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When the Sacred and Soccer Collide {life lessons on the field}

I’m a soccer mom.

But I’m more than that. I have 5 precious children–and one on the way. Some brought to us through the miracle of adoption. Some brought to us the old-fashioned way. Both beautiful miracles. As most moms, I play many roles–wife being priority and daughter of the Utmost High King being the most treasured of all.

Rarely do I leave the soccer field inspired…or with the need to process–but today…I did. My many worlds of transitioning collided all at once–where I felt like I was in the midst of culture shock…and the sacredness of who He is, what He came for and it being Easter weekend–collided with…well—soccer.


My kids’ team lost today–and honestly…I have never been prouder. But let me back up.

It’s been a long week–a good week, but a long week. My husband has been in Africa since last Friday serving with Wiphan Care Ministries in Ndola, Zambia. He has a “normal” job, but we also serve on the board of Wiphan a ministry we have been so honored to be a part of since the it’s first days 9 years ago in 2007. We serve alongside dear friends here–and champion many teachers, staff and 950 vulnerable and orphaned children in Zambia to dream big.

Leading up to today’s soccer game–which wasn’t on my radar as a monumental event;)…I have been doing what momma’s of littles do with daddy out of town–surviving. I’m also in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy so trying to take it easy with daddy in Zambia has been a funny challenge. These younger two have kept me on my toes…and all I have to say about this picture I took yesterday of them together is…poor cat.


On a side note: Every time I see pictures of my baby boys–my breath is taken away (no matter how tired I am;)–in thanksgiving of how the Lord has written our family’s story. Through sickness and health–life and loss–12 years of parenting…so much has happened to find us where we are now expecting a little miracle again. Each of our children–such miracles!

But I must confess–THIS week..momma being 32 weeks along and with daddy in Africa–oh my…I’m thankful he just arrived home today and has taken the children out to dinner…leaving me time to do what I love to do…write:).

Each night this week after getting the house cleaned, laundry put up, the next day’s homeschool lessons prepped, preschool bags read…and this week’s extras for preschool parties–Easter eggs stuffed.

At the end of each day, my sweet reward…I was able to either talk or text with Richard in Africa. Talking or texting him with our 9 years of pouring in there–takes me back…almost to the point of when I go out the next day I experience culture shock as if I just stepped off a plane myself;).


In the last 9 years so, so much has happened. Our eyes have been opened. Our hearts have been captured. Things that used to matter don’t matter as much and our perspectives for what does matter–well…is just different…in SUCH a good way. But some times it’s hard–crippling…and today—on the soccer field it was just that.

I think about the little boy in Ndola who had cancer at our school. He was able to get treatment and is doing well. I was so thankful for our school and having Nurse Becky catch his health decline…and his life restored.

I think about Margaret who had elephantiasis–surgery after surgery and the sponsored daughter to my sister. Just a few years older than my daughter–and just a few months ago lost her fight and went to be with Jesus. Oh but she left knowing she was loved, and there’s no doubt in my mind she’s dancing with Jesus with both legs well now.

I think about Pastor Aaron and our woodworker Justin…who disciple the children and are godly men mentors…daddy figures to the hundreds of children in the program who do not have fathers.

I think about the day I met little M. Younger than my daughter. Before she came to Wiphan she was raped over and over on the streets as day time is a dangerous time for children to not be enrolled in a school. She was able to get in Wiphan and into a care home where she would be safe.

Nine years…full of so many stories like these. THIS. This is what we know and what we are now responsible for now that we do know. These stories are what keeps us up at night and thinking what kind of fundraiser can we do next…or what sustainable trade could the 150 ladies in our program do to help…or how can we get the other 600 kids sponsored?

Each night I would talk with Richard about things he had seen, heard and game plans–plans for how to make things better and help the children and teachers thrive.

These thoughts stirring in my head…and I carried these pictures in my mind on the soccer field—waddling out there in the 3rd trimester with my blue fold-out chair and water bottle to cheer on my son during his game.

I sat down to watch this close game–and tried my best to focus. Game on.

Two parents from the opposing stood behind me–yelling at the kids…and I my instinct was to yell a bit for our kids to compete with their noise. But I took it in instead. We happen to be on a team where the coaches have asked the parents not to yell as it distracts the boys from the game–they can’t hear the coach for all the noise. (Another great life analogy there;).

