Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The View From Here

It's The Church's Responsibility To Train My Children

Or is it?

Did you know that, "Teens are 3x more likely to stay in church after high school if there are regular faith conversations at home"? - Jim Burns

Did you know that the average child will only spend 2 hours or less at their church each week.  Do you honestly believe that the church can train your children in the way your child should go in just 2 hours every week?  Absolutely NOT!  That isn't their responsibility.

The Lord has called us, as parents, to train our children.  We are to be their main influence.  We should send them to classes at church, of course, but we should not put that responsibility on their teachers and leaders.  The church's job is to plant seeds and reinforce what the kids are learning at home.  And then, we as parents, should in turn, reinforce what the kids have learned in their classes at church.

I have heard many parents say, "I decided to enroll my child at the Catholic (or Christian) school because I wanted them to get some religion.  I think what they teach is a good thing and I want my kid to get that."  I've also been a part of several conversations (remember, my husband was a student pastor for several years) where parents are upset, even infuriated, because the student pastor or lead pastor hasn't done their job to speak enough into their child's life.  I agree that some student pastors just "do their job" and don't get as involved in their students lives as they should, but to expect them to make the kids come to church or make them come to youth activities and to act appropriately is not their responsibility.  It's ours!

I know at Journey, our home church, that our Children's Pastor, does an excellent job at teaching my kids.  But I would never want it to end there and he would totally agree.  That's why they give the parents handouts when we pick them up after church.  These handouts have excellent discussions and activities that we can do with our kids throughout the week.  We can reinforce what they are learning.  I love those handouts.  It makes it easy to talk to our kids.  It helps them remember what they are learning, so it goes farther than the church building.

Parents, let's work together with the church to help make our kids GREAT for God!

Monday, May 30, 2011

The View From Here

Not Me Monday

I hardly ever get scared when Josh goes out of town and leaves me at home by myself with the kids.

Sorry, babe;)

I just LOVE to sprawl out in our bed and squish in between ALL the pillows too much, ha!  I like to scurry around the house without getting looks wondering what in the world I'm up to, ha!  I like to find projects to accomplish after I put the kids to bed at night.


Since I am always so brave and never allow my imagination to get the best of me, I would certainly not be startled by a strange noise in the middle of the night.

Nope, not me!

After checking on each of the kids and finding a very sharp object to carry around the house with me while I peer through all the windows I would never resort to calling 911 for backup.

Nope, not this invincible momma!

I don't need a cop to walk the perimeter of the house to check the cellar out back (under my bedroom) and the attic and closets inside my house.  I also don't need a cop to check in the boys room only to find out that it was Cai kicking the wall in his sleep.

Nope, not me!

I could surely figure that one out on my own, without having to involve the police:)

Friday, May 27, 2011

The View From Here

Fun Facts For Friday

Cai has a pet frog.  His name is "Gokkie".  He is of the fury species that doesn't die.  He is safe.  Well, he was safe...until we lost him.  I practically tore our house apart looking for Gokkie to no avail.  I even drove back to Harris Teeter, where I thought he might be.  Nope, no Gokkie.  We had given up on finding our cuddly little friend.  It think I get more sad than the kids do when they lose their beloved fury friends.

Fast forward one week.  We are driving up to Areyna's lesson.  As we are passing the Buisiness complex that the boys and I frequently take walks around during her lesson Areyna spots something.  She shouts, I SEE HIM!  I SEE FROGGIE.  No, we didn't embarrass her for calling "Gokkie" Froggie, but instead rejoiced in her keen tracking skills to spot such a small little friend just so gently propped up by one of the office windows.
One week later.  Still there, where Cai's chubby little hands must have dropped him on one of our walks.  He must have been so scared.  He must have felt so helpless.  But alas, the lost was found!  Cai welcomed him back into the family and took him for a swim when we got home:)


The past two weeks have been packed full of appointments.  We have FINALLY all been to the dentist!  The kids are cavity FREE, woohoo! (This was a New Year's Resolution that Josh and I made, oh 2 years ago, ha!)  Rainy and Zeke have gotten their shots for Africa.  I went back to the dentist because of a jaw issue, I'll be posting that traumatic story next week, you won't want to miss it:)  I've had my first appointment to fix my jaw issue yesterday at the chiropractor.  He was more than happy to tell me about all the toxins and poisons all around us.  There's nothing more encouraging than someone telling you that the food/drinks, laundry detergent, soap and baby shampoo are all toxic and full of poison that you have been giving your family.  It just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside...


