Thursday, September 27, 2012

Life is too short to be shy

If you read this blog often, or know me personally, then you are aware that I am a HUGE Andrew Peterson fan.


I also love me some Steven Curtis Chapman and Show imagine my surprise and joy when, while at an Andrew Peterson concert last week, I saw Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman sitting below us (we were in the balcony).  Wow.  I kind of spied on them all during the concert because I wanted to see their reaction to their boys,aka Caleb (the band) who just happened to be Andrew Peterson's band for this tour!
Wow again.  Incredible music.  Incredible worship.  My hubs and I were on cloud 9.  Seriously...if you get a chance to see AP in concert, get tickets for you and all of your friends.  I am not joking.  Best live performances you could ever hope to see.

So intermission comes and I head downstairs to score a Caleb CD (because those boys are great!) and who do I see just a few dozen feet away?

Mr. and Mrs. Chapman.

I had a quick decision to make.  I could go to my seat, or I could talk to them.

Before I could lose my nerve, I walked up to them.  Mary Beth saw me coming and stepped out into the aisle to meet me.  I took a deep breath and told her what I really wanted her to know.

First of all I am not a stalker.  Well, at least not the dangerous kind.  :)  Actually...I opened by telling her I know so-and-so...a mutual that I would not completely freak her out.

I told her how she blesses what they do and what they stand for mean so much.  That I am an adoptive mama of 5 and feel an instant connection to others like me.  She smiled and nodded and was so very sweet, then turned to her husband and patted him on the shoulder to get his attention.

"This is my husband, Steven," she said.  I grinned and kind of gushed..."I know who you are.  Your album was one of the very first ones I ever bought after I was saved."

He smiled so big as he shook my hand.  They were SO NICE.  We chatted about Show Hope...about how amazing it is that Andrew Peterson has come on board and is showcasing them at each concert on his Light for the Lost Boy tour...and I walked back to my seat with a goofy, satisfied grin on my face.
I joined my hubby and our friends and my friend laughed..."Where were you?  Were you stalking people?"
(Methinks she knows me too well!)

"Actually, I was just talking with Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman."

"You did NOT!" laughed my hubs.

"Oh yes I did...ask M, she saw me!"

A laughed, "That's why we love you...because you will do the things the rest of us are afraid to do."

"I have just decided," I said, "that life is too short to be shy."

And I mean that.  I may never have the chance to tell a special person how I feel when I have it I had better grab it and run.  And so should you.

Life is short.  Love hard.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Because we are only visitors

When I was a little girl, I was so afraid.

I was afraid of the dark, of strangers, of the future, of what would happen to my brother and me if our parents died,

and of God.

I was, in fact, terrified of God.

He was far away, distant, and angry.  He was a gray old man holding a list of sins, angrily checking them off as I committed them.


"Disobeyed her parents...check"

"Reading smut novels...check"



I was scared of dying yet I was also afraid to live.  I was paralyzed and useless and lost.

Then He found me.

Years have gone by and phases have passed and now I find myself in a place I did not expect.  As my children grow and the questions come, I reassure them...and me...with the gentle reminder that we are not Home.

Not yet.

We are only visitors here.

We feel uncomfortable and things seem hard because we don't belong here.  Our Home awaits us and, oh, it will be so worth it all when we get there.  We will never be afraid, never hurt, and we will understand the things that confuse us now.  God loves us so much.  He constantly works in us to make us more like Jesus, to cleanse us of the sin that holds us back.  He wants us to trust Him, we CAN trust Him, because He sees the beginning and the end all at the same time and He knows exactly how this is all going to work out.  He promises that He is worth it.

We listen to lyrics that remind us of who we are and Whose we are.  Lyrics like this:

Just beyond a veil of wind, a million angels waiting in the wings, 
swirling storm of cherubim, making ready for the Reckoning...

and this:

And we just can't get used to being here
Where the ticking clock is loud and clear
Children of eternity
On the run from entropy

and, finally, this:

We wake in the night in the womb of the world
We beat our fists on the door
We cannot breathe in this sea that swirls,
so we groan in this great darkness.

(Lyrics from "Don't you want to thank Someone,"  "Day by Day," and "Come Back Soon" by Andrew Peterson from his new album "Light for the Lost Boy."  By the way...this album is awesome.)

These words stick with me, cause me to look upward and take joy in what is just beyond my sight.  Words like this brood in the depths of my heart and create a longing for all to be made right, for this chaos to come to a screeching halt and the clouds part as our King descends in victory.  These words would have been meaningless to me as a child.  They would have caused fear and maybe confusion in my early years but, somehow, my children seem to grasp them.  I hear them singing along as the music plays in our home and I can't help but marvel that my children will, hopefully, grow up with a longing for least a better understanding than I had that this is not all there is.  This life is just a rehearsal where we learn to love and live together as a Family.  It is also a chance for us to gather the crowd and bring as many people as we can with us to the place where we all truly belong.

Because we are only visitors.  In fact, we are ambassadors.

And I have to stop here and ask you...

Where is your home?  Do you know that you belong to the Kingdom of God?  Do you know where you are going when you die?  If not...if you have any doubt at all...let me assure you that you can know.  You can receive the Promise of eternity, of true and never-ending life.  You can know that, no matter how hard things may be here, it is only temporary and that one day it will all be worth it.

Jesus died on the cross for you.  He was buried and rose from the dead three days later.  He has gone to prepare a place for you...your true home.  And He promises that, once you surrender your life to Him, He will never let you go.


Safe and secure you can live, knowing that there is nothing to fear.  To live is Christ and to die is gain.

You don't have to clean up first or have it all figured out.  He will do the cleaning, and He will train your heart to obey Him.  You just have to be willing to say yes to Him.  Just say yes and give your life to Him.


Here is the link to the album I mentioned above.  Just click on the picture.  You won't be sorry.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Miracle of the Heart

It has been almost two years since Mari became part of our family.  In those two years she has defaced every birthday cake of her siblings.

Every single one.

She has battled incredible jealousy when their birthdays come, no matter how much we remind her that hers will come again.  She has had a cloud over her head and green envy in her eyes...sneaking a moment alone to swipe a piece of cake and attempt to ruin what is the centerpiece of any birthday party.  I have had no idea how to help her be happy for them, as they are always so happy for her.

But a few weeks ago, Ami and Papa were in town and it just happened to be Papa's 70th birthday.  We bought him a big, fancy ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins and it sat proudly on the counter for the 20  minutes it takes to thaw so we could get a knife through it.  The celebration came and went and we all ate til we were sick of ice cream (as IF!) and then it hit me.

She didn't touch it...did not try to ruin it.

I held a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, she has learned to enjoy the celebrations of others.

Yesterday we took Drew out for yummy Hibachi food at our local Samurai restaurant, then came home to cupcakes loaded with icing.  He got the giant one and the rest of us got "normal" ones.  Mari asked why he got the big one, and I answered that it was because he is the birthday boy.  She shrugged it off and seemed unaffected.  We got the cakes out to light candles and sing and I fought the urge to remind her not to touch...I have to give her the chance to make this good choice on her own.

And she did.  She not only left his cake alone, she happily made a card from her to him...hugged him and celebrated and watched as he opened his presents without one time mentioning her birthday or even getting "that look" in her eyes.  She was happy for him, truly happy!

I wish I could find words to express the incredible miracle that must have occurred in her heart in recent weeks.  I am just bowled over with gratitude and the realization that her healing, indeed, continues.  God is forging those deep bonds that make familial love different...special...treasured.  I could not be more grateful for the work He is doing in her, and in us.

Monday, September 24, 2012


He pads softly into my room and smiles as he climbs into the big bed with me.

"It's my birthday," he whispers loudly.

"I know," I smile back as I stare at this big little boy snuggling up close to me.

"I'm six," he whispers with barely contained joy.

I hold him tight and remember those first days and I thank God for every one of them.

I remember how he smelled and how soft his cheeks were against mine, how he would pat my arm as I rocked him to sleep and how his little fists used to be so meaty and the way he would throw himself backward when he laughed.

I thank God that he is with me all day, that I get to watch this little boy learn and grow and that I don't have to miss him while he is away at school.  I thank God that time is not flying so fast as it used to and that this little boy just loves his family so much.

