Friday, March 29, 2013

"Good" Friday...

Good seems like such a strange thing to call the day that started Christ's journey to the cross where he suffered the most painful and agonizing death that he did not deserve in any way. How can we call it good? I know the story well, but it's been awhile since I just sat and read it in its entirety, so this morning, as Gabriel played happily at my feet with a stuffed bear, a toy camera, and a teether giraffe, I sat with my morning cup of java for some time with Jesus. And, I was easily reminded of why we call this Friday "good..." It's not because of the betrayal He experienced, the torture he endured, the mockery that was made of Him, the denial of His power and truth, or the suffering He so undeservingly took upon Himself. We call today "good" because it began the fulfillment of the rest of the story, which can be summed up into one word: victory.

There have been some things very heavily burdening my heart lately, and I was actually just telling my husband last night, "I want to have victory in this situation, but I just feel so weary..." And then, as I read through the crucifixion story, I couldn't help but be reminded that if my Jesus conquered death, He can conquer this life, too. Now, please don't get me wrong--I am certainly not comparing ANYthing that we experience in this life as the same as what Jesus endured for us. But what I am saying is that we can be reminded of His great and awesome power and be reminded of the end of the story: that He is victorious, and because He is victorious, we, too, can have victory THROUGH Him!

So, today, I choose to live life victoriously through the power of my risen Saviour! I choose to endure the trials and hardships that He has allowed in my path, knowing that He is at work through them and will allow me to conquer them through Him. And I pray that throughout the various celebrations and gatherings this weekend that my children will also experience the true reason that we celebrate this holiday. Amidst hand-dyed and mini Cadbury eggs and frilly dresses and handsome boy bow-ties, (which I'm not against any of...especially the mini Cadbury eggs!) I pray we don't lose sight of why we really celebrate Easter: the reminder of Jesus coming to die for our sins and being raised to life again so that we might all be raised to a newness of life in Him. So while my kids are excitedly hunting for eggs in Gi-Gi's neighborhood this weekend, I pray we will ever find ourselves hunting for the cross of Christ and the victory we can have through Him! Friday is here, but Sunday is coming!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Coffee and Cocoa Puffs...

Lots of "monumental moments" in my mommy-world have happened this past week, and I'm finding myself very reflective as a result. It's time like these where I wish time could just stop for a moment so I could make sure that I'm all caught up with everything and not missing anything, but I know that I can't. So, on mornings like these, I grab a bowl of cocoa puffs (an outward attempt to cling to childhood days) while I sip on a big cup of coffee (the reality of the stage of life I'm really in), and I pour my heart out to Jesus...

You've probably seen this quote from me before, but it is one I go back to a lot:
We have nine months to hold our children close to our hearts every second of every day, and then a lifetime of learning to let them go.
While I didn't get to hold Gabriel right NEXT to my heart for nine months, he certainly was right there IN my heart as I prayed daily for God to bless us with a child, and all the while his birthmother was carrying him and caring for him. Well, yesterday, March 26th, Gabriel turned 9 months old, and it also fell on the day of the week he was born, so he is 39 weeks old now. Since he was a c-section baby and his birth was scheduled at 39 weeks, he has now been outside of the womb as long as he was inside of the womb. I can't help but think of his precious birthmother and hope I have cared for him these past 9 months in the same loving way she did his "first" 9 months...I have treasured every snuggle, every smile, and every moment with this precious gift we've been given in having Gabriel as our son. He is a daily reminder to me of God's power and promises. My heart overflows every time I hold him close and see him smiling at me. We are truly blessed!

