Sunday, December 11, 2016


Peace is such a big little-big word.  You know, a little word with a big meaning?  Like L-O-V-E. Such a small word with a whole lot of power.

Today I sat in the church service and listened as our pastor finished up the series on the names of Christ.   Isaiah 9:6:  For unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

I sat there today, tears stinging the back of my eyes as I realized that this is exactly what Jesus has been for me this year - even when I didn't acknowledge it - or really realize it.

This year has felt like a whirlwind in every way.  When I flipped the calendar over to December, I remember thinking "Wow, that sure happened fast!"  And during the year I can't tell you how many times I thought "If we can just make it to Sunday night" - and we did - almost 52 times already!
I just want to take a minute to be thankful for all the ways I/we have been sustained and encouraged this year.

I am thankful that in January, Nate was courageous enough to take a giant leap of faith and leave UPS after more than 10 years.  I was terrified.  Everything we had ever known, and ever planned for - revolved around his job. The stability, the plans we had for the future, our livelihood - in my mind -was coming from UPS.  Yes, I realize it was a job given to Nate by God to provide for our family and it is He alone who meets our needs, but in that moment, making a "once we leave we are gone" decision for a job that was so different, a job that would be a huge adjustment for our family and was going to take all the security that I could see right out from under our feet - I thought - what are we thinking? But Nate just did it - he prayed, thought and prayed some more - and then he just trusted, and we both had peace.

When it came to the decision to put Skylar in school - I had been really really reeeeaallllyyy on the fence.  What is best for her?  Does she need to be in school?  Should I keep her home and home school?  Should I send her here - or there?  And we prayed, and prayed and prayed - made a decision - and we had peace.

And in between a new job, new schedule for work for both of us, new school, new church - two weddings (third one on the way) - our hearts were being led to start the adoption process.  In a year that was already overwhelming and hard to balance - we knew God was calling us.  As soon as we listened and obeyed - we had peace.

Yet, in the middle of this entire adoption process - a process full of paperwork, training, waiting, financial investment - I have had more peace about God's provision in our life that I think I have ever had. All the logistics that would normally worry me sick have been easy to overlook compared to the total lack of control that has come with knowing our baby is halfway across the world and there is not a blessed thing I can do about that.  I feel like I am searching for peace about this one thing - constantly praying that God will protect her and bring her home sooner than later. I know it sounds so stinking crazy - because I don't know her - who she is, how old she is, where she is, or what she looks like, but my heart literally aches for her.  It's a feeling that is so hard to put in to words.  I remember being pregnant with Skylar and Wyatt and wanting desperately to hold them - but it wasn't a painful ache - because they were with me, safe - and I knew.
But this is a whole new realm of emotions, a whole new level of peace needed.  I have to fight back tears when I think about her - not knowing who is holding her - or if she is even being held.  Is she sad, cold, hungry, lonely - or does she have wonderful caretakers who play with her, pray over her and let her know her mom and dad will be there for her soon?  I pray desperately she knows she is loved and wanted.

But this one thing I know - and was reminded of again today at church - when the chaos and worries of life surround me, I can have peace because of who my Heavenly Father is - and I know that He cares for her even more than I do.  This give me peace.

As the holiday season goes on - I am praying for peace.  I am praying that I will know that God's timing is best.  That He is still working on me, and preparing me to be her mom.  If the time was right, she would be here already.  I pray that I will not rush through or wish away this phase of waiting - but instead relax in the peace that only He can give me, that I will enjoy my time with Skylar and Wyatt, and that I will be still and know that He holds my baby even when Nate and I can't.

This song has been an encouragement to me lately - knowing Jesus, Only Jesus can sustain me.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Momma RollerCoaster

The Mom-Coaster.  It is life lately.  Daily.  It's the ride of mom-life that moves you from the pit-of-disobedient-despair to mountaintop-of-sweetness spitting you out into the frustration-loop-of-back-to-back-bad-decisions followed by a swift ride up to the pinnacle-of-pride.  A ride where rarely are the transitions from each point smooth or slow - instead, it starts when your feet hit the floor at break-neck speed until you finally [try to] shut the ride down at 7 p.m. when toddlers go to bed - which actually turns into 8-ish p.m. after the 20th [frustrating] request for water, kisses, bathroom breaks, one more song and a tighter-tuck-in are finally over.

Today (by 1 p.m.) it was a roller coaster day.  The morning started fine - no one got up horrifyingly early - we had decided to skip school today (its VPK, relax) and run pre-wedding errands and also had some fun ideas for the afternoon.

But by the time we went downstairs for breakfast the you-know-what flew sky high. I noticed last night that Skylar's hair looked funny - but was in the middle of getting Wyatt back in bed for the 56474987321321th time (no, not an exaggeration) and Nate put her in bed with the light off so I didn't think another thing about it.  Yet, here, in the glaring morning light of the kitchen it slaps me in the face - Skylar has bangs.  I finally stopped shaking long enough to ask her, "Skylar did you cut your hair?"  Her face said it all.  Busted. And genuinely upset about it. She teared up and said "yes, it was in my face while I was doing art, so I just cut it."  I really really tried to respond with kindness, grace, love and all that stuff.  I'm pretty sure I said "Seriously?  It was in your face so you cut it - instead of going to get a ponytail holder or a headband??? Are you JOKING?"  I could literally feel a 37 minute lecture seeping up my throat and it was probably going to come out at a volume that I hate to hear myself talk at - so I didn't say anything further. [Does this count as self-control if all 37 minutes of lecture were still playing in my head??]  I sent Nate a text letting him know what happened (and how I really felt - sorry, Nate) and while I knew it could have been SSSOOO much worse - I was just so upset.  KIDS! SERIOUSLY. Five years from now - when her hair finally grows back out - (eye roll) - none of this will matter but that mom-coaster slung me for a loop.

This was immediately followed by a Proud-Peak-Momma-Moment when both kids spent an hour in a bridal salon while I tried on 15 dresses (some several times) sat and kept themselves occupied, shared one electronic device and one book and didn't act bored, crazy or make a scene.  The ladies in the salon complimented them several times on their behavior (which I needed after The Bangs) and on the way out another customer complimented Wyatt on his manners.  In that moment I could have given them both a trophy.

But then we came home.  And Skylar decided to practice her handstands in her room against her wall. A wall that has some low hanging frames so that she can display her artwork from school.  Frames that were apparently in the exact spot she wanted to practice. After hearing a giant bang several times coming from her room, I went to check only to find - Skylar with a nail and a hairbrush - re-hanging her frames.  DEFINITELY not in a straight line - and DEFINITELY not successfully driving the nail into the wall - rather making a random three-nail-sized hole in the wall.  And the valley of destructiveness-can't-have-anything-nice-because-my-kids-find-a-way-to-destroy-everything came crashing into view.

But then - one of those moments you want to bottle up and hold on to forever and ever because (despite the crazy) you get a small glimpse into your kids heart happened -  and I want to end my day today thinking about that - no matter what this afternoon holds.  I told the kids that we would be giving them each $10 to spend on a gift for each other - and they would get to pick whatever they wanted to give the other, buy it and wrap it themselves.  This was followed by cheers from each of them. Skylar was so excited - "What a great idea!" (Thanks, I thought so too, kid.)  "But I'm really going to need double $10. - Because I want to buy and wrap a toy for my sister in China too."  My heart stopped.  My heart that was still a little lot cranky looking at her bangs and a mind that was frustrated thinking about the suddenly-smaller hole in the wall upstairs.  My eyes welled up a little as she continued "...and I think we need to get her a stocking to hang with ours too, even if she isn't here this year - we can save her goodies until she gets here." Her heart.  HER HEART!!!  Mom-Coaster off the charts.

I really wish there was a warning label on newborns.  Caution: This baby will wreck your world in the best way possible - and the bigger they get - the bigger the wrecks.

May I always try to see past the too-short bangs, because the days really are too short.  May I try to not worry about the scuffed-up-extra-holey (did I mention they have been drawn on) walls and instead see the fact that these walls are holding up a home that is full of memories and little people God has so graciously blessed us with - and what sweet, kind, tender little ones they are.

So, on that note - I leave you with The Bangs. (She is still pretty cute.)