80 Today!

My precious Granny turns 80 years old today…but she still seems so young to me!  I love this woman dearly and am so thankful for the many years the Lord has given her!  We took these pics in lieu of a card and the kids were quite excited to be a part of Granny’s birthday!

Coconut Shrimp

Kevin and I love coconut shrimp.  I tucked this recipe away a few years ago and in an inspirational moment last weekend, decided to give it a try.  They were oh so delicious, but definitely an entree that takes some time.  Don’t prepare this one on a busy weeknight!  I served them with asparagus and a simple baked potato.  Recipe also found here.


  • 1 1/2  pounds  unpeeled, large raw shrimp
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 2  egg whites
  • 1/4  cup  cornstarch
  • 1  tablespoon  Caribbean jerk seasoning
  • 1  cup  sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1  cup  Japanese breadcrumbs (panko)
  • 1  teaspoon  paprika


1. Preheat oven to 425°. Peel shrimp, leaving tails on; devein, if desired.

2. Place a wire rack coated with cooking spray in a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan.

3. Whisk egg whites just until foamy.

4. Stir together cornstarch and jerk seasoning in a shallow dish. Stir together coconut, Japanese breadcrumbs, and paprika in another shallow dish.

5. Dredge shrimp, 1 at a time, in cornstarch mixture; dip in egg whites, and dredge in coconut mixture, pressing gently with fingers. Lightly coat shrimp on each side with cooking spray; arrange shrimp on wire rack.

6. Bake at 425° for 10 to 12 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink, turning once after 8 minutes.

Attaching in Adoption – Book Review

This book has been sitting on my desk for weeks now, waiting for me to review it so that it can take its home back in one of our many bookcases.  To be honest, I’m not sure how to review this one, so I’m going to keep it short.  I’ve been in the adoption community long enough now to know that this is one of those books that receives the praises of many and I agree that it can be extremely helpful, especially with children who have severe attachment disorders.  Thankfully, our boys have attached beautifully and I am quite confident that they feel secure in our family and deeply trust our love for them.  Nevertheless, as I was reading Attaching in Adoption, something one of my former seminary professors once said kept circling in my head.  He said when Christians approach a text, we must filter it through the lenses of Scripture but too often we filter Scripture through the text and thus our beliefs end up being dictated by something other than the Word of God.  When I heard him say this I remember picturing the Bible as a strainer (can you tell I love to cook?) and when you poured a book in, anything that drained through the holes wasn’t worth thinking much about but the stuff that remained in the bowl and aligned rightly with Scripture was worth understanding.

So, when I read a book like Attaching in Adoption, I recognize there is much written that can be of great value to parents learning how to best care for their adopted children.  But because it is not written from a Christian worldview, the ultimate goal of seeing our children come to know Jesus as their Savior is not the backdrop for all of the parenting strategies this book suggests.  For example, the inside jacket says that this book “matches children’s emotional needs and stages with parenting strategies designed to enhance their children’s happiness and emotional health.”  I am certainly not disagreeing that we all want happy, emotional healthy children and that with adopted children, the means of arriving there might be different than those we employ with our biological children.  But as I read Gray’s strategies, it is my duty as a believer to not forget that happy, emotionally healthy children is not my end goal and that all strategies and techniques I choose to use with my children should reflect my over-arching goal (and the goal God has given me) to point my children to their need of a Savior.  Am I making sense?  I hope so…

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…I would love for a committed, theologically sound believer to write a book on biblical parenting for adopted children.  To date, I haven’t heard of any and if ever given the time and inspiration, I might write one myself!  But as we have sought to navigate the rough waters of bringing an adopted toddler and older child into our family, with the Bible as our ultimate guide, we have seen God do wondrous work in these two little hearts.  And more often times than not, I have chosen to parent them just like I parent my biological children, believing that I am following God’s plan for shepherding their souls, and I really believe that choice is the main reason they have attached so easily.  Well, that and the grace of God in their lives.

Okay…I’m off track.  Should you read this book if you are adopting?  Yes.  Do I think you need to guard your mind and make sure you are filtering her words through our Ultimate Truth?  Most definitely.

