Friday, December 25, 2015

Words Worth Remembering ~ Christmas Edition #ThingsTheySay

Cai:"Hey! I thought we were watching the Graham Cracker!  Who changed the channel?!"
(he actually meant "The Nutcracker")


Me:"Jude, don't open that present.  That one's not yours."


Josh:"Jude, do you have another piece of gum?  I thought you said you weren't going to eat any more of it?  We already brushed our teeth."
Jude:"Oh yeah!  Ooooohhh, sorry dad!  I was just tempted to eat just one more piece!"


(after being sent to his room to reevaluate his attitude)
Jude:"Mom, can I come out now?"
Mom:"Nope.  You have 5 minutes to go back to your room and think about your rude words."
Jude walking back to his room, puts his finger up to his head as if thinking and says..."hmmmm".
Then he comes running down the hallway saying, "MOM!  I thought of a word!  I can play with MY cars and Cai can play with HIS cars!"


Josh:"Jude, buddy, that present isn't yours!"


Zeke:"Mom, it's like a dream day cuz we got this dream car!"

They have only been asking for one of these for 7 years:-)
They don't even care that we had to ghetto rig the back on, ha!


Jude:"Thanks for this stuff. What is it?"
Rainy:"Jude!  That is mom's perfume that I gave her!"


Jude:"Here mom, this is yours.  I got it for you.  It's fingernail polish.  Can I open it for you?"


Jude:"Here mom, this is a book for you and daddy and I'm giving it to you."
Me:"Thanks buddy, but that is YOUR book that daddy and I gave to YOU!"
Jude:"Oooh, THANKS!"


All Colony members to Jude:"Noooo, stop opening presents!  Those aren't yours!"
Jude (crossing his arms and pouting): "But I WANT to open more presents."


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Spiritual "Gifts" ~ KITW

Christmas is one of those things I battle with almost all year long.
I am still working on finding a balance. After last year’s mandatory “gratitude experiment” I was very tempted to just forget about Christmas gifts all together! I was so done with the greed and the ungratefulness. I wanted my kids to “get” that Christmas was Jesus’ birthday and that we were going to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior and that that very fact should be enough to celebrate.
But then my husband brought me back down to reality. Reminding me that there is nothing wrong with gift giving, or receiving, for that matter, it’s all a matter of the heart and the heart is what we needed to work on and cultivate. Our kids needed to know what to expect and be grounded in the reality that giving can be such a gift in and of itself. I needed some way to be okay with loving on my kids through giving them gifts, but balancing it with proper focus.
So how do we do that?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Desperate Thanksgiving

Often times we forget about God and his miraculous ability and power until we are desperate.

Desperate for the miracle.
Desperate for a change.
Desperate for God's favor on a hopeless situation.

In these times we find ourselves on our knees, crying the free-flowing tears of someone NEEDING a move from the Lord that ONLY HE can do!

We are at the bottom.
We have nowhere else to turn.

And He hears us.
He always hears us.
He may answer in a different way than we were praying for, but He is the one who knows the end result and all the steps in between that will get us to where we need to be.

Then there are the times He answers with the Yes we have been agonizing in prayer over...those are the times I most often find myself without words.

My thanksgivings are typically shown through huge sighs of relief and wordless praise, "Praise the Lord"s, and sharing the good news with friends and family who have been praying the same result alongside me.

This week has marked some pretty major hurdles turned to Yes's from our Heavenly Father that I simply couldn't NOT document in a post of thanksgiving.

And not just a simple shout of thanksgiving.
A DESPERATE cry of thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father.

For starters, I got to go to Uganda a couple of weeks ago.

This is huge for several reasons because there is that little word we call "details". But the Lord had His hand in it all.

Financially we had exactly what we needed to get me there.  Childcare for Josh when he needed it was provided in abundance (thank you everyone who contributed to this huge blessing!).  And my emotional state was open enough to get me on that plane that would take me to the country where my last memory is prying my crying and screaming baby off of me at the airport entrance for, for all I knew, could have been the last time I might see her face to face.
I don't ever have to feel like my air supply is about to be cut off walking up to the entrance
of the Entebbe ever again.  Closure.  A "Yes". Moving On.

I am well aware that this may sound a bit extreme for some of you, but for a highly emotional pregnant woman, with little knowledge of the next steps this adoption could bring, I was quite simply stuck in that last memory.  And I have had a difficult time every fall when these dates come racing around the corner as I remember those feelings of hopelessness and anxiety and heartbreak and ache I felt.

All that said, this trip to Uganda, not only gave me a much-needed break from life to regroup as a mom, in order to feel refreshed and ready to tackle life again, it also provided closure to the aching I have felt inside ever since leaving.  I needed this trip much more than I would have ever imagined!

I also got to see my sister-in-law/friend in her own environment.  I got to meet her friends.  Eat at her favorite Jinja joints.  Laugh at the things you just have to laugh at in order to survive in Africa, and share in her day-to-day.  And I even got to relive court on the other side!

Which brings me to my next desperate thanksgiving...

As of yesterday, sweet Chloe Laiti is now an official Via!  This basically means that they wait to get that signed document in hand and take it to the Embassy to get this family back to America TOGETHER!  I cannot adequately express how much of a miracle this entire process has been for this family.  But I am so grateful to be staring at them through the light at the end of the tunnel.  They have done so well.  So well.  And I am so proud of them.  And I am certain that they will finish this journey strong!


This word introduces my next desperate heart-cry of thanksgiving.

My mom.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer last winter,
she has endured a surgery.
Followed by 18 rounds of chemo.
Which lead to 6 weeks of daily radiation.
And today, a good report on her mammogram.

Praise the Lord.  Thank you God.

Thank you God.

This week my brother-in-law also graduated from the police academy to become a police officer.  I am beyond proud of him!  He needed this.  A boost of confidence. A secure job for his growing family (this "thanksgiving" is coming!).  Motivation to keep working hard and providing. A sense of accomplishment. (I can't even imagine!  Police academy is not for the faint hearted.)

And like I said, the next "thanksgiving"...well he arrived late Tuesday morning after a not-so-by-the-book arrival.  But he is here. And his name is Cohen Davies Ezelle.  He is healthy and after stealing lots of snuggle time I can attest to his perfect little mouth and cute little squeaks while he sleeps.  Yup, he's pretty perfect.

Life hardly ever goes as planned.
But I am grateful and so very thankful that HE is in control.
God, You will take care of all the details.
You always do.

And tonight I am desperately thankful that you do.