In between screaming…adult banter behind me…

Spring break is next week.

We are going to the Berry Islands…off the Bahamas.

Well–we are going to Grand Caymen.

You have to catch a boat to get where we are going.

Yeah same here. We’ve thought about going there–BUT…

I was listening to this vacation one-up conversation in the midst of filing away pictures from Ndola…processing Zambia, the kids, 9 years…and oh man…it felt as if something was clashing in my heart…

More screaming. JEFFREYYYYYYYY. Show him who’s boss!

More noise. JEFFREY! Keeper! Come on!

A lot more screaming. Jeffrey own it! You got this! Jeffrey what are you thinking?!

For goodness sake Jeffrey–I’m going to have dreams tonight with your name in it thanks to the echoing noise.

It was intense. Like over the top. Like crazy intense. Like so much so the parents from our team I was sitting here all moved. But I stayed.

I was taking it all in.

Something about it all seemed to really clash with my processing Zambia.

There was something He has for me in this culture shock of different worlds colliding–so I sat and took in Jeffrey’s name over and over, the Berry Islands and past trips and a lump came to my throat remembering some we have loved and lost through the last 9 years–and why I’m tired this week with Richard gone and absorbed with much…like big crazy life-changing decisions–and how thankful I am we are a part of this…but how does this all play together right now?

Then there was some serious rough play from another kid on the other team. Like more unbelievable that the noise.

Pushing and shoving–and dirty playing. And I was so proud of our boys. They took tumbles. Whistles never blew when they should have. They just got back up–again and again. They weren’t going there–and I was so proud of them.

In the last few minutes we were down by 2 points–one of the dad’s on the other team came up and stood right behind me…no doubt intentional after I couldn’t help myself and cheered for the boys to shake off the rough play. Oh man–so tired…feeling so big in my 3rd trimester–it’s hard to breath just sitting there–so ready to have this baby—and thankful my husband just landed in the airport which meant I’d be coming home to HELP! And behind me he says…

“Come on boys! Y’all should let them score just one point to make it exciting because we know you are going to win anyway!”

Dirty plays off and on the field. What the what I thought? I could see in that moment why some of the kids played dirty–because they just didn’t know any better because of the noise that was coming there way. They learn from us–we shepherd and teach them…one way or the other.

Our boys did score as he wanted them to. But just once. Yes, it was more exciting. And they lost by 1 point.

And I’ve never been prouder.

They lost with integrity.

After the game–a few of the parents from our team came up to see how Richard was–and in talking they came up with an idea…what would it look like for our boys to take a soccer camp to Zambia? We laughed…dreamed…brainstormed a bit…

That conversation. Wow.

I think we just really won…

My son came up to me and looked me in the eye and said, “I’m so sorry mom.”

Son. What? Never–ever apologize for losing. You boys rocked it. You played hard. No matter what happened between the noise or shoves–you boys stood tall and played with integrity!

“No mom. I am sorry about that moment in the 2nd half of the game when I was kicking the ball down the line and I got too close to you on the sidelines. I was so worried someone might get too close to you–or the ball might accidentally go out of bounds as it almost did. I just didn’t want anything to happen to you and it almost did.”

And THAT conversation.

I think we just really won…I thought again.

The Lord was teaching me in this game–that what we instill in our boys…in all of our children on and off the field MATTERS.

How we live our lives–will be seen our children on and off the field too.

There will be noise. There will be the fight to compare and to keep up with one another–and we can’t compare…or even judge–yes…that goes for me too. The vacation talk Lord…what did you have for me in that? While I think vacations are awesome and it’s been a few years since we’ve had one as a family–I’m so thankful for the reasons we haven’t been able to. Our kids aren’t missing out as we say no to some things because we can’t do it all and yes to others–because as long as we are radically following Jesus to whatever He asks of us–they will be coming alongside us and changed with us. They will shine Jesus off the field–and even in a silly old (yet awesome to my son) game like soccer.

