Sunday, February 28, 2016

After a particularly difficult week last week, my sister called to say she and the kids were coming down for a quick weekend visit. I really, really needed that.  


The message series we've been in for the last month has been nothing short of amazing. It has given me a new perspective. 
One of the main takeaways is that our love for God is authenticated in our love for other people. Not a new idea, certainly, but one of which I needed reminding. 
Then, there's this pesky little question that keeps seeping in to so many of my relationships: 
What does love require of me? 
-with my husband
-with my kids
-with my family and friends 
-when I don't get my way 
-when I'm tired
-when people won't just do what I tell them!

I needed this. 
Right now. 
I need this light shining on how I'm loving my people and how my people are loving me...and what that means about our love for Jesus. 
After a couple of days with my sister and a really beautiful Sunday, I'm ready for this week.

I could not possibly do it justice, so if you are interested you should go to and watch. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Once all the issues with Christian's mental health really started to come to light, somewhere in the darkest part of me, I began to question whether or not adopting him had been the right thing. I wish that wasn't true, but it is. I questioned why God would have let our hearts be so heavy to be parents only to give us a child with problems we didn't understand. I remembered all the times we had told the miracle story of how we got our babies; of how I was so filled with happiness and pride at being given the gift of being a mother. On some level it felt like a sick joke. We had boasted over and over of God's goodness only to wind up right in the middle of a mess that we didn't make and didn't know how to fix.  I'm unspeakably thankful that God loves me in the midst of that kind of ugliness.  I've spent an embarrassing amount of time wallowing in why this is happening to our family.  To add insult to injury, my sister moved away so I just slathered on another layer of self pity and have worn it around as though it was an indispensable accessory.  Bleh.
I told Chris that I don't normally make New Year's resolutions.  I heard numerous people talking about how the start of a new year made them feel reflective, and I just thought "nah." 
On the way home from being out of town for the new year, I started to feel like I should do some fasting and praying about a few things.  While I still haven't exactly made resolutions, I feel a bit like I've come up for air.  
My devotion for today talked about the fact that when God wants to give you the confidence to complete the tasks ahead of you, he doesn't tell you how awesome you are.  Moses had been wandering around in the wilderness for 40 years, and then God tells him to go confront Pharaoh.  
He asks God, "who am I that I should go?"  
God answers, "I will be with you."  
Whoa.  I found such clarity in reading this today...and believe me when I tell you I needed it!  God's response to Moses had absolutely nothing to do with Moses and everything to do with God.  
Being chosen for this path I'm on doesn't mean that I have a list of qualifications that make me great for it.  What it means, is that God is with me.  All that I need comes from that.  
The hard times aren't over.  We're still in what feels like a very precarious position.  Just a few weeks ago, Christian's insurance started asking questions about whether or not he really needs this level of care...even though he's still displaying all the same behavior patterns.  We still don't know exactly what comes next.  
We are here.  God is with us.  I have to strive to remember this every day.  
Please continue to pray for our family.

{As an aside, if you are looking for a great devotion app you should try First5.}

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Birth Story

Even though it's easy to tell other people not to worry, it's not so easy to take that advice.  I knew our sweet baby would come at exactly the right time, but at some point my pregnant brain decided I knew what was best.  I should have been able to decide when the time was right.  I had been to my 39-week appointment that Thursday and was given the gift of an induction date!  My due date was the 10th and the induction was scheduled for the 12th...but my doctor of choice was on call the weekend before that.  I fell into the trap.  I did all the things I thought should make me go into labor.  You guessed it:  no labor.  I woke up angry at God Sunday and Monday because things weren't going my way.  Silly, but true.  God has such an interesting way of speaking into us what we need when we need it.  This is from the devotion I did that Monday morning:

"All of us are waiting on something, often wondering if God has forgotten us."
"This very minute He's working for His glory and for your good.  Though circumstances say otherwise, God is going to come through, on schedule, fulfilling His long-appointed plans for you.  Don't give up before the time is right."

It was exactly what I needed that morning.  Just a little reminder that I'm not in charge and that although my life feels pretty messy, He has plans for me.

