Thursday, February 28, 2013

Changing the Way I Pray

Look at that face.

It's the face of a {perfect} child.
Except for when it's not.

He's going to grow up and become a man someday.

He's going to get married and have children.

He's going to look back and think of all the things he will do different in raising his own family.

And contrary to how that might sound, I have no problem with that. In fact, it brings me much peace to believe that he will aspire to be a better parent and spouse  and person than I am or ever will be.

And as his mother, of course, I pray for him and that future all the time.

But not in the way I always imagined I would.

Example: When I was a teenager, True Love Waits was just getting some notariety. It's popularity was increased with books like "I Kissed Dating Goodbye".

In that season of abstenance-education, when I would pray for my future husband, I would pray the ever-noble "keep us both pure" if somehow, free-will wasn't an issue in the romance area.

And while my heart was in the right place, I believe that prayers like that (in my own case) were somewhat misdirected.

I mean, even then? I struggled with questions like What if my future-husband-to-be didn't know about True Love Waits. What if he'd never read I Kissed Dating Goodbye, What if he wasn't even a believer at that time? What if he Was and yet still made bad choices.

What if I did?

Did that mean God wasn't answering my prayers? Did that mean I would walk the rest of my life full of shame and guilt? Did it mean I was no longer worthy? Of course not. 

My sins were on that cross. I wasn't redeemed because I had never sinned..but rather because I had. And would again at some point.

Redemption wasn't offered because I was good enough, Grace was given because I wasn't.

But because I had focused on the sin and not the grace, my view of the value each held was distorted...

And just for the record, I completely support the True Love Waits initiative and it's counterparts. It isn't that I don't believe in abstenance and monogamy and the beauty of marriage as it was intended, unaffected by shame.

I do. (and will preach the same to my children)

It's just that..that is just one example of the way we often pray about the future....maybe instead of praying that my children or even my children's future-spouses behave a certain way or enjoy certain things or even avoid certain mistakes...

Maybe instead of all that?

I focus my prayer on the foundation of all it all.


"For it is by free grace (God's unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ's salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God" (AMP) Eph. 2:8

I will devote my life to raising children who desire Jesus. Who long to be with Him and fulfil their part in advancing the Kingdom of God. I will pray that God will shield them from hurts and rejection and mistakes that undoubtedly have consequences. I will train my child with discipline, direction, love, and The Word of God. I will ALWAYS pray that the Holy Spirit would be an ever-present voice when my children face choices and that their hearts would be soft and their ears would be open to listen to the direction of the Lord.

But they won't always.

And no matter how long I stand before the throne of God on their behalf? They will sin.

And so more than all those other things, I will contend for their quick repentence and return to their Father. I will cry out on their behalf. And most importantly, I will beseech the Almighty for a greater impartation of His Grace in my life.

I pray that my children believe wholeheartedly in their salvation through grace. That they would expect that same grace extended from us {their parents} and that they would be quick to return that grace to the people around them.

That our expectations of each other would be muted by the overwhelming faith in a God that has poured out unlimited grace on us, despite our sinful nature.

“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound”Rom.5:20

So, no longer will I pray that my children will avoid certain mistakes and sins. No longer will I pray for a specific personality trait or desireable habit from their future spouses. No longer will I focus on the things that man cares about...

Instead? I choose to focus on the desires of their hearts.

That they would be ever-turned to the desires of God's heart and that their lives would be guided by that relationship and the daily presense of the Holy Spirit. I pray that they would be courageous and brave for justice. That when choices are presented, they seek the will of God first. And I pray that they would walk the straight and narrow path their entire lives without looking to the left or the right when the enemy is trying to pull them in.

But when all that fails and sin occurs despite my greatest efforts?  I pray that they know Grace.

That shame and guilt are suffocated under the overwhelming love that Grace gives. And that I am able to give freely the grace that has been given to me.

I pray that they feel loved and worthy even in the midst of consequences and that I am never the vessel the enemy is able to use to cloak them again in shame and guilt.

And I pray that in my own sins, my children have an understanding of grace enough to extend it back.

Because, even in my greatest moments, I am still a sinner.

Saved only by Grace.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday


Grocery shopping fun!

Farm fresh eggs!!
So excited to find a nice older couple who sell fresh eggs just a few minutes down the road!

Quiet week around here. Mainly because we didn't get any snow. Maybe next year :-(

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Finding Peace in the Storm

We are in a season of testing.

I knew we would be

But I never expected quite to what extent we might be tested.

Appliances needing replacement.

Vehicles needing repairs.

