From the heart

Like many bloggers, a thousand posts enter my mind in a weeks time.  But often I wonder, “what’s really worth writing about?”  This blog was originally a blog about adoption and the trials that God used to refine my faith.  But as of late, it’s become a blog of random tidbits and the story of our life as a family of six.  And yet, I think what most people that read my blog enjoy hearing is simply the beatings of my heart…the things I think about God and the way I’m understanding the life He has planned for me.

The past two weeks have been full of simple joys and difficult pains.  The simple joys are experienced as we have been able to return to normal life.  After weeks of our family being separated and then weeks of transitioning to a new home and having family in and out, it was so nice these last two weeks to just be us again.  The kids have played in our backyard, we took a bike ride to the neighborhood playground and we enjoyed a dinner at the table in our new screened porch.  These are simple delights and yet they are what make life feel normal to me.

On the opposite side, we’ve been plagued with sickness this last week and a half, which culminated in a double ear infection for Madden.  No exaggerating…on Saturday night Kevin and I got less than four hours of sleep, Madden got, at best, five hours and the remainder of the night was spent trying to calm our screaming 19-month old.  To be honest, his uncontrollable crying scared the mess out of me and so, I was actually thankful to find out it was an ear infection.  But nevertheless, as you mamas out there well-know, life is just plain hard when little ones are sick and I’ve had my share of weariness in the midst of whiny, uncomfortable toddlers who feel yucky.  I keep falling to my knees praying God give me compassion instead of frustration and I’m encouraged to see Him continually supply my need.

Lastly, I’m a little on the lonely side.  In all the excitement of a new home, a new church family and really, a new life, I failed to recognize how hard it is to start over in a new place. The hardness is multiplied when the majority of your week is focused on life inside your home and little time is left for forging new relationships.  I really miss my friend Melissa.  I really miss Ashley and Erin.  I miss Lindsay and Christina and Andrea.  And I’m constantly reminded how little people here truly know me.  But, my friendships in Louisville were seven years in the making and they coincided with some of the biggest events of my life (marriage, child-bearing and adoption).  Friendships here are going to take time and I’m so glad to have my Refuge and my Rock in a season of loneliness.

It doesn’t get more honest than this…life here is good…hard…but also good.  I’ve never been more certain that we are right in the middle of where God wants us.  I’ve also never been more certain of my neediness before the Lord.  How precious to me are the words of David…

“But let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, that those who love Your name may exult in You.  For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.” Psalm 5:11-12


Oatmeal Cream Pies

I just happened to see this oh-so delicious treat on Pinterest today when I was looking up a different recipe.  We ended up having a restful family day (thank you bad weather!) and I had plenty of time to whip these up before dinner.  My family thanked me greatly and so will yours!

Photo Credit

Hop on over here to see the complete recipe and pictures!

Our Latest Adventure

Last Wednesday marked two weeks since we moved to Georgia and I guess the Lord thought that was plenty of time to get adjusted before the trials stared rolling in again.  On Thursday, Madden fell down the basement stairs and after two trips to the immediate care center down the road and a long afternoon of crying, we finally found out he had fractured his wrist and it would need to be cast.  So, Friday morning we loaded up the family and headed into Atlanta to an orthopaedic surgeon to get his sweet little cast.  For the most part he’s handled it well, but unfortunately its the arm with the thumb that he sucks to soothe himself to sleep, so nights and naps are not so fun with the cast.  Thankfully, its only 2 and 1/2 more weeks!

So I found myself over the weekend thinking about trials and how God keeps me dependent on Him.  From the day we moved in until this past week, it was almost as if God had lifted His hand for a short while and gave me a slight break in order to do the work of getting us moved and settled.  And oh how I was thankful to not be dealing with the mountain of tiny trials that we normally face!  But one by one, they have slowly started to trickle in again and oddly, I am not shaken or surprised.  Why?  Because I agree with Peter that it is all joy when trials mount up on every side…for these very trials are what draw me nearer to the Lord and keep me ever dependent on Him.  How do I face each day after being up during the night with a sad Madden, knowing full well that he will be irritable most of the day and I still have to push forward with school, church and daily life?  By God’s grace, trusting that He will supply my every need and that His power is made perfect in weakness.  Amen?  Amen!

