Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fun in the Sun!

Day Two Consisted of:

Putting our toes in the sand.

Catching a few waves.

Building Sandcastles.

Collecting seashells.

Floating in the lazy river.

Playing where the "big bucket dumps."

Avoiding the pool security lady....
{Please disregard the long sleeved shirt.  I came to the beach soooo burnt.}

Getting our R&R on.

Shopping and Eating at Pier Park.

"Desserting" at Kilwin's Candy Factory!

And hunting for crabs.

That can apparently fly.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We Made It!

To Panama City Beach!  Woo-Hoo!!

When we arrived, it was a little hazy outside and thundering, so we lounged around for a bit and threw a pizza into the oven.

After a quick lunch, we enjoyed some time on the beach where we dodged the seaweed and collected some really neat seashells.

We noticed a big commotion a little ways down, so we headed over to check it out.  We had just missed about 75 sea turtles hatching and crawling to the water.  But, we made it over there in time to see the scientists taking out the shells from the nest and charting all their observations.  It was pretty neat.

Of course, P's tractors made the trip and have already got some diggin' action in the sand.

After sunset, we headed to the pool area where P perfected his swimming skills and Daddy practiced his "toss-Perry-high-to-the-sky" skills.  Perry's cackle was just adorable.  He loves his Daddy SO much!

Then, about 9:00, we headed back up to the room and I noticed that I had a missed call from a number I didn't recognize on my phone.  So... I checked my voicemail... and IT WAS A JOB OFFER!!!  For a position that I didn't even interview for!  At my church's Christian school!  Where my best friend just got a job!  For FIRST grade!!!  Three minutes from my house!

So, I called back- 

And happily accepted!!  What crazy, good, unexpected news!  Thank you God for being SO awesome like that.  And lining up the coolest details.  I'm SO excited about this new adventure!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

While I'm Waiting

It is no secret that this adoption wait has been very difficult on me.

I'm a go getter and an over-achiever.

So-when I want something- I work hard and I make it happen.  Normally, pretty quickly.  But this adoption things is completely out of my hands.

I remember last year while we were at the beach wondering if we would have/would know who our daughter was the next time we went to the beach.

Well...we leave for our annual beach vacation this Wednesday with no referral in sight.

Some days I get down and others I can fully rejoice in knowing that God's timing is PERFECT.

We always listen to Pandora as we fall asleep and tonight (as I'm typing this) I heard the MOST PERFECT song that I've listened to many times before, but never really heard until tonight.

And- it is my new FAVORITE song.

Thank you God for wrapping your arms around me tonight through the gift of song.  Your mercies never fail me.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunday Scavenger Hunt

*Don't forget to check out our Auction Blog while you are here.  Lots of great goodies to help bring Ruby-Grace home!!*

Time Together

This past weekend, we took a girls trip (plus Timmy- my uncle and raft guide) to the Ocoee River.  This is my Aunt Becky and sister Melissa-up bright and early at the local deli for a scrumptious breakfast.  Timmy's humor coming from the right side of the photo.   LOVE time together with my fam!


We have SO many tomatoes this year that I've been THRILLED to duplicate my homemade salsa recipe over and over and over and over again!  It is SO yummy!!!

(In a food processor blend: 2 medium tomatoes, 1 small onion, 1 can rotel tomoatoes, 1 clove garlic, 1 jalopeno, 1/3 a bunch of fresh cilantro, 1 lime, a palm full of salt, a palm full of cumin.) 


This little boy has his Auntie Becky completely wrapped around his little finger!  I love that she is already teaching him some of her favorite hobbies!  (Check out those teeny tiny climbing shoes.  Adorable or what?

Tell Me a Story

I can't help but think of all the stories and memories we have made kayaking and rafting over the years.  LOVE that my family loves the water so much!

Love or Couple

Perry loves the Lord with all his heart already.  Mostly, he enjoys saying the blessing before each and every meal.  And snack time.  It's SO funny when we're in a restaurant because he gets SO frustrated at trying to get the entire crowd to be quiet and close their eyes.  I also need to add that for many blessings and every single nighttime prayer- Perry has us kneel on the ground.  Precious times teaching our itty bitty about our Lord and Saviour.

Here is P this day saying his blessing for -oh- about the 17th time!  We were learning a new one this day... I couldn't help but giggle a smidge!

Check out Ramblings and Photos for more amazing Sunday Scavenger Hunts!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Water Baby {Sunday Snapshot}

I L-O-V-E the water.  Any type.

I've often joked that my parents knew I was going to be a water baby, and hence, named me "Brooke." 

Before having Perry, Justin and I were with my family numerous times throughout the summer at the Ocoee River.  (My aunt and her husband own their own raft, several kyaks, and river boards, and my family just LOVES doing the river any way we can!)

But, life gets busy when you have a little bitty, and I hadn't been down the river since before getting pregnant with Perry!!  

Early Morning Kyaker on the Ocoee River, TN
Camera: Nikon D5000
Lens: 50mm f/1.4
Settings: f/5.0 SS1/1600 ISO 200

So...when Becky asked if I'd like to take a rafting trip this past weekend, I jumped on the chance to invite my friend Kristi and hit the aqua!!!  (Justin had prior plans and sweetly gave me the go ahead for an awesome girl's weekend!)

It was SOOOO much fun!  Though I didn't get too many photos during the weekend (water and my camera aren't the best of friends), I do have many fun memories from the weekend to hang onto for quite sometime!

Check out more awesome Sunday Snapshots on Stephanie's blog here:

Ni Hao Yall

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Is the worst for me.  It's normally the time of night that I lie here in bed for about an hour or so, constantly catching myself trying to solve the orphan crisis in my head, all while reminding myself of the starfish story... your efforts matter to one, blah, blah, blah, and trying to count my breathing to get myself to sleep.

