1 Year

One year ago, today, we got the keys to our fixer upper. One year ago our church was about to encounter a HUGE season of the unknown. One year ago, because of my insecurities, I was missing out on some of the most incredible relationships I could have ever dreamed of having. One year ago, we thought adopting Molly was a done deal. One year ago, I thought “I just wasn’t the Bible reading type”. One year ago, I was so consumed with my hurts, offenses, and insecurities that I was self-consumed. One year ago, I was attempting to run with shackles on. One year ago, I saw myself as a chubby 8 year old in the fetal position rocking back and forth, scared to look up. One year ago, I felt forgotten by God.

A lot can happen in a year.

Today, we still live in our fixer upper, but we have made some pretty sweet improvements and I love it even more than I did the day we got the keys. Today, our church is beyond what I ever dreamed or imagined it could be. Today, I have new, challenging, inspiring, and life-giving relationships. Today, we are half way through transitioning Molly to live with her birth mom and 2 of her birth siblings. Today, I cannot get enough of the Bible. It’s breath of fresh air is constantly sustaining me, challenging me, and hitting me at the core. Today, I am leading a table in our mom’s group and women’s Bible study group. Today, I am running shackle free with my arms spread as far as they can with a massive smile on my face. Today, I am a 37 year old woman, standing, looking up, and dancing. Today, I am baffled by how much God thinks of me, loves me, sustains me, interacts with me, and dances with me.

You are not stuck. Where ever you are in the process of your journey, there is good to be had. A single encounter with Jesus is all it takes. A sensitivity to His spirit. A willingness to step out and be vulnerable. Jesus is so madly in love with you. As I type this, my eyes are filled with tears because of the truth of God’s love and massive plans for you. He wants so desperately for you to know His powerful presence. No matter what your circumstances are, there is good. There is joy. There is strength. There is hope. It may be hard to comprehend in your season right now, but, I just want you to know that I have been there.

In my life, I have been bent over throwing up with anxiety.  I have been stuck in bed with depression.  I have been lonely.  I have sabotaged relationships out of my brokenness.  I have wondered how we were going to pay our mortgage.  I have felt what it feels like to be in a place of despair in my marriage.  I have seen about 72 negative pregnancy tests. I have questioned God’s love and plan for me.

ONLY God’s spirit is capable of bringing me to where I am today. I am not the only one, ONLY God’s spirit is capable of bringing you out of where you are today.

You are not alone. You are pursued. You are loved. God sees you.

Release and allow today to be day one of your “1 year ago”.

Who. What. When. Where. Why.

Who: Me, my kids, and maybe an occasional cameo by my hot husband

What: A Vlog. Also known as, She Shed Shenanigans

When: Hopefully at least once a week, maybe more, maybe less

Where: Someone very, very, very, very, and more very close to our hearts moved in this last week, so we cleared out our office to make a cozy bedroom for her. I was laying bed the night we moved my desk into our room and it came to me how amazing it would be to clear out a portion of my closet  to have a space just for me. Where it is quiet and peaceful away from the chaos of tiny humans. You know, moms, we always already go into our closets for a breather, a good cry, or maybe just a much needed time out. So, I moved my desk in the closet and hung pictures on the wall above it. I LOVE it! I have affectionately named it my She Shed. So, recording will be done in my She Shed (Screw man caves; ladies, it’s time for She Sheds. She Sheds are the female equivalent of the man cave, except (obviously) better. It’s a place for a woman to relax and do her thang, without men (or children) around – Google 🙂 ) Once recorded, it will be posted to my all new YouTube channel.

Why: I have been having a stirring in me for quite some time to be vulnerable and open about my journey with Jesus. I never feel more alive than when I am speaking about what God has laid on my heart for His kids. Because of this, I started this blog back in September of last year.

I have found that most of the reputable speakers that I look up to started with a blog and/or book which in turn gave them a platform for speaking engagements. I know that I am in a season of waiting and I am a firm believer of active waiting, so here I am blogging and vlogging the time away 🙂 There is always purpose in the waiting. “Miracles happen WHEN we fix our eyes on Jesus”- Kristen DiMarco. I am thankful for these seasons where God continually shows up and sustains me when it seems like the clock’s hands have stopped moving.

About a month ago, a friend reached out to me after reading my blog and told me that I needed to start vlogging. Right away I laughed her off. I think my exact words were, “I don’t have a good story.” It was then her turn to laugh me off. She’s been sending me links and ideas, so I started doing the Instagram stories on my account to get used to the idea of talking into a camera and posting it online. After about 2 or 3 of these, I just dove in. I am an all or nothing person so tackled on a YouTube channel (She Shed Shenanigans) within days of the Instagram stories.

This brings me to right now. I am committing to being honest, open, and vulnerable on She Shed Shenanigans. I will address pretty much what I address here. Maybe more elaboration, maybe less. I am taking it one post at a time, trying to be sensitive to God’s leading since He knows best what the viewers need to hear.

If you have any topics that you would love me to talk about, shoot it over! In the meantime I will be posting about what God is teaching me through His word and various studies I am doing. I will continue to post about the journey of fostering, adopting, infertility, anxiety, depression, food dependence, marriage, ministry, and all the other fun stuff that comes up in life 🙂

Thanks for reading and hopefully watching!

Update with Mo Girl – Fostering Love

Okay, okay, I know…I know…It’s time for an update on our little powdered sugar. I haven’t had much to update until this week.

Molly’s amazing mom got the keys to her apartment and is in the process of furnishing it. She got the baby’s crib this last weekend, so Molly officially started the transitioning period into living with her mom and two of her incredible siblings.

Birth mom picked up Molly on Monday morning and brought her home Wednesday on her way to work. Throughout the 2 days, her mom sent me pictures, videos, and called a couple times. Several text messages thanking me for what a great job that we have done with her daughter. Telling me how smart, funny, happy, and well-behaved she is.

It is the BEST.CASE.SCENARIO. I have grown to really love Mo’s mom and siblings so much. Her mom has worked so hard and come so far and it’s such an honor and privilege to get a front row seat to it all.

Over the next 30 days we will gradually move Mo over so that it isn’t too abrupt for her or my boys. Once she is moved over, we will still get her on weekends. We really want to keep her in church surrounded by the hundreds that love her and show her Jesus on a weekly basis as well as get some time with this little sassy one that I love more than hot bread straight from the oven! (That’s a lot)

How are we doing? We are sustained by our loving, HUGE, strength and peace filled God. He is our source. His spirit is alive and active in us. Carrying us every step of the way. That being said, there are twinges of pain that come and go. Weiland has had some angry outbursts. Marty has gone into her room looking for her when she is not here. We are feeling. We are processing it all under the umbrella of Jesus who comforts like no body’s business.

It has definitely taken some adjusting to the fact that we will not be able to adopt Mo. But, through it all, God has over and over again spoken that He can be trusted. Before we even brought her home from the hospital Jesus spoke Exodus 14:14 over her to me. (The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still) So, I am doing my best to be still and trust Him as He fights for her. He loves her more than I could ever fathom and there is great comfort in that.

A lesson that I have been learning since the day we brought Weiland home is that our children are not our own…even if I gave birth to them or if their adoptions are finalized. We are entrusted with these amazing beings from God to love, protect, comfort, and most of all introduce to them to their heavenly Father. We are not promised tomorrow, so today, here I am thankful for the 3 blessings under my roof…for today. Who knows about tomorrow, but today I will do my best to take care of these loaners 🙂

Thank you all for your continued prayers, texts, calls, and support throughout the last 20 months. God has used you to be Him tangibly in this season to me and my family.

Photo cred: BEAUTIFUL and TALENTED Katie Mcgihon


On The Journey

It’s been longer than I like it to be since my last post. Being married to a pastor there are definitely seasons when “me time” diminishes for a short bit, and Easter is definitely one of those seasons 🙂  Beyond grateful for this Easter season, I come to you on the other side of an incredible celebration with our church family. You can watch the service here, if you would like 🙂  So proud of Jason and his team for all of their dedication and hard work that went into making it such a great service!

Over the last 7 months God has been showing me glimpses of His character through the help of His spirit and my mind and heart are continually challenged, encouraged, inspired, and BLOWN!

I started reading through the Bible in chronological order over the last couple of months. Made it through Genesis, Job, and then finished Exodus yesterday. Dreading Leviticus … just keeping it real 🙂

A couple of weeks ago I was in the part of Exodus where God speaks to Moses through a burning bush, turned a stick into a serpent, and gave him a pocket of leprosy for his hand…I was beating my head agains the wall so confused how Moses could continue to argue with God about wether or not he was the guy to approach Pharaoh. I was talking to Jason and a friend of ours one night about what an idiot I thought Moses was. I told them, if God made something He wanted me to do as clear as He did to Moses, I would do it, no questions asked. Stoked that I heard so clearly from Him. Free from fear and full of confidence, I would do whatever He asked of me. WHATEVER He asked. They laughed at me and Jason may or may not have mockingly called me a “saint”. But honestly, in my head, I couldn’t think of being able to tell God “no”, if I knew for sure He was telling me to do something.

That night I was laying bed, attempting to search out my heart, and talking with Jesus. “Lord, have I told you ‘no’ to anything that you have asked of me? If I have, please reveal that to me so that I can change my answer!” Just like the gentleman that He is, He gently and lovingly brought to mind the second greatest command… I shot up out of bed. All this book and Bible reading, praying, journaling, and worship music means nothing if I am not loving all around me.  Undeniably and radically at the forefront of my mind was my critical and judgmental tendencies. The way it is repeated and prioritized throughout scripture, it may as well have been a burning bush, stick turning in to a serpent, or a pocket full of leprosy… God calls me to love ALL and I tell Him “no” on a regular basis. I may have my excuses that may seem valid to our human minds, but have no validity to my Jesus who in His final breaths asked His Father to forgive those who just beat, mocked, and spit at Him.

I sit here today typing to you in the midst of a journey of learning to love more unconditionally, generously, and graciously. ALL people. Not just those whom love me so well. Not just the sweet, polite, and kind individuals that I encounter. But those that have slandered me, those that have misrepresented me, those that drive me nuts, those that cut me off on the freeway, judges and workers that make what I believe to be poor choices on behalf of the babies I have grown to love, those that require the extra patience and grace, etc… Or what about my incredible husband that works so hard and loves me so well…Or my son with ADHD that makes me want to jab my eyes out regularly…

From a place of vulnerability I write to you telling you that I am just beginning this journey of a Jesus kind of love. Today I yelled at Weiland so loud that I hurt my throat. Today I fought bitterness and jealousy. Today I was unkind to Jason. I say all of this to you because I need you to know that I am coming to you from a place of knowing how difficult it is to abide by 1 Corinthians 13.

But then, I am encouraged. After spending so much time studying God’s character and sitting in His presence, I am so thankful that God sees my heart. He sees my hunger to know Him and be more like Him. His grace covers me when I love less than I feel called. I have a daddy who is so proud of me, and I am not the only one! You have a daddy that is so proud of you. It doesn’t matter how much you “messed up” today. His grace is big. His love is big. We are not on this journey of being Jesus followers alone. We have each other and we have an almighty God who sustains us. Completes us. In Him we are enough. Just as we are.


No more striving. No more beating yourself up. Just be. Just rest. Just embrace His love, grace, and forgiveness for you on this journey.  Embrace it for yourself, and then what I am finding is that I am able to extend it so much more effectively. You can’t give away something that you have no idea what it is. So…soak in that grace…marinate in His scriptures of truth over you…breathe in His massive love for you…

You’ve got this…We are in this together…

“I’m convinced that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it through to completion on the day of Christ Jesus” – Philippians 1:6 

Beauty From Ashes 

It was 9 months since our brown eyed girl went back to live with her mom. In this 9 months I had wished and prayed for a little boy and more specifically that would be half black like his big brother. As silly as it sounds I even hoped and wished that we would be able to pick this baby boy up from the hospital and that I would get to ride in the wheel chair to get some of the birth mom experience. After I would hope/wish/pray for these specific requests, I would push them out of my mind and call myself ridiculous. 
It was June 29th, 2015 at 9:00 in the morning and Jason and I sat down with our social worker. We spelled out to her our conditions to going back on the list to be matched with a child. I told her I would like a baby straight from the hospital that was safely surrendered. I didn’t have it in me to do visits again, let alone the fear of losing another child. She didn’t have high hopes for us, but said she would only call with extremely “low risk” cases. We signed the papers and she was on her way. All day I was sick with anxiety. An emotional wreck almost paralyzed with fear. Questions running through my head like, “Are we doing the right thing? What if we lose this child? Are we putting Weiland another painful experience?” It was a Monday night, coincidentally, women’s Bible study night at church. Jason and I had decided not to tell anyone about going back on the list except for our family and mentors so when I went to church that night I wasn’t free to share or ask for prayer for this huge decision that we signed up for. 
A beautiful friend of mine that has an AMAZING voice, like heaven is going to sound like her voice, I’m serious, she is SOOO good! Anyways, she was leading music that night at Bible study. She started singing a song called, “Come Out of Hiding”. I immediately fell to my knees sobbing. It hit me like a ton of bricks. “He is my peace!! Stop with the fear and run to Him, Elizabeth!” It was as though at that minute that His peace rushed over me. Fear was gone, I knew that He had my family in the palm of His hand and He could be trusted. Little did I know that I was in “labor”.
June 30th, about 24 hours after signing on the dotted line with our social worker, there was a little half black baby boy delivered and left at the hospital. A social worker from the hospital called at about 3:00 in the afternoon to let us know that there was a little baby boy left at the hospital that needed a forever home. I told her that I needed to call and discuss it with my husband, also known as call my husband and scream and cry and not make any sense to my husband. Jason came home from work and we put the social worker on speaker phone to tell her, “YES!”. We immediately called a sitter for Weiland and hit up Target. I can still feel the excitement in the depth of my gut as I type this. 
July 1, we headed to the hospital to meet our son. He had to stay an extra day for an infection, but we were not going to wait another day to meet him! On our 30 minute drive to the hospital, I looked at Jason and said, “Huh, we don’t have any boy names!” Jason has a thing about naming his kids after lead singers of rock bands, so we started wracking our brains. My same friend that sang the song that kicked me into “labor” was texting me name ideas and sent us a winner! We were going to meet our Martin Maverick. 
July 2, we loaded up Weiland and headed to pick up the newest Shafer. My sweet, sweet boy with the deep dimples was waiting for his final feeding that Jason and Weiland got to give him. The nurse then brings in a wheel chair and says, “I know it may seem silly, but Elizabeth needs to ride in the wheel chair and hold the baby.” I would have started sobbing right there, except I couldn’t stop laughing at Jason’s response of disbelief that I got to ride in the wheel chair and I didn’t just have a baby. (He didn’t know about my secret conversations with God about this)
I was up during one of the midnight feedings just baffled by the little miracle I was holding. I was curious what was going on in my life when he was conceived so I calculated back…He was conceived the month we lost Bellamy. I immediately went into shock..My Marty was my beauty from ashes. Jesus saw me in my despair and tears and held me. He knew that He had created such a beautiful gift that would soon be given to us. What a good, good God that gives such amazing gifts. 

Same Now as He was Then

A couple weeks ago we hosted the Thrive conference at our church. During one of the sessions Chris Brown spoke a powerful message. He kept repeating the phrase that God is the same today as He was then. (when referring to scripture)

All of the examples of God’s character that you see throughout scripture: The God of signs and wonders. The God of miracles. The God of comfort. The God of peace. The God of wisdom. His character has not changed. Although times have changed, God has not and never will.

I have been reading through the Bible in chronological order as well as doing a personal study through the book of Acts. As I am reading about God’s character in the Old Testament and then in the New Testament, it is so glaringly obvious that He can be trusted, that He is so full of intense love for His people, and that He is capable of more than we could ever fathom.

I have a couple areas in my life right now that I am holding on with everything I am to God’s promise of His presence and His purpose in this times of waiting. The 2 areas both require God’s touch to perform miracles. There is no humanly way that either of these situations could work out without His intervention. I believe that He has spoken to me that He will bring to pass a specific outcome. I hope that some day soon I can blog about them 🙂

But in the meantime, in the waiting…I am focusing on God’s never changing and consistent character. I am diving into His word. Reading any and every book that points me to His goodness and character. I think I am up to 7 for the year so far…that is a lot coming from a past self proclaimed non reader. 🙂 I can emotionally and spiritually feel God filling me up like when you take a drink of refreshing water and you can feel it in the lining of your stomach! I want this for all of you! I want this for anyone and everyone that I come in contact with!

How are you? How is your heart?

How are you handling your bank account? How are you treating those around you? How are you handling that negative pregnancy test?  How about that eviction notice? Does your season of waiting entail asking for a spouse? A job? A house purchase? Your marriage? Your health? Parenting? A move?

I don’t know what you are facing today, but I DO know that the God of Exodus and the God of Acts is the same God today. The same God of signs and wonders. The same God of supernatural peace, restoration, and freedom. It is yours for the taking.

Walk through this season immersed in all that God has to offer you. It is there, you just have to rest in it!