Behind the Story

a few weeks ago,
i was searching for some random item.
searching all over the entire house,
 I finally decided to open the seldomly-used guest-bedroom-dresser.
what I found took my breath away.
I stared blankly at the drawer,
not processing the forgetten-about contents.
blinking my eyes and shaking my head with the dawning of reality,
i quickly shut it and left the room as my tears fell.
an entire drawer of sized 4T clothing.
brand new, tags still on.
neatly folded, waiting.
fuzzy-lined sweatshirts and cozy cords.
2-piece fitted reindeer jammies and soft red henleys.
waiting for our sweet Miles.
they remain in that drawer,
waiting for a son whom will never get to wear them.
I've been quiet about Miles. and all orphan care.
not because my heart has forgotten,
but because my heart overflows 
and it's almost impossible to articulate the depth of emotions 
we've felt the past 12 months of our lives.
one year ago today,
Matt and I were meeting Miles for the very first time together.
I was hugging him for the first time since I met him in January of 2011.
this is the photo I put on instagram almost exactly a year ago.
Miles' shirt and tie and sweet little blazer he'd wear to the Ugandan court.
the ugandan court that would then delay our process,
the delay that would be our first hint that this adoption journey 
would take a different path than we ever saw coming.
 My heart will never understand why the Lord had this path for us.
why we have an entire drawer full of clothes, 
an entire household of prepared hearts -
an entire community of friends and family -
that will never get to greet and meet and love the intended person.
I will never understand.
But though I have been quiet,
I am breaking the silence.
Breaking through our healing hearts to say that I don't want people to see THIS story.
the story of failed adoption. 

{I want you to see the GOD *behind* the story}.
the God who, when originally calling us to adopt,
provided two *thousand* dollars in TWO WEEKS for us to submit our first paperwork.
the God who opened door after door after door in Uganda for us, clearing the path for us to arrive.
the God who worked in our family's hearts, 
who made even grandparents love this sweet little boy they had never met.
the God who worked in our 7-year-old's heart so much 
that he STILL says our family is a family of five.  
our sweet Grant *counts* Miles in our family, from even around the ocean.
The God who has given me every single doctor I've needed at just the right time
 to treat a potentially very serious heart condition.
The God who met us in our pain. Whom loved us through our tears. 
the God who now has SEVEN Ugandan pastors sponsored monthly through our contacts.
that's SEVEN pastors preaching the Gospel to people who may never have heard.
that's the God of our story.
that's the GOD I want people to see.

The God whose ways, even though they are not our ways,
are infinitely higher than our own. 

the God who bears our pain and feels our grief.

The God who directs our paths, when even in our understanding, they make zero sense. 

The God who chooses to use broken, desperate people, to weave stories for His Glory.

That's the God we serve.
 See the God behind our story, not just our story itself.

"I know that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted".
job 42

sweet Miles, about a year ago.

Teach me to number my days

I saw it while I was racing through Target to get sausage, milk, spinach, and canned pumpkin in the exactly 8.3 minutes I had before I needed to be in the school carline. 

a fluffy, frilly, sparkly over-the-top fabulous Holiday dress for little girls.

and I became oh-so-thankful I had only 8.3 minutes or I would've stopped, paused, held the dress up, and probably burst into tears in the middle of the toddler clothing section.

perhaps it's because last school year, it seemed as though everything were set on a {pause} button as we waited, waited, and waited for the official court date to fly to Uganda.

Perhaps it's because this is the first year I have two kiddos in school
 and it seems like a lot more than one kiddo in school.

perhaps it's because I'm just older.
hello, mid-30's. When did that happen?!?

perhaps it's because I'm grieving the loss of Miles in our family, and I wrestle with the tension of wondering if our family will always be a family of 4 
while at the same time loving our family being a family of 4.

whatever it is,
this school year is flying at record pace.
i seemingly blink my eyes and my kids are bigger. 
  and I don't like it.

I'm done shopping in the toddler-sized section that I've been able to shop in for the past 7 years.
I look at sweet onesies while shopping for a friend's baby shower and finger them longinly.
I remember sweet 5-year-old Grant as I know am doing the same work he did in Kindergarten with his sister.

and my heart aches.

I get a glimpse of understanding of the Psalmist's heart.

Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

so for now,
I let Grant watch one-too-many Curious George episodes, 
as I can't believe he still likes them and I know he won't for very long.
I indulge my 5-year-old's request to carry her downstairs,
for the days are soon coming that I won't be able to pick her up anymore.
I bite my tongue about shoes not being put away, for just as I miss those sweet onesies,
I know one day I'm going to miss these sized 4 bright orange tennis shoes being in the middle of my laundry room.

