Friday, July 27, 2012


"Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this:
Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world."  James 1:27, The Message

Our pull to the orphans in our world started long ago for Chris and me.  It began before there was an "us." I can only speak for myself, but I have always recognized some part of me that wanted to adopt.  I can't pinpoint the exact reason for this...maybe because my mom was adopted or maybe because the Lord placed that desire in my heart long before I knew what He would call me to.

When Chris and I got married, having kids was a complete no-brainer.  The only discussion was when and how many.  We may have mentioned adoption somewhere along the way, always from Africa mind you.
After 4 years of marriage, we felt "ready" to expand our family.  What seemed like it should be easy turned into almost a year of monthly heartbreak {I realize that for many people a year is a short time, and in the grand scheme of things, it is.}. It was then that the Lord began to bring this idea of adoption to the forefront of our hearts, and we realized that He had only grown our desire to love orphans in the world.  We were excited about adopting, and then I got pregnant.

We were certain that adoption would be part of our family's story.  We just didn't know exactly what that would look like.
We have been praying and seeking and discerning and praying some more about how this desire would manifest itself in our lives.  We have asked for direction, answers, guidance, and clarity about when to move forward and how.

In just a couple of months, we will rescue our first group of kids with Mercy Project.
 We could not be more excited and thankful for the Lord's provision.
There will be about 20 kids in the first group.
One of them is an orphan.  Only one.
After more prayer, seeking counsel, and more affirmation, Chris and I have officially begun the process to adopt this sweet 7 year old boy and bring him home to be part of our family forever.
We couldn't be more excited.  We couldn't feel more grateful and blessed.  We couldn't feel more overwhelmed by every emotion possible.
But, we are certain of one thing.  This is right.
God has called us to religion that involves reaching out to those who are loveless.
Please pray for us--we have lots of paperwork to complete and lots of waiting to do.  We also will be significantly changing the dynamic of our family.  I know we are inadequate, but I also know that the Lord will give us what we need.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mercy Project Monday (on Tuesday)

Mercy Project has a new video, a documentary, that we released today.  It's amazing and explains so well what we are doing and why we are doing it.
Watch the video.
It will take 10 minutes of your life, but it's worth it.
Just do it.
Aren't you glad you did?!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Old Comforts

This has been a bit of a tough week.
Chris and I have been discussing for months, literally, about when we would take away Micah's pacifier for good.  When she was about 1 1/2, the pacifier became available only at nap and bedtime, unless she was sick.  We wanted to get rid of it sooner rather than later because we figured it would only get worse the longer she was dependent upon it.
We originally planned to take it away after the holidays {back in January}, but she decided to learn how to crawl out of her crib at that same time.  So, we decided one transition at a time would be enough :)
So, at 2 1/2 years old, we decided it was time to take the plunge.  We declared Monday her last day ever with her pacifier {or papis, as she lovingly calls it}. We talked about it a lot, and she seemed to be dealing with it well. I had to take a few pictures to document her last time ever to use her pacifier.
Last nap with a pacifier
getting ready for last bedtime with a pacifier 
So, on Tuesday morning, she woke up, and we took the pacifier away for the very last time.
She and I washed all of her pacifiers and put them in a ziploc bag so we could deliver them that afternoon to our two month old friend, Becca.
All was going well, until nap time.
That is when my sweet, passionate Micah turned into a crazy child.
She started crying hysterically and screaming at me.  I have evidence to prove this.
Super sad, I know. I seriously have never seen her like this, but Micah is intense.  She doesn't feel any emotion half way.  If she is happy, she is over the moon with joy. But, if she is sad or angry, she can be a little dramatic about it. I expected it to be tough, but that word doesn't quite do it justice. As Chris said, day one was a disaster.  She didn't nap.  She screamed and cried herself to sleep.
I doubted our decision, but we had already delivered the pacifiers to baby Becca.
For 2 1/2 years, Micah has ALWAYS fallen asleep with a pacifier in her mouth.  From day one of her life, she has used one.