The Best for Last

So I thought my favorite room in the house was the kitchen, then I thought it was my master bath…but this week I discovered the best part ever…our school room.  It was the one thing I had truly hoped God might bless us with and this week, I’ve been able to witness and experience so many great blessings in this one room.  Its the room set aside for learning…its the room set aside for growing…its the room set aside for experiencing new things…together…as a family….and I love it.  And what I realized is that kids can do school anywhere…really, they can!  But this mommy, with her multi-task, task-oriented brain has a very hard time focusing solely on school when I’m in the middle of my kitchen.  Instead, I try to teach, clean, do laundry, etc. and my kids don’t get the full attention they deserve.  My all-knowing God knew this and knew this was how He made me and knowing my desire to teach my children in the home, He’s taken all those components and provided us a beautiful, peaceful, light-filled room in which to learn.  Thank you Father…this room is more than I hoped for and I pray all of our learning will ultimately result in my four little people knowing and loving Jesus with all of their hearts.

Our school room! The only major purchase was the Ikea bookcase pictured...such a great solution for all the books, papers, puzzles, markers, etc. that we've accumulated along the way!
The couches where we learn to read! And where the littlest ones curl up while waiting for Mikias to finish!
One more view...the Pier 1 Entertainment center that we've owned since we got married and ran out of room for has now reappeared and makes a great piece for hold all of our board games! This room has become a great room for family games after more reason to love it!
Mikias re-creating the Trojan horse and the burning of the city of Troy...this was hilarious! Bullseye was the largest horse we could find 🙂
Molly Kate working on math while Mikias sets up the battle!
Madden just being cute Madden!
Miles is the true engineer in our family...he was quietly designing something amazing in the corner!
My favorite part of the day...Mikias wanted to show King Menelaus getting Helen back and the only woman we could find downstairs was Jesse from Toy Story...this is the result 🙂
This picture is for all my Louisville friends...please come see us and stay in this beautiful room! You'll enjoy a nice private patio, full bath and kitchen and of course, large media room! Seriously...we want you to come see us and the kids miss you, so plan a vacation to Atlanta and just let us know when you'll be here!!

Kitchen and Great Room (and it is really great!)

Here’s more pics, as promised!  My mom, the clever and talented decorator that she is had to add a few more touches before she let me post any pictures!  These were taken at night, so they don’t display the gorgeous sun rays that hit these back windows all day long (water to my soul!), but for my friends who have been patiently waiting for pics, here they are!

Eating area in the kitchen...I love how charming this turned out! The table is my parents' old trestle table that we painted a funky brown and the kitchen chairs are very, very old mis-matched chairs that we picked up at a salvage store. My mom, dad and I had quite an experience bringing them back to life and painting them while I stayed with them, but the result was worth the work!
Looking into the kitchen from the great room! I can't believe God blessed me with double ovens and a gas range...for a woman who loves to cook, this kitchen is just too much fun!
Looking at the kitchen from the eating area...I also love how much counter space this kitchen provides!
The great room or what I like to think of as our "Relax and Unwind" room. My hope is that many bible studies will take place in this room as we open our home to our church family and those in our community.
Looking into the great room from the the vaulted ceiling in this room and how it opens up the room.
Looking into the great room from the entry way...this is the only room that we purchased new furniture for and it turned out even better than I had planned. I'm so thankful for my mom and her expertise...she really helped all the visions in my mind come to life!

In the Land of the Living

I’m not sure how to start writing about the goodness of God that I’ve seen in the last week. When the Lord began the process of bringing us to PMBC in Douglasville, Georgia, I really had no idea how much blessing the Lord had in store for us.  And its a very strange thing to receive so much blessing after suffering through so much hardship and loss these last three years.  I am continually humbled and continually thanking my God for His abundant kindness. And I’m reminded of this verse that one of our former church members (a.k.a. Josh Dove) shared one time and I’ve never forgotten it…

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13.

