Saturday, December 11

Our Timeline {2 Years and 11 days}

12.11.10: Travel Home!
PASS! She is ours!
Court (did not pass)
MOWA (drama...)
Update CIS Fingerprints
New Dates: 10/29 & 11/2)
09.01.10: Travel Shots
07.14.10: COURT DATE!! (9/30 & 10/12)
06.24.10: REFERRAL!!!!
10.15.09: WAIT LIST!
10.10.09: CIS Approval!
08.21.09: CIS Appointment
07.10.09: Gladney Approved!
06.15.09: More Paperchasing!
06.11.09: Last Piece to Gladney
06.01.09: Dossier to KBS
06.01.09: Home Study Revisions
05.15.09: FBI Clearance!
05.13.09: Home Study Complete
05.12.09: Dossier in Process...
04.29.09: Gladney Packet #3
04.29.09: Request FBI Clearance
04.29.09: Fingerprints (FBI)
04.28.09: Hague Training
04.24.09: I-600A Receipt
04.23.09: Kyle Physical
04.16.09: Ordered Hague DVD'S
04.15.09: Jordan Physical
04.14.09: Christine Physical
04.13.09: Dogs & Cat Shots
04.10.09: I-600A Sent
04.03.09: Jeff Physical
04.01.09: Gladney Paperwork
02.02.09: Doc Drama: Check!
12.30.08: Document Drama
12.20.08: Ordered Documents
12.16.08: Gladney Application
12.15.08: Phone Orientation
12.05.08: Ready-set-go!

Sunday, October 17

Dog Wash! {Fundraiser}

We are having a charity dog wash on Sunday, October 24th from 1-4pm at Dogtopia-Waco.  All donations benefit our travel costs to Ethiopia, Africa! (we hope to travel Oct 30th!)

  • Dog Baths- Baths include: a brush-out, shampoo & dry.
    A $10 donation is suggested per wash.
  • Bake Sale- Purchase yummy treats for you & your favorite K-9!

Tuesday, October 12


We didn't get the news we were hoping for. The judge doesn't want to change ANYTHING in regards to our case.'s OK.  We are thankful to have a MOWA date of 10/29 and a court date of 11/2!  (even though they are SO CLOSE TOGETHER!)

Since they are so close together...that means we travel less than 24 hours after hearing if we pass MOWA.  We have taken a HUGE step by faith a booked new tickets for the 30th.

Please join us and pray for these specific things:  Birth Mom needs to be transported to Addis in time for MOWA on the 29th.  Pray for all those pieces to come together.  And then....that the judge would issue a favorable opinion RIGHT AWAY on the 29th....(we have heard of some cases not being "made official" for a day or two or more...YIKES!)

Anyway...there you have it!....  In the meantime (17 days between here and there) We are staying busy with fun stuff like CIS appointments (YES! Our fingerprints are going to expire 11/20) and we are also working on a DOG WASH FUNDRAISER!!! (Stay tuned!)

Fingerprints Expire {ugh!}

UGH.  Our CIS fingerprints expire on 11/20!!! So this means we have to travel up to Fort Worth and get our biometrics updated. Fun stuff.  Just when you thought you were done with paperwork and jumping through hoops...think again.  

We've got an appointment for the 26th, but with MOWA on the 29th and travel set for the 30th for Court on the 2nd....I think we are going to try and show up sometime this week and hope they will take us without early without an appointment. (I am not feeling warm and fuzzy about playing it so close!)

I have read lots of stories about CIS/fingerprint drama.....and I think it almost always works I trying to stay calm, cool and collected.. Not easy.  17 days and counting...

Wednesday, October 6

H.O.P.E. {While we sleep}

 Since receiving the BAD NEWS, we have gotten our hearts and our minds around things and are feeling much better.  Everything looks better in the light of a new day...and even better after a couple of sleeps.

Without going into too many details about our case or about the BIG MIX is the skinny:

We didn't pass court because Justice's birth Mother was unable to make it. (she has been detained)

So the court(s) in the region where she is now and in Addis have to work as a team and arrange for her to be transported to appear in court (MOWA).

Right now, we have a new date of 10/29 for MOWA and a new second court date (to appear) of 11/2....(once we pass on 10/29) This would give us approximately 72 hours (give or take) to get from Texas to Ethiopia, see our daughter and then appear in court.  (YIKES!)

So....(since these dates are less than ideal....) tomorrow (tonight while we sleep) is a BIG DAY!!!

An in country (Ethiopia) representative from our agency will go and plead our case to a judge asking for a THIRD new MOWA date and a new summons for birth Mom to appear on said NEW MOWA DATE.

With all of that being said (sorry...I know it's confusing)  This is what we are asking and believing for:

We are asking for GOD'S BEST.  We are asking for mountains to be moved and for all the pieces to be fit together.  We are asking favor and mercy and more favor!

We will keep you all updated as soon as we hear anything.  Thanks again from the bottom of our hearts for your continued love and prayers and encouragement.

Tuesday, October 5

BAD NEWS. {an update}

It's true. WE DID NOT PASS COURT after all.

Last Thursday we were told that we PASSED our MOWA court date.  But sadly, yesterday, we got the call from our caseworker telling us that we actually DID NOT pass.  That our case had been mixed up with another case.

Needless to say it came as a HUGE shock and we have been walking through a lot of disappointment.  We were moving at top speed preparing to board a plane this Saturday and it's hard switch gears...really hard.

While we are not thrilled or happy about ANY of this, we DO have a lot to be thankful for and we want to do our best to focus on those things.

