Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it.  For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.  
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8:12-17

Adopt (verb) :
1. to choose or take as one's own; make one's own by selection or assent
2. to take and rear (the child of other parents) as one's own child, specifically by a legal act.
3. to take or receive into any kind of new relationship

This verb has never meant so much to me as it does after reading my cousins' story here (pwd: ethiopia) 
I won't even begin to put words to their story, but their story has definitely made an impact on ours. Take a minute to click over there...

This adoption will change her life forever. This adoption is a reflection of a different kind, the kind mentioned above.  
Meet Eliana Fasika McCrory
They kept her given name as her middle and chose Eliana, which means "my God has answered"
This is such a sweet picture!

I see so much of myself in their precious little girl - almost fighting the unconditional love, not understanding it, uncertain of it, scared even of allowing someone that close. It is almost a choice for me to daily "wake up a totally different child." Isn't it for most of us?

As you might know, I put together a list of 25 things I wanted to do in my 25th year (26th) of life. Just a fun way to knock some things off my bucket-list as well as keep me to the life of adventure Neal and I both seek. One of those items, #24 to be exact, was to adopt a Compassion International Child. While this form of "adoption" is not the taking and rearing of a child, it is one (to a small fraction) of choosing and receiving this child into a new kind of relationship. Neal and I have chosen to sponsor a little boy, we have chosen to pray for him daily, write to him often and financially invest in his life. Our seemingly measley monthly donation is almost equivalent to that of his family's household income! How humbling. We are able to help provide for his medical care, his education and his overall well-being. Topped off with the knowledge that a young couple somewhere chose him. That some random couple loves him, for no good reason at all. And we hope this points him to a greater Love.

Meet Jonas!
His name means "gift from God"
He is four and lives in Guatemala. My dad, who travels there often for medical missions, actually knows the town that he lives in - we hope to visit him one day.

I think adoption is the sweetest picture of God's love for His children. God doesn't love us any more or less because of anything we could ever possibly do or be. He loves because He IS love. He loves because He chose to. He chose us. He always will.


A niece and A nephew!

I said I wanted to start blogging with pictures, and what better post to start with than one to show off our precious niece and nephew? Call it a "brag-blog"...

Little Miss Madison Rae McGuirk - born to my big sister Jenn and her husband Chris 2 years ago this month! They need to tell her to stop growing up....

oh! and my sister is expecting their second in August!

and Mr. Gavin Reed Anthony - born to Neal's brother Nick and his wife Shannon this past February.


We are so blessed by our (growing) family!


Advantages & Adventures of the Carpool

For those of you that don't know, Neal recently started a new job! We were so excited for something a little more stable and a definite upgrade in working environment. As an added bonus, we are working in the same building downtown! As a result, we now carpool to work everyday. I thought I'd share some of our advantages, disadvantages, & adventures:

  1. After 7 months of crazy work schedules, we finally have consistent TIME together - if all else fails, I know we will have a set aside half-hour each morning and evening of uninterruptable "windshield time"
  2. We save MONEY! Not only on gas, but also on parking! My company offers free valet parking, so that is one less hassle to deal with...as a side note, it's really fun (and funny) to pull up to a building, have an attendant know our names and park our car for us :)
  3. If one of us is TIRED (namely, me) the other can drive
  4. HOV! Okay, so there isn't an HOV lane on our way to work, but if there was one, we could totally and legitimately use it, which makes me feel environmentally concious even though I probably am not
  5. We now have ACCOUNTABILITY in how we manage our time (especially in the morning). Knowing I am responsible for making sure my husband who loves to be on time, aka 10 minutes early, is on time to work is definite motivation to get out of bed in the morning. 
  1. We spend get a lot of TIME together...and I am an introvert. We wake up in the same house, we get in the same car, we work in the same building, we get back in the same car, and we go back to the same house...rinse and repeat. I love my husband, I do! AND I enjoy alone time, in fact, I shut down if I don't get enough of it. Funny story on this later.
  2. My commute has typically been my PHONE BOOTH time. You know what I mean...the time when I put those earbuds in (see, Mom, no hands!) and call friends to catch up on life. Here is my public and formal apology to all those dear friends out there who have tragically not been called in a while, I'm sorry! I DO love and appreciate each of you :)
  3. Similar to no. 5 above, my sweet husband and I do not have the same definition of "on time", but this actually hasn't been a problem...yet :)
  • Neal is very much a morning person
  • Jess is very much not
I could leave it at that, but one of our first mornings in our Anthony ride-share Neal kept asking me if I was okay. I could not figure out his concern. Then it hit me: in our 7 months of marriage, we had never had to get ready (for work) at the same time. He has obviously seen me on a Sunday morning, but even then, I get the luxury of sleeping til at least 8:30. 6:00am is a drastically different story...
I started giggling. I said, "Love, I am not a morning person. I'm not mad at you. I'm not giving you the silent treatment. I just need to sit here...in silence" and he's learned to accept my morning mood :)

But sometimes, and if coffee is involved, we turn up the tunes and have a mini-jam session to pump up our day...to which I think Neal would like me to return to silence, like this morning...

To Carpooling!!