Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Happiness is not a matter of good fortune or worldly possessions. It's a mental attitude. It comes from appreciating what we have, instead of being miserable about what we don't have. It's so simple- yet so hard for the human mind to comprehend.
* * * * * * * * * * *

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Whether we like it or not, we are living in a ‘replaceable’ world- and whether we admit it or not- we are all responsible for this. We like our things, we like them new, we like them faster, stronger, better then the one before. We like things to look good and be easy… and if they are not- we simple replace them with ones that are. Ahhhhh, life in America.

Growing up I remember a few times where one our small appliances would stop working. I recall one time in particular that our toaster would not pop up. So, my mom packed up the toaster and I, and off we went to the next town over to where a little old man had a ‘repair shop’ in his garage off the side of his house. We would drop our toaster off and pick it up a few days later- and it worked as good as new. Now a days, that little old man would starve- and his business would go under. Today, if our toaster breaks we dump it in the garbage and we are off to Walmart to buy another.

But the sad thing is- not only small appliances are replaceable in our world now a days… we are too. Divorce rate is at an all time high- in our society if someone no longer meets our needs they are simply replaced … replaced for someone younger, someone better looking, someone better suited to fit our ‘needs’. And what about our jobs? We can easily be replaced by someone else in the work force. People spend their entire lives working, pouring their heart and soul into a company to one day find themselves laid off, or replaced.

I often wonder if that is why down deep people feel threaten. Why we are so afraid to let people see inside- see the real us. We are afraid to show who we really are. We plaster a smile on our face and pretend that everything is perfect in our lives… when down deep we are hurting. We long for others to approve of us… and we are afraid that if they really see us- see our flaws-that we will be replaced. We are people pleasers more than God pleasers. We believe that if we ‘look’ like we have it all together than people won’t see the damaged goods… the ones that tell us we are not enough and need to be ‘replaced'. We know that once others see the real us- the imperfect us… they won’t see us as important. Knowing this makes it hard for us to believe that God doesn’t see us as that way too. But in fact, the exact opposite is true. God thinks you’re worth dying for.

God specifically designed each one of us for a purpose- an irreplaceable purpose. While the world tells us ‘someone else can do it’ our creator tells us differently. Flaws and all, we are irreplaceable to Him.(kind of like that toaster we had when I was growing up- with God we are as good as new). If God were to line all of us up side by side, there would not be another one just like you. We have been chosen by him for a particular purpose- all we have to do is say yes God- I’ll do it! I’m willing! Through obedience I will accomplish the purpose you have chosen for me- and me alone. God does not care if there is someone younger, faster, more qualified for the job. God chose you and now you must honor him by submitting your life to Him. Whether He chose you to raise children, be a missionary, or drive a bus -you must not argue with the blueprints of your life but instead serve Him gratefully. So don’t fall for the world’s view- hold your heard up high and serve the Lord like only you can do.To God you are irreplaceable- and that is all that really matters. .
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you”. John 15:16

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, January 28, 2008

Precious blessings

My precious, gorgeous, amazing new little nephew will be coming HOME to his FOREVER FAMILY on February 7th.
"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24
Today I am praising God and thanking Him for bringing this perfect little boy in our lives. In a world full of hurting people it is so awesome to see how God's loving hands still swoop in, answer our prayers, and make everything fall into place. As I write this I am so overcome with emotion-down on my knees in praise and gratitude for the miracle of adoption. I have experienced it first hand and yet always I am in awe.... I lift a heart of thanksgiving to you God in pure devotion and adoration.
"For great is the Lord and most worth of praise". Psalm 96:4
Thank you for this privilege of being an aunt to this perfect little boy... thank you for the gift of adoption and for how you beautifully orchestrate each and every family.
"That their hearts may be encouraged as they are knit together in love..." Colossians 2:2
Thank you for my sister and her family and for their hearts and desire to not only know your word- but to live it.
"Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and where ever you send us we will go" Joshua 1:16
Thank you Lord, Thank you.


I saw this on another blog and it was too cute not to share!

Author unknown
There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.
“Well,” she said, “I think I’ll braid my hair today!”So she did and she had a wonderful day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.
“H-M-M,” she said, “I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today!”So she did and she had a grand day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.“
Well,” she said, “today I’m going to wear my hair in a pony tail.”So she did and she had a fun, fun day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn’t a single hair on her head.
“YEA!” she exclaimed, “I don’t have to fix my hair today!”
Attitude is everything.
Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly…..Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass.
It’s about learning to dance in the rain.


4-year old Aleigha to her mom: "Mommy, I keep forgetting when my birthday is... can it please be TODAY?"

Friday, January 25, 2008


Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero. ~Marc Brown

Growing up I was surrounded by 3 older sisters. I learned all about make-up and doing my hair. I learned about doing cheers and playing Barbies with the best of 'em. So finding myself raising these 3 'little men', full of energy and spunk, has been to say the least- interesting. There are days when I sit back and just watch in wonder at how one minute they can fight like professional wrestlers and the next minute laugh together over a PlayStation game. One minute they have each other in a head lock, the next minute they are tossing the football back and forth. I am in awe of the relationship between these boys- the joys and the complexities. I want so much for these boys to connect in a meaningful way because relationships between siblings are among the longest and most meaningful people have during their lives. I often tease my boys when they are fighting that one day when they grow up they will drive hundreds of miles at Christmas so see each other and cherish every moment of it. I know I do exactly that.

Lord, I thank you for the special relationship you give to siblings. I thank you for the bond that is there even when they choose to ignore it. I pray that you help these boys to grown into strong Godly men- with their eyes focused on you. I ask you to guide their feet on the right path and direct them in all your ways. Show each of them the purpose you have planned for them. Teach them to love each other the way you love us. Show them that it is not important to 'reach for the stars' but to reach FOR YOU. Bring them to a place where your dreams are their dreams. You are all that I pray them to be.

"Be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble." 1 Peter 3:8

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Large Families= Good marriages??

I read this awesome post on here: and she said it would be OK to share it with you guys. Go Laura- I think big families are great too!

I was just thinking today about the statistic that the divorce rate is lower for large families and what would make this true. You would think with the stress of more kids, added expenses, etc. that larger families would have a higher divorce rate. However, the opposite is true! I *think* it is because the more kids you have the less time you have to argue!! Or, maybe it is because you are too tired to argue! ;) In all seriousness though, I do think it has something to do with the fact that the more kids you have, the more you are required to serve and the less you think of yourself--not by nature, but out of necessity. This is true to a certain extent in any family with kids. However, with every added child, I feel stretched even MORE to serve. Honestly, when Cameron and I were first married, I was very selfish, and as a result, we argued a lot more. I demanded my "rights". We were both in grad school and very busy. There was more competition, esp. over household duties. Now, with seven little ones, we both have to pitch in and work ALL OF THE TIME. There is no slacking for either of us. Sleeping in? Forget about it! God has grown me in this area greatly! I was not a servant by nature when we got married. I wanted to be served. Having children has forced me to serve. Having many children with a husband in residency--who was rarely home and having very little money--forced me to learn to be content. I definitely didn't do it perfectly! There were times that I just wanted a break, or a new outfit!, but Cameron was on-call every 2nd or 3rd night. OR, he was on nights for a solid month! Or, we ran out of money and still had 2 weeks to go until payday. We just had to make do! Most months my perspective was "just make it to the end of this month". Cameron was just telling me today that he filled up his gas tank in his car and how good that felt! He said that in 4 years of medical school and then 4 years of residency, he never filled up his gas tank--because he didn't know if he could--if the money would be there! Anyways, God used having many little ones, little help and little money to change me. With each new baby, I learned to die to myself MORE. Before having these little ones my perspective was that I didn't want to die to myself. I thought that it would hurt too much to "lose" myself, lose my identity, my freedom. In reality, I have found myself (I am tearing up even as I write these words!) It is true! I have such joy, so much freedom. I can't explain it. It does hurt to die to oneself, but it is worth it! I used to think that serving equaled degradation. Now I know that serving equals absolute freedom and joy! The more I have been required to serve, the more joy I have! It is the TOTAL opposite of what the world tells you! I feel like I believed a lie my whole life. I now have learned the secret to my happiness!I think that you HAVE to have a good marriage to have a lot of kids. Can you imagine the absolute chaos in a home with many children where the mom and dad didn't get along? Cameron and I have to be united--in our vision for our family, in our goals, and our purpose. This is what makes having a large family possible. Also, without a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, everything would fall apart! We have to give each other grace, we have to forgive, we have to depend on Christ to parent these children and love each other. I think this is true in any marriage, in any family, but in large families esp., where the demands are so high. We do NOT have a perfect marriage-we both fail, but we have less of those times now with lots of kids because there just isn't time to demand our own rights.The more children a family has, the more commitment is demanded to grow and raise that family. It is very difficult to have outside interests and pursuits when there are so many little ones demanding attention. That may seem depressing to some, but I think of it in a different way: All of my hobbies are just that--hobbies. These precious little ones are eternal souls that will one day worship God around his throne. They are an eternal investment. My hobbies are a way to pass the time, my children aren't.Lastly, having a large family is usually a result of the parents viewing children as a blessing and not a burden. This perspective makes a HUGE difference! My children are not an "intrusion" on my life--they are my life--they are the "work" God has given Cameron and I to do. They are a gift. I have never heard an older person ever complain that they had "too many children". BUT, I have often heard people tell me that they wished they had had more. You will NEVER regret the decision to have another baby--ever. Sure it will be hard, but one look at that precious little face and it will all be worth it! Marriage does take so much work and finding the time to make it a priority is difficult in a large family where the demands are high! Cameron and I are in a period of time right now where we really can't leave Jerome and Ruth with anyone else. We are in the critical "attachment" phase with our adopted children and a date is really out of the question. We are both looking forward to when we can go out alone together because we know that if this family is going to work we have to be united. In Christ, Laura


"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2
As Aleigha and Mya sat having a tea party in my living room with their 'friends,' I watched in awe how they treated each guest like royalty-It did not matter if they were a rat, a tiger, or a bear. They showed no favoritism towards those who had pink hair, or darker skin. It didn't matter if their 'coats' were old and worn or lush and new. They were all treated with the same hospitality... they were all welcomed, they were all served.
Lord, I wonder how many times I have done the exact opposite- given favor to those who's coats were new over those who's coats were worn. I wonder how many times I have missed out on the chance to 'entertain an angel' because of my own ignorance? God I ask that you give me a heart like yours... that you give me the willingness to open my heart and home with Christian love, friendship and understanding to those who have spiritual, emotional, or physical needs. Help me to remember that everything I have really belongs to you and I am to share those blessings with those you bring into my life without judging. For when I do, you will bless me in more ways than I can imagine.
Don't ever look down on someone else... unless you are helping them up.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Discovering God's Will

In the Upper Room daily devotional guide they had an article on Discovering God’s Will for your life. This is something that I am constantly concerned with and apparently so are many others because it stated that in ‘various surveys, adults consistently identify with this one spiritual question among their top three" So, this had me searching my own heart and where I am in God's will for my life.
The Upper Room listed these basic principals on finding God's will which I found to be very helpful.
1. Bible ( examples of guidance)
2. Prayer (asking for guidance from God)
3. Seeking those in our community of faith (asking for council from other Christians)

Now I agree that these things are extremely important in our daily walk with Christ and seeking His will- but there are a few other things I personally would add to that list:
4. Willingness. I think we have to offer our selves to God as well. You know, be willing- no matter how scary that is. No matter how high the stake. We can read the bible from beginning to end, pray and fast, and ask every person in church for advice- but still be too afraid to take the risk. I believe that if God lays a burden on our hearts that is Him calling us to do something. MOVE. OBEY. If we don’t, He will continue to draw us back to that specific task over and over again and the burden will become heavier until we accomplish it. And if we choose to run from God, from this burden he laid on our heart, we will always find ourselves going back to it because He will not allow it to go away.
5. Surrender. Surrendering is not always easy because when we surrender it means we give up control. Many of us are afraid we will loose ourselves if we give up control. Surrender to all that we have known- letting go of the world. The bible tells us we are NOT to conform to the pattern of this world. The dictionary defines conform as "to be in agreement or accord." Not conforming to the world is not easy because we are raised in the world and have to live here daily. There is so much pressure from family, friends, co workers, media, etc, to live life how others see as 'good and popular'. In other words- to be successful in materialistic ways.

But honestly after searching and contemplating God’s will- one thing kept coming back to my mind. I don’t think God wanted it to be this hard for us.. .I don’t think He wanted us scurrying around like little mice lost in our direction… should we turn here, should we turn there... Sure God cares about what career we choose… sure he cares who we marry, where we go to school, and even what we eat. But THE MOST important thing is that in those choices He allows us to make- is that we stop asking the questions and just wholeheartedly seek to BE LIKE JESUS.

If you are a businessman, are you conducting your business in an ethical way… are you reaching out to others or is it ( 'it' meaning your life) all about you getting richer, growing your bank account? If you choose to marry Sam or Dave are you loving them the way Jesus does? Serving them the way Jesus would... or are you angry and hateful because they are not serving YOU? If you chose to have one child- or ten… are you raising them like Jesus would? Are you taking them to church, praying with them, growing them into little Christs? Or are you showing them by your actions that being popular is important, having straight A’s means more to you than participating in the youth at the church. Are you willing to drive them to Disney land- but not to serve at the local soup kitchen? Are you trying to ‘buy’ their happiness with video games and name brand clothing. Or are you showing them/teaching them, that in serving others is where true happiness lies? ( And I’m going to go ahead and admit right here and now that I am guilty of it all). But I truly believe that if you put Jesus in the center of your life- and truly strive to BE LIKE HIM in all that you do-all of the other parts will just ‘fall into place’ without you having to spend so much time searching for the answers… God’s will for your life will just happen when you seek to be more like Him.

Maybe as you are reading this you feel like that is exactly where you are- right in the core of God’s will. If so, I congratulate you . There is no greater place to be. Or maybe you are reading this feeling like you’ve already blown it- you are already half way down the wrong road and can’t find your way back. Perhaps God spoke something and you turned and ran… perhaps you feel your whole life is a mess. There is good news because if you resolve that from today on you will surrender to God’s ways… to act, think, behave as He would- God will straighten your paths bringing you back to the center of His will. And because of his grace God can even change your mistakes around to be part of His purpose for you. I am thankful for such a God- a God who can use me even when I mess up… a God who loves me regardless of the mistakes I have made… and that is exactly why, more than anything else in this world, I want to be like my God.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


As we are leaving the store and heading out to the parking lot we pass this sweet, older lady.
(insert loud shrilly voice)"OHHHHHHHHH look at those BEAUTIFUL little girls- are they TWINS?" she asks.
Me: "No, they are just sisters."
Lady in the parking lot: "Oh my, well they sure could pass for twins!"
We begin walking away...
Mya: " Mom, why does everyone always think we are twins? We don't even have the same head!"

(almost) FRESH SALSA!!!

My kids love chips and Salsa. They would live on it if I would let them. But we don't like that nasty, chunky Salsa that comes in a jar. We like the fresh , smooth kind. So, I found the easiest, most incredible Salsa in this world and you, my loyal blogger buddies, get to know our secret family recipe for (almost) fresh Salsa. Try it- you will be in love!

