Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Winner!!!

And the winner is.....

Amber Gonzales Harrington!!!! Get Excited!

Amber, PM me your address and your book will be in the mail! If you didn't win the book, you can still get it at Create Space here, or Amazon here. There is still time for Christmas orders. And...don't forget that I have adorable handmade dolls in the likeness of the two main characters in the book. Message me for details....

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

FREE book!!!

It's a Give Away!!!
 


I am giving away one of my books, 'Hand Picked', to a lucky winner! It is just in time for Christmas, so if you have any children on your shopping list...enter to win!!! All that you have to do is like OR share my adopted accepted page on facebook and comment here or on this blog that you did just that. And you are entered in the drawing! This give away will end on Friday morning at 9am....so.....what are you waiting for??? Go!!!!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Here It Is...An Adoption Book For Children!

So...drum roll please!!!! My book is finished! As in...you can now purchase it! It is on the virtual shelves! I am really excited, if you can't tell by all of the exclamation points. I have put a lot of time, thought, and prayer into this little project of mine.

I truly hope that it helps moms and dads introduce their tiny blessings to the most special way that they became their children. I equally hope that it is a tool to explain to biological children that families are created in different ways-and that each way is simply amazing.

I hope that you will get a copy and enjoy it...and share it with friends! Here it is...



 
 
You can purchase my book on Amazon here 
OR you can purchase it through Create Space here
The first 20 people at Create Space can use code GLSHNG6C for 20% off!
 
 
And that is not all! I have handmade dolls available that look like two of the characters in the book. How stinkin' adorable are they?
 
 
And for you only...a sneak peek at my title page so that you can see how much these precious dolls look like my book characters...
 
 
Please email me your thoughts if you get a chance to read my little story...and it would be awesome if you would leave a review!!! Thanks so much for following...
 
 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

How out is your reach?

Where is your bubble?

 Is it your church-- your city--your school-- your neighborhood?

We tend to live inside of little bubbles. We surround ourselves with people who look like us, act like us, and think like us. And we encase ourselves in that world. It is human nature to be drawn to others similar to us--because it is comfortable. I am guilty. It is a happy place to be.

I get it.

But what would happen if we got out of that comfort zone and included some people that were not like us? Would we add more richness to our lives? Would it be as scary as we think?

I say yes, and no.

I believe that it is safe to say that Nick and I got out of our bubble through adoption. We jumped into a completely foreign world to us. After all, the normal path is to fall in love, get married, have a baby, maybe another. And for the super brave... a third. But after falling in love and getting married, we realized that our path would not be normal. We were going to have to pave our own way, and it was not inside of our bubble. We did a lot of research, met a lot of new friends, and pressed on way far away from our comfort zone at the time.

It was not easy. We faced some battles. Loved ones had doubts, questions, hesitations. A lot of them. It was a tough road. We had to hunker down as a couple and move forward towards the goal that God had set before us.

But....did this action enrich our lives? Absolutely. The end result is two amazing children, and a third unexpected blessing. But even in the midst of the struggles, we had blessings. We became closer as a couple, closer to God, and met a lot of amazing people that we would not have met otherwise.

Ours is not the normal American picket fence life, but it is rich. I dare say richer than we, ourselves, could have planned or imagined. If you had asked us on our wedding day what we saw 10 years down the road-we could have never guessed where we are now. Three kids under 4, one of them with big brown eyes and olive skin, 2 boys six months apart-never.would.have.guessed.

But I thank Jesus for giving us the strength to step out of our bubble, and into that great unknown.

Many people tell us how Sister and Little Man have hit the jackpot with us. But we strongly argue that we--Nick and I--are the ones that have hit the jackpot... and I cannot even begin to describe how big. I really can't. Really.

But stepping out of your bubble does not have to be the big step of adoption. There are so many needs and opportunities in our world, our country, our cities.

I saw Jen Hatmaker speak a few weeks ago--and girlfriend brought it. She spoke about outreach in our world, and stressed the fact that God is all about it. After all, aren't we here to share His love?

She discussed the fact that Jesus did spend time in the temple(church), but he spent A LOT of time out and about with people. All people...not just people like him.

She also talked about how she began feeling a pull towards outreach in her own life, and she acted on it by simply giving a hamburger to a homeless person. That act snowballed as her eyes were opened to need after need. She is still spearheading outreach projects, but one of the outcomes of this was the adoption of two precious children.

See that? Hamburger for homeless=adoption.

Crazy right?

But she stressed how much she has been blessed by blessing others...and not just others in her circle. Others that a lot of us don't 'see'. Because it is so easy to close our eyes and pull down that shield and pretend that there is nothing ugly going on around us.

I guess my point is this...we are blessed by blessing. When we step out, God steps in. So I challenge all of you-as I also challenge myself-to step out into this world-and love.

 It's that easy, and that hard.

 Love the unlovable. Take care of those who can't do it for themselves.

Although it is certainly not the easy road, I believe that you will be the one with infinite blessings falling into your lap.

Amen and amen.

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"--Matthew 22:37-39

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Where In The World Is Amy???

Where have I been, you ask??? Well, proof number 3 of my children's book is on its way to me. Hopefully the third time will be the charm, and I will soon be showing you where you can buy it! But I will have a new post up soon-and hopefully some interesting guest one's as well! So please hang with me!!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

And The Winner Is...


JONI HALL!!!!

Joni wins a copy of Robin O'Bryant's New York Times Best Seller, Ketchup is a Vegetable, and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves! Very exciting! Thank you all for reading my blog, and participating in the give away. I hope to have more soon. Stay tuned for my next post...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Don't Miss This Delicious Give Away!

Everyone has heard the old proverb, "It takes a whole village to raise a child". And if you are a parent, you know that this could not ring more true to a mother or a father. If you, like me, have no family in your town, you especially feel the strain of trying to keep everything together. Because, lets face it, if you have a stomach virus going on in your house, even the best friend wants no part of that. But a mama or a sister...she's on her way STAT...

I am blessed to have a friend 'from the womb' you might say. Our mamas were pregnant at the same time, and they were friends...so we grew up together. Our mamas got pregnant at the same time AGAIN...so our sisters are the same age. So we have spent years of our lives together. Of course there were times that we were closer than others, but we did elementary school plays together, sibling hide n seek games, break the egg on the trampoline, beach trips, the middle school awkwardness, the high school drama, high school encore productions, college(War Eagle), met each others new boyfriends that turned out to be the hubs', had babies together....the list goes on--but you get the point.  I am so glad that we are still close, and can call each other and pick up right where we left off.

That being said...she is part of my "village". Even though she lives hundreds of miles away--I call on her. When we were in the first year of having Sister, I have no idea how many calls or texts she got from me asking, what would seem to be for a seasoned mom, stupid questions. Her third daughter is the age of Sister, so she had been there...all over there...like everywhere. I recall one of those phone calls. Nick and I had gone out to eat dinner...Sister in tow. The meal was going great when all of a sudden, Sister coughed and started throwing up. Nick grabbed a diaper and shoved it at me. We tried to calmly but hurriedly contain the mess, grab our belongings, and run out the door before anyone noticed the madness. I called Robin on the way home. It went something like this:
Robin: Hello
Me: Um...Have any of your girls just thrown up at dinner for no reason?
Robin: Yes...did Sister do that?
Me: Yes, but she has no other symptoms. I mean, it just came out of nowhere...we caught it in a diaper, and, do you think she's sick? I don't know what could be wrong... we were just sitting there and..
Robin: She may have just gotten choked. It's fine. Really.

She probably got off of the phone laughing to herself at what a 'newbie' I was, but she was there.