That was Monday morning.  I had contractions all day as I had been having for weeks!  That night I was timing my contractions, but finally decided to go on to bed.  I think I had been asleep for about 20 minutes when my water broke.  Chris was still awake and watching tv, but it was pretty funny to see him jump up out of the bed!  In those moments between jumping up out of the bed and getting to the hospital, I had the shakes pretty bad just from nerves.  Chris held me close and prayed for us before we left home- he's a keeper!
When I got to the hospital, they got me into a room pretty quickly and determined that I wasn't telling jokes and was actually in labor.
They gave me an epidural at around 5:00 Tuesday morning and said I was dilated to 5 centimeters.
At about 8:00 or so I started telling them I think it's go time.  Maybe they hear lots of women say that when it's not true, or maybe I just seemed like I didn't know what I was talking about.  I don't know, but they checked me again and decided maybe I was right.
While the nurse is checking things out she says to me very calmly that she doesn't think the baby is head down...could I just hold on a moment while she gets the doctor.  Oh sure.  I'll just be here.
The doctor comes in (even though she's not the one I thought was right, undoubtedly she was) and confirms- yep, that is not the head.  Now, while I am normally a pretty rational person L&D is not a great place to showcase that!  I say, "so I guess you'll need to cut me."  Insert wide-eyed pregnant lady emoji here.  I immediately look at Andrea and tell her this is all her fault!  Just four months previous, she also had an unexpectedly breech baby!
Oh, no.  It's no problem, the doctor tells me.  The baby is very close.  Chris and Andrea would likely be able to tell the story more clearly, but I remember asking anyone that would listen if I should try to deliver or go for the C-section.  I ask if this is even ok; to deliver a baby this way??!!  There could only have been a few minutes between that and our sweet Lily coming into this world.  She did not come as I expected, but all was well.  The delivery was scary there just for a minute, but very quick and not bad at all.

This sweet baby is such an unexpected gift!
At a year, she can walk but doesn't want to most of the time.  I mean, why would she if someone will just carry her?!
She eats and sleeps very well.
It seems that either she's smiling all over herself, or she's getting down to the business with those eyebrows- not so much with the in between.
She can clap and wave.
Any cabinets or drawers that are open or unlocked are like some kind of treasure that must immediately be strewn out all over the floor.
She's beginning to climb!
She nods her head yes while making a very affirmative kind of doesn't seem like that should be happening yet and makes me laugh almost every time.

I'm so thankful that I get to be her Mama!

Monday, May 18, 2015

one foot in front of the other

The last time I posted an update about Christian was back in November.  The staff at the behavioral health hospital he was in had begun talking to us about discharging him before the end of the year.  I had a lot of mixed emotions about it.  When you have a child that is capable of what we've seen from Christian, you can't just get a sitter like you can for most kids.  I was so overwhelmed by the possibility of him being home before I had the baby and not knowing where he and Audrey would be while we were in the hospital.  Add to that, I didn't feel like he was ready to come home.  I shared my concerns with his therapist, and she assured me that he was doing very well.  She told us to just continue reinforcing all the coping skills he had learned and make sure he was attending his therapy appointments once he was back home.
He was discharged December 19th and the first rumblings came Christmas Day.  He wasn't ready and I knew it.  A lot of kids throw temper tantrums when they are toddlers, but generally as they get older those behaviors wane and with Christian we are continuing to see just the opposite.  When he doesn't get what he wants; when things don't go his way, he throws a fit.  Only since he's not a toddler and has some serious rage, that fit doesn't just mean crying or laying in the floor- it means he also hits and kicks, spits and tries to bite -just to name a few.  And now he's added in trying to get at both his sisters during these episodes.  
We had him home for 30 days before he was admitted for a short stay in a crisis unit. A couple of weeks later he had another. All total it was 60 days before he was approved to return to the hospital where he spent most of last year. 
Once he was settled back in there and we started talking about how to move forward, it was very clear pretty quickly that we needed to change paths.  A little over a month ago we moved Christian to a new facility.  So far, things are going very well there.  When I say that, I don't mean that he is all of a sudden getting better.  What I mean is that the staff there seems to have a much better grip on what is and is not acceptable behavior.  They are seeing what we've seen and are working with us and with Christian to try to move in the right direction, rather than glossing over his aggression...or pretending like taking deep breaths will make it all better.
This is still the most difficult thing we've ever done.  There are days when I try to remind God that this isn't what I signed up for.  Days when I feel like it's too much, I'm too tired, and I can't do this.  In those moments I'm not at my best, but God knows the condition of my heart.  He knows that even when I'm complaining or crying or yelling, for that matter, that I still know His word is true.  
He loves us.
He has plans for us...plans that are for our good and His glory.
For now we just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  

