Sunday, February 26, 2012

Top 10 Things I Have Learned from Erik...

1. The more you listen to 970 ESPN radio, the more you understand about every sport that has ever been played. Therefore, it should be on at all times.

2. Gum isn't good unless you chew 2 pieces at a time, more volume...more flavor.

3. Panda Express is not worth it.

4. Sweet Baby Ray's is good on anything.

5. There is no better feeling than jumping on a bandwagon before it becomes a bandwagon. 

6. You can always make it seem like you know what you are talking about, as long as you act like you know what you're talking about.

7. You are never too old to enjoy a good concert in the city...even if you have to stay up past midnight. 

8. Always appreciate a man who has a deeply rooted loyalty to a sports team...even if you don't like their team.  

9. Never give up on your passions, even if you loose track of time and get distracted by life. Your passions make you into the person that you make time for them.

10. You can never encourage someone enough. Always have a truthful and kind word to share with the people around you. 


11. Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your strength, and with all your mind...
And love others as yourself. 

The list could go on for days...seriously...he is a genius! 
But to keep it to a reasonable reading length, I will just say this...

Each day I am learning more about how to love and cherish my husband. And each day he teaches me something new through being the person he is and the man he is becoming. I don't think I give him enough credit for his wisdom, guidance, love, and direction.

So, today on your birthday, Erik, I want to say...

Thank you. Thank you for being so strong, so humble, so understanding, so patient, so loving, and so willing to journey this life with me. I am blessed by you each day. You make my life better each day. And I love you more and more each day. 

Wouldn't and couldn't do it without you. 

Happy Birthday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fundraising for Adoption????

When we first set out on the adoption of the hardest things to look at face to face was the cost. It almost seems like paired up next to "parenthood", the cost is the WAAAAY scarier and WAAAAYY more unknown! I feel like that is a little twisted.

I'm not going to lie, I have had days where I have thought "I love that we are adopting but I hate that most people who have natural born kids don't have to come up with $30,000 to do it." There is a part of me that feels like it is unfair. That is just an honest moment.

When you feel God call you into something, there are usually 2 things that you can do.

1. Ignore it and pretend like you don't feel the nudges that He keeps giving you...which let's be honest...could probably get quite annoying after a while.

2. Follow. Follow and step forward with CRAZY amounts of trust.

Sometimes, I feel like the first choice is easier because it is way more tempting to just ignore something than it is to actually do something about it.

In our first meeting with Bethany Christian Services, our social worker handed us a packet of a whole bunch of different banks that do Adoption Loans. It seemed like that would be a quick cork in the money problem if that is what direction we wanted to go.

Keep in mind, in the adoption process, it is not like a "Here is the huge chunk of money that you will have to pay and you can just pay it off as you feel led." It is more of a "Here is the amount you owe, pay it and we will move to the next step."

So, in my mind...Adoption Loan = Yes!

Then the whole trust thing came into play. We have had some close and important people in our lives talk with us about the Adoption Journey. Their advice?

"Don't do a loan. Trust God for the money. Because if God has brought you into this calling, He will not use debt to accomplish it."

Ok. That looks theoretically AWESOME on paper. Not so much when a bill is looking you in the face for double the amount that you have in your bank account.

So, I have struggled to come to a place where I can confidently say that I trust God to work in some really incredible ways to make this happen. Which is funny...because He has provided in amazing ways already throughout each step of this journey!

I have also really struggled with the fact that we have to ask others around us to support us.
Because seriously, I know very few people who love to ask others, in your most vulnerable state, for help. And I know even less people who LOVE asking for financial support. It is awkward, uncomfortable, and subject to serious judgement.

So if you have ever questioned why someone is fundraising for adoption, have considered fundraising for adoption, or are in the process of doing so...

This is where we have personally landed on this matter...

We can't do it by ourselves. We are doing everything that we can and making every sacrifice that we can make to save money and move forward. But we can't do it alone.

And we don't believe we were called to do it alone. We believe that God has put us in a spot to minister to others and allow others to minister to us. To humble ourselves enough to recognize that we are not in control, that we have to fully trust God, and that it is okay to ask for help in this calling that is not just about us, but about an orphan, and ultimately about living out the gospel.

So is fundraising for adoption okay?

I believe it is more than okay. I believe it is the body of Christ at its finest.

Friday, February 17, 2012

2 Weeks Over...

Currently, I am sitting in a Starbucks somewhere around Sacramento...waiting for my sweet love to come home from 2 weeks away at Seminary.

Couldn't be more ready.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Love!

Happy Love day!

I hope that you are feeling loved today no matter what stage of life you are in! Today is a great day to celebrate those around you who have loved you and walked through life with you!

So whether friends, siblings, parents, husbands, wives, boyfriends or girlfriends...

Go give someone a hug! :)

Or write a sweet note...

