The day I got married, one of my closest friends looked me in the eye and said "God has many wild and wonderful things ahead for you and Jeremy."

Being called mom by 7 kids is definitely wild. Each day I look for the wonder in it all...and give thanks.

Partnering with my husband in life, parenting, work and serving is definitely wonderful. He is my favorite.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thanksgiving at Christmas!

So I have been promising an adoption update----
Here it is!

I don't know any other way to start except with the best part about it---

our Dossier successfully arrived in Colombia!!


For those of you unfamiliar with the international adoption osbtacle course, this is a pretty big, amazing, happy hallelujah time!  We still have one more necessary piece that we are waiting on this side of the border, but everything else is there, patiently waiting in line on the translator's desk.

We are T-H-A-N-K-F-U-L!

As I look back over the last 4 months, I have so much to be thankful for.  When I call the process an obstacle course (or triathlon for that matter),  it's no joke.

A few have asked, "What's easier, domestic or international?"  The verdict is still out on that question, but I am brewing another post on it.

Right now, we are giving thanks, waiting, praying, reading, praying,
giving thanks, giving thanks, giving thanks!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dear Birthmother,

You have really been on my mind.  I guess with Christmas approaching and thinking of the kids, guessing how they are probably thinking more about you this time of year. 

Perhaps they are missing how it used to be


being with you.

I can only imagine how you must miss them, adore them, ache for them, love them.  I hurt for you as you redefine your life without them...
not able to provide. 

As you long to talk with them and hold them again...

and cannot.

I don't know if we would ever have the opportunity to meet, but I hope that you would be comforted in knowing how much we love them, adore them, treasure them.  I hope it would ease your broken heart to know that we accept them, all of them, their joys, their hopes, their dreams, their hurts, their history. 

the part of them that misses you
and grieves.

I pray for you.  I pray the Lord is close to you.  I pray His blessing on you this Christmas where ever you are.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My point exactly...

I forgot to add two more verses that I wanted to put with my last post about not having it all together. 

Psalm 138:7-8 (which precedes one of my favorite chapters in the Bible)...

"The Lord will accomplish what concerns me"
(would have been perfect right after the part about
He works...)

Told ya

In case you think I have it all together

Occasionally I stop by different blogs and facebook and I see all the great things going on in other people's lives.  And sometimes I think,

"Really??  Is it always that glorious??"

And it got me to thinking about what people might think when they stop by here from time to time.  So just to make it perfectly clear, with no misunderstanding....

I do NOT have it all together!

In fact, lately I feel like I have been carrying buckets full of water. 

Not just a beach pail,
I mean big ol' 5 gallon buckets...

...all filled to the brim
and most of the time I am just inching my way by
sloshing all over the place
getting myself soaked and muddy.

Sometimes I put one bucket down just to make some headway with the others that are pulling me down.  But then I have to run back and catch that forsaken bucket up--

usually right after I really needed it.

Thankfully, I have really.good.friends.  I mean the kind of friends that don't mind me getting them wet.  Friends that will carry one or two buckets for me awhile.  Friends that come to my rescue when I trip and spill every drop.

Thank you, Lord, for these friends.

So I have been struggling with what to do with these buckets of mine.  I have been asking God if He wants to take one or two and give them to someone else........for good.  I mean someone else could probably do a much better job, it would literally be for good

(Just so you know I am not referring to any of my children or my spouse as a "bucket") ;-)

And I am hearing Him say "Hold on." 

I recently read Katie Davis' new book Kisses From Katie and one of the many lessons I learned from her story is that God absolutely gives us more than we can handle.  Because it is at that point, in the middle of our weakness and our inadequacy where His strength is made perfect. 

He works. 
And He gets the credit.
As He should.

One verse I cling to when it seems like I am asking for the impossible or I am sinking in my weakness is Jeremiah 32:27 

Nothing is too difficult for Him.  So I am holding on.  I am waking up, breathing a prayer as I step out of bed each morning, and drinking in His Word as I drink my coffee in my favorite spot on my brown couch.

I know each day is full and busy. 
But He is God
and He is at work. 
Making my weaknesses evident so that He can make His power complete.

Adoption update is coming soon--promise!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

An important update is coming soon (get ready to celebrate with us!) but right now we are in the middle of the very important business of dipping all kinds of favorite treats into almond bark and adding red and green sprinkles!
s'mores on a stick
thanks for the idea, Amanda!

