because God set’s the lonely in families

Our family’s journey to adoption started long before we were a family. I actually cannot remember when I knew my family wouldn’t be pieced together in the traditional way. Jonathan’s story is similar. We both feel drawn to the redemptive beauty of adoption.

Over the years our picture of what adoption would look like for our family has shifted and changed. If you asked me at any point in the past 15 years to describe what I would see in my future family, I would have at different points described children from many nations, ethnicity and backgrounds. The only constant was the presence of a child or children not born from my body. We have watched other families form through different avenues and soaked in their experiences. Without clarity we prayed and continued to walk forward.

Probably about 5 years ago I remember our Pastor talking about orphan care and he said something that was profound for me at the time. He said, “I don’t want to take away from adoption, it is a good thing. But at the point in which a child needs to be adopted, the church has failed that family and that child.” And my brain started spinning. Honestly, it took me the next couple of years to process that statement and be able to answer the question, “then what?” I started reading and asking different questions. I learned something that should have been right in front of my face the whole time- adoption is surrounded by incredible loss. Up until this time, I was pretty focused on the beauty and redemptive part of an adopted story, and pretty ignorant to the reality. Because friends, the truth is, we were created to live within families. And not just that, we were created to live within the family God placed us in. Anything short of that is covered in heartache. For a long time I felt immobilized by this reality. Overwhelmed. Over time, God prodded Jonathan and I to begin to seek our part. I love the quote, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Arthur Ashe. So we took a step forward.

Foster care. At this point, we had been feeling pretty sure we were headed in the direction of a domestic adoption. We knew there were kids in our community falling through the cracks. We believe with our whole hearts that the BEST for any child is to grow up in their biological family if at all possible. We wanted to stand in the gap where we could and fight for families. We also knew, that in this world, sometimes things are just too broken and family cannot be preserved. We spent a year praying and waiting for our son to grow and when we felt ready at the beginning of this year, I made a phone call. We had decided to adopt through foster care and seek how we could serve within the system. We began a lengthy training process during which we decided to provide respite care, which is short-term care for kiddos whose foster parents need a break or are traveling, ect. We dove into the licensing process and are thrilled to be on the other side.

So there it is. A beginning. More to come.

August 27, 2014   Comments Off

some bits about my daughter

Oh my. Often. . . that is my response to my daughter’s antics. She is a little girl who knows her own mind. And I love it.

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Watching her grow up is a joy. Really. Big victories for her. She has been growing in courage, going to Super Church on Sunday mornings without tears. She is as quick to encourage others as I have ever seen. She is tender hearted and loves big. I am so very proud of her. There are other signs of growing up that I wish weren’t happening. Like helping herself to ‘snacks’ and ‘trying to make dinner’. These instances have resulted in 4 sticks of butter being fed to our dogs, a bag of soup I had defrosting on the counter landing open on the floor, and finding a random slice of cold pizza on the sofa after returning from putting her to bed. :)

Another non favorite. . . giving up naps. She is perhaps ready (I say that against my will- and ready or not I will be maintaining ‘quiet time’ at our house in the afternoon) but this week after 5 days of not napping. . . she did this late Saturday afternoon.

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The other night about an hour after her bedtime I was in our basement doing laundry and came upstairs to find her out of bed. While I was tucking her back in we had this gem of a conversation.

Me: Evie, why are you not sleeping?
Evie: Moooom (said with the tone of a teenager), Sleeping makes you grow big and strong, and I want to be little like Connor.
Me: I see.

She teaches me so much. A few weeks ago at bedtime we were reading the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. She asked a lot of detailed questions and therefore received more detailed answers which gave her a clearer picture than she has previously understood in regards to the cost of our sin. What it cost to restore our broken relationship with God. She was showing me how Jesus’ hands were nailed. . . and looked up at me and said, “Momma, I don’t want that to happen to me” (and for the sake of clarity, she was not scared. This was still a very age appropriate conversation). I have known this story for my entire living memory. I have heard sermons, read books, watched movies and generally encountered this moment in history more times that I could possibly count. But my sweet girl. . . she made it new again for me. This tiny shift in perspective, that His body beaten and bruised, torn apart, carried the cross they would nail Him to, and then as he took on the weight of my sin His own Father had to turn away from Him . . . should have been me. He paid my debt. She made me see with fresh eyes. And I am so thankful.

And because I never want to forget the days when, if given a choice in her foot ware for the day, she always chose boots.

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February 3, 2014   Comments Off

squirrel

I grew up in a bird feeding home. We had feeders in the trees off our deck which we would sit and watch from the kitchen table. I have many memories of Sunday morning breakfasts with us naming birds. We had a poster on the side of the fridge that had pictures of different finches and a small bird guide book. My brother and I rarely got along as children, but we did enjoy figuring out the identity of our bird friends together. I hope my children enjoy our feeders as we did.

If you feed birds, you feed squirrels as they steal from your birds. Squirrels scare birds. Birds fly away. You learn to despise squirrels. At least we did.

So we got a new feeder for Christmas. I had actually gotten the same one for my Mom for Mother’s Day last year and Evie loved it when we would visit so she got us the same one. Jonathan and Evie put it up last weekend.

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Then yesterday Evie yelled, “Mom, SQUIRREL!” Her yelling scared it away. . . but we sat and watched armed with my phone to document the stinker when it came back. And it did.

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After documenting we pounded on the window and the squirrel left. He hasn’t been seen again. Maybe he got the message. . . but more likely we need to move the feeder higher.

I sent this video to my family over the holidays and we laughed . . . squirrel launcher

Judge us if you want. . .but being part of this family includes loving birds and hating squirrels.

January 21, 2014   Comments Off

on my birthday

Today I am 30. So some random thoughts on my birthday. . .

But it isn’t my birthday (and a landmark one at that) freaking me out. It’s my kids. They grow up SO FAST. Connor will be 1 in less than a month (whaaaat?). My baby no longer a baby. I was folding laundry last night and held up a set of Evie’s pajamas and they are so big. She is so big. Who told them they were allowed to grow up?  Seriously people, I want names.

I am not a big birthday kind of gal. My birthday’s right after Christmas and for some other reasons growing up and now. . . my birthday just never has seemed like a big deal. Everyone is still detoxing from the holidays and a little celebrated out. Including me. A few friends wanted me to have a party this year (because it is my 30th after all) but I’m just not the party type so I said no. I did go out with them for a girls night on Saturday. . . which was way better than a party. I am pretty sure I have done nothing like that since I have been a mom. No out with girl friends without kids or some sort of agenda. We ate good food and drank a glass of wine and laughed and shared things from our hearts. It was good for my soul. I am thankful for them. . . these women God has put into my life who are more family then friends.

Jonathan asked me the other night if I was happy. And I am. I am blessed to know deep and real joy. I am thankful.

January 13, 2014   Comments Off

hello again. . .

I haven’t blogged in a long time. Umm. . .duh. But seriously I haven’t blogged in a long time. This spring I began feeling a lot of stress related to blogging. Silly, I know. I had placed goals oriented to consistency in blogging on myself that just lead to stress and feelings of failure when I didn’t live up to them. But I wasn’t living up to them for good reasons so I quit blogging for a while. For those who noticed I stopped blogging and quit Facebook at the same time and were concerned, thanks for reaching out :) All is well! The Facebook thing was a totally unrelated decision, I didn’t all together quit the internet!

All that to say. . .I am going to start blogging again. . . but with no expectations. I might blog 4 times in a week and then not again for another month and I am giving myself permission for that to be okay. I really have missed this outlet and Jonathan misses the way it records our life’s happenings (since I don’t scrap book or anything, this is it!)

If you read this, thanks for caring and sticking around!

xoxo,

Michelle

November 2, 2012   2 Comments

star spangled

I hope you had a good holiday yesterday. We enjoyed the day with good friends swimming, eating, and fireworking (I am aware fireworking’s not a word). It was a really good day.

I was surprised how well Genevieve did with the poppers and sparklers. She LOVED fireworks.

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Today I am thankful for true freedom.

July 5, 2012   Comments Off

random pictures

It’s summer :) I like summer until it gets to triple didget temps day after day. Then not so much. We did enjoy a nice May and the first half of June before the sweltering heat began. . . so I’m going to call that summer and the rest of this something like ‘the season of sweltering heat from Hades’. Anywhoo. . . just sharing a few really random pics of us this summer. Maybe I should say pics of Jonathan and Genevieve. . . because I am not in any pictures. That needs to change.

Spunky Miss Genevieve loves to swim. She is her mother’s child. She wants to be let go of in the deep end and is pretty adamant about it. When we swim at the Y -which has a fantastic toddler swim area- she beelines for the deep end.  So tonight at almost 20 months old she starts swimming lessons. If the girl insists on swimming on her own. . . she should learn how :)

We rode bikes to the park for a picnic.

This picture documents a few firsts for Genevieve. This is her first pair of sunglasses. Her Gigi sent them to her and she would not take them off. No joke. I wrestled them from her for nap time that day. She is also sporting her first skinned knee. That happened at the pool. She fell, stood up and said “ouch”, and the proceeded to run for the deep end. She is also showing off her cute painted toe nails. It’s my new trick to get her to cooperate with getting her nails clipped. The alternative includes a lot of kicking and screaming so toe painting it is.

She feels pretty glam in her sunglasses. She now has a few more pairs (dollar bin at Target people) and reeeally likes wearing them.

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Today I am thankful for my family. I think they’re pretty great.

July 2, 2012   1 Comment

catching up and flying kites

I haven’t been blogging (says captain obvious). I have been busy and something had to give and blogging was it.

I am almost done watching my friends daughter. I am looking forward to Genevieve & I’s days freeing up, but we will also miss her. We have had a lot of special time with a little one we love very much. I will say, all mothers who have their children one year apart (or less!!!) deserve a medal of honor. A newborn and a one year old at the same time is no laughing matter folks.

We have had 24 TONS of dirt delivered to our house and dispersed around our property in the last few weeks. Sounds like a lot of dirt eh? It is. If you call and we don’t answer, it’s safe to assume we are outside. Working. (if that sounds like complaining, it’s really not- it’s actually been a fun family project. Jonathan may disagree)

Genevieve is 18 months old. One and a half. Crazy.

I have done 8 loads of laundry in the past 2 days. That’s whatcha get when you’re lazy for 2 weeks.

There is so much dirt tracking in our house I have given up on cleaning the floors until this project is done. I sweep, but the floors are dirty people. I mean, we have dogs and a toddler. Dirty. Don’t judge me.

Jonathan got a kite. It’s been good times.

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Today I am thankful for my family.

May 8, 2012   1 Comment

i painted a chair

A while back Sherry on Young House Love tried to paint a chair. . . it didn’t work for her BUT she lead me to this tutorial and I couldn’t get it off my mind.  I have since done a lot of reading and then I took the plunge (like in October) and bought a $10 chair off Craigslist. My hero hubby went to pic it up for me and it has sat in our living room. . . stained and dejected ever since. I did clean it when I had rented a carpet cleaner for a rug that the dogs had . . . .well you don’t need details. . . .my point is I cleaned it. And then it sat. In January I bought my supplies. And it sat. And two weekends ago I decided to paint it.

Here is my chair before:

Now. . .how I did it. Like I said. . .I read a lot. I also went into this with a very open mind. I gave myself permission to ruin this chair. If it ended up in the trash I wasn’t going to feel bad about it. I let myself off the perfection hook. I highly recommend this step. Without it there would have been crying on my part during this process.

