April 21, 2014

on baby #3...

It is not every day you get to do something that you know is going to dramatically change your life.  And someone else's.  Yet, today is that day.

{don't worry... old photo... there is no longer snow on the ground!}  

Today is the day we submitted our adoption application.

You read that right.  Our family is growing!  I have been getting the questions concerning baby #3 for months now.  Which is about right, considering Isaac will be TWO in two months (which seems simply impossible).  I have baby fever in the worst way.  Everything about me feels like it is time to grow our family.  And I feel a nervous excitement as we begin this journey.

Adoption has been on my heart for years, but, unlike others, it was not something that I always wanted to do.  My vision for my family as I was growing up never included adoption.  I always loved it, and thought it was great... for other people.  In fact, I never had a real vision for my family at all.  I knew I wanted more than two kids, but what that looked like was completely up in the air to me.  It wasn't until Jude was born... and probably about a month old, that the tragedy and beauty of adoption struck me.  I saw how this little person needed me, relied on me, and loved me.  And I remember sitting and watching videos of parent-less boys in India, just in tears, knowing that those most basic needs of love weren't being met for them.

A few months later, I told Jordan that I wanted to pray together about adoption as a way of growing our family.

The very next day I found out I was pregnant with Isaac.  Clearly, a "not now" from God.

During my pregnancy with Isaac, I considered the fact that it may be my last pregnancy.  However, that also is not certain.  I have no idea how God is going to grow our family in the future.  All we know how to do is take one step at a time - one kid at a time.  We have prayed through, and looked at how we want to grow our family from a million different directions, and no matter what, we keep coming back to adopting now.  We feel that baby #3 should be adopted.

We also keep coming back to a specific country.  China.  I cannot say WHY China, except to say that it has completely captured my heart.  Months and months ago, while perusing adoption blogs, I came across a blog with a sweet Chinese girl with a cleft lip and palate.  I'm not sure whose blog, but probably Ashley's or Angie's.  I couldn't get her out of my mind.  This was last fall, and I brought it up to Jordan and wasn't quite met with the same enthusiastic and maybe somewhat hormonal-impulsive decision to jump right in.

My hubby is a slow decision maker, and I am so grateful for that, because so many good things have happened in this season of waiting.  We prayed through it, researched our heart's out about China, orphans, international adoption, the problems with it, the tragedy of it, the risk and potential pain, and also the redemptive beauty of it.  And in the end, came to a resounding YES in both of our hearts.

And so we make the decision to leap, and trust God in this journey.

The best way to describe how I feel is nervous and excited.  And on the verge of tears all the time.  I'm overwhelmed and overjoyed at what this means for our family.  And we desperately covet your prayers as we begin this journey.  A long journey is ahead of us indeed - that will not stop once we have our baby girl in our arms.  We know we are signing up for something that begins with tragedy and pain.  We know this could be very hard.  But we also know that God uses such situations for His glory.  And that is why we are doing this.  Because we feel like, right now, we have the ability and the desire to open our family to someone who did not come from our womb.  And that is such a tragic and beautiful thing when it all comes down to it.

So, in a way, I feel like I'm announcing the longest pregnancy ever.  Baby #3 is on her way!  And sweet girl, we cannot wait to meet you!

April 8, 2014


Three years have passed since I began this parenting gig.

March 28 was the big day.  This birthday has been, by far, the most anticipated one yet.  He asked daily if he was three yet, if he was a BIG BOY yet.  Because that's what we told him.

When you turn three, you're going to be a big boy and are going to have to go potty like a big boy.

Yes.  The dreaded potty training that started and stopped and has started again, once an for all.  And darn it, he'll get it one of these days.

Not long after his birthday, Jude says, almost sadly "I'm still little Mommy!"  Yes, you are little, but you are bigger than you were yesterday!  And then he says, "I'm still growing."  Yes, you are.  

"Are you growing, too, Mommy?"

I almost said no.

But the question jerked my heart in a way I didn't expect.  

Yes, Mommy is still growing too.  Every day.  Just like you.

I remember holding Jude in my arms for the very first time.  Afraid in a way, and absolutely captivated by this little person I had NO IDEA I could love so deeply.  Privileged to have the responsibility of raising this little guy into a man.  And truly... clueless.

I had no idea how parenthood would grow me.

How, even more than marriage, I'd see my own selfishness and pride.  How I'd have to, literally, put my life aside for someone else.  And I had no idea about the blessing that comes with sacrifice.  

I think I used to believe that parents knew what they were doing.  That there was a method to the madness and everyone did what they did and were confident in their decisions.  I now know that this isn't true. Because, no matter how many kids I have, I will always be a first-time parent to Jude.  He will always be my guinea pig, and praise the Lord for anything I have done right.  Because there has been a lot of growing and learning and trial and error.  