So much.

We celebrated the day with cookies and cupcakes and Hibachi style food and they played the gong while he grinned so big.  His daddy prayed over him as he went to bed and I marveled that 6 years have passed since that day that we waited breathless for news.
"He is here.  He is born."

6 years have passed since I drove with three kids across the country and came home with four.  6 years have passed since my smallest baby was placed in my arms and I thought he was the last so I just enjoyed him so much.  I watched him sleep and held him tight and laughed...oh, how he makes us laugh.

He laughs hard from deep within and he wants so much to be big like DJ.   He is his daddy's little shadow, following just behind and always sitting close.   He loves Jesus and begs to hear worship music in the car.  ("Can somebody please play Chris Tomlin?")  He sings loud and lifts his hands in praise and I thrill when I see those hands in my rearview mirror.   He hugs tight and kisses with those beautiful lips and tells me over and over that he loves me.

He loves his mama, and this mama loves her little boy.

Thank you, Lord, for these six beautiful years.  Thank you for allowing me the honor of being his mother, for every hug and I-love-you and mama-will-you-snuggle-with-me request when it is way past bedtime.  Thank you for his hands so big, that still fit perfectly in mine.  Thank you for my son, this son who was a surprise to us but never to You.  Thank you for not listening when we said we were "done" at three kids...for giving us more than we could ever ask or imagine.

Happy birthday to you, my darling Drew.  How I love you, sweet boy.  How we all love you!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

You're doing WHAT?

So my friend, Mama Z, has been on me for months to "just try it, it's fun!"  

Try what, you ask?

Try this...

Those, my internerds, are clogging shoes.  At the ripe old age of 40 I have just completed my second clogging lesson alongside my sweet Katie.  At age 11, she is way better than I am.  But BOY am I having fun!

We have learned "Old Time Rock and Roll" and are working on "Rockin' Robin" and our shoes arrived today, making the practicing so much more fun!  She is both appalled and impressed that I am doing this with her.  I am just trying not to picture my awkward posture and go with it.   After all, there are about 5 other moms from my church who have joined in so it has also become social hour!

Now, you will not...repeat...NOT see me in any short, ruffled skirts.  I do have my dignity.   But darn if it is not just a blast to hear all those feet tapping on beat and conquer the grapevine and the brush-up and the turkey!

My husband just shakes his head and laughs.  "It's like old-people dancing," he chuckles.

Mm hmm, maybe so.  But there are apparently a bunch of us old people and, besides that, it is good cardio!

Keep calm and clog on.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I read a blog recently.  Write the Rainbow by Sarah Clarkson on her blog "Thoroughly Alive."  Please read it before continuing so the rest of this will make sense.  It spoke to me so deeply as it addresses my struggle directly.

My struggle?

Well, it boils down to this.  Who do I think I am?  People who know me know my flaws.  My weaknesses wear at me daily and I fight to stay focused on God's calling in my life, to weed out the unnecessary and walk in obedience and joy.  I fail over and over again, but in these failures I learn.  I am imperfect, but a perfect God continually shows me pieces of His heart.  If I share them, will my failures overshadow what I am trying to say?  Does it matter?

So I wait in prayer for Him to say "go."  I begin the selective process of editing, of being sure my words are true and right and approved by Him before I share them here.  This life He has given me, it goes against the grain.  It goes against everything I knew when I was young and it is not what I expected.  I cannot look too far ahead or I am overwhelmed.   The "what if's" can pull me under.  I have to live today for Him and let tomorrow take care of itself.

I am not very good at that.

If He instructs me to pass on what He has placed on my heart, then I must.  But if He does not, well, I will keep it to myself.  Lord, I am willing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Writer's block

Back in January I began what I refer to as "the book."

I had all this angst over issues and what I feel are troublesome trends within the church and I started writing about it, just to get it out of my system.

I wrote 5 chapters regarding personal holiness, adoption, orphan care and social justice, modern idolatry and class warfare within the church.

Yeah, just a few light topics.  I was on fire about them a few months ago and have just reread the chapters, making a couple of small additions, but I can't seem to write any more!

