Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ready for that ball to drop!

I am not sad to see 2013 end. Nope. I'm more than ready to say goodbye. This has, without a doubt, been my hardest year of life and our hardest year of marriage. Despite the difficulties, trials, and grief there have been some very bright spots. There is no denying how blessed we are.

Last Christmas was my first introduction into smartphones. This lead to Instagram and lots more picture taking. So when I want to see my blessings laid out in front of me (even organized chronologically, which is total bliss) all I have to do is scroll through my Instagram history. 

We spent time at our family cabin.

We went to Disneyland, A LOT.

Remembered our daughter for the gift that she was.

Cut my hair short. Didn't like it. Then kinda did.

Celebrated our seven year wedding anniversary in San Juan Capistrano. 

Laughed at our crazy dogs.

Ate some really good food and tried some new recipes.

Studied and grew in our faith.

Continued to prepare for our future child.

Put our recliner to good use.

Enjoyed time with friends and family.

Fell more in love with each other.

I'm expecting great things in 2014! Happy New Year to you all!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Motherhood Monday: Diapers

1 year, 8 months, 3 weeks, and 1 day. Time seems to have lost some meaning in this wait though.

It's been a good day. Josh took the day off and let me sleep in! Good man. Did some stuff around the house and then spent the day with our Air-force friends Andy and Stacie who are in town for Christmas. Only one snag in our day. Just as we were leaving for dinner a little stray dog wondered into our front yard. I'm pretty sure every stray dog in the area knows I'm a total sucker. I attract neglected animals like a magnet! I just don't have it in me to shoo them away. So we gave him a bowl of water and food, left for dinner, and called the shelter on our way. Unfortunately, they are closed til Thursday for New Years and can't come get him. Josh is not thrilled, but he's being very patient with me. Thank goodness for my friend Kristen (good name) who offered to take him tomorrow if I can't find a shelter that's open. I just get so mad at people who don't take care of their pets! They can't care for themselves and they rely on us for everything. How could you neglect such a helpless cuddly creature! Bleeding heart. Getting off my soapbox now.

Some kind of chips and dip. Salty. Crunchy. Mmmmmmm.

Thoughts about our child:
Ok, so I'm getting way more excited about diapers then I think the average mom does. I found the Honest Company. Yes, that is their name. So far they have not lied to me. We shall see. Just kidding. They sell baby products that contain no harsh chemicals, suppose to be better for the environment, better for baby's skin, all that good stuff. AND their diapers are super cute! While I can't call this a "product review" because I haven't had the chance to actually use the products I've purchased, I can say I really like their business style and their product so far. I was able to earn "store credit" by inviting friends to sign up and make purchases (which I then convinced them to give to me. Score!). Then, using my credit, I ordered even more! Plus the order I received just before Christmas included a free little Christmas tree sprout to plant. Cute! While my ultimate goal is to cloth diaper, doing disposables in the beginning and having them on hand for longer car rides, baby sitters, midnight-too-tired-to-mess-with-cloth-diaper situations, etc. makes sense to me. You're gonna have one cute tush kid!

Thoughts about our expectant mom:
I follow our agency director, Michelle, on Facebook. Fairly often she posts about her interactions with other birth moms (always appropriate and confidential). She is such a kind and caring person. I can't wait for you to meet her. You will never lack support and love.

This week God:
 Provided. I'm still in shock. I'm riding on a wave of resulting peace. I pray we always use His gifts wisely. I long to hear "well done, good and faithful servant."

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’"-Matthew 25:21

Read about why I started Motherhood Mondays here.

A few of my Honest goodies.

Friday, December 27, 2013

One No And A Whole Lotta Yes

We had such a lovely Christmas this year! I'm amazed at the peace and joy God gave us. Although, I guess I shouldn't be, because we prayed for it. God also gave us an answer to our prayer for a baby by Christmas. The answer was no. However, it has been my experience that God gives us exactly what we need. Sometimes I don't want what I need, but I need it just the same, and He always provides. Even so, this Christmas we got one "no" accompanied by a whole lotta "yes!". We were blessed to spend Christmas Eve at Josh's parent's house. My parents and brother joined us. It makes me so happy that our families enjoy each other. More than enjoy, I would say they love each other! I love my in laws, Josh loves his in laws, and all the in laws love each other. Amazing! Josh's brother and sister in law were able to drive down from Washington as well. While Josh and his brother are technically step siblings and physically could not look more different, they were raised by the same kind and gentle father whose loving example has rubbed off on both of them. I thoroughly enjoy Josh's brother and his sweet wife. Our families completely filled the house with noise, laughter, and good food. It was a wonderful day. It was followed by another wonderful day. Josh and I enjoyed a quiet Christmas morning together. We made waffles, opened gifts, read the Christmas story out of Luke, and made our way out to open gifts with family. After stopping for a bit at Josh's parents house again, we joined my family at my parent's house. I love my family. So many different personalities, beliefs, and life stories. We are a diverse and yet well matched group of people. God is so good to give us such close relationships. They love us, they support us, and they stretch and test us just like family always does. I can not say enough about how much I love each one of them. Each person is tangible proof of God's grace and love for us. Our families are a huge "yes" from God.

