Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pause case you haven't has been a while since I last posted!  Life is CRAZY!!!  But, life is so good at the same time.  :)
I was recently thinking about how October is right around the corner...and that means that Owen has been with us for almost a year!!!  I can NOT believe it!  The past year has been the most beautiful and challenging year of our lives.  We have all 4 grown so much.
The thing that I am reminded of over and over again through out this journey is how much God loves us.  I don't deserve His love, but He loves me so much more than I could ever imagine.  More than I love my babies, my husband, my parents, friends, and family.  I just can't imagine a love so great.  Yet I feel it.  I really do...especially lately.  I have had to remind myself to just take a few moments and appreciate the blessings.  The things He has given me...because He loves me.  ME...broken,
I urge you to stop everything (harder than it seems) and think about that.  Think about the sun hitting your face, or the wind blowing your hair.  Think of the butterfly in your path.  The rain falling out of the sky.  The look from a loved one.  Our God did this FOR YOU.  He loves you so much that He would give you all of that.  And then some.  My new promise to myself is that I appreciate it more.  And it feels so warm and cozy.  :)
With that said...I am trying to slow down a bit.  I am trying to focus where it is needed and stress a little less.  OK.. a lot less.  And for now, that means taking a break from blogging here for a while.  Of course, God is still moving in the Willis house...and when He tells us to jump again (whatever that may look like) we will and we will share it with everyone.  We are open books...and we always want to be that way.  We believe God has moved so much (and crafted so many miracles) in our family, that we always want to share it with others.
I will still be posting monthly on Today's Housewife and The Stitches Blog.  I will still be on Facebook some (send me a shout out if we aren't already friends).  As always...please send me an email or message if you have questions or need prayer.  :)
Thank you for being a part of our journey!  I'll leave you with a few (or 12) pics.

Till Next Time!!!

To Our Sweet Owen,
Sweet boy...I fall more and more in love with you every day.  Really.  Your sweet kisses are perfection.  And you are growing so much we don't know what to do!  You truly are amazing.  The past year you have taught us all so much.  And we are still just thanking God that you are ours.  That He picked us to be yours...such an honor!  I know that He has big plans for you son.  I can't wait to see what it is.  You make me so happy.  Thank you for being you...
Love you more,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Inspirations Blog Series 3 has been quite a while since my last blog post!  The reason all honesty...I just haven't been feeling very inspired.  This stay at home Mom of two business is tough and there are times when I think I am doing well to just make it through the day with my sanity in tact.  Owen and Gracie are just a bit of a handful at times (not to mention the many other life "growth opportunities" going on right now), and though I am certain that my kids are perfect in every way...lets just say that they are keeping me on my toes!!!
With a few counseling sessions (yes...I admit it...sometimes we all need a little help!) and some much needed Mommy's Night Outs - I am feeing much better!  And I am back to feeling a little bit inspired again...hoping that the floodgates will open again and pour out like they did in the golden days.  Lol. are a few that have stuck out to me lately...

You may recognize this pic - I think I may have posted it before.  It is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE pics ever taken.  It was taken by a friend that we met in Uganda who was also adopting a little boy.  We went into a village to take pictures of a friend's little girl for her - and it was an awesome little trip.  My friend Abi happens to be Abi of one of the most talented, beautiful, and creative women I know.  She has a passion for photography and capturing the most beautiful moments and that inspires me almost as much as this picture does.  She also has a sweet soul...and that inspires me even more than the pic.

Coffee makes me so. very. happy.  REALLY...the kind of happy that makes me smile...when I am all by myself...or when the house is full of people.  Good days.  Hard days.  They have to start with coffee (or I will get a migraine by 10...but hey...that is OK!).  

A good movie is so easy to get lost in.  You can, for just a little while, forget about everything and explore a new world.  A movie is made so much better when shared with someone you love - friend or hubby!  Though a friend is more likely to agree with you on what movie you pick.  :)

And this is what I have for now.  I do still have my list...but we are moving and it is in a box somewhere around here.  I am sure I will have more inspiration soon.  What inspires you?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Inspirations Blog Series 2 (and some info on Owen)

I'm just going to be honest regarding the reason why it has taken me so long to post the 2nd "episode" of the inspirations blog series.  Here it is...ready???...gotta be honest...LIFE HAS BEEN A BIT CRAZY.  I have been inspired.  And there have been some REALLY awesome times...but there has been a lot of adjusting, regressing, stress, and exhaustion over the past few weeks.  The Mister (the big one) had an accident while working a structure fire that required surgery on his shoulder and a MAJOR adjustment to his work schedule (leaving 3 "kids" at home a lot more than usual), we had a follow up appt with Owen at Children's, Gracie and Owen were struggling a bit (I use that term very loosely), and we actually had some time together as a family to enjoy.  All of that has kinda zapped my creativity.  We have really enjoyed having some much appreciated time together - a rare jem for just would have been so much better had it been due to better circumstances.  I am feeling like we are on the upswing, and I am happy to be back!
Now on with the inspiration...

Owen Mukisa Willis
This the definition of inspiration.  He has overcome so much.  Smiles so often.  Belly laughs more than anyone I know.  He truly loves life.  He is not perfect (shocking, I know), but he really is a picture of God's perfect will.  I have said it many times, but will say it again:  God truly blessed us when he brought Owen into our lives.  It isn't the other way around.  We are so thankful to be his family.  
Children's Adoption Follow Up Appointment Update:
Owen had a bone scan done on his hand to determine his age.  It looks like he is closer to a younger 2 according to his bones.  But, due to malnourishment, it may not be totally accurate.  SO, we will wait a little bit and if his developmental age continues at the rate it is (3 year old) and his size (wow) continues to blast off, we will go with him being 3.  "How old is he?" used to be such an easy question!  
We are also going to be going to Scottish Rite for some concerns regarding his hips.  I mentioned to the doctor that I felt like something wasn't right, we did an x-ray, and there is some bowing of his hips.  This could be for several reasons and the best course of action is to go somewhere where the doctors know that sort of thing.  Scottish Rite couldn't be a better place for it!  We know that by experience!!!  Between Owen and Gracie...they are going to know us so well now!  Prayers are, of course, appreciated regarding this appointment!  We will let you know what we find out...and are assuming it will take a while to get him in.

Grace Carolyn Willis
I was watching Gracie do her swim lessons this year thinking...about all that has changed in her life this year.  A new (toddler) brother.  Juvenile Arthritis.  Shots.  Sharing Mommy and Daddy.  And lots more.  And I am reminded, again, of how awesome she is.  This such a lover.  She has never met a stranger and just loves to love.  She has the most amazing imagination and is growing up so much!  I have so much fun just watching her.  She tells me stories.  And her prayers blow. me. away.  She is such an awesome little prayer warrior.  Here are some of the things she prayed for this week:
*that her cousin Elena's hair would grow back and she would be healffee (healthy)
*for these blessings (ok)
*that her brother would share, not hit, and not bite (hmmm)
*that her Daddy would feel better and have a good day at work (even if he isn't going there)
*that she would make good choices (nice!)
Prayer time is my favorite time with her.  :)

The Little Elm Firefighters and friends
This injury has been hard on all of us for more than one reason.  But...we have trusted that God will provide in all the ways needed.  And He has.  He has used so many people to do this.  Josh always talks about his "brothers".  And I (along with the other wives) know that this brotherhood is a big part of our lives, but we enjoy making fun of it more than anything.  It is hard to do that when you look outside every other week and see one of them mowing your hard...or posting about a fundraiser for your family...or hearing the reminder that they are praying for you.  They really do show what it means to be a family.  We have really felt so much comfort and support from them.  It really helps...and shows that family is so much more than blood relatives.

Vacation Bible School
We are more than half way into the week of VBS and I can honestly is changing ME.  I look at these kids...many of them unchurched...and think about what an awesome blessing it is to have the opportunity to share Jesus with them.  And they want to learn so much!  They are having a blast and our host and volunteers are so much fun.  I really think we have a great team!  We got to kind of modify a service project today and it almost brought me to tears talking to them about missionaries and Uganda.  They used beads to make bracelets and they were SO interested in learning about mission work and orphan care.  They are each praying for people who are in Uganda doing God's work right now!  God is up to something this week!!!  These little lives...inspire much.  As do the people working with them.  

This long list of inspirations...keeps I will have lots more to share soon!

To Our Sweet Owen,
Son...I couldn't help but laugh at you today.  You had a shirt on that needed to be washed so I took it off.  You did NOT appreciate it.  And you let me know that you were cold (in the 80 degree house) until I got you another one to put on.  You do not like to be naked, dirty, or wet.  You crack me up!!!  
Love you more,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Inspirations Blog Series 1

I have been doing some thinking (shocking...I know) and I have come to this conclusion:  I am SURROUNDED by the most inspiring, beautiful, and miraculous people, places, and things.  They are literally every where.  I thought I would post a blog about some of I started to make a list...and it got really long.  Way too long for a blog post.  Then...I kept adding to it...and now, well, I just can't stop.
SO...I think it is time for a series.  I am excited to share this with you.  And I really had a hard time choosing which ones to write about first.  So, hang with me.  There are lots more to come.
This also got me wondering about something else.  What inspires you????  Please feel free to share in the comments.  :)

This is Joshua.  The hubby.  He is strong.  He cares for others...committed his life to helping them - even if it means putting himself in harms way.  He is an overcomer.  He lives life one day at a time.  He is kind.  He is brave.  He loves his family.  He loves his God more.  His necklace has his sobriety date on it (07/16/08) and this:  "Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory".  Saying that I love him...just doesn't quite cut it.