So...I wonder what to do with it.  I don't have the first clue how to really write a book.  I love to read them, lots of them!  But when it comes to sitting down and hammering it out, it seems that there are so many books already written that confirm what I have felt God saying to me that it would be redundant to add another to the mix.

I also know my own faults and hesitate to "preach" because of them.

This blog has always been kind of a happy place for me.   I want to encourage women in their mothering, in loving their families and walking with God.  That is also my heart's desire for this book, but I am very aware that it could be a bit controversial.  Am I ready to put it out there and face backlash?

Or would anyone even care?

So, will you pray for me to have wisdom in this?  Whatever I do, I want it to be for the glory of God.

Monday, September 17, 2012

He loves us so

The rain is falling steady as I gaze out the window.  Our school room surrounds me, empty, and I steal this moments to breathe.
A busy day paused, children happily doing what happy children do when outdoors is soaked and the TV is off.  They get creative.  DJ is drawing another of his original cartoons.  Gracie just asked for a pair of scissors because she wants to make a snowflake.  Katie is snapping pictures and the littles are playing quietly upstairs.
Maybe a little too quietly.

The rain drips from the leaves of the willow that towers above the neighbor's roof.  Skies heavy feel calm in their burden.  Days like this beckon me to stop and just be.  They are my favorite kind of day.

Oh, we still have much to do.  By no means has our day's work come to an end..  We still have ballet, clogging, basketball, and an errand or two plus the preparation of dinner to come in the next few hours.  But right now, I am just enjoying the rain.

Right now, I choose to sit in silence and watch the puddles ripple as the drops dance for joy.  I take in the colors just beginning to turn Autumn, enhanced by the washing of the storm.  Huge rocks that linger at the surface, keeping grass at bay, are glistening clean now and I notice the vine has grown back at the base of that big tree.  The kids love to pull off those vines and use them in their adventures.  I'm glad they regrow so quickly.

I wish my kids didn't grow so quickly.

Drew steps into the room with a strawberry milk box, straw dangling for the corner of his beautiful lips and grins.

"Mom, we're having some fun."

Ah yes, I am thankful for this pause.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Southern-bound travelers

"Mama, quick!  Come listen outside!"

Katie ran into the kitchen, breathless, as we cleaned up after lunch and prepared to finish the school day.  She had just stepped out to check the mail and was mesmerized by hundreds of birds, chirping happily in our trees.

"It sounds like a whole bunch of babies just hatched!"

We all stood just outside the front door that was left ajar.  "It looks like it is a flock heading south,"  I said.  "Maybe they have come from Canada and they stopped for a rest in our trees!"

"Canada!"  How exotic and far that sounds when you are a child!

We listened in awe as the birds filled the air with the happiest of songs.  We listened and I smiled at the joy on their faces.  Oh, how Creation woos our hearts.  It thrills me to see my childrens' faces frozen in wonder, smiles half-complete as they stare at the beauty scattered across branches and just-turning leaves.  Beauty placed there, at that moment, because their Heavenly Father knew they would see and He just wanted to love on them.

On us.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Little trials

Gracie's baby teeth came out and her big girl teeth came in.  Apparently, despite the volume of conversation she produces, her mouth is small.  Those sweet teeth came in all wonky.
Then, it appears, her tongue developed the bad habit of pushing against her front teeth when she swallows which has just made matters worse.  So, today, the orthodontist put the equivalent of a teeny easter basket made of metal behind those front teeth to teach her tongue to go where it is supposed to, which means my 7 year old chatter box has to learn to talk all over again.  She is not happy.
Now, she has been very tears, no complaints really.  But I can see that, after her first day of fighting this appliance, she is drained.
And she just wants to be near mama.
I'm ok with the latter.

As I type she is snoozing on the floor next to our bed because she is feeling a bit insecure and just needs to be near us.  Such a small trial in the grand scheme of life, but to her this is huge.  So I tucked her in atop a pile of blankets and we prayed.  We asked the Father to give her strength, to bring her tongue into submission to stop fighting the appliance, to help her lean on Him and for the soreness to subside.  I asked Jesus to use this to make her more like him and I love how she smiled so big at that.