We all need people in our village. But the village starts before the children actually come for some of us. When Nick and I decided to adopt, Robin was one of the first people that I told. I can still remember going to her mamas house and chatting with them both. And you know what? She was completely all in. When you are doing something 'out of the norm', like adopting, it is sometimes hard for people to be supportive because there are so many unknowns. But she was there. She's my people.

One of the things that I love about Robin is that she is funny. Hilarious, really. So she started blogging about her day to day life as a mama to three little girls. And it was funny. She soon realized that she had a following, and guess what? She compiled some of her funniest blog posts into a BOOK. And funny does not even began to describe it. I am not sure how many sideways glances I got from Nick as I was reading it, because I was laughing OUT LOUD. And guess what???? You can have a copy!

I am going to give a copy of Ketchup is a Vegetable, and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves to one lucky person. You will thank me-I promise. Here is what you have to do: Go to Robin O'Bryant and like or share her page. Then leave a comment on my blog that you did that and voila! You will be in the drawing to win her book! This will be open until Monday at noon.

If you're not sure that you want to do that, let me share an excerpt from her book for you.....

I barely have time to wipe after I pee, much less have quiet 'Mommy Time'. My only escape is leaning over the kitchen sink that serves as my prayer closet and releasing my most sincere heartfelt prayer as I take a break from my daily dish duty. 'Jesus HELP me!' I scream, when I've reached my breaking point and can't take one more second of home life high jinks. Apparently this behavior is rubbing off on my children. The entire family was in the car one day and Emma could not leave her older sister alone. She pestered, aggravated and assaulted Aubrey until Aubrey had had her fill. 'JESUS HELP ME!' Aubrey screamed, sounding a whole lot like somebody I might know. My husband raised his eyebrows at me and said, 'How'd you like hearing your kid say that?' 'It's fine with me. I'm not taking His Name in vain when I say that, I'm BEGGING for divine intervention.' Because of his blatant disapproval of my language, I was ever so surprised when Aubrey shared with me a word she learned from her Daddy. Zeb had to work one Saturday, but because he is the most awesome husband alive (or possibly because he feared for his safety and the safety of his children), he stayed home until 8:30am so I could sleep late. (Yes, people without children: 8:30am is late.) I got up, fixed my coffee, checked my email and updated my Facebook status...you know, all of the really important things you do first thing in the morning. Aubrey came over and asked me if I would make her pancakes. I told her I would be glad to as soon as I finished up on the computer. She said, 'But Momma, there's only one effin' egg...' I still wasn't really awake. (I prefer not to speak or be spoken to until noonish but at the time, my three kids were all under the age of four, so I rarely got my way.) I wasn't sure I heard her correctly. 'WHAT did you say?' I asked her. 'THERE is only ONE EFFIN' EGG!' She was definitely screaming at me now. This could not be. Where would she have heard such language? 'Aubrey, what did you say?' She shook both of her fists in the air, and screamed at the top of her lungs, 'DADDY WAS GOING TO MAKE PANCAKES THIS MORNING, BUT THERE WAS ONLY ONE EFFIN' EGG!' Nice. I called Zeb and asked 'Was there only one effin' egg?' He paused. 'There was only one effin' egg.' Lovely.

And if you don't win this hard copy--Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves is on sale thru September 9, for a whopping $0.99 at Amazon for your kindle here kindle version. It is also available from Barnes and Noble for Nook here nook version Happy Reading!!!



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Waiting On The Call

That feeling you get when you see that there are two lines--instead of just one.

For so many months, you hoped for two lines, and it never happened. You would wait the agonizingly long 5 minutes for the results, take a deep breath, and look--to see a single line-yet again.

But then...

you take the test that is different. You look down and do a quadruple take to make sure that the double line is actually there. And it is.

That feeling.

That is the same feeling that you get when you receive 'the call'. Your social worker calls you to let you know that your profile is being shown...or that a birthmother has chosen you. It is the same feeling.

I am going to be a mother...

What a feeling--Excitement. Anxiety. Worry. Hope. Joy. Praise.

All of these emotions at once. It is truly amazing. And instantly-you are 100% invested. A baby is coming, and you are finally going to fulfill one of your most heartfelt dreams.

As much as you try not to get too emotionally invested, it really is impossible. You try not to plan, yet you have to plan. You try not to buy baby clothes, but you buy a few things just in case it really happens. You put off vacation plans, because you might have a newborn by then. You turn down invitations because she could go into labor early. As much as you try not to let it consume your every thought--it does.

You may or may not text the birthmother, but you think about her constantly. What is she feeling? What is she thinking? Is she worried about you being a good mother? Does she ever second guess her decision?

You are invested. That baby is in your heart. And nothing can change that.

As the date approaches, you busy yourself with your checklist. So much to do. Trying to do enough in case it goes through, and not too much in case it doesn't. What is she doing? Is she preparing herself to give up her most precious gift? Can I handle this amazing responsibility?

Finding out that you are going to be a mother is the same...regardless of how it is going to happen.

The unfortunate flip side of that, is that it is just as heartbreaking if it falls through. And inevitably, it sometimes does. You know in your head that God is ultimately in control, but you can't always convince your heart of this--because it is aching. All of the hope, anticipation, and excitement is gone. You are not going to be a mother yet.

Will I ever be a mother? Doubt sets in.

You take the clothes back. You try to jump back into your life as it was before you got 'the call'. But it is hard. Because you are essentially mourning the idea of motherhood. You are having to let go of the child that has already become yours.

What will the baby's life be like now? And her mothers? Will the millions of prayers sent their way ever be known or felt?

 I don't know if I can go through this again.

Pain is sometimes a part of the plan. I write this not to discourage anyone from adopting. You all know that I am a huge advocate. But only to let you know that it comes with ups and downs, as does anything worthwhile. I have re-lived this rollercoaster recently with a friend. And it reminds me of the disappointments from our journey. It is sometimes hard, but know that in the end, it is absolutely worth it.

Please do not be discouraged. Try, try again!

" Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."--Proverbs 19:21


As always, I welcome emails from everyone! If you are a hopeful birthmother or adoptive parent trying to find your own way down this crazy, yet absolutely amazing path...I'd love to hear from you too!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

We Are All Guilty...of Things Unplanned

So...I figured that everyone was tired of hearing my thoughts all of the time. Therefore... I asked Jenny, who works at an Unplanned Pregnancy Center, to write a post about whatever she felt led to say. And here it is...

I want to say thank you to Amy for allowing me to write a little post on the topic of adoption. Adoption has been dear to my heart since I was a child, and luckily I have been able to learn and experience more and more about the process over the years. I want to begin my post by saying a couple of things.

First of all, I was not adopted. I was raised by my biological parents. Secondly, I have not personally adopted a child. However, I have experienced adoption within my family. My younger brother was adopted by my parents when he was a baby, and his baby brother was adopted by my aunt and uncle at the same time. 

I have also been blessed to learn a tiny bit about adoption through my work. I'm no expert, that's for sure! However, God has blessed me by placing me in a position that now, looking back, I can see that He had orchestrated all along. Isn't it funny how crazy things that happen in our lives actually start to make sense in the long run?

I work at an unplanned pregnancy center. I feel like I was placed here by “accident”, because I had no experience, and this was my first "big girl" job. I graduated in May 2008, and started here in November 2008. I'm so honored that He chose me to minister to women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy!

Our center is pro-life, and pro-adoption. By this, I mean that we offer adoption as a positive option and refer potential birth moms to wonderful adoption agencies that can address their needs and walk them through the adoption process. I DO NOT mean that we pressure folks into choosing adoption. Adoption is a beautiful thing that many birthparents would be open to if they only knew that it was an option, and knew how to go about making an adoption plan for their baby. That is what we're here for...to point them in the right direction if they want to know more about the process.

