Friday, March 26, 2010

My life is yours?

My friend Lisa wrote this wonderful blogpost today that I wanted to share with you all.

I have a mental list of things that I sometimes wish I was able to do, that I occasionally feel guilty for not doing. Having five small children though, I just CAN'T do it all. More and more I'm realizing that, you know what? That's okay.

Anyway, I loved Lisa's perspective and I think you will too!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

If you thought you couldn't afford to adopt...

You are now probably wrong.

That health bill that President Obama just signed? Well, it not only increased and extended the Adoption Tax also changed it from a non-refundable credit to a REFUNDABLE credit.

Of $13,170 per child.

I am amazed. And so, so excited. Hoping and praying this paves the way for many more families to open their homes and hearts to a child in need.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


This picture of Kaitlyn was taken at my in-laws' home in December. She seems so grown up in it!

It makes me think of the future, of days to come when me and my girls will sit over coffee and talk and dream and laugh. I hope and pray we are always close, my kids and I.

I know it's normal to eagerly anticipate our children growing up so they can be more independent, so we can move on in life, do our own thing again. But I wonder if in some ways, kids never stop needing their parents...they just need them in different ways. I don't change Anna's diapers anymore, for example, but I spend lots of time answering her questions and encouraging her and guiding her.

Lately I've been thinking about the teen years in a child's life, and what they might need from a mother and father. In some ways I think teenagers need their moms and dads more than ever, but yeah, in very different ways. You need to be available, but not smothering. Interested, but not annoying. And it seems like you probably need to have a thick skin, because if my teens are anything like I was, they won't always be nice to me. (Nor I to them.)

Basically I want to cherish and pour into each and every stage in my childrens' lives. I'm thinking it'll be draining and challenging, but also really amazing and fulfilling. So for now we enjoy conversation over milk in sippy cups, but also look forward to chatting over coffee and scones.

To that I say, cheers!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


So I want to tell you today about two real-life friends of mine. (Who, sadly, I don't see anymore because they live in California, and I am here in Colorado now.)

One has an amazing new blog.
The other is guest-blogging there today.
It's a Lisa Leonard Designs giveaway for a great cause. So go check it out!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Orphan Summit

“American Christians are stirring to the needs of orphans both at home and abroad as never before. What’s thrilling is that even small ministries in local churches can make such significant impact. There are millions of parentless children worldwide, but a single statistic matters more than any other: it only takes one caring adult to make a lifelong difference in the life of an orphan.”
- Jedd Medefind, President, Christian Alliance for Orphans

I just wanted to share with all of you about this amazing opportunity at the end of April in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Christian Alliance for Orphans is holding their annual conference and it is going to be AWESOME.

I got to go for the first time just last year (it was held in Texas) and it was completely inspiring/humbling/disturbing-in-a-good-way. I think my biggest general take-away was that God created children to be raised in families and this is something very, very near to God's heart. And that we need to do something.

An added bonus was time with girlfriends...staying up way too late...laughing really hard. I also got to meet several wonderful women who I'd only previously known online. (I was good and pregnant at the it strange that I always miss being pregnant when I'm not?)

So, if you're at all able, I totally recommend going to this conference. I'll be there(!) with the other sweet ladies with From HIV to Home. Mary Lu will be there too. So come.

Here is a bunch of general info from CAFO:

With Haiti’s earthquake drawing global focus to the plight of orphans, Christians from across America and beyond will gather in Minneapolis, MN, for the Christian Alliance for Orphans’ Summit VI on April 29-30, 2010. The objective: to inspire and equip Christians to “care for orphans in their distress” through adoption, foster care and global orphan care ministry rooted in the local church.

What you can look forward to:

· Featured speakers will include national champions of orphan care and adoption, including John Piper, Mary Beth Chapman, Tom Davis, Doug Sauder, Stephanie Fast, Jedd Medefind, and Al Mohler. Compelling voices from the global church will join as well, from Africa to Central America.

· Music will be led by Steven Curtis Chapman, Peder Eide, Desperation Band and other artists.

· More than 50 workshops delivering nuts-and-bolts for adoption, foster care and global orphan programs – designed for both laypersons and leadership

Orphan care resources for church ministries, as well as personal orphan care and adoption journeys
Breakouts will also include 5 “Hague Hour” Credits for Adoptive Families.
Q&A sessions and networking opportunities with respected adoption, global orphan and foster care organizations and veteran ministry leaders.
For Christians stirred by the plight of orphans, Summit offers the biggest and best opportunity of the year to learn how to act upon conviction. To learn more and register now, visit the Summit website here.

A taste of breakout topics:

· Haiti and the Local Church: What’s Next?

