Music To My Ears

When we made the decision to adopt Mikias, we certainly got some raised eyebrows and even some criticism because of the fact that we would be adopting out of birth order.  Nevertheless, we felt like we knew Molly Kate well enough at 18 months to be fairly certain her personality wouldn’t be terribly harmed (she never really showed many typical first-born traits).  More importantly, we trusted that this was the Lord’s will for our family and because it was His plan and not ours, He would bless our obedience and give grace as we adjusted to the new family dynamic.  When Mikias first arrived home, Molly Kate was quite eager to be his friend but he often struggled to befriend her (understandably so as his whole life had just been turned upside-down!).  So, I continued to pray that God would bind these two little hearts together and make them the best of friends.  Tonight, I was privileged to overhear the following conversation, an answer to my prayer and music to my ears…

(As Molly Kate and I are closing the door to the boys’ room and saying good-night before heading downstairs to tuck her in)

Mikias: Mommy, I love you.  I see you in the morning.  Molly Kate, I love you too.

Molly Kate: Love you too Mikias.  Good-night!

Mikias: Hey, Molly Kate?

Molly Kate: Huh?

Mikias: Will you play with me tomorrow?

Molly Kate: Yes I will.

Mikias: And will you play with me the next day? And the next day?  And the next day?

Molly Kate (now laughing): Yes, Mikias, I will play with you!

 

By this time I was at the bottom of the stairs with tears in my eyes.  Daily I have front row seats in watching God create a beautiful friendship between two people who had so very little in common but now share the bond of a family and truly seem to enjoy each other’s company.  These are the moments that I praise God for the beauty of adoption and bow my head humbly in His kind provision.  My children are friends…what a precious gift.

Ready for the Louisville Zoo's Halloween Party!

Too Fast

Our little Madden is 4 months old today and he’s growing up way too fast!  While I won’t complain that his sleeping is beginning to even out, I sure would like to keep my littlest man little for a bit longer.  He weighed 13 lbs 1 oz at his check-up this past Friday and is now 24 and 1/2 inches long!  In honor of his 4 month birthday, we broke out the exersaucer this weekend and he loves it!  He also got to meet the honorable Dr. Mohler yesterday (we ran into their family at J. Alexander’s after church) and got some great baby loving from both he and Mrs. Mohler.  He continues to brighten all of our days with those amazing smiles and just recently he began laughing out loud, usually for no particular reason other than he’s just happy!  I could never thank God enough for this little life that came at just the perfect time.

So Happy to Announce…

I got the best news in the world about two weeks ago…go here to read about it yourself!!  Thank you Lord for this little life…I too stand in awe of Your goodness and mercy.  And I pray with all my heart that You will sustain this child, keep Amy healthy and allow us a joyful celebration next June!

Down on the Farm

For the second year in a row, we visited Gallrein Farms in Shelbyville, Kentucky to pick some pumpkins and enjoy some good ole down on the farm fun!  My mom and sister joined us and I couldn’t have been more grateful for the extra sets of hands!  Kevin had to miss the event because of his job as a referee for an area football league.  What is it about pumpkin patches that make for the best pictures?!  Thanks Aunt Amy for the being our photographer for the day!

 

Italian Sausage and Zucchini Pasta

You’ve probably noticed that our family really enjoys pasta!  But the fact that I can’t have cream sauce because of the dairy or tomato-based sauces makes finding delicious pasta recipes a bit more tricky!  I found this recipe one afternoon when I literally spent all of the kids’ rest time devouring my favorite recipe site recipes for entrees that I could actually eat given my sweet Madden’s food restrictions.  We tried it last night and though I was a bit skeptical, it was actually really good!  I omitted the onion and sprinkled the tomatoes and cheese on everyone else’s plate at the end.  Recipe also found here.

Ingredients

  • 12  ounces  fettuccine
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1  pound  mild or hot Italian sausages, casings removed and broken into 1/2-in. chunks
  • 2  tablespoons  minced garlic
  • 1/2  cup  sliced onion
  • 1  pound  zucchini, sliced
  • 2  medium tomatoes, cut into 1-in. chunks
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3  cup  freshly shredded parmesan cheese

Preparation

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, return to pot, and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick frying pan, heat oil over high heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring often, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer sausage to a plate and set aside.

3. In the same pan, cook garlic, onion, and zucchini until starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, pepper, and reserved sausage and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.

4. Combine sausage mixture with reserved pasta and transfer to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with half the parmesan and serve with remaining cheese on the side.