Over the past five years that I have served in my position, I have been blessed to minister to birth moms. I have heard their concerns about the idea of "giving up their baby". I have heard their concerns that "people will think that I didn't love my child." I have also heard the pain in their voice when they are torn between being able to provide for their child, being seen as a bad person for giving their child up, and being able to act out the love that they have for their child by making a decision to better their child's life.

Making an adoption plan ain't easy, folks. It should never be looked at as a decision that was made because the mom couldn't or wouldn't care for the child, or because she didn't love her child. I like to think that adoption is a part of God's plan, seeing how HE adopted US as his own. Moses was adopted...and Jesus was adopted...think about that.

By definition, adoption means "to take up and make ones own." A synonym for adoption is "acceptance", or to "embrace". So, basically, these birthmoms are making a choice to place their child in a loving home that will accept their baby, love their baby, and embrace their baby.

That is about as far from literally"giving up your baby" as you can get.

Adoption is an act of love. Now, I'm not naïve...I realize that there are people in this world whose hearts are hardened so hard that the amount of emotion in the decision to make an adoption plan is pretty much nonexistent. But, this is not the case in most circumstances. Even in those circumstances where the birth mom seems to be making the decision to make an adoption plan with no evidence of emotions, they're there. I think this is something that we tend to forget.

From my experience working in a pregnancy center, it seems that adoption, from the viewpoint of the birth mom, has a lot of negative judgments attached to it. It usually stems from people close to them who haven't really been close to someone who has been involved in adoption before (which is probably not many of you readers). Or the circumstance is most often that a person knows someone who adopted a family member's child and there was bad blood between the birth mom and adoptive parents...perhaps there were drug issues, etc. Because of this, many women who find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy situation have those negative ideas about making an adoption plan for their own baby, afraid that they will be judged even more than they already have been for their unplanned pregnancy.

God does not love one person more than another, regardless of their situation and choices in life. He did not die on the cross for some of us...He died for us all. We are all His children, regardless of what choices we make, and the results of those choices. Adoption is the act of His love. HE accepted US. HE embraced US. No matter what the birth mom's circumstances and reasons for making an adoption plan...as an adoptive parent, you are representing Jesus to her, and loving a piece of her by loving that child.  

As an adoptive parent or someone who sees the adoption process play out regularly, we may know that. But others do not. The purpose of my post is this...to help people remember that there are people on both sides of the adoption planning process, and to encourage you to remind others of that as well. Despite what many people think, normally, the actions of both the birthparents and adoptive family are lead by love.

Remind others...let's make sure our actions are lead by love as well. Don't judge. Don't project a stereotype. Don't generalize. While that baby or child is being adopted and embraced, realize that the birth mom is as well...by the Lord.

Wow. I love this. I have expressed deeply my admiration for birthmothers before, but had never completely thought out what it really took them to get to the point of handing over their baby. Crazy, right? I should have gone over that in my mind a million times, since I am the recipient of two of those precious bundles. But here is some of what I experienced...

Both of my childrens' birthmothers' had other children. They each handled their pregnancy differently. One told her children that she was having a baby and was giving it to a couple who wanted children. The other didn't even tell the other children that she was pregnant...but that she was at the hospital to fix her belly.

I knew this, and simply accepted it. But here is what I neglected to reflect on...

These women lived 9 months in this society with constant judgement. I have been pregnant, and I know that a pregnant woman is "free game". What I mean by that is that people constantly ask you questions and invade your space when you are with child. They ask what the sex is, what the name will be, if you have other children, etc. I even had one woman talk to me about her psychic abilities after telling me the correct sex of my child(true story). But I digress...As annoying as that was for me, I can't imagine what it feels like for a woman who is placing her baby in the arms of another woman.

I also know that the society that we live in is, in fact, exponentially judgemental. I never placed myself physically in a birthmothers shoes until Jenny painted this picture so vividly. Why do we as a society feel such need to judge others? These women are doing an amazing thing, and most don't even realize it because of the shame that they feel. Haven't we all made decisions that were not ideal? Haven't we all had an "unplanned" situation in our lives?

In case you're wondering...the answer would be yes.

"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, 'Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such a woman. Now what do you say?' They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.' Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?' 'No one sir,' she said. 'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin.'"--John 8:3-11

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Love is Love is Love...Right?

I read something recently that struck a bit of a chord with me. I really strive to be open minded and compassionate in life, because we never know where someone else's shoes have been. But this quote represents many people's initial feelings, so I wanted to address it.

As I was scrolling through my facebook posts recently, I noticed a post from a friend which stated her frustration with infertility. I totally get that. I really do. Infertility is a big disgusting monster that can wreak havoc in many innocent lives. I know him well...

and I'm not a fan.

My friend posted at the end of her post, "Please no one say, 'Just adopt.' I can't handle those words right now."

You may not believe it, but I get that too. It is absolutely every woman's dream to carry a child in her womb. It is our God given maternal instinct. If we didn't have that desire, we would probably cease to exist! So when that cannot be achieved, and many different rocks have been turned over trying to get there, it is frustrating. It hurts. Like physically. Your heart literally aches. You just want to go hide somewhere far away from everyone and cry. It is a grieving process. And once every rock has been overturned, and you see no way of having biological children, you have to essentially mourn the idea of them. If you have not experienced this, then you probably think that I am cray cray. But I promise you that it is true.

In order to move to a place where you can adopt a child, this mourning has to occur. And then, if God chooses you for adoption, He will prepare you.

But let me assure you of one thing. It is so absolutely positively worth it.

Now...this is one of the comments that my friend got in response to her comment.

"Adoption just isn't the same and I understand that. I don't see why other people always say that."

Ouch.

Now I understand that this person was trying to be sympathetic. And honestly, for all that I know, they have experienced adoption and it wasn't all roses. But it felt like a dagger to my heart.

Adoption has been such a blessing in mine and Nick's life, that I want to tell the everyone in the world to adopt...there are so many children out there that simply need a home that can love and support them.

However, I do know that some people cannot understand the concept of loving a child that did not come from their womb. And if adoption is not for you, don't do it! But if you feel led...go for it.

My children are my world. They changed my world. All three of them. I do not love one more than the other two. It is the same love. Nick and I often discuss where we would be without each of them, and it is a painful thought.

I don't know how to explain the love that I have for each one of them. There simply are no words.

But here is something to ponder...do you love anyone that is not biologically connected to you? A spouse, a friend, someone else's child??? Would you call that person family even though they are not "blood"? Do you see where I am going with this?

It is totally possible and probable to love someone that does not have your DNA.

My children are my children. Period.

When each of them was placed in my arms, they were instantly mine.

So if you feel led to look into the world of adoption, I strongly encourage you to do so. Please don't let the fear of not being able to love cause you to lose out on something as amazing as this.

I hope that you can see from my pictures, that at the first glance of each of my children, I felt the same tender maternal love.

They may have come to me in different ways, but they all came to me from the same Father.

"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him."--1 Samuel 1:27



OK...so this wasn't actually my first glance at Linebacker. The thing is...when I went back to get hospital pictures of each of the kids, no one had any of me with him. I'm sure that there are several factors that play into that-the Csection, he's the third child, etc.-but this is the first picture that anyone in my family has of the two of us together. So I guess that drives my point home a little bit further...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Exciting News!!!

So it seems that I may not be able to write posts as often this summer as I can during the school year, so please hang with me

This summer has been quite hectic with all three kids home all day every day, so I don't have much time to think...much less write. But I will try to do better! If you have anything that you would like to hear my thoughts on, or any questions for me...send them my way and I will address them in a post.  I love to hear your comments!

