This morning: at table

{...Trying to capture a little of the craziness of our mornings for you!}


My heart is near-to-bursting today with the joy of getting to be mama to these five children, of the great privilege of being able to school them at home and of the wonder of each of their personalities and gifts.

The other night I said to Mark- for probably the hundredth time- "Can you even imagine having to miss this?" I know there are mothers who put their children in daycare and then preschool and then off to public school. Some do it because they must, some because they want to. I am just incredibly thankful that I don't have to. There are so many moments, throughout each day, that I marvel at and appreciate and delight in- in each of my children. From the littlest's new findings (so proud of herself for having learned to climb up onto the couch!) to the discoveries of the older children: it is such joy for me to witness. I can't imagine having to miss it.

So my heart is thankful today. And I just wanted to say so.

That isn't always the case. Often lately I feel overwhelmed by the many tasks before me each day, and I lose sight of the simple delights in this job.

But I am reminded today of how fleeting this time is-- Audra leaning against me on the couch, her bare toes flung into the air so that I will play "This Little Piggy" with her for the fifteenth time. Isaac, surrounded by LEGOS, using his God-given creativity and imagination and talking all the while as he builds, occasionally showing me his latest creation. Ella, as happy as can be, sitting on her bed with the afternoon sun pouring into her room, all curled up with a good book. She'll come out later and tell me about it and then will ask- again, if I've checked to see if the library has the next book in that series. Watching Isaias- so sweet with his little sisters, helping and loving them. Adelia, snuggled up earlier on my lap, wanting this book and then that one and then that other one and this one and more and more and more.

Oh, how I want this perspective every day: to treasure each and every moment and see such events not as interruptions, but as opportunities for joy handed to me by God.

Things I'm learning about hair care

Not my own, of course. There is little care going on of my hair. I wash it, comb it out and eventually pull it up and out of my face and that's that.

Adelia's hair, on the other hand, requires a little bit more. It's now gotten so long that if I don't do something with it, it gets very matted and tangly, so I have to put forth some serious effort to take care of it. Here's the saga for anyone who is interested:

Adelia's braids came out a week ago. They were in for 3 1/2 weeks total. I could have kept them in for longer (and, in hindsight, I wish that I would have given them another week), but I had time to do it one day and just went for it. It took me about an hour, maybe more- to take them out.

Twists: I washed and conditioned her hair and then I put her hair into twists for about three days. I did this by parting her hair into 9 sections and splitting each section into two strands, then twisting them together and adding colorful heart snaps on the ends of the twists. It was cute. But you'll have to take my word for it because I forgot to take a picture. Cute but not my favorite. I didn't like them NEARLY as well as the braids, and they only "wore well" for about two days. Also, the twists would smash down after each nap or nighttime.

So then I spent a few days trying to figure out what to do next. I wanted to do braids again but attempted it one day and either Adelia wasn't cooperating or Audra wasn't.

Cornrows: The next day I attempted to do cornrows, which was pure craziness because apparently you're supposed to braid UNDERhand rather than OVERhand and I tell you, you might as well have asked me to complete The Most Difficult Calculus Problem Ever for how impossible it was for me to try to braid pulling the strands underneath rather than over. Sheesh. I was practically in tears. And an hour later, Adelia's hair was still undone.

A day later I did some version of Piggy-back braids and ended up with this:

(front view)
(back view)
Clearly I need a little work on the parts. It's her LEAST favorite part, me parting out sections, so I rush it every time.


What I've learned for hair sessions:

-A video is a must. Preferably the Signing Time movie that contains the pizza song for my girl.
-Food is a must. In one sitting this week she went through a mini package of M&Ms, about a cup of raisins, and a large handful of craisins. Lollipops are good, too. I totally bribe her with those.
-Either Mark has to be home (to watch Audra, mainly) or Ella has to be in charge of Audra, preferably in another room.
-It is impossible to do school and hair in the same day. At least when you have as many children as I do.

Orphan dolls

The orphan doll project is an idea given to my dear friend Kimmie by the Holy Spirit. I met Kimmie while we were in the process of adopting Isaias. She and her husband have adopted six of their seven children (but will VERY SOON bring home another beautiful daughter from Ethiopia). Kimmie blogs regularly over at Over the Moon With Joy. Her heart for orphans is contagious, and her passion is expressed with these words:

"I believe God deeply cares for orphans and desires for believers to wake up to the very real need of the 143 million orphans worldwide. I believe He is calling each of us to take an active roll in seeking Him on what we are to do. What a powerful field in which to send the gospel." You can read more here or on her blog.

