Tuesday, December 31, 2013

UNclever : words from an unmotivated mom

I believe that I have taken the longest blog hiatus since the birth of my blog on November 3, 2007.

But we've had a lot going on:)

We did the whole fake Christmas thing in VA with Josh's family.

Then we did the whole real Christmas thing at our home as we brought in the flu together.
My kid's have never watched so much TV in their lives!  When everyone is down for the count with not even enough motivation to get up for meals we sit...and watch another movie.  When Josh and I sat down, after putting all the sickies in bed for the night, we decided that we were so over SuperHero Squad and The Littlest PetShop and opted for our default show.  It took me 3 1/2 lines of "recently watched" shows to find ours.  THAT's how much TV the kids watched that day.
Awful parenting? Maybe
Feeling guilty? Absolutely NOT!

As soon as we were fever-free we headed down to do another fake Christmas thing with my family and participate in the Annual String Party festivities.

Then I started getting sick...again...awesome.

Out of all the fun we had I got nary a photo to capture any of it.

There's always next year right?
And that next year begins in just a few hours!

Here's to a brand new year with more intentionality and (hopefully) less sickness.
Happy New Year ya'll!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Words Worth Remembering

Cai:"Will you inside for this out, mom?"
translation: will you turn my shirt right side out?


Alethia:"I feel Jesus in our house."


Rainy:"Look mom, she's wearing a turtle shell too!"
aka-turtle NECK


Me:"Zeke, I know you are excited to go to your sleepover, but go play until it's time to go."
Zeke:"Ooh, good idea!  Let me go get something really quick first."
Cai:"Come oooooonnnnn Zeke, hurry up, I'm gonna miss you."


Cai:"Why did God make us to bite each other?"
Me:"Well, we have to be able to bite so we can eat, but he also gave us a choice as to how we use the teeth and mouth he gave us."
Cai:"I think God has a button to make us do something like that."


Cai:"My nose can't breathe:("


while getting ready for breakfast
Cai:"Mom, can you help me get my jacket on?"
Mom:"Why? Where are you going?"
Cai:"I want to go outside and give my money to a poor guy."


Zeke:"Ooh, look mom, a seed!  Now we can plant it to grow some more fish!"
Me:"Ummm, that's garlic buddy...and you can't GROW fish with a seed."
Rainy laughing hysterically!


Cai:"What if we had LOTS of these kind a hands?"
Me:"What would you do with more hands?"
Cai:"We can pick up LOTS of toys!"


Cai talking about Ms. Beverly:"Why does she always call me angel?"


while working out with Insanity videos:
Cai:"Dad! Wemembow, don't look at the go-walls (ie-girls) because they are dwessed bad!"


Cai:"What's his name?"
Me:"Mr. Dave."
Cai:"What's his pretend name?"
Cai:"His PRETEND name!"
~still don't understand what he was asking here:)~


Cai:"Zeke, I flatted my gum 'cause I didn't want mommy to squwubble it."
Zeke:"Squwubble?! What?!"
Cai (clearly offended):"You don't even KNOW, Zeke!"


Zeke (dressed up as Superman):"You know you aren't a real superhero. You're just a toy."
Cai (dressed up as Buzz Lightyear):"I am NOT a toy! Zeeeeeekeeee, I am NOT just a toy!!!"

Thursday, December 19, 2013


My time with the Lord has lead me through II Kings over the past week or so.  As I've been reading it is sad to see all the foolish choices the leadership of Israel took.  You can see the downward spiral of their corrupted hearts.

But after generations and generations of Kings leading their people away from the Lord you will finally see a King who breaks those generational curses and decides to turn toward God.  To lead the people toward the one true King.

But as soon as you get relief in a verse reading, "and he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord", the very next sentence is "Nevertheless, the high places were not removed"!

You cannot expect to lead your family by just "doing right in the eyes of the Lord".  You must get rid of those "high places" that tend to grab your heart in moments of weakness.  You must destroy the temptations so there isn't the option to run toward them.

Don't be a cowardly King, unwilling to make those hard decisions to destroy the high places around your family because you fear the backlash of your people (or your family), or because you want something to hold onto "just in case" God doesn't come through.

Be the "King" God has made you to be.  Lead your family.  Destroy the high places, whatever they may be, in order to give your WHOLE heart to the Lord.

I don't want a "nevertheless" after my name.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lessons I Learned From The Other Mama In The House

Alethia is a nurturer at heart.

