the days spin into more days and spin into more days.
each one bringing its own set of challenges that never seem to stop.
one thing. then another. then another.

my heart whispers,
Lord, when I said I'd love to be home for Christmas, this is not what I had in mind.


in the wee morning hours I hear a small voice cry out.

i get up from my bed and go to her room.
wrapping my arms around her small frame,
i feel it.
the unmistakable warmth from a fever.
i dose medicine and calm her back to sleep.
48 hours of fever and sickness are upon us.
i'm up around the clock, caring for a sick sick child.

in one of those early morning hours,
i return to bed to find a sick, sick spouse.

more medicine dosed.

a few days later,
upon a return from a quick grocery trip to restock gatorade and children's ibuprofen,
the sound of running water greets me.

a toilet is overflowing.
which leads to a basement flooding.
which leads to a hot water heater being broken.

{Lord, this is not what I had in mind}.


then again,  i don't think Christmas lived upped to Mary's expectations, either.

sent out of her hometown, 
forced to take a long, long journey with her round, round belly,
her pregnant hips and back aching and feeling every rough, painfully slow step the donkey took on the road to Bethlehem.

and then, just when she felt a twinge of relief that they had made it to their destination,
another let down.

no place to stay.

weary and worn, i can imagine Mary curling up on hay,
too tired to care that animals were near.

and then the pains of childbirth began.

in the most unexpected way the man-God entered this world,
ready to save.


so, this Christmas,
I replace my expectations for Him.

I forgo Christmas cookie platters for Him.
the hustle and bustle of shopping for Him.
french toast casseroles and prime rib dinners for Him.

 I let go of traditions to spend a night in the emergency room with a seriously ill spouse.
i wipe my daughter's hot forehead, nestling her in with her favorite, well-loved bear.
i bring gatorade and fresh cough drops and medicine and try to throw in some hugs and cuddles,
for even the Son of man came not to be served,
but to serve.

my heart whispers
patience and kindness and strength, Lord, please. patience and kindness and strength, 

the whirlwind of Christmas goes on with out our household in tow.
but as i let go of so much of the Holiday as we know it, i pray that
even with my stocking-less mantle and ornament-less tree,

{we may be celebrating the actual reason for Christmas more than we ever have}.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, 
 but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Mark 10:45 

our sweet grace, christmas last year, when our household was slightly-more-Christmas ready.

Meet Miles.

4 years ago, 
something began stirring deep inside my heart.
a stirring so strong, so real,
it would eventually lead us around the globe.


our journey to have kids has not been what we planned.
then again, is our life ever what *we* plan?

4 years after we decided to have children,
after a couple of heart-wrenching losses and hearing words like
{probably never have children}

our beautiful, oh-so-miracle baby boy entered our lives.

and then, after a pregnancy loss felt so personally, so deeply,
that my faith was rocked to my core,
our baby girl came.
grace abigail.
a picture of God's amazing grace in our lives
 as He sustained and authored her life, 
{even in the womb}.

why would we ever think that our third child would come easier?


his deep chocolate eyes looked into my own and pierced my heart,
and I loved him like only a mother can 
well before a judge would declare him ours.
we pleaded and prayed for almost a year and a half before we thought it was over.
our fight for the fatherless had ended.

and then, 
almost 2 years from the time I held him,
i felt the familiar stirring in my heart.

write again,
i felt.
try again.

and this time?
it worked. 
God moved mountains.


after an almost three-year journey,
we are deeply humbled,
and so very excited to announce what the Lord has done in our lives.

on the other side of the globe,
He is officially ours.

meet Miles Joseph Walker.
he loves swimming, playing with matchbox cars,
granola bars, and Coke.

Miles J. Walker.
{orphan no more}

4 small words

The ringing phone awakened me.
Anticipating this phone call,
i napped with my iphone beside me.

four words.
were what I awaited, 
hoping, praying, pleading to hear.

Hello? I answered.

It was the call for which I had been awaiting. 


My footsteps pounded the pavement this morning. 

I ran faster in my head than my GPS said, but that's okay. 
on this beautiful Midwestern touch-of-fall morning, my soul felt alive.

And on my running playlist came the song that was on {repeat} about a year and a half ago. 
Over and over I listened to it, praying it with all my heart. 
It expressed what my filled-to-the-limit-heart could not.


The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
it's time to sing Your song again.
whatever may pass,
and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes.


That was the prayer I pleaded:
May my faith be steadfast enough, courageous enough, strong enough,
that no matter what came during the day - 
no matter what result the seemingly endless round of medical tests would hold,
that my heart would still be singing His praise when the evening came.
a year and a half later,
multiple sclerosis is just a small blip.
a shot daily, some extra supplements...
and i,
very thankfully,
live my very normal life.


but then the yearly MRI rolls around,
which will tell me that which my body may not,
and i am a little-too-reminded of the fact that I live with a progressive neurological disease.
and, MRI's always take me back to that initial diagnosis
and those life-changing words
multiple sclerosis cannot be excluded.
my emotions run a bit deep.


