with ALL the other YOUNG neighborhood kids!! By the time we were heading in, you could see the teens emerging from their homes with sleds in hand!!

There are hills all over our surrounding neighborhood and we took advantage of every one of them!! We threw my truck into 4-wheel drive and hit every hill around!! Big kuddos to Daddy who bared the freezing weather all day.....
My 2 year old George said it was too cold, BUT Lucy Lane seemed to enjoy it....I have titled the above pic: Beautiful Ethiopian Girl's FIRST Snow!! :) LL was excited all day!! We watched from the windows a lot, but she would scream with excitement every time one of the big kids came near!!
***We had to cancel Helen's b-day party due to the snow storm, but she thought God's little gift of SNOW on her b-day was pretty cool instead!!! :) It was truly a wonderful day filled with long lasting family memories out in the snow for all!!!!
**Happy Saturday to you all, kj

P.S.....You must go to and read Kari's amazing post about NEARLY reaching their goal of 600 shirts for shoes campaign!! It all ends on Feb. 1st and they only have 11 more shirts to go!!! The pictures on her post about this speak a THOUSAND words!! These orphaned children are beautiful and so deserving of a new shirt and new pair of shoes!! Please check it out if you can!! :) kj

Thursday, January 28, 2010

8 Years Ago Today...I became a Mommy!!!

Yes, it is true!!! 8 years ago today, my sweet Helen made me a MOMMY!!! It was a day I had longed for for a long time!! It was a hard delivery that ended in c-section (my first of 4), but OH HOW HAPPY I WAS to hold her for the first time!!! I was so happy it was all over and my sweet baby girl was perfect!My sweet first born was a "typical" first born. She's a natural leader and mild tempered!! She's sweet and kind and makes friends easily. She's always had a mature sense about her from day one...She did EVERYTHING early and always had a "calm" relaxed easy going personality!

For 8 years she has remained the same...a sweet, loving, mature, calm, relaxed child that is easy to please and ready to do as she is told!! She's the "teacher pleaser" type that gets along well with everyone!! And what does she want to be when she grows up...."An orphanage worker...I just want to take care of babies and children in orphanages" says Helen!!! :) Oh, she has a heart of GOLD!!!
***Here are some must knows about Helen: She LOVES her siblings, she loves blue NOT pink, she is a "tom-boy" NOT a girly girl (as she calls it), she despises too much attention and wouldn't get on a stage for ANYTHING!! She loves art, animals, outdoors, sports, music, games and anything besides cheerleading and dance!! She's a fantastic softball player AND basically good at any sport she plays...she's very coordinated!! She loves movies and t.v. and will only read her books when we force her...she'd much rather do ART any day than read a chapter book!! :) She can be shy, quiet and reserved...but will laugh and be silly with a friend as long as we're not watching!!! She's just wonderful!!! To this day, she's still never thrown a fit...she's way to mature and laid back for that!!! :)
And, above, here she is...8 years old today.....with a mouth full of braces!!! I can't believe how old she is getting, and even though I'd love to keep her little forever...I'm loving watching her grow into the "big girl" she's becoming!!! And, what did she ask for for her b-day......A new hamster....Yes, there is a new member to the J Family.......Helen was so excited to come home from school and find her surprise bday present she had been asking for....A Hamster:

Yes, this is Lily!!! Helens' new pride and joy!!! I won't touch the thing...but the kids LOVE her!!
***So, happy birthday sweet girl!!! You make us so proud each and every day!!! What a blessing you have been for 8 years now!!! I can only imagine how wonderful the next 8 will be!!! We praise God each and every day for you!!
Happy Thursday to you all (and we're still recovering from our sickness, but doing much better..thanks for your sweet comments and prayers :) kj

Only 3 words to say....


The hubby and I both got it at the SAME time...never good that both parents are sick when you have 5 little ones lookin at ya :) Then they started falling out....YUCK!! Post more later :) kj

Monday, January 25, 2010

An Amazing Testimony!!! Read On and Be CHANGED!!

I have a TREAT for all of you tonight....It is the adoption testimony from the Charisa and Greg K. Family!! They are an AGCI family that was willing to share their experience in HOPES that someone will read and decide to make a difference in the LIFE OF AN ORPHAN!! This family said YES when they were called to adopt...and they've been blessed by their obedience!!!
Without further ado...This is Charisa, Greg, their family and THEIR STORY:

"Our family embarked on our adoption journey after our hearts were moved by the plight of the African people in our Mission trips to Zambia. We desired to bring a child into our home and bless him or her with our love and care. At that time, little did I know how much we would be blessed ourselves.

Our blessings began during our adoption process. The generosity of our friends and church family during this time humbled and amazed us. Their support- financial, emotional, and prayers- meant so much to us and confirmed we were on God's path. To know that so many people were praying for a little 5 yr. old boy across the ocean that would soon be our son was so encouraging and reassuring during times of unknown and waiting. We also developed close relationships (and are continuing to do so!) within the AGCI adoption community. It is also neat to have friendships with those of like mind and spirit across the United States.

Of course, our main blessing during this entire journey is a little boy who has a heart and faith so big that it literally catches our breath at times. He helps us see everything anew- from his first snow, to thinking we lived in a castle, to just enjoying life each day. He has strengthened our faith to pray to God for everything we need because it is the first thing he always does.

Abenezer stirs our hearts toward compassion as he prays with a compassionate heart. Recently, while it was raining, he prayed for those in wheel chairs that have to stay out in the rain. He has a desire to give to those who are in need. He asks me to buy baby food in the stores for the babies without food. He has a heart for those in need because he has lived that life. Abenezer would give you the shirt off his back without hesitating. Ab helps us to see the poor with God's eyes of mercy and love.

Our adoption has also blessed those around us. A friend recently told us that she had the opportunity to give to orphan relief and she wasn't going to but then Abenezer's face came into her mind and she was moved to do so. Abenezer made the need of the orphan real. He gave that need a name and a face in our community.

Abenezer has strengthened our resolve and heart for the millions of people who through poverty, sickness, or of circumstances of birth seemingly have no hope. Our hearts are tied to Ethiopia and her people. We have been fortunate to be able to play a small part of helping supplies make their way to Hannah's Hope. It encourages our faith when people respond and say, 'How can I help?'

Most of all, Abenezer has showed us our Father's love, a love that is unconditional, and is in spite of all of our hurts and behavior. A love that seeks us out, just as we sought for a child that needed our love. Many people tell us that Abenezer is so blessed to have us, but truthfully, we are the ones that are blessed. "

**Now watch as this sweet MOTHER and CHILD meet for the FIRST TIME......I just LOVE Gotcha Days:

Just an fyi....Charisa coordinates the donations to HH for traveling families and if anyone would want to help, that they can email her at She also doesn't mind being a resource for older child adoption if you have any questions for her.

You can also find her at her blog:

****Thank you Charisa and Greg for sharing your story!! Praising God for His faithfulness!!!! I also pray that this will reach someone that is on the fence, and that it will confirm WHAT they already knew....THAT GOD HAS A CHILD WAITING FOR THEM!!! We just must have faith and obey!!!

**Happy Monday to you all, kj

JANUARY 25, 2010*
Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again – ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life. (John 4:14)

Why does God allow us to spend so much of life in the heat of battle? Because He never meant for us to sip His Spirit like a proper cup of tea. He meant for us to hold our sweating heads over the fountain and lap up His life with an unquenchable thirst.
-Beth Moore, A Quick Word with Beth Moore - Scriptures & Quotations from Praying God’s Word

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Using My Voice.... (and one year ago today)

yes, I've been given the gift of "gab" since my earliest years of life!! I could seriously talk to a wall if I had to, and I'd have a rather NICE conversation!! :) Anyways....this week was a fabulous week in the ADOPTION WORLD of GAB!! I don't have any good pics to prove it...but you can visit some of these other blogs to SEE that I made it around to quite a few COOL things this week:

