Wednesday, August 29, 2012

When Grace is a Gorilla

Okay, so I realize it's been over a year since I've written on here. Much has happened, but I still have not felt like I needed to reopen the shop. So for now I'm just using the space to write some thoughts - for my benefit, and maybe for others as well.

First things first, my brother and his wife have a baby girl! Almost two years ago we raised money for their adoption expenses, and as I type this my sister-in-law is in Ethiopia staying with a friend and awaiting their daughter's visa so they can come back to the US! I had the privilege of traveling with her to Addis Ababa a month ago to meet Liya and help out for a few days as my brother is deployed and unable to be there. God is so gracious in giving them a precious baby girl. For pics and info you can follow their blog here.

Erik and I have also been praying for years about adopting. We know we have been adopted and given all the benefits of being "heirs with Christ." So the Lord placed it on both our hearts and I think we've always known we would adopt one day. This year we started looking into it more seriously, but both felt the time just wasn't right yet. Even after seeing all the precious children waiting to be adopted in Ethiopia, I still felt we needed to wait. I didn't know why (still don't) but Erik thought the same thing.

The past 5 days have been an exhausting roller coaster for us. We were presented with an opportunity to adopt a beautiful, precious 9-month-old girl from Ethiopia. Because this child is listed as having special needs, she needed to be adopted ASAP and it would have been a very quick process. Our gracious Father guided us through four days of ups and downs, doubts, insecurities and questions. We kept walking forward, not feeling like He had said "no" yet, and wondering if this was our daughter. I tried to protect myself from getting emotionally attached, but it was impossible not to visualize this child in our home, eating at our table, sleeping in her pink bedroom. 

As you can guess, we are not this baby's family. We were told yesterday that she had been placed with another family. It was kind of a situation of first come/first served, which is understandable. We have faith that our Sovereign God controls all things. If we were meant to be this child's parents, it would have happened. Of course that doesn't mean I didn't weep uncontrollably when I found out she would not be our daughter. Heartbroken is not too strong a word to describe what we both felt. And it's okay. And we are trusting.

And this is the beautiful thing. Five days ago, my trust in God was not what it is today, and Erik would say the same. In our minds, the timing was terrible. I just stopped working, I'm writing a book (more on that in the future), he's working and simultaneously writing a feature-length screenplay (hopefully more on that later too), we have two busy kids, very little money (by our standards, which is a whole other post) and life is crazy. So this was a difficult process of Him graciously revealing that we don't trust Him - not truly. And it hurts to realize that. It's like walking along in the dark, heading toward a steep cliff, when suddenly a 500 lb. gorilla comes out of nowhere and knocks you to the ground, saving your life. But obviously this life-saving process hurts a little. I mean, I've never actually been knocked to the ground by a gorilla, but I can imagine. Anyway, you're grateful for the end result - you're not dead - but the process knocks the wind out of you and probably breaks a few bones. And that's where we are. So blessed and grateful for the gorilla-like grace that shows us our lack of trust, but a little sore from the process. And waiting expectantly for what He has in store. 

"Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him / How I've proved Him o'er and o'er / Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus / Oh for grace to trust Him more."

In addition to the craziness of adopting a child suddenly, there were the special needs to consider. Over the past year God has laid on my heart the desire to adopt a child (or children) who are HIV+. Erik's sister is a PA specializing in infectious diseases, and we have had many conversations about HIV and AIDS and I've learned so much from her. Erik knew my heart, and while I don't think he was quite on the same page when this process began, he is there now, thanks to God's work in both of our lives. This precious girl is HIV+, which is really why we considered and prayed about adopting her in the first place. 

