Category Archives: About Us

Emily is HOME!

After nearly a year… my daughter, Emily, is FINALLY home!!!

During the Spring of 2017, Emily was a typical high school graduate as she made her plans to attend a college in our great state of South Carolina. But as the college deadlines approached, she was wasn’t feeling peace about the whole college thing. So she looked up an organization she had worked with when she was 12 years old…. only to find that they offered a 9 month gap-year program (IncaLink.org). She came to me with tempered excitement with the idea and I knew that my plans to keep her near were fleeting. She quickly shifted gears, raised financial support (miraculously), and packed herself up!

So in August 2017 I hugged my sweet girl goodbye. I was so sad to see her go but I knew she was exactly where God wanted her to be, so there was great comfort in that. The holidays were hard without her but her good reports and smiling face on the other end of the screen kept us going. In December she surprised us with her decision to extend her trip to over the summer. By then I had made it almost half way so I knew I’d make a it a few extra weeks longer. But it’s a good thing I didn’t know that on the front end! So in total, she has spent the last 11 months bouncing around many small villages, big cities, coastal towns, and jungle camps in the countries of Peru, Ecuador and Colombia with 7 girls her age and 2 leaders.

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Emily with her teammates in Peru. She is pictured in the middle with her hands on her knees.

She spent the majority of her time with orphans and youth in established local day cares and schools. However every day looked different. She had to learn how to be super flexible… some days she didn’t know where they were going or what they’d be asked to do until they got there! She also cleaned, painted, taught English, lead Bible studies, cooked, lead short term mission teams, worked on construction projects, organized school projects and more… basically whatever anyone needed, her team did it.

She learned a lot about working with a team and with various leaders, which was at times, super challenging. However, she developed deep friendships that I’m sure, will last a lifetime.

Communication this last year has been spotty at best between us due to her ever changing locations and internet connections, so I too learned patience, flexibility and how to love from afar. 

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She’s home!

But for now, she’s eating home cooked meals, taking long hot showers and giving lots of hugs to old friends and family. She leaves for college in the city of Chicago in one month but I will enjoy her while I have her! 

21 Years Ago

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September 17, 1994

On a warm September day, 21 years ago, I vowed to love my young husband, Joey, as long as I live. I was only 19, but when you know, you know.

I can’t remember the day we met because we were only babies. You see, our mothers met one day in middle school as they stood in line waiting for their names to be called, when they quickly realized they had the same name, Michele (with one “l”). They were friends for life. By the time I was in kindergarten, I had a huge crush on him. He and his family moved away when I was 9 years old but I continued to try and stay in touch by writing him letters. I later found out that my dorky and awkward demeanor put me way out of his league of coolness. I reluctantly moved on with my boy interests.

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I have proof. Here’s a worksheet I did in school about my favorite friend, Joey.

When I was a senior in high school, my older sister got married and Joey came to the wedding as a family friend. That’s when it all really began. I had outgrown my awkward stage, I suppose. 🙂 We stayed out past midnight that night just talking and walking around the city of Arlington, VA. It was magical; we were smitten with each other, no doubt. Along with the butterflies, excitement, ease and connection that a couple like us had at the time, I think what really got us (and what we realized quite quickly) was that we found someone who really loved Jesus Christ the same. A year or so later, we eventually got to the point where we didn’t want to just date. We only wanted to date someone who we could really see ourselves marrying someday. When we both individually realized that yes, I really do want to marry this person, then we thought, “Why wait?!” Of course, we had to convince my father of that first. 🙂 Since our parents were such good friends, we quickly got their blessing!!

I spent the first year of college dating and engaged and the next 3 years married! I didn’t exactly have a typical college experience, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. We lived in a little apartment on campus, had many of the same classes and graduated together!

IMG_5754We’ve since filled up the rest of our lives with three babies, business adventures, plenty of struggle, sacrifice, patience and lots of love. God’s love for us and our love for Him connected us from the beginning, as we grew up together as super young newly weds, and even now as we hit our 40s. I am so very thankful for these last 21 years and I know, with God’s help, He will continue to be our foundation in the years ahead.

