Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Free-For-All

So, I'm writing this at three o'clock in the afternoon.  I've been working all morning on getting our house back in order after a weekend away.  I am just now finishing breakfast cleanup, if that tells you anything about how this week has gone, ha!

I also went to change a load of laundry over, and found myself secretly relieved that the clothes in the dryer still were not dry.  That only makes me happy because that means all I have to do is push a button to run it through again, instead of having to take it out and fold it right away:)  The epitome of laziness, I tell ya!

This time of year is always difficult for me.  My favorite holiday by far, because without it, nothing matters! Without it, there is no hope!  But Holy Week and all the meanings and traditions that surround it are so thought captivating that it makes "normal life" difficult if you really let it all sink in.  Today is the hardest day of them all.  Good Friday.  Remembering Christ's destiny that was required in order to set us free.  The pain. The hurt.  The sin.  The disappointment...the death of their hopeful King.
Hope died that day in the eyes of so many.

The only thing that makes Good Friday okay, is the fact that Easter Sunday is coming!  Praise The Lord!  Death was conquered and Hope was raised from the dead!

Come join us in celebration tonight as we remember Christ's sacrifice for you and for me, tonight at Journey.

Then for any of our 3 services on Sunday morning.

We are homeowners again!  Yup, we closed on our house on Monday afternoon.  It took all of 15 minutes of signing our lives away:)  We're pretty excited to begin making this home our own!

My sister and brother-in-law leave on Wednesday evening for their new home in Uganda.  They are still about $1800 short of their monthly expenses goal.  Here are 3 ways to contribute financially as they follow His leading to fight for their daughter.
2 - BUY JOSH's ALBUM The First The Last and all proceeds will go to their family
3 - Order the Love Bracelet (as a prayer reminder) or anything else from Patience Leino's trunk show and a percentage will go to the Via family.

Ok, I'm off to begin the ethnic hair routine.  See you in 8 hours, ha!

Happy GOOD FRIDAY ya'll!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I'm A Believer!

A few years ago I was having some excruciating pain in my jaw.  I went to the Dentist because it was hurting so bad and they referred me to a chiropractor.

I was like, "Really?", but after several visits the pain went away.

I signed my hubby up right away.  His back just hasn't been the same after falling off of our roof in Charlotte...yes, that really did happen.

Long story short, it wasn't long before our entire family was going.

I believe in the benefits of Chiropractic care, but it's kind of like my Amber Beads experience.  We made a change, the ear infections went away...and STAYED away, so we were just gonna stick with that change.

But that has all changed for me!

On Monday night Josh called me while I was out and told me that Alethia was complaining about her left ear.  By the time she woke up in the morning she was very lethargic and crying off and on because of the pain.  When we got to our weekly chiropractic appointment that afternoon I told Dr. Joe about her ear.  He adjusted her and almost immediately I began to see a discharge draining from her ear.  (It was pretty disgusting.  I'd never seen anything like it!)

It continued to drain on through the day and night.  Her ear was sensitive to the touch and it was still hurting.  We gave her garlic oil drops for the pain, which seemed to take the edge off.

Then, the next morning, the drainage was gone, her pain was gone and she was ear-infection free!

Josh took her back to Dr. Joe for a follow-up adjustment and he said the subluxation was gone!

How incredible is that?!

I no longer doubt that what we are doing is beneficial.

Some of you are thinking that chiropractic care is so pricey.

Dr. Joe has us on a family plan.  We pay 1 fee a month (which is less than our entire family going 1 time a month, through our insurance!) for our entire family to go as many times as we want to a month. We typically go once a week, but like this week, sometimes more.  NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE!

Plus no co-pay at the pediatrician or medicine from pharmacy!
Dr. Joe and his family
So, if you live in the Raleigh area, and are interested in chiropractic care go check out Dr. Joe at Heritage Chiropractic Wellness Center.  He is amazing!


