Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I'm from

I am from burnt orange Tupperware and mustard yellow Kitchen Aid mixer and the fragrance of chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven.

I am from home-with-an-open door and someone always there. Overnight guests, family friends and neighbors always welcomed to the table.
I am from book-reading, notebook-filling, diary and poetry-writing.

I’m from family reunions, dozens of aunts and uncles and too many cousins to count. Visits to grandparents on the farm and to the yellow house in the small town in the southwestern corner of the state.

From hardworking handyman father and homemade-cooking mother. From younger brother and 16 month-older-sister.

I’m from loudness and laughter, prayer before meals and family birthday celebrations.

I’m from Michael W. Smith cassette tapes, footprints in the sand poems, music concerts, spring break trips and “Our God is an Awesome God.”

I’m from small towns followed by life in the city. From warm sloppy joes, green bean casserole, hot dishes and mashed potatoes.

I’m from Sunday services and youth group Wednesdays. From Bible camp in the summer, youth retreats in the winter, and God-seeking moments in the midst of it all.  

I’m from sinful ugliness, hurtful words, tears and tough times. From a broken heart and a sad smile and would someone please take the pain away?

I’m from grace and forgiveness, from commitment despite hardship and messiness.

I'm from a long line of Jesus lovers and Bible believers and truth seekers. I'm from hope in the Everlasting God who brings beatuty from ashes and makes all things new.


Awhile back I read an I'm From blog post and decided to take a crack at it myself. If you're interested in writing your own I'm From, you can use the following template to get started (if you write your own, please leave a comment and link so I can read it!):
Adapted by Levi Romero

Inspired by “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon

I am from ________________________ (an everyday item in your home)

from ________________ and _______________ (products or everyday items in your home)

I am from the ___________________________ (description of your home)

_________________________________ (a detail about your home – a smell, taste, or feel)

I am from the____________________ (plant, flower, natural item)

The __________________________ (plant or tree near your home)

whose long gone limbs I remember as if they were my own.

I’m from _______________ and ________________ (a family tradition and family trait)

from ______________and ______________________ (family members)

I’m from _________________and _________________ (family habits)

and from_____________________. (family habit)

I’m from _______________ and _______________ (things you were told as a child)

and ____________________________________ (a song or saying you learned as a child)

I’m from_________________________ (a family tradition)

I’m from ____________ (place of birth) and ___________ (family ancestry, nationality or


_______________and _________________ (family foods)

From ___________________________________ (a story about a family member)

___________________________ (detail about the story or person)

_____________________________ (description of family momentos, pictures or treasures.)

_________________________ (location of momentos – under my bed, on the wall, in my


______________________________________________ (more description if needed)



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Happy 5th Birthday Little Man

Dear Samuel,
My sweet Samuel. I can hardly believe that tomorrow you will be five years old. It seems impossible that five years have gone by since we first laid eyes on you.

Your dad and I feel so privileged and honored to have watched you grow during the past five years. You make us so very proud Samuel. And never more so than in the past 13 days as we have watched you love on your new baby sister. Your world has been turned upside down with the arrival of a baby in the household...and yet you love her so much already. You want to see her, hold her, kiss her constantly, check on her, laugh at her, touch her. It's very apparent that you are as crazy about your little sis as we are.

I love that you have a tender side that is so gentle and loving with younger kids. I love that I get to see you be a big brother all over again. I love that God gave you a tender heart for little ones...while the rest of your heart is filled with love for superheroes these days :)

Waiting on the breakfast table for you are some batman toys, spiderman underwear, ninja turtle band aids and Vikings playing cards. These are your passions at age five. When you're not fighting bad guys, you are pretending to be a football player wearing your jersey multiple days each week. You make your Grandpa Steve, Uncle Scott and Aunt Sher (Vikings enthusiasts) so very proud.

Recently you learned to ride a two-wheeler. It was months in the works, but the day we took off those training wheels you took off -- confidently and smoothly. It is so FUN to see you ride your two wheeler. It also requires extra prayers for safety and protection. It's a reminder that you are growing up quickly and each season, each milestone is a lesson for me...a lesson in letting go just a little bit more and allowing you the freedom you need to experience life.

When I talked to you from the hospital after Lydia was born I said, "I miss you Samuel and can't wait to see you at home." Your response: "I miss daddy." I could only laugh and smile. You have always been a daddy's boy. You two are best buds. You take trips together nearly every day to the gym, Target, library, grocery store, Home Depot. The last time dad was "lawning" you followed him around with your lawn mower continually asking him to go slower so you could keep up. You love your dad so much and he returns that love wholeheartedly.

Your energy is endless Samuel. Your questions are constant (Which way is Africa? What's the Incredibles last name? Why is it called Minnehaha Falls?). Your memory and your observation skills are impressive. Your love for salami sandwiches, hummus and almond milk is second to none. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and it is a JOY to celebrate you today.

Five years little man. It's been a whirlwind. It's been an adventure. It's been so much more than your dad and I could have ever dreamt or imagined during our wait to welcome babies into our family. Five years ago today our family consisted of just your dad and I. And now we are a family of five. And it all started with you and your grand entrance into our lives, our world and our hearts. Since the moment we saw you in the nursery at the hospital, when they placed those wristbands on us declaring that we were your parents...we have never been the same. You changed us Samuel. You made us parents.

As always, we are eternally grateful to your birth mom for choosing us to raise you and love you and watch you grow. We are humbled and in awe that God has given us three precious miracles to parent. You are part of our story Samuel....and our story is part of a greater story that God is writing for our family.

Happy 5th birthday my son. I love you the whole, whole, whole, whole, whole way to the moon and back. I love you from the top of that beatiful head of blonde hair all the way to the tips of those oh so dirty boy toes.

On your birthday and always,

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Introducing the newest member of our family

Friends my heart is full tonight as I introduce you to my precious Lydia Ann. She was born Friday, September 20 at 3:14 a.m. weighing in at 8lbs, 4 oz.

She is beautiful and healthy and another reminder of God's goodness and faithfulness to us.

We did not know the gender of this little one, so when Ryan said, "It's a girl!" and they placed her on my chest, I sobbed and couldn't stop. She was here. She was perfect. And I was desperately in love with her simply because she was mine.

I am so in awe that God has seen fit to bless us with three beautiful miracles.

As I type these words, this little bundle of sweetness is curdled up on my chest snoring away. Her skin is soft as silk. She smells like I imagine Heaven must smell. And I want to memorize every feature of her tiny face.

I am overcome daily, sometimes hourly, with gratitude. I continually thank God for this little life and the honor and privilege of being her mom. I thank Him for her two older siblings who adore her. I randomly break out in tears as it hits me again -- we have another miracle in our home and she is part of God's beautiful, amazing plan for our family.

Praise you Jesus for this incredible child. May she bring you the glory and praise you are so deserving of. I will do my best to raise her to know you...love you...and follow you all the days of her life.

Here are some photos from the first few moments and days of Lydia's life:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"I wish I was her"

Earlier this week Lauren and I were snuggling while I was watching the weather. Ryan and I watch the weather every single day - sometimes twice a day. I don't know why, but we do.

As Lauren and I are watching the weather woman - a very nice looking blonde - Lauren said, "I wish I was her."

Immediately I asked her what she meant, why she said that, and went on and on affirming who God created Lauren to be and all the other things parents are supposed to say in cases like this.

And then my heart was sad. For days. Every time I thought about her saying that she wished she was someone else, I felt I needed to reassure her, once again, about how perfectly she was was made and that we love her just as she is.

And then I saw this:

Baby girl, tomorrow you turn four.

And I want you to hear the words of this video over and over and over again. Not just on your birthday, but every. single. day.

You are loved.

You are beautiful.

You are worthy.

You were perfectly made by a great God whose grace covers all.

You are a daughter of the Living God.

I pray that you will be so confident in yourself that you would never again utter the words "I wish I was her." I am sure that you said that because you thought the weather gal was pretty and you want to be pretty just like her.

Oh sweet girl, you are pretty. You are beautiful. You are precious from the bottom of your long legs to the top of your blonde, blue-eyed head.

I will spend my life teaching you the truth of who God says you are and helping you discover who He made you to be.

Happy 4th birthday. I cried as I put you to bed tonight (of course!). I am so proud of you and the kind, gentle, caretaker you are becoming. I cried because it's going by so fast and someday you won't want to snuggle with me.

But until then I'll soak in the sweet moments that involve me, you and your Dora blanket. I'll remind you that you are more precious than rubies, you are fearfully and wonderfully made and that your gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth. 

I love you L. More and more every year.



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"you are mine and I am yours and we are family”

Have you read Kisses from Katie yet?
It's the kind of book you want to read with a pen or highlighter in hand so you can underline quotes and phrases and powerful reminders of who God is and what He has called each of us to. Or, in my case, there are too many lines so you just take pictures of pages you want to imprint on your heart forever.

If you haven't read it, I highly recommend adding it to your fall reading list.

I love the following quote. Not only because I live it and believe it to be true, but because it comes from a 20-something mom of 13 adopted girls. Being a mommy isn't about dna. It's about receving with open arms the tender hearts God has given us to care for.

“...because "Mommy" is forever. It's such a powerful name. Mommy means "I trust you." Mommy means "you will protect me." Mommy is for shouting when you need someone dependable and for laughing with when you are excited. Mommy is for crying on and cuddling with when you are sad, or giggling and hiding behind when you are embarrassed. Mommy is the fixer of boo-boos and the mender of broken hearts. Mommy is a comfort place - a safe place. Mommy means "you are mine and I am yours and we are family.”--Katie Davis

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

But He Was Already Ours

I started to type out some powerful phrases in this video by adoptive mom Jennie Allen, but there were too many. It's from the heart of a mom…about unconditional love…and a reflection of our Father’s love for us…her heart was stolen by her son...he was not from her flesh, but from the hand of God.

"I think that this idea that love is supposed to feel right. It's emotional....whatever. It's a commitment. It is a decision. That you say: you know what? No matter what you do to me I am in. You can treat me any way. I am in and I am not going to quit pursuing you and I am not going to quit loving you and I am not going to quit sacrificing for you." 

Take 4 minutes to watch this: