My mother has been bothering me for years to write a blog. Every year I have the same answer… “What would I have to say that people would want to read?” I tell her when I have an answer for that question, I will write a blog. I seriously don’t know how people have time to write them. I don’t even have time to take a shower. Literally. It’s a problem. I don’t know how all these women out there write blogs. Not only are they writing blogs, they are writing blogs about all the crafts and food they make. How are they finding time for that? And most of them have more than one child. I only have one, and I need a shower, badly.
Now, I have something to write about. It’s been a long time coming and I stay up at nights thinking about it. I have been waiting for the perfect time, and I realized, there is no perfect time. I have to stop wasting time and do it …now. Four years ago, I went to Africa. Four years ago I made promises to people there that I would not forget them, that I would tell their stories. Four years ago. What have I done in four years?
My mom thought of the title “Before and Africa” and I actually love it. There are a lot of things my mom and I agree on, but usually when she has an idea “for” me, I politely turn her down. But this title struck a chord in me. I thought about all the blogs out there about style and fashion and craftiness and I thought about how my blog would probably be the antithesis of that. Maybe I do always buy the same long sleeved shirts at the GAP every three years when the old ones get holes in them. Maybe I do still have the same tennis shoes I bought for 30 bucks 6 years ago. Maybe I do only get my hair cut once a year. Maybe I am in desperate need of a style makeover, but I think this blog is more of a before and after of my soul. My soul before and now my soul (after) Africa…
So thanks mom, for the title and for recognizing there has been a change in me and that even though I have a hard time finding the words, it’s time to start trying.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Jeremiah Update

Just wanted to give everyone that has been asking about Jeremiah a quick update.  All our paperwork has been filed and now we wait and pray.  Something we have become very good at in the last four years.  We know how to wait.  We know how to pray.  We will be looking into options for surgery, we are hoping he can come here for surgery, obviously, but if things are held up in court we may send him to a country for the operation.  He is eating well which is a great thing! We were graciously given a matching grant through Lifesong and Crossroads Bible Church of 5,000! So if we match that, that's another 10,000 raised!  We have matched 3296.38 of the 5,000!  Only 1703.62 to go to match it!! So far we have raised every penny that we have needed.  Praise the Lord. We are so blessed to be in a community of people that are so generous with their resources.  I feel like I sound like a broken record...butI literally can't say it enough.  THANK YOU! 

If you still want to help us reach our matching grant here's the info:
Send a check to:
Lifesong for orphans
po box 40
Gridley, IL 61477
with "Schmid 7580" in the memo
or if you want to do it online, you can go to www.lifesong.org/donate/family and fill out a  form with our name - Schmid and our number - 7580

Monday, March 5, 2018

Puzzle Party 5 (Final Total!)

Hey Everybody,
       Can I first just say, WOW! We were totaling blown away by the amount raised with our fundraiser.  We were thinking we were going to have to do a bunch of fundraisers but we raised most of what we needed with this one! Thank you thank you thank you! The total ended up being close to 12,000! The Facebook live put us over the top so thank you to everyone that watched and donated while we were live! Here is a list of the people that put us over the top! If I missed you, let me know so I can make sure I have thanked you, and that it actually went through!

Steph Hill- Kennedy
Rosa Chapple
Melee Moore
Jon and Julienne Brock
Nick and Kelsea Karelse
Dave and Patti Parnin
Bri Keebler
Jeff Olivero
April and Josh Olson
Amanda and Miles Alters
Michaeleen Rood
Lindsey and Dave Lassanske 
Heather and Chris Woy
Amy and John Wanty
Ron Frey
Whittums 
Melis and Spencer Blanchard
Vanwinkles 
Lyzengas 

Lauren Tompkins 
Matt and Katy Casburn
Elizabeth Holbrook 
Lori and Dan Bronkema
Denise and Michael Perry
Matt and Steph Ebright
Bingels
Joy and Don Waltmire
Stephanie Patterson
Annemarie Williams
Peppers 
Mary Bowers
Danae Durling
Robon Fry
Abby Eiermann
Jason and Tina Hoffer
Watershed Church

Many of you have still expressed you would like to buy a puzzle piece and there is still a great way to do that! We now are trying to match a grant our church and lifesong is funding for us.  They have agreed to match 5,000! And we are already over halfway to that! So the best way to support to adoption at this point is to send donations directly to lifesong.  Here are the two ways you can do this: 
You can either mail a check to :
Lifesong for orphans
po box 40
Gridley, IL 61477
with "Schmid 7580" in the memo
or if you want to do it online, you can go to www.lifesong.org/donate/family and I think they make you fill out a form and put our name: "Schmid" and our number "7580"  
Once we match that grant we will have another 10,000 raised! Thanks everyone for the overwhelming support! We love you all!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Puzzle Party 4

Tomorrow is the last day of our puzzle fundraiser and we are at 8,000!!!  2,000 to go to our 10,000 goal! We have been so blown away by your generosity.  Every piece of this puzzle we have prayed over and thanked God for the role you are playing in our lives.  Here is the latest list of donors:

Ryan Klackle
Lisa Grady
Haley and Austin Stone
Ardy Frey
Kris and Joel Hamilton
Ruth and David Gerali
Dick and Jane Hill 
Ben and Jes Lyzenga  
The Roots 
Emily and Ben Lundquist
Lindsey and Dave Lassanske

Chris and Beth Howard

And to prove we actually have the puzzle and are writing each and every one of your names on it here is a pic!
Tomorrow night we will go FACEBOOK LIVE in the Schmid house as the minutes tick down to the end of our fundraiser.  We hope to make our goal by tomorrow night! To thank you all and to spread the word we will be going live...not sure I even know how to do that but I will figure it out by tomorrow ha! Tune in to Tony or I's Facebook page at 8:00pm tomorrow night! 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Puzzle Party 3

Woah.  It's happening! We are inching closer and closer to our goal of 10,000! Baby Jeremiah is doing well, we will continue to keep you all updated as we hear more news.  We received the puzzle in the mail today so in the next few days I will start to post some pics of it and your lovely names that we will be writing on each piece.  Here are the latest names to be added:

Nate and Jenny Parsons
Karen and Jay Nalker
Mark and Julee Wilke
Katie Barnes
Jeff Barnes
Katie Howard
Nicole Lator 
Mimi Ponce
Kristi Conover
Kirsten and Bob Brown
Beth and Brenden Bolhuis
Cindy and Tyler Smies
Brad and Elle Sterkenburg
Kritsen and Ric Cnossen
Michael Forbes
Jaylee Hawkins
Alexis Race
Ayreaunna Forbes
Mark Forbes
Chris and Holly Dumond
Mike and Barb Dempsey 
Eileen Zilch 
Pam Otten and Steve Geise 
Ryan and Lacie Myszak 
Sara and Dave VanWinkle 
Michelli’s 
Heather Judy
Ryan Simpson
Jon and Emily Saxe
Ritcheskis 

Thank you everybody...feeling overwhelmed and so supported. We were honestly nervous to do this so publicly again after the way things ended with Moses.  But you guys make us feel like we are prayed and cared for in this new journey and that we are not alone in this.  This little boy is so loved and prayed for already.

The grand total today is :  6840! What? That's right, we are almost to 7,000! A little over 3,000 to meet our goal and we still have 4 days to do it!  I was thinking maybe the Schmid's would go "Facebook live" on the last day (the 20th) to thank you and finish out this amazing fundraiser.  (I mean the Schmid's don't even really know how to go Facebook live so this is a big deal people).  Thanks for the love! We love you!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Puzzle Party 2

Hey everyone, we are cruising along in our fundraising efforts and we are so blessed by how many of you have reached out to us and said you are supporting us and praying for us.  I will be honest, I am terrified some days, but have to remind myself FAITH not FEAR.  And it's hard to let the fear overtake me when we have so many people praying for us and rooting us on.  Here's the fundraising update from the puzzle pieces:

Day 5 we have raised 4,600 of 10,000! Almost halfway there! And still 9 days to go! So we are ahead of schedule and feeling great! (blessed)

Thanks to our newest donors:

The Wiseman Family
Jackie and Andrew Stone
Jay and Liz Taylor
Catherine Horton
Cody Delonge
Amanda Wolf
Carmen Dieppa
The Green Team
Andrea Misch
Lindsey Fisher
Susan Souza
Jenny Bander
Molly Ladhof
Josh and April Olson
Alex Cummings
Ann and Tom Fernholz
Matthew Weigmann
Heather Perry
Ben and Annie Wilke
Jake and Micaela McCarthy
Tracy Maher
Casey Ballard
Sheri Hadfield
Sarah Calvo
Sue Boike                 
Nikki Horchner          
Stephanie Soyars
Stu and Marlys Borstad
Lloyd and Thelma Frey

We will add your names to the puzzle! Once we get the puzzle in the mail I will upload pics so you can all see.

If you still want your name added to the puzzle click the "donate" link on the right side of the blog or email me if you want our address.  Jgracephoto@gmail.com 

Thanks Village!




Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Puzzle Party!

So we have been totaling overwhelmed by the donations rolling in, and we smile every time we see one of your names pop up in our emails.  The image we chose to use for the puzzle:

 We chose this for a couple reasons.  Obviously this verse has meant a lot to us as we held onto hope.  Jeremiah is one of my favorite books of the bible.  I feel like several times in my life God has spoken to me through Jeremiah.  Also, our little guy's given name is Jeremiah!

Day one of our puzzle fundraiser was a huge success.  We are at about 2,955! 7,045 more to go! A huge thanks to our donors so far.  We know it's not always easy to give but we could not be more grateful that you did! We wanted to thank each of you by name...

Nick and Rachel Wolverton
Butz Family
Nicole Lator
Kari Hibbard
Hannah Harriman
Cecil
Missy Beggs
Danae Burghgraef 
Lanae Haessig
Laura Eich 
Brooke Miller
Megan Michelli 
Steph Hegle
Lindsey Mains
Sue Hurley
Keith and Kristen Rudge 
Erin Hildebrand
Allison Mender
Stephanie Soerens
Benjamin Kladder
Amanda Wolf
Jake and Suzanne Vankersen 
Danae Burghgraef 
Lanae Haessig 
Mitch Jager
Nate and Abby Netti

We love you guys!  If you still want to be a part of the puzzle click the "donate" button on the right column of the blog.  I will keep you all updated so you can see the big things God is doing.  Stay tuned!




Saturday, February 3, 2018

The letter.

I wanted to share with you all the letter I wrote Moses.  This is a bittersweet ending, but looking forward to how God will redeem it.

My sweet boy-

   I never wanted to write you this letter.  I never wanted things this way.  But I’m learning that what I want is not always in God’s plan and although this hurts the most, you are exactly where God wants you.  You don’t remember me now but part of me/if not most of me will always be your mom.  Though I will not raise you, you are known and loved by me…always.  This is my goodbye letter for now, this is me letting go of my dream and praying desperately that you get yours.  I pray you will always feel like you belong, that you feel loved and safe.  That you can become the man I know you can be.  That you will love the One who created you and you will somehow know me too, because you called me mama once and clung to me as one clings to their protector.  I wonder if you feel your dad and brother pray for you each night or if you will reach out your arms for me ever again.  You would’ve had a little sister that just learned to say your name.  But I imagine you running barefoot, your face warm in the sun and I hear a distant echo of a giggle that once rang close to my ear and I smile…and sometimes I let the tears burn behind my eyes and sometimes I let them roll out.  Because whenever I think of you there is both beauty and brokenness…pure joy and devastating loss and I carry that…everyday.  And I can’t let go of you but I feel like if I don’t say goodbye now, I never will and I need to.  So grow strong and proud and brave son until we meet again.  Goodbye my sweet boy. Mommy loves you.

Also, our Lifesong account is temporarily closed while we apply for our church grant so if you want to donate to this new adoption you can still do so with the PayPal link that says "donate" on the right sidebar.  We have already raised $700. Only 19,300 to go!