As I begin this journey of having a three-nager (such a perfectly descriptive word, am I right?), I am still growing as a Mama.  Every day.  Just like Jude.  I pray that my growing involves patience and kindness and all of the other fruits that I daily lack.  I pray that I grow in dependence on God and confidence in Him and the intuition he gave me as a parent.  

I see how Jude has changed me from the person I was three years ago.  For the better.  So much better.  Not because it was easy.  If anything, it has showed me how, at the very core, we all need Jesus.

Happy THIRD Birthday, my sweet boy Jude!  There is no one else I'd want as my first boy.

February 7, 2014

Writing is a gift

I'm out of the practice of writing.  I can barely squeeze this out in 5 minutes.  But if I know one thing.  To be a better writer, just write. Write.  And write some more.  Keep coming back.  And that in itself is rewarding.

Writing has been a part of my life nearly as long as I could form letters and put them in order.  I remember as a 3rd and 4th grader, making books out of blank computer paper and creating story after story.  I started my first diary in 5th grade, and the habit never ended.  I have book after book after book filled with memories, raw emotions, questions, doubts, and answered prayers.  

I had mostly thought of writing as a selfish thing.  Not in a bad, fleshly way, but more as a habit that I do for myself and kept to myself.  I wrote an online journal before I ever read another person's blog.  It was still just for me.  All that changed when blogs entered my life.  I realized that reading others stories was encouraging and healing.  Their vulnerability encouraged me to be vulnerable and bold in my own writing.  

Last week, while visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Jamaica, I had the rare opportunity to start, and finish, a book.  So very rare in this stage of my life.  But I just devoured Anne Lammott's Bird by Bird.  She is hilarious, sarcastic, and so insightful into what it is to reap the rewards as a writer.  One chapter specifically, put a totally new spin on my perspective of writing.

She said, writing is a gift.

She told the story of how she kept record in words of the journey of her father's illness.  A book that he was able to read prior to his death.  She was able to do the same for a friend suffering through cancer.  A published book of their life together honoring her friendship and journey.  She, too, was able to read prior to her death.

I don't know why I never realized it before.  That my words, my stories and memories, could possibly be the most precious gift to my loved ones.

For me to record my journey as a mother, as a wife, as a follower of Christ.  To remember and honor God's goodness throughout my life and pass it along to my family, my kids, and anyone else whose life I may have the blessing of touching.  This is a gift that never fades, goes out of style, or is irrelevant.  What an inspiration!

I am beginning to see this as one of the greatest gifts I could ever give my kids.  And that is motivating.

Five Minute Friday

January 7, 2014

2014 in a word

In the recent months, I've been reading the book Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  [Sidenote: These two ladies have been more of an encouragement to me as a Mama through their books that I can really say.  They understand and communicate the struggle and blessing of motherhood better than any other I've read.  Highly recommend.]

Sarah Mae is honest about her struggle with self-discipline, and this has been a consistent, embarrassing struggle for me.  There are many times I feel like, hey, I'm an adult.  I should just suck it up and do what needs to be done.

But the laundry still piles.  The bathroom goes too long without getting cleaned.  And the to-do list only seems to get longer.

I'm running all day, but sometimes I worry that I must be lazy if I struggle to get some of these basic things done.

I feel like much of my struggle revolves around home-making.  Running the household.  And since I would consider my job title to be Mother and Homemaker for the next 18 plus years, this is an area I really would like to improve in.

Sarah Mae talks about self discipline and in one chapter she just says simply "resolve to do it".  I think she was talking about reading the Word every day, but this phrase "resolve to do it" just stuck with me.

Resolving to do something is being faithful in the things that are hard.  It is saying, "this isn't easy for me, but it is important.  And I'm committed."  It is being steadfast.

And this, my friends, is my word for 2014.

I like the first two definitions especially.  To be fixed in direction.  A steadfast gaze.  My prayer is that my eyes would be on eternal, kingdom things.  I was telling my hubby tonight that I feel like comfort and distraction are two of the enemy's favorite tools on us in this western culture.  I want to engage in the battle for hearts.

And to be firm in purpose, resolution, faith.  There are a lot of areas that I want to be firm in purpose, or intentional, about.  My marriage, my parenting, my scripture study, of course.  Sometimes it is hard to be firm in purpose in these areas.

I want to consider what blesses my husband and be steadfast in those things.  Clean socks.  Dinner served.  Waking up to have breakfast with him.  It's the small things.

In my parenting, I want to resolve to slow down (and not feel guilty when I do).  Read more.  Yell less.  Play often.  Keep on praying for these little people under my roof.

And I want to develop a vision for homemaking and be intentional in what matters (laundry, food, ya know) and not be so hard on myself in the areas that truly can slide.  I want to view it through the lens of blessing my family.  What most blesses them?  And be faithful in that.

Steadfast.  One foot in front of the other.  Small commitments to love and bless with purpose and intention.  All while the gaze is fixed on the eternal.  This is my prayer for 2014.

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