It rescued us in those early days when she couldn't soothe herself, and I couldn't feed her 24/7. It was her security blanket. She is learning all over how to soothe herself, and it is tough.
The rest of the week has been a little better.  Bed time is getting easier, but nap time each day turns my precious daughter into a crying, out of control little girl.
In these moments, I can feel Satan plant seeds of guilt and inadequacy in my heart.  Telling me I'm failing her as a mom, and that if I were a good mom, I would be able to calm and comfort her.
I would be lying if I said that I never considered those thoughts as truth because I did. I felt beat down and like a failure.
But, the Lord is so sweet to me. I love the way that the Spirit can take lies that Satan plants in us and just rip them out and replace them with truth.  
What I realized is that we are all constantly seeking things that will calm us and bring us comfort.
I found myself thinking of all the things I use to bring me comfort: my husband, my home, sitting on my couch with a bowl of ice cream and a movie, losing myself in a book, etc.  I look to all of those things to give me something that will never satisfy my longing for calm and peace and comfort.
Instead of praying for relief from this pacifier craziness, I found myself tearfully praying that Micah would somehow learn to find her comfort in God alone. That she would learn early on in life that no person, place, or material possession will ever bring her true peace and calm. Only Jesus can do that.
I so desperately want her to realize that and claim it for her life.
Even though saying goodbye to the pacifier has been tough, it has been a good reminder to me that life is all about letting go of things and learning to cling tighter to the Lord. Thankful for that.
Love this little girl so much and praying that the Lord will capture her whole heart.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Eleven Months

Beckett Lucas,

As I rocked you before putting you to bed and prayed over you, tears began to fill my eyes.  I remembered back to that time exactly 11 months ago when I just held you and stared at your precious newborn face.  I remember all the anxiety I had leading up to your birth and how I could love two children and how I would ever be able to do justice to both of you, but in the moments after you were born, all of that faded.  You were perfect, and I instantly fell in love with you.  I can honestly say that my love for you has grown every single day over the past 11 months, my precious son.  You bless me, and you make me a better version of myself.  I am so thankful to be your momma.  And, in just one month, you will be one year old.  So, just for a moment, I want to spend time remembering you just as you are now.
You learned a new wave, and it is the cutest thing ever.  You will hold your hand up and open and close those little fingers over and over, with your palm facing in.  I absolutely adore it, and I would love it if you waved at me all day long.  What makes it even more irresistible is that after you wave, you immediately start clapping.  It's as if you know we are going to praise you, so you will just take care of it for us.  Seriously precious.  You are totally into clapping, and you are quite good at it.
You had your first Schlitterbahn experience this month, and you had a good time.  You were a trooper and slept great, despite being in the same room as your sometimes noisy big sister.  You loved splashing in the water and crawling around in the super shallow kiddie parts.  Your daddy and I figured you would love it because you absolutely love your bath and will splash and splash all day in there.  Sometimes I even have to change clothes after bath time because of your vigorous splashing!
You have two little teeth.  The second one finally broke through after we got back from Schlitterbahn, and I love catching a tiny glimpse of them when you laugh really hard or smile really big.  Too cute for words.  So, we have been giving you more and more table food lately.  In fact, in the past couple of days, you have not had one jar of baby food.  I think you are really enjoying it, and I am too.  You are a little more picky with our food than you were with baby food.  You love chicken {especially Chick Fil A nuggets}, corn, and peas, but you are not a big fan of many fruits.  We will keep working on it.  It is fun to see you discover new food.
You are still just so happy.  You smile at almost anyone that will look in your direction, and I love that about it.  I love how you bring so much joy to people around you.  You love to laugh too, and all we have to do is ask your big sister to do something silly to solicit a precious giggle out of you.  You laugh at almost anything she does, so she will usually do it over and over and over again.  It is pretty special the bond that the two of you are already forming.  You don't babble a whole lot, but once you get started, you really enjoy hearing your voice.  You are still only really saying "mama" and "dada."  Although, I think you are trying to say "more" at the table while you are eating.  I love hearing your voice and seeing those dimples every time you smile.
You are a crawling speed demon, and I have to be really careful not to turn my back on you for long.  You find any little thing on the floor to put in your mouth, and I usually have to dig something out multiple times a day.  You are getting more and more brave with standing up all by yourself without holding onto anything, but you haven't acted the least bit interested in taking any steps.  I am really okay with that!!!  You are beginning to cruise on furniture more and more, so I am sure those steps won't be too far behind.
I could go on and on, my boy.  You bring us immeasurable joy.  If someone had told me just how much I would love you and just how perfect it would feel for you to be in our family, I would not have been able to fathom it.  It is truly amazing.  I thank God every night for giving you to your daddy and me.  We have already learned so much about the character of God from you, and I pray that I gain just a fraction of your contentment and joy.  We pray for you that you will be a great man of God, Spirit filled, and full of love for Jesus and people.  We are for you always, little man.  Happy eleven months, Beckett!

