Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Oh, Sifa. I can barely recognize you here. I am so glad we know each other better now. You tried to put those gold shoes on last week and could not for the life of you squeeze into them.
Coming home to find our home had been secretly decorated buoyed me up more than I could ever describe. I knew it had been done by some women who had prayed long and hard for us.
It was a day none of us will ever forget. We talk about it often with Simone and Safi. They laugh at how much Sifa (Simone) hated me then. I am glad we are were we are and I know time will only bond us closer.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
I went to bed at 9 pm last night. I woke up to Trump's victory and dozens of my friends asking,
"What am I going to tell my kids today?"
I understand. Besides my feelings about Trump, which are probably pretty similar to those who are asking that question, I understand the looming and sometimes overwhelming sense of responsibility that parents everywhere feel about raising kids.
One day in late summer I felt that responsibility pressing down on my heart like an anvil. I have six kids. Six. My mind is like a constant loop of CONCERN. It plays their unique challenges through it, over and over, one after another. It is never ending - my concern for them and their individual success, whatever that maybe look like.
And that constant loop very often brings on the thought,
"You will never be enough."
It's true. I will fail them. I will lose my temper. I have be selfish and inconsiderate and a bad example.
This realization, on this summer day, when I felt that they deserved better than me, was met by this scripture. It brought me more hope than any parenting book or Mother's Day card ever could.
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
I will never be enough, but our Savior always will be. Was I trying to fill them up with me and my love more than Him and His love? It was a humbling thought and one I needed to allow me to change the way I parent.
It also brought to mind another scripture that became meaningful to me during Mitt Romney's attempt at presidency. I remember being so disturbed by a poll that confirmed what I had been faced with my whole life: an overwhelming amount of people still don't consider me, because I am LDS, to be a Christian. Shortly after I read that poll I read this scripture:
And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
....and I had to ask myself....... do I do that? Talk of, rejoice in, preach of and turn my children to Christ?
I knew then that the best thing I could do to give my kids stability and a rock-solid future was point them towards Jesus Christ. He is the one person who is a sure foundation for them. Their parents, teachers, leaders, and friends will all fail them in life at one point or another, but He never will.
If you aren't a Christian (and are somehow still reading this), can you stop for a minute and imagine what it would actually mean if all of this is true? If there really was this amazing being, with intelligence far beyond our comprehension, who created this earth and everything on it. Who set a perfect example of how we should treat each other in order for everyone to have eternal happiness. Who spread that knowledge through commandments that are laughed at now. What if this man died for all of us, even those who killed Him? Wow. And He rose and is coming again! Wouldn't that bring you incredible joy coupled with humility?
If you are Christian, doesn't that bring you incredible joy coupled with humility?
So what will I tell my kids? I will recommit to the decisions I made that summer day. I will keep working on memorizing The Living Christ with them. I will sing them songs about Christ. I will read them scriptures during breakfast. I will pray with them. I will keep taking them to three hours of church every Sunday. I will teach them to keep trying to be like Christ, no matter how many times they fail, and to turn to Him when they do. I will teach them to make covenants with Him, because His power is greater than Trump's or Clinton's and amazingly, we can have access to it through those covenants!
When the whirlwinds come (and they will!), I don't want them hanging onto me, I want them hanging onto HIM.
Today, and tomorrow, and the eternities are bright. Not because of me, or Trump, but because of their Savior and Redeemer.
That is what I will tell my kids today.
Sunday, May 8, 2016
I say these things In the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ Amen.
Friday, January 22, 2016
Colin made pancakes. Chad worked. The kids had chores, homework, and piano practice, but with the whole day stretched before them, there was plenty of time for piling on the redneck snow gear. The door must have gotten opened a hundred times today as all four kids went in and out, never managing more than fifteen minutes at a time.
I now have four kids that can dress themselves completely for snow. Coats, boots, everything. It makes life less stressful but I am not used to it, so I have to remind myself that I don't need freak out about how often they take the clothes on and off and leave them soaking wet on the ground. I even have a kid who knows how to use the dryer.
Sadly, I did not use this newly found freedom wisely. Despite my irritation with Facebook today, I found myself picking my phone up over and over again. And over and over I told myself to focus on the areas of my life I could actually influence instead of the things I can't control.
So I put the phone down and went outside to play with Carina and Colin. I made the kids healthy tacos for lunch. I laughed with Gabe when he told me about the X-box game he played where he deliberately made the Cardinals lose to the Panthers by 150 points. Carina brought me her reading lesson and cheerfully sounded out "This is a seed." And Oliver found me every half hour or so for squirmy cuddles.
As soon as Chad finished with work, he put dinner on the stove. I used the last of the bath bombs he gave me for Christmas as I soaked and read for an hour.
The night ended with a crackling fire in the living room, which turned into an impromptu dance party. The kind you only see in movie montages, where everyone is laughing and glowing. Oliver and Carina did their best ballroom moves. I taught Colin how you dance at church dances. Chad did his two step. And best of all, Gabe, my most reserved child, busted out huge smile as he lip synched to Sam Smith.
It turns out, I didn't even need to influence my life for good. I just needed to let the good in my life influence me.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
Then just shortly after, the death of Chad's sweet Grandma Libbie.
Friday, June 19, 2015
On Sunday night, after our succesful dinner, I was sitting with the kids on the couch watching Chopped when Carina suddenly presented me a mini muffin liner. Inside of it was what looked like itsome dried up apple skin and a Cheerio. With her usual sparkle in her bright blue eyes, she said, "Here ya go. I made this for you!"
"What is it?"
"Apple and Cheerio."
I got up to see that she had these little appetizers lined up for everyone in the family,
right next to the apple she used,
with bite marks all over it.
I guess she knew she wasn't allowed to use a knife? Good for her, I guess?
Carina, you've been chopped.
Sunday, June 14, 2015
- 3 out of 4 loved the taquitos. I liked them - they were very simple and way more filling than I expected.
- All of the kids ate the rice without complaining. We used brown rice, which also made it very filling and they didn't eat as much as I expected them to. As much as I have tried, none of them will eat green onions or peppers, so they picked around those.
- 3 out of 4 loved the drink.
- All of them like the fudge. It was very rich and very dark chocolate. We halfed the recipe, which was plenty.
Friday, May 15, 2015
We have missed all the toddler years. We have watched her baby cheeks disappear through pics, longing to kiss them.
We have had the privilege of making sure this child of God is watched over and fed. Because we were allowed to adopt her, she is healthy and strong. We are incredibly blessed that we have always had the extra money this adoption has required as it has extended over a year past the date we expected.
The first part hurts so much, but I can't forget the second part.
We sent Sifa's foster mom a little extra money this month to throw her a celebration, and decided on some ways to celebrate her here at home.
First I took Carina and her girl cousins that live here shopping for a dress for her. A summer dress, so she can wear it THIS summer :) When they get home, there will be five girl cousins here in Charlotte who are within a year and a half of each other. It will be so fun.
Friday, May 8, 2015
It was the best field trip experience I have ever had. Oliver's teacher - let me just break in and say this woman has my heart forever. She is so warm and full of happiness. She is the first teacher my kids have ever had who has NO color-change system in place, and the kids listen to her anyway. Anyway, Oliver's teacher put him in a group with his cousin Liam and their two other very close buds (one more reason to love her). She told me that the four of them are always together, and they never ever fight. Do you know how awesome it is to see four little 6 and 7 year old boys group-hugging on a field trip? All four of them listened so well to me, with no talk-back and no whining. Rare thing, I am tellin' ya.
Monday, May 4, 2015
We have not heard any news yet. In pregnancy terms, it has been over a month of painful contractions but no baby. The worst kind of waiting. We have been told we might hear something this week but I am not really letting myself believe it because just waiting is easier than anxiously waiting.
Yesterday I substitute taught a Primary class of 8 and 9 yr olds. We were learning about Jesus healing the sick. We talked about the faith of the woman with the blood issue, and the man with palsy. I told them that I used to think faith was just a feeling. Sometimes you felt it, sometimes you didn't. But now I have learned that faith is often times a choice. You choose to believe even when you don't feel it. You literally stop the fearful thoughts that are crowding your mind and focus on the Savior.
We also talked about the many many times that Jesus doesn't perform the ultimate miracle that you would love to have. I told them about my mom, that she has this disease that has robbed her of her speech and her understanding and how hard it has been on her and our whole family . I told them that Jesus has not taken this sickness away but instead has comforted her and us through it.
As we were ending the lesson, I had them write down miracles that they have seen in their life, and I remembered one in my own that related so closely to that.
Over two years ago, when Chad and I decided to adopt from the DR Congo, we kept our decision within our immediate family for awhile. It had been a decision 10 years in the making and it still felt very personal and raw.
Shortly after that, I was thinking about my mom, wondering what I could do to be a part of her life and bring her any joy. I spontaneously stopped by when my dad was at work and asked her if she wanted to go for a walk. She was already having a very hard time understanding words at that point, but I probably motioned enough that she got my point. It was a nice day - I had Carina in the stroller and my Mom had their dog Cici on the leash. She seemed happy, which made me happy. I had this huge and very sudden feeling that I should tell her that we had decided to adopt. I had not really told her anything that was going on in my life for a very long time before this, because it always just led to her being frustrated that she couldn't understand, and me feeling bad that I frustrated her. Plus Chad and I had agreed not to tell anyone. But the feeling was strong and felt right.
So I did.
"Mom, Chad and I decided to adopt."
Her face lit up with a huge smile and she gave a little celebration noise with her shoulders scrunched up. She completely understood.
Holding up two fingers, "Siblings, from the DR Congo."
More happy noises and a little victory dance.
She understood so well that later that night my Dad called and said, "What's this I hear about you adopting from the Congo?" She had gotten enough words out to him to share the happy news and, if I remember correctly, had even pointed it out on a map. I was astounded.
This was the last easily-understood conversation I had with my mom. It may be a small thing, but it was still a miracle.
My mom hasn't been healed and my girls are still not home. But every time I seek my Savior, He comforts me. And I am learning what "exercising" faith really means.
Monday, April 13, 2015
I knew when it ran that we would get negative comments online from viewers. I have seen it on my blog and I have seen it with every news article that has been written about other families in our situation. I am so familiar with these comments that I could have written them myself.
So when NBC Charlotte posted a few links to the story, and the haters showed up, it really didn't bother me or surprise me.
What did surprise me was the outpouring of love from perfect strangers. Perfect strangers were standing up for us, defending us, letting us know that they were praying for us.
"Beautiful ... Praying for a speedy home coming for these young ladies .."
"Pressing in with prayer! God bless you all~"
"Rest assured.this is in God's hands !"
"Sending love, hugs and lots of prayers that you will be united with your beautiful daughters very soon!"
Over 2,000 likes on one post and 175 shares, lots of love and so many prayers. I love my city.
If I did not believe in the power of prayer, I would have had to after that day. I felt those prayers so strongly.
Just the day before our story aired, we heard that President Obama called President Kabila. Then later that week, we started hearing, for the first time in a long time, very good rumors about the exit letter suspension possibly coming to an end soon.
The wheels are in motion.
We have higher hopes than we have had in a very long time.
We hope to hear something, one way or the other, soon.
It is joyful but also so so stressful. We could still really use your prayers. That is really the whole point of this blog post. Please pray for the officials in the DRC that they can find a speedy solution so that these children can finally have families. Please pray for us as parents that we can withstand the ups and downs and keep our faith. Please pray for us to stay strong so that when the children finally do come home we are ready to love them and show them all the patience they deserve. Please pray that the children will feel God's love for them through all of this and that they can know their worth.