this one's on todd.

Friday, December 12, 2014

to anyone and everyone who is willing to read:

do you remember when we shared our story that brought us to adopting the boys?  it was one of the biggest steps of faith that we ever took.  it was one of the greatest gifts we were ever able to receive.  it has repeatedly proven to be a picture of the gospel in ways that we never imagined.  adopting the boys has rocked our world, but more importantly it has rocked our faith.  it radically changed us in ways we had no idea that we needed changing.  our boys have brought us more joy than we could imagine.  it definitely has been tough at times, but the healing God has done in their lives is beautiful.

over the past two years God had done great things.  we seriously feel blessed to have our sweet family of 6.  but something seriously did not feel complete.  there was something more.  something else missing.  someone else missing.  over the past six months todd and i have been praying, thinking, talking about adoption again.  knowing what adoption entails, it is a discussion we do not take lightly.    as we did with adopting the boys, we began researching and seeking where there was a need.  our boys were considered "hard to adopt" because they were a sibling group, older, and boys.  so we said yes.  this time, we began looking again to where God would have us adopt from, as well as where there was a need.  that is when God lead us back to our previous adoption agency to work with our fabulous case worker who helped us bring home ty & levi and gave us a heart for a "special needs" (one that we won't disclose at this time, if at all) child, a girl, and haiti.

so here we are again.  but this time seems so different already.  we are walking a path we have walked before.  a long road towards bringing a child home into a family who is waiting.  we know the chaos that will come.  but this is different.  every child is different.  every country is different.  every situation is different.  so maybe that is why this feels different... but i think this is different because we are walking with our eyes a little more open.  we are totally different people, a completely different family than we were 3 years ago when we started the process with the boys.  walking towards an adoption that we have to fundraise.  walking towards a child who does not know us and we do not know.  walk towards a new version of our family.  all with arms open begging God to move and work and come and show us.

this time around we are fundraising our entire adoption.  (last time we only had to fundraise our travel expenses).  this is by far the scariest thing for me.  last night, i laid awake and prayed.  i begged God to continue to show up and move in our second adoption process.  i feel like this is asking a lot of people.  to help us.  to fundraise with us.  BUT we know that God has brought us to this place and he will give us what we need.  we are praying for exactly what we need.

our coffee fundraiser link

our [right now] need:
homestudy payment: $700
first payment for our agency: $8,000 (due with our contract that has already been signed, notarized, and waiting for our fees to be finished).
USCIS fees: $720
fingerprinting: $170

our [upcoming] needs:
fees due with dossier submission: $10,800
fees due with referral acceptance: $9,082
travel expenses (there are 2 trips): unknown
other fees: roughly $3,000

what i learned about sovereignty.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

last night i lay awake.
trying desperately to drift off into sleep.
but sleep evaded me.
for hours.
so what else could i do but pray.

today my littles all started school  they embark on a journey that will only last this year.  the only time they will be at the same school together.  but this new adventure brought a ton of fears that weighed heavily and deeply... robbing me of my sleep.

here is what today marked.
1. yet another school for ash.
2. both older kids switching classes.
3. the longest levi has been without todd or myself.  ever.  in 19 months.
4. the longest ty has been without todd or myself.  ever.  in 19 months.
(they have always been with one of us).
5. the first time the younger two has ever gone to school.
6. teacher conversations before the year begins.

so in bed i lay.  anxious hearts.  clothes laid out.  bags packed.  lunches ready.  levi so fearful that he has been sleeping with us for the past 5 nights.  prayers of a nervous mom that flowed for hours.  i am not sure if i have ever prayed for all four of my children with such desperation.  with such passion.  but something stuck deeply inside my heart as i prayed.  God is sovereign.  he is sovereign no matter what.  God will take care of my kiddos with or without me there.  but i need to give them to chance to see God be there, while i am not.

and today.  they did.  each of them.

levi came running up to me when he was done with school and jumped into my arms.  he never left my side for the entire day.  he went to a meeting with me.  laid on me.  made sure he was close to me.  it was so precious.  at the end of the day when i told him that i loved that he ran and jumped into my arms, he told me he wanted to do it again tomorrow.  then he asked to practice.  so we did.

jesus wins.

titus rocked school today.  seriously.  teacher said he was attentive.  that he was the most respectful child she had met.  that he helped diligently in class.  that he asked questions.  that he defended a boy who was bullied.  (ty said a boy was being mean to another little boy.  the little boys feelings got really hurt and the bully would not stop.  ty stood between them and told the bully he needed to be nice and apologize because they aren't supposed to hurt each others feelings.)  the teacher mentioned because of ty's size (he's big), the bully listened to him.  ty ran out.  hugged me & his dad & told us all about his day.  showed us his school work.  told us what he learned and about how he got lost in the hallway after going to the bathroom.  he cannot wait for tomorrow.

jesus wins.

jeremy got to school, gave us a hug, said goodbye to his brothers and was off.  he knew not a soul on that campus other than his siblings and a few younger kids from church.  but he went determined.  he said he was the only person who brought in a book so he didn't get to read.  he said his teacher is amazing.  that his science teacher seems fun.  that he met some friends.  that he gets to dress up in harry potter clothing for a picture his teacher is going to take of him.  we finished out the night reading together.  he is such an amazing reader.  i am so proud of his ability to adapt.  to make friends.  to learn and grow.  and be passionate about education.  i had to write 4 words that described him tonight.  creative.  smart.  authentic.  passionate.

jesus wins.

ash.  oh my sweet ash.  she adventured a little more hesitantly than jeremy.  she saw her teacher and went and said hi.  asked where they should line up.  and with a hug she was gone.  but tonight as we talked about school, she said simply this: "mom it is the first new school i have gone to that i didn't sit on the swings during recess.  i actually made friends."

jesus wins.

"the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His." 2 chronicles 16:9a

"the Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all." psalm 103:9

God rules with sovereignty.  his power.  his might.  and it is his rightful place as creator and ruler.  i did not understand that until today.  not the concept of what a sovereign God is, but a practical application on my most precious "possessions".  by no means should my children have been able to accomplish today.  but God is sovereign.  sovereignty came in the form of grace and transpired into a beautiful example to me about how He is the controller of their lives and of their destinies.  not me (obviously.  but i like to think i do.)  by no means should my two youngest children have had a great first day.  something should have gone awry.  not likely at school (although these two never had a honeymoon period, so they are as real as they come), but at home.  but that is not what happened.  they clung in a beautiful way to me tonight.  lot of hugs.  lots of excitement for tomorrow.  lot of non-verbal needs by way of hugs and kisses.  lots and lots of grace, love and hope (thanks dad for showing up right now in this moment.  hope was my dad's word.  as i typed it, i saw his smile and his nod of approval.)

tomorrow... i pray you are the same for these four sweet faces.  i pray that school continues to feel safe for our children.  that they continue in their honest feelings.  that they make friends.  show people jesus.  learn.  focus.  grow.  and have fun.  all the while remaining true to what God's word teaches them about grace, mercy, love, & obedience.

as i hugged and prayed for ty tonight, he hugged me tight and told me he missed me so much today.  all i could do was choke back tears (when i cry it scares him) and tell him for the millionth time today i missed him so much and i cannot wait for a big hug from him when he gets home from school tomorrow.  

my beautiful children.  grades K, 1st, 4th, & 6th.

being vulnerable.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

being vulnerable is hard.
i am sure it is difficult for everyone.
it is deeply hard for me.
admitting hurts and pain isn't easy.
it never has been.
most of my life i have hidden my struggles.
from a lot of people.

but after reading RECOVERING REDEMPTION by chandler & snetzer i am inclined to be a little more vulnerable about personal hurts and struggles.  (i highly recommend this book.  it seriously has changed my life in a way no other book, that isn't the bible, has changed how i view life, redemption, and hope).

we are currently living in and serving in a beautiful community of homeschool families.  it is seriously so breathtaking to me.  they are a true community.  a community of believers.  supporting one another.  lifting one another up.  encouraging one another.  and specifically within our church; it is saturated with homeschooling families.  precious homeschool families.

i wanted to be like them.
to be doing life in the trenches with them.
to simply homeschool my littles.
to love on them from home.

{please know that todd and i are NOT against public school.  we are NOT against homeschool.  we are NOT against christian schools.  period.  we believe that everyone has a choice and NO ONES choice is wrong.}

so we started to plan towards that idea of homeschooling.  we even knew what we were going to do with homeschooling.  we knew what curriculum.  we knew what groups we were going to be joining. we just knew.

but really.
we didn't.

about 1 1/2 months ago i started to really see my inabilities.  they are NOT ladened in fear.  trust me.  they are true inabilities in this moment.  i struggle with depression.  (there i said it.  it's out there.  it's real.  it's hard.  and God is healing my daily.  always has been.  i started talk therapy when i was 9 years old.  i have been getting help ever since... there is your public service announcement.)  i allow stress to affect me and my circumstances (which things are forever changing and it is hard right now).  it is debilitating.  it's been this way since i was in high school. i started to notice some old habits coming back.  BUT i also saw some self-regulating things coming naturally.

(insert time of self-evaluation).   what was i going to do?  why was i feeling like this?  how was i going to make these thing change?

todd and i began to talk.  i began to share my heart behind the hurts i was feeling.  the stresses i was beginning to experience.  i began praying.  evaluating.  and then there was something that i simply could not shake. it was the idea that i needed to be my kiddos mom & not their educator.

there it was.
i prayed for clarity.
i begged for clarity.
i could not get it out of my heart and mind.
it wasn't in the hard times i felt this.
it was in the good times.

i knew change was about to take place.

two things were said to me when i shared the news with two amazing moms.  each backed me 100%. first one affirmed me when she told me that she knew she needed to simply be mom to her 3 adopted sons.  the next came from my bestie who said she felt that God wanted my "yes" in homeschooling, but was directing me another way and needed my obedience there as well.

now please understand, if we felt directed to homeschool, i believe that God would have given me everything that i needed to do that as well.  but it is not where God has us right now.  he has levi in a great kindergarten class that the teacher wants to meet with me and talk about how she can walk this year with us.  titus's teacher cried with me as i realized he was my hardest child to let go of this year.  jeremy's teacher (a guy teacher which he always does best with) has harry potter all over the walls (jeremy just finished book #7 yesterday).  ash's teacher is so understanding of her test anxiety that she has already told ash that she can take tests at lunchtime/ recesses/ sit next to her.  told her that if any other the other teachers don't listen to her (she rotates classes) to come to her and let her know.  i could not ask for a better circumstance.  so God has us here.  in this moment.

we walk with Jesus daily.  begging for clarity and understanding.  each of us as moms are trying our best to do what is right for our children.  we are trying to keep sanity in our hearts, minds, and homes.  we fight hard for our children in different ways.  none of those ways wrong; they simply look different.  i want a home that has a sense of ease within its walls.  a peace that oozes from within... that rushed deeply over the hearts and souls of my children.  i want them to have a childhood that is different and wonderful and amazing... not easy, because that is not real life... and i cannot give them that by simply being their educator.  i need to be healing platform.  we need to grow as a unit without that hanging over us.  i know this year will be filled with a whole lot of different, however... we are following Jesus.  we are striving to have our children be completely emerged in who God wants them to be.

if you do not have adopted kiddos, you may not completely understand my need and my urgency.  and that's okay.  (if you know me... you know that this is NOT LIKE ME AT ALL).  but i am fighting for my kiddos.  harder than you can ever grasp and understand.  if you walked daily within the walls of our home... you may get a glimpse... but unless you jumped inside my head (which i do not recommend) there is no way to "get it".  but please, lets not pretend that we grasp each others circumstances completely.  because even if we walk similar journeys, they are still different.

i have a public school education.
todd has a public school education.
& we still love jesus.

 this is last years picture.  wait until tuesday for this years.
the changes these four have made are phenomenal.

art class line up.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

art class line up.

here are a some of the fun things your kiddos could do in the summer art classes that start in just a few short weeks.

-sculptures of their drawings.
-explore with watercolor.
-experiment with pastels.
-create mixed media art.
-make a masterpiece with acrylic and canvas.
-explore & make a color wheel.
-gain some understanding of art theory.
-create an art journal.
-make paper. (older kiddos)
-twist wire into an animal creation. (older kiddos)

i mean who doesn't want to do all these amazing things.
check out times here!
get your name on the list by emailing me @

or via FB/ text (see here)

it's going to be a beautiful week of exploring and understand how fun art can be.

getting ready.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

we are getting excited for art classes.
sign ups officially start tomorrow.
today it is all about the art enrichment i get to teach to parents tonight.

watch out.
it is going to be a blast.
check out the summertime art tab at the top of the blog.
don't forget to share about it if you are local.
sign your kiddos up for tons of fun & messy & creative work.

we are going to explore different mediums.
learn about techniques.
and likely get a little mess.

we all have a story. GOD IS HEALER!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

