Things We’re Into Today…

Here are some of the things we are loving, that if you don’t know about already, you might want to look into! What can we say, we’re trendsetters. Or not. You probably already have all these things. No problem. Show your friends this post so you can prove you were into it first.

From Amanda:

  1. Indoor Swings.

Do you have one? Indoor swings are like heaven. In my perfect house, my breakfast bar would look like this:


But until I can convince my husband that this is a brilliant idea with five children and tile floors, we’ve settled on this swing in our play room. It really is essential in your life. Swings are known to help calm and reorganize the brain. They are magic, for rambunctious kids, or anxious adults. And we have both. This swing is at ikea for $40. There are cooler ones out there, but if you don’t have an indoor swing, you need one. Trust me. Winter is coming. This will help.


2. This one is more than $40…

But we just put in a steam room in our master bathroom. The first time I indulged, I looked at David and said, “It doesn’t matter if this thing cost us 1 million dollars, it was worth every single penny.”

I know that’s not realistic, but honestly, we LOVE it! All of us. The benefits of steam saunas are numerous, but include helping to extract impurities and toxins, help with breathing and alleviating asthma symptoms, and most importantly, RELAXATION. I know it isn’t practical to go put one in if you aren’t already planning a renovation, BUT if you are a part of a gym or YMCA that has a steam room, GO RELAX!

I have even started buying books at Goodwill for $0.50 and then I can go in a read, it is the perfect way to relax before bed.

The boys after football, trying to relieve their

The boys after football, trying to relieve their “aching muscles”!

3. These pants. They’re the bomb dot com.

Yup, I said it.

My friend Amber at Beautiful and Beloved, a boutique that empowers global job creation for survivors of slavery, gifted them to me for my birthday. They are perfection, they’re like Aladdin pants meet skirt, meet pajamas. I wear them to church, and to do yard work, and in new york city, because you can wear them ANytime! They’re heaven, with a waist band. Trust me.

This is a really terrible picture, but the pants STILL look awesome!

This is a really terrible picture, but the pants STILL look awesome!


  1. These pants. She’s not kidding. They are so awesome. Honestly, I don’t really think they are that flattering, but they are the kind of pants you can really say, “who cares how they look? they feel awesome”. They are PERFECT for a travel day. Either in the car or on a plane. Perfect for spring, summer or fall. Based on comments I’ve gotten I’m pretty sure they look terrible. From a hairstylist: “I could never wear those!” (AKA Those look like crap. I wouldn’t do that to myself). From D: “Are you wearing your pajamas?” Me: “No. And your mom has the same pants. But I could easily sleep in these.”


    Cameo by Eleanor

  2. Dermaplaning. Have you heard of this? Dermaplaning is a nice way of saying: shave your face. It’s truly the latest (as far as I know ‘latest’ to be which means it could be quite outdated) in beauty treatments. My sister in law, Katie, introduced me to it with these little razors. dermsShe told me it’s what she uses to control her upper lip hair (mustache). I was skeptical- as I am sure you are- but since Katie is flawless I decided to give it a try. I read all about this process before I took one of these razors to my face.  Believe me the last thing my Italian- self needed was to have any hair (facial or otherwise) growing back thicker and darker. So I did what any intelligent person seeking information does and I googled it. Then I shaved away. Uncle Google taught me the hair on your face is not like the hair on your legs. The hair on your face is called vellous hair. When vellous hair is removed it grows back the same texture and color as it was before you removed it. Therefore, removing it has no unwanted side effects. I started with my ‘stache and these little razors with great results. And then I got addicted. Having no mustache was like….amazing. When I started reading about removing my mustache hair with a razor, it led me to the whole dermaplane thing. Dermaplaning is performed using a sterile surgical blade. Basically you lay down and a esthetician takes her trained and careful hands and surgical blade to your face and neck and removes all traces of hair. dermaplane.89122230_stdIt is amazing. It feels amazing. Afterward, your make up goes on smoothly and your face looks younger and brighter. I know it sounds scary. I’ve had it done twice by a professional and this is my total recommendation: pay a professional to shave your face. I do NOT recommend going the cheap way and using your husband’s #1 razor to shave your own face. However, full disclosure here: I do not see a professional for this anymore. I make sure everyone in my house is asleep and I get one of Andy’s super sharp razors and I shave my face. These are like German engineered single blades. We don’t use a Bic for this kind of thing, nor do you use moisture or shaving cream. It’s a dry process.  And sometimes I look like this if it’s too dark. So if you want to try this, it’s about $30-$80 here in Denver and you won’t regret it! Trust me: you look younger and brighter. Dermaplaning helps with dry skin, superficial skin problems, and acne scars. And dermaplaning at home helps with pride and feelings of grandeur. shaving-cuts
  3. Blanket Scarves! You’ve probably seen the trend. Giant, blanket-like scarves. Plaid. I’ve always loved scarves and I’ve always loved plaid. I’m like a trendy farmer. See my previous post on my overall obsession. Screen-Shot-2014-09-26-at-7.47.47-AMI love these scarves because in Colorado it gets super cold but warms up because of the bright sunshine even on the coldest day. So wear it like an actual blanket if needed or like a scarf. Anyway, looks like you can get this scarf for around $25. Shabby Alpaca will be selling them September 12 &13 at the Denver Flea, but ours are geometric patterned and solid and being alpaca they are not in the $25 range, but if you like having something no one else has that is super high quality and SOFT, then you need to come check out our stock of scarves! And hats. And gloves. And arm warmers.)  Plaid-Blanket-Scarf-Zara-Style-Asos-36