Today our boys turns 8.  
We continue to ask for your prayers for his health and healing, and prayers for wisdom for us know know how to best take care of all three of our babies.

Last year after I made all this public, someone said to me that it was difficult to believe there was anything wrong when our pictures all looked so happy.  Just know that we take pictures when things are going well.  We appreciate those pictures so that we have happy memories to look back on when things are not going so well.
Two weeks ago when we went for family therapy, Christian didn't want to discuss anything difficult.  He turned over the furniture and threatened to punch me in the face.  
Yesterday we had a really good visit.  We shared some cupcakes and loved on each other.  
Those are the days we take the pictures.

"For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."
Isaiah 43:19

Monday, January 5, 2015

First Day- January 2015

Here's a little glimpse of our First Day of the New Year.  Hope yours was just lovely!

Great verse for the first day of a new year...gotta love YouVersion!  

May as well start with some chores!

This sweet baby is still so little!  She's not quite a month old and is almost 8 pounds.  

All of a sudden he's into Legos.  

I don't usually post pictures of my food...but this is SO good!  Thanks to my in-laws for keeping the two older kiddos so Chris and I could have a most delicious lunch date at Longhorn!

More to unload and one to reload.  And Audrey can't be bothered to stop singing while she works long enough to take a picture.  

She is all the time asking to love on that baby!

2014 brought with it some unexpected hardships and some unexpected joys.  We have learned some valuable lessons and increased our understanding of appreciating the sunshine and the rain. While  I haven't made any New Year's resolutions, I have spent some time evaluating how our family looks different now than it did at the beginning of last year. It feels a bit like we're standing at the starting line of the next leg of a race- One that instead of running blindly and on my own, I get to prepare for (to some degree) and even pass off the baton when I need some rest.  I am expecting great things!

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Last weekend we had our first two-night pass since Christian has been able to make home visits.  Maybe it's because it was Halloween, and maybe not...but it was hard.  We picked him up after he finished school on Friday, and from that time until he went to bed Saturday night being a parent was a lot of work.  Sometimes parenting is easy and you just get to bask in the loveliness.  Other times not so much.  There were no breakdowns and no fits, but there was an awful lot of resistance.  Thankfully, Sunday was better.
I relayed all that to his therapist and she spoke with him about it in their regular session.  When we had family therapy we discussed it a bit more, and incorporated what he's learned about willingness and radical acceptance into the conversation.  Christian was able to admit to what had happened without falling apart or blaming anyone else, and let me tell you that is a big deal all by itself.

We picked him up yesterday afternoon for another overnight pass and this is one of those where you get to just love and appreciate each moment.  We decided to stop at Dunkin Donuts on the way home yesterday afternoon (I can't seem to get enough donuts at the moment) and for the most part we had the place to ourselves.  After we'd been there about 20 minutes, the only other patron in the store laughed at something she overheard Audrey say.  We spoke to her for a minute or two and she said, "you have two very well-behaved children, and that's not something you see everyday."
My heart swelled with pride.  I know she doesn't know us or our journey, but I sure did appreciate what she said!
Last night after the kids were in bed Chris and I were talking more about these skills that our family is learning together:  willingness, radical acceptance, and coping ahead just to name a few.  We are choosing to look on the bright side and think about how much better we'll all be for making this a part of who we are now.
One step closer.

I'm so thankful for them.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

First Day: October 2014

Happy October!  
It's been almost a year since I've done a First Day post. :)  
Here are just a few bits from our first day of October.

A current addiction

A new addition to my list of favorite children's books!!  If you have a little one,  you should get it.

From one of the pregnancy apps I's obviously not their mission to be uplifting.

Thanks to Nicole for continuing to be an inspiration!