Monday, September 24, 2012


We are at the ENT with Julianna. She has had a reoccurring ear infection since May. What scares me about it all is her lymph nodes have been swollen since then, too.

Will you all please lift her up in prayer. I'm just worried sick. Scary things (do not google!) when your lymph nodes remain swollen!!

Thank you!!

Friday, September 14, 2012


It's been quite some time since I blogged. I sure have missed the therapeutic benefits of typing out my thoughts. I am also sure so much time has passed, that I no longer have readers! LOL!

April was my last entry! Gracious! That seems like a life time ago. A lot of big things have happened since then! Days after I blogged last, Julianna and I went on our trip to South East Asia! It was the trip of a lifetime.  We were gone 15 days! I will share more details of that awesome trip soon!

Things are finally settling down after a long, hard summer. I lost my precious grandmother in July, and then Brad lost his grandfather one week later.  I have to say, it was a very difficult time for our family. On top of the losses, I have been dealing with crippling anxiety/fear.

It's been a craptacular few months to say the least. I hope though, as I share some of my experiences and the things that have helped me overcome the difficult times, it will encourage someone out there.

So I have lots to share! I do hope someone will be here to read along.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I can't believe in less than 48 hours, I will be somewhere over the USA on my way to China! So surreal! Anyway, I wanted to let everyone know that while I am gone, I will be posting on a shutterfly site. Originally, I was going to post here and put photos to share on shutterfly. I just think for the sake of convenience, I will just post everything there. I am not sure how much time I am going to have, so if I can post everything from one place, that would be best.

As far as I know, is not blocked in China, whereas Facebook and blogger are.  If you would like to follow along on our journey, the website is...

I hope you will follow along! Feel free to make comments if you want! Unless of course you have something ugly to say, then well, don't.

Yay! I am ready. Of course, it is taking every ounce of my strength to fight the growing knot in my tummy anticipating saying goodbye to my boys. I am not ready for that!

Well, I guess I am off! I have to get my house prepared for my departure. If you happen to see my boys and they look dirty or hungry, please help them! HAHA!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


We are leaving in under two weeks! ACK! 12 days to be exact. That seems crazy to me. I have begun packing and getting things organized. I kept emailing Shane to ask him if we had secured domestic flights and hotels - he always said, "Not yet!" So I begged him to let me make the travel arrangement for us. The ticking clock was beginning to stress me out. Shane and I are very much a like, with a lot in common, yet this is clearly one of our major differences. I am such a planner, I can't sleep at night until everything is secured.  I truly missed my calling as a travel agent.

Anyway, so I have been hard at work. It's been so much fun! I tried to do a little (yeah right) research on hotels and flights, so when he did tell me to go ahead and book us, I would be ready to go.  Finally I wore him down and he gave me the go ahead! WOOT! HAHA!

Julianna and I leave the US on Tuesday morning, the 17th. We will arrive in Hong Kong on the night of the 18th (it will be early morning here). It will take us approximately 24 hours to travel there. I have to be honest, the thought of being on a plane for 15 hours with no laundry to do, meals to cook, or phone to answer thrills my heart. Twenty four hours of just sitting with my best girl. Ahhhhh.

Anyway, we will get to Hong Kong a couple of hours before Shane and the girls. We will be staying at the Novotel City Gate near the Hong Kong airport. It looks pretty nice. We have a full day free on Thursday and part of the day free on Friday to do a little sight seeing. I don't know what the other people in my little group (Shane, Juju, me and two Australian ladies that are helping the ministry.) would like to do, but I am open to whatever they want. One of the girls mentioned DisneyLand - which we would love, of course. At the same time, I want to see the city. I can see the Mouse anytime. It really doesn't matter though.

We will leave HK Friday evening. We are flying on a direct flight to Guilin, China. Once we get there, we will stay one night because it is quite a drive to Yangshuo, where we will be for the week. We have to be in Yangshuo by early evening on Saturday, so I am hoping to do a little sight seeing in Guilin before we head there. At the very least go to the carrefour or Walmart to get some supplies (and by supplies I mean Coke. LOL. Lots and lots of Coke.) From what I understand, there is no large store like that in Yangshuo.  I have arranged a private van to take us, so it will be a little easier to navigate without a facilitator.

We will be in Yangshuo from Saturday until Friday. However, one of the ladies and myself will be traveling to the orphanage in Hengyang either on Wednesday or Thursday. We will have the opportunity to love on the little ones there for a day or two (hoping for two!).

From there, we will be heading back to HK for a flight out Saturday morning to Singapore. We will have the privilege of staying with one of Shane's friends there, so no hotels to arrange. Shane will stay in Singapore a full week, but Juju and I will be heading back to the states on May 2nd.

I am wondering about what type of weather we will have. I guess I will just pack layers. If anyone has been to the cities I am traveling to, I would love input. When we visit the orphanage, we will be traveling via high speed train and going through Changsha.

I plan to blog the whole time, should anyone want to follow along. I will create a shutterfly site for photos too.

So that is my update! Can't believe it's so close!

Monday, March 26, 2012


Sorry that I am having to address this on my blog, but I have no other way of contacting you.  No, we were not able to complete our adoption, and no one is more upset about that than we are. Devastated doesn't even begin to cover it. I can guarantee you, any money donated to us was used for adoption fees/costs. Not ONE cent was used for any thing not adoption related. We paid $30,000 total for our adoption. I can tell you that approximately $27,000 of that came out of MY pocket. If you would kindly email me your address and name, I can get you a check out in today's mail to refund your donation. jackjujam at is my email address.

