The grands.

Last Thanksgiving we had two kids at Phillip’s parents’ house. Just Jackson and Mikey. But this year was just a little different!

As you can plainly see, this family has MUCH to be thankful for this year!



all four.

One of my facebook friends said that these four obviously were always intended to be siblings. I think she’s right.

So, how does it feel?

Some have asked, “So, how does it feel?” How does what feel? Oh, right. I should feel something. I think what I feel is a bit of relief that there won’t be social workers coming to our house anymore. I think I feel a bit more relaxed about discipline, letting the kids get filthy, and the condition of my house. I think the girls maybe feel a little more “mine” than they did before Monday.

But, honestly, nothing magical happened Monday morning. And I don’t mean to sound so cynical. I’m glad they’re here. I’m glad they’re ours. I’m glad our names will now be on their birth certificates. I love them, but I loved them before Monday. But a switch did not flip that all of the sudden made everything seem like a fairy tale. I wish I could tell you otherwise. This is still the hardest thing we’ve ever done so far in our lives.

There was a funny tweet recently from Jim Gaffigan. It went something along the lines of “What does having four kids feel like? Imagine you’re drowning and someone hands you two more kids. It’s kind of like that.” We still have moments where we don’t think we can or even want to do this. But it’s infinitely better than it was 10 months ago. The word “daughter” still doesn’t roll off my tongue very easily, but I remember it felt weird to call Mikey my “son” for a while after his adoption too.

So, how does it feel? Well, it pretty much still feels like we’ve got three kids who can’t wipe their own noses or bottoms. Three kids who can’t snap their own pants or put on their own socks. It pretty much feels like we work from sunup until midnight every day. It feels like God has called us to do something we don’t feel yet equipped to do.

But in the midst of the hard, and it is hard, we laugh until we cry. We watch them all together and shake our heads and grin. We listen to their wacky conversations and know they are God ordained. Our four children are exactly where they are supposed to be. We have no doubt about that. And Phillip and I are doing the very difficult job that we have been called to do.

So I guess you could say that it just feels like family. And family is hard, but it’s worth it. And I guess you could say that it just feels “right.”

photos by Amanda Reich Photography

Big but.

I wanted this, but it’s so stinking hard!

I need God’s help, but I don’t take the time to pray.

I love them, but I say things that hurt their feelings.

I dreamed of this, but now sometimes I dream of… not this.

I want great things for them, but I often put myself first.

I am their mom, but I don’t want my identity to be found in them.

They are so little, but I expect them to do everything right.

They just want me to be present, but I roll my eyes and walk away.

They are gifts, but I sometimes see them as burdens.

They are forgiving, but I am condemning.

I can do this, but only if I’m willing to let myself go.

I have to let go of the big but.

I wanted this. I need God’s help. I love them. I dreamed of this. I want great things for them. I am their mom. They are so little. They just want me to be present. They are gifts. They are forgiving.

I can do this.

I must be willing to let myself go.

Where is my heart anyway?

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Luke 12:22-34

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

So what is my treasure? Where is my heart anyway? I feel like too much of my time is spent cleaning the floors, picking up toys, wiping tables, doing laundry, making beds, washing dishes. So does that mean that my heart is in my house? Is that my treasure? I don’t want it to be like that. I feel like I’m doing all of it for my family. So they’ll have a safe, organized place to live and play.

But is it really for them? Or is it for me? Is it for my kids if I’m ignoring and reprimanding them so I can keep their home clean? Their bodies clean…their toys organized…their tummies fed…but do they feel loved?

Or maybe my treasure is my business. Maybe my heart is there. Hours are spent taking photos, editing, thinking about what camera equipment I will buy next. I identify myself as a photographer more than I identify myself as a Christ follower. But I do it for my family. Don’t I? Don’t I do it so that we can have enough money? Or do I do it for me?

Is Christ my treasure? At this point in my life I would have to say no. “Me time” is my treasure. Working is my treasure. Keeping up with the house is my treasure. My kids are sort of my treasure unless they interfere with the business and housework. Phillip is my treasure when I take a break from the other things.

But this is the thing, my heart isn’t in any of it. Because my real treasure is living a life that points to Jesus Christ. And since I’m not actively doing that, my heart doesn’t want to do anything else either.

Maybe if Christ is not my treasure, then maybe I have no treasures at all. And maybe I’m just spinning in vain.

August highlight

Yes, I’m THAT far behind on blogging!!! There is so much stuff that I need to blog about and I just don’t have time!!! It’s so frustrating. But I have to real quick tell you the highlight of my August.

These guys came all the way from Singapore just to see us! Forget the fact that they had to move two kids into college. They really came to see us. Tori, Jake, it just happened to work out that they could help y’all move in while they were here to see us. Promise. 🙂

We went to a cool church in Houston and ate some really good Mexican food and laughed.

They came to our crazy house and loved on our kids. Mikey made Tommy wear his Indian headdress while he shot him up and jumped all over him. And since Brittany does everything Mikey does, she climbed all over him too. Such a good sport. Blurry picture. Don’t blame me. Andrea took it.

It was too short. And even though they did come just to see us, they had to see lots of other people too. And then there was the whole moving the kids into college thing. But it was great anyway. I think the witch from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is climbing up my back in this picture.

Love them. Miss them. Ready for them to COME STINKIN’ HOME ALREADY!! And when they do finally come back home we’ve got hours of marbles playing and food eating and coffee drinking and laughing until I cry to catch up on. Lots of hours. Sidenote: not many people have seen me do the laugh until I cry thing, but they definitely have!

Color them

If I color them annoying, others might view them as annoying.
If I color them infuriating, others might view them as infuriating.
If I color them as nuisances others might view them as nuisances.

Or what will most likely happen is that others will view me as an annoying, infuriating nuisance.

Because other people can see what I can’t always see. They can see that uncolored, left to present themselves without my help, the truth. The unjaded truth.

The truth that they are good.
The truth that they are loveable.
The truth they they want to be loved unconditionally.
The truth that they are experts.
The truth that they are caring.
The truth that they are pure.
The truth that they are empathetic.
The truth that they are brave.
The truth that they are passionate.

There are many many more truths about my kids. And yours.

I have spent too much time coloring my kids in a way that doesn’t represent the positive truths about them.

And I’m sorry. And I’m trying to change.

I’m trying to change before I color them so much that I can’t even see who they were before I started. I don’t want my kids to be like me. And I don’t want my kids to be like I often color them to be.

Are they all yours?

“Are they all yours?” I got asked that this week for the first time. I didn’t even have Jackson with me. I just had the three littles. Due to poor meal planning, I had to take them to the store twice this week. Anyway, at the store a young man asked me, “Are they all yours?” I was caught a little off guard. I said, “Yes…sort of…it’s complicated.” I should have just said yes and left it at that. But when someone asks “Are they all yours?” what they mean is “Did you give birth to ALL those kids?!”

Did I give birth to them? No, thank goodness. Are they all mine? Yes, they are, thank you very much.