Friday, December 31, 2010

It's a Date.....

In the midst of the holiday season, we spent a little time preparing for the upcoming months, specifically cooking for a month (well, actually it was more like two months but I digress). On the day when we were cooking, JT casually told me that our friends in Uganda had a referral for us of a little girl. He gave me all the specifics that he knew, and that was the end of the conversation....

In adoption world, a referral can be lost or declined or well, in our case, it can take forever to get and even longer to get to court. So, I put in the back of my mind and continued to pray for a court date soon to get Zeke.

However, the lawyer and officers in the court system saw fit to put the court cases together ALREADY!!! That's God's timing and not ours. We found this out three days later. So, on January 20th, we will head to court in Uganda to adopt TWO precious children, Zeke and Elly.

This is God's answer to a year's worth of prayers. I am overwhelmed by the prospect of becoming a mom to five children, but know that God's grace is sufficient. He IS enough! I rest in His promises right now and know that He knows exactly what I need!

So, JT and I will be flying out of Birmingham on January 20th. The plan is for me to return the following week to take care of our three children here. JT will stay in Uganda to care for our little ones there. We pray that the process will be smooth sailing.....okay, adoption veterans, insert laughter here.

We hope that I will be able to fly to London or Dallas to meet up with JT and the kids on the way home. Then, we will all come home together at the end of February. Please pray that God will show Himself faithful (as always) and He will be glorified!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Making Gingerbread....

We have never made homemade gingerbread houses before, so we all decided that we would take some time to venture into new territory this year. We wanted to make real gingerbread, off to the internet for some resources. We found a site that allowed us to following specific instructions for the layout of the house as well as the recipe for the gingerbread and icing. Adding to that my friend Angelia's suggestion to use a hot glue gun, and we were off and running.

Each of the kiddos made their own house and decorated it with NO input from anyone else. We also made a larger gingerbread house which the kids decided looked like a church.... They turned out great, and now we have the memories that will last a lifetime. It was a whole day's worth of work (actually 2 because we had to let the gingerbread dry overnight first), but it was definitely worth the smiles on their faces!

Cooking with a crowd...

At one time, the outdoor grill, both ovens and the stove were in use. Food was stacked on chairs and couches, while foods were being prepared in the kitchen and dining area. It was joyfully full!
H, H and Jett putting meals on the front porch. We stacked each families' meals separately throughout the day on the front porch - wish it had been about 20 degrees cooler.

H, H, and Kait making cornflake chicken for what seemed like forever.

LL is my organic, hippie friend who put up with our recipes and store-bought food all day. She's the best!

On Tuesday our small group family moms came over along with their oldest children (all teenage girls). We set out to make 40 + meals for each of our families. In the next month, two of our families will be traveling to Uganda and one family is expecting twins in the next few weeks. So, we were all in a place where we needed to use our resources in an ultra-wise, time-sensitive way!

So, we decided to organize a cooking day at my house. We started at 9:00 in the morning. We finished around 5:30...that was all of the cooking, cleaning, and packing into cars. We ended up with 60-70 meals per family! God was so gracious to us and His mercy reigned.

What a great time for our small group to spend together so that we can be prepared for the additions coming soon! There are a ton of sites on the internet for once a month cooking (OAMC) with recipes, directions, shopping lists, etc. So, I encourage you to do the same - use the extra meals to provide for other families who are in need. This is a great way to serve with your family!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A referral is gone....

Your friends/family are adopting, and you have been actively engaged in their process. Everyone is excited...clothes are purchased, a room is ready, fundraising is ongoing, prayers are said daily...and then, the unthinkable happens.

The referral is gone....the birth parents want the child back, the child was mistakenly not eligible for adoption, there was a mixup in the paperwork, or even worse, the child dies. The adoptive parents are heartbroken, and you have no idea what to do....

We've seen many parents go through this tragedy, and it is a grieving process for everyone involved. So, let the grieving begin. Know that the parents may react differently depending on how they handle grief. You want to console, comfort and encourage...but how? Here are some practical ideas for walking with adoptive parents through the process:

  • First and foremost, seek God's wisdom in how to respond. He alone knows our hearts and the brokenness felt at this very moment. Seek His divine comfort and the knowledge that He can give you.
  • Send flowers. It's not a funeral but parents have lost their child....even if they never held him/her. The grief is just as painful and real.
  • Send a note or email of comfort. Make sure you don't give reasons for the loss but seek to acknowledge the pain and hurt of the situation. Assure them that you are there to walk with them through the journey.
  • Serve....perhaps clean their house, run errands, call others who need to know, take care of their other children (if applicable)....
  • Give....take their favorite meal or what they love best.
  • Listen and be physically present....while nothing you can say can take the pain away, sometimes the physical presence of another is comforting. Not all people like this but in some cases, it can be an act of pure love.
  • Call....maybe the mom or dad doesn't even want to talk about the loss at first. But, there will come a time when they need someone to talk to! Be that person...make yourself available...don't put people on a time schedule. Grief is different for each open to a different plan!
  • Acknowledge - whatever you do, acknowledge the pain involved and the hurt that it has caused. Encourage your friend to grieve and be there to listen (without fixing anything) and comfort!
You can be a vital part of the grieving process for adoptive parents. Adoption is always a heart-risking process that can be painful and terrifying. Know that your friends/family need you to walk the entire journey with them and not just the good parts!

*As a side note, some of you have asked if we still have a referral. Yes, by the grace of God, we do. We hope to go get our son in Uganda soon!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Helping Friends in the Adoption Process - Part II

So, the family is coming home in a few days with their newly adopted child(ren), and you want to help in any way possible. What do you do to help them in ways that are effective, appropriate and needed? Here's a few suggestions:

  • Find out what size the new child is and leave an outfit for them! We had friends that went to pick up twin boys once. They realized that the children were smaller than they thought. So, several of us headed over to their house and set up the closet....we sorted all the clothes, made sure they were age/gender appropriate and organized it all.
  • Fill their refrigerator! We had sweet friends who went grocery shopping and did just that when we came home from Guatemala. They bought bottled water (knowing our tummies wouldn't be used to this water after being gone), fresh fruit, milk, eggs, etc. so that we wouldn't have to spend any time in the grocery store for the first week! That was a HUGE blessing!
  • Clean their house! Adopted children are generally used to some kind of order (a schedule, a routine), so having the house in order is big! We had friends come over and take down all of our Christmas decorations because it would be too overwhelming for our son..that was such a great way to help! Gather a few friends and make sure their home is ready for their arrival!
  • Take them a meal! We love the for making sure that one person coordinates all the food. The coordinator can give specific instructions on allergies, aversions, directions, etc. for people to follow. Plus, they can even have a drop-off point if no visitors are allowed for a while!
  • Meet them at the airport! While a crowd can be overwhelming for a new child, the parents often appreciate the show of support. Be sure to follow the parents' lead on talking to/engaging the child!
  • Respect the boundaries. Every adoptive family will have boundaries that they need to set so that they can bond with their own child. This may involve not picking up the child or asking for affection. It may require no visits for several months. It may not always make sense or seem reasonable to family and friends. But, that family will know details that you may not...respect the boundaries set forth and encourage others to do the same.
  • Encourage! When a family comes home, they need your encouragement. It may be a card, a phone call or an email...let them know that you are thinking of them and praying for them!
  • Offer to take their other children so that the parents can have time alone with their new child. It may only be an hour or two, but this is such a gift for a parent. Quality alone time is essential to the bonding process and you can encourage it by helping with childcare!
The biggest help you can be to a newly adoptive family is to let them know that you care and are thinking of them. They may have to retreat for a little while and cocoon as a family. Reach out to them and let them know that they are not alone! This process is just beginning.....

Jett in a costume that someone handed down to him...he adored being a superhero!
A shower that our friends gave us about a month after we came home!
A bag that my sweet sister-in-law gave me to carry Jett's "airplane attention" stuff in! He loved seeing his name in writing!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Helping friends in the adoption process...Phase I

As I look at the photos below, I remember back to a time over 4 years ago when Jim and Donna Houston gave us a picture of a little boy in an orphanage in Guatemala. I see the pain in his eyes of not having a family...I see the longing. I see the rebellious sinful nature in my own heart of ignoring the orphans for far too long....