Cai-bo ~ August 2009
We don't call him "Meatball" for nothin'

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Finding My Sunshine

I don't do good with consecutive cloudy days...or boxes, or clutter, or dressers anchored to the wall...ahem...anyway.

I remember when I lived in Wisconsin and we had a record for the most consecutive days without sunshine.  The whole town was on edge by the end.  It was awful!

Those gloomy days make it hard for me to be self-motivated and productive.  The gloom seems to seep into every area of my life, making it hard to clear my "perspective lens" from the fog and haze.

I know that the Lord has better plans for me, even on cloudy days, but it can seem impossible to rise above sometimes.

That is when I have to search for my sunshine in other places.

Like spontaneous "I love you's" from the kids
checking just ONE thing off of my to-do list
watching Jude snack on last night's dried-up spaghetti on the floor (which absolutely constitutes as ONE of the 5 food groups, right?!)
finding another home for the pile of randomness that's been sitting on the kitchen counter
watching my husband get the kids all wound up...even if it is 5 minutes until bedtime
sipping on the warm cup of coffee, even if it is the necessary 3rd cup for the morning.

There is sunshine all around you, you might just need to look in the little places instead of the sky:)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hope For The Hopeful and A Terrible Liar

Alethia:"Mommy, I want big, big, BIG, you!"

(insert outburst of laughter for this once-hopeful mom;)

Cai:"Oh, ME TOO!!!"


Me:"Cai-bo, what are you doing in the refrigerator again."

Cai: (while quickly closing the frig) "I not doing anysing. Ummm...I just yooking foe my bubby?"


Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Free-For-All

The kids tracked back in yesterday.
Rainy was so ready.
Zeke, not so much:)

Spring is in full swing, even if the weather doesn't reflect it.  One day we have all the windows open, running around without shoes on and the next we are cranking up the heat, trying to figure out how to get all our energy out indoors.

Well, I feel like it's safe to share some pretty big news.  No, we are NOT adding another colony member to the family, ha!  But we are about to be homeowners again!  As in THIS COMING MONDAY AFTERNOON!!!
I know what you are thinking, "But isn't that a photo of your current house?"  To which I would answer, "Why yes, yes it is!"  We are buying our current home that we have been renting for 3 1/2 years!  We are buying a house and we don't even have to move a thing!  Praise Jesus!

Jude is
Jude is almost walking...yay:)
Which means that he is getting
Jude is tough...yay:)  A side table fell on him yesterday. He cried for a second, patted his head, then crawled off to play.  Pretty amazing how resilient those little ankle biters can be.

Cai is in a new stage.  He "wants a wot" of everything.
He wants "wots of wunch". -the full plate in front of him isn't enough?
He wants "wots of small shirts". -the 10 that he already has to choose from aren't enough?
He wants "wots of cookies".  -OK, maybe I can understand this one.
But it is oh-so-frustrating and comical all at the same time.  I don't know whether to pull my hair out or laugh hysterically, after trying to explain gratefulness and contentment for the 4th time before even getting to the breakfast table!

Holy Week begins next week.  I'm excited about the new concepts that the kids will pick up on this year!  I still have a couple of books available if you want to drop by and pick one up to do the "Fast Track" with your family! ($15)  Even if you don't do the family devotion you have GOT to incorporate these FREE songs into your daily routine with the kids!

Alright, I gotta go pack.  I've got a girls get-away tonight with my sister-in-laws before one of them heads to Africa for 3 years!

Happy Friday ya'll!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


July 4, 2002
We snuck into the  fireworks show through a broken fence at Furman University

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The View From Here - A Walk In The Park

The last day of track out
is cause for extreme measures.

Taking the Colony on a walk to the park.

Something New

After studying my header and seeing infant feet and all the tiny toes, I made the executive decision that my blog needed an updated face lift! So, you're probably going to see some more changes over the next couple of days:)

 Hey, if I'm not allowed to rearrange my furniture (which I have been incredibly terrible at NOT doing) then I have to move SOMETHING around, ha!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Sun Went Down

The other night I went to bed angry.

I don't even remember why.
Isn't that how it is a lot of the time?

We get so worked up over something that carries no eternal weight and after time, we often forget the cause of the little temper tantrum anger.

But whatever it was had interrupted my happy place and every member of The Colony KNOWS that you NEVER interrupt this mama's happy.

But instead of working it out with my words I silently stuffed it away and went to bed angry.
Angry and irritated at the man whom God had given me to love and to cherish.

I was certainly NOT loving and cherishing him in that moment.
And I certainly had no intention of humbly turning inward to unmask the selfishness in my own heart.

So I gave him the silent treatment and went to sleep.

All of a sudden I found myself in a locker room (I'm pretty sure this was a result of too many old episodes of Grey's Anatomy:), with a heaviness of death surrounding me.  I turn to be comforted by the man I love.  I just wanted to bury my head in his chest while he wrapped his arms around me.  But when I turned to be comforted I realized that HE was the one who had died.  I was in that room to go through his belongings.

I reluctantly opened up his locker.

Inside was packed full of all MY favorite things.
Candles, butterfingers, keepsakes that I had given to him...

I remember waking up crying uncontrollably.
My heart ached.
It had all felt so real!

I believe my dream was a gentle reminder to me that Josh's "locker" (his heart) is mine.  He knows and loves me.  He isn't perfect, and neither am I.  He doesn't intentionally hurt me (or interrupt my happy).  He is a blessing that I all to often take for granted.

As he held me close while I cried, I apologized.
The sun may have gone down on my anger, but joy came in the morning!

I love him!
*Thanks for the photo Tawny*

"'In your anger do not sin:' 
do not let the sun go down while you are still angry."
Ephesians 4:26

Saturday, March 16, 2013


A couple of weeks ago our church held their Refuel service.  Most of the time I am on stage with the band, but Josh and I decided that the kids didn't need another 2 nights in child care, so I took the night off.  Therefore, I had Rainy and Zeke with me throughout the service.

I was excited to have them with me.  I think it is so important for our kids to experience "big church" and see what goes on.

I want them to see others in worship.  I want them to learn the freedom of worship that took so long for me to learn.

I want them to see the life change made publicly through baptism.

I want them to see the communion table and ask questions.

And they did.

Josh came down to join us for this part of the service.  We knew Rainy and Zeke could only observe, but we wanted to include them, so we brought them up with us to get the cracker and the juice and file back to our seats.

Then Josh and I began explaining the sacremental elements to them.

I vividly remember my mom explaining it to me as a little girl.  I remember her wiping tears as she murmured quiet prayers to the Christ who was broken for her.  I would sit next to her, as she held my hand after praying with me, just watching her...

I never quite understood why she would cry over it.

Until now.
Now He is a real part of me.  He sacrificed for me.  He DIED for me.  And if I really let that sink in, I can't help but let it effect every part of me!

What a sweet time it was to share that moment with my kids, remembering that moment shared with my own mom.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Each year I like to give up something for the season of Lent.

A couple of years ago I gave up my computer for Holy Week.  Last year I gave up sleep, as in, I consistently got up at the same time every morning in order to have an extended quiet time in the mornings.

This year, almost a week into the Lent season I still hadn't decided what I wanted/needed to give up...until I was slapped in the face with it was brought to my attention that I MAY have a slight problem with reorganizing and rearranging the things/furniture in my house.

I mean, an honest to goodness problem!
So much so, that Josh has been having to hold me accountable when the "urge" to move something begins to well up within.


Anyway, I decided that day that this was exactly what I was going to give up for Lent.

Some of you may be reading this and wondering what in the world I've been smoking, and others of you are right there with me, right?!

But today, oh today, I've had the urge like none other.
But I was NOT going to give in.

I sat in the office and closed my eyes, mentally moving and rearranging furniture around until I decided that I needed to give my "sponsor" a call.

