Tuesday, December 31, 2013

#2014 Word

Time for the annual reflective New Year's post, which I have been writing in my head for about 3 weeks.

If you know me, you know my theory on resolutions. They're REALLY great if you have a disciplined life/personality and want to make changes.

And I generally pick a "focus verse" or a "thought" or a "word" that I focus on. And in reality, that word/thought/verse does keep coming back to me and kicking my butt for lack of focus (again). Though I do plan on doing my verse/word for the year (read on)...

But here are things I want to be/do:

I want to do good.
I want to encourage people all along the way.
I want to keep sending snail mail (even though the costs keep getting higher).
I want to call my Grammy more. She always loves it when I call her.
I want to influence my kids. In the best way...I want to be someone that I want to rub off on them.
I want to laugh. A lot.
I want to remember that everyone is fighting a battle. And it likely looks *nothing* like mine.
I want to hold hands with the hubs.
I want to keep better in touch with my true friends. The ones who love me always, no matter what.
I want to be more spontaneous (and in turn, be more flexible when my family wants to be spontaneous).
I want to make someone smile.
I want to help someone who is walking a much harder road than I am.
I want to make memories with my kidlets. Good ones. Fun ones. Cheap ones. ;-)
I want to...ulitmately...find joy in all moments: the good, the bad, the ugly.

My truth? Balance likely won't come this year. Not with 2 youngins, a stinky dog, a hubs with 2.5 jobs, a part-time job in ministry, homeschooling, taking care of ailing in-laws, and living far enough away from family to have any extra support. BUT - I can work at being the person I want to be, even if all my items don't get crossed off my to-do list at the end of each day.

Ann Voskamp, in her book One Thousand Gifts (which I am, like, 2 years behind in reading), has given me my word for the year: eucharisteo. You should totally read the book, but the essence of this word is that in grace ("charis") thanksgiving ("eucharisteo") brings joy ("chara").

In grace, thanksgiving brings joy.

So...the last thing on my list is that I want to keep writing down all these little tiny glimpses of God's glory in my life. And through the recording of my thanksgiving, joy will come bursting through.

And if I can keep being thankful...this year will not be in waste.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

Cheers to #2014.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Thoughts

I know all 7 of you who read this {Hi, Marmi!} will appreciate the link to my favorite Christmas post from last year, My Grown-Up Christmas List. I have so many things I'd like to add to this list, but this year...my wishes are kinda...just thoughts. Thoughts I will share with you.

Christmas is just...not what it's supposed to be anymore.

This present-clad, rush-rush-rush, ca-chinging Santa, naughty list-ed DAY. It's not what it's supposed to be {in my humble opinion}.

I'm not hating on Santa (we believe in him here, but don't push the issue). Though I'm not a gift-giver by nature, I'm not even hating on that...just...the sheer amount of them {and the expectation thereof as well}.

We've toned down Christmas at our house. A lot. And by Christmas, I mean what I've described above.

There were discussions. There were parameters. There was a short list made and time spent purchasing the few items we decided we would get, and that's it.

Photo by Rockwell Photo Indy

Instead, we're focusing on memories & traditions.

Hot chocolate has been perfected and consumed.
Christmas movies have been watched & discussed.
Lots of conversations have been had about what Christmas is really about.
Crafts have been made and given away.
Christmas treats are on the list of things to do when we're done with school tomorrow.
Ornaments have been created and added to our tree.
Christmas songs have been listened to and sung. {Miss R is a pro at several of them...cute.}
Truth in the Tinsel has been...not done regularly, but done enough that we get the idea. Good stuff.

Many hours have been driven looking at Christmas lights...how else can you captivate a grumpy toddler on a cold night after being stuck inside all day. There are few things that delight my kidlets and I like Christmas lights. Much like fireworks, the beauty of the light standing out in the dark dark night...just...gives me hope. And reminds me in a very visual way what Jesus looks like. And what hope looks like. It looks like light in the dark.

And hope...that's what Christmas is really about. Which is why I've refrained from buying my son EVERYTHING he wants (and then some). I keep seeing things that he would enjoy. And I *want* to buy them so badly. Because we just don't really buy stuff often, and this is a treat for him. And because I love him and want to make him happy.

