Jeff and Liza met at Wheaton College in 1997. They sat “near” each other in Chapel, but didn’t start dating until 1999. Jeff played football for the then-Crusaders and majored in Interpersonal Communications, and Liza spent her time in the Business/Economics wing of Blanchard Hall when she wasn’t babysitting or enjoying the big-city fun of Chicago so close by. They were married in the summer of 2001 in Liza’s hometown of Simsbury, Connecticut.
Like a lot of Wheaton grads, marriage was simply the next step, the expected step, the predictable step. Looking back, both Jeff and Liza realize they lacked the spiritual maturity to handle such a weighty commitment, and at the same time, understand that in God’s providence, everything happens for a reason. More than ten years later, they’re seeing it first-hand.
After moving to Florida in 2003, they hit a rough patch in their relationship in 2006. Emotionally, spiritually, and financially, things were not good. The housing market made its infamous bottoming out, Liza lost her position in both real estate and then as a state-employed counselor for women with at-risk pregnancies, and Jeff was eking out a self-employed income selling health and life insurance in a start-up venture. Trust and communication had fizzled to almost nothing. They were broke, in debt, and way upside down in their house (still are). They were hanging by a proverbial thread.
But despite these challenges, God remained faithful. Jeff and Liza started going to Calvary Baptist Church (Clearwater) in 2007, and little by little, saw God start to piece back the broken remnants of a marriage on life-support just a few months earlier. In a attempt to save on the family grocery bill, Liza learned how to coupon, and was soon saving 70-80% on their grocery bill each month. Jeff encouraged her to start a blog, and just like that, AddictedtoSaving.com was born.
Unbeknownst to them, couponing was just about to get wildly popular, and before long, Jeff quit his job as a full-time insurance salesperson to help run the site, which was ever-increasing in its demands. Between November of 2009 and April 2012, the site has received over 4.2 million hits, over 8.2 million pageviews, from over 1.5 million unique visitors. Is God good or what! Now Jeff and Liza spend nearly 24 hours a day together, running a successful online blog, and trying to keep up with their two King Charles Cavalier Spaniel pups.
Liza enjoys long distance running and cooking when time allows, and Jeff can be seen on Tampa Bay area golf courses from time to time when he’s not debating atheists in person and online about the existence of God. They are both active in their church community, where Jeff serves as a deacon.
It was in April of 2011, after seeing a notice in the church bulletin about adoption, that Liza and Jeff first verbalized the calling they felt in their hearts to adopt. Not only did they both feel the same way, they were both compelled to adopt internationally! Through a bit of trial and error and lots of prayer, they are now in the midst of adopting
two three children, one from Ethiopia, one from Haiti, and one domestically (go HERE to read about this update!). There are reasons why, which they hope to share in their blog, God has brought them to adopt in this manner.
But the story is just beginning. Not only are they adopting, but they have seen the challenges that adopting presents to willing parents, and their eyes have been opened to the plight of the orphan worldwide. Many know the verse in James 1:27, which says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” But the bible is full of other admonitions for His people to care for and defend the cause of those who are most vulnerable in this world. As Christians, Jeff and Liza are beginning to see that the not caring for orphans is not an option for them.
Which is why they’re embarking on a new journey, not only to bring home children to raise of their own, but to help others do the same. They’re not exactly sure how it will take shape right now, but they have started the process to form a 501c3, so that they can raise awareness about the plight of orphans worldwide, and get to the serious work of putting “forever families” together.
You may not have the heart for orphans that Liza and Jeff have – that’s okay. But maybe you know someone who does, and we hope you’ll share Jeff and Liza’s story with them.