The world will be LOUD. Always. Like really loud. We can’t run from it. We can’t always pick up our easy chair and go some where else. Some times we just have to sit in it. And as much as we want to say something–some times we just have to be still. In the middle of our game–injustice will happen. We will be pushed, shoved and knocked down–and Jesus won’t always blow the whistle…

This Easter weekend I think about Jesus on the cross. Everyone standing around wanted that foul/time-out whistle to blow. It looked like He lost. But 3 days later—He won. But for awhile…it look very much like He lost. It was perspective.

I walked away from today’s game encouraged. In a really strange way the sacred and soccer collided for the first time in this soccer mom’s world. In 1 short hour it felt like so many things happened that represented so much that we face in this world. And that boy of mine–who barely talks or shares his heart…shined Jesus and what to do in the middle of this world.

You keep on rising. Isaiah 60:1…you ARISE, and you shine…for HIS light has come.

No matter what the other team plays like–you play for Him–with integrity.

Despite the noise–you listen to the One that leads your team…the Good Shepherd whose voice can be heard despite the world. You play on.

As you play–you look out for the vulnerable and protect them as He would. And you play with your whole heart for what matters—knowing the score is just a score the world keeps…winning is all a matter of perspective.

The world plays for numbers—but you play to bring Him glory. Always. No matter what.

Running this race with you…

From one soccer mom to another;)…



Thankful We Chose More Than Perfect

A front porch on a farm will do many things to you—one is lead to more conversations and recollecting memories. The beau and I sat rocking—talking about where we started. Almost 15 years ago…with small dreams that we thought were big.

He was raised in Atlanta. Near Chastain Park. Some how this Alabama country girl and this city boy found each other. Hearing his stories of growing up near Buckhead–Saturdays spent at the golf club…and Sundays at a church just up the street–made me want to recreate those same memories for our children.

And I tried.

We were living in an apartment near the city when we found out we’d be parents. Thirteen years ago and so much has changed. We thought we needed this and that to bring home a baby–and before we knew it we were moving in our first home. Parker came in August–and just 14 months later our daughter Laney came. Growing up with a sister just 14 months older than me–I thought this was even more perfect. A boy. A girl. Life near the city…a church up the street–and we just needed to add the white picket fence to complete it.

It makes me laugh now. Wishing I could get inside that mind of mine in my first days of motherhood. Pouring over books trying to figure out how to do it all right. Scheduling naps like my life–and their futures–depended on it. Sitting at the poolside at the club making more friends with nannies than young moms. Playdates and music class–and standing in line for registration at the best preschool–and we’d move at the perfect time for the perfect school just a year before kindergarden. I thought…I really though–that was the stuff that mattered. Oh we had plans alright. Perfect ones.

For us–Africa…changed everything. Parker was 2 years old and Laney was just 1 when we took our first trip. I stood before those precious children and my life–flashes of my perfect world…intermingled with the reality of theirs. Now that we knew we couldn’t unforget–and now that we knew…we were responsible. I came home that summer in 2007 a different person…and I different mom. Sure I had traveled overseas before and even lived in a 3rd world country in my 20’s doing mission work. But going as a mom…a young mom…trying so hard to have everything in my own world “just right”–going this time…changed everything.

I was divinely ruined.

I thanked Him for nap time…when and however it happened. My children had a safe place to lay their heads. I cracked my organize homemade food from their ice cubes–overwhelmed how blessed we really were…thankful we even had snacks in between meals. I stood in preschool pick up line with blurred thoughts…that quickly helped me see that for too long…even as a believer–I had been living for myself rather than seeking, asking and following what Jesus REALLY wanted for my days as a mom and as His daughter who would do anything for Him.

Almost 15 years later–we rock on this front porch and watch them play and think about…how we got HERE.


I think if you would have asked me what my “real dreams” were back in those first years of mothering–I might have actually said THIS.

But. But I think I was scared. I think I was scared that I’d have to give up too much to have it. I believe the Lord has given us all desires that actually line up with His will for our lives–but some times we get so confused by the world around us and so afraid that if we take risks and choose to follow Him and what’s in our hearts…that we stand to lose more than what we could gain by living by the world’s standards or playing it safe.