 I just couldn't pretend that food doesn't inspire me.  IT DOES.  A lot.  This is one of my favs.  Isn't it beautiful?  What is more beautiful is that - at the table - my whole family was present.  And enjoying life together.
 This is..Italy.  Well...maybe it is Italy in Disney World...but it is the closest I have ever gotten.  The sky...the architecture...the arches...the lines...the complicated simplicity.  
This is a flower that grew at the guest house we stayed at in Uganda.  I remember looking at it in awe.  Just how detailed and beautiful is it?  

I have always been a fan of butterflies.  They are so pretty...and different.  They, for me, represent freedom...a new creation...

The Military Spouse.  Her husband's (or wife's sometimes) job is always appreciated by an American.  They fight for our country...we are free...b/c of what they do for us.  But, for most soldiers...there is a wife sitting at home running the family.  She sacrifices.  A lot.  And that inspires me.  She supports.  She appreciates.  She misses her family being together, but she keeps on pushing forward.

Melissa Busby
You've probably heard me talk about this sweet family.  She is the one who has been in Uganda for 9 months trying to get her little girl, Mercy, home.  You can read her blog here.  She has been stuck away from her family for so long.  I would HOPE that I would be as awesome as her if I were in her shoes.  But, I don't know that I would be.  She has embraced the culture, kept the faith, held onto hope, helped the people of Uganda...and the list goes on and on.  She is a great example of someone who looks for the good.  And her faith in what keeps her going.  She says she has hard days (I would assume so...who wouldn't!?!?), but she really does keep her chin up (as my grandfather would put it).

To My Sweet Owen,
You had a bit of a rough morning.  BUT, you always show me that you are just so sweet.  And gentle.  Even though you sometimes want to be anything but.  Your little just so...soft.  And I love it.  I love all of you.  Even the part that had a hard morning.  :)
Love you more,

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Appreciating comfort...

I have been thinking a lot lately of the things I take for granted.  The things that I do regularly and don't always think twice about.  Things like this:

  • the ability to get in my car and drive
  • the ability to wash my clothes in a machine
  • the water that comes out of my faucet
  • coffee - brewed
  • music and the fact that I can listen to it
  • my church
  • freedom to serve my God
  • clothing for my children
  • shoes
  • air conditioning
  • doors
  • microwaves
  • phone calls
  • blogging
  • praying
  • confiding in a friend who just understands
  • sunblock
  • the oven and stove
The list really goes on and on...

Then...I read an email from Make Way Partners and I was really overwhelmed with how much I take for granted.  One of the things I take for granted most:  My children lay in their beds at night and my work is done.  It is really the only free time I get through out the day.  They are good and I don't have to worry.  But the people of Southern Sudan and Northern Uganda...are on alert ALL THE TIME.  Probably even more at night when rebels from the LRA are likely to attack them and their families.  The things that they do...are far worse than I could even begin to imagine.  I pray that this will come to an end (will you?), and I am reminded that I need to be thankful.  I need to appreciate the list above and live my every day life with appreciation for ALL things God has blessed me with.  ALL THINGS.  Because His plan is perfect.  And part of resting in His plan is being thankful for His plan.

This is how my babies look when they are at rest....SO...PEACEFUL...

I want to REST in God like this...with complete peace.  Giving Him all my fear, concern, worry, and allowing my life to be full of thanksgiving all the days I have here.

To My Sweet Owen,
You have changed me forever.  I look at you and think over and over again how blessed I am to be your Mommy.  You laugh and smile and make show how talented our God is with His creations.  You are becoming such an amazing little guy.  And you LOVE to run.  Your little legs move so fast.  Your Daddy and I are so proud of you.
Love you more,

Monday, May 30, 2011

A heart for Uganda

Please take a minute and read the note below.  Kat is a friend of mine (for over 10 years) and I am so excited about what God is doing in her life.  I know He has big plans for her trip to Uganda.  Her heart is a good example of how God works through His people.  Thanks!

Dear Friends and Family,

Good News! After prayerful consideration, I’ve decided to step out in faith (and way out of my comfort zone) to take part in a short term mission trip to Uganda this July with a team from my church, Christ Fellowship. God is moving mightily in Africa and I am honored to have this opportunity to serve Him!

Our team will partner with Pastor Makumbi Johnson and his church to provide medical, dental, and vision clinics to three villages in the Luwero district (2 hours N/W of Kampala) and launch three new church plants. Our trip will begin on July 9, 2011 and we will return on the 21st.