So what all is Gabriel up to at 9 months old?  Like I said--lots of monumental moments this past week!  He is now crawling like he's training for an Olympic event, and he often resembles a tornado as he breezes through a room. For example, when I was teaching piano on Tuesday afternoon, he literally crawled from where I was sitting to the other end of the room, dumped a drawer full of toys into the floor and then headed into the hallway, all in a matter of moments! (It's hard to find a sitter now that track season has started up, so all of the youth seem to be busy.) He also loves to chase balls across the floor and has started pulling up on things. He still is just sporting two teethers, but I can see some others trying to pop through, so I imagine those will happen before he hits ten months old. He may not have a mouth full of teeth yet, but he sure is able to chomp down a mouth full of food! He loves any kind of fruit or veggie, puffs, mum-mums, and baby cereal. He also loves his bottles, and he makes it VERY obvious when he's wanting one! But, other than those impatient moments, he's a very relaxed and easy-going little boy, and SO so very happy! He has the biggest smile and loves to stick his tongue out like the Cheshire cat as he grins away. His sissy can ALWAYS get him to crack a smile and laugh, and I think I maybe heard him trying to say her name today. It came out "la-la-la-la" but still:) However, that wasn't his first word. Apparently, all of DH's hard work paid off, because on Friday, Gabriel started saying "da-da." It's so amazing to hear his sweet little voice saying it repeatedly, and I'm pretty sure it melted DH right down into a puddle!

Gabriel isn't the only one with some monumental first moments this week though. Lucy had some, too, such as her very first school field trip today. The pre-k class got to go to the zoo today, along with a trip to McDonald's, and boy did I ever have one happy little 5 year old on my hands! As for her momma...well, I practically had a panic attack over the whole thing:/ I know it's silly, but I was just SO stressed out over her going on a bus somewhere almost an hour away without my supervision...even though I fully trust the person who was driving the bus and I'm good friends with one of her teachers. I was flooded with so many what-if's to the point that I considered keeping her home. But I was reminded of the phrase God gave me and continually brought to my mind during those 9 months that I got to hold Lucy close to my heart:
You've been called to live in FAITH and not FEAR...
I had to ask myself if I was willing to submit to that process of learning to let go just a little more. Sending a child off on a school field trip may not seem like a big deal to most moms, but for some reason it was a pretty big deal for this one. I think I also felt so guilty that I couldn't be there to experience it with her today, too. But, I loosened my grip a little bit more, and I poured out my heart a whole lot more to my Heavenly Father who I know loves Lucy even more than I do.

So what exactly does one do to celebrate such monumental moments as a mommy? You pass the cereal next to your two packets of splenda, munch on your cocoa puffs and sip on your java.  In other words, you tuck those precious moments of the past inside your heart so you can easily find them again, all the while enjoying each second of the present so you're sure to not miss another memory in the making.  You welcome the firsts all the while being thankful for the past that has made them all possible.  And you smile--at the beauty that surrounds you because of the grace that has been poured out upon you...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Good Stuff is Coming!

While not every day is exactly the same, the days that we are at home tend to follow a pretty typical routine, which, if you know me well, you know I LOVE a routine! (i.e. I'm that typical Baptist girl who doesn't always welcome change very warmly!) Gabriel is my schedule-baby. He thrives being on a schedule for the most part. So, after he gets up in the morning, he has his bottle, then we play for awhile in the floor with his toys. A little before 9AM or a little after, he starts to get fussy which means he wants his breakfast (usually cereal mixed with some formula and a fruit of some sort.) Once breakfast is over (which he makes VERY obvious by pursing his lips together and shoving the spoon away!) I change his diaper, snuggle him, sometimes we read a book, and then I turn his gloworm seashorse on after I put him in his crib. He usually puts up a tiny fight, but then he quickly falls asleep and wakes up cooing and laughing and smiling:) This is our morning norm, and it's been that way for quite awhile. So, you'd think with a baby boy who thrives on such a typical schedule that he would come to expect the next step in the process...but that's not exactly the case...

You see, when he wakes up in the morning, he usually plays happily in his crib for a little while, but then he starts crying to let me know, "Hey mom! I'm HUNGRY!" So I pick him up and change his diaper...all the while he cries and is very upset. But the moment I stick that bottle in his mouth, he's perfectly fine and content.