But I do have some big news!!! (And no, it is not another baby in any way, shape, or form :) )

About two years ago, I realized that there were not many children's books about adoption. There were not any that I could find discussing domestic adoption, and I really wanted to expose Sister to books about 'her story'.

Studies show that it is best to discuss adoption with your children right from the start so that they never see it as a big deal...it is just normal to them. So we would tell her a bedtime story about how her angel mommy had her and how we were waiting at the hospital--so excited because we wanted a little baby girl so badly.

But I digress...

I could not find a book that touched on adoption on a very elementary level in a way that was exciting to her-- a chubby faced two year old.  She loved to read picture books, and I thought there would be no better way to explain adoption than through a book. I explored bookstores and found many "children's books" that looked as though they had been written and illustrated in the 1950's. B...O...R...I...N...G. On Amazon I found a few, but nothing that really grabbed me(that's not to say that they are not out there...I just didn't find them). So.......

I wrote and illustrated one.

I am no author, nor am I anywhere near an illustrator. But this was somewhere that I saw a need, and tried to fill it. It came completely from my heart. As I illustrated it, Sister looked at the pictures and told me what I had left out. She had no problem telling me what additions needed to be made, so it was somewhat of a joint effort. :)

I have submitted the book, and will be receiving my proof in the next few days. And it will be for sale soon!!! I am really excited about this, as I poured my heart and soul into it. My hope is that it introduces adopted children to the wonderful story of their life, but also brings exposure to biological children about their friends that have been adopted.

Coming Soon..."Hand Picked"

I will keep you updated on this little piece of my heart, but just wanted to let you know what I have been working on! And as much as I would love to take credit for it, the idea and talents to carry it out were given to me by God...to Him be the glory!


Jesus Tells The Parable of the Loaned Money
Matthew 25:14-30
"For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him."--Matthew 25:29

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Are You Ready For A Miracle?

I get a lot of comments when I am out and about with my crew. And let's face it, I would wonder how that happened too--if I saw myself shopping. I mean, three kids under 4...two that look like twins, but it is obvious that they aren't. One is thin and lanky, with beautiful dark skin and brown eyes, curly hair and the sweetest disposition. The other thick and stocky, with skin as white as snow, crystal blue eyes, white blond hair, and a defiant gleam in his eye.

What in the world is up with this woman??? Is she a nanny? Those can't possibly all be her children...she must get friendly with a lot of men--you know what I mean?

But out of all of the comments voiced to me, there is one that I get quite often that especially makes me cringe inside. And it probably is not what you think.

Once a person hears that we adopted our daughter, and in the process of adopting our son, found out that we were pregnant, this is what I get: "THAT HAPPENS ALL OF THE TIME!!!"

I cringe at this response because it "waters down" the miracle that happened in my life. The miracle that God performed.

And I don't really think that this adoption/pregnancy situation happens ALL of the time. What I presume is that this "coincidence" is so unbelievable, that if someone hears about it, it sticks in their mind forever.

So I decided to look up some 'tistics. And here you go...

"Although the majority of adoptive parents do not have a biological child subsequent to an adoption, virtually every new adoptive parent had heard about a person with this experience. It is unknown how many adoptive mothers become pregnant after adopting but probably well less than 10% have biological children after they adopt a child. In many cases, the pregnancy is unplanned because the mother presumed she was infertile." - Pregnancy After Adoption

The overall general statistic that I found is that between 3 and 10% of couples have biological children after adoption. That means that ninety something percent don't.

I may actually use this new information the next time that someone hits me with this least favorite comment of mine. But I digress...

Now that we know the statistics, and that it actually doesn't happen all of the time, let's get back to my point.

A miracle is defined as: 1.a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by nature or scientific laws and is considered to be divine. 2. A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment.

In one of the DVD studies that we did, Louie Giglio discussed the fact that we, as a society, completely overuse the word and the idea of a miracle. And I agree with him. It is almost to the point that we do not even see them anymore. But in my life, this pregnancy was just that.

Nick and I had been married 10 years when I found out that I was pregnant. We had been off of birth control for 7-8 years. We had been actively trying to get pregnant for 4 or so years. That is at least 48 months of ovulation tests, temperature checks, and timed lovin'. I mean, doing all that we could to facilitate a meeting of the egg and sperm.

And it was all completely to no avail.

And then just out of the blue, 10 years after our marriage, when we are in the midst of paperwork and planning for our son, I find out that I am pregnant.

We were not trying to get pregnant. I have no idea when I ovulated, what my temperature was, or how that sperm found the egg-but it happened. Tell me that is not a miracle.

And then, God did more. I have a bicornuate uterus, and the greatest complication with that is preterm labor. I would essentially carry this baby in one half the size of a normal uterus, because mine is separated right down the middle with tissue/blood vessels/etc.

So we had absolutely no idea how this pregnancy would play out. But God had it. I took weekly shots starting at week 18 in hopes of relaxing my uterus to avoid early labor. Once we were in the "safe zone", around 37 weeks, I stopped taking them. I was completely fine with Linebacker coming right then. But he didn't. In fact, it looked like I was going to have to be induced. Two days before I was to be induced, which was 1 week PAST my due date, my water broke.

Did you get that? The greatest possible complication with my pregnancy was preterm labor, and I almost had to be induced a full week after my due date. My pregnancy was completely problem free, and I actually had to have a Csection because he was so healthy(LARGE)!!!!

A precious miracle.

I am not telling this story to say,"See how God blessed me?" Although he absolutely did.

Amen, and Amen.

Here is what I want to say. God did this in my life.

I am no one special.

I am not exceptional.

I am just one of God's children.

Just like you.

And He will bring miracles in your life as well. It may not be a child, or three:), but he does miracles for all of his children. So let's not water down the power of God. He does miracles every day. Let's try to keep our eyes open to these miracles, and thank Him for his awesome power.

"Then the Lord said, 'I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.' Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, 'After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?' Then the Lord said to Abraham, 'Why did Sarah laugh and say, Will I really have a child, now that I am old?' Is anything too hard for the Lord?"--Genesis 18:10-14

* Even Sarah didn't fully believe in miracles...until it happened to her*

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

CAUTION: Parenthood Approaching!

So...I am really sorry for the short hiatus from writing. My kids got out of preschool, and there has been a bit of adjusting, to say the least--mostly on my part. OK...totally on my part. Everyone is now home all day every day, and I did not realize how hard that would be...or how much I loved school!!!

The appreciation of those short school hours is one massive revelation that I have had this summer.

But there are a few other things that I have realized in these hot summer months. Those things being--three observations of what happens when one becomes a parent.

The first thing that you should know when you become a parent is this: You are about to eat some serious words.

I know that I did. Because when Nick and I were childless, I was the perfect mother. My kids would never do (that). I could not believe that their kids actually acted that way. And who seriously lets their kids do (those things)?

Well, that would be me.

I would never have believed that one of my children would backtalk me. Or that my 4 year old would sleep with a pacifier. Or that I would laugh so much about poop. But it happened.

Do my kids act wild at the store? Yes. Do I care? No. If they expend their energy there, maybe they will sleep when we get home.

Is the pacifier thing a battle that I am willing to fight right now? No. Is everyone else in my family worried about it? Yes. Is my sanity more important to me? Absolutely.

When my kids pitch a fit, do I talk to them calmly--and all of a sudden all is right with the world? Not usually. Do I occasionally lose my cool like those moms that I couldn't believe? Um...yes.

So you get the point.

I have eaten some words. I had no kind of idea how difficult parenting could be. Or how difficult kids could be.

So if you are working your way towards parenthood...get ready!

Another thing that happens when you become a parent is this: everyone feels the need to tell you what to do. Unsolicited advice is...such.a.joy.

