Friday, October 28, 2011

The Christmas Plan

I love Christmas!

I love the trees...
the lights...
the cookies...
the music...
the weather...
the 25 Days of Christmas movies...
reading the Christmas stories in the Bible...
the happy faces all around...
the time with family...
and yes... the gift giving too!
I just love the "season"!

I do NOT love materialism.

How can I mesh those things together?

How can I "do" Christmas in our family,
with little kids who never knew a Santa who filled stockings,
and who may wonder why he only ever visits rich kids??

Well, after much thought and deliberation last year...
this is what we did and plan on doing again:

My sister mentioned she was doing Christmas gifts for her children
 (currently one adorable baby girl) in the following categories:
Something to wear,
Something to read,
Something you want,
Something you need.

We loved that, so we slurped it up and made it our own!
And Santa... 
well, he fills stockings at our house!
Stockings are always a favorite!

And you know what?
It was so fun!
We didn't obsess about making sure everyone received 
an even amount of stuff...
or that everyone got something similar in $$ value...
we just had fun filling in the blanks of our list!

This year, we will miss celebrating with our new kiddos.
We will be thinking of them,
wondering how they will celebrate, and
praying that it's not much longer till we are all home together.
I hope to send them a small something with another travelling family...
some new photos for their albums,
maybe a small toy and new crayons. 

And I will sit there on Christmas morning...
drinking my coffee in my pajamas...
Smiling at my hubby and kids...
snapping photos...
and holding back happy tears
as I picture what NEXT Christmas will bring!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My baby turned 3!

Saturday was my baby boy's birthday!
He's "flrwee" (three) now!

We gave him my grandmother's birthday because
she's wonderful, and strong and just an amazing person...
and it's a small way to honor her!

Here's what we did that day
(after we dosed everyone up on cold medicine):

Group photo... our kiddos plus one! 

Brothers... they are so stinking cute!

Trying to help him get the biggest pumpkin possible!

She was DETERMINED to get this one!
We said they could get what they could carry!

What's with that smile??

He found a 3-year-old sized pumpkin!

Somebody LOVES her Daddy!

How did he get this big? And handsome??
I miss those chubby baby cheeks...

Giant slides

Kid-sized hamster wheels

I need a few of these in the yard, please.

He loved feeding the tiny ponies!

Gorgeous baby girl, no... I'm not bringing home a bunny.

Another first? First bunny in her lap!

Happy Birthday, baby boy!!
You sure are getting big!
You make us smile 
and YOUR smile 
can get you out of just about any trouble you get into!

We love you so much!!

And Granny...
What would I do without you?!?
Who would I BE without you?

I'm so thankful that God gave me you.
You who knows me so well,
and loves me anyway,
encourages me to be who Jesus made me to be,
and who taught me to make Chocolate Gravy.
And Red Velvet Cake.
And Biscuits.
And playdoh.
And how to sew.
And how to arrange wildflowers.
And a million other things!!
I love you so much!!
Happy Birthday!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Month of Thankful Hearts!

I LOVE November!

You wanna know why??
Sure you do..
you came here to read whatever I'm typing...

November is the month of Thanksgiving!!

A few years ago,
I started this thing on Facebook where I
began posting one thing per day that I'm thankful for.
It was simple..
a month of thanksgiving and praises.

Then I noticed people caught on!
Other people were talking about being thankful too!
Then last year, LOTS of people were writing
all month long about being thankful!!
It's SO fun to read little notes,
little things all month long
that make people smile!

Some are silly...
(usually mine)
"I am SO thankful for my coffee maker."

Some are serious and thought-provoking...
"I am thankful for unanswered prayers."

SO, dear bloggy friends...
THIS year,
I have a challenge!

Would you like to join the fun??

Here's what we are going to do:

Post one thankful thought per day!
Each day, for all of November!
You can use Facebook, Twitter, your blog...
take photos, write something long, write something short..
in essence...
FLOOD the web with thoughts from grateful hearts!

My thought is,
you just CAN'T spend a whole month
trying to identify something to be thankful for every day
and not have a change occur inside your heart!

As Junior Asparagus says...
"A thankful heart is a happy heart!"

So what do you say??
Wanna play along?
Leave a little note letting me know so I can
follow along with your month of thanks, too!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The story

Once upon a time,
there were two really cute kids.
And they decided to
play house get married.

Then there were babies...
the first four came one at a time...
then three came at once.

Then God said...
"I'm not finished yet."

Chrissy began to pray for direction...
Paul began to pray for wisdom...
they both tried to figure it out alone.

The calling had already been defined...
the location was the mystery.

Chrissy gave God lots of parameters,
and God said...
"You're so funny when you say stuff like that!"

Then one day, Chrissy got an online message that said:
"So, your family has a heart for siblings."

