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DIY Scribble Floral Mural

HOME + LIFESTYLE, MOMLIFElissa-anglinComment

This is an idea I've had brewing in my head for well over a year now. It all started when my sister put in this gorgeous wallpaper in her daughter's nursery. THEN I started crushing on this Hygge & West wallpaper and just KNEW I had to put it in the girls' room (I'm actually really excited about the wallpaper resurgence- so many modern and colorful designs!).  

However, after doing all the calculations, I decided that it simply wasn’t in the budget. And, after seeing the oversized florals in Hayden's nursery I thought that might be a little more do-able. I also figured I could paint over it if I hated it! 

So, I decided to give the floral thing a shot. This method I used is really so forgiving- I will describe it in detail as best I can! And it was actually a quick project – the planning took a lot longer than the actual painting.

The first thing I did was sketch the composition on my iPad so I knew so I could get my ideas out "on paper", and play with color palettes. I pulled the composition off of a few bouquet photos I liked and traced certain parts of it to get me started. After that it was a matter of filling in the gaps, and repeating some of those same florals in different spots. I knew wanted to keep in the color scheme I have been prepping for their room anyway- pink, orange, mustard yellow, and black and white. I wanted the flowers to have more of an illustrative feel as opposed to a realistic look, which I knew would be a lot easier for me to achieve. I like to call these my "scribble flowers". 

Thanks to my iPad and Procreate, it's actually really easy to share that process with you here:

The room also has a chair rail on all the walls (when we moved in there was a really uh, interesting frog border sandwiched in-between the molding)-  and I wanted to make sure that everything would look right with the chair rail– so I knew I needed to do something to add interest there to keep the flow throughout the room. So, I also drew up a mock up of how it would look in the room. 

 My room mock up with the floral design and border.

My room mock up with the floral design and border.

 This woman actually swore she would never paint a room pink...famous last words!

This woman actually swore she would never paint a room pink...famous last words!


Once I had come up with a design I was happy with, it was time to paint!

My mom came over and helped me paint the three different colors on the walls – and this is definitely the hardest part! We ended up having to paint the ceiling after we realized it wasn’t actually white, but a very light blue which wouldn’t complement the new colors. I'm so thankful I had my mom to help me pick out the grey color (really more of a greige than grey) on the bottom- previously it was a really blue grey which made it feel cold and sterile to me. Since I knew we'd be adding warmer colors, it was really important to pick a grey with a warm undertone- otherwise it would have made the original grey look very blue.

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Pink background color: Valspar Arctic Ice 

White: Valspar Downy

Grey on bottom and in mural: Valspar Requisite Grey

We used Satin sheen with every paint- I have found it is very scrubbable without being too shiny.

If you watch my Insta stories (follow me @lissaanglin), you’ll remember that I recommended using an angled brush as opposed to a square one. I hate messing with painter's tape and have found that an angled brush gives me as good or better results. The key with the angled brushes to not overloaded with too much paint and go slow.

Once my base coats were ready, it was time to sketch out the composition. I’d like to do my outlines with chalk, since it wipes off easily. At first I tried drawing with white chalk, but it just wasn’t enough of a contrast on the pink, so I ended up using a light purple chalk. It did end up mixing with the paint somewhat, but it just wasn’t that big of a deal for me – so be warned if you choose to use a darker color of chalk – you might see it a bit!

Next I mixed all of my additional colors for the mural. To keep everything really consistent, I chose to use the same white paint that was on our trim and chair rail, so that all of the paint would have the same base color. Not all white paints are created equal – some have a blue base, some have a green base, some red, some yellow – you get the idea. I mixed the paint in my fancy Solo cups- adding about half a cup of white paint and then tinting the white with these paints from Michaels by adding just a bit at of color at a time and stirring well.

 I am a messy painter!

I am a messy painter!

Keep in mind that your paint will dry darker than it looks when wet. It might be a good idea to paint yourself a test on a piece of paper and let it dry so that you can see the actual colors. I would also suggest using a more limited color palette – three or four colors max – it will keep it much more consistent and professional looking.

