Wednesday, December 24, 2014

O Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas in the shape of a tree!

I couldn't decide on just one... merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Hey, what's this thing here with my name on it?  It's vaguely familiar.

A blog, you say?  Wait ... I have a blog?  I almost forgot! 

Well, hello. 

I make no promises at this point about 30 days of posts or even two days of posts.  I'm seriously just here checking in ... do I even have people still checking this blog anymore?

If you don't check it any longer, don't feel bad.  I don't either.  At least not with any kind of regularity.

Anyway, it's just five days until Christmas and I was having trouble sleeping as I think about all it means for our family, so I thought I'd just take a peek and say hello to anyone still paying attention. 

This was nice.  Easy.

Maybe I'll visit again on another day.  Maybe I'll even think of something to write.  Who knows?!

Be blessed.  Merry Christmas. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

In No Particular Order, 31 in 31 - Day 5
Remember to click on the series title graphic above to see the rest of the lists in this series.

Thirty-one Words I Love to Use to Describe God

1.  Holy.

2.  Love.

3.  Grace.

4.  Power.

5.  Mercy.

6.  Shepherd.

7.  Father.

8.  Trustworthy.

9.  Perfect.

10. Sovereign.

11. Creator.

12. Giver.

13. Lord.

14. Omniscient.

15. Omnipotent.

16. Omnipresent.

17. Strength.

18. Glory.

19. Healer.

20. Friend.

21. King.

22. Compassion.

23. Jesus.

24. Spirit.

25. Light.

26. Way.

27. Truth.

28. Life.

29. Faithful.

30. Rock.

31. Necessary.

I could go on and on about my Lord and Savior.  He is my everything.  Everything else is just blessing poured out on me through Him.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

In No Particular Order, 31 in 31 - Day 4

Thirty-one Health and Development Issues in Our Family

Regardless, of the challenges our family faces, this is our family. So while the diagnoses and labels help us research and help us to connect with others dealing with the same kinds of things, around home, we are working towards less labeling and more just loving each other for who we are - both the troubling and the blessing in each person's personality and our humanness. For the record, it's not the easiest to do when so many of us are "special needs."  I'm including myself in that category!  So I'm listing our current issues here - there have been others in the past that we have grown past or been healed by Jesus and probably others that we'll face in years to come. One day at a time, right? And lots and lots of grace. 

1.  Asthma.

2.  Seasonal Allergies. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

In No Particular Order, 31 in 31 - Day 3

Thirty-one Trips Since 2003

I've tried to share some of our travels in the past 11 years (Enter the Kids years) by way of photographs instead of just words.  The photographs aren't necessarily the best photos from our trips (some of them are), but they were significant in my mind to represent the trip.  I tried also to keep captions short.  It was really difficult to narrow down all of our trips to just 31!  We have gone so many places -- we are so blessed!  Anyway, here's a sampling of one of our family joys...

1. January 2003 - From New Hampshire to Coastal Maine.  This was just C and I.  This was about a year after we were licensed to adopt and just before the foster care department called us up and asked if we would consider foster parenting while we waited for our adoptive placement.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

In No Particular Order, 31 in 31 - Day 2
(See other posts in the 31 days of Lists series by clicking the title picture above.)

Thirty-one Interests of Mine

1.  Faith.

2.  Family.

3.  Body of Christ.

4.  Writing.

5.  Photo-journaling.

6.  Photography.

7.  Genealogy.

8.  Reading.

9.  Travel.

10. Adventure.

11. Shopping.

12. Homeschool preparation.

13. Books.

14. Technology.

15. Organization.

16. Community activites.

17. Church service.

18. Singing.

19. Dancing.

20. Creativity.

21. Dating (my husband).

22. Beaches.

23. Photo book creation.

24. Praying.

25. Giraffes.

26. Joy!

27. Food.

28. Praise music.

29. Quiet time.

30. Trees.

31. Nature.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

In No Particular Order, 31 in 31 - Day 1

Happy October! I realize I've been away awhile, but this month I'm challenging myself to do 31 posts in 31 days and hopefully reestablish some kind of more regular blogging habit.  I miss this!  Anyway, I've decided that for the month of October, I'm going to do one of my favorite things: make lists.  The lists will cover a variety of topics and all information contained within will be listed in no particular order of significance or importance.  The lists themselves will also be posted in no particular order of significance - though there are a few lists that might require being posted on a particular date for whatever reason I deem necessary. Click the title-picture above to get a list of all my 31 in 31 posts.