Then there's breakfast time. He starts fussing to let me know he's hungry. We follow the same routine--I pick him up, put him in his high chair, put a bib on him, and get his breakfast ready...and all the while he cries and is very upset. Yet, he knows that breakfast is on its way...the thing is, he doesn't want to wait for it, because he wants it RIGHT THAT SECOND!

I often find myself telling him while I'm trying to hurriedly get a bottle made or his food ready, "Honey...momma has never let you go hungry--why would you think I am going to this time?" Yet he still cries, even though a bottle always ends up in his mouth or a spoon full of food is always brought his way. I couldn't help but laugh as I glanced over towards my Bible on the dining room table as this was all happening this morning. I've been reading in Exodus where the Israelites have been brought out of Egypt and are in the desert. Every time they would face an obstacle, God would bring them through, and yet every time they STILL doubted and threw a fit in one way or another. As I look at my own life, I can unfortunately seem a similar theme. As we face struggles of various degrees, aren't we a lot like a little baby and like the Israelites?  God ALWAYS has shown Himself to be faithful, but time and again we doubt His faithfulness and we may even throw a fit during our time of wait. We grow impatient for things to happen exactly when we want them to, and we lose sight of His perfect timing and deliverance.

As I find myself dealing with different struggles in my own life, I find it so easy to want to whine my way through it and I grow weary and hopeless. But, then I am reminded of God's faithfulness. And just like I tell my sweet Gabriel, "Momma's getting it for you, I promise--but there's a process involved first, so if you can wait just a second, the good stuff is coming!" God is telling me the exact same thing:  "Don't worry, PB, I've got this!  I have never failed you before, and I never will!  I promise, the good stuff is coming! " As He was reminding me of these truths this morning, I found myself pouring over several different passages in the Old Testament.  Here are some excerpts from one of those passages that I want to share with y'all today...

From Lamentations 8:
"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning: great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him."
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD...
Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love...
Those who were my enemies without cause hunted me like a bird. They tried to end my life in a pit and threw stones at me; the waters closed over my head, and I thought I was about to be cut off.
I called on Your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: "Do not close Your ears to my cry for relief." You came near when I called You, and You said, "Do not fear."

Just as we want good things for our children, so does our Heavenly Father want good things for His children.  His faithfulness to me does not depend on my faithfulness to Him, but Oh, what a blessing when we learn to wait patiently for Him through each and every storm.  I pray that my God will find me waiting hopefully and expectantly, with PRAISE on my lips as a dear friend reminded me this week, and with confidence that He is working and has the "good stuff" coming!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Q & A...

I've been noticing a trend in questions/comments from people lately, and what better place to address them than right here?:) So here goes...

Question/Statement #1: What a beautiful little girl!
Response #1: Thank you--HIS name is Gabriel!

This pretty much happens on a daily basis when we are out in public around people who don't know us. Yes, I realize I like to curly-cue the hair on the top of his head. Yes, I realize his hair is somewhat long and absolutely BEAUTIFUL. And yes, I realize he has the most gorgeous, piercing eyes. But seriously??! The boy has on a button-down-the-front collared shirt with blue jeans. Even more so, there is no bow in said beautiful hair--THIS should be the dead giveaway! DH and my mother are convinced this statement is made because of the length of Gabriel's hair, which leads me to the next statement made most often:

Question/Statement #2: That boy needs a haircut!
Response #2: No way am I cutting away his baby-ness!

Call it a weird personal quirk or whatever you want, but I just have this thing about cutting my babies' hair. There's something about a baby's hair that is so pure and sweet and just full of baby-goodness:) As weird as it sounds to many, I just feel that cutting a baby's hair is like cutting away their baby-ness. So, I have this "thing" where I just won't cut a baby's hair until they are at LEAST one year old (Lucy was almost three!)

Question/Statement #3 (regarding keeping close contact with Gabriel's birthmom):
Are you sure that's a good thing?
What if she tries to take him back?
Are you worried?
Response #3: In short:
a. yes, of course it's a good thing!
b. *big eyes* (or rolling my eyes) as I think to myself, "seriously??!"
c. Yes--I worry about my son in the same way that I worry about my daughter. I want to protect them from harm, keep them under my safe watchful eyes, and I want to be there for them.

You may remember a former post entitled "The Punky Brewster Mentality" where I talked about the stigmas we have attached to adoption that are so opposite of what adoption really is, especially regarding OPEN adoption. I'll be honest, the thought of open adoption scared me SO much...BEFORE I was educated on what it really is. I can't even find words to express how thankful we are that Gabriel's birthmom allows us and wants us to have a very open relationship with her. On a personal level, I just really enjoy talking with her, and on my mommy-level, I am just so thankful GP will grow up knowing where he came from, who he looks like, and why he was placed with our family. I've thought many times about how Gabriel will no doubt one day ask me why his birthmother chose to place him for adoption, but I never expected that question to come so soon...and from my 5 year old. I think I forget that Lucy is only 5, and there's just no way her mind can wrap itself around this situation fully. Last week, we had the privilege of seeing Rachel for the first time since we were all at the hospital. (more on that in an upcoming post!:) and as we were leaving, Lucy looked at me very inquisitively and innocently had this conversation with me:

Lucy: I thought Gabriel was going to go with his mom?
Me: *heart sinking a bit* No honey, I'm his mom--Rachel chose me to be Gabriel's mommy and she chose Daddy to be his Daddy, and she chose you to be his sissy.
Lucy: But why? Why didn't she keep him?

My heart stopped for a moment. I think I had taken for granted that she had been so involved in the whole process, yet she is still so young, so she just couldn't fully understand the dynamics of it all. I took a deep breath, smiled at her, and I replied, "Because she felt it was the best thing for her, and for Gabriel, and for us. She felt it was the best thing for everybody." I tell both Lucy and Gabriel all of the time, "We are SO thankful that Rachel CHOSE Daddy and I to be Gabriel's mommy and daddy." I know that at both of their ages, they can't comprehend the weight behind that statement. I know that right now, they don't understand how truly selfless and sacrificial Rachel's love is for Gabriel. But, that doesn't stop me from telling them even now at a young age. I want them to both grow up knowing the truth, and I know one day it will make sense to them. I also want those around us to understand the beauty of this situation--it is not one bathed in fear or uncertainty, but it is a life full of trust, sacrifice, very many emotions...and it is SUCH a beautiful picture of what our heavenly Daddy has done for us. He CHOSE us to be His children because He loves us so very much. Isn't it amazing that the creator of the entire universe wants us to know Him and have a relationship with Him? He wants to pour His love out upon on our lives, so much so that He was willing to give His only son to die so that we might live. Adoption is such a beautiful picture of this--a mother being so selfless and sacrificial with the life of her child, a family choosing to take this child as their own, and it's all through an overwhelming theme of LOVE...

Friday, March 15, 2013


I remember the sleepless nights with my lucybug very well. Poor baby girl comes by her sleep issues honestly, as this momma has struggled with insomnia for years. Or maybe I'm just "paying for my raising" as I've heard I was quite the "singer" (um, ok, only if you consider "scream-o" a form of singing;) as a baby. I finally gave in and called our family doctor today to see if there is anything to help her with her restlessness-she cries out all night long in her sleep, but even just getting her to sleep in the first place is quite an event. From the time she was a newborn, she hasn't enjoyed sleeping by herself. I pretty much rocked her to sleep every night until she was three (go ahead, judge me, but I wouldn't trade those long nights of snuggling for anything!) and to this day she still often begs me to lie down with her while she goes to sleep...not to mention that she's frequently known to sneak into our room in the middle of night and hop in bed with us only to get sent back to her room. (Again noting the restless sleeper that she is--she flails her arms and legs all over the place, so it's impossible to sleep soundly with her next to you!) She is always anxious to stay the night at Gi-Gi's house because she gets to sleep in Gigi's bed. Tonight I found her snuggled away in her Gi-Gi's arms, both of them sound asleep. From 5 minutes old to 5 years old, the only way to cure her restlesness has always been for her to just be held...