Pasta with Asparagus, Pancetta and Pine Nuts

Another pasta dish that I can actually eat!  We tried this one out over the weekend and everyone seemed to really like it…or maybe they were just putting on good faces to show love to Mommy since half the time I can’t eat what everyone else is eating!  Nevertheless, I enjoyed it and thought I would pass it along for something that might be a little different from your usual pasta recipes.  Recipe is also found here.


  • 8  ounces  uncooked cavatappi pasta
  • 1  pound  asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1  teaspoon  minced garlic
  • 3  tablespoons  pine nuts
  • 2  ounces  diced pancetta
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 2  teaspoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4  cup  (1 ounce) crumbled Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; add asparagus to pan during last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain. Sprinkle pasta mixture with garlic; return to pan, and toss well.

3. Arrange pine nuts in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400° for 3 minutes or until golden and fragrant, stirring occasionally. Place in a small bowl.

4. Increase oven temperature to 475°.

5. Arrange pancetta on jelly-roll pan. Bake at 475° for 6 minutes or until crisp.

6. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with pine nuts, pancetta, and cheese.

These Are My Days…

At 7 am this morning I gave Kevin a kiss good-bye at the bus stop and told him how much I would miss him.  He is leaving for his first week-long work trip, which will be a regular monthly occurrence as part of his new job with Humana.  By 7:15, I was feeding Madden and deciding not to run on the treadmill as I have run the past three mornings and my hamstrings just need a break.  So I picked up Humility by C.J. Mahaney and enjoyed not reading in such a rush and some good meditation on Isaiah 66:2.  By 8:15 it was time to get Madden ready to go back down for his nap, which means getting Molly Kate up because they share a room and if left to wake on her own, she would certainly disturb Madden when she began belting out her first morning song of choice!  So I bring Molly Kate to my bed, turn on Curious George and hop in the shower.  By 8:55, I’m ready to start the day and feeling good that the morning has gone pretty smoothly, though I did hear Madden crying which meant once again, he had woken up from a nap way too early.  Molly Kate and I greeted the boys and I told everyone to start heading downstairs for breakfast.  No sooner had I pulled the oatmeal from the pantry, did I hear Miles burst into tears.  When I hear Miles cry, I know to come quick because he’s so tough and only reacts if he is seriously injured.  I see Molly Kate sitting on the top stair and Miles laying down beside her.  I assume she pulled him by his hand and he fell (this happens multiple times a day) but oh no, it was much worse than that!  Molly Kate was struggling to spill the story for fear she would be disciplined, but finally she was able to tell me that she had poked a Spider-Man gun dart into his ear (I mean why wouldn’t she do that?!) and when I looked in his ear, I saw tons of blood.  Okay…now its time to panic!  I ran downstairs with Miles in tote, grabbed my phone and called our pediatrician.  They said to bring him in immediately.  It’s 9:10 am.  I promptly tell Mikias to change clothes and brush his teeth (his breath is killer!) and then calmly look at Molly Kate whose fear is just about to send her into tears.  And this is where I know the grace of God is at work in me…I could have screamed at her in frustration because my day was about to go down the toilet and my son’s hearing could be permanently damaged.  But how thankful I am for the Spirit’s work in me, that I could look at my daughter, assure her that I wasn’t upset with her, that I love her and that I just needed her to put her clothes and shoes on so we could leave quickly.  I knew she probably didn’t mean to harm Miles and I had a good feeling she was wanting to play doctor (which is exactly what I found out in the car) and I had never really explained to her why we don’t ever put any type of object in our ears, nose, eyes or mouth for that matter.  But once everyone saw the blood, I don’t know that we’ll ever have this problem again…both Mikias and Molly Kate were horrified!

So, I run upstairs (I really hate having a house with stairs by the way), brush my teeth, change Miles (thankful that he doesn’t have a poopy diaper) and run back downstairs to grab bananas, bunny snacks and water for breakfast in the car.  We jump in the van and pray on the way that God would keep Daddy safe on his trip, protect Miles’ ear and give Mommy grace to make it through this crazy day!  By 9:45 am, we were waiting in the pediatrician’s office.  Praise be to God it appears that the dart only scratched his ear canal and didn’t touch his ear drum.  But there was enough blood that the doctor couldn’t be 100% certain, so he wants us to come back in 10 days.  He gave us a prescription for ear drops to prevent an infection and three suckers later, we were back in the van headed home so I could feed Madden again and we could start school.

