This Is My Story |

July 1, 2014

style: johari creations

Our experience with international adoption opened my eyes to a lot of things, and while it's not currently the road we're traveling, my mind can no longer choose to "innocently" ignore the hardships that people in developing countries often endure. 

I strongly believe in the Biblical mandate to love our neighbors -- those literally right next door and those countries away -- as ourselves; but sometimes, especially in situations involving developing countries, I begin to feel a little stuck. Right now, I can't afford to travel and serve, BUT I can make purchases that help provide artisans in developing countries sustainable incomes, work, and holistic development.

Today, I am so excited to introduce my friend, Lindsy, and Johari Creations to you. I first met Lindsy through the Influence Network and our connection as mommas adopting Congolese children. Her precious Glory is still stuck in Congo, and while she is working hard to bring her home (on top of raising her four other children!), she also works hard to bring opportunity to artisans all around the world. 

Johari is Swahili for "jewel" and I can't think of better way to describe the artisans that create these items. Are the items beautiful, jewels in their own right? Absolutely. But the people behind the items? Even more beautiful.

Below I'm wearing the Acai Rope Necklace (in turquoise) and I love how versatile it is. I often throw it over a simple tank top and shorts (my favorite pregnancy outfit), but it works well layered over a more intricate shirt too. 

Check out the Johari website and their market to see some of their beautiful, hand crafted, fair trade items from places like Ghana and Ecuador. They also have an adorable Johari Jr. line that I can't wait to purchase pieces from. The Afro Gypsy Romper is a personal favorite!

I'm also super excited to share that Johari Creations is donating 15% of all sales that come through me toward our adoption funds. All you have to do is leave my name CARLY SKINNER in the notes section at check out and 15% of your purchase will be sent directly to us to help bring Titus home.

I hope you find something beautiful to purchase so you can support these beautiful artisans!

Acai Rope Necklace c/o Johari Creations

June 24, 2014

style: it's all in the bag.

We spent this past weekend in Fredericksburg, Texas for a late fifth anniversary + early baby moon before the two new babes get here. Fredericksburg is a great little town in the hill country of Texas with great boutiques, small restaurants, wineries, wildflowers, and the most quaint fresh peach stands on every corner.

We spent one of evenings at the beautiful Wildseed Farms, a large wildflower farm, eating homemade peach ice cream, peeking at little succulents, and walking the wildflower fields. Cody snapped a few pictures of me with my newest + most favorite bag from Lily Jade and since I haven't had the chance to officially share it here, I thought it'd be the perfect time!

I've always been big purse obsessed and honestly, I think that obsession has served me well in motherhood. And my Caroline bag from Lily Jade is the perfect mix of style (hello, it's all genuine leather) and practicality. Each Lily Jade has a snap in diaper bag lining that has organizational pockets galore that are perfect for wipes, diapers, sippy cups, and toys. Plus, the diaper bag lining is 100% machine washable. And if you don't want the diaper bag lining in at all times? You can easily unsnap it from the bag. Although this type A momma isn't sure why you'd want to remove that beautiful organizational feature.

The Caroline is available in lots of other great colors and Lily Jade just recently released a whole new line in metallic colors + bags that are a mixture of canvas and leather that I'm dying to purchase too. 

Ladies, you must check this company out! Maybe it's time to treat yourself? I can promise you'll love your bag. Happy shopping! xo

Caroline bag in red c/o Lily Jade
Dress & shoes from Target

June 23, 2014

philippians 1:6 -- an adoption fundraiser

As I shared in my last post, we've officially been matched with a birth mom who is due to deliver in July. Her official due date is July 22d, but she can be induced as early as July 15th; so, we're doing all sorts of last minute planning -- preparing the nursery, bringing down all of our baby gear and clothes, and, of course, last minute fundraising. 

Honestly, we took a hit financially after feeling called to leave the Congo program we were a part of, and while we absolutely believe it was the right choice, it has left us short of some funds. On top of that, payments made in domestic adoptions are just different than international...cost is similar, but the funds are needed in much larger sums. We have some incredible people at our church who are offering to step in and fill the voids, but we are still working hard to raise every bit that we can.

So, late last night we launched an adoption t-shirt fundraiser that will run until the 20th of July. We have a goal to sell 100 t-shirts, but, of course, every extra t-shirt sold helps keep us from having to pursue things like no interest loans or money taken from retirement savings.

I hope to have a chance to blog more later this week about the meaning behind the shirt, but for now, you can read a little bit about it on the fundraising website + order your own t-shirt there! 

My incredible friend, Kara-Kae, created the design for us and we are so so thankful for her gracious work. Be sure to check out her stationary + cards shop. She sells the cutest stuff, plus lots of things that will make you giggle.

