A time to every season…

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Eccl. 3:1 ¶ For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 
Sitting here with Owen I am thanking God for the chance to bring him to the island. This year I have been staying back at the Doc’s house every other day because it is just too much on both of us to go to kids camp every day. Today I am staying back.  

I began reminiscing about the last time I was here (two years ago) Johnny was 10 and Kaitlyn was 8. John and I cooked that year so there was plenty to do. I didn’t have to worry about the kids much they were experienced enough and old enough to get by pretty good. It was the perfect year for me to help with cooking. It was a season of life that enabled John and I to work together on it. It was a lot of fun.  

In life there are seasons. Sometimes it is scary to walk through because they change so quickly. Other times you can’t wait for a new season to come. The most important thing is too do all you can during each season so your life is full and let your regrets be few.  

When we get home we will begin a new season. I am really excited! I am also terrified. How will I weather the season? One thing I know for sure is that I want to live it to the fullest. Redeeming the time!  

Eccl. 3:12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 

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Ode to the ziploc bag

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Ziploc bags are a basic, every day item.  I have been on this earth for 34 years and never really thought much about them.  This trip however has revealed the extraordinary usefulness of ziploc bags.  Here is a list I am working on.  You won’t see it, because I can’t actually publish this post till I get back to Nassau, but it will be growing all week.

1. Toy organizer: I used ziplocks to hold individual categories of toys for Owen.  The idea was two fold. Keep the toys from ending up in a pile at the end of the Star Wars light up diaper bag, and keep them separated so that he could play with one thing at a time, clean up, repeat.  FABULOUS!!

2. Dirty diaper/clothes bag (’nuff said)

3. Busy maker: Owen LOVES to carry things right now. He also LOVES to take stuff out of containers and put them back.  A ziploc bag of toys or any other sorted items for that matter is intriguing to him and has kept him busy.

4. Snack holder: duh

5. Toiletry items organizer and protector.  We had ziplocks for our toothbrushes and shampoos and medicines etc. They kept our clothes safe when the kids Benedryl spilled and kept our toothbrushes clean. Plus I labeled them so replacing was easy.

As far as all purpose ultra useful items go:duct tape is out my friends! The ziploc bag is here to stay.

You have no idea what this means to me!

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I don’t know what it is about airplane rides, but they always make me think.  Some of my deepest thoughts have come on an airplane.  Or at least they feel deep at the time.  Anyways, right now I am on a flight to Nassau. We are on our way to Cat Island. OUR Cat Island.  We have taken this trip as a family since we’re married almost 14 years ago. Through the years we have had to split up sometimes with John going along to represent our family. Last year in particular I was unable to go because we had a little foster son that we couldn’t take out of the country.  But mostly we have gone altogether. 

This year we go as a family of five for the very first time.  With Owen being our son.  OUR SON! He is sleeping in my lap right now.  I look down at him so peaceful and I remember a time when he didn’t know me as “Mommy”.  I have been so excited for this trip.  All the plans and all the time we spent jumping through all the hoops. First, the adoption. Then the birth certificate and then the passport. Raising money for our team’s mission to Cat island. Getting up at 4am. Going through security, and now our first flight together. I thought I was excited before.  Looking down at him now so secure in his knowledge that mommy and daddy are here and he is with his family, I can’t help but realize that I had no idea what this trip really meant to me u till right now.  

Tears keep falling.  I am so thankful for this precious life and this beautiful boy snuggling up to me. So grateful for this trip and for the ability to take him home to meet our friends and family and to serve God together as a family of five!! That is what it feels like. Bringing your baby home from the hospital. I can’t wait for everyone to meet him! 

It’s also a blessing that after two nighst of no sleep he is sleeping during a plane ride that would otherwise be pretty crazy.  But that has NOTHING to do with it. 

Real Men

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Ever wonder why movies and tv shows always depict the hero without a shirt?  Or why heroes change into a costume to signify their great alter ego? Well I figured it out!!

You might say it is sex appeal, or to show off their strength, but I say no.  It’s because they are imitating a real man.  I know, I know, now is the point where you say I am crazy and stop reading.  You can if you want but I am telling you, I  FIGURED IT OUT!!!!!

Like many, if not all, of our fantasies,this concept begins with a real life scenerio. Then moves on with a bit of unrealistic details.  Right? Ok well let me tell you a little story.

This morning I turned on our garbage disposal only to be greeted by an aweful medal on medal slightly muffled grinding sound.  Then I felt a gush of water at my feet.  Upon opening the cabinet under the sink, I discovered, to my horror, a half inch of water mixed with bits of slightly ground up food everywhere!

So, I texted John to alert him to my mega crisis and he said “I’ll be right there!” He left work to come home and deal with the offending appliance. He came in and began the work/clean up process and I stepped out to talk to Kaitlyn who was playing in the water hose outside.

When I came back in,  I handed him a bowl to catch some of the dirty water still pouring from the pipes. I noticed that he had taken his shirt off.  It made sense, he didn’t want to get his dress shirt dirty, I  just had not seen him remove it.  It struck me.  Not just because my husband without his shirt is exciting to me-it is- but because in those moments he was my knight in shining armor, my super hero, my sparkly vampire, and my warewolf all in one.  He is my husband. The man I love.  The man who can fix everything. The man who will drop everything to come home to rescue me from a mega crisis.  And suddenly it all makes sense.

These super hero stories really are rooted in real life with a little bit of fantasy. The “unrealistic details” are really just manifestations of the feelings we have for the men (and women) we love when they do things for us and are there for us whenever we need, and really when we want them.  And real men do things that require them to take their shirts off.  To deal with the unpleasantness of life.  They also have to change constumes like putting on their work clothes to go to work every day to provide for their families.  They are willing to do ordinary things and that makes them extraordinary.  That is what makes them real men.

Mommy of four?! Part 4

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She sat down across from me as we prepared to have our meeting.  The auditorium was still a little noisy with several groups of people fellowshiping and preparing to leave, but it was as if the world stood still and it was just the two of us.

I took a deep breath and Jay Jay said “what is going on? You are scaring me”

“I need to tell you something.” I recounted the information I had received about Jalica and I told her how we had been praying since before she left that God would bring her a very specific kind of family.  Jay Jay and her husband fit that description to a tee.  I told her it wouldn’t be easy, that she would have a uphill battle ahead but that God had put them on my heart when I knew Jalicia was ready and waiting for her forever home.  By the end of the meeting we were both in tears and prayed together.  She said they would talk and pray and get back with us.

Two weeks before Christmas Jalicia was placed with Jay Jay and her husband Jason.  We planned to take them dinner their second night together.  I had never been to their house before and I asked for their address to obtain directions.  That’s when I found out that they live around the corner!!! Jalicia and Owen get to grow up together and we now have a new branch of our family. We get to be in Jalicia’s life and she in ours! She calls us aunt and uncle now!! God is so good!!!!

Tomorrow they will stand before the judge and take their own oathe and become an official forever family!! I cannot wait to celebrate with them!! 

Mommy of four?! Part 3

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I wrote before about our science co op. It was a long time ago but it is important to note that it was through that co op that my kids began attending the church that our co op met in on Wednesday nights.  

Kaitlyn’s class was called STARS and she had been asking for prayer for our situation and she missed Jalicia and prayed for her all the time.  

A few weeks after Jalicia left I found myself hanging around after the services there, talking with Kaitlyn’s teacher Jay Jay.  It was pretty cool because she had been wanting to talk to me about fostering for a while. She and her husband had been liscnesed to adopt for a long time and were praying for God to give them a family.  I felt like God had given me a friend but I was also very thankful that Kaitlyn had a teacher who cared enough to pray and could understand some of what we were going through. All part of God’s plan to bring healing.

In October we found out that the case would be closing because all of the children were going to be adopted.  They were all in the homes that were going to adopt them. Every thing was set…or so we thought.

I received a frantic call telling me that Jalicia would need to be moved ASAP from the home she was in.  We starting praying that God would intervene.  I spoke with the case worker and told her I had an idea and asked if it was a legitimate option she said yes.

So I made a phone call and set a meeting. Two nights later I was preparing to have yet another life changing conversation. I had to get ready for the possibility of an epic turn of events. I walked into the room my stomach in knots. God please give me what I need and please help me breathe!

Mommy of four?! Part 2

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Over the next few weeks things changed-a lot.  We were attempting to get our bearings and learning the ropes of being a family of six.  

We had good days and bad days.  It soon became clear that little Jalicia needed way more than we could give and we were in way over our heads.  Thankfully though, God wasn’t. 

We began to arrange for services to be put in place to get her and us the help we all desperately needed.  Then we got the news that changed everything.  She was going to be moved from us to another home.  

We were both partially relieved and also devestated.  I knew I wasn’t meant to be her mom but I so wanted to be.  I knew that my little family had been through a war zone and that my children needed some recovery time.  I also worried about Jalicia as she had to start over fresh-again.  I knew we would continue to see her at sibling visits and that I would know how she was doing.  I didn’t know if I could handle knowing that either. What if things didn’t go well? Would I be watching her struggle? Could I handle the outcome? We began praying that God would give her a wonderful new home that it would be a smooth transition and that she would be happy.  

Two weeks later we found out that she had been moved again and again.  It broke my heart so much.  We just prayed and prayed that God would bring her a couple who either had grown children or never had children who would love her and care for her and give her all the attention she needed and deserved and could meet her needs and be her forever family.