Thank you God, for all the Yes's you allow us to witness.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

When Our Children "Depart From It" ~ KITW

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he shall not depart from it.”
Proverbs 22:6
I used to think this verse ensured that if I was a good enough parent and taught my kids how to read the Bible, how to pray to God, and the joy of serving in the local church body, they would be sure to have a solid relationship with our Heavenly Father. Even if they made bad choices for a time, they were going to come back, just like the prodigal son, because that is the promise of this verse in Proverbs.
But now…now I’ve lived, and seen, and heard, and witnessed enough heartache to last a lifetime of parents grieving the waywardness of their children and their unwise choices.
The purpose of the book of Proverbs is to teach knowledge and wisdom. The verses within this book are full of advice for everyone, in all stages of life, on how to live a fulfilled and Christ-centered life.
But all the wisdom and knowledge in the world will never negate the free will that God has given us.
He wants us to choose Him.
But the fact of the matter is, not everyone will... { Read More }

Friday, December 4, 2015

When You Miss The Blessing From Prayer

I have heard of some amazing events and occurrences that have taken place because of audacious prayers.

My little niece, who lives in Uganda, prayed over a deaf man and he regained his hearing!

Can you imagine?!

Praying for a miracle and it happening right in front of your very eyes!

And I have also personally experienced specific prayers of mine coming to fruition after fervent, consistent prayer.

That is an AWESOME feeling!
Knowing that I got to play a part.
Knowing that I have been praying specifically for something and God answers the prayer with a resounding "yes".

What I have found is that prayer isn't just for the person or situation being prayed for/over.

It is for the pray-er too.

The people on their knees calling out to their Father.

Prayer is our communication to God.
And His response and answer to prayer reassuring us of His love for us.
His longing relationship with us.
Prayer confirms that He listens to us and answers those requests with our best interest in mind.

But what about those times when we hear of the miracle, are thanked for praying through that situation with others, only to be faced with the reality that you didn't even get to play a part in the miracle because...
you feared praying the audacious.
You were too busy to set the time aside to pray consistently.
You brushed off the request by spouting off a quick, generic prayer just to say you prayed for the situation.
Your prayer life has been stagnant and you selfishly neglected to get involved.

God wants His kids to be a part of the blessings of prayer.
We miss out on being a part of life change, and miracles, and growing faith when we choose NOT to jump on board with where the Lord is working through the prayers of His children.

And that is a sobering place to be.

Let's get off the sideline and jump back into the game.
God makes the plays, but allows us to be players and experience the blessings through our active prayer life if we will just get involved.

Whole-hearted, audacious prayers breed blessing, assurance and a growing faith.
And I for one don't want to miss a bit of it!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Because Christmas Isn't Always The Happiest Season Of All

I don't know about you, but I can't remember the last time the Christmas season rang in and everything around me smelled like fresh cut pine trees, tasted like candy canes and brought with it the giddy excitement of ornament exchanges and white elephant gifts.  Ok, so maybe the smells and tastes have always found a warm place in my heart, but the circumstances surrounding the Christmas tree and candy canes haven't always been the most joyous of occasions.

My memories of the "un-perfect Christmas" track back to nearly a decade ago.

The Christmas seasons since have been sprinkled with loss.

Loss of...
physical health
loved ones
financial security
sweet babies I will never see face-to-face until heaven
spiritual desert
family crisis...

The thing about Christmas is that it makes us not only see all that we have to be thankful for...

the birth of our savior who came to dwell among us,
to love us,
to speak to us,
to teach us,
to exemplify how we ought to live...

but it also brings with it a mirror into the deepest depravity that exists around us.

The failing health of those closest to us,
the emptiness from relationships gone astray,
the insecurity of even the most secure jobs,
financial instability,
incomprehensible loss,
ended or strained friendships,
longing for a touch of the Savior when He has chosen to be silent,
the foolish choices of loved ones,
all the failures of the past year.

All these things tend to turn this joyous season into a dark hole of hopelessness and despair.

I remember coming back from Uganda 4 years ago WITHOUT my little girl and trying to rationalize the cancelation of Christmas.

But the thing is...
the season is a celebration of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Not the circumstances that surround the season that particular year.

God sent His only Son into the world.
Jesus came to the world to save us.
To love us.
To give us GRACE.
Even in our mess.
BECAUSE of our mess.
And offer a forever, unconditional friendship.
No matter what we are going through in any particular season.

Jesus...the Son of our Heavenly Father, came to bring us Hope.

Hope through the dark season, even if it is during the same time we celebrate His birth.

My friend Travis just tweeted tonight:
"One of the most dangerous and isolating perspectives is 
when you think you are the only one in the world who is going through something."

I can almost guarantee that you are not the only one going through a difficult time this holiday season.
Don't isolate yourself, and don't you dare begin believing the lie that you are all alone.
You don't have to pretend like everything is okay just because it is Christmas.

For most of us it isn't the hap-happiest time of year.

So how do we get through the Christmas season when it seems to be surrounded by so much loss and heartache?

By remembering what the season is truly about.
The joy and hope the birth of Jesus Christ brings.

He is the reason we celebrate this season.
He is the reason we can be motivated to keep breathing that next breathe.
He is the reason we can let go of the past.
He is the reason we can rest assured that the hurt we are currently facing, it isn't in vain.  
The promise that our hurt is NEVER wasted.

Remember who He is and why He came.
He will pull you out of the pit.

I promise.

And if you will let Him, He will refine you and make you a new creation when He pulls you out!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

When You Are Living Shoulder-To-Shoulder

Several weeks ago someone asked Josh and I if our relationship/marriage was more face-to-face or shoulder-to-shoulder.

After thinking a lot about that question we both agreed that it depends on the season.

Of course we want face-to-face interaction all the time.
We want it to be the norm.
But that's just not realistic 100% of the time.

When you have a family with children tugging on your pant legs or another one needing uninterrupted help with homework.  
When there is a very demanding season at work.  
When life is life and won't slow down.  
When the necessary to-do's continue to pile up.  
When friends and family are in crisis.  
When your teenager is in the far country.
When sleep is short and days are long.

All of these things interrupt the face-to-face time that is necessary for a healthy marriage.

After Josh and I woke up from a difficult night of taxing responsibilities we finished another typical morning marathon of packing lunches, feeding a Colony a dozen and a half eggs (and two boxes of cereal...and oatmeal and toast and...these little humans would NEVER stop eating if we didn't make them!) for breakfast, and making sure all of these Colony kids were properly dressed in cold weather attire (because we WILL get notes home from teachers), Josh wearily looked at me and said, "Babe, we're in a shoulder-to-shoulder season."  Then he kissed me gently while saying his 'I love you's' and smiled as he grabbed his keys and walked out the door to go to work.

Our shoulder-to-shoulder looks something like this lately:
Josh is knee deep in his doctorate program, we have begun the holiday season, the kids are about to track out (which means end of quarter and holiday activities at school),  not to mention the holiday scurry at Journey as we prepare for Christmas services and activities.  Oh yeah, and we have 5 kids...and 6 chickens...and extended family...and friends who we love...all dealing with their own things...

But just because we are in a shoulder-to-shoulder season doesn't mean that it has to be spent doing things separately.  

Here are a few things that keep Josh and I on the same page, even when we are tag-teaming life, activities, projects, kids and even discipline.
  1. Keep Communicating - Sit down and go over a busy week (or day, or season) ahead of time.  I know for me, if Josh is going to have late meetings, rehearsals or school work, I am much more respectful of his demanding schedule if I know what to expect.  If I am going to need extra help with the kid's school activities, or homework I need to let Josh know what I am expecting of him.  How are we ever going to know what each other needs unless we communicate our expectations to each other.  Reminding each other that we are on the same team, all along the way.
  2. Stay Connected - this means exactly what you think it does;)  Make sure you are intentionally still being intimate.  Don't allow a busy, hectic, or stressful season keep you from being with each other. There is something irreplaceable about this kind of connection.  Schedule it in if you need to, but make it happen!
  3. Find Time To Laugh (or at least smile) - It's completely okay to laugh about the dinner that got burned because you forgot the sweet potato fries baking in the oven (which has NEVER happened to me) or browning ground beef on the burner (nope, not spoken from experience) or boiling rice on the stove (ok, so maybe I have a problem being distracted multitasking while cooking)...lighten up a little bit and get those endorphins pumping.  Sometimes the only way to make it through a stressful time is to try not to make the not-so-important things...not so important. Because there will be plenty of time for seriousness during a shoulder-to-shoulder season without you crying over spilled milk (literally).
  4. Parent Together - Keep each other up to speed on the kids so consequences will be consistent, highlights will be praised and so the kids know that mom and dad are in this together. Don't allow them to play you against each other during this season.
  5. BONUS:  For goodness sakes, grab each other's butts every once in a while!  A simple little squeeze goes a long ways.  Oh, and make sure your kids see it, because if they can see that mom and dad are still okay, then they know that life is going to be okay, even when they can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Plus it'll initiate the long-awaited eye contact you've been waiting for and maybe even a smile or giggle.
Shoulder-to-shoulder seasons aren't the most fun to be in the middle of, but make the most of them and remind each other that you are in fact, in this together, even if you don't get to do each part of it together.  And that "this too shall pass."

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Words Worth Remembering

Cai:"Zeke, wouldn't that be so funny if somebody screamed so loud that their head popped off?!"


Me:"Jude, are you okay?"
Jude:"Yeah. I just had mac-n-cheese all the way down in my choking spot."


Jude:"Mom, are you putting your earwax in?"
translation:"Mom, are you putting your contacts in?"


Jude:"I can't find any hard workin' shirts!"

ie: work out shirts


Jude:"That's adarious"
translation - "That's hilarious!"


Jude:"I'm gonna call you a 'sweatie bubble"
Jude:"You know that chocolate stuff you like?"
Me:"Ohhhhh, a butterfinger?"
Jude:"Oh yeah. a butterfinger!"


Jude:"Look mom, it's yummy skittles!"
Me:"Mmmmm, are you gonna share with mommy?"


Jude:"Daddy let me have a huffy puppy."
huffy puppy = hush puppy


Zeke, looking at the ground beef thawing on the counter for dinner: "Mom, what IS that?!"
Me: "It's meat for tacos for dinner tonight."
Zeke: "Ooooh.  I thought it was some kind of penguin meat."
Me: "What?  We have never even mentioned ever eating penguin.  I'm not sure if people even eat penguin mean."
Zeke:"Yeah they do.  Like Coyote meat or something."



Jude:"I have sharp teeth to bite dinosaurs."


Jude:"Mom, I think squirrels like us.  They like our yard.  Squirrels like our yard, but not dinosaurs."


Cai:"Hey mom, you know those bathrooms at school?"
Cai:"I wish we had THOSE here because you can put all the toilet paper you want in there and it just flushes down.  They NEVER overfloat!"



Jude:"Sorry for throwing my food on the floor that one time."
Me:"It's okay buddy.  I forgive you."
Jude:"Thanks.  I forgive you too."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

This Day, Present and Past

Today is a big day!

Today is the day we remember Alethia's denial at the Embassy.  We remember standing in that little room, "Shabby" propped up on the counter, our other kids huddled up close, and the Embassy worker giving us the very cold, indifferent "nope, she can't get a VISA to go home".  No explanation.  No options.  Just "no".  As if the daughter that had been grafted into our family could simply be cut off again.  We remember those following few seconds that felt like years, as our bodies froze in place while our minds raced all over trying to make sense of what had just happened.

We remember.  We, ahem...I, cry.  I cry a lot during this time every year (I can't help it, don't judge).  Because those feelings are still inside of me.  They awaken every year just as fresh as the day they happened.

But I have the full picture now and the crying is coupled with the shadows of grace and love that sustained us, and brought us through to the soon-to-come season of firsts that Alethia got to experience once we got her home.

We know SO MUCH MORE about the process now than we did then, and PTL we know that there are options.  You just have to keep working the system...and that is exactly what my brother and sister-in-law have done.  Over the past 4 years they have been working on bringing their daughter home, after getting a denial at the Embassy shortly after ours.  And now it's time for them to go back to court to fully adopt Chloe in Uganda and apply for a different VISA that will FINALLY bring them all back home to America.

And you can help them get here!

They are doing an auction over at @bringchloehomeauction on Instagram to raise (hopefully) their last big chunk of funds for their legal fees in court.  Kelly has found local artisans who have made the items being sold for the auction.  (Their stories are on the site.  I love getting to meet where the items have originated!)

Here are the rules that are posted on the auction site:

1 - The auction begins at 9am EST on Tuesday Nov. 17.  It will be open for bidding until it closes at 5pm EST on Wed. Nov. 18.

2 - To bid on an item:  comment with your bid (in full dollar increments) on the item you wish to bid on and your email address.  If you are outbidding a previous bidder, please tag them in your comment so they can see you have been outbid.

3 - When bidding has closed, I will comment "closed" on each item and no bids afterward will be accepted on that item.

4 - If you have the winning bid, I will email ASAP (within 48 hours) with your invoice and direct you in paying for your item(s).

5 - If you fail to pay your invoice within 24 hours of receiving it, I have the right to give the item(s) to the second place bidder.

6 - A small shipping fee will be added to your winning bid(s).  Total fees are as follows:

  • 1-3 items: $4
  • 4-6 items: $6
  • 7-9 items: $9

Thank you for understanding.

7 - All winning bids will be paid online through our sending agency, World Reach Partnerships.  If you win, all billing instructions will be included in your email.  (It's super easy!)

