Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Two little birds...

Josh and I are expecting Baby Utterback in July 2011.  We went to see the midwife yesterday and were able to hear the heart beat.  We are SO excited for this little one to come into the world.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Andrew & Rebecca Feight

On Saturday one of my dearest friends married her best friend!!  To say the wedding was beautiful would be an understatement, it was breath-taking.  Andrew & Rebecca, I am so happy for you and excited to see where the Lord leads the two of you!!  God bless!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

You Deliver Me

Well, it's been a while since I have posted anything on the good ol' blog so I thought it would be appropriate to let you know what has been happening as of late and ask for prayer.

It was a year ago this week that the back pain started and I really can't believe that its been a full year.  It has been a very humbling experience to say the least.  I know in the past I was very judgemental of people with chronic pain and now I find myself asking for forgiveness for such judgement and hoping that people aren't judging or pitying me.  After 2 rounds of epidural shots, 4 + months of physical therapy, 10 lbs added and lots of tears I am ready for the pain to be gone.  I desire to be active again; to hike for hours, run, jump on the trampoline, do yoga and pilates.  On Tuesday I will be seeing a surgeon to find out what options I have.  I am pretty certain I know what my options are but I am still holding on to hope that there are more out there.  I have been told the procedure (an inner-body fusion) is non-invasive and has a fairly quick recovery time, but I would still prefer supernatural healing; wouldn't we all.  A few days ago I heard a song by Selah, You Deliver Me, and I don't like the contemporary Christian vibe, but the lyrics ring true.  So I will leave you with the link and ask that you partner with me in prayer that the Lord would heal my back.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D86IpkYDjOo

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Cor 12:9

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Chase

Yesterday Josh and I were driving home from dinner when Josh asked me if I saw the bull dog running in the street.  I said no and told him he knew what we needed to do.  Josh flipped around without question and the pursuit was on. 

We pulled up alongside a red faced teen girl who said she had been trying to catch the dog all day.  I hopped out of the car thinking, "she's been 'trying' to catch this dog all day, she must not be trying very hard."  Sure enough, we got close to the dog and the dog took off; the girl was close behind.  I should mention this girl was fast, really fast, so I don't doubt she had been "trying" all day.  She informed me that animal control came out and weren't able to catch the dog either. After a few lame attempts of keeping up with the fast girl and the dog I realized that I was in no way, shape or form going to be able to be of any assistance, so Josh and I traded spots.  Josh started running and I started driving, by this time more people had joined the chase.  We were finally able to corner the dog in an alley.  She was beat, covered in ticks and dehydrated.  She was a sweet pup and looked like she had been loved by someone.  The fast girls mom owned a dog grooming shop nearby, so she took the dog back to the shop and her mom went to work cleaning up the pup and getting her hydrated.  There was someone within the shopping complex that wanted to adopt the dog if the owners weren't located. 

All in all it it took 40 mins, over 2 miles, 2 cars and 7 people to catch the dog.  It was a fun experience and Josh knows that he shouldn't mention seeing a wandering dog unless he is willing to help it.  I have such a great husband!!!!.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Week Review

Tuesday a Healthy Baby Girl was Born.
Wednesday one birthmom overdosed and was recovering.  Another mom went in labor and delivered a healthy baby boy.  My sister-in-law delivered a healthy baby boy.
Thursday a mom relinquished her rights to her child and felt so alone and shattered.
Friday a mom said good bye to her child.
Saturday two mom's were without their children and not sure how to cope.
Sunday a mom relinquished her rights to her child.  She opened up about her past and how she was so mad at God for allowing her to experience all the hurt she has in her short lifetime.  She doesn't want any help, counsel or God.

Lord, I pray for these women.  May they find you.  You heal the broken hearted and bind up their wounds.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

China

Josh and I had the opportunity to travel to China May 14-31st to visit the Jared Utterback family, the Knapp family and to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary.

We started our journey in Beijing with the Knapps.  We spent our first day at Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City.