I love you, to the moon and back!
Your Momma

Sunday, July 8, 2012

We Survived!

What a week we've had!
I fully intended to blog more than just one time last week, but being a single mommy, even with loads of help, is exhausting.  I am seriously in awe of women {and men} who are able to keep a job, parent their children, maintain their homes, and remain coherent and vertical.  Amazing.

Our week started off great.  We saw Chris off on Thursday, and mommy cried, per usual.  Maybe one day I won't cry? {doubt it.} We had lots of visitors, friends and family, who were so incredible to help out in whatever way I needed.  I am just so thankful for the community we have here.   We suffered through some allergies, had lots of play time, went swimming, went to the splash pad with friends, and tried to keep ourselves busy.
There were definitely moments that were difficult.  
I'm not great at being alone.  
I've tried to pretend that I am, but the truth is that I really just don't like it.
The good news is that the Lord is changing my heart and granting me freedom from so many of my fears that have held me hostage.  I am slowly feeling release, and it is sweet. 
Beyond the whole being alone thing, I had at least one of those days where I wished for 5:00pm just so I could hand off the reigns for even 30 minutes and catch my breath, regain my composure, and be ready to be mommy again.  Unfortunately, there was no one to hand off to on that particular day.  So, we struggled through and made it, and I think Micah and I both were ready to say goodnight to each other when it was time :)

We celebrated the fourth in true, low-key fashion.
We hung out around the house, and it was perfect.  Just what we needed after several days of activities.
Micah and Mimi made a special dessert, and we grilled hot dogs.
Both kids were in bed by 8:00pm, and I think I was in bed by 9:30pm.
Perfect :)

On Thursday, the tides began to turn. Beckett woke up at 5:40am sobbing.  This is super unusual for him, but he had been running a low-grade fever the night before.  I assumed it was just teething.  Wrong.
Poor boy was HOT.  I knew something wasn't quite right, and he was completely pitiful.  It was so sad. I took him to the doctor that afternoon, and his poor little throat looked awful.  Just a viral infection, so no antibiotic just lots of TLC and ibuprofen.
Thankfully, he slept great that night and woke up feeling lots better.
Micah and I headed out to pick up the group from the airport in Houston on Friday afternoon, and about half an hour into the drive, Micah started complaining of a tummy ache.  Long story short, Micah woke up in the night with a tummy bug.  Yuck.
Welcome home, daddy :)
So, we spent the day yesterday snuggling our sick girl and nursing her back to health.
I think both kids are finally getting back to normal.
We've had a full week.
We survived.
I wanted to complain, and I did, a lot.
I am not proud of that. I really have nothing to complain about.
I have more than I need and am surrounded by people that love me and my family.
This week felt hard to me.  But, I don't want to forget how blessed we are.
 So, today, I am so grateful just to be together, my whole little family under one roof.
Sick or not, that feels good.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mercy Project Monday

Our little part of the world is consistently affected and influenced by our work with Mercy Project, but this week that is particularly true. Chris and 16 others left for Ghana last Thursday and will return on Friday. The group includes our employees, Josh and Merinda Marion {more to come about them later...they're awesome}, and my sister as well as other fantastic people that were willing to give up a week of their summer to go, serve, and love God and His people in Ghana. So thankful for each one of them and their hearts.

This trip has been an interesting one. Their days have been between 12-16 hours long, filled with lots of travel by plane, car, and boat, lots of rain, a crazy scary lightening storm, not a lot of food, a ceremony where Chris was named sub-chief in a village, building and implementing the first cages and baby fish, and talking to each of the 17 children that we will rescue soon!!! My husband has bragged on their incredible attitudes and general amazingness. I am blessed by their dedication to Mercy Project and love for the Lord. Please pray for the rest of their week. They will be going to the rehabilitation center where our rescued children will go and will love on some kids that are already there.

The Lord is moving. It's just amazing to be part of His kingdom coming on earth, isn't it? I am in awe of the ways that he uses ordinary people to do incredible things. God is for us. He is for the people in Ghana. He is for His people all over the world. I don't want to forget that our world isn't quite as big as we think it is, and I have the ability, and responsibility, to bring light and change to the dark and broken places. Pray with me as we seek justice in the name of Jesus.

Look for a full{er} report with pictures on the next Mercy Project Monday.