So make sure you share this fundraiser with your friends and start shopping.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Stopping The Drama Train In Its Tracks ~ KITW

We, as women, are way more prone to drama. We just are. God has made us with super big hearts, with super big feelings, that read into relationships…and conversations and actions and looks and body language…am I right or am I right?
As much as I pride myself on trying to stay drama-free, I must admit that I fall prey to these exact same actions.
I used to be a pro at adding hidden agendas into conversations that I would have with other women/friends. I would make up alternate realities about how they really felt about me and my family, or my parenting techniques, or why my daughter didn’t get invited to their daughter’s party, or why nobody ever wanted to meet at my house. I had it ALL figured out.
But in all honesty, they had NEVER communicated ANY of the things that I was hypothetically conjuring up in my mind as fact. Sure, some of my suspicions may have been spot on, but was that solid truth I was relying on, or insecure feelings of rejection and hurt?
Josh, my husband, is absolutely baffled by the way women (and little girls) handle situations.
Here is just one example: ... [Read More]

Thursday, November 12, 2015


The boys are supposed to be sleeping.


But I'm too tired...actually, I'm just too lazy to get my jammy-covered butt off of the couch to go do anything about their "supposed to be's".

At least tonight they are just giggling and telling each other ridiculous stories.  I can handle that!

The track record from the past couple of weeks has been littered with so much sibling bickering that I've wanted to just throw in the towel and call it quits. (okay, maybe it was already quits when I locked myself in my room and told the kids to "go away and leave me alone". And maybe that night I informed Josh that I needed SOMETHING at the store, I'd figure out what it is as soon as I got there, so could you please just keep the kids from killing each other. Stellar mom moments.)

And I'm not even going to mention Jude's elbow that he threw out of socket last week while being a boy...
and Rainy's 1" gash on her knee (I saw the "fatty tissue" ya'll!) from hide-n-seeking in the dark with a bunch of friends, which led to falling in a stone-encased ditch...
and then Zeke's broken arm he got while...being a boy, yesterday.

And then throw in a birthday party and I'm done.

Done I tell ya.

You canNOT call me mom ANY more.


But we all know a mama can't just up and call it quits.
And I'm okay with that.
I really am.
I just need a night to just be.

So here I am, on a Thursday night.
Josh is at rehearsal.
The girls are having birthday cuddles for Alethia's birthday (yeah, I haven't even written her birthday post for her special day of birth today!)
The boys are "supposed-to-be"ing
and I'm just here, writing a blog about nothing...or lots of things...but really nothing at all...

because it's been a day.
Not a bad day.
Maybe a sad day.
But at least a sunny day.

And it's just a night.
A regular ol' get-the-kids-to-bed-on-time kind of night so that tomorrow can be all that God wants it to be for this Colony.

So, here's to the fight.
The every day fight.
The fight to be.
To be exactly who we are supposed to be.
Not just to exist, but to thrive.

God wants that from us.
So just take tonight.
And wait for the fresh new mercies that He has promised for the morning.
Praise the Lord they come in fresh every.single.morning.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Being A Friend To A Friend In Crisis

This year has almost come and gone and is leaving a trail of heartache, trials, broken hearts and sickness behind.  Hearts are aching all around me, but this time it isn't my own heart.  It is the hearts of many of those close to me.

But just because the circumstances don't directly relate to me and my family, we have felt every one of them.

And through it all I have been stretched and humbled in ways I could not have ever imagined.

I am a work in progress as I learn to walk with friends and family through the valley that the Lord is sifting them through, realizing that I will be sifted, in a different way of course, right along with them.

Here are some things I am learning as I try to be the best friend I can be for my friend(s) going through a crisis.

1 - Learn to be a good listener - these are obviously in no particular order, but listening is always going to be at the top of the list!  If a friend has chosen you to walk with them through something I can guarantee they haven't signed you up to "fix" the problem.  For us "fixers" this step is torture, but will solidify our intentions.  Are we in this with them to try and "fix" the problem or are we in it to pray for them and be a listening board for them as they wade these new, difficult waters and make the tough decisions they have to make.

2 - Speak truth in love - this one is tricky.  There is a time and place to speak truth.  Hard truth.  But you better make sure your heart is right and that your intentions are pure.  And furthermore, that the Holy Spirit is softening their heart to hear what He wants you to say to them.  Have you earned a right to speak this truth?  And if you speak this truth is it because you simply can't keep quiet anymore (in my own case, this typically means there is selfish or prideful intentions in my own heart) or because it is a prodding of the Holy Spirit?

3 - Keep Silent - I am learning that many times the place for me, as a friend, is just BEING with and for your friend, not TALKING TO them.  Not to be passive, but to allow the Holy Spirit to do His thing in your friend's heart.

4 - Hold Their Hand - don't try to carry them through it.  There is a very fine line between walking WITH someone through something and carrying it on your own shoulders.  This is by far the most difficult thing for me.  I feel so deeply for people, so when they hurt I physically hurt with them.  I am learning that this is not a healthy place for me to be.  Not only does is bring unneeded stress to me physically and make me a not-so-fun mama and wife, it diminishes the help I can tangibly be to my friend who has no choice in carrying the burden.

5 - Allow the Holy Spirit to be the Holy Spirit - Okay, so maybe ALL of these are difficult for me, ha!  I told you I'm still learning!  Realizing that ultimately it doesn't matter what I think they should do to get through this season, but releasing my agenda to the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to take over, that can be so freeing as a friend.  And this, in turn, will allow for the quiet that needs to occur so the Holy Spirit can be heard, not only in your own heart, but in theirs.

6 - Grace upon grace - This one is for you as the friend walking with a friend AND the friend going through the pain.  Know that each one of you is most likely going to say hurtful things or words that get miscommunicated.  When emotions are raw and hurt is running so deep you can almost expect some rocky roads in your relationship.  You are both new to this and it is going to take some communication on both parts to get your friendship to the other side of this crisis, even when the crisis isn't related directly to the friendship.

7 - Let them make their own choices - a lot of times a friend will make choices that you don't agree with.  I keep thinking that this is going to be how it is when my teenager is old enough to make their own decisions.  It is hard to let go.  It isn't always going to go the way I think it should.  But I have to trust the Lord to take care of it, because no matter how much I want something for someone, THEY have to want it.  THEY are the one making the choice.

8 - Move On - maybe the decision-making is over or the grieving is coming to a close, helping your friend to know that it's okay to move on to the next season is crucial in their healing.  You may still have questions and/or things you want to say, but revert back to numbers 1 and 3.  Now is the time to let them move on.  And having the support from a friend to feel happy again is a huge step in that.

9 - Pray - this is last but certainly not least!  Prayer is your lifeline.  The very act that reaches deep down to the desires of our own heart directly to the one who created us.  He knows every fiber of our being, and every tear being shed.  He knows. Thank God He KNOWS!  So pray that you will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He leads you to keep quiet, and speak truth, and search your own heart, while being sensitive and supportive while holding the hand of your sweet friend who is in a place they never thought they'd be.

10 - Because you can't end a list on a 9!

