Wednesday, April 28, 2010

B.A.D. days

Shew!  It has just been one of those days...or...a series of days.  I don't really have any reason why, but  apparently I have passed it on to my sweet oldest child.   I have just been down.  Maybe sin. Maybe flesh. Maybe hormones.  Regardless, I have just been "blah."  I realize that there are a lot of people in this world that could be throwing a pity party...I am not one of them.  There is not one single reason for me to be depressed.  But, I have been a bit that way, and when that happens, it spirals downward quickly.  My thoughts go from, "I am a terrible mother" to "I am a terrible wife" to "I am a terrible friend" to "I am a terrible child of God."  So, I realize how ridiculous that last one sounds...quite the oxymoron.  I mean, when are "apple of His eye" and "terrible" synonyms?!?

Whenever I have these feelings, I realize that just around the corner, God usually has something big for me to realize, or something for me to understand about Him that I never have before.  This morning I felt like that was coming.  I had some sweet time with the Lord and didn't feel 100% but at least trusted Him that He was going to help me along the way today, with or without the "feelings."  It was a good morning...until I was trying to get the kids in the car for Austin to get to school.  I snapped...too much fighting, too much disobedience, so Mommy got frustrated.  And then felt terrible.  Really terrible.  I kept thinking...when I disobey over and over and over again, God doesn't snap.  He loves.  His kindness leads us to repentance.  Oh, how I want to parent as God parents me.  I apologized and felt so broken.

Here is where A's day started:  right when he walked in the doors of school, his teachers said.   It was bad.  REALLY bad.  Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  Note home with lots of details of not honoring the rules.  Wow.  Here is where I have two options:  let a five year old's behavior bring me back down and find my identity in it, OR let it be an opportunity of growth.  Option one:  I mean, if he is a great kid, then he has to have great parents, right?  Wrong.  And, if he is a disrespectful kid, he must have terrible parents, right?  Wrong.  I feel like so often if we are honest with ourselves, we really can find our identity in our children's behavior.   Everyone wants to hear that your child is loved by other people, but it shouldn't ruin your world if they have a terrible day, or even is seen as a "wayward child."  Option 2.: It should point you to Christ.  Jesus, what is the root here?  Is his love tank not full?  Is he not feeling well?  Is he just in need of seeing what sin is to understand what your grace is? The reality is that Austin has a precious heart for the Lord.  I know that He has his hand on his life, and I can't wait to see him grow and change in God's grace.  I would take a bazillion horrible days, knowing that he loves the Lord.

Okay, so while A is having a terrible day, I was really trying to listen God myself and trust Him to turn this ship around.  And, I decided to get my haircut.  REALLY cut.  So, call it over-spiritualization, but this was really helping me.  I told myself and the Lord that as I chopped my hair, I was chopping all the impatience with the kids and selfishness in life in general.  I was so sick of myself.  Here we go, God, take me on a new, deeper journey.  Yes, I totally know that I will never be patient and selfless all the time, but work with me, was a good, tangible picture for me...

...back to Austin...he gets in the car from school...tears and apologies for his terrible day.  I told him that I was sorry for my reaction this morning and I told him what I told myself and the Lord in getting my haircut.  Sweet boy.  He just looked at me through tears and said, "Mom...I need a haircut..."

Oh, I hope tomorrow is a better day.  Thank you, Jesus, that you are a trustworthy God, who loves us on good days and bad...and just the same on each.  Thank you that we can't earn our way to heaven.  Thank you for showing me grace through my sin.  Have your way in my life!!!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

great article, great perspective!

I read this article today and thought it was really great.  There are so many incredible things about many spiritual parallels of how God has adopted us into His family.  A sweet, tangible picture. God CHOOSING us!  God COMING AFTER us!  God PURSUING us!   Amazing love, active love, selfless love!

At the same time, there are many difficult things about adoption.  This article speaks to some of the hardships and grief involved.  I have struggled through some thoughts of why adoption plays out the way that it does sometimes...why a child has to be abandoned...why putting a child up for adoption is the answer if money is short...why pain and heartache have to be involved.  A dear, wise friend told me as I was struggling through one of these qusestions one day, "You know, God never intended to grow our families this way.  It is a broken system because we live in a fallen world.  And at the same time, what an amazing picture of God's love for us..."  (maybe that wasn't word for word, but you get the idea!)  That has stuck with me as we walk along in this journey!

Check out the article, and if you think about it, pray for us and our little Crenshaw far away!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I was so blessed by my friend Michelle yesterday who wanted to know more details of our adoption and the process.  I told her that I really want to document it, and at the same time, right now it just seems like my updates would go something like this:
  • Turned in this paperwork
  • Completed that paperwork
  • Looked up what I needed for this paperwork
  • Contacted _____to fill out _____for that paperwork get the idea...
But, she said she didn't care and wanted to know the details, and I know that I will want to look back and see all of the details, too.

So, this might bore some of you, but here is what I have been working on:

  • Ordering the rest of our birth certificates for both our dossier and home study
**In case you are wondering what a dossier is...I get that question a lot and had no clue myself before I started all of this, here you go:  

dos·si·er  (ds-, dôs-) n.

A collection of papers giving detailed information about a particular person or subject.
[French, from Old French, bundle of papers labeled on the back, from dos, back, from Latin dorsum.]
So, basically it is a collection of paperwork that presents us as a family to the Ethiopian government.

A home study is sometimes called an "adoption study," and is a written report containing the findings of the social worker who has met on several occasions with the prospective adoptive parents, has visited their home, and who has investigated the health, medical, criminal, family and home background of the adoptive parents. The purpose of the home study is to help the court determine whether the adoptive parents are qualified to adopt a child, based on the criteria that have been established by state law.

  • ordering and receiving our marriage license
  • getting our tax returns for the last 3 years
  • asking employer for a letter verifying the details of Brian's employment
  • asking for letters of recommendation
  • going to dr.'s appointments and getting the necessary paperwork (we still have Brian's left)
  • getting medical information about our biological children
  • getting a TBI criminal check
  • getting our residential history form completed so that our social worker can do a child abuse check
  • signing other paperwork for our home study agency
To work on in the NEAR future...
  • getting my passport renewed
  • completing adoptive parent education
  • scheduling our 3 home study visits
And, there is plenty more, but that is what we are working on for now!

For some reason, today I feel encouraged and "connected" to this sweet child.  As I do some of this paperwork, it makes me long to be able to see our child.  It makes me pray all the more for him/her.  I LOVE getting to do it (even though it can be hard to carve out time) because it makes me feel like I am fighting for this little one each step of the way, and we are getting closer and closer (even though it is still far away!) to meeting him/her!

If you think about it, pray for us in this paperwork season...that I will balance this and my kiddos at home well, not being in total "task mode."  And, pray for our little one who is still far away from us!

I will leave you with a picture of my sweet boy, who is about to be SIX!  AHHH!  Here is his "star of the week" poster that he made for his class:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Out of the heart the mouth speaks...

Okay, so I debated and debated about putting this on here, because I have seen some of these that are just mean, and I feel so sorry for the person filmed.  BUT, my sis-in-law and I laughed so hard at this this weekend.  She said, "I think it is very telling of her heart for Jesus since she is  rapping the gospel while she is high as a kite heavily medicated."  I agree...sweet her...and she just wants to tell everyone to "take JC everywhere you go..."  She rocks it with Carmen!

Hope it makes you smile!

I don't know how to make that little video pop up instead of the link.  Anyone know?  

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Some Family Pics...

Just wanted to post some recent pictures!

This was all of us with Mimi and Pops before church on Easter...what a fun time we had with them here!  They got to spend most of the weekend here, so it was so special for the kiddos!!

We had an egg hunt at Nana and Pa's house after lunch.  They make everything so much fun!  Austin and Livi were super excited to EACH have found a SPECIAL golden egg! :) 

Like mother, like daughter...this is how I found Eliana one day when I walked into the kitchen:

 If you know me, you can guess what is dribbling down her chin.  If you don't...then here is another angle:
 Yep...she was just digging into a bag of chocolate chips!!  Wonder who else does that?!? is Mimi and Olivia working on our traditional "resurrection cookies" the night before Easter!

Monday, April 5, 2010


Wow...spring definitely has a way of making you reflect.  I am so thankful!  Spring reminds me of new beginnings.  Easter brings up just a whole slew of emotions and feelings...Christ died, FOR ME.  It was because of MY sin that He was nailed to the cross.  He bled, FOR ME.  He was tortured FOR ME.  He was separated from the Father, FOR ME, so that I don't have to be.  That is amazing to me.  I am so thankful...and in awe of what that really means!

One thing that I have been thinking of recently is that we are "the aroma of Christ."  Last year, I heard a woman speak about discipleship.  In her talk, she said, "Ladies, do we SMELL like Jesus???!!!!??  I mean, really, if you are walking closely with God, seeking Him wholeheartedly, then you should SMELL like Jesus!!" (or..something along those lines...not a direct quote!)  Well, honestly I thought that was kind of  cheesy...but, then I recently came upon 2 Corninthians 2:15-17.  I am sure she talked about it that night, but I was probably stuck the cheesiness of smelling  like Jesus... 

Those verses say: For we are the AROMA of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.  Who is sufficient  for these things?  For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

Wow...I really should SMELL like Jesus!  To my family, friends, community, to the cashier at the store, to the guy that cut me off on the road, to those who believe that Jesus is Lord and those who don't.  The Word says that to some it is a fragrance from death to death.  It also says that people will reject us because they reject Jesus...thus the aroma of death to death.  And you know when you smell something that is just blooming flowers, a good perfume, coffee brewing in the morning,  a yummy homecooked meal...doesn't it just bring a joy in life??!!  I want to SMELL like Jesus...bring joy and encouragement to those around me (whether I am rejected or not).

God gave me such a reminder of this the other day when I was running.  I run in a really beautiful area getting to see and smell all of the awesomeness of spring.  I live in an area that is more run down.  Honestly, it doesn't smell so nice all the time.  There are stray animals all over the streets, trash in yards and streets, weeds instead of flowers, etc.  This day when I was running, I took the usual route.  On the way back, I crossed a street that lead into our neighborhood, and literally, it STUNK.  I want that to change.  I want that to change because Jesus is letting off a beautiful aroma through believers.  I pray that He won't be rejected in the community around us.  I love our neighborhood, and I want to see the aromas start changing.

I love that that verse says "who is sufficient for these things?"  ha!  No one.  Not me!  But goodness...GOD IS IN ME!  Now that is powerful.  I want to live in THAT power.  His power.

I just HAVE to put this picture in, because I LOVE this tree!  It is one of the first things to bloom, and it was such a reminder of all things glorious to me this year:

And, that is finally the finished product of the house!!  Praising the Lord!  We will get some landscaping in there soon!

The kids enjoying tree-climbing: