Monday, April 28, 2014

That Day, Three Years Ago


Yesterday was April 27th. 

Etched in our minds are memories of what happened across our state that day, three years ago. At the time, it was the second deadliest tornado outbreak in U.S. history. Absolute devastation. All across the South. But people of Alabama are survivors and stories of faith, hope and heroism came from that awful, gut wrenching day. Today as the news plays non stop with images and forecasts for more tornadoes I am feeling a nervous energy...an anticipation..but not fear. Three years ago we were racing for Sveta as we sat in the closet praying. Now, Sveta is home but there is another child who isn't home with us...yet. We know who she is and hope by this summer she will be here, in her forever family. 
Today our prayers are with those already affected by the storms and we pray for the coming hours in our own home. 

Today, I have spent time stocking the storm closet with bike helmets, flashlights, wine, chocolate reflecting on the events of three years ago. The hand of God is found in every event and his glory can be seen, even in the midst of horror. 

My post from three years ago....

          Recovery. Hope.Sweet Home Alabama.

One week ago.

Images, sounds, the winds fury, sirens screaming - forever burned into my friends, family and tiny children's memory. Here in the south we are accustomed to severe weather, to schools getting out early when there is a severe weather threat. We sometimes become numb to the continuing news coverage and go on with our day. But on April 27th, something felt different. The air, the sky, the wind.

It felt ominous.

I was volunteering at the kids school when things began to disintegrate. I can only explain it as controlled panic. Parents filling the school racing to get their children. I literally pulled my children out of their class rooms and as the skies grew darker, clouds began gathering in huge, low masses. I hurried them to home, where I have been conditioned to believe was the safest place - in the closet.

We didn't know what was coming.

On that day I realized there WAS no safe place. That no matter where I placed my children, how hard I hung onto them, how many pillows and blankets I threw over their screaming, sobbing heads - I was powerless over the fury.

And somehow, this knowledge created a sense of calm in me.

Our Father in Heaven was in control and as we huddled in the closet I tried to calm Peyton who was hyperventilating, screaming "I don't want to die, mommy I don't want to die" and "Mommy what is it, is it a tornado???"

I couldn't lie - all I could say to my son was "I don't know. I don't know" but I DID know one thing - I trusted the Lord and He gave me the next words to say to my children.

"Perfect love casts out all fear, God is perfect love and we will not sit here in this closet in fear but in love." My babies and I began to chant over and over..."perfect love casts out all fear"

The electricity went out a few hours later and we were literally, in the dark. We had no idea what was coming next. The clouds would roll over so fast, and continued rolling over, the wind was the most unbelievable force. And it blew and blew for hours. I started getting text messages "its coming your way" and "fatalities already". Again we just trusted the Lord and watched the skies.

I finally got my dad who lives in Texas on the cell phone. "Kim it looked like a F4 or F5 tornado just went through Birmingham" We are north east of Birmingham and all I knew was the storms were all around - west, south...where would they head next?

At that point I managed to get out an email on my phone to Renee..."if we all die please adopt Sveta" and yes, I was serious. I didn't know if any of my friends in the areas already hit around here were even okay. I kept thinking about Sveta...how she would never know she had a family who loved her who was trying SO HARD to get her. I wanted to protect Peyton and Paige but wanted Sveta to be okay too.  Surely Renee and Steve would be able to adopt both Paisley and Sveta sometime down the road??? Yes, my mind was racing with all sorts of thoughts.

We are okay. I don't know why and never will here on earth but God left us here, left our home intact, didn't even lift a single thing from our yard despite winds which was pushing trees nearly onto the ground. I don't feel "lucky" but bewildered and humbled over why we are still here.

Why are we still here? Why are any of us still here? We are here to say our God is good even in disaster, in tragedy. He is all knowing, all powerful and we praise His name for His love is in each and every story pouring out of this tremendous, widespread devastation.

On April 27th, 2011 we experienced the second deadliest tornado outbreak in United States history, and to date, the single worst state disaster in Alabama history. But God was right here with us. And His grace continues to cover us in comfort.

The people of Alabama will be okay. Our faith is strong, the sense of community and helping your fellow neighbor is something which will bring you to tears, just feeling how much love exists.