What are you into that we need to know about?


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Why? Foster Care.

11891047_10153122245432081_7869218359170413993_nA few evenings back another couple sat on our couch, and asked us about our journey into adoption. Why foster care? Why not international adoption? Why not private adoption?

There isn’t a right answer here. There isn’t a side to be had. There is just a story. Our story. How God spoke to us. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t speak differently to different people. But here is how we fell into the hardest and most beautiful journey of our lives…

11896261_10153121313792081_1202762226290168056_nWhen David and I started dating seriously I told him that if we were to ever get married he’d have to be open to adoption. I had known since I was a little girl that I would adopt some day. He had never imagined having a family in this way, so he honestly responded and asked for some time to think about it, A few months later he gifted me a book called Loved by Choice.  In it he wrote a note that said he was in. I wonder if he had any idea?

Fast forward eight or so years, we are married, we have had Tre, and decided that we will pursue adoption to grow our family from here on out. I had always imagined our family as a tribe, from all nations, and colors, and thus we began our pursuit with international adoption. Through a series of events and God stories, we found ourselves sitting in our county’s Human Services offices and being trained as foster parents. A few months later we received our first placement, twin two year old boys.

Through the next three years nine children found a home within our hearts. Some of them were there for a few minutes (literally), some for a few weeks, others for a few months, and three stayed forever. These years were marked with a roller coaster of emotion, I wrote about our experiences, as much as I could without breaking confidentiality rules on our family blog. You can read some of our experiences here and here. And find many more there as well.

Now, when we look back on those years. And people ask why? Why should we sign up for loving kids who go back? Why should we say yes to foster care? Here are some of the things I say:

Laila Lou when they placed her in my back seat for the first time. Th moment I laid eyes on her.

Laila Lou when they placed her in my back seat for the first time. Th moment I laid eyes on her.

  1. A lot of people say, “I could never do that! I could never love a kid and then “give them back!” And I say, YOU are who we need in foster care. Kids deserve to be loved that way. Whether they go home or not. They deserve forever love, whether it is for two days or two years, they need it. And we need people who will give them that. The only way we can help heal kids and families is if we have people who will go all in with them. Who will sacrifice their emotions, their peace, their finances, and security, their time, and their safety, for kids and families who need us. As Father Boyle puts it, “The strategy of Jesus is not centered in taking the right stand on issues, but rather standing in the right place- with the outcast and those relegated to the margins…. Jesus just stood with the outcasts until they were welcomed or until He was crucified- whichever came first.”
  2. D a few days after arriving at our home.

    D a few days after arriving at our home.

    Yes, it is the absolute hardest thing we’ve ever done. Yes it’s awful when kids go home. But no one ever told me that doing the right thing is easy. Sometimes the best thing is the hardest thing to do, and it is exactly where you find the richest blessing and fulfillment, and where you realize what you were made for.When we look back on our time as foster parents we see such a sweet season, a season in which we felt closest to God, we had an amazing support team surround us and help us. And we found beauty in kinship with people we never would have been blessed to call our friends if we hadn’t have done this.

  3. Foster care helps you find the pulse of your community. When you care for- and care with- the marginalized and broken in your community- you realize that you are them. That we are one. “You stand with the least likely to succeed until success is succeeded by something more valuable: kinship. You stand with the belligerent, the surly, and the badly behaved until the behavior is recognized for the language it is: the vocabulary of the deeply wounded and of those whose burdens are more than they can bear. ” (Father Gregors Boyle, again.)
  4. There. Are. So. Many. Kids. in your neighborhood, who need your help. In our small county there are over 40 kids waiting to be adopted. And over 1,000 children in foster care here. Check out the needs in your community. Yes, it’s a broken system. Yes you will get screwed over. But we couldn’t turn our back on the kids and families that we could help. We didn’t change the system, but we did change the lives of a few kids. And that is worth all of the injustices and brokenness that we experienced.
  5. Lastly, people who have biological children are always concerned for their biological children. I can honestly say that Tre
    Noah and Tre a few days after Noah's birth,

    Noah and Tre a few days after Noah’s birth,

    has been shaped and formed with a heart for people, and brokeness, a heart for compassion and understanding unlike many kids his age, and it is because of his experience as a foster brother to many. And guess what, kids only know what you tell them! We always told Tre that kids would come and stay with us while their parents were working hard to make safe homes and families, so they could go home. And when kids went home, Tre was so happy for them. he knew what it was like to be loved and be in a safe home, and he wanted that for them too. He did better than any of us!

Everyone isn’t suppose to do foster care. But if you are thinking about adoption, and/or helping children in  your community, I urge you to consider foster care. It will be the hardest thing you ever do, I am not saying it isn’t. But I do believe that Jesus calls us to develop kinship and stand with (not for) the broken.

Notes: To My Future Daughter-in-Law

Dear [Future] Daughter-in-law,

I have thought of you often, since the day my boy entered my world when he was 15 years old. You already know Zac’s story- adopted out of foster care at an “unadoptable” age. He’s been my boy since the day I laid eyes on him and your husband is my son, but he’s no longer my boy. I don’t know your story yet, but I pray often for you that whatever life is throwing at you that you know Jesus is holding you near.

You don’t have to prove your worth with me. You have my respect. I hope that I always make you feel precious and smart. Because you are. And I get to see your brilliance unfold as it will in this new season. You are one of my children now. You are one of my daughters. We’ll share secrets. We’ll share recipes. And we’ll share love. You’ll be the mother of my grandchildren and that is a love that neither of us will be able to measure! I want you to know that I told Zac to keep close watch over you after you have your baby, I’ve told him what an honor it will be that he gets to change your baby’s diapers and hold your baby in the middle of the night.


God gave me a significant time in my son’s life to nurture him as mothers do. I wiped away tears, I kissed his face, I held him close to model gentleness. I taught him how to listen by letting him be heard. I showed him warmth so that his heart would stay soft. I gave him thoughtful notes and gifts. I asked him endless questions, with hope that he would know this important side of the female mind. I did all these things because it’s the great joy of being a mom to a son. I did these things with you in mind because no matter what your story is, I know you deserve a wonderful husband. I want you to know that Zac has learned the value of housework from us. I often tell him that “the most romantic thing that you can do for your wife around the house is help cook and clean, and clean some more.” That may not seem romantic to you in the early stages of your relationship, but as your life changes with babies and work, I know you’ll thank me for instilling this value for seemingly mundane work in him.


Mother and son

From my own life, I want you to know this: marriage is sacred. Your marriage is sacred and I respect that with all my heart. For me to let my own chapter close is hard. I’ll forget sometimes that he’s no longer my boy. Please forgive me.

This story is now yours. You will know my son in a way that I do not. I am grateful. My son will be your knight in shining armor, your protector, your provider. What you share with him is everything that my son deserves. Everything that you deserve. Everything that you’ve both worked for.

I can’t wait to walk this road with you. Know that you always have my love!


