Saturday, December 7, 2013

Johari Creations

A couple of months ago I heard about a new company called Johari Creations and I was immediately interested.  The thing that caught my eye was how beautiful and funky the products were.  Once I found out the mission and vision, I knew I had to get involved.

The Mission

Johari Creations is a marketplace for handcrafted products made by artisans in developing 
countries around the world. We seek to come alongside our artisan partners with sustainable
 incomes, holistic development and shared work and responsibility. We believe amazing
 beauty can come from poverty and while the artisans handcraft stunning products, it is the
 artisans themselves we celebrate as “johari” – the Swahili word for jewel.

So after obsessing over the incredible products and more importantly, the vision, I emailed one of the founders, Lindsy, and basically begged her to let me be an ambassador.  So for the first time in my life, I'm selling something.  I always strive to mix my passion with my burden and this is the perfect way.  I have such a passion for getting woman together and creating beautiful things.  I have such a burden for justice and enabling families to stay together.  With Johari Creations, I am able to merge the two and I am so excited.

I will be having a couple of parties in Whitesburg before Christmas so if you are local, be looking for a chance to have a girls night and try on some incredible jewelry.  If not, you can check out the website and place an order that way.  Eventually, I will have my own website but until then, if you purchase somethings, just put my name in the Notes section when placing your order.

If you would like to host a party, let me know!  There are some great hostess incentives including a $35 credit and discounted prices.  

I can't wait to see how God is going to work through this company. Check it out here!

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I haven't written in a while.  Mainly because I'm so busy with my babies and with fundraising projects but also because there just isn't much to say.

Today has been a hard day in Congo adoptions.  Things aren't looking super good although I'm aware that they could change for the better at any time.

I was with my girlfriends this morning getting coffee when I heard some concerning news about Congo adoptions and it's a good thing I have good friends because I was ready to be in a puddle in the floor.

It's hard to explain this emotion.  I have a constant lump in my throat waiting to know if Kona will be ours and when she will be ours.  Legally she is a Berry but at this point, no kids are able to leave Congo.  My emotions all over the place with this.

If you read this blog and if you pray, please pray for us!

Monday, September 2, 2013

5K(ona) Glow Run

I'm the worst!  I haven't been writing because I have been spending every single spare second working to get ready for the Mountain Heritage Festival where we will have a booth of homemade goodies.  Homemade goodies means lots of melt downs with the sewing machine (and I'm not talking about the kids.)

I did want to pause and pay tribute to the amazing 5K Glow Run we had here in Whitesburg.  Our precious friends, Byron and Amanda Thomas, came up with the idea and ran with it.  It has by far, been our most successful fundraiser yet.  We are so thankful to them and to everyone who came out.

We ended up with 215 participants!
  Almost everyone was decked out in glow gear, we had music bumping through town, and the energy was incredible.  We were so overwhelmed that so many people would come and support us.  Here are a few pictures of the super fun night. 

Boot Camp Batwomen

Mad props to my family who came out in force!

215 Participants!

Granddaddy crossing the finish line.

Team Kona

We released Chinese lanterns at the end.

Cousin Kona Love

Greg took first place in his age division.  So proud!

We are unbelievably blessed!
As far as an update on our girl, at this point we have legal custody of her but are waiting on the US Embassy investigation period which is 3-6 months.  We would love your prayers.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Father's Day Gifts!

Give a Gift and Help Us Adopt!!!!!!!

Father's Day is only two short weeks away and as we all know, men are impossible to shop for.  Every year I spend countless minutes racking my brain for the perfect gift for the men in my life.  This year I'm gonna make it easy on you...

This year, send your dad the perfect gift: The Mustache Goody Mug  $20

  • Hand Painted Mustache Mug (dishwasher safe)
  • Millstone Breakfast Blend Coffee
  • Starbucks Salted Carmel Hot Coco
  • Moon Pie
  • Candy Bar
  • Two Slim Jim's
  • Planters Peanuts
  • Personalized Note from the Sender
  • A Card from us stating "A donation was given to the Berry Family Adoption Fund in your honor"
  • Wrapped in cellophane and tied up with twine 
And the greatest part is, I'll mail it to you or straight to the Father in your life. 


***All proceeds go toward our adoption fund

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Drumroll Please....The New Adoption T-shirt

I was going to wait a little while before unloading the t-shirts on y'all but then I thought that I would give myself a break from chevron (I'm dreaming in stripes) and look at t-shirts for a while.  I will continue taking orders for scarves and the colors that I have available are listed in the SHOP.

So here it is!!

My Beautiful Mom in the Grey 

The Red option

My fantastic niece Alexis buried in shirts

The bro and sis in law representing.  Props to Julie for being awesome.