The following day we flew to Chengdu and spent a few days in Jared and Allison's old stomping grounds.  We visited the panda exhibit and went to a restaurant that had fire breathers.


After 3 days in Chengdu we then drove 6 hours to Bazhong where Jared and Allison are currently living.  In Bazhong we visited the dancing square, hiked, had many massages and foot washes, fished and visited the meat and vegetable market.




After spending 9 days in Bazhong we headed for Guanyuan to fly back to Beijing.  After 2 evacuated
take offs, one in which we were partially lifted off the ground, I was not willing to get back on the plane the following day to attempt another take off so we decided to head back to Chengdu (another 6 hour drive) and fly from there back to Beijing.  We arrived in Beijing after 20 hours of travel from Bazhongand boy were we thankful to be back with friends!!  The next day was our anniversary and last full day in Beijing so we spent it hiking on the Great Wall; what a memorable anniversary!!!!  We had a wonderful time and are so grateful for the Jared Utterback family and the Knapps!!



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Feeling Creative


This past weekend I was feeling creative, so I worked on two projects.  The first was for the wall in our hall bathroom.  Before there were a few mirrors and a picture of Josh and I.  It looked fine, but was kind of creepy for our guest to have us "watching them" when natured called.  I bought 3 frames from Goodwill for $3 and then painted them white. 



These are the frames after being sanded.



The hall bathroom with the new frames and some mirrors I had on the wall before. 
 It's pretty simple, slightly crooked, but I like the finished project. 

The second project I found at a garage sale after church on Sunday.  Right now Josh and I have a metal, baking rack as a TV stand; one of the remaining remnants of the bachelor pad days.  I saw the piece and immediately knew I wanted to stain it and put it in the living room.








Tuesday, April 6, 2010

San Francisco

Josh and I were able to get away to San Francisco for a few days.  One of Josh's childhood friends was getting married, and we were blessed to be a part of it.  Here are some pics from the weekend. 

This is right outside of the reception spot.  It was a converted fire station that had an great vibe and amazing view of Alcatraz and the water.
Who didn't love Full House.  Have Mercy!

Golden Gate Bridge

The End :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Adoption

Many have been asking what my job as an Adoption Caseworker entails so I thought I would post a little information about what I do on a daily basis.

We advertise all over the country, so I work with birthmothers and adoptive families from all over.  When a mom is considering creating an adoption plan and calls our agency I have the privilege of talking with her.  On the first call I listen to her story and try to offer some hope.  If she is certain this is what she desires for her unborn child, we create a plan.  The plan entails what type of Adoptive Family she wants to parent her child (single, married, religion, race etc), how much openness she will want in the future with the family and child (visits, pictures, letters, no contact...), who she would want to be in the delivery room with her (alone, her friends/family, the adoptive family, me, etc).  Once the plan is created we send profiles of Adoptive Families to the birthmom and I wait for her to decide who she will be choosing to parent this growing, unborn child.  After the family has been selected I facilitate a conference call.  It's an opportunity for the family and the birthmom to talk; most of the time the birthmom wants to proceed with the family after the call and sometimes she doesn't, sometimes she wants more profiles.  I can't imagine picking a family to parent my unborn child just by seeing pictures and talking to them on the phone, but we see it every day.  The birthmom spends the rest of her pregnancy getting to know the adoptive family and preparing for the emotional hurricane she will experience after her baby is born.

Every state has different laws as to when a birthmom can relinquish her rights and whether or not they are irrevocable.  The signing of the relinquishments is one of the hardest parts of my job.  I see women physically exhausted from birthing a child, emotionally ripped apart because they love their child enough to place it with another family.  I see them give up their parental rights and then I see them say goodbye; good bye to the child they carried, the child they so desperately wanted to keep.

On the flipside, I see adoptive families that have struggled with infertility, miscarrages and one failed adoption after another.  I see their hurt, anguish over wanting to be a parent.  I see them leave the hospital having what they have hoped for and grieve for the mother who gave it to them.

It's a job that breaks my heart.  It requires me to lean on the Lord daily and ask Him for understanding.  It is so bittersweet to see a mom lose what she desires most and a family gain what they have yearned for.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Beginnings of Life Together by Josh



                  The tale of Joshua Christopher and Jessica Lee Utterback began long before they became one on May 30, 2009.  In fact it is unclear in both of their minds the very day they met at Wheaton College; and both of them being from Phoenix who is to say they never bumped into one another sometime in childhood.
                 Anyway, for the sake of simplicity let’s jump ahead and just say that upon recognition of Jessica’s extraordinary beauty and Christ-like character Josh decided it would be best to ask permission of Gary Gries (Jessica’s father) to pursue his daughter.  Although cautious and methodical in his approach toward the dating process, Josh could not help himself from desiring to spend more and more time with Jessica.  He looked forward to the walks with Macy (leash in one hand and Jessica’s in the other), cuddle time on the couch, going out for pizza or ice cream, and the candid conversations about the challenges, joys, and dreams of life.  As time passed it was evident both Josh and Jessica were in love.  Josh knew deep down there could never be anyone who would love him this fully or be a more complete partner in Christ than Jessica.  So the decision was made that Josh was going to propose to marry Jessica.


 In preparation for the proposal Josh requested that Jessica have her ring finger sized with Melinda Utterback.  After quite a few trips to the jeweler to make sure everything was perfect Josh finally had the ring.  It was December 17, 2008 and in his typical by the book manner Josh went over to the Gries family house to ask for Jessica’s hand in marriage.  Gary and Nancy were quick to embrace Josh and offer their support.  The secret couldn’t be kept for long so Josh needed to act quickly.
                  Josh had decided that December, 18, 2009 would be the day he proposed to Jessica.  The initial plan to propose along Oak Creek or Chevelon Lake in northern Arizona had been hampered by inclement weather, but with some careful planning the encouragement of his sister Katrina a plan was mapped out.  He didn’t want the proposal to just be a forgettable event over dinner, but he wanted the whole day to be fun-filled.  Josh and Jessica began the day by attending Joy Brianna Utterback’s dance recital.  The smiles and laughter of children was a great way to kick off the adventure.  From there they went to grab coffee and tea at Jessica’s favorite spot, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.  Next they were off to search for “ugly sweaters” at the local thrift store.  After purchasing some amazingly hideous looking sweaters they stopped back at Jessica’s house as her outfit required some additional craftsmanship.  Then they were headed to a wonderful lunch at Pita Jungle, a longtime favorite for both of them.  It should be noted that the ring was in Josh’s jeans or coat pocket nearly the entire day and it was a miracle that he didn’t somehow notify Jessica that he was fiddling with it.
Finally it was time to head to the Desert Botanical Gardens.  Although Josh had been there the day before to plan out the route, he played it cool as if he was seeing the new Chihuly exhibit and all the fun facts about Arizona plants for the first time.  Josh and Jessica were truly in love and their joy and laughter was evident as they made their way through the garden loop.  Now despite having walked the route the day before, the location in which Josh wanted to propose came about quicker than expected.  Two people suggested they go around the corner to get a more isolated view of the pond.  It was there on the bench where Josh was able to collect his thoughts and pour out his heart to Jessica.  He shared with her a number of memories that he had written down along with the many admirable attributes that she exhibited.  At last the moment came when Josh dropped to one knee, pulled out the ring and asked for Jessica to be his wife.  She answered at first with an elated “Uh-huh” and a nod of the head and then said “Yes”.  After a few minutes to enjoy the moment, commit the relationship to the Lord in prayer, and snap a few pictures to memorialize it, they were off to tell their friends and meet up with family.  As their love for one another grows there will certainly be more adventures, times of sadness, laughter, insecurity, excitement, and anticipation.  Despite the uncertainty of the future, Josh and Jessica are comforted that above all Christ is the cornerstone of their life together

Monday, January 25, 2010

Encouragement

Today I received a much needed encouragement from a dear friend.  It has been a very challenging and trying few weeks.  Ann, thank you for your love, encouragement and prayers!!