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Two weeks ago she turned eleven.  And she doesn’t ride anymore, but she’s a hard one to get a picture of and this really still depicts her first love.

She’s a second born, this one is, doing what she can to differentiate herself in this house full of girls and way too eager to not miss a thing big sister is doing.  She’s funny and kind and can be oh-so-generous.  She’s also known to have periods of “high drama”.  Sometimes I wonder where she gets it and sometimes all I have to do is look in the mirror to know.

She came out frowning (I kid you not) but she’s learning to laugh at herself and not take life so seriously.  She’s a gift and a joy and I’m so thankful she’s ours and I look forward to seeing what the Lord does with this mysterious second-born one day.

Happy (belated) birthday, dear Emma.  We love you!


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So I realized that in my funk I missed posting about a couple of birthdays.  Trying to remedy that before Christmas.  🙂

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She’s funny and sweet and bright and witty.  She has energy and drama to spare. She loves everyone and still loves her blanket.  Some days she’s seven going on seventeen and others she’s seven going on four.  But, oh, she’s a gift.  She has brought abundant laughter to our family.  She has taught us all to be a little more flexible and patient.  She is caring and compassionate and loves Jesus.

Happy (belated) birthday, sweet Ellie.  Praying this next year brings less tears, just as many laughs, and more loving your Savior.

Love, Mama

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Eleven and Twelve

And nearly a hundred more….

November 11 – A game of golf I’m actually good at….

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November 12 – Candles burning and the quiet calm of a fall Monday….

And continuing to list and count the gifts He gives daily, relentlessly, out of His over-flowing love for us….

I didn’t realize I haven’t listed the gifts here in nearly a month(?!), so the list is long, long, long…. 

2175.  last long run finished

2176. kind words that encourage, build up

2177.  a quiet night with my girls

2178.  another rainy Saturday

2179.  husband who spends his Saturday doing a project I could do, but just don’t have time for

2180.  painted bathroom

2181.  so many deadlines closing in

2182.  grace for each hectic moment

2183.  a God who is present and close by

2184.  the energy and motivation to just keep going

2185.  just a few more days of crazy-busy

2186.  iron to strengthen tired blood cells

2187.  Thursday

2188. crazy wind

2189.  swirling leaves

2190.  all this beauty of fall

2191.  a school week finished strong

2192.  warm soup

2193.  fresh bread

2194.  a “rest” day

2195.  fifth half marathon completed

2196.  dear friends who train with me and a dear friend to run it with

2197.  eyes open to the hurt in our kids

2198.  seeking how to make it right

2199.  girls’ surprise, coming home to a yard raked clean

2200.  productive late nights

2201.  foggy mornings and time in His word

2202.  cool rain

2203.  temperatures dropping

2204.  leaves falling

2205. race weekend here!

2206.  the thrill of watching countless hours of work come to fruition

2207.  smiles on muddy faces as they crossed the finish line

2208.  new friends

2209.  lots of laughter

2210.  really good sleep

2211.  race bags unpacked

2212.  loaves of bread lining the counter

2213.  a day spent working alongside my girls

2214.  forty loaves of bread baked in two days

2215.  husband and oldest girl nearly ready to fly

2216.  learning daily the value of prayer, the power in talking to God

2217.  husband and first born in the air toward Haiti

2218.  photos from Haiti – braids and just-met sisters

2219.  sleep

2220.  leaves scattered all across floors – remnants of fall’s beauty brought inside

2221.  continually learning to release my own agenda

2222.  laughter of little girls

2223.  incredible music at church

2224.  worshipping the Lamb

2225.  a meal to benefit the homeless; girls’ eyes opened to their neighbors in need

2226.  battles worth fighting

2227.  restored fellowship

2228.  election day and freedom to choose

2229.  hope for the future because my hope is not of this world

2230.  trust in God’s plan, even though it may bring discomfort

2231.  a massage – gift of a sweet sister-in-law

2232.  adoption talk and a voice of balance and reason

2233.  missing my people

2234.  fluids for my very sick dad

2235.  only one more day

2236.  chatting with my oldest last night

2237.  beautiful pictures of love shown in Haiti

2238.  a husband I am beyond proud to call my own

2239.  feeling caught up on a Friday morning

2240.  my people home, my heart happy

2241.  tales from Haiti – laughter, tears

2242.  encouraging words for my oldest child – how she did so well

2243.  family time on the weekend 

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

Only Twelve

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Today she is twelve but for a whole year I’ve been trying to make her thirteen when others ask.  This child who has always seemed older than she is, growing up right before my eyes.