We've had the privilege of having the orphan dolls in our home for the last several weeks. I've written a few journal entries over at the Orphan Doll site.

May God continue to speak to your heart about how He might use YOU to "look after the orphans in their distress".


If my camera was beside me right now I'd take a picture. I'm sitting cross-legged on my bed, having my quiet time- and around me are piles of old journals. Nine of them, to be exact. I think 2005 is the oldest one right here. There are others beside my bed, and others on a shelf somewhere downstairs.

I realized today that it was around this time, two years ago- that we first learned about Adelia.

We celebrated her birthday a few weeks ago but we didn't actually see her until she was 14 days old, and it was several days after that that she came in our home.

It's the thing I love about journaling. I don't always know which journal it's in [I really should label those someday!], but I know I'll be able to find it within a few minutes of digging. Today, I found these journal entries:

On February 27th:

So. This is the day you have chosen to give us a daughter, Lord. This morning, we got the call. It's a go. We *are* the family for this baby girl. You, Father, have selected us. Oh, may I honor You as this girl's mama.

On March 3rd:

We get to see Addie tomorrow!!! I'm hoping at that visit we'll have a better idea as to when she's coming home to us. Found out today that she weighed 5 lbs, 10 oz at birth. I can't wait to meet her, to take pictures, to find out as much as we can about her!

The following day, I was struck with overwhelming fears about how we were going to do this. And how maybe we should not do this. Adelia's history was such that we didn't know exactly what we were getting ourselves into with her future health and development. I was so fearful of the unknown, and the enemy was having a grand time planting all sorts of "what ifs" and fears into my mind. At the time I wondered if this sudden doubt on my part was God's way of halting this process. I was quite seriously doubting whether or not we should move forward with this adoption. It was a grueling two days:

I am full of fear. Really. Like physically feeling it. Nauseous, shaky, ill.

Later that night I took a bath and I brought a book I had been reading in with me. The book was called Red Letters, by Tom Davis. This is an excerpt from the page I "happened" to be on that particular evening:
And then there is fear.... Fear brings all of the what-if's to the surface. What if I become too involved in someone's life and I lose something from my own life? ... What if it costs me my life? What if? What if? What if? Line up enough of these 'what ifs' and they start to tower over us, placing us back in the shadows. The 'what-if' life is a paralyzed life, an imprisoned life. Fear keeps us from acting on the compassion in our hearts.
God was nudging me a bit through that reading, but I was still struggling.

Mark was Mr. Steady: listening, praying, thoughtful. But certain. His only hesitation was the fact that he trusts me so much and I was having serious doubts. We asked God for peace; for clarity, and He was faithful to give it. I spent a few hours the following day with my Bible on my lap and my journal beside me- writing down verses. Beginning with this well-known verse , then this passage, from Isaiah:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...

Do not be afraid, for I AM WITH YOU.

And these excerpts from Isaiah 41:
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
For I am the Lord, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you,
Do not fear;
I will help you.
Do not be afraid...
for I myself will help you.

and this verse, from Romans:

If God is for us, who can be against us?


Then He spoke to me through a hymn. I'll never forget the significance of that, and that particular hymn will forever be dear to my heart as a confirmation of God's desire for us to adopt this girl, our Adelia.

And then, on March 6th:

We are moving forward. God, You have shut out the fear and I am embracing this path you've brought us on. Thank you, Father! For answered prayers. For peace. But especially for shoving aside Satan and the fear he tried to defeat me with. I trust You, God. No matter what the future holds. No matter what the what-ifs. No matter what. I trust YOU. And Your faithfulness to me; to us. And Your future and hope and purposes for Adelia.

And shortly thereafter we brought home the tiny little bundle that was Adelia. By the grace of God, I did not give in to the fears and miss out on this precious girl.

(For more of Adelia's Adoption story, you can visit the archives via the sidebar. See March 2008.)

Finger knitting

:: The perfect activity for children recovering from the stomach flu ::

Every stuffed animal in the house may have a new scarf by the end of the day!

Of course, I had to try it, too. It's a lot of fun!

Go here for the finger knitting picture tutorial Ella learned from,


Go here for the finger knitting video tutorial I learned from.