I was talking with a friend this afternoon, trying to decide on whether I found my passion for adoption to be the biggest blessing of my life or the biggest curse.  I know that it is one of the most amazing things about this life: to be adopted into God's family and to open up your home and heart to a new little one.  But, at the same time, to be so passionate about something that you don't think you can ever conquer is incredibly draining.  It's a mental battle that I fight daily and that I'm praying nightly that God helps me find my place.  We're adopting.  We sponsor Caroline.  I've been on mission trips.  We send care packages to HJ.  We donate to charities.  But in my heart it is no. where. near. enough.  I KNOW that God is calling me/us to do more for the orphan.

I'm having a very rough night.  Week really.  I knew it was coming though.  You see, our precious HJ will be celebrating her birthday on Thursday and it is breaking me to pieces.  How can this child that we love SO much not be ours?  I don't understand.  I'm sad.  Heartbroken.  And even angry, if we're being honest here.

Ok.  I am angry.  I'm a lot angry.  Like tears spilling out and I'd stomp my feet if I was standing and wouldn't wake Justin up.

I know God has a plan, but at this moment, I'm not seeing it.  I can't even imagine it.  Is it wrong to pray for a sign?  A dream that allows me just a smidgen little glance into what He has planned?  A billboard that reads, "Yo Brooke- Honey, I got this.  Take a chill pill." perhaps?

And in the essence of keeping this blog real and properly journaling our adoption experience {read-all my nutty emotions}, I'm about to hit publish.

But not before I leave you with one of the most amazing articles I've ever read:
It is what sent me over the top tonight.  It's amazing!!!

I don't think you can read it and not be changed.

Click HERE.

Ok- I'm off to solve the orphan crisis for the next hour.  And to pray for my sign... only joking.  Ok, not joking! ;)

**I should also add the disclaimer that I'm only 25 and haven't been doing this thing called Life for too long.  I don't have it all figured out, nor do I think I should.  I'm pretty sure God knew He would have His work cut out for himself when He made me.  I am so thankful I don't have to earn His grace.

Ok- publish.

**Update- ya'll are going to think I'm nuts.  And that's ok.  Because sometimes, you just need a night like tonight.

I have been crying out to God-literally-for about the past hour and a half.  Sobbing.  Pouring out my broken heart to him.  Praying for myself, Justin, Perry, and precious HJ.  Praying for our Ruby-Grace and her foster family.  Praying for all the babies, children, and teenagers who wait.  Those who will always wait.  Praying that God give us guidance through our process.  And a peace that passes all understanding for all the big decisions we have and will need to make.  I prayed a version of these things over. and over. and over again.

And then, I prayed that God would take away all the guilt.

I prayed it really before I even comprehended what I was praying.  My heart was just pouring itself out to a loving God.  And in an instant, it was all clear.  And in that instant, I was calm, quiet, collected, and thankful.  I suddenly had that peace that I had been begging for.

You see, I felt guilty.  I realized right then and there that I was not doubting our decision over HJ's referral, but I have been carrying so much guilt over our decision to release her referral.  Carrying all this guilt around, really without even realizing that was what I was doing.  We do love her, and always will.  She will always be a part of our story, and we will always be a part of hers.  We will continue to pray for her every single day.  And send her care packages until her forever family can find her.  And that's a good thing.  We knew she was not our daughter when we released her referral, and that is ok.  I've said time and time again, I KNOW that God has a plan-it's just sometimes so difficult for me to live that simultaneously in my head and my heart....remember, I'm a work in progress.

When everything first came crashing down, I now remember saying to a sweet lady, "I just feel so guilty."  To which she replied, "If you follow God's lead, you have nothing to worry about.  Guilt is not of God."

I really haven't thought much about that statement until tonight, but tonight, I cling tightly to those words.  It is so true.  God would not lead Justin and me to such a difficult decision, only to burden us with guilt over it.  I refuse to let guilt turn me into an angry, immobile statue.  That's ridiculous.  Statues do nothing for the glory of God.  If I become immobile from guilt, the enemy has won.  I refuse to let the enemy win.  Especially when he's messing with something so close to my heart.

I'm thankful for HJ, and where as it still saddens me that she is not my daughter, I'm not going to feel guilty over it.  Just like God has a plan for my life, He has a plan for hers too.  And I for one know it has got to be an AMAZING plan.  After all, she is one AMAZING little girl!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Coal Mines {Sunday Snapshot}

{Settings: f/3.2 ISO 200 SS 1/400}

A few weeks ago,

on a VERY dreary day,  

we headed out to the coal mines, where my Uncle works

The dump trucks used to haul the coal are


In fact, the CAT 793 is the second largest dump truck they make!

Photos don't do these trucks ANY justice!!

Perry was in dump truck HEAVEN!!

He even got to drive one!!  

He surely does have some pretty cool hook-ups!  Thanks Uncle Douglas and Thompson for letting us come hang out for the afternoon!!

To see more amazing Sunday Snapshots, please visit Stephanie's Blog:

Ni Hao Yall

Also, please hop on over to our Rags to Ruby Auction blog.  We've got lots of goodies to help bring our Ruby-Grace home!!

Our Adoption Timeline

  • June 19, 2011- We are officially "Paper Pregnant!" We have submitted our Waiting Child Application to Holt!
  • July 5, 2011- Submitted our formal Home Study Application to Villa Hope
  • September 6, 2011- Submitted all of our paperwork for our Home Study
  • October 8, 2011- Completed our First Home Visit
  • October 17, 2011- Completed our Second Home Visit
  • November 14, 2011- Home Study Approved
  • December 1, 2011- Filed our I600a
  • February 1, 2012- I600a Approval Letter
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