Let's get started on Day 1.

Friday, June 6, 2014

A House

We had no idea it would happen this quickly, and yet, I am not at all surprised. In all of our big moves, God has been the director, the provider and the orchestrator and in His hands things seem to flow effortlessly into place.

It is not that we have been without struggle or hard labor in the process, but that each new phase of the move sort of shows up before we expect it. 

Imagine you are traveling someplace familiar: to a relatives home, perhaps. You have travelled to visit this loved one on several occasions and you've pretty much memorized the route and the time it will take you to travel this route. But the turns you know are coming along the way get there moments before you expect them and the roads are a bit less bumpy or crowded...this is the way this move process has gone so far. We have a perception of steps and time this journey will take, but things come to fruition before we even consider worrying about them. 

The hardest parts are all being covered for us by God's power and grace. What a ride this has been!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June 1

Today is June 1. For many, this date may not seem like much. For me, this date has now become synonymous with new chapters in my life - or collectively, new chapters in the life of our family.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Update on the Move and Things

I was reminded today by a friend in our church family, that some people actually do like reading my posts if I could just keep up with doing them.  I do ENJOY doing them, but I am just not good at posting a quick little thing for each day, so then I have these huge chunks in time where I say nothing at all (except what I put on Instagram).  Then I bombard you with an epic tale of our lives lately.

Well, something is better than nothing.  While I'm in this season of sporadic blogging, feel free to parcel out sections of my longer posts into daily portions.  I'll never know.

So an amazing thing happened after our trip to Texas in April: that meet and greet turned job interview C had, was turned into a job offer just a couple days after we got back to New Mexico.  The following Monday, in fact.

I had prayed throughout our trip that God would line up open doors (WIDE OPEN) and close doors on all the extra "maybe" paths we had going on in our minds.  This job offer was one of the ways the Lord revealed His plan for us.  We would have been fools to pray so boldly for open doors and closed doors and then take all He showed us and go another way.  So we did our due diligence in praying about the offer and discussing details, but we knew fairly quickly that we would accept.

C starts work on June 2.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Road Trip: Texas, Day 10

Day 10


Ripped from our beds while it was still dark by screaming fire alarms throughout the building. 

I grabbed our room key and my phone (but not our car keys) and went out of our room to find our kids covering their ears and still in their beds. 

I stayed calm and said, "Alright kids, let's go."

J grabbed her flip-flops and headed towards the door, O wondered what was going on, H and Z doubted the validity of the alarm and asked why we had to go outside. 

In response, I asked them, "Where's Daddy?"

Some organization we have! No one had any natural sense of danger while fire alarms are blaring all around us. 

J was obedient to my instructions, but the three boys took the "Question everything," to mean, "Question Mama about everything." And C had gone to the front desk to find out what was going on. 

We used to practice fire drills when kids were little, but it's probably time to reinstitute some kind of plan in these situations. 

We walked outside and waited by our Sequoia, C joined us soon after, with news that it was a prank. 

The air was already warm. We could not hear the alarms outside, so it was quiet and dark. Better to be there than in the room with alarms blaring. So we waited until they were shut down. 

On the bright side, we were up early for the drive home. 


Car loaded. Breakfast had. On the road. I'm driving. (I typed this note before I was actually driving.)

Road Trip: Texas, Day 9

Day 9

I woke early. C and the kids were still sleeping. I used the quiet time to read my Bible and talk to God for a while. I also posted to the blog for the day before. 