So many still need help and will for a very long time. The tornadoes didn't discriminate, ripping through urban and rural areas, spanning across all income levels and ethnicitys, blowing homes off their foundation, exploding other homes into pieces. Devastation has ripped across the south but rising from the rubble is hope. Stories of heroism as we hear of grandparents and parents literally laying on their children and grandchildren,never letting go, found lifeless on top of tiny souls who DID survive.

 I leave you with one story heroism, from a small town named Tanner. Which is just west of us and where one of our friends children go to school...

"A story of the heroism played out in Tanner.
An E-F-5 tornado ripped through Rosie Road, bearing down on Glen and Janice Riddle, at home with their three grandchidren, ages 4, 6 and nine.
"They got in the hall closet with the grandbabies and they laid on top of the grandbabies to save them.. save their lives. that's the only reason they're here," said Phillip Peden of Hartselle. Peden is Janice Riddle's son. He says his mother and stepfather are the ultimate heroes.
"They give their lives for those babies," Peden said, wearing dark sunglasses to shield his eyes.
Thrown some 75 feet from her home, Janice Riddle lay lifeless, her hands still clutching the four year old little girl she saved.
"She never let go of her," said Peden.
Meanwhile, there were more heroics from this family.
"The nine year old little boy, that had a bad laceration to his forehead, he pulled the middle sister from the debris," said Peden.
Then, Peden explained how instincts and adrenaline allowed Peden's uncle, Kenneth Montgomery to ignore his critical injuries.
"My uncle Kenneth, with a broken back and punctured lung, was able to remove the smaller child that my mother was still holding and rushed them all to the hospital," said Peden.
"This was one of the worst things I've ever seen in my life," said Jason Black, an official with the Limestone County EMA. Black rushed out to the scene to help. He says the children told authorities how their grandparents had saved their lives.
"I think that's just an honor that those grandchildren will live with the rest of their life," said Black.
Authorities found Glen Riddle yards away from what was left of his home. He too died on the scene.My stepfather and my mother are the greatest heroes that ever has been," said Peden with a shaky voice."

The storm may be raging all around us but; He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1











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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Freckle Faced Hijinks

Thank you freckle face (also known as monkey) for the lovely artwork on my rear window.

Which I forgot about until I glanced in my rear view mirror this morning while taking your brother through the middle school drop off line.

And simultaneously saw your "art" along with a carload of hysterically laughing (while pointing at your art) teen girls & their mother in the perfectly clean, white Lexus SUV right behind us.

I've never seen your brother move so fast out of the car and into that inferno of hormones called middle school.

He practically dropped and rolled into the building.

I think we need to wash the pollen off of the car.








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Monday, April 14, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Something's Mithing....



Other than a dimple in a cute little chin, 
What's more adorable than a toothless grin?
- Betty Espezia


Little One lost her first top tooth, officially becoming a tiny snaggletoothed cutie. 




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Monday, April 7, 2014

ReMoved

While researching jobs in non profit organizations (that's another post!) I came across this video called ReMoved...it was created to bring awareness and encouragement to foster parents. However...I feel it is helpful for adoptive families also. It gave me another level of understanding, a reminder of some of the things (and the fact there are things we will NEVER know) children have walked in before coming into adoptive and foster homes.  

It's not easy to watch but it is truth.  

Children who don't deserve the ugly things that they have journeyed through.  

Children who need a level of understanding, therapy and compassion which families are often not prepared for when adopting.

I'm curious...if you are an adoptive parent or foster parent what has your agency & social workers done to prepare your family in finding support for your child and entire family - emotionally, physically and mentally?

Watch ReMoved...but be prepared to cry.








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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Nine

I''m not sure why this was never posted...the nine month anniversary of SJ being home.
Saved as a draft, no doubt my thoughts at the time too jumbled to hit "publish"...and so...nearly three years after she came home, here is the nine month home update.

This week marks nine months Sveta has been in our arms. It has been very difficult to write here over the past nine months. I become so overwhelmed with emotion on so many different levels that it renders me unable to write.

Humbled. Emotional. Amazed. Heartbroken. Joyous. Frustrated. Exhausted. And so many more things that swirl though my mind and heart. Looking back over the past year I can see many ways the Lord has used adoption to teach us. He has shown us glimpses of His character, and His heart by bringing our sweet little, bright blue-eyed little girl into our lives. She was about 12-18 months old in this picture. It is the only baby picture we have of her and this year for Christmas I created Sveta her own special Christmas ornament with her baby picture to hang on the tree.