Treadmills, Zebras and the Devil

One thing I’ve grown to love about the particular stage of parenting that I’m in at the moment is having children who are old enough to have real conversations.  Of course, sometimes these conversations are just stinkin’ hilarious, but then there are so many that are truly meaningful and I even find myself walking away encouraged from having to think through a particular topic with a child.  There’s something about having to explain a very difficult topic, like why a good God would call our best friends to live in a different city from us (something Molly Kate really wrestled with when Sizie moved away) or why God is not pleased when we constantly call attention to our good deeds and acts (something Mikias, a.k.a. my little legalist, struggles with), to a child that truly exercises my brain, my faith and my knowledge of God’s Word.  And I really love it! 

So, here’s a little peek into a few conversations (two funny and one serious) as of late.  For the last two weeks every member of our family minus Kevin has had runny noses, itchy eyes and headaches.  Allergy season hit full force around here and I was trying to explain to Mikias what that means.  His eyes had been particularly itchy that day and I was trying to help him understand that he has an allergy to something in the air right now.  He put it together that we have all been wrestling  with allergies, so he said “Mikias has allergies, Molly Kate has allergies, Miles has allergies, Madden has allergies…everybody has allergies!”  I think he was just relieved that he wasn’t alone!  At any rate, we were at the dinner table that evening and I must have said something about my nose itching and Mikias (no doubt thinking of our conversation earlier that day) looks up from his plate and says with much enthusiasm “Daddy, everybody has treadmills!”  I burst out laughing, Kevin looked so very confused and Mikias, realizing he missed the word, couldn’t decide whether to be frustrated or join in my laughter.  Thankfully, being the good-natured kid that he is, he decided to laugh it off and once he remembered what a treadmill is, he really got tickled! 

This past week, we had our post-placement meeting with our social worker for Mikias (home 6 months) and Miles (home 3 months).  We met at a McDonald’s with a great playground and the kids had a blast.  On the way home, the kids requested to listen to Christmas music (yes, guilty as charged…I put it in the first day the weather cooled off).   After a few songs, Molly Kate said “Hey Mommy?” to which I had to turn the music way down (for some reason the speakers in the back of our van only work with movies and not music, so we have to blast the music for Molly Kate and Mikias to hear it).  Then she follows with, “One day when I get older, I want to ride a zebra.”  Once again, Kevin and I just lost it…how in the world did her little head go from listening to Christmas music to thinking about riding a zebra?!  Kevin replied “That’s quite adventurous of you, Molly Kate.  Will you ride it with a saddle or bare back?”  “I think a saddle, Daddy.”  And that was that…back to “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!”

Now this morning’s conversation might be one of the neatest so far.  At breakfast I read a couple of paragraphs from The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos.  The language is a bit above our oldest two, so we just read short sections and then I ask them some questions to make sure they’ve understood the story.  Today we read about the Fall.  The story explains that the devil was once an angel who turned from doing good to being wicked and that he hates God.  It goes on to describe how he disguised himself as the serpent and lied to Eve to get her to disobey God.  As I was reading, Mikias said “I don’t like Satan.”  And I said, “That’s right…Satan is God’s enemy and if we love God, then we will hate Satan.”  We talked about how the devil is the one who wants us to do bad things and disobey God.  I told them that when I yell at them or get angry, that it is Satan working in me to disobey God.  At one point, Molly Kate had tears in her eyes…you could see the thought of anybody hating God so violently was almost more than she could take.  Mikias on the other hand was ready to go to war…he says “I want to fight Satan,” and he picks up his fork as if he’s about to stab the air.  So, I explained that the way we fight Satan is by obeying God.  When we do that which pleases God, Satan loses the battle.  I couldn’t believe the wheels turning in their heads, but they had both been quiet for a little while and I, thinking the conversation was over, began clearing away the breakfast dishes.  As I stood up, Mikias said “Mommy, I want to pray against Satan.”  Wow!  Here my 6-year old son, who had only been regularly hearing of God for the last six months of his life, already understands that we are at war with an enemy and one way to fight is prayer.  I had not even explained that part…he got to that point all by himself.  So, I sat back down and we prayed…we prayed that Satan would not have victory in our lives, that we would fight our sin and disobedience and that ultimately Mikias, Molly Kate, Miles and Madden would come to trust in Jesus as their Savior, the only way that Satan will lose the final battle for their souls.  Then we prayed for God to be powerful and mighty against the ways the devil works wickedness and evil in the world around us. 

I know lots of parents wonder about the best way to teach their kids about God.  We spend time researching the best children’s bible, question if our churches’ children’s program is really helping them learn truth, and even spend tons of money to send them to private Christian schools in hopes of them gaining a better Christian worldview as they are educated (not that any of these things are bad…they are all certainly good means by which our children come to know more of God).  But I don’t think anything can ever replace a parent stooping regularly to explain God and explain His Word as life around them happens.  Constantly talking about who God is and how He works is the way our children come to know Him…and what a beautiful grace of God that we parents grow in our love and knowledge of Him by those very same conversations.