I will share something else that I intended to keep to myself. We donated a large amount of money to various foundations (such as International China Concern), several families that were in the process of adopting, as well as a couple of random people that needed help financially. We felt it was a way of "paying it forward" for the donations we received. We were not able to track down the handful of people that donated to us to refund their money. We thought the next best thing was to give it away to people in a similar situation, the orphan and the poor.

I will be looking forward to your email. If you could also tell me the amount of money you donated, that would be helpful. Like I said, I insist on refunding your money. Thank you so much for making bringing light to the way you feel. I hope it helps you feel better to have it off your chest.


I would say within an hour of posting my last entry, I knew what my decision was! We are going! I am so excited! Julianna is, too! She is such a good traveler and so "go with the flow",  I was never really concerned about her being able to handle it. My biggest concern was the logistics and having only been to China once, I wasn't sure how to work it out. Last time I went, I had someone take care of every detail and I was never really alone. This time, I will be on my own to some extent, so I just wanted some seasoned travelers to chime in!

Thanks so much girls! I knew I could count on you! I am going to be making our travel arrangements today or tomorrow! Count down is on! THREE WEEKS!

Now to address my "anonymous" friend that commented on my last post. It's funny to me that you said you have been reading my blog for a while, and "have never seen someone with so much doubt". Hm. I find this interesting. Clearly, you haven't been reading my blog as long as you think. Doubt is not really something I struggle with. I have a relationship with my Father built on trust.  In my previous post, I was merely asking if timing/transportation, etc, sounded realistic. I don't typically travel around the world alone with a 7 year old. I wanted to be sure that it was physically possible. Once I found out that I would make my already scheduled flight out of the country, it was a no brainer. I just wasn't sure if the timing could all be worked out. I have literally a 24 hour window. I have a flight leaving for Singapore scheduled early Saturday morning. So, I need to be in Hong Kong Friday night. I wasn't sure if planes, trains and automobiles (and crossing a border) could make it a possibility in such a narrow window of time. You also mentioned that I am "so blessed by this opportunity and don't even realize it"... I know a "few" people - such as my friends, my pastor, my family, my waitress at lunch yesterday, the guy in the Walmart check out, among countless others that would argue that you are wrong. See, that is also a part of faith - I don't "doubt" this is a huge opportunity and a huge blessing. One that I am incredibly grateful for, and have been preparing for, for some time.

Maybe you should find another blog to read - clearly mine ruffles your feathers too much. Good luck with finding that perfect person/blog though - there aren't many of us out there that do not have moments of insecurity or fear. Keep in mind that most bloggers (I would even dare to say ALL) are human and may momentarily have periods of doubt, despair, etc. You may have to reach deep down to encourage someone in a kind manner if you are going to comment. If you find you can't do that... feel free to keep your comments to yourself.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


I know most of my bloggy friends are adoptive mommies. I need help from you guys! Well, I need help from anyone that could consider the orphan rather than the inconvenience.

Here's the sitch:

I will be spending my time in China with the volunteers/workers of International China Concern. I have mentioned them in the past, but just as a reminder, they are a faith based organization that devotes their lives to special needs orphans of China.

They have graciously offered to allow us to travel to the orphanage and see the work they do, and love on the children (!!!!!!!!!). Be still my heart. Ok, anyway, here is the concern - we will be in Yangshuo. Their closest orphanage is in HengYang. It is a 6 hour train ride. My cousin, Shane, will not be able to travel there due to his speaking schedule. There will be two other girls with us (and Julianna, my 7 year old.). I am unsure if the two girls will want to go to the orphanage or not. I can go without them, if they don't want to go.

Here is where the advice needed comes in... the schedule would be leave late Thursday night to take the overnight train from YangShuo to HengYang. We would arrive in HengYang at 8:45 am. Spend the day in the orphanage and catch the speed train in the evening to Shenzhen. We would then have to cross the border into Hong Kong. So in a course of 24 hours, it would be two trains, work in a orphanage and cross the border.

Is this something that sounds reasonable to do alone? Will it be an ok idea to do if the other two girls accompany me? Or is it something that is just too much to try to accomplish in a short period of time?

I am worried that *this* is my chance - the whole reason I have been on this journey for 5 years. To care/love show Jesus to little ones that need it so desperately. My parents are adamant that this is ridiculous to even consider. Honestly, it hurts my heart that they can't see the big picture, but whatever.

I wanted someone's advice that has been to China. Someone that can be realistic, while considering my heart for these little ones.

Ok... Flood me with advice! PLEASE!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Where did I leave off??? Oh yeah, the procedure and recovery!

I went to my "consultation" appointment on Thursday (the 23rd of Feb). I really felt "consultation" was a little misleading.  The "screening" was more what I thought the consultation would be like. The appointment on Thursday was 3 hours long. They did every test known to man. I have decided they need to rename their appointments - the first appointment should be the consultation. The second appointment, should be the pre-operative appointment. Too bad they didn't ask my opinion. LOL.

Anyway, I was really holding my breath during that three hour appointment because I was afraid the doctor would tell me that I really wasn't a good candidate. At this point my mind was made, and to turn back would have been so sad! Anyway, all went well that day, and he cleared me for surgery.

So the next morning, I got there at 9:30. I was told I was the first surgery of the day, so I wouldn't be there very long. They took me back immediately and began to prep me. The prep was really just rechecking the measurements from the day before, cleaning my eye area and putting in lots of drops. When I say lots of drops, I don't think your mind can truly fathom how many.  LOL. I felt like my eye balls would look like prunes when we were done.

