Shop Small & Support Adoption

Shop Small & Support Adoption

It’s hard to believe that November is almost here—I feel like I completely missed October. November and December are two of my favorite months—I can finally wear sweaters, scarves and boots; it’s almost time for the holidays; and I get some time off work. Nothing better, right?

You may not realize it, but November is also National Adoption Awareness Month. This is a great month to encourage a family who is praying about adoption, in the middle of the process, or a family who is fostering. (I hope you know a family other than us!) The adoption process is hard, y’all. It’s an emotional roller coaster and there are days where you just want to stay in bed and cry. This month, send a card to a family, bless them with a meal, or just shoot them a text saying you’re praying for them. It’s so easy to feel forgotten and alone during this process, and receiving some encouragement, even if just a text, can lift your spirits.

With that being said, I wanted to highlight a few businesses that have ties to adoption and foster care. Christmas is less than two months away, and if you’re like me, you’re ready to finish (or start!) your shopping. Why not shop small and support families who are growing or have grown their families through adoption? Here are some of my favorites.

Swallows Grace

“Joanna Gaines Is My Spirit Animal.” Isn’t she, though? Buy it here.

Kenzi and Austin Reddick opened their Etsy shop in August 2015 to help cover the costs of their private domestic adoption. Their shop featured coffee mugs with witty sayings, one of which read “Joanna Gaines Is My Spirit Animal.” Chip Gaines even posted a photo of himself on Instagram holding the coffee mug, which helped the Reddicks gain even more business. (Side note: Stephen bought me that mug for my birthday, and I proudly use it because Joanna Gaines is my spirit animal.) Today, the Reddicks are parents to Lane and continue selling coffee mugs and other goods on their shop. I have this mug on my Christmas list.

Follow on Instagram here.

In Our Little Red House

Isn’t this so perfect? I want one to hang over my bed.

I wish I could do hand lettering. It’s just not one of my talents. But it is one of Sarah Thatcher’s talents. I started following Caleb and Sarah Thatcher on Instagram a few months ago. The Thatchers are parents to two cute little boys, both of whom where adopted. Now, they’re adopting again. How exciting is that?! Right now, 100 percent of the profits from their sign-making business go to support their third adoption. I’m a huge fan of the sign above. I want to hang it in the bedroom over our bed!

Follow on Instagram here.

Stamps of Grace

I own this bracelet and love the daily reminder that the Lord is good no matter what.

I started reading Jessica’s blog a couple of years ago, before adoption was ever part of our own story. Her words encouraged me month after month when I would realize, once again, that I wasn’t pregnant. This past year, I ordered a bracelet from her Etsy shop, Stamps of Grace, and connected with Jessica on Instagram. I still read her blog and love following her family’s journey on Instagram. She and her husband are parents to the most adorable kids and they are currently fostering, as well. We’ve never met in person, but her words have been such an encouragement to me.

Follow on Instagram here.

Dear Mushka

The “Together” necklace. I wear it every day.

I met Katie almost nine years ago when I was a freshman in college. I joined a small group at the church I was attending at the time, and Katie was one of the leaders. I grew so much in my spiritual life that year, and that small group was one of the reasons why. Dear Mushka began as a blog in 2010, and in 2013, it became a jewelry brand as Katie and her husband Robert began raising and saving money to adopt their first child. Guys, the jewelry she creates is beautiful. I own several pieces, and I’ve bought several pieces for friends. Each piece comes with a corresponding scripture card. Now, Katie is branching out into apparel and artwork. I’m so amazed at her creativity.

Follow on Instagram here.

Do you know of any other shops that support adoption? What are your favorites?

I Played My Best for Him

I Played My Best for Him

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “The Little Drummer Boy.” It’s a popular song, sung by several different artists. But I think we often miss its meaning.

It’s a simple song, about a little boy who goes to see Baby Jesus.

Come, they [the magi] told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum

Fast forward, and the young boy approaches Baby Jesus and admits he has no gift. After all, what do you bring to a King?

But, he says, he has a drum. He asks if he can play for the King. Mary nods; yes, he can play for her son. He plays his drum, and he plays his absolute best.

And Jesus smiles.

You won’t find the little drummer boy in the scripture; he isn’t part of the biblical narrative of Jesus’ birth. But when I hear this song, I picture a little boy with a silly grin and a toy drum. Maybe a little boy who can’t really play the drums, but likes to think he can. A little boy with childlike faith—who has no doubt that this baby he is visiting is truly a King.

The magi were bringing expensive gifts that he would never be able to afford, so he offered what he could: a song.

Jesus didn’t need that song. But the little boy offered it with humility and his whole heart. And Jesus smiled.

I think, in many ways, we often feel like that little drummer boy. What do we offer to a King? I’m not the richest or the most talented. I often feel like whatever I offer is good enough.

The song’s message reminds me of the story in Luke, where a poor widow came and offered one penny, after the rich gave offerings of large sums. Jesus proclaimed that she gave more because she gave her all.

In the same way, Jesus doesn’t need the gifts we bring Him. But when those gifts are given with humility and our whole heart—like the little drummer boy and the widow in Luke—He’s pleased with us. He smiles at us.

Merry Christmas!

The Birthday Post

Tomorrow is my 24th birthday. (I know I told several people I was turning 25 … I obviously can’t keep track of my own age.) I’ve been thinking a lot about this last year … a lot has changed in my life since my 23rd birthday. Actually, a lot of heartache has happened in the last year. But you know what? A lot of great things have happened since my 23rd birthday—and I’m choosing to focus on the good over the bad. I’ve decided to list four great things that have happened in the last 365 days.

1. Stephen and I joined Westwood Baptist Church in May 2014. Scratch that—we didn’t just join the church. Stephen was hired as the music/worship leader in early May. Joining a church may not seem like a big deal to some people, but we didn’t just join a church—we joined a family. We’ve made great friends and have built wonderful relationships. We eagerly anticipate our fellowship times with this body of believers. Westwood, we love you. You have made this year absolutely wonderful.

2. I learned what defines me — and it’s not my job. Okay, that seems a little weird, doesn’t it? When I lost my job earlier this year, I felt like a part of me died. I know, I know — that seems a little bit extreme. I was so wrapped up in my job title that I forgot what (and who!) really defines me. I am a beloved child of God (John 1:12), a co-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17), and a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). My job doesn’t make me who I am. Yes, I love being a writer and an editor. Yes, that’s part of who I am, but it’s not all of me! Getting laid off taught me an extremely valuable lesson—my identity is in Christ, not my career.

3. I picked up some new hobbies. I am currently learning how to sew with some great friends from church. I’m also teaching myself how to use Photoshop and other photo editing softwares. I have a confession to make … I didn’t really have any hobbies. I love to write and read (and binge out on Netflix), but I’ve never really had any hobbies. I love sewing. I’m still learning, but I’m really enjoying it. Same with Photoshop—I currently suck at it, but I’m learning slowly but surely.

4. I had a really awesome relaxing summer. I’m not going to say this summer was full of sunshine and happiness—there were definitely some rainy days (literally and figuratively). However, I had a really great summer. Friends, if you ever get laid off, I hope it happens at the beginning of summer. And I hope you have a pool. (I don’t really wish unemployment on any of you. But if it ever does happen, summer is a great time.) I spent time by the pool, went on vacation with my family, and watched way too much Netflix. I know I sound really lazy, but I have worked every summer since my freshman year in college. It was nice to kick back and relax this summer.

I really could list more awesome things, but I’ll leave it at four. It’s my birthday weekend, and I refuse to focus on any negative things that have happened this year.

Here’s to 24!