Saturday, June 29, 2013

just look at him!

So, today was our town's annual Balloonfest 5K.  It's a big weekend with hot air balloons & other fun stuff, including the race.  Joe had signed up to run it (Mommy is sidelined while I heal from an injury), & we thought K'Tyo could do the 1-mile fun run beforehand if the weather was nice.  We didn't mention it to him in case the weather didn't cooperate so he wouldn't be disappointed (the weather has been lousy!).

Anyway, the sun was shining this morning, so we shook sleepyhead awake & asked if he wanted to run.  Of course, he was up, dressed, & ready to go, BUT...

He wanted to run the "big" one.  He's run a few times with Joe, so we decided to let him go for it.

And go for it he did!!  This 7-yr-old mister ran it in 25:54 & placed 2nd in the 10 & Under division behind a 10-year-old!!!!

People that saw him on the course said he was cruising & when they would encourage him, he'd say, "Thank you!"  He had the time of his life!

I am so proud of him! (I may have been a bit teary--and shocked--as he hit the track for the lap that finishes the race.)  Per K'Tyo, "I wanted to show you that I could run it good, Mom." Awww.

Love these two...they did great today!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

not in my job description {summer is for reruns}

This post was one of my very first ones when I began blogging.  I've had quite a few visits recently from Adeye's blog from folks interested in domestic adoption, so I linked to a post I did awhile back about Kaya coming into our family through foster care.  This post expands on some of the rawness of those days & some of what God was teaching me.


There are moments in my life that are like snapshots that are forever filed in my brain. I remember once when three of my children were under the age of five. I was sitting on the bathroom floor while one child was on the potty trying to do her thing, nursing another one while reading a book to yet another one as well as trying to scarf down a sandwich. Nowhere in all the parenting books I ever read was this in the job description.

I feel like this in my Christian faith sometimes. Just like motherhood, in our faith we conjure up feel-good moments of beauty, like doing good deeds, dropping a few bucks in the offering, etc., but in all honesty, God's blessings are not always pretty, glamorous or easy and we wonder, "Was THIS in the job description??" And yet, just like the moment in the bathroom, I look back on it & am able to see the beauty & joy of that moment.

I bring this up because today has been a very emotionally packed day. You see, today was our "goodbye visit" day with Kaya's birth family. It brought back many snapshot moments from the last two years, but particularly the very first time I took this wee tiny baby to the agency for a birth parent visit. I remember very vividly when the visit was over, the social worker took me back to the visitation room to give me "the talk" about how the goal of foster care was reunification & wanted to make sure I understood that. I just remember how God was impressing on my heart SO fiercely that I was to extend LOVE to this birthmother I had not met or even seen. I would love to tell you that I had a submissive heart & gladly went along with that. Frankly, every fiber of my being wanted to scream & run away. And yet, out of my mouth came the words, "Would it help if I offered to meet her so that she would know who I am & be able to talk to me about the baby's care?" 

That was the beginning of a relationship that stretched me in ways I have never known. Was it what I had signed up for? No, but as I look back over these last couple of years, I am overwhelmed to realize that God blessed me in this way. Where there is love, there is no room for judgment, bitterness or any of the other emotions that can eat away at one's soul. I did not have to worry about "building a case"...I just had to love her. Was it always easy? Nope. There were many moments that weren't pretty, that weren't comfortable, that didn't even seem normal from the outside looking in (people were often dumbfounded when they would see me hugging her). I didn't always feel all warm & fuzzy, but I continued to obey what I know God was commanding me to do. 

Now, reflecting on these last couple of years, I am beginning to see the beauty in those "snapshots". I am so thankful that God did not leave me to my own human defense mechanisms & guided me in how to love people...His people. It is actually brings me to my knees...that God would allow us into the lives of a few of His most fragile & broken souls. By caring for "the least of these", we have built relationships that made today a day of hugging & picture taking with extended members of the family b/c they trusted me. By following God's command, I will always be able to look at my sweet little girl & tell her that I loved her birth mommy........

I have come to believe that blessings are typically not "newborn baby" moments. I think we are blessed when God gives us opportunities to be completely dependent on lose all control & allow Him to teach us, lead us, mold us. Thank you, Lord, that you have blessed me in ways that will leave me never the same.

"The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it,
but what they become by it." ~John Ruskin

Monday, June 24, 2013

woven threads & brush strokes {summer is for reruns}

Y'all are going to discover what a ding-a-ling I am when it comes to technology, but here goes:  So, I realized there's an interesting page that shows my blog's "stats".  I know, right?  First of all, I'm thankful for the people that stop in to read, but what I found super-interesting was which posts seem to get read the most.  I've had a good time going back & re-reading some things I've written.  Actually, it's been good to see how God was working in my heart, in my family, & in life.  I've decided to do some reruns...some are posts that have been popular with people, & others will be from early on when I maybe had 4 people reading. :)  This is the one I re-read first because it has had the most visitors.  Funny thing is that it totally resonates with me right here, right now.  