Once I had the composition sketched out and paints ready, it was time for the paint bottom layer which I'm calling the "blobs". This is a really fun part of the process. Using a square brush like these, I began to apply my blobs of paint using my outlines guides- but I wasn't too precious about it. ;)

 I wanted to make the color bleed outside of the outline in the end, so I purposely made the color blobs a bit larger than they needed to be. For simplicity sake, I decided to make all of the same types of flowers the same color – so peonies were pink, chrysanthemums were orange, etc. I attempted to do a time-lapse video of myself painting, but didn't quite make it to the outlining stage before my iPad died. However, hopefully this video will give a good idea of how I painted my blobs:



Once the blobs were finished, I let the paint dry fully and then it was time for the outline! I recommend using a round brush (these are great) for the outlines. Keep in mind you will likely need a smaller brush than you think, because when you put pressure on the brush, it’s going to get bigger. So, it’s better to lean on the smaller side so that your outlines don’t become too big.

 Can't wait till there are two sweet girls playing in this room!

Can't wait till there are two sweet girls playing in this room!

Looking at my original sketch, I began to paint the outlines over my colored paint blobs. I didn’t worry too much about staying inside or outside of the lines – and purposely went outside the lines frequently. I used only 1 round brush for all of the outline, so that it was consistent throughout.

Once I was finished, I added some random colored dots/blobs of all the colors I used around the entire piece.

That’s it! I needed up having quite a bit of extra paint that I had mixed, and I didn’t want to throw it out because I’m a paint hoarder, so I went to the dollar store and bought some cheap plastic containers that worked perfectly for storage. Now if anything ever happens to the flowers (likely in our household), I have handy touch up paint.

 After I was done I was hesitant to hang the curtains on top of the flowers, but that had been my intention from the beginning, and I love the way the flowers peek out from behind. Also, this room has a ways to go but let's be real- the toys are usually on the floor anyway. :)

After I was done I was hesitant to hang the curtains on top of the flowers, but that had been my intention from the beginning, and I love the way the flowers peek out from behind. Also, this room has a ways to go but let's be real- the toys are usually on the floor anyway. :)

There you have it! If you made it through this far, thanks for reading and I hope you attempt some scribble florals yourself!

liv jumping on the bed

MOMLIFElissa-anglinComment

I had an impromptu shoot with Liv a few weeks ago and am finally getting some time to edit them. These are some of my favorite images I've shot of her because they are just completely her! Messy hair, baby dolls, and lots of jumping. 

I shot these with my D750 with a 24-70 2.8 lens. I stayed right around 2.8 1/500 with my ISO at 1250 the entire time. 

I also shared my editing process in my Moms Who Snap group earlier today and that video is available to watch for the next couple of days if you'd like to check it out!

Ready to harness the power of your fancy camera and learn to shoot in manual? Or want to learn how I use Adobe Lightroom to edit? Check out my Skillshare classes! They are perfect for beginners- http://www.partofmeblog.com/photoworkshops/

Click on either image below to get 2 free months of Skillshare- more than enough time to complete both classes!

christmas cranberry moscow mules

HOME + LIFESTYLE, MOMLIFElissa-anglinComment
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That's right...I've got jokes :)

My go-to drink on a night out is a moscow mule, and my go-to drink while running errands with the kids is a water with cranberry and lime! So, when we had the murder mystery party I thought it would be fun to do a holiday mix-up of the two- a cranberry moscow mule.

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The recipe is quite simple- all you need to do is make up some cranberry simple syrup and add it to your favorite moscow mule recipe. I like my mules a little sweet, so check out the recipe below for how I achieve that!  

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Cranberry Moscow Mules

1 oz. cranberry simple syrup (I used this easy recipe- you just need cranberries, sugar and water!)

2 oz. vodka

3 oz. ginger beer

3 oz. Sprite

1-2 lime wedges

Ice cubes

In a copper mug, pour vodka, ginger beer, and Sprite. Add ice cubes and stir. Pour cranberry simple syrup over the ice, and squeeze a wedge or two of lime into the mixture. Enjoy! It's so refreshing!

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a day in the mind of a waiting adoptive mom

MOMLIFElissa-anglin1 Comment

Beeeepppp…..Beeeeeeepppppp……that alarm is always too early and too loud. I lean over to silence it and breathe a deep yawn. With my head still on the pillow, I realize it’s a new day.