Tuesday was the monthly Ordinary Hero meeting!!! I love what my sister is doing with her non-profit, and I love attending her monthly meetings to be UP on WHAT her latest adventure is!! She has had some good info on Haitian Adoptions lately too, if interested:

Thursday was the African Fellowship Group monthly get-together at Tracy's house!! I so LOVE getting together and chatting with people that share the same passion as I do!! And, there is nothing better than watching LL play with her buddy Maggie....They are just a few weeks apart in age and they came home one month apart from each other!!! And, they'll go to kindergarten at the same school THE SAME YEAR!! Isn't that just cool!! FYI: Tracy M. is the friend who inspired us to adopt (see her video at the bottom of my page) AND, they recently passed court for 4 more children from Ethiopia!!! That's right...They have just adopted a sibling group of 4 and will be traveling in February!! So...stay tuned for that airport homecoming!!

Saturday I attended my friend Cris's baby shower for her two boys she is getting ready to travel to get!! She used AGCI and has already passed court for two precious little brothers!! It all went very fast for them and it was so much fun celebrating with her!! I can' t wait for her airport homecoming!!!

Then, today, Sunday...I did what I LOVE most!!! I got to talk at our church AGAIN and share our journey of faith and adoption!! We are attempting to hit up every Sunday school class at our church...and we're busy on Sundays doing just that!! It is too funny HOW much I enjoy sharing my story and love for Ethiopia with people!! I have several partners that share their adoption stories too!! It is just so much fun!!! So.....If you are in the Nashville area and would like our little group of adoption mommas to speak to your church, women's group, Sunday school class, etc....let us know and we'll show up :) (armed with my video in hand, too :)

****My hubby and I have been busy at night reading "CRAZY LOVE" by Francis Chan....It has been great for us to read something like this and grow spiritually together...Next is the "HOLE IN THE GOSPEL" book everyone is raving about!!! All I know is...I want to keep using my voice...keep spreading the word of how wonderful adoption can be...and keep making people aware of the orphan crisis going on in this world!! I don't want to be a "luke-warm" Christian as the book CRAZY LOVE puts it!! I want to do MORE!!! I CAN do more!!! Until I figure out what the "more" is...I'm going to just keep USING MY VOICE!!! Cause that comes easily!!! :)

***Have fun clicking around....Happy Sunday to you all!!! kj

ps....I almost year ago today...I had THIS at my house!!! YUCK!!! My biggest girl, Helen, had her 7th bday JUNGLE party at home on this day last year....(And, yes...i can't believe she is almost 8...oh, hurt me :) ....

I love WHAT I wrote on this day one year ago...We were sitting at the #1 spot with our agency and dying for our referral...Oh, how a year changes so much:

"And, here we all are!! The J Family after successfully surviving another b-day party and clean up!! What fun it was and how blessed I am!! I am truly appreciative and humbled by this life I lead!! I couldn't love these four little people I have been given and my hubby any more than I do!! They truly make my life so I just need Lucy Lane to make it all complete :)"

Friday, January 22, 2010

Another Child Has A Family!!!

I was so excited when an old high school friend emailed me to let me know that SHE TOO was headed to Ethiopia to bring home a child. This is my friend and her hubby's FIRST child and she is just beyond adorable!!! They've had a great experience and I just had to share!! I KNOW...I've vowed to NEVER show pics of my children again AFTER all our blogger craziness...but...what can I say?? I didn't stick to my word in this post!! :) Sooooo, maybe every once in a while I'll give ya a sneak peak into HOW my kiddos are growing...BUT i'm really trying to cut back to steer clear of the "stalker effect" we've seemed to have in the past!! :)

***Sooo, without further ado...let me introduce you to Amara!!! We had lunch this week so our baby girls could meet each other!! Oh, I hope these cutie pies can be friends through the years!! What a blessing they'd be to each other!!

I you get any cuter??? :)

***Here, also, is their GOTCHA DAY video which is priceless!!! Enjoy!!! And, welcome home sweet girl!! What a blessing you ARE and WILL BE to so many!!!

May you watch this sweet video and be stirred by God to begin your own journey!!

