Be still my mothering heart

I have been totally in denial. It started when she turned 5. It’s a milestone birthday but I didn’t let myself get all emotional and bloggy about it.

Then she graduated from preschool. And I was proud I didn’t bawl like a baby (although I did tear up).

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But there’s no avoiding the next milestone or pretending it’s not the complete end of “baby phases” for my sweet Tink.

She will start Kindergarten in 40 days (but who’s counting?) and she is beyond excited. She is such an independent little spirit and lately it seems she’s preparing me for her next big step.

She wants to do everything, and I mean everything, by herself, without help.

Walking up to swim lessons without me, fixing her own hair (heaven help us), and this morning, it was buttering her own pancakes.

Today we also got her a pair of shoes with laces so she can learn how to tie shoes before starting school. This was actually my idea because I would like to save a little of her teacher’s sanity.

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When we pulled into the driveway after buying the shoes, she unbuckled her seatbelt (by herself of course), looked at me so sweetly and said,

“In kindergarten, I’m gonna have to learn to do things by myself. Swing myself on the swings, tie my shoes, being kind, brush my teeth, talking about Jesus. All kinds of stuff.”

And then my heart broke with pride.

Independence, Kindness & Jesus.
Maybe I’m doing something right.
Happy tears, y’all.
This motherhood gig is alright.

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What, exactly, just happened?!

It was bound to happen at some point today. Oprah’s ugly cry made it’s way to my face just moments ago.

I’m looking at all these beautiful pictures and these moments from today. When did she grow up?!?

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I mean, I know I was there for it…there just aren’t words…

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It’s like one minute her daddy is introducing her to me and the next we are here, taking pictures for prom. The last ten and a half years have vanished.

She is so beautiful. But more than that she’s a gem on the inside, too.

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So glad I’ve had the last decade to experience life with her and watch her grow. Such a blessing to to have this life, to love this family, to live these moments.

I want to memorize it all. Every second.

From Kenya with love

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I haven’t written on my blog in a few months. I meant to. Started several posts even. But for one reason or another (a.k.a. It was summer and I was livin’ life, yo.) I never finished a post. And it was a bit refreshing not sitting in front of a computer to write or going back to over-edit something I should just publish.

I really enjoyed my first summer off as a teacher. I slept in (8:30 is sleeping in when you have a 4 year old). I got to spend my days with the bigs, LD and JD while they were here for a month during the summer. I read, baked, had picnics, watched JD teach his little sister AH how to fish and LD teach her little sister how to take selfies. The last part of my summer I was fortunate enough to spend in Nyahururu, Kenya on a mission trip.

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Y’all. I don’t even have words to tell you how amazing it is there. The scenery alone is enough to renew your faith in God. I knew I would be a changed person. At least I prayed I would be.

A group of 25 of us were going to put on a children’s Bible conference at an amazing children’s home and boarding school. Roughly 350 kids attended, ages ranging from preschool up through about the age of 14.

Since being back home, I’ve talked about Kenya to anyone who asks about our trip or anyone who will let me. There’ve been a couple times when I’ve talked for a while about the kids we met at the orphanage, they stop me and say, “Well, did you see any cool wild animals?” And then I realize that a safari story about wild animals may have been more of what they had in mind.

I get to Africa and and I’m amazed that I’m even there. I can’t believe it’s even real. And then we get to the orphanage. I see these beautiful faces, their smiles, and I fall in love with them.

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Each day when our bus arrives they run to greet us as if we’re long lost family instead of outsiders. So different from back home. In the US, if someone or something is different, too “out of the box,” we shy away from it. It’s out of our comfort zone. We don’t approach. Just like many hesitate to share the Gospel with people who don’t fit the description of “textbook Christians.”
But these kids are so welcoming. They walk right up to you and hold your hand, talk to you or touch your hair. Some ask you questions about where you’re from or what it’s like back home. One asked me if I had babies and if I knew where they were. Later, it dawned on me that as orphans, mothers may not know where their children are just as orphans don’t know where their parents are.