Awhile back, we had an interesting thing going on in worship at church. The arts were used to demonstrate different forms of worship (poetry, painting, music, etc.) I love worship music, but outside of that, I'm not real "artsy" & wasn't sure I was going to get much out of this experience.

Boy, was I wrong. I had one of the most beautiful moments in my faith walk as a young man got up to paint. His work on that blank canvas began to parallel my life in so many ways.

At first, the brush strokes were confusing, sometimes even kinda ugly. Ooooh, but then, I began to see something wonderful emerging from what really resembled, well, a mess.

But here's where my eye for the beautiful collided with the eye of the artist. Just when I thought the picture was amazingly complete, that dude was reaching for more paint. No!!! Don't do's good. Don't mess with it.

He did it anyway.

And he totally knew what he was doing. With each new stroke of color, whether I liked the color or not, this painting became more beautiful, more was breathtaking & completely unexpected.

Sounds like this life that God has been weaving together. From my perspective, it has seemed a mess at times. But for the most part, it seems just fine.

And then He weaves a new thread. Oh, my heart is so full.

But He wasn't done yet. Another dimension, another thread.

Oh, how the Lord has blessed my life.

And then He brought us a son. How wonderful. We are complete. It is good.

But He chose to weave more threads into this tapestry.

And then He began weaving threads that threatened to break my heart. Sometimes I felt completely tangled & wondered what was happening. I think He was breaking my heart to change the pattern of my tapestry, which was really never mine to begin with.

But this new pattern & tangled threads actually strengthened the fabric of this tapestry...His tapestry.

But He still was not finished.

And when it seemed that we certainly couldn't hope for anything more beautiful out of this tapestry, the great Artist has even more.
I've realized that this journey of God weaving the threads of my life, my faith, my marriage, my family, & my friendships into something of beauty is an ongoing process. There are knots, there are broken threads, there are some that go together in ways I never would have expected, but they are all working together. The term "beauty from ashes" has taken on new meaning as He continues the work with a perspective that is beyond me. I don't know what things will look like tomorrow, next year, or twenty years from now, but I look forward in hopeful expectancy of what He will do with each thread & every brush stroke.

**Edited to Add:  Since this was written, He has continued His work in our lives, which has included the addition of Kemeri Abigail.  Our life continues to change, & while it doesn't appear to include the addition of any more children at this juncture (which makes it easy to see how things have changed over the years!), change is happening nonetheless.  I don't know what things will be like around the corner, but I've asked God to take my every hope, fear, dream, failure, doubt...EVERYTHING & make it something beautiful.  After all, look what He's already done.

Friday, June 21, 2013

quick note

It's Friday, & we just wanted to say, "Hello...Have a great weekend!!"

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

our love has grit

Twenty years.

Joe & I have been married for 20 years!

On one hand, it seems to have gone by so fast, but then I look at everything we've walked through together--It is A LOT!!

In my devotional today it says, "...Throughout history, He has intervened in the course of human events in ways which can't be explained by science or human rationale.  God's miracles are not limited to special occasions, nor are they witnessed by a select few...".

If you are reading with the thought that it's gonna be all mushy-gushy, me trying to portray perfection...well, sorry.  Quite frankly, I get frustrated with that mode of operation.  The reality is that we have been through much in our 20 years together.  There are moments I wish I could get a "do-over" for...Some because I wish I could have done things different or never have had to experience at all; others because they were so wonderful.  We certainly have witnessed the Lord's hand in miraculous ways.  There are so many things we never could have imagined 20 years ago when we were just two people in love wanting to spend our lives together.

I am thankful that our love intertwined with commitment for the times that we have seemed to be limping along.  I am thankful that our love has grit & determination.  I am thankful that my tummy still flip-flops when I see his car coming around the corner.

Lord, I pray your continued blessing over our marriage & our family.  I pray for the miracles that have yet to be experienced...may we ever be mindful of Your amazing presence in the details.  I pray for the road that we continue to travel together.  Amen.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


I consider myself a fairly optimistic person.  I try, even in not-so-fun stuff, to find something positive.  

Yesterday, Miss Kemeri took a nasty tumble off of a kitchen chair (which she was not supposed to be climbing on with Miss Kendi), & by the time I got to the scene in the kitchen, there was blood EVERYWHERE.  After discovering quite a deep split in her lip, we were off to the ER.

Three hours & three stitches later . . .

. . . but I am thankful.  No, I'm not happy that she got hurt, but it was a huge reminder of what a blessing it is to be Mommy & Daddy.  In the midst of her pain & fear, she wanted Mommy & Daddy.  When she needed comfort, she wanted Mommy & Daddy.  When she was happy to be busting out of that joint, she wanted to be on her way with Mommy & Daddy.  Sometimes in the midst of the daily grind of life, it's easy to forget what a privilege it is to be a parent.  Adopted or not, these kiddos trust US to share their every hurt, their every struggle, & their every happiness with them.  In a culture that has become very "all about me", it's easy to forget that being a parent is truly an honor to be cherished in every moment.