Teach me to number my days.

Lord, let not the tyranny of the urgent crowd out the importance of motherhood.  May dishes and laundry and to-do lists never become higher on my list than little hearts. 

May I learn to love your Word and time with my Savior.  
Teach my heart than I'm never to busy for time with You.

May I be exceedingly patient and kind and gentle as you are with me, 
and my I make the most of these few days,
 before they are vanished like vapor.

{Teach me to number my days}.


for all our days pass away under your wrath;
we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
the years of our life are seventy,
or even by reason of strength eighty;
so teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
psalm 90

Luke 5


Standing by the sea of Galilee.

crowds of people pressing in on him.

desperate for His teaching.
perhaps longing for a miracle of their own.
 perhaps needing Jesus like they needed their very breath.

they rush, press, push in on Jesus.

And Jesus?
he sees two boats in the water.

out of all the crowds, all the people, all the needs,
Jesus sees two fisherman that were having a very rough day.

their frustration and discouragement weren't lost on the Savior.

out of the throngs of people,
Jesus SAW them.

He sees me, too.
in my frustration, in my desperation, in my pain, in my life...

{Jesus sees}.

 Luke 5.


{hey! a brief commercial break.  Like the new look?
I'm partial to pink and gold, especially gold glitter ;-)}


early in the morning hours,
I, once again, flip the worn pages of my Bible to the story of Joseph.

my steaming cup of coffee - in one of my favorite mugs, a deep sunshine yellow -
 warming my hand,
i read the words, searching for answers.

it's not a secret that it's been a hard few months for us.
well, really, a hard year.

but as I have started to emerge from this all-encompassing vortex called 
{adoption and adoption loss} I have been living in the past year, 
and started to re-connect with our lives as they should be,
i've learned it's been a hard year for lots of my friends as well.

and my heart hurts for them, too.

our lives are just hard, and this side of eternity, we won't have answers our hearts desperately seek.



rejected by his brothers,
sold into slavery,
thrown into a pit.

his life wasn't making sense.
our lives for the past year?
they make no sense
and believe me, I have asked my questions.

But I get to verse 2 of Genesis 39, and my heart pauses.

{but the Lord was with him and he prospers}

the Lord was with him in the midst of the confusion.
in the midst of the pit, in the midst of the being sold into slavery,
 in the midst of the being rejected by his family,
{the Lord was with him}.

and my tears come.

the Lord is with me.
and for that moment, the moment in the depth of the pain and grief, I cling to that verse.

{the Lord was with him}

aand pray that it will be enough for my heart.
that the truth of
{the Lord is with me}
will be bigger than all my questions.

I pray it will be enough for your heart, too.

To Everyone Who Has Followed our Adoption Journey

 i write and hit {publish}, fighting back the tears that have been on the verge for the past several months. this is a hard season for us,
a season we never saw coming,
a season we don't understand.
here's part of the story.


Sneaking a few moments of quiet during the usual loud of our summer schedule,
I sat my coffee down on the floral tablecloth.
I opened my Bible
but before I could even read the words, tears clouded my vision.

it wasn't supposed to end like this, Lord.

{it wasn't supposed to end like this}.


three years ago,
I met a beautiful toddler boy with deep, beautiful brown eyes.

in an instant, my heart loved him.
loved him like only a mother can.
we pleaded for, prayed for, and advocated for him over and over again.

through a variety of Divine circumstances,
about a year ago,
the door for adoption had finally opened for us,
and we were thrilled - thrilled! - 
to announce the Lord's leading in our life to 
defend the cause of the fatherless and bring Miles 
-a now 4-year-old -
home forever.

 The Lord clearly led in every step of the grueling international adoption process,
even using social media in amazing ways.
So many of you -
friends near and far -
surrounded us and championed our journey.

we felt your excitement as you donated money to provide shoes, books, and over 600 pairs of underwear to fly around the world to Miles' friends at his orphanage.

you {liked} and commented on my facebook and instagram statuses,
and told us time and time again that you were praying for us,
praying for Miles.

When we returned home from Uganda in mid-December,
our adoption journey became infinitely harder.

Most of you know that we, 
as a family,
have faced health crises after health crises,
month after month.

In January I was diagnosed with a heart condition, 
which, through the Lord's sovereignty,
would allow Matt to travel back to Uganda in March.

In April,
my heart condition returned,
causing serious chest pain, pressure, and fatigue.

The world of international adoption is complicated,
and international adoption laws change regularly.

The US enacted a new law that went into effect recently,
a law that changed the way Ugandan adoptions are processed.

This new law meant that after July 14, 2014,
essentially our Ugandan legal papework would be nullified.

With my heart condition,
it made international travel simply not safe or healthy for myself or our family.

So, with grieving hearts,
we recently passed this deadline of July 14,
knowing that our dream of Miles living under our roof
was different than the plan our Sovereign Lord has for us.

My finite, human heart cannot understand the journey the Lord has taken our family on,
but we trust in what we Cannot See to do that which we cannot do.

We hare making plans for Miles to receive some medical care he is in need of,
and he remains our son,
whether under our roof in Indiana 
or in the red dirt of beautiful Uganda.

I know that words are not enough,
but I will say it anyway.
Thank you.

Thank you for supporting this journey with us.
thank you to all of you who have bought a body butter or lip balm or body scrub -
every.single.penny has gone towards bringing Miles home.

Thank you for all the care and love and prayers you have given us over the past year.
thank you for all your encouraging posts and comments -
even through facebook and instagram I have felt surrounded by friends.

thank you for pleading the cause of the fatherless with us,
even when the end purpose is different than we ever saw coming.

he remains our son. even in Uganda.
he remains our son.

Listen to Your Mother

In April,
I was honored to read as a part of Listen to Your Mother.
it truly gives motherhood a megaphone.

Here is my story.  
It's bittersweet to share this, 
as our journey with adoption has a different ending than we ever saw coming
{but that's a different blogpost}

but I was honored to share it along side of the other women sharing their hearts.
and, this really was my heart. 

here it is.
and, yikes, myself on video!!

the direct link for people that may want it.

Screen-Free Summer, Week 1

happy happy happy summer, friends!
i am l-o-v-i-n-g summer.
i feel like my deep-down inside self needed summer. the freedom of no more school. barefeet. skirts. coffee and my Bible outside in the mornings.
 hallelujah, summer.

We're trying to go screen-free with the kiddos this summer.
not because I have some major issue with electronics or tv.
Just because it's summer -they need to be OUTSIDE:
playing, creating, imagining.

Childhood Unplugged!

I think i'm rebelling a bit from the Eternal Winter we just had,
as well as how hard the past 6 months or so of our lives have been - 
we've kinda been in survival mode, and we need to get out of it. ;-)
and, our kiddos grow up way too fast.
they're 5 and 7, and I feel like our summers of "little" kids are nearing an end 
{reaching for Kleenex now!}
so I just want to enjoy every single summer sunshine moment.
minus screens!

so, i've been trying to plan fun things just to do a summer-o-fun.
i'm going to try to keep track, just for fun, of what we do.
 and, you  know, if I'm announcing our screen-free-ness to the blog-world, t
hen, ya know, we better do it. 

{and it may be just the grandparents that are interested in this stuff. sorry if it's completely boring. i know this screen-free stuff is different than my normal blogging voice!}

so, Screen-Free Summer,
week one
{June 1-7}:

This was our first real day of summer break.
holy summer break, batman.
I didn't realize how much the pressure of school was wearing on me until it was over.
although I love our hybrid school 
{home 3 days/week, at school 2 days/week}
the back-and-forth of it all wears me out.

so, the feeling of truly nothing to do was so, so, so nice.

we had sweet friends come over to play.
 their oldest son is about Grant's age,
and they're adorable together.

I happened to have the stuff to make sparkly glitter slime, 
and that was even more fun with friends.

the boys {who actually made blue slime} took it outside and threw it at each other,
because, ya know, that's what boys do. ;-) they even invented a brand new word for the slime!

here are the directions.  It really does feel like slime while you're mixing, but then it hardens into this rubbery blob.  it's not like playdough where you can keep squishing it - i'd say it's more the mixing that's the fun part. and, you know, throwing it at friends. ;-)

Monday afternoon we went to the library to sign up for the summer reading program.
I'm so, so, so excited about it this summer because it's the first summer that Grant can really, really read. like, a lot, by himself. and, if we're not watch TV, what better thing to do than read, right?

we sat and read in the library, 
and it was so fun to see this across the table from me as I read to Gracie.
I'm trying to get Grant to read an hour a day, and I'm trying to read to gracie the same.

Grant reads about 15-20 minutes in bed in the mornings before he leaves his room,
about 15 minutes around lunch time, 
and about a half an hour before bed.

whew. day 1, screen-free summer, down.

{Tuesday, June 3, Day 2:}

we had a gift card to my favorite breakfast place, Bob Evans, 
and because of some unique scheduling situations we decided to use it Tuesday morning!
gracie went like this.
i mean, seriously! cuteness.

after breakfast the kiddos and I went to Meijer (a grocery store for you non-midwest people)
 to pick up a few things.
we also let Grant pick out his mega-monster-crazy-big Lego surprise,
that if he reads an hour a day until school starts,
he'll earn.
he's way excited about it!

 then, since it was hot out, 
we came home and broke out our water toys!

the cuteness continues! i die.

this water table has served us well! we received it when the kiddos were both toddlers, 
and we still use it! 
Gracie uses it to give her dollies a bath, of course, and Grant uses it to fill up his guns and super-blasters.

their fave water activity is to throw the hose over the slide.

i made these sponge water balls.
directions here.

i used twine though (like bakers twine)
which was extremely better than the floss.
i couldn't get the floss to tie at all!
the sponge balls were fun, but the kids didn't play with them as much as I thought!
 I think if we had friends over and they were throwing them at each other more a la water balloons, they'd be a hit! and they're super cheap.

by about 3:30 in the afternoon on day two of this crazy summer goal i had I was exhausted! 
but, so, so happy to be playing and not screen-timing.

 {Wednesday, Screen Free Day 3:}

our sweet daughter grace abigail has been cyclically sick with extremely high fevers, leg pains, and nothing else since January. it took several rounds of sickness to start connecting the dots, but i started finally realizing that the same thing was happening over and over.

{poor girl is tired SO much!} 

so, wednesday we saw a specialist who's doing a ton of blood work on the poor girl.
she has to have blood work twice a week for the rest of the summer. 
poor thing!

she ended up with more-than-a-bit of candy from the hospital gift shop to try to help my momma guilt feel a bit better.

that night, we played this fun game with grandma!
so, so, so silly and fun.

stuff like
{crab walk backwards to the kitchen sink}
if you have an elementary aged-boy, he'd love it!
grandma was glad she lucked out and got out of crab-walking ones and just had to penguin walk. ;-)

{Thursday, Screen-Free Day 4:} 

we played at home in our jammies 
{the kids were playing SO NICELY all day! fort-building included!}
and then about 4 o'clock, I was TIRED.
tired, tired, tired.
and the hubs wasn't going to be home until late.

so, I did what I hadn't done since they were toddlers and I just needed them to be strapped in and quiet for a few moments:

we loaded up and hit the drive-thru for supper!
grant ate then entire cheeseburger and 8 chicken nuggets from wendy's.
grace at like 4 fries.
i got the new espresso latte frapuccino from Starbucks.
holy moly good!

we returned home to this.

and then ended the day by blowing bubbles on the porch,
which is always a good end to a summer day, right?

{Friday, Screen-Free Day 5:}

today was the first day that Grant didn't wake up and ask to watch a show 
which he usually had been doing in the morning.

it was national donut day!
so, we did our civic duty!

{Saturday, Screen-Free Day 6:}

We happened to find out that the small town near us had a parade,
so we went!
the kids, believe it or not, had never been before.
they didn't know they'd get candy thrown at them,
and were over-the-top excited.

it was a beautiful Saturday morning,
and it was just so nice to be out together
{Matt usually works on Saturday mornings},
and the kids got way-too-much candy.

I went to a tea at church Saturday afternoon,
and my amazing, can-build-anything husband built this water-fall frame {Bike Wash} for me from this idea I had shown him.

it goes over the sidewalk and sprays water down!
it is SO FUN.
the kids LOVED it, 
and it's crazy cheap. 
it, unfortunately, hasn't been warm enough to get it back out past the initial use, 
so we're all super excited for heat again.


what a week!
we're having a blast,
and just loving summer.
i am LOVING the fact that we're screen-free.
now, Matt and I are still watching the one show we like {24},
and I'm watching my re-runs of Law & Order or whatever while I fold laundry or do dishes,
but I've limited my social media time to only when the kiddos are in bed.

it's nice to be a bit unplugged.
summer, unplugged!

we'll see how I feel about all of this screen-free busines in a couple of weeks.


a few ideas on my list for the next few weeks, if you want some inspiration for a screen-free, or screen-less-than-normal summer of your own. I know that these aren't like, rocket science, but I just want to do some small thing every day to have super fun with these precious kiddos of mine.

i'm starting to save my eggs now for this! and to crack them in a specific way on the top. I think it'll take several weeks of eggs to get enough for the kids to have enough paint to have fun for longer than a minute.

what are your plans for the summer? would you go screen-free? think i'm nuts? or brilliant? ;-) maybe a bit of both?

will post next week with Screen-Free Week 2 updates!