As we began to take leaps of faith and make Wiphan Zambia a big part of our lives–we saw more and more things differently. Not only were our hearts changed…but so was our thinking. I’d call it the transforming of our minds. I think about the changes we made then…bit by bit—they felt SO big then. Instead of private school…we’d do this. We’d let those club costs go…and we’d do that. It didn’t all happen at once…but like the Velveteen Rabbit–bit by bit…our pretty fur fell off and we learned what it meant for US to really live.

As we rocked on this front porch watching them play…we shook our heads remembering how we talked of being done after 2 children. I have Africa to thank for growing our hearts to be open to whatever the LORD chooses for our family…far better than what we could plan for ourselves…



How will we send them all to college they ask? Wow–you have your hands full they say. But fuller our heart hearts. No–maybe not in the same preschool or schools we once started in…but they are growing up learning about what it means to really love and live for His dreams for us rather than ours…and the crazy thing is–watching their small dreams become big ones as they serve along side us…and even prepare to see their daddy off this Friday morning–not sad that he’s going but rather cheering him on and asking when it will be their turn to go with him…


These kids..have shaped these kids…


In ways I never knew possible. For us–they really changed everything. They don’t life without one another across the world–and to me…it’s so much better than the days I once dreamed for them to have. We started out with these perfect plans to find His instead…and what truth there is that His plans for us are GOOD, PLEASING and PERFECT.

Be encouraged that no matter how impossible following Him to the ends of the Earth in your current situation might seem–it’s not impossible…and if you follow–your life will change…maybe radically…but it will be so beautiful and even more than perfect if you follow His plans instead of your own.

And believe it or not–He will still give you sprinkles on your cake…more than you can imagine. Never in a million years did I think we’d be adding to our family the same year Richard and I turn 40…almost 15 years after starting to walk forever together. Now I rock in this nursery (once a living room beside our room…we are packing out this farmhouse!)…just amazed at how He has written our story. So many beautiful parts…3 children biologically…an adoption…hosting a most precious girl from Ukraine whose family would become our family…a miscarriage…another adoption…a farm and now a princess. Truly all more than I could have ever imagined or hoped for. And so we wait…again—for His most perfect plans in our lives to be filled…

After a sweet season of two Created for Care retreats…oh yes–the Lord asked us to more crazy in the middle of it all…and these two mommas to walk that road of loving and encouraging other mommas with I couldn’t be more thankful for…


And now we wait…for more…


So thankful how He leads and provides. And so thankful we didn’t settle for our own plans or add that white picket fence to our once perfect. Because this crazy–is so much better.

Truly. He writes the best stories. And this Sunday–I just had to remember…and relish…in His goodness in how He leads us…and what sweetness He gives and wants for us as we follow Him.

Celebrating all the Yes’s…no matter how crazy each one felt…and cheering you on as you say YES in this season to whatever He is calling you to.

Much love from the farm,



Created for Care 2016 {Our February Retreat!}

I can’t believe it is our 6th year of retreats!!! And this year…was another sweet one!

Only the Lord could keep this going as we are all busy mom (youngish…ha!) mommas (okay…with youngish children!) mommas who often–like you–feel like we are with you in the trenches. We started Created for Care 6 years ago feeling like we were home with little ones from hard places–not sure always…or most of the time…how to help their hearts heal. From the beginning I have been amazed how the Lord has provided through every detail…from volunteers to breakout speakers to main speakers…to our incredible band. For all those who pour in to run with us and love the 450 moms who come to each retreat–THANK YOU.

If you have never been to one of our retreats–we are just foster and adoptive mommas pouring into other foster and adoptive moms. We are so blessed to have found AMAZING speakers to partner with us through the years as we are right there with you too! Our TEAM is made up of all kinds of moms–and this is what I love…we are also made up of moms who are not called to foster or adopt–moms who feel called to support moms who are called to grow in this way! THIS my friends is a BEAUTIFUL thing and such a picture of the body of Christ! We believe that foster care and adoption are such beautiful pictures of the redemptive acts of the gospel–but not everyone is not called to foster or adopt…we all play a different part each so beautiful as we follow His calling for us individually. And oh my GRACIOUS…we couldn’t run this retreat like we do without these moms who feel called simply serve in this way. (Every one of the dear moms behind the counter in our store may not be foster or adoptive moms–but they come to SERVE us…and I hold my tears away as I watch each of them encourage moms to keep going and each year they come back to serve again! SO THANKFUL!)