First and foremost....  Justice is fine.  She is safe and happy and is being VERY well cared for.  She is still OUR GIRL and we know that even though this delay is painful.... we will have her in our arms soon.  We will bring her home soon. (just not as soon as we thought)

Our MOWA court has been re-scheduled for 10/29.  To be honest, we are not overly thrilled that the date is so far down the calendar, BUT we are still thankful to have a date. As far as our second court date (to appear)...That is still pretty sketchy.  Hopefully, we will know more about that soon.

There you have it. (for now.)  Please pray for all the moving pieces both seen and unseen.  That every piece would be shifted and moved into place. Quickly.  AND that we would be covered in peace and with wisdom and continued grace for the journey.  That we would trust and believe.
..."The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth". 
Psalm 97:5

Monday, October 4

www Weirdness.

It's a sad day.  Our the Mathews domain now belongs to someone in Australia.  Weird.

We changed emails awhile ago and (in the midst of our adoption fog) clearly I must have forgotten to give godaddy the new one.  With that, we didn't receive the notice that our domain was going to expire.  Sometime between when it expired and now...our domain was purchased and it is no longer belongs to us. 

The good news is that it happened BEFORE our trip (we leave in 5 days!)  The bad news..I don't have time to deal with it now so for now...

We will be parked here: 

Please bookmark us!

Saturday, October 2

Good News AND an Update!

 We got the GOOD NEWS on Thursday early afternoon that we PASSED MOWA!!!  Needless to say this is THE BEST NEWS and we are on cloud nine around here!  This means that everything is a GO and we have hit the ground running.  (Yard work, errands, packing, loose ends galore....)

AND...if that isn't enough....we got another update on Justice yesterday along with the most AMAZING picture.(still can't post pictures of baby girl until after our second court date 10/12)

Here's what the update said!:

H .has such a happy and playful spirit! Every time I see her, she is always smiling and welcomes any stranger that might come into the room. Although she is very social, she seems to be content playing with toys by herself too - as long as she is sitting right in the middle of friends so she doesn’t miss any of the action. When I visited today, she was singing her little heart out! Each time she would catch me looking at her she would flash her beautiful smile and tell me to come play with her. She is absolutely adorable!

We travel ONE WEEK from today which means that in just 8 short days....we will have our sweet girl in our arms! 


Friday, September 24

Paying it Forward {our turn!}

It's time!!!  Yay!!!  It's time for us to Pay it Forward!!!!  (and I can hardly wait!)

I cannot tell you what a gift and gigantic blessing it has been each time we have received a picture, video and or update about Justice.  As soon as we received our referral, I emailed every family that I had been stalking knew was already in Addis or that would be traveling soon....

Everyone was more than happy to visit Justice and take pictures and video.  And let me just say that those pictures were not only a sort of life line while we have been waiting to travel but will be treasured forever and always!

So...We can't wait to Pay it forward and we will be more than honored to deliver care packages, hugs, kisses and love...and take pictures, video too!

Please email us directly at:  mail AT themathewsfam DOT net

Please include your child's name, age, which house they are in and a picture.  If you would like for us to deliver a care package- you will need to get it to us pretty soon (we travel in LESS than 2 weeks!!) 

Thursday, September 23

Shower & One Week {MOWA}

Ok…So- WOW.  Sometimes this journey still feels like a time warp of some kind.  Time is FLYING and STALLING in a strange simultaneous fashion. (and it probably doesn't help that I am holding my breath ALOT which = a lack of much needed oxygen)   At any rate….our MOWA court date is ONE WEEK FROM TODAY.  ONE WEEK.  Nine days later…it's off into the wild blue!

Since I last posted, there has been all kinds of excitement!   Aside from the normal (continued) nesting and packing and such…Last week was homecoming week (which brings all kinds of extra this’s and that’s…) AND three of my sweet girlfriends hosted a beautiful shower for Justice!  

There were THE MOST yummy cupcakes and goodies and can I just say that I really enjoyed having a baby shower and NOT BEING the size of a small barn! (While I LOVED having my sweet beautiful babies and there were special moments in my pregnancies…overall…I was not the most comfortable or attractive pregnant person in the universe so……)  Anyway..  It was a gigantic blessing!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Back to looking ahead.  (I DO LONG for Living in the moment, really… I DO!)  Our MOWA court date. 

For those of you in the adoption community, you get this.  IT’S BIG.  For those of you who are not…trust me….IT’S BIG!  Basically in a nut shell….This is when the courts (Ministry of Women’s Affairs) in Ethiopia rule favorable or (not) for our adoption to move forward.  WE ARE BELIEVING THIS IS GOING TO BE a favorable decision. (period)  Thank you Jesus!

Once we pass I said…We are off and running (flying) just 9 days later and should see our girl (face-to-face) on the 10th of October!! COULD THIS BE MORE EXCITING????

And HEY!!!…While I’m typing away (and not sure when the next post will be)  I want to give a SHOUT OUT and say Thanks to all of you out there who have been and are and continue to pray for our family and for our sweet girl Justice!!!   …And for all of you who have helped us in so many ways!  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!  

If you have one eye on yesterday, and one eye on tomorrow, you're going to be cockeyed today. -Anonymous

Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.  Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:27, 34)

Friday, September 10

Nesting and Gladney Friends

The "nesting" instinct has officially set in.  They say that "nesting" is an uncontrollable urge to clean one's house brought on by a desire to prepare a nest for the new baby, to tie up loose ends of old projects and to organize your world...