But...then I remember my childhood. So - many - memories. Treats made and consumed, Christmas lights gazed at, caroling with friends, lots of smiles and laughter over yumm-o food.  Christmas Eve praying, nativity story reading, and listening to good music with the fam. Going to Indiana each year @ Christmas and getting snow (usually), even if it was Christmas Eve midnight falling snow. Cousins and aunties and games and uncles and jokes and listening to my dad and his brothers guffawing about this and that. Grandpa Ken reading the Pony story {every single year, even when he didn't want to}. Cinnamon rolls and egg bake on Christmas morning with parents and sibs. Shopping in Bloomington the day after Christmas with Fazolis for lunch - always. And comparing who got the most bang for their buck when we got home.

THAT is what I remember about Christmas growing up. Memories. Experiences. Traditions. Hope.

And that's what I want to give to mine.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Refuge

Even though I have about 12 different posts half-written...I gotta just share what's on my heart tonight.

1) I am so thankful to have been raised in my family. Adoption is this crazy beautiful mess. And I am so privileged to be hand-picked for my family. My parents lived for God's Word. And they took every opportunity (even discipline) to have us memorize those precious truths in our hearts. And watching my sweet Grammy...every. single. night. Soaking in God's words...reading and finding new things and making sure I knew that once I finish, read it again and again and again. And that God will continue to mold me through life. And that at 68, 74, and even 80, God is not done molding her.

All this to say - as I had some pretty hard "life" things slammed in my face today, my response was not of anxiety, even though these things tend to cause that. Instead, it was to take immediate refuge. Refuge in the One who holds my tomorrow....and the tomorrows of those I love.

This scripture came to mind immediately. Immediately. Which is why I've just been so thankful for the Word planted in early on in my life. {And also why I cherish my job - I have this awesome opportunity to plant those same words and truths into almost 100 hearts each week between the daycare and church kidlets...what a blessing!}

2) Refuge. Defined by Webster as a "condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble;" "a place that provides safety or shelter." And more. But that's good. Because I have it. In the arms of my Creator...the One who gave His life for me. He's got this...so I don't have to. I must take refuge...knowing that He's my strength. And move on from day to day and even moment to moment as needed..

3) Randomly, extra thankful for the Piano Guys and their amazing Pandora station. Need your heart to find calm? Listen. Read the Word...and listen this music...Best.Stuff.Ever. Seriously. It also helps me focus, which may or may not be completely unrelated.

Though I don't do this often, I do request your prayer during this time. Without giving too many details, our family is just going through some dark days, but my hope is in Christ alone and the beautiful gift of eternal life.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Adoption: What NOT to say

This post was inspired by this post. So you'll have to read there first. {Soooo good, BTW.}

And please...don't mind me, but I'll be sharing some of my favorite shots of my kidlets while I ramble about adoption a bit.

A fire has been ignited in my soul over the past few weeks over this "thing" called adoption. And between a conversation I had just today and the post above, I am ready to say a few things.

What NOT to say to an adoptive momma:

{My favorite} Can't you have kids of your own?

Numero Uno - that's nonya. Nonya business. And to answer your question, we'd love to have biological children and are still young. Who knows what our family will look like when God's done with it.

Numero Dos - DON'T say this in front of MY OWN children. I don't care that they didn't grow in my belly, they are MINE. They have been from the moment I heard of them...and really have been before that, but that's another blog post. I do not, for one moment want them to think they aren't mine. And when you say that, they think it. I've already had one very confusing conversation with my sweet, curious 7 year old about what that means and why was that said and does that mean I'm not yours and will I have a different mom and daddy one day...Seriously, people. He doesn't need that. He is mine. Until the day I die, he's mine. Don't negate that with an ignorant statement. (Sorry if that stings...that conversation with D stung me, and I'm pretty sure it stung him.)

I don't understand why people adopt. It costs so much money.

And a related one - I don't go around asking for donations when I birth a child. Why do people who adopt think they can do that?

Um...all I can really do is shake my head. -_- Adoption costs are far greater than having a birth child, barring any significant health issues or hospital stays. I'm not saying I agree or disagree with this; it is what it is. Not to mention that we are giving an orphan a home. An orphan. A home. {Don't even get me started on what it would take if all of us Jesus-lovers would just get involved in adoption...again - another post for another day.}

Side note: Our adoption(s) have been cost free because they've been through the foster system, but we're not done yet. We will eventually pursue private adoption and will also be in the "fundraising" state so many of my friends have gone through. And with foster care, you have sudden family changes out of nowhere and our friends and family have been amazingly supportive through all of that with providing basic needs and whatnot. I have never bought Miss R any clothes at a store. My sister literally hands down entire wardrobes for her (which I give back for her 5th future-adopted child).

