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.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

4 years

Tuesday is the 4th anniversary of our Colombian Gotcha Day.  As I get ready to share some things about the past 4 years with some friends, I pulled up a few blog posts and photo albums.

I looked at highlights of our life in the photo albums from each year and compared that with the lessons and experiences I shared in the handful of posts I wrote in the past 4 years and the contrast is striking.  

Yet my feelings from both are the same.  My feelings of what it was like when I wrote Wrecked and Homecoming Anniversary--feelings of being overwhelmed and inside out with a touch of faith are the same feelings I have when I look at the smiles, firsts, and memories in the album.  I remember what surrounded those pictures and yes, the feelings of being overwhelmed and inside out with a smidgen of faith were very present behind those snapshots.

What prompted the beginnings of our bigger family were compassion and love.  I loved my kids before I knew them.  When I met them, and they were in the foundation in Colombia, I wanted to go through our process as fast as we could because I needed to get MY kids out of the foundation and into my home where they belonged.

Questions like "How do you think adopting 4 kids into your family will affect your own kids?" because in my mind, four out of my seven kids were in a foundation in Colombia and how was growing up in a foundation going to affect my kids??

We did consider our three kids that already called us mom and dad and we tried to prepare them as much as we could.  Really as much as we could. 

But you just don't know what you don't know.

What compelled us to act on that compassion and love was obedience.  During our adoption process we had an opportunity to share how we felt our Father ask "Will you join Me?" in this short video.  And I wrote more about it here.

Compassion, love, obedience started this journey.  God's provision, the blessing of others along side us, and training got us through the beginning.  But we have said it many times that after getting all our kids home we felt like we were running a marathon but trained for a 5K. 

One of the things that was mentioned in our training was to know yourself and your own issues.  
Know what makes you tick 
and what gets you ticked off.  
And how are you going to deal?   
I slightly remember that part of the training
but I clearly remember thinking, "I'm good."

I thought I knew myself well.  I thought I knew how to deal.  But the peculiar thing about adoption is that my kids who are adopted have a way of revealing things about myself that my bios never had.  Adoption brings out the best and the worst in me.  And that's a good thing.

For example.....I learned that my love was conditional.  It was all along.  But I never noticed before because the people I loved loved me back.  They were affectionate and said "I love you."  We had not yet had teenagers when we adopted so pretty much when I said to do something, it was done, although sometimes with a little added motivation. :)

When we adopted (and as our kids were entering teen years at the same time), I gave love but it wasn't given back.  I tried showing love on my own for a while but then I couldn't.  Some of the behaviors got in the way and it was really hard loving someone with unlovely behaviors.  I thought it was just a problem with me and the ones adopted, but what I realized is that I loved Jeremy conditionally and all my kids--bio and adopted--with conditions.

How did I deal?  I got it wrong for a while and still sometimes do, 
but mostly I lean back into my Savior.  
He loves me when my behaviors are unlovely.  
He forgives. 
And forgives again.  
He loves even when we don't love back.  
I ask for that love to fill me and pour out.  
I can't do it on my own.

Another thing I have seen over and over again, especially as I have looked back at old posts and flipped through the photo albums, is that He is enough.  His grace sufficient.  I can't meet all the needs and I don't know how we have made it other than HE IS SUFFICIENT.  Remember I said a second ago that we adopted 4 kids and started parenting TEENAGERS at the same time?  

When we spent 5 weeks in Colombia cramming our family on the second floor of a seminary/church, 
He is enough.
When we put 3 teenage girls in one room, He is enough.
When I "homeschooled" all seven kids for a VERY short period of time, He is enough.
When we had to say everything in Spanish and English and then say it again about 10 times, 
He is enough.
When we came home to meals provided by supportive friends, He is enough.
When we attempted family photos, He is enough.
When I took too long to dry my hair just to drown out whatever was going on outside my door, 
He is enough.
When we say "I love you" and it's met with silence, He is enough.

If you have read my blog much you may have seen that last Fall I started naming gifts.  I am on number 870 now.  Eight hundred seventy different blessings named since October 26, 2015.  What has surprised me by that little exercise is how much joy and love and peace I have in the midst of circumstances that have not changed much.  And it is not only transforming me but my people around me too.