I realize that I am speaking boldly here, but these are just personal things I've learned, sensed and heard people tell me when walking through a valley.

Please feel free to add to the list.  It isn't easy, no matter what side of the valley you are walking on.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Memory Monday ~ Not MY Understanding

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
and do not lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him
and he will make straight your paths."

Proverbs 3:516

When your circumstances and situation seems grim.
And the options of "fixing" it appear to be no better.

Trust in Him.

Not on your own understanding.
Not on the way it was done in the past.
Not on what has always been.

But on Him and WHO HE IS.

His understanding is far better than our finite minds can ever fathom.

Even in the darkest of valleys
Trust in him.

Trust that he can bring beauty from ashes.
And then release the darkness to him and ALLOW him to make it beautiful.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween Candy: Keeping The Monster On A Leash

I've written a lot about the evil monsters that take over our children when candy inhabits the Colony home.

The greed.
The bickering.
The fighting.
The constant begging for the sugary substances that have a hold on their very souls.  

(Have you seen the Zombies on the Walking Dead scratching and reaching for the humans just inches away from reach through a closed gate or car door?  Yeah, that's what happens to me these kids!)

And then there's the Colony mom who can't handle having the sugary sweet goodness in the Colony house so she feels the need to eat every. last. bit. of. it. with little to no self-control because "we do NOT waste food in this house!" (see how I rationalize?!)

It's just not a pretty sight!

So last year we began to implement a new rule for the massive amounts of this sugary monster-infested stuff that overtakes a Colony of kids on a Halloween.

1 - You may eat as much candy as you want while we are out trick-or-treating.  No strings attached.  Eat away! (because we all know that it is impossible to keep track of all the kids and all the candy, especially when you are just trying to keep track of ALL THE KIDS!)

2 - You must be willing to succumb to the mom and dad tax at any time during the duration of trick-or-treating. (If you are a parent and have children you MUST begin implementing mom and dad tax.  That means you get sips and nibbles, bites and snippets of yummy goodness whenever they are had by the littles.  It is just part of being in the family.  And it teaches sharing and generosity, of course, ha!)

3 - When we get home you may pick 5 pieces of candy that you may eat during the following week for snacks or treats.

4 - The additional candy will be made into gifts for friends, family, and homeless kids/families.  And whatever is left over will be donated to programs that ship it overseas for soldiers serving our country.

5 - I give them each $1 for giving their candy up with a happy heart.

Since last year was the first year of implementing this rule it didn't go over as happily easily as we had wished.  There were tears.  Lots of tears.  The monster had seeped into their very pores without even being consumed!

But this year was an entirely different story.  Before we even made it home 2 out of our 5 kids had picked out their 5 favorite pieces and then handed out all the rest of their candy to their friends who had gone trick-or-treating with us.  And the other three went straight to the kitchen table, upon arriving home, to sift through their stash and gladly brought me the rest.  It was SO easy.

All that makes me so happy inside.
But here is what made me the most proud...

...the past couple of years has been spent focusing on our bodies and the effects that food (and life choices in general) have on our bodies.  The "temple", the "tent" that God has given us.  We talk about how our bodies are supposed to be used to glorify God.  We talk about things that HELP our bodies reach that potential, and things that HINDER our bodies.  What makes our bodies strong and our minds focused and sharp?

We would be naive to think that we could shelter our kids from all the candy and soda and UN-natural things that come along with being a kid (and the birthday parties they go to and the school friends that bring them stuff, or the special things we do as a family...and HALLOWEEN!).  And I kind of appreciate the learning moments when my 9-year-old wakes up at 2am throwing up bright orange Cheetos from over consumption and a lack of self-control (or because he snuck 3 too many bags...ahem...).

So we embrace the teaching moments of poor eating choices and explain WHY the eczema has flared up, and the emotions become unruly and the "freak outs" begin to rear their ugly heads and why the tummy aches until late into the night.  Moderation is key.

And that is why Zeke, my sweet 9-year-old who struggles in a huge way with compulsive behavior and self control, only consumed 5 pieces of candy last night.  FIVE.  (That's less than the lady who calls herself his mama!)  And was the first to hand over his leftovers after picking his five to keep as he told me, "I'm just really seeing what this kind of stuff does to me and I don't like it."

He is learning.
And that makes this whole journey (of keeping our bodies healthy) worth fighting.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Climbing In The Wheelbarrow

"Perhaps we are all in the position of the man in Morton Kelsey's story who came to the edge of an abyss.  As he stood there wondering what to do next, he was amazed to discover a tightrope stretched across the abyss.  And slowly, surely, across the rope came an acrobat pushing before him a wheelbarrow with another performer in it.  When they finally reached the safety of solid ground, the acrobat smiled at the man's amazement.  'Don't you think I can do it again?' he asked.  And the man replied, 'Why yes, I certainly believe you can.'  The acrobat put his question again, and when the answer was the same, he pointed to the wheelbarrow and said, 'Good!  Then get in and I will take you across.'"

When I read this excerpt in Brennan Manning's book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, my heart literally leapt in my chest.

Am I going to be a person that believes everything the Bible says about our miraculous savior but refuses to put it to test in my own life?  Do I truly believe that He can "do it again" and do it in my own life?  And if I do believe am I going to put my vocal belief into action and jump in the wheelbarrow, handing all control over to Him?  Do I even WANT Him to take me on that journey, or have I become so complacent that I am happy watching him carry everyone else across?

"What we do with the lordship of Jesus is a better indication of our faith than what we think.  
This is what the world wants from our rhetoric, what the man of God longs for in shepherds - 
daring enough to be different, 
humble enough to make mistakes, 
wild enough to be burnt in the fire of love, 
real enough to make others see how phony we are."
-Brennan Manning

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Just A Few Thoughts From Jude the Dude

Once upon a time there was a boy named Jude and mom.
and they were eating marshmallows all day
and they put it on a cracker.
and the crackers were all gone.
the end.


once upon a time we were in our house and the food was all gone
there was some more pizza left over
and they ate it and ate it
the end


once upon a time there was mommy and daddy and Jude riding in the car and going and riding and going to meme, no, SiSi's house
and he was all ready for school
and jude was all ready for school too
and I had to get my book bag at my house
and I go to school school school
and I played with tractors when I got back from school
and post it on the list
the end


What is a mommy?
a mommy goes to the school and goes to the store. and she cuts apples
and she waters flowers and she gets the remote control cars down

What do daddy's do?
get their shoes on and get the remote control cars down and read their books.
and when it's sprinklin' and snowin' they gode outside and have hot chocolate all day

What do big brothers do?
they play on their desk and color on their desk.
that's all they do

what do sisters do?
they put lipstick on and put a dress on.
that's all.