We have had the same worship team for several years–and I can’t say enough about this sweet team. If you have been to a retreat then you know how gifted they are in their ministry–how beautifully they pave the way for tired mommas to get to be still and worship. And they are loud;). So that’s helpful when you can’t sing like me;)! You can sing as loud as you want–because I think that’s beautiful to the Lord–but if you are standing beside me and if you could hear me you may not think so! Thank you Amber and Jared Humphries, Candi and Jonathon Shelton and this year Brendan Trinkle for leading us so well to thrones of worship. Oh my. It was sweet! AND…they were BRAVE ENOUGH to take on our ridiculous challenge to ALSO be our country band for Western night! THEY. ROCKED. IT.


Moms need to kick back and have a little fun too…I was so proud of these mommas for attempting country line dance lessons! By the end of the night the ballroom floor was FULL and it was a JOY to see and hear them laughing together!

We always have main speaker sessions each night and in the morning. This year our main speaker is Pam Parrish. Get ready March mommas…you will LOVE Pam! Pam shares this year through her own personal experience in foster and adoption addressing so many things we struggle with as mommas! From anxiety to being surrounded by negativity…and she encourages us how to combat those joy stealers with the Lord’s help and His Word. It’s good stuff…so GET READY!


On Friday we have 1 breakout and on Saturday 2 breakout sessions. Attendees choose which session to go to, but if they have a hard time choosing we record the sessions so they can buy the one they missed! Recording sessions has also been really good for moms who are unable to come OR for moms to take home to encourage their own community with–OR to donate or have available to your church library for foster and adoption mom resources!

In between all the serious–we also like to make sure we bring in silly and fun for our mommas. Life ya’ll–can just be tough. We compare…some times we feel beat up by just the day to day of being a mom…and goodness knows…we need to remember to LAUGH too. I’m so thankful for our team who are willing to do anything to make these moms smile…and convincing them all to sport their PJs during skits or whatever–they are always game if it means letting moms exhale and have fun. Thankful for this team…ALL VOLUNTEERS…who give up so much of their time to serve and love big on many…


Okay–okay. So they are ALSO gifted and incredible prayer warriors who can be serious too! One of the sweetest times at C4C is the Creative Quiet Time. Moms sign up for a 1 hour time to be still and just rest before the Lord. There are different stations for them to go to…where they can leave prayer requests, pray over other requests, pray over the nations, think about scripture and just spend time with the Lord. So thankful for our volunteers who run this sweet, sacred space!


We ended our year this year after Pam’s Sunday message on “Apprehending Discontent” as we dug through Philippians 4. More good stuff March mommas!! After her talk, we had the SWEETEST commissioning time at the end of our retreat…where they all sent these mommas off to love big no matter what!!


It was truly a SWEET, SWEET retreat!! So thankful for every person that poured in to volunteering to decorate tables to gifts for the birth mom ministry we wanted to support this year…to every single volunteer and detail! Every year would also NOT be complete without our awesome exhibitors!! Each year we have 3 sponsors and a room full of exhibitors that ALL support foster, adoption or orphan care in some capacity!

Please feel free to check out the websites of our amazing sponsors and exhibitors below!! I will link each of their websites so you can learn more about the incredible things they are doing to shine HIS light to the world!

Our Sponsors…


Our Exhibitors…

Wiphan Care, 3 Seams, Three Strands, MKI Travel, Solo Hope, DunlapLove, Scarlet Threads, 107 Market, Project 143, Grace Klein Community, Proclaim Promo, All God’s Children International, Ellilta Women at Risk/Parker Clay, Just One Africa, Project Tesfa

WOW to a wonderful February!! We are so excited for what MARCH holds!! Thank you to all our volunteers, sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and…THANK YOU to our mommas who came and encouraged in the hallways…spoke words of LIFE and TRUTH and JOY into the hearts of moms sitting beside you, at your dinner tables and in the halls. YOU ARE LOVED!!!

Registration for both the February or March Foster/Adoption Mom retreat is always on August 15th at midnight EST. We would LOVE to have you join us…that is–if we are brave enough to go for another year!! SHINE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!!