She is so patient with Jude.  She will stop what she is doing to help him unstick the stroller wheel from under the kitchen chairs.  She runs to find his bubby when he is sleepy or hurt.
She is so kind to him.  She genuinely loves him and wants what is best for him.  She practically begs me to change his diapers and feed him his applesauce and clean him up after meals.  She finds JOY in the mundane tasks of keeping up with a baby and filling his emotional love tank.

She is always aware of his needs.  Constantly looking out for his wellbeing.  She can hear his cry from a mile away and knows when he wants to get out of the swing or when he is stuck in the closet (ahem...).

Sometimes, okay maybe most of the time, I feel hurried by life.  Hurry up and get in the car.  Hurry up and walk in the door.  Hurry up and eat.  Hurry up and walk.  Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up.  In fact, I've caught myself being impatient with Alethia as she lavishes unlimited attention (which consumes time) to her siblings, especially Jude.

But if I can just stop for a second and take my daughter's cue, the one waiting patiently, loving unconditionally, embracing her role as "helper" and "big sister" I could most certainly learn a lot about my own role that God has given me.

Alethia is going to be a great mama, and she's starting by helping her own mama to be a better mama.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Nothing But The Truth

Our neighbor, Mr. Ed, wasn't doing so well a few weeks ago.  We actually thought we were going to lose him for a while.  While Areyna prayed for healing every night and regained eye sight, Zeke prayed for his elderly wife, Lois, that she wouldn't be sad and lonely while he was in the hospital.  I love seeing the different perspectives my kids see in the prayers we lift up.  Ed made it home almost 2 weeks ago and is doing just fine.  We are only moving shadows to him, but he recognizes our voices.  The kids were SO excited to make cards, necklaces and wrap up (with a whole roll of athletic tape, BTW) their favorite candies from the Rolesville Christmas parade to gift to them.  They even wanted to sing Christmas carols to them:-)

We made the long trek from our yard to theirs and knocked on their door.  We sang our song and gifted our gifts and then Lois invited us in.  We sat down and caught up with them.  Our kids were full of questions, but mainly Cai was concerned about their gift saying, "Can I open it for them?  They are Ooooolllld!".  Oh Cai-bo, the boy who could only speak truth.  He hides nothing:)  He also made a few other comments that made me giggle under my breathe.  I'm sure glad they didn't have their hearing aids in;)

Rainy and Zeke have been tracked out for almost 2 weeks and, although the first few days added a handful of gray hairs on my head were a bit of a transition we made it to the other side and we have mostly been enjoying our time together.  I, Tasha Via, have been a Christmas crafting machine!  I only boast because the thought of whittling scissors, glue and paint typically send me over the edge with all the littles.  It's been fun to see what we can create and what fun ways we can pass the time.  We are completely out of printer paper ~ add that to our Christmas list!

You can find me on Pinterest, if you dare!, and see some of the ideas we have brought to life.

I got to play the Trans-Siberian's, "Wizards in Winter" with our incredible band at Journey yesterday.  It was SO much fun.  We've got another fun opener for next week too!

It must have taken it's tole on my brain though.  I had to run out to the store for some milk and bread, I know, the essentials right!  We got all done bagging it up and then the cashier and I were left just staring at each other.  I'm thinking, "what in the world is he waiting on? I just need my receipt...".  He just kept looking around the store and then at me, not saying a word.  Finally I realized that we were waiting on ME!  I hadn't even paid for the groceries yet.  I don't know WHY he didn't just let me have them for free last night.  Doesn't he know it was all going to feed hungry children, ha!

Well, this year has come and gone and, well, we were a little lazy in the Christmas Card department.

So from all of us to all of you...

Happy Monday ya'll!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Words Worth Remembering

Cai:"One time Rainy ate a leaf on the trampoline and she said it tasted like chipth."


Me:"Cai, is this shirt yours or Zeke's?"
Cai:"It's Zeke's, not mine yet.  I need to grow out of me so I can have it."


Cai:"Zeke, you can't drink that!!!!!  There's germs! I SEE them!"


Me:"Alethia, why don't you go grab your coat?"
Alethia:"I don't want it. It's not cold outside."
Me:"But you were just saying how cold you were?"
Alethia:"Well I changed my mind.  I like to change my mind every day."


Alethia:"Oh, THERE's the cotton bombs."
(aka - cotton BALLS)


Alethia:"My favorite ones are the frosted flakes!"
(aka - snow flakes)


Cai:"...and God, pwease help us to have everything we need for daddy to make donuts tomorrow..."