Your [Future] Mother-in-love

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Through a series of events which I am unable to detail here (but let’s just say it involved crying and asking my doctor for a hug), I was prescribed a low dose anti-depressant. This drug was not prescribed to me for depression, but for a lingering, taunting anxiety. Even though I’ve been plagued with anxiety for a long time, I never considered medicine as a solution for this issue. This is probably because I started my Christian journey on the far right side of things (in terms of left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative) I’ve since moved much closer to center. In moving closer to the center I’ve uncovered whole heaps of judgement I’ve shoveled on others. Because of what I believed for myself, I was both afraid of what other Christians would think and afraid that there was something wrong with me that I couldn’t use my Christian superpowers and connection to God to heal my mind and stop being anxious. Why couldn’t I just pray this away? Was my faith so frail?

As my mindset has shifted, one of the things that has changed is that I have stopped being so hard on myself and others. I came to realize that I was not going to be able to get rid of this plaguing anxiety issue on my own. When my doctor suggested taking pills, I didn’t really even consider it -or even register his suggestion. A week after I cried to my doctor and asked for a hug, as I was reflecting about my situation, a light clicked on in my head and I thought, “Anti-depressants! That’s what I need!” Duh. That is actually what the doctor suggested but I was too busy crying to hear it.

Since I started taking anti-depressants, my mindset is completely different. Instead of being a “1” on the big deal scale, the things that set me off are now are things that are a “4” on the big deal scale. I am more easy going and my brain is clearer. The fog of anxiety has lifted just enough for me to function in a more healthy way. And also, I really am much happier. It’s not like all my problems are gone or I live on cloud 9. But I feel like I can deal with everything better. And that feels good!

If you are a Christian you are probably thinking one of two things. Either, “who cares? this is not an issue.” or “Oh my God. How could she?” Regardless of where you stand, right or left, liberal or conservative in your thinking, here are three truths.

First of all: I don’t love God less because I use modern medicine to help me deal with mental issues.

Second of all: Taking drugs of any kind doesn’t make me a worse Christian.

Third of all: God doesn’t love me any less because of my choices.

These are three solid mindset changes I had to make in order to come to terms with the fact that as a Christian who loved God, I needed medicine to help heal my mind. And here is what else I have come to: it’s time for me to stop making sweeping judgements about behavior and the choices of others. What if someone was on anti-depressants as a suicide prevention strategy? Are they wrong for using drugs to prevent harming themselves while they work on healing? And regarding my own situation I just want to say- I am not just taking anti-depressants as a cure-all, I am working hard at healing so that maybe one day I won’t need the boost that medicine gives me.

In learning to be less judgmental, I’ve realized another powerful truth. If I truly love God like I say I do then my job is to do just that: love God and love others. I have to ask myself: what do I know about someone else’s life, behavior motives or choices?  My job is not to decide all that is right and wrong for everyone. I need to make decisions for myself. But I need to be careful with the hearts of others and incline myself less toward judgement. Neighbors, Jesus loved everyone and he did point out sin in people’s lives, but that’s not what he asked us to do.

My wise new friend Andy Landers recently said to me: “the message of the gospel isn’t ‘Love the sinner; hate the sin’, the message of the gospel is this: ‘love the sinner; hate your sin’. Let me say it more clearly he said to me, while he punched me in the gut a second time: ‘Love the sinner; hate your own damn sin.’ In other words, love everyone just how they are and worry about your own self. This is the message of the gospel and the message I need to remember when I’m inclined to judge others for their behavior. In learning to love others and worry about my own self, I am free to make choices that someone else may or may not agree with because if I’m not busy judging you, I also don’t have to worry about if you are busy judging me. #freedom #antidpressants

Here is a great article that deals with the church and anti-depressants.


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Ladies! Ladies! Ladies!

As you may have gathered from reading this blog, or you probably know us personally since we are not yet famous on the internet, Amanda and I are both adoptive moms. If you are an adoptive mom yourself, then you know that this comes with it’s own unique challenges. One of the things that is, to me, the most important about being a mom- adoptive or otherwise- is having a support network. Amanda is amazing at this because her natural personality is that of a gatherer and encourager. So, she has 10 million friends. Also, she is an expert in the field of Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®) which is an intervention model for a wide range of childhood behavior problems stemming from trauma (adoption). So Amanda has kind of forced me to join a support system in the way she gathers people and then forces me to join her.