Adoption fees due ahead of schedule.

Jobs ending.

It's a lot to have happen right at once. I stare at the budget and beg God to give me wisdom and direct my every step...To make me a good steward.

But I already know what's going on here...and while God very-well may answer my prayers for wisdom and stewardship...that's not why this is happening.

This is about Faith.

God isn't surprised by our myriad of struggles.

He hasn't forgotten the path He put us on in this season.

He isn't overwhelmed when He looks at our situation.

No...He's not trying to figure out how to get us out of this...He's working these things together for our good. For something we can't even see today. Because it hasn't been painted yet.

He is setting the stage.

He is putting us in the refining fire.

He is reminding us that He is still in control.

And that He's got this.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

"Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary." Isaiah 40:31

"Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Check out this Powerful Post from Ann Voskamp today...
May we all be Radically Grateful.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Letters to my Child: What A Difference A Year Makes

Today I am linking up with The Open Letter Campaign!
Click here to see more amazing letters or join in!

Open Letter Campaign


It was one year ago today when we saw your face for the first time. They had obviously cleaned you up and posed you, yet you still looked cautious and sad.

Of course none of that mattered to us..You could have been covered in spaghetti sauce throwing a grade-A fit in the floor for all we cared.

We were in love.

I knew it would be true, the old adage "The days are long but the years are short".

I knew that time would seem to fly past me once you were home and I decided that I needed it to slow to a stop.

And none of that has gone unnoticed.

You've been making our lives more joyful and fun and crazy and hectic and frustrating every single day for the past 7 1/2 months.

But you've been in our hearts for so much longer than that.

And we wouldn't trade a second of the honor of being your parents-- with all its frustrations and loss of sleep and slow-eating-- for anything in the world.

Son, it is my greatest honor to be your mommy and my greatest joy to have your arms around my neck giving me the biggest "bear hug" you can muster.

I promise to love you and steward you to the very best of my ability in God.

I promise to laugh with you and be silly and make messes and not care when you do.

I promise to sing with you. Songs we know. Songs we don't. Songs we make up.

I promise to cheer you on and give you "thumbs up" from sidelines and believe in you always.

I promise to snuggle and read books together as long as you'll let me.

I promise to tell you every day how amazing you are and how much I love you (Telleck to the moon times infinity).

I promise to care enough to give you correction and discipline when it's necessary, and to offer grace and teach you about redemption so that you don't carry the weight of your mistakes with you...

I promise to pray for you daily...sometimes even hourly...

I promise to always love you more. Regardless of whether or not we've have a good day or a "hard day". In whatever circumstances we come into.

No Matter What.



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wedneday


A Valentine's walk down Memory Lane

My Handsome Valentines

Excited about Silly Socks Day!
A perfect slumber party in the fort
Shopping for some Ridin' Boots for Grandma's house
Saturday fun: A bike ride followed by some kite flying!

No really all means make yourself comfortable... :-)
Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you see?
I see a little boy dressed up like me!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Don't Know How It Feels

When the Husband and I announced our desire to build our family through adoption, most of the looks of "understanding" and whispers circled around one notion.


It was the elephant in the room that didn't exist.

I was pompous. Probably even insensitive.

How Dare they assume that the only way people might choose our world was if they had struggled with infertility? went my brain...

My words, while laced in sarcasm southern molasses were less pointed and yet got the point across.

We've actually chosen this as our First plan for parenthood, I would say with an air of nobility.

As if--somehow-- that put us in a different category of adoptive families.

But, words? my self-built pedestal? were no better than the ones being vomited at me during Sunday School.. "You that you're adopting you'll probably get pregnant (wink wink)"

Oh. So that's how it works.... And all this time I thought sex was involved.


Here I sit, three years later. And my heart aches.

In my own adoption journey, I've been a bystander to the paths so many people take from suffering through their own infertility struggles, to trading their dreams (as Lauren so eloquently put it) for the nontraditional path of adoption. 

I've listened to the depth of pain and suffering that preceded the fork in the road.

And I've learned something about myself.  I'm not the courageous one.

I certainly deserve no high admiration.

My road to adoption (not necessarily in) was easy.

No hard decisions. No lost dreams. No sorrow and heartbreak as everyone around you celebrates their pregnancies and children.

I've never had to pick myself up from that place.

I don't know how it feels.

To be honest, I'm not even sure I would have the grace for it.

But I know this for sure.  Making light of the struggles of infertility would be akin to mocking someone with cancer. 

It's insensitive and callous. 

It tears open wounds that people are trying desperately to heal.