Usually people adopt after they have birth children. You're doing it backwards.

Eh...depends on how you look at it. You don't know my story. And who would ever pass up the cutest kid in your classroom...to take home and literally be yours forever? Not me! One day, you could know my whole story, but for now, just take it at this: God has written our family (and will continue to do so). Mister & I always knew we would adopt. I'm adopted. I believe in adoption. But it's funny - when you open your heart to God's changing of your "plans," life always turns out way better in the end. True story.

And last, but not least - I just couldn't do what you're doing. I just couldn't.

Welp...if you're a parent and you say that to me, then you are. I'm raising 2 kids. Who cares if they share blood and DNA? They're kidlets. They're crazy and draining. They're loving and snuggley. They're totally hilarious, and to be honest...some days, they're the reason I get out of bed. But they're no different from your kids. And they don't deserve love, family, and a home any less than your biological children do.

Sure, adoption can get hard & be messy. It's not the easiest road to take (for sure!). And everyone's not called to adopt - I truly believe that. But everyone (that loves Jesus) is called to care for orphans. And there are a million ways to do that. Again...a post for another day.

Part 2 is coming: Foster Care Edition. I know you're all anxious to hear my honest thoughts on what not to say to foster parents.

Blessings, y'all. We're all in this together. We need each other.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Two years ago...

Though by date, it hasn't been quite two years yet, today was the day.

This particular Thursday...the day of Farm Progress (a huge deal in our parts). I was walking side-by-side with the Mister on our way in to a H-O-T day of food prep at the Farm Progress. You have to walk a good mile just to get in, and then there's exhibit after exhibit of farm-y stuff before you can find the D1Naz food tent.

Half-way through our trek through the parking lot, my cell phone rang. The caller-id told me it was our case worker for Dillon. His adoption was not final at this time, so we were always waiting for good news regarding that. I answer with hesitation, hope, and a question or two already forming in my mind.

"Everything's fine with Dillon," she starts the call. "There's a baby."
Me: "A baby?"
Her: "Yup. Birth sibling."
Me: "Birth sibling? Oh my goodness."
Her: "You're the first call, and I hate to do this, but I need an answer fast."
Me (now crying, blubbering, and trying to let Mister know what's going on on the other side of the line): "Yes...yes yes yes. We will never turn away birth siblings." (This is something we had discussed prior and already knew our answer. That makes it easier for sure when this emotional time comes around.)

Then the flood of questions: "Is it a boy or girl? When was he/she born? Is he/she healthy? Can I see him/her in the hospital? When will he/she be in my arms? How will I get ready for a baby this fast? WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!?!?!" {Thankfully, our case worker is amazingly calm and doesn't panic at the rate I do.}

Her: "We don't know anything. Literally. Just need an answer, and I'll text you things as I know them."

And so we went about our merry way, working the hot Farm Progress Show. I told a few close friends because I felt like I was going to burst. What was I going to do? A baby?! A newborn? Straight out of the hospital? And a birth sibling to our amazing little {at the time} 5 year old.

We had her a mere 50 hours later. It was a girl. And she was given my name {bizarre}. And she was born on my Daddy's birthday {bizarre}. And she weighed 7'7'' (my favorite # - bizarre}.

And we called her Ruby, after my maternal grandmother {who I never had the priveledge of knowing, outside of Marmi's memories}. And Dillon wanted to call her Gracie, so that is her middle name. One day, there will be official papers that say those things...until then...we know she's ours in the end {though it doesn't stop us from praying daily that this adoption moves a little faster}.


And I can't believe it's been 2 years. 

She is wild & zany. She loves to laugh, and she loves any form of mischief. She now understands {fully} how to push her brother's buttons, and she annoys him on a daily basis.

She is our joy, our laughter around here. There is {quite literally} NEVER a dull moment with her around. She knows what she wants and wants it NOW. She is stubborn, and tends to have anger management issues {so early in life}.

She loves music and really loves to sing. If she sees anything that remotely reminds her of Elmo, she sings "La, la, la-la, La, la, la-la" at the TOP of her lungs and hopes others will sing along.

She is obsessed with Dora, Princesses {"pay-sayses"}, and Elmo. And she is enamored by all things animal. She loves to "read" books, and she is starting to use 2-3 word phrases and communicating better.

She is gorgeous. Those blue eyes and blonde hair...a story for another day, but an answer to my prayers. She is a hugger, and she loves deeply.