I pounded the pavement this morning,
listening to those lyrics,
reminded of a deeply personal, deeply sensitive time in my life,
and became deeply thankful for the phone call I received last week.

4 small words.
4 oh-so-huge words.

our God is always, always, always good.
what I believed about God would be the same had those 4 words been different.

 in the face of a life-long neurological disease,
my prayer remains the same.

whatever may pass and whatever lies before me,
Let me Be singing when the evening comes.



{no new disease activity}

A Simple Luncheon

My 90-something-year-old granny is in town, 
visiting from the gorgeous plains of the Texas panhandle.

thankfully our return from vacation overlapped her stay by a day, so we were able to see her.
the plan was for my parents, grandmother, and my 2 teenage cousins (who are also visiting) to come for lunch today.

this morning, i was praying for my teenaged cousins, 
who may or may not know Christ as I do.
i ran around the house, steam mopping, dusting, picking up, 
prepping chicken, cutting watermelon,

i caught myself thinking that one simple lunch wouldn't matter.
my faith wouldn't be noticeable.
they'd eat, they'd leave.

and then I stopped.
and I realized that over the course of my life,
i HAVE had very memorable moments where the kindness of ONE person, in ONE instance,
made a difference in my life.

the counselor at church camp that hugged me as i sat on the wooden steps 
under a starry night and cried out to Jesus.

the sweet church lady who prayed with me when I decided to be baptized.
the older girl at college that wrote me an encouraging note.

the seminary professor's wife that welcomed me into her beautiful home for dinner,
graciously visiting and asking me about my life.

the pastor's wife that invited me to her Sunday school class 
when i didn't really fit with any other class for the summer.

 the co-worker that spoke kind words to me in the teacher's lounge.

those people? 
i doubt they have any idea the impact they had on my life in just 
one moment. 
one conversation.

may I live my life in such a way that those Divine moments,
{most of which I'm not even aware of and won't remember later}
further the cause of Christ.
not for my glory, but for His Great name.

may I be aware that simple conversations?
one small act of Kindess?
they could be remembered forever.

may I make them worth remembering.

Our Journey to Africa, part 2

we were in between houses, having moved to an apartment while we were building.
our sweet grace abigail had just turned one.

and my baby becoming not-so-baby anymore had my heart longing.
i can remember standing in the shower and crying.
Lord, I want more babies.
more children.
please, Lord, more children.


for anyone that's known me for awhile,
you'll know that grace's pregnancy was not easy on me or my family.
hyperemesis gravidaraum made pregnancy a living nightmare,
a nightmare i could not live again.
but i wanted more children.
Lord, please, more children,
became my heart's cry.


 and two years after I saw my friend's photos of a small country in east Africa,
she messaged me.
she was going back.

my heart skipped a beat.

{she was going BACK}.

and this time?
i could go with her.


thousands of questions later.
thousands of prayers later.
thousands of conversations later,
i boarded a plane from Chicago O'Hare, 
bound for Ug*nda, east Africa.

our hearts were open for adoption
if that's what the Lord had for us.
i longed for more children,
and our hearts had been broken for the fatherless.

as I prayed for months before I went,
I had about six specific prayers I prayed over and over and over
regarding adoption.

let me meet our son on the first day in Africa.

 looking back on it, I have no idea why I prayed that.
why was meeting the child the Lord had for us on the first day so important to me?
for whatever reason, I prayed that prayer for days before I left.


two and a half years ago,
that plane touched down in Ent*bbe.
we traveled around,
and our first full day in Africa?
spent in an orphanage, 
volunteering, helping the workers change diapers, feed, laugh, and play with sweet, sweet, children.

and that first day?

i sat down on a chair,
giving a child a bottle.

and then, 
in a moment that my heart will remember forever,
a toddler crawled over to me,
pulled himself up on the hem of my long black skirt,
and I looked down into the deep brown eyes of a child.
a child that we would begin to plead for and pray for.
over and over and over again.


and though it has taken two years,
a lot of prayers and questions,
and the Lord has finally said YES.
He has paved a way.
that toddler is now an almost-4-year old.
and in the coming months, he will 
{Lord willing}
become legally what my heart has known since that very first day.

our son.


to be continued.

Just As I Am on BlogLovin

so, I don't overly keep up on these things, but i, personally, enjoy following some friends' blogs, and used to use google reader to keep up with them. 

but, for some crazy reason, google reader is adios.

so, i joined BlogLovin', a fun place to keep track of lots of your fave blogs and to read all of them at the same place, which is nice!

so, click on the link at the top and you'll be able to follow me there. 
although i know i don't blog for the amount of followers,
{i would write if no one read. the words spill out of my heart}

i do know that some like to read my blog and want you to be able to keep up.

Our Journey to Africa

i'm doing a Bible study right now on the Proverbs 31 woman.
it's got me doing all sorts of stuff, 
like getting up earlier than my usual early,
and challenging me to think about how I'm 
{looking well to the ways of my household}.

the study has mentioned the {dream} we may have for our lives -
whether it's starting a business or writing a book or a blog or even being a mom,
and how sometimes, 
these hopes and dreams for our future?
they may just be fun ideas,
but sometimes?
they're dreams the Lord has softly spoken to us.

the dream my husband and I are walking now?
the Lord began whispering it deep inside my heart just about 4 years ago right now.

{4 years ago}

i sunk into the corner of our couch,
ready to nurse a brand-new-gracie.
as I settled in to feed my sweet baby girl,
my laptop balanced on the arm of our couch,
so i could browse online during the better part of the evening
 that it would take to get our new baby girl fed, swaddled, rocked and shushed to sleep.

i scrolled facebook,
seeing funny anecdotes from friends,
what people were eating for supper,
and the standard Starbucks drink photo.

and sitting there on our tan micro-fiber couch,
holding my newborn baby,
my heart paused.

i saw pictures from an old college friend.

pictures like this

and this.

I read her blog.
she was in a small country in East Africa,
adopting their first young-toddler boy.

she asked for prayer for her journey,
and a specific prayer request -
someone to go with her for the few weeks that she'd have to travel.

and something began stirring in my heart.
i could go!! i'll go! i'll go!!!!!!
i thought over and over again.
i could take a 4-month-old baby to a impoverished country in Africa, right?
or leave her here, and pump on the airplane and in Africa every 2 hours for 2 weeks, right?

i wanted desperately to go with her.

{i needed to go}.


it would take a few years,
and then a few years more,
but i would go.

oh, how i would go!

to be continued.

Kindergarten Graduation

it happens all too fast,
this growing up stuff.

wasn't it just yesterday that i was excitedly talking with a girlfriend,
announcing our much-waited-for, 
pregnancy with Grant?

wasn't it just yesterday that we were rushing to the Operating Room 
for a semi-emergent c-section?
wasn't it just yesterday that he was learning to walk?
learning to sleep in a big boy bed?
learning to peddle his tricycle?
learning to play with green John-Deere tractors?

but then I blinked my eyes.

and this sweet, sweet baby boy of ours,
graduated Kindergarten.

he sang on stage
what can wash away my sin,
nothing but the blood of Jesus.
what can make me whole again?
nothing but the blood of Jesus.

and with some math and language arts and science and geography 
added in over the past 9 months,
just like that,
he's a first-grader.

i'm gonna stop blinking.

our hot, sweaty, but very happy selves after Grant's last day of school,
which ended with a all-school picnic and field day.

On Body Image

i flip through my closet. 


jeans that would fit in 10 pounds.
tshirts that don't hide muffin tops well.
skirts that don't stretch enough to cover a body that's born two kids.

i sigh.

my go-to yoga pants call my name.
they fit. i pull them on, wondering if even a closet full of clothes
 would satisfy my war-torn body, my fragile self-image.


my cell phone rings.
i smile at the caller id.

we've been friends forever.
we laugh, we cry, 
we chat about day-to-day not-important-but-oh-so-important happenings.
 we laugh about our snack choices.
one of us is particularly likes the chick-fil-a drive through.
   i love this friend.
oh so much.

she's creative and funny. we both love to cook but get stumped at the day-to-day feeding our family gig.  we love to shop. she's a bargain hunter and finds the best stuff all over town.  she's extremely compassionate and always knows what to say and when not to say it.
when i was diagnosed with MS last year, she sent me starbucks gift cards.
picture source
she's shown up for me in the darkest parts of life, 
as well as the lighter parts.
the lighter parts as in why do our toddlers never sleep?
 i hang the phone up and smile.
how blessed i am to have such friends.
and then i realize.
never, ever, ever would i tell you about my closet friend by describing her dress size.
never ever ever would i describe her by how her clothes fit or don't fit.
why do i do that to myself, then?
      why do i see a saggy stomach and curvy thighs instead of a compassionate heart?
why do i see stretch marks and vericose veins  and pore sizes 
instead of a willing, kind spirit?
i need to, we need to, extend the same grace to our own bodies as we do our friends'.
we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
in HIS image.
not the image of pencil-thin-but-curvy-in-the-right-places girls 
we see on TV all day, every day.

while still trying to lose 10 more pounds,
i try to realize that people are not focusing on all the {bad} i see in my body.
today, look at yourself like your friends would.
i'm going to try to. and i'm going to try to realize that, at my funeral,
people aren't going to be talking about my waist size.

 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day.
psalm 139
the message