"So promise me you'll never forget...that you aren't an accident or an incident...you are a gift to the world, a divine work of art, signed by God. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on this earth...Flooded by emotion, overcome by pride, the Starmaker turns to us, one by one, and says, 'You are my child. I love you dearly.'" Max Lucado, God Thinks You're Wonderful

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Geez Louise.  It's been so long since I've been on here I could hardly remember my password. 

But alas, here I am needing to write.  Today marks one month that we've been open as an emergency foster home and have parenting 6 kids.  And well, I feel misunderstood.  I want to say certain things to people who ask, but then I think again and wonder what my words might sound like...so I don't.  I am wondering if this is a safe place to just get er done.  Get this all off my chest and not worry about what Joe Shmoe might think.  Thing is, the guy I am really living for already knows my thoughts before I utter a single word.  But I really want to honor Him with my life, and my mouth (and this silly blog).  So only read on if you can brace yourself for some honesty...

Truth is, this sucks.  It's harder than I ever imagined.  And yes, everyone warned me/us.  But truth is that I knew if I thought through it too long I wouldn't trust God that we were really supposed to do something like this.  Blake and I lay in bed at night wanting to scream "UNCLE!!!!!  We are done!  Can we please go back to our normal comfortable/overwhelmed with 4 small kids life?"  And as we wrestle with that idea I can't help but hear God say to me not to treasure my life here.  I feel like He keeps telling me that I have been way too comfortable for way too long.  I think of all of the kids in this world without parents or sleeping in a shelter/orphanage.  I think about our Tulsa county shelter that continues.to.be.over.capacity.  And then into my head pops that staggering statistic that 7:1 we've got this covered.  There are 160+million orphans worldwide, and conservatively 7 believers per every orphan.  Really?  That's disgusting!  We have made every excuse in the world not to obey His commands in the Bible to take care of the orphan...every excuse.  Not me, not now, we'll tithe, we'll support Compassion, but we just can't do that.  Surely He doesn't want me to be this uncomfortable?  Or wait.  Surely He doesn't want MILLIONS of His children as orphans or stuck in a system.  Maybe this is the cross He wanted us to take up?

So now you know my fear in talking about how hard this is.  I am currently begging people to join me in this journey, and at the same time literally desperate for Jesus to help me go on.  I have never needed Him so much.  I have never prayed this much in my life.  So then I think, well maybe this is right where I was meant to be all along, continuously seeking Him.  I feel like I was there after children 2 & 3...I mean, honestly I think any parent needs Jesus to be worth anything, but certainly when you outnumber yourself.  Then we add #4, then 5 & 6 and I can't quit singing "I need thee oh I need thee, every hour I need thee!"  Or Blake and I will take deep breathes and giggle out the words "I surrender all to Jesus, all to Him I freely give." 

Eeeek!  We got to see Mama Mandy and be encouraged by her and her precious girls.  So blessed to call them our family!

And some people look at me like, "Well just stop."  I don't feel like I have the choice.  I love Him, I gave Him my life.  He commanded we not turn our eyes and look the other direction from orphans.  And yet I did that comfortably for 33 years.  As I toy with the idea of jumping ship, scripture that I never knew I knew jumps into my head, snippets from all the books I read this past year beg me to keep pushing, and friends and family step up next to us and carry us to another day.  We've had said people just randomly give us meals, FREE babysitting, my parents arranged childcare at the church (I cried big fat tears), and our kids have said some of the sweetest things to remind us why we are here.  Please click on and read the text from Jen Hatmaker's book 7.  Another day that was incredibly rough, my friend text me this picture that she had just read.  And I just lost it.  I don't want to be Pollyanna either. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Kiddie post & plea