The words say..."ONE LESS child without a family tree"
As you can see the shirts come in charcoal grey and red and sizes S-XXL.
You can order them here through paypal or contact me directly if you would like to pay by check.
They are $15 each + $2 for shipping. 

Thanks for sticking with us!
Major thanks to my buddy for life...Brooke for lending me the design.  You rock!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

T-Shirt SALE!

Y'all remember this old gem? (The shirt, not the guy)

Although we love this shirt, we are getting a new design for our second adoption so all of these must go.  They are only $10!!!! Our sizes are limited so order yours today!


Be on the look out for our new design coming soon...they are fabulous! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

And Then There Were Five!

I know what the world is going to say...are you crazy?  I suppose to the world we are.  We have a one year old and a two year old and we are about to grow again!

We are adopting!!

This time from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  It's a girl and she is one! So my kids are, one, and two.  Bring it on!

This process will look a lot different than our Ethiopia experience, but in three ways it will be the same.


I mentioned in a previous post that the Lord was doing some crazy stirring in my heart and now we all know what it is!!  A little precious baby girl!

So buy your mom something pretty from our store tab up top and help us bring our girl home.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

One Year Home and Video

It's been one year since our feet touched down in America with our newest child.  I won't lie and say this year has been easy but I can say with certainty, we are in a great place.  We've had some really hard times this past year and there were times I just didn't know how we were going to make it.  Looking back I realize that Addis was grieving in his own little baby way.  That seemed crazy to me at the time because after all, he was a baby.  However, something that was so special to us, adopting Addis, was possible because of complete tragedy and despair for him .  He was ripped from everything he ever knew, was picked up and taken across the world by strangers, introduced to new food, faces, culture, flashing lights and so much more.  Since then, I have learned so much about the trauma that comes with lack of attachment at a young age.  I wish I would have known more then, but we can't go back and we can only look forward.

About a month ago our precious Addis flipped the switch.  He is like a different kid.  So much more content and secure.  He's started interacting with people and usually doesn't have a complete melt down when I leave the room. 

God has blessed this year in an incredible way.  I would never have guessed the lessons I would learn.  Addis is a completely different person but I'd say we are all different because of his precious little life. 

Here is the link to our video about bringing Addis home.  It was the longest flight ever but was all worth it when we arrived at the airport to so many loving faces!

And if you haven't seen our video of meeting Addis for the first time last February, here it is!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

There's a stirring.

I've never been one of those people who feels constantly in touch with what God is telling them.  My motto is usually to hunker down, be sensitive to the Spirit, grow in faith, and believe even when things are quiet. 
But today, there is a stirring.  It can't be explained.  For two weeks I've been waking up in the night with nothing but my prayers to occupy me, waking up early (even before the kids) to lay in bed and pray, and I'm distracted in every area of life because of this stirring. It's fantastic.  I love it when the Lord deals with me like this.  It's exciting and scary.  I can't wait to see what God is about to do in our lives.
This song was on my heart all through church today.  It's an oldie that we use to sing back in my youth group days, but it's definitely becoming the mantra of this day.

Check it out here...
(This was originally sung by Caedmon's Call but I can't find that version.)


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mommy's Heart Went Pop!

As I mentioned in my previous post, one of our key concerns with readying our lives for Addis to join us was to diversify the play room.  I knew right away that our book collection was gonna need some work.  It seemed like the majority of the books we had about babies talked about "bringing them home from the hospital" or "when you were in my belly" etc.  I loved these little book for teaching Stella about how she joined our family, but they simply would not do for Addis.  His story is so beautiful and I want to celebrate the special way he joined our family too. 

I have a pretty good collection of adoption books for children.  Some of them have sweet bears who are so glad to have their "adopted" cub join their family.  Others speak more to how "my love will find you where ever you are."

Today I came across the most eloquently written and beautifully illustrated children's book regarding adoption, specifically from Africa. 

Mommy's Heart Went Pop!  An Adoption Story
by Christina Kyllonen and Peter Greer
Illustrated by Jeff Brown

This book truly gets at the raw beauty of adoption.  All of us adoptive moms are thinking the same things.

"Who is rocking my baby tonight?"
"Who is taking care of his boo boos?"
"Who is singing to my baby?"

And because there is nothing else we can do, we wait and we cry and we pray and we decorate their new room and we dream about our little one, and our friends don't know what to do so they throw you a shower, and when all that's done, we sit in their little empty room and look at their little empty bed and we wonder if we will ever be a family and we cry and we pray....and our hearts get bigger and bigger.

