Wednesday, November 14, 2012


A dear friend reminded me last night that I do in fact have a blog.  (Whether or not I still have readers remains to be seen.) But since this really is the only journal or scrapbook I maintain for my family at this point, I suppose I ought to at least keep up birthday posts.  My biggest baby is nearly a decade old, but I neglected to blog my bitty-baby’s big day last month.  So Reagan, sweet girl, happy 6th birthday… 20 days late!    
Reagan’s birthdays always strike me a little differently than Alyssa and Parker’s.  Obviously, I was not there for her birth.  I can’t recount to her the stories of holding her in my tummy, going to the hospital, hearing those first raspy cries.  But I can tell her of the woman who loved her enough to give her life.  The women who loved her enough to give her a comfortable home.  And the mom and dad who loved her enough to find her in a little fishing village half-way around the world.  
We talk about Vietnam frequently.  Reagan is beginning to grasp what adoption is all about, and she seems to take great pride in her Vietnamese features.  (It’s crazy how quickly she can scout out the dolls with black hair!).   Not too long ago she started talking about her “other mama.”  We try to be both sensitive and matter-of-fact about adoption issues, yet I was still taken aback by what came next.  She said “Mama, I’m so glad you’re my mama.”  Of course I responded that I’m even more glad, but given the context, I asked her why.  She said, “well, my other mama doesn’t know the Lord.  If I lived with her I wouldn’t know Jesus.”  Then she proceeded to tell me how someday she wants to go back to Vietnam so she can tell her other mama how to worship the True God.  Needless to say, I think I could have melted into a puddle at that point.  Reagan is a joy in so many senses of the word, but our greatest joy in parenting this sweet little bundle is the joy she seems to find in our Savior.  Though the finer points of reading, arithmetic and holding still are still just out of her grasp, she can so clearly articulate the truths of the gospel.  She may not ever surpass 5 feet in height, but it is our prayer that she will continue to grow in the ways that really matter and continue to bring glory to our Lord.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Still feels like summer...

Triple digit temps at home and a sun-filled week away makes me wonder if autumn will ever arrive.  But no one in our house is complaining!  Palm Desert is our cheap version of Hawaii, where we do nothing but swim, read, sleep and eat good food for an entire week.  The weather last week was perfect, and now that our kids are completely independent in the pools, it's completely relaxing for mom and dad.  Even the little one got in on the napping action (love the way that lower lip gets tucked in when she's tired!).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Big Trees

In case it wasn't clear what we went to Sequoia National Park to see...
We even camped - in a tent!  The kids were champion little hikers, and cheered their mama up the unexpectedly-terrifying ascent up Moro Rock.  Heights are not my best friend but the view was spectacular, as promised.  I'm not sure camping will be a regular vacation choice for this little family, but it certainly was the best way to see this incredible park and we're not ruling out a reprise at some point.  Hope you had a fun weekend too!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spraypaint success

Or at least mostly a success.  I tried my hand at spraypainting for the first time while the kids were away camping with their grandparents for a couple of days.  Aside from the accidentally-red cord and the slightly-less-than-uniformally-glossy finish, I'm going to call this lamp a victory.  The cheesy artwork on the $10 Goodwill base is safely covered, and the Target burlap shade I've been eyeing for some time finally has a good home. 
In case anyone cares, I started with a Rustoleum primer followed by several coats of glossy red, and topped off with a coat of clear glossy top coat.  I probably applied far more coats than were really necessary, but I was a little paranoid about drips so I choose to go with many light coats.  I really don't know why some spots don't have a great sheen but I am tiring of the project and am going to call it good.  Any advice in case I decide to try again with another thrift-store find?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Eight years of boy!

Eight years ago today God gave me one of my best-ever gifts in the form of a sweet baby boy.  That boy is no longer a baby, but he is still sweet - despite the mischief lurking behind those twinkling eyes!  No one can make me laugh quite like Parker, except maybe the daddy he's modeled after.  Every time I look at him I feel as if I've been given a glimpse into the boy my favorite man once was, and it makes me love them both all the more.   Parker is a boy's boy and one of the toughest kids I know.  Everything he does, he does with his whole heart, mind and strength - whether it's chasing a ball down a soccer pitch or plowing through his new favorite book; perfecting his latest dive or memorizing Scripture.  Yet he remains a tender, affectionate child who's still not too cool to frequently seek out his mama for a quick hug.  He is a blessing in every sense of the word!  Happy birthday buddy!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The best part of Mother's Day

I don't need flowers or gifts or candy.  I don't need a "day off."  I could even do without the homemade cards I love so much.  The greatest joy of mother's day, hands down, is right here in these three faces.  Motherhood in general is an undeserved gift from a very gracious God.  Being mama to Alyssa, Parker and Reagan is the greatest privilege anyone could ever hope for.  Undeniably, they all take their turns in testing my patience - some days they even corroborate to advance my sanctification - but I wouldn't trade them for the world!  Take away the carefully selected doughnuts, sweet words and the whimsical drawings commissioned for the occasion and I would still have the very best part of a very special day.  

Monday, April 30, 2012

When the cat's away the mice will play

Or in our case, rats and birds.  Saturday we returned home from two fabulous weeks of vacation (pictures coming soon).  Our pets and houseplants were still alive and the garden had begun blooming gloriously, but unbeknownst to us, some other critters took our absence as an invitation to play house - in our house.  When we opened the garage door, it was immediately apparent that whatever had decided to live there was... longer living.  The odor of death permeated the air, so Danny and the big kids set out on a carcass hunt.  Danny was lucky enough to find the dead rat inside a burlap table square he grabbed with his bare hands.  His disgust must have been pretty obvious because the daddy-adoring Alyssa volunteered to do the disposal for him.  Needless to say, he was both relieved and proud of his tough girl.  
Meanwhile, I started tackling the mountain of laundry, only to find that my dryer had no interest in actually drying anything.  With the help of my friend Google, I discovered that the problem could be a blockage in the venting system.  Danny then started vacuuming out the vents, to find that we indeed had a blockage of photo-worthy proportions.  Apparently a mother bird thought she could avoid the whole bother of incubation by making her nest inside our cozy dryer-heated vent.  The collection of sticks, nails (!), hair and lint that comprised her nest were enough to fill an entire small trash can.  I felt bad discarding the four tiny little eggs, but not bad enough to take up residence at a laundromat in order to preserve their home. 
Now I have a clean garage, dry laundry and very clean vents.  Quite a welcome home don't you think?! 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Which bill's been to Africa?

If I ever had to pinpoint a week in which I love the Universal Church most, it would be the first week of March.  It is that week in which thousands of men gather at my home church for our annual Shepherd's Conference.  The campus is full of pastors anxious to be taught and encouraged by one another, and by the many gifted men who call this church home.  It makes me proud (in a good way, I think) of my local church - its leadership, its members, and the way we work together to make this week a time of great refreshment for men who labor for the Kingdom all over the world.  And that is certainly the reason I love this week most of all:  it's much like a big family reunion.  Because we're so closely linked with The Master's Seminary, our church is in the business of training men for service and then sending them out (a unique role that a newly-former pastor explained so well here).  We say good-bye to our shepherds a lot, but we get to welcome many of them back each March.  It's just a little taste of the joy I know we'll experience in heaven. 
So what does that have to do with a tattered bill?  Not much, except that one of the dear friends we were reunited with this week brought it all the way from Malawi.  Nearby Zimbabwe has effectively abandoned their own dollar, so they transact business using U.S. dollars and other foreign currency.  Since those bills are never pulled out of circulation the way they would be here, they sustain significantly more wear.  Would you believe these bills were both printed in 2009?  Crazy huh?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sweeter than honey

One of the reasons by blogging has been neglected of late, is the corresponding increase in my reading (which is a good thing!).  As my two bigger ones grow in their affection for books, I have found myself reading along - sometimes to voice a "yeah" or "nay" or to test their comprehension, and sometimes just to have something else to talk about with them.  So Alyssa and I have recently started the Elsie Dinsmore series by Martha Finley.  I realize we're pretty late to the party as they were originally published between 1867 and 1905, but to us they are a new-found treasure!  Honestly, I think I'm more taken with the sweet innocence and steadfast faith of little Elsie than Alyssa is at this point, but I'm hoping she'll fall for her soon.  In the meantime I thought I'd share my favorite passage thus far, a conversation about my favorite Book, and perhaps your favorite too...
"Do you really love it so?" asked Adelaide, lifting her eyes to her friend's face with an expression of astonishment.  "Do tell me why?"
"For its exceeding great and precious promises, Adelaide; for its holy teachings; for its offers of peace and pardon and eternal life.  I am a sinner, Adelaide - lost, ruined, helpless, hopeless - and the Bible brings me the glad news of salvation offered as a free, unmerited gift.  It tells me that Jesus died to save sinners - just such sinners as I.  I find that I have a heart deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.  And the blessed Bible tells me how that heart can be renewed, and where I can obtain that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.  I find myself utterly unable to keep God's holy law, and it tells me of One who has kept it for me.  I find that I deserve the wrath and curse of a justly offended God, and it tells me of Him who was made a curse for me.  I find that all my righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and it offers me the beautiful, spotless robe of Christ's perfect righteousness.  Yes, it tells me that God can be just, and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus."  ... "Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!"

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Making laundry a little more fun

It's not that I dislike laundry.  I simply dislike the never-ending nature of it.  Then again, the fact that the "dirty" basket is full before the "clean" basket even gets folded and put away means I have a home full of sweet little dirty-laundry-makers.  For that I am forever grateful!  And after a fun weekend project (last weekend - you didn't really expect me to prompt updating the blog did you?), I now have a more pleasant place in which to do all of that sorting, pre-treating, transferring, hanging, folding, ironing and steaming.  It's still ultimately a glorified closet, but it now feels a little more like a room.  All it took was a little paint (leftover from two houses ago... not sure why we were still hanging on to that can),  a hand-me-down mirror that's been hanging out in our garage for three years waiting for the perfect home, a Malawian trash basket rescued from a hidden existence underneath our desk, a cracker jar from a birthday party, and a new curtain from Cost Plus that I'd been admiring for a while.  Total cost?  $35 for the curtain and rod and a few hours sacrificing brain cells to paint fumes.  Small price to make this constant chore a little less of well... a chore!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

We're still here...

 Anyone else suffer from blogger guilt?  When I started this thing we were in the midst of adopting Reagan, which meant there was always some update or non-news to report.  Over time it evolved into the journal of a normal family doing normal stuff, with more than a few trips to Disneyland thrown in for fun.  It got a little more exciting when we started the adoption process again, and then... well it seems as if I've run out of stuff to say.  Life is full and busy in (usually) wonderful ways, and hasn't left much time over for blogging.  I'm not giving up just yet - and I hope to have another adoption story to share someday - but for now you'll have to be happy with more photos of my favorite kids.  And I'm going to set the guilt aside!