This next part I hesitated to write about because...well just because. However, I believe in sharing answers to prayer in order to bolster the faith and hope of others. I mentioned briefly a few posts ago that finances have been on my mind. It's no secret that adoption comes with a hefty price tag. Totally worth it! It can just get a bit stressful. We have prayed about fund raising and I've even researched doing advertising on this blog. We just couldn't get peace about it though. This confused me because, I know God wants us to adopt, but the idea of draining our savings entirely and going into debt as we started a family just didn't seem right. God is un-clenching my grip on every aspect of this adoption. Our second year of waiting and our third time going through the home study process (it needs to be renewed every year) is approaching in a few months. Along with the home study renewal comes fees, lots of fees. This has been in our prayers for awhile and on Christmas day we got our answer. I won't go into detail but we were given enough money to cover another home study renewal. It was just handed to us! Out of no where! No strings attached! I want all of the other waiting families who read this, who are overloaded with paperwork, overwhelmed by fees, and stretched thinner than you ever thought you could be, to know that God will provide for you! He will give you exactly what you need. If I had my way, we wouldn't need the money for a third home study renewal because we would have a baby already, but God is making our difficult path smooth. And really, now that I think about it I'm the one that makes it difficult. God has always made it smooth.

Here are a few pictures from our wonderfully blessed Christmas. 

It's tradition to do English poppers on Christmas in our family. If you're unfamiliar, poppers are small packages filled with a toy, a paper crown, and either a joke or riddle. The package makes a loud pop (like a party popper) when you pull it apart. Everyone enjoys reading their jokes and wearing their crowns.

We play the white elephant game every Christmas and every Christmas it gets funnier. Exchanging gifts that no one wants can get kinda crazy. Above, Josh's aunt proudly displays a gift from my parents. A pinup calender of woman posing with their accordions. A CD of accordion music was included. The laughter was painful. (Love my cousin's facial expression in the background!)

It's also tradition in our family every Christmas to light the figgy pudding and sing. Josh gets pretty into it.
 Love the way my mom personalized our gifts (Doodle is my nickname).

I hope you all had a blessed Christmas as well! I'm looking forward to seeing what God has for us in 2014.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Motherhood Monday: Blurry

Two days away from celebrating our second Christmas while waiting for our child to come home.

Well...we were hoping to celebrate baby's first Christmas this year. God seems to have other plans. Although, He technically still has two days. An eternity in God-time. This time of year has the potential to make for a perfect storm of emotions. It would have been Evelyn's first Christmas but I'm trying to remember that she's celebrating with the Birthday Boy Himself. Incredible. Can you imagine what heaven would look like during Christmas!? I am determined to celebrate and celebrate well. It's no secret I want to be a mom. Have you ever worked so hard, held so tightly onto a dream that it physically wore you out? I'm there. My grip has been so tight that I have no grip left. I'm emotionally spent. Is this where God wants me? Probably. I was faced with a situation yesterday. I listened to a mother express her love for her son. She talked about how he has been a blessing to her whole family. Softening hearts. Bringing joy. Displaying child like faith. All wonderful and amazing things! Totally worth celebrating! I am SO happy she is blessed! Less than five minutes later I was picking up a memorial poinsettia for my daughter (something our church does during Christmas for loved ones who passed away). Ugh. The thing is, I didn't cry. I think I'm too tired, but almost in a good way. He's worn me down to the point where there's no more me, only Him. Am I making any sense? Instead of crying, all I had left in my emotional storehouse was this: "God is not mean. He understands our pain. He WILL bring us a child." That's all I had left and He got me through it. It was a difficult moment, but it passed, without tears. I finished the day sitting on our couch with my wonderful husband watching "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" by the light of our beautiful Christmas tree while snuggling with my sweet puppies. It was a good day.

Fudge. I hope someone brings some to our family gathering on Christmas Eve.