Right before I went in the surgical suite, the doctor came in and "marked" my eyeball. Truly weird to think about. I guess it makes sense though... they do that for other surgical procedures. Anyway, next thing I knew, it was my turn!

I went into the surgical suite and got comfy on the table. When I laid (lied?) down, the technician game me two stress balls to hold. I have to be honest, that scared me worse than the procedure. I kept thinking, why do I need stress balls? And I going to be stressed? The doctor came in at that point and got started.

Initially, they taped my eyelashes down. Weird. Then they gave me more drops. They used this little retractor thing to crank open my eye and to prevent me from blinking. Let me say that this was the most stress inducing thought before the procedure. The thought of not blinking for any length of time freaked me out. I would "practice" not blinking before I went, and I never made it more than a few seconds. I couldn't wrap my mind around how I could not blink. I was also worried about seeing everything they did. Obviously, you are wide awake during the procedure, and the thought of "watching" it all completely unnerved me.

Well, I have to tell you not blinking is a non issue. They are using so many drops, you don't feel the need to blink. Never once did I think, man! I need to blink! Another thing that still seems odd to me, is I never really saw anything they were doing. I don't know if it was because it was so close or what, but other than shadows and a few colors, I couldn't make anything out.

Once he got my eye taped down, and cranked open, he cut the flap. I am not sure why he cuts the flap and other doctors create the flap with the laser, but it didn't seem to really make a difference. One person suggested the doctor was using an older method, but based on my research, that isn't the case. I guess it's just preference. So he used this little disposable blade to cut open the flap. He told me at this point, everything would go black for a second. Praise God he communicated with me, because that was a little scary. It went away after a few seconds though. Once the flap was cut, he positioned the laser.

Keep in mind that up until this point, there was no pain whatsoever. I mean none. No discomfort either. I could feel them doing stuff, but no different than lightly rubbing your eye. When the laser came on, I got nervous again because, well, because it's a freakin' laser. I could see a faint flashing red light and a morse code type sound. It literally lasted 30 seconds. Then it was done. DONE. One thing that may bother some people was the smell. It didn't bother me though, because I have been to the dermatologist enough to know what that smell is. It isn't a bad smell, just a burning smell. Ok, let's not linger there.

He then programmed the laser to the do the second half of my treatment. Remember the "double card" treatment? Once he programmed that in, the laser came on for another 30 seconds and it was done. They flushed my eye really good, put the flap back over, took off the tape and it was finished. It took literally 4 minutes from start to finish.

The right eye proved to be a little more difficult, but I don't know why. He explained it to me, but I didn't really understand. This time, it did hurt a little, but not because of the procedure. What hurt was the instrument used to create the suction (to keep your eye from moving). The suction itself didn't hurt, but the instrument hurt my cheek a little. That didn't happen on the first eye, so I really think it was a fluke.

Anyway, otherwise same process. Over in less than 4 minutes total. When they were done, they sat me up and walked me to the exam room. At this point, I could see pretty well as far as the acuity was concerned, but the quality was not good. Every thing was very cloudy. My depth perception was wonky too.

He looked at my eye really good, gave me more drops and sent me on my way. I was instructed to go home and rest my eyes for about 4 hours. At this point, I could see the eye chart around 20/40.

I was home eating lunch by 11:30. Like I said before, I was in the surgical suite no more than 10 minutes. While I was eating lunch, I was checking my email via my phone. I had no problems reading anything.  I took a 4 hour nap and felt great afterward.

When I woke up, things were still pretty cloudy. I could watch tv ok, it just wasn't great. Even though it was cloudy, I had NO pain or discomfort. When I woke up the next morning, I could see pretty well. I actually drove myself to the post op appointment. At that point, I was seeing 20/15 in the right and 20/25 in the left. My right eye was still cloudy, and as it turned out, it stayed cloudy for about a week or so.

I have to be honest, I looked awful. I had two huge red bruises on my eye balls. For about a week, my vision wasn't very stable. In fact, I was starting to get nervous. I really felt like my depth perception should have been better. Things like stepping off curbs and looking out over a distance was very... weird. I worried that it might be my new normal. Sometimes it would be very blurry, but then it would clear up. On Monday morning, I called the office. The tech told me that was completely normal and was expected.

I could drive fine, read fine, watch tv fine. It was just off - I can't really describe it. Well, on Monday a week later (10 post op days later), it was like night and day. I woke up and all of the issues were gone. The way the doctor explained it to me was like this - my brain had adapted to having my old vision. To change it drastically like that, my brain had to catch up. Kind of like getting a new prescription in your glasses, except worse. The worse your vision was going in, the longer it would take to stabilize. Makes sense. So 10 days post op and it was awesome. I mean really awesome. I felt like I was in a dream. It's been almost 4 weeks, and I still find myself reaching for my glasses!

With both eyes open, I can see 20/15. However, my left eye, which was the worst, is only at 20/25. I can choose to have an enhancement if I want. At this point, I am not sure. He said to give it 2 more months. It takes that long to really stabilize. We will see. 20/25 is still darn good, I think. As easy as the surgery was though, it would be a shame to not do it again, if it will make it perfect.

Sometimes, there is pain in the right eye now, but it is because I am not using the lubricating drops like I am suppose to. LASIK makes your eyes incredibly dry, so for 2 months or so, you have to use moisturizing drops a few times a day. When I forget, my right eye starts to burn a little from excessive dryness. Drops make it feel better though.

So that's it. I have had the best possible experience. I would recommend LASIK to anyone that is considering it. It has literally changed my life. Besides the obvious gift of SIGHT, I am more confident. I can do things I was unable to do before - like swim, watch 3D movies and actually wear the glasses, lay (lie?) on the couch and watch tv, wear sunglasses, etc...

If you are considering it, I would highly recommend it. Do your research though, and make sure you go to a reputable doctor. If you find a doctor that offers a two for one deal, or like a $500 per eye price, I would probably find another one. LOL.

The surgeon I used has a great, informative website. Maybe you could start there - Lots of good info!

So that is it. All done. All good. Best decision ever!

Just a little funny - Brad's vision is perfect. So perfect in fact, when we went for our physicals, the doctor asked him to read the smallest line he could on the eye chart. He said, "Um. Copyright 1995." PUNK. He could actually see the copyright on the very bottom corner of the chart. I swear that day, I wanted to punch him straight in the throat. Whatevs. Then, as if that wasn't bad enough, he said to me after my surgery, "Hm. Michele, do you think if I got LASIK I could read like 20/5? Or do you think I could see smells? How about see through time?"  I had to walk away. Seriously. What a punk. I told him he just felt bad now that I could see as well (although probably not as well) as he could. We now have contests in the car seeing who can read the road signs the quickest. Just for the record - I am giving him a run for his money! LOL!

Monday, March 19, 2012


In the fall, I began noticing that my eye sight just wasn't as good as it used to be (which wasn't saying much, honestly). I made an appointment with my doctor in December for an exam. My vision actually hadn't changed at all, so he told me that I didn't need to update my glasses. Y'all, I have worn glasses my entire adult life (20+ years). I longed for the freedom of wearing contact lens, but my astigmatism prevented me from wearing soft lenses. While they do make contact lens for people with an astigmatism, they didn't really offer much for people with an astigmatism as bad as mine.

*Pet Peeve Insert* I just have to add - when people say to me, "Oh, yeah, I have a BAD astigmatism!", while they were wearing the newest, coolest, extended wear disposable contacts. If your astigmatism is "bad", you can't wear soft contact lenses - and you most certainly can not wear the disposables.

Carrying on... So, I talked to my doctor about contacts. He told me that he could put me in soft lenses, but my vision would not be 100%. He didn't recommend them at all. He did suggest gas permeable lenses, but warned me, while it would correct my vision 100%, they are extremely uncomfortable and hard to get used to. I was determined, so I said I would give them a try.

So I get my new contacts, and I was blown away. My vision was so crisp and clear. My visual acuity was about the same as with glasses, but my quality of vision was drastically better. I didn't know what I had been missing for so long. I instantly fell in love with them and swore off glasses forever.

Until a week later... I got this weird "film" over the lens, that went away when I cleaned them, but came back almost instantly. It was as if I was looking in a bathroom mirror and some one turned a hot shower on. It gradually started to fog, until within minutes, it was completely covered and I couldn't see at all.

We tried multiple types of gas perms. We tried every solution under the sun. The only option after a month and a half of fighting the fog, was to go back to glasses.

It was heart breaking. I had to go back to vision that was not great, after seeing so well for a month (when it wasn't foggy!). No more cute sunglasses. No more pretty eye shadow. No more head bands. I was so sad.

After talking to Brad, I decided to go for a LASIK consultation. I had been told so many times that I didn't qualify, but I thought surely with advances in technology, I might qualify now.

I decided to use a doctor in my hometown, Charleston, because well, I am always looking for a reason to go home. I pack my kiddos up and we head down.

I had my screening and they did all kinds of measurements. When it was over, I was told that they did believe I would be a candidate, but I would require a "double card" treatment. Turns out, I technically do not qualify, however, there were ways around it. I actually was nervous because this "double card" treatment sounded kind of shady.

I came home from my screening and researched LASIK to death. The double card treatment is actually not FDA approved in America. However, it is ok in other countries. The jest of what double card means is they program the laser to correct half of your vision - like half of the prescription. When it's done, they re-program it to finish the prescription off. Basically, you are getting the procedure done twice. A lot of doctors aren't willing to do this - but a lot are. It is proven to be a safe way to "get around" the limitations of the laser machine. The doctor I went to has done 1000's upon 1000's of procedures, and a lot of them requiring the double card treatment.

The more I researched, the more I felt this was a completely safe procedure and the only way I would ever be a candidate.

So I called the office and scheduled my surgery! They were super nice and willing to schedule my 3 hour pre op appointment on a Thursday and surgery the next morning, so I wouldn't have to make two trips to Charleston.

So I was officially scheduled. All I had to do was wait for the big day!

Stay tuned for part two. The procedure and recovery.  In case you are wondering why I am blogging about this, it's because I so want to share about my experience. I want to journal it all while it's fresh in my memory. I hope that maybe someone will stumble across my blog that can benefit from my experience. When I was researching, I would have really liked to read a blog with first hand experience.

Also stay tuned for another blog post about my latest in-depth bible study from Shane Willard Ministries. Shane continues to blow my mind with presenting the bible from a Hebrew perspective. To truly understand the bible as it was written, you must understand the euphamisims of that time. I tell you, I have never considered this stuff before, but it opens the bible up in a way I never knew possible. I can't wait to share about the video I watched last night. Just to peak your interest, here is a quick summary:

The goat has left the building!

