Friday, March 28, 2014

"Just What I Needed": Bekah's Story

I almost didn’t register to come to Joy in the Journey 2014. Like most or all of you, we budget and don’t always have a lot of wiggle room left for “extras” … but I have an amazing husband. One who practically told me I was going to this retreat! I am so thankful he was willing to sacrifice the cost and the time I was away to watch our twin three year olds. I really had no clue when I clicked the button to pay for my ticket that months later it would have such an impact on my life.

I have never been to any kind of a momma retreat, and I was shocked at the number of ladies who had responded to show up to this first-time event, ladies traveling from all over the country! I thought it was brilliant to allow vendors at the retreat who were raising support for their adoptions, and in some cases, raising funds for friends. The photo booth was serious fun! There was always too much food and just enough coffee. I was able to see dear friends who live near and far away, and meet new, amazing mommas from all walks of life. It was surreal to sit in the same room with and be surrounded by adoptive mommas, foster mommas, mommas who were waiting to bring their children home, those in the paperwork process, those waiting for referrals, those with heart-wrenching stories and those with miracle stories.

When it finally hit me – the magnitude of women in my own backyard who shared similar Journeys through adoption or foster care – I was almost breathless. I knew four years ago the level of support Brian and I would have with families in the area who had also adopted from Taiwan, but… I seriously had no idea how many families in our little sphere were on this amazing Journey with us. The crazy thing is, the number of mommas at the retreat with me only represented a small number from our own backyard.

That room was full of amazing women with hearts so huge, broken, open, searching and courageous. God was in that room. I could feel it. From the words that were spoken, the scriptures read and prayed over us, the questions asked, and the stories, laughter and tears that were shared. It was as if that weekend were orchestrated months before any of the planning had taken place, before those rooms were booked, tables decorated and amazing swag bags were filled full of beautiful goodies for our momma hearts and souls. It was. This event was prayed over, God-inspired and God-filled. For those of you who weren’t able to come … You were missed. You were prayed for. You were.

I wasn’t certain what I needed to hear that weekend. I couldn’t even remember the breakout sessions I had signed up for. It was hard to choose, because there were so many that sounded so good! I even changed my mind on the last breakout session *gasp* and attended another class. It ended up being a class I really needed to hear.

One thing that stood out to me in my first breakout session, in the Adoptive Mom panel and in a table discussion that led long into the night, was how important it is to constantly share your child’s story with them, creating a space for open communication. Many children just want to know why they were relinquished or abandoned. We should be careful not to make them feel bad about where they came from or their story. It is okay to practice what to say to them, age appropriately. Some things are too big for them to “carry.” Be prepared for the moment when they will ask, but don’t “keep” that moment from them. Prepare yourself for the grief, but let them have that grieving period… It was amazing to hear other momma’s stories who have already had that conversation with their child(ren). I feel further equipped to prepare myself when my sons ask one day about their story, and they will ask.

That weekend was all about finding Joy in our Journey, no matter what our Journey looks like. We are God’s treasure, and even when we have a pile of rubble lying at our feet, we can still find beauty in the brokenness. No matter the season, He is revealing that Joy to us.

When I think about all of the God-breathed words spoken to my hungry heart over those two days, I kept hearing words of a song played over in my head: Beautiful Things by Gungor. I won’t make you read all the lyrics, but no matter your story, no matter your Journey to Joy, this still rings true of our Heavenly Father:

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Expectant Heart after Joy in the Journey Retreat 2014

I have to thank Kate at the Adopt Shoppe for spreading the word and making me aware of the beautiful ministry the ladies at Joy in the Journey provide to families on their blog and through social media.  It has been resource for me on ideas for my family, but also connected me to other moms who have gone through similar life experiences in a new community. When I heard they were having a retreat to support women having considered adoption, who have adopted, or who were in the process of adopting/foster care I knew I needed to be there.  They blessed me with an opportunity to be a vendor and share about Trades of Hope {} but I knew I needed to attend for my own heart and personal struggles as an adoptive mom.   