 

 

 

That’s a Wrap!

Labor Day Weekend is approaching which means that we’ve got another summer to add to our memories. I hope it was a great one for you! I must say we had a really nice summer. We’ve had some rough summers in the past so it was a nice surprise, I’m thankful to say. It was filled with a pleasant mix of rest, recreation, vacation, activities, work, play, and a whole lot of nothing in between. Well, I guess that “whole lot of nothing” only really applied to my younger two kids. 🙂

Grace at camp!

My daughter Grace had quite a summer! She turned 12 years old in June and quickly transformed into a young lady after contacts (as a birthday gift) and braces changed that sweet face we look at every day! The highlight of her summer was probably when she went to her first week-long sleep away camp. She attended Camp Winshape for girls associated with Chick-Fil-A. It was a fantastic camp and I highly recommend it! She still talks about how great it was, months later. She also kept up with her first love, music, and had lot of laughs when her cousins came to visit.

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Corban’s first baseball game!

Corban kept busy having fun with me and attending a little summer preschool. We bounced around town going to the library, the zoo, our local children’s museum, and a gazillion trips to the grocery store. We even snuck in a quick trip downtown to take Corban to his very first baseball game! Soon after we arrived, they shot off some fireworks that scared him so bad that he spent the majority of the time with his hands over his ears but a little popcorn solved that!

Emily was crazy busy… and she liked it! First, she went on a week long mission trip to Eleuthera (which she loved, loved, loved). Then she spent the rest of her summer as an intern at our church. They kept her busy as she attended classes, meetings, assisted leaders on staff, worked part time for local businesses, and helped lead a local mission trip with middle schooler students. Plus she was an integral part of the leadership team for a big youth event downtown. Of course, she filled in all the extra time with friends and such. 🙂

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Emily is off to her first day of her internship!
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Vacationing with my little man.

My husband was busy with his new job and this new chapter in his life. And me? Well, I was busy with managing them all and keeping it all together! I was able to squeeze in some time to work while making sure everyone was either on task or having fun. Our summer family vacation was at the very end of the summer and it was so restful! We went to Charleston and the beach… it was beautiful. We had not taken a family vacation in years. I was so very thankful! Yes, this summer has been a good one. Now, there have definitely been some rough days in the mix, but as I look back, I can’t help but thank Jesus for the many blessings that have overflowed to me this summer.

Update on Corban- My busy 6 year old!

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Here is Corban, just a few days old, in the NICU.

Six years ago, my son, Corban, was born premature and weighed only 2 lbs. It has been quite an adventure for our family since then! Many of you have followed his journey along the way with many prayers and encouragement. (Thanks for that!) For those of you who are not familiar with his story, feel free to read my blogs about his birth back in 2009. In the meantime, here’s a little update on how he’s doing now!

He is a happy, adorable (if I do say so myself), and smart little kid who loves to ride his bike, giggle at himself when he says silly things, and ride in Daddy’s jeep with the top down. He just finished up his 2nd year of K4 and is looking forward to the big adventure called Kindergarten in the fall! Every week, he attends one session of occupational therapy (fine motor skills) with a specialist who comes to our home, and two sessions of speech and language therapy at a small office in town called Beacon (www.beaconslps.com). Jeannie Turley owns and operates Beacon and has discovered some challenges in him that we had never noticed before. He has a speech and language disorder that often causes him to get his words mixed up and he struggles with processing those things he sees or hears which will cause him to hesitate or zone out for a few seconds. He also has limb apraxia which causes him to be a little more uncoordinated compared to his friends, andIMG_4106 oral apraxia which means that he struggles moving his tongue. You and I can tell our brain to move our tongue up and down and side to side but Corban has spent months working on these skills. His tongue works fine, he just struggles with telling his brain to move his tongue in a different direction than his jaw. He is very proud that he has just about mastered moving his tongue side to side!