She loves THIS GUY more than anything. {And he reciprocates, as you can see in this picture.}


She's a Daddy's girl sometimes, and a Momma's girl others. And I'll take it.

And the only time she likes to snuggle is in the middle of the night when something has woken her out of her slumber. And again...I'll take it.


Gracie - a few days before your birthday, and a few more days before our "Gotcha Day," I'm celebrating that moment...the one where we first found out about you.

We are so blessed. How could we ask for more?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Funny thing about grief. How it comes in waves.

How one minute, you're giggling with your 7 year old over a silly book, and the next minute, you're fighting tears because of a memory.

A beautiful memory...a funny one...a sad one...or just in general remembering what a total goofball your Grampa was.

How do we cherish the moments we have with those we love? How do we make the most of our time?

Because, I tell ya what...tonight, I miss my Grampa Vic. And so I will therapeutically write...

Dear Gramps (he chuckled when I called him that):

I thought of you tonight while reading Big D a book about Jesus. It mentioned some of the questions we might have when we get to heaven...some silly ("Why did you make spiders have 8 legs and humans only 2?") and some serious ("I wonder if Grandma is doing well and if she's making friends in heaven."). And there it was - a flood of memories and emotion. {Try explaining that to my 7 year old.}

Sometimes my husband does a perfect impression of your laugh...you know the one...the belly laugh. And it makes me giggle and smile remembering you and all the things you laughed about. Some of it was honestly lost on me, and a piece of me wishes I would have asked about it.

Duck tape is all the rage in Kid's Ministry...that makes me think of you. Though you would NEVER have gone for checkered, dotted, or fire-laden ones, you certainly always had plenty of the old gray stuff. And you used it for everything from car repairs, clothing malfunctions, bruises, and my personal favorite: open wounds {smh -_-}.

For some reason, mashed potatoes reminds me of you. It's something Grandma would fix a lot when we were there, and it always grossed me out when you just piled all your food together and just...dug in. And you would chuckle at me, and say, "What? It's all going to the same place...them's gonna stick to your ribs."

If you saw how big D & Miss R are getting, I'm sure you would have some classics to say (that only you would say): "Where's the bricks? I need to put one on your head to keep you from growing." And that hug...more of a chokehold than an embrace...but at least we knew what to expect with you.

I'm so thankful for all the memories I have with you. Sometimes I wish I would have just grabbed a pair of cowboy boots that you offered (every.single.time. we came to visit). Who woulda known they'd be "in" again? Both my kids would LOVE to have a pair, and how fun would it be to have those stories to tell about your hoarding of all things...non-essential.

I miss you.

And I do you, too...

Friday, August 2, 2013


Ever feel like you're just...under attack? Maybe you have this big huge project to strive for...work for...plan for...and even execute. But your sights are unable to set on this said project because it appears/feels/seems like "life" is swirling all around you. It's confusing. It's sad. It's unsteady. It's hard. It's messy. And most of all, it's unknown.

This is where I am tonight. VBS is just ahead (a huge project that I love and am passionate about...also part of my job description, as far as I know). It starts a mere few days away. And this week, I've been plugging away at all the tasks at hand (though there are still a million to do). But my focus...it's not there.

My focus is on me. Health issues, concerns, problems, pain, issues, and about 300 unanswered questions.

Yet tonight...I was able to stand on Holy Ground...A random series of events led our church to have an "impromptu" worship gathering tonight...a hundred or so of my family gathered in the presence of Jesus and sang praises. There's something about the corporate worship setting that gives me clarity like nothing else. Maybe it's my music roots...the effect of music on my soul...but clarity was found tonight.

The first song sung was "Blessed Be Your Name." A beautiful, slow, acoustic version. And to be honest, it's not one of my favorite songs. I mean...I love it. I love how scripture is just straight up sung in the song. I guess I just mean that it's not necessarily one of my "go to" worship songs right now.

And then this part came: "Blessed be your name when the road's marked with suffering, though there's pain in the offering, blessed be your name." And I had to stop singing. Did I mean it? Do I really want to bless His name when I don't know what He's doing...when I don't know what the future holds? When I don't know if my hopes and dreams are about to be shattered around me?

And then this part came: "Every blessing you pour out, I'll turn back to praise. When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say, "Blessed be the name of the Lord..." And my heart cried, "YES! I will bless your name. Because the one thing I know...is that You are good. Your plans for me are good." And I will...with tears filling my eyes...praise.YOUR.name.

