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.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Here’s a quick note 
To let you know how it goes 
In this big family of ours 

We work hard at school 
We take turns in sports 
And keep mom and dad plenty busy 

Our new family is learning 
Who we are and WHO we need 
And our journey is far from over 

But this Christmas we give thanks 
For who God is and what He has done
And we pray you know Him too 

Merry Christmas

You get the idea.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

One year later

 August 2011
when we first met

Lots has happened since we took that first picture. 
What I think about when I think about the year we went through the adoption process:

paperwork, training, preparation, God's provision. 

Jeremy said it best when he said

we trained for a 5K but we are running a marathon.

Nothing can completely prepare you.

But if you are in this part, you are in the adoption process, you are waiting, you are longing for that child, you are praying for them, you are reading everything, and you are missing them when you look in your rearview mirror and see an empty carseat, an empty bed, an empty chair at your table....
keep praying, keep reading, keep longing
and remember that
when you bring them home.

August 2012
gotcha day

I cannot fully explain all that has happened between these two pictures. 
And you probably don't want to hear it. 
What do I think about when I think about our first year together?

Refinement, exhaustion, blessing, grief.

July 2013
together almost a year

Grief because everybody--all 9 of us--grieve in some way the loss of what used to be.  
Nothing is the same for any of us.

Blessing because....we are blessed.  
Hearts transformed (my heart).  
Lives changed (my life).  
Jesus Christ is God with us.

Exhaustion....really....7 kids....what more is there to say?

This one is still in progress.
And it's painful (for me).
Conforming to the image of His Son.
Being transformed. 
 This is not a peaceful process.

Never in my life before have I ever been so aware of my need of Him.
Before adding 4 more kids I think I thought I was handling things pretty well.
I could handle things and I didn't need much.

Now, I can't.  I can't handle things.
I totally depend on Him.
Never before was my weakness so evident.
Now it is in my face every day.

His power made perfect in my weakness means something new to me.
I understand that more fully.
Because I experience it everyday, sometimes moment by moment.

And it does not always look good, folks.

Sometimes I fight to maintain control, 
but the truth is I pretty much stink at being in control 
and should not be trying so hard.  

Control is not my goal anymore.

Clinging to Him is my goal.
Holding on for dear life.
Because when I am frantic about holding on,
I keep my eyes fixed on the right thing.

I stop worrying about my reputation...
my image...
and if everyone will grow up and move out in a timely manner.

Monday, April 1, 2013

rethinking holidays

Holidays are so hard. 
I kinda have a sigh of relief as we get through each "first" holiday. 

Our first Thanksgiving
(can you tell who was unhappy that day?)
Our first Christmas
Our first Easter
(I know I probably put too much pressure on myself to try and get family pics on these days but I plan, I hope, I want to make a book of our first year

With each holiday, I have to really think about why we do what we do.  Because with 4 new kids--from another country, another culture, with memories of birthfamily--everything is new and everything is different.  And I have to explain it all to them (why eggs? why stockings? what's in the Pistachio Salad and Turkey and Dressing???) 

It's new for my old kids too--I didn't unpack the old Christmas stockings they were used to, I didn't re-use the Easter baskets they have used the past 5 years.

I have had to rethink Santa Claus, Easter eggs, and even the tooth fairy for that matter.  It's almost like I get a "re-do" but not really because with the old ones in the mix, there's a balance of keeping some traditions and special things, and introducing new traditions and new special things. 

We can't do things like we have always done them because we are not who we used to be. 
We are new. 
All of us. 
We are redefining our whole family. 

That includes some grief over changes.  It includes some stress as we explain what is to be expected and as we decide what to let go of and what to weave into our new traditions.  I am looking forward to when we get past one year of birthdays and holidays. 

And I am trying to take some pictures and be thankful in the midst of it all.
Here are a few (to remind me of how blessed we are)
 Gotcha Day
 Touring Bogota
 brave friends who hosted us our first week home
Visiting the pumpkin patch


and Rodeo

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love you forever

I'll love you forever.
I'll like you for always.
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.
Last night was a really sweet night.  We pulled out some special story books and read on the couch.  Before I finished Love You Forever I told Jeremy to grab the camera and get some pictures!
We don't often have moments like these.
We have seen some really good things happening this week--some prayers being answered.  Remember how I mentioned recently that our biggest challenge is merging 2 sibling groups into one?
ONE family.
One little thing that happened this week is that several of the kids played soccer together in the yard and didn't even fight.  Not one fight.
MIRACLES happening here.
And today they were back out there with Marian coaching Emily in the sport. 
They were out there over an hour and a half!!
I tell you
MIRACLES happening here.
Today I had to stop and take a picture on the side of the road of a
redbud blooming. 
I love it when the redbuds start to bloom!
That's a beautiful picture of hope.
In the midst of bare trees and cool temperatures we see splashes of Spring appearing.
Makes me look twice every time and every time I have
I don't know if the last couple of days have been just a fluke
or if we are really reaching a turning point,
but just like those redbuds blooming gives us hope of Spring,
my hope is renewed that we are becoming

Friday, January 25, 2013

Coming out of the fog

Everyday I hear those words....those 3 little words from each of my kids....

yo no fui
it wasn't me!