And the kicker is that most of these people have no idea what a day in your life is like. I had a friend the other day tell me that I should video just one day of my life. I can assure you that it would be entertaining. Probably not quite Jon and Kate plus 8(may it RIP), but very entertaining nonetheless. So here is the deal-- no one is ever in the exact same shoes as another person, so let's give each other a break! For.the.love.

If I had a penny for every time that someone said to me, "You really should...", I would have a serious coffee fund.

You see, the fact that Sister sleeps with a pacifier is okay with me. So why is it not okay with anyone else? If that makes her happy and I can move on with the tasks of the day instead of going through a torturous meltdown, I am good with it. I never thought that I would have said that, but there it is. Pacifier at 4...small potatoes.

My house is normally a wreck. I let it be, until the end of the day rolls around, and then I do a quick sweep through to straighten up. If I do it before then, all of the toys will positively be pulled out again. So instead of putting them up 37 times, I just do it once. But if someone who was type A came to my house in the morning, they would undoubtedly attain a nervous twitch. I have a system, and it works for me. Did I ever think that I would live in such chaos? No...but here I am.

My kitchen looks like a surely to goodness pigpen after my kids have eaten. We have a plastic tablecloth under a Fisher Price picnic table, but the mess is literally unbelievable. I have been told to put them in high chairs and monitor their eating...but really? I am running back and forth cleaning up spills, re-filling plates, and trying to get myself a few bites in between. Mealtime is straight up madness. And maybe my system isn't the greatest--but it works for me. Did I ever see myself in a Tom and Jerry cartoon where food is flying from wall to wall? No...but Hello Warner Brothers.

The fact that everyone has such wonderful advice is actually quite funny to me because I have yet to find anyone that can handle all 3 of my kids alone. So if I am doing it and surviving...good for me!

One last thing that I have learned since becoming a parent is this: my parents must have really loved me to do all that they did to take care of me. Because I know how hard it is to take care of mine. Just the bare necessities are exhausting--bath duty at the end of the day honestly almost does me in. But then you have the things that you do above and beyond the bare minimum. Beach trips, dance classes, zoo days, park trips, and I realize that this doesn't even begin to scratch the surface because down the road will be ball games, slumber parties, etc.

We do these 'extras' because there is no greater joy as a parent, than seeing that ear to ear grin on a sweet little chubby face.

It is going to get ice cream when you really just want to go home.

Or cutting fingernails--in the dark--with a hat on--with a clip on light--to keep Little Man from having a melt down. (Why do they hate nail cutting so badly?)

Or being so completely wiped out that you can't even find the strength to brush your teeth, but you go into their room one more time to make sure that they are sleeping soundly, and that their covers haven't been kicked off.

Or using your last five dollars for Icee's all around, instead of that Caramel Frappaccino that you have been seriously craving.

The scenarios are endless. But the bottom line is this: a parents love is like no other. So if you are about to dive into the pool of parenthood, heed my advice. Get ready to eat some words, hear some amazing advice ;), and voice your thanks to your own parents. Because this job is the hardest, but somehow also the most rewarding!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sweatsuits, Wings, and Shoulder Pads




We all have been guilty of it. Making fun of our mothers for their hairstyles(or lack thereof), their outfits(if you could call them that), and their overall style in general. But since becoming a mother, I completely get it.

While in a bible study for moms, I was discussing the fact that I may look a little bit like 'poo' for a few years, but hopefully when the kids are somewhat self sufficient I will be able to pick up the pieces of what's left of my style. One of the girls in the study commented that she and her siblings used to always tease their mother about the pictures of her in a sweatsuit, and now, she finds herself in the modern day sweatsuit...yoga pants and a Tshirt.

Now that I have little people that call me "mommy," I realize that the reason for the style "freeze" is that our mothers spent time and money on us kids instead of their own looks. And I deduce that this is what happens--

When we get married, we usually get a makeover of some sort. It may be new make up, a new hairstyle or color, manicured nails, and a cute wardrobe for that teeny body that we once occupied.

We keep all of those up to date looks for a period of time. Pieces of it may be modified and added to because we can afford to spend time and money on our appearance.

Then comes baby number one. Maternity clothes may or may not be worn for 9 months, but new clothes are not bought because all funds are already going to baby...nursery, clothing, swing, car seat, etc.

Then when baby actually comes, you think that you have no time or money to get a makeover. Hairdo stays the same, and is simply maintained. You may replace make up that has run out with the same colors that your stylist suggested for your wedding. You probably still go to the name brand make up stylists though. You wear the clothes that you wore before baby, adding in a few of the maternity ones that can still be worn. And then...

Baby number two. The same maternity clothes are worn. Your closet holds a range of about three sizes of clothing. Your hair is normally now in a ponytail or under a hat. Make up? Yeah right. But if you do wear it, you buy what is on sale at target or walmart. This may or may not cause an allergic reaction that causes your eyelids to swell. May. (Thank goodness my brother in law is an ophthalmologist.) Then comes baby number three...

Oh boy.

Clothes in your closet now probably have a 4-5 size range. There is, after all, always hope that you can get back to the "before baby number one size." Make up has become a basket of samples and sale items(not from target or walmart)...who knows if the color is "in" or "out"?!?! Hair is a few colors because a)you can't afford the same person that you used to use, and b)you wouldn't have the time to go alone anyway.

So what is the conclusion? You find yourself frozen in a time warp. Somewhere between marriage and baby number x. And lets be honest...at this point, yoga pants and a Tshirt are WAY more comfortable than something trendy. What is the point anyway? Nice clothes would get ruined with...well...you know. Food, runny nose stuff, poo, jelly from hands, etc. (I realize that I discuss poo a lot--that is just the period of time that I happen to be in right now--never a day without it showing up somewhere inappropriate...)

So here we are. Stuck in the last decade, (or two), because what we wore then was cool, and we don't have the time, energy, or funds to move forward in time. And even if we did, we would most likely use it to dress, feed, and spoil our children.

So I suppose every generation of mothers must endure the mocking of their offspring. But we know that eventually they will understand that we were sacrificing for them.

And hopefully we will one day graduate from the sweatsuits, wing hairstyles, and shoulder pads, but until then, we will continue to buy yoga pants on sale at target in order to give our children most of what they want.

After all, the definition for mom is sacrifice, but we wouldn't want it any other way.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Thank you is never enough

So here it is...Mothers Day.

It is a day when all mothers fantasize about lounging by the pool with a cold drink, a good book, and not a care in the world.

But that seldom happens.

It seldom happens because you can't turn off being a mommy. So the day usually ends up being pretty normal with crises, poo diapers, and tears.

This Mothers Day happens to fall on Sisters birthday. So she and I have 'shared' the day--which equates to the day being hers...just like the other 364. But that is okay with me. I don't need a pool, or a drink, or a book--well, maybe a drink.

I am actually used to sharing Mothers Day--because two of my children came to me through two amazing woman. I would not have my babies if it weren't for them. So I have always felt that the day was not completely mine.

As I sat in church this morning, I felt overwhelmed (I realize that I get a lot of these epiphanies at church...I suppose that is the best place for them:)). I suddenly realized that I had tears flowing over as I thought about my childrens' birthmothers'. I felt so much thankfulness, that I thought my heart might burst if I couldn't hug their necks right then and there. I don't know how to explain how much gratitude I feel towards these women.

I knew that as soon as I got in the car, I would text one of them and tell her thank you--as lame as that sounds. The other wanted a closed adoption...so I cannot go further with her. I so much want her to know what an amazing little child she created, but that is not her wish. So I have to honor that.