And the follow up song? "Your Grace is Enough."

The lyrics that hit home: "Your grace is enough," "You use the weak to lead the strong," and then more of the "Your grace is enough" over and over.

I don't know what's going on. I don't understand the timing. I don't want to be devastated. But you know what? Sometimes this is just how it is.

Jesus, you are enough. Your grace is enough.

I open my hands, I give you all that's swirling around me.

And I will bless your name through it all...

"I don't know what You're doing, but I know who You are." {See below video for a great song by JJ Heller with these lyrics.}

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My new favorite...

I remember always admiring them...how they are different than anything you've ever seen.
I love that they are white.
I love to see a single one or a million in a field.
And I love, love, love to watch the seeds fly as wind, breath, or air take them away.

And I remember how shocked I was when I found out they were weeds. Not just any weed, but a pesky one at that. One that was hard to get under control...and surprisingly one that most people (in general) hated. {gasp!}


I still get giddy when I get to blow a full white puffy dandy. I'm in awe that God would create something so beautiful that has very little purpose in life, though as you would have it, I have found that they're not ALL pesky. Dandy's can be quite beneficiary all across the board, which I won't bore you with.

All this to say...it's my new favorite image. Lisa Leonard took this amazing pic and put it on IG this week, which prompted me to really think about them.

And I have.

Life is short. I mean...SHORT. So many people have had so many really rough journeys. And some days my journey seems...so...unbearable (for lack of a better word). And moments...they're like the seeds. They are GONE in but an instant. And then life is never the same again.

And so I want to cherish the "seedlet moments." Because they won't be mine forever. They'll be carried away by tomorrow and blown to and fro, and I'll be left holding this...life...with memories and joys and heartaches. And I want to be able to smile in the loss of those moments. I want to be able to breathe those moments in...and really live.

Not just check things off my list (which I'm obsessive about).
Not just "get through" until bedtime.
Not just waiting out this busy week.
Not just "making do" until something better comes along.


With people I love. And places I love to be. And smells and memories and melodies and pure JOY in the midst of it all.

Because life is chaotic. But it sure is beautiful...and gone in a few puffs of wind...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The "P" Word

I just don't have it. I mean...I've worked with kids my whole life. And there are days I totally nail it, but some days...I just don't have it.

And I want to have more of it. I want to be patient {the "P" word}. I really do.

And then the house is trashed and Miss R somehow gets in the bathroom and unravels an entire roll of toilet paper. And D only does his chores half-way and then the "Cleaning lady" - ahem - I mean the dishes didn't do themselves {and are piling up endlessly}. Not to mention the piles of paperwork and to-do lists that never seem to get smaller. My nerves get shot. And then patience goes right down the drain.

So then the hyper active 7 year old and the temper-tantrum-throwing toddler need a fresh loving face and instead get the worst of me. The non-patient me.

I am confident I'm not alone. But I'm also confident it doesn't have to be this way.

We're doing our summer "Boot Camp" on Fruits of the Spirit @ church. And it's so very interesting how God is talking with me about these "fruits" that are {and should be} growing in my life.

Tonight, I had a treat for each child {a starburst}, but if they were PATIENT and waited to the end of the night, the treat would be far greater {a secret to them, but it was an entire pack of candy}. About 30% of them chose to wait, agonizing and watching their friends eat their starbursts right in front of them. But I assured them, their treat would be greater if they could wait. They did, and they were so happy and surprised to get a starburst PLUS a whole pack of candy at the end of the night. 

And as I retold it, I got a little catch in my throat. I need to remember this in my life, too. And I'm holding out for the greater blessings ahead. But I'm not going to lie - Patience is not my strong point OR easy in any way, shape or form. But I know God will grow it in me as I dwell in Him.

Because it IS all about dwelling in him. How else will we grow these fruits? And how many of those fruits still need to grow in my life? So many, though I do see evidence of the work and growing that has gone on.

In the area of love, I have truly. truly grown. God has used people, situations, and long, hard conversations to understand that that's all we're REALLY here to do...love. {See this post for more details.}

So, I look forward to a future blog post...the one where I can talk to you about God's work in my life regarding patience. Because there are many things on my heart that I'm pleading with God about. And I hear Him whispering {through a PreK lesson on patience} that the best is yet to come. The best. Is yet. To come.

And so I wait.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Father's Day...a day to reflect and give extra love to the Daddys in our life.

This guy.