I thought I'd explain my recent posts titled "The View From Here".  I just wanted to have fun taking pictures and editing them.  I thought it would be fun to try and summarize my day with one single picture.
Monday - it was a fabulous family day.  Josh and I took a (sort of) nap on the lawn next to the kids pool while they splashed around in sheer delight.  This photo was my view when I came back to reality:)
Tuesday - we are an outside family, there is no doubt about it.  We spent the entire day in our pool...again:)
Wednesday - the kids were in a creative mood.  They call their new homeschool room their "real office" and they were hard at work all day making maps to Diamond Castle and cards for everyone in the family.
Thursday - Yesterday was catch-up day.  I usually try to get the laundry done on Wednesday but I became totally overwhelmed by the little mommy chores around the house that I got absolutely NOTHING accomplished.  Areyna was quick to help me clean and do laundry throughout the entire day yesterday:)  She is truly my little helper.  She even came in and asked for a diaper for Cai.  I later walked in on her changing his diaper and getting a fresh outfit on him for the day.  He laid on the floor so contently for her to get the job done.  Warmed my heart to watch that for sure:)

Well, I've rambled enough on here today.
I hope you all have an AWESOME Friday, I know I will!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The View From Here

I Walk The Line

I know that this will come as a shock to many of you but I feel the need to clarify.  (I know, I know, this comes from my need to please others, and the need to be heard, and to be understood...and the need to simply inform.)

So, here goes.

I do have a filter for my posts!

I know I walk a very fine line, here on the 'ol blog.

What should I write about?  Will this reflect Christ's presence in my life?  Would Josh hate that picture I just put up of him?  Will my kids read this when they get older and still believe that their mother loved them?  By sharing this story am I just trying to capture an audience, or am I truly confessing for accountability's sake?  Could this post help someone, even though it makes me look like a fool?  Could I spare someone from making the same mistakes as a mother, wife, Christ-follower, that I have made?

These are all questions I ask myself every day when I write my posts.  I would never want my family to be offended by something I write on my blog, not now and not in the future.

In fact, Josh is my first filter.  If I am sharing something very personal I have him read through the post to filter anything that needs to be changed.  Hey, he's even asked me not to share completed posts before and I respect that.  I welcome that.  Besides, having a blog that my hubbie hates or detests is the last thing I want:)

I also have a "filter team".  I have asked two of my best friends to filter the things I have written.  They have complete freedom to honestly tell me if I should change the wording or delete a post all-together.

See, I do draw the line somewhere.


I refuse to be just another blog that portrays the perfect American family who has it altogether.

First of all, being The Mom who has it altogether is one of my downfalls and I will not allow my blog to feed that desire of mine for how people view me.

I am a real mom with real problems with patience, self-control, and who wonders how in the world to reach the heart of my children more often than not.  I need time-outs and I lose my own marbles almost daily.

I am a real wife who struggles with selfishness, resentment at times, among many other things.

I am a real Christ-follower who questions God, gets behind in my Bible reading, doubts His timing, who willfully disobeys sometimes, knowing that the consequences are following right behind.

So, if you have come here to read cute little stories about our family and how awesome we are, you have come to the wrong place!

If you've come here to cry with me, hopefully get some ideas of how NOT to do things, see Christ at work in this nobody, see a totally vulnerable momma/wife, and catch a laugh at my expense...then WELCOME!

You better fasten your seat belts, because life here on earth can get bumpy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The View From Here


Lately Josh and I have been so caught up with life events that we have hardly had time together.  Between the last minute funeral in Colorado, 3 kids, ministry, homeschool, traveling, among so many other life activities, we are aching for time together to reconnect and get on the same page.

We are realizing more and more the importance of intentionally finding time with each other, even in the midst of busy seasons like these.  As if our own busy lives weren't enough to make us realize this importance, we have also heard of three close friends of ours whose marriages are falling apart!  I have been heart-broken this week each time we've heard their stories.

Josh and I are not exempt from this!  We know that it can happen to anyone, the rising statistics, even within the church family, are proof of this.