It is hard in these moments. I want to track this birthmother down and squeeze her so tightly and show her this teeny little person that is completely extraordinary, and scream, 'THANK YOU' at the top of my lungs like a crazy person. But I can't. So I just thank Jesus for this little blessing and do what I can...text the other birthmother. As I got into the car and picked up my phone, I realized that she had beat me to the punch. She had sent me a text telling me Happy Mothers Day.

I texted her back telling her that there was no way to express my thanks for this little person that we could not imagine our lives without. She went on to say that God had put us in her life for a reason...

WORD!

And her in ours.

If you have read 'our story', then you know that God blessed us with a biological son. So I know what these two women went through to bring these babies into the world. Heartburn. Indigestion. Weight Gain. Backaches...the list goes on, and gets worse...

I can't imagine the feelings that they went through knowing that they couldn't provide, but that someone else could. And they found the courage to go through the process to find that person to take care of their children for them. I have said it before, and I will again...AMAZING.

Unless you have been in these shoes, it is truly impossible to understand. But I know that I cannot take full credit for these children. Because there are two women out there that gave a piece of themselves to me. And absolutely nothing in the world can compare to that.



Thursday, May 2, 2013

It's A Bird, It's A Plane...No--It's Better!

I know that I talk a lot about my kids, because they are my world right now. But I have not forgotten where I was before...

I do want everyone to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that there is a beautiful family waiting there. But I also want you to know that I was at one time in that dark place--and now I am not. Thank you Jesus!

At the time, I could only see what was going on right around me. It was as though I was in a dark subway tunnel. I could see my immediate surroundings, but not the entire sunshiny world above. God was working on the whole picture, but I just couldn't see it. I felt the cold darkness, but no sunshine. I know that some of you can relate.

I was having a conversation about infertility with a lady recently. She had not experienced it personally. I was discussing the possibility of having an infertility/adoption group at church. The pastor of the church discussed the fact that the 'grieving team' was going to be amped up to help people who had lost loved ones, and that this class could deal with another grieving milestone in life. The lady that I was speaking to could not see the similarity. I explained that she couldn't unless she had been there.

People that have not experienced infertility cannot understand what it does to you physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Loneliness. This is the one of the main feelings felt by women experiencing infertility.

I watched a Louie Giglio video in my Sunday School class this week. If you have never seen him speak, look him up... he is great!( Louie Giglio ) This particular series is called 'Lift' . In it, he is discussing the importance of always keeping your eyes looking upward.

If you are looking down, you can get completely bogged down in the things of this world-the troubles, the disappointments, the hurt.

But if you keep your eyes on Him, your focus changes. What you are going through may still be hard, but looking at it through Him makes it more bearable-and may possibly even bring clarity.

He gave a few examples. One was Daniel in the lion's den.(Daniel 6)

When Daniel was thrown into the lion's den, he continued to look up and have faith in God. How hard would that be? I don't think that I would have taken my eyes off of the lions...but he kept his focus up.

Infertility feels a bit like a lions den-or an underground subway. It is cold and lonely. Even though you may be surrounded by people, they cannot give you comfort. They are all getting on and off of the train with their new families, and you are left wondering which train to take.

But if you keep your focus up, you can find peace. Because God is the only one that can bring it.

Oh, and can he bring it!

Another example that Louie Giglio used was Stephen.(Acts 7) He was in the process of being stoned. But he held on to God. And even though he was, in fact, stoned to death, he was okay because he was in the presence of God.  God helped him "fall asleep" and all of a sudden he was with Him.

You can't be more okay than that, right?

In the midst of my heartbreak, I had no idea that while I was praying for a child, my daughters birth mother was wondering what she was going to do with another one.

While I was pleading to God to please let me be a mother, she was wondering how she could provide for another mouth. I couldn't see what was going on, but God had it.

So if you are struggling--keep your eyes--and your spirits up. God is busily orchestrating an amazing outcome for you.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Red and Yellow, Black and White...

Ohhh...here we go.

I really don't want to go here...but I'm going to.

Racial comments--how I loathe you.

Most of the time, I just let these things slide, or roll right off of my back. However, I am human and occasionally they hurt me. But they don't hurt me for me. They hurt me for my sweet Little Man.

Generally people that know me do not make these comments, at least in my presence. But there are times when they may forget that my son is biracial--and a comment slips out. That happened earlier this week...and it hurt my heart. It hurt because I could see those beautiful brown eyes looking up at me with complete innocence. He is a baby, and he already has a label and a stereotype.

This is not necessarily only a race issue. It could be for people with disabilities, economic issues, whatever it may be. It is one of my greatest problems with society. Why do we single out and label people? Of course we have differences, but how bland would this world be if we were all the same? I am so sad for people that only associate with others "like" them. Their lives are not as colorful or enriched as they could be.

Now, don't get me wrong...I am really glad that we can see all of the beautiful colors in this world. I am an interior designer...I love color!

I just wish that society could see every color as beautiful and equal.

We had a guest speaker at church on Sunday and he discussed this verse: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27)

Everyone is created in God's image.

Everyone.

No one type of person is better than another. We are all created in His image. It would be ignorant of us to limit God to a "white man", or an "African American woman", or any other single being. He is multi faceted. He represents all of us.

That is amazing. As different as we all are, we are each made completely in God's image. I would encourage everyone to remember this. We are all in this together, and we are all God's children.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Beauty and The...Guillotine?


Yep. See anything wrong here? You are seeing that correctly.

So here is the story behind this picture.

During the nightly shower, I asked Sister if she wanted her princess tattoos taken off so that we could put on fresh, shiny, new ones. She excitedly said yes--so off with the old. I scrubbed Tiana and Ariel off of her hands and moved on to shower the boys. I got everyone showered, dressed, and into the bed, and--lo and behold...mommy forgot to apply new tattoos. Sister must have forgotten too, because she did not ask again.

Cue morning.

Sister asks for her new princess tattoos. I promise that I will do it before we leave for school. Chaos ensues as I try to get 3 squirming children fed, dressed, and out the door. I get everyone ready, down the flight of stairs, and loaded. I start the car and we are headed to school. Nearing the end of the neighborhood, Sister bellows from the backseat," Mommy!!! I want a princess tattoo!!!"

Chit...

I had completely forgotten about the new tattoos. So I made a quick decision to turn around and go home, because 1. I had promised, and 2., this is enough to ruin the entire day for a 3 year old. I raced back home, ran into the house, and pulled the 'treat jar' down off of the fridge. I pulled out the remaining sheets of Disney princess tattoos and scanned for the ones that she had specifically asked for--Belle and Cinderella.

I spotted the two together on one sheet and pulled it out. Unfortunately, it was not the normal 'bust' tattoo, but a full body one--from the top of their perfect hairstyles to the toes of the infamous glass slippers--but they would have to do. I cut them out, soaked a sponge with water, and was out the door. I ran to Sister's side of the car, jerked open the door, and slapped the first tattoo onto her hand. I tried to be patient for the 30 seconds that it takes to soak and stick to bare skin, but apparently I wasn't patient enough. Belle's head pulled off into a sticky ball of smudged color.

Chit again...

Let's just get Cinderella right. And wouldn't you know it. Her 'beetlejuice head' peeled off too. (If you haven't seen the movie, Beetlejuice, you need to go watch it in order to know what I'm talking about.)

Great.

Two headless princesses.

"Mom, they're ruined!" Sister pleaded.

"No, they're not....," I tried to convince her, but having no explanation for headless princesses, I tried to move onto another subject, silently praying that none of the kids at school would tease her about her princesses who had befriended the guillotine.

Distractions.

They are everywhere. I occasionally feel like the headless princess. If my head weren't attached to me, I would somehow lose it in the madness. I feel like my days move quickly from one distraction to another. If it is not children, it may be a spouse, or a friend, a bad situation, or even facebook. It seems impossible to stay focused on any one thing in this fast paced world.