The kidlets both adore him. I mean...it's just beyond anything I've seen before. And it's well deserved. I'd rather them be influenced by his temperament and personality than mine. :)

He laughs with them, he tickles. He sings and is so very silly sometimes. He walks with them, and most everything he does, he tries to do WITH them, which is so fun to watch. Big D things he's "the stuff" when Daddy lets him help out. Baby R literally squeals when she sees him. It's precious.

So, Mr Mayor - thanks for being the best Daddy for our kidlets. Thanks for loving them more than humanly possible. Thanks for the sacrifices that you give...constantly. Your influence is great. And the little things you do matter in a really big way. :)

This guy.


He's got four strong-willed, independent, smart {and sassy} grown adults for kids. We all picked fantastic spouses {if I do say so myself}, and so far, we've given him 13 wild & zany grandchildren {and growing}.

He's always been full of wisdom, but as an adult, I see it more and rely on it at times. I am thankful he's only a phone call away. And I'm thankful that he's not just my dad, but my friend.

Daddy - thanks for all the laughs, corny jokes, and silliness. I literally would not have remembered things if it had not been for you being goofy and coming up with rhymes for it.

Below are some of his favorite words from the Word {Lamentations 3}. And I often, as I miss him, will look on these words and just soak them in. Because aren't they beautiful? And so true. And so refreshing. I'm thankful for a Daddy who lived this out in front of us. I don't know what life would have looked like without you...but I'm thankful to be yours. {I love you, Daddy-o!}


This guy.

Those fierce blue eyes love me deeply, this I am sure. I am thankful for quiet moments on the porch, loud moments in the workshop, wet moments near water side, and life moments throughout them all. Thank you, Grandpa, for being a steady influence of goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness in my life. I love you more than words can say!

And this guy.

He's celebrating his first Father's Day in Heaven with God, the Father. And today, even though I'm happy for him, my heart aches for him and for my aunts, uncle, & mom...A reminder that we're just not home yet.

Thankful for his silliness and obsession with duck-tape. I'm thankful for his generosity the way he loved all his family. But mostly, I'm thankful for his deep love for God and what that looked like lived out in life.

I am a truly blessed lady, to have {or have had} these men in my life. Their influence will not be known this side of heaven, but I'm thankful for it anyway.

Read past Father's Day posts here & here.

Friday, June 14, 2013

I'm Proud of You

Tonight as I tucked you in, I squeezed you and told you how proud of you I was.

Imagine my shock...my dismay...my surprise when you asked why...

So I told you. I told you as many things as I possibly could in that moment. That I was proud of your soccer skills, how you are focused and determined out on that field. I told you I was proud of the friend you are. I told you I was proud of how smart you are and that I can't wait to watch God's plan unfold for your life.

But I'm proud of you for so much more.

I'm proud of who you are. I'm so glad that you love Jesus. I watch you with your sister and am in awe...even when you're annoyed with her, you're loving. I'm so proud of the brother you are.

I'm proud of the helper you are around the house. I literally couldn't handle this place without you (so that means you can never leave!). I'm proud of the builder you are. You can make ANYTHING out of legos. Anything. And that's just awesome.

I'm proud of the reader you are. Your interest in books is so fun to watch, and I can't wait to start our next read-aloud book. Sometimes I think you understand on a deeper level than I do...it's pretty impressive. I love to watch you read to Miss Ruby.

I'm proud of all the things you've overcome already in life. You have no idea...or maybe you do and just keep holding your cards close. Nothing in this life is going to phase you, and you are going to do great things...this I am sure.

I am proud of the things you're passionate about: cars, legos, having friends over, Wild Kratts, learning, soccer, Ninja Turtles, Transformers, etc...And I love learning about these things right beside you...because Momma just doesn't know about these things.

I'm proud that you ask a million questions. Some people are annoyed by this in their children, but not me. Every time we learn something new, we grow brain cells {really! We do!}. So ask away, my love! Let's grow your (my) brain!

I'm proud to have you for a son. I love spending all these extra hours with you this summer. I can't imagine my life without you.

And please...don't ever forget...I'm proud of you.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Faves {7} - letter style

Dear my view from the kitchen sink:
Thank you for that.
How could I ask for more?

Thanks for the great day with my kids and some friends.
Miss R loved "driving" the tractor.
Big D loved shooting balls to targets from the 2 story "tree house."
And me?  I loved being enveloped in a giant bubble. How have I lived this long without experiencing that?