This means that we have a choice to make.

I believe every family goes through different seasons.  We can either choose to "get through" the busy seasons or the "work together" in this season, making every day count, even the busy ones.

Josh and I have a totally different schedule than the average American who works 9-5 and looks forward to the weekends to unwind.  Our life tends to be unpredictable, each week holding different activities.  We work hard on the weekends and crash on Mondays.  We have lots of activities, rehearsals and gigs in the evenings, which can each take a toll on our family if we allow it to.

That being said, there are two different places Josh and I find ourselves in when we are in the middle of a "season" like this in our lives. 

First, we learn to coexist in the house together, not really paying attention to what the other is working on or involved with.  We continue to live life as normal, coasting as a family, to "get through" this season, but find ourselves on totally different pages in our marriage. 

I can usually get a pretty good read on people, especially Josh, but when we are here, in this place, I can't put a finger on what Josh might be thinking.  I don't know what he's feeling.  We begin to have a hard time communicating.  When we let our guard down, because of exhaustion or just the craziness of life, we lose our oneness.  We are no longer working together, but begin assuming things that are not real, resenting and casting blame for the lack of communication.

The second place we can find ourselves in is working as a family to get through this busy season.  Making every moment count.  Working on our attitudes and the way we talk to each other.  Finding times where we are passing each other in the hallway and grabbing a booty or a quick smooch.  You get the picture.  We are staying connected, even though we don't have the luxury of actually being together.

Josh and I have a rating system, which helps us gauge where we are together in our marriage.  It is called "Pages".

Here is how we communicate our proximity to each other:

On The Same Page - We are walking together, even though we have to go our separate ways to get things accomplished during the day.  We know what each other is thinking.  We are reading our family dynamics the same way.

In a Different Paragraph - We are on the same page, but maybe we just need a quick refocus.  We are getting along fine, but maybe just need a quick kiss, eye-to-eye contact and a meaningful "I Love You" to jump us back to the same part of the page.

Same Book/Different Pages/Chapter - We are here, coasting, but we are definitely on different pages or maybe we've drifted as far away from each other as different chapters.  It is getting time for an intervention, and quick.  This is the stage where we can very quickly allow Satan to get a foothold on areas in our marriage.

Different Books Altogether - If I look at Josh, in tears, and say that I'm in a totally different book, then he knows that we are not seeing eye to eye on anything.  We are in desperate need of a time-out.  We need to find time to find each other's book, chapter, paragraph and page.  Our lives are too busy if we get to this stage.  We are allowing the demands of life get between us and our marriage and this is unacceptable.  (And, more often than not, our spiritual life is being affected by this as well!)

Having this system allows us to safely communicate that we are not seeing eye-to-eye.  We are not casting blame.  We aren't saying that "my" page or "my" book is where the other ought to be, we are just stating that we are reading two totally different books and our family cannot survive like that.

I don't know about you, but I don't just want to survive during the busy seasons in my life.  I want to thrive and grow during them!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The View From Here

Not Me Monday

I have never really enjoyed going to the dentist.

In fact, my anxiety about going and the possibility of maybe having my first cavity would be so strong that I'd ask my mom not to tell me where we were going until we were about to pull up to the dentist's front door.

So, when the dreaded appointment came around last week I was not looking forward to it!

Nope, not me!

I did not turn to the oral hygienist after it was over and ask if she was sure she was done.

No way!

What crazy woman actually asks for more dental work to be done?!

Nope, not this one! 

I did not mark this down on my calendar as a "tooth massage" in hopes of it lasting long enough for me to catch my breathe after being at home with the kids by myself all week, ha!

Nope, not me!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fun Facts For Friday

Could it have been any nicer outside this week?!  I haven't closed the windows all week.  We have been going straight outside in our jammies as soon as breakfast is over.  Love.It.

Tomorrow morning I am headed down to the large town of Ridgeway, SC for an Alumni brunch at Camp Longridge.  I was a camp counselor at this camp during the summers while I was in college.  I'm really excited to see friends of mine that I haven't seen in almost 10 years!

Areyna finished her reading chart this week.  She was determined to complete it so she could surprise Josh when he got back from his conference.  Since she finished it she has been a reading maniac!  She has a Bible that helps her read and she read 70 pages of it just yesterday, WHAT?!  She is beginning to sound out words and write them down too.  It is so cute.  I got my first love letter from her yesterday...be still my heart *sigh*
It says: I love Shabila. Mom I love you because you are nice. I love you mom.
Cai is, by far, my most cuddly child!  He would be totally content for me to carry him around all day in a sling.  My back, on the other hand, screams in protest at the thought of carrying this almost 30-pound 1 1/2 year old around:)  Anyway, he has a few criteria that must occur if he is to be content while you are sitting and holding him.

1 - Your full attention - he hates me to get work done on the computer while he is in my lap.
2 - He has to be ON.MY.LAP.  Not sitting in between my legs on the floor.  Nope, that simply will not suffice.
3 - He must have his back completely against my chest.  He has no boundaries for personal space.

You have to be totally engaged in this cuddle to make it work, ha!  I grabbed a shot of Cai as soon as he backed into Rainy's lap to give you an illustration:)

My kids just finished a whole box of cereal in just 2 mornings.  Man can they put some cereal away.
UPDATE: Make that 2 boxes of cereal in 2 days!  Thank goodness for Harris Teeter triples, I got those boxes for almost nothin'!

Every morning this week I've heard Areyna's door open, before it's time to get up, a close just a few seconds later.  I found out what she's been doing.  She's been confiscating my hairbrush to brush her hair as she gets ready for the day.

Dear Rainy,
Could you please stop growing up so fast?  K, thanks!
Love, Mom

The kids have appointments this morning to get their shots for Uganda.  Cai is too young to get any and Rainy and Zeke only need one.  They have mixed feelings about this step in the adoption process, but they are looking forward to the promised ice cream from Sonic when they are done!

Happy Friday ya'll!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Making (A) Room For #4

The Girl's Room
Rainy and Shabila will be sharing the futon.
Can't wait to hear their little conversations as they learn to love each other!
I've been SO excited to have a girly room!
Before : After
Before : After
Before : After

 The Boy's Room
Before : After

Before : After
The kids love the rooms,  I love the rooms, and Micaiah has transitioned into his big boy bed without any incident!  We even went on a pack-n-play-less road trip.  He slept on the floor in a sleeping bag next to Zeke like a champ:)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ahhh, I'm Losing All My Marbles

Due to the craziness of life, and the instability of our current schedule my attitude the kid's attitudes were in major need of an attitude check!
I was trying to brainstorm a creative way to keep our attitudes in check without feeling like I was dishing out "consequences" all day long.  It was time for some intervention...and quick!

I decided that we needed some kind of reward system so we can see just how good our attitudes had been throughout the day.

I got a couple of old Glade candle holders and wrote Rainy and Zeke's names on them.  The one in the middle is for me, because let's face it, momma's need attitude checks every once in a while too:)

Every morning we each start out with 20 marbles.  The goal is to keep our marbles all day (pun intended, ha!).  Whoever has kept the most marbles by bedtime gets to choose the story book that I will read to them.  If there is a tie we both (or all three) get to choose a book.

I must admit that I was the one who lost the most marbles for the first 2 days, but you will be happy to know that my attitude has vastly improved over the past couple of weeks!  It helps to have that accountability.  I mean, who likes to take a marble away in front of their kids because of rude words, unkind talking or just plain rotten attitudes?!

There has been an added bonus to this "Marble Mania", which we have so cleverly named our little game.  Zeke can now consistently count to 20 on his own, a task which was not even on his radar a couple of weeks ago!

So, we're working on counting, our attitudes, tone of voice and kind words all in one!

I can guarantee that I won't be losing all my marbles today:)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I Just Couldn't Force It Anymore

I remember exactly when it occurred.

My brother and I had made a fort out of quilts and card tables in our living room, as was a normal occurrence for us growing up.  I remember sitting in my "fort room" and feeling weird.  Trying to live in the present while pretending to be in a make believe world of best friends, bad guys and adventures.


I remember sitting there trying to imagine that this pretend reality was real.  But for some reason, this time it was different.  I just wasn't "feeling it" anymore.

I remember being sad.  I remember thinking that I was missing out.

So now, when my kids are make-believing that the medical building behind our house is Carowinds, or when they put endless hours in making the perfect fairy house in hopes of actually catching a real-life Fairy, I smile.

I love that they have imaginations!  I want to encourage their pretend realities (to an extent of course:), and I want them to hold on to them as long as they can...

...because quite frankly, I kind of miss mine.

Just Micaiah - Just Because

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fun Facts For Friday

Is it really Friday already?

No, not already, but FINALLY!

I made it to Colorado to celebrate my Grandpa's life.  It was good to see family again, but we really do need to stop meeting like this.  Three funerals in a little over a year for my family...

We got another "Change For Change" donation this week! We are $30 closer to bringing our little girl home.  We are at a grand total of $231 made solely on people saving their spare change for us!

We were also informed, this week, that our Dossier is on it's way to Uganda!  Here is a pretty cool realization, from the date we signed on with our adoption agency to the date our Dossier left for Uganda was exactly 6 months!

I have been slowly piecing my house together after the craziness of the past 3-4 weeks.  I finally finished a MAJOR clean over the whole house this afternoon, a mountain of laundry is now cleaned, folded and put away, and I talked my sweet hubby into helping me rearrange the kid's rooms.  We now have a boy room and a girl room.  Now, we just need another little girl to cuddle in that bed with Areyna:)
Along with the changing of the rooms, we transferred Micaiah to a "Big Boy Bed".  We rotated Zeke to the top bunk (he kept asking when bedtime was because he was ready to be able to sleep on the top bunk) and Cai is now on the bottom bunk where Zeke used to be.  Zeke had a harder time with the transition than Cai did because he missed Areyna.  It'll be good for him.  Right?  Right?

Cai stayed in his bed until I opened the door to get them up at 9am this morning!  We'll see how naptime goes:)

And, since we are going to Charlotte to play this weekend, it will be the perfect time to stop by IKEA and pick up the finishing touches for their rooms!  I'll post pictures of the whole house transition after the rooms are perfected, ha!

Well, it's now time for a shower.  I'm pretty proud of myself for accomplishing this feat before bedtime.

So, Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

From Chaos To Control: Toy Bins

I have a love/hate relationship with toy bins.

I love how toy bins can keep all the kid's toys organized.
I hate how the little pieces get thrown in the nearest bin, instead of the appropriate bin.
I love how toy bins make cleanup a quick process.
I hate the feeling I get when I see a stuffed animal head poking out of the "Tool" bin.

Because of my OCD tendencies I had to give myself "toy bin limits".  For me, I could spend my whole day trying to keep my kid's toys organized and in the appropriate bins.  So, I set one day a week where I go around the whole house and gather the toys that are in the wrong place.  I chose Thursday because that is my cleaning day.
 I bring all the toys into the play room and empty out one toy bin at a time.
Then I make piles (until I have an empty bin to put the organized toys in) to organize them.
I make a throw-away pile, as well as an I-don't-belong-in-the-play-room pile.  These piles must be taken care of before this task is complete.
The rest of the week I don't care if there are 5 cars in with the barbie dolls or play make-up in with the hand bags because I know that Thursday is right around the corner:)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Yard Sale Success

Wow, what a weekend!
We had our joint yard sale with my brother and sister-in law
to raise money for our adoptions.
Kelly and Katie folding the mountains of clothes that were donated.
 The preparation was just as hard as the yard sale itself.
But thankfully we had LOTS of help!
We sure could not have done this on our own.

Our kids did AWESOME for us!
It helped that they had an endless flow of friends and cousins around.
They found several ways to keep occupied as us mommas worked.
Areyna and Zeke searching for "Diamond Castle"
Our yard looked like a freakin' flea market!
The 2-day madness was a steady stream from 7am until nighttime both days.
We even had a friend's youth group donate a van full from Richmond, VA!
 The older girls worked hard on selling Lemonade
as they joined in the yard sale fun.
Josh's brother, Jared, offered free magic tricks and entertainment
accompanied by Josh:)
I think my feet are still recouping after running around all weekend...
but man, what fun we had.
And, again, the Lord really showed off for us!
We made a grand total of $3780!

Again, we are humbled by the love and support we have had
from our friends, family and church as you all have stepped up
and helped in so many ways that we cannot even begin to list.

So, thank you!  We have been blessed.