Today we had a semi-spontaneous "Christmas Party" with the cousins and it was scrumptious! 

 Will gave up after about 5 minutes and started eating his

Making treats...
I think I could start an idea book for 101 yummy things to dip in almond bark

Decorating the tree with my parents...

spending time with family...every smile, every hug
brought joy, thankfulness...healing

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chosen Marathon

We (Jeremy, his mom, two good friends and me) participated in the Chosen Marathon (1/2 marathon for us!) today--a marathon that is specifically for orphans around the world to find forever families.  Running with 1500 people who all were running for someone impacted by adoption was.....

I wanted to ask everyone I ran with to tell me their story. 

Who were they running for?

I saw pictures pinned to runner's backs and posters from cheering spectators with their kids' photos and it was! 

I don't really know if you can get much closer to God's heart than when you take care of the fatherless.

Today I felt like we were running with the heart of God.

Monday, October 10, 2011

¿Me acompañas?

Will you join me? 

We heard this question a million times when the kids were here.  The youngest asked it every time he wanted to do something, try something new, or even go into another room.  Looking at his eager face, his curious green eyes, and sweet voice---these became my favorite words.

¿Me acompañas?

I heard those words before from our God.  When we first got the email just before a weekend away together. 
I can tell you what I am learning about saying yes.  Recently, Jeremy and I participated in some triathlons and we had the whole weekend to ourselves.  (sigh)  The day we headed out, I got an email from a friend who shares our love for the orphan.  Orphan Hope International was looking for families to host about 17 orphans from Colombia.  They would be coming to the States for 3 weeks this summer in hopes to connect with forever families. 

These kids are close to aging out.

As I was on the bike (my 2nd least favorite part of the tri, the swim being my least favorite), I was thinking

shoulders down, butt back, cadence high....

AND about all the opportunities around us to love kids who do not have moms and dads.

We had recently talked about "when do we say no?"

And we are finding that for us, at this time, as we see opportunity around us (right here, right now), as we wait on the Lord, as we plan our next Rwanda mission trip, as we start a new chapter with homeschooling, as we seek His face, to know His heart more, and desire to follow Him...

we can't say no.

We will say YES. 

YES to whatever. 

And let Him say "No."

This is not the final part to "Saying YES"
It is still being written.

¿Me acompañas?

Between April and July we had minor paperwork & training to complete, and I remember putting on our application we would host up to 3 kids.  We soon received a call from one of the directors because there was a special situation with a sibling group of 4 kids between the ages of 5-12.  Evidently, we were the only host family that said we would take more than one or two kids.  Jeremy got the call and said he would check with me first, but he already knew it would take half a second for me to say yes.

Really, what's one more?

¿Me acompañas?

My thoughts the day we found out their names.....
June 5
Today we found out names and actual ages of the kids coming from Colombia with the vacation host program.  It means so much to know their names.  They are not just orphans from Colombia anymore.  We had a very informative and wonderful meeting with a representative from Colombia.  I am so thankful to have had that meeting and I gained new understanding....understanding of the perspective of the kids and the workers who long for every child to have a forever family.
Now I can pray for them by name.

and when I saw pictures of them the first time...
June 15
Today we received an email with pictures of the kids.  I was so excited to see their pictures.  Before I opened the email I wondered if I would be looking at the faces of OUR children.  Jeremy had thought about the same thing.  I noticed the language in the email said, "Pictures of your kids!"  Your kids.  That popped out at me and sunk in.  Were these my kids?
As I looked at each picture, I began to have mixed emotions.  I have this faint feeling of sadness and I don't quite know how to explain it.  I studied their faces.  I looked deep into their eyes.  I began to ask, "what's your story?"  Each one looked different, had unique features.  Each one beautiful.  I don't know why, I don't understand why I do this, but I looked for characteristics in each one that were similar to my family.  Why do we do this??
I can't wait to meet them!  Can't wait!

¿Me acompañas?

And I saved the best for last.  The night Jeremy and I talked about these kids and the "A" word in one conversation....
June 9
Lately we have been staying up too late and getting up early.  So tonight Jeremy comes to bed late and just before he gets in bed he says he wants to tell me what he thinks about the kids coming over from Colombia.  We know their names, but we have not seen pictures, and do not know any history yet.