The total trip cost is $4,300. It’s no surprise that I do not have that kind of money lying around! I’ve already received donations from a few generous supporters who’ve helped provide the funds for the trip deposit and my immunizations. I have some money saved and plan to sell a few things, but I will still need financial support to raise all the necessary funds. The deadline for raising the funds is July 2.

25% of the money I raise will help cover the cost of supplies for the clinics, purchasing land to build churches, drilling two deep water wells, school supplies, and life saving mosquito nets.

Whether you are able to contribute financially or not, please join me in praying for the success of this mission. Please pray for me and my team now as we prepare to leave for Uganda and while we are out of the country
§  for the health and safety of our mission team
§  for the trip’s financial needs to be met
§  that our team will work well together
§  for the people of Uganda who are awaiting and preparing for our arrival

If you’d like to help support me and this mission financially, no gift is too small and I will greatly appreciate any help! The following link will take you directly to my donation page on the church website. Credit cards are accepted, but using your bank routing number is better for the church due to the fees associated with credit transactions.

While I will be made aware that you contributed, I will not know the amount. All donations are considered charitable and are tax deductible.

 If you prefer to send a check please make your check payable to “Christ Fellowship” and write “Uganda Church Plant 2011” on the memo line. Please do not put my name anywhere on the check. Mail checks to:

Christ Fellowship
Atten: Rafe Wright
2801 Orchid Dr.
McKinney, TX 75070

Please write “Uganda-July, Kat Inslee” on the bottom left corner of the envelope so that Rafe will know to add your contribution to my account.

Thank you in advance for your prayers and/or financial support. I am thrilled to have this opportunity and I can’t wait to share with you what God does on this trip and in my life!


Kat Inslee 

To Our Sweet Owen,
You have no idea how many people your life has effected.  Your smile and personality have changed so many others.  AND...Auntie Kat just might bring you a treat home from your birth country too.  :)
Love you more,

Monday, May 23, 2011

Awaka Children's Foundation: THANK YOU and a FUN NEW FUNDRAISER!

When we started our adoption journey, we kept hearing the name of ONE MAN come up over and over and over again.  We heard only good things about this man named Godfrey everywhere we looked.  Josh and I even joked about calling him Saint Godfrey (only kidding, promise).  But, the truth is...this man is amazing.  I can't even imagine what the numbers would be if I were able to add up all the children he has literally saved and impacted in immeasurable ways.  You see...Godfrey is a different kind of man.  One that God has molded and shaped to have a heart for orphans in a radical way - more specifically orphans in Uganda - his home.  I am not exaggerating when I say that this man saved our son's life.  He.  Really.  Did.  And he does that sort of thing for a living.  He also helps families who come to Uganda by being their guide.  He is a new employee of Sixtyfeet - which you probably already know is an organization that my heart is involved in - in a big way.  He also works with Awaka Children's Foundation, Inc. and changes lives with both of these amazing organizations.  He fosters children and loves them like his own.
Josh and I thought he was a older man...maybe grey...probably wrinkly...wise.  When we got to Uganda and met Godfrey...this is what we saw:

A young guy.  Tall.  Smiling.  A guy with a seriously wonderful sense of humor.  Down to earth.  Kind.  Careful.  Considerate.  Will go out of his way for anyone.  A Dad.  A husband.  And now...our friend.  Though we really do kind of just consider him family.
This picture includes his wife and two bio children - as well as other children that he is (surprise, surprise) helping.  His youngest - the baby in the pic - has very recently been diagnosed with a heart condition.  She needs to be seen by a doctor here in the US.  Awaka has raised all the funds needed to actually get them here.  Now they just need help to get some funding for their stay.
PLEASE consider going to the link below and taking part in Awaka's fundraising.  Godfrey is also happy to speak to people (churches, groups, orgs) while he is in country, so let me know if you want to set that up.  Of course, your prayers are so much more than appreciated and needed now as well.  Let me know if you have any questions!
Thank you!!!

I also will be having a UGANDA PAPER BEAD NECKLACE PARTY coming up soon.  All proceeds will go to Godfrey and his family.  More to come on that!

Awaka Children's Foundation: THANK YOU and a FUN NEW FUNDRAISER!: "FIRST off we all wanted to THANK YOU for your support of Godfrey and his family. It is thrilling to have all the money necessary for the fam..."

To Our Sweet Owen,
You have no idea how many people love you.  Seriously...pretty much everyone you meet.  You are still growing...a lot.  You are quick on a big wheel.  Your feet are have officially out grown your every way measurable.  You are ALL BOY.  And I love you every last bit of you.
Love you more,