Once home, I sat down on the couch to nurse and began giving orders.  Mikias needed to make his bed and change clothes as he had spilt the majority of his water all down his pants on the way home.  Miles needed to go upstairs and wait for Mommy to change his diaper (this time there was definitely poop!).  Molly Kate needed to put her pillows and animals on her bed (she’s in the process of learning how to make a bed).  Then Mikias and Molly Kate were to head to the kitchen, pull out all of their school stuff and wait for Mommy.  I finish nursing Madden and change his diaper.  Mikias asks if he can change the date on our school calendar, but I tell him to wait for me.  Molly Kate is yelling at me from the downstairs restroom that she’s “finished!” and needs me to wipe her.  Oh yeah…Miles is still waiting upstairs for me to change his diaper.  Okay, Madden…you watch your mobile in the crib for a minute.  “I’m coming Molly Kate!”  I finish wiping Molly Kate, instruct her to sit at the table until we start our school day and run upstairs to change Miles and start a Barney video for him.  On the way down, I remember that Madden is now just laying in the crib as the mobile stopped singing some minutes ago, so I scoop him up and head for the kitchen.  It’s 11:30 and we are finally ready to start school…whew!

We finished our math lesson before lunch and I decided to do the rest afterwards as I was starving from only having a banana so far this day.  I head into Molly Kate and Madden’s room to put Madden down for another nap and this is what I find…

Remember how I asked Molly Kate to put her animals on her bed?  Yes, that’s all of her animals facing the window, while Elephant is riding on Genevieve the horse and little bear is riding the cat!  I burst into laughter and had to grab the camera.  While my days are anything but predictable and I have to pray at every moment for wisdom and patience from the Lord so that I don’t royally screw up my kids, I am so very thankful for these little people in my life….scratched ear canals and all!!

Shrimp Scampi

Finding dinner entrees that meet all of Madden’s food sensitivities has become quite a challenge! I’ve had to rule out dairy, beans, tomatoes, peppers and onions.  You wouldn’t believe how many of our favorite meals include one, two or all of those ingredients.  I’ve had this pasta recipe for a few years, but never got around to making it.  We tried it Saturday night and the kids loved it.  We used frozen shrimp, of course, and I substituted Smart Balance (it has no dairy) for the butter.  Oh, and I just omitted the onions and cheese and bumped up the garlic and parsley for extra flavor! Yea for one more meal that I can actually eat!  Recipe also found here.


  • 1  pound  peeled, large raw shrimp (31/35 count)
  • 1  (12-oz.) package angel hair pasta
  • 1/2  cup  butter
  • 1/4  cup  finely chopped onion
  • 3  garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1  teaspoon  salt-free Italian-herb seasoning
  • 1  teaspoon  Worcestershire sauce
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4  cup  freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh parsley


1. Devein shrimp, if desired.

2. Prepare angel hair pasta according to package directions.

3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onion and garlic, and sauté 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in Italian-herb seasoning and Worcestershire sauce.

4. Reduce heat to medium. Add shrimp, and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Stir in lemon juice. Toss shrimp mixture with pasta, and sprinkle with cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Mrs. Dash Italian Medley Seasoning Blend. In the Test Kitchens, we prefer Wild American Shrimp for better flavor.

We Made It!

Through our first day of home school, that is!  And, even more, the Lord gave me great joy in teaching my children today and I finally feel excited about this endeavor.  It was so fun to see how excited the kids were about actually starting today…I tried to make it as official as possible and they both just ate it up!

Molly Kate

My Lap Will One Day Be Empty

This past Sunday proved to be a refreshing morning of worship and hearing the Word of God.  Kevin and I were visiting his mom in Alabama and attended the morning worship service at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham.  If you haven’t heard of this church or their pastor, David Platt, you should certainly check it out.  Their worship team is unbelievably talented and everything about their worship service is pointed toward exalting Christ and doing so as a community of believers.  Platt is an exceptional expositional preacher, but on Sunday, the Pastor of Biblical Teaching (I think?) preached from Lamentations and God mightily used his sermon to refresh my heart and expose my sin.