Then there's my son. He is quite the little cuddlebud when he is AWAKE for sure, but he's not one for getting rocked to sleep. However, tonight was a different story. My poor baby boy has been struggling all day with pain from trying to cut more teeth, and he has been unusually restless this evening. He keeps waking up, crying. Normally, late night cries mean he is hungry and wants a bottle, but not tonight. He pursed his lips and pushed the bottle away, so I just held him closely and he quickly rested his head on his momma's shoulder. My sweet baby boy was hurting, and he just needed to be comforted. He simply wanted to be held...

Then there are others in my dear sister-in-law in particular is heavy on my heart right now as her daddy is expected to pass at any moment. I saw her tonight, and I just couldn't even find one single word to say to her that seemed comforting in the least. All I could tell her was I loved her and was praying for her, so I've been praying all evening that she would feel held by her Heavenly daddy...

Then there's me...I've been dealing with some personal things the last few months. My heart hurts, and my human mind just can't fully wrap itself around the hows and whys of it all. While I know I'm not alone, it's been one of those times in life where I FEEL alone, and it's just hard. While at my mom's over spring break, I was able to go out to dinner with one of my oldest friends. We caught up on life, reminisced, laughed together, supported one another, and just spent time together. I was reminded of the blessing that comes from a relationship like that, where someone has truly experienced life with you, so they don't misunderstand you or easily pass judgement on you. They just listen to you, love you, try their best to understand you, and they encourage you. In a way, they hold you...

There are a great many other things on my mind right now, but they are things I need to just hold close to my heart, and as I was holding my own precious child this evening, I was reminded that my Jesus is right here with me, ready to scoop His child up in His mighty arms and hold her. The lyrics to this beautiful (yet also hard-to-listen-to) song came to the forefront of my mind, and I want to share them here:

Natalie Grant "Held" Lyrics

Two months is too little, they let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling

Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We're asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair

This is what it means to be held
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

If hope if born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait for one hour
Watching for our Savior

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive

This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

Monday, March 11, 2013


Do you remember the days when people would call you on your home telephone, before caller I.D. was the norm?  You'd pick up the phone, and you could often tell who was on the other end of the line just by the way they would utter two very simple syllables: Hello.

Of course, there was the occasional (or, unfortunately, not-so-occasional) telemarketer, random wrong number, or someone calling for you older brother or your mom that you didn't know.  But if the phone call was for you from a friend, you probably knew exactly who they were without having to ask, because you just knew their voice.

Well, nowadays ( I've made myself sound old twice in this post already...and this is just the 3rd paragraph!) you just look at your phone and you know who's calling, but that still doesn't change the fact that if it's a close friend or family member, you just KNOW their voice.  You can hear their mannerisms when they talk, and you don't have to question the intent behind something they say because you know how their heart sounds in audible form.  You know them, because you've invested time in your relationship with them and vice-versa.

We are so blessed to be part of a church family who truly loves on our kids like they are their own--people who invest in our children's lives.  We have friends that keep an eye on Lucy for us each Sunday as we lead worship, and there are always willing arms to snuggle Gabriel during the service.  This past Sunday, he sat with a friend towards the back of the sanctuary, and when I was talking with her after the service she mentioned how when DH got up at the end of the service and was speaking and singing, Gabriel immediately jerked his head in his Daddy's direction.  My friend commented, "He knows his Daddy's voice!"  It's so true--from the time he was still a newborn, he could hear his Daddy's voice from far away, and he would watch him excitedly as he would walk towards him.

