Friday, April 9, 2021
Thursday, April 8, 2021
Hello Strangers! Anybody still out there?? ;-)
I find myself back here after nearly three years have passed!!! I honestly thought I may never have another moment to spare for writing, but over the last few months my heart keeps yearning to be back in this space in some capacity.
I haven't read or followed a blog in years. My leisure time online has been on Instagram as a busy mom who feels like I don't have much time to read a beautiful blog and enjoy it's contents--much less write one-- so I've chosen IG to be able to jump on for like 3-5 minutes at a time. But I've missed this!
Above is the latest snapshot picture of my family taken just a few days ago on Resurrection Sunday (Easter) at one of our favorite restaurants in the area, Patti's 1800's Settlement. We just enjoyed a delicious dinner with my family, and posed by their water wheel. As you can see, the children have grown like little weeds!
Our baby, Rosemary Grace, whom I last wrote about on here is all of three years old now!
She's truly as beautiful and even more precious in real life as she appears! This girl was born with a heart of gold that overflows with affection and love! We bonded instantly after we adopted her at birth! There was actually no transition period with her, and I held her for the first 6 months of her life just being in awe of the miracle she is. She is currently at a very mischievous stage which has kept me on my toes, on my knees (in prayer), and in the rocking chair as she is a cuddly koala who loves to hear her mama sing! And at the sink continually washing her off from her messes...(girlie loves sneaking chocolate and getting it everywhere!)
My older kids, Jayden and Kylie are 11 and 10 years old! Babies don't keep, as they say, and they have become amazing big siblings to their little sister that Kylie basically prayed into our family! Kylie was always the little sister and now she is very much the big sister who is a great help to me.
Some big changes over the last three years include moving houses. We are finally in the one we plan on staying in for a long while --
-- Hallelujah! --
-- thankfully as this is our ninth home since being married for almost 17 years. There was a time we were moving on average about every 20 months or so, and we were very ready to get rooted and established. We absolutely love our home and neighborhood and we believe the Lord gave us this home, which is another story in itself.
We are now a homeschooling family! That is something I never in a million years thought I would be saying, even just a couple years ago. We made this huge decision not because of the virus, but the virus made it a great year to begin. This was a call from the Lord! We knew He called our family to this, which is the best reason we should do anything! The Lord had been leading my husband and I down the path of discussing and praying over homeschooling a few months before it was confirmed in our hearts, this is what our family needs right now! This is a very personal decision and we are seeing some fruit come out of it. It hasn't been "easy," although most things that are growing good fruit don't come easy.
I say we are homeschooling "right now," because we pray every year about what we should do regarding school. I won't get into details now, but it has been a unique blessing in many ways that I didn't foresee a few years ago, and it's been one of the biggest challenges of my motherhood journey as well. As long as God gives me the grace to do it, I can and will with success; although many days I feel like it's by His grace alone! To begin homeschooling, all the while training a 2/3 year old, has been a learning curve for us all. I do hope some fruits of the spirit are being sown and watered in the process. In fact, I know they are!!
I don't have time to catch up entirely, but I wanted to come and share, and just see where this goes!
My heart is for Jesus now more than ever, and to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone I can so, as always, my posts will be laced with scripture and testimonies of the Lord!
I'll share on family, motherhood, gardening and of course recipes and food abounding, for that's how this blog began in 2009! I would love to talk a bit here and there more about specifics on topics such as marriage, adoption, homemaking, and what it looks like to walk with Jesus in the midst of trials. (Who doesn't need that after the year the world has experienced in 2020/21??)
I know blogs are a dime a dozen, and there are many, many more that will look more professional and beautiful and eloquent, and I so appreciate them! Here, you will continue to see bits and pieces of the simple but abundant life the Lord has given me, what He is doing in my life, what I'm learning, what He is speaking to me about and what I'm cooking in the midst of it all!
This will be a bit more of an intimate space than my social media accounts. I feel sometimes my words overflow there, so I've decided to move the majority of my thoughts and recipes of length into this space, like a home for myself online! I've made some sweet friends around the world from here!
If you love Jesus or you want to know even a bit more about Him or if you just love some grounded conversation-- I invite you into my Cozy Little Kitchen once again.
Don't forget your hot tea or coffee or cozy cocoa because I can promise you I'm not writing without a warm sipper in hand!
So good to chat with you again!!! xo
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
It's now the 2nd week of October, our kids are on fall break and we have just put our house on the market. It was the time to see if our investment of time and money, sweat and a lot of love, that we have put into the house was worth it all. As I talked about in part one of our journey, we were tired from everything going on in our life but our home looked more beautiful than it ever had! Our "dream" house was dreamier than ever, and my heart silently ached when we put the for sale sign in the yard; yet I knew we were doing the right thing. My faith was being stretched with our adoption and house being for sale. I wanted answers as to how it all would work out, but we moved forward trusting God would work it out.
We had a very exciting week ahead of us! Heath and I were about to get away on our very first vacation, just the two of us, since years before having children! We had planned on going on a final trip in the summer 2013, but to our delight ended up bringing home our kids much sooner than expected so our vacation was put on hold. So much has happened in the past few years, and we needed a restful, fun trip together like never before! It was an anniversary trip for us, but we decided to name this trip our Babymoon since we hoped that we would have a new baby sometime in the next year! We had this getaway planned out and booked for months, and it was going to be a dream trip for us. We were flying to San Francisco to spend the better part of a week on the beautiful, dramatic coastline of central California in Monterey and Carmel!! I have wanted to go to Carmel ever since I was a little girl, when I saw the original Parent Trap movie. Do you remember that classic movie starring Haley Mills? It was one of my favorites growing up. Carmel is where the character Susan lived, and her dad owned a gorgeous ranch up on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. They rode horses to the beach and she lived a life between mountains, ocean and their ranch. Since seeing that film I've been beckoned to see what beauty lay there in real life. I knew one day I wanted to go there for myself, and I was about to this very week!
That very week had another exciting prospect. On Monday, an expectant mother was to be given our profile book! It was the first "situation" or "expectant mother" we wanted our profile book to go to. She was looking for a couple who couldn't have children themselves and married at least 7 years, and we fit the bill. I prayed over it and was drawn to this woman and her situation, so we had signed up a few weeks before for the agency to show our profile book to her and the day had finally arrived! Although it was exciting we didn't have high expectations. There were 10 profile books given to this expectant mother, so that means we would be one of 10 couples lives that she would be sifting though deciding which home she wanted to lovingly place her baby in. It has to be huge deal on her part,I can't imagine. So with her receiving 10 total profile books, we wanted to be realistic, especially after what we had just been told...
The previous week I asked the adoption agency director if we would be notified even if we were not chosen. Instead of just answering the question, she curtly replied that we shouldn't expect to be chosen or "match" with this one or for a while, because we already had children. She said it won't be as fast as it was adopting the last time. We had kids already and that changes everything.
That harsh reality felt like a punch in the gut to hopeful parents, but we knew it was true. Most expectant mothers or birth parents are looking for a home without children already there, and I can understand that. You see, in our first adoption, God completely surprised us by being chosen the very first time we showed our profile book! We realize how miraculous that seems when many people wait through several showing and several months to be matched. I know God has a plan that looks different for each couple, but it was really amazing that we showed our profile book only once! It wasn't a seamless adoption the first time around but we did match super fast.
So the Monday came and went and we heard nothing from the agency, but we were pleasantly distracted by starting our Babymoon that very day. I was Frodo leaving the shire, going on an adventure! We caught a long, beautiful flight across country just the two of us flying into what seemed like an eternal sunset that evening.
I felt so alive doing something adventurous with my husband after many years! We landed in San Francisco pretty much in the middle of the night for this mama and immediately knew we weren't in Kansas anymore, but we loved it all the more. After some run-around catching transportation to the car rental place and picking up a beautiful car, we ended our night at a hotel we booked close to the airport and fell asleep around 2:30am (central) and drifted off to dreamland.