 So if anyone is reading at all you've caught on that I have been horrible at posting about these sweet lil lovies these past few months.  So I wanted to give some updates on them!!!  They are the whole reason I started blogging in the first place :/   Here is Sadie this summer being her crazy self...she is SO strong and can do the monkey bars all by herself.  She has some serious upper body muscles.  She is FAST and can nearly out run me.  She is constantly smiling and giggling and mothering.  She loves everything and will make it her baby to love on and take care of.  She talks to babies, grown adults, dogs, bugs, balls, dolls, etc like they are her very best friend.  Its super sweet most times, but awfully scary when she grabs adult men by the hands to play with her.  Perhaps we need to cover stranger danger again! 
 Owen is an incredible young man.  He is a wonderful leader at school and a huge help to his teacher.  He is very active and loves playing basketball, riding scooters, playing football, soccer, golf and tennis.  He is sure having fun with a backyard, we missed that when living in an apartment last year.  He loves to read and often stays up with a flashlight reading past his bedtime.  He too is a fast runner, but it's not his favorite thing to do.  He is a great listener, master negotiator, & is sensitive to others needs.  Tonight as I walked in to scratch the boys backs Owen started singing a song we had sung in church...but he never sings during praise so I didn't know he was listening...he sung it perfectly pausing just as the song is written, "My heart will si-ing...no other na-ame...Jesus...Jesus" over and over.  Oh love, there couldn't be a sweeter sound for a mama to hear, and even more so for our Father to hear!  This year he turned 7!  I don't know how we have a 7 year old!
 Emery, who we usually call Emme, is at such a fun age...most of the time.  She is particularly frustrated when everyone else has someone to pick on and she does not :(  So we are working on talking about our frustrations rather than hitting them out.  Whoops.  Her favorite things to say right now are: I gonna tewl mommy!, I no wan to, I tootie, No Sadie pfthtttt (we have a minor spitting problem), Aw we goin?, Aw da guys? and I do it!!!!!  She still loves to cuddle, is left handed and is our best sleeper!  She is TALL and skinny.  Most people mistake her for being 3 and older, and she just turned 2.5 this month!  She talks really well, still loves to sing and knows a lot of songs and she loves to pray, even for large groups of people.  Be still my heart!
 Cooper!  Coop turned 6 in November and got a bouncy house of all things.  Have you ever checked out purchasing one of those boogers instead of buying one?  No?  You should.  Google it!  We just had a few grands chip in and vwa-la, we got to keep the dang thing UNTIL IT POPS!!!  It has been endless fun and can hold up to 500 lbs so that means that occasionally we have a mom that hops in and plays monster tickler.  Fun times.  It's even more fun when you have no furniture and can inflate it in room and just leave it out during the winter.  Cooper is another blessing of a kid.  He is bursting with passion, compassion, ambition, skills (he has wonderful penmanship as well as one heck of an arm) and love.  He often comes home from school and has drawn pictures of the crucifixion and resurrection during his brain break at school.  Just like with everyone of our kids, I cannot wait to see how this guy follows God through life. 
 One thing I have hesitated to share about our Sadie is that we have "lost" her birth mom.  I haven't wanted to share it for several reasons.  First, so many people don't get open adoption and quite frankly don't need another reason to not understand it.  Second, so many people don't try and understand birth parents, and I don't want people to judge these precious precious family members.  They are our family, so please understand how intimate and personal we hold them in our hearts.  But it's been nearly 2 years since we've seen Gerlisha, and we miss her terribly.  Sadie prays for her daily.  She cries for her.  She draws pictures of her.  She is only 4, so I am not sure what memories she has or if its just because we talk about her so much and tell her stories and look at pictures.  Whatever it is, it's real and it's painful.  I know adoption is layered and bittersweet, and we have been educated and counseled on how to walk through this with our loves.  I don't know where I would be without our adoption agency and their support.  But they don't know where she is either.  So this is me asking for prayer and only prayer.  Please do not judge our choices or Gerlisha's.  My hope is that she might follow the blog and see how desperately we need her, and that's why I am finally sharing this.  I am so thankful that I ALWAYS take pictures when we see our first families because we never want to take a day for granted. 

 Emery right before turning 2
 Cooper found a worm...he is such a boy loving dirt and bugs and all things boy!
 Priceless picture of me telling Owen thank you for smiling for the pictures...he HATES taking pictures so we bribed the kids with QT if they smiled!
 The girls had pajama day at school and watched Polar Express
 Owen's holiday party at school!  We had so much fun at his party and stole the idea to MOB the Neighborhood with love and give the holiday away.  It was cheap and helped the kids focus on OTHERS during the holiday instead of giving them a bunch of silly dinky knick-knacks.
 This was the girls party at school, even though we don't do Santa they got a kick out of seeing our pastor dress up and read a story. 
 Cooper's class party.  Isn't he such a handsome stud with that too cool smile? 

