Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Because everyone is on Facebook, you've probably already seen these, but I couldn't resist, so just in case you missed them...

The Lord must have known I needed a good laugh today :).

Thursday, March 22, 2012


The water tower in our area is drained every 3-6 months. The water runs all the way through the property and right down the small ditch in our front yard. Our kiddos begged and pleaded to go play in the water, and what followed was a mud fight of gigantic proportions :).

Posts to come:

1. Ocean themed school unit with Bennett.
2. Family pictures.
3. Birthdays: Keairra, Jasper and Jenn.
4. We got a dog. Yep. A dog.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


We have been here for six months today. For some reason, this has always been a big milestone in my mind. It's like saying, "We're not just playing around here. We're here to stay, we're committed to being here and loving these kids. This isn't temporary."

When we first arrived on campus, something the other house moms told me was that it was a good thing I didn't know all there was to know about being here at the very beginning. Looking back, I completely agree. My brain wouldn't have been able to process everything from the get-go, and I might have gone a little nuts if I'd known then what I know now. Not because it's an impossible task (because nothing is impossible with the Lord), or because I would have changed my mind, but just because work like this is better meted out a little at a time, as you are able to take it in. That is what God has done for us in the six months we have been here. He has slowly eased us into this life, graciously allowing us to be naive for bits of time, until we were ready to handle more. It has taken this full six months to fully grasp what we are doing here and all that this work entails. I can say now that I feel like Michael and I understand, and that our system for getting things done and having a successful ministry here is being tweaked and refined very nicely. But it really has taken the full half-year to get here. (I'm pretty sure in another six months I'll look back and laugh at this post, thinking I knew nothing then, either :) ).

Everything has become more stabilized, and there is a ribbon of trust running through the house that grows thicker and stronger with each passing day. I'm learning to be more efficient with my time, I'm learning when to say "when!" and take a break. I've stopped getting sick every few weeks (thank goodness!) because my body has adjusted to the level of energy it takes to be here. We have formed solid bonds with each of our girls and now have a history with them, which goes a LONG way with these kids. We have memories together, which is precious. Being a mother of eight children feels normal. It feels full and happy (sometimes dramatic and stressful, but mostly full and happy :) ). I have watched God step in and intervene in a tangible, powerful way over and over and over again in our lives. He clearly wants us to do His will here - we are right where He wants us. There is so much strength and peace in that knowledge. God is for us - who can be against us?

I feel like I need to update from the "lunch money being stolen" entry a few weeks ago. The situation we found ourselves in was yet another example of God intervening in a mighty way. He stepped in and turned things right-side up again, which I am thankful for beyond words. I don't think I've ever been so stressed in my life, but God made a path that I didn't even know was possible, and smoothed it out before me. I am uplifted, renewed, and re-energized because God is GOOD. And He always will be - that's the truth I put my trust in here, because I know I am not able on my own.

Bennett and Jasper continue to thrive. Children are so flexible and resilient - it's like they have been here and had multiple female, teenaged siblings all their little lives :). Room sharing is still smooth sailing, they have both become more responsible with chores and duties around the house (especially Bennett - he is a ROCK STAR at cleaning his room and making his bed now), and they both enjoy going down to the big playground with the middle school girls more than just about anything else in life.

Michael has more energy than I ever thought possible. He just never runs out. That's one of the gifts God has given him that makes him so perfect for this. He comes home from work fresh as a daisy, ready to roll around on the floor with the boys, help the girls with homework, or cook dinner (he takes over two nights a week so I can take all of the kids to go work out). What a blessing that we both love this so much.

There are so many things I love about being here, some of which I've said before, but I'll say again anyway, and some of which are new. I love feeling like a girl again - getting to hang with my girls makes it easy and fun. I love being busy. I really do. Not stressed-to-the-max busy, like the first 4-5 months were, but more like this, where I just always have something going on, something to do, something to tackle. If I'm not busy, I'm sometimes lazy, which I really can't stand. So having a full day with a big fat to-do list is right up my alley :). I love how we are all learning more about each other little by little, and how we store our information up about one another and it comes out here and there, revealed through different situations and circumstances. I love watching these three new girls that we have gotten since we've been here slowly find their place, slowly begin to trust, and slowly realize that we really are here for them, because we love them, because God loves them. I love living on land where we can run and play and breathe deep and hang out on the deck and see the stars. I love knowing in the midst of a very difficult situation, that God is there with me, and that He alone will pull me through. I love how being here forces me to be dependent on God. I literally, truly, cannot do this without Him. It clears up any confusion over who's boss, which is good because sometimes I get mixed up and think I'm the one in charge. Being here sets me straight real quick :).

Six beautiful months - looking ahead at six more just as beautiful as the first.

Friday, March 2, 2012


A couple of weeks ago we were on our relief week, where the girls stay with the relief house parents from Monday to Monday. On previous relief weeks, I used to work my fanny off around the house, getting extra things done, doing little projects, decorating, hanging pictures that sadly are still not on the walls, etc. By the time the girls got back, I was exhausted all over again, which wasn't very smart of me. This past time, I figured out that on relief week, I actually need to feel relieved by resting. So I made up my mind not to take on any more painting, straightening or organizing. Instead, I planned a week of book reading, book writing, bubble baths, take out food, and especially napping :). Half way through the week, I was feeling good and feeling amazed that I still had several days left to take it easy. I asked Michael about making plans to have dinner with an old friend, and surprisingly, he said "no." This is unusual for him, so I had a hard time letting go, wondering why. He finally told me I couldn't make any more plans with friends, and that he'd already contacted the other friends I had weekend plans with to cancel, because he was taking me on a four-day weekend getaway. He wouldn't tell me where, but told me we would be leaving the following afternoon, and my parents already knew they would be keeping the boys.

The next afternoon he drove us out past Sulphur Springs to a little town called Mt. Vernon, and we stayed in a Bed-and-Breakfast, retreat-type ranch. It's called Selah Ranch, and it was such a restful place. Michael and I couldn't believe we hadn't been alone doing something like that since I was 10 weeks pregnant with Jasper. Crazy!

The whole time we were there, we watched movies, ate delicious meals, rode around the surrounding land in a golf cart, and had plans to play 18 holes of frisbee golf that was thwarted by the weather. I got so much work done on my second book, it's not even funny. I got to sleep in three mornings in a row, take hot showers after an awesome country breakfast each morning, and got to spend some major quality time with my honey, who orchestrated all of it simply to give me some much-needed rest. While we were there, I felt the knots unwind and release in my back, I felt refreshed, and I felt like my old self again - someone who laughs a lot and has fun and doesn't take things quite so seriously. It was just what I needed, and the effects of the trip have lasted ever since - two weeks later. We're thinking about going back there, or somewhere like it, every six months or so to give us both a good recharge :).

I am SO grateful to have a man like Michael. I know I could not do what we are doing without him. He makes it all so much easier and so much more enjoyable :).

The gorgeous room we stayed in

The view from our balcony.

Riding around on the frisbee golf course :)

Michael out on the golf cart (another view from our room).

Me and my sweetie :)