Dear dentist:
Thanks for working quickly on my little man.
Thanks for telling me he's the best patient you ever had. 
He sure was brave, wasn't he?

Dear Big D:
You amaze me. 6 cavities and a root canal on a baby molar...and no flinch.
Not even when they gave you the shots.
And it was super cute when you tried to talk for the next 4 hours...{hehehe}

This painting touched me as an adoptive momma {who might not be finished yet}.
That baby boy is just waiting...you can see it on his face.

Thank you, Jesus, for knowing all my children before I ever do...hold on to them until I can...

Dear cheap popsicles: 
Thanks for bringing Miss R so much joy. She loved her first one this week!
Also, can you please have more red per package, as those are the only ones I love? K, thanks!

Dear Big D:
Vacuum? Yes, please! 
Thanks for finding joy in chores, for it makes me find joy in mine.
I love having you home.

Dear kidlets:
I literally can't imagine life without you.
Please keep loving each other {and being so photogenic}.

And Rachel @ Finding Joy - thanks for doing this every Friday, even though I only have done it 7 times. You inspire me.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Praying Through the ABCs

After much ado at Christmas-time, I decided to add a little fun to my BLAH crappy white kitchen cabinets by adding ribbon and cute little clips to hold Christmas cards of ones I love.

And then I took them down. Yesterday. Yes. 5/29. Better late than never, right? :)

I loved the color the ribbon brought, but what to put up there? Pics? Yea, but I don't EVER keep up with printing them in a timely manner (like I have NONE of Miss R on our fridge yet, and she's 20 months old), so no.

And then it hit me! I won these cards a few years back (and actually printed them then, too), but never had a great way to display them (and therefore rarely use them). They're fantastic! Praying for your Kids through the ABCs. Just fantastic.

Rebecca @ Better Life Bags designed them. She sells them in her shop, as well. They're fab. {She also has ones for praying for your hubs and praying through your pregnancy...all great gift ideas for people you love.}


So, here we are. Since I only have 4 wall cabs, they're kinda crammed up there, but one will be our family verse of the week, so it will be down on display somewhere else.


Dresses up my cabs while keeps my eyes on what matters - praying for my kidlets. And oh, the discussions they will bring up. Looking forward to it.


And my personal favorite {at the moment} - for I never want my kidlets to struggle like I do with this idea of unconditional love. I plead with God, as we memorize these Words together - that my family will be transformed by the words on my kitchen cabs.


And thanks, Rebecca, for making these so all I have to do is pray 'em. :) What a good momma you are!

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I hear her voice on the phone. It's layered with guilt & shame. She doesn't want to tell me but at the same time, she does. And she's scared to death of how I will react.

She's scared I will judge her.
She's scared I will be angry with her.
She's scared I will be disappointed in her.
She's scared I will think differently of her.
She's maybe even scared she will lose me.

And when the ugly truth comes out, the only thing I have is more love. My heart hurts for her...aches for the troubles of this life. I cried with her and listened as she poured out all the ugly - And It. Was. Ugly.

Because life is ugly sometimes. Sin is ugly. People are cruel and selfish. The Bible doesn't hide these things. The Psalmist spends almost as much time agonizing as he does praising. And there's a piece of me that is so very thankful that our Word is real in that way - because somehow, it helps me to cope with the ugly.

But more than anything else, I long to be a place of healing for her...for her to understand that the ways I have maybe reacted in the past were WRONG. I should never have quoted Bible verses that condemn, for that's not what those truths are there for. I should ever have given her advice so that people won't see the ugly pieces of life. I should have never made her feel guilty, no matter what. {No.Matter.What.}

No more pretending, you know? No one is perfect, outside of Jesus, who was our ultimate example and also is our absolute Way to the Father. Absolute. Only. Way.

And there's no condemnation in Him. None. {read Romans 8 for more details}

If I am in Him {which I am}, and I am to be more like him {which I am - read Philippians 2 for more details}, then there should be no condemnation in me {whether it's for myself or giving out to others}.

Did Jesus support sin? No. Did He encourage it? No. Did He excuse it? No. Over and over and over, he said "Go & sin no more." That's it. "Stop it. I love you. Don't do it anymore. You are free." That's what He says.

Fellow Jesus-lovers, we sometimes get lost on our way to "good things." There are hurting people...in our homes, in our church, in our family, in our friend circle, at our work place. How we react will either point people to Jesus or turn them from Him. And judging {condemning} them will not point them to Christ, this I am sure.