Kevin and I had to make many a trip to Georgia these last few months searching for a home for our family.  I didn’t have huge expectations but my one request was that God would allow Mikias and Molly Kate to have their own rooms and that we would have a room specifically designated for school.  We were honestly growing pretty discouraged for a while…most of the homes here are foreclosures and most are in rough shape…too rough for a family ready to dive into ministry and not home repair!  Then, one evening, my dad called to tell me to jump online and check out a house he found.  Our wonderful realtor ran by the house and said that it was definitely worth a rush trip to Georgia.  So, I loaded up the kids, drove down by myself and by the end of the weekend, we had made an offer (without Kevin ever seeing it!).  I’m so thankful that my dad (an incredibly wise business man) encouraged us to always buy and never rent, even during the lean seminary years.  For that reason, we now have great credit scores and easily qualified for this home (which was an honest steal because of the current market).

Now, two months later, we have officially moved in and I am  in utter awe of the beauty of this home.  There are amazing windows throughout the home (complete with plantation shutters for those of you who love interior design!).  My seasonal depression will be no more with all the light that floods our rooms!  We have an amazing basement, with a full kitchen, guest bed and bath, school room and media room (my husband’s favorite part…the previous owners left a projector and a massive screen so we have a very cool room in which to watch movies, sports, and television…I envision some fun double date nights with couples from our church!).  And we have three rooms for our kiddos on the upper floor by themselves…plenty of space to spread out and grow, yet close enough to still find a sibling play-mate!

My dad, mom, Kevin and I arrived last Wednesday to begin our move-in.  My sweet mother-in-law agreed to keep the kids while the movers came and gave us time to set the kids’ rooms up before they ever arrived.  Oh what fun it was to get their rooms completely ready and surprise them with their new home on Saturday!  We felt like Extreme Home Makeover as we went room to room opening the doors to their new rooms!  And, given that we had packed up most of their toys ten months ago, they were delighted to just be able to play again…completely unrestricted play!!

So…here’s the start of lots of photos…I’ll post the rest tomorrow (and I can’t wait so show you my kitchen…its a true dream!)!  Thank you for rejoicing with us…I know so many of you have been so genuinely happy for our family to receive this incredible blessing and I am so thankful for you words of encouragement!  May God be greatly glorified as we use this home to further His name!

Let the unloading begin!
My job for moving day...checking off every box and piece of furniture as they called out numbers. This actually proved to be pretty stressful for my tired brain and it was freezing!
Molly Kate's very princess, very pink room! Kevin and my dad painted the room, Kevin hung the chandelier and my dad painted Molly Kate's furniture a great shade of green and purple. If you know my dad, its quite grand that I've turned him into a furniture painter over the last six weeks!
Another shot of MK's room!
I love how cute the chest of drawers turned out in green...oh, how I love painted furniture!!
The kids' bathroom...all four share a pretty large bath on the upper level where their bedrooms are located.
Miles' and Madden's room...their room is just awesome! The have a long bonus room over the garage that is perfect for two little boys. We even had space to set up Madden's new ride-on Thomas toy. This pic doesn't show the brown chairs that my dad painted for the white table and the brown bedside table that matches their blue chest of drawers. This room is probably the most fun to hang out in with all the kids!
A different shot of the boys' room...across from the map sits our large Thomas the Train!
Mikias' room...very sports oriented and complete with a desk for building legos. He was so excited to finally have a room of his own!
Another shot of Mikias' room...these bookshelves give him the space he very much wanted to display his legos once they were built! He loves not having to stick them back in a box!
Because we don't really believe in gradual transition (ha, ha!) we decided to just go ahead and move Madden to a big boy's bed and not mess with setting the crib up. Here he is taking his first nap in his new bed...he was so proud to climb up in it by himself and he's done so well. I can't believe my baby isn't a baby anymore!