I am here to tell you that "They" (whoever THEY are...) are 100% correct.  I am in an almost uncontrollable state all right!...AND I fully admit that I may be a little bit obsessed.

As far as the house...We had a garage sale last week (which by the way raised over $500 for our traveling costs!!!) so I cleaned out every closet and every drawer.'s about organizing and finishing all of those pesky unfinished projects. Which really does FEEL GREAT!!   I really do love "a place for everything and everything in it's place!"

We finally made our reservations at a guest house...which was a huge relief.  (one less thing!!)  I am excited to know of at least one other family that will be at the same guest house and even more excited that our kids (who are in the same Gladney house now...) will be able to hang out and play during our stay.

It's been a great comfort to chat with other Gladney Mommy's (I heart you all already!) who are going to be staying for Embassy.  (I think there are at least 5 that I know of?)  I am thinking we are going to have a blast and forge some life-long friendships in the process! Wow...what a journey!

28 days....(and counting.)

Thursday, September 2

A Shot in the Arm {or 5!}

This week is flying by!  And yesterday was a GREAT DAY!

We got a really fun update on Justice and a funny picture.  She is FULL of personality and energy and apparently...a little bossy too!  Here is what the update said:

Still full of energy, this one!  Nothing’s changed on that front.  Today, I watched her play with the other H. in her house—who is over twice her age, by the way—and boss her around.  It was pretty cute.  She had many things to tell her, none of which the older H. did.  Nevertheless, H. wanted her the older one to know that play was serious, and that it needed to be done in a certain way.  The younger H. was smiling and laughing the whole time and so was the older one.  It was a delight to observe.

AND more good news!...

We also can officially cross TRAVEL SHOTS off of our TO-DO-LIST!  I won't say it was fun...

But a few hundred dollars (closer to four hundred), over three hours WAITING, some POKES and Bruises, sore arms... (AND some lite flu like symptoms)...WE ARE DONE and one step closer to getting on that plane!

34 days!

Monday, August 30

Should I stay or should I go?

Since our referral and then our quick court date- time has started to flly!  (just 39 days until we travel!) And until just a few days ago.....We had a BIG decision to make.

Was I going to going to stay in Ethiopia and wait for our embassy appointment or was I going to head home for a few weeks and then travel back? 

Not an easy decision.  I'm pretty sure we went back and forth a few hundred times. Bottom line:  I'm staying!  Now that we have decided, I can't really see it any other way.  There are ALOT of good reasons to stay, but the most important reason? In a word, Justice.  (JOY!)

We plan on taking placement as soon as possible after we pass court!  This will give Jeff and the kids a few days with her before they head back to the good ol' US of A.  Then, it will be me and the little Missy solo. (along with a few guest house buddies I hope!)

I'm actually REALLY excited about having this extra time to bond with Justice outside of our soon to be "normal" day-to-day life....And I'm thinking it's going to be a pretty special time for both of us.  (big happy tears rolling down face) 

I'm hopeful that we can break through the language barrier at least a little bit and work though any " kinks" before we make that LONG FLIGHT HOME!?

The whole thing is like a DREAM!

In the meantime.....I've got to get focused.   Focused on....

More fundrasing...ANOTHER garage sale (this Saturday!) AND a car wash....(hopefully next Sunday..)  Still putting items on my online store and selling things on ebay too!

Endless house projects (safety locks on cabinets, etc....) And loose ends like..

We've got all our travel shots except for that darn yellow fever!!!!...-so that's on our TO DO LIST.    

AND while we DO have our tickets booked...(Thank you Jesus!)  WE still DON'T know where we are going to stay.(it's tricky cause we don't know how long I will be staying!)  We've gotta figure that one out asap. ( I think we are between two choices at this point?)

Luckily...I don't have to start packing just yet but I'm starting to think that is going to be a super BIG project and I may need a few tips. (hint-hint!)

Wednesday, August 25

And The Winner is......

At exactly 5pm, Jordan- My beautiful daughter and faithful assistant took a minute out of homework time (and just after getting her travel shots!) to pick our winner!

Kelly Raudenbush!!!!...CONGRATS GIRL!!!   (please send me your mailing address and I will get all this amazing stuff on it's way to your door!!  Whoo-hoo!)

Kelly and her family our part of the adoption community! You can visit them on their family blog AND you have got to check out their website;  We Are Grafted In....LOVE IT!!  

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who participated in our GIGANTIC GIVEAWAY!  AND
Thanks again to all of you who donated merchandise and artworks to our giveaway!!  (we could not have done it without you!!!  YOU ARE THE BOMB!

Is your name in the bowl? {GIVEAWAY!!}

The Bowl! {Giveaway Entries}

Hurry!  There are only (approx) 7 hours left to be a part of our GIGANTIC GIVEAWAY!!!!

This giveaway ends tonight (Wednesday 8/25) at 5 O'clock PM!  We will pick a name from the bowl at 5pm and announce the winner shortly there after! (We will take pictures or maybe even video of the drawing!)

Thank you so much for supporting us in our journey to Ethiopia! (We travel October 9th!...JUST 44 days!!)

Just scroll down to enter.....

Monday, August 23

GIVEAWAY! {3 more days!!!!}

Our Gigantic Giveaway has THREE MORE DAYS until we pick a winner!  This basket is FULL of amazing jewelry, tshirts, baby items....Here are just a few things inside. 

To read more AND to take part in our giveway just scroll down to previous post!

Thank YOU!!!

Wednesday, August 18

Gigantic Giveaway! {YAY!}

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It's a Gigantic Giveaway !