I’ve written before of how she’s my rock, this one; steady, reliable, dependable, and how she honestly makes me a better mother.  We’ve battled hard this past year, she and I, and it’s broken my heart to struggle with her this way, so uncharacteristic of our relationship.  I know this is a season and it’s her finding her own way in the world as she grows into a young adult.  And myself not being one of those attached, child-centered moms, I find it strange how much it hurts to think of her going on without me, when that’s been the goal all along.

But for now she is only twelve and in all my weakness and imperfection I continue to strive to make the most of this limited window of time.  I fail daily, but God gives grace and I trust that He will take my efforts and make them something beautiful in her life and her sister’s lives.

And this one, she is already beautiful and lovely and I pray that she sees that, she who has become camera shy and sometimes self conscious.  I pray that she sees that she is amazing, both inside and out.  I pray that she will look to God for her value and strength and identity and not to some lie sold to her on magazine covers and billboards.  I pray that she will know that “true beauty emanates from the woman who boldly and unabashedly knows who she is in Christ“.  I pray that no one will ever be able to make her forget that she is loved wildly and madly by the God of the universe and by a Savior who gave His life for her.

This year she is “only twelve”, although she seems so much older and I am thankful.  It means more time to enjoy her companionship, her humor, her budding insight into the world around her.  It means more time to develop her leadership and gentleness and God-given gifts.  It means, by God’s grace, more time with her.

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

Almost Double Digits

Nine years ago yesterday, she entered the world, right on her due date, in spite of multiple attempts on my part to convince her to come early.  Her labor was the shortest and easiest by far, a stark contrast to what her first few years would bring.  I’ve written before of how our third born has given me a run for my money from day one and how she turned my whole world upside and regularly caused me to question everything I thought I knew about parenting and how she daily amazes me with her capacity to love others right where they are.

Since that post two years ago, I have continued to watch her grow and be amazed.  She has taught me to be more sensitive with my words, more intentional with my touch, more selfless with my time.  She prays with great faith and has the honesty to question why sometimes God doesn’t seem to hear.  She wants to be a missionary and already shares the gospel regularly with her friends.  She wears her heart on her sleeve, but has incredible compassion for others.  At only nine, she has a way with babies and little children that I’ve never had.  She has a zeal for life and energy like no other.  She is naturally strong and agile and can climb like a human monkey.  She is passionate and does nothing halfway, except maybe cleaning her room.

Chandler is far, far, far from perfect and we rub each other wrong far too often, but she is genuinely striving to be more like her Savior and we’re learning together what that looks like.  When God brought her into our world nine years ago, I was not prepared to be a mother to three children under three.  But He gave great grace (and my own mom who was unemployed for six months) and I wouldn’t trade this tender-hearted wild child for the world.

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January 9, 2012Mentioned twice recently in church, Chandler has taken to reading this classic.

Happy 9th Birthday, Chandler.  I know God has big plans for you and I am so blessed that He has chosen me to be part of them.  I love you!

Double Digits

I’m not at all sure how we got here so fast, but another one turns 10 today.

Beautiful and funny.  Dramatic and sensitive.  Emma, you make us laugh and you make us wonder.  You are working hard to find your own place in the family and we are beyond blessed to have you as a part of it.  We look forward to seeing what the next ten years (and beyond) bring for you.

Happy Birthday, Emma Joy!

Love ~

~ Mom


She’s strong and steady.

She’s ballet and beauty.

She’s a lot like her dad.

She’s a lot like me.

She’s the oldest child.

She’s the least eager to grow up.

She’s born to lead.

She’s growing in His grace.

She’s amazing.

And now she’s eleven.

Happy Birthday, Grace.  I’m so blessed to be your mother, so humbled to lead you on this walk into womanhood.  You, like all your sisters, truly are an “undeserved gift”.

Still Here

Life keeps moving along in a good kind of crazy.  Thoughts roll around in my head on a myriad of topics: adoption, fear, ministry, schooling, family, friendship, and always – where does blogging fit in?  It’s important to me, but is it what God wants me to be doing with the limited hours that I have?  I wonder; I wonder about so many things.  I miss the writing.  I’m sure I’ll return to it soon.

In the meantime, photos from Emma’s first horse show at the end of June.  She looked beautiful and did a great job.  She took fourth (out of four 😉 ), but that was fine with her.  Now the hard part comes – choosing between horses and ballet for fall.

Matt trying to tie her tie backwards (skinny side out).



A rain storm blew in and it was pretty chilly in the stands

Emma and Lady Jane

Emma, Lady Jane, and Mrs. Cindy

I hope you’re having a wonderful summer.  From everyone I talk to, it sounds like summer is going as fast for everyone else as it is for us.  I’m secretly, reluctantly, ready for fall and the routine of school.  However, I have thoroughly enjoyed my children sleeping until 9 (or later) every day this week!  The school year will come soon.  Make the most of the remaining weeks of summer, friends!

For His Glory ~

~ Sara


A year ago, I wrote about Chandler and the completely unique and wonderful child she is and how God has used her in our lives.  And while God often uses her to remind me just how much I need Him, I give thanks for her today.  I give thanks for her tender heart and her quick wit, for her strength and determination, for her generosity and for the incredible way God will use her someday, and for the eight years He has so graciously given us so far.


And I continue to count the gifts He gives each day…..

1270.  husbands and daddies

1271.  reaching the breaking point

1272.  finding balance and peace again

1273.  first horse show

1274.  a really good Saturday

1275.  home study interview

1276.  third borns

1277.  another turning eight

Praying you are open to the gifts He gives this week.

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

Nine Years

Nine years ago today, I am sure I was sitting in my bed, in our first home, nursing our second daughter, a mere twenty four hours old.  Yesterday we celebrated her birthday with gifts and singing and phone calls from family and friends.  Today we will finish the celebrations with foods of her choosing, as I have been under the weather for a couple of days and her foods just didn’t get made yesterday.  I am thankful for her grace and understanding.

Our second born daughter, Emma Joy, she can be a great mystery and offers her own challenges.  I, too, am a second born, so I understand what it is to live in the shadow of the first born child.  But I was also the youngest by many years, so really I had my own lime light.  Emma has to work for hers, striving to stand out from her steady, responsible older sister, and her wildly unpredictable younger sisters.

Emma is funny and smart.  She is sometimes quick witted and sometimes quite ditzy.  She is stubborn and has an inner passion that I pray God will use one day.  She is beautiful and sacrificial.  She rarely walks through the house, preferring instead to dance through in some nature of ballet movement.  She.loves.horses.  And while the driving to lessons can be inconvenient, it delights me to give her that one hour a week that is entirely hers.

She keeps me on my knees and on my face, revealing so many of my weaknesses.  But then she will blindside me with her generosity, like when she took all the money she had been saving for herself and decided to buy her sister a birthday gift.  Or the time she had saved up half the money she needed to buy an American Girl horse (this girl who does not like to work and so has a difficult time earning money) and came quietly to me one afternoon and said she could always save more money and would instead like to give this money to a missionary.  And I still tear up at the memory of it because that is not me, that was God doing His thing in her.

I know God has great things planned for Miss Emma.  He will use her sweet spirit and the gifts He has given her for His glory.  I look forward to seeing His plan revealed in her life as the years go by.

Happy (belated) 9th Birthday, Emma Joy!

We love you!