What does a Ju-ju like to do?
play with hot wheels.  My OWN hot wheels.
Play with lightning' McQueen cars
I like to pet dogs
I like to play and read books and color when its nighttime

Why does mommy have to give you consequences sometimes?
because I keep getting out of bed
but I don't like them because they're not fun

If I was a daddy I would get big shoes on and read books and sleep in a BIIIIIG bed.

Who is Jesus?
I'm not tellin' you
I'm just kidding!
I just can't tell you right now.

I have some more things to say:  I like Meme and Poppie's popsicles at their house and my bed. I like going to Journey with daddy because I always get desserts and stuff.

That's all.

Monday, October 26, 2015

To Jump Up Or To Stay Seated

Before Josh and I had kids we observed lots of parents and very quickly decided that we were NOT going to be the parents that jumped up every time their kids scraped their knees on the pavement or bumped their elbow on the table (which is a good thing because I would never be able to sit down. EVER.)

Most of the time these boo-boo's hardly even warranted a Band-aid, much less a dramatic drop of whatever their parents were doing just to go lavish them with attention when they could just as easily just jump right up and go back to playing.

I can honestly say that this is one area that I have withheld to my pre-parenting standards.  (Sometimes to a fault actually.  Remember that time I kept fussing at Rainy because she kept getting out of bed crying for water.  I stood my ground, telling her that she was FINE.  Until she woke up the next morning with a 103.6 fever and strep throat?! Yeah, NOT the time to tell them to suck it up and stop procrastinating on going to sleep, ha!)

There is a balance that has to be made.

I want my kids to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, their mom and dad are on their team, cheering them on, and will most certainly step in if we NEED to, but I want my kids to know that they have been equipped to walk the very shaky steps of life on their own, as we teach them along the way.  I want to help them learn to get up on their own, assess the actual (not hypothetical) damage of the situation and realistically see if their situation is something to get upset about or not.  Because a lot of times I think our kids just feed off of us (our fears for them) and our reactions to what they are going through.

This balance is particularly important for Zeke and his anxiety episodes.

If I were to accidentally wash a stack of his most prized Pokemon cards (ahem...) and he were to find them the next day on an early Sunday morning at Journey, I might need to have a little more compassion on him than in a situation where he were to walk over to see that "my favorite pencil" that has been sitting on his desk under papers and trash for 3 months without being touched, had been picked up by the little destroyer of all things Jude the dude.  (Of course this is ALL hypothetical!)

It also applies to Areyna breaking down over someone using her markers vs. someone messing up her science experiment that she had been working tirelessly on.

Or to Alethia saying that her friend didn't want to be her friend any more vs. Cai calling her a "poop head".

The fact of the matter is, our kids are going to have to face things their entire lives.  Are we going to be there to walk alongside them as they try to work it out or are we going to try to carry them the entire way.

If we carry them we are adding their very real burdens onto our own very real burdens.  But I don't think that is healthy.  We have to be willing to put them down.  We cannot carry them that long.  We weren't meant to carry them that long.  We carry them until they can get down and walk on their own.

I know us mama's jump into fix-it mode every time something in our kids lives gets off track.  Of course we want the best for them.  But what are we really fixing if we jump in and flex our mama muscles?  We are ripping that self-confidence out of their hands for being able to figure it out on their own.  We are deterring them from turning to God and asking Him for help if we are the ones who always try to make things better.  We are taking a learning experience away that will further their dependency on their relationship with Christ.

If we jump it may make them feel better for a time, but its merely a Band-aid as they grow up in this very real world full of hurt and disappointment, and they will eventually begin to just expect us to jump and fix all that is wrong with their lives.

I know for me, this is something I have to pray for on a daily basis as I decipher when to jump and when to sit.  Sitting is harder, for sure, but when we sit, it allows God to do the jumping.  And He can jump way higher and fix way better than we ever could.  Besides, our children are really His anyway.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

If Sin Is Sin, Then Sin Is Sin

"The way we see other people is usually the way we see ourselves.  
If we have made peace with our flawed humanity and embrace our ragamuffin identity, 
we are able to tolerate in others what was previously unacceptable in ourselves."

I read this convicting sentence the other day from Brennan Manning.

It keeps playing back and forth, back and forth in my head.

Different scenarios began playing through my head of times when I've caught myself judging other people.
It's almost  absolutely embarrassing when I actually took the time to list out the things that frustrate me...or even DISGUST me, in other people.
Other people God has created in His own image.
Other adopted children of Christ.

It's so easy to see other people's flaws and thank God that we aren't the one with that lifestyle, or that addiction, or that reaction or that way of thinking...

(Sound familiar? Luke 18:9-14)

But are those things really any different than my own sins that I deal with?  Have I really owned up to my own flaws and sins that grieve the Holy Spirit, that keep me from crawling into Abba's lap and spending vulnerable, heart and soul-changing time with Him?

Sure, every sin has different consequences and affects different people, but Romans 5  tells us that even a simple THOUGHT of a sinful act is sin!

Billy Graham defines sin as "any thought or action that falls short of God's will."

So if my sin of being short-tempered with my 9-year-old, or sarcastic or demeaning to my 6-year-old is just as sinful (falling short of God's will) as the drug addict down the street, then we are equal sinners.

If my tendency for impulsivity overcomes me and turns into sin, and is the same as the individual who has an addiction to porn or lust, then we are equal sinners.

When my lack of self-control over food (yes, if it's around I can hardly hold myself back!) becomes an idol and gluttonous it is the same sin as the individuals who are addicted to over-exercise and obsession over body image.

And if we are equal sinners (both just as far apart from Christ as the other), it takes the same amount of grace and love to bring us back to His presence.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Romans 3:23

I know for me, if I remember who I am, and what God has sacrificed for ME, and the grace and patience he floods me with on a daily hourly basis, I am more likely to give grace when someone sins against me.  They don't deserve that forgiveness.  They don't deserve that second chance...or that third chance, or that fourth chance...

...but neither do I.

(BTW-forgiveness doesn't make their sin ok.  It doesn't make MY sin okay.  But it does make the forgivers heart ok.)

I don't EVER want God's grace and lavished love to ever become stagnant in my life.  Because that is when my love and forgiveness and grace (and compassion) for others ends.  And that, my friend, is sin, that will once again separate me from the one who lavishes it on me.

"Then Peter came up and said to him, 
'Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?'  
Jesus said to him, 
'I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.'"
Matthews 18:21-22

This is a command.  
It does not change with different seasons and circumstances that we face.
If you believe that God's word is ALL TRUTH, then it does not change.  
It is what it is.  
It is WHO God is.  
And if we call ourselves followers of Him, then it HAS TO BE who WE are.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Lessons From The Gardener: A New Way To Recycle

Pinterest has become my greatest resource as my black thumb ripens.