Cai: while in the bathtub,"wha, what is THIS doing in here?! *sigh* Some kinda kid must've thwone this in here *sigh*."


Zeke:"Mom, can you come give us hugs and kisses?"
Me:"Boys, I ALREADY gave you hugs and kisses, now go get in bed."
Cai:"But you can aaaalllways give us MORE hugs and kisses!"

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Story In Pictures ~ CCGDCAWKSBBE

We decided to invite some new friends of ours to our 

2nd annual
Girls vs. Boys
Colony (+ friends)-Christmas-Gingerbread(house)-Decorating-Create-A-Wonderland-Kick-Some-Butt-Bottom- EXTRAVAGANZA!

Meet Team 1
Alethia, Hannah and Jenn

Meet Team2
Cai, JJ, Zeke and Josh

Meet Team 3
Jude and Jarrett
(Jarrett didn't have a very happy heart as his teammate continued to EAT their progress:-)

Meet Team 4
Rainy and Kendall

Everyone is a winner here in the Colony household...
but there must be a winner!
(and unfortunately lots of losers)

Fun was had by all
and the competition was fierce.

The winner that America has chosen this year iiiiiisssssss:
the enthusiastic Team 4!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Why We Will ALWAYS Fight For Family Devotions

I just got sent to the cozy couch by my 8-year-old daughter.

Yup, I sure did.

I was touchy and on edge after a long day of party hopping between class track-out-end-of-year-christmas-celebrations and cranky kids, not to mention my own emotional exhaustion.

But it was family devotion time and feelings are to be put aside for a time as we bask in God's greatness.  Right?  RIGHT?!

Josh was sharing a very eloquent Christmas-themed thought with a focus on "peace", of all things.

But all I could hear was Zeke repeating a section of random tunage to sing over...and over and over, while Areyna repeatedly asks, through gritted teeth, "Zeeeke, PLEASE STOP!"  Then there is the 4-year-old crying over wanting the RED scissors for the craft segment, not the blue ones he had been given, a 5-year old climbing all over the table (that girl CANNOT hold still)  and a 1-year-old crashing his play car into the wall.

The epitome of peace, ha!

My irritation must have shown because Rainy looked and me and said, "Mom, go take a break."  Not in a disrespectful way, but in an I-know-you-need-to-get-away-from-us-for-a-breather-before-there-ends-up-being-a-Colony-MINUS-one kind of way.

I ran back to my room, slammed the door and sat on the cozy couch glaring at the wall.

No, not really, but I kinda felt like doing that:)

As I sat there cooling off I could hear Josh leading the kids in "Silent Night"and finally some cooperation as the lesson continued and the point was made.

Sometimes, actually a lot of times, our family devotion times look like this.  Yes, sometimes we have those rare moments where one or more of the kid's hearts is grabbed by the Spirit and they are curious and ask questions and a long, heart-to-heart discussion will follow, but more often than not we are separating siblings who are kicking each other or fighting over highlighters.

But see, to us, it's not about the perfectly behaved children who sit around in a circle taking in every story and deep meaning of Christ we try to share.  It's about the seeds that are being planted.  It's about creating an environment where we can intentionally pour into our kids about what the Lord has taught us.

We will always fight to keep devotions a priority in our family, even if it means that there will be fighting through it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Financially Obese

This season brings out the best and the worst in us, doesn't it?

We eat too much.
We spend too much.
We commit too much.

And then, just like that, it's all over, and what do we have to show for it?

A lot of times we come out more stressed as we wade through the aftermath of debt and strained relationships.

Just like a person who struggles with obesity.  It is a lifestyle (most of the time) of bad habits and a lack of self control.  The need for food has a hold on every area.

A person who spends more than their budget allows is financially obese.  Spending has become a lifestyle of bad habits and a lack of self control.  The need for "stuff" has a hold on every area.

This causes dissension, dissatisfaction and conflict in relationships, especially on marriages.

Don't wait until the new year to commit to beginning a diet for debt.

"Yet true religion with contentment is itself great wealth.
After all, we didn't bring anything with us when we
came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry
anything with us when we die."
I Timothy 6:6-7

Monday, December 2, 2013

Shocking, I Know

Rainy and Zeke only have 3 days left until they track out for Christmas!  I can't believe it's already that time.

We are quickly starting our own family traditions.  One of them is stopping at a tree farm on the way home from my parent's house after Thanksgiving and cutting down a tree.  We all frolicked in the woods for over an hour as we looked for the perfect one.
Wide-eyed Jude

You may be wondering where I get my fashionista look.  Seriously though, I really have been asked quite often where I shop since I am so little.  The answer may surprise you, but I buy the majority of my clothes in the little girls clearance section.  Yup.  You can't beat a $6 pair of jeans (that have an adjustable waste!).  Just make sure that they aren't too bedazzled, ha!