Many times during the adoption process, friends and families are unsure how involved to be or what to do to help. So, in light of our God-given command to care for the orphans, how can you help someone who is adopting? The answer to this comes in several parts depending on the situation...the process of adoption, bringing a child home, losing a child or a child's referral in the process, and after the adoption. So, this post will address the first part of that...the process of adoption itself and how you can be a vital part!

You have friends who are adopting and you just don't know what to say sometimes or what to do to help... At times you find yourself helpless, wordless and without much to offer. But, you CAN help! Here are some ideas to help families in the adoption process:

  • Pray! First and foremost pray for the family. Pray specifically for God's peace and timing. Let them know that you are praying for them through notes and emails on a regular basis!
  • Inquire! Don't be afraid to ask for updates..they may not have any...but it's always comforting to know that your friends care!
  • Help your friends raise funds...most families have to raise quite a chunk of funds to adopt. Share their blog, host a yard sale, buy a t-shirt...actively help them to find ways to finance their endeavor. We had friends host a yard sale and people we had never met stepped up to donate goods. We held it at a friend's yard-sale-friendly-location and raised over $4000!
  • Encourage your friends weekly (if not daily). Simple reminders that you are thinking of them and support their adoption are so important. You don't have to know the emotions they are facing to encourage them. Send Scriptures and encouraging words that benefit!
  • Ask questions! Find out about the adoption process and what all it takes to bring a child home. Be diligent in your research and know what they are facing. Be informed and educate yourself with the terminology - know what they are talking about when they say dossier, referral, abandonment...
  • If they have other children, offer to keep them for a day so that the adoptive family can run those much needed errands which often are not family friendly - for example, courthouse offices, medical exams, state representatives' meetings! I had a friend who offered this regularly...what a huge blessing.
  • Your ear...this is one of the most helpful things you can give your friends...a listening ear. Just hear their hearts...the joys, the venting, the pain, the struggle...offer no opinion or insight...just listen and encourage!
  • Through the wonder of Facebook I thought of another one...get the names and contact information of the family's social worker, adoption agency (if using one), attorney....send a note to him/her with thanks for their time, energy and help in the process. They are so important to the adoption journey! On our adoption venture with Jett, we were blessed to work with Herbie Newell (Lifeline), Jenn Knierim, and Lauren who made his homecoming a reality!
Next time, we'll discuss what to do while the family is away for the adoption process and what to do when they come home! You can be an integral part of James 1:27 by helping other families bring their children into forever families!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Out of sight, out of mind???

Just this week God has shown me the "other side" of "out of sight, out of mind." You see I've been on the receiving end of this adage...and it hurt. It hurt greatly. Our family felt isolated, lonely, unwanted and unnecessary.

But God reminded me this week that I've been on the other side of that when it comes to some friends of ours who have moved away. How much effort have I made in keeping that relationship a vital one? How intentional has my heart been on seeking after them? Wow...conviction! Thank you God for the Holy Spirit who reminds us of the rebellion in our hearts. He shows us our own wickedness and His grace in forgiving us! Praise Him!

So, what can you and I do to help relieve these feelings?

  • Set up a time to regularly communicate with your friends! Skype is awesome because you get to see each other.
  • Send care packages! Make sure you send some of their favorite things...especially if they can no longer get these things where they are!
  • Send emails letting them know you are praying for them and what you are specifically praying for!
  • Place an unexpected call...when you haven't talked in a while, it's so refreshing to hear a friend's voice!
  • Send pictures from your phone when you miss them. Drive by a place they like and take a picture...say "I was thinking of you when I passed this store...remember the time we went here and ...."
  • STAY IN TOUCH! Quick notes, calls and emails will help friends feel close. But, spend some quality time talking every so often too!
To be a part of Biblical community, we must make efforts that are not generally convenient or easy. But, God has designed to be here for one another. So, let's (and I'm especially talking to myself) make those extra efforts to be the Body of Christ to one another!

Friday, November 5, 2010

What to do, what to do....

For ten years now, we have grown accustomed to JT leaving for a week (or more) at a time each month. In the summer, we typically all travel with him to enjoy our time together as a family. When possible we all go on the mission trips. However, as the children have gotten older and have commitments, we are not able to go as much. Plus, the financial side of trips is greater with 5 of us on a trip. So, we have to make hard choices.

This week, we've made one of those choices. JT will lead the trip to Guatemala alone. So, what do we do? For most people it's probably not a big deal. It's not that way for us... You see, JT works at home most of the time. So, we are all together almost every day. We eat every meal together. We work together. We enjoy our time as a family, and we relish it! We all really like each other, and we thrive on being together as a family.

So, when JT is gone, we are fairly lonely and pitiful. But, we are called to support and encourage him while he is leading a trip. So, we make a plan and try to pass the time as quickly as possible. We will, of course, have school each day. That helps greatly. We will have guitar lessons and Skype with friends from around the globe (Guatemala and Australia are due this week). We will write letters, play games and see friends.

We will pray for Poppa daily. We will miss him...we are so proud of him and the way he leads our family. Thank you Lord for a godly husband who seeks to honor you in all that he does.

Monday, November 1, 2010

She loves me....

We have very good friends who have 5 adorable children. Jett LOVES to play with their often involves swords, sticks and a ball of some sort. I don't understand one thing they do together, but they seem to have a "male bond" that is beyond comprehension.

Their youngest daughter, W, is a sweet and loving little girl. Since the day we met her, she has cuddled up to JT. She adores him. She will find him in a room and climb into his lap. Now, most young children are scared of him...his size, the bald head and the facial hair send them screaming to the nearest parent. But not W...she loves JT.

Last night, JT is cooking in the kitchen, and W is dressed like a chef by one of our children. Now, she looks like JT... He's cooking so she resorts to sitting in my lap. It didn't last long, but it was sufficient for me. She loves me too, and I have proof. Thanks LL for giving me some hope with W.....

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Our Friends and Fun

Some of our friends on the hay.
The hay maze became a place of rest!

We had so much fun in this corn. I am still finding corn everywhere!
Me and one my very good friends.

Our friends.

Two of our friends. Aren't they adorable?

Two of the boys. They were so excited about their pumpkin seeds.

Two more of our friends.

Last weekend we went to the pumpkin patch with some of the homeschoolers from our church. We had so much fun with our friends, the Hensleys and the Hobbs. We first went to the pumpkin patch and gathered our pumpkins. All the older kids got the little pumpkins and all the little kids got the big pumpkins( we later found out that the small pumpkins were pie pumpkins and were bought from another farm). Following this we "tried" to get into the corn maze, but there was no maze, barely any corn, and snakes. We were glad that we were stopped before we tried to go in. We then went to the "Indian village" which was a few tepees and some fake arrowheads. Almost everybody besides us, the Hobbs, and the Hensleys left after that. It was extremely hot outside at this point and we were dying! Next we decided to get some "food" or so the people there called it. My sisters hot dog was PINK and it bled onto her bun and my barbecue sandwich had about a tablespoon of meat and three pickles. Talk about YUCK! We were grateful, though, for the snacks that my dad(thank you sooooo much!) brought. We then got frozen lemonade which saved us from dying from the heat. We then decided to jump on top of the hay maze instead of going inside of it. It was the best part of the entire trip. The Hobbs were very patient with us and I love them immensely! I cannot wait until we go next year!


Monday, October 25, 2010

The Braces are off!

JT and Kaitlyn - they are quite the pair together!
That is pure happiness right there!
Kaitlyn and Dr. Stephanie....what a blessing!

Kaitlyn's braces are off! Here are a few photos! We highly recommend our orthodontist too if you ever need one! Her name is Stephanie Whitehead and her website is She has truly blessed our lives with her care for our children and her commitment to the Lord!

The Last 2 1/2 Years in Braces...

We absolutely LOVE our orthodontist, Dr. Stephanie Whitehead in Riverchase. What a blessing she has been to our family. She has been part of our lives for the past 4 years. We started with both of the girls going once a year. Then, Madison had to get an appliance to correct her overbite. Then, two and a half years ago, Kaitlyn got her much-anticipated braces put on. She looked forward to that day for months...the newness wore off quickly!

But, now her teeth are aligned, straight and beautiful. As I look at her today, I realize how much she has grown over the past few years. She was 6 inches shorter (only 5 feet tall then) and looked like a little girl. Now, she stands eye to eye with me and looks like a teenager. Today is the day her braces come off....

I'm a little sad in that she is now on the road to being a young lady. At the same time I am so proud of the woman she has become. She is learning to encourage others, speak the truth and pursuing God with all of her heart. I am blessed to be her mom.

Today I'll post a few pictures of her from the past few years before I have to see her without braces for the first time....ah, nostalgia.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Forgiveness is a sweet blessing...

After God laid the previous blog on my heart, I started asking Him to reveal hidden sin in my life. Sins that I had committed long ago but never confessed or asked forgiveness for. I was hoping for something from last week, maybe last month, and even last year. Keep in mind that I'm 40, and well, the memory is not as sharp as it used to be!

So God instantly takes me back to a moment in 8th grade. Seriously. My mind was overwhelmed by the details that emerged. I could still smell the smells of the gym and hear the sounds of the volleyball game. I could remember the noises and the feelings I was having. I recall a boy from my class, Greg, saying something to me that infuriated me. What he said I don't remember, and it doesn't matter in the least.

What did I do? I instantly made up some story about my uncle (I have NO clue where that fits into the equation...only that it was a huge lie). I relayed the story to Greg (and I'm sure added plenty of details to support the lie...which would have been more lies) and then proceeded to call him a name. I shall not repeat what I said, but I was shocked when I heard myself say it in my memory. I was ashamed, embarrassed and found guilty. I sat there with my memory and thanked God for bringing it back to me. That had been at least 28 years ago. But I remembered most of it like it was yesterday.

Now, what do I do with that God? God told me to ask for forgiveness. It wasn't as hard as you might think to reconnect with Greg as we are friends on Facebook. So, I took a deep breath and sent him a detailed message. I didn't know if he would even remember or care...but that was not the purpose. I laid out the event, what I did and took ownership of my sin. What I did had nothing to do with anyone else but me. My flesh sinned...I sinned...I was guilty. I owned what I did and took full responsibility. I confessed and asked for his forgiveness. I waited...

I didn't have to wait long as I saw a message from Greg in my inbox. He DID remember the event, and he forgave me freely. We both rejoiced in God's goodness and forgiveness of us as sinners. Relief...sweet forgiveness! What a blessing and gift from the Lord to His children.

I'm still asking God to bring those past sins to my mind...what does He keep doing? Taking me back to high school! That's funny as I don't remember much of my life from those days. But, He does. So, I'll be writing another message today and asking for forgiveness. No excuses. No blaming. Just taking my own sins and making them known. Humbling myself for His glory!

Take some time today and ask God to show you places where you need to repent, confess, ask for forgiveness and make amends. What a blessing you will receive in the process!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Confession, Repentance, Amends....

I grew up in an era where parents were perfect, or were supposed to be at least. Or pretended to me. Or were not but were not supposed to admit it publicly and certainly not in church. I remember distinctly knowing that an adult had lied but had no way of resolving that in my brain. It was simply covered over and never spoken of again.

Perhaps a parent didn't fulfill a promise or something was said in anger or haste...but no apology was ever given. Parents were not wrong. They were adults, and children needed to learn their place in life, and correction was not part of that.

While respect was taught with a great deal of fear based reverence, there are some things that I didn't learn along the way....the art of saying "I'm sorry" as an adult and making things right. JT and I struggled the first few years of marriage with just admitting being wrong and asking each other for forgiveness. We didn't want that for our children...a sense of pride needed to be broken in all of us so that we stood holy and blameless before our holy Father (and each other). So, we developed the following guidelines using Scripture...