Get out your blender (yes blender)
Open one 28 oz can of whole tomatoes (we use the Walmart brand for .97 cents cause I am cheap and we like it) and dump it in the blender.
Next, cut up one whole onion and dump it in.
Then add approximate 1/2 to 1 cup of fresh Cilantro (depending on how much you like)
Throw in some Jalapeno peppers. (I use the pickled Jalapeno peppers in a can- like the ones you eat on Nachos). I put about 5 slices in. If you like it hot then add more.
Finally toss in about 1 tablespoon of salt and then blend. It will make a good amount and can be stored in your frig for a couple of weeks- although ours never last that long. :0) Enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Gratitude Day

Lord, today I thank you for this amazing man you sent my way. I am so blessed to share my life with him. Thank you for the crazy things he does that makes me shake my head, yet melts my heart. Thank you for the way he chooses to love me unconditionally for I know that true love is a choice. I am not perfect, I have done nothing to deserve this man, yet he remains by my side supporting me in all I do. Thank you for the way he is patient and loving to our kids, yet also disciplines them so that they can learn right from wrong. Thank you for this man who gives freely of his time to coach his kids, read to them, pray with them, wrestle with them, and stops to share your beauty in this world with them. Thank you for his compassionate heart for the children who do not have a father of their own and for his willingness to change that. Thank you God that he loves you above all else and that he puts you in the center of our lives.
"Love each other as I have loved you". John 15:12


When we first brought home Aleigha from Guatemala and then 2 years later Mya, my kids were beyond thrilled. I often thought that the excitement would wear off and soon I would begin to hear them yelling "get them out of my room!" or "Mom, they are getting into my things". But honestly even after all this time that has NOT been the case. Today I walked into the girls room to find this: Addisyn talking to them about how beautiful and special they are and putting braids in their hair. Despite the age difference these sisters are as close as ever and I thank God that He builds these close relationships and bonds them together in such a beautiful way. I thank God for my sisters and I couldn't be happier to see that my girls will share that special bonds as well.

Sisters of the Heart

I know you are my sister

thought we do not look the same.

We may have been sent to different lands

but we both from heaven came.

We knew we were meant to be sisters,

cause we are the best of friends...

We're so glad we found our family

A circle of love that never ends.

We have such fun together

best friends we'll always be...

Because I belong to you-

and you belong to me.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Enough to make a difference

I asked God, "How much time do I have before I die?" He replied, "Enough to make a difference....."
Lord, if you revealed everything about our future we could neither stand it or understand it. None of us know how long we have to live so I ask that you help me make the best use of the time and energy you have given to me. I choose to spend my days in work that honors you. Forgive me for the times when I have wasted moments serving myself that should have been used in serving you. Our purpose is not to cross off lists, but to choose things in life that counts toward making a difference in your kingdom. Help us keep our eyes focused on you and you only- for nothing else really matters.
"Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. "Ephesians 5:15-16

Saturday, January 19, 2008

One of those days....

Today was one of those days... we all have them. It was time to leave for Kallan's basketball game so trying to foresee any problems I tell everyone to go potty before we leave. Mya and Aleigha run into the bathroom together (see I was not kidding when I told you they do everything together) and Aleigha apparently got there first. So Mya was trying to patiently wait her turn and while doing so decided to entertain herself by practicing her new favorite trick of spinning around in circles like a ballerina. Now there is a reason why Ballerina's wear slippers... and Mya, well Mya had on Crocs. So she attempt to spin herself in a circle and ends up crashing face first against the bathtub. Poor baby. She is so brave. So we get her fixed up and head out the door to Kal's game that is 40 minutes away. Once there we enter the building I can of course feel everyone is staring at me like I am a big, bad abusive parent. Fun feeling. We head forth to the court where Kallan plays and no one else from his team is there. I ask the guy in charge and he tells me there was a schedule change last Thursday and apparently everyone else on the team got the call but us. Great. Outside again, load kids back into the car and drive another 40 minutes home. I think I am going to change into my pajama's, wrap my kids in a plastic bubble and stay home for the rest of the day.

Verdict In

Thanks to all of you who casted your votes on "Who Dun It". The verdict is in- mystery solved.

It was Culprit #6
with the basketball
In the office.

It may have been one of my favorite pieces of Guatemalan pottery but she is one of my favorite Guatemalan treasures. (Messy pig tails and all) How could I get mad? Anyway- isn't that what Elmer's glue is for?

Lord, thank you for the reminder that 'the most important things in life are not things'. We know that material possessions are replaceable, but our relationships with our children are priceless. I pray my children learn to be compassionate, forgiving people who live for things not of material worth but for eternal value.
"Forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other..."
Colossians 3:13 RSV

The Yellow Light

A man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection. The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup. As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He took her to the police station where she was searched, finger printed, photographed, and placed in a holding cell. After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects. He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Choose Life' License plate holder, the 'Follow Me to Sunday-School' bumper Sticker, And the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk, Naturally....I assumed you had stolen the car."

When I first read this I thought to myself "Good for you officer, how dare she give Christians a bad name like that!" Then, I had to stop for a second and let myself soak in the 'guilt' and admit that there have been times in my life when I have acted just like this stressed out lady on the busy boulevard of life. There have been times where I have called myself a Christian and then turned around and acted like anything but. There are times when I have been so caught up in trying to accomplish what "I" thought was necessary and so wrapped up in 'me' and I failed to yield and look around me at what was really important.

Lord, please help this story be a reminder to me that everything that I do and say is a reflection on you because I am a Christian. Help me to live my life full of your Spirit's self-control. I ask that you to control the areas of my life and help me surrender my ways that are harmful to you and to others... because only then can I live in peace and contentment. "For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge, and to knowledge, self control. " 2 Peter 1:5-6

Friday, January 18, 2008


OK- since I just scared you all with my 'big head' picture I thought I'd treat you to a couple of new pictures I took of Aleigha and Mya today. Aren't they just the cutest??

Me with BIG HEAD

Ok- it's official- I am cured of my blog envy. You all are too sweet to me and (chest puffed out) I am feeling LOVED! If you can't tell- I now have a BIG HEAD too. (that is supposed to be a picture of me with a 'big head'). LOL It's not perfect but hey, remember I am technically challenged after all. Anyway- really, thank you all. I am so blessed to have so many awesome friends!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Solving the mystery... Who Dun it?