My favorite way to cook chicken these days is on my trusty ol' George Foreman Grill.

The Colony easily goes through 5 boxes of cereal a week and about a half a bag of oatmeal and a couple dozen eggs.  Yes, our grocery budget is growing just as quickly as the kids are these days.

I spoke for a women's class a few weeks ago and the leader of the class showed THIS VIDEO.  Oh.My.Goodness.  It is a modern day reenactment of the story of Hosea.  There are 6 short video clips in all.  Go grab a box of tissues and get comfortable.  They are a must-see.

The music from the films are beautifully written by a band called Olafur Arnald.  It is now one of my favorites.

Happy December Monday ya'll!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

On NOT Raising Lazy Children

I don't want to raise lazy, selfish kids.

I want to teach my kids that hard work is satisfying.
Even when we don't see the fruit of our labor right away.

That doing the right thing is tough but it pleases the Lord and will give us a peace in our spirit.

Sometimes hard work ends up being something we don't necessarily LIKE to do, but we can still do our job "as unto the Lord" and with a grateful and thankful heart.

I want to let go of my ideas of how things should be done around the house, in order to teach them that they can be a valuable asset to this family and that we function TOGETHER.

This means that dishes are probably going to get broken when being put away, and some of the sticky areas under the kitchen table will get missed, and the compost bin might get dropped before making it to the pile.

It also means that it's okay that the boys don't necessarily fold their clothes before putting them in their designated drawers (they take great pride in their laundry helping abilities, ha!), that flour will inevitably end up in every crevice of the kitchen while making dinner, and that things will take 5 times longer to get done...

I'm learning to let all that go and rejoice in these little ways (which are actually BIG ways) in which we are teaching our kids to contribute to this family and smile at the unity we are building along the way, (even if the activities begin with grumpy attitudes:).

Monday, November 25, 2013

He Calls Them Each By Name

We were up for the sixth night in a row, because let's face it, just because you are out of the newborn phase doesn't mean you magically get to sleep an entire night in peace.  It's true, we aren't nursing an infant or consoling a colicky baby, but we are praying bad dreams away and nursing sick children back to health.  Then you enter the hormonal stage where consoling hurt feelings and broken relationships keep you up until dawn.  And then the kids being out too late as you pray them safely home is what keeps you up all night.

Anyway, this night we were up with Zeke.  A nasty stomach bug had swept over the Colony and Josh and I were tired.  I'm pretty sure we would benefit from a good ol' steam cleaning of every inch of these carpets.  Zeke had come in and was in need of assistance.  As Josh helped him in another room I begrudgingly climbed up the ladder into his bed to begin the process of changing his sheets.  Have you ever tried to change sheets on the top bed of a bunk bed?  Oh.My.Gosh.  That alone will bring words to my mouth that would shock my mother (I didn't say them out loud, mom).

As I began clearing out the mountains of stuffed animals, costumes, extra undies, books, markers, flashlights, blankets...we should seriously put a cap on the amount of "friends" this boy can bring to bed...I secretly began scheming a way to "get rid" of some of those furry friends.

But Zeke knows which animals belong in his bed.

And when I say he knows, I mean HE KNOWS!

He knows when one of them is missing.
He knows them each by name.

Even when they are all out of place in a fury of pillows and bedding.

After replacing his old sheets with fresh ones my heart began softening as I meticulously tucked in all the covers and began placing each one of his little "friends" in their designated place.

You should have seen Zeke's face when he climbed back into his bed and nuzzled under his tightly tucked-in covers and realized that all his friends were there with him, doing exactly what they were designed to do.

He was so pleased.
He felt at rest.

As I sleepily walked back down the hall to my bed I couldn't help but thank God for knowing each of His children.
And not only for knowing us, but calling each of us by name.
Even when we are out of place in a fury of selfishness and misdirection.
He knows exactly where we are and is loving us still.

