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Real Women, Real Stories | Carley Lickteig: Heeding the Call to Adopt in Uganda



Roots: I’ve lived in Austin for the past 18 years, aside from 6 months in California and 10 months in Uganda. Before moving to Austin, I lived in a few different places that my dad’s job took our family.


Carley with husband, Josh

Family Life: I’ve been married to my husband, Josh, for 5 years. We dated for about 5 years before getting married, so he has been my best friend for pretty much all of my adult life. I also have two kids and one on the way. My daughter (Avery) is 8 and my son (Caleb) is 5. We are all four eagerly anticipating the arrival of a baby girl this June! My eldest two kids joined our family through adoption and our third is joining us the old fashion way.

Current Occupation: I have the privilege of staying home with my kids as a full-time mom. I’m grateful for that privilege and enjoy it very much.

My favorite quote… “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Galatians 5:6. I love the quote and I also love the fact that I fell in love with it while it donned my husband’s Facebook profile as his favorite quote for years. (Including months before we were dating when I used to spend a lot of time on his Facebook page checking out his interests and whereabouts!)


Avery and Caleb in our playroom in Uganda

I’m most inspired by…Jesus. For many reasons, but in particular for how genuinely and steadfastly he loves us even when we are at our worst and when we are making choices that make us highly unlovable. It truly amazes me and inspires – I want to love like that! And I’m so grateful I’m loved by him like that.
Something people may not know about me…I’m a homebody. I love filling a day with many, many books curled up on the couch with my kids. (And maybe a few chores, I really like a neat and tidy home!).

If I weren’t in my current career I’d be… I taught yoga and Pilates for years before becoming a mom and I loved it so much. So if I wasn’t a full-time mama, I would be back to teaching yoga and Pilates classes. I hope to get back into teaching in a future season when my kids are a bit older.

My guilty pleasure…I used to sneak in a long run any chance I could get, now I sneak a chance to put my feet up any chance I can get!

I’m looking forward to…meeting my baby girl!

My Story: Heeding the Call to Adopt in Uganda

Carley & Kids

I grew up the recipient of mountains of blessings. I had loving parents that poured into me, an older brother that definitely earned the title “best big brother in the world”, and every opportunity and material provision my family could generously offer me. Then as young adult, Jesus captured my heart completely! Meeting Jesus filled my heart and mind with surpassing joy. I knew that I wanted the amazing life God had given me to be given back to Him for whatever purposes He had planned. “To whom much is given, much is expected” – by God’s grace this truth didn’t crush me, but rather exhilarated me. As I transitioned into adulthood (exhilarated!), God gave me a husband who also desired to follow Jesus with passion. And so the adventure began!

Before getting married, God gave my husband and I each a desire for adoption to be a part of our future. He gave this desire to us as individuals first and then as a couple later. Our initial awareness of the reality of orphans in the world came through our church, The Austin Stone Community Church. We have the privilege of being a part of a church that is great at realizing needs, presenting them to the rest of the church body, and then collectively meeting those needs. So as our church presented the reality of orphans domestically and internationally, our church also began to fill up with adoptive families. Seeing these families and hearing their stories inspired my husband and me, and also showed us that we could very readily engage this particular need in the world ourselves. And that is exactly what God led us to do. 

We said to each other when we got married that we wanted to adopt as soon as we were able to do so. God provided through the generous way that my parents helped us start off our marriage in a good spot financially and He also provided through giving us a thriving marriage. Six months into our marriage we both felt the clear word from God to begin the adoption process! We were excited and nervous!


With Caleb five weeks into meeting him & one week before bringing him home to Austin

After lots of prayer we decided to pursue adopting from Uganda. God gave us a baby boy who was 16 months old when we traveled to Uganda to meet him, go to court, and apply for his visa. We were in Uganda with him completing his adoption process for six weeks. During that time, and through the crazy love that we felt for our son, God deepened our heart for adoption. We felt that God was saying He had another child for our family through adoption. When we got back home with our son and continued to pray for our future children, God made it clear He wanted us to adopt again from Uganda.