Did I miss our kids....YES! Did I fight a bit of mom guilt for enjoying it so much... YES. The first 2 nights were hard for some reason. I think it's because we've never had so much distance between us and our children. But after I talked to Grammy and heard how much fun they were having, I decided to fully relax and enjoy 110%, so that's what we did! I really believe the Lord was giving us this time away as a gift for our marriage.
Everything was different but it was all a wonder to behold! We were experiencing so much culture our first day in California!
San Francisco was different than most cities we've been to in the way that most of them have a small section of downtown sky scrapers. The downtown/sky scrapers here went on forever! It reminded me of my 8th grade trip to NYC so many years ago. The bus filled to what I would consider past the max capacity until most everybody unloaded again somewhere in Chinatown. We continued as it took us up and down the famous hills that the city is made of and we snapped several pictures before finally arriving to our destination, at Ghiradelli Square!
We stayed at a beautiful seaside Inn right overlooking Monterey Bay just down from Cannery Row.
Each morning we awoke to the sound of sea lions that congregated on the rocks and waves crashing on the shore. The sun came up over the mountains in the distance.
We went to Carmel and took the (famous) 17 mile drive with the windows down! This had to be one of the highlights of my life! We stopped at several of the look out places and sat on the benches and took pictures as we were trying to take it all in. There was a beach that we parked at and I got out and I actually felt like this must be what Heaven is like.
The wild, untamed beauty of creation with my Love was almost too much...I was trying to keep my tears of joy at bay! The deep blue water making great white waves crashing on the dramatic rocks.... The salty breeze on our faces... Heath and I feel like we are a million miles away from real Kentucky life and we were more relaxed than we've been since our honeymoon, 13 years before.
The walls were a cozy, chalk board-esque color and the dark original wood trim highlighted all the right things in the old building. It had soaring ceilings and grand windows and original wood floors. The atmosphere was straight out of something from a romantic movie with the breeze coming in the open doors and candles glowing on each table.
People were meeting up with hugs, families and friends gathered, and impeccably dressed people dined. It's a place where you don't rush for lunch but savor the moment of who you are with. It felt a bit out of our element yet it was right where we were supposed to be! We people watched and ate and admired and savored each bite like it was our last. We fell in love with food and culture all over again at that bistro, and I hope one day we will be back there. It's one of those places you wish you could fly across country just for the experience!
We found a coffee shop that became our favorite place, called Bright Coffee. It had a quintessential California vibe and they made some of the best coffee in which they served out of handmade artisan mugs they also sold in the shop there. The shop is called Lilify. Heath surprised me with a leather banded bracelet I wanted, and we bought a couple Christmas gifts there, as well!
If you notice, we're definitely foodies when we go out of town, and this trip was becoming a food lover's paradise! We had delicious seafood and steak one night when we celebrated our anniversary by dressing up and getting dinner at the Chart House. I'm still drooling over the food and amazed at the creativity they plated it with. Heath told them it was our anniversary when he made the reservation, so they sat us at the perfect table to have a full view of the water. Before it got dark we were watching all the adorable sea otters playing together out there!
It was Saturday, our last full day in Monterey. We walked and saw and tasted and experienced the area, but as good as it all was, the Lord in all His goodness and faithfulness saved the best for last!
We awoke to another pretty morning and I hopped in the shower. (This bathroom, by the way, was much nicer than our master at home so taking showers felt all the more luxurious!) I could hear Heath on the phone in the other room, which was odd since he hasn't talked on the phone at all on this trip, but I suspected that maybe it was a unique situation with a patient or something like that. When I stepped out of the shower Heath came up to me bright eyed.
He said he had just gotten off the phone with our adoption specialist (social worker)!
Huh. Really?!! I thought. That's interesting...
She said that the expectant mother who was given our profile book the Monday before, the one who was given 10 profile books, the first expectant mama we even showed our profile book to.... she wanted to meet us and us alone! She was choosing us! We were about to be matched...on the first try, again!!!
We found out she was having a baby girl who was due Valentines Day!!!!