Beacon also offers a unique program that Corban is in the middle of called the Sensory Learning Program. The first phase is a 12 day program that he attended 2 times a day for 30 minutes each time. Whew! That kept me busy running back and forth from their office like that, even on the weekend! He is now in the second phase in which he continues the program at home for 18 days. This makes it a little easier on Mommy. 🙂

He had a great year in K4 (again). He is just about the same size and developmIMG_4726ent as the kids in his class and he fit in nicely this year. You’d never know he was a year older or had any specific issues if you observed him for a short time! Kindergarten will be a big step up but I think he’ll do well. Academics are not a struggle for him in the classroom but he does struggle when he is required to focus on a task, follow detailed instructions, or articulate something complex. We take one school quarter at a time with him so we’ll see how he does! I am so thankful for how healthy and strong he is! He was a BIG surprise in many ways and has no doubt, continued to keep me young and on my toes! 🙂

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The Summer Jolt

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Here I am with Grace and Corban after Grace’s band concert last week. She played the marimba beautifully and as always, with her enthusiastic flare!

It’s the end of the school year and if you’re like my family, it’s gets busy… like Christmas busy. My days and nights have been filled with concerts, projects, recitals, field trips, teacher gifts, summer birthday parties (at school), graduation gifts, summer camp sign ups, exams, and award assemblies. I decided all that wasn’t exciting enough so I threw in an intensive 12 day sensory therapy program for my son and taught my 16 year old daughter how to drive stick shift. More on those on another blog, after I catch my breath. I can’t complain. They are all great, fun and good things and I am so very thankful for that!

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I have two nieces graduating from high school this year! Congratulations to two great girls, Molly and Maddie!

         

My son, Corban, who is in preschool will finish his last day of school this Friday. Grace, my middle schooler, will be done next Friday and Emily, my high schooler, will be done the Friday after that. It’s kinda funny how it worked out that way. Then what will we all do?? It’s always a jolt to my system when school ends and summer begins. It’s tricky juggling working from home and those big bored eyes staring at me (on the 2nd day of summer break). I’ve got some plans and activities for them to do but there will be a time of adjustment that I need to prepare myself for. This is a new season for me now that I’m carrying more responsibility with Amy Adele. So hopefully I can keep it together! I know many of you will face the same adjustment along with me. So, let’s do this summer well!

Big Changes at Amy Adele

Wow! It’s been quite a year for us here at Amy Adele and it’s only May!

Let me start with the bad news (because I just want to keep it real). Sales over the last two years have not exactly been great… and that is putting it mildly. My husband and I kept hoping things would improve but the sales continued to decline. So we did what any hard working business owners do… we hunkered down and talked to a lot of experts and advisors to analyze Amy Adele to get their opinions on what to improve and change. Owning a business is kinda like owning a house. There’s ALWAYS something to fix and improve and the list can be overwhelming. So we decided to focus in on what was possible and went after it. The first thing was the navigation. We added the sorting tool on the left of each page so our customers could easily check the boxes to fine tune their search and find the cards they wanted. Then we worked on the home page. We changed everything about it! The top, the navigation, a “Stationery Gift Finder” tool, and more. We also corrected details on the backend so new customers could find us easier and introduced Paperless Invitations.

However, despite our efforts, the sales just weren’t strong enough. We had to make a bigger change. You see, we had been printing and shipping all our orders out ourselves in a little office space a few miles from our home with a fabulous staff for 10 years. But the more we looked at the numbers, the more it made sense to close our shop. So at the end of January, with very heavy hearts, we said goodbye to our faithful staff, sold our equipment, packed up all the extra supplies, and closed our doors.

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This little bee greeted us by the front door every morning.
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My son, Corban, saying goodbye to Mr. Bumble Bee.

 

Now the good news! We are thrilled to report that we have partnered with a top notch printing company in California. They have a wonderful reputation in the printing industry and they are experts in printing personalized stationery, invitations, and all the other things we offer! With their help, our designs are now printed on even thicker paper than before. They are also able to print and ship our cards faster than we could in our little office. We love that! Over the last few months, I have truly enjoyed working with them. They are professional and quick to respond when I need to make a change on an order for a customer.