I promise. They will feel loved.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Daily Reminders

While Erik has been away...studying about the depth and goodness of God...experiencing mind and heart changing knowledge...spending hours in a basement room reading, learning, and listening...he has gently reminded me that his heart and mind are also filled with these thoughts...

Each of these pictures he made and sent to me to remind me of our journey and our joy. I have the best husband. Ever. 

Friday, February 10, 2012


A little less than a year and a half ago I was sitting in the basement conference room of a Marie Calendar's in Pismo Beach, CA listening to a man talk to pastors and their spouses.

My spouse was currently NOT present as he was learning to hear God's voice more clearly in the vastness of nature, fondly known as the "Back Nine".

I had just come off of a weekend conference for Youth Leaders in San Diego, stacked with famous worship leaders, powerful speakers, and more free candy than anyone could ever dream.

Often times, these kinds of things overwhelm me to the point of no return. It is a lot of people. A lot of Christian "networking". A lot of youth pastors with back packs and new balance shoes. A lot of seminars. A LOT of "God".

Please note: I am not talking about the "lot of God" that is good, satisfying, and necessary. I'm talking about the "lot of God" that is in your face, publicized, "if you don't raise your hands in a powerful fist pumped toward the heavens during worship you must not be a very good Christian" lot of God.

There is a huge difference.

So...maybe it was that.
Maybe I was coming down off of a starstruck sugar high...

Either way...I was tired, moody, and didn't want to be stuck in a room with a whole bunch of pastors. Again.

Usually in these situations, I come up with a really good excuse for why I need to "rest" in my hotel room and spend some quiet time with the Lord aka catch up on my missed shows on Hulu.

But this day, I was through the door of the conference room, sitting at a table, "spouse-less", with notebook and bad attitude in hand.

This is the message I heard that morning. The message that I needed to hear and haven't forgotten.

God's intentions are not thwarted by our failures. Even through defeat, He is carrying out His call on your life. Why? Because He has been working on our call before we were even here. He has equipped us with everything that we need to walk into His call because...
What is ordinary to us becomes extraordinary for the sake of God. 

This Christmas, as a gift from my brother-in-law, this message became a permanent reminder to me that God is faithful, that He has equipped me with what I need to walk into His call, and that it is ALL about Him. 

May we always be reminded that walking this walk requires faith, action, trust, and obedience. 
And sometimes, we just have to step out of our comfortability and insecurities to recognize that we have been equipped with extraordinary resources to live, love, and make God known. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Adoption Journals!!

My mom is amazing! As we were brainstorming about ways to come up with some fundraising for our adoption...the wheels in our heads started churning and before I knew it...we had all of our fingers full of ideas!

I come from a SUPER creative we are in no way at a lack for things to make. And because Etsy is the perfect place for people like that...we decided to start posting some items for sale that not only supported our adoption, but also the culture of Ethiopia!

So without further is the first round of journals for sale! Check out our Etsy Store for more details and keep your eyes open for WAAAAYYY more awesome items for sale....COMING SOON!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Only Thing

I tend to try and accomplish all tasks at once.
It is the way my brain works.
I give myself a list...and BOOM! Like a horse released from the gates...I'm runnin!

And these are not like "Do laundry and pick up milk" tasks.

These are like "Sell the car, adopt a child, bring every person in Modesto to Christ, and accomplish World Peace TODAY!!" tasks.

Erik always says "Jessa, you aren't going to be able to save the world in one day."
To which I usually respond with an "I know."

In my heart...I am really thinking, "Says who?"

Sometimes I think I'm invincible.

When I end up curled in a ball on my couch, rocking back and forth, crying on the phone to my poor husband who is at Seminary trying to study, I often wonder how I got to this place.

Really, Jessa? Really?

So, this morning...I decided to spend some much needed time with a guy who usually brings about a lot of peace in my life. This is what He said to me...

"Jessa, I will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14

So how about erasing my "Do this, Do that" list...and just adding the only thing that I really need to do?

Be still.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Adoption Journey

One of my great friends and mentors of life and adoption suggested to me that I should fill out a profile on a website all about other families adoption stories and journeys!

So, I checked it out...and wow!! It is awesome!

It is so cool to see faces, families, and stories of people who are walking through the same process as us or have completed the process after walking a crazy road. I have definitely seen the incredible impact that adoption has on so many lives and reading these stories is such an encouragement to us!

It is also a great way to help other families who are fundraising...because goodness takes an army and we aren't meant to do it alone!

If you get a chance...check it out...because it is worth it and amazing! :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Is February Different in Minnesota?

The time has arrived for yet another Seminary trip back to Minnesota for Erik. It is always hard to say goodbye to him for 2 weeks, but it is such a sweet time for him to be with the other people in his cohort, spend time in a classroom, and mostly dive deep into God's Word and His teachings!