I often yearn for the days when I was a child sitting on the back porch swing with my Granny, Pawpaw, and Grannie Minnie. A cool breeze would be blowing my ponytail, and cooling the sweat beads on my forehead. The adults all discussed things that I never understood, but it was so peaceful sitting there with people that I loved. It seemed so simple.

We cannot go back to when we were children, or even the days before crazy social networking, but I think that it is important for everyone to find that place of solace. It may be quiet time in the morning, a shower alone at night, or a date with a back porch swing once everyone else is sleeping. Wherever it is, try to find it as often as possible...because I believe that this time is what helps to keep us grounded.

" The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul."--Psalm 23:1-3


Sunday, April 7, 2013

This Rat Race That We Call Life

Some days feel like an absolute rat race-the rat being me-running about in a little box-with no true start and no definite end. It can be exhausting. I had no idea how much it took just to take care of a child's basic needs.
 
On a typical day, I wake up to the screams, giggles, or voices of my children. They may or may not be sitting on top of me at the time. Nick usually brings whoever is awake and puts them in bed with me when he leaves. I guess that makes me sound lazy...but let me finish my day before you judge.
 
I get up when my alarm goes off-after I hit snooze a few times-and the race begins. I take everyone to the kitchen and start a cartoon episode...usually Caillou, but lately it has been The Jungle Book. I get everyone some breakfast with accompanying sippy cups, and start my dash to get ready. I use the term 'ready' loosely. The more appropriate term would be dressed. I throw on some clothes, pull my hair in a ponytail-or throw on a hat, and I may put some foundation on.
 
About this time, the breakfast is all over the floor, and the kids are all coming to me with specific needs. I slather every one's toothbrush with age appropriate toothpaste and hand them off. I run to the kitchen and start packing lunch(es).  While the grilled cheeses are cooking, I fix my coffee...usually two big Bertha thermoses. I go back to the kids and brush over their teeth with their brushes and begin to do the dressing routine.
 
 I am usually working up a sweat by the time I have changed 2 diapers and fought both boys to get their clothes on. Then comes Sister...she is never happy with the attire choice...even if she picked it out the night before. We usually find a compromise, and I let her choose her hairstyle. I fix it appropriately, brush Linebackers, and get Little Mans product in.
 
 Almost ready.
 
I throw lunchboxes and cups in their backpacks and load the car. Backpacks, diaper bag, 2 thermoses, jackets, purse, phone, keys, and any work that I might have to do. I put the dogs in the garage, run up the flight of stairs, and assess the situation. Usually one or both of the boys have their shoes and socks off at this point. I check the clock, realize that we are late, and hurry everyone along. I re-sock and shoe the boys and rush everyone out the door.
 
I carry Linebacker, who happens to weigh over 30 pounds, and grab Little Mans hand, dragging him down the stairs. Sister usually stops to pick a dandelion or play in the dirt while I am yelling at her to hurry. I get two of them in their 5 point harnesses and search for Sister. I finally get her in the car, and off we go-except...dang...my gas light is on.
 
One quick stop at the BP. Now we head to school. If it is just Sisters day, we can do carpool-thank you Jesus! But if Little Man goes too, I have to unbuckle all three five point harnesses, and try to get them and their belongings into the school without anyone getting run over. We take the elevator up to the preschool floor, as I watch them like a hawk on the way up(Little Man got his fingers stuck in the door once...heart attack for mommy). At this point, Linebacker wants down because he knows that there are snacks in Little Mans classroom. So I put him down and they all run in different directions.
 
Hopefully Sisters class hasn't gone to chapel yet and I can drop her off and then take Little Man. I  get them dropped off, get Linebacker pulled away from the snack table- back to the five point harness he goes. Now I run my home or work errands that I have been waiting to do with only one child. This entails a morning of loading and unloading, buckling and unbuckling, handing off snacks, and trying to focus on what I'm doing with constant distraction. It's a good thing that my car beeps if my keys are left in the ignition...I'm just saying...the police department would hate me.
 
I may be able to meet Nick for lunch, YAY, another set of hands! It also creates a moment for us to recap the day, last few days, or weeks that we haven't been able to discuss. Then it will be time to pick the kid(s) up from school. I go through the car pool line or do the pick up in reverse...then we usually head home.
 
By this point, everybody is ready for a nap. The whole way home, Sister normally cries because she wants to go anywhere but home and do anything but nap. The boys are usually asleep when we get there, so I transfer them one at a time up the flight of stairs and to their beds. Then I have a heated discussion with Sister about her nap. It inevitably ends with her crying herself to sleep.
 
Ahhhh...silence.
 
At this point in the day, the bed screams for me to take a tiny nap, but responsibilities often scream louder...like the banana that just squished between my toes. So I do laundry, dishes, work, or whatever else needs to be done sans kids.
 
Eventually, someone wakes up and that is the end to my 'quiet time'.  I dish out snacks, change diapers, refill sippy cups, and settle in to entertaining everyone. We play for a while until it is time for me to start dinner. I try to find something entertaining on TV so that I can hopefully create something somewhat edible for the kids to eat. Cooking is not my strong suit. When I start this, Linebacker usually pulls the plastic picnic table into the middle of the room-he's always ready to eat.
 
I get everyone seated with sippy cups refilled again, and place their plates in front of them. Rarely do we get through a meal without an upside down plate on the floor. While they are eating I get towels, washcloths, and PJ's ready. I clean up the dinner mess that surprises me daily, and head to the shower. This is when I get my real workout-bathing three squirming children.
 
I get everyone bathed, every hair washed, and each child out of the shower one at a time. I might as well take one with them, as my clothes are soaked.
 
Lotion, diaper, pj's...times three. Then I brush Sister and Linebackers hair, and once again, apply Little Man's product. Now I try to do a quick run through the house to pick up the unbelievable mess that has occurred throughout the day.
 
Hopefully by this point, Nick is home. He eats dinner and plays with the kids for a while. I continue to do laundry, dishes, or straighten. Hopefully I can grab leftovers or a bowl of cereal for dinner. Then it is almost bed time. Milk for everyone, and it's time to brush teeth again.
 
Three sets of teeth brushed, sippy cups filled with ice water in case it's needed at night, humidifier filled up, and to bed the boys go. Sister gets to stay up a bit later to spend some time with Daddy. I usually get a shower while Sister recaps the day with him.
 
"Daddy, remember when the curb jumped right in front of mommy's car?"
 
Seriously...sold out by a 3 year old.
 
I get out of the shower, and Sister goes to bed. I revisit the laundry, dishes, etc. Nick goes to bed. When I finish my tasks, I make my way to bed. I check on all of the kids, brush the last set of teeth for the night-mine, and finally get to lie down. 
 
I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I took Sister to the doctor by herself this week(Nick met me and watched the boys during his lunch break-unfortunately we have no family in town...but that is a whole different post.) I didn't have to carry a diaper bag, a stroller, entertainment...anything. I only took my purse, AND I got to carry my coffee in. Sister walked in with me, we sat in the chairs and chatted. They called us back, and we walked down the hall. She stepped on the scale, and we walked in the room. Easy Peasy. We talked with the doctor, and left. Word!!!! It was AMAZING!
 
I lie down in the bed. My legs ache. My eyes burn. I am still tense from the hectic day. But I begin to relax. I finally get comfortable and am soothed by Nick's steady breathing.
 
"Mommy...." calls Sister.
 
I listen. Do I get up, or wait for another call? I debate. I am so tired.
 