OK, I need your help. When I walked into our office today right there in the middle of the floor was one of my favorite pottery pieces from Guatemala broken into 2 pieces. Now there are not a lot of possessions in my house that are off limits because you know, we have 6 kids and all, so our house is pretty kid friendly. But everyone is our household knows that the things I brought home from Guatemala I hold dearly in my heart. Not because they are expensive or worth a lot of money- but you know, just for sentimental reasons. So yep- there it was in the middle of the floor broken in two. Here is where YOU come in. I need your help by voting on who you think 'dun it'. You see, in our house there are a lot of people who apparently go by the same name "wasn't me". So let's get going and cast your vote. Was it...

Culprit #1 "Wasn't me TRAVIS"
known for playing rough with his younger siblings,
loves football and girls.
Culprit #2 "Wasn't me KEEGAN"
known for his lack of driving skills
also loves football and is too shy for girls.

Culprit #3 "Wasn't me ADDISYN"
known for her fierce soccer kick but compassionate heart,
loves playing with her younger sisters and knitting.

Culprit #4 "Wasn't me KALLAN"
Known for his sweet disposition and knowing how to use it.
Loves to eat Mexican food and ride the go-cart.

Culprit #5 "Wasn't me MYA"
Known for her adorable dimples, curly hair and spunkiness.
Loves life and making people laugh.

Culprit #6 "Wasn't me ALEIGHA"
Known for her big eyes and sneaky ways,
Loves reading books and getting into things she is not supposed to.

OK- now go to my comments -cast your votes and stayed tuned for 'who dun it'.

Blog envy


OK, I can't even believe I am putting this out there... but I have a confession to me-I have blog envy. What is blog envy you say? Well, allow me to explain.

A little over a year ago I didn't even know what a blog was... and now here I am at my first attempt to write one and I am feeling a bit down. You see, when I start reading other peoples blogs and seeing all of the cool things they are doing and writing about it makes me turn green with envy. I starting thinking to myself that I wished I was that funny... that I could pray like that... I wish my house looked like that, was clean like that... I wished I cooked healthy food like that for my family, that I could write like that, look like that, have 12 kids like that, be witty like that, go on a vacation like that, do things with my kids like that... and the list goes on and on. But the truth is- this is who I am and it's all I got. Sure there is always a chance that I might improve with time... or maybe not.

I remind myself that being envious or jealous is a sin and that is exactly what I am doing. "Abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul" 1 Peter 2:11 So, I need to focus on being thankful for who I am, how I am, and even for how I blog. This is me- take it or leave it. You can choose to do 2 things now... put me into your favorites and leave me a comment below to help build my self-esteem (so I know people are actually reading) or click the x at the top right hand of this page and surf someone else's blog. Thanks for visiting!

Forgetting something??

Ever have one of those days where you feel like you are forgetting something??

Maybe you are!!!

Organization with 6 Kids

When people hear that I have six kids- one of the main statements I always hear is "I don't know how you do it... I cannot possibly get everything done with the two I do have". So, I decided to write a post about a few things we do to stay organized around our house- freeing up more time for family fun and living a life free of chaos. But before I start I have to give credit to my mom- she is the queen of organization and most of what I learned came from her. (Thanks mom!)
1. Always have your clothes laid out the evening before for the next morning. Actually, for the younger kids, I decide what they are wearing for the week on Sunday night. Then I have those things hanging to one side of their closets, paired together as a set so it's easy for them to find them. We even lay out socks, under ware and shoes to save time looking for the ones that always seem to 'hide'.
2. Pack lunches the night before if they are packing the next day.
3. I make a list of what we are going to eat for dinner for the week- or sometimes 2 weeks in advance and always throw in a left over night.
4.My husband types up a calendar at the beginning of the month that has every one's schedule on it-games, work schedules for the older kids if available, and any other important things that might be going on that month. That calendar includes a seating chart for our vehicle to prevent fights of who sits where each morning. ;0) We keep a copy of this calendar in our home as well as our vehicle just in case I did not have time to check it before walking out the door and need to remind the kids of anything.
5. Laundry. Oh the never ending laundry. While I think it's important for kids to learn to do their own laundry we would have problems with people leaving their things in the dryer for days and no one else could use it. So, I do the laundry- daily, and we have a shelving system. Each child has their own shelf with their name on it and I wash and fold their clothes (although my husband and the kids do help out with this when asked) and their clothes are separated and put on their shelf. Typically on Saturday they are asked to put their clothes away- or before if their shelf is getting too full. This system works great for us because I have found we do not have laundry laying all over the house, on floors, beds, etc. It is simply left on the their shelf with the door closed until they put it away.
6. Sorting socks and boxers and white t-shirts are always a hassle trying to figure out who's are who's. So, we use a laundry pen and each has a designated color.
7. Grocery shopping. I typically do a big shopping day once a month where we stock up. My husband often goes with me on this day because it is definitely 2 full cart fulls. This works best for us because we get paid only once a month. Then, about once a week we end up running to the store for a quick trip for milk, fruits and fresh veggies. (although we are going to have our first attempt at gardening this year which will be another post in itself).
8. Because we get paid once a month- we use the envelope system. We estimate monthly expenses for our bills each month and put that amount into a separate labeled envelope. We have one for gas, one for groceries, clothing, etc. This helps me make sure we do not go over on one thing and not have enough for another.
9. Each child pitches in to help around the house. Even down to the smallest. Aleigha and Mya are great at helping empty the dishwasher, bringing in the mail and love to dump things into the compost.
10. We do daily devotions with the kids. With a large family it is so important to me that we stay close and that each child feels like they are being 'heard' and included. By sitting down for even 15-20 minutes each night, doing our devotions and sharing our prayer requests it often gives our kids time to open up and share things they might not have done as we rushed around throughout the day. This time of the day has easily become the most precious to all of us.