I can say "I love you" and mean it and still have joy when the words are not returned.  Because it's not my own love--my own love is shallow and ends at some point.
But His love never fails.  
His love endures forever.  

So 4 years into our new bigger family and I have much much to be thankful for.  I usually say, "Overall we are doing well."  But now I can see beautiful gifts in each one of the people I love the most.  And I am so so grateful.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Early morning reading in Isaiah with Jeremy and RESTORE pops out of the page at me.  My mind wanders to a friend whose marriage is dissolving.  Desperate, urgent prayers begin for restoration.  Restoration of health, mind, spirit, heart, relationship.  

Restoration of life and love.

Later I recall I haven't heard from a friend all weekend about her son.  Again RESTORE.  Pleading prayers for God to restore hearts, minds, souls, relationships.  

Restoration of hope.

A blog post from a friend fighting cancer informs me of her recent struggles with chemo treatments and steroids and I whisper RESTORE. 

Restoration of body.

Searching this word in Scripture and I am reminded HE is the one who restores.
Psalm 23:3 
He restores my soul.

Psalm 30:3
O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

Lamentations 5:21

Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old—

Three times the Psalmist in Psalm 80 says:

Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!

As I am begging for restoration, I am praying for us to have a posture of trust, surrender, repentance.  

Restore means to get back what was lost or taken away.  To bring back or reconstruct, to reestablish.

Included in all these prayers for restoration is a prayer for 

Restoration of faith.

Lord God, may you bring back health, 
 reconstruct life, restore lost relationship and hope
and reestablish faith.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Christmas letter a little late

Most years of my married life I have sent out a Christmas letter or poem or something that hopefully let's you know what's up with us without sounding boastful or boring. And since I've had a blog, I usually post it here too.  I let all of December and January slip by without taking the time so here's what's up with us for 2015:

I started a new kind of list not too long ago.  Inspired by Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, I began naming gifts in each day—big and small—and giving thanks.  Here are a few I will share with you.

Jeremy and I sharing 20 years of marriage.  All the “remember when…” moments, the laughs, the struggles, the victories, the changes.  I don’t want to take for granted our days, our life together.  He is my favorite.

Katerin getting her driver’s license.  What is amazing about this gift is not how she can help drive her siblings to activities, although that is AWESOME, but how she completed the online class totally independently after learning English only the year before.

Emily making new friends in school.  You may not realize how hard this has been for her over the years.  But this year Emily has grown A LOT -- becoming more confident to be herself and to open up to others.

Marian donating 11 inches of her haircutting off 11 inches of her own hair!  What you may not know is that Marian values her hair maybe more than anything.  What I love about this gift is how this outward thing shows a beautiful inward transformation.

Wesley sharing all kinds of sports facts with me.  As I listen I am amazed that he thinks I care about these things and that I should know them.  I love how he offers these facts about any sport and my response of “uh huh” is acceptable.

Omar showing his creativity.   It’s the detail he adds to a Lego creation and what he comes up with in sculpting plastilina or even wiki sticks.  It won’t be just a boat or a plane, it will have something to it that causes me to not just say “uh huh” but “That’s cool, Omar. “  I’m fascinated by his ideas and what he finds around the house to make the cool factor happen.

Saimon providing lots of laughter for all of us.  He makes honest observations and asks questions that crack us up—like “Was I born close to my birthday?” What’s even better is that he is starting to enjoy laughing about the things he says with us.

Savannah loving to read.  So much so that her teacher had to call me after school one day to tell me she will have to take Savannah’s books from her at the beginning of class, and she will only get them back when she gets her work done properly.  And because of her reading, I get interesting facts about sharks and questions like “Were you alive during Hurricane Katrina?”  that only require an “uh huh” from me.

The way our friends love us.  We have friends that pray daily, bring a meal, invite us over (we are a lot to invite over), host us overnight…even at short notice, know our faults and lean in anyway.  These are the kind of friends that remind me of Jesus.
Jesus and how He saves us.  How He came to us and for us.  The gift of His salvation would be gift enough.  Yet He gives us so much more.