Friday, January 28, 2011


I read this story on another blog and it was so convicting I thought I would share it here as well.....

There was a man who had four sons. He wanted them to learn to not judge things too quickly, so he sent them each on a quest to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.

He sent his first son in the winter, his second in the spring, his third in the summer and his youngest in the fall. When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.

The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent and twisted.
The second son said no - the tree was covered with green buds and full of promise.
The third son disagreed and said the tree was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen.
The last son disagreed with all of them: he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.

After hearing all his son's responses the wise father replied, "Son's you are all right-because you have each seen only one season in the tree's life. But you cannot judge a tree, or a person, or anything else by only one season. Most things can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons have come to pass."

We all know how much it hurts to be judged unfairly or prematurely. I have been walking through a season with someone close to me that has been ultra confusing at times and super easy to pass judgement at other times. It is so easy to get caught up in the moment of trying to decipher truth that I forget to recognize the season at hand. Some seasons make absolutely no sense. Some seasons are really long. Some are really fruitful. Some are seasons of loss. There are seasons of restoration. Seasons of hope and life.

Sometimes I feel so devoid of wisdom. I desire to slow things down in my mind and in my life so that I operate out of a place of allowing His wisdom to flow from me. This picture of a fruit tree will stay with me forever. I am a picture kind of girl! That is why God so often speaks to me in dreams I think. Because the pictures stay filed away forever!

As I look out my window this afternoon at the beautiful snow and the barren trees I am again remembering that there is a time and season for everything. Kind of a theme in my life right now I guess. The long days of wiping noses, getting the perpetual drinks and snacks, endless is a season. There is joy to be found in every season because my source of joy is unchanging!

Friday, January 21, 2011

He Does Know Best

You know the verse in Isaiah 55 that says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord." Are you familiar with that particular verse? In case you wondered it is definitely true! :) If God had not broken into my carefully laid out plans this beautiful peanut would not grace our home with her laughter, her feisty spirit and her sparkly eyes! His ways truly are perfect! He knew I needed this little treasure and I will thank Him until the day I die for blessing us with her life! She normally wants to go outside when the other kids go out to play in the snow but his morning she was content to put on her hat and gloves and just gaze out the window.
And do you remember this picture?
Pretty sure Heidi is related to him! She loves sleeping with her blankets over her face or draped around her head! This was not staged at all!
Being pulled on their sleds! Their favorite thing about winter! Can you blame them?
All snuggled in together! Lots of cold fingers and toes when they are done! And clamoring for hot chocolate!

Heidi outside experiencing the snow! She even secured herself a ride on the sled and thought it was fun for a few minutes.
More cute Heidi pictures!
Good pals! She likes to climb into bed at night with Tristan as I am tucking him in and singing his myriad of songs! She giggles and wiggles the whole time! Somedays it is easier to count my blessings than others. And today as I sit in my warm home watching the snow swirl outside the windows I am grateful!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Times and Seasons

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace. Ecc. 3:1-8

I found myself drawn to Ecclesiastes so often. I have never claimed to be normal, whatever that is, and this certainly solidifies that notion. While other people memorize, scour, read and meditate on lofty passages of scripture I find myself returning over and over to this book. For years now. I think in part because it always puts my life into perspective. This life is fleeting, everything that we do has already been done, there is nothing new under the sun. Nothing takes God by surprise! Heartache, sorrow, joy, laughter....the cycle of life. He created it and put it into motion! I found myself looking through this passage since Madeline's death. There is such a beautiful eb and flow to these verses. Not necessarily eloquent but a beautiful rhythm.

There truly is a time for everything! I watch my children and I think there is something so poignant about Jesus' words regarding children. Multiple times he talks about their child-like faith. Think about how our children trust us completely to meet their needs, care for them, love them, etc. How different life would be if we truly did live with a child-like faith and didn't question experiences and hardships as much. Instead lovingly looked to our Father with complete, unwavering trust.

So today we are focusing on celebrating life! Shane's life to be exact! He has reached his 8th birthday which requires much festivities and dancing! It started out great with a 2 hour delay. This allowed me extra time to make his birthday breakfast (pancakes and bacon) and time for him to open presents! We had to postpone his lunch date since we didn't have a sitter and now it looks like we may have to postpone it again due to yucky weather on Friday. We keep it pretty simple around here at birthdays: they pick out their breakfast, get a lunch date with mom and dad, pick out their birthday dinner and celebrate with cake and ice cream! We usually get a bunch of helium balloons for everyone and I think that is actually their favorite part. We have only done one or two birthday parties ever since we have our own built in party central! One of the advantages of a slightly bigger family! We are a living, breathing, chaotic party! And we wouldn't have it any other way!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Loss and Grief

Over the weekend I was getting ready to post fun sledding pictures and talk about the goodness of life when I found out my friend Lisa's baby had passed away. I felt a huge weight on my chest. I spent a chunk of time sobbing for their loss. My dear husband just held me as my body shook from the depths. I have had other friends experience deep loss as well but this time my heart felt so broken. She fought so heroically for 5 months! She played peek-a-boo with her mommy, would get excited at the visits of her sisters......she lived a relatively short time but the impact has been great! She was a fighter and her parents are amazing!! I wish so badly I could fly to Colorado and be a part of celebrating her life with them!