We thanked Him...for teeth with no cavities, that her body is healthy, for the fact that this will accomplish it's purpose and she will be able to talk like she wants and that her Orthodontist is able to do what is needed to make her beautiful teeth straight.  We thanked Him and she brightened and now she is relaxed and snoring softly in her purple blanket with her Lambie held close.

Little trials...little opportunities to trust.  Yes, Lord, thank you.

Monday, September 10, 2012


The little ash blonde boy tapped on the window next to our table.  We looked up from our chicken feast and smiled.  He gestured with with a wave of his hand for Drew to come play.

"Do you know him?" I asked.

"No," Drew responded.

I smiled at the little boy as he stood, waiting not so patiently, for his potential playmate to finish his lunch.

Finally the last nugget was consumed and I told the kids they could go to the playground.  Drew took off at full speed and joined the ash blonde boy.  Within 10 seconds of their first face-to-face meeting, Drew tapped on the same window and yelled through the glass,
"He's my friend!"

They played with abandon, running and yelling and walking with arms draped over one another's shoulders.  They were free.  They were warriors fighting the enemy blonde and fair and the other as ebony as night.

But those smiles, they were a perfect pair...their smiles shone white with the joy of just being boys.

These two boys, they didn't just see color.  They celebrated it.  My son loves the differences we are graced with and happily tells me, "Mom, my friend is white...
or tan...
or brown like me."

"Mom, he's my friend."

I fully believe we were never intended to be color-blind.

What a waste that would be.

Our world, our circles of influence, are rich with shades that defy recreation.  It is a rare artist who can perfectly depict what God so freely and easily graces us with...a myriad of color, of features, of hair textures and accents and beauty.

What a waste to pretend not to notice.

Yes, indeed, we should celebrate the obvious!  We are fearfully and wonderfully made.  We should take notice and joy in that fact, just like my son.  Just like most of our children...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

What an absolutely fun and filling weekend we had!  I love family camp.  It is my favorite kickoff to Fall every year.  We got home Monday and celebrated Papa's 70th with a big ice cream cake, then eased back into our school days after the grandparents began their journey home.  Good times.

Today we started school on time (miracle) and things were a little, um, wacky to say the least.

Is there a full moon or something?

But we got 'er done and even had a few moments of glory...which I shall now share with you, my bloggy friends.

First of all, after enduring working through Drew's reading lesson ("SSSSSSAAAAAAMMMMMMMM  IIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSS MMMMMMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD") I announced...
"Ok, we're done.  You can go play now!"

Sweet boy threw his arms around my neck and exclaimed "Thank you, mama, for teaching me!"

Be still my heart.  Made me feel kind of guilty for the crossed eyes I shot Katie while he was sounding out his words, then saying a whole different word, which was apparently written on the wall across the room.


Then, after the school work was officially done for the day, I found my DJ...age 12 and all athletic boy...perusing a book.

Not just any book, mind you, but a book of poetry.

POETRY y'all!

He held the book up and showed me one, entitled "The Eagle" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and said "I think I will memorize this one."

Can I get a witness?

I held back tears of joy calmly replied, "Sure, babe.  I think that would be great."  I then retreated to my closet where I pumped my fists in victory and wept with abandon.

Ok, I didn't really do that.  But I thought about it.

It is moments like these that make all the planning, scheduling, and sacrifice worth it.  It is also moments like that that keep me from running out of the room, screaming like a crazy woman, when a kindergartner says...


No, baby, try again.  (Insert crossed eyes here.)

Saturday, September 1, 2012


By the time you read this we will be immersed in the joys of Family Camp in the heart of good ol' Alabama.

I cannot wait!

Living by the bell, the rope swing that goes WAY up high, kids squealing with outdoor delight, horses, wildflowers, cabins with screens, the sounds of critters at night, and a river running through somehow peel away the layers of stress and leave a beautiful sense of calm...

a sense of His closeness that is unhindered.

Worship on the rocks, hot coffee in warm mugs, and sweatshirts in the evening cool; not to mention hours in my Bible, journal, and with my camera...

Oh, yes it is going to be good.

I will share pictures upon our return!