Now don't you want to come back and hear more? Believe me, you do! If you can't wait, check out Shane's website!


Probably not, eh? It's been TWO months since I blogged. I am a blogger failure.

Well, I have a lot to share and a lot that I want to record for myself, so I guess I better get busy. My main reason for posting tonight though, is to tell you guys that I am leaving for China in 4 weeks!

I know that seems like a long time now, but it will fly by! I will for sure be blogging about our travels. I am sure I will have tons to share. I am so excited I can't stand it!

So I will be back, soon! Like I said, there is so much I want to blog about!

I doubt I have any readers left, so it may all be just for the sake of journaling, but I will still be back!

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I just wanted to address a comment left by Brooke. Btw, Brooke, thank you so much for feed back. I appreciate it! I wish so much that we could have a face to face conversation! It would be so interesting.

Anyway, let me clarify a bit. It isn't that I don't think we need to repent. If we have sinned and we are sorry, then of course. But I wonder if it is for us more than it is for Him? For us to clear our conscience? I don't know.

I just believe based on the scripture I shared before (among others), that Jesus knows our hearts. He knows our true heart. He knows if we are sorry or not. I believe when He died on the cross it covered me. Done. My sins past, present, and future.

Here is another scripture reference - Mark 2. It's the story of the paralyzed man lowered through the roof by his friends because they couldn't get to Jesus otherwise. So, here is what happened:

4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Hm. So it says in verse 5, "When Jesus saw their faith..." When he saw their faith. He told the man his sins were forgiven. So because of his friends faith, he forgave the man. The man didn't say anything to Jesus. But Jesus saw his heart and also factored in his friends hearts. 

I guess what I am trying to say is all of the people of the bible that Jesus considered faithful or forgiven were all pretty messed up. King David, a man God considered faithful, had 700 concubines. He committed adultery and killed people. Yet, he was a "man after God's own heart."  Moses committed premeditated murder (Exodus 2) and yet, God considered him faithful.

There are tons of examples. Ultimately, God knew their hearts apart from their sins. 

I really don't know the answers. I just know that Jesus' blood covers me. Because of His blood, I am considered righteous. 2000+ years ago, He died for my sins before they were ever committed. I believe He died for all of them. He knows my heart and knows that I want nothing more than to be pure before Him. 

I just wonder, based on the scriptures and the people throughout history, if His grace is even more than I ever considered (obviously, but you know what I mean.). 

Just something to think about...

Friday, January 20, 2012


I told you guys I would be sharing all the awesome stuff I am learning! I have not been this excited about something in a long time... ok, ever!

I want to say that my studies have really challenged me, making me think outside the box.  I do want to clarify here before I go any further - this blog only represents my own personal thoughts. In no way do I think that I have the answers. In fact, I would encourage anyone to seek the answers for themselves. Dig into your Bible, pray, study and see where God leads you.

Let me start by stating the simple truth - Jesus is Messiah. He is God. He came to die, so that we could live. If you accept Jesus as your Savior, then you can have life eternally.

I have always believed that Jesus died for my sins, and I must confess my sins to Him, daily, to be forgiven. I also have believed that if I died with unconfessed sin, that I would have to stand before Him and be judged.

Recently, after hearing my cousin Shane speak on this very subject, I began to wonder if that was how it worked after all. Let me give you the scripture reference that caused me to rethink this.

John 8 tells us the story of the adulteress woman. The Bible says she was "caught in the act of adultery". Ok, lets think about this for a moment - caught in the act.  How mortifying. Considering she was caught in the act, likely she was unclothed. Wouldn't you guess that? They were looking to publicly humiliate her, do you think they gave her time to get dressed? I would guess not. So they drag her, possibly unclothed, to Jesus. They say to Him, "The law of Moses says to stone her, what do you say?"

Jesus doesn't immediately answer them. He just bends down and starts writing in the dirt (I love how He just kind of ignores them for a bit!).  They keep harassing Him for an answer. Meanwhile, this poor woman is lying there face down on the ground. Finally Jesus answers, "Alright, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone."  Then, he bends down and starts writing in the dirt again. Can you imagine? LOL! The Pharisees were probably arms raised, ready to throw that stone, then they hear the last part! I would love to know what went through their minds! I am so going to ask Jesus that one day!

Anyway, one by one, they all left, until it was just Jesus and the woman. Here is where it is stinkin' cool. Jesus is a genius, I tell you! Sure the law of Moses says to stone her, but the law also states that two or more witnesses must be present to convict (Deut 19:15). Obviously, He knew that. He decided to doodle in the sand until they all went away. He "bought her time" so to speak! So they are all gone now and Jesus says to the woman, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?" The woman looks up, and realizes the Pharisees are gone - "No, Lord."

And then Jesus says, "Neither do I. Now go and sin no more."

WOO! "Neither do I." Y'all! That is some good stuff! Here is where my mind camps for a moment. No condemnation, judgement, harshness, anger. Just mercy, grace, acceptance, love.

Another example- when Romans came to arrest Jesus, what happened to the disciples? They left him,  completely abandoned him. Not only that, Peter even denied he knew Jesus. Yikes.

However, after the resurrection, Jesus appeared on the beach one morning. Several of the disciples, including Peter, were coming in from a night of fishing.  They saw Jesus on the beach, where He had prepared breakfast for them. And you know what? Jesus didn't even say, "GUYS! What happened? Why did you abandon me in my hour of need?" He never even brought it up. Instead, He loved on them, and fixed them a tasty breakfast. No condemnation.