 I think since we never talk about Santa she was fascinated with him.  Ha!
Emery was just excited to get herself some candy!  This girl LOVES sweets! 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Gloriously Ruined

So my reading has continued and has pushed me deeper into discomfort, disguist and frustration with the culture in which America lives. I have become gloriously ruined. This current book, "Dangerous Surrender" by Kay Warren has given great words to the state I have found in my heart. This alone has brought me comfort in hearing her describe her feelings as she came home from Africa back to her affluent Orange County, California... Kay says, "Everything looked different; everyone seemed strange. I looked at my possessions differently. Suddenly a full refrigerator was an insult. The crowded grocery store shelves were excessive. The displays of fashion at the mall were trivial. Television was disgusting and moronic. Politics made me sick. Church was superficial. I was a mess."

 Funniest Christmas picture EVER!  Look at Sadie!

 Just like a man to fall asleep during decorating the tree!  He could not believe he missed it!

Gloriously ruined is a term Warren and her friends have coined about how they have felt in their own discovery of the evil and unjust world around us..."I was ruined for life as I had known it before, but gloriously ruined!"

I can no longer see our way of life in Oklahoma the same, everything has a new slant on it...people are dying, starving to death, without water and without hope.  While I am broken for the fact that I have been aware and chose to look away, I also have more freedom in Him than I ever have...this is a closeness I have never experienced.  I am only halfway through this book and it's amazing and inspiring as well as gives me answer to what exactly did Jesus mean "take up your cross and follow me." 

Last week we finished Advent Conspiracy: Can Christmas Still Change the World?  What a book!  3 pastors started this in 2006 with a bold decision to cut back all excess that didn't focus on Jesus during the season and celebrate His birth.  What a novel idea, huh?  A year after they started THOUSANDS of churches joined in.  Lives were changed both within the church, and those looking from the outside.  Get this: they saw something different in those churches at Christmas time.  Numerous lives have been saved because these churches brought their money saved and gave it to building wells where people did not have access to clean water.  If we could all boldly follow the example of the sheperds and wisemen, share the good news and give gifts to Jesus, not to the blessed, but to the least of these...that's when we are giving to Him.  I highly recommend this book anytime of year, but especially now!  They also have an awesome website. 

As an update on us, we have finished all our trainging hours and are waiting on our homestudy write up to be complete and get our CPR training and we'll be open.  We are still hoping it will be before Christmas! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

No more Llama Drama

Can I just say how thankful I am for the election to be over?  Lands sakes alive, I was not enjoying all the political talk and the ugly snarky posts amongst even those who love Jesus.  I do not believe all those that have given their hearts to Jesus have to see politics eye to eye.  And I have been saddened by disrespectful comments here and there about the results of the election.  I am ready for this nation to get down and get dirty working to recover itself locking arms together.  There are still enough of us that claim Jesus as our Savior to actually live out the love He commands for us...and we can change the nation.  But we have to stop bickering, blaming, and trying to force other people that do not love Jesus to abide by our rules and values.  We have to speak love, and quit shouting about what we do not believe in.  Non-believers already know what we hold as sinful (which is so ironic because we are all sinners).  Why oh why do we think we need to keep trying to change others instead of loving them into knowing Jesus and letting Jesus change them?!?! 

 We met Daddy Danny (Emery's birthdad) at the science museum in OKC!
 Sometimes I just have to squeal at her adorable face, smile, cheeks and hair!  I mean who can look that precious with free hair!?!?  She can, that's who!
 We went up to see him when the boys were in school and an off day for the girls.  Its so much fun to see Danny come to life around his sweet Emery Faith.  We are so thankful to have him in our life.

