#enditmovement

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Think slavery is a thing of the past?  Today there are 27 million men, women, and children enslaved.   Want to make an impact and SHINE A LIGHT ON SLAVERY?  Join me and draw a RED X on your hand today.  Use your influence and tell the world that slavery still exists.

Let’s be the generation to stand up for the 27 million trapped in slavery in our world today.  I’m in it to end it. Are you?

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Spring/Summer 2014 Noonday Collection

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It’s here! Noonday Collections 2014 Spring/Summer line! It is breathtaking! Over 8,800 lives from 14 countries are impacted through our purchases!

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Today is also the day that the Noonday blog train kicks off! Every day for the next month a different Noonday Ambassador is hosting a giveaway on their blog and sharing how Noonday has impacted their life! Today my sweet friend, Wynne, is giving away a $50 Noonday Gift Voucher! Head on over to her blog, Gloriously Ruined, to enter and to hear about a sweet family she is going to bless this spring with her Noonday business!

Good news from Ethiopia!

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We have been in a little bit of a holding pattern this past month.  The day after Christmas we found out that meetings were taking place in Ethiopia to determine the future of international adoption.  Throughout our adoption process I knew this was always a possibility but it still came as a shock to my system to think that Ethiopia would close it’s doors on adoption.  Throughout this period of waiting our agency was upbeat that Ethiopia would not totally close to adoption. They are not quick to want to pacify you with a response they think you want to hear. Instead I feel like they wait to relay information to us after it has been confirmed and is factual.  I was hopeful based on their response but still prone to worry at the same time. Oh do I like to worry and dwell on the what ifs!!! I still struggle so much with giving all of my anxieties to the Lord and resting COMPLETELY in Him.

Today we finally got word from our adoption agency that Ethiopia does NOT plan to stop adoptions. MOWYCA officials plan to focus on eliminating bad practice in Ethiopian adoptions and focus on good practice. We are grateful that the Ethiopian government does not want to shut down adoptions within Ethiopia!! I know that there is the possibility of reform to come but we are ok with that.

Tonight we will give thanks to God for this good news and answer to our prayers!

Click here to read the full blog post from our agency.

Noonday Ambassador Conference 2014

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This past weekend I got to attend the Noonday Ambassador conference in Texas. I knew it would be good ya’ll but it was better than good. It was LIFE CHANGING good! We kicked off the festivities with drinks at Olive and June in Austin.  It was a little intimidating walking into a room with 120 world changing woman.   Of course they were all super sweet, SO much fun and amazing!

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The Oklahoma Ambassadors

Before we left Austin to head to our retreat center in the hill country we had a fun brunch at Jessica’s house and then went on a tour of the home office.  Some of my favorite conversations of the whole weekend took place in Jessica’s kitchen.  I got to talk with two Ambassadors that have been with Noonday since it started and hear about how much Noonday has grown.

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Noonday headquarters

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On Friday afternoon we got to hear our founders speak about their “why” (why they started Noonday). They asked a few ambassadors what their “why” was and so I got to share in front of 120 ambassadors how I came to be a part of Noonday.  I was so nervous to speak in front of that many people but I feel like God has used Noonday to really get me out of my comfort zone!  He has used Noonday to open my eyes to SO much this past year.  Two years ago I didn’t know that much about shopping with a purpose, HIV, orphan prevention, and modern day slavery. But NOW, I can’t stop talking about these things.  These are normal everyday conversations I now get to have with friends and other women at my trunk shows.

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One of my most favorite parts of the weekend was getting to hear our lead Ugandan artisan, Jalia, share her story.  Her and her husband were the first artisan’s that Noonday partnered with.  Noonday ( and JESUS) has literally lifted her family out of poverty through sustainable job creation.  By some miracle I got to sit next to sweet Jalia at dinner. We chatted about her family and mine over a delicious meal.  She showed off picture of her kids and asked me about mine. Over the course of dinner we somehow figured out that we are similar in age.  It was so humbling to be in her presence and I felt guilty for the life that God has blessed me with.  Why did she grow up in poverty and I didn’t? I am so grateful that my eyes have been OPENED and I am forever changed.  It is a JOY and an HONOR to get to work for Noonday to share with other women about Jalia and the Ugandan artisan group.

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Over the past year I have gotten to connect with many of the ambassadors online but had not gotten to meet them in person.  It was SO fun to finally get to meet them in real life and hug their necks. I loved hearing their stories.  We come from such different backgrounds and live all over the U.S. but yet we are all united in the same mindset, the same mission.

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These three sweet friends (Wynne, McCall and Ashley) are all adoptive mama’s I have gotten to know via facebook. I love when online friends become real life friends! They have each been such an encouragement to me in our adoption process. I love that our worlds collide via Noonday and adoption!

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On the last day of the conference we got to meet sweet Tessa.  If you don’t already know her story you can read about it here!  Tessa’s mom came to speak us on Sunday morning and she shard Tessa’s adoption story.  They waited FIVE years for Tessa.  Her talk was so encouraging to me while we are in the waiting stage of the adoption process.

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Travis and Jessica, Jesus has used each of your stories and your faithfulness to say “YES” to his plan to turn my world upside down this past year.  In the words of Ann Voskamp, ” Now is the time to let your life be poured out as ink in a epic story of bold sacrifice and starling courage. Now is the time to live upside down. Christ is the Truth who whispers that giving yourself for one person is how you really change the world”

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SO what are you waiting for?  The spring line launches FEBRUARY 20th!!!  Contact me to host a show today! If you aren’t local you can connect with someone in your area through the Noonday website.