"The gatekeeper opens the gate for him,
and the sheep listen to his voice.
He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out."
John 10:3

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Story In Pictures ~ Recipe for the most imperfect perfect birthday party

One beautifully excited birthday girl

Simple on-hand snacks

guilt-free, homemade party favors
(almost slivers, craisins, banana chips, chocolate chips and pretzels)

homemade, simple cupcakes
decorated by none-other-than the youngest ladies of the house

a boy trip next door to borrow the neighbor's flatbed
and fill it with bales of hay

and all the cutest, local cousins

hook 'em all up to the back of the trooper and drive around our fields a few times

the most un-stressful birthday party to date

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

No Pressure

I work pretty well under pressure...if it's to help with someone else's problems.
Gathering resources, or baby clothes, or donations, or scanning groceries super fast during a hurricane (I was the fastest cashier at Piggly Wiggly as a teenager.  I have a little too much pride about this fact, ha!), I could do these things all day!

Why is it that it seems way easier to help "fix" someone else?

Unfortunately, that doesn't tend to be the case when dealing with my own insecurities or problems.
Sometimes I surprise myself and can just laugh things off, but typically, if I'm honest, the voices inside scream "FAILURE" when I don't live up to my own expectations.

See, I'm a perfectionist at heart and I tend to give myself unrealistic expectations.

I want to have it "all together", so when I walk into the grocery store with my little Ugandan princess' hair looking like she stuck her finger in a light socket...fail.

I want to be the mom that cooks a well-balanced meal every night for her family, so when the clock turns 5 and I haven't had a chance to even BEGIN to put something together...fail.

I want to document the early years of my children and keep scrap booking, but I've lost the motivation, time and area to make this happen right now...fail.

I want to be emotionally and mentally stable 100% of the time.  I want to be a mom who my kids can rely on, not wondering how I'm going to react to something, but being confident that I will be the mom I need to be when it all hits the fan.  And the wife Josh needs me to be when he's out of town, to confidently and gracefully hold the fort down while he's away.  And then I go and lock my best friend out of the house and have a complete breakdown...FAIL!

If I carefully look back at all of these scenarios I can see a pattern.  These are all things I expect of myself and long for others to see in me.  I highly doubt that my family would be disappointed if I allowed us to go out to eat every once in a while.  And Alethia was probably thankful for the break from the painful, time-consuming hair styling.  I don't think my kids will have to go to the nut house just because I lose my temper every once in a while and prove that I am, in fact, NOT perfect at all.  And the scrap book, and endless files of pictures and memories, well those will just have to be documented in a different way (hence the reason for this blog).

I'd actually venture to say that my kids will probably benefit from a mom who can't hold it altogether, but rather, is forced to depend on the only one who can, and a mom who makes good use of the words, "I'm sorry".

After my lock-my-friend-out-of-the-house episode, my husband ended up coming home, with open arms, looked my in the eyes, and firmly told me "it's okay to be imperfect".

I can't tell you have much I needed to hear those words.
It's not that anyone ever made me feel the need to be perfect.  That was my own downfall.  But just hearing him reiterate what I already knew was so freeing.

Take the pressure off of yourself.  Lay down those impossible expectations.

We aren't meant to be super human, just super dependent on God and willfully submitting to His refining of our selves.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Oh, That Kid With The Cape? ~ a Zeke schooling update

I just got back from a conference with all of Zeke's classroom teachers, principals and special resources teachers.

They kept talking about this little boy.

They were remembering when he began at the school just one year ago.
He had to be wrestled out of bed, then wrestled to the breakfast table, then wrestled out of the car, then wrestled down the hallway to his classroom, then fought anxiety with every single transition throughout the day.
He was timid.
He was shy.
He was fearful.
He didn't know his letters.
He couldn't even count to 10.
Writing his name was even difficult for him.

But now...
...now he's the boy who is a joy to be around.
They can't get him to stop telling his cute stories.
He can determine what mood everyone in the room is in upon entering because of his sensitivity.
He has tons of friends.
He LOVES science and is beginning to read.
He can count to 100 by 5's AND 10's.
He still writes backwards and upside down, but he doesn't do it without a fight to get it right.

This boy is known for,
playing hard
wearing a cape on the playground every day (we still aren't sure where he hides that thing throughout the day and this is my first time hearing about the caped boy at school)
wearing his coat for security
guzzling water from his water bottle all day
He is known for laying hands on his friends and praying for them if they are sad in class or get hurt on the playground.
telling stories to avoid doing work
putting his hood on so he doesn't have to read
slinking down in his chair so that the only thing his teacher can see is his head
doing work with his feet in the air and twisting around his chair in circles

If anyone at the school refers to "the kid with the cape" his teacher's know, "Yeah, that's Zeke".

