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These are the faces that call me “mom,” the three children who made me a mother. When I started my journey into parenthood I never thought it would look like this. I never planned on having three adopted children, and I certainly never imagined that two of them would have Down syndrome. But like most of the things God does, once we stepped into the craziness and confusion of the unknown and unplanned, we quickly realized that we were indeed among the lucky few. When my husband and I decided to grow our family ten years ago, we were surprised to find that getting pregnant was not as easy as we had thought it would be. And as we navigated the ups and downs of infertility, God led us down the path of adoption. Of course, we would adopt! Not what we had originally planned, but certainly a wonderful option. But just as we began to get a comfortable grasp on growing our family through adoption, God introduced us to Macyn Hope, a very sick little girl with Down syndrome who desperately needed a family. As we continued to follow God’s calling, first with Macyn, and later with Truly and then August, we found ourselves further and further from the comfortable paths we thought our lives would take, and instead moving down some very scary, and often painful roads. Even though at times His plan seemed terrifying and even downright foolish, little could we have known how much goodness, blessing, and joy would flow out of loving these three little people He’s put into our lives. No, it’s not been easy: not the open-heart surgeries or the challenges of raising two children with Down syndrome or the complexities of dealing with birth-families or the struggles we’ve had with the public education system. But through it all, every new and uncomfortable situation has only proven to be another chance to see how very good God’s plan is for our lives and how downright lucky we are to be able to live it out. It’s only the lucky few that recognize that the most beautiful things in this life are often found in the differences. What some would see as misfortune, I’ve learned to see as nothing more than pure luck.

Mother of three adopted children---two with Down syndrome---Heather Avis has learned that it s the lucky few that recognize God s plans are best, even when they seem radically different than our own. Your life may be uncomfortable, messy, and nothing you would have planned, but you too can be among the lucky few."

Homeschooler Stevie Hart meets Max, a strange boy who is obsessed with death, but what starts off as fun together begins spiraling downward when Stevie's diabetes sabotages her fumbling romance with Max, and her best friend, Sanger, announces she is moving out of state.

The story began like a dream… A child is born with all the possibilities of a bright future. Nearby, a loving family waits for the son they have always dreamed of. When they become a family, little league, playdates, birthday parties and college scholarships all seem within the grasp of this all-American family. But when the fairy tale ended… The family realizes their precious child is struggling with the most basic developmental milestones, and they vow to love him more. However, the truth of their son’s condition is something that even the strongest family could not undo. His brain has been damaged by alcohol before he was even born. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is the leading cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities in the United States… and there is no cure. One family’s powerful story of faith began. The fight to advocate for their son in a world that did not understand left this family feeling exhausted and hopeless. The isolation of their reality almost destroyed their marriage and their family, until they found strength in a community they never knew existed. They found families that were struggling too. They stepped out of isolation and together they found faith and hope once again.

Kate Merrick examines the Bible’s gritty stories of resilient women as well as her own experience losing a child—a journey followed by more than a million on prayfordaisy.com—to reveal the reality of surprising joy and deep hope even in the midst of heartache. Kate Merrick faced the crippling grief that life can bring when her five-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Three and a half years of suffering followed, accompanied by fervent prayer, hospital stays, emotional agony, and teeth-grinding fear. And in the end, her baby girl was gone. How was Kate to believe again, to hope again? To find out, she turned to stories in the Bible of real women who dealt with pain and survived. How did Sarah, after twenty-five years of achingly empty arms, learn in the end to laugh without bitterness? How did Bathsheba, defiled by the king who then had her husband killed, come to walk in strength and dignity, to smile without fear of the future? In And Still She Laughs, Merrick writes poignantly and transparently about finding joy in sorrow and shows how we—just like the ordinary women seen in the Bible—can rise above unbearable circumstances and live fully. In the middle of whatever hardships we face, we can smile, cry, and come away full—laughing without fear and eagerly looking for what is to come.

This is a book about discovering what we really need. There are a lot of second-best options, but we weren’t made to live a second-best life. Finding what we actually need is different than what we are often offered. There are many books full of opinions, steps and programs. This isn’t one of them. This is about craving the things that matter. Things that don’t just work, but last. In a life that may seem to be all fun and games with an endless supply of balloons, author Maria Goff shows how this life is also lived with intentionality, passionate purpose, and a little planning—all of which make a life rich in legacy. But she had to figure out the help she needed first in order to live the beautiful life God wanted for her and wants for us. Love Lives Here is a collection of stories that include the ways Maria and her husband, Bob, navigated family their way, without clear instructions or a road map. It’s about what they learned to make their lives meaningful and whimsical and how they created a space for their family to grow together while they reached outward. "What a gift to read Love Lives Here and find within it a friend who is as authentic and inviting as Maria Goff. Through her earnest telling of the stories of her life, she provides greater meaning to all our lives. We were thrilled to read this book." Donald Miller (bestselling author of Blue Like Jazz and Scary Close) with Betsy Miller "Grace is a contagious force we all crave and Maria contains so much grace it floods you from just a short time with her. May these pages overwhelm you with God’s love, and hope that Maria knows so well." Jennie Allen, Founder of IF: Gathering and Author of Nothing to Prove(and more - see below)

Popular blogger Lauren Casper shares poignantly simple yet profound wisdom about removing the barriers we construct around our hearts and doing life full-on, all from the least expected source: her five-year-old son, Mareto. Five-year-old Mareto finds color and light in the ordinary happenings of every day and delights in beauty just waiting to be found. Those are lessons he shares, often unknowingly, with his mom, Lauren Casper. For Lauren, living with Mareto is a lot like playing the telephone game. He blurts out little phrases that have their origin in something he saw or heard, but by the time they make their way through his mind and back out of his mouth, they’ve transformed—often into beautiful truths about living a simple, authentic, love- and joy-filled life. From “it’s okay about it,” a simple reminder that even when life is painful or difficult, things will be okay because God promises never to leave or forsake his children, to “you’re making me feelings,” which teaches the importance of leaning into one’s emotions and, in doing so, sharing a piece of oneself with loved ones—Mareto’s simple yet profound wisdom is a reminder to embrace the broken beauty of life, to believe in a God bigger than human comprehension, and to love others even when it doesn’t make sense. For all those looking to recapture the faith, simplicity, wonder, hope, courage, and joy of life, It’s Okay About It provides a guide to look inward and live outward, to discover the most wide open and beautiful life possible.

Are you ready to release your control of needing to be everything for everyone? . . .To put aside the what-could-be and instead embrace what is? The invitation is yours in Choosing REAL.

When Courtney Westlake’s family was given the shocking news that their daughter, Brenna, was born in 2011 with a severe, life-threatening skin disorder, they began to discover a new and different beautiful in their lives–one that values extraordinary differences and appreciates the wonderful sameness found in humanity. In A Different Beautiful, Courtney explores what her family has discovered in raising a child with physical differences and what she has learned about true beauty. Through her personal insights and experiences, Courtney shares how you, too, can learn to find and celebrate God’s version of beautiful in your life, especially within our differences and struggles.

Jim Gash's comfortable life as a Los Angeles lawyer and law professor nearly ensured he and Henry, a Ugandan boy languishing in prison for two murders he didn t commit, would never meet. Henry was losing hope, prayed for a sign from God. Halfway around the word, Jim listened to best-selling author of Love Does, by Bob Goff, encourage lawyers to help imprisoned children in Africa. Jim felt an irresistible urge to respond to this call. Little did Henry know, his prayer had been answered. Divine Collision tells the firsthand, true story of how Jim and Henry, separated not only by an ocean and thousands of miles, but also differing cultures and life experiences, inspired justice reform for an entire country. Divine Collision reads like a fast-paced thriller and will keep you turning pages wanting to know what happens next for Henry and Jim. There is no greater love than laying down your life for a friend. This profound love seeps through every page of Jim and Henry's story, like a healing balm. Over the last several years I have had the great privilege of witnessing Jim's passion for Ugandan people and his willingness to lay down his own life for others. Divine Collision will remind you once again how one small gesture of love can make a monumental impact on a person for eternity. -- Katie Davis, author of the New York Times best-seller Kisses from Katie With great courage and conviction, Jim Gash provides an extraordinary glimpse into the power of obedience, prayer, and hope in transforming not only one life -- or even one community -- but an entire justice system. Divine Collision speaks to what is at the heart of our Christian calling: "Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow," Isaiah 1:17 -- Gary A. Haugen, President & CEO of International Justice Mission and author of The Locust Effect Divine Collision is a captivating book! Jesus calls us to visit the prisoner, proclaim justice for the oppressed, and set the captive free. Too often we've forgotten that He really meant it. Jim Gash didn't forget, and his book reminds us this is Jesus' call for us too. -- Richard Stearns, President of World Vision U.S. and author of The Hole in Our Gospel and Unfinished

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