Our adoption story can be found at our blog {} and since we came home with our daughter from Colombia in 2012 I had made some pretty significant life changes.  I was grateful to have the opportunity to stay home and connect with our daughter (whom we adopted when she was 27 months old), but coming out of teaching full-time, connecting and attaching to a toddler, and keeping life in check with her older brother was a bit much for me to handle at one time.  I know my demeanor and personality remained constant with my friends but I found my “fleshy” nature was incredibly evident in how I communicated with my children and the expectations I had for them at five and two years old.  I struggled to understand my daughter’s behaviors and questioning if she was acting out because of her personality, her background, or learned behaviors from me or others at the orphanage. Please do not hear that I did/do not love my daughter because she is truly endearing and a bright light in my world.  She brings immeasurable joy to new and familiar faces she meets but training and taming that vivacious spirit has been wearisome. I didn’t feel like I could ‘parent’ her because I didn’t know how to handle the outbursts or the drama.  I worried about how we were going to share her history with her when she grew older and validate her needs. There were so many questions and doubts that I knew were not (and ARE not) of God.  So many of those who shared in honesty at the Joy in the Journey Retreat helped me see that I am not alone with those feelings and doubts.  We are called to share our hearts and be open for the treasure that is to be found in Him and in the gift of our children and families. Adoption magnifies and intensifies God’s heart and when I feel there is too much resistance it is because I am actively seeking the hidden treasure of Jesus Christ in my daughter’s heart and life which fills her up with contagious joy.  I have learned to look at my expectations as her mom and recognize my need to be her steady—and when I feel I can’t then it is time for me to raise up my hands to the Lord and ask for His guidance and help.  It is so freeing to know He has given me the tools-and the community-to be the mother I am called to be.  I see my daughter for the gift she is and I am confident she has been given to our family for her sake as much as my own. I do not take the responsibility I have in being her momma lightly and maybe that is why I had such a hard time in the beginning of our time together as a family of four.  The burden I was carrying of her history and the fear of the future were stealing the present moments of love and light.  I have learned to relish in the good, become more lavish with my love and to let loose the chains of fear.  It is refreshing to see the Truth and release the lies as my heart is being prepared for more change…

Besides gaining connection with others in my struggles and successes I knew there was a Greater Plan ahead for my family. I was eager to attend a breakout session on foster care at the retreat because my husband and I have felt a stirring on our hearts to consider this opportunity in our area.  I knew I had been called to a time of action after hearing the joys and struggles from some of the foster moms at the retreat.  My husband and I attended our county’s child foster care informational meeting this past Monday and have started completing our initial paperwork to become licensed foster parents.  For me to say I do not feel some fear and trepidation going forward would be untrue, but I know the One who orders these steps and He will not leave us as we walk this journey to help other families.  We also see the need to support other foster and adoptive families which may lead us into a ministry opportunity at our church...

This brings me to my final take away from the retreat weekend. I had the privilege of bringing a dear friend with me who has had the call of adoption on her heart for quite some time. Her questions about adoption and taking the first step were confirmed with a resounding YES that she and her family are to go forward with their process!  On our way home from the retreat she commented on how she has literally “felt pregnant” since October.  I told her it is because her heart is pregnant and we laughed at such an image.  But then as I was thinking about it her heart really is expecting her next child and we felt confirmation to call any future ministry in support of foster and adoptive families The Expectant Heart. Similarly, the verse that was spoken to my friend about this weekend was found in John 15.  Our Lord Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches, if we remain in Him we will bear much fruit, and He has chosen and appointed us to go and bear the fruit that is to the Father’s glory. What a beautiful image of our family as the tree and our adoptive and foster children being grafted into our family branches.  There is a purpose coming forth in the fruit after the pain-possibly of infertility, loss, wounds, fear, or heartache-yet the promise of beauty and goodness being born out of it is the Treasure to be found.  So it is with God’s family when we become co-heirs with Jesus—we will bear fruit that will last—for eternity when we cut off the pain and despair of sin to join in God’s everlasting family and heritage.  Our hearts are expectant for this Change and Love to reign in our families and communities…may we bear much fruit going forward. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Retreat Recap from Kris...When it all Starts to Fall into Place.

