I steal a quiet moment between batches of rolls rising (all ten dozen of them) and reflect on the no-longer youngest and her birth eight years ago on Thanksgiving and her birthday celebrated over the weekend.

Smart and funny.  Knows nothing of personal space.  🙂  Loving and kind and full of drama and life.  Has more words than the rest of the family put together, I think.  May or may not have been compared to Buddy the Elf recently, for numerous reasons.  Loves Jesus and others deeply and wears her heart on her sleeve.

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What a joy, though it has not been easy, to watch her grow into a big sister this year.  I am blessed to watch her slowly become the young lady God created her to be.

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving, my friends!

For His Glory ~



Revisiting the unpacking….

A repost from the archive as friends and loved ones return from Haiti and sort through the raw and real and the American dream.

I’ve sat here for nearly an hour, trying to figure out what to say.  I sort through this past ten days and don’t know what to think.  I sit here, my emotions a strange combination of protective numb and completely raw.  I don’t know if I should sleep or cry.  I only know I don’t feel like I expected to feel.

This orphanage has been a part of our lives for a few years and a huge part of our life for the past twelve months.  I have lived it in other peoples stories and pictures and in my own mind I have dreamed of the day I would get to go.  And now I’ve lived it for myself for eight days.  Eight wonderful, hard, dirty, beautiful days.  And I guess I just expected to feel differently today.  But I honestly don’t know how I feel yet.  Just that numb rawness.  How do those two even co-exist?

I sort laundry and I sort memories.  I wash out Haitian dirt and pray to never wash out Haiti memories.  Those kids.  Their laughs.  The singing.  The cheers every time our truck pulled into the compound.  The food distribution.  Two hundred people with nothing, showing us around their village, showing us their homes.  Two hundred voices lifted in praise to God so thankful we have come.  We leave rice and beans to fill their stomachs for a few days, maybe a week?  They have filled our hearts for a lifetime.  The crazy trips into town. The traffic.  The wild driving.  The stories of Matt driving the Isuzu.     Pterodactyl.  The dirt that you can never get off your skin for very long.  The three minute cold showers that felt better than my ten minute hot showers at home.  Taking some of the kids up to the beach.  Water like I’ve never seen before – green-blue wonder.  Haiti is so beautiful….why do they not develop that?  That old woman on the side of the road.  What becomes of someone like that in a country like that?  The beauty of this people amidst all this poverty.  Knowing that it is their poverty that makes them love Jesus all the more.

I think of meals with the team and laughing and new friendships formed and all of the strange references I’ve heard that finally make sense, have context.  I think of Stan’s message on Sunday and Daniel’s passionate translation and the looks on the faces of those Haitians as they heard bagpipes probably for the first time ever.  I think of Nicole’s testimony and how it tapped some deep well of emotion.  I think of crying on the porch of the medical clinic with Matt as I try to process all of these feelings amidst all of the fatigue.

I think of all those little companions I had for eight days.  A dozen shadows everywhere I went.  I think of Liknay and how he nearly drove me crazy, but somehow I miss his ornery face.  I think of Misterline and Camberry and Adline and Miliane and Stella.  Those sweet girls and how they cried when it was time for us to go and I wonder do they still hope for a family or do they believe they have run out of time, that this is their life?  I think of beautiful Shela and the mama she is to my girl and how I know it tears her heart out that one day Amania won’t be there anymore and yet she loves her well.

I think of meeting my girl for the first time.  Shyness.  Tentative love.  How she warmed up to me but stayed cool toward Matt.  I think of yesterday morning and how she cried so hard before school Nicole let her stay with us until we had to leave.  I think of sitting there at the table, her on my lap, just counting down the minutes, wanting to get this band-aid ripped off, so to speak, get the leaving over with because I know it’s going to be hard, but I have no idea how hard.  I think of her starting to say softly “kay” in Creole and pointing outside.  We ask the social worker there what does this mean.  And he tells us “kay” means house, home.  And I feel my heart break into a million pieces.  I think of going outside and her pointing to that truck, begging through her tears for us to put her on it, to take her with us and having to tell her no, that she must stay and praying to God she trusts us when we say we will come back for her.  I think of literally peeling her off of me and getting on that truck with my head low so I can’t see her, thankful that the loud motor of the Isuzu helps drown the sound of her tears.  I think of Matt weeping as he has to leave his little girl there, unable to do what men are made to do – protect, provide.