The Created for Care Team


Preparing for Lent {Inviting More of Christ in your home…}


The sweetest of all seasons around the corner. Where we remember the journey to the cross and the risen Savior as it ends. This is how we walk through Lent with our children…and I just couldn’t help but share again.

It is one of the most JOYOUS and SACRED times for our family–and we use the Lent tree to make it come to life.

For those of you wanting to join me in creating a Lent tradition, I have created 5 word documents for you to download and print so that you can walk your children through Lent growing in the knowledge and understanding of God and the Passion of Christ. This activity requires you to find 41 treasures for the 40 days of Lent (a few after to celebrate the resurrections!). EACH day you will have a scripture reading and an ornament that accompanies it. PRIOR to beginning this journey–you will need to go on a mommy scavenger hunt all over town (dollar stores, craft stores, etc) to locate an item for each day. This will be not only an amazing journey for your children BUT ALSO FOR YOU!

OR you can just draw them or let your children draw them! Keep it simple! You can make the ornament together after the reading too! I just gather old sticks to use for our tree–some years we spray paint them some year’s we just use plain old sticks…bringing new life to what is no longer.

When your children are little–I encourage you to read the scripture before hand and then retell it so they can grasp it according to their age level. As they grow older, they will be able to sit through the entire chapter (or chapters) of reading, and each year you will be amazed at the nuggets the Holy Spirit gives them through each day’s reading.

The list that I used is in each document download. I found these 41 treasures (one day is a “nothing day” as you wait on the resurrection) at Dollar Trees, Hobby Lobby, ebay and some I made myself out of felt when I couldn’t find the ornament recommended. These word documents were created to be printed on shipping labels—so you can easily print them on 2″x4″ labels and stick each label on a ziplock bag to store your ornaments in to remind you the story and verse—as well as to store safely from year to year.

All the work has been done FOR YOU as far as the labels go! Now…you just need to run to the store and buy white shipping labels – 10 per sheet 2 in x 4 in. (I bought Office Max’s offbrand and it matches the download template of Avery 8163). But as long as you purchase the 2″x4″ with 10 on a sheet—this should work!

My friend Laura Kirkland made these ornaments to go along with the scripture I pulled out for each day…

POST UPDATE!!! I’m SO EXCITED that my friend Laura who also volunteers at our retreats just gave us this download link to share on my blog so any momma can download it for FREE! DOWNLOAD HER ORNAMENT LINK HERE. You can print off on card stock, hole punch and tie ribbon and bring in sticks to put in a vase for a quick tree!! OR you can get really crafty and buy special fabric printer transfer paper at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby print and iron on white fabric…and then hot glue or sew on felt!


Lent Days 1-10
Lent Days 11-20
Lent Days 21-30
Lent Days 31-40
He Is Risen Days 41-42

I followed the instructions found in Carol Brazo’s book “No Ordinary Home: The Uncommon Art of Christ-Centered Homemaking” which by the way is a must have in any mommy’s library! Carol Brazo walks you through how to beautifully celebrate the final week of Lent, Holy Week, with your children—and this is SURE to be a memory they will forever hold dear in their hearts as they encounter the Savior this powerful week in an amazing way. My favorite is one of her explanations of how she celebrates Sunday…

“Every Easter Sunday I am the first one up. Mark, like the disciples before him, hears those magical words, “He is risen” from the mouth of a woman. The little girls are awakened by their mama’s cries of joy, “He is risen!” and they in turn wake up their brother. Those first words belong to women. They are our gift and our heritage. And every year, as I hear women cry out their joy, a place deep inside me, inside the female part of me, is resurrected and brought to nerve-tingling life. He is risen! He is risen! Wake up and rejoice!”
On the FIRST day of Lent–you will read the Bible story to your children and your littles will take turns putting the ornaments up on the tree each night. The first ornament: a teeny, tiny mustard seed. Your first scripture reading is short–Matthew 17:20. Short, but not simple. It is about faith. And faith we will need on this journey to the cross.

Matthew 17:20 says, “And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” Oh Lord, will you give my little preschoolers faith for this journey with us. Oh that Your Holy Spirit would teach them and do a miracle in their great big hearts the Lent as we travel the Lent Tree journey together…

Now it sits empty…but in a few hours it will have a mustard seed. If we have faith the size of an itty, bitty mustard seed…then nothing will be impossible for us.