A $331.95 Value- This basket is filled to the brim with unique items that have been generously donated to benefit our travel costs to Ethiopia, Africa in October.

Here's what's in the basket!

Ethiopia map pendant by Life a bit sweeter ($20 Value)
Map of Ethiopia on glass pendant. The pendant measures 2" x 2" and are packaged with a 16" silver-plated snake chain. Front of pendant: Country Map   Back of pendant: Text reads "147 Million Orphans Minus One"  Follow this families adoption journey at www.lifeabitsweeter/

This set of 4 Ethiopia themed 3/4 inch glass marble magnets are sure to spruce up your fridge, file cabinet or where ever! It includes one silhouette of Africa with a heart over Ethiopia, one silhouette of Ethiopia, one Ethiopian Flag, and one Ethiopian star.  (Plus some really cute glass thumb tacks too!)

Safari Zoo Bib, Wipe Case and Pacifier Holder by New Life Artworks ($20 Value)
This super cute set is made with designer 100% cotton fabrics.  Bib and pacifier holder are machine washable.  Makes a great gift!

Let Love Grow Coffee Cuff  by Love Psalm 21  ($10 Value)
This re-usable coffee cuff features a sweet, little tree (Oatmeal with orange tree)  All 'Let Love Grow' products come with a beautiful hang tag ready for gift giving.

Sterling Silver Disc bracelet made by Heather Curry. Adopting Ainsley is donating 25% of purchases made in August to our travel costs when you mention "The Mathews Family" at checkout!  (THANKS GUYS!)

Africa Onesie AND an ADOPT AFRICA Magnet from One Chosen ($15 Value)
Brown safari animals silk screened in the shape of Africa on yellow Laughing Giraffe onesie. 100% Cotton.

Roasted Ethiopian Coffee (1 lb) from Wild Cat Coffee  ($12 Value)
Wildcat Coffee Company is a small coffee roasting company that offers organic farm gate roasted-to-order coffee.

Super cute white terry cloth bib with Africa/Frog applique.  AND...Please visit Adopt Africa's website and check out her digital blog designs.  Super creative blog headers, buttons and more!

"Enat" Pendant by Dos Bestios by ($20)
"Enat" means Mother in Amharic. Black and White pendant measures 7/8” x 7/8” this pendant comes with a silver bail and is finished with glaze.  Comes in a matching gift tin

Little Africa Teething Toy ($12 Value)
Little Sapling Toys make wood teethers, organic blocks, Montessori toys, safe infant and toddler toys, modern rocking horses, traditional rattles and more - eco friendly and made in USA these organic wood toys are natural, eco-friendly toys AND... They Plant a tree for every toy sold!

Vintage Map  Sterling Necklace  by DLK Designs ($41 Value) 

 Round pendant measures approximately .75 of an inch. Each pendant comes with an 18 inch sterling silver ball chain.

Simply Love T-Shirt ($24.95 Value)
Front:  "SIMPLY LOVE"  (in red) with Africa Design.  Back:  Stamped Style Font:  "MAN UP!  Protect and love the fatherless" In Army Green Color.  These T-Shirts are Unisex fit!  Super soft roomy and comfy

One less Orphan..." T-shirt from Sewn in my heart
   ($20.00 Value)
This custom design t-shirt  says: "One less orphan without a family tree"
You can read more about this  family and their adoption process on their blog:  Flip Flops and lip gloss!

Cute Lavender Bib (100% cotton) Africa Applique front/ flannel material on the back (not pictured)

Africa Note Cards by Sugar Britches  ($6 Value)
These cards have Africa on them and Ethiopia is highlighted with a little heart. The paper is mounted on Kraft card stock. The measurements are 4"x5.5". The inside of the card is blank

"Fly" Pendant by Crimson Cat Studios  ($20)
This mixed media pendant was created on a domino!  A beautiful purple butterfly with with word "fly" with some pretty blue bling!  BEAUTIFUL!

Two BEAUTIFUL Fused Glass Pendants by Peace of Mind ($50 Value)
These are just beautiful!  Made with fused glass and metal, these pendants are gorgeous!  One is a seahorse stamped on white glass on a aqua glass background, the other, two pieces of melted glass (one a dragon fly) on a stamped metal back.  (See picture)  And don't forget to visit Peace of Mind on the web!

Here's how you enter this gigantic, super cool (THINK CHRISTMAS GIFTS!!!) Giveaway...
  1. Donate $5 (or more) to our adoption fund.  Each $5 donation buys your name in the bowl!
    (one entry per $5 donation)

    THEN.....IF YOU MAKE A DONATION:  (this is how you can get more chances to win)

    • BLOG about our giveaway (including links) and You get your name in the bowl AGAIN!

    • If you TWEET and or share about our giveaway on facebook....YOU GOT IT...You get your name in the bowl YET AGAIN!

    • AND last but NOT LEAST...if you follow our blog (right hand side) YOU GET your name in the bowl AGAIN!!! whoo-hoo!!!

    After you have made your donation and the various other added GET YOUR NAME IN THE BOWL choices...comment and tell us WHAT YOU DID.  Be sure to include your email so we can let you know when you win!! (POSITIVE THINKING!)

    This giveaway will go for one (1) WEEK Starting today (Wednesday at 5pm!)   That means it ends next Wednesday (Wednesday- August 25th at 5pm SHARP!)

    We will then (You guessed it) Pick a name from the BOWL!  (we will taken pictures and have a witness to verify PICK!)  and announce the winner via POSTING ON OUR BLOG and EMAIL.