Why? Grace. Mercy. Love.

One more.  Remember the story of the thief, hanging on the cross beside Jesus? Clearly this was someone that had done bad things. He says to Jesus, "Remember me when you come into your kingdom." And Jesus says to him, "I assure you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

The thief didn't pray the "sinners prayer". Jesus didn't quote the "Roman Road" to him. The thief didn't confess his sins. All he did was acknowledge that Jesus was God. And in mercy, grace and love, Jesus promised him an eternal future.

There are more examples, but this post is already a book. Like I said above, I don't claim in any way that this is fact. Just my personal thoughts.

There is no condemnation in Him. We are righteous because we are covered by His blood. Nothing we do can earn that. He paid the price for all of our sins - not just the confessed ones. When we accept Him in our hearts as Lord, and confess we are sinners, we are covered. Often times it is taught - Do not sin, so God doesn't condemn you. However Jesus taught, "I do not condemn you. Now go and sin no more." Big difference.

 Just as He said, "It. Is. Finished."  I believe Him.


I am officially a Thirty One Consultant! Isn't that cool? I love their products and I thought it would be so fun! Not to mention I have to make some money if I am going to be galavanting across the globe! 

So if need a cute new bag...

An awesome organizing tote...

Or any thing else, let me know!! I will be glad to help!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Recently, I began reading Beautiful Outlaw, by John Eldredge. It opened my eyes to a perspective I never considered. I began seeing Jesus as a man. He has always been my Savior, but I never thought of him much as a man. Not just a man, but a Jewish man.

I am not sure why it took me this long to "discover" this side of Jesus. I am not usually a follower. However, for my whole Christian life, I have let my "demomination" define my beliefs. I would read my bible and be satisfied with the 2 dimensional idea of Jesus. I never considered more than what was on those pages.

I feel like the veil has been lifted from my eyes. For the first time I see Him. Oh, don't get me wrong, I have always felt Him. He has always been with me, in my heart.  He has always been Lord of my life. I just didn't see Him.

So I began wanting to know Jesus in a way like never before. It was not a coincidence that during this time, I was reunited with my cousin that I will be traveling with. Funny, how God works sometimes. He made the connection for me to be able to go to China with Shane, but he also made a connection for me that has blown my socks off.

Shane's ministry is not about evangelism. Honestly, I just assumed it was. His whole ministry is teaching the Bible from a Hebrew perspective. Really, it goes hand in hand with the Beautiful Outlaw concept. The book opens your eyes to Jesus as a man, and Shane's teaching opens your eyes to Jesus the Jew.

Without considering those sides of Him, you are missing the very essence of who He was. I am committed to learning about the Jewish culture of Jesus' time. The little bit I know already has transformed my thoughts on Messiah.

I understand that I will never have full understanding of Jesus, Son of Man. I know that any of my discoveries or ideas are like a speck in the grand scheme of who He is. But I can tell you, I am not going to stop pursuing Him.

I plan on sharing my discoveries here. I have a lot of stuff I already want to share. Even if no one reads this blog, I intend on using it as my own journey journal. A place to collect and process my thoughts and feelings. I would love for you to come along and share your perspectives as well. Company always makes a journey more fun!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


What is worship? Well, here is one definition:

Worship - verb. To feel an adoring reference or regard to _________.

Clearly, you can fill that blank with many things. Unfortunately, in our world today, we have chosen to fill that blank with everything under the sun, except for the Son.

That alone is a post in and of itself, however, today I want to focus on the act of worship. What does it mean to you? In what ways do you worship our Risen Savior?

You see, I believe there is no one way. I believe worship can be many things to many people. To some, it is being alone, quiet before Him. Yet to others, it is singing to the top of their lungs with their hands raised. There is no right or wrong way.

Something happened recently that really made me stop and think. In fact, I will be honest to say that this incident made me angry. More than angry though, it made me sad.

Most of you know that my husband, Brad, is the Associate Pastor of Worship at our church. I am telling you this story not because of him. In fact, he really has nothing to do with the why I felt the way I did. Just a little "set up" to this story is needed - our church has a full praise band and team. Every Sunday morning, they lead us in "worship".  While we are a Baptist church, our worship service does not look like your typical Baptist service.  We use lights, cameras, instruments, projections, etc...

Brad, the praise band/team, as well as the audio visual team, are always looking for ways to do more creatively. To be quite honest, these guys are really good at what they do. To them, their creativity and God given talents are the way they worship. Their creativity is off the hook - and I truly believe Jesus gave them their abilities because it reaches people. The worship they lead us in every Sunday, reaches people in ways otherwise not possible.

So here is what happened. The worship teams decided to rearrange the stage a bit. The idea was to make it more functional and more appealing as a set.  They bought some risers for a few of the instruments. These risers are not only functional, they are also stinkin' cool. They have panels in the front with lights in them. Now, don't get me wrong, when I say lights, I don't mean strobe lights or anything of the kind. They are simply meant to just add a little something to the stage. When the lights are on, they are one color and remain that color through-out. No blinking, or crazy disco type stuff (not that, that is wrong in anyway. I am just saying these particular lights do not do that.). We use colored lights in the background, as well as on the stage in general.

Well, here is where it gets ugly. These risers have been quite controversial. In fact, it has gotten way out of hand. I have seen sides of people that have shocked me. Comments that have been made have really hurt my heart. To get in such an uproar over lighted risers really makes me question the heart of the church.