I read an article recently about a famous family (for being famous I suppose) with one sister newly pregnant and now announcing her own struggles with infertility (which seems oddly publicized and just recently mentioned at all) while a second sister has had to openly walk the path of infertility in front of the world.  While I know very little about the family and only what the world say about these journeys, I can't help but feel a pain in my heart for the second sister. 

Because I now understand one truth completely.... it's not a light matter. It is a heartbreaking and sometimes completely devastating road to walk, filled with uncertainty, letdown, and ultimately the bravery to get back up and keep walking...


So to my friends out there who have suffered and walked this path alone, I am so sorry. I should have cried with you. I should have sat with you in the silent prayers and the staring out the windows. I should have ached with you in the grief and the loss. Please forgive me because I didn't know then what I know today...

And, for my friends out there who-- like me-- have not walked down the painful road that so many others have, please recognize the courage and sacrifice that road has required of them. Acknowledge and admire those women who tell their stories later with only a trace of sadness left in their voices.  Sit and cry with friends who have had old wounds ripped open and ask God, through your own tears, for His healing...

Remind yourself when you think it's not a big deal that you've not been asked to walk that road.

Respect that it is a deep wound. And treat it as such.

And never assume you know how it feels.....

Friday, February 15, 2013

Letters to My Child & The Open Letter Campaign

Today I am linking up with The Open Letter Campaign.
Check it out to read more open letters!
Open Letter Campaign

Dearest Child of Mine,

When I think about our journey to bringing you home, it stands in such strange contrast to your brother's that I am often left speechless.

With Marvel, so much of our journey was about waiting. About patience. About trusting God to bring His promises to light.

And then, with's been such a whirlwind that I too-easily get caught off-guard by every next step.

I mean, don't get me wrong...God still has many lessons to teach me. Still about trusting Him and Still about being faithful in the Pursuit...but also about Faith. And about Miracles. And about Surprises.

So many times in our lives we become such experts at execution that we can forget who is *really* taking care of it all.

We execute {perfectly} the morning routines...
We execute {perfectly} our tasks throughout the day...
We execute {perfectly} the evening and bedtime routines. ..

And we find comfort in the *knowing* of what to expect.

But my God? Is a God of beautiful surprises.

And that is exactly what you were.

From the moment we laid eyes on you.

From that first inkling that God was about to ask us to do what we never imagined we'd do.

From the first time I fell asleep dreaming of the way you perfectly fit in my arms.

You were God's beautiful surprise.

So, while I may still try to pretend I have it all figured out and while I might still attempt to execute perfectly...

I will always remember that God began this whole new thing....with a beautiful surprise.

You, my sweet one... are God's wonderful* exciting* joyful* exhuberant* Beautiful* Surprise.

Longing to bring you home,


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday (sort-of)

My view Saturday morning. Love these moments.

The Bowtie Brigade

Trying to get a good picture of them saying goodbye
was akin to wrestling an octopus. #BFF

After such a long season eating only hard-boiled eggs and avocados...
this lunch was truly picture-worthy!

Friday, February 8, 2013

{Spotlight Series} The Kennett Family

I've wanted to start spotlighting fundraising families for some time now!

In fact, it's been on my heart since the first of the year when I committed to re-vamping and truly praying about the purpose of my blog.

I've since blogged a total of 3 times.

And done zero tasks in the re-vamp department.

{I'm totally rockin' these goals.}

So in the spirit of actually doing something I resolved to do,  I am so excited to announce our Fundraising Family Spotlight Series where periodically, I will showcase different adoptive families in fundraising efforts and sometimes even just talk about creative fundraising ideas!!

For the launch, I am so excited to showcase my friends, The Kennett Family, as they enter the final lap in bringing their sweet girl home from China!

Meet the Kennett Family from The Kennett's Krazy Life!

It has been quite the journey, for my friends. One that {I know} has taken them places they never imagined.  And after the years of longing and struggle in the process. After so many months  reassuring yourself that God won't leave you in this place. After walking with the sadness that you feel in the middle of that valley. After all that?

Joy comes in the morning! And today? They are completely overwhelmed with joy and love! They are consumed with getting everything ready for their sweet Khloe!

And we? Can partner with them!

They have launched an iPad Bundle Giveaway fundraisers, and for only $5 you can enter to win over $500 (!!) worth of Apple love!! But you have to hurry! This giveaway ends on February 22nd!

iPad Mini, Targus iPad cover, Apple earbuds with microphone and $100 iTunes Gift Card!

Please consider being part of their story with me! 
Go HERE for more information and to buy your tickets!