These trips always seem a bit harder on me...
But I am considerably needy. 

Honestly, I know that Erik feels incredibly blessed to be able to spend a few weeks a year away from the busyness of his ministry life and just focused completely on his time in Seminary and learning more and more about who God is and the incredible redemptive plan that is His creation. 

And I feel blessed to have a husband who desires to do those things. 

Seriously...that is kind of a knock out the park if you ask me. 

And....for all of you who are wondering...

He did make it out of the house with just 1 bag this year! Big win. 

Erik, I will miss you so much while you are gone! I pray that God does incredible things through the time that you spend in His Word and through your studies. I love you and am so proud of you! 


This is our life.

I've never been so excited to do paperwork.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

You're Mine

In our devotions this morning, we read Isaiah 43:1-4. 
I tell you what...
It rocked our lives. 
I know what you are thinking...everything rocks the Anderson's lives these days. But, wow...
What a glorious and awe-filled reminder of who God is. 

But now, God's Message, 
the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, 
the One who got you started, Israel:
"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you.    
I've called your name. You're mine.
When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you.    
When you're in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you're between a rock and a hard place,it won't be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That's how much you mean to me!    
That's how much I love you!
I'd sell off the whole world to get you back,    
trade the creation just for you.

Reading these words, we hear God's voice echoing into our worries, anxieties, self-consciousness and doubts.
He is passionate about being in and among our lives. So much that He would do anything...that He DID everything! 
I guess what we are trying to say through these ramblings and teary eyes, with coffee in hand...
We hope that we can remember these words each day and that our child will grow up knowing the same truth about the incomprehensible love of God. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

International vs. Domestic

Since we announced that we are adopting, we have had a lot of people ask the same question:

What made you decide to adopt internationally over domestically?

That is a really great question! Honestly, I don't know why we haven't posted yet on how we arrived at that decision! So, we thought we would take a bit of time to let you all know where our hearts are on this matter.

When we first started looking into adoption, my mind was set on adopting domestically. We actually talked a lot about starting in the foster care program. Being in ministry, we see a lot of kids in our community who are in need of families or have families and are just in need of love. We even preach to our students "Love and serve those in your community!! That is where it all starts!" And we do truly believe that!

It is funny when you make up your mind about something that you think is so firmly decided in your heart  and then realize over the span of a few months that your heart is changing. It is like being in the ocean and one second you are in front of where you set up your beach chairs for the day and the next second you are all the way down the beach and can hardly see your chairs!
We use this analogy a lot with our students about drifting away from God, but I also think it can be a picture of how God changes our hearts for things without us even realizing it. Then, when we look up from our rhythm of life, we realize we aren't in the same place anymore.

I think that is kind of what happened.

One day, Erik was at church and I was at home. Separately, we felt God nudging our hearts (THE SAME DAY!!) toward something we hadn't considered before...International Adoption. Completely taken back by this whole thing...I decided it was just hormones and concluded to leave that feeling alone.

Ladies...can I get an amen to self restraint?

Little did I know.

We went for a walk that night and Erik quietly said "How would you feel about adopting internationally?"

Ok. For anyone that knows know I can kind of be a spaz. So, obviously, I freaked out and started telling Erik all about how I had just felt my heart leading me toward that but was scared to say anything...for fear that he might ask me if I was having a "Sensitive Day."

We finished the walk with talking about different countries, different cultures, and even some fears in pursuing that path...especially financially.

Erik and I have both served in Africa, in orphanages, and with really incredible people that have opened our eyes to the need for loving families to provide homes to children ALL OVER the world. When we graduated from college, Erik was supposed to go on a Mission Trip to Ethiopia. The trip was rerouted to a different African country the day before they were supposed to leave because the Ethiopian Airport was bombed! As names of countries came up through Bethany Christian Services, Ethiopia seemed to jump off the page and scream "Hey Andersons...NOW I want you to go!"

There is a part of me that thinks the trip that Erik was supposed to go on wasn't just rerouted for the sake of the ministry they did in Lesotho, but in preparation for turning our hearts toward this place and our future family.

The long and short of it is this...
There are a million reasons to adopt domestically.
There are a million reasons to adopt internationally.
Neither one is wrong because both are a calling to provide a home to an orphan, which is what we believe God has set in place for us.

The truth is:

We love Jesus. And we will live our lives to glorify Him in every way that we can, including going where He calls us to go.

In John 14, Jesus starts off by saying "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." He continues on in verse 18 to say, "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you."

And as my great friend, Russ, said as they completed their second adoption, "There is not a more poignant picture of the gospel than adoption."

God is amazing because I really do believe that when you walk in the way that He calls you to walk, there will be challenges. But, I also do believe that when you walk His path...He gives you an unfathomable amount of peace and clarity.

So, we come.