I remember vividly three years ago when she begged, cajoled and basically dragged me to my first adoptive moms retreat. It turned out to be the first one this organization put on and it was just a small group of women in Estes Park. When I finally signed up days before the retreat, I said on my form, “I will not come unless you put me in a room with Amanda Purvis”. (I can’t believe they didn’t just reject my application then and there…). It was a good retreat and I was glad I went, but when year two of the same retreat came around, I had to be dragged again. I went, because I know when Amanda isn’t effing around. It was right after the retreat that year that the organizer of the retreat approached Amanda and I (probably because of our good looks and contagious humor) and asked us to join the planning committee. NOW. NOW I was on board. “I get to be the boss? Yes! I’d love to join you!” Ok, so I’m not the boss at all, but I get to give my wonderfully wise opinion? Yes! I’m IN!

Turns out it was a great decision (not for us to be on the planning committee but to join this community of women and yeah, OK the planning committee sure hasn’t suffered since we joined either). Passion For Orphans is amazing. Yearly, Lisa Stucky and her wise and beautiful planning committee plan a retreat for up to 100 adoptive moms. The retreat is organic. We don’t have Jen Hatmaker come speak (but dear Lord, please let me meet her so she knows what good friends we should be) or anyone else you have probably heard of, but we do have women like her. Women who are willing to share from the depths of their hearts in order to help free your heart. We have worship and though this is a “Christian” retreat, anyone is welcome and we don’t push any brand of religion on anyone. We spend a weekend talking, resting, building community and sharing our hurts and joys over the beautiful tragedy that is being a mom- adoptive or otherwise.

Though the retreat is billed as an adoptive mom retreat, it really isn’t just for those who have adopted. It’s for those who are supporting those who have adopted, those who themselves were adopted, foster moms, orphan advocates and those who work in any kind of orphan care or have a passion for the hurting. The retreat organizer isn’t even an adoptive mom-this is just her passion (I’m telling you, Lisa Stucky is a.m.a.z.i.n.g) it’s just her heart to support us and it is so, so lovely.

Would you join us this year for our retreat? Or do you know someone who would benefit from the rest and who could use the encouragement and love we have to share? COME. COME to this retreat or tell your friend who needs to come that registration is now open! We’d love to have you! You can even put Amanda down as your roommate if you want.


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Dear Moms

Dear Moms,

I’ve been thinking a lot about my life here in this small town and how it has come to be “my ridiculously amazing life”. Let me first get this straight with you. My life has a million ups and downs. My children are far from perfect, my husband is far from perfect and obviously, so am I. But somewhere in the past few months there has been a shift. A shift toward appreciation. A shift toward a settled life. In many ways, I’ve come to accept that life doesn’t have to be perfect to be amazing.

One of the amazing and imperfect aspects of my life is my friendships. I can’t say I’ve struggled to make friends during my life (though at times, I’ve struggled to keep them), but as an adult with a family, we all know it’s a lot harder to find people that not only do you connect with, but your kids and your spouse connect with, too. There’s a lot of moving parts. Attitudes, opinions, play styles, hobbies and interests. It’s hard to find people who share those same things. Not that all of your friends need to share all of that with you and yours, but it helps to have a few things in common.

In the previous season of my life, I isolated myself a bit. I was at first a new mom with two adopted kids. Then I was a mom with two newly adopted kids and a baby and I felt insecure. Insecure about my position. I had no idea how to parent and in nine months I was blessed to abundance with two children (3 & 5 at the time) and a surprise newborn. I didn’t know ….well, I didn’t know anything. And I felt insecure about the looks I got waddling around with a baby in utero and two brown skinned kids. So I kept to myself and I didn’t really try to make friends. Now, I’m over it. This is who we are. Family of five with a couple different colors. Take it or leave it.

Anyway, once I got over my own insecurities and adjusted to our new life, here is how, in the last season of my life I have made friends. If you are lonely or wanting to expand your circle or desperate for company, here’s a few tips from my own life and friendships.

1. Get out with the kids

The library, local museums, parks, these are all places where other moms hang out. It is very easy to start a conversation with a mom if you are both pushing your toddlers on the swing. You don’t have to jump down anyone’s throat or anything, but you clearly have things in common. If you find out it’s just that you both have toddlers- no big deal. You don’t need to take everyone home, but you can test the waters everywhere you go. Fishing for friends.