    Thank you in advance from the bottom of our hearts for being a part of our giveaway!

Monday, August 9

UPDATE! {and 2 months!}

2 months = 60.8736998 days (but who's counting?)


So...we've got: GOOD NEWS and GOOD NEWS!!!

We got the BEST update on our girl last week along with a super fun picture too!  She is so precious AND spunky and cute.... we can handle stand it!!!

Here's what the update said:

Well, H. is still the little bundle of cuteness and spunk she was last month.  Today, as I was trying to take her picture near a door that looked out back toward the kitchen, she kept “flirting” with the gardener who outside the kitchen talking to one of the cooks.  The gardener got a big kick out of her “hide-and-seek” game, as did I.  She is such the charmer and delightful little ball of energy.  I find it difficult not to pinch her cheeks constantly when I visit her! 


We travel 2 months from TODAY for court and will finally get to meet her and hold her and LOVE her in person!!


Saturday, July 31

Amharic {and the language barrier}

As we approach the final stretch in our adoption process (we travel the first week of October for court!!)  I am painfully aware of the fact that we know ZERO Amharic.

Does anyone out there know how/much and what words will be the most helpful.  Our daughter is just learning Amharic herself and is just 26 months old.

Any advice or helpful hits regarding language and the barrier that we will face is welcomed and NEEDED.

So far, I have discovered this site and it looks pretty good!:
Amharic Kids is a great resource for Ethiopian adoptive family's. It was born out of a family's adoption journey.

It's got great Ethiopian cultural and language (Amharic) information and helps as well as books, toys and other items related to Ethiopia and Ethiopian adoption.

For those of you needing to brush up on your Amharic (like us!), click on Amharic to find a awesome Pronunciation guide. From there, you can click on the Words & Alphabet links for sound clips of common words and phrases.

Sunday, July 25

Fundraising Efforts Continue {T-Shirts}

We are super excited to announce that we are now selling SIMPLY LOVE T-Shirts!

We are selling the shirts to raise money to help pay for our travel to Ethiopia and for humanitarian aid.  We will be putting our first order in any day- so order yours today! (price includes shipping!!!)

Right now we are offering three awesome designs/colors.  (click image to enlarge)   *You can easily order your t-shirt here using paypal and/or any credit/debit card.   (Click the style/size you would like and click Add to Cart!

Woman's-Alternative Apparel  Vintage Fitted Cut (Espresso)

Front:  SIMPLY LOVE (in blue) with blue swirls and Africa design.  Back:  "Love will always find a way" (in white).  This shirt is super soft and slim- form fitting longer cut  with cap sleeve. (We recommend ordering 1 size bigger due to slim cut)

  • 100% combed ringspun cotton. 
  • Regular fit. (although fits SLIM)
  • Tapered waist.

Women's Simply Love

Unisex Soft Style (Black)

Front:  SIMPLY LOVE (in white)  With blue swirls and Africa design.  Back:  "Love will always find a way".  In Black.  These T-Shirts are true Unisex!  Super soft roomy and comfy fit.  Perfect for Women and Men alike!
  • 100% preshrunk ringspun cotton jersey. 
  • Seamless double-needle stitched collar. 
  • Taped neck and shoulders.

Black Unisex (Simply Love)

Men's Unisex-(Army Green)

Front:  "SIMPLY LOVE"  (in red) with Africa Design.  Back:  Stamped Style Font:  "MAN UP!  Protect and love the fatherless" In Army Green Color.  These T-Shirts are Unisex fit!  Super soft roomy and comfy fit.
  • 100% preshrunk combed ringspun cotton. 
  • Taped shoulder-to-shoulder. 
  • TearAway™ label. 
  • Fashion fit.

    MAN UP Simply Love

      **Please allow two (2) weeks for delivery

      **If you would prefer to send a money order or check please email or comment.

      Thank you!

      Wednesday, July 14


      WE HAVE A COURT DATE!!!!  

      WOW...What a suprise!  Kristen called this morning with a court date! (two actually).  We still have to wait until after the rainy season, but our MOWA date is September 30 and our Court date (the one when we travel AND get to visit baby girl!) is on October 12! This means we will travel October 10th-17th!

      It is the best news to actually have DATES!!!!  Now we can really focus in on all the to-do's around the house and in preparation for baby girl's homecoming!!!!  (which will be 2-6 weeks after we pass court)

      ** Side note:   This is a picture of me looking SUPER EXCITED (taken yesterday).  Jordan said "look excited" when taking my picture to promote our Simply Love/Africa T-shirts!  We are selling them to raise money for our travel expenses and humanitarian aid for orphans in Ethiopia!

      Now...not only am I excited about our T-shirts...I'm SUPER EXCITED about our court dates! 

      What an amazing surprise!  

      Monday, July 12

      After the rain {Peace}

      We have officially missed the window.  The very small window of time that would have been considered a miracle. It would have been a miracle to receive a court date in time before rainy season. (The Ethiopian courts close for the rainy season- August thu late September or October)

      So...looks like we will see our girl ...hold our girl...and bring our girl home- sometime AFTER THE RAIN.

      While we love a good miracle over here at the Mathews ...We are OK with it. Really.  As a matter of fact, it's more than just OK.  There is PEACE.  

      And after ALL we've been through (so far).... 

      Let's hear it for PEACE!

      Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
      John 14:27

      Saturday, July 10

      JUSTICE JARS {Fundraising}

       Our Justice Jars have help us raise over $400 to date!