I have become a little obsessed with all things yard related.  We have been whittling away, area by area, as we fix up our yard.  And I have to say, I have really enjoyed it!  My body always regrets the 4-6 hour days I put in when I wake up the following morning, but it's a good kind of hurt.  Kind of like when you have worked your butt off in a difficult workout and you KNOW it's good for you but man it hurts.

Anyway, I wanted to share one of the greatest ideas I have found for keeping weeds away from landscaped areas.

It's brilliant, simple, biodegradable and FREE!

Are you ready for it?

Brown paper bags.


Here's how it works:

1 - Find a helper that will wear snow gloves to help you dig.  This is mandatory for success;)

2 - Ask for paper bags every time you go to the grocery story and save them.

3 - Cut the bags so that they lay flat.

4 - After you have weeded, uprooted as many bushes as you can and level the ground, place the bags down so that they lay flat and slightly overlap, making sure that you cover every patch of exposed dirt.

5 - Cover with straw.  If you don't want to pay money for straw, come on over here.  We have an endless amount.  In fact, it seems as though we get a fresh layer every week. Seriously.

This is pretty much what our entire front landscape area looked like.  I have slowly been digging it all out and replacing it through this process.  I haven't had to do a THING to it since I laid it down!

These are the roots I still have to dig up, but at least I weeded around it to get a head start once my hands heal from all the holly bush "poinky" attacks they endured this week.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

3 Ways To Weigh Ministry Opportunities ~ KITW

I feel something BIG happening in the church as a whole right now.
I am seeing more and more of the beautiful balance of worshipping and filling up on the weekend within the corporate worship setting in order to pour ourselves out throughout the week. Giving and serving and loving the ones God has surrounded us with at work, home, and other activities, as we tangibly point others to Christ.
It’s as if there is an intentional shift. A driven focus.
And I don’t think it’s just our church or area. I have heard of churches all over the world making this shift from the gluttonous, self-centered worship that has unfortunately infected many of our churches. And I am proud to be a part of one of the churches fighting this trend.
But along with this outward focus can come feelings of exhaustion and burn out. Overwhelmed feelings with the amount of work that still needs to be done. Difficulty saying “no” to a good opportunity to serve in order to keep your priorities in check.
How can we figure out how to live life on mission while still protecting the much-needed white space we, and our family, need. A more pointed question for this audience–how can we best fulfill our responsibility to make disciples and love our neighbors while continuing to pour into the mission field within the four walls of our own home?
There are three questions I ask myself before saying “yes” to a good outside serving opportunity:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I Only Like The Shadows Because Of The Sun

When my family lived in Waukesha, WI there was a season of darkness.  I believe it was in the fall.  I know I've asked my mom a hundred times how long the sun drought actually lasted, but for some reason I can't get out of my 7th grade mindset that felt like it lasted MONTHS!

It actually WAS several weeks.  Close to a month?
(You'll have to ask my mom, or my sister for that matter (who has the gift of never forgetting ANYTHING!), how long it actually lasted.

I remember the agitation on everyone's faces.
I remember my parents talking about the road rage.
I remember how mean everyone was to each other.
I remember how sad I felt.
I remember the news accounts of the sky rocketing suicide and depression rates.

The darkness was all around us.

Everyone needs sunshine.
And when it doesn't show up we begin having some major problems.

So when we passed the two-week mark of nearly NO sun here over the past couple of weeks I began having flashbacks.

Only this time I'm a mom, and my five littles were experiencing the annoyance, and drain of this darkness as well.

But yesterday...

...yesterday we had sunshine.

And again, today, SUNSHINE!

I can hardly keep myself indoors to carry on my normal household duties.

Actually, I didn't even do THAT yesterday.

I began putting our yard back together after two weeks of wind and rain as soon as the kids went to school.  Picking up pinecones, limbs, branches, pruning the garden, and weeding overgrown areas and debris.

I also began mowing and the instant gratification was exhilarating!  You know, sometimes you mow and by the time you get the mower turned around you can hardly tell where you left off.  But that was NOT the case yesterday!  The grass was freaking 8" tall after all that rain and I was in my happy place, riding along, watching it all get chopped down to perfect size.

Josh told me I was weird after I told him how mowing made me feel.  
But I have NO shame!

I've been thanking God for the sunshine over and over as I breathe it in deep,
with fresh motivation for life,
and parenting,
and completing the mundane tasks given to me in this season,
and working out sibling arguments.

So today I don't mind the lurking shadows because it means there is sun just beyond!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Free-For-All

It's raining (big shocker there!),
it's windy,
it's cold,
and there's the excitement of extreme weather buzzing all around us.

And changing clothes out for a new season for a Colony is NO SMALL FEAT.

The amount of clothes our kids have been blessed with is overwhelming!
Hand-me-downs.  They are like perfectly timed, practical Christmas gifts in boxes and bags every time we get to sift through them, find what works, and gift them on to others.

That has been my rainy day activity while the kids are tracked back in,
and daddy works on school from home,
and Jude takes a L-O-N-G nap.

Now I keep catching myself looking at my hipster little 3-year-old with the new haircut his daddy gave him this morning.  We have NEVER had a kid with short hair (Unless you count the first year of Rainy's life.  I never thought that girl would EVER get hair, ha!), so seeing a little boy, buzz-cut, mohawk-ish hairdo is almost more cuteness than I can handle!  I wouldn't be surprised (or even mind) if Zeke follows suit.  He has been on the brink several times, but just couldn't stop changing his mind.

Areyna was on the verge of tears last night trying to convince me that the chickens has told her how unhappy, wet and cold they were and that they NEEDED to come inside.

Yeah, not gonna happen...

I'm going to play Bunco tonight with some ladies in the Rolesville community.
"What is Bunco", you ask?
I don't even know, but I DO know that it's gonna be completely out of my comfort zone, but that's what grows us right?!

So here's to another cold and rainy day.
I prefer to call it FALL.
I complain less if the word FALL is involved.
Besides that means I can burn the pumpkin spice candles that I've been hoarding all year long and go to the store and stock up on Wassail ingredients!
Oh, and everything FALL makes me happy
(minus the cold rain and the lack of sunshine).

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Words Worth Remembering

Cai's sidewalk chalk spaceship

Jude:"Mom, can I go to Zeke's school now, I'm bigger today."


Josh:"Rainy, you look really pretty today.  I hope no boys wink at you today at school."


Alethia:"MOM!  Jude doesn't have to use baby cups anymore!"
Jude:"Yeah, I don't have to use baby cupth anymore!"
Me:"But that's kind of sad because that means he isn't a baby anymore.  Boo.  Jude, will you still be my baby boy?"
Jude:"No, but I can be a nice little bear."


Josh:"Alright Jude, what was YOUR Bible verse today?"
Josh:"My God..."
Jude:" the greatest...meat."
Josh:"well, um, close.  My God will meet all your needs."
Jude:"Philidia 4:19"


Josh:"So, what did ya'll learn about in your classes at Journey today?"
Alethia:"Look before you leap."
Zeke: "No, it was listen before you leap."
Cai:"No, it was look before you sleep."


Jude:"Daddy, sit down on the chest so I can tell you a stoe-rey.  One day I was playing basketball and I hit the ball with my bat and hote my fingeo and rolled down the hill.  I busted my fingoe and it was bweeding weewee bad and I had to go to the hospital.  And then it started bweeding again and I had to go back to the hospital.  I had to go to the hospital fwee times.  And then I hote my eyeball.  And then I had to go to the hospital again.  Then I came home and played more basketball. And then I took a bath and then I got out."
Josh:"Well I'm sorry about all of that buddy. Goodnight."
Jude:"No sit back down daddy.  I'm gonna tell you anothoe story."


Jude: tweezer = sleeveless shirt
Jude: rollercoaster = wheelbarrow
Areyna: machette = meditating


Jude:"Mom, why does Satan have powers?"
(then this shocked mama got to have a mini spiritual conversation with my 3-year-old)


Alethia:"Knock, knock"
Rainy:"who's there?"
Alethia:"Banana.  Knock, knock"
Rainy:"who's there?"
Alethia:"watermelon. Knock, knock"
Rainy:"who's there?"
Alethia:"ORANGE you glad I didn't say orange."


Cai:"Alethia is frustrating me because she said that I was talking about her in my head."


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Take 5

Band: Twenty One Pilots
Album: Blurryface
Song Title: Lane Boy

Timer Set For Five Minutes: GO!

"Moooom, I just pee-peed on the floor!"

The words Jude just yelled from the bathroom.

Yet, here I am, typing away to my song of choice, ready to get some words out.

The pee will just have to wait.

I was blessed with 2.3 minute of sunshine this afternoon.  It was as if it were screaming through the windows, beckoning me.  I ran outside and just stood in it until the clouds came flooding back in and the rain began falling again.  I'm not one to pass up a good rainy day in front of the TV, throwing in the towel of motivation, but a week in and I'm done.  Ready for the sunshine of motivation that drives me forward.  I would have a really hard time living in Seattle.

I had a realization.  I really enjoy cooking healthy recipes for my family.  I just need the right know, behaving children, all the ingredients, and unlimited day...

It's already...

Timer OFF.


Friday, September 25, 2015

It's Finally Friday. It's Fall. And then we baked.

Pumpkin muffins are sitting on the counter. (Don't bother asking for this recipe.   They don't really taste like anything:(.

Banana bread is in the oven. (this is ALWAYS a hit!)

Dinner is prepped. (homemade pizza because I needed something I didn't have to put any thought into.)

Kids are with the sitter (aka Netflix).

And me?
Well, I am in my room with nothing but the sound of the rain outside and the smell of cinnamon and orange diffusing in the room and the ambiance of stringed Christmas lights behind me and candles glowing to my left.

It is the loveliest moment of my day.

In case you missed it, Wednesday was the FIRST DAY OF FALL!  My absolute favorite time of year!  So the fact that fall decorating was on our to-do list didn't come as a surprise to the kids.  (Can I just say that the Target $1 Spot has come a long way in seasonal decorating options!) That, and the fact that it is rainy and cold-ish, called for the baking that made the list today.

I don't know what it is.
I used to be so good at being alone when Josh would leave town.
But now I can hardly wait for him to walk in the door!

Maybe it is the Lord humbling me and reminding me that it isn't actually ME that gets me through at all.  But HIM!  EVERY. Time.

This Colony spent nearly 3 hours in the doctors office today for poor little Cai-bo.  He had been running a fever since last Saturday and we had tried everything under the sun to help with his symptoms.  It was only getting worse and he was beginning to have labored breathing and crying uncontrollably.  So off to the Dr. we went.  2 breathing treatments, negative Meningitis, Flu and strep tests later and we were back home and feeling a little better.  Breathing tends to be a bit important I suppose:).

Then there is Josh.  His back is out. Like, can hardly walk, out.  Shuffling is his mode of transportation and strong pain meds are the only thing that enabled him to get on his flight back home.  He'll be home late tonight and we are SO ready.  We are also so thankful for a Chiropractor that is willing to see him first thing on a Saturday morning!

But this is just how it is in ministry a lot of times.  Every single person in different ministry capacities can vouch for the crazy health and spiritual things that happen when God's Kingdom is growing and you happen to be privileged enough to be part of it.

All this to say, I am in my happy place right now.
For this little moment.
And I'm thankful.
VERY thankful.

Also, I'm glad that my sucky circumstances, known as the last two days, do not dictate God's love that he continues to lavish on me and the grace he continues to give to me as I parent these little people through my exhaustion (and accidental four-letter words that may have slipped out in front of said little people).


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Shift

Everybody likes a good solid plan.
But we also know that those good solid plans can change in the blink of an eye.

We were at Via Vacation all last week which is why you didn't hear from me all week.  It was gloriously relaxing and atypically quiet for having nearly 20 children 10 and under in one house all week.  They kept each other occupied and little to no drama.  It was heavenly!

We arrived home late Friday night and enjoyed a nice Saturday unpacking, repacking and getting daddy ready for Honduras (he left at 4am on Sunday morning!).  The Colony plan was to get all packed up and head to Journey and leave straight from there to go to my mom and dad's.  She is nearing the end of her weekly chemo treatments and we were so excited to love on her for a few days while daddy was out of the country and before the kids track back into school next week.

But then life happened.
Cai began running a fever on Saturday morning.  And we can't take germs anywhere near my mom so we were stuck.  I'm pretty sure every single one of us shed some tears when the reality sunk in.  My kids haven't seen my mom since her diagnosis in January.

And I know myself.
If I sit around and sulk for too long I will get stuck in the rut until Josh gets home, desperately trying to climb out of the hole and feeling "behind" the rest of the week.  And then the kids and their attitudes and hearts quickly follow suit.

So we called a family meeting and made a new plan.
Something fun for each day.
Spending as little money as possible.
And enjoying this BEAUTIFUL fall weather God has lavished on us this week!

Yesterday's grand plan was to go to the Dollar Store and get sidewalk chalk.  Yup, $1 for hours worth of fun making scooter tracks on the driveway and pictures in the carport.
I was also feeling a little creative and gathered all the empty containers I'd been saving (and expired spices after cleaning out the spice cabinet) and built the outdoor kitchen for the kids I'd been dreaming up.  I had a few extra pallets from the pergola project and some extra cabinet doors and knobs from the ones we had ripped out of the laundry room.  A little bit of sawing and a few screws later and this is the end product.  The kids have been playing outside since their empty breakfast bowls hit the kitchen sink.

So here I sit, cuddled on the couch with my Cai-bo, all the windows and doors open, writing a blog and waiting for Lumpy's to open so we can get our local milk and promised ice cream:).