Thoughts about our child:
Whether you exist in this world yet, or only in our hearts, you are held in your Father's hands. May He bless you with wisdom, discernment, and grace. May He prepare us for you. May He bring you home in His perfect timing.

Thoughts about our expectant mom:
I pray you have a blessed and joy filled Christmas. I pray you are surrounded with love and support. 

This week God:
Blurred the line between me and Him. It's like those magic eye pictures where you have to relax and blur your eyesight to see the hidden picture. Kristen is just the random fuzzy image you see at first, but God is the 3D beautiful image hidden underneath. You get all excited and happy when you finally see it and then it gets easier and easier to see each time you go back to look. I'm hoping, at some point, I'll disappear all together. I want Him, His love, His light, to be seen. I'm just the random fuzziness. 

"For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." -2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Read about why I started Motherhood Mondays here.

Can you see the image underneath? If not go here for the answer. Merry Christmas!

*UPDATE: Josh came home with fudge. He had not read my post. God has blessed me with a good man!

Friday, December 20, 2013

It Is Well

A Lot of people don't know the story behind my favorite hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul". It was written by Horatio G. Spafford in 1873. A few years earlier he and his family had endured the loss of their only son to scarlet fever and then lost the majority of their wealth after the Chicago fire. In 1873, Horatio and his wife Anna, along with their four daughters, planned a trip to Europe to benefit Anna's failing health and to assist D. L. Moody and Ira Sankey with a revival in England. They were scheduled to sail on the steamer Ville du Havre.  Due to a business emergency Horatio ended up having to stay behind, but sent his family ahead. On November 22, 1873 the Ville du Havre was struck by a British iron sailing ship, the Lockhearn. The Ville du Havre, with Anna Spafford and her daughters aboard, sank within twelve minutes. Only 81 of the 307 passengers and crew members survived. Anna was among them. She was taken to Cardiff, Wales where she telegraphed her husband "Saved alone. What shall I do...". As soon as he received Anna's telegram, Horatio left Chicago to bring his wife home. While sailing across the Atlantic the captain of the ship called Horatio to the bridge and informed him that "A careful reckoning has been made and I believe we are now passing the place where the Ville du Havre was wrecked. The water is three miles deep." That night, alone in his cabin Horatio wrote the words to his famous hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul."

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

The verse I put in bold is my favorite. It gives me goosebumps and I get teary-eyed every time I sing it. This hymn has meant a lot to our family throughout the last few years. I think about what Horatio endured and how he was still able to praise God and write such beautiful words and I tell myself "suck it up, Kristen!". That's my way less righteous way of saying it is well with my soul. Suck it up! Our hope is not in this life! Though the sorrows like sea billows roll, someday the clouds will roll back, the trumpets will sound, and we will have rest for our souls. I'm so flipin' excited I can hardly stand it!!! Note the use of bold and italics.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: 20


Monday, December 16, 2013

Motherhood Monday: Dreaming

One year, eight months, one week, and one day since we got in line for the wildest roller coaster of our lives... This is just the line.

Happy, but feeling slightly unfinished. I'm happy just cause I am. I feel really good today. No particular reason. I think drilling my blessings into my own head is paying off. It's tough work. Poor me. I'm also happy because I figured out how to decorate this blog without using a premade template! For those of you who don't blog, I'll explain a little. There are websites where you can buy or download for free (along with their advertisements) blog designs and layouts. The one I had up was from a website that anyone could go to. Who knows how many other blogs had the same theme as us. Now no other blog in the blogosphere looks like ours and that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I think it's pretty cute, if I do say so myself. 

I'm feeling unfinished because Josh woke me up from a really good dream this morning. One of those dreams that feel so real that when you wake up it hangs with you a good while. I was dreaming that someone (I can still see her face, but I don't know her) was handing me a baby, not just to hold, but to keep. She looked happy but also sad as she handed the little one to me all wrapped in a blanket. Just as I reached out...Suffice to say, I wasn't happy Josh woke me up. 

I'm making stuffed bell peppers for dinner tonight and I've been looking forward to them all day. I stuff them with ground turkey, brown rice, onion, and cheese, and then serve with more veggies on the side. Easy, healthy, and super yummy.

Thoughts about our child:
I'm looking forward to seeing how you will challenge me. What will you argue with me about? What will be your learning style? Will you be stubborn? Will you be compassionate? I'm looking forward to watching your personality and your convictions form. I look forward to helping you become a functional, contributing, healthy, and happy member of society.