      ***From original JUSTICE JAR POST

      These are JUSTICE JARS!

      We have been busy making these cute little jars using recycled jars of all shapes & sizes, decorative papers, stickers, threads, buttons, bling, glue, paint, and a whole bunch of love!

      Over the next few days & weeks we will be delivering JUSTICE JARS to friends and family.

      It is our hope that JUSTICE JARS will serve a three-fold purpose:

      1. Serve as a tangible reminder in your home to prompt you to pray for our adoption process, our daughter Justice and for the millions of orphans world-wide.

      2. To collect donations to help with the travel costs to Ethiopia.

      3. To raise money for humanitarian aid items that we will hand deliver to orphanages that we will be visiting while we are in Ethiopia.

      If you would like a Justice Jar, please comment or email (mail AT themathewsfam DOT net) us and we will get it to you right away!


      Wednesday, July 7

      Get ready!...Get Set...WAIT.

      We are still on cloud nine since receiving our referral.  Our sweet girl's little face is all over the house, in our phones, on our computers.....everywhere!  And I think I watch  the clip of video that we have of her (Thanks Billy!) at least 3 times a day.....

      And while we are in the clouds.....the reality is that we are back to WAITING. A NEW kind of waiting. Waiting for our court date. Which....will probably be sometime after the rainy season. UGH.  (more on that in another post).

      This stage in the adoption process  is the HURRY UP and WAIT stage. Hurry up because you never know...we just may be the exception to the rule and get a court date with lightening speed and so WE NEED TO BE READY!

      Aside from the fact that being prepared is a GOOD THING....The best way I know to WAIT is to keep busy.

      So, I'm back to keeping too busy AND  I've got my lists to prove it!  When I say lists I do mean LISTS...plural with an an S.  (meaning more than one!)

      Aside from the normal, day-to-day to do's ....

      I've got a list of things to do in baby girl's room, a list of gear and clothing we need for baby girl, a list of things I would like to get done around the house, a list of fund-raising projects, (ie: t-shirts, a potential car wash, a cut-a-thon and possibly yet another garage sale?)...   I've got a list of things to get done in my studio/my online store, and or course...I've got a list of things to do before we can travel and soon...(like today) I will have to start a packing list as well.  YIKES!

      And OH.... YES!!!!  (Although it's not on any of my lists.) Let's not forget...our biggest TO DO remember to enjoy the journey! AND breath...(in through the nose and out through the mouth.)  Seriously, it helps.

      Thursday, June 24

      The Call {Story}

      I should mention (disclaimer here) that my feet have not touched the ground just head is still WAY up in the clouds...and I can't take my eyes off of our girl's BEAUTIFUL face for more than just a few I hope the following isn't' too all over the place.

      I will start by saying that yesterday was a hard day.  I  had a near  meltdown.  I can honestly say that I could feel the knot that I tied to the end of my rope ... unwinding. (You know....."when you are at the end of your rope...tie a knot and hang on"...??? Well, THAT knot...was unwinding and I felt like I was falling.)

      After a good nights sleep I felt better although not in the best of moods.   I didn't bother to dress cute, do my hair and make-up or check the battery on the camera. (like most days in WAITING) 

      I just didn't have hope for today.  (Sad, but true)   I was NOT full of faith for our referral and I was already bracing myself for another week to pass by...(I wish I could say I JUST KNEW IT WAS THE DAY...but I just didn't)

      With that, Today was a  pretty "normal" day.  I got busy around the house, worked in my studio, helped Jeff with some stuff on the boat, took a swim, had a sandwich (mentioned to Jeff -like a hundred times before...that; "tomorrow was Friday already"...) and headed back out to the studio.

      I was just plugging in my glue gun when my cell phone went off. (it was 2:49 PM)  I just barely glanced over at it and...THERE IT WAS!  817!

      I think I said "NO WAY!" and as I answered....and heart felt like it would jump out of my chest as I said:; (barely) "HELLO?????.

      Kristen kind of laughed and said "Hi Christine...this is Kristen.....THIS IS IT!...I have your referral"...
      I started to cry and laugh and cry and started to babble (yep...I'm pretty sure I babbled) and headed into the house to get Jeff (he works from home).  I said..."I'm not letting you off the phone, ok????" She said, "OK"..."no problem...

      When I walked into his office, he was on a business call, which I completely ignored- waving the phone (sort of like a crazy person) trying to get the words out...I said.."'s our's Kristen"...

      He just looked at me with this confused look on his face for what seemed like forever and then HE GETS IT AND SAYS..."OH....WOW...OK!"...and quickly explains what's going on to his client and gets off the phone.

      While we set up the laptop and then waited for the emails to come through; I set up the camera on the tri-pod (I somehow found it and it was charged!), brushed my hair and thru it up into a clip thing,  put on some chap-stick (at least, right?) and OF COURSE...grabbed the Kleenex box!

      So we get set all front of the laptop...and we ask the first BIG QUESTION:

      How old is she? (2!) TEARS.  Laughter...More tears..

      then a few details...WOW!.....(more on that later...)

      and then...the big moment....the pictures! (26 of them!) 

      All I can say is that in the split second when I first set my eyes on her sweet little face ...I FELT THE BIGGEST WAVE OF RELIEF AND JOY AND LOVE.....She is healthy and beautiful...and PRECIOUS!! She is perfect!!

      And YES...That moment was more than worth the wait.  MORE than worth it. 


      She is more beautiful than we could have ever imagined!!!  WORTH EVERY SINGLE SECOND!!!!