Disclaimer—- this is not a real tutorial—- I want to share with you what I learned as I went BUT I highly recommend reading the tutorial at the above link. 

Supplies I used:

Latex paint (I should have bought a quart. . instead I started with one test pot. . .ended up buying another test pot. . .could have still used another)

Fabric Medium (you can get this at a craft store near the puff paints and other fabric paint)

A spray bottle

Foam sanding block

Paint brush

I mixed the paint and fabric medium 50/50 in a clean plastic container I dug out of the recycling bin.The fabric medium keeps the paint from being crunchy at the end of this. It is very important so don’t skip it!  I would also recommend watering this mixture down. It shouldn’t be thick. Like thin pancake batter would be the right consistency.

I started on the back because it won’t be seen. That was a good decision. Start by spraying the fabric with water. Lots of water. My experience was the wetter the better. Then I started brushing. I didn’t water down the paint when I started and it made it very hard to blend. It looked like this:

Blotchy. . . made me want to cry. I honestly kind of felt like giving up at this point. So I took a break and regrouped. Here is what I learned- more water is better (this is where I started watering down the paint mixture). I also would re-spray areas that I was struggling to blend and that helped a lot. You can see in the picture I was applying the paint in an up and down motion with the brush. . . and then it occurred to me you would never do that on a wall (you should always roll paint on a wall in a W motion so you won’t have lines) so I started using the W technique while applying the paint. Those things combined made a HUGE difference on the rest of the chair.

So I painted a coat on the rest of the chair, let it dry and then I sanded. This is the key to pleasant feeling fabric when you finish. It might feel weird to sand fabric (but lets face it- we are already painting fabric- it doesn’t get weirder) but it matters so much. After each coat of paint it felt terrible. After sanding my chair feels like canvas (it was velvet to start). Sand (and paint for that matter) in the direction of the grain of the fabric.

I also painted the legs of the chairs with white paint we keep on hand for the trim in our house.

I ended up applying 3 coats (sanding in between and a lot of sanding after). I did not achieve perfect coverage. Honestly I am not sure with my fabric it is possible, nor do I think I want to.  A friend who was over the other day remarked that it made it look more like fabric- the imperfection- which made me feel better about the whole thing.

Here she is finished:

The verdict? I like it. I’m not in love with it. Like I mentioned. . . it feels like canvas. I am actually impressed with how good it feels. I think I would like it better if I did it again knowing what I do now from learning on this one. You can see the places where the coverage is a lot less than perfect and I think using more water than I did in the beginning (I ended up adding more water during every coat) would make a big difference in the even coverage department. All that said- this is GREAT for a $10 chair off Craigslist. A chair from your Grandma’s house with sentimental value though- no way would I paint it. Too much room for error. And I think it’s likely I won’t like this any more in a few years.

I’m happy I tried this. It was fun actually. . . and it’s fun to talk about. People can’t believe I painted upholstery. What do you think?

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Today I am thankful for spring break!

March 16, 2012   2 Comments

pinterest challenge- diy craspedia

Okay folks. . . I have a lot on my plate so while I wanted to under take some sewing projects this past week (like these or these) I did something super easy instead. I found this tutorial for DIY Craspedia flowers (or billy buttons)  from Sincerely, Kinsley a while back. I forgot to pin it then (or it never took) because I had to hunt it down this morning. Whoops. I had read the tutorial (which again, is super easy) when I originally found it so I never needed to reference it when I made these.

I like Craspedia’s. They are super trendy right now and perhaps a tad over used. . . but I still think they are happy fun flowers and in an effort to bring spring to my house they do just the trick :) If you want to make these. . . it’s like a 15 minute project. I made these in the time it took Genevieve to eat lunch.

Happy right? Did you make anything you saw on Pinterest this week?

Check out what other’s made during the Pinterest Challenge here here, here and here! Thanks to Sherry and Katie for hosting and motivating!

All tutorials were found via Pinterest.

March 14, 2012   2 Comments