Thoughts about our expectant mom:
What are you looking for? What about us will you be drawn to? I look forward to our first meeting. My heart will pound, my hands will sweat, my mind will race, and then I'll hug you.

This week God:
Reminded me that I am His, for better or for worse. But really there is no worse. My body doesn't do what I want. Getting pregnant feels like it should be built in automatically. But God knows my body. He knows the number of hairs on my head. He knows me better than I know myself. My body will do what He wants. This is just my earth-suit. 

"Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows."-Matthew 10:29-31

Read about why I started Motherhood Mondays here.

Josh got a new haircut! God knows exactly how long each one is. :)

A few of the books being read/waiting to be read at our house.

Friday, December 13, 2013

To Plan, Or Not To Plan

At what point does hope become harmful? When does faith become false presumption? How much planning is vanity? 

If I were pregnant I would be planning a baby shower. If I were pregnant I would be decorating a nursery. I would be working on my birth plan. That is what our society says "being prepared" is.

We anticipate the arrival of a child (or children). As I've said before, the logical outcome of the adoption process (assuming you've done the paperwork, paid the fees, and stick with the waiting) is that, at some point, there will be a child who needs a home. But the point at which that happens is completely unknown. This is the logical, even tempered (albeit frustrating), human-view.

What is the most mind blowing, life changing, pure joy inducing, make-you-wanna-jump-outa-your-skin-with-anticipation-view? The God-view. This view has nothing to do with paperwork or fees. Nothing to do with earthly logic. I can't wait to see what God has seen all along!

Hope becomes harmful when it's based on something other than God. We do not hope in our agency, in our social worker, in our blog or Facebook page. We hope in The Hope.

Faith becomes presumption when you treat God like a vending machine. Yes, we pray that God will give us a child, but there is no slot to deposit our prayer and then receive our ordered outcome. We pray and if God says no, we must accept that He sees what we can't. We have faith in God's unseen plan. 

Planning becomes vanity when you stop trusting God to provide. Worrying that we won't have what we "need" when the time comes, we won't have the finances, we won't have time to accomplish what we think we should. It's all vanity. If God is orchestrating this mind blowing outcome, what makes us think He is not also taking care of the details before and after. This one is probably the hardest one for me to hold on to. I'm a planner. I think most people are. Part of me wants to go out and buy every baby item I can (more of a desire than a need). We don't need gobs of baby gear. Part of me is worried our savings will give out. If adoption is what God wants for us He will provide the finances. Part of me would like to research other agencies. Not for any specific reason other than my own impatience. Our agency is moving as fast as God will allow. We have prayed about choosing a different path and always get a resounding NO. We have no doubt our expectant mom and child(ren) will come to us through Adoption Center of Hope. We have prayed about all these things and in our hearts, in our minds, and from scripture, we know God will provide. 

So we walk the tight rope between the meager knowledge of our human-view and what we know about the God-view. We know that God is in control, that He loves us, that He has a perfect mind blowing plan for our family. So while we plan, we ask God to guide our planning. Every step we take, we take with Him. 

"It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep." -Psalm 127:2

Monday, December 9, 2013

Motherhood Monday: Sing Joy

One year, eight months, and one day....how bout we just say a long time. We've been waiting a long time.

Expectantly and cautiously optimistic. Life seems to be lining up nicely and beginning to point toward a peaceful future. Nothing specific has happened but we seem to be feeling more calm and hopeful these days. God is preparing our hearts. I'm only cautious because I don't want to assume I know God's plan. 

We had the pleasure of meeting Gingi on Saturday. For anyone who hasn't followed my blog long, Gingi was the kind recipient of some of the breast milk I pumped for our future child after our daughter passed away. We have developed a friendship online, through email, and through texting. Last Saturday she flew back to California from Florida to spend time with family. We finally got to meet in person and have dinner with her, her mom, her sister, and sweet baby Tessa. It was lovely! Holding Tessa and feeling her fall asleep in my arms was soothing to my soul. Gingi was an answer to prayer for me and I can see our friendship growing stronger. 

My best friend Kristi had her beautiful baby boy this morning! Attending Kristi's shower last month was a big day for me emotionally. I could not be happier for Kristi! Her little boy is so precious and so loved. I can't wait to cuddle him and watch him with his beautiful big sister when they get home from the hospital. I look forward to the day when Kristi and I can watch our children play together.

Hot chocolate. Josh and I have been on the hunt for the best hot chocolate mix. We've tried a few. Organic. Peppermint. So far, the best is good old fashioned SwissMiss. We're open to suggestions. :)

Thoughts about our child:
It's officially the Christmas season! Josh and I decorated our tree on Sunday and our ornaments are always something I look forward to unpacking. Growing up, it was a family tradition each year to get a new ornament that represented that year. Josh and I have continued that tradition. We have copper stars from the year we visited friends in Texas. A giraffe from the year we went to the animal park and fed the giraffes. A sea turtle from the year we went to Hawaii. Josh has a Superman ornament from the year of my car accident (he was my hero. He took such good care of me!). A sweet little baby peanut for our little peanut, Evelyn. I can't wait to add the "baby's first Christmas" ornaments, take family pictures in front of the tree, and watch little hands unwrapp presents with excited faces. 

Thoughts about our expectant mom:
If I could commission a choir of angels to sing at the birth of your child I would. That's how much I already love your baby. If I could send an angel to comfort you as proof of God's love and provision for you, I would. In a heartbeat. God, give this woman peace. 

This week God:
Filled us with Christmas joy. Christmas is a huge reminder that ALL things are possible with God. For example, a teenage girl is visited by an angel who tells her not to be afraid, she has been chosen by God. Although she is a virgin, she becomes pregnant (out of wedlock, for which she could have been stoned), travels by donkey, and goes through labor in a barn. Her son's birth is heralded by a choir of angels, attended by lowly shepherds, and anticipated by wise kings from hundreds of miles away. All while a jealous and paranoid king plotts to kill her child only to be thwarted by a dream warning her son's adoptive father of this danger. Oh ya, and her son is Christ, the savior of the world. Seriously!!!?? God can do anything and He is ALWAYS in control. Joy to the world!!!

"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." 
Isaiah 9:6 

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Read about why I started Motherhood Mondays here.

Meeting Gingi and sweet little Tessa for the first time in person. Love!

Our beautiful Christmas tree.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Stork Award

Before I took my little techno-fast, I got another award nomination from Kristin 
at Bringing Home Baby Franz. Third time's the charm! I find it a little ironic that it's called the stork award though. Haha! 

Here are the rules:
Link the person(s) who nominated you.
Answer the 10 questions about yourself.
Nominate as many bloggers as you want to receive the award.
Ask your nominees 10 new questions.
Link your nominees and let them know they have been nominated.
Post the Stork Award icon on your blog side bar if you are so inclined.
Kristin's questions for me:
1. What is your dream job?
Easy, stay at home mom. The best, hardest, and most rewarding job in the world, in my opinion. I'm sure I've idealized it over the years cause I want it so badly.
2. If you could have any super power, what would it be?
I wouldn't call it a "super power" per say, but we just read about Christ giving the apostles the authority to heal people.
"And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give." Matthew 10:7-8
Yep, I would put that to some good use.
3. Favorite season?
Souther California doesn't really have seasons, and that just fine by me. I do like when everything blooms in spring though.
4. If you could go back in time and give yourself advice from when you were in high school, what would you say?
Don't waist time planning your life out so extensively. God has a plan and it is NOTHING like yours. Although He will stretch you farther than you think you can go, He will also bless you more than you could imagine.
5 Have you ever had major surgery?
Had to have a few surgeries to repair some things after my car accident seven years ago. At the time they felt "major", but they have faded after seven years and, looking back now, I would call the surgeries themselves uncomfortable but minor.
6. How did you meet your significant other?
A friend in high school pointed Josh out to me across the quad one day because she thought he was cute. He was cute. My friend never made a move, so....I was never good at flirting though so another friend had to step in for me and let Josh know I thought he was cute. *sigh* High school... That was almost 14 years ago now!!
7. Favorite school subject?
Math. I've always enjoyed the predictability and structure of math. I have my AA in accounting. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I also have a very creative personality that kind of conflicts with that much structure. I'll never be an accountant for that reason. My math skills have come in handy though. They've helped with our personal budget and I also volunteer at a local pro-life pregnancy center helping with their bookkeeping.
8. Soda or Pop or Coke?
None. I very rarely drink any soda. Too sweet. Every once in a while I take a sip of Josh's, but I just don't like it much.
9. Did you play any sports in high school?
Josh and I were both on the tennis team. Go tennis!
10. What was your first car?
Oh man. I inherited my grandmothers Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. It was maroon with velour interior, also maroon. The radio didn't ever work and there was no CD player. It was the best.
Ok, now I'm suppose to nominate as many other bloggers as I want. Well, seeing as how I have only been blogging for a little over three months and have already listed almost all the blogs I follow, there is only one left. Gingi (Domestic Geek Girl)!!! Since she nominated me for my other two awards, she's the only one I haven't gotten to nominate back. 