      25 months...big brown eyes, sweet litte lips...spunky personality!

      More details soon...


      Tuesday, June 15

      Eight {8!}

      Eight (8) yes....EIGHT months!
      Well, well, well.  We hit the 8 month mark.  Can't really believe it....Just DID NOT think it would (in a GAZILLION years) take over 8 months for our referral.  Yet...we are are.  Still waiting.

      So ...we are trying really hard not to think about court closing for rainy season or worry about the TWO trips to Ethiopia and all the details...all the t's that still will need to be crossed..AND all the .i's that remain to be DOTTED...

      Trying to focus on all the good things going on in our lives (countless blessings!) and live in each moment.... always...the good news is that with everyday that passes, we are ONE DAY closer to seeing our baby girl's precious face.  AND we know WITHOUT a doubt that it (all of it) will be worth it....MORE THAN WORTH IT ALL.

      Wednesday, May 19

      Keeping Busy. Getting Crafty. Raising Money.

      With the beautiful spring weather (and while waiting of course!) I have been spending a lot of time in my studio getting crafty.  I have fired up my sewing machine and have been sewing up a storm!

      I am adding new items to my online store DAILY and have big plans in the coming days and weeks for some really neat items for babies, toddlers and grown-ups too!

      Please visit my online store and take a peek....(and feel free to share ie: facebook, blog, email....)

      ALL proceeds benefit our travel expenses to Ethiopia (we will travel TWICE) and humanitarian aid items.

      I LOVE special orders, so if you have something unique in mind just shoot me an email  (info AT newlifeartworks DOT COM) or comment.


      New Life Artworks

      Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

      Saturday, May 15

      Seven Months {NO WAY!}

      Seven {7} months and still waiting...

      No Way! Right?! 

      That's what I said.  A few months ago I was going through the calendar "planning" our upcoming meetings, birthdays, parties, trips and such...When I hit March I marked; "5 months waiting" ...( thinking...oh I hope not...)
      And then skipped to April 15th  and wrote "TAX DAY and 6 months waiting" (Thinking to myself...NO WAY!...We won't see 6 months waiting!...) .
      Then ..I quickly flipped to May and there it was. May 15th- staring back at me nestled between Jeff's birthday, Mother's Day and Kyle's BIG 20th....and I thought's never going happen...I HAVE FAITH. And so....I didn't even mark it.
      NO WAY in my wildest dreams (or worst nightmares) would I have thought we would wait for 7 months to see our precious girl's little face.  Surely not after all the drama we've gone through during this process....(the average wait for a toddler age child has been 4-5.5 months)
      Think again. Wrong. ouch.

      But....Here we are. 7 months! and we wait....(pushing in and pressing on!!!!)
      And No.  I have not marked June 15th "8 months waiting"... June 15th is our oldest Son's 25th birthday (yes, you read that correctly....and yes...we are a little bit crazy!)  That day is officially let's just hope we have made it through the waiting before then!

      Sending up prayers, crossing my fingers and my my toes!

      Monday, May 3

      Cookies 4 Kids!

      For a limited time (May 3-16), all Pei Wei restaurants in AZ and TX will be selling Cookies4Kids (Double Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie for $1.00).    All proceeds from this promotion will benefit Gladney’s (Our adoption agency!)  humanitarian aid efforts around the world.

      Thursday, April 15

      6 Months Waiting {and Stalking}

      Six (6) Months on Wait List! UGH.

      We never thought we would see the 6 month mark. we are.  Waiting. Waiting. Waiting Waiting.

      As far as we have yet to go...we have come a long way.

      Yesterday I looked out the window to see the mail man stop at our mailbox, and I was reminded...  There was a day that we waited for the mail man EVERYDAY. We were mailbox stalkers. (I wonder if our mail man thought we were weird?)

      Then..we graduated to stalking email.  I had the volume turned up on my computer as loud as it can go and set to DING-DONG whenever an email came from Gladney.  We were email stalkers.

      Now....we stalk our cell phones. (and I stalk Jeff's phone AND the land line too...just in case)  The only time I don't have my cell phone right next to me or in my back pocket is when I'm in the shower....

      And oh...We (or I should clarify...I...) Stalk ALL adoption blogs.  I am an adoption blog stalker.  I guess it helps me to know that I am not alone. AND I have learned SO MUCH through my adoption blog stalking! So much wisdom and inspiration...So encouraging to see picutres and read stories of those who have gone before us!  

      Aside from all the stalking...

      We are keeping busy while we wait. (And we are having a lot of fun too.)  We have our big kids (who are amazing!!!) and some great friends.....Jeff is super busy at work and I always have several unfinished and in progress projects going at all times.

      I have all but finished the munchkins room...(actually it's dangerously close to being overdone?....)  I have been busy crafting and sewing up a storm. I have almost completed a new website for the salon... I have been working out a lot. (it's better than eating)  I do yoga several times a week which helps me to breath (in and out) and relax..... and oh... I shop.

      Although... it's hard to shop for the munchkin since we don't know how old she is or her size, shopping is limited and a bit frustrating at this point. (Confession: I had a mini meltdown at Target in the munchkin department last week...but that's another post...)
      ANYWAY....All that to say....  Six (6) months.....CHECK!

      Saturday, March 27

      OOh-OO Child....

      This one goes out to all the waiting Mommy's and Daddy's out there....