She would walk to the tree and ask "where mine??" When I gave her the ornament her eyes lit up. It is truly a gift to have this one little photo.

 I wish I could have known her then. At one year old. At 18 months old. During the first  7 months of her life that she spent in the maternity hospital. Any of the times she said she got "shots" and asked "why weren't you there mommy?"
She simply wonders why I wasn't there. 
Where was I for so long?
But God knew exactly when we were supposed to be brought into her life. And he surrounded her with people who took care of her and loved her. He created her perfectly and wonderfully and has a great plan for her life. It it is a JOY to get to be her mother.

An honor to get to be a part of the rest of her life story.


The story of how we came to know Sveta is one that has God's fingerprints all over it. It is a story which has brought me to tears over and over. How he brought people into our lives which led us to her. A 15 second video of a little boy and girl singing. After we watched that little video, taken by a friend who volunteered in her orphanage, we couldn't say anything.
It was odd.
 Something inside me shifted. I had wrestled with God over all the "what if's" and the BUT God questions. But God...WE aren't people who go to another country and adopt. BUT God we can't be gone from the P's for a month! BUT God...this is scary...there are so many unknowns.
We continued to pray and every single what if, every fear was wiped away. He placed  peace in our hearts. We would continue taking one step forward as long as he allowed it. He guided all our steps.

Yet, one year ago we were in a firestorm of uncertainty. Adoption in Sveta's country was undergoing  more changes and we had no idea if we would even be able to adopt. Personally we were facing some very difficult trials with family members and friends regarding adoption.

It was difficult to explain we would travel to the ends of the earth for her. How did we come to the decision? For us that question was very important. It was and still is important to give God all the glory for this is the story he wrote. All God. There were questions like "What if something was "wrong" with her?" and "What would we do when we got home with this child who won't even be able to speak English?" We have walked through fire in our marriage. Had a child with special needs and a rare syndrome. We had never fully contemplated adoption. And certainly not from another country! We prayed, fought, sought spiritual counsel and wrestled with every "what if" question until finally our hearts and eyes were opened.
He asked us to go and we said yes. How do you explain that to friends and family who can't get beyond fear of the unknown?  
Adoption is huge. It is work. It is forever. It is a glimpse of God's grace.


"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Glimpse

Last summer our family hosted a beautiful young lady named Luda.

This is the post where I reflected upon our summer with Luda.  Looking back on the time we spent with her I am overcome by the glimpses of grace we found hidden in moments overcome with emotion.

We never had any doubt Luda was brought into our home for a reason.

When we put her on a plane headed on a transatlantic flight back home that sweltering day in August there wasn't a dry eye in our family, including Luda who will always be a part of our family.

Not by genetics or adoption  is she part of our family,  but by the collision of our souls.

When we decided to host the question arose - What on earth did we have in common or know about a teenage girl and why would we host her?

The reasons why we moved forward can't be fully explained, for I don't have the answer.

I only know we all knew we were supposed to bring her into our home last summer.

We thought maybe we were supposed to adopt again, and perhaps that was the reason we were led to host. We prayed through that and heard a resounding NO, at that time. We cried out to God WHY...NOT?

With Sveta it was so clear. We longed for more children (can't have anymore biologically) and knew we wanted to add to our family through adoption. That door hasn't closed in our hearts but last summer we also knew we weren't the family God was preparing for Luda.

We knew Luda had a family out there, that she desperately yearned for a family, as evidenced by the notes, letters and pictures she filled her room and notebooks with...words like..

Mama.

Papa.

Family.

There were other feelings too, spilled out onto paper, words we weren't able to translate until months later. Words describing her life up to the point we met her.

Absolute heartbreak.

But a glimpse of grace...for sweet Luda knows she is loved beyond measure. By us, by her father in heaven, and by the family racing to get to her.

Meet the Rose family...Luda's family.


To follow the Rose family's adoption of Luda you can find their fundraising page HERE and their blog HERE.  Their blog is a sweet reflection of their journey to Luda, and we are honored God chose us to be a tiny part of the Rose family's adoption of Luda. We are forever grateful God brought Luda into our lives for two months the summer of 2013.

Luda. A young girl who came into our home with all she owned packed into a little suitcase. With her, she brought gifts - handmade pictures she had painted, sewed and weaved love into. In her absence, her gifts have found a permanent place in our living room, sitting alongside well loved mementos, photos and memories.