Enjoy your nomination Gingi, and since you also have recently had a run of these blog nominations, I will leave it to you to do what you will. You are welcome to ask yourself ten questions if you feel like the rules need to be followed. However, if you feel led to do something completely different, do it! I leave it to your more than capable imagination. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Enchilada Momma

I've decided to skip Motherhood Monday one more week. Here's a little guest post from one of my favorite people ever. Love my momma! 

My name is Sonja and I am Kristen's mom. Maybe you've heard the statement "You don't marry an individual, you marry the family." True. The same could be said about adoption. You get the whole enchilada. I'm one of two enchilada grandmas included in the Kristen and Josh family package. The other grandma, Tammy, is of the same mind. Our love for our families binds us together.

Kristen has been asking me to write a guest post for her blog for a while, and it's rare for me to refuse a request from one of my children. They usually make reasonable requests, so it's been easy to tell them yes. We want to be a "yes, you can" family rather than a "no, you can't" family. I think this is an important thing to know about us.
Another important thing to know about us is we are a vulnerable family, which means we are a strong family. Maybe you don't think vulnerable means strong, but it does.  How does a word that means exposed, defenseless or weak translate into being strong? Here's how:
·             We tend to give people a piece of our heart, rather than a piece of our mind.
·             We grieve our losses and we keep our hearts tender. We fight against becoming hard or bitter.
·             We put our hearts on the line and we open ourselves to authentic, deep relationships. It's scary, and sometimes we get hurt, but we want to do it anyway.
·             We are honest about our sins/faults/failures. We let ourselves really be known. We dare to be bare. I have repeatedly failed some of life's biggest challenges, and I publicly acknowledge that. (Really public . . . like in front of audiences.)
·             We have more relational energy because we don't waste it on keeping secrets.
Birth parents and hopeful adoptive parents are incredibly vulnerable. Your hearts are wide open and not at all safe from pain. You are exposing yourselves to the greatest risk of all - love - and laying down your lives for the sake of another.
I want the whole enchilada, so I too will be vulnerable and I will love.
I am an Enchilada Grandma.
My mom holding me "fresh outa the oven".

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Catching Up

I thought I'd share some of the highlights from my "week off". It was very relaxing and full of God's blessings.
Josh surprised me with roses and candy for Evelyn's birthday. He walks up to me at home and says "I need to go do some stuff." Me- "What kinda stuff?" Josh- "Stuff." I laugh. He comes home a half hour later with a dozen roses (12 months since Evelyn's birth) and a box of See's candy. What a man! 
The Saturday before Thanksgiving Josh and I helped organize and pack Thanksgiving dinner for over 600 needy families. Our church organizes this every year and every year it gets bigger. The pictures above show only a fraction of the amount of food donated by our church members. It was fun seeing everyone work together and help get things done. I was pretty sore the next day from carrying boxes and kneeling over and over to stack cans, but it was totally worth it.
Josh and I have started frequenting a local diner for breakfast every once in a while. It's so cozy. There's not many things nicer than people-watching at a diner while sipping on a cup of tea with your husband's arm around you. We enjoy the atmosphere, the food, and the good conversation. I think this will be a nice family tradition. The sign in the picture above is over the cash register. Ain't it the truth?
I got a very simple recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes from a friend. I gave her my recipe for chocolate chip cookies in exchange (the best cookies in the world, I've been told). I think the world might be a happier place if we used recipes for currency. Anyway, they were very well received at Thanksgiving. The few leftover unfortunately got dropped in our driveway while getting out of the car. Bummer. I'm sure I'll be making them again though.

And of course, Thanksgiving. It was a beautiful California day. 
Josh was asked to pray before the meal. I don't think there's anything more handsome than a good prayin' man. Especially one as cute as him. 
Here's a few more pictures from Thanksgiving. We love our family!
Top left: Josh's dad carving the turkey. Top right: me and my dad. Bottom left: Josh's parent's and sister. Bottom right: me and Josh's sister.
Top: Me with Josh's cousins and sister. Bottom left: Josh's cousins. Bottom right: Us with Josh's cousins, uncle, and sister.
Top left: Josh and his aunts. Top right: My mom and Josh's mom. Bottom left: Josh's grandpa. Bottom right: Josh's uncle.
Left: Josh's aunt and cousins. Top right: Josh's dad and grandma. Bottom right: Josh's aunt.
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