      Ooh-oo child, things are gonna get easier
      Ooh-oo child, things'll get brighter
      Ooh-oo child, things are gonna get easier
      Ooh-oo child, things'll be brighter

      Some day, yeah
      We'll put it together and we'll get it all done
      Some day
      When your head is much lighter
      Some day, yeah
      We'll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
      Some day
      When the world is much brighter

      Ooh-oo child, things are gonna be easier
      Ooh-oo child, things'll be brighter
      Ooh-oo child, things are gonna be easier
      Ooh-oo child, things'll be brighter

      Some day, yeah
      We'll put it together and we'll get it all done
      Some day
      When your head is much lighter
      Some day, yeah
      We'll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
      Some day
      When the world is much brighter

      Some day, some day, some day
      We'll get it together and we'll get it all done
      Some day
      When your head is much lighter
      Some day, some day, some day
      We'll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
      Some day
      When the world is much brighter

      Ooh-oo child, things are gonna get easier
      Ooh-oo child, things'll be brighter
      Ooh-oo child, things are gonna get easier
      Ooh-oo child, things'll be brighter

      Right now
      You just wait and see how things are gonna be
      Right now...

      Monday, March 15

      5 Months {waiting}

      We've Been on Wait List 5 Months Today!

      Because we hit so many other "road blocks" early on in our adoption process....We really believed that we would zoom through wait list and on to Court...

      Clearly things don't always go the way we think or the way we want.  And as far as Believing...We still believe.  It's just about the timing....
      While there are good days and bad days in the the midst of the waiting.....we will wait.  We will wait for as long as it takes.  And it will be worth every second.  

      I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living
      Psalm 27:13

      "It may be Friday...but Sunday's comin'!"

      Saturday, March 13

      Red Tape and Hoops

      Early in the week, the US State Department announced that visa processing for children adopted from Ethiopia will take on new requirements, which may cause a slight delay in the process. (ya think?!)

      Then, on Wednesday, the second notice came. Effective immediately, federal courts in Ethiopia require families to travel twice; once for court date to meet your child prior to adoption, allowing the judge to make any necessary inquiries and the second trip to pick up your child once you have passed court and their visa has been processed.

      The extra red tape & hoops, time (more waiting!), cost and just overall stress these changes bring is tough and disappointing to say the least...But the real thing that I'm having trouble with is the idea of being with our daughter for 5 days and then leaving her behind (for 3-6 weeks).  When I think of leaving makes my head spin and my stomach flip.  (although I am trying to take the wise advice of another Gladney adopting family and NOT FOCUS on that right now...)

      There is good news.  We will see and hold our daughter sooner than later.....AND we have been given yet another opportunity to trust and walk in faith for perfect timing, financial provision...ETC.... 

      And it's true...when the going gets tough ...the tough KEEP GOING.  We are resolved and determined to bring our daughter home.  No mater the red tape or how many hoops we have to jump through....we will cut through it...we will jump!  

      We will not be moved.

      Wednesday, March 3

      A {Dream} is a wish your heart makes

      Dream Pillow for Baby J.
      With each stitch my thoughts were set on our sweet Baby J..  While I added the final touch of trim I had this little song from Cinderella swirling around in my head.  It's almost 2 O'clock am in Ethiopia.  Sweet Dreams little one.

      A Dream is a wish your heart makes
       A dream is a wish your heart makes
      When you're fast asleep
      In dreams you lose your heartaches
      Whatever you wish for, you keep
      Have faith in your dreams and someday
      Your rainbow will come smiling thru
      No matter how your heart is grieving
      If you keep on believing
      the dream that you wish will come true

      Here's the video clip!

      Do Something. Now.

      To get involved in helping the widow and and the orphan, visit for more information.

      Monday, February 15

      Anticipation {4 month Mark}

      Four (4) months on Wait List!

      That's right....four months on the wait list today!

      In some ways  it's gone pretty fast..but it ultimately, waiting for our referral has been the hardest WAIT we've ever experienced in the Mathews house to date.

      Just when you think the level of  anticipation can't get any turn around to find another month crossed off the calendar.

      "Anticipation or being enthusiastic, is an emotion involving pleasure (and sometimes anxiety) in considering some expected or longed-for good event, irritation  at having to wait."

      Friday, February 12

      Closed Today

      Snow in Texas!
      Snow day in Texas + "Gladney's Fort Worth Office will be closed Friday, February 12, 2010 due to inclement weather!" (facebook post) = NO REFERRAL TODAY.

      Tuesday, February 9



      Buy Shoes. Give Shoes. Help Us. (Click on shoes!)

      We've Partnered with Tom's Shoes!

      When you purchase a pair of shoes from Tom's Shoes they give a pair to a child & (When you click from our website) Tom's will give us 10% of the sale amount towards our adoption costs! 

      More Information about TOMS One for One commitment:

      TOMS simple One for One commitment to give a pair of new shoes to children in need around the world with every pair sold is revolutionizing the way consumers shop; with TOMS, shopping equals giving. TOMS One for One business model transforms our customers into benefactors, which allows us to grow a truly sustainable business rather than depending on fundraising for support.

      This One for One model has encouraged conscientious consumers to purchase and give more than 400,000 pairs of new shoes to children in need in just four years. 

      Monday, January 25

      PJ's For Orphans {Humanitarian Aid}

      We have decided on clothing items for our humanitarian aid items that we will take along with us when we travel to Ethiopia. So far, we have purchased over $300 of sweet, soft and oh-so cute pj's and one piece outfits sizes 3-12 months for both girls and boys!....SO FUN!

      We are also starting to collect fun treats to take along to the orphanages that we will be visiting like sunglasses, bubbles, stickers, coloring books and small toys.