Her gifts are cherished reminders of the glimpses of grace God continues to pour into our lives.

She will forever be a glimpse of His grace.





Monday, March 17, 2014

Reflection




Moving on from that last post...disheartening the level of ugliness that lies in the hearts of some. To attack an innocent child is deeply saddening. I can't think more on it. The matter has been passed on to the proper authorities and that's all we can do. 

As we make our way to the month of April and warm weather dreaming...(darn groundhog!) I always find myself thinking more of Emma. She is always with me but there are times of the year I reflect more closely on her life and the time that has passed since her death. 

I wrote a lot after Emma died. I truly feel journaling through grief is a healing therapy. The depth of emotion spilled out onto paper was cathartic when my interior literally felt as if it was being ripped into tiny shreds. 

I don't feel that way anymore. 

Healing has come and peace resides in my soul. 

I wrote the following piece on the one year anniversary of her death. I can read it now and see how God has covered us in a blanket of comfort as we worked our way through layers and layers of pain.

He is good. All the time. Even in death.

For Emma...

A bursting summers sun began to light a new day as our daughter Emma was born into this world against a backdrop of mountains and a sky radiant with deep pink and indigo hues. The beauty of the outside world was lost to us as we met and beheld our newly born baby girl. We were introduced to her fiery spirit and catapulted into life with a most amazing child, and on that sultry summers day we became trapped in time, caught in rapture we inhaled joy and absorbed her radiance.

And nearly four years later, during the month of May - with butterflies flourishing the landscape and petals in full bloom, our tiny, exquisite Emma so filled with light, exhaled her last breath and took flight of this world forever. Her scent, laugh and delicate imprint on our soul will forever stay. Our Emma. Her name meant “one who heals” - a tantalizing notion because during her days on earth she seemed so in need of repair, her tiny body refusing to adhere to the rules for a healthy childhood. In the wake of her earthly death, the truth comes and shines its grace all around. She was not to be healed; it was Emma’s presence in our lives that helped to heal us.

In life and death, she continues to be…our teacher. Our journey with Emma led us through denial, darkness, unquenchable desire to make her healthy, acceptance of her disease, letting go of her and ultimately, a quest for healing and realization of truth. The family we were before Emma no longer exists. Torn apart are the definitions that perpetuated our minds of what was a fulfilled life. Left now is an ever ripening wisdom that living life is not to be defined by others expectations, earthly desires or boundaries. A fulfilled life is not measured by accomplishments, wealth, or the amount of time we spend on earth. The brief flickering of time that was Emma’s life held more truth, meaning and fullness than most ever experience.

Emma. Stay a moment and absorb her memory, the peals of her laughter, fiery spunk, and her courage. After she left us, we stumbled over this earth, demons haunting our dreams as we began to realize the pain might not be healed in this lifetime. Lessons learned are all we can take from her flight in and out of our life. She left us as quietly and quickly a single flame is blown out. The glowing aura of her physical presence remained as her last breath was exhaled. She was three. “She is gone, she is gone” my voice repeated and echoed through our home. The ebb and flow of life and death was fulfilled and glorified. Tiny glimmers of reality peeking through the dark cocoon of our shock.

Not light filled glimmers but a morose sense of perception - of the world and gossamer draping of knowledge that for a while existence was to grow darker, even darker. 

She is gone.

After she left it became quiet in our home. At times the rift between our reality and the world’s ticking of time has been filled with such intensity it threatened to rip us apart from humanity. And yet, we survived. We absorb the thrilling laughter of our other children; we notice the warm rays of sunshine that play upon furniture in Emma’s room, still filled with HER things. We are gingerly stepping through a doorway that must be the threshold to…the rest of the journey. It is filled with uncertainty but as time passes, I feel we are kicking at the darkness, and the future must now bleed light.

Light comes. 

It is the subtle, gentle caress of awareness that Emma’s spirit was shaped and filled with God’s grace. The feeling of contentment, fulfillment, and indescribable emotion when holding her was Him infused through her. Basked in truth while searching for relief from the searing pain we now reflect on her life, and her amazing journey. Emma was beautifully and wonderfully made. Her genetic fabric was carefully chosen well before she began her life on earth. She was placed into our family and lovingly cared for. Her syndrome did not debilitate our family but instead, empowered us. 