· Bridging the Great Divide: Building Positive Relationships Between Church Ministries and Government

· Understanding Childhood Development of Overseas Orphans

· A Lifelong Love: Keeping the Gospel at the Center of Orphan Ministry

· Church-Based Orphan Ministry 101

· Fundraising for Orphan Ministry

· Starting in the Right Direction: Helping Pre-Adoptive Couples Make Sound Decisions

· Now What? Helping Children Age Out of Foster Care

· The Financial Challenge of Adoption and How the Local Church Can Respond

· Engaging Church Leadership

· A Child’s Journey Through the Foster Care System

· How Does It Work? Models of Global Orphan Ministry Based in US Churches

· Practical Ideas of Orphan-Focused Events

· Understanding HIV/AIDS and the Orphan

· And many more…

And there’s more! Five sessions will provide pre-adoptive families with needed Hague credits.

· Adoption and Orphans: Becoming a Multicultural/Multiracial Family

· Adoption and Orphans: Attachment and Trauma (Part I and II)

· Adoption and Orphans: Grief and Loss

· Adoption and Orphans: Acclimating to a New Family Member

Friday, March 19, 2010


This picture of little Mary Lucille just plain makes me happy. I love those awkward baby smiles where they really have to work at it!
There were actually lots of happy-inducing things in my day today (in spite of my being really tired from being up with Mary early this morning) watching my six year old daughter plow through a (long) Roald Dahl book, listening to one of my sons sing worship songs with his daddy, getting an email from a dear friend, having my husband come home EARLY with daffodils and Butterfingers and dinner, all because he says he so appreciates all I do for the baby.
A busy, fun-filled weekend up ahead. Snowy and stormy outside. Cozy and warm inside. I'm happy. (But I have to say, I think that picture of Mary Lu makes me happiest of all! Well, that and the Butterfingers...)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Life that is lived

Today I'm thinking a little bit about life. I know so.many.people. who are struggling through various things right now, both friends and extended family members. It is heartbreaking. You wish you could fix it, but let's face it, you can't.

One thing I'm pondering is that no one, and I mean no one, escapes pain in this life. We can do our best to protect ourselves, shield our children, and take the safe path...but at the end of the day...there is still hurt, disappointment, loss, anxiety, illness, grief. Even if you somehow manage to put up walls to avoid those things, THAT in and of itself is a loss. Because then you're not really LIVING.

There's this pesky little question that's been raised various times in our lives: Do we sit in our little house with the shades drawn, pretending not to hear or see God at work in our hearts and minds...or do we abandon our need for control and seek God's very face, laying down our hearts/lives/finances/expectations/idols for His ways, which we know are so much better than our own?

The truth is, we cannot avoid life. No matter how methodically we work to carve out a sterile existence, there will still be pain. Loved ones fall ill. People will fail us. There will be days (years?) we feel overwhelmed. BUT. Jesus said that He came to give us life, and life abundantly. Even when life hurts, it is still life. Which means there is beauty and joy to be found amdist the ashes of brokenness, and we know that we are being perfected and made more like Jesus.

Pretty remarkable that no matter what befalls us, God is there comforting and changing and redeeming. I know this is a really random post, but I've been mulling these things over lately as we make decisions that involve some unknowns and what are sure to be some big challenges. (More on all of that soon, I promise.) I so want to commit to seeking the joy and beauty woven throughout the sorrow...and that when I can't see it, I'll trust.

I don't know about you, but I want to LIVE. Come what may. No matter the cost.

Friday, March 12, 2010

3 years old!

This past Sunday, March 7, my middle girl turned three. THREE! Where, oh where, did the time go?
I'll never, ever forget finding out that she was on the way. Home from Ethiopia just four months with our new sons, we discovered child number four would be joining our family.
We were thrilled.
To know Kaitlyn is to know joy. She is fun, silly, opinionated, and sassy. She loves, loves, loves her siblings and has never known a day where three other kids aren't vying for her attention, giving her hugs, or wanting her to play. Now she is also adored by a younger sibling too!
I love my sweet Katie Jane and I so look forward to the various adventures that we'll share with her in the years to come!
Her party is tomorrow, but last Sunday she got to open some gifts from the grandparents after church.

I've always said that Kaitlyn brings such a fun, unique dynamic to our family, and it's true. She's the loudest and zaniest, even though in public she's the shyest, and honestly we would be so boring without her!
I love her sweet heart, her love for Jesus, and her determination.
Happy birthday Kaitlyn Jane!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Me and her

The other night as I was getting Mary Lu ready for bed, Kevin took some candid photos of us. They're not fancy, it was the end of a long day, etc., but I love them, because they capture me delighting in my daughter.

It's funny, but no matter how many children I have, each one is so unique and precious, and loved. Mary Lucille is my fifth child, my third daughter, and I positively adore her.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: motherhood is a gift. My children are a gift. May I never take those things for granted!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Birthday specialness

This year Anna's birthday fell on a weekday, and we had a party planned for the weekend, but still we wanted to have something special for her on the DAY. So that meant going with Daddy to get some treats early that morning.

You've got to love a spontaneous breakfast party. (When there are seven people in your family, you can have spontaneous parties, because you always have a party quorum.)