This Sunday evening, I went to the nursery to pick Gabriel up after children's choir.  He was happily chomping on some teething ring links as I called out from the hallway, "Gabriel!  Where's momma?!"  He yanked his head around, locked his eyes with mine, and he gave me the biggest, sweetest Gabriel-grin.  My heart melted as I thought, "He knows his momma's voice."

As I was reflecting on the day, I couldn't help but think of this passage in John chapter 10:
[The shepherd] calls his own sheep by name and leads them out...and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.  But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice...I am the good shepherd.  I know my sheep and my sheep know me....

Have you ever questioned which path God would have you choose?  As quite possibly THE most indecisive person on the face of the planet (seriously, I can't even decide what cup I want to drink out of at home half the time!), God and I have had MANY conversations about big life-decisions.  But you know what I've learned over the years?  When my heart is truly set on pleasing my Heavenly Father and bringing Him glory, He won't allow me to make a wrong turn...because I know His voice, and when I don't hear it, I know to run away.

I remember one time I was offered a job kind of out of the blue.  I wasn't looking for a job, and I didn't exactly HAVE to have one, but one had presented itself.  I was so very torn on whether or not to take it, and just didn't have a peace about it either way.  So I just prayed, "Lord, I don't know what You're telling me to do, and I have to make a decision right now, so if this isn't what You'd have me to do, then please just put a stop to it somehow." And you know what?  That's exactly what He did!  As I began to turn one way, I was no longer hearing my Father's voice, but more the voice of a stranger, and I knew I needed to run!

I was thinking of a praise and worship song today that I sang a lot when I was in college:

Hungry, I come to you
For I know You satisfy
I am empty, but I know
Your love does not run dry

So I wait for you
So I wait for You
I’m falling on my knees
Offering all of me
Jesus, You’re all this heart is living for

Broken, I run to You
For Your arms are open wide
I am weary, but I know
Your touch restores my life

So I wait for you
So I wait for You
I’m falling on my knees
Offering all of me 

Jesus, You're all this heart is living for
And then, later in the day, I saw someone post Psalm 63:1 on twitter:  
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

I was reminded how the more time we spend with Jesus, the more time we WANT to spend with Him; the more we learn about Him, the more we want to KNOW Him; and the more we listen to Him, the more we want to HEAR from Him.  We wait for Him because we know He will answer; we thirst for Him because we know nothing else will satisfy us.  The more we sit at His feet, the more we get to hear His voice, and then the more recognize Him.

From just minutes after Gabriel was born, we have had the privilege of talking to him, holding him, and loving on him.  He knows what our voices sound like because he has heard us speak to him, sing to him, and pray over him on a daily basis since he entered this world.

Oh that I would know the voice of my Heavenly Father so intimately, too...I pray that I will truly say that my God is the reason that I live, my source for everything, and the voice that I always respond to.  Just as my children know the voice of their mommy and daddy, I pray I will know the voice of my Heavenly Daddy, in hopes that they will know Him one day, too.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Springing forward...

I couldn't help but laugh as I read the opening statement for today's devotional in "My Utmost for His Highest":

Turning Back or Walking with Jesus?

The reason it struck me with such irony is that today is quite possibly one of the most dreaded days of the years: it's time to "spring forward."  A part of me seriously believes that whoever came up and implemented this horrible idea was purposely trying to play a cruel joke on parents of young children.  Can I get an AMEN from my fellow mommas out there?!  I mean, it's not just that we're going to lose an entire hour of sleep...we're going to lose all ground on sleep-training efforts just so that it can stay light outside for a little bit longer.

OK...I'll admit, I DO like that part about it.  As a cyclist, the whole "fall back" thing really puts a cramp on available training time, so springing forward certainly does have its benefits, especially for a momma of young kiddos.  It's hard to get my training in during the day, so if I have extra daylight, it's much easier to find the time to get my mileage in.

So, I'll admit it, it's not ALL bad;-)

But, regardless of which side of the fence you hang out on for this particular topic, I can't help but think of the spiritual meaning it has in our lives, too...

