Phone Photo Friday

08/08/2014

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Yesterday was the 2nd anniversary of Alianna’s adoption day! We celebrated with ice cream, the same way we celebrated the past two years. (Yes, Alianna is wearing a dog suit. Because why not?)

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She Wants To Be Like Me

08/05/2014

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It’s simultaneously flattering and terrifying that I have a daughter who wants to be just like me. She sees the worst of me, along with the best. My biggest failures are most often toward those who I love the most: my husband and my daughter. I’ve had to ask her forgiveness so many times. She’s always gracious to forgive. She teaches me. When she offends me, I want to be mad; I want her to know that I’m mad. On the contrary, when I’ve lost my temper with her, she responds to my apologies with so much grace. “It’s OK, Mommy. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. You just try again.”

The other day I was heading out to take care of the chickens. She asked, “Mommy, can I follow you?” She hurried to put her shoes on so she could shadow me on my chores. If I’m working, she wants to work. If I’m vacuuming, she wants to vacuum. If I’m cooking, she wants to cook. If I throw a fit when I’m mad, she throws a fit when she’s mad. If I bark commands at her, she barks commands at me (or others). If I sing and dance in worship, she sings and dances in worship. If I feel sick, she feels sick. When I see how much she wants to be like me, I’m humbled. I’m desperate to be more like Jesus so when she emulates me, she’s emulating Him.

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Jesus, help me to be like You. Help me to love my daughter well. Help me to be on her side and to model love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.

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Faith

08/04/2014

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My faith is what motivates my actions. By faith in Jesus Christ, I am adopted into the family of God, a daughter of the most High King, just as if born by blood. By faith I stepped out into the dark, unknown of foster care believing that God would take my feeble, insufficient attempts to make a difference and turn it into something so much greater than I could ever do. I love because He first loved me. I serve as if I’m serving Him:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ … ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:34-36, 40)

Foster care and adoption have stretched me (ouch!) and grown my faith more than anything ever had before. I’ve never had to rely so heavily on faith to get through day-by-day challenges, grief, sorrow and unknowns as I have the past three years. It’s been the hardest thing and the most rewarding thing. For brief moments I’ve had the privilege of feeling the weight of God’s broken heart for His hurting people—it’s a crushing weight and those instances have made me very thankful He carries it for us. My life used to be pretty comfortable and relatively easy. Sometimes I miss those days. But when I look back at how much I’ve learned about the character of God, His heart, His love for His children… I wouldn’t trade that for a trouble-free life. Knowing what I know now, I can never go back.

I wrote this a few months ago for an adoption share on Instagram and I wanted to share it here. 


A Lottie to Love

07/30/2014

My three year old is getting into the age of Barbies. I have a set of beautiful handmade Barbie furniture that my Granny made for me and with it I found two of my old Barbie dolls. They’re in bad shape…each is missing part of a limb from a puppy incident, each had an unfortunate haircut at some point and they were embarrassingly naked. I could have bought my daughter some new Barbies to go with the furniture but I did a little research and discovered these Lottie dolls are an affordable (comparable price to Barbie), funky, young-girl-friendly alternative.

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To quote the top reviewer on Amazon: “In a market flooded with weird looking dolls with impossibly enhanced female figures dressed inappropriately (to put it nicely) with faces painted with makeup, in comes Lottie.”

And straight from the Lottie website: “The key point of difference is that Lottie has a ‘childlike’ body – she doesn’t wear makeup, jewelry or high heels and she can stand on her own two feet (always a useful life skill for all girls, big and small).”

For Ali’s third birthday she got one Lottie doll from Grandma and one from us, along with an extra change of clothes. I plan to add to the set over time.

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The Sovereignty of God in Foster Care

07/29/2014

I read this article recently and thought you might enjoy it too.

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN FOSTER CARE

Here’s a snippet:

Yet, for all that we may be able to provide, God’s ability to be good to her in a difficult environment is far greater than any good we could offer her in a comfortable one. No amount of “good” we can give her can compare with the goodness of the sovereignty of God in her life, wherever she may end up living it. There are no guarantees in foster care, except one – God is sovereign in the life of this baby girl. He is good, and He will be good to her always, no matter where she lays her head at night.

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Alianna Mae at Three Years Old

07/28/2014

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Three years! Oh this age is fun! There is testing and yelling and sassy attitude (see Return of the Threenager. Run for your lives! or 46 Reasons My Three Year Old Might Be Freaking Out). But there is also imaginative play, learning to draw people and spell words, real two-way conversations and ever increasing independence.

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Ali Mae, I am so thankful that you were born and that you were placed in our family. It’s a joy and a privilege to be your mommy. It doesn’t seem possible but you continue to get more beautiful everyday, inside and out. You love people. You always have but it’s been so fun to see you interacting more and more with “friends,” AKA everyone you met. When we go to the playground or the pool or church, you’re always delighted to see other kids—even if they’re older than you—and you quickly go up and ask them “What’s your name?” and “What do you want to play?” I’ve never seen a toddler command an audience and organize activities quite like you. We’re often told by others how polite and considerate you are. You pick up on every nuance of conversation and social interaction. I’ve witnessed you seeking out the loaner and then pulling him into the group of kids with everyone else. You often ask me, “How was your work today?” or “How was your day?” and always listen intently to my response. I love to hear you communicate your thoughts, feelings, questions and discoveries so clearly. You’re always ready to learn and eager to try again when you make a mistake. When I apologize for letting you down or losing my temper, you’re quick to forgive and offer me another chance, too. “That’s OK. Just try again,” you say. You have an incredible memory. I do not so I’m learning to rely on you a lot. You remember names when both Daddy and I forget. You recognize where we are when we’re driving around town. You love trivia and memorizing all kinds of facts. You’re a foster sister and that’s a heavy, important job. This past year you’ve said goodbye to three foster siblings—Buzz, Bee and Firefly. Your heart is big. I know you’ve experience a lot of heartbreak in your three years but yet you’re always quick to love again. I think you’re an amazing person and I learn a lot from you. I’m so thankful that you’re my daughter. I can’t wait to discover what this next year will bring, one day at a time!

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Eggs!

07/24/2014

At 5 months old, our first hen started to lay eggs! Meringue the Rhode Island Red (dark brown one pictured below) is our first layer. She started on 7/7/14 while we were on vacation. We missed the thrill of finding the first one in the nest box but my mom collected them each day and saved them for us. They’re a bit small to start out so we waited until the 9th day when we had 8 eggs (before she laid the 9th) and we all enjoyed a wonderful fried egg breakfast. Meringue has laid a perfect, beautiful, small brown egg every day without fail for the past 17 days. It’s bizarre and wonderful to eat eggs that were collected from our own backyard. I joyfully discovered our first two-egg day, which was almost as exciting as the first egg. Sunny S.U. the Buff Orpington (gold one pictured below), my favorite hen, was our second layer starting on 7/19/14. I’m really proud of my chickens and I’m excited for the others to start laying, too. Within a month Poach and Custard (black and orange ones below), the Black Star and Production Red, should start laying. By the end of October we might be getting half a dozen eggs per day, which is good because our family can easily eat half a dozen eggs in one breakfast. The plan is to have plenty to share with friends and neighbors though.

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