(you'll want to pause my music at the bottom of the page)

Happy Friday to you all, kj

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

You All Crack Me UP.....We have a WINNER!!

Ok, so seriously...You all are so funny!! You just have to TYPE "FREE T-SHIRT", and everyone gets to clickin!! LOL :) So, YES..we have a winner...The 300,000th hit came from Shari at:

This is a family that also shares a heart for the orphan in a BIG WAY!! Check out the organization she is a part of and you'll see WHY a tshirt is so FITTING!!! Congrats Shari!! I'm so glad you won.....AND...she even sent me some pics to PROVE she was the big winner:

**But, I think what CRACKS ME UP so much, are all the other emails I got in about a ONE MINUTE time frame!! LOL :) Emails were flying in to let me know HOW CLOSE you all were to the BIG NUMBER!! One person below sent me this email AND A PICTURE:
" Hi, Kristi! Attached is a screen shot of your blog. I got pretty close, but I would have been closer if I wasn't potty training my two year old! She foiled my plans! Ha!!!!Love,S "

So funny....She was only 8 off!!! So close!! :) Oh, just an fyi...all proceeds right now from are going to Haiti relief....I've emailed our winner about her new tshirt and will be shipping that out soon!! Congrats!!
***Thanks for playing everyone, AND, I was going to post about my lunch yesterday with a highschool friend who just got home with her Ethiopian beauty....our girls got to meet and it was so fun!!! Ok, so now I'm pooped (I've run up and down the stairs 3x just trying to write this post tending to LL's cries for her Momma...She kind of LOVES me and can't sleep without me :) SOOOOO, tomorrow night's post will DEFINITELY be about LL's new friend and THEIR Gotcha Day video which is precious!!! So, stay tuned!!! :)
**Happy Wednesday to you all, kj

JANUARY 20, 2010*
Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22)

God is not expecting unblemished perfection. He is looking for hearts in constant pursuit of Him and His righteousness. Long-term victory results from many short-term victories that finally collide, forming new habits.
-Beth Moore, A Quick Word with Beth Moore - Scriptures & Quotations from Praying God’s Word

Almost there...Who's It Gonna Be????

299, 887 is the HIT NUMBER I'm at while typing this...So...Who Is going to win the 147millionorphan t-shirt??? I'll do a post after I get the kids to bed...I'll let ya know if we have a winner yet!! Almost there......:) Let me know if you are the ONE to hit 300,000 via comment or email : kj

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Shirts For Shoes!!!

My Bloggy Friend Kari emailed me to let me know of this AWESOME partnership she has formed with Tom Davis... For every Tshirt Kari sells...HopeChest will provide a new pair of shoes and a shirt for an orphan!! Read a little bit of what she wrote and enjoy the video:

"Thank you for being such cheerleaders!! HopeChest has 400 orphans they sponsor & Tom Davis is in Africa right now- all the photos I have are the REAL children that will receive the shoes & shirts:)"

Simply Love Like Crazy from Kari Gibson on Vimeo.

What is Shirts For Shoes?
Providing shoes & shirts for 400 orphans enrolled in HopeChest programs.
For every T shirt you buy- HopeChest will provide a new pair of shoes & a new shirt for an orphan.
100% of proceeds will benefit orphans in Ethiopia.
To Ethiopia with Love- projects throughout the country that HopeChest sponsors.

Why buy a T shirt?
Your contribution will provide over 400 orphans in Ethiopia basic needs & the greatest gift of all - love. Make this a Valentine’s Day you will never forget. Please pray for the orphans every time you wear your shirts. We need to sell 400 T’s to give 400 pairs of shoes. 400 for 400!

SO....go now to Kari's Blog: to buy your tshirt...I got mine ordered last night and will post it as soon as it arrives....It is SO cute and I can't wait to get it!!

Happy Tuesday to you all!!!!

PS....we're almost at the 300,000th hit mark....Let me know IF you hit the BIG number and I'll announce the winner and mail out a Gwen Oatsvall: tshirt to ya of your choice!!kj

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy MLK Day, the In-Laws Celebrate 45 years, AND a Homecoming video!!

