Thirteen: Take Two

Ten days ago she turned thirteen.  We celebrated the gift of her with cake and song and laughter, but I never celebrated with words.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Emma Joy is a blessing to our family.  A true second born, she is often striving to differentiate herself just a bit from everyone else.  Her passions include soccer, the Kansas Jayhawks, Doctor Who, 80’s music, and baking.  Her dry, witty sense of humor is often unexpected, coming from this seemingly quiet, reserved girl.  She excels in the kitchen with anything involving the words “bake” and “dessert”, and she even volunteered to make her own birthday cake.  (Which isn’t all that surprising, considering the Rainbow Cake fiasco.  More on that another time, if you missed it on Facebook.)  She rocked that cake and I decided I will never bake again.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

This year brought Emma’s first opportunity to travel to Haiti and she worked hard and the Lord provided as she raised money (by baking) to pay her way.  I was so encouraged as her Mama to watch the Lord bless her efforts and watch her rise to the challenge.  And since then, her own outpouring of generosity has shown God’s work in her heart.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Emma is steady, but in a different way from her older sister.  She is becoming very good at finding hidden things that need to be done.  Trash taken out.  Stray items picked up.  A sister read to.  She is reliable and another girl I can depend on to get things done.  She is such a gift and continually becoming a true “joy” to me.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Happy thirteenth, Emma.  Welcome to the teen years.  May God richly bless you and may you continue to seek Him and follow hard after Him in all that you do.




This Girl

Day 4 – this girl….

Twelve years ago, we were blessed with our second daughter.  At 5-something in the morning, Emma Joy, entered the world and our lives were forever changed.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

The past year has been a special blessing as we have watched her mature and mellow.  As Matt shared this morning, she calls herself a “geek” (though neither of us knows when that became cool – but as a former geek, woot!) and loves books and a certain BBC series she’s not even been allowed to watch yet and camo and Duck Dynasty.  She’s excited to play soccer in the spring and volleyball next year.  She’s taken to baking this fall which has resulted in a variety of delicious concoctions, particularly her bacon butterscotch muffins.  She sings beautifully and I could listen to her play the piano all day.

Emma is a gift to our family.  She keeps us laughing and makes sure things don’t get too girlie.  I’m so glad I get to be Emma’s mom.  I can’t wait to see what God does in this next year of her life.

Happy birthday, Emma Joy!

For His Glory,



* photo credit goes to my beautiful and talented friend Chelsea Hudson

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug


Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

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!


Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

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

More From the Ellie (and Emma) Chronicles

As is often the case, a couple of these stories are old hat to our Facebook friends, but they must be recorded for posterity.

While trick-or-treating through the neighborhood on Halloween, Matt and the girls approach the home of one of our neighbors.  They are a couple about my parents’ age and they are hosting two exchange students this year.  As one of the foreign girls opens the door, Ellie declares, “Oh look!  It’s the maid!”

Another time recently, Ellie and her sisters had destroyed their room.  Their consequence was to get up early before Friday classes to clean it up so that they could go skating after classes that afternoon.  At 4 a.m., as Matt and I were getting up, we hear a door open down the hall and little feet shuffling toward us.  Ellie comes in all squinty-eyed with her blanket up by her face and groans, “I can’t clean.  It’s too dark!”

Lastly, we were out to dinner recently as a family.  We were trying to broaden the girls’ horizons a bit, so we opted for a Chinese restaurant for dinner instead of our standard Mexican fare.  Emma had gone to use the restroom and was gone a ridiculously long time.  The bathroom was just a few feet from our table and it was a “one holer”, so to speak, so I was confident nothing questionable was going on.  Another woman was waiting outside the door for her chance to use the bathroom so I send another child to tell Emma to hurry up.  She finally joins us back at the table going on and on about this (very normal) bathroom.  After her lengthy description of all its details she looks at her hands and exclaims, “Wait!  Why did I wash my hands?  I didn’t even go!” and then excuses herself to go do what she forgot to do the first time.  🙂

Life is never boring!

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

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

More Photo Catch Ups

Emma’s birthday follows Ellie’s by two weeks.  She turned nine in early December.  While she didn’t get a party, we did do our best to celebrate here at home.  Enjoy these photos from her special day….

Cupcakes to share with her ballet class

Birthday Girl

The peanut gallery

I have no words


Every horse loving girl needs a horse themed Bible, right?


A "real" riding helmet!

Cake! Actually, brownies!

Have a great Thursday, my friends!

~ 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!