When registration started for the 2014 Joy in the Journey conference, I thought it sounded like a great idea, but knew there would be no way I could go. Our family was trying to raise $3700 to host an orphan from the Philippines over the winter. Every cent we had was going toward that fee.  However, God knew I should be there.  One of my friends offered to pay half of my ticket, and another FB friend, although we have never met in person, paid the other half.  I was very excited they had bought my ticket, but still didn’t really think I’d be going.  In my 15 years of marriage, with 8 kids, I’ve never gone anywhere “alone” other than an occasional trip to the grocery store.

Now, I have to back up a little bit. My husband and I had been attending the same church since before we were even married. It was the only church our kids had ever been to. One weekend I was out of town with the kids and my husband had stayed home because he wasn’t feeling well. However, he called me on Sunday afternoon and told me he had just left our new church.  Although I was quite in shock, my husband has never led us in some crazy direction, so I knew if he thought that this church would be right for our family, that it probably would. The  kids cried and worried all week, but the following Sunday, when we left our new church for the first time, we knew we were “home”. 

I wasn’t sure of the reasons God led us to change churches, but then one morning I had lunch with our Pastor’s wife. She wanted to have lunch with me to find out why I was so passionate about orphans. She knew from Facebook that I was advocating for orphans for New Horizons For Children’s hosting program; she knew we had adopted once, and would probably adopt again. During the course of lunch we exchanged stories, and I found out she was adopted as an older teen. I left that lunch so excited to see what God had in store. I knew this was at least part of the reason He brought us to our new church.

I’ve always wanted to attend a church with some type of orphan ministry in place, but ours still doesn’t have one. When I signed up for Joy in the Journey, one of the breakout sessions I signed up for was “Starting an Orphan Care Ministry”.  While I sat attentively in the session, I really didn’t engage too much because I was just thinking, “there is no way to be able to start something like this at my church, they just really aren’t interested in new ministries starting…”  So while the retreat was a huge blessing to me, and it was wonderful to get away and to connect with other ladies who were passionate about orphans, I wasn’t sure why God had me there.

The Sunday after the retreat our Associate Pastor gave the message at church.    It was  a great sermon on using the gifts, talents, and passions God has given us, for the Glory of God and the benefit of people.  Some of the key points I took away from the sermon were:

Every single person can have a job, ministry, or an impact at our church. Ask yourself, “what ministries or what areas am I passionate about? What people do I see that are hurting that I really want to help and I really want to be used by God to minister to?” Answer the call based on your passion and the hurt/need that you see.

 The effectiveness of the church is directly tied to the people being used by God .

What is it YOU are doing for the Kingdom of God?

If you’ve been a Christian for a long time we want you to think about, what could God be calling you to do bigger than just the ministries already here at our church?

If you see a need, have a passion, and people are hurting, think outside the box. Think, with God’s help, "I’m going to create something that is going to benefit thousands of people.  If I just dream and imagine, what can God use me to do with the dreams and talents I have?" Sit, process, pray, allow yourself to be used by God. 

Is there something too big that I’m afraid to even pray about it? 

And you will never even believe this next part. He even said, “HAVE JOY IN THE JOURNEY!!!!” 

I couldn’t even believe my ears.  The Pastor was speaking right to me. Now I knew why God had orchestrated us changing churches, and me being at the Joy in the Journey adoption retreat!

After the sermon, I went and told our Associate Pastor what an amazing sermon it was. I told him how I had just been at an adoptive mom’s retreat this weekend and I was going to be praying about an orphan ministry at our church. He said, “that’s great!! I can’t wait to see where God takes it!”  So while the day before I had been convinced it would be impossible to start this at our church, God had other plans…

I started praying about it, but still had no idea where to start. The next day I  messaged the one other lady in our church I knew had already adopted, and one other lady who has two little girls from foster care. I told them what had happened and asked if they had any interest in praying with me for the next 40 days over orphan care ministry.  It seems they are both very interested. We also added another adoptive mom, and our Pastor’s wife to our prayer group. We’ve been praying daily through the 40 days of prayer for orphans sheet I received at the conference. I have no idea what God has in store for our church and orphan care ministry, but my prayer is  that it will be something big to help many children who are hurting to be adopted into loving families, and  for our church to also be able to serve and make an impact on many children caught up in the foster care system.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tessy's Testimony: You might be an introvert at a retreat if....

Hi everyone,  

My name is Tessy and I attended the “Joy in the Journey” retreat a few weekends ago.  I heard about the retreat through Kate at “The Adopt Shoppe”.  I am a big fan of her billboards of the heart.  It took me a while to talk myself into going.  There is a reason I like to blog/write and stay behind a computer.  You see, I am a bit of an introvert (understatement of the year).  In my decision making process I weighed the risk of exposure to my homebody soul against the colorful e-vite that beckoned me with its budget friendly price.  It whispered promises that it would be a retreat for the weary.  That was hard to argue with.  I knew I needed that.  I had to admit that even an introvert type person like myself desires to connect with others who share familiar aches of the heart when it comes to adoption.  I knew I would regret it if I let this opportunity pass, so I signed up.  I am so glad I did.  Just for fun, I wrote up this little piece for all my fellow introverts:

You might be an introvert at a retreat if....

  • You begged at least one of your adoptive mom friends to go with you because you would have never attended by yourself
  • The night before you leave your husband has to talk you into going again
  • Sweat breaks out on your forehead when they announce icebreaker games
  • Choosing a table to sit at makes you feel like you are in high school again
  • When you do choose a table and no one sits down with you within five minutes you start wondering if your boots are cute enough and if your clothes are trendy enough
  • Instead of verbally telling people your name, you hold up your name tag
  • You see people you think you would like to meet but decide if it was meant to be they will talk to you first
  • You visit the bathroom frequently because you have no idea how to small talk so you are constantly sipping your drink so you look more normal
  • You keep rubbing your nose and suppress the urge to go look in a mirror because you have conjured up in your head that you might have a cliffhanger going on
  • You breathe a small sigh of relief when you are able to retreat back to your room to your smaller group of four
  • Once back in your room you end up talking more in those late night hours to your roomies than you do the entire retreat all together because in that setting you thrive
  • Getting the gumption to ask a question out loud, in a microphone mind you, takes about two years off your life

God has a way of taking care of you when you put yourself out there.  I was able to get a good friend of mine to attend the retreat with me and the 4.5 hour drive was a treat in itself.  I made it through the awkwardness of the icebreaker games and met a beautiful lady from North Carolina because of it.  Even though I was bashful about putting myself out there for random meet and greets, God had me covered.  On the second day of the retreat I ended up with a whole table of other moms who were in various places in their adoption journeys from the DR Congo as well.  It just worked out that way.  And the vendor that I ended up rooming with just so happened to be raising money for a family adopting from the DR Congo.  I delight in His mysterious ways of how He cares for us, don’t you?

I wanted to share from my introverted heart because maybe you are reading this, and thinking conferences like this are not your thing.  I would just challenge you to put yourself out there.  It was so worth the bit of social awkwardness I felt at times.  I had to smile when I ended up at a table with Sharon Lyon who would be speaking the next day.  As we shared our dreams and fears, she divulged her fear of public speaking.  I wasn’t the only one who was out of her comfort zone.  The next day I’d be riveted by her words.  I watched God take Sharon’s fear of speaking and mold it into a testimony that would unbind some shackles that had been holding crevices of my heart captive.  Her willingness to put herself out of her comfort zone and transparently boast of her weakness would speak to me in such volumes that I am still unraveling it in bits and pieces.   

I learned that the round tables filling the main building, which at first presented themselves as being evasive and intimidating, had the capability to encircle me in genuine friendship.  I listened to the beautiful stories of God weaving families together and it brought such joy to my heart.  I stumbled through beginnings of conversations to find myself connecting with moms who shared a similar heartbeat to live this journey well.  

On Day 1 I attended the “Staying Connected to your Spouse in the Midst of Crazy” break-out session.  It made me laugh and I left that session so thankful for our own fair share of “family flair”.  I am going to wear that flair proudly unlike Jennifer Aniston in Office Space.  On Day 2, I attended the “Connecting While Correcting” session and left with an arsenal of tools and encouragement to aide me in parenting my son.  The last session I attended was the Q&A with the adult adoptee panel.  I am so thankful for the three volunteers who let us see the journey from the other side.  When you are living it real and raw everyday it is difficult to see the bigger picture at times.  The panel painted that picture with such hope and beauty that it moved many of us adoptive moms to tears.

I am so thankful that I was able to attend the “Joy in the Journey” retreat and I am hoping this will be an annual event.  I would definitely come back.  

I am a stay at home mom to four beautiful children – Miss Mae who is 9, boy/girl twins Aves and Ry-Ry who are 7, and Zalen Moise, age 5 who we adopted from the Democratic Republic of Congo. I love to chat with friends over a cup of coffee, blog (you can find me at ), digi-scrap, and go to concerts. I am super passionate about adoption/orphans and giving a voice to the “least of these”. 

Friday, March 14, 2014


It's SPRING BREAK and we here at Joy in the Journey will take any excuse to highlight a business that is focused on benefiting families in their adoption process {especially when it means we get to do a GIVEAWAY!}

Subsidy Shades is devoted to passionately raising funds to help create forever families via adoption through stylish affordable fashion. You can contribute to the future of a child. 100% proceeds donated.

Adoption has certainly blessed our lives in more ways than we could have imagined. In March of 2012 we started the process (infant domestic adoption) and had many hiccups along the way. We were matched in January 2013 and our tiny bundle of joy arrived the next month, weighing in at 5 pounds, 12 ounces! Since then our adoption costs have been tremendous. Our sweet birthmother is a single mother to four children and had major health complications during her pregnancy. Being the adoptive parents we were responsible for all of her costs during that time. I joke and call Jacqueline our “million dollar baby” but in all seriousness, her adoption cost us nearly $60,000.

In June of 2013, Jacquie’s birth family became homeless on the hard streets of Detroit. With the help of family and friends we were able to fly them in to our home, to live with us while we raised funds to purchase them a residence. In the end, we were able to get the family a home but were unable to reach our fundraising goal. Robert and I were happy to help, however we were put in another tight financial situation as we made up the difference.

Here we are in March 2014. Jacqueline is a thriving one year old. We want to start the adoption journey again! (Are we crazy or what?!) Robert and I are so excited to expand our family through another infant domestic adoption and give Jacquie a brother or sister of the same race. In order for us to do this, we need help. Our friends and family so generously donated funds for her birth family to purchase a home that we do not feel comfortable asking for straight donations. Instead all proceeds of Subsidy Shades will go directly to a fund to help expand our growing family.

Our website is You can follow us on Facebook at and our Instagram: subsidyshades. 

We've recently added a featured families section in which we spot light a hopeful adoptive family for two weeks to help them fund raise through our organization. Email us at if you would like more information. We love our family, friends and kind strangers so much! Do good. Feel good. Look good.

Want to win a pair to sport on your Spring Break adventures?
How about these:

Here's how:
Entry #1:
Visit Subsidy Shades and Click on the "Make a Difference" Menu to peruse the ShadesWatches, and Love Knots for sale.
Leave a Comment on this post or on the corresponding FB post (containing the picture above) telling us which item from Subsidy Shades is your favorite!

Entry #2:
Visit Joy in the Journey's brand new page that focuses on businesses just like Subsidy Shades (and other adoption fundraisers) by clicking the link here.
Join the page {all members of the page will receive this entry, no further action is needed}.

Giveaway will start at the posting of this blog, 
4:30 p.m. CST Friday, March 14th and end 48 hours later, 
at 4:30 p.m. CST Sunday, March 16th.

Good luck!

Retreat Testimonial

            Last month I headed to my very first adoptive mama's retreat. I have been to lots of mega-conferences before. MOPS conventions, Hearts-at-Home, all designed to encourage and equip moms in many stages of motherhood. This was very similar but geared towards adoption and much more intimate. The interesting thing is when I registered, I had not brought Chloe home yet. Our ticket to Ethiopia had been purchased, and we were heading off in less than a week from registration opening to bring her home. All this to say, that when I registered, I was only guessing what my mama's heart would need to hear. Also praying that the transition would be smooth enough to allow wonderful hubby to take care of our 4 kids. I must admit, it doesn't take much for me to be talked into a "girl's weekend". I know it is hard for some to leave their little ones, but I learned long ago that taking care of myself and my marriage helps both me feel refreshed and my little ones have a better mama.
 Fast forward four months, and I wasn't even sure what breakout sessions I had signed up to hear. The Joy in the Journey team was doing a great job of giving us teasers of the workshops and having been to these other conferences, each one sounded like something I could use simply as "mom" not necessarily as adoptive mom. I knew going into this weekend, I would get something. Just was surprised with the "a-ha" moment I got.

            Our transition with Chloe has been pretty easy (don't throw eggs please) and there are no glaring "issues" we are dealing with yet. But it would be silly of me to think that they may never come. However, when asked about our goal for the weekend, I honestly shared to simply have a fun, girls weekend away with like minded women. I enjoyed our car ride from STL with my friends and enjoyed being pampered with the best swag bag EVER. I enjoyed shopping with a cause at the vendor booths. I SO enjoyed the really great worship. Everything was professional, well organized, and intentional. But since I wasn't necessarily having major issues with my adoptive daughter, I wasn't sure what my "take home" was going to be.

            Then sitting at my first break out session I got my "aha" moment. The presenter discussed a statistic that initially I laughed at....(the kind of laugh, so you don't cry laugh). She stated a positive attachment or lack thereof directly correlates to the adoptive mother's relationship with her own mother. In that breakout session, I wrote down a quote, "I didn't expect....Adoption would unearth past wounds and hurts and expose my sin and brokenness." Then in the final main session when the speaker spoke about God using our adoption story to sometimes tell us more about our relationship with Him than anything else I again was surprised. I knew God was teaching me all about faith, trust, perseverance, humility, and patience. These lessons were obvious and abundant ----but brokenness, forgiveness, grieving and not necessarily for my adopted child, but for me. My story. As a mother of 4 (one girl who is well into the pre-teen phase), within my parenting there are irrational fears being conjured up based on past hurts of how I'm going to handle and deal with some of the brokenness in our world and in our relationships. I was so blessed to hear about the beauty in our brokenness and how God uses both.

            To sum up, even though I came as an adoptive mom hoping to glean insight on possible future problems my little girl may have---I left being very aware of being an adopted daughter. The weekend wasn't so much about my adopted daughter (all though I did have some nuggets to take away for her). The retreat would be helpful for any parent trying to mother in a broken world (I thought more about my pre-teen bio daughter and some of our "conflicts" while sitting in some of the sessions more than my other 3 children). However, the weekend was most beneficial for me and my story as the adopted daughter. No matter what your reasoning to attend next year's retreat [to have a fun girl's weekend, to gain information on how to parent kids from hard places, or to learn more about your own story] ----I have no doubt it will be worth it!----

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Jen's Retreat Recap

It’s been just over two weeks since the first Joy in the Journey Retreat concluded and I am still struggling to put what I witnessed into words.

Our CRAZY Team!

I believe God has been preparing my heart for this ministry for many years, weaving exactly the right people into my journey and placing within me a passion for connecting and encouraging those who are parenting kids who had difficult beginnings.  Once, in the midst of our adoption journey, I was challenged to breathe in, breathe out, and clear my head of the distractions of life’s circumstances and to just listen to what God was whispering into my being. 

From that time of meditation, I wrote “I want to help others interested in orphan care.  I’d like to invest myself in this ministry.  I know I need to determine exactly where the need is and how God wants that to look.  I’m praying for answers on when/how it will come to fruition.”  I remember tearfully tucking that note into my Bible on that Sunday just a few short years ago, lacking faith that God could use me, a broken, grieving, waiting mother, to help other families (I was barely holding it together myself!), and yet determined that if it was His will, I would not miss out on the opportunity to fulfill His call.

Even given my intention of obedience on that day not so long ago, I am somehow still floored by God’s grace and sufficiency through my weakness…His building of a ministry that is doing what He laid on my heart is beyond what I can grasp.  And, yet, I am SO humbled and SO grateful that I get to have this front-row seat to watch how He’s shaping this ministry that, at its core, strives to do what He laid on my heart…to “help others interested in orphan care”.  Such a simple sentiment, and yet, so intricate in how He is shaping it to encourage and connect adoptive and foster families.

Team Ethiopia!  12 kiddos from Ethiopia represented here {and several others on the way!}

I took the opportunity throughout last weekend to just pray over the moms at the retreat.  What a privilege then to watch them be transformed by encouragement brought about through sessions and connections with other moms who just “get it”.  During this time of observation, I could feel His still, small voice, whispering again just as clearly as that day at church not so long ago, pleased with the works and the hearts of His good and faithful servants (in the form of adoptive mothers).

I watched moms be His hands and feet to other moms who are currently in the trenches.  I observed ladies rallying around other ladies they barely knew, encouraging them to fight the good fight.  I heard weary mamas asking hard questions and mamas who had “been there” giving hard answers.  I saw moms praying…for and with other moms, knowing that their grief and their burdens were best left to the Author of life.  I saw ladies listening {I mean, REALLY listening} to each other, lending their ear, their shoulder, their hand in comfort and friendship.

And, do you know what else I observed?  Laughing, story-telling, singing, praising, tears, smiles, all in a safe place that quickly felt comfortable and like it was right where each of the women attending were supposed to be.

My Joy in the Journey Retreat Roomies

Our four babies were together at their Transition Home in Ethiopia two years ago.  The retreat gave us an excuse to get them all back together for some crazy toddler time. 

The Joy Team...this picture describes us perfectly!  I couldn't ask for a better team {or friends} to do life and ministry with.  Love these girls so much.

And, I think I’m crazy, but I’m kinda ready to do it again!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Post Retreat T-Shirt Sale!

Love the Joy in the Journey t-shirts but were unable to go to the retreat? 

Good news! We have some remaining shirts available for purchase!  
All proceeds go to support the Joy in the Journey ministry. 

Sizes and Styles are extremely limited so please order early! 

Women's Cut Shirt

Large and X-Large available
**Please note that the Women's Cut shirts run small!**

Uni-Sex Crew Cut Shirt

Extremely limited! 

**Update - ALL of the Crew Cut shirts are now sold out!**

You can purchase a t-shirt by clicking on the Paypal button below.
 Please make sure you read ALL of the important t-shirt info before ordering! 

Important T-shirt Information:
  • There is a limited supply of styles and sizes. 
  • T-shirts are $22 shipping included.
  • Please allow up to three weeks for shipping. 
  • The women's cut shirt is fitted and runs 1 to 2 sizes small! Please order accordingly. 
  • The crew cut shirt is uni-sex and true to size. 
  • You will receive an email confirming your order.
  • We will be updating this page when sizes or styles sell out.

Style and Size

Thank you so much for supporting Joy in the Journey!