Happy MLK Day to you all!! We enjoyed our little talk over dinner with the kids about WHO MLK was and WHY we have this holiday!! So precious to hear their take on it all!! I can only simply say: Thank you Dr. King...Thank you for all you were AND all you still ARE today!!

"Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty."-Dr.King's Letter from Birmingham Jail

***We also enjoyed having Daddy home from work today on this holiday...ALWAYS a treat to have an extra pair of hands at home to help with the 5 kiddos :) ***We did celebrate the holiday by taking the kids bowling....THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY DAY AT THE LOCAL BOWLING ALLEY came when a complete stranger walked up (with his four young sons) and let my hubby and I know that he and his wife READ our blog and that they had always had a heart for adoption, but reading and seeing our experience PUSHED them into starting the process!! PRAISE GOD!! They went with AGCI (our agency), and I certainly couldn't be more excited than to hear the good news that ANOTHER child will HAVE A FAMILY soon!! WOW...ok, so those GOD MOMENTS are the reason WHY I'll keep at this (even when I feel like hiding sometimes :) If God can use our story to help others WANT TO ADOPT...then the least I can do is allow our story to be heard!!! SO NEAT!!

****Also, Happy 45th Wedding Anniversary to my In-Laws, Jules and Poppy!!

We all took them out to lunch yesterday to celebrate...It was a good time (well, you much fun as taking 5 kids out to eat can be :)!! They are wonderful people that did a great job raising my hubby and his sister!! Let me tell ya a little about them: They are BOTH ONLY children!! So, no aunts or uncles or first cousins for my hubby!! They still live in the home my hubby was raised in...and my hubby worships the ground they walk on!! They are just good, kind people!! I've known them both my entire life...I remember them from being friends with my grandparents, and from attending their church with my grandparents when I was little....I remember sitting with my grandma at her church and this cute boy who was 3 years older than I was would sit behind us with all his friends...Little did I know that it was my future hubby!!! My hubby's only sister had ONE child and stopped can imagine that we ROCKED their little quiet life with our 5 children in 6 years!! :) LOL....BUT, they've been nothing but supportive and excited for ALL 5 of our children!! We're very blessed to have them in our lives!! So....Happy Anniversary Jules and Poppy!!!

****I'll end tonight with a HOMECOMING video that is SURE to touch your heart...This is another sweet family that has just arrived home with their 4th adopted child!! This is one of the FIRST families I EVER emailed to get a reference for AGCI...I remember she emailed me RIGHT BACK and was so eager to tell me HOW WONDERFUL their experience had been with AGCI !! SO WONDERFUL...they did it AGAIN!! Hope you enjoy!!! Happy Monday to you all, kj

JANUARY 18, 2010*
We who live are always given over to death because of Jesus, so that Jesus’ life may also be revealed in our mortal flesh. (2 Corinthians 4:11)

The longer I’ve walked with God in prayer and His Word, the less I want Him to let me off easy. A believer’s willingness to “do the hard thing” is what sets him or her apart for the extraordinary in Christ.

-Beth Moore, A Quick Word with Beth Moore - Scriptures & Quotations from Praying God’s Word

Sunday, January 17, 2010

You MUST go read.....

Yes, you must go read my sister's post on the EXACT SAME POST that brought me out of hiding.... You can find it at Her take on Micah Shewit's homecoming is PRICELESS!! Ok, so yes, she is just a better writer than I am...I can live with it :) You MIGHT even see a glimpse of a little someone I DIDN'T post on my blog :)
Happy Sunday to you all, kj

My Daily Devotional*
The Lord is the One who will go before you. He will be with you: He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

We live in fear of that which we are certain we can’t survive. But as children of God, we are only as fragile as our unwillingness to turn and hide our face from Him.

-Beth Moore, A Quick Word with Beth Moore - Scriptures & Quotations from Praying God’s Word

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Post Worth Coming Out of Hiding For.....

***Yes, I'm back out of "hiding" and am going to give this another shot!! :) I ask you all to PLEASE pray that our little blog is only used to glorify God and to bring awareness to the Orphans around the world!! I pray that ONLY GOOD will come out of this effort to bring more children to their forever family, AND that all yucky stuff in the PAST...STAYS IN THE PAST!! Yes, we had more trouble with some "identity theft type stuff" BUT we've worked hard to take care of it, and we pray it is all behind us now!! :) OK...enough of that...on to the stuff I LOVE:Today, I witnessed another MIRACLE!!! A MIRACLE only God could create!!! Today, another family arrived home on American soil with their NEW SON!! Another child is NO LONGER AN ORPHAN!! At the age of 6 or 7, this sweet child of God has witnessed more pain than most people ever will in their entire life....BUT God had a bigger purpose for his life...God had a family for this boy....AND, tonight, they arrived home from Ethiopia!!Let me tell you HOW this all came about....You see....ADOPTION is NOT just about the adoption of ONE CHILD...but the trickle effect it will have on an entire community...It was this child below: that inspired OUR family to adopt in the first place...It was Levi (above resting on his sister's shoulder) that God chose to use to SHOW us the plan HE had for our life!!! AND, because of LEVI's ADOPTION, I flew to Ethiopia in June accompanied by my sister Kelly to pick up my baby girl!! It was on that trip that I first met Shewit!! Shewit was one of the many OLDER children at Hannah's Hope Orphanage that was STILL WAITING for his forever family to choose HIM!! He along with a couple of brother pairs, a sister pair, etc. ALL broke our hearts!! It seemed so unfair...the babies were coming and going...but the older children just SIT!!! So, my sister Kelly decided to take pictures of these "unmatched" children and come back home AND find them a family!! So, Shewit, that arrived home today, was one of the first children chosen from the pictures. A sweet local family decided HE WAS THEIR SON after seeing the pictures AND started the paper chase of international adoption!!! So, TODAY, EXACTLY 7 months to the day that I first met Lucy lane and Shewit....He arrived home with his forever family!! Yes, I adopted one of the of the beautiful adorable babies that are easy to place!! BUT because of THAT trip ANOTHER older child tonight has a family!!
So, my point is....don't underestimate what God has planned!!! Go for that baby if that is what fits into your family and your heart....there will NEVER be enough people to sign up for all the orphaned babies in Ethiopia.....BUT don't forget those children sitting around watching these babies leave months and months (and even years) before they get to!! It has been nearly a year since Shewit entered Hannah's Hope Orphanage, BUT the JOY and HAPPINESS in this boy's face tonight will erase all that time that he had to WAIT for the perfect family to come along!! I know God was smiling right along with Shewit tonight...His laughter and pure innocent JOY was evident to everyone around him!!! I'm forever changed every time I witness a homecoming like this.....

So, TODAY, LL turns 14 months old, she's been home 7 months TODAY, AND today she was reunited with her older friend from the orphanage. What a surreal moment to hug and kiss this boy AGAIN...the same boy I hugged and kissed in Ethiopia 7 months ago that had NO FAMILY coming for him!! Simply amazing!!!
I never dreamed when I left Hannah's Hope Orphanage for the last visit before flying out , that I'd see Shewit again some day AND that I'd have the privilege of watching him grow up...right down the road!! What a miracle!!

If you ever want to SEE and FEEL God's PRESENCE....Go watch a child come home at the airport with his forever family by his side!!! It is truly an amazing experience!! You'll witness something that only God could have orchestrated!! How else could this little boy, over the age that is typically adopted...a little boy completely orphaned with no one left to care for him...MAKE IT TO AMERICA?? It is GOD...GOD has big plans for Micah Shewit and I'm so blessed and honored to get to witness those through the years here locally!!

**Welcome home sweet little friend!! AND, I praise God for the Worton Family that said YES to adoption!! They said YES to orphan care....they said YES to Micah Shewit...they said YES to GOD!! (you can visit to read more about this journey if you'd like )
Happy Friday to you's good to be back :) kj