What in the world!?? ( I thought she had already chosen since we heard nothing all week. )
Do dreams really come true???
We were both astonished and began crying in each other's arms! Then I jumped up and down praising God in the bathroom in Monterey California. I could feel the presence of God with us there as He answered our prayer!
You know how so many people have gone on trips and come back to later find out they became pregnant on that trip? A friend of mine opened my eyes to the fact that's essentially what happened with us--we were on our romantic getaway and we "concieved" an adopted baby there, if you will. Maybe only you who struggle with infertility out there can understand how truly sweet of the Lord it was to orchestrate our match this way! He knew how special it would be for us to get the call while on our dream vacation together, and He made entire experience of finding out more beautifully than we could've imagined.
That morning we were honestly brimming with joy unspeakable and hearts of gratitude! Our Redeemer lives! I wanted to shout it from the rooftops! We were carrying a delightful secret that I felt pregnant because we were expecting a baby. It wasn't a done deal and it never is in adoption, until the finalization is complete, but we trusted God and I can honestly say I didn't have fear this time weighing me down.
We went to our Bright Coffee for a latte, and as we were walking out Heath received a text. I asked him to take my picture in the front of the coffee shop with my coffee in hand (like we do when we go fun places), and as he was about to say "3" he said nonchalant, "we just got a full price offer on our house and another buyer is putting in an offer, too."
WHAT?!?! Is this what you would call the floodgates of God's favor opening!!???
"Click" goes the camera. He captured a blissful me standing there in shock and amazement.
Just 10 days after listing our house, on the same day we matched, as we are on our dream vacation together, we learned that we are about to sell our house and for more than we imagined. He allowed us to match the first time, again. So do you see what I mean when I say the Lord orchestrated it all and things were better than if we had tried planning it all ourselves!!? When we said "yes" to the call of adopting this time around we weren't sure how we would pay for it all, but we knew God would provide somehow. We put our faith into action when He gave us the wisdom to put our house on the market--which was a sacrifice for me--but only was to gain something much greater, a child. We sold our house at the same time we matched, and we had means to pay for this adoption without any fundraising at all!!! Only God.
If you're reading my story and wonder if God will open His floodgates in your life, know that is exactly what He wants to do! He says that He came to give us life and life more abundantly. That all His promises are "yes and amen" and that all things work together for good to those who love Christ and those who are called according to His purpose! He is our Redeemer. The one who died on the cross to save our soul and who also call us to step out in faith, believing before seeing.
Daughters and sons of God, you may be in a valley now or in the waiting room. You may feel like you're being tested or maybe your faith is new and small like a mustard seed. Maybe you are losing hope of whatever it is you are believing God for. It may be breakthrough in finances, in an addiction in your life or a loved one's life, the salvation of a loved one, your child may be facing a discouraging diagnosis. You may be in the trenches of parenting toddlers or teenagers, or like me you may be a woman struggling with infertility who has waited to see what her family was going to look like. After exhausting infertility treatments, I knew that in order for me to have children a miracle would have to take place. My faith was a mustard seed faith (but that's big enough for God to move mountains with!). In fact, I have been in many of those very places and I have an encouraging word for you.
Put your trust in God! Get back up another day but not in your own strength, in His! You can not will things to happen, that will only wear you out! Bring your burden to the Lord, rest in Him and trust Him to move in your situation. Cry out to God, talk to Him. Worship Him. The Lord is making a way for you, although it may not be exactly how you envisioned. It took me years to release the grip of my plan on what our family should look like and trust in God even though I didn't know what the outcome would be. I would've been completely overjoyed and thrilled with even one child, but He had plans for us to have more! He is sovereign and sees from the beginning to the end, but I promise it will be what is best. Keep trusting God!
We flew back home to Kentucky the next day, and we were soooo ready to see our children! We were brimming on the inside and our mind reeling with it all having just accepted an offer on our house just above the asking price and now growing our second daughter in my heart who was due Valentines. We came back home with our cup overflowing for each other and for the Lord.
It was indeed more than a romantic getaway for us. It the time when God showed us His glory!