Oh, you wanna know who that boy with the cape is?
Yup, that's MY boy!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The View From Here

Words Worth Remembering

Cai:"Mom, I wanna go to the tooth fairy."
Cai:"Are we going to the tooth fairy tomorrow?"
Me:"Oooohhhh, the DENTIST?"
Cai:"Yeah, I wanna go to the dentist!"


Rainy:"So, I have a list in my book bag of things to do instead of drugs."


Me:"...and we all have beautiful eyes that God gave us so that we can see all the things around us."
Cai:"but not old people"
Alethia:"yeah, not old people"
Cai:"'cause they can't see weewy good"
Alethia:"yup, 'cause they are old"

(I'm pretty sure this conversation is "fact" because our elderly neighbor is blind)


Cai:"Mom, does daddy have to go to Jowney today?"
Me:"Nope! It's Friday, Daddy's day off!"
Cai:"But is he gonna go jogging?"
Me:"I think we're gonna work out with the video today."
Cai:"Aw maaaan!  That's gonna take forEVER!"
Alethia:"You don't want him to work out with the TV?"
Cai:"Noooo! It's gonna take a long time:("


Me:"Zeke you need to sift through those clothes and put them where they belong."
Zeke:"Some of them are dirty.  You know how I can tell, mom? I can smell them and know if they need to go in the dirty laundry!"

(He's brilliant!)


Cai:"I loooooove my awmy glubs!"
translation:"I love my army gloves."


Rainy:"Alethia, it's your birthday! You're not supposed to be mean on your birthday."


Cai:"I don't want Alethia to turn 5.  Hers supposed to stay 4 with me."


Zeke:"Dad, somebody at Journey told Alethia to marry him!"
Josh:"What?!  You told him 'no', right?"
Cai:"Yeah, you's too little to get married!"
Alethia:"Yeah, I told him 'no'."
Josh:"Was he black or white?"
Alethia:"He was white."
Josh:"Well, you know it doesn't matter what color his skin is, as long as he loves Jesus and adores you!"


Cai:"Girls go first. Boys go last.  That's what daddy says."


Zeke:"My teacher's son just turned a teenager, but she said he was a nice teenager.  Why are sometimes teenagers mean?"
Me:"Well, sometimes teenagers are just trying to figure out how to make their own decisions and a lot of times their choices are the foolish ones."
Zeke:"Were you a mean teenager?"
Me:"I wasn't really a mean teenager, but I definitely didn't make wise choices."
Me:"I don't know.  I guess I just thought it would be more fun to do the stupid stuff, but I made Nonnie and G-daddy cry a lot because it always hurts a mommy and daddy's hearts to see their kids make foolish choices."
Zeke:"Did Nonnie have to yell at you?"
Me:"Only 'cause she was frustrated and sad.  But mostly she just cried."
Zeke: after a minute of grasping this conversation in silence "I'm really glad you aren't that person anymore, mom."
Me:"Me too buddy. Me too."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Say What You Mean To Say

I was really wrestling with God a few weeks ago, over some things.

It was beginning to weigh me down and affect multiple areas of my life.

I've said many times that one way I process is through writing.  That's why so many of my blog posts are simply my written thoughts.

I finally realized that maybe if I could write all the things down that were stirring around in my head that I could make some sense of it all, and get to the bottom of it.

I began writing.

It ended up turning into pages of confession to God.

It was weird though.  You know when you are asked a personal question and you are left with the choice of answering the way you WISH you would be or respond, or with the ACTUAL way you typically are or respond.  That's where I stood.

I was about a paragraph of the way into my "confession" time and I realized that I wasn't even being honest!  I was writing the right "Christian" things but at the same time it wasn't the TRUE things.

I was just going through the motions instead of allowing my heart to be completely broken open and exposed.

I really did want God to change my heart.
I really did want God to show me my faults.
But it came down to gut-wrenching honesty.

I would write: "God, maybe it's because I might be a little sad that __________", instead of "Gosh, I'm downright jealous that I don't get to _____________" or "it makes me so mad when _______________".

I was holding back my true feelings as if it would protect me from something.

Finally, something got ahold of me and I stopped writing. I began to read over what I had been writing and realized what I was doing.  That paragraph was wrapped in denial, self-pity and rationalized thinking.  Those things were going to get me NOWHERE!

All of a sudden I felt free!
Free to write EXACTLY how I was feeling.
Free to expose my heart in order to receive true transformation.
Free to be who I really was.

And that freedom turned into true confession which cultivated a soft heart which was necessary for the healing and change I needed to get past it all.

God sees through it all, and until we are willing to lay it all out there and expose ourselves for who we really are, change will only be surface and temporary.

So stop wasting your time!
Say what you mean to say from the beginning.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Letters To Alethia ~ To The Girl Who Stole My Heart

Alethia Grace,

My little brown skinned, Ugandan princess.

I always said I could adopt.  I never thought I actually WOULD adopt.

Over three years ago you stole my heart.

I began imagining life with you in it.

Now I can't imagine life WITHOUT you!

The day we picked you up from the babies home I held you in my arms the entire drive back to Jinja as you slept.  I couldn't stop staring at you.  You were so small.  So beautiful.  So scared.

I was so scared.  To be quite honest I was afraid of the forever that had just rocked our family's world.  I wasn't sure I was up for the hard work that was required. 

How was I supposed to love you the same?

Two years in and I am finally learning that I'm not supposed to love you the same.  I am supposed to love you AS MUCH, but I am supposed to love you differently.

You process differently, you hold on differently, you attach differently, your feelings get hurt differently, you view the world differently.

Loving you and mommying you has been one of the most eye opening things I've ever experienced.  Being your mommy has opened my eyes to just how selfish I am.

I may have missed those hours of staring into your eyes while providing food for you as an infant and watching you sleep peacefully after a day trying to master a new milestone but I have you NOW.

I am not always the most patient and understanding mommy that you need, but I am learning.

I pray that God will continue to mold me to be exactly what you need.
I pray that God will soften your heart toward Him.
I pray that you will always know we love you and that you can take pride in the Via you are!

You are ours,
You are God's,
and I love you with all my heart.

Happy Birthday,
Love Mommy

Monday, November 11, 2013

Last Night's Stats

1 question
Colony kids:"Can we sleep outside tonight?"

1 SHOCKING answer

5 turned heads and opened mouthed responses (4 kids / 1 adult)

1 reiteration

20 minutes deciding the perfect place to setup camp

132 "You are the BEST MOM EVER!"'s

27 trips in and out of the house to obtain the much needed "supplies" which included, but are not limited to:
4 pillows
8 blankets
6 costumes
18 stuffed animals
3 light up pillow pets
2 bubbies
74 pairs of undies
1 laundry bag for dirty laundry (of course)
4 bags of homemade pop corn
4 water bottles
3 changes of clothes for each child
4 ecstatic kids patiently awaiting the sun to go down to begin their adventure

46 "This is the BEST NIGHT EVER!"'s

2 bets on the table
(Josh ~ 8:30 / Me ~ 9:00)

1 dinner quickly scarfed down in order to get back on the trampoline campsite

20 dropped degrees and 2 hours in ~ still going strong!

a handful of trips in and out to make sure me and daddy are okay;)

45 more minutes of leaf falling games, telling stories and star gazing

2 full mama and daddy hearts as we watched from our perch in the living room by the fire

1 cold little Cai-bo almost done

1 little pep talk to tell him that "he can do it"

1 more trip back outside when 1 little cold thumb got shut in the door

1 crying, cold and tired Cai-bo was ready for bed at 9:45

30 minutes later and the rest of the crew who had braved the cold decided to call it quits

15 minutes of trips carrying in leaf-covered blankets, underwear and stuffed animals

10:25 pm marks the time that all 5 little Colony kids lay warm in their beds and fast asleep

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Free-For-All ~ unconventional ways of making coffee and the lie I told my kids

I lied to my kids last night.
They are INFATUATED with our new refrigerator (thank you friends for this gift, BTW!) that has dispensing water and ice. (It really is the small things around here, ha!)
Last night I had stepped in one too many melted ice puddles and made a very rash decision.  I pushed the lock button.
Zeke frantically came running down the hallway yelling, "MOM, it's broken! It's BROKEN!"  I told him that the frig just does that when it has to "fill back up".  His response, "Oh cool!".  Yup, we may be "locking" the refrigerator down after dinner every night:)

I woke up this morning, like I do every morning (thank God He isn't done with me yet), and dragged myself into the kitchen to make coffee.  I rinsed the coffee maker out and prepared it to make some fresh brew.  I had part of one bag left before opening the newest one so it was going to be the Tasha blend this morning.

I emptied the contents of the first bag into the coffee maker.
I forgot the coffee filter.
Ha. I must really be tired!
I carry on with my process and try to salvage the grounds into a filter and re-rinsing.

Disaster averted.

I open up the new canister and begin scooping into the now-placed-into-the-coffee-machine coffee filter.
About 2 scoops in I realize that these grounds are not really even grounds, they are beans.
Oh good grief!