He really kinda surprised me.  First of all, that he initiated the conversation was amazing in itself.  And more so because of what he shared.  I hear him begin with, "I think we may adopt these kids."  I got that feeling that I had back in 2006 when he said he really wanted to pursue adoption and wanted me to check out a couple agencies.  FEAR.  It's weird because all this time I am dreaming, praying, hoping, and wondering where our next kids are, and when he says something that means we move forward, I am like,

"REALLY?  Are you sure???"

I am quiet as he reveals his thoughts.  He asks if I am asleep.

Uh, NO.
I just don't want to interrupt.  I want to hear what HE thinks.  What he REALLY thinks. 

So he goes on to say that he believes we COULD adopt these kids AND other kids too.

(what? other kids too?  that's like enough kids for our own soccer team!)

Fear begins to turn into awe and then excitement.

He continues...."What's really important?  Am I going to say no to adoption because I'm worried about how we will pay for college, weddings, quinceaneras??  Will we change how we spend money and what we "store up?" 


"The bottom line is that our treasure is in Heaven.  What's more important?  Storing up treasures on earth or having the PRIVILEGE of being the parents of these 4 kids?"

(and you thought just I was crazy)

¿Me acompañas?

That's the question we heard again the week after they left.  God asking us, "Will you join me?  Will you really trust Me?"  That week after they were gone, as we were silent and seeking Him, we heard Him asking that question and asking us to lay down our dreams, our plans, our future.

As I look into His face and listen to His sweet voice through His Word, I think what a privilege to be asked to join Him.  How merciful and gracious He is to us! 

¿Me acompañas? 
These have become my favorite words.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Where are we?

Still here!  I'm coming up for air.  We are still swimming in paperwork but I can see the transition area ahead (If you are not familiar with the triathlon, you have a transition area that you go to after the swim.  And then again after the bike.  It's where you get your bike and your running shoes.)
 (my first tri in 2008)

(Emily's first tri)
This adoption process feels kind of like a tri.  I have never done an Ironman (and really don't plan to at this point in my life) but I have done an Olympic and QuarterIron.  And I can say about both that it takes training, endurance, strength, perseverance, flexibility, and determination.  These same qualities I need as we navigate through the process of bringing 4 more kids home.

It's really kind of funny to see the look on people's faces when they find out we are adopting 4 kids....and that we already have three.  Mouths usually drop, eyes grow larger, and we either get, "Wow, you are crazy." or "I'll be praying for you" or "Wow, God is good."  That's my favorite.

God is good.

So why four more kids?  Why these kids?

You have to look back over my blog to see how God has moved.  Like when He showed me this verse last November
I Thessalonians 3:11

Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you...
And last January I wrote about how I missed the son we do not know yet...
Everyday I think about him.  I don't know who he is yet and I don't know if he will come with siblings.  But I missed him on Christmas day when we were opening presents.  I missed him at church the other day when we got there a little late and had to sit on the second row.  (can you guess what kind of church I attend?) =)  We were all sitting there, all 5 of us, and I looked at the empty chair next to Wesley...missing him.
In March I shared about BIG DREAMS and how I finally came to my homeschool decision.  One of the reasons I wanted to start homeschooling this year was because I knew adoption was on the horizon....adoption of an older kid, maybe a sibling group, maybe from another country, and I wanted to have a year of homeschool under my belt before trying it new with everybody....whoever that everybody might be.

God was working on us and showing us many opportunities right here, right now to enlarge our family.  And we just started saying YES (yes there are 4 posts to that story!)

And we let Him say "No"

And He did say "no" or at least "not now" to a couple of opportunities.

Fast forward to July when we met 3 out of the 4.  How the girls shared a room with Emily and Wesley shared a room with the boy.

How quickly we bonded. 

How easily we loved.

Jeremy and I did not talk much about it the first week they were gone.  We knew we would make a decision soon but we needed to let everything sink in.  The day I put them on the plane to go back to Colombia, I came home and went to bed at 6:30 pm. 
It was hard to say good-bye. 
I really hate good-byes.

After a week of praying and listening, we knew.  Jeremy said he quit praying, "Lord, is this the right thing to do?" because he knew it was the RIGHT thing to do.  He started praying,

"Lord, give me the courage to do what you want me to do."

Like when we read stories in the Old Testament of God speaking to the Israelites and telling them to do something and they don't do it and we think, "You idiot!  Isn't it obvious?  Hello--God TOLD you."