And for those of you who are picky about t-shirts (I'm totally one of those people), these will be printed on American Apparel tees, so I promise the quality is great! If this sale is successful, we'll probably do another one with more t-shirt options (think v-necks and kid sizes) once we have Titus home and have a handle of how much money we'll need to continue raising to pay off any loans. 

We'd be absolutely thrilled if you purchased a t-shirt (PURCHASE THEM HERE), but if you can't offer support in that way, would you mind sharing through email, social media, or your blog? Every share is a new set of eyes on our cause. 

Thank you. We are so incredibly thankful for your continued love and support.

June 16, 2014


I've been absent from here lately because things have been busy in the adoption arena. But today, we're insanely excited to announce that late last week we were matched and chosen by a birth mother who is due mid to end of July. She'll be having a little boy, so we'll finally have our Titus. Our Titus will finally be home.

I feel like I need to devote an entire post to the emotions in all of this, but I wanted to get the story down first. I always process and vocalize emotions better after time. So, for now (because it's already after midnight), here is how this beautiful story played out. The pictures included below are just a few from our adoption profile.

The Sunday before last, I attended our church home group, like we always do. I chatted with the other women sharing a brief adoption summary and how my plans involved us having a baby home by August. I added that I knew my own plans were a silly thing to possess and that this adoption has been a constant reminder that we are not in control. Boy, has that been evermore true the past week. 

After getting Gunner to bed that Sunday night, I logged into Instagram to see that several people had tagged me in a post about an agency looking for a home study ready family, desiring to adopt an African-American baby boy due THAT WEEK. I emailed the agency and then emailed our consultancy agency, because I figured it couldn't hurt. We decided the next morning that we would work to present on that case that afternoon.

A long twenty-four hours short, when we woke up on Tuesday we found out that the birth mother didn't chose us. But oh how the Lord was working in those hours. We'd spent those hours rushing to gather finances (we'd needed another $24k + the money we already have in savings for that case) and finalizing a rough draft version of our profile. Amazingly enough we found a way through no interest loans from people in our church and moving of money to pay the extra $24,000. And the adoption profile that was slated to take a month to complete? One incredible woman rushed and had it finished in less than eight hours. I will forever be grateful for the people that rose to the occasion that day. Those that stood beside us and declared that that baby mattered and they'd do everything in their power to help us bring him home. The Lord used that case, that baby that we weren't chosen for to create major leaps in our progress. Upon the completion of our profile that day, we were roughly a month ahead in our timeline. 

On Tuesday afternoon, we presented to another case. And on Wednesday we heard that that mother had chosen us. When I joked that Sunday that the Lord worked in a different time frame than the one I had in mind, I was thinking a slower one. I pictured waiting and waiting. Maybe not even bringing a baby home until after Pacey was born. Not because that's what I wanted, but because our process has been so much waiting that it's just what I expected. But again, He surprises me. 

The current plan is to travel to Utah for the birth and to meet our son around the 20th of July.

This evening we'll have our first phone call with our birth mom. I could write an entire post about how the Lord has changed my heart in regards to domestic adoption and birth mom relationships; but I will say this -- my heart bursts at the seams over the type of love and selflessness she has displayed by choosing this avenue for her son, our son. We can never repay her. We'd so appreciate your prayers for our phone call. Prayers that we'd all be full of grace and know, the supernatural, unexplainable, God breathed kind. This is a new situation for all of us but we believe that He is in the new and the old, the celebratory and the difficult. 

And this season for us? Well, it's an ironic mix of love and despair, celebratory and difficult; because there's nothing easy about adoption or the broken world we live in. But thankfully He has done and continues to do things in His plans, His timeline, because it's proving to be far better than my own.

May 30, 2014

brave sunday

This past month, I've had the incredible opportunity to get to know Jill, the extremely talented and just as kind momma behind the jewelry line, Brave Sunday. If you attended the Thrive Moms Retreat and received a copy of the Swagazine, you might remember seeing her there too!

What you should know, is that I'm sort of picky about jewelry. I like simple pieces that can work with a variety of outfits. For me, I see no purpose in a statement necklace that works with one dress I own or a shirt I occasionally's just not practical. But, Jill's line is just that. It's practical. It's pretty. And it's affordable. All "musts" in my book. Jill offered to send me a few pieces and I'm so happy with the ones she chose!

I'm wearing the "Sweet Home" earrings in the Texas fabric (of course) and the Sunrise Splendor Long Multi Wrap Necklace (unwrapped) here. I love how easily both of these items can work with different styles and outfits. I wear my "Sweet Home" earrings all the time and get the biggest compliments on them. 

 Jill is also giving away a $35 shop credit to her store! 
+ offering all of my readers 25% their purchase when you use the code CARLY25.

Winner of the giveaway will be chosen a week from today and emailed by me. Enter via the Rafflecopter below.


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