Avery in front of Lake Victoria near our house in Uganda

This time God gave us a little girl who joined our family at 6 years old. During the initial process of our daughter’s adoption (which is stateside), we felt God urging us to sell our home and move overseas to Uganda. We felt His urging to make that transition for many reasons, but as we reflect we are most thankful that He urged us to move to be with our daughter sooner rather than later. The process of her adoption was stalling and we were losing precious time with her. As He does, God provided and made a way for us to move to Uganda and foster our daughter in our home right away as we waited out the rest of her process. He didn’t ask us to do that without also giving us a desire. We moved to Uganda with expectant excitement. It was an enormous blessing to live our first year as a family, together with our new daughter, in Uganda. It was certainly a challenging season, but we can see now that God had many purposes in those challenges. Once we had successfully completed our daughter’s adoption process, we felt that returning to the States was the best thing for our family.

Our kids are learning and growing so much each day!

Licktieg Fam

Enjoying family time at the beach

Through adoption my husband and I gained the two loves our lives, Avery and Caleb. Loving them and parenting them has been a great and weighty privilege.


With Avery a few months after arriving in Uganda

No parenting journey is easy, and ours hasn’t been either. Through the exhausting bouts we have very simply been sanctified! So many of our selfish and character-weak habits have had to go, but God has replaced them (we hope!) with new, stronger character traits, a deeper heart for serving and giving of ourselves, and a more passionate hunger for God’s nearness in our lives. We are works in progress (or even unfinished masterpieces of our King) and God will go to great lengths to pursue us and make us holy and righteous…and one of the ways He has done that in our lives is through our children and through a move to Uganda and back!


One of the primary modes of transportation in Uganda, much to Caleb’s delight!

I love God so much more five years, a husband, two kids, and five moves later. I’ve also learned SO much about how much He loves me – through the love He has given me for my kids, through witnessing His love for my kids, and through the experience of His promises proven to be true. He is a God so worthy of our lives. I truly believe that when we give God the reigns of our life, He pours in blessing. Maybe not always blessing in the form of ease and comfort, but in the form of much sweeter gifts. The greatest gift He has given me through my husband and I’s pursuit of Him….is more of Himself. We are now closer to Him and know Him more accurately and intimately. When we see Jesus more fully, it changes the way we see everything else. And for so much the better. I live today with greater joy, peace, and freedom than I did five years ago. Pursuing Jesus the past five years has made me hungry to pursue him for a lifetime more. I’m so thankful for God. Above His blessings that come through sunny times and dark times, I’m mostly thankful for Him – to quote the song “He is a good, good Father.”


iGnite’s Real Women, Real Stories is a series highlighting the inspiring lives and experiences of women in our community. We hope their stories motivate and inspire you to live your life to the fullest.

Know someone who would be a great candidate for a Real Women, Real Stories feature? Email nominations to hello@igniteyourlifenow.com

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Dear Me, Thank you!

Fall Folaige pic 2

Point to Ponder:
How often do you acknowledge and give thanks for all that you do and all that you are?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springman

Throughout the month of November we have focused on expressing gratitude in various ways. We encouraged making gratitude jars and everyday writing what we are grateful for and then placing it in the jar to then look at at a later date. Then, we took the time to physically write gratitude notes to the people we are grateful for, we continue to post what we are grateful for in our social media #ignitegratefulgram challenge, and we are wearing our gratitude, as ‘grateful’ is printed across the chest of all of our new fall apparel.

We believe that gratitude changes everything and of course our efforts were put in place to inspire attitudes of gratitude, but we were also hopeful that it would ignite attitudes of abundance, blessings and fun! Also, our big picture mission is that our gratitude campaign has made a positive impact on you and in your life, starting with your family and then being contagiously caught by thousands of other people.

Finally, there’s just one more gratitude request and call to action, and that’s to thank yourself by filling out our “Dear Me, Thank You!” worksheet. You may think this is totally narcissistic and weird, but stick with me. Typically, when we express gratitude it’s towards the people we love, our health, time with family and friends, things, our work, food, clothing, etc. All of these are wonderful, however what you must not neglect and absolutely must acknowledge and celebrate is everything you do and all that you are, which includes: your commitment to countless people and relationships; how incredibly hard you work on so many things; the impact you make in the lives of others; your dedication to your health and wellness, family and relationships; your beautiful and unique God-given talents and features which allows you to be you and do what you do, and so much more!