Do we eagerly "SPRING forward" to what God has for us, or are we content to just "FALL back" into our old way of life?

The Lord recently convicted me of something I'd been struggling with, and I laid it before Him...only to have it rear its ugly head just a matter of hours I laid it down again...and again...and again...At some moments, it seems easier to just fall back into my old way of life, but deep down, that's really not how I want to live.  I want to live victoriously!  I want to live for Christ!  I want to bring Him glory!

So, when my alarm clock wakes me up an hour earlier in the morning, while I may not spring happily out of bed, I do hope my heart will spring willingly forward with a readiness, willingness, and excitement for what God has for me!  (Which hopefully will include an afternoon nap;-)

Friday, March 8, 2013


My day started early with a little five year old girl crawling into bed as she grimaced and clinched her tummy.

ANOTHER stomach virus. I believe this makes her fifth since November...

Needless to say, "spring break" started early for us since the time we normally would be driving to school was spent by me holding my daughter's hair back for her as she threw up in a trashcan on the floor...along with about 4 other times throughout the "school day." I found myself a bit discouraged thinking how she was, again, sick. But as I was praying for her during my quiet time, the Lord whispered in my ear, "Do you really think this has caught me by surprise and that I'm not taking care of her?" Without hesitation, I responded, "Thank you, Lord, for protecting my daughter."

You see, I realized something...I pray daily for God to protect my Lucy as she goes to school-to protect her innocence as I know she is exposed to things I don't want my five year old exposed to. I pray for God to close her ears to things I don't want her to hear and to close her eyes to things I don't want her to see, and I pray for Him to somehow, in the midst of a very secular world, still draw her to Himself and allow her to live up to her name of being a light-bringer. Yesterday, I was praying that extra hard as Lucy had shared something with me a classmate had told her. My heart broke that not only had my daughter been exposed to this conversation, but it also broke to think that this other child had been, too. I found myself praying extra hard for Lucy's protection throughout the day, and then it suddenly struck me-perhaps all of these days Lucy has been home sick have been days that she has missed being exposed to something she shouldn't be exposed to. Don't get me wrong-I absolutely hate when my children are sick-it just breaks my heart. But God reminded me that He is ALWAYS in control and He is always working. And even though she hasn't felt 100% today, we still enjoyed a full day together filled with lots of snuggles:) she started the day off crawling in bed with me, and she ended the day crawling on the couch with me...yes, I realize she was manipulating her momma because she really just wanted to watch TV, but I still got extra snuggles out of it, so I'm okay with the motive;-)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Dear Birthmother...Dear Rachel...

When I started this blog, I thought a long time about what I wanted to title it.  I chose "Dear Birthmother..." because I wanted it to be like a journal to our baby's birth mother...chronicling our way through our adoption journey, showing the day to day goings on of our lives, and sharing what God was teaching and had taught me through the process.  And today, I cannot tell you how excited I am, because I get to INTRODUCE YOU to this incredible woman who we love so dearly.  You've met our precious Gabriel, and now I would like for you to meet the woman who gave life to him and new life to us as a family...

Note: I have always been very discreet regarding certain parts of Gabriel's adoption and have been careful not to post any pictures of his birthmother or reveal any identifying information on her, because we always want to respect her and her privacy in everything we do and say.  However, she told me this week that she didn't have a problem with me posting her name and photos, so I'm so excited to finally get to "share" her with you guys! 

So please meet a woman very dear to me...the woman who gave birth to our son, and the woman who I am very privileged to count as my friend, but so much more than that.  Please meet Rachel!
Not only is she beautiful on the outside, but she is also beautiful from the inside!  I have nothing but incredible love and respect for this woman, and I'm so excited that ya'll can get to know her just a little bit, too:)

I'll be posting more soon, but right now I just want you to each stop and join me in lifting up this amazing woman to our Heavenly Father.  Please praise Him along with us for bringing her into our lives, and pray for Him to bless her, guide her life, and reveal Himself to her in a new way!