Honestly, it has been heartbreaking for my husband (who worked full time on Amy Adele) and I to see the decline in sales. However, we remind ourselves each day that our hope is not in Amy Adele or the provision it used to provide us. Our hope is in Jesus. His ways are higher than our ways. Our prayer is that our hearts will be stronger through these trials, because that’s what really matters! The best part is that we have already seen traces of these blessings already!

So, it’s just little me running the show now! I work from home, personally approving every order that comes through, replying to customer emails, sending out emails announcing our sales, creating new artwork, posting on social media and more! I always worked from home with Amy Adele but I’ve never had this much involvement. I’m completely out of my comfort zone here… but so far so good!

My sweet little desk where all the magic happens! 😉

We are so very thankful for our faithful customers who have consistently ordered from us year after year; for each birthday party, for teacher gifts and family Christmas cards, to name a few. Our greatest joy that we get from Amy Adele is that we are able play a small role in helping your children say “thank you” to others. We are overwhelmed by your support. We hope our faithful customers and our new customers alike will enjoy the new changes!

Thank you again, dear friends!

Amy Adele Wike

P.S.

Would you like to help? For those of you who enjoy Amy Adele, you can help! If you haven’t already, “like” us on Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Most of all, please tell your friends about Amy Adele and invite them to our social media sites, as well. This will help us out a ton!

Blog-spotlight: Grace

Grace Elizabeth is my middle child who is always a light in any room she enters!
She is frequently described as “effervescent”! She is silly, chatty, and makes everyone laugh.IMG_0964

Grace is 11 years old now and is in a 6th grade Middle School program at her school. She is super jazzed about the brand new music class she is taking this year… Band! She signed up to be a percussionist where she is learning lots of new things while simultaneously contributing to her class with her existing piano expertise. She adores music!

IMG_1133In the afternoons, she keeps busy with her role as the laundry girl of the household, homework, piano practice and I often find her chatting on FaceTime with her sweet little cousins or other friends. She is super helpful and is always the first person to jump to action when she sees a little need she can fill.

One of Grace’s favorite things to do is grab a HUGE (at least I think it is) bowl of ice cream and plop herself down in front of the family iPad to watch a movie. She loves to draw (and is very good!), loves to sit in her ENO, loves it when her room is super clean, and all things “fluffy”. She is refusing to grow up and has continued to maintain this idea for some time now… she wants to stay a kid forever! 🙂 I think I can live with that!
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Children’s Museum in the Upstate: Greenville, SC

 

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This past Saturday, both my husband and eldest daughter were out of town. So, Grace, Corban and I were eating breakfast and trying to figure out what adventure we too, could take!  I opened up a local children’s magazine to see if I spotted anything in there for us to do and found that it was Museum Day Live which includes free admission to participating museums through the Smithsonian. We have a fantastic children’s museum nearby that Grace and Corban are always asking to go to, but we only go once or twice a year because it is so expensive. So, I called our museum and sure enough… it was free! It was a beautiful autumn day outside but I couldn’t beat “free” and my kids were thrilled!

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We got dressed and jumped in the car right away!  The Children’s Museum of the Upstate is located in the heart of downtown Greenville and filled with a variety of super creative exhibits. As soon as you walk in, there is a colorful two-story climbing structure, which is Grace’s favorite feature, I think. On the main floor, circling the structure are race cars, space ships, a kid-sized grocery store with a checkout counter and bank, and a hospital! The top floor has robots, construction, recycling, and a little farmhouse. The bottom floor has a water exhibit, music, tv production, and art rooms. We’ve been there a number of times and it never gets old! They keep a big space on the top floor for new exhibits that they change out every few months. The one that is running now is called Grossology (all things gross)… so we skipped that one. Yuck! Corban isn’t old enough to care, thank goodness! He loved the construction exhibit. He really wanted to wear the yellow construction hat even though it kept falling in his face. His very favorite was the race cars! He worked so hard changing the big tires out! We had a super time having our own adventure and still had the afternoon to enjoy the weather!