For behind the scenes footage of the Noonday Ambassador conference you can check out this amazing video!


Orphan Love Mud Run 2013

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In October Ben and the boys ran the Orphan Love Mud Run. Ben did the 5k and the little’s did the kids mud run. We were one of the eleven families that benefited from the concert and race proceeds. It was such a fun way to fundraise and get friends involved in our adoption process.

Here are a few pictures from the race!

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Several of our friends drove an hour and twenty minutes each way to run in the mud with our boys. And did I mention it was stinkin cold and that day? True friends right there!

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Two other couples/families that are dear friends of ours were also benefiting families from the race. I love that we were able to fundraise together! In the end It’s a Child’s Life was able to raise close to $18,000 which was   split among the 11 families.  We are so grateful to have been part of this fundraiser! It made a big dent in helping us to have the funds to accept a referral some day.

A BIG thank you to everyone who sponsored us in the race and came out to run the race along side our family!

Route 66 Half Marathon

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I did it! I ran my first half marathon this past weekend. I have wanted to run a half for the past two years and I am glad I can finally cross it off of my bucket list!

SO many of my friends texted me Friday, Saturday, and even the morning of the race (Sunday) sending encouraging words and lots of “Good Lucks!” I truly have such an amazing group of friends that the Lord has blessed me with in OK.

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It was a cool 23 degrees on the morning of the race. Not exactly my idea for good race conditions! I was honestly just grateful that it was not snowing or sleeting in Tulsa because it was doing both back home during our race.

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I loved getting to run my first half with my running crew. I am so grateful for these three sweet friends and that we could have a fun girls weekend away together in Tulsa!

Orphan Love Mud Run

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We are so excited to share that we will be one of the benefiting families at this year’s Orphan Love Mud Run!  Adoption fundraising through running?  Yes, please!!  When we started the adoption process I really wanted to find some fun ways to fundraise and a run is just what I had in mind.  I love that Ben and I can use one of our hobbies (running!) to help us raise money to bring our daughter home.

The Orphan Mud Run is put on by It’s A Child’s Life Foundation.  They are a  non-profit ministry, started by families in Ada, Oklahoma with love for orphans and a calling to help in any aspect of orphan care.  It is their vision to follow God’s heart for orphans by assisting & enabling Christians to take immediate action towards ending the crisis that exists today, both locally and worldwide.

You can support us by registering to run the race. To Register for the 2013 Orphan Love Mud Run go to:  https://earlysignup.com/orphanlovemudrunIf you aren’t a runner or you live out of state you can still be involved! If you would like to support our family, as well as the other adopting families in the race, you can send an email to support@itsachildslife.org to become a sponsor and give a tax-deductible donation.

Adoption Trunk Show: Mc Donald’s

This year my goal with Noonday has been to have half of my trunk shows be adoption shows.  I really want to bless other families by helping them fundraise for their adoptions. Now that we are at the half way point of the year I am happy to report that 9 out of my 18 shows have been adoption trunk shows.  The Lord is SO good in granting even the smallest requests!

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Last December one of my good friends Jenny hosted my first ever adoption trunk show to benefit her sister Christy and her family.  I have gotten to know this family over the last year and have been so encouraged and inspired by them.

This past June they brought their daughter home from Haiti!  Click here to watch their homecoming video.  Grab a box of tissues while you are at it! To read more of their story you can visit Christy’s blog.

image and video:: Nicole Hager Photography

DTE

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We submitted our dossier to our agency at the beginning of June and on 6/28/2013 we were officially  DTE!! The picture of the email from our family coordinator sums it up. We are now done with the paperchasing phase and are officially on the waiting list. DTE means Dossier to Ethiopia and as of the 4th of July our dossier made it safely to Ethiopia! I’m so grateful to have this part of the process done and to be one step closer to little sister. I know the waiting will be hard but I am trying to rest in the Lord’s timing. No matter how short or long our wait ends up being it will be the perfect timing!  Thank you to all of our friends and family who have supported us in this journey thus far.

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recipe: whole chicken in a crockpot

I’m on a mission this summer to cook almost all of our meals either in the crockpot or on the grill!  I am all about doing whatever I can to keep the house cooler.  The summer is really the best time of the year to use your crockpot so you don’t have to heat up your kitchen with a hot oven!

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My friend Michelle introduced me to this recipe a few weeks ago when we had dinner at their house. She made cooking a whole chicken so easy that I felt like I could do it too!  And the best part is that you can also make homemade chicken stock after you are done cooking your chicken. win|win!

Ingredients:
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large chicken
Instructions:
  1. Combine the dried spices in a small bowl.
  2. Loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Remove any giblets from the chicken and then rub the spice mixture all over. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin covering the breasts.
  4. Put prepared chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to high. There is no need to add any liquid.
  5. Cook for 4 – 5 hours on high (for a 3 or 4 pound chicken) or until the chicken is falling off the bone.

**My 3.5lb chicken was done in about 3.5 hours.

Don’t forget to make your homemade stock with the leftover bones.

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Chicken Stock Instructions:

Ater you pick off the good chicken meat you can leave the bones in the crock pot to make some stock. After dinner add whatever you have on hand…bay leaf, carrot, celery, onion, parsley and/or thyme. If you are missing one of these ingredients it’s ok! I didn’t have an extra onion so I just left the cooked onion in the crockpot that I had cooked with the chicken. Then fill your crock pot to the top with water. Keep it on low all night and then in the morning strain the broth into several Tupperware containers to store in the freezer.

This recipe is super easy and tastes great! I love that I can make stock so easily. I wish I would have discovered this recipe years ago!

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