I realize this may seem like just another task during a busy holiday week, however I encourage you to take ten minutes to celebrate yourself, because ultimately when you acknowledge and express gratitude for all that you are and for all that you do, it’s simply saying “thank you” for what you’ve been given, which opens your spirit to receiving more, giving more and becoming more. And, becoming all that we were created to be is one of our greatest callings and life’s missions, and in doing so, our impact is extraordinary.

Action Item:
Print the “Dear Me, Thank You!” worksheet, gratefully fill it out and place in an area where you can frequently see it and give thanks.

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Fourteen Reasons to be Grateful

iGnite -gratitude changes everything

Point to Ponder:
Do you regularly acknowledge what you are grateful for?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As you have likely noticed, during the month of November we are celebrating gratitude! Not only are we eager to blast out our gratitude in our social media #ignitegratefulgram contest, but we are fired up to wear our gratitude loud and proud with our NEW ‘Grateful’ fall apparel.

We are not at all suggesting or asking that you post or wear your grateful spirit to be boastful about your “things”. Instead, the motivation behind our Grateful Campaign is to encourage the daily action of giving thanks for our amazing lives and blessings…because when life gets inevitably tough, a grateful spirit can change a bad day into a good day, and a good day into a great day, because gratitude changes everything. I’m hopeful that our Grateful Campaign will inspire and reignite a grateful spirit in everyone.

There is no denying that acknowledging our blessings on a daily basis leads to a physiological reaction that creates a happy and peacful state in the body. To go a step further, based on the findings from a fascinating gratitude experiment conducted by two psychologists, writing down what we are grateful for leads to even greater results. Check this out:

“Two psychologists, Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis, wrote an article about an experiment they conducted on gratitude and its impact on well-being. The study split several hundred people into three different groups and all of the participants were asked to keep daily diaries. The first group kept a diary of the events that occurred during the day without being told specifically to write about either good or bad things; the second group was told to record their unpleasant experiences; and the last group was instructed to make a daily list of things for which they were grateful. The results of the study indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of 1. alertness, 2. enthusiasm, 3. determination, 4. optimism, and 5. energy. In addition, those in the gratitude group experienced less 6. depression and 7. stress, and 8. were more likely to help others, 9. exercised more regularly, and 10. made greater progress toward achieving personal goals. In addition, Dr. Emmons’ research shows that those who practice gratitude tend to be more 11. creative, 12. bounce back more quickly from adversity, 13. have a stronger immune system, and 14. have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude. He further points out that “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.” – The Change Blog

Something that I am experimenting with in our family is a gratitude jar. The jar sits in the middle of our dining room table and each evening at dinner, we talk about one thing we are grateful for, followed with writing it down on piece of paper and placing it in the jar. Because I have small children who can’t write, I have been writing what they say as as well as including the date. It has become a sweet and focused time which stirs up great conversation (even with a two and a four year old). My personal goal is to revisit the jar of notes during our Thanksgiving meal and to continue writing down what we are grateful for throughout the month of November and the remainder of the year.

Another idea is to print and cut out our Grateful Printables. Then, place your jar, printables and pen in a high-traffic area in your home and anytime you or your family members pass by it, drop a gratitude note in the jar. From a good nights rest, a warm a cup of coffee to the blessing of good health, family and friends, it all counts and taking the time to acknowledging your blessings will make a positive impact in your health, relationships and overall quality of life. And, several months from now or anytime you need a pick-me-up, all you have to do is read what’s in the jar and you are guaranteed a good laugh, happy cry and/or mood booster. Why? Because gratitude changes everything!

Action Item:
Print out our Grateful Printables. Place your jar, printables and pen in a high-traffic area in your home and anytime you or your family members pass by it, drop a gratitude note in the jar. Or, at dinner each evening have each family member write down and discuss what they are grateful for and place in the jar.

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No Regrets

Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things.
The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions: could have, might have and should have.