1. Admit when you are wrong. James 5:16 says to confess our sins to one another. Agree that you have done wrong. In our house we raise our hands and say, "I was wrong. It was my fault. I admit it, and I'm responsible." Once I did this in a restaurant in Colorado to my husband. I said it loudly and openly. People clapped...why? We need to see that none of us are perfect and take responsibility for our sins!

2. Confess your sins! 1 John 1:9 says that God is faithful and just to forgive our sins when we confess them. Oftentimes we are tempted to say to others, "If I hurt you" or "Well my motives were....." We tend to excuse our wrongdoings or diminish the hurt in order to protect ourselves. Submit your will to the Father and confess your sins completely!

3. Ask for forgiveness! Colossians 3:13 reminds us that we need to forgive just as Christ forgave us. Be willing to ask for forgiveness and to give it freely! Part of forgiveness is being sure that you acknowledge what you did and confess it first!!!

4. Make amends! What if you stole money from someone? Does asking for forgiveness settle the debt? What if you were unfaithful to your spouse? Does asking for forgiveness make the trust come back? Romans 4:19 commands us to live in peace with others. Making amends is probably the least practiced of all the aspects of apologizing. If you sinned against another person and there is ANYTHING you can do to make amends for your wrongdoing, do it (as long as it aligns with Scripture). Redo a job done poorly, pay back your debt, apologize to others involved in the situation, etc.

We may not have been aware of how to seek forgiveness while we were growing up, but that is NO excuse for not teaching God's Word about forgiveness to our children! May we model the love of Christ through accepting our wrongdoings, confessing our sins, asking for forgiveness and making amends daily!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

New Chore Chart

Our new chore chart arrived in the mail on Wednesday, and well, we were all a little excited. Maybe too excited...okay, we were giddy (and in a very geeky, over the top way)! But, it is Our chore chart, and we have worked hard over the past 3 months to get jobs appropriated and done. This house doesn't run itself, and after a summer with our fabulous interns, we realized that we weren't doing our children any favors by not allowing them to be more responsible for the everyday chores.

Yes, my children were already helping with things around the house, but we didn't necessarily have assignments. And, JT and I found ourselves unloading the dishwasher, cooking all the meals and folding most of the clothes if the kids a lot of schoolwork to do or perhaps a project to do. Now, we realize that they need to be able to be a part of the family by doing the administrative side of the family too. So, now everyone has assignments.

And, this handy dandy chore chart allows us to change responsibilities weekly without printing off a new chart. Just move the people icons around, and we are done. Plus, we went ahead and got little placards for Zeke which will make his homecoming even sweeter...Speaking of our son.

We do have a referral for our son from Uganda. He is 4 years old and is absolutely adorable. We are waiting on a court date down. His name will be Ezekiel Duke. JT and I both like the name Ezekiel and think of the obedience of the prophet in proclaiming His love for His people. Duke is a family name from JT's side of the family. We'll call him Zeke.

Now, off to change those chores for next week....yes, I'm smiling and drooling a little too.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Around the house....

On a daily basis, my kids make me laugh. It starts over breakfast and seems to last throughout the day. They are very funny (I'd like to think the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, but that's wishful thinking).

Just the other morning, Jett is trying to tell us something about gelatin....I have NO clue what he is saying. Then, he speaks a little more clearly, "I wasn't eating gelatin with my schoolwork." Translation: I wasn't being diligent with my school work. It gave us all a good laugh and reminds us that he's only been speaking English for 2 1/2 years...

Below are a few pics from our lives lately that make me smile....they remind me of the joy that God has given me in motherhood. There are days when I think I can't keep being Mom, and that's exactly where God desires me to be. To rest in knowing that HE alone is sufficient. He is ALL I need, and He will provide the grace, strength, and mercy to walk this path. We only have our children for 18 years (it DOES fly by), so I'm giving it 100% every day for His glory. May He be honored in what we do around here.

Jett came down one day with this on....this is hair from Madison's hairbrush that he taped to his chin in order to look like his Poppa!

Madison was surprised by Mrs. Mary with a cake for her birthday a few months ago. What a joy to know that she is loved by people who invest their lives in her.

Kaitlyn and her friend Savvy being creative with their craft supplies. I'm amazed at these two girls who have been friends for almost nine years now. They are already on the countdown to getting their driver's permits (Lord, please help us all).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cherished Moments

Kaitlyn and Madison with their friend Ellie in Indiana.

Madison, Christy and Kaitlyn in Destin

As a mom I get to make choices every day about how I spend my time and what I do with what I have been given. I have often made bad decisions and wrong choices that didn't reflect my dependence on Jesus Christ. He is the center of my life, and everything I do should revolve around Him alone.

So, about two months ago, JT and I had a lengthy time of establishing a schedule for our family. For our family (and especially Jett), we need a schedule to keep up with school, mission trips and what everyone is doing (orthodonist appointments, swimming, guitar lessons, etc). So, we set out to make individual calendars and a master family calendar. It has worked marvelously.

One of the best parts of the schedule is the 6:30 walk I get with my girls who are now 13 1/2 and 11. I can remember days when I barely got out of my pajamas (if that) or didn't take a shower. And, then there were days when JT would ask me what I had done that day, and I wanted him to applaud when I said "one load of laundry" and that was it. There were days when I didn't think I could handle being at home anymore and days when my life didn't show my faith in God Almighty.

But, now that the girls are older, I can breathe. They can tie their shoes (yes, they've been able to do that for years), go to the bathroom alone, take their own showers, etc. I remember a time when I cut up everyone's food, longed to lock the bathroom door for hours and would relish just a 5 minute break to drink coffee. So, I'm cherishing these days.

When we meet on the front porch, it is one of the most cherished times of my day. We walk about 2 miles in our neighborhood. We talk about how they are doing with homework assignments, their concerns and joys and prayer requests. We spend time together with no distractions. It is a beautiful and joyful part of my day. I am so blessed to have this time with them, and I can see the memories we are making. Some days I may speak words of wisdom into their lives about spending time effectively or including people who feel left out. This morning Madison wanted us to be reminded of a prayer that God had answered. Wow! I am just honored to be a part of walking through life with these beautiful young ladies. I am overwhelmed with God's grace and goodness in providing these moments for us.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Tabernacle Project

My sister and I were given a Bible project two weeks ago. We had to build a scale model of the tabernacle. We knew this was going to be difficult, but we didn't expect that it would be as difficult as it was. First the clay dried up, then the posts wouldn't stay, and then the whole outside fell off! We did find other ways to make the furniture besides the clay, and we decided we didn't need ALL the posts. We learned many things through this project. First, never leave your clay out in the open. Second, listen to your mom when she tells you to make a plan. Third, it is hard to make little furniture. And last but not least, we learned that the tabernacle was very detailed.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Christy and Madison at The Back Porch!
Our family at the Destin Harbor!
Mommy and Daddy (Sheryl and JT) at The Red Bar in Greyton Beach.
Poppa driving the pontoon boat - the best day!
Kaitlyn enjoying the day on the boat!

This summer has been full! Many days spent in airports around the globe, talking to Delta Airlines, arranging meals for 15 people at our house and well over 50 on the field daily, games of Settlers of Catan, late night talks pouring into interns, Bible studies, worship services, orphaned children, and on and on. There were many days when I just didn't think I could take another step. Yet, God gave us sweet rest and rejuvenated our souls for another day. Praise Him for His goodness and faithfulness.

We took a week to head to Destin to regroup and rejuvenate as a family. What a joy and blessing it was! We spent our days getting up late (when you're used to 5:00 am, 8:00 is a miracle!), reading books, playing in the pool, eating great seafood, and playing in the sand at the beach. Not to mention many games of Settlers and Bananagrams.... What a blessing to have that much-needed time together.

Now, we are back home and everyone is in the groove of the new school year. Everyone has new chore assignments, schedules for school, and the blessing of a new schoolroom. We are excited about what this year has in store for us. We are all eagerly awaiting news on our adoption from Uganda. The wait is long and arduous, but we know that God is in total control!!!

We give Him all the glory for His goodness and His Sovereignty! To Him be all the honor!