{me to titus}: hey buddy.  how can i pray for you tonight?
{titus}: mom.  sometimes i fall asleep & dream about mama mbuyi & papa beya.  and i get so excited.  and then i wake up and realize it isn't real.  and then i get really really sad.  sometimes i just have to cry.
{me}: oh ty. (yep… i start crying at this point, but he cannot see me b/c its dark in his room.)  you are so brave to tell me that.  that is really sad when we wake up from a dream we really want huh?  if you really did see them, what would you do.
{t}: i would cry.
{me}: i bet. {pause}  you would be so happy if you saw them huh?  what else would  you do?
{t}: i would hug them & then tell them to come meet my new mom and dad.  mom.  wouldn't it be great if we could all live together.
{me}: uhmmm.  YES.  what if they have their own room.  and you have yours.  and levi, ash & j have theirs.  wouldn't that be great?
{t}: yes.  (sigh).  mom how many people in our family?
{me}: 8.
{t}: yes.
{me}: mama mbuyi.  papa beya.  me.  daddy.  titus.  levi.  ash.  jt.  four parents.  four kids.  kind of perfect huh?
{t}: yes.  i'm so glad we have eight people.

loss is hard.  it is hard to grasp.  it is hard to deal with.  it is so beyond hard for me.  i laid down next to titus tonight as we had this long (there was more) conversation about loss.  his loss.  tears rolled down my face.  tears filled his eyes.  i stroked his hair & sweet face.  he opened up his hurts and his heart.  and i was selfish.  i cried tears that hurt me so bad.

i lost my dad.
i was 31.
i thought i was going to never move on.
he is 6.
he lost his parents by the time he was 5.
how the heck does he do it?

he tells me his story.

i rarely talk about my dad.
he talks about his mom so much.

i hurt when i talk about my dad.
he smiles when he remembers his dad.

i block my pain.
he reveals his.

he seems so much further along in his story.
i feel left in the dust.
and right now.  i am okay with that.
i would rather see his healing.
i would rather see God radically show this little guy himself.
it has been my prayer for a LONG time.

i am a reader.  a BIG reader.  i love to fill my brain with beautiful words.  amazing concepts.  gracious wonderful words written by amazing believers who chose to share their hearts & their stories. (and some words just for fun of course).  todd recently told me i need to read a book that he stumbled upon (immmmmmm….. i ALWAYS try to get todd to read.  so when he says read.  i read).  and holy crap!  i am so glad i did.  todd recommended TELL ME A STORY by scott mcclellan.  i was a bit skeptical.  todd isn't a reader of my "kind of book".  BUT… this time he was.

as titus told me a story tonight.  i recalled, yet again… as i have every time in the last 18 months, that a story is healing.  "story is so much bigger than just what we want.  story helps us see beyond ourselves to the forward momentum of our father's world, his kingdom, and our place in it." page 30

because our story is bigger than us.  it is so much bigger than us.  we have a story that is outlined before us.  and it amazes me beyond belief.  "what if we are who God says we are?  what if he knit each of us together and ordained all our days (psalm 139)?  what if he loved us so much he sent Jesus to save us into new life?  what if he directs our steps and makes out a race for us (hebrews 12:1)?  if that's true, then thats the outline of your story.  this outline is at the foundation of who you are and who i am.  the better we understand the story of God and man in the Bible, the better we'll understand our basic identities." page 38

we are who God says we are.  we are wonderfully made (the first verse i taught my boys).  we are created beautifully.  wonderfully.  for a purpose.  {what is your purpose?} he did send Jesus.  our boys spent their first day of sunday school without me this past sunday (ash was in there with them.  so it's kind of like mom was there.  but i really wasn't.)  in class.  they both came home with little door signs that said "Jesus is God's Son".  both could tell me what it said.  both have it hanging from their doors into their rooms.  God sent his Son to be our REDEMPTION (that is the most beautiful word ever).  redemption.  redemption.  redemption.

the word redemption comes from the latin word redimere (to buy back), or redemptio… redeem.  the df: action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.  

it is an action.  the action of saving.  the redemption of God sending his son… it was an action.  it save us.

it is a story.  so ty told me a very little piece of his story tonight.  he told me of his hurts.  his desires.  he made me want to keep listening (but it isn't a hollywood need… it it because he wants someone to know.  someone to listen.  someone to understand).  but you know what?  his story.  it is healing his brain.  it is mending his hurts.  it is REDEEMING his heart.  

our stories.  they heal.  they help.  in truth.  not in a small piece of our story.  but in an entire TRUTH.  that is the key.  if we are truthful about our stories… they heal us.  if we are honest & share with our stories… they help others to face their own stories & allow God to heal them.  they open up truth for others.  for others to be truthful to themselves.  tonight.  ty encourage me.  he encouraged me to remember what i have been teaching him since the moment that he came home and reminded me of the power in our stories.

my story matters.
(his) story matters.
my honesty heals me.
(his) honesty heals his heart.
i am created to be precious.
(he) is created precious. how do i help him to remember this forever?
i have great things ahead because of Jesus.
(he) is made for great things.
i am always in the process of healing.
(he) is healing.  
God is my ultimate story.
God is (his) ultimate story.  