By 8:45am, the others were waking for breakfast. The regular routine of breakfast at the hotel has been good for us, but I'm growing tired of the same ol' choices, day after day. All I really want are more Texas-shaped waffles. But I limited myself this vacation. 

After breakfast, we headed to some new-to-us neighborhoods, closer to downtown Houston. Ideally, a shorter commute for C would be great, unfortunately, we are not city-life people. 

We did give it some thought though. We ultimately decided we couldn't do it.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Road Trip: Texas, Day 8

Day 8

C woke me this morning just before 6:00am on his way out of our hotel room. He was heading to the dining room for breakfast and to complete the standard job application for the company with whom he was interviewing today. 

I spent time in the Word and did some house searches on my tablet. Eventually, I rose to get the kids rolling for breakfast. 

The meals here at the hotel aren't spectacular, but they are "good enough."  Additionally, they are free. Or included. For some reason, our kids love hotel food. So they all get out of bed with a good attitude and head over to the dining area each new day. 

C texted me when he could to update me about when he arrived, the check-in process, how each section of interview went, etc. I missed him. 

After breakfast, J and O joined me for a walking adventure. C had the Sequoia, so our only options were to hang out at the hotel or take a walk to see what was right around the hotel. The older boys opted to sit around the hotel and play video games. Not surprising. But I didn't argue because taking just the younger two would make things easier on me, which is the option I choose every time while on vacation. 

So we set out and headed right down the major road our hotel is on. J, naturally wary, stayed by me cautiously. Where there were wide sidewalks, she walked next to me and often reached over to hold my hand as cars and busses went whizzing by. 

O, on the other hand, who is rarely cautious enough and always abounding in energy unless he's ill, ran (or skipped) way ahead, often teetering on the edge of the busy road like a balance beam. I had to keep reminding him to be as far away from the edge as the walkway allowed, as well as reeling him back from being too far ahead that he could not hear my instructions. 

J and O are good for one another. J constantly mothers him and helps him learn to stop and think about things, while O does a good job helping her not to take life too seriously and to occasionally throw some caution to the wind. I have no doubt that left to their own devices, they could probably work themselves out of any situation, as often as they manage to work their way into many situations. These people are going to be outstanding adults someday and I can't wait to know them then. For now, I'm blessed that they call me Mama and that I get to witness their personalities and gifts on a daily basis.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Road Trip: Texas, Days 6 & 7

My note-taking in the past two days has been sketchy (if any at all), so I'm going to compile my thoughts as I put this post together, throw in some low-quality phone photos and call it a day-- or rather, two days.

Day 6


Good morning. I'm claiming this attitude in spite of a restless night of sleep. Jesus, please make it so. 

Today is C's last day of 40. He has some good things planned for tomorrow, so I'm praying that he will have no major interruptions. 

On the high level, he hopes to get up early to spend some time on his own and bring back doughnuts for everyone.  He started last Father's Day this way and discovered it suits him. He is hoping to fit in a visit to Penzey's Spices and the Space Center. Of course, we are all excitedly awaiting his gift opening. 

Tomorrow night also includes a visit to church and youth group and probably sushi at some point. 

2:41 pm

Our goal today is to use two of our CityPass tickets today, as well as visit the American Girl store so J can spend the money she's been saving. 

(And this is where my notes leave off, in hopes my memory is enough.)

At this point, my note plan was to reflect back a month or so to when I posted on Instagram about J's desire for an American Girl Doll and share with you God's blessing of an anonymous gift from one of our Instagram friends who felt called to fulfill J's hope. She received her American Girl Doll soon after and she looks just like her - straight brown hair and blue eyes. Someday back home, I should post the video of her receiving the doll. She was so completely joyful, she had me near tears as I witnessed her receive a gift so special from someone special God put in our lives. Since that day, she's had a new desire: to outfit the doll she calls "Jessica" with the finest clothes and accessories. 

Anyway, we headed downtown to visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (MFAH). as it was one of our remaining tickets. This museum did not disappoint. It has a lot of large, dramatic empty spaces like most big city art museums seem to have, which make an equally defining statement as the abundance of art displays. The art was not only plentiful, but diverse and high-quality. There were original works from artists I've actually heard about, like Picasso, and large collections of work from artists I know less about, such as Braque.  There was a variety of artistic examples from sculptures to oil paintings and spanning thousands of years and cultures all around the globe.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Road Trip: Texas, Day 5

Day 5


I woke again at 3:30am with excruciating hip AND calf pain. I was up till 4:30am, praying and stretching in the dark. Again, not sure if it's the bed or extra exercise I'm getting on vacation, but either way, it's painful and uninspiring and I don't like it. 

I slept till 7:37am after falling back to sleep. 


We've been out exploring most of the day. So far, our favorite area is League City. There is a certain charm that appeals to us in that town. There's a lot of new development, but we especially like the more historic elements and the community areas. 

Per usual, we always find the best houses are about $100,000 more than we want to spend. But when the timing is right, The Lord will point us to the right house and give us provision for it.

Road Trip: Texas, Day 4

Day 4


Maybe I went to sleep too early! Why am I awake?  My hips are killing me. Not sure if it was the sand-walking or this bed. Either way, I'm up for a bit, trying to pace and stretch the discomfort away. 


I have moved around a lot in my lifetime. Every move presents new challenges, but greater blessings. I think I've learned to rely on The Lord a lot more than if I'd stayed in one comfortable spot for decades.

The thing I've learned best, though, is that I can live just about any place. Whatever the climate, however the environment and whatever the circumstance, my Home is in Heaven, so where I reside on earth is in service to my God. I am willing to go where He calls or sends us because that is one of my contributions to His work in this world. 

It doesn't mean that leaving what's comfortable and good friends or family behind is any easier with each move. It is necessary for my faith and I accept that. But I do struggle with major life change and discomfort. 

This part of Texas is really beautiful and the people are friendly. I have no doubt I will survive and thrive here where the gulf is near and there is an even distribution of trees and open sky (a mix between NH and NM). I love that everywhere we go, there are messages of hope on billboards and signs because the nature of the majority of these people is to know about (and love?) The Lord, to vote conservatively and to treat others with respect. 

But Texas definitely feels a bit like a foreign country to me. I can't really put my finger on it. There is just this weird sense that Texas is not like any place I have lived so far. Texas is also a diverse land. What type of living here will be God's best for our lives and for raising our kids?

I love having access to places and variety, but as I age, a quieter life calls to me as well. There is an appeal to coastal life where services are distant and must be better planned out to accomplish errands in chunks, rather than sporadically throughout each day. However, living in closer proximity to people and business usually offers more opportunities for us to serve others and to find friendships and support. 

I am primarily an introvert. I adapt well to situations and can be more social if need be. But our kids - even our more introverted two - need more social interaction than I require. My husband needs people to talk to, definitely. He is constantly on a mission to learn. He is going nuts as we drive around and his head fills with more questions than we can answer in one visit. 

What are people fishing for? How does all this oil refining machinery work? What will this place be like in different seasons? Where are the places that serve to best local catches?

He not only longs for answers, but for personal understanding. 

So I'm excited to continue exploring the area this week. I pray that my Lord reveals to us where He wants us to settle in. He has work for us here. He has blessings waiting for us here. But where will we find the greatest opportunity for both?  I'm not sure I've seen it just yet. But I am on alert and waiting for His urging. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Road Trip: Texas, Day 3

Day 3


Up by seven and breakfast at the hotel is finished. 

The breakfast today has the usual hotel fare, including a variety of bread choices in a case, yogurt on ice and fruit in a basket, but they also offered scrambled eggs, sausage, oatmeal, etc. and most importantly, Texas-shaped waffles.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Road Trip: Texas, Day 2

Day 2


On a regular day at home, I'm scarcely awake by seven or eight, but here on vacation, I woke naturally at six (5:00am our time) and felt rested and ready for the day. Very strange. 

The older boys shared a queen-sized bed to my left and gosh, was that an ordeal. They've been spoiled to have their own beds too many times on trips (worth it to avoid the controversy), but last night was just a stopover in the drive, so we didn't feel two rooms was necessary. 

This morning, they awoke just as rowdy and competitive as they were last night, so I shooed them from our room to sit and watch the lobby television before they woke the rest of the family. Those boys will behave better with a different audience and I was able to study my Bible in peace. 

C is to my right, still sleeping, and beyond him is J in the pullout couch and O is on the couch cushions in a bed made up on the floor. They seem sufficiently zonked for the time being. 

I find myself to be extra think-y while traveling, so I hope you'll put up with my random connections to regular life. I reread my post from yesterday and realized where my head was most of the time. While we explore the unfamiliar, it gives me time to reflect on everyday things. I'm not sure why or if I'm alone on that, but if you mind too much, then you can just skip this set of posts. 

Anyway, for me, day two has begun. I am sitting in a dark room with the glare of my screen and the flashing lights of the smoke detectors above for company. The bed here was sufficient without being overly firm or soft. I slept alright.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Road Trip: Texas, Day 1

I'm trying something new...blogging on my iPad. So if there is crazy spacing or excessive typos, I hope you'll extend some grace.

Since I'm on leave from Instagram, I thought I'd try sharing our trip to Texas in blog form. Here it goes.

Day 1

On the road by 9:00am (an hour later than planned), but we don't need fuel or breakfast, so no need to stop for quite a bit. Also, it dawns on me now that if we had left on time we would have been completely stuck in commute traffic.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

When I'm Not Sure What to Write...I Write Everything

As always, the most "cooperative" photo subjects around.  Ha.

I have done a dozen or more of these kind of "general update" posts in the past and I'm afraid that's what you're going to get from me this time.  I have such writer's block lately!  So for those of you who like to know basically what's going on with our family currently, this is a post for you.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I Am as I was Prepared to Be

I never was one for testing the waters for very long, usually, I jump in with both feet and trust God to hold me up.Well, in this picture, I rode the slide, but you get the idea.

I think I have written here before about how blessed I am to have had a heart for adoption long before I was married and even considering having kids.  Adoption was definitely going to be part of my life story and even though I didn't know the particulars, I was prepared (as much as a child can be prepared) for that chapter to be written.

The thing I've been pondering lately is just how the Lord prepared me, not only for adoption, but for many things I've had to face as an adult.  When I was a child and later, a teenager, incidents happened in my life the way everyone has happen.  I don't think I ever imagined how much impact those moments would be for my life in the long-run.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Homeschooling: New Family Adventure Book Coming

Preliminary illustration from the book's illustrator, HeatherBlu.

Hello Friends,

I am excited to tell you about a new book that is currently in the making.  I can hardly wait to see it published and read it with our kids.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Update on our Homeschooling Adventures

First of all, I wanted to share with you a section of this month's Home Educating Magazine...because our homeschool classroom was featured!  Very exciting for us. This makes me feel so very official now.

Second of all, I wanted to share with you some changes we are making to our daily format.

Originally, when we began homeschooling, I had no clue what I was doing.  I attended a conference and talked to several homeschooling families to get their advice and then I clung to our first set of curriculum like it was my life blood.  Things went well for a little while.

Do you know what happened next?  We added more kids into the homeschooling routine.  Then life -- outside of homeschooling -- continued to happen.  Suddenly, we were weeks behind in the curriculum and I got so stressed out.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

In The Beginning: 2014

Here we are in a new year and I have yet to stop by my own blog to say anything.  Hmm.  I don't get it either.

As usual, I'm living it up over on Instagram.  I'm involved with a great photo challenge this month as part of the #knittogetherbyadoption "group."  It's been really challenging me to readdress some of the things I've learned over the years through our adoption journey and giving me a lot of material to write about.  If it wasn't an Instagram challenge, I'd probably make better use of my blog space writing it out here.  Anyway, if you click the square camera button on the right, you can check out some of those posts if you're in the mood for reading more about our adoption experiences.