Lord, can it be today?

We’ve been in our adoption process for almost 5 years now. For much of that time, I knew that there was a very slim chance we’d get to see our daughter’s face that day- so it was easier to push that anticipation to the future- telling myself that we were not in the season to expect that just yet. I could still pray, be satisfied knowing God’s plan is perfect…anticipating that time when “it could be any day now”.

And now, for the past three months…every day of those months…“it could be any day now”. We are anticipating that moment when we will get a phone call- that leads to an email- which contains my daughter’s face. This part- the “any day now” part- has not been what I expected.

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“Mooooooommmmmmmmyyyyyyy….I want cereal! Moooooommmmmmyyy!!” Instead of hopping out of bed, I pretend that they really aren’t there and beg my pillow for a few more minutes of sleep. Thankfully, my husband arises to feed the hungry and make coffee.

Kids are sent to school, husband heads to work. It’s finally quiet and I have some head space. Time to spend with Jesus. We talk and I’m honest. I worry that there is something he’s waiting on me to “figure out” before we get that call. Something I can control or fix before it happens. Ha! Why are you always grasping for that control, Lissa?!?

And he tells me, “Child, I love you. Rest in my timing. Her redemption is coming. She will be home in my perfect time." So, I ask again that our phone call would come. Can it be today, Lord? I pray about the other hard things in my world- things that seem so much bigger than our adoption. Gracefully, my Savior hears it all. 

Work begins for the day and takes over my brain waves. Emails, texts, images to edit. It’s family photo season and as I look at the sweet faces of the families I photograph I wonder, “What will ours look like next year? This time last year I was sure there’d be another face in our photo…”

During my efforts to lessen the chaos of my email inbox, I see an email from our adoption agency. Could this be it?!? And maybe I just missed the call?!? Hurriedly, I open the email. It’s just a monthly program update. It’s nice, and encouraging, but not the email I really want today.

The email prompts me to check our agency’s private waiting child website. There, I can see the faces of the children recently matched, as well as some who are still waiting for their families. It is exciting and heartbreaking- in some of their faces I can imagine my own daughter’s, and seeing some my heart breaks knowing that they wait still- and that we are not the family for him or her. I should be praying over this list. All of these children are in a wait, too. It’s not just me. And I have a husband to hug, and babies to hug. I’m ok. Lord, bring these kids a family.

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Before I know it, it’s time for my daily school pick up parade. I pull up to my daughter’s daycare and jump out of the car because as usual, I am riiiight on the edge of being late. As I approach the door, a few Taiwanese mothers stand talking as their children play nearby. What will they think when I have a baby in my arms that looks more like them than me? Will they ask about her? And how will I respond? I’ve never spoken to these women before, but I have gazed upon their beautiful children more than once, thinking of my own beautiful Asian. We do not yet have any close friends who are Asian- though we are dying to find some…but what do you say? Hi, our daughter is coming from China and will you be our Asian friend? Really, Lissa?!? I roll my eyes at my inner thoughts as I open the glass doors of the building. 

Daughter in tow, I hop back into the car, and I’ve got a voicemail on my phone from a friend. She’s just checking on me. Tells me she’s praying for that baby to come. It is sweet- because I know she knows. Her adopted baby girl is now approaching 3 years old and is absolutely beautiful and full of just the sass and flavor God knew my friend could mother well. Don’t forget, Lissa, she waited too- her daughter is your reminder. I haven’t forgotten you.

My littlest and I head to my son’s school to pick him up. As we wait for the 1st graders to file out of the school building, I chat with a mom friend who happens to be holding a very tiny, very new foster daughter in her arms. She asks about our adoption process and I have no real news to tell her. I love that she asks- that she cares- but I wish I had something new to say today. Her family has been fostering for about a year now and I have seen several sweet children in her arms during that time. The vast differences of our current journey with international adoption versus the rhythms of foster care hit me. While we wait, she has babies in her arms. When we bring a baby home, it is permanent. When they welcome one, there is no promise of permanency. Still, both take care of children in need. Both are a means to a family. We have so much in common and yet so many differences. 

My son smiles as he approaches us. We wave goodbye to teachers and friends, and head to the car. Loading my two and getting them buckled amidst school pick up traffic proves to be more challenging than anticipated. How in the world am I going to do this with three kids?!? Ugh. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. 

The next hour or so if full of homework and play, snacks and tying up loose ends from my work day. Before I know it, it’s 5:00. Our adoption agency is closed for the day. Ok, another day done. No call. That’s ok. Maybe tomorrow. Just be where you are and enjoy your family.

We eat and my husband and I talk about our day and discuss plans for the weeks and months ahead. Will we be able to make that trip? There is still so much in the air. We can’t make plans too far in advance. We don’t know when that call will come. We don’t know when we will travel to pick up a new daughter. But there are still schedules, and jobs and trips in the midst…and we can’t just stop living…

We clean up, do the bath time and bedtime routine. Our youngest is 2 1/2, and still wants to be rocked to sleep. I’m ok with it- because it’s as much for me as it is for her. I can’t rock my baby in China right now. But I am so very thankful for this one I hold in our warm house, snuggled under her blanket. I turn on our songs and we sing as we rock. 

Take courage, my heart, stay steadfast, my soul- He’s in the waiting, He’s in the waiting

Hold onto your hope, as your triumph unfolds- He’s never failing, He’s never failing

("Take Courage" from the Bethel Starlight album)

One daughter in my arms, and one half a world away. Both in the protective and loving arms of my Father. It’s now 8:15 p.m., which means that China is waking up- men and women are doing their morning exercises in the park, maybe my daughter is eating breakfast. Maybe she was done with that hours ago and now she’s playing. Maybe she is crying or being held my a nanny, or a foster mother…I don’t know. And I won’t know…and maybe I’ll never know. But that’s ok. God’s promise is good and He has her right now, just like he has me. Tomorrow is a new day, and a new chance we will get that call. 

Lord, can it be tomorrow?

 If you follow me on Instagram, you know I've been in the process of knitting a quilt for our adopted daughter. I put the project down for a couple of years and have recently picked it back up- maybe as a coping mechanism?!? Here's to hoping I can actually finish it. Either way, it helps. :)

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I've been in the process of knitting a quilt for our adopted daughter. I put the project down for a couple of years and have recently picked it back up- maybe as a coping mechanism?!? Here's to hoping I can actually finish it. Either way, it helps. :)

my wonder women tribe

MOMLIFElissa-anglinComment

You guys, Shawn and I just saw the new movie Wonder Woman. I know- #latetotheparty...but, kids. 

It is literally 12:00 a.m. and I am ready to hit the gym. I can't be the only woman who just wanted to go kick some ass after watching that, right?! Simply. Amazing. 

I loved so much about the movie- there is not one aspect that I felt was ill-conceived or executed- and I am NOT a typical superhero movie lover. I can't even tell you the last superhero movie I saw- but Wonder Woman was just awesome. 

Enough about the movie. This post really isn't about that. This post is about my friends. You see, somehow on my wandering train of thought, the movie got me to thinking about real-life wonder women. I've got to believe that the main reason Wonder Woman (the movie) has been so popular since it debuted is because every woman wants to be her. And why not? She is a total badass.

But I started thinking about my friend group. I have such an interesting array of friends- some I've shared years of memories with. Some I've grown very close very quickly with. Others that I don't typically see eye to eye with yet we still need each other. And I realized just how many Wonder Women I get to be around, day by day.

I have a friend who prays so consistently for me that she will check in on me just to let me know she is still interceding for me- even after I've already given up on it and stopped even talking to God about it.

I have a friend who devotes at least half her week to pouring meaning and purpose (and food and other necessities) into kids who literally do not have any real understanding of family or unconditional love.

I have a friend who confronts conflict like it is something to be glared at, worked out, and once it's all over, smiled at with a "good game" pat on the back.

I have a friend who has witnessed friends betray her without apology, and yet she still persists in being genuine, graceful, and true to herself and Jesus.

I have a friend who chooses to hope and speak gospel truth in the face of infertility and purposefully loves on many kids each week (including my own).

I have a friend who isn't afraid to love a little girl that needs it- even though her foster daughter's future is still unknown.