Anyone reading our story, how it started as God opened our hearts to adoption the first time 5 years ago, how he gently started nudging again 3 years ago, how He showed us we could love an older child just as much as an infant.  So we pray and ask Him to show us where our children are and home! 

How could we say, "Oh, no these are not them.  Show us where our children are..."

Hmmm this post is getting long.  I have more to share but I need to get to bed.  Thanks for checking in and I will come again soon.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Notice anything different?

If you have come by my blog recently you saw some recent posts about our time with the Colombian kids that came to visit for 3 weeks.  Well I had to remove those posts that included pictures because.......

we are....

officially EXPECTING!!

We are very excited (and nervous and cautious and thrilled) to start the adoption process to bring home FOREVER the 4 (yes FOUR) beautiful, wonderful, energetic, unique children that we had the privilege of hosting.

We are swimming in paperwork now, getting used to our new homeschool schedule, and staying very busy with work so little by little, I will share how we got here.....

In the meantime, keep ALL of us in your prayers.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gotcha Day!

We celebrated Savannah's 4th birthday June 13th (4th birthday!! cannot believe it!) and I'll share more about the Birthday celebrations below, but today is

Gotcha Day

Gotcha Day is the day we met Savannah and she became ours--June 28, 2007.  Since she was born 11 weeks prematurely, she was still in the NICU when we found out about her. 

We met her birthparents and the birthfather's parents before we met Savannah.

Her birthfather introduced us to Savannah.

You can read all about our adoption experience with Savannah starting here--it's a story I love to read over and over.  NOT because I wrote it, but because only GOD could have pulled that off.  I am in awe of His work and that He lets us in on it.  WOW!

Savannah is into everything princess and ballerina.  So we had a Princess Ballerina Dress Up Birthday Party.  We just invited family, but she was as happy as could be because she was getting to dress up with her cousins.

Happy Birthday Savannah!
We thank God He brought us to you June 28, 2007!

Friday, June 24, 2011

How's your dash?

Today I went to the funeral of a person we have done business with for several years.  Although we did not know this person up close and personal, we are friends with the family and enjoy working with them.  I am still pondering some things that was shared in the eulogy. 

One story the pastor shared was about a man and his son walking through a cemetery and talking about the names of family members that had passed on.  The boy asked his dad what the numbers meant, and he explained the first date was their birth and the second was the date of their death.  The boy continued his questioning with, "what does the dash mean?"  The father replied, "That's the most important part."

It got me thinking....

How is my dash?

When I am gone, what will people say about me? 
About my life?

God keeps bringing to my attention His words in Matthew.  When He does that--when He keeps showing me the same truth in different places through different people, songs, and sermons, I know I need to stop and listen.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matt. 6: 19-21). 

treasures in heaven

A blog friend of mine, calls each of her children "treasures".  I think about the orphans coming to spend 3 weeks with us in July.  Each one a treasure....

I pondered more during the eulogy as I listened to what his children and grandchildren said about him, I couldn't help but to wonder what my kids would say about me and my husband when we pass.  What would they remember?  What will they cherish when I'm gone?

In the same moment my mind (heart) went back to the kids we will have in our home in July who do not have a mom and dad.  They have no inheritance.  No family to make memories with.  No dad to teach them Eskimo kisses.  No mom to hold them when they hurt.  No parents to celebrate their successes, their birthdays, or just them.

As I left the funeral, I prayed that I would let loose of any earthly treasure.  That my treasure would be in heaven.  That my "dash" would glorify God--that I would fully love, fully trust, fully hope in Him.  And that I would feed Him, clothe Him, give Him water, and serve Him faithfully everyday, as I look into His face in "the least of these."

How's your dash?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Generous people

There is something I have noticed about generous people in the last few weeks and I want to share it.  Recently we had our first fundraiser garage sale for our next Rwanda trip (leave a comment if you want more details about this trip).  Many many people donated items for the garage sale, and a few friends even gave of their time in pricing and helping on garage sale day.  ONE FAMILY even had their OWN garage sale the same weekend and gave us the money they made!!  You know who you are and you totally ROCK!

But this is the thing that I notice about these folks:
they give generously and abundantly of their time, money, and/or resources and to them,
it is no big deal...
like of course they would give so abundantly. 

They don't even think twice about it--it is just what they do.

And I am amazed by them.

I am utterly humbled and it just makes me want to
live generously,
give abundantly,
and be a wise steward of what we have been given.

I want to live like that!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Remembering Mamaw on her Birthday

My grandmother, who we called Mamaw or Little Mamaw, was born June 17, 1914.  "Little" was added to her name when my very large aunt became a Mamaw.  Don't worry, we did not call my aunt "Big Mamaw." 

That would just be rude, don't you think?

Little Mamaw passed away in April of 2008 and later that year, I wrote this song in honor of her--well, I wrote the words and gave my brother an idea for the tune and then he did the rest.  I wrote it from my dad's point of view and dedicated it to him.  If I can get it on youtube I'll share a link later.

The Way It Should Be

She was born in Arkansas
With eight brothers and sisters in all
The oldest girl in the family
Caring came quite easily

She caught Daddy’s eye one spring
It wasn’t long the church bells rang
In a few short years the kids came along
Life was hard but love was strong

Then the year when I left home
Mama called me on the phone
Daddy took his last breath
And she looked to the Lord when he was put to rest.

She cared for friends and family near
And told stories of memories dear
She thanked God for all she could
And her pride in her children was understood

Mama lived ‘til she was ninety-three
Filled with the love of her family
I tell you that’s the way that it should be
Yes I tell you that’s the way that it should be.

Verse 2
A kiss and “I love you, Hon”
Was what I got when I walked in
And that same sweet affection
When I walked out again

You ask her how she’s doin’,
She says she can’t complain
Yea she loves the sunshine
But she’ll take the rain

When the holidays would come
We’d find our way back home
We’d talk about the weather
And she’d say “Isn’t it good to be together”

She cared for friends and family near
And told stories of memories dear
She thanked God for all she could
And her pride in her children was understood

Mama lived ‘til she was ninety-three
Filled with the love of her family
I tell you that’s the way that it should be
Yes I tell you that’s the way that it should be.

She cared for friends and family near
And told stories of memories dear
She thanked God for all she could
And her pride in her children was understood

Mama lived ‘til she was ninety-three
Filled with the love of her family
I tell you that’s the way that it should be
Yes I tell you that’s the way that it should be.

In memory of Mamaw

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Wesley!

I posted this earlier this year, but today is this guy's 10th birthday.  Happy Birthday, son....

Wesley--I love this kid!

At age 9 Wesley brags to his friends that his mom can do the moonwalk and that she is a tetherball champion.

(I 6th grade.)

How much longer do you think that will last?

He likes to draw, paint, and make books.

Usually has something to do with Star Wars.

He loves both his sisters

but Savannah is his favorite.

There's no denying it!

I wish I could copy his entire Rwanda trip journal on here---but I don't think everyone else would enjoy it as much as I do.  (plus it took me a month to get my journal on here!)

So here are a few little tidbits about our Rwanda trip
 in his own words:

11.19.10 My favorite part about going through airport security is taking off my shoes, it is really fun.

11.20.10 When our 3rd plane landed in Kigali Rwanda everyone got really excited especially me!  But we all got there really late. And it is the night I got to sleep in Africa.  It's also the very first time I've been below the equator.  In other words the first time I've been to the southern hemisphere.  (hehehehehehe!!  love that!!!!!!)

11.24.10 Today in the morning we went to Home of Innocence.  We raced cars and built our 2nd rabbit hutch.  It was really fun until we went to the Gahanga orphanage.  Worst orphanage ever!  Then we went back to Christine's house to show us her house.  Finally we went back to Ms. Lisa's house to eat dinner.  We ate pizza and it was good.  I can't wait until thanksgiving day tomorrow but tonight me and my dad had a little talk about the Gahanga orphanage.  And he told me that some are offcast and really different and when you're doing it for them you're doing it for Jesus.

11.27.10  Today is our last day in Africa.  Imagine being in 3 continents in 1 day.  Africa, Europe, North America.

I love this kid!

He thinks a lot.

He asks questions.

He likes to be right, first, and doesn't want to miss out on anything.


He is competitive
Finishing his first triathlon

He loves to play games as a family. 

He enjoys, I mean, gets as giddy and tickled as can be when he knows something cool or funny is about to happen to somebody else.

Sometimes Jeremy calls him "ball"
~ which is short...

for goofball 

He has such a sweet heart.

Did I tell ya that I love this kid??