– Louis E. Boone

If you haven’t had the opportunity to count your blessings, celebrate your accomplishments or set new goals yet this week, we recommend you do!  Your accomplishments may not feel as giant as the ones seen in the video below, but we promise you’ll feel just as awesome!


What’s In Your B.A.G.?

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. — Willie Nelson

Celebrate our wise, faithful and intelligent presidents of the past by focusing on your blessings, celebrating your daily accomplishments and (together) setting and achieving your weekly and long-term goals.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

Monday, February 15th is Presidents Day. While I’m aware that it’s a federal and school holiday accompanied by the usual store sales, I shamefully know nothing about President’s Day… so I googled it.  I found out that the real name for Presidents Day is Washington’s Day, in honor of George Washington’s birthday.  AND it turns out that not all states observe it the same way. For example, Massachusetts calls it Washington’s Birthday and honors the presidents that came from Massachusetts, while Alabama calls it Washington and Jefferson Day.  Who knew?

Regardless of what the day is called or how it is observed, we should be reminded of how George Washington and many of our early presidents put forth wisdom, faith and intelligence that have stood the test of time. The foundation and roadmap they laid out for us as well as their leadership and bravery is truly inspirational.  I am convinced they’d want each of us to live and pass on their legacy as an overflowing “BAG.”

BAG!? It’s an acronym that represents three positive and essential things that allow us to spin our new cocoons, morph into new Monarchs and fly to new, high, and exhilarating places. Choose the color, shape, style or brand of your B.A.G., while proudly carrying it with you everywhere you go.

B stands for BLESSINGS. Upon rising, throughout the day and when going to bed, acknowledge and be thankful for all of the blessings that are in your big, shiny new B.A.G. As discussed in last week’s Journal, it’s important that we love ourselves and view a compliment as a blessing, without pointing out our blemishes in return. Receive the verbal sunshine with a “thank you,” and only think and speak kind and positive words about yourself and others. Our language and thoughts are the software that drive our body’s hardware, and happy people focus on what they have vs. what they don’t have.   Stay focused on your blessings rather than your blemishes. WARNING: We’ll have the referee whistle on hand again this week; if a compliment is rejected or a blemish is called out, a compliment foul will be given!

A stands for ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Often when we think of accomplishments we think of big actions such as starting a business, getting a Ph.D., or running a marathon. But, it’s important that we experience and celebrate all of our accomplishments—big and small. We need not dismiss accomplishments such as getting kids successfully to school, seeing them successfully through school, crossing off all of our to-dos, exercising for the day, or paying bills on time. By dismissing these accomplishments we are selling ourselves short of an opportunity to feel great. Building our self-confidence is essential. A lack of self-confidence is the greatest deterrent to success, which is why I believe that exercise is so important. It’s obviously good for us, but it’s also energizing, invigorating and provides a wonderful endorphin rush. Regardless of what accomplishment we fulfill, it will be a result of disciplined efforts — which always have multiple and worthwhile returns!  It’s important that we celebrate our accomplishments and allow others to celebrate alongside us on a daily basis.

G stands for GOALS. Think back two years, or even one year ago. Are you healthier, happier and in a better place personally, professionally, spiritually, mentally, or financially? A way to increase your chances and chart your progress is by making goals for yourself. Providing goals can ensure that we are taking steps forward instead of walking in circles or even taking steps backward. When taking the time to write one or two goals down the result is always exponential. When we procrastinate and do not set goals we’re putting our potential for more success and happiness on layaway. By setting lofty and easily attainable goals you’re destined to experience accomplishment and be in a healthier, happier and better place… I promise!

As we begin our week with Presidents Day, I encourage you to fill your B.A.G.  with all things our past presidents would want us to focus on: blessings, accomplishments and goals. Eliminate all talk of your blemishes and celebrate everything!  Before the start of the week, write down your goals for the week. Leave time and space for spontaneity; however, plan when and how you will love yourself with exercise as well as other important and necessary tasks on your agenda. There’s no doubt we’ll take flight, experience success, and will celebrate on Friday and throughout the Journey.

This week’s video highlights how our little “accomplishments“ can make us so very very proud.

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