There was lively music.

And donuts, the breakfast of champions.

Then, there were gifts from the grandparents.

Happy party attenders later that morning.

Sometimes the simplest things are the best things. The kids had a blast, Anna loved it, and it was a special morning, which was the goal!

Family memories are priceless. I look forward to so many more in the years to come.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

When you love to read...

I promise Anna was not posed for these photos--when she gets into a book, she (obviously) will NOT put it down!
I love that my daughter is a book lover and I look forward to many wonderful conversations about things we're reading in the years to come!!!

Monday, March 08, 2010

I saw what I saw

I love me some Sara Groves. I know most of you have heard this song and watched this video before, but it has really spoken to my heart as of late. And encapsulates everything we've been processing and praying about in recent weeks, and some things we've been thinking for the last 4+ years. I'm not much of a music person (I rarely listen to music, I think because I really just like peace and quiet when I can have it!), but I love when a song becomes meaningful to me. This is definitely one of those.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Decisons, decisions

We are currently in the process of attempting to make some decisions. Sorry to be so vague (aka annoying, it's just like that kid at youth group who would always say they had an "unspoken" prayer request during prayertime!), but I'm not ready to share until we've arrived at an answer, either way. I promise I'll let you know once we do--I think we may be getting close. :)

I believe this happy little crossroads we're at is actually one of the toughest places I've been in, at least in recent history. NOT because our decision necessarily involves something bad, but because it's weighty. We have been spending time in prayer, conversation, the Bible, and seeking wisdom from others...all in an attempt to discern what the Lord is telling us.

Quite frankly, this whole matter of discernment has been exhausting! I actually feel tired, emotionally and spiritually. I look back on various big decisions in my life...choosing which college to attend...getting married...adopting our sons...and I have to admit that this has been the hardest to make by far. Mostly because the whole thing surprised us. Not what we were expecting to "hear" from God.

Imagine that, God busting out of the box that I constructed for Him.

Either way I think I'll look back on this as a faith-building time. I'm learning that sometimes having faith means moving forward with baby steps (or even standing still), as God directs, but that He won't always hold your hand the way He did, say, five years ago. I'm seeing too the things that hold me back: fear of the unknown, my need for control, and what others may think of me. I'm also quite aware of my own impatience...I want to know RIGHT NOW what we are supposed to do...but sometimes God says, "wait."

At this point we feel like things are coming into focus and that we are maybe ready to take the next baby step. I still don't know for sure what the outcome will be, but I do know God is not letting up. I am so humbled by this process. And I look forward to eventually sharing more of it with you!

I wonder--what are some of the hardest decisions you've had to make, or things you've had to discern?

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Some quick thoughts:
I'm reading through the Psalms right now...woefully behind in my "Bible in 90 Days" goal...but still I'm plugging along. I love love love the Psalms! Such amazing words of comfort, and hope, and promise.

Last night Kevin took me on a date to a super fun Denver restaurant. It's been a really long time since we've gone out, just the three of us :) (Mary of course was in attendance.) A really wonderful friend offered to babysit, so yay! I really am not super high-maintenance when it comes to date nights, so we don't have them too often, but when we do, it's really special!

I'm ready for all my clothes to fit again. I know it's only been four months since Mary was born, but yeah, I'm impatient. The weight is coming off slowly but surely, but mostly it just feels slowly. :)

We've recently gotten into the show Arrested Development (thank you, as always, to the Denver Public Library System.) Honestly I laugh SO HARD. It's hilarious...and disturbing.

Last night as we were leaving the restaurant, we saw an old, circa late-eighties Lincoln Towncar. Which reminded us of OUR (technically Kevin's but I had to drive it AND be seen in it too) late-eighties Lincoln Towncar. Oh, those were the days...three kids in carseats in the in a carseat in the front with us. I'll NEVER forget the comments and stares we used to get. "How many kids can you fit in that car?" AND, once at Wal Mart, a man walking by cheerily exclaimed "Stinkin' Lincoln!" Anyway last night Kevin was so filled with glee that he actually stopped and had to peer inside the car.

I'm dreading, and I do mean dreading, the day we decide to do a Colorado adoption homestudy. California was so easy...Colorado is much more intensive...lots of hours of training. And all the paperwork...ugh. (No we are not in process or anything, but I've been doing some research on the whole thing since eventually we probably will be. There may be more on this topic later.)

I had a most fabulous day on Monday. I had lunch duty at my daughter's homeschool program, so after drop-off I headed over to a friend's house until lunch time. Then we left for lunch duty, and went BACK to her house until it was time for pick-up. Spending time with Angela was so good for my soul. They have an amazing family, and you should get to know them.

Lately I cannot think of anything to eat for lunch. My kids have PB&J literally every single day (and get quite disappointed if I serve something else!), but I don't always feel like eating it myself.

That's all. Nothing more to say. Nothing really to say in the first place, but I said it anyway! :)

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