And here I still sit…raw and somewhat numb.  A good tired.  A good overwhelmed.  One cannot have these experiences and not be changed.  The effects of the fall are so obvious in a place like Haiti.  Here we gloss over them.  We make our sin shiny and clean looking.  There man’s brokenness is undeniable, in your face, unavoidable.  Even though I feel somewhat numb, I do not want to become numb to what I saw, heard, smelled, felt.  God is at work.  He is on the move.  I want to be part of whatever He is up to, even if it means having my heart shattered time and again because that is what He has done for us.

For His Glory ~







* originally posted February 10, 2012

Week in Review: 2013 {Weeks 44 & 45}

So the past two weeks consisted mostly of holding down the fort while Matt prepared to go to Haiti and holding down the fort while Matt was in Haiti.  🙂

I truly don’t mind being the anchor at home (most of the time), especially for things like this.  It’s good to hear him excited and energized again about something that is dear to us all.

While he was gone we took a little “fall break”.  We really hadn’t had much of a break since we started in August, so I’d say we were due.  The girls still had outside classes they were responsible for, so it wasn’t a full-scale vacation, but it was a much-needed deviation from the norm.  We had a Marvel movie marathon and then had mornings when we could actually sleep in.  I listened to my girls bake together and play together (for hours and hours).  They went outside and enjoyed some fall beauty and we all just slowed down a bit.  I was able to accomplish a few little “projects” and most of all, spend some time focusing a little more on my girls and a little less on pushing them to stay on task.  It was kind of like summer, except for the falling leaves outside.

Here are some photos from the past few weeks for your viewing enjoyment, and because I’ve been really lax in the photo department….

This fall…it’s been one of the prettiest I can remember….

My trip last month with Chandler….

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Sandwich making – Haitian style. And a little of my girls’ creativity this past week….

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One of my projects for the week….

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And, just because it was a little bit windy here today….

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That’s it for us.  Matt got side-lined in Fort Lauderdale tonight (Friday).  Lord willing, we’ll be driving to KC on Saturday to pick him up.  We’re all very ready to see him.  All the girls have missed their daddy, but Miss A particularly so.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

For His Glory ~


Amania’s Hair and Skin Routine….

….because no one has asked, but someone might wonder.  😉

So it seems to be the standard thing that if you are white mama with a black child and you blog, you must post how you care for their hair and skin.  So, I’ll follow suit and share what we’ve been doing ever since Amania came home.

Before she came home I was all kinds of worried about her hair.  I read multiple posts that had me freaked out about caring for ethnic hair and skin, and that’s not even touching on the styling aspect.  However, I learned quickly that it’s really all about finding a product that works for your child’s hair type.  So, here’s what we use:

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Curly Q’s Curlie Cutie Cleansing Cream (shampoo) and Curly Q’s Coconut Dream Moisturizing Conditioner.  (Shampoo can be found here.  Conditioner here. )  We only shampoo once a month, so the bottle lasts a good long time.  In fact, a friend gave me both of these products when Amania came home, in these sizes.  She’s been home almost 8 months and I just ordered new bottles for the first time just to have extra on hand.  We condition, or co-wash, weekly.  We rinse well to make sure all of the dirt and product are rinsed out of her hair.  Then we rub in the conditioner, comb it through, let it set, and rinse well.

After that we use this:

Taliah Waajid Protective Mist Bodifer.  (Found here.  If you have a Sally’s nearby, it’s cheaper there.)  After each wash, we spray this on her hair, massage through, and comb out before styling.  Then, daily, we use a 50:50 diluted version to moisturize and detangle.

Using these three products consistently, Amania has strong, healthy, super-soft hair.

For her skin we love Aveeno’s Positively Nourishing Comforting Cream.  It can be found at WalMart or Target or anywhere pretty much.  This stuff has been great for her skin, and as long as she applies it well and daily, her skin is soft and smooth and healthy-looking.


So, that’s what we use.  Maybe someone else will find it helpful!

For His Glory ~


Peppermint Oil – How We Use It

So, the oils….we use them almost daily.  Actually, we do use them daily.  And I continue to have the privilege of telling more and more women about the blessings we have found through essential oils.  I thought it might be good, as time allows, to share what we’re learning and how we’re using some of our favorite oils.

This month I would like to introduce you to one of my best friends in the oil line up –

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Peppermint oil was another oil that I did not expect to live up to the hype.  But, friends, it went over and above and has become one that is almost always by my side.

Peppermint oil is anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, pain relieving, digestive stimulant, and more.  It can be used to treat everything from rheumatism/arthritis to respiratory infections to cold sores, headaches, nausea, and more.

Some of the ways we have used it include:

  • Headache relief – apply to the back of the neck or temples
  • Gas and bloating – this one may bridge into TMI, but it’s too amazing not to share…..sometimes I have gas (that’s not the amazing part).  Sometimes it gets so severe and painful that I cannot get out of bed, cannot even move.  And I’m stuck there until the episode, well, passes.  Recently I had one of these episodes and was searching for ways oils could help and came across peppermint.  I gave it a try and I was floored!   Two drops under my tongue and within ten minutes my stomach pain was gone.  I was up and moving around and making dinner for my family.  This has consistently been the case each time I’ve used it.  That instantly made me a fan for life.
  • Muscle aches, pains, and tension – as a runner (or quasi-runner presently), I often have muscle soreness or fatigue.  Add to that the general pain and discomfort so many of us carry around in our back or neck or shoulders, and I’m regularly looking for some pain relief.  Enter the peppermint oil, again.  Massaged onto sore, tired muscles, this oil works like Icy Hot, but better.
  • Fatigue and mental fog – a couple of weeks ago I was driving to Minnesota with Chandler.  We left early and somewhere in Iowa I was already tired.  And my shoulders hurt.  So I pulled out my Peppermint oil and applied it to my tired shoulders and neck and found that the invigorating aroma also served to clear my head and waken my tired brain.

Peppermint is considered a “hot” oil.  Get it too close to your eyes and you will likely feel it.  It may even burn a bit on the skin.  That said, if applying it directly, you may want to try diluting it first with olive or another vegetable oil.  I use it neat with no ill-effects, but that’s not to say it will be beneficial for everyone that way.

As I said, Peppermint has become one of my best friends in my oil drawer.  And if I sound excited, it’s because I am.  I am still a skeptic through and through on these oils.  Every time one alleviates a symptom or solves a problem for the first time, I’m shocked and impressed.  These oils really are incredible.

If you would like to order, or would like more information, click here to browse the Young Living website, and click here to order.

As with all things like this, my words are our experiences.  I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv.  I am someone who uses the oils and has been greatly impacted by their benefits.  If you would like more information, I’d be happy to talk to you!

For His Glory ~


God With Us….

On a Monday morning when everyone is moving slow, after a weekend of soul-wrestling with God, I can only stop and give thanks for His mercies, for the Word, and for my Jesus who ministers to an aching heart.  And I list the gifts – tangible and intangible reminders of His love…..

2725.  old chipping wicker and screened porch

2726.  cool autumn mornings

2727.  the return of soup weather

2728.  God’s perfect, unfailing, unchanging promises

2729.  volleyball games

2730.  weeks where I’m gone too much and it feels like the house is falling apart

2731.  wise words spoken

2732.  showing grace to myself

2733.  a phone free weekend

2734.  a phone revived!

2735.  little bits of quiet

2736.  weeks of struggling; leaning hard on faith

2737.  Legos everywhere; little girls imaginations

2738.  laughing with my oldest; loving time with her

2739.  Monday morning quiet, weekend mess still sprawling

2740.  seeking revelation, wisdom

2741.  encouraging words at just the right time

2742.  letter sounds practice with the smallest one

2743.  her willingly sounding out blends

2744.  clean house and how it eases the mind

2745.  game room half clean

2746.  beautiful Saturday full of good things

2747.  a Monday off

2748.  honking geese flying south

2749.  a concert with my favorite

2750.  a road trip with the middle

2751.  three days with Chandler – talking, laughing, enjoying each other

2752.  welcome home surprises of painted living room and projects finished

2753.  a God who knows my heart and my struggles and loves me anyway and wants to make me whole

2754.  every little bit of hope He gives

2755.  a living room we want to live in

2756.  little touches that make it home

2757.  dinner, laughter, feeling understood

2758.  Saturday morning Ellie snuggles

2759.  fire pit beauty, laughing together

2760.  gold colored leaves

2761.  overcast fall days

2762.  watching basketball as a family

2763.  another team in Haiti

2764.  a week with my girls

2765.  a heavy heart that draws close to Jesus

2766.  a few words, glimmers of hope, strength for tomorrow

This year has been defined by so many very good things and yet so much soul-wrestling with God.  He has taken me to lonely places this year, isolated my heart, and it has felt so dark and silent.  So much time can go by and I feel like I hear nothing and only sink deeper.  But God is there and He is shaping and molding and growing and changing.  Even in the dark, especially in the dark.  He is doing something wonderful and today I can see glimmers of beauty and wonder and light.  He may lead me back into the dark tomorrow, but even in this I can give thanks.

As we enter another holiday season, let us turn our hearts toward the light of His love and trust Him even when He feels far away and silent.  He is good and His ways are perfect and He is always Emmanuel – God with us.

For His Glory ~