These kids don’t have iPhones. They don’t have American Girl Dolls or bicycles. (Some of the kids from the villages that came this week had never even seen swings before). Everything they own fits in a trunk. And yet they are grateful. They have joy. They have dreams of being pilots, teachers, doctors and pastors. Their joy isn’t the kind that is brought on by the newest toy or gadget or how many likes they got on Instagram or Facebook. It isn’t from all the shiny new gifts they get at Christmas. Their joy comes from things we take for granted but they see as blessings. Their joy comes from their faith in God and the hope that one day He will bless them with an opportunity, a way to make their dreams happen. Hope in the future.

I look at my own kids and I am so grateful. They are kissed each day, told they are loved, tucked into warm beds and go to sleep knowing they are cared for. They belong to a family, blended as it may be.

These sweet babies…
Who tucks them in at night? Are they warm? Who tells them they love them each and every day?

This orphanage (and the amazing people who run it) instills hope in them. Teaches them their lives can be changed by The Lord. I hope our being here to serve them, to love them, and to pray for them lets them know that God has not forgotten them; they belong, they are His.

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Thank you for being a friend…(cue Golden Girls music)

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(Golden Girl theme fades...)
Dear Liz,

This is one of my fave coffee mugs in my mismatched collection. I bought it at a resale shop years ago because it reminds me of Holly Hobbie and reminds me of you. When I look at it, I am grateful to have such a great friend in you. A friendship that feels like home; like we’ve known each other all our lives (instead of since the 7th grade). When I drink my coffee out of it, I feel like we’re having coffee together even though chances are you’re still sleeping because all your children have learned the common courtesy of sleeping in and my Tink, well, has not. So, now I’m about to enjoy a glass of milk and the next to last cookie left from the baker’s dozen you delivered earlier…I have hidden the last one and will tell no one of its whereabouts.

I love you & your crazy bunch,
Adie

P.S. Remember when you couldn’t even boil water??? Now you’re giving Paula Dean a run for her money! Way proud of you. 😉

(Commence with Golden Girl theme song…)

A is for amazing love

It is Easter and the meaning of this holiday isn’t something that is new to me.
But I keep thinking about what it was Jesus actually went through. The fact that he knew he was going to die. As a human man, He must have been so scared and yet he remained faithful to God. How many times do I become overwhelmed with fear and forget to turn to Him for help? Or how many times has something I’m going through seem too overwhelming, too painful that I lash out in anger or frustration rather than finding comfort in Him?

I think about the mental picture that comes with what Christ went through. The anticipation of what he knew were to be His last moments.
The humiliation.
The torn flesh.
The pain. Unimaginable pain.

All of that for us. I think of my children and ask myself, “How amazing is a God who could give up his child to save mankind?” I find myself in awe that God was willing to do for me what I, admittedly, would never do for anyone else. Because I look at my kids and I know. I know I could never make that sacrifice. I could not willingly let anyone hurt my child just so screw-ups wouldn’t get what they truly deserved anyway. And then I think, why in the world would someone ever do that for me, (a lowly screw-up)? As much as we hate to admit it, we’re all deserving of the consequences brought on by how we live our lives. But that’s what makes God’s love amazing.

Today, Easter Sunday, we are reminded that we get a second chance. Redemption. Not because we deserve it, but because it was so graciously given to us by a God who loves beyond comprehension.

Happy Easter,
Adrian

The difference 3 years can make

I was looking through pictures the other day and I came across these two pictures. Every year I get a picture of the kids together in their Christmas pajamas. The left is from 2009 and the other from this past Christmas.

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It’s crazy to think they have changed so much in what seems like the blink of an eye. But it’s been three years since the picture on the left was taken. Three years since AH’s first Christmas. Three years since LD wasn’t a teenager yet. And three years since JD was still a good bit shorter than I am.

AH is now almost 4 and before I know it will be in Kindergarten. LD is now 14 and almost in high school (WHAT?!!). And JD is almost 12 and it won’t be long before he is taller than I am.

Can we just freeze time for little while?
Crap. I’m getting old.

Wise words

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What I love most about this is when I read it, I hear my mother’s voice in my head. It’s a bit of advice she gave countless times when I was growing up (along with “You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything”). And it’s something she has never been afraid to live by; leading by example.

Happy Wednesday,
Adrian