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Anniversary Celebration at the Grove Park Inn

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Joey and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this week! 20 years is a long time, but it went by fast! It’s hard to believe it’s been that long, because we still feel like kids.

Our mothers have been dear friends since middle school. So, Joey and I have known each other a long time! I’ve had a huge crush on him since I was 5 years old that I’ve never been able to shake. 🙂 We lived in different towns during much of our childhood so we didn’t know each other. As kids, we were opposites… I was a “total dork” and he was “super cool” so that wouldn’t have worked out so well, anyway. We both grew up and changed quite a bit during our high school years though!

Joe (far left) and Amy (far right)

He attended my older sister’s wedding as a family friend and we immediately connected that night and within a few months we quickly fell in love. I was only 19 years old and Joey was almost 20 years old when we got married but when we knew God wanted us to be together as husband and wife, we didn’t want to waste any time dating, so we decided to get married right away!

We were in college at the time, so we just continued life and graduated together. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three fantastic kiddos, a few moves, and a few career changes. Through it all, Jesus has strengthened us with lots of tough times and lots of great times. I wouldn’t have wanted any other man to live life with!

To celebrate, this week we stole away one night to The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. It was just perfect! The weather was gorgeous, the food was delicious and the company was unmatched! We are so thankful to Jesus for giving us His patience, faithfulness and love so we could give it to each other for the last 20 years!

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Friday Amy Update: All Natural Grain Bars Recipe

School is in full swing now and I love having a few hours each morning to work and get my home organized. Part of my job description is head chef! And on January 1st of this year the grocery list had a complete overhaul.

My husband decided to go on a strict 30-day Whole 30 diet. I did it with him to encourage him and make cooking less complicated. The diet basically consists of eating only meat, seafood, vegetables, fruit, nuts and good fat like olive and coconut oil.

So we didn’t eat any sugar, dairy, grains, alcohol, beans, soy or any preservative type stuff. Finding new recipes and allowing more time to cook was a big challenge for me! The first 2 weeks were hard but then we began to feel the difference, especially my husband, so we kept going! My husband has felt so much better that I think he’ll be eating like this for the rest of his life.photo 1

Before we started, we didn’t eat tons of junk food, but we did eat it on occasion and sugar and bread were always nearby. When we started, our kids would eat dinners with us so I didn’t have to make two different meals. Over time, they ate through all our not-so-healthy pantry food so their transition was a bit more gradual. I don’t buy much of that stuff anymore so they eat a lot healthier food along with us now too and have adapted to it quite well!

Each of us eat a little differently because we’ve found our bodies tolerate and digest food in unique ways. My husband and Emily basically stick to the Whole 30 diet. Grace and Corban eat sprouted and organic grains, healthy sugar and local dairy. And I eat a bit of all of that! Overall, we are so glad we made the switch. The biggest change I’ve seen is that my energy levels are consistently good without needing that sugar rush at 3pm.

I don’t want to sound legalistic or snooty about it and I’ll definitely eat a doughnut on occasion, but the more I read about eating “clean” (as they say), it just seems to make sense for our bodies in the short and long term. So it’s become our new normal.

This week I made some grain bars… a recipe I got from my fellow artist, Ali North! Now it’s not Whole 30 compliant but it’s filled with some all-natural stuff, so I like it! 🙂 Check it out below!photo 2

2 cups oats

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup chocolate chips (non-diary, non-soy)

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)

1 cup sun butter or peanut butter

1 tsp sea salt

Just mix it all together and press it into a pan. Put it in the freezer for 30 minutes or so so it will settle together. Then cut up into bars, place each bar in a plastic baggie, and freeze them all so they are ready to put out and eat whenever you want!

Feel free to modify the ingredients to whatever you like! Some other suggestions are: coconut flakes, dried fruit, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds

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