During worship, we sang the following part of the song “Blessed Be Your Name:”

Every blessing You pour out

I’ll turn back to praise

When the darkness closes in, Lord

Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away

You give and take away

My heart will choose to say

Lord, blessed be Your name

I hadn’t heard that song in some time, but it happened to be one of the songs the Lord used to minister to me after our miscarriage with Baby Jaiden.  As I sang the familiar words, I remembered my grief at the loss of our precious child.  I was holding Madden as I sang, and I glanced at our row filled with three beautiful little faces and tears started rolling down my face.  God had taken something so dear to me when Jaiden died and yet, a little over two years later, He had given me so much more than I could have ever imagined (Eph. 3:20-21).  My heart was overwhelmed in praising God’s faithful, blessed name.  Oh, for more of such praise to fill my daily life.

As the preaching began, Madden started to squirm and fuss, so Kevin’s mom offered to take him out for me that I might be able to listen to the sermon.  No sooner had she pulled him out of my arms, did my sweet Molly Kate jump into my lap, ready to cuddle up with Mommy as she knew she would have to sit quietly for the next 45 minutes or so.  I smiled and thought “my lap never gets a break”, but God quickly interrupted my moment of self-pity with the thought that “my lap will one day be empty.”  Its amazing to me how I can always think the grass is greener somewhere else.  I begged God for two years to bring my Ethiopian children home, but now that they are here and life is bonkers, I sometimes long for the days when it was just me and Molly Kate.  As I was pregnant with Madden and throwing up days on end, all I could think about was the day he would leave my womb and the nausea would disappear.  Now that he’s here and struggling to sleep well, I actually miss the deep sleep of days past.  What is the root of such thoughts and even frustrations?  A deep discontentment with the life God has given me at each particular moment.  If I’m always looking to a different season of my life, what does that say about me?  Certainly, I am not fighting to find joy in the Lord as I live and breathe in the life (and all of its crazy circumstances) that He has given me this day.  And one day, when my children are grown and my lap is empty, I have no doubt I will long intensely for this nutty season of life…when all of my children are small, when I am a greatly needed at every moment of every day and when I have the greatest influence over their little lives.  Please God, don’t let me waste this season in a sinful attitude of discontentment.  Forgive me for doubting that Your ways are good and my life is exactly as You ordained it for Your glory.  Let me praise you for full arms and a full lap and let Jesus be my joy as I tend to this flock You have entrusted to me.

Our Summer in Pictures

As summer comes to a close, I wanted to share some of my favorite moments from our unforgettable summer.  In just three short months, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, we’ve witnessed the kindness of God in the little people brought into our lives and experienced God’s faithfulness and mercy as we endured difficult trials and major transitions.  Reflecting on the summer through these pictures has reminded me how sweet this season of life truly is, even though it may also be hard and exhausting at times.  I pray that as we press on into autumn, I will continue to ever lean on the Lord for grace and strength and praise Him always for this precious family He has given to me.

Memorial Day 2010
All Smiles Before Church
"The Big Red Truck"
Grocery Store Fun
Mikias and Molly Kate's 1st Sleepover
Fresh Blueberries...Mmmm!
Sweet Friends
Ready to Fight!
First Trip to the Movie Theater (I labored with Madden while watching Toy Story 3!)
My first look...
Happy to finally meet baby Madden!
Sweet Siblings
So serious
Brotherly Love
Feeding the Horses
Ice Cream 🙂
Praying against Cystic Fibrosis
One tired Nana!
Hand in Hand
Nursing Baby Pig
Happy 30th Birthday to Me!
Saying Good-Bye
Bonding with Daddy
Ermais, our driver who became like family
Welcome Home Miles!
First Popsicle...a big hit!
An explosion of nephews for Uncle Kyle and Aunt Amy!
The Logans
First Carousel Ride
Funny Times
Lovin the lion!
Father and Son
A Surprise Picnic
A Look of Admiration
Ready to swim!
Meeting my Poppa
Relaxin' with Mommy
Labor Day 2010