I have a friend who isn't afraid to say "depression" or "anxiety"- no matter what uninformed misunderstandings it may bring (including my own- can we add forgiveness as another attribute as well?)

I have a friend who isn't afraid to leap- and change all of her life circumstances to do just what God has called her to do.

I have a friend who chooses to live uncomfortably- to raise her children in a new and different culture- just so that they might meet a few who need to have their lives changed forever.

Y'all, I could go on and on- the truth is, most of the incredible women I get to be around day in and day out are undeniably brave overcomers. They choose to do the good thing even when it's hard. And that is so stinking beautiful. 

Proverbs 31:17 (the Virtuous Woman passage) says: 

She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

After seeing Wonder Woman, how appropriate is that?!? Regardless of the battles we are fighting, it takes a warrior to win the battle. It takes a Wonder Woman- and it doesn't take much to recognize how each friend is a Wonder Woman in her own right- every single day. 

Makes me thankful for my tribe of believing women- and more encouraged to continue to "gird myself with strength" in my own battles. What's so incredible is that the movie I watched tonight IS real, and is playing out right before our eyes. Yes, I do wish I had a cool sword, ridiculously gorgeous fishtail braided hair and a truth lasso (I mean, how amazing would that be to use on a 6 year old boy who loves to...shall we say...alter the truth?!?)- but I do have my own, very real weapon in the God whom I know goes to battle for me (Deut. 1:30). And, if you're a woman of faith, you do too. 

Thanks Wonder Woman. Maybe I'll braid my hair tomorrow.

life lessons almost a decade later

MOMLIFElissa-anglinComment

Wow, you guys- what a wonderful weekend we have had! Our church hosted a bunch of teenagers for a Disciple Now weekend and our youth pastor and friend, Brandon, booked Shawn's old band, A Road Less Traveled (I guess they still have a FB page!), to play worship, as well as another great friend, Jason Bishop to speak. It was especially neat for me because it had been a few years since all of us had been able to get together like that. 

 This photo is missing mark morgan (and his wife liz), who played guitar with arlt in the later years, and several volunteer roadies and crew who we get to call friends. :) i was just thankful we got one iphone photo with all these faces in it!

This photo is missing mark morgan (and his wife liz), who played guitar with arlt in the later years, and several volunteer roadies and crew who we get to call friends. :) i was just thankful we got one iphone photo with all these faces in it!

It's hitting me now that sometimes you don't realize how sweet a season is until it is over. For over 10 years, Shawn pursued music with a few friends, and none of us would have guessed what God would do that little pocket of time. I'm not sure I'm the right one to write about this, really- because I was never actually in the band, but since Shawn and I started dating in high school, I sort of just stuck around, getting to watch from the sidelines- and I'm thankful for that unique vantage point.

It's not often that you get to live life with the same few people (who you aren't already related to) for almost a decade. And when I say "live life", I mean waking up next to your husband on a rumbling RV at 2 am to the sound of metal music blaring...because it's Kuhrt's turn to drive. I'll also never forget washing my hair at midnight in a Wal-Mart bathroom somewhere in Tennessee with one of my best friends and another "band wife", Shanna. :) I'll admit, there were times when it didn't feel like a "get to", but more like a "had to". Collectively, we went through college, silly part-time jobs, the rise and fall of MySpace, breakups, late-night practices where nothing really gets accomplished, music videos, band managers, tours, many, many miles and even each other's weddings. It didn't ever hit me that "big" life things were happening in the midst of the gigs, weekends away, and frivolous arguments about how the merch table looked. There were many years where the guys wondered if they were ever going to "make it". Now I think we all realize that they were already there. 

Looking at everyone today- the guys, their wives and kids, other special friends who have influenced our faith in the past decade- I almost couldn't handle it. It was too overwhelming. I cried, because seeing their faces made me realize just what God has done for me- someone on the sidelines- through them all...it's still too amazing for me to grasp.  I could never fully express what these people mean to me- because it has almost taken 5 or 6 years for me to really understand the role that each of them have played in my life. Because of them, my worship is deeper, my thankfulness is greater, and my gumption is stronger. I've seen prayer at work, forgiveness happen, and God show up when you least expect Him.