Josh picked up the phone and I quickly told him that I hadn't given in, but that my creative mind was whirling with new ideas that would make our home more practical and Colony friendly.

(For real though, rearranging has a way of making your home feel brand new, without even having to spend a penny!)

He patiently and quietly sat through my brainstorming process.

As soon as I was all done he said, "Ok. Um, alright. Now, maybe you could draw it all out so I can picture it better."

OK! I can do that!

I may be confined to renderings for now, but just you wait!
Easter is right around the corner:)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Safe Enough To Be Afraid

Alethia isn't the type to hide her emotions.

If she is upset you better believe you'll hear about it, along with the rest of the neighborhood!

My little Ugandan daughter has got some lungs!
(We are praying that the Lord will redirect those lungs into the form of praise as she gets older.  Every family needs a strong female vocalist:)

She is opinionated.
She is sassy.
She is encouraging.
She is territorial.

She is not afraid to use the voice God gave her.

Unless it is in the wee hours of the night.

I don't remember a single time she has ever come out of her room after we close the door for her to sleep.

Now, don't get me wrong, she has had her fair share of Alethia-your-suppsed-to-be-in-bed-why-are-you-playing-with-Rainys-lip-gloss-again reprimands, but she doesn't ever open that door.

I'm pretty sure she believes that her daddy and I are serious when we say that there will be consequences for getting out of bed (at least ONE of our kids believes us, ha!).

A gentle reprimand holds a lot of weight in her heart.  She is very sensitive and correction is devastating to her, so she stays clear of the typical nighttime excuses to get out of bed such as needing a sip of water, needing a tissue, scared of monsters, or needing to go to the bathroom.
(She just gets Rainy to tell us if she needs something:)

This all appears to be a good thing, from the outside.

But I almost wonder if she is afraid.

Afraid she will get scolded if she really needs to go to the bathroom (which I believe is one reason why she still has to wear a pull-up at night), or is in desperate need of a sip of water (she has had a nagging cough about 95% of the time we've known her).

But last night I woke up to a sweet voice calling my name.  I woke up surprised to see that it was Alethia.

Not ONCE has she ever woken me up in the middle of the night for anything.

First she starts talking about something irrelevant to anything, then quickly asks what she came in to find out...

"Is Rainy in her bed?"

Rainy had stayed out late with Josh so Alethia didn't see her ever come in to go to bed.
And Rainy is her "person".
It warms my heart, and it makes me feel confident that she fits perfectly into this family.
So when Rainy is gone Alethia doesn't quite feel complete.

As soon as I reassured her that Rainy was in fact sleeping soundly in the girls' room Alethia sounded relieved as she happily said, "Yay!", and turned to go back to bed.

Not 30 seconds later she quietly scurries back into our room and whispers into my ear, "Mommy, it is so dark in my room.  I am scared."

Alethia is terribly afraid of the dark.

She would normally just cry softly into her pillow.
Never asking for help.
Afraid to be afraid.

But last night she felt safe.
Safe enough to come wake her sleeping mommy.
Safe enough to ask for help.
Safe enough to be afraid.

After leading her down the dark hallway back to her room, plugging in a nightlight, and stroking her soft face, I reassured her of me and daddy's love for her and thanked her for coming to tell me.

She is a strong, strong little girl.
I am proud to be her mama.
And I'm even more proud that she feels safe enough to LET me be.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Wearing Love

So, I haven't posted much about my BIL and SIL lately.  Honestly I just can't think about it for too long.  I know I'll have to face their reality soon.  Very soon.  But not yet...

That said, I AM going to give their story in bullet form.  Because lists make me happy.  And I need happy when talking about it:)

So, here we go:
  • Their family had been right alongside of us during our adoption journeys
  • Their daughter is Alethia's best friend from the orphanage
  • We went, we came back, we thought we may be faced with the very choice they have been forced to make, we got approved
  • They went, they came back, they fought, they were denied
  • They are packing up their family and moving to Uganda on April 3rd, for 3 years, to complete the adoption process in-country in order to apply for a different kind of VISA.
There, I did it...