If anyone has any other ideas or tips they would like to share about how they keep their family running smoothly I'd love to hear from them! Just leave a comment below. (Don't know how? Click on the comment link below this post, type in your message and if you do not have a google account you can click on anonymous and it will work!). THANKS so much!

The loss of a referral

It has been years now... 4 to be exact, but I can still remember the features of her tiny face... her beautiful brown eyes, round Guatemalan cheeks, and her little forehead that wrinkled up as she squinted towards the camera. Her name was Maria De Los Angeles- and although I only knew her on pictures and paper, she will forever own a piece of my heart- and a moment of my lifetime where she filled my head with dreams and my soul with joy. She was our first adoption referral- the one we lost.

I know of many of you who will read this and have been through the same thing... one day you were 'promised' a child(ren) that you opened your heart to and loved instantly- only to have that child, through some unfortunate circumstance, taken away. And the pain is so real it makes you feel like your entire world is going to fall apart... like you could not possibly go on.

"However, each one must live his life in the situation the Lord assigned when God called him." 1 Corinthians 7:17

I remember sitting on the couch after I got the phone call just staring at the wall... I felt so hopeless, so lost. All of my dreams, my plans, were gone and as I sat there I didn't even know how to begin to move on. I could not understand how God could let that happen... why He would give us such a gift that felt so right, only to take it away. I had done everything right... I followed the right steps, used a good agency, how could this happen? I didn't want to feel- I didn't ever want to open my heart again and allow anyone or anything to cause me that much pain again. I vowed to be DONE. My heart was off limited.

"Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 Holman CSB

A funny thing happened though... as I vowed to build that wall around my heart to protect it, God began His work....

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit". Romans 15:13 NIV

It certainly didn't happen overnight... I had to allow myself to go through the steps of grieving...and I had let God fill my heart with renewed hope. I had to trust God that even through the pain He would take care of me. I had to trust that His will be done.

"The thing you should want most is God's kingdom and doing what God wants. Then all these other things you need will be given to you". Matthew 6:33 NCV

Although the pain may never completely go away,and I may never have all of the answers... today I can look back and remember her beautiful little face with a smile and pray that God is holding her too.

"Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord." 1 Corinthians 12:4-5 Holman CSB

As I sit here typing I can hear those precious giggles coming from the other room... and then I hear her call my name "Mommy, Mommy come see what I did!" and I know without a double it was worth the pain and heartbreak. God's will was done... God was faithful.

Lord, thank you for holding us through our pain... thank you for renewing our hope even when our world feels like it is falling apart. I pray for my precious friend Sarah today Lord. Give her comfort and mend her broken heart. Give her your strength to go on. And Lord, thank you for my beautiful Aleigha Grace- my daughter who loves to wear pony tails in her hair and pick wild flowers... for had I not have experienced that horrible, painful loss I would never have been blessed by her life in mine. Thank for for always knowing what is best for us, even when we cannot possibly see.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Laundry's calling!!!

Yes, we do a LOT of laundry at our house... and sometimes when I am doing the laundry I find a 'surprise'.

No, I'm not talking about a tissue that was left in some one's pocket that is now all over an entire load of wash....

No, I'm not talking about a skid mark left in some one's undies (although unfortunately there have been a few of those too).

What I'm talking about is when the laundry is calling and you find THIS!!!!

How to get YOUR new look

I've had a few people ask me how to contact Nikki to get their new look. Right under my kids picture at the top of this page (on the left side) there is a link to Blogs for a cause. If you click on that the information on what to do is right there at your fingertips! Have fun- she's amazing!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My new look!!

Like my new look? It was a gift given to me by my sweet friend Michelle. Michelle is another one of my amazing adoption friends and the girl has a heart of gold. Michelle adopted Abby and Landis from Guatemala and her and her husband are also now in the process of bringing home a gorgeous little girl from Ethiopia~ Sami. Sami will be their 7th child. I love that family! THANK YOU MICHELLE!!! What an awesome gift!

My new design was done by Nikki. (Pictured in this post) This girl is AMAZING. Amazingly talented and has an amazing heart. She is giving these blogs a new face lift to raise money for her mission trip to the Dominican Republic. (Pretty cool idea if you ask me!) She went last year for 10 days and and she is going again this summer for the month of July as a student leader with the group called Hero Holiday. If you want to see pictures or read about it, you can read her blog from last summer. She will be blogging again this summer at . The mission trip costs a total of $3400. While she is there she will take part in building 2 schools, running a medical clinic, distributing food, clean water, and gifts, and working in an orphanage for kids with special needs. There are so many things a young girl her age could be 'choosing' to do with their free time and my hats off to Nikki. The girls got heart- and I, for one, am inspired by it. Now go check out her blog and help that girl be God's hands and feet!

Messy Memories

I don't know what got into me today... I typically spend half my day cleaning up messes- but today- we decided to MAKE THEM all over the house. We started out by making home made finger paint. Only we decided that using our fingers wasn't exactly what we were looking for- so we used our 'toes' instead.