But I get up. Because I know that this is only a season of time. And as hard as it is, I will miss it one day. I will lay down in bed with less responsibility and wonder what my children are doing in their own homes. I will wish that Sister would call me and ask me to snuggle.
 
So I crawl into bed next to Sister, and she starts playing with my hair. And I am content. Because I am enjoying these sweet moments.
 
We all have hectic moments in time, but lets try to remember to take in the good, in spite of the bad...
 
"Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."--2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Monday, April 1, 2013

How Do We Reach Perfection?


One of these things is not like the other-One of these things does not belong.

I purchased these chocolate bunnies for the kids' Easter baskets--then ran multiple errands--then found out that the it does not have to be 90 degrees for chocolate bunnies to melt in the car. "Good job mommy", I mumbled to myself.

We, as women, have so many different hats to wear. Wife, Mother, Easter Bunny, House Cleaner, Laundry Washer, and that is not even counting jobs outside of the home. It is no wonder that we sometimes mess up. In fact, some days it feels like 24 hours of mess ups.

How could we possibly do everything that is expected of us, and do it all well?  How do we have enough time for our husbands, our children, our jobs, our homes, and ourselves? Some days it truly feels like a losing battle.

As if it isn't enough to try to stay above water, we compare ourselves to other women. Sometimes it seems that I am the only one who doesn't have it all together. Today was a perfect example.

Easter Sunday.

Everyone else's kids were dressed to the T. My kids had new clothes-thanks to the grandparents...so we were okay in that department. (I am omitting the fact that I failed to get Sister's undershirt dry...on with a jacket...)

All of the men and women had beautiful spring clothes. I was wonderfully dressed--like I was going to a funeral...black dress, tights, and boots. Shopping trip for me? Not a chance. And if I am completely honest, if I did have time, I would end up in the children's department.

The women were all smiling and holding hands with their husbands, and lets just say, it was not all roses and butterflies at our house this morning. Imagine getting up and trying to get three kids 3 and under dressed and ready for church, while they are all on 'Easter bunny' highs. Mommy and Daddy were not on the most loving of terms.

I imagine that the 'perfect families' went home from church to pristine clean houses and home cooked meals for lunch. We, on the other hand, tried to decide where we could go that was nice enough, but not so nice that we would disturb anyone. Sister wanted to go to 'Old McDonalds', and that probably would have been the best choice...but I just couldn't do that for Easter lunch.

These 'ideal fams' probably ate nice big lunches and then went to the park, or had quality time with the kids watching educational cartoons or doing flash cards. We got home and put everyone down for naps, ourselves included. There were a million things that I needed to do, but exhaustion won over.

When we got up from naps, I took every one's nice clothes off and handed over chocolate bunnies. They were running around in diapers eating chocolate. I'm sure the moms that have it together don't do that. Then I took advantage of this special day of rest to pick up the house and try to catch up on laundry...while also working damage control with the kids. (A full time job when they are loaded up with chocolate.)

I think that we women are sometimes our most harsh critics. Surely everyone else's home life is not perfect. Surely I am not the only one that has to smell the laundry in the washer to know if it needs to be washed again--or am I?

As I hustled around feeling "less than", I reflected back on the church service. Jesus died on the cross for us so that we don't have to be perfect. He loves us, flaws and all.

That's pretty cool.

So even on days when we feel less like the beautiful chocolate bunny displayed in the box, and more like the chocolate sludge sliding off of the edge of the earth, He loves us.

"Then Jesus came to them and said,'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'"--Matthew 28:18-20

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Same Different Love


My two sons could not be more different--physically, emotionally--in every way.

Little Man is thin. He has dark curly hair and beautiful caramel colored skin. He has an oval shaped face, and very quick feet. He needs a lot of attention from me. He is a little territorial about his things. And he is the lover of the family. He wants to be touching someone at all times.

Linebacker is quite stocky. He has white blond hair and pasty white skin(courtesy of me). He has a round chunky face, and a heavy footed walk. He lives in his own little world, not really caring about what goes on around him. He shares everything with everyone because he knows no different. And he is not much on snuggling, it takes too much time and energy.

They are two completely different people, and yet, I love them both the same. I'm not sure how that works. But it does. I love them the same, but differently. I do realize that this sounds like an oxymoron.

It sends me back to my childhood days of sibling rivalry...

Ok, it was actually a few years ago.

Who am I kidding? It was actually yesterday.

My three siblings and I always accuse each other of being 'the favorite'. "The 'rents definitely love you more than the rest of us. You're more athletic- or smarter- or funnier- or more successful--the list goes on."

Of course our parents always insist that there is not a "favorite", but you know who you are...

I couldn't really understand how you could love all of your children the same amount, but in different ways...until I had them myself.  Now I get it.

I love all of my children the same amount...not one of them one single ounce more than the other. But I love different things about each of them.

I love how Sister is old enough to get humor, and she belly laughs when we share a joke. I love how she wants me to snuggle with her and she plays with my hair as she starts falling asleep. I love the witty things that she says at the funniest times. And when she sings to her brothers when they are upset.

I love the fact that Little Man is so ticklish, and the contagious laugh that he exudes in tickle fights with his daddy. I love that he is content to curl up in my lap and take a nap. I love that his vocabulary is growing and he surprises me daily with new words and phrases. And I love that he listens and observes all that is around him.

I love Linebacker's little bow legged stance. He is already a little charmer as he turns around and grins when he knows that he is in trouble. And even though he doesn't need me often, when he does, he calms down the instant that I pick him up. I love that when he is trying to get my attention, he puts his rosy round face right in front of mine and looks me right in the eyes.

I love my children...the same, yet different.

What this makes me realize about my life is this...God can also love all of his children the same amount, but in different ways. He loves me the same amount as the most successful of his children. I know that some of the things that I do probably make him smile, and make him proud to be my Father. I don't have to be funnier, smarter, or better than anyone. I don't have to be anything or act any way to gain his love. He loves me for me. And He loves you for you!

"We love because He first loved us."--1 John 4:19

*Note that this says "first loved us." Period. US. As in ALL of us.*

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"--1 John 3:1

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Walk It Out--It's Your Story

I have a lot of memories from my journey to my children, but one sticks out very vividly.

I was at home when I got the news that a friend who had just gotten married... was pregnant...with twins. I got news like this often, as our friends were all starting families, but for whatever reason, this crushed me. Maybe it was because she didn't have to work for it--it just happened. Or maybe it was because it was twins, something that I always wanted. Or maybe it was just a breaking point for me. But I was heartbroken.

This may sound selfish if you have never experienced infertility. But it is a real feeling. It is not that you are not happy for your friends, because you are! But there is such an overwhelming feeling of sadness for yourself that overshadows that happiness.

I remember sitting in a chair in my living room and crying...to the point that I couldn't breathe. Once I had calmed down and thought that I could possibly carry on a conversation, I called my dad. By the time he answered, the tears flowed again. After I let him know that there were no catastrophes, I explained the news that I had received.

"Okay," he replied.

I poured out how unfair it was. I mean, why was he not getting this? She just got married. And she is pregnant with twins?!?! I have been trying to get pregnant--and then find out about my uterus-- and now am hoping to adopt--and I'm just so overwhelmed...why is it so easy for some people?????

Pity.Party.

After I had purged my pain, tears, and disappointment, he spoke. I don't remember everything that he said, but the point of it was this, "Amy, that is her story--not yours."

It didn't click immediately, but began sinking in. Her story is not my story.

I have my own story.

If only I had known then what my story was going to be. But this is so important to know when you are going through infertility...or any trial for that matter. Sometimes we wonder why we don't have what others have. Why is life so easy for them? But we have to remember that no two stories are alike. But each is planned.

Now I see that my story is perfect.

You have your own story! Walk it out!!!