My love

My love
Photo credit:Britt Lanicek Photography

Monday, March 28, 2011


I have loved to sing pretty much all of my life. I watched my mom sing at church and then I got to see my sister follow in her footsteps. I would just be in awe of their voices. They both had this natural vibrato.. that I just couldn't seem to find. Not to mention the ability to harmonize! While I loved to sing I couldn't seem to overcome the feelings of inadequacy when I compared myself to the voices of others around me. I let this feeling drown out my voice and I stopped trying. I went to a very small country church that sang the good 'ol hymns, that I have come to appreciate and love, but at the time I was a teenager and wanted nothing to do with these old songs. Many times people would ask me if I would lead singing and I would constantly turn them down. Sure, I would sing specials whenever I could get the chance because they were some of the more modern songs that made ME feel like I was singing something worth while. But what I have realized now that I am older is that I totally missed the reason that we sang those old hymns AND I missed out on the support and encouragement from the older generation in our church. I chose to focus on the insecurity I felt by not being as "good" as other singers, including my family. I knew God was calling me to sing but I almost felt paralyzed. When Greg and I went to a bigger church I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to be involved in a worship team that allowed you to sing, no matter your ability. This to me enbodied the whole spirit of worship. God doesn't just want the best of the best to worship... He wants the best of you WHEN you worship. what if you miss a note or mess up the words a little? As long as you bring your whole being to him, he will make it beautiful and it will accomplish HIS purpose... not yours. When Greg and I moved back to Ohio I asked some of the friends we had met at our new church how I would try to get involved in the worship team and to my surprise the ones I was asking were the ones leading worship that week! I love when God coordinates things like that. So to my surprise I was asked to join in that next months worship team. I was a little taken back that there wasn't a grueling audition process that I had experienced in our previous church. But I took the opportunity to be involved anyways. So I sang on 2 different occasions. The last one being the day right before my brain tumor was found. I remember feeling so good after singing that Sunday. I was so thankful that God had allowed me the opportunity to sing again despite the constant rejections and excuses I gave him when I was younger. "But God, theses aren't the songs I am comfortable singing", "But God, I'm not like my mom and my sister. Didn't you hear my voice? I can't sing like them!" So many wasted opportunities! But praise God, I got another chance.
When I was in the Emergency Room that next day, waiting for the prognoses of my condition, I remember praying to God- bargaining with Him that if I could just be OK I would take advantage of EVERY opportunity to sing for Him. I apologized over and over again for missing those chances I had to serve Him, because of my selfishness and lack of faith. I vowed to never miss a chance again! It has been 3 months since then and being fully recovered I took advantage of the chance to sing yesterday- the first time since my surgery. And despite Satan's attempts to remind me of my unworthiness and how much I didn't "deserve" to be the one helping to lead the congregation to worship.. I did it anyways. I kept my focus on WHO I was worshiping, not WHY I was the one up there. So incredibly thankful that God had brought me full circle. From that Sunday in November when I was so unaware of the journey I would begin that next day, to yesterday when I had the privilege to live out the promise I made to God in the ER.
I have a new found passion that I didn't have before because of my insecurities. So, my mission from now on is NOT to question HOW or WHY opportuinites present themselves to me, But to JUST SAY YES, and show up. God will take care of the rest!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What season are you in?

We know that God takes us through seasons of life for a purpose. Winter: is for waiting, Spring: preparing, Summer: enjoying, and Fall: gathering. What season are you in?

One of the things that attracted me to Greg was his view on adoption. I have always had the heart for adoption but did not know if God was leading us there. We have two biological boys and due to my lack of desire to ever be pregnant again.. I had a tubaligation. I loved my boys, but pregnancy was not for me. Some say that they loved being pregnant, but that wasn't the case for me. After Alex was born we decided that if we were to have any more children, it would be through adoption. Over that past 3 years our desire for adoption has increased.  In 2008 we started out doing fostercare, hoping that God would just drop our baby in our lap and we could adopt through a simingly less financially stressful process. Wow, what a journey that was! Although it did not result in us adding to our family, it was a major growth process for us. It opened our eyes to the hurting children that are waiting for a family, as well as helping us come to the realization of our limits as parents. Not everyone is fit to parent every child. Although we did go through training, we weren't prepared to tackle some of the situations we were put in. We are fairly new to the parenting process and thankfully our boys have been "easy" to parent. We had no idea what it was like to care for a child who was wounded by abuse. We had no idea what challenges parenting a child with a mental disability would bring. In our time fosterparenting we had several children for Respite care and one "failed adoption" as I heard someone call it. A 16 yr old boy we had in our home for 7 months and were going through the adoption process. As the adoption date moved closer we soon  decided that this was not a good fit after a course of events took place. I won't go into all of the details, but we did learn a lot through this time and we often think about this young man. The boys still talk about him.Well, we were able to finish our homestudy for adoption in PA and we thought for sure that our child would come. Soon after our PA homestudy was approved Greg took the job in Ohio. We knew that we would have to go through the homestudy process all over again because of this move. I called around and found out about Ohio's fostercare program and Greg and I began training in October of 2010. Our last training was suppose to be December 4th, and as most of you know, that is the day I was released from the hospital after having a craniotomy. We took the last few weeks for me to recover and for us to pray about where God is leading us. I wasn't sure what kind of limitations the brain tumor had left me, but I am so happy to find that I have made a full recovery. After going through this uncertain time, we have grown closer as a couple, as a family. We have been overwhelmed by the love and support from our Christian family and we have realized the true power of our God. We haven't even considered international adoption because of the financial barriers.. until now. The God that saved me is the God that will walk with us through the adoption journey and will remove the barriers that need to be removed. We just have to get out of the way and let Him lead! Over the past few weeks we have had several confirming circumstances that lead us to believe that God is pointing us to International Adoption. Wow, even writing those words terrifies me. This is so major... and it is nothing short of God that will make this happen.

So, what now? Well, we have begun the research process. Trying to get a lot of our questions answered. Looking up what resources are out there and what we can do to spread the word and call on anyone who may feel God leading them to adopt or support us in our endeavor. Please pray for us as we follow God's direction. 

We felt Gods presense throught the winter of this process, even though circumstances confused us, they caused us to grow. We now feel that "spring" is coming and we must begin preparing... but not without His continued leading.
What season of life are you in? Whatever it may be, remember that God has a specific purpose and plan! Make the most of your season!

Update: Doors did not open for us to adopt internationally but we were able to find an amazing Christian based foster care agency and received our license in July 2011. We had a placement and a few respite experiences before God brought our little girl on March 7th, 2012. 8 1/2 months later we welcomed her precious newborn brother into our home. October 13th, 2013 we finalized our adoption and officially welcomed Marlena Marie and Maxwell Antonio into our family. God is GOOD!