I believe recovery begins with each and every one of us. But we have to be ready to live incredibly different lives than what we have planned. We have to lay everything down at the foot of the cross and if we are truly ready for a change in this nation, ask God what we are supposed to do. Not what a leader can help us to do, but what are we supposed to do? Because it really does not matter who our leader is, it is always Jesus Christ. Our nation is going down fast, and it's time that we all quit pointing fingers and realize we are all to blame for trying so desperately to live out the American Dream. This was my FAVORITE part about the book Radical. It pointed out so many ways in which we are raised and believe that we deserve certain things. And its all bull crap. No where in the Bible does it promise us the things that as Americans we think we deserve. I beg you to read this book. So many times I found myself scratching my head with my jaw to the ground with the truths that Platt pointed out. 
 These are from our adoption agency's annual hayride and weenie roast.  And look at my Owen's smile!!!  That's his real smile (note the dimples!). When he fakes it there are no dimples ;)
 She wasn't so interested in eating the marshmellow as she was in playing with it!

 Well, hello gorgeous!  She had so much fun as Gabby Douglas for Halloween that she wanted to continue to be her...she requested her leotard for school the next day and kept introducing herself as Gabby :)  Love this pic of Cooper below...such a handsome fella!

I am ready for the drama to be over and for the work to begin.  The church has got to stop focusing on blessing the blessed, and start spending more time spreading the good news to all people.  Whether that mission is in it's backyard, or across the world or both.  Last week was Orphan Sunday in hundreds of thousands of churches across the world.  This Sunday our church will be a voice for the fatherless.  I am so excited to see the response of our church family, but I also know this will be slow and steady.

As an update to the last post about our family applying for emergency foster care, we had our homestudy and our first 3 sessions for the 27 hours of training!!!  We will meet again this Wednesday to hopefully get a good chunk of it behind us.  Our social worker rocks and she is desperately trying to get our home open before Christmas. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Cannot

I cannot keep my house clean...but I still try.

I cannot be the best wife ever, but I believe I am the best for Blake.  And dang...how I love and adore that man.

I cannot possibly be the mother my kids need me to be 100% of the time, but I do believe in a God who reaches across that gap and uses me just.how.I.am.

I believe in Phil 4:13 in a deeper way than I ever have before.  When I gave my heart to Jesus, HE MAKES ME ABLE.  When I daily rely on Him, He uses me just as I am.  Because I have nothing more than any other human being to bring to the table without Him. 

And I believe He has used these books to awaken my heart, to strengthen my walk with Him...to open my eyes to so much that I have chosen not to see.  I have known for years that God was asking us to do something with foster care, but we couldn't figure out what.  And its been through these books, that we have been challenged to see that we won't necessarily feel "a calling" to one certain thing.  That we may not feel "peace" about what God has put before us.  But He still asks us to do it.  He commands us to, in fact.  We don't need to have all the details worked out before we say YES.  We don't need to be able before stepping up.  Phil 4:13 says He makes us able.  He just wants us to come to Him and lay down our lives, our plans, our dreams, and know that He is worth it all.

These books have made me question so many things, and taken me to places of freedom in Christ that I have yearned for.  I have never felt so free in Him.  I am so thankful for where I am today, and I am more thankful for my precious husband than I think I have ever been.

But I also feel so much conflict with the world around me.  I see loads of Halloween candy and my heart breaks knowing how that candy got to our shelves in the grocery store.  Please, I beg you, read about forced child labor and slave labor regarding cocoa beans and every major American chocolate company that purchases these cocoa beans is full aware.  Please do not buy chocolate this Halloween!!!

I feel conflict with how much money is spent frivolously while so much of the world is dying of starvation.  I can't get past 26,000 dying daily from lack of food.  But I have peace in knowing that Blake and I can make choices to live differently, I just wish it didn't come with so much uproar from the world around us.  We are the weird parents.  I just pray they don't hate us for it, but rather know Jesus deeper because of it.

Last weekend I sat in church with a new lovie on my lap from the shelter.  She didn't want to leave me for big church, so her 6 year old self got right on my lap to take it in.  And.I.wept.  I cried out to Jesus during worship knowing He fully understands her precious situation, and why she is hurting...while I do not, I am the one physically holding her, kissing her, and begging for comfort thru Him for her.  Both her and her little sister ached for their mama all weekend, and I cried with them telling them I am so sorry that she is not here.  Taking them back to the shelter was enough to break me...her little body clung to me like a spider monkey and she bawled asking me not to leave her.  Two workers had to peel her off of me. 

As you might imagine, we've applied to be an emergency foster home through Child Share Circle of Care here in Tulsa.  Emergency is different than traditional foster care in that it is short term placement so that younger (birth-5 years) do not go to the shelter before finding long term foster placements.  I can't explain the rest this step has brought to my soul.  As overwhelmed as we are with 4 children, we still feel like God is asking us to trust Him and do this. 

This was done for a local church (our friends church) in plea for the church to step up and take this problem head on...

They are His Children from New Beginnings Church on Vimeo.

I cannot sit back any longer and wait for another day.  We are only promised today.  There will never be better timing.  There will always be something else....but I cannot sit still any longer.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I really want to post some fun pictures and not try and think through what's going on in my head.

There is a lot there, and I am not sure what to share. 

Good things though...where as weeks ago I felt stir crazy, I feel such peace about the direction we have chosen.  Until then, enjoy these cuties!

 Emery, Sadie and cousin Ragon cheering on their other cousin in soccer!  What divas!
 This was a few weeks ago when we had my grandmother (who lives down the street from us) over for dinner.  She is 91 folks, and she either pretended to have, or really did have a fun time with our wild bunch.  Either way, we LOVED every minute of it.  This was when we were having our first hot chocolate of the fall!  Yummo!
 Sadie being silly!
 The boys all went out to hit some balls...one of their favorite things to do with their daddy!
 Lil Miss Thang.  This girl is absolutely gorgeous...and sassy as all get out too!  Her favorite thing to say right now..."I no want to!"  I will take that over ear piercing screams anyday, but sometimes I have to say, "Well, sister I no want to either, but we GOT TO!!!"  She still loves to sing, she prays the sweetest prayers, she is compassionate, she is still a huge cuddler, she loves talking and has quite the vocabulary...mostly from songs she sings.  She has an opinion about what clothes I put on her...and she is only 2 mind you.  She often says, "a pincess" meaning "I must wear a dressy dress to school mom!"  And that day will be followed by a day in which she wants to wear her jammies to school.  I give in when I can because let's be honest, it's just not a big deal every once in a while.   
 Emery could spend every waking minute on the swings.  And she likes to go HIGH!  In fact, if you don't push her high enough she will scream at you.  So if you think a small child has just had two limbs removed because you hear bloodcurdling screams coming from the intersection.  Fear not!  It is just Emery wanting to go HIGHER!!!  We are working on this people.  She is quickly learning, "Higher please!"
 Look at this smile!!!!  Man oh man!  I got some good pictures of this sweet Cooper swinging!  Cooper is quickly approaching 6 and is killing Kindergarten.  Not only is he doing fantastic with his school work, but evidently he is setting a wonderful example for his classmates.  Owen had just as remarkable of reports and has even been given extra responsibilities in class because of his leadership.  His reading is outstanding and he has made great friends already.  Blake and I were smiling like we had hangers stuck in our mouths when we left conferences.  Thank you Jesus for guiding these fellas!  The guys have both decided...drumroll please...to enroll in basketball this winter.  Their grandparents are elated!  Blake and I have truly enjoyed being so close to their school and have been able to join them for lunch several times.  It's such a blessing!
 Sadie found a funky pumpkin at the patch on Wednesday with her preschool class.  She also is learning sooo much at school.  She has made lots of friends and truly enjoys going.  Another huge blessing!  I still can't believe she is 4!!!!  She is still our social butterfly, she is sensitive (what kid isn't though?), she loves to play with anything except a ball, her new favorite thing is her doll house.  She has finally gained weight, but you'd never know it!  She loves to say the prayer before dinner, she adores her grandparents, shopping, cookies, candy, nail polish, high heels, lip gloss, purses, giggling, being tickled, her daddy and she desperately wants a real dog or baby.  Too bad so sad sister, the fish will have to do! 
 He is SO sweet to take pictures for me even though he dreads them.  They all enjoyed the pumpkin patch with the girls' school. 
 Emery found a pumpkin!!!

 I begged them all to get together for a pic.  You know how well that went over with the guys...gosh they are adorable though!!
Emery gave me this face when I asked her to smile.  She's a riot!