So, sweet friend, the one struggling with hidden sin...the one hiding behind her own shame...STOP. There's no condemnation. None.

And Jesus-loving friends, seriously...STOP. Don't talk if you're going to be judgmental. There's no place for that in Him.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Day of Firsts...

I always thought I'd be a great "keeper of firsts," since I love scrapbooking so much. Unfortunately lack of time & energy have stiffled that dream. But for today - I will write down today's firsts to remember forever.

Today was Mister's first meeting as the Mayor of our fine village. {He's cute, though he'll be mad I said that b/c "what kind of mayor lives by the train tracks AND gets called 'cute'?"}

In order to be present and take pictures of our very memorable day, I *needed* Big D to be good. And he was! It was so refreshing! {I may or may not have bribed him with playground time if he could just.be.good.for.a.few.minutes. Is it asking too much?}

And though she's cute here, Baby R got her first busted lip just mere moments after all the fun was had tonight. And she rode the big girl swing - that makes TWO firsts today! Baby swings aren't her favorite, so I was surprised at her interest. But she let her Uncle Steve push her for quite a while. A still toddler...so THAT'S what that looks like! {I kid...nope...I don't. She's never still.}

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Momma Mia...

Though this is FOUR days late (for good reason - a story for another day), I want to give credit where credit is due. If you know my Marmi, then you know why I think so highly of her. She's amazing. Hands down. She gives and gives and gives and gives and gives of herself...and then she wakes up and does it all over again.

Few days go by without hearing her voice, and even if it's a 2 minute re-cap of my day amidst a screaming toddler and a rowdy boy, it's still 2 minutes where she's all mine.

I could write blog after blog about her, but instead, I'll keep it simple: I want to be like her when I grow up.

She plays with her grandkids (really  plays...not just enjoys them). She keeps up with all of her kids (and some of our friends). She may even be a saint in my book for having four under the age of 5 back in the day. She serves people by day as she's loving them into the Kingdom. She has this resilient spirit, but mostly she just brightens a room as she walks in it. She never stops. Ever.

This week, though, my sister & I exchanged a glance and a few tears as we watched our mom go through some of the hardest hours she's known. As great of a mom as she is, she's an even better wife to my Daddy. And really, isn't that part of being a great mom? {Oh, to learn this now!}

Watching helplessly as the love of your life lays hurting in a hospital bed has to be the saddest thing.
And we watched her do it.
And comb his hair.
And pull blankets on and off and on and off.
And advocate for his meds when they weren't coming fast enough.
And kissing him on the forehead every once in a while just to make sure he knew she was there.
And shedding tears in the hallway so he wouldn't see them.

So I'm sitting here thankful for the example of love that she is to me. Not only to my siblings & I, our kids, and really anyone who comes in her path - but also to my dad {who is on the up & up today after an agonizing week}.

And I'm thankful for these two. Who both surprised me and changed me by calling me by a new name: Momma.

How could I ask for more?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Faves {6}

So much to be thankful for. So sad that I don't do this more regularly. I'm linking up with Finding Joy here.

friday favorite things | finding joy

This is Big D on his "Gotcha Day." For those of you who don't speak "Adoptionese," that means it's the anniversary of the day we got him! I blogged about it on his first Gotcha Day. He picks out his own clothes, and he insisted on ruining a perfectly good dress outfit dressing up "just like Da-da" for school. He even tucked his shirt in. #cute.

As many of you saw on FB, my Mister was elected Mayor of our sweet little Village this week. I'm so very proud of him and excited that a dream of his is coming true. He told me when we were dating this would happen...just don't think either of us knew it would be this soon. He'll do amazing. Excited to watch God work through him in this capacity. #lovehim

The sweetest little batch of weeds dandelions. Yea, I know they're weeds, but for a kid who struggles sometimes just to say "I love you," these words speak volumes. Volumes, I tell ya, to this one tired momma. #that'sme

This face. Those blue eyes. She's the reason there is no down time from morning until night. She just is always moving, going, climbing, being, doing, screaming, or mischieving...if that's even a word. And yet, she is always smiling, laughing, giggling, and singing, too...so we must be doing something right. #ihopeso

I'm thankful for outside weather. We've had a few playground weather days, but just not having to wear coats all the time is refreshing. #ilovespring

So many other things to be grateful for. I will keep counting them, for it is a reason to move on, keep on keepin' on. It helps my perspective and helps me see Jesus in my moments, whether they're chaotic or not.