And if that wasn't enough- Travis and his girlfriend, Cayley, decided to show up with cupcake supplies in hand and make cupcakes with the girls. At our house if you date- you basically have to date the whole family. Poor Cayley, she probably had no idea what she was getting herself into. Her and Travis both had icing smeared all over the side of their face and dripping down their shirt- but they still had a smile on their face. Ahhhh, to be young and in love again.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Have you ever been at a place in your life where you feel like you are running in circles trying to understand...trying to figure out God’s plan for you? The bible tells us that God has a plan for each of our lives... Lately though I have been struggling with trying to understand just what it is He wants me to be doing-because sometimes even though we are trying to do a ‘good thing’-the ‘right’ thing- God still closes the door. Sometimes this road block can be very painful.
I have changed as a person tremendously over the last 6-8 years. The change has been gradual… but if you knew me before and know me now you would see the change is quite obvious. The biggest change though I see is that I used to totally live my life so that it was pleasing to me… pleasing to the world. And now, well now, most days anyway- without going into a lot of details yet that I am not ready to share- my life is definitely heading in the opposite direction of what the world would view as popular. As often as I hear “Are you crazy?” I know I am going against the norm- going against what other people see as cool. I’m maturing as a Christian. Don’t get me wrong… I still have a long, long ways to go- but from where I came from- it’s been a big change.
Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things". Colossians 3:2”

Yet being a Christ follower and living for God can be hard. I was so hoping that it was as easy as handing my life over to God and letting him lead… and the truth is- IT IS-If, ‘I’ didn’t keep getting in the way. “I” meaning my stubbornness in that even though I should know better- I still try to figure things out… and when I jump to solutions too quickly- by-passing the pain, I miss out on the opportunity to trust God. He brought me here, allowed this pain, and I must trust Him to care for me.

Yet, I still find myself acting like a child- tugging at God’s shirttail with the question, "Why?" Why did you not let me have this… or do that… why did it not work out my way? But God in all His wisdom knows that if we always have an answer for things, we will be tempted to rely on ourselves during our pain rather than turning to Him. We are not meant to understand; we are meant to trust. Trust God for what He has brought into our lives, accept that God, who planned our lives from beginning to end, will allow both joy and pain into our lives- for our own good. When we refuse to recognize this and to accept our life as God has given it- we end up with our own agenda- and end up blaming someone else for our hurt. That is where we mess up. We blame others, get angry that things did not go our way. We are so sure that we were right that we miss out on what God was showing us. We can choose to focus on exactly why God has allowed this situation and how it came about, or we can focus on trusting God for the next step.

"Your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21

As children of God, it is crucial for us to trust God and all His ways. If we don't want to be driven crazy by the question of "Why?" we must realize that sometimes there are no answers- and accept that no matter how painful it is. The good thing is God’s comfort is greater than our suffering... God understands our pain- because no one has suffered more than our Father in heaven.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths. ---Proverbs 3:5-6”

Lord, please help me to trust… no questions asked… just plain old trust. Help me to not place blame, but to know that through pain, through trial- is where you will grow me most. Lord, help my life to be pleasing to you and, more than anything, always, I want to be used by you.

Favorite Foto Fun

LOOK CLOSELY... do you see it?? The butterfly that landed on Mya's shoulder?

This is one of my favorite photo's of Mya. It was taken outside our house on the day she was being dedicated at church. She was so excited for this day. She couldn't wait to put on her 'princess dress' (compliments of my good friend Dana) and she couldn't wait to be dedicated to the Lord in front of the entire church. So, we were outside snapping away at pictures and this pretty little butterfly flew up and landed on her shoulder just as I took the picture. I couldn't help but smile- thank you Lord for the reminder that you are always there, gently waiting for us to notice your presence.
"Lord, let our eyes be opened." Matthew 20:33

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Who took your place?

One day, a man went to visit a church.. He got there early, parked his car, and got out. Another car pulled up and the driver got out and said,"I always park there! You took my place!"
The visitor went inside for Sunday School, found an empty seat and sat down. A young lady from the church Approached him and stated, "That's my seat! You took my place!"
The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing. After Sunday School, the visitor went into the sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to him and said, "That's where I always sit! You took my place!"
The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment, but still He said nothing. Later as the congregation was praying for Christ to dwell among them, the visitor stood up, and his appearance began to change. Horrible scars became visible on His hands and on his sandaled feet.
Someone from the congregation noticed him and called out, "What happened to you?" The visitor replied, as his hat became a crown of thorns, and a tear fell from his eye, "I took your place."

Lord, thank you for taking my place...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Prayer Request Sunday

I got this idea from of this really cool lady's blog Each Sunday she has prayer request Sunday and prays for all that email her with a request. I thought it was the neatest idea! I would be more than honored to come before the Lord in prayer for YOU. Is there anything I can pray for you about today? I'd love to add you to my prayer journal. All you have to do is leave me a comment or email me at and I’ll be on my knees before the Lord for you in prayer each Sunday. I truly believe in the power of prayer. Thank you for this honor.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

Hand me downs...

Having six kids we always appreciate when someone else 'hands us down' their cute clothes. (They can keep their ugly ones-Hee/Hee) Today when I was getting Aleigha and Mya dressed I picked out an outfit for Mya that used to belong to her cousin Maddie. When I told Mya that the outfit she was about to put on used to be worn by Maddie you should have seen how proud she was. She strutted around in that outfit like she was a princess- who had just been given the greatest gift ever. We decided then and there the best thing about hand me downs was not the 'price'... it was loving the person who gave them to you more than life. Thank you Maddie- we love you!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Are they 'real' sisters?