Now, if you're freaking out a little, it's okay. It's totally understandable. Unfortunately there is a crazy lack of education regarding HIV. We are all still thinking of it like we did in the 80's, which means we assume you get HIV from shaking hands or spit or snot, etc, then a couple of years later you die from AIDS. Praise God this is no longer the case (actually, it was never spread via those means). So in case you are like we were and you don't know the facts, here they are:
  • HIV is considered a chronic but manageable disease with proper treatment.
  • Children who receive treatment are expected to live a normal lifespan.
  • HIV has NEVER been transmitted in normal family living conditions (not thru tears, saliva, mucous, or other bodily fluids)
  • You NEVER have to fear contracting HIV through casual contact with an HIV+ person.
  • HIV is spread in three main ways: sexual contact, IV drug use through the sharing of dirty needles, mother-to-infant (pregnancy, birth or breast feeding)
  • All around the world orphans are overlooked for adoption because of their HIV+ status
  • Medications called ARVs can mean the difference between life and death
  • With medications HIV can be effectively managed to the point that the virus is undetectable
  • There is a term for the miraculous transformation HIV+ people undergo when they begin receiving the medications they need.
  • The Lazarus Effect is a term commonly used to describe people who were once on the brink of death who have been restored again to health through medication
(Info from For more info, go here.

I don't know about you, but after I found this out I was shocked. My lack of education was severe, and I was amazed upon hearing these statistics.

So we hope and pray that God will continue to give others a heart for HIV+ orphans, just as He has supernaturally given us the desire to bring one (or more!) into our home. We continue to pray about the future, and ask you to pray with us. We trust He has given us this desire for a reason and we thank Him for graciously teaching us to trust and obey.

Special thanks to Brian and Mel Snow, who walked with us through this process, and who are adopting 3 beautiful girls from Ethiopia. We can't wait to welcome these girls into our church family! Love you guys.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Thank you all so much for your encouragement and support of me, but even more for your support of E3 Kids! Thanks to your generosity and God's grace we raised $400.50 that will go to help some of these kids in Mombasa, Kenya.

Above is a shot of some of the orders I sent out over the weekend. I have a few more to get together as well. It was great to be busy with this :).

I will keep the blog updated with plans for the future. I am praying about it and already have some ideas of how things might be done better and how I could streamline some of the parts that take more time. So we'll see.

Also, thanks to all who are praying about my heart. I actually received a call last night from my cardiologist with some great news about the most recent heart monitor test. I'll see him next week to go over results and have another ultrasound, but at this point it looks like maybe I just had some delayed positive results from the ablation procedure. So thanks to all who are praying. God is good all the time, and we're so blessed to be here at all to serve Him and bring Him glory.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why I'm Closing Up Shop

Well there's a long story for this, and a short one. The short reason is that I need to take a step back and focus on other things right now, with the hope that I can continue with Radical Crafts in the near future.

The long reason is actually several reasons:
  • Blogging - as someone who received her minor in Writing, you might think I'd enjoy the blogging process. And there are definitely parts of it I enjoy. However, the networking thing is just not for me. I'm so grateful for the bloggers and friends who have helped me along the way these past few months, but the truth is that it's a ton of work to write a blog that gets enough attention to drive business to your shop. And that's just not my passion. I like writing, but I don't have time to link up with party after party in the hopes that people will visit my blog and then visit my shop. I know that's the process, and I totally respect it. I just don't have time for that game right now. Speaking of which, reason #2 is:
  • Time - Erik and I both feel like I need to take some time off to plan and create and spend some hours praying about what Radical Crafts might be in the future. In the meantime, I need to get a lot more organized and intentional with my days. I'm currently reading Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider and it's amazingly helpful with this process. I highly recommend it. She speaks a lot about the need to be intentional about your family's purpose statement. Come up with one, and make sure everything in your home and all the ways you spend your time serve your family's purpose. So that's a process we're going through right now as well.
  • Health - a lot of this decision has come about as a result of some health issues I'm currently having. Two years ago (when our daughter was 1) I was told I had a heart condition. It's been a long process of determining what that means, and we were told we shouldn't have more children. But the Lord is so gracious and our doctor came back and said he thought it would be okay. So we have our son - an amazing blessing. But after he was born things went downhill a bit for my heart, so I had a catheter ablation in February to try to fix the problem. We thought it had been effective, but a recent report showed I'm still having problems and so I'm currently on a couple of medications. Hopefully these will help, but in the meantime they are causing some fatigue and dizziness. So I'm trying to simplify my schedule a bit in the hopes that I'll have more energy to devote to my family.
 So that's novel form. I am hopeful that God will reveal another ministry to support in a few months and that I can start building up stuff for the shop again. Or maybe He has another plan altogether. What a joy to be able to seek Him in His Word and know that He is sovereign in our lives. 