After several minutes of coffee-ground-bean-mess-making I just decide that some of the beans can be left with the grounds for some added "flavor" and proceeded with the accurate way of making coffee.

And that, my friends, is the way this week has been.

I've had to do, and re-do things, and say, and re-say things, and reiterate, and re-reiterate things all week.


BUT, it IS Friday, Josh's day off.
And it is sunny, praise the Lord!
And it is FALL.
And I do have so, so much to be grateful and thankful for.

So happy Friday ya'll!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Redefining Your Job Description

If you are doing a task that almost never follows the job description it's nearly impossible to find satisfaction and contentment.

I am in a season of little people right now.

My world revolves around teaching the letters of the alphabet, keeping the sink empty and the dishwasher filled, fostering an atmosphere of forgiveness and servant hood, trying to get at least 1 bath in for the littles a week, keeping clothes on 5 little bodies (even if the Spider man costume gets sneaked into one of their classes unbeknownst to me), wiping stickies off of the refrigerator handles (and the car doors and light switches and kitchen table and...), sibling spats, concocting new ways to feasibly keep all these little hungry bellies full, endless question of when the next meal is, nap times and housecleaning.

When I get in a resentful rut or begin feeling sorry for myself because I can't go out with my girlfriends as much as I want, or go out to eat, or work out as much, or go to that show downtown, or go with Josh to that awesome gig out of town, or on the mission trip to Haiti (one day, Jenn, one day!), I just have to remind myself of my job description.

It is constantly changing and I can't dwell of the job description from my 20's or even from last year, for that matter.

If I can align my expectations with my current job description I am more likely to find my fulfillment in the (seemingly) mundane.

So for now my job description looks something like this:


Number one cheerleader for the head of the family. Comforter and provider for the colony children.  Responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the household.

To create an atmosphere of peace, love and unity among the family unit, focused on Jesus Christ.


  • wake up with enough time to focus mind and guard heart for the day
  • selfless, undying love for the man of the house
  • patience and creativity with the colony children
  • provide loving correction and teaching for the colony children
  • keep up with household chores: laundry, cleaning, dishes, cooking, etc.
  • healthy habits to ensure mental stability! (you laugh, but it's a MUST for me)

to accomplish above mentioned tasks with a happy, selfless, servant heart

Everything else is a BONUS!
Getting to work out 3 days this week.
Time to sit and read at a coffee shop (or locked in the back bedroom) alone.
Girls night out.
A date night to see a favorite band.
The ability to go on the road for the weekend with my man and play with incredible musicians.

The Bonus things are GREAT, but fulfilling my personal job description is fulfilling and satisfying:)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Free-For-All ~ superheroes, throwbacks and gym memberships

Jude refuses to use covers at night.  Not only will he not cover up with them but he can hardly even stand them being in his bed.  Now his bed contains his pillow pet, a bubby and his cute little self.

I had a realization during the never ending laundry escapade...Areyna wears clothes only 2 sizes smaller than I do!  We are about to be able to share clothes.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Josh and I enrolled at a new gym.  The rates are rather impressive, it has FREE personalized childcare, and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!  I just completed my maiden voyage with Insanity this morning.  It totally kicked my butt, and there are sweat marks on the floor to prove it!
We went trick-or-treating with our friends last night.  Combining our 5 with her 6 and her sister's 2 we had quite the entourage.  I'm pretty sure a few houses had to turn off their porch lights after we raided their candy buckets:-)  I know you are thinking, oh my, what about your safety, but don't worry!  We were staffed with a half dozen superheroes, a doctor, a firefighter, and a fairy godmother to grant us any wishes, just to cover all the bases:)
Left: Jude(Batman) and his buddy Isaac(bear) 2012 ~ Right: Jude(Superman) and his buddy Isaac(fireman) 2013
riding in the same wagon ~ feeding each other lollipops ~ too much cuteness!

Cai has a friend from Journey named Fisher.  I've never met him or his mother, but Cai, and sometimes even Alethia, speak of him often!  He sounds like a very sweet boy.  Cai pronounces his name, Fish-O.  I spoke for a women's group on Wednesday evening, and wouldn't you know, Fisher's mom was one of the ladies in the group!  I was THRILLED to come home and tell Cai that I FINALLY met his friend's mommy so we can get them together to play!  I love that we have family close by and that our kids are blessed to be able to play with them so often, but there is something about seeing your kids branch out and meet new "un-family" friends that is really special!

That's all I got!

Happy NOVEMBER 1st ya'll!