In our lives we cannot remember a time that there was an Aleigha without a Mya. Where you find one- you will find the other. I can sneak into their room in the middle of the afternoon and there they will be, heads meshed together playing away- connected. As I sit here typing they are right outside the window… on the same bike… Mya peddling, Aleigha riding on the back (sound familiar Jenny) They spend their day playing together- being sisters.
So I find it interesting the number of times I am out in public and I get the question “Are they REAL sisters?” The mama bear part of me wants to scream "OF COURSE THEY ARE REAL? Do they look plastic to you??" I wonder how in the world anyone could ever be so insensitive to ask a question like that in front of my girls. These comments bother me the most because they imply that becoming a family through adoption is "less than" becoming a family by giving birth. Aleigha and Mya see themselves as family- pure and simple. The reality is that adoption is a method of joining a family, just like birth.

Yet the other part of me, the part that knew adopting a child of a different race- knows these questions will come. And while I admit my first instinct is to become angry, I know that as a transracial adoptive parent I have to be aware of how my responses will effect my girls. I need to see this as an opportunity to enlighten people, embrace diversity, and teach my children that we are all different and that uniqueness should be celebrated. By doing this I am parenting not for today- but for tomorrow.

By being sensitive to how I choose to respond to these questions, not only am I teaching my children how to answer, but also representing the views society has on adoption. By being proud of our adoption decision, of our multi-cultural family-my children will be proud as well. By having conversations about race, diversity, culture, and adoption -it allows room for my children to ask questions as well. It opens the door for me to ask my children how the comments made by the stranger or friend made them feel- and will give us a chance to discuss it. And in the instance that we didn't respond to the question the way that we had wished (we may be taken by surprise, angered, etc.) or how my girls wished we had answered (as in maybe saying too much or too little) we will all learn and grow.

What I want people to know is that in adoptive families- our joys and trials are as authentic as those of any family that is genetically linked. All of my kids do the same things ‘birth’ siblings do, they love each other, fight with each other, share each others clothes . They play together, celebrate holidays together, and do chores. Being real can comes in many different forms. I pray for the day when the world understands that.

Once again I am thankful for a God who understands… A God who was an adoptive father himself.

A glass of milk...

I came across this story and it really touched my heart. How many times would I have thought to give the glass of milk instead of just the water?? How many times could I have made a difference but instead missed the opportunity to be God's hands and feet?

"We are labourers together with God". 1 Corinthians 3:9

One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water.
She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked, "How much do I owe you?"
"You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness."
He said..... "Then I thank you from my heart." As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.
Year's later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.
Dressed in his doctor's gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case.
After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval.
He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill.
She read these words.....
"Paid in full with one glass of milk"
(Signed)Dr. Howard Kelly
Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: "Thank You, God, that Your love has spread abroad through human hearts and hands."

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

2007 International Adoption Statistics

I thought this was sort of cool to see how many international adoptions were done in the following countries in 2007.

From least to most:
Poland- 84
Mexico- 89
Haiti- 190
Phillipines - 265
Columbia- 310
Liberia- 314
India- 416
Kazakhstan- 540
Ukraine- 606
Vietnam- 626
South Korea- 939
Ethiopia- 1,255
Russia- 2,207
Guatemala- 4, 728
China- 5,453

Favorite Foto Fun

Is that cute or what? This is one of my all time favorite photo's. This picture was taken in Destin Florida over spring break a couple of years ago of Aleigha and her friend Walt at the beach. (by the way, the matching swim suits were not planned). Walt is also from Guatemala and we met his awesome parents on the airplane on our way to bring Aleigha home in July, 2004. Walt's new mommy and daddy were carrying an empty stroller so my husband walked up to them and asked them if they were adopting too! A special bond was made that moment that will last a lifetime. That day, that priceless moment of meeting our babies for the first time will forever tie our families together and once again- God couldn't have blessed us more. Love you Rhonda!!!

Thought for the day...

Start living now. Stop saving the good china for that special occasion. Stop withholding your love until that special person materializes. Every day you are alive is a special occasion. Every minute, every breath, is a gift from God.
~Mary Manin Morrissey

Lord, how many times have you heard me say "I'll be happy when I finally get my dream job, I'll be happy when I loose ten pounds...when I get that raise... when we move into our new house... when my husband works shorter hours...once the kids clean up more...when our adopted child comes home... Lord, let me live each day of my life knowing that because of you it is a gift- today is a gift. I will never, ever live this moment again... Let me be thankful for today- for the blessings you have given me right now. Let me live my life to the fullest and make a difference- right here, right now. Today.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Our day

Today my awesome friend Leslie came over for a play date. I never want to take for granted the blessing of the friendships I have made throughout our adoption journey. Some of the coolest people I have met in my life all came from the bond we created through adoption. Leslie was one if the 'miracle of adoption families' I featured on here previously. Her son Eli, from Guatemala, was in the orphanage the same time as Aleigha. We have been friends since and I am so thankful for her support, insight and friendship. Leslie also has a son, Noah- from India, and recently brought home her beautiful daughter Nandini from there also. It was so much fun spending the afternoon with them, eating way to many cupcakes and listening to our children giggle and play. Thanks for coming over Leslie and giving up your afternoon to be with us- we love you guys!!