Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Dear Matthew,

Yesterday your daddy got you up from your nap. He carried you downstairs and stopped in front of the tree. It isn't decorated yet but that didn't matter. Your eyes widened with an awe that suggested that you have no recollection of Christmas last year. If looks could talk yours would have said, "Why the heck is there a tree in our house?"

I can't believe it's already your second Christmas season, that you're 21 months old and you've reached an age where we have to have a fence around the tree. I'm so excited about the holiday this year. Last year I was so terrified that it would be our only Christmas with you. I tried to remember every little thing in the event that I'd never get to see your reactions to lights, decorations and the magic of Christ's birth. Yesterday, after your first look at the tree, you toddled down to the family room and examined all the decorations. I told you to look and not to touch and you obeyed. Mostly. There happens to be a stuffed dog with a Santa hat and you would have no part of not snuggling the heck out of him.

This past month you had a verbal explosion. Shoe. Sock. No-no! Sorry. Bible. And on and on. Last week, while we were visiting daddy's family in Oregon, I said, "Say 'goodnight to Grandma.' Say 'I love you.'" And you looked right at her and said, "Lub ew!"

And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous because, for the life of me, I can't get you to say it again. To anyone. Least of all me. But you throw your chubby arms around my neck and plant your lips on mine so I'm pretty sure the attachment is mutual.

You had a blast playing with your cousins last week. You're the baby. By far. So they enjoyed making you the monster and running. You chased them, giggling the entire time. Eventually they'd let you catch them and all of you would dissolve into laughter.

You are learning and growing so quickly these days. Today you lost a shoe and I couldn't find it. Your brother couldn't find it. Frustrated, I finally looked at you and said, "Where is your shoe?" You grunted and pointed and yelled shoe! I followed your finger into the playroom. "Where?" More grunting and pointing. I followed your finger over to the basketball hoop. You squatted down and pointed. Sure enough, there, in the hole in the base, was your shoe. Smarty pants. I should have asked you in the first place!
As we were driving this morning, The Rock Star asked, "Mommy, do we have popsicles hanging off our house?"

He meant icicles. But I definitely didn't correct him.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Week in Oregon

We went to Oregon.

We flew into Portland. After landing ten minutes early we proceeded to sit on the tarmac for over an hour. First we had to wait for another plane to get out of our way. Then we had to wait for them to hook up the walkway to the plane. Apparently it was too low and while I certainly wouldn't have cared if I'd had to "mind the gap" they wouldn't let us get off. Matthew was screaming. It was late. He was hungry. He hadn't really napped. It was exciting. Then we had to wait for them to tow us to a different gate. Then we were allowed to get off.

The Husband, The Rock Star and The Little Buddy spent the night with Troy's sister, Jolene. I spent the night with The Kristin who is now, like, published all over the place and is my Nearly Famous friend. But I refrained from asking for her autograph. Instead I had bananas foster and a raspberry truffle. And they were good.

In the morning, we went to Starbucks with Kristin and then we went back to Jolene's. Our boys (ages 4 and cruising toward two) played with her boys (ages 6 and 4) and then we went to Eugene.

Troy's sister, Jana, and her family live with Troy's parents and graciously gave us their playroom and kids' room. Our boys had a blast playing with her kids (ages 7 and 5). One day we went shopping with Troy's parents and took Colby. Colby, at five, is an Oregon Ducks fanatic. His parents are even bigger fans so the fact that I got Colbs (as Garrett calls him) to agree to this picture is nothing short of miraculous.

I'm not kidding that I was actually a little afraid that if his parents saw it they'd kick me out of their house, break my camera, or stick bamboo shoots under my finger nails. So I quickly snapped this one...
You know, to save my own life. Also. Seriously. That kid is 11 months older than mine. 11. But he stands an entire head taller. I'm going to start paying for jockey lessons for my son.

On Tuesday night Troy surprised me with a night away. We drove up to Albany and stayed in one of the hotels that we stopped at on our honeymoon. Seven years ago we were not supposed to stay in Albany. When we got to our hotel, in a different city, our room had been flooded by some nimrod who forgot to turn off their spa tub. When Troy explained that we were on our honeymoon they sent us down to Albany and upgraded us like crazy. The room was amazing and last week my husband booked the same room. We think. It was, at the very least, identical.

We had dinner and did some shopping and rented a movie. I relaxed in the giant jetted spa tub. I also forgot that when you turn on the jets the bubbles multiply like rabbits so I ended up with a ratio of 30% hot water and 70% bubbles. There's a picture. I'm not posting it because, well, even though you can't see anything except my fleshy shoulder, I'm naked in it. And that would be weird.

It was wonderful. I was thoroughly surprised which is amazing. Usually I foil Troy's plans by figuring out what's happening well ahead of time. On Tuesday he told me what was happening about twenty minutes before it happened. Well played, Husband. Well played.

We took The Rock Star and two of his cousins to see Tangled. Just two days after I'd had a conversation with my father-in-law about how I didn't see any point in paying extra to see a movie in 3D, my husband read the times of the movie wrong and we ended up with three kids bouncing-off-the-walls-excited to see a film that was only showing in 3D until 8:30. We couldn't very well see a movie with three kids that didn't start until then so we coughed over the extra dough and put on our very sexy glasses.

I mean, they're cute on the kids but they are down right sexy on my husband, no?

On Thanksgiving we ate with Troy's parents, sisters, brother-in-law, niece and nephews. And we tried to take pictures. Do you know how hard it is to get six kids under the age of eight to smile at the camera at the same time?
(Clockwise from top left Gracie-7, Colby-5, Cooper-6, Garrett-4, Matthew-1, Sawyer-4)

I went to the Ducks game. They won. It was loud. And cold. And altogether an enlightening experience.

We snapped this picture before the Oregon game which is good because if we'd waited until the next day we would have had to omit my father-in-law from them as he had a bloody nose that lasted all morning. This prompted my son, when he saw the volume of blood, to say, "Grandpa, do you have blood on your hands?"

I explained that we don't typically ask people this question. Unless we're accusing them of murder. For the record, he wasn't calling his grandfather a killer.

We flew out of Eugene on Saturday afternoon. When we were walking through the Salt Lake airport I saw Rosie O'Donnell. I'm 99.98% sure it was her. If it wasn't her she has an identical twin with the same hair, same body, same smile, same everything. She was walking out of one of the little convenience stores and I was towing Matthew on my carry-on. She looked me in the eye and offered the small Rosie smile. I smiled back and kept walking. She looked like she actually might have wanted to have a conversation with me. It didn't dawn on me until last night that she may have caught my eye since we both have adopted children. My clearly adopted son was being toted a foot behind me. And here I thought she wanted to give me Nora Ephron's card.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Ducks

In twenty minutes I'm headed to Autzen Stadium to watch Oregon play. I'm not really an Oregon fan--being that I hail from southern California and all--but my father-in-law got tickets and I figured that since they have as good a shot as anyone at taking the championship this year, I should probably go watch them play.

It's cold. It'll probably rain.

I'm wearing a Chargers t-shirt, a sweater, a hoodie, a ski jacket, three pairs of socks, a scarf--thanks to my sister-in-law, gloves, and a hat. I have a rain parka, courtesy of my brother-in-law. I'm also taking a blanket even though I'll have to haul it a mile and a half each way from wherever we're parking.

I'll probably still freeze.

Anyway. Go Ducks! (I don't really personally care, you know, but I also don't want to get beat up by any crazy Oregonians* for saying, "Go Whoever's On Offense!")

*Read: My inlaws. I'm staying with some serious duck fans and I do not want to have to sleep with one eye open tonight.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Here's a list of things I'm thankful for. In no particular order. And certainly not an exhaustive list...

1. Matthew's finalized adoption
2. My husband
3. Both of my children
4. Family
5. Friends
6. Our church
7. Warm weather
8. Hot chocolate
9. The bananas foster and raspberry truffle I had with Kristin
10. Shea butter lotion--especially when its lathered on my youngest
11. Mashed potatoes
12. Sweet potatoes
13. Green bean casserole
14. Garrett's sweet disposition
15. Matthew's toothy grin
16. A good pair of jeans
17. DVR
18. My gas fire place
19. Our golden retriever
20. Our cat--even though he's kind of a snob
21. Chargers football. Yes, even when they lose. Yes, even when I had to endure the 1-15 year.
22. Flannel pants and sweat shirts
23. My Jeremiah 29:11 bracelet
24. Airplanes
25. Favorite vacation spots
26. Sugary carbohydrates--cakes, pies, cookies, pancakes, waffles and the like
27. Bubble baths
28. Wireless Internet which is allowing me to blog right this moment
29. The Word
30. Salvation
31. Mercy
32. Grace
33. Hope
34. Eggs and Bacon
35. Women's ministries
36. Flip flops
37. Disposable diapers
38. Christmas music
39. Telestrations
40. Chai
41. The pool in the summertime
42. My wedding ring--and the commitment it symbolizes
43. Spas
44. Chapstick
45. Health
46. The ocean
47. The mountains
48. The smell of pine
49. A warm jacket
50. Freedom

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Two Videos

We moved here just about three years ago. We had Thanksgiving with my family and then headed out to the tundra. The last two Thanksgivings we've spent here with Troy's parents. This year we're flying to Oregon to see his family. Posting for the next week will be sporadic, at best.

So I'm leaving you with a couple of videos.

The first one should be titled "Black Mail." While the entire video is a real gem, the magic happens at 2:44 when he declares, "My bum scratches!"

Warning: This first video has a longer load time. Personally, I feel it's worth the wait.

It's nearly impossible to get Matthew to say any of his words for the camera. He always wants to watch himself and will flat out refuse to speak. However, the other night, his desire to eat tomato soup was bigger than his desire to watch himself on camera. He barely even knew it was there. We were finally able to catch some words on video.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Final Installment: Interview 3

Finally, Tara asked...

What advice would you offer to someone, like myself, who is experiencing infertility?

Except she didn't. Because we didn't get to it. And this was, by far, the most difficult question to answer. So I'm going to go ahead and address it here, in depth. In way more depth, in fact, than I would have shared in an interview. And then I'll move on to some silly thing my kid said. Or a story about a really gross diaper. Or something.

I imagine that infertility is radically different for a born again Christian than it is for someone who doesn't believe that Jesus Christ is her Lord and Savior. I think the feelings of loss, pain, grief, and anger are probably pretty similar but how we cope with those feelings should be different.

Without Christ, I would have felt completely hopeless.

As a Christian, I always have hope in Christ.

Infertility is horrible. It affects people from all walks of life, men and women of all ages, and it is no respecter of race or position. It hurts. It hurts because God has made us to crave motherhood. Animals have the basic instinct to reproduce. So then, do we. Except for us, hormones aren't the only things that come into play. For us, we have to also balance raw, bleeding emotion.

I will never forget the night, six years ago, when I cried so hard that I eventually found myself in the bathroom with my head in the toilet. Someone else was pregnant. Again. I wasn't expected to pretend to be happy. I was expected to be happy. And I wasn't. I was jealous and angry and I was devastated that I was jealous and angry. I was bitter and sinful and I was horrified that I responded with bitterness and a sinful attitude. It wasn't that I thought she didn't have the right to be pregnant, to have a child, to not worry about why I would be upset. I wanted her to be happy. I wanted to be happy for her. But I was, simply, craving empathy. Because infertility felt so lonely. Even as a Christian. Even with the Lord, I felt lonely. So I cannot begin to fathom how isolating it must be for someone without faith.

Infertility spans centuries. It's heavily covered in the Bible. And make no mistake, the emotions of infertility make people--even people of faith--do crazy things. I considered chucking a block of cheese out of my kitchen window. Hannah cried so hard--in public, no less--that the priest thought she was drunk. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Elizabeth, Michal, and others all suffered through the pain of being unable to have children. Sarah gave Abraham her Egyptian handmaid so that he could have a child with her. Clearly, that didn't turn out too well. Rachel yelled at Jacob, "Give me children, or I'll die!" (A sentiment I've felt more than once.) Eventually, after years of suffering through infertility, the Lord opened the wombs of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Elizabeth. But Michal, David's wife, never had children.

So my advice is this: God is in control. Not you. Not your fertility specialist. And not, goodness knows, your emotions. It's going to hurt. People are going to say stupid things. They will tell you to relax, to chart your temperature, to stop stressing. They will tell you to, "Just adopt. Then you'll get pregnant." Adoption is an amazing experience and a fantastic choice but not if used as a stepping stone to having a biological child. That is entirely the wrong motivation.

But God. Is. In. Control. In Mark chapter 4, Jesus told the disciples to get in the boat. "Let us go to the other side," He said. A storm came up and the disciples panicked, thinking they'd all drown in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. You know the rest of the story. Jesus rebuked the storm and then asked the disciples why they still had no faith. Because, you see, He'd told them that they were going to the other side. The ship isn't going to go down with the Son of God on board. Your ship is not going to go down with the Son of God on board. You'll make it to the other side. It's just that the other side might not look like you imagined it would.

We tried and tried to have a baby using all kinds of medical intervention. Finally, with no medical intervention whatsoever, I got pregnant. Then we tried and tried to have another biological child and it just never happened. God is in control. He wants your dreams and your hopes. He wants total surrender.

He may never bless you with a child. He just might not. That might not be His plan. You absolutely have to reach a place where that's okay. It won't be easy. It will still hurt. But you are privileged to be in relationship with the God of the universe. And He asks us to give Him our pain. If He's the Lord of your life, you have to let Him be the Lord of your family and your future. You have to surrender your plans.

If He blesses you with a biological child, praise Him! If he doesn't, praise Him! Seek Him and ask Him if he has another plan and if He will reveal it to you. Maybe, just maybe, He has a different plan for your life. Always, always, He has your best in mind.

Remember the women from the Bible that I mentioned? With the exception of Michal, those women had the privilege of being mothers to Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Samuel, and John the Baptist. Men that God used in mighty ways. So I can't help but think that, in the end, their infertility was an incredible blessing. I can't help but wonder what God has in store for my own sons.

If you happen to be reading this and you aren't a Christian, my advice to you is different. What I have to say is this: I'm sorry. Infertility hurts in places I didn't know existed. But it's made incredibly easier when you have someone to give that pain to. If you don't know my Savior as your own, please ask me about Him. I have a Jesus I want to share with you. I have a Jesus who has changed my life.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Interview: Part 2

Tara asked...

What has been the biggest lesson or lessons you've learned through your journey through infertility and adoption?

Truthfully, I don't really have to think about this one. While the lessons were some of the most painful I've endured, they have shaped me in incredible ways. Really, each day of learning, growing, failing, and succeeding boil down to one word. Surrender. Complete and total relinquishment of control to the Lord, to the One who always has my very best interest at heart. Infertility was Total Surrender 101. Contested adoption was Total Surrender 201. I am quite sure that third and fourth year classes and tests will challenge me in the future. While submission is challenging, submission to a holy and blameless Lord is an amazing process. All that molding hurts, but it is so very worth it.

What made you decide to pursue adoption? What made you decide to adopt interracially? What has God taught you through your adoption of Matthew?

Troy and I had always been drawn to adoption. We both love children and felt that we could provide a stable and loving environment to a child that needed one. Our plan, back when we thought we had some control over that, was to have two biological children and then adopt. As we struggled through infertility we decided to stop spending our money on expensive treatment and turn to adoption instead. We were very interested in a Chinese adoption but I was far from old enough for their program. Initially, we pursued a Ukranian adoption. The program's immense cost (of course, less than The Little Buddy's ended up being) and the fact that the country was on the verge of closing international adoptions led us to reconsider. We'd heard of a program in Georgia that cost much less for African-American and mixed race babies than for Caucasian ones simply because everyone was waiting for one that looked like them. The minority children were being adopted out to other countries. It broke our hearts that so many couples here were only willing to adopt within their own race and culture. That is when we began to consider adopting a child of African decent. We didn't end up pursuing it at that point because I found out that I was pregnant with The Rock Star.

When we began to look into adoption again, interracial adoption was never actually something that we decided to pursue. We had not yet chosen an agency or organization and my husband ended up on the phone with a representative from our insurance agency. As their conversation turned this way and that it came out that this woman had adopted children through an organization in southern California. She gave us the name. God opened door after door and within a few months we were listed with them. We could have specified gender and ethnicity. We chose not to. We'd learned enough about surrendering to the Lord's will during infertility that we didn't want to limit the blessing He had for us. Our file became available to mothers of all races. And we waited.

Truthfully, I had an image of a white teenage mother, college bound, not ready to be a mom. I didn't think an African-American mother would choose to place her child with a white family in Utah. Matthew's mother prayed over countless couple's profiles. In the end, she chose us for many reasons, the least of which was color.

God has taught us countless things through our adoption of Matthew and it hasn't even been 21 months yet. As I said yesterday, He's taught us what it really means to be adopted into His family. He's taught us that while the majority of the world embraces the concept of family as a tight nuclear unit, He's called us to a family that will struggle through racial issues. We will not look like the societal standard. Our transracial family will include biological parents, adoptive parents, biological siblings, siblings through adoption, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles some adoptive, some biological. It isn't easy. It won't be easy. But it is what He has blessed us with.

And for that, I am glad.

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Last week I received a request for an interview. I have to admit that for a split second I thought it was a joke because, well, for one thing, I'm just me and there's nothing very exciting about that. And for another thing I was recently invited to London to speak to an audience of 3500. While I never really thought that was an actual invitation for me--and, rather, assumed that someone's wires had gotten mighty erroneously crossed--I also didn't immediately recognize it as a scam. Thankfully my mom did.

However, after corresponding a few times with the interview requester, I felt pretty confident that she wasn't going to ask me to wire her money. (Note: I was never asked to wire the scammer any money but after researching the situation for awhile on the Internet I came to find out that would have been the next step. Which, obviously, I wouldn't have done. I mean, I certainly wouldn't go wiring money to total strangers simply because they said something about needing a UK visa. Especially when the grammar in the invitation sounded more like I was corresponding with someone from Asia and less like I was talking to a Brit.) She wanted to ask me some questions so that she could complete an assignment for a women's leadership program at her church. The purpose was to talk to someone she didn't already know and hopefully gain wisdom from that person's story. She blogs here. We've walked a little bit of the same journey. And she said my story has encouraged her.

So yesterday I spoke to her.

She provided me, ahead of time, with the questions that she'd use as a jumping off point. I thought about them before our conversation. Some of them were easy. Tell me a little bit of your story (your family, how you met your husband, etc.) and When did you start blogging and what made you decide to share your story online? and When did you first start speaking in public about your story? What made you decide to do so? Those didn't require a lot of thought. Some of them were harder. They demanded more reflection. We didn't get to every question. We talked about things that weren't on the initial list, things like infertility treatment and privacy. But I hope she won't mind that I'd like to address some of the more thought provoking questions she'd originally written out. I'd like to be able to expand on some of the things I said to her, in the event that any of you are wondering.

Do you feel God has used your blog to bless you and your readers? Did you expect this when you started writing?

I have been immeasurably blessed through my blog. I can reflect on what I was doing this time last year or what funny thing Garrett said when he was learning to talk. But above that, we have been blessed financially and certainly spiritually through this little corner of the Internet. We had people across the nation praying for our family and contributing to Matthew's adoption fund. If you were one of the people who supported us through prayer or giving during our journey please understand that we couldn't have done it without you. The Lord provided all of you to us when we needed you most and our family has been blessed beyond measure.

I hope that my blog blesses most of my readers. Certainly there are readers that disagree entirely with our decision to support Matthew's mother's choice. There are readers who think we're horrible people. There are readers who got mad at me because I was disturbed by that creepy Halloween store. First and foremost, my blog is for me. A place for me to remember. A place for me to reflect and grow. But when I started getting the negative comments a few months before the trial was set to start, I had a few people tell me to just make it private. I never could bring myself to do that, even though the comments were tearing me apart inside, even though all I wanted to do was set the haters straight and explain every tiny detail of our case. I didn't because I'd promised myself and Matthew that I'd never throw the personal details--the information that made our case pretty rock solid--around the Internet. But I just couldn't bring myself to go private because I was also receiving emails and comments telling me that someone related.

I post about infertility because I long to reach out across space and say, "You, there. I get it. 90% of the population doesn't get it--can't get it--but I do." I post about our adoption journey to say to someone who is wondering whether or not to pursue it that, yeah, it's an incredible choice and one of the biggest blessings I've ever received and I wish more people chose to do it. I never understood the fullness of our adoption into God's family until I experienced it in my own. So I hope my blog blesses more people than it infuriates. I know that it has blessed a few--and for that I am thankful.

But no. I never saw that part coming. I thought my blog would be for me. And my family. And some friends. I didn't think I'd ever have people across the country reading it. I certainly never thought it would encourage someone in Georgia.

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Italians and Marines

The night before my parents left, my dad read the boys a book. There were some marines in it. Also, the woman doing the majority of our costumes for this year's Christmas play is named Ann Maurine. I know it seems that these two tidbits of knowledge have nothing to do with each other but that's where you'd be wrong. The Rock Star has heard me saying the name Ann Maurine a lot lately. So, it makes perfect sense that, when my dad was finished reading the story, my oldest son asked, "Why were there so many Ann Maurines at that guy's house?"

Marine. Ann Maurine. What's the difference?

Today he asked me if sometime we could travel all the way to South Focaccia. When I asked him what, on earth, he was talking about he answered, "You know, all the places south of here." Is it weird that he thinks the continent south of ours is named after a flat oven-baked Italian bread? Is it weirder that my four-year-old has no problem pronouncing the word focaccia?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Verbal Explosion?

We're standing on the precipice of a verbal language explosion.

I think.

I hope.

The Little Buddy still doesn't say much unprompted. There are about ten words that he says constantly and then a whole baby babble language that he uses the rest of the time.

But now, when prompted, he'll repeat just about anything.

Me: Say Matthew.
M: Mah-ew
Me: Say eye.
M: Eye.
Me: Say Garrett.
M: Dit-dit.
Me: Say Jesus.
M: Jee-uh.
Me: Say eat.
Me: Say banana.
M: Nana.
Me: Say baby.
M: Bay-bee!
Me: Say hello!
M: Huh-o!

And on and on we go. Unless he's being a crab. Then I ask him to say all that stuff and he just stares at me as if to say, "You're a big dork and I'm not on display here!"

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chick Flick

Yesterday my parents surprised The Rock Star with a trip to the movies. The Husband stayed home with The Little Buddy and the four of us took him to see Megamind. I'd heard on K-Love that it was a cute movie with a good redemptive quality to it so off we went.

My dad stopped at Lowe's and the rest of us waited in the car. I tried to get him to guess what it was we were doing. After awhile we had the following conversation.

G: I know! That place with all the movies. Let's go to the movie fee-uh-ter.
Me: Well, what would we see if we did that?
G: Megamegamind! (For some reason he insists on adding a mega.)
My Mom: What is that about?
G: Superheroes!
My Mom: What do they do?
G: They save the day!
My Mom: Oh. Wouldn't you rather see a chick flick?
G: No! I already had lunch!
My Mom & Me: Hysterical laughter.

Apparently chick flick sounds an awful lot like Chick-fil-A when you're four.

Of course, we did take him to see Megamind and he loved it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Seed I've Received I Will Sow

To speak or not to speak, that is the question.

The first time I told my story it was to a group of women from my church. I spoke for 45 minutes about infertility and how God rebuked our storm and then it was completely calm. Really, up until then I'd been pretty private about our struggle. Sharing left me feeling exposed, raw, and battered. Shamed for reliving my sin, raw for reliving the pain, blessed by reliving the victory I'd had in Christ. Not the accomplishment of motherhood, mind you, but the victory of full dependence on my Savior. I wasn't sure I'd ever speak publicly again.

And then I was asked to speak four times at a retreat in southern California. I prayed about it. I told God it was probably not the best idea. He told me He didn't care if it was my best idea, it was His idea. I wasn't the best choice. I certainly wasn't the most seasoned choice. I definitely had no idea what I was doing. But He'd chosen me. Like Gideon. Like Moses. Like Paul. Although, clearly, and thankfully, not to that scale. When He told me to tell my story I didn't even have my Matthew. He came a few weeks later and with him came a tale of total surrender, of heart wrenching pain, of trusting the Savior and not flinching. I spoke in the middle of that trial. I shared. I sweat--a lot--and I felt completely inferior. But the Lord blessed it and I did not die. I felt exposed and raw. I felt like that was maybe what He was trying to accomplish.

I wondered what He had in mind with this story. I wondered what He had in mind with this vessel.

And then I didn't speak for a year. Suddenly an opportunity dropped itself straight into my lap. No way, no how, had I gone looking for it in any way, shape or form. The chance to share how the trial had ended. The ability to explain a profound change our Lord had done in me. I agreed. Because I was crazy and thought I could put together two 45 minute sessions in two weeks. Because I knew God would do it through me. And if He chose not to, I'd still show up. Because I want to be a faithful servant. A woman rededicated her life to Christ that weekend. Regardless of what God said through me and regardless of whether it touched anyone else, it touched that woman. And that is the only thing that matters to me. I'd volunteer to fall flat on my face into a pile of wow, you're horrible over and over again if it meant people would make commitments to the Lord. But, for the record, no one said I was horrible. At least, not to my face. Of course, I felt raw. And I began to think that maybe my being exposed is as much for me as it is for them.

I'm speaking again in March.

I was asked to speak again in April.

Concerning April, I prayed. And prayed. And prayed. And prayed. And talked to my husband. And talked to my mom. And prayed. "God, I'm just a girl with a little story. Are you quite sure?" You see, I've said before that I kind of wanted to do this thing. I've said before that maybe, one day, I'd speak--one day, when I had it all figured out. Which I don't. So perhaps people want to hear from someone who only has a fraction of a clue. But I want to make absolute sure that He's in this 110%. Because if He isn't, then ten times out of ten I'll realize halfway through that my fly is down. Or I have a booger hanging out of my nostril and a chunk of food between my two front teeth. Or, most importantly, I'll be way off base with teaching the Word.

When I was asked to speak in April it came just after a conference that encouraged everyone to tell her story. God's given us all a story to tell. He's given me one where denying His existence is absolutely impossible. Not that I'd ever want to try. He's given me a story where His love was unmistakable, His provision was tangible, His will was discernible. He's given me a story that runs around my house with a curly little head, a smile that spreads from ear to ear and a temper that reminds me that all of this is very, very real.

I prayed. And prayed. And prayed. And then God gave me this.

1 Timothy 4:10-16
That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

I know that Paul is writing to Timothy in a specific time and place. I also believe in the Living Word of God and it's ability to transcend time.

So I said yes to April.

Please pray for me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Today is your last chance to enter to win a great giveaway from Kix and MyBlogSpark at my giveaway blog www.familyfishbowl2.blogspot.com.


A week ago I tumbled into a heap in what can only be called The Great Plate Skiing and Toddler Tossing of 2010. Well, okay, it could probably just be referred to as That Time I Fell but let's face it, The Great Plate Skiing and Toddler Tossing of 2010 has a much better ring to it.

So to recap, I lifted the kid out of the high chair, stepped back onto a plate that the toddler had thrown, my left foot went one way, the rest of me went another, I fell into a heap but not before heaving the kid about a foot so that I wouldn't crush him and it hurt me but he mostly laughed. The end.

It's been seven days.

But the outside of my right leg is still covered in what is now a yellowish purple bruise about four inches by two inches. It hasn't hurt to walk for about five days but if I touch it...boy howdy. So I just try not to touch it. The inside of my right leg has a small bruise where the inside of my left leg crashed into it. Likewise, the inside of my left leg has a small bruise where it crashed into the inside of my right leg.

I'd post a picture just to show you how remarkably colorful my legs are right now but then you would also know how remarkably hairy and white they are. When you trade the beach for the tundra, the legs are the first thing to go. Okay, so really the boogie boards are the first thing to go but the legs are a definite runner up. Autumn arrives--and it's really more like a really frigid winter compared to fall in southern California--and the jeans come out and the leg hair just becomes a fact of life. I need it to keep from freezing to death.

In the interest of full disclosure I'd like to tell you all that I actually just shaved. So I suppose I could take another picture that would not feature my stellar leg hair but would, in fact, feature my severe lack of any toned calf muscle. It's not because I don't exercise--although we can discuss that at a later time--it's because, even when I smelled perpetually of chlorine, I didn't have much leg definition. It's okay though because my husband has enough calf muscle for the whole family and then some.

This was totally supposed to be a post about Hey, don't try plate skiing while holding a toddler but, instead, has turned into Things I Probably Shouldn't Blog About. Because I'm not entirely sure that I need everyone trying to conjure up images of my hairy lack of calves. But there you have it.

To recap this post. I just shaved so I might freeze to death this very night. My calves aren't toned. My knees are all kinds of interesting combinations of colors of the rainbow. I will never be invited to the BlogHer convention.

Could you even imagine? "Hey, there's Heather Armstrong. There's Ree Drummond. There's MckMama. There's...wait...is that the girl who blogs about her own leg hair?

But really. Don't try plate skiing across your kitchen floor. It's unwise.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Soldier

The Rock Star is obsessed with soldiers.

When we were picking my mom up from the airport on Friday he spotted a man in fatigues. He was waiting for his luggage.

Garrett grabbed my leg and whispered, "Is that a soldier?" I told him that it was and he asked if he could say hi to him. My mom explained that it's nice to tell a soldier, Thank you for serving our country.

Somewhat shyly, The Rock Star walked up to the man and said, "Thank you for serving our country." He stuck out his little hand.

"You're welcome," replied the soldier, shaking Garrett's hand.

"What's your name?"


"How old are you?" He asked.


"You speak very well for being four."

"Thank you," The Rock Star said.

And then we walked away. Garrett is so impressed with the fact that he saw a real life soldier.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


After hearing The Rock Star counting down the days for the past month, my mom flew in yesterday. We went to a women's event together last night. It was awesome but that isn't the point of this particular entry. While we were gone, The Rock Star went missing--for a few moments. It seems that he let himself out the door while his dad was upstairs. Then he walked down the street, crossed it, and was playing with some of the neighborhood kids. Needless to say, when his father realized he was missing he became, um, concerned. When he found him he brought him home and laid down the law. After chastising him for a bit the conversation ended like this...

T: Don't you ever do that again. Do you want to be grounded from your friends?
G: (with great concern) Will I be grounded from Grandma?

Friday, November 5, 2010


Sometimes we call The Little Buddy Jambalaya.

But I can explain.

The night before he was born we took his mother and his aunt and uncle out to California Pizza Kitchen. His mother ordered Jambalaya which, on the menu there, is explained as such, "Blackened chicken and shrimp in a spicy Jambalaya sauce with crawfish, Andouille sausage and Tasso ham served on linguini fini and topped with fresh green onions."

I've got a finicky stomach--to say the very least--and I've never been able to handle anything particularly spicy. I was sitting next to her and when the food arrived the spicy smell tickled my senses and I honestly could not imagine actually eating it. The smell alone was terribly overpowering. She made a few comments about how hot it was and how maybe the spices would help Matthew make a decision to get out. Maybe there just wouldn't be enough room in there for a steaming plate of spicy jambalaya and her baby. (Apparently, there was plenty of room and he was delivered by Cesarean the next day.)

It was over that meal that we learned of her affinity for spices.

The Rock Star has a sweet tooth. This is probably because I spent the majority of my pregnancy with him craving cake, donuts, ice cream, cheesecake, cupcakes, frosting--on something or out of the can, I wasn't particular, coffee cake, popsicles, sweet rolls, pancakes, waffles. Ahem. Okay. I think you get the point. Over the course of time, it's become obvious to us that just as I passed a sweet tooth on to my unborn child, Matthew's mother passed a spice tooth on to hers.

The other night I made enchiladas. I used mild sauce so I have no idea what on earth happened but the entree was ridiculously spicy. Garrett put a bite in his mouth and, as saliva started pooling around it, he declared, "SPICY!" I chastised him, informing him that I'd used mild sauce. Then I took my first bite. Before I even began to chew it I apologized and told Garrett that he didn't have to eat his. I opened it up and scrapped out the insides for him. Then I managed to get mine down but only because I'd gone to the effort to make them and didn't want to waste an entire pan of enchiladas. I asked Troy what he thought of them.

After a long pause he replied, "Well, I can eat them. I don't prefer them this spicy."

But Jambalaya, well, he sat in his high chair and wolfed his entire enchilada down without a care in the world. I scrapped some of my sauce off and still had to swish every bite down with a large swallow of water. His brother wouldn't even put any in his mouth. His daddy ate them with a slight look of concern on his face. Not Matthew. Matthew ate his enchilada gone. Then, while we were doing the dishes, he picked up his plate and licked the remaining sauce off.

Because that's how Jambalaya rolls.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Next Giveaway!

This morning the doorbell rang. My next giveaway has arrived. Please visit my giveaway blog http://www.familyfishbowl2.blogspot.com/ for a chance to win two boxes of Kix cereal, a sippy cup, a snack carrier, a set of flashcards and a giant floor puzzle.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Falling Isn't What It Used To Be

It's amazing how quickly a perfectly fine day can go downhill. And I don't mean those situations where you're traipsing along and you get a phone call that someone close to you died or was diagnosed with cancer or a father is contesting the adoption of his child. Those are life changing, life altering, experiences. I'm talking about how my plan for the day was to...

1. Go to Bible study.
2. Go to the fruit and vegetable market.
3. Feed my children.
4. Clean my house.

In that order.

I accomplished one through three and was getting something prepped for dinner. Life was fine. The Rock Star was in the bathroom and The Little Buddy was in his high chair. The latter had finished his lunch and, somehow, his plate had ended up on the floor. I went over to him and lifted him out of the chair.

And that's when everything went downhill.

I stepped back, toddler in arms, and placed my foot squarely onto the plate. We have fake hardwood floors and the plate, plus my foot, went sailing across the laminate. I tried to twist my body so that I would take the full force of the hit and Matthew would simply land on top of my body.

It didn't go as planned.

I went down, hard. Just before I landed I kind of tossed The Little Buddy to the side because otherwise he was going to not only be dropped but then get landed upon. I opted to drop the boy instead of using the drop and squish method. Thankfully, when all was said and done, he only fell about a foot. I'm not sure he would have cried at all if I hadn't gasped, gathered him into my body, asked him if he was okay, and then checked his body all over for protruding bones. Startled, he did cry for about five seconds. Then he hopped up and started laughing.

I did not hop.

Both of my knees were throbbing. I don't know what the left one's deal is because I landed firmly on the side of my right knee. And I have a knot the size of an egg to prove it. And a limp. And a sore hip. Because I'm almost thirty and I'm falling apart. I can't take a fall like I used to.

So I managed to limphop up the stairs. I asked The Rock Star if he was finished in the bathroom. "Yeah. But don't come in here!"

"Why? What are you doing?" I asked.


Upon entering the bathroom I noticed tons of shredded toilet paper. My son was sitting, naked, on the pot spraying everything with a spray bottle. Why? I couldn't even begin to tell you. There was a puddle on the floor, which I hope was from the bottle and not a misfire. As I tried to limp around the bathroom, cleaning it up, Matthew managed to find a cup. Of course it was full of water and of course he dumped it all over himself.

I had one soaked son, one naked son, one messy bathroom, one sore hip and two sore knees. All in the course of five minutes.

Monday, November 1, 2010


It seems only appropriate that a few days ago The Little Buddy learned how to say boo. He says it kind of a lot. He also sort of bounces up and down when he yells it as though he is scaring himself. "BOO!" Jump. I say it back to him and he says it back to me.

Me: Boo.
Him: Boo! (jump)
Me: Boo.
Him: Boo! (jump)
Me: Boo.
Him: Boo! (jump)
Me: Boo.
Him: Boo! (jump)

And so on and so forth.