I am so proud of my friends. I hate that we aren't all huddled together in one physical location anymore. But as much as I would love that comfort, I am glad we are not. Because amazingly- and this is just simply Jesus and how He works- we are all doing new things. Things that God has planned for us. Life has definitely become more complicated. A large part of me just misses those simpler times- and I know I've got on my rose-colored glasses today- but our problems seem so much bigger now. We are no longer 19 and 20 year olds who enjoy going out for dinner at 11:30 (because now that hour of night is reserved for sleep or Netflix binges).

But in my heart, I know and can trust that where we are (albeit not together) is good. Why? Because God has proven Himself in every season of my life. Jason Bishop, the speaker for the weekend, and his wife, Caryn, started our first small group about 10 years ago when he realized we were a bunch of 20-somethings without much focus. The message that Jason spoke today was on facing our giants and preparing a way for those who will come after us. I know he had probably tailored it for the teenagers who had been at Disciple Now- but how fitting for someone like me to hear it today. (You can watch the whole message here, including worship by the band.)

This weekend I have felt a sense of displacement. It has been wonderful to spend time with people who have known me so well for so long- but constantly realizing we are all in a new place with different circumstances was heartbreaking. Truthfully, I didn't like all the life change we brought with us- the weight of careers, family, doing actual "adulting"- ugh. Can't we just go to IHOP after the show?

When I spoke to God about this- He reminded me to look for the good. Just as I am now able to see all the good He gave us in the ARLT years- there is a wealth of good NOW. There are wonderful careers blossoming, new relationships formed, several beautiful baby faces and more to come. By God's grace, we are all happily married, still pursing the Kingdom- and THAT is what matters- beyond our physical distance and new circumstances. God has clearly given us a new opportunity to have a sweet season of life- one where He does so much more than we realize. 

I think that's what really hit me today- that I wasn't, in fact, ever on the sidelines. God was much more creative than I made Him out to be- orchestrating something completely amazing in each of us- through the music and the miles- at the same exact time. We were getting to live life together, and as God was using each of us for one focused purpose for that season, He was also preparing us individually for the next. I got all of the benefit- the life lessons, the deepening of my faith- without ever having any of the musical ability. :) 

Thank you, friends, old and new- for being willing to go through it all with us. The stories that God weaves are truly the most beautiful. I see and appreciate all the good God is doing in you and how it blesses my life. Let's press on!

And if you're feeling really sentimental, or have no idea what I have been talking about, go watch their old videos. There is a lot more hair in that footage than there is now :).

it's about time! advent + an adoption update

Adoption, MOMLIFElissa-anglin1 Comment
 This owl is our china baby's first ornament on our tree. I pick one out for the kids each year. no- we don't have a name for her yet, so we just call her "our china baby" for now! :)

This owl is our china baby's first ornament on our tree. I pick one out for the kids each year. no- we don't have a name for her yet, so we just call her "our china baby" for now! :)

Today is a day I should be doing so many other things. There are kids' Christmas parties, emails, last-minute Christmas gifts (thank God for those sweet teachers who wipe my kids' noses every day and love them so so well!)...

I've been needing to write an adoption update- and if I'm being honest- I've just been putting it off. I've made myself too busy with other things. But for some reason, in the middle of this chaotic day, I've decided to sit down and write. Why? Because as a counselor once told me, "Lissa, you have to start giving yourself time to FEEL your feelings". Ugh. It would be so much more convenient right now to just keep doing all the things and not really think about all those silly emotions. (sarcasm- can you tell I am a DOER by nature?)

However, I am excited to share where we are at in our adoption process right now. We have been logged in to China for 4 months now. Liv will turn 1 in just a couple of months, and that is a special date, not just because it will be her 2nd birthday (which is a miracle in and of itself), or that we will be welcoming a new niece into the world (my little sister, Layne, is pregnant!), but for another reason. When we sent in our paperwork to China, part of our request was that there be at least a 12 month age gap between Liv and our adopted daughter. It is very rare to see a referral of a child under 12 months in China. Because of the systems and processes there, most of the youngest children are around 18 months- 2 years when they are referred for adoption. So, because of our request, the older Liv gets, the more likely it will be that we get a referral. 

Can I just pause for a minute and tell you how psycho I feel right now?!? Right now a 12 month gap between my two youngest girls seems like crazytown. Like an all-out circus with bits of popcorn kernels shoved all in the cracks. To be honest, this has been one of the biggest areas of attack for me. I know that Satan knows my love for control, and I am aware that I constantly fall into the delusion that I am in control at all. So in those moments of weakness- when I already feel totally unprepared to even parent the two kids that are at home- I panic. How will I ever parent 3 kids? I can't even get them to school on time, much less doctor's appointments! (I know you moms of 3+ are just chuckling to yourselves right now- go ahead, you deserve it!)

But then there is also all that ugly pride that hangs out in the background, like it should get free rent just because it's been there so long, taking up space in my heart. The illusion that all this blessing was all ME. That EVERYONE expects us to be this or that- that I CAN DO and MUST DO it all. Gross. Just makes me want to spit it out.

When you couple the I-can't-do-it panic with the but-I-have-to-be-the-best pride, you get a mom, wife, and child of God with a serious identity crisis. 

And that has been me for the past few months. Mostly holding it together on the outside, while I wonder if we are just straight up insane on the inside. (Bless my sweet friends and family who are consistently patient with me!)

After we got our paperwork to China, I started working on a few grant applications. We have been amazed and in shock at how generous people have been so far. Friends, relatives, and even people we don't know have contributed to our fund. It has been one of the humbling ways God has not only proven Himself and His provision to me, but I know He is working on that old tenant, Pride, as well. 

We totaled up the upcoming costs we have left- and I kid you not- it was still over $13,000.00. This is what it will take to get us to China and back. Some of the fees are simply incredible, and you would be amazed at what little portion of that our agency actually gets. Much of it is travel and other fees that we will be paying to the orphanage, government, etc.

Most recently, we got work that we were awarded a matching grant from Lifesong for Orphans. They are going to MATCH up to $3500.00! As soon as we got word, I immediately started brainstorming ideas for fun ways we could raise the $3500.00. We tossed around a few ideas, but after speaking with Lifesong, we found out that we were not to offer any services or products in return for the donations. To be honest, that was hard for me to deal with. As a DOER, I couldn't imagine asking people AGAIN to just straight up contribute to our adoption fund. It would be so much easier to just make something or give my services in exchange. Easier on my pride, that is. The longer I let it settle in, the longer I realized this was a pride issue! So, again, I got to have that I-trust-you conversation with God. And of course, He has been providing just like He said he would! 

If you would like to contribute to the matching grant, just click on the "Donate" button! It is tax-deductible!

 

 

Additionally, we have decided to put all the income from my How To Work It workshop toward our adoption until enough funds are raised! This has been a dream project of mine for a while and it has been so cool to start working with the very first attendees this month! Check out more on the workshop HERE.


The truth is, He is good. He is faithful. He's made a way. I'm not supposed to be good enough, organized enough, strong enough. He knows our daughter in China. (It's very likely that she is alive and waiting for us NOW!) He knows our future struggles. BUT, I know what He's taken us through to get to this point, and have no choice (logistically or emotionally) but to trust Him with this.

So- for a short synopsis or what is to come:

Within the next few months (anywhere from March-October, we are estimating) we will get a call with a referral from our agency. 

They will give us a file to review, and we will have an allotted amount of time to pray over the file, consult doctors and medical professionals, etc. 

If we say YES, the paperwork will start back up! Hopefully, we will travel 10-12 weeks later. 

It is crazy to think that this time next year our daughter could be home with us- and we could be a family of 5!

There is a large part of me that is ready to not be waiting. I can't wait to know that peace when my heart is not longing for something literally around the world and wondering in expectation if I should be more prepared, what that day will look like when we meet her, what the transition will look like, etc. 

But isn't that what this season of Advent teaches us? Shouldn't I ponder all of these things in my heart, just as Mary did? I'm thankful that I don't have to know all the answers. Thankful for my Savior who has allowed us to be here, on this adoption journey. Thankful for Knox and Liv and the way they bless and refine us daily. 

Thankful for all of you who have taken the time to listen to my crazy and pray for us, give to our fund and truly impact our family's legacy forever. Merry Christmas! 

Do you guys have any questions about our adoption? I would love to answer them and am a pretty open book! Post them in the comments!

milestones

personal, MOMLIFElissa-anglin3 Comments

Our baby is growing up right before our eyes. I have to be thankful though- this new season- we were ready for it. Knox can be very shy, and he's a rule-follower like his mama, but over the past couple of years he has really loved going to pre-k and socializing with friends. So, when we dropped him off for his very first day at the "big school", I only had one little I-might-break-down moment. 

He sat at his desk after taking pictures in from of the school, hanging up his backpack and greeting his teacher. I squatted down to say, "You are a man of God and Truett Knox Anglin. You are brave. You do not need to worry. God is close, you can talk to Him, and He will be with you all day". I barely got through the last sentence. 

Knox, on the other hand just said, "I know", and waved goodbye with a smile. And we parents went out to breakfast- because holy free time batman. Liv and I came home to a quiet house and she walked around saying, "Bubba? Bubba?" for a while. I think we will get used to this. :)

Just a week or so ago Knox decided he was ready to ride his bike without those training wheels. It didn't take long and he was wiggling down the sidewalk, but staying up nonetheless. By the time I got my camera out, he had even perfected the smile as he whizzed by. 

It's crazy to watch your kid grow. I really thought I would hate him getting older, but each new milestone has been amazing. I am consistently taught by my children and my selfless husband. I couldn't be more thankful for my friends at Knox's school who have made the transition so easy for us. I know that was ordained and no accident. I am starting to accept change more willingly in life because I know I'll need to depend on the Lord to do it. 

Kids in the Sprinklers

MOMLIFElissa-anglin3 Comments

After eating at one of our favorite local spots for dinner last night, we got home and it was already 30 min past bedtime. Despite the fact that the kids probably needed to be in bed, we all ended up on the front lawn- the sprinklers were running and that gorgeous golden light was perfect. I don't think Liv had ever really played with the sprinklers, so it was fun to see her explore that and I'm glad I got my "real" camera out to photograph an everyday moment with my kids. 

I really am so thankful that this is our everyday. We are truly blessed!

I thought I'd share my camera settings for you guys who may be interested. I recently purchased a Nikkor 28-70 2.8 lens and I LOVE it. It's not as expensive as it's newer, fancier version, but it's perfect for what I need. I love my prime lenses, but I had a feeling I was missing out on some crucial moments while I spent time changing lenses. So, this lens was the perfect solution. I recently shot an entire wedding with JUST this lens. (Shawn was still working our "usual" lenses the whole time, though). So, I might be a little obsessed. :)

ALL IMAGES:

Nikon Df, Nikkor 28-70 2.8 lens, ISO 400

I shoot in RAW all the time, and had to bring up the exposure in Lightroom at least one stop, so I should have had a higher ISO to begin with- 800 or 1000 would have been a safe place to start, considering all the movement I was capturing and the setting sun.

I also used the VSCO Kodak Gold 100 for the color images and my own B&W Preset for Lightroom on all of these.

Photo info is below each image. :)

 65mm, 3.5 1/160, ISO 400

65mm, 3.5 1/160, ISO 400

 48mm, 3.5, 1/160, ISO 400

48mm, 3.5, 1/160, ISO 400

 28mm, 3.5, 1/160, ISO 400

28mm, 3.5, 1/160, ISO 400

 50mm, 3.5, 1/250, ISO 400

50mm, 3.5, 1/250, ISO 400

 70mm, 3.5, 1/250, ISO 400

70mm, 3.5, 1/250, ISO 400

 56mm, 3.5, 1/200, ISO 400

56mm, 3.5, 1/200, ISO 400

 52mm, 3.5, 1/200, ISO 400

52mm, 3.5, 1/200, ISO 400

 28mm, 3.5m 1/200, ISO 400

28mm, 3.5m 1/200, ISO 400

 50mm, 3.5, 1/200, ISO 400

50mm, 3.5, 1/200, ISO 400

 35mm, 3.5, 1/200, ISO 400

35mm, 3.5, 1/200, ISO 400

So what do you think? Did you like seeing my camera settings? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments!