Have you ever had a friend that you absolutely adore and get along with really well? I consider myself blessed to have escaped the cliques of high school (none of which I actually fit into) and the Lord has placed several amazing people in my path. I have to admit, I feel partially guilty about this particular friendship because I think I benefit more from being her friend than she does being mine. Especially when that friend has the benefit of having been published in magazines before with her uber-creative scrapbook layouts.

I knew of Jill first by her offer of a scrapbooking Bible study (crazy idea I know!) and if I hadn't been a college student at the time, I totally would've signed up. Then, at our church's annual Women's Coffeehouse in 2007, Jill shared how she and her husband had been struggling with infertility and were seeking adoption as their path to parenthood. One of the requirements in your adoption portfolio for Bethany Christian Adoption Services is the creation of 3-6 scrapbooks or photo books detailing your family so potential birth mothers can have guidance in choosing a family for their baby. How could Jill NOT succeed at a task like this when she's been on scrapbooking teams, taught scrapping classes and is just incredibly talented in this area? I got to know Jill from across her kitchen table as we worked on our own projects and then she rounded the troops later in the year to assemble these scrapbooks in their quest for parenthood.

Fast forward 6 months to their Adoption Celebration where our church hosted a silent auction to help Jill and Glen raise funds for the adoption. And they asked me to photograph the memories. How could I say no!? I will never forget the day when Jill giddily came up to me at church one morning with this twinkle in her eye. Are you pregnant?! I had to ask because she had the "I'm about to be a mom" look on her face. No silly! A birth mother picked us! And she's having TWIN GIRLS! Jill was absolutely beside herself with joy. God definitely handpicked these girls, Nora & Lily, for Glen and Jill. The girls have Jill's eyes despite the lacking DNA connection. It's absolutely uncanny.

Now, in 2011, Jill has been scrapbooking on various paper teams and has submitted several layouts to magazines. Among her submissions was a 2 page layout about their Adoption Celebration, with the photos I had taken. Lo, and behold, I've been indirectly published in Scrapbooking Etc-Dec. 2011 Volume!!!
Some close-ups:
(I'm listed right at the bottom:)

It definitely pays to have a friend with benefits like these!
Jill, you're an incredible scrapbooking fashionista, Godly mother of two gorgeous girls. It is such a blessing to know you, be your friend, and have photographed this time in your lives! I can only pray that I'm half the blessing you've been to me, as a friend, fellow scrapbooker and source of inspiration.
Blessings and merry Christmas!