2. Stay local

It is WAY easier to hang out with people who live near you than it is people who live far away. I have two wonderful friends who I only get to see every six weeks or so because they live 30 minutes away. We have a million things in common and all the things that matter: our kids like to play together, our husbands are friends and we love to share deeply. But with naps and school and activities, it is hard to drive 30 minutes each way to spend time with people. We do it and we maintain those connections, but it’s easier to have friends nearby. There’s a great little place in our town that we like to hang out at. It’s actually a biergarten, but it’s kid friendly. It’s set up in a way that kids can run around and parents can chat easily. It’s a perfect place to go and meet people who live nearby. Find places like this where chatting with others is easy and natural and spend time there. Make local haunts your favorite places. You’re sure to run into a friend, someone you see at church but haven’t talked to or someone who looks like they want to be your friend (keep your eyes out for desperate, wide-eyed looks bordering on insanity. This is the look of a mom).

3. Start conversations

This should go without saying. If you are lonely, don’t isolate. Talk to people when you are out. A friendly conversation can lead to a friendship. As it was with Amanda and I: we were sitting next to each other at the nail salon and I liked her tattoo. So, I asked about it. That simple question led me to my BFF. How easy was that?? As Amanda tells it now that she knows me, she knows how hard I actually worked for our newborn friendship. She gave me her info and twice before she ever pursued me, I pursued her. It was hard, but I knew it was worth it and I was lonely.

4. Make friends with your neighbors!

Hands down this is the best way to make friends. A few weeks ago I hosted a neighborhood BBQ. I have been wanting to do this for some time and I finally decided that I wouldn’t let any more obstacles stop me and I didn’t care how many people came or didn’t come. I printed up invitations, and the kids and I walked them to all of our neighbors. It was a smashing success (and not just because I accidentally got smashed). I was able to make new connections and pursue people for friendships after the BBQ. I met people I hadn’t met that live right on my own block. This also helped me to lay down expectations of what a friend should look like. Lots of my neighbors are older and some are empty nesters, but I can befriend anyone. Who says my friends all have to be like me?

5. Don’t be afraid to approach someone who looks like they should be your friend

I recently missed an opportunity. My kids and I were walking downtown when I saw a white woman crossing the street with a brown baby in her arms. She had a friendly and open face and I wanted to grab her by the arm and forcefully request that she be my friend. I suppose my method would have scared her away resulting in the lost opportunity anyway, but still, I could have tried to chat with her. Instead, we smiled big at each other and said hello. Here is a woman who most likely has something in common with me (I’m making some assumptions here that this was her child, ect), and I could have forged a connection. The very next day I was at the splash pad with the kids when I saw a lady come in with her obviously adopted son. I watched her for a while and before I could approach her, I didn’t see her again. Then suddenly she was behind me, grabbing me desperately and asking if we could be friends. (Ok, it wasn’t like that exactly, but she approached me). We exchanged numbers and I’m sure we will see one another again. As she said, “We need to stick together”. Amen, sister. Amen.

6. Be approachable

This is a big one for me. Having adopted children, we get a lot of questioning looks. People want to know “the story” and I’m not a billboard. I don’t want to tell everyone how my children came to be mine, what happened to their parents or where “I got them”. It’s nunya. I have had to intentionally open my face and lift my head and avoid the stares in order to be approachable. If someone comes up and is inappropriate with their questions, I can cut the conversation short real quick. But I don’t have to assume everyone wants to pry. I can look up, smile and be available for conversations.

7. Go where you go and be there

Do you attend church? Go to a gym? Wherever you go, be there. Meet people. Stay and talk after class or church. All of your friends don’t have to be mom friends. They can be whoever. Friends you meet for coffee without the kids. But if when you go somewhere, you are all there and fully present it’s more likely you will meet someone. Put down your phone (this applies to all situations) and say “hi” to someone who looks like they should be your friend.

What do you think? Can you try a couple of these things? Do you have other best practices for finding friends? Friends are the best and we need them. We need a tight circle of people loving us, hugging us and kicking our asses when we need it. Whether you are a mom or not. You need friends. Step out and see if you can’t meet one new person this week!


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