Sunday, November 12, 2017

Alethia Grace Turns NINE!

The past couple of days have been super special for us.

Little did we know that it was the day before our future daughter's 2nd birthday!

Today just so happens to be Orphan Sunday,
which is wrapped around Adoption Awareness month (November).

This month also holds so many memories from 2011.
We were praying for a miracle to get our entire family on a plane on November 20th
(the last possible day for me to travel with my high-risk pregnancy),
Which we now know didn't happen.
The VISA denial was sent to Nairobi and, because we didn't know any better,
were beginning to think that we were going to lose this precious girl that had just joined our family.

But here she is...with her in America.
Turning NINE years old!

She is full of life and emotion.
She is a fiercely loyal friend.
She LOVES to read.
Purple is her long-standing favorite color.
She has her own unique sense of style;).
Her favorite thing to do, by far, is play family 
with her stuffed animals, Barbie's or siblings.
She is quick to obey,
loves to be a helper and
is sensitive to those around her.

Alethia Grace,
You have taught me so much about love. You have taught me so much about digging deeper.  You are beautiful inside and out and my prayer is that you will learn to be more and more confident in who God has made you to be as you begin your own personal journey with Him.  I am beyond blessed to call you MINE!  I love you.  Happy Birthday!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Lean Into Hope. Pray. Rejoice In The Wins. Repeat.

I was reminded today of just how SPECIAL of a job it is to raise these kids that God has entrusted to us.  Man, every day I am made aware of how imperfectly I am doing it, but God's grace carries us through, amen?!

I was hustling around the house this morning trying to get life back in order after a great weekend.  Our home had a revolving door of ins and outs as different people came and went.  We shared meals, had lots of play time with the kids, welcomed a couple new families into our life/small/MC/house church group (Oh the titles we give these things, ha!).  Just the way we like it!  I even had the laziest Saturday EVER as I sat by butt in front of my fire pit outside all day, only getting up to prepare and monitor meals when the kids couldn't hold out on food any longer...oh, and to keep the fire going.  For a moment I thought about running inside to grab a book but quickly decided against it since that would require me getting up out of my blanket bundled around me in my favorite fire pit spot.  I know, my life is so tough, ha!

White space in life.  One of my favorite things.  It allows for moments to be still and also opens up opportunities for people interruptions, which in my opinion are the best of life's interruptions.

Anyway, as I was picking up around the house and placing things back in their appropriate place (because we all know that kitchen utensils don't belong in the Barbie house and Superhero costumes shouldn't be mixed in with the dog food) I saw something that made me freeze in my tracks.

My oldest daughter, just a couple of months away from turning 13, had her Bible open on her desk, with her journal and highlighter ready to go.

We are about to enter into uncharted territory as our kids begin making more and more choices on their own as they get older.  There is nothing we can do to stop it, nor should there be, but it is sometimes going to be uncomfortable to loosen the reins I'm afraid.

But what a privilege.

I think we are so often told to "hope for the best but expect the worse" in so many situations, especially through the teenage years.  I know for sure that this was reiterated to us by so many people throughout our adoption.  And sometimes that mindset is absolutely necessary for expectation's sake.

But as we enter this new season I am reminded just how much of this HOPE is found in Jesus.  I know it sounds so cliche, but is it not the truth?

I don't for a second believe that we will get through all five kids' teenage years unscathed from heartache and sinful choices or think it is going to be easy. We aren't naive.  On the contrary!  I was "one of those kids".  My poor, poor parents.  But we have talked so much about those years together and none of us would trade them for the world because those years, though full of tears and pain, have made EACH OF US who we are today because of the HOPE we share in Christ!

So what does that look like for Josh and I?

We pray for their hearts.
We pray for OUR hearts.

We pray for their choices.
We pray for our responses.

We pray for God to keep them close.
We pray for their will to keep Him close.

We will continue to stay surrounded with godly friends who are a few steps ahead of us and allow us see their wins and loses up close and personal as we take vigorous notes and pray along with them.

And then we will rejoice in the WINS along the way,  like seeing our oldest daughter reading the Word of God all on her own that day.  There may be seasons where that desire is not so strong, but today,  today she is seeking Him and staying close.

Lean into HOPE.
Rejoice in the WINS.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday Photos (includes Halloween pics)

Zeke made a pallet fort a few weeks ago and it is now the favorite hangout spot around 
Jude and Alethia are ready for their tea party

the color in the trees with the setting sun and Rainy and Jemma's infamous game of tag

I mean, come on, she is so cute

Alethia and Zeke begin basketball practice this weekend!

Rainy captured some beautiful rays while I was gone last weekend

all is right in the world

5th annual trick-or-treating buddies

This was our trick-or-treating crew.  Our apologies for cleaning out this neighborhood one house at a time, ha!

Robin, robber, Hulk, pumpkin and African princess

Happy Friday Ya'll!