During these months I have thought often of how Lisa befriended me upon my arrival at a new school my junior year. The times spent hanging out in her basement, running through her yard to another friends house (I thought living within walking distance to a friends house had to be so cool), our trip to Florida our senior year to visit her all our moments of carefree laughter it never entered my mind that there may come a day that one of us would walk through the loss of a child as the other flounders to know how to extend love! It is just not something you imagine when you talk about what life will be like someday. You only imagine the good, the easy....not the difficult life altering moments.

I will get back to pictures of everyday life soon since life does go on. Would you take some moments and pray for Lisa, Shanker, their girls and extended family as they are saying good-bye to sweet Madeline Grace? Life for them will also go on but with a noticeable void. And take a moment to gave on her beautiful face. She truly has touched my heart deeply and will not be forgotten!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

How Old Is He?

This picture seems to reveal that Tristan is indeed in touch with his inner "old man". Lounging in the rocker, legs crossed, pants hiked up, socks showing, the shoes....need I go on? I have always said he is quirky and this just proves my point!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Three Years Ago...

Our hearts skipped a beat as we saw this face for the very first time! The months of praying, paperwork and waiting culminated with this sighting!
Beautiful didn't even seem adequate to define her! We were smitten.
Mark and I lay in bed last night reminiscing the day of our referral call. Every detail etched into our minds! She was tiny, precious and in need of a families love. And God chose our family! We have been forever changed!
This past year we have encountered some exhausting challenges! The angry outburst, the retaliation in the form of peeing anywhere and everywhere, gravitating towards other people instead of me.....unless you have walked the road of adoption it is really hard to convey the emotions involved. Just a week ago things kind of came to a head again in my heart. I found myself really struggling. Eden had asked for something and I gave her an answer she didn't like. She threw a small cardboard children's book that connected with my eye! I cannot even tell you how badly it hurt! My eye was swollen and painful. But we sat on her bed sobbing together. Even now I have tears as I type. The pain in my heart was almost unbearable! Feeling alone in my battle to win my daughter's heart! I felt isolated, alone, defeated.....and right on the heels of the hurt I felt the fiercest of loves for her! I love her with every fabric of my being! She has experienced loss in her short little life that would cause any of us to be distrusting of other people.
When we come to mind over the next year would you pray for the final pieces of our attachment to become solidified? That her little heart would know and experience a deep healing through our consistent love. That God would equip us to parent and love her daily! And if you have any tips, scriptures, Words for God please pass them along. We cherish knowing that this journey of life is shared with people we love and who love us.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's A Wrap

Family pictures are something of a nemesis! You just can't get a good one. But that is the stage of life we are in so I guess it keeps it real. This is about as good as it gets! We spent the Sunday before Christmas with my side of the family and then the day after Christmas with Mark's family. I hardly have any pictures from the time we spent with my side of the family since I am far too busy gabbing to take pictures. It really is quite terrible!
One of my favorite moments from time spent with family was holding my nephew Zavior. I don't get to snuggle any of my kids anymore. They are preoccupied with running and climbing and not very interested in the snuggle time. To have Zav fall asleep in my arms and holding him for a long time filled up my heart!
Mark's three youngest sisters! They are such fun, the best babysitters and we have been blessed immeasurably with how they serve our rambunctious crew!
Mark's sister Christine, her husband Eric and their sweetheart Annalise! We are already planning sleep-overs for our girls once they are old enough. Hope they like each other!!
Mark's sister Suzanne, husband Moe and little guy Zavior! Doesn't he have the sweetest eyes?
The festivities at my sister's house with my side. The kids were just getting ready to start ripping into their gifts. They all exchange names as cousins. It is probably one of our kids favorite things at Christmas. They look forward with such anticipation to giving their gifts to their cousins!
Eden with her gift from her cousin Chase! She loves dressing them - especially at bedtime. She has a hard time crawling into bed unless the little dolls have their jammies on too.

Tristan and his best buddy Julianna! These two have the sweetest and funniest connection! Tristan asks for Julie a lot. He loves any chance he gets to play with her which isn't often enough for him!
These pictures are all so backwards. Oh well! The week of Christmas heralded Judah's winter concert. He was pretty excited and was happy to see his whole family, including his dad, at the concert.
Tristan was not impressed with the band. Too loud!!
Christmas morning digging into their stockings!
We usually give the kids jammies on Christmas Eve so they all had their footie jammies on - including the big boys!
More stocking stuff! We were really blown away with how grateful our kids were this year. We have never gotten them much but we scaled back even more this year. They still said things like, "You didn't have to get us so much." and "This must have cost so much!" We were amazed at their expressions of thankfulness! Since both sides of our family are large our kids do not get inundated with stuff from extended family for which we are extremely thankful! They seem to be understanding that spending time together creates far more memories than the things they receive! Now.....I don't want you thinking they are this grateful all the time because that wouldn't be painting a completely accurate picture. They are still kids, you know?
Books...puzzles...candy....what more could you ask for?
Maybe your very own "brown" baby!! Although Eden has been thrilled with her baby she still has been voicing pretty frequently that she wants a cute brown baby sister!!
And where was Heidi during the initial present extravaganza? Why, asleep in our bed! She was getting some much needed rest before opening her presents! Still think you are hard pressed to find anything sweeter than a sleeping babe!!
Everyone was more than happy to help Heidi open her stocking and her gifts when she finally awoke to the land of the living.
Not Christmas related at all but......this is princess Eden who was dressed up by her big brothers! They decided she needed a royal pet too so therefore Heidi's caterpillar was all decked out as well! She doesn't look too thrilled in this picture but she was eating up the attention of her big brothers.
And that is a wrap on Christmas!