Then, there was a photo in the email box.
A photo of FIVE precious, gorgeous children
who need a Mommy and Daddy.
Chrissy made a phone call and sent an email.
And her sweet hubby said "Sounds like fun!"

And at that precise moment,
the Father of Lies set his eyes on this family.

What happened over the next few weeks...
the details are too many,
the pain is too great,
the privacy should be protected...
but suffice it to say,
We had unknowingly entered into a battle we hadn't prepared for.

As the difficulties mounted, 
we began to see less light, less hope, less possibility...
and more despair, more inabilities, more weakness.
We weren't seeing how this was possible.

Until, Monday morning when the worst decision needed to be made.
To walk away from the precious babies we had chosen.
I thought my heart had been ripped from my chest.
This is where I thought the story ended.

I literally felt rejoicing from the enemy.
He had won.
But just like that moment when he thought he won
when Christ was on the cross...
did he ever underestimate
MY God.

Over the next few days,
much prayer, much mourning,
many tears, many hurts,
great confusion
sadness reigned.

And at the moment when all hope was lost...
the Creator walked right into a hotel room
in another state and grabbed my husband
by his fragile heart
and molded it, changed it,
and declared it GOOD.

the man who has loved me through some of my yuckiest,
messiest, meanest, saddest, happiest days...
opened his eyes
and realized his heart had changed.
He wanted our children in our home 
with a fierce, fatherly devotion
that I couldn't create for him. 

The next morning,
he emailed the agency, 
asked for permission to bring our babies home
and they said YES!

Oh, and THAT'S the point at which he told ME
about this whole God-transformation!?

So, sweet blog-readers, friends, family...
Our family is "expecting"!!

We are expecting challenges,
great joy,
great struggles,
financial miracles,
lots of noise,
a van-full of kiddos,
and a great number of people who will 
NEVER understand our hearts this side of eternity.

Pray for them...
pray for us.
Pray for the right words to speak when people DON'T understand.
Pray for our family to be a light on a hill.

I don't want the world to see our adoption and
MISS that it is ALL about Jesus!

Yes, we will need money.
We will have to travel TWO times to Africa.
But the very IDEA of being even remotely CONCERNED 
about that right now... well, it's just LAUGHABLE!

Once upon a time,
God gave us a calling.
Please don't miss that this is about Him.
We are so blessed to be on His journey!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I feel like I'm always the one to see the first lightening bug of the summer.
I claim it every year, for what it's worth.

I remember when I was a kid at my grandmother's house,
running around in the dark, barefooted
in the sticky summer evenings .
You hold your jar, with the lid barely twisted on - holes jabbed for air
waiting for the tiny bright light to shine.
Then suddenly - you see it!
You take off running in that direction 
hoping to get to it in time for the next flash
so you can capture the tiny light and save it in your jar.

I'm in that type of dark night right now.
I'm disoriented, 
thinking I'm going to step on something slimy,
and desperately searching for a little flicker of light.

That darkness closes in with hateful comments 
or absences of friends
and I find myself forgetting how to breathe.
"How did I get here??" I wonder...
Isn't there a magic pill or something?

Then today I saw some fireflies. 

Kids being kids, 
making me laugh - and just for a moment - 
feeling almost normal.

A few emails from strangers who know where I am, 
who have been here before, 
and who offer support.

A call from a friend, 
who didn't know what to say, 
but gave me permission to ask for the moon 
if it would help me heal.

Taking my daughter to meet her hero, Katie from Uganda
getting her autograph inside her new book, 
and hearing my baby girl say to Katie, 
"My friend Abby and I want to be missionaries and live in Africa someday!"

And finally, the selfless love of my Mom and Papa.
The kind of love that makes you forget all your words. 
(and I ALWAYS have words.)
The kind that makes you confused and disoriented,
and just so blown away by generosity and love and just...
the faith that they have in YOU and who you are,
not sure if you deserve it, but it's THERE.
And it just makes your heart melt into a puddle 
and cry tears of gratitude to the God who put this man in your life - 
one you didn't think you wanted, 
who you didn't think wanted you
but who demonstrates his fierce love in such a rough-around-the-edges 
but smooshy-like-a-puppy-snout kind of way... 
how could you be anything but 
completely humbled by that kind of love??

Weary and still confused, I can now look down at the end of this day...
muddy, messy, smelling like outside-in-the-summer and completely worn out,
to see that my little jar of "lightening bugs" is glowing and I can see my dirty toes.
And suddenly,
I think I might be able to see my way back home after all.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Help turn mourning into joy

If you linked here to find out about the sibling group of 5 precious kiddos...

Guess WHAT??

They are OUR precious kiddos!!!

God did an amazing thing in our lives... just amazing!

I will share the story soon...

but for now, be content with this:

"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing! 

You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, 

that I might sing praises to you and not be silent!

O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever! (Ps.30:11)