Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Spoiled American Thankful List

Let's end this holiday on a lighter note...

I am way yonder, seriously, VERY thankful for:

1) My bed. Ya'll. I really like my bed. O the glory of that bed! We went all out and splurged on the king sized foam top deluxe version. Worth. Every. Penny. (You were right, Nathan.) Life is hard. Beds don't have to be. Dear bed, I love you and never want to leave you. When the kids are grown, we'll spend more time together. I promise.

2) Coffee. Really, it's the only thing I like about the mornings. And quite frankly I find it difficult to be spiritual without it before 9am. If only little elves would make it and bring it to my bedside table before I wake up...

3) Cheap Entertainment. As in the Burger King two blocks away with a play place. It's loud. It stinks like kid sweat and funky socks. But hey, the children are happy and contained. 

4) The DVD player in my minivan. Should we consider travel time family time? Probably. Should I be directing their little eyes to the beauty God created around us? Absolutely. Should we be memorizing scripture and playing fun travel games? Right again. Do I push play to keep those little boogers off my nerves on extended trips? Oh yes. 

5) Pacifier clips. Sheer genius. Nuff said.

6) eGift Cards. Because I can remember at 11:45 pm that it's your birthday and still get a present to your inbox before the day is over. Bam. Take that procrastination.  

7) Public school teachers. I considered  homeschooling for 45 minutes. I still get cold chills just thinking about that terrifying day. Behavior charts. Organizational folders. Schedules. Not to mention the actual educational part. Thank you thank you thank you teachers for taking my kid 7 hours a day and preparing him to be productive member of society. You are #1 in my book.

8) Cheesecake. With coffee. In a restaurant. 

9) Velcro shoes. We just taught my 6 year old how to tie actual laces. Oh the agony. Actually, my husband did most the training on that. Because apparently I'm incapable of teaching my children anything practical for actual life. Thank you, Sketchers for six sweet years of velcro light up shoes before we had to endure the hardship of laces. 

10) Athletic pants. Because jeans are so restrictive, don't you think? Ah the relief of pulling on pants that don't remind me of my muffin top, big hiney, chunky thighs. Sorry world, you see me in my i don't care sweats far too often. But oh the glory of not shoving my bottom half into clothes made for Barbie. 

*What would you add?

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Thankful For a Year Like This

O God, 

As I reflect on the past 12 months, have I ever had so much to be thankful for? 

I'm thankful for water walking. You've led me out into the deep where this heart had the chance to sink. But I've known the surge that comes with finding you faithful. That place where trusting you is the only option. Have I ever known you so sure. Found you so able. Praise your Holy name, you keep me above the waves and show yourself gloriously capable. Others wonder how. I know the Who. 

I'm thankful Your plans are not my plans. A year ago I was still moaning the loss of my dream to adopt from foreign places. Today I hold a baby born down the road from mine. Sweet Jesus, your plans are good. I'm grateful they can't be thwarted, even by my stubborn ways. Thank you for moving my heart to be in tune with your own. 

I'm thankful you quiet me. When I'm on the floor in a heap because he might go back, you cover my form with your hand and transmit peace unthinkable. I could not have known your help if I had not known this pain. I would not have experienced your calm if I had not known this storm. 

I'm thankful for children who astound me. Every time they dote on him, or love on each other, or act like our family is normal, I'm reminded that your plan is big enough to include all of us. That you have made it well with their souls, and not just mine. That you will care for them, just as you do me. Thank you for working in my children, and drawing them into your ways. 

I'm thankful you do not let me walk this road alone. Thank you for church ladies who hold him in the nursery and tell me they pray for him the whole time. Thank you for family that has made our mission their own. Thank you for a husband whose heart beats and breaks just like mine. 

I'm thankful for the way you exploded my spirit with your love through a butterball giggle box that drools like a leaky faucet and breaks my heart with his grin. Would I have known how badly you wanted me if I had not feared losing him? Bless you Jesus, for giving me a greater glimpse of your relentless love. Seeing you more fully is the delight of my life.  

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mom's Night Out Anyone? A giveaway.

Here's the scene:

The New Chick was up multiple times in the night. 

I wake up in a daze realizing I overslept.

Bleary eyed and half brained, I stumble into the kitchen to find my six year old has already fixed himself a bowl of cereal.

And spilled it all over the table and floor.

I determine he must have chosen a mixing bowl instead of a cereal bowl because on my honor there are 5 cups of cheerios and one gallon of milk dripping from the table to the tile.

Que The New Chick to start crying. Also the whinny insistent 4 year old wanting me to peel an orange. And the husband asking me where to find the car insurance papers.

My neurons aren't firing so I just stare at them, wishing for the coffee that isn't yet made. When the puddle of milk mush Cheerios hits my toes, something triggers and I finally start to get into gear.

Wipe the floor. Shovel food into the baby's mouth. Pour more cereal. Peel the orange. 

Go get your clothes on! Brush your teeth!

Look in the drawer under the microwave. 

Where is your back pack? Where are your shoes? 

Why haven't you brushed your teeth yet!?

Hurry, son! You're going to be late!

While helping him with his coat I notice his hair is sticking up like chicken feathers. No time for that. 

Throw out the words "I love you" while pushing him out the door. Hoping desperately he knows I really do despite the chaos of the last half hour.

Door closes.

Deep breath in. Exhale. I think he made it on time.

Put the madness behind in order to move on to the rest of the day.

Door opens. Blond chicken feathers and big blue eyes peek in.

Mom, where's my lunch?!


In honor of Mamas who survive mornings like this, it's time for a giveaway. 

Picture via

How about two hours of escaping from your own life and relating to someone else who doesn't have it all together?

A break from reality and permission to laugh at the hilarity that is being a homework helping, shoe finding, poop wiping, snack fixing, check kissing, keeping it together Mama. 

To win, simply subscribe by email

If you already do, share this post on Facebook and comment below that you did!

The winner will be chosen Friday, November 21 at 12:00 est. 

I wish I could give every one of you an actual night out. But since I'm not Oprah, a two hour movie for one of you will have to do!

I hope you win!

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Supporting Foster Families: 7 Ways You can Pray

The response to The Other Mother has been thoroughly encouraging.  One of the most touching aspects has been the number of people commenting on social media that they are praying for us. 


If you've ever walked a difficult road (who hasn't?) then you know what it means to hear that others have your back in this powerful way. 

I believe that interceding on behalf of others is especially tender to the heart of God. When we come before His throne, selflessly pleading for Him to act on behalf of another, I just wonder at what kind of pleasure it must bring Him. 

Maybe you know a family who fosters, but aren't sure how to pray. Here are 7 ways you can pray for foster families:

1) Pray that foster moms and dads trust God with the future of the children in their care. It's a daunting task to consider them not being under a trusted wing of protection. Pray they remember that God sees those children and that He cares. Deeply.

2) Pray that biological children can adjust to new siblings when they come, and say goodbye when they leave. These kids deal with emotions and situations that are hard for little hearts to handle. Pray they learn to look to God when dealing with change and heartache. 

3) Pray that parents have the strength they need to meet the daily challenges of fostering. Raising children is difficult. Raising children from hard places is extra difficult. Throw in multiple trips to government buildings, extra doctor's appointments, and visitations with birth parents...It can quickly become a draining lifestyle. Pray