Let me explain myself - I understand completely that we all worship differently. To some, the music time is when they most feel connected to Jesus and the service. To others, it's the preaching. Neither aspect is more important than the other, we all connect in different ways. I completely understand that the lights on the risers, or the risers themselves, may not be something everyone enjoys. I guarantee though, if people came into the service with their bad attitude left at home and found something in the service they did like, they wouldn't miss the blessing that church is. I can't believe if you come into the service with anger or annoyance in your heart over anything, that you are going to feel the presence of our Lord.

Many people believe that the creative arts stuff is not necessary because it isn't something they enjoy or understand. But, what about the people that truly worship God through it? Or better yet, what about the people that are bringing their talents and creativity to the Lord as an offering?

I guess what I am trying to say is if we all came to church less worried about our own wants and desires, and came with our hearts and minds open to letting God use whatever our worship service included, we sure would feel better. I guarantee if you leave your "self" at home, you will leave blessed.

There is a Casting Crowns song that really comes to mind here. I will share the lyrics with you - I think it sums up exactly what I am trying to say.

City on a Hill

Did you hear of the city on the hill?
Said one old man to the other
It once shined bright and it would be shining still
But they all started turning on each other

You see, the poets thought the dancers were shallow
And the soldiers thought the poets were weak
And the elders saw the young ones as foolish
And the rich man never heard the poor man speak

And one by one, they ran away
With their made up minds, to leave it all behind
And the light began to fade, in the city on the hill
The city on the hill

Each one thought that they knew better
That they were different by design
Instead of standing strong together
They let their differences divide

And one by one, they ran away
With their made up minds, to leave it all behind
And the light began to fade, in the city on the hill
The city on the hill

And the world is searching still
But it was the rhythm of the dancers
That gave the poets life
It was the spirit of the poets
That gave the soldiers strength to fight
It was the fire of the young ones
It was the wisdom of the old
It was the story of the poor man
That needed to be told

It is the rhythm of the dancers
That gives the poets life
It is the spirit of the poets
That gives the soldiers strength to fight
It is the fire of the young ones
It is the wisdom of the old
It is the story of the poor man
That's needing to be told

One by one, we'll be running away
With our made up minds to leave it all behind
As the light begins to fade, in the city on the hill
The city on the hill

One by one, we'll be running away
With our made up minds, to leave it all behind
As the light begins to fade, in the city on the hill
The city on the hill

Come home
And the Father's calling still
Come home
To the city on the hill
Come home 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Oh, yes, there is more!

While I was meeting with Shane last week, he said, "Hey, I am going to Singapore right after China, why don't you come with me there too?" I laughed and told him there was no way I could do both.  After our meeting, I came home and got in contact with my trusty travel guy.  I gave him the dates and cities, and for kicks, I asked him how much extra it would cost to add a stopover in Singapore.

Knowing that it would be outrageous, I really didn't give it much thought. A little bit later, my travel guy calls to tell me that adding in Singapore added $50 to the ticket! Isn't that crazy? So I talk to Brad and he said go for it! YAY! So, I am going to Singapore too!

Here is where it gets funny - I have a friend that is from Singapore. I emailed her asking her some basic questions and told her about the church where my cousin was speaking.  She replied saying that the pastor of that church and his wife are good friends of hers! LOLLL! She said there are approximately 4 million people in Singapore and we will be meeting her friends? SO funny!

At first I wanted to take Jackson with me. He seemed really excited, but when I told him that we would be gone 2 weeks, he said he didn't want to go. He is such a home body. So I asked Julianna - of course she was secretly hoping Jackson would back out so she could go. LOL. I really thought about going alone, but Shane will be busy, and I really wanted someone to hang out with. So, once again, my baby girl and me are headed to China!

This is such an opportunity, and I am so excited. I really can't wait to see how God is going to work! I am looking forward to being in China again - without the stress or pressure of the adoption. I am looking forward to seeing new places. And I can't wait to spend so much time with my sweet family!


Ok, remember in my last blog post I said I had a GOD STORY to share? Oh it's a doozy! Y'all, I am serious, only my precious Father could have orchestrated this! Ok, here goes.....

Little bit of background... I come from a pretty big family, and growing up we were all close. My mom's brother has two sons - Shane and Jonathan. When we were little, we were pretty close. As we grew up, we maintained that relationship. Even in our late teens, early twenties we hung out a lot.

Unfortunately, I lost touch with them when I moved away in 2000. I kept up with them and what they were up to through my mom, but I didn't have much contact with them myself.  Ok, change directions and fast forward a bit...

You guys know that I was really struggling this fall. I remember the week before Halloween being particularly bad. Brad and I had many "heated" discussions those days about our adoption journey. My heart was broken and he knew that, but he felt confident that we were suppose to step back and reassess things.

I never shared this, but it such a huge part of this story.  On Wednesday, October 26th, Brad said he needed to talk to me. I knew that meant something big. Let me first say, Brad is truly, one of the most Godly men I know. If he says God spoke to him, you better believe He spoke. So he tells me that the night before, he was having trouble sleeping. He said he was really struggling with losing our referral and trying to make sense of the whole mess of our adoption.  He decided to get up and pray. He really sought God that night, and pleaded with Him to open his eyes to what we were suppose to do. He felt let to a certain passage in the bible. He read it, and he said he really felt God speaking to his heart - what he had to say was not easy for me to hear. At first, I didn't want to accept it. As the days went by, then the weeks, and now months, I can see it so clearly myself. That alone can only be Divine as well.

Anyway, Brad said that he truly believed that God impressed this on his heart: Our journey was something we had to go through. Otherwise, we would have never learned to trust Him in such big ways. We had to see that He would be faithful. We had to see that He would be our Provider. We had to see that He makes the impossible, possible. Only Him. Only His power. We had to go through that as preparation. For what? We don't know exactly yet. Brad just said it is bigger than anything we have ever done. This "big thing" is going to require blind faith and trust like never before. And then he said, "Michele, I believe His will has been accomplished. I believe we have done what He asked of us, and now He has a new direction for us. Something bigger. What if we aren't suppose to help just one? What if we are suppose to help many?"

As I sat there listening to him, tears streaming down myself, I felt like my heart had literally broken into a million pieces. I wept like I have never wept before. Gosh, tears sting my eyes now just remembering the anguish that day... pain that still grips my heart. The next few days were awful. How could it be done? How could the journey be over? How could I ever give up on this little girl that has lived in my heart for so long? The truth is, I never could do those things. Only His grace has gotten me through each day.

I am not giving up on her, just so you know. But, I am going to be faithful to my Lord, and for now, He has set my feet on a new path.

So are you wondering how my cousins play into this story? Ok, this is the good part!

On November 2nd, I got a friend request on Facebook. I don't get them often, so I was surprised to see that little "1" up at the top of my page. I click on it, and it is a request from Shane!  I was so excited! So I immediately accept it and post a message on his wall. Within minutes, he sent me a message privately.

We chatted for a bit and we said how we would love to see each other. It had been years! I knew that he was doing ministry work, and a lot of times it was out of the country. He sent me to his website to check out his calendar see if I was going to be anywhere near where he would be in the coming months. I went to his website, Shane Willard Ministries to check it out. It took me like a second to see that he was going to be in China for a week in April. I sent him a message telling him that I was so jealous that he was going to be in China! I told him how much I love it, and how I feel I left my heart there.

Meanwhile, before Shane messaged me back, I went to talk to Brad. I told him that I had just reconnected with Shane and how excited I was! I then told him that Shane was going to China in April and I was going with him, even though he didn't know yet. Brad just looked at me and said, "Ok." HAHA! I think he knew better than to even try to fight me, after his last few days with Psycho Michele.

So just a few minutes after that, I get a message back from Shane that said "Come with me! I would love for you to join me!" ACK! He typically travels alone, and seemed really excited to have company! Now at this point, I am thinking this is just a cool little "fluke" and it would be neat to really go with him. In my mind, I am thinking, while he works, I could sightsee! Fun, right?  Well, then he tells me, "I will be there speaking at a staff retreat for International China Concern. They are a non profit foundation that has given their lives to care for special needs orphans (italics mine)."

Y'all. I was floored. My mind started racing! So I did a little bit of research and International China Concern is this awesome foundation that does wonderful work in China. They send teams into the orphanages to volunteer.

Do you guys see where this is going? I ended up meeting Shane in Charleston over New Years. We had a great time catching up. I shared my heart with him about China and orphans. He said, "Michele, the president of ICC will be at this retreat. He would be someone to talk to if you want to get involved."

Seriously. Seriously?

I honestly feel like my heart may burst with excitement. I am going to CHINA!!!!!!!

I don't know what will happen there. I don't know what Jesus wants to accomplish through this. I can tell you though, I am suppose to be there. I am suppose to go with an open heart and an open mind. He is working!

Isn't that the coolest story? Seriously, all of that took place in a matter of a few days. Since then, I feel my hope building. I feel the darkness breaking to light. It's like I have a purpose again. I will still get to be in China, loving on people, being His hands and feet.

Isn't that what it's all about?

Maybe one day, I will bring home a little girl. I am certainly not burning any bridges. But for now? For now, I am content going where He tells me to go. Yay for me, it just happens to be CHINA!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Sorry for the silence. It hasn't been that I haven't wanted to write, I just never could seem to focus my thoughts long enough to do it. I also didn't want to share how much my heart was hurting. I knew if I blogged, it would be very hard to hide it.

But, here I am. January 2012. A new year, a new beginning. I can say that I feel better these days. October, November and much of December were pretty dark for me. I am beginning to see the Light again, and I am very grateful for that.

After much prayer and discussion, we are putting our adoption on hold indefinitely. As much as it hurts my heart (and I can't even put into words just how much), I am beginning to accept it. I do believe we is what we are suppose to do.

I know that these last 3 years had purpose. As I look back, I can clearly see God's hand in all of it. I do believe we were on the right path. Because of the journey He brought us on, I learned to trust Him more. I learned that He provides, comforts, prepares, protects. Maybe without that journey, I wouldn't have known Him the way I do now. 

I also believe that He used us to bring two precious girls to their forever families. Those little girls were never meant to be mine, but I am humbled and honored that He chose us to help make a way for them to come home. They will always hold a very dear place in my heart. I am so grateful that they both will be raised in a Christian home, with families that will love them and protect them.

I know that Jesus is doing something new and something big. He has drawn my heart to China for as long as I can remember, and I clearly have a heart for orphans. Maybe this whole journey prepared a way for me to do something else. Maybe I was never meant to care for ONE orphan, but to help care for MANY. Maybe we are suppose to go to them, instead of bringing just her to us.

I do have a huge GOD story, but it deserves a post of its own. I will share it soon. If you will continue to pray for us, I would be so grateful. We aren't burning any bridges - we aren't withdrawing our adoption paperwork. We are just waiting for Jesus to show us what He is doing. We will join Him wherever he leads.