And as if that weren't enough to pull on your heart strings...

Okay, time for another list

  • The event is open until April 20th
  • *IMPORTANT!!!  At the top of the website, click “Find your hostess” and type in “Patience Leino”.  You will then see “SHOPPING PATIENCE LEINO’S TRUNK SHOW” at the top.  This is essential for proceeds to go to the Vias. 
  • If you want to give directly to Jonathan and Kelly you can visit their site HERE.  You should visit it anyway to see the exciting ways the Lord is going to use them during their time there.
  • PRAY, PRAY, PRAY...this family has made a very bold and faithful move in obedience and Satan is NOT happy.  Pray for safety, health and favor.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Free-For-All

The bird is back.  We've named him "Stupid". Stupid pecks at our bathroom window, both living room windows and now our bedroom window. He comes around on most days, except the rainy ones.  I'll catch Stupid peering through the glass, as if he's looking for something and hopping around on the ledge trying to get a better look inside.  Maybe Stupid really isn't stupid.  Maybe he's stupid smart!  Maybe he's a spy.  Lucky bird...

I think Jude could survive off of grapes, applesauce and oatmeal if I would allow it.  That boy shovels that stuff in his mouth like its going out of style!

Everything about birthday parties gives me anxiety.  The preparation. The creativity needed.  The anticipation.  The event itself, because that involves small talk (and this year with mothers whom I've never even met before).  But I love my family.  And I am just gonna have to resolve to laboring this act of love...5 times a year...and this is when the number of children I have gives me anxiety, ha!  Man will I be a happier, more light-hearted mama after Saturday afternoon.

Rainy has had so much fun celebrating her birthday "public-school-style"!  You know, they sing to you, the parents get to visit and bring in cupcakes to the class, the siblings get to come much fun!  So, on Wednesday evening I herded the Colony into the store to pick out 3 dozen cupcakes.  You know, the things that have to be picked up, just so, and carried, just so, and maneuvered oh-so-carefully.  I had 5 sets of hands that wanted to "help" pick, carry and maneuver these fragile little sugar piles.  It took way longer than it ever should have taken to get them to the cashier belt, only to find an early 20-something guy who had NO IDEA how to handle cupcakes! He began flipping them backwards, forwards and upside down to scan and bag them (I mean really, who BAGS cupcakes LONGWAYS into a bag!)...SERIOUSLY?!  Do you KNOW how long it took me to get those 3-dozen cupcakes to you looking like they did?    *sigh*    Oh well, I think Rainy was so engulfed in excitement that she didn't even notice:)  And that's a good thing, because as soon as Spiderman  stepped in to help put them in the car he dropped a dozen of them on their heads, ha!  You just gotta laugh, right?
We got to participate in "reading our socks off" time for literacy day!

We did make it to Rainy's class to pass out cupcakes.  It was so cute.  I left PacMan Jude with a friend and took Alethia and Cai with me.  As soon as we walked in Rainy's class she lit up!  She started parading her siblings around like trophies.  I'm telling you, you would have thought that Alethia was a princess the way they were making over her!:)  Rainy was absolutely BEAMING!  She takes pride in being the older sister to this Colony and it fills my heart.  You could tell that Rainy talks about them to her friends a lot.  One girl came up and said, "Hey Rainy's sister who was adopted and I can't remember your name.  You're SO cute!"  When we went down to kiss Zeke before leaving the kids in his class were in awe of Zeke's brown-skinned sister.  You could just see their wheels spinning:)  One of Zeke's friends kept coming up with a confused look on his face.  I said, "Hey Kian!"  He just stared and then responded, "That's Zeke's sister?  He (pointing to Cai) looks just like him:)  He has a brown sister?"  I LOVED it!  And Alethia walked around like royalty the rest of the day.

Well, I have a busy weekend of party anticipation to get ready for:)