Hopefully I'll be posting once or twice a week, but for now the shop will be closed starting this coming Sunday (May 1st).

Thank you all for your support, and I ask for your prayers while we wait and see what this ministry might be in the future. 

Closing the shop isn't easy for me. I'm typically the kind of person with a plate piled miles high with commitments. And quitting one is so painful - mostly for my pride. Admitting I can't do it all...not great. But I'm confident this is the right thing for now. So we'll see what happens :)

4 More Days

There are just FOUR days left to order from the shop before it closes for a yet-to-be-determined period of time. 
Be sure to check it out daily - I'm adding new stuff all the time. And be sure to order when you see something you like to make sure someone else doesn't snatch it up first. There are some great items that have been donated by sweet sisters who are giving in order that others across the world might know the ultimate Giver of all good things.

Here's a little look at some of the stuff just added to the Radical Crafts shop.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dream BIG

I just wanted to do a quick post about an awesome joint-venture going on for a family who is adopting a precious boy named Sergey through an organization called Reece's Rainbow. Many bloggers and shop owners have come together to put on a massive fundraiser for this family and TONIGHT is the last night to give and enter a HUGE giveaway.

Even if you're not in time to participate in the giveaway, I encourage you to check out the organization and the journey this family is on. They love the Lord and believe adopting Sergey is something He wants them to do, so they're following in obedience. God is so good.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Shop Sale!

Since this is the last week for Radical Crafts to benefit E3 Kids International in their ministry to orphans in Kenya, I'm having a HUGE sale.  

Everything in the shop is 30% OFF
Just be sure to enter the code E3KIDS to have 30% taken off your whole order.

I would love to have an empty shop in one week, but I need all of you to help me with that. Please pass the shop link along to your friends - there are some great things that have been donated that would make super Mother's Day gifts! Remember, ALL profits go to E3 Kids!

I'm also hoping to add a few more things this week - key fobs, hair clips, and some great jewelry that was just given to me today by a friend from church.

Next Sunday (May 1st) I'll be closing the shop indefinitely. I'm hoping to open it back up in a month or two, but right now my husband and I are just praying about what I need to do with it. More on that this week, but just know that if you've had your eye on something in the shop, don't wait! This could be your last chance to get it!

Thanks to all of you...hope you have a great week!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


 I was just in the kitchen glazing my ham for tomorrow (my first time making ham...seems pretty simple, but it wouldn't be the first "simple" thing I've managed to ruin. And there's no seam ripper for ham) and I was thinking about the disciples and friends and family members who were so crushed the day after Jesus died. I cannot imagine the anguish. To think that this Man you've spent 3 years of your life following had just died - and none of His promises had come to fruition (at least not the ones they cared about).

And here I am. Baking a ham and getting my home ready to welcome several friends for a lunch in celebration of the Resurrection. 
I know what the disciples didn't know. 
That the next day would change EVERYTHING
A few years ago my pastor preached a sermon in which he asked this question:

Is the only explanation for your life the Resurrection?

He went on to say, "We shouldn't be straining to explain and defend the resurrection; the world should be trying to explain us without the resurrection. Our lives shouldn't make sense without it."

Just something to think about as I glaze my ham, so blessed to know what came on the third day. And striving to live life in light of it.