We continue to be amazed by her and by her work here on earth. Our family now travels on the journey without her physical presence but we feel her spirit, and her melodic laughter resounds around us. We keep her memory alive and woven securely into our family’s fabric. 

We have not “lost” a child – we still have three. We will talk about her, leave her pictures and favorite things in our home. Her blanket and pillow will forever grace our bedroom. We will remind Peyton and Paige that Emma is always their sister. 

That life is not forever, but love is.

Throughout the rest of my life I know our family will eternally be shaped around her short presence in our lives. Thank you Emma for the love, the lessons, and patience you had for each person blessed to have met and beheld you. It was never a sacrifice to give all to you, and wholly absorb all you had to give back. We know well that you were our tiny messenger sent to teach us and that you were only meant to be here a short time. 

We are humbled to have been a part of your life.

Emma Catherine
7/6/01 - 5/22/2005

Monday, February 3, 2014

"give liberally. go urgently. live dangerously." David Platt

I'll be honest - it's easy to give liberally. Understanding everything we have doesn't really belong to US anyway. Since 2005, we have lived to give back, in honor of our daughter and the life lessons she brought to our lives. Emma taught us to give back, and give back in BIG ways. 

Give liberally - got it. 

Go urgently. And I don't mean running to the bathroom after a 48 oz of water. Go. Urgently.

Ack. I've heard those words in my head, causing me to sit straight up in bed in the middle of the dark night. It was 2011. We were racing for SJ. 

SJ's adoption was not easy. It was grueling, emotionally draining - no, more precisely,  it felt emotionally like being ripped apart right down the middle of my being. And then stomped on.

It was nauseating and heart wrenching and filled with tears. It felt very, very lonely sometimes.

Bringing SJ home and into our family has been so much easier than the process of getting to her. Adoption was so very different from the three biological pregnancies I have had. 

So. Much. More. Difficult. And Painful. 

Paperwork - not just a few papers but a huge stack of papers for a home study and international dossier that had to be chased down (think doctors, mortgage company, tax assessor, background checks - multiple background checks!, financial statements, interviews, autobiographies, birth certificates, employment records, medical records, and on and on.....driving all over multiple counties, acquiring perfectly aligned, signed, notarized, make sure they are each stamped correctly!, triple/quadruple checked for accuracy and apostilled....$5 a page! papers) that then eventually were sent to a foreign country where they were inspected and either accepted or denied.  Accepted. Or. Denied.  

(They were accepted.)

Combine all the above with the knowledge there is a child, an actual little person you are hoping to meet someday and the process has to be seamless, without error because there is a huge deadline looming - as in, a deadline that would change the entire adoption process if we didn't meet the deadline. It's a little bit of pressure. Add to that the questions, the statements from well meaning (and a lot of NOT well meaning) folks. Some comments were down right mean. At times those comments came from people we really were hoping would have been cheering for us. Not what you hope for when you are joyful about bringing another child into your family. It's always baffled me how differently people act when you are adopting, rather than having a biological child. Like, not coming to the airport when you get home with your new child, after a month of being gone..baffling...but I digress (that is another blog post!).

With SJ's adoption, we kept moving along, walking through God's open doors and He paved the way for us to bring our youngest home. The entire time, hearing His voice - remain steadfast and go quickly.

Go urgently - yes, we have lived that. 

Live Dangerously. Ummm. Not so keen on how that sounds. Living dangerously? I don't even go on roller coasters. Living dangerously must look like something else, surely?

"we seemed to have organized ourselves, not to engage in battle for the souls of peoples around the world, but to indulge ourselves in the peaceful comforts of the world." 

"have we replaced what is radical about our faith with what is comfortable? are we settling for Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves?" David Platt

The truth stings. We like to be comfortable, to walk in the peaceful, comfortable corners of our own realities. I'll admit I do. But I absolutely do not want to live my life catering around myself, nor do I want to raise my children to live that way. 

Does abandoning ourselves (Being ready to say Yes, God, whatever it is you ask...I will go, I will follow You) look like "living dangerously" to the rest of the world?

I can't really say adoption is living dangerously - but right now, in the pit of my stomach, it feels that way. 

It feels like entering a battlefield. 

Equipped with the armor of God.

A battle worth fighting. Abandoning ourselves. 

.More to come.  






Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Catching Up...Looking Forward


We have once again celebrated another holiday season with little one being home. This past fall was her third Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving! 