Simple twigs.

Mine are artificial twigs from Hobby Lobby because I use this year round for different things. Some times we add twigs or just use a twig tree…and as we find twigs for our tree–we talk about how these twigs no longer have life–essentially they are dead. But throughout the season, we will add ornaments to them bringing life to our tree just as Jesus Christ offers life to us through the cross.

For those of you without little ones at home or with wee ones too young to understand, consider doing this with your spouse! This is a worshipful way to walk through Lent together, and what fun it could be to treasure hunt each day for that day’s ornament. At the end, you’ll have a precious set to keep in a Hope Chest for that baby you have hoped for or even as a gift to a grandchild. Either way, the Lent Tree isn’t just for families with children. I think adults enjoy it just as much…if not more!

IMPORTANT to read if you are doing the Lent Tree with us! DO NOT do an ornament on Sundays during Lent! There are 40 ornaments—and there are 40 days of fasting between Ash Wednesday and Lent *IF* you don’t count Sundays! SOOO—you will do ornaments Monday through Saturday only following Biblical Lent tradition. “When observing fasting or abstinence during Lent, regard must be paid to the fact that Sundays are Feast Days, so there is no fast or abstinence. The days from Ash Wednesday to the day before Easter Sunday, excluding the Sundays, are forty, corresponding to the number of days Christ spent in the wilderness.” So…technically you fast for 6 days and then Sunday is a Feast day where you get to have what you fasted. Did ya know that??? Lent is a custom not a Biblical requirement–and traditionally you fast for 6 days and on the 7th day you celebrate the resurrection with a Feast day.

Here are some examples of some of the ornaments we found and use year and after year:

The story of Adam and Eve…how sin was brought into the world and how Jesus would cover our sin

The story of Abraham and Sarah…Abraham having to work the land

The story of Isaac…God providing a new sacrifice

It will take some time to find all your ornaments but it will be a fun, interactive way for you to study God’s Word together! It is SO worth the mommy scavenger hunt! I am about to teach 17 sweet ladies in my Sunday school class how to do this–so we’re making it a PJ Party night and I’m dividing up the ornaments so each mom will only need to find 3 each. They will just buy 17 of 3 each and then we’ll come together and share the wealth…and have a really fun girls night that will bless our families for years to come!

Hope this inspires some of you in ways you can invest Eternity into the hearts of your children!!!

Blessings to you!



The Missing Pieces – When Adoption is Just Hard {Thoughts from a momma’s heart}

In 4 months, Lord willing–we will find ourselves at the hospital again to bring home another baby. Baby #6. Oh I’m beside myself and can’t WAIT!

Expecting this time around with older children has led to more questions–MANY more questions about how things work;). Momma–are you going to chew your food better so the baby can eat it too? Momma–how does the baby sleep in there? Momma–how long has the baby been growing in there? And the questions progress to the point of your beginning to buy lovely educational books;).

All this baby talk, the my older kids have been asking even more questions about what it was like when they were born. We popped in a home videos tonight and watched some of their first days–ending on Frank’s (our last biological child’s) hospital video. Giggles filled the room as the oldest two saw themselves 7 years younger meeting their brother for the first time. Parker looked at his new baby brother and told him he’d teach him all about flag football and soccer and basketball and spiderman. Laney kissed him and told him she’d teach him ballet. We all laughed on the video–and we all laughed when we heard it tonight in the living room.

But then. In another chair across the room. Tears fell.


And some times. It’s just rip-your-heart-out hard to be an adoptive mom.

Because there are some moments that just remind you that for some–the story was and is just different.

You kick yourself as a mom thinking, “Gosh–I should have known that would strike a cord”…but the reality it–you never know when grief will be triggered. Some times during the obvious and some times during the most surprising moments.

You struggle also with wanting your kids who do have one story to get to do things like watch home videos of those moments…and to watch them as a family–but really…with adoption–and being an adoptive family–things are just different. And this…the different–is part of it. There was loss for some of my babies because of adoption–so there will be loss as a family–for all of us in many different ways. The tears fall…your mother heart breaks–and instead of fixing it…you just sit and hold the hard with them.