Then in the middle of the night we get the email or the phone call and it doesn't matter that it's 3am because we haven't been sleeping in three months anyway because we keep checking our email through the night for the one that tells us we are cleared to go.

Finally, we fly across the world to our little one and our lives are never the same and our hearts really do go POP!

If this is you at any stage of the journey, then I must insist that you immediately go to this link and buy this book.  It's the kind of book that you will want to prop up in your child's room and read to them every night.

And as if that isn't reason enough to buy this book...

All the proceeds of this book will go to the "rubymyles fund." This fund is administered by 4-more and provides grants for adoption and support to organizations addressing the orphan crisis.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Racist Pancakes?

My family has a long standing pancake tradition.  All growing up, on special occasions or not, our family was treated to smiley face pancakes.  We would wake with anticipation on random Saturdays to find Greg in the kitchen whipping up a batch of these famous treats.  I thought it was time to bring this tradition into my home, so for Jonathan's birthday, I made my first batch of these grinning beauties.  I just knew Stella and Addis were going to be so excited with my blue eyes, red grin, super fun breakfast.

Stella took one look at those pancakes and said, "But Addis is brown?"

It caught me by surprise.  For one thing, we have never had a discussion on what color any of us are and to be honest, I didn't think Stella was even aware of the skin difference.  I have done what most multiracial families have done, diversified the play room.  We have our Hispanic Jonathan Berry Cabbage Patch Doll, our Ethiopian beauty that I don't let the kids play with because she is too pretty, Stella's favorite doll named Tumiany who she won't sleep without, and on and on.

But this one snuck up on me.  I was making only light brown (as we refer to the other three Berry's) pancakes and it didn't sit well with Stella.  I love that about her.  So I did what all shamed mothers do when their children correct their mistake, I made a batch of brown pancakes and all was well in the world. 
Clearly I need some work on my smiley faced pancakes.

I am confident this won't be the last of these learning moments...but my lesson was learned here, I will never make only light brown smiley pancakes ever again!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Once-A-Month Cooking

So, many of you have asked how the freezer cooking is coming along and I have to say, I'm a total believer in this process.  I no longer have silly guilt trips because the hubs and kids are eating cereal for dinner once again.  Instead I just throw something from the freezer in the crock pot and we all actually get to eat something hot.

I really do love "From Your Freezer to Your Family."  I love that she includes the grocery list and labels.  The meals are fantastic but I have found that for my toddlers, it's not super compatible.  Last night I made the Cumin-Cinnamon Pot Roast.  Jonathan and I loved it but the kids wouldn't touch it.  I'm usually opposed to cooking a special meal for the kids but I'd be a liar if I didn't admit that all four of us ended the meal with good ole mac and cheese.

There is a freezer cookbook that I would totally recommend if you are like me and need more "toddler friendly" ideas.  It is called, "Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorite."

I have found this cookbook a tad more challenging to navigate at first but once you get the hang of it, it's quite simple.  The recipes are fantastic and include some of your freezer must haves like your chicken and dumplings and meat loaf but it also has some very interesting recipes that I can't wait to try.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

One Year

I can't believe it's been a year since I held my little man for the first time.  I am a little delayed in writing this post because I've been with my best gal pals in DC.  We spent four fabulous days talking and drinking coffee and eating great food and meeting great people. 
I'm home now with my precious ones and finally have a minute to reminisce about that first meeting.  I'll never forget seeing Addis for the first time and how amazing it felt to hold him and kiss on him.  That was such a wonderful week, except for the part where we had to leave him there, and I never want to forget how special it was. 
First Time Holding Addis

Addis and Daddy
Saying Goodbye

And of course I have to attach the link to our video.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million :)


Tuesday, January 29, 2013


In case you need a little mommy inspiration for the day...

You can never go wrong with a crash pad.

I feel like crash pad is the epitome of fun...

and cuteness.


Freezer Dinner Attemp #1

The most important part of this whole freezer cooking thing is to find a cookbook that has the freezer recipe's and the shopping list included.  This is key.  It saved me so much time to just print off an already compiled grocery list. 

I used this ebook and it is fabulous.  She arranges your shopping list by combining three meals. 

So the first step is to find or create a shopping list and then do the shopping.  I recommend going after the kids are in bed.  It makes things much easier.  I love my precious ones but I despise taking them both to the grocery.

Next you need to slice and dice every little thing.  I like to use two different cutting boards, one for veggies and one for meat.  I hate raw meat.  I don't want anything to touch anything that's been touched by raw meat.  I also wear gloves because I feel like if I touch raw meat, inevitably it will get on my faucet or on the counter.  If I wear glove, I just chop chop and then throw away the gloves.  It's perfect. 

I recently saw on "Shark Tank" a fantastic idea.  It was a form that will make any bag a bowl.  So I used that same idea using big cups to make my baggies into bowls.  It helped keep the raw grossness off the outside of the bag and made assembly so easy.  I just tossed all my chopped items right in.  And can you believe the people on "Shark Tank" didn't bite?  I thought it was genius.

So that's about it, chop chop, throw and toss.  Then you zip those suckers up, put a label on it, and stick it in the freezer.

Today I actually put one of those freezer meals in the crock pot so I'll keep you posted on the final product.   

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Super Mom

Super mom...I am not. 

I have had these unexplained burst of adrenaline where I've tried to attempt something that would unequivocally place me in that category.  Let's take cloth diapers for example.  I jumped on that band wagon without looking back.  Before Stella was born, I was avidly stalking eBay for awesome scores on cloth diapers.  By the time she came around, I had quite the collection.  You all know how this story ends. 

They leaked.

They leaked and they leaked and they leaked.  I tried washing them with Dawn.  I tried washing them with vinegar.  I tried it all people and I'm telling you they leaked.  So I put them right up on eBay. 

And just for the record...I made almost double what I paid so I count that as a win.

The next trick I had up my sleeve was a really good one.  It was gonna make Jonathan swoon at my frugality and my children would sit at my feet and adore me.  Couponing.  I really thought I could do it.  I have seen enough episode of Extreme Couponing and let's be honest, those people aren't geniuses.  How hard could it be?  Well, I live in Whitesburg, Ky with approximately one and a half grocery stores and none of them double coupons, not to mention the fact that we get one newspaper a week and there aren't exactly circulars included. 


So tonight I'm beginning my third act of stay-at-home mother bravery.  Freezer cooking.  I realize I'm probably the last mom to try this but I've never been known to be on top of the trends. 

Freezer cooking.  Sounds awesome.  You do one big shopping trip, throw a ton of junk into gallon  Ziploc bags, throw it in the freezer and you are done.  How hard can that be.  Well my friends, when you live in a small town, it's pretty stinkin hard.

For starters our grocery story was out of about six crucial ingredients.  Nothing is more frustrating.  So I did the best with what I could find and I plan to make the drive to the beacon of light, Super Walmart in Virginia, to complete my list.  Hopefully I can just add those ingredients to the already frozen bags with no problem. 

I'll give you the play by play in the next post and let you know how it all goes.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dropping the Ball

Wow, I totally dropped the ball on this blog.  I was looking back at some older post and saw the one from Addis's four month home marker.  It was about hunkering down.  I think after that point, I really took that to heart.  Don't get me wrong, we have been on about 17 road trips since then and two of those required leaving the kids with family, but my overall attitude has been to try to slow down and help Addis fully adjust to his new life.  My biggest mistake in all of this was thinking we would have no problems since Addis came home at 10 months. He was just a baby. The adjustment would be simple. Realistically, our journey has been very blessed and semi smooth, but still rougher than I had anticipated.
The bottom line here is that, despite these seriously cute faces, I felt like I was failing.  Addis was screaming more than not and I felt constantly on edge and overwhelmed.  Then a miracle happened.  Some friends decided to come visit us on a whim.  Our friends Zach and Rockie and their two babies had the weekend off and decided to come spend that time with us.  Our other friends Ben and Carrie and their baby jumped in the car at about 9pm and made the drive from Louisville.  (My absolute favorite thing about Ben and Carrie is their spontaneity...need I remind you of our trip to Niagra Falls?)  I digress. 
For these dear friends, they were coming just to hang out with some buddies.  For me it was a lifesaver.  I think I just needed to be able to talk about the struggles I was having and my dear friends were so great to remind me that I'm not failing...I'm surviving...and there is nothing wrong with that.
This is pretty much how we spent the entire weekend.
As if the weekend wasn't great enough already, we decided to all hop in the car and drive to Louisville to surprise another friend for his birthday.  It was an added blessing to be with Ben and Julie.  
Doc's surprise birthday party
 Getting to spend time with these friends really did change my perspective on mothering.  They encouraged me to get a book called "Loving the Little Years" by Rachel Jankovic, which I ran out and bought that day.  I have to say, it is amazing.  I love how she talked about how "fat souls are better than clean floors" and that even if the chores aren't done or if the laundry is piling up because you spent some extra time with your little ones, it's okay.  So, my goal is to not simply survive but to thrive. We can all dream can't we.
And since my kids are exceptionally cute, I'll leave you with a few more're welcome.
"Helping" make sugar cookies...note Addis is sampling.

Sneaking icing as the cinnamon rolls cook.

Tea Parties are our favorite.