God is his healer.

my story is different than titus's story.  my story is different than yours.  but it is still my story.  just as titus's story is HIS story.  BUT in all cases… yours, mine, titus's… it is a story that God is writing.  it is a story he knows.  it is a story that matters.  that is important.  

{what's  your story?}

a little update on a big thing.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

i am so bad at blogging right now.
not because i haven't thought about writing, but because i have been waiting to figure out what i should write.  so i will do a little update about a big thing.

a few months ago i began reading the book "restless" by jennie allen.  the intro to the book on the back cover says this: what if this feeling wasn't a bad thing?  It could be a longing for more of God and a catalyst to living the life that was designed before the foundations of the earth were laid.

drenched within the first few chapters of the book are the beautiful idea of a dream.  a vision perhaps of what God is calling us to do in this unique time in our lives.  "every single on of us is designed to fit into a unique space with unique offerings." (page 4)  "our mattering doesn't depend on a stellar performance.  we matter because we are children of the living, breathing, reigning God of the universe. we matter because we were bought with the blood of the Son of our Father God.  he set us in our spots and in our time." (page 14)  "we have come to treat God as if he exists for us, rather than us existing for him.  as if he is supposed to fit our plans, rather than our only plan being to know him and to follow him.  God is big, but he moves into the small.  God cares about eternity, yet he cares about every second of every human's life.  that is who we serve." (page 28)

i dared to dream & began to ask God what next.  what did he want me to do?  where did he want me to be? what did he want of me?  he answered.  but i still questioned.  i asked again.  i waited.  continued to ask to make sure.  (maybe i should have learned this prior to this moment.  but my fear apparently runs thing sometimes… okay often.  i am working on it.)  and then i was certain.  because the thoughts never stopped coming.  never changed.  and only continued to grow.  until i finally gave in and told todd (completely ready for him to laugh).  his response i will never forget.  "it's about time.  i have been waiting for you to say this."

thus a vision of a ministry was born.

{the short version}:
a ministry focused on helping adopted kiddos & families heal through several different avenues of "therapy" (including neurofeedback) with no cost to families.  yep.  i am going back to school.

{the longer version}:
as todd & i searched through several styles of parenting adopted kids we wished there was someone local who was willing to walk our journey with us.  there is no one here in eastern idaho that is an attachment therapist who believes that connection is the way to heal our kiddos.  NO ONE.  i am seriously not even joking.  we have met road block after road block.  we wanted someone close to where we lived to walk through our journey with us, un-judged with our questions and concerns (oozing empathy and compassion).  our city is filled with people who have adopted.  i see them when i take my boys to neurofeedback every other week.  walking through the stores in town.  there is an group of people out there.  and we ALL need help and encouragement.  to quote a very wise and wonderful person.  "there are 10% of people who will admit & tell you that parenting adopted kiddos is hard, the other 90% are likely not telling you the truth."  (thank you steph for that.  it gets me through sometimes).  we believe that a child who is connected, is a healing child.  the "methods" and "approaches" we take are ALL about the connection we make with out kids. the connected child by karyn purvis & the whole brain child by daniel siegel are two of the most encouraging books we have ever read in relation to all four of our children.  scripture is dripping with the idea of connection.  connection with Jesus… through love.  and man have i learned this year as i have studies the word love that love is shown in more ways than we can ever imagine.

God gave me a direction in which to go.  He showed me what & how.  i was going to go back to school & get a second bachelors in psychology & then continue on to get my masters degree.  my prayer has been this entire time that God would continue to open or close doors, despite my fears, and begin to reveal the how.  and he has.  he gave me what college i was going to attend.  (i was graciously accepted.  all of my other credits transferred.  all i have is upper division psych classes to complete.)  i applied for a grant. (i received the full amount of the grant… unfortunately they only allow it to cover 2/3 of the tuition costs).  my summer session starts in may.  i will be taking psychology of personalities & developmental psychology.  i am in the process of figuring out the remainder of the tuition… BUT GOD has this completely.  todd and i have been in awe of how this entire thing has played out.

the greatest thing is that todd sees this as a ministry for our entire family.  not just me.  he continues to add to my heart and vision for families.  we have this "big dream" that i am not ready to share yet… but if God continues to open things up… it will be amazing.

 because every post needs a picture.  here is levi getting excited.

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