It feels as if she has been here forever. 

Last Saturday she woke early, crying from a bad dream. As she made her way down the stairs I picked her up and snuggled with her until she fell back asleep in my arms. 

She is still such a tiny girl, her little body able to curl up like a baby in my lap. 

I think of all the time we missed, time she missed getting to snuggle in her mama's arms. 

I am so thankful for the present time, and not taking one moment for granted. 

It goes by so quickly.

This past fall was a blur! I mean, seriously...I am getting old keeping up with these kiddos!!

School, holidays, birthdays, pumpkin carving, cookie making, get togethers with friends roasting marshmallows, the biggest mustache birthday party ever, school projects, dance, gymnastics, girl scouts, hockey season....and on and on!!

Sometimes I just want to go completely off grid.

 I find peace in the knowledge God's grace is shown no matter what pace our lives take. But slowing down and listening..hearing Him - I need to do that often. 

The past months.....

Peyton is making his way through middle school and playing goalie for his school team. They are undefeated and we are so proud of him! He is growing up to be such a compassionate young man. Still so quiet,  navigating his way though the teen years. We can't wait to see what his future holds. He is such a neat kid and the teen years have been challenging but so entertaining watching his personality really come out. 

Paige has balanced gymnastics and dance along with all A's and B's. She is her sister's best friend and the best big sister ever. We have watched her love for those in need grow tremendously over the past year. Diligent and hardworking, passionate about the things God is laying on her heart. She is our joy. 

Sveta is in kindergarten with the best teacher we could ever ask for. She is making progress reading and this is giving her more confidence. Somehow, she still has some sort of Sveta "fan club" according to Paige, evidenced by the older kids, staff and teachers who know her and get Sveta hugs anytime I am at the school.  That child has the most magnetic personality. She is hilarious.

This Christmas we were decorating the tree and she was belting out the 12 days of Christmas - she got to the partridge in a pear tree part and sang out "and a partridge in a baaaaaaaad dream!!!!" 

Love her spirit!

We finally got some wonderful news about Sveta's cleft palate and speech therapy. Two 1/2 years home and making progress. No surgery for now and speech starts soon. The wheels have moved slowly but we are happy for answers and getting the speech she needs...finally! 

Halloween - it was raining but she had a creative way of handling it...until she realized the bucket was for candy.



Paige was an 80's girl - too much fun curling her hair into big 80's hair!



How much chocolate is in dere?


A surprise, blessed visit from Daniel! Sveta's friend from the baby house!!! Love the Krulik family!!


Our dear friends got married on the beach and I managed to get a picture of the elusive 14 year old!


I wish I had a picture of the way Sveta's eyes lit up when she saw our beautiful friend Stephanie walking down the aisle in her big white dress. Sveta looked like she was seeing a princess. I know the memory of watching her first wedding will forever be ingrained in her mind. 


Me and my girls getting to just act silly. They crack me up!


So much more to write but my Christmas pictures won't upload :( We got to see family in Texas at Thanksgiving and spend time with my sweet nieces. Always a joy to spend time with family. So thankful for my family, the love and support they bring. Our kids are growing up knowing the love of their family in Texas and forming forever bonds. If only we could smash Texas and Alabama a bit closer together!

Our hearts have been heavy for the political things happening in Ukraine and we continue to pray for Ukraine, a country so close to our hearts. I often say - you can leave Ukraine but it never leaves you. 


Looking forward to the things God has in store for 2014. Digging deeper and giving ourselves to Him completely. I've been reading Love Does by Bob Goff and am about half way through it. 

Absolutely loving the book.

A passage from the book, "It's about our pride. He asks if we'll give up that thing we're so proud of, that thing we believe causes us to matter in the eyes of the world, and give it up to follow Him. He's asking us, "Will you take what you think defines you, leave it behind, and let Me define who you are instead?" 

For the past three years we have asked ourselves this question. We have examined our beliefs and the focuses which are only important to the eyes of the world. We have realized for quite a while we left most of those beliefs of what matters behind... still pruning that which does not bear fruit...and looking forward to what is to come. 

Hello 2014...we are ready. 

I hit publish then realized some of you may want to see this -
Got to spend some time with a sweet hearted girl this Christmas!
Praying for her journey back across the ocean. 

I know I said I would like to smash Texas and Alabama a bit closer together but how about smashing a certain EE country and Alabama  closer together?