OH.those.words. Those words are a big reason I need to get a night out once in a while.

I spent time with some dear new friends recently.  All of us moms.  All of us in the midst of adoption--whether just beginning the process, waiting to bring home, or at home with new kids.  It was good to hear their stories and see their excitement.  Each one laughed and talked about how they had once said, "I'll never...." or "Lord, please don't ever ask me to...."

I NEEDED to hear them laugh about it.  I NEEDED to hear them tell why they are adopting again after being home with multiple adopted and biological children.  I NEEDED to laugh and to cry and ask for prayer.

yo no fui
it wasn't me

We have been together just over 5 months and I see how we have come a long way in some things, yet we are still a long way off from ever thinking about doing this again. ;-)

My kids are beautiful.  I mean really beautiful!  And I have such high hopes and dreams for them all.  But oh my goodness, LORD, help us make it through this day, this night, the next 5 minutes even.

So what have I learned in the last few months?
  • It's no big deal.  If I make a big deal about a holiday, a food, anything, then it becomes MY big deal and they want no part of it.  It's not their big deal.  So we entered Christmas with low expectations and made no big deal of the food and presents.  They got presents.  We told them how many they would get, we paid attention to everyone's wish list, and if they were not grateful then we would take their presents back.  Christmas was rather nice.

  • Things WILL get better.  Some things have already gotten better.  Time.  The experts are right when they say it takes time---there are no short cuts, no skipping ahead.  It takes time.  I am trying to notice the small things as time passes and give thanks

  • I can never give too much TLC.  EVERYONE of us have hurts, discomforts, aches, pains.  Some of them are visible on the outside.  Some of them are just a plea for a tender touch or attention.  Some hurts will be buried for quite some time.  Regardless if the pain is real or just a way to get a little extra attention, I give the attention....even if it means rubbing regular ole' lotion on some bite or skin irritation I can't see or putting a band-aid on a freckle.  That TLC mends the heart and let's them know mom loves me, mom will take care of me, and I can go to her for anything I need.  Anything.

  • C.H.O.C.O.L.A.T.E.  I always keep a stash of some kind of chocolate or sweet---that is just for me and my guy.  When the kids go to their bedrooms for the night or I am having a particularly tough day and need to put myself in time-out, I thank God for chocolate.  If you ever wonder how you can help and you may even ask me "How can I help you?"  Chocolate is an easy way to bless me!  I usually don't have an answer when someone asks how they can help me because that is such an overwhelming question.  But....Chocolate and Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha and Sonic Cherry Limeade and while I'm at it, My Signature Massage, are great gifts!! ;-) 

  • Training--preferably before you get yourself into something like a good thing.  We learned a lot last year before we brought our kids home.  Since we have been together now over 5 months, I feel like I am coming out of the fog....a little.  That training--small nuggets here and there--are coming back to me.  It's really great when I put it to use! (Karyn Purvis and Mary Ring rock and are welcome to dinner anytime at my house!)

  • The Word--chocolate and training are great, but all the Hershey bars and adoption books in the world will not REVIVE my soul like God's Word.  Have you read Psalm 23 lately?  It's loaded!  Many people have memorized that passage and it's quoted in books and movies all the time--even those who don't follow Christ are familiar with these verses.  Take a look:
 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
  He makes me lie down in green pastures.
 He leads me beside still waters.
  He restores my soul.
 He leads me in paths of righteousness
  for his name's sake.
 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
  I will fear no evil,
 for you are with me;
  your rod and your staff,
  they comfort me.
 You prepare a table before me
  in the presence of my enemies;
 you anoint my head with oil;
  my cup overflows.
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
  all the days of my life,
 and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
(Psalm 23 ESV)

I could highlight every line as I think about how He has worked. 

I love what my friend, Brandy, posted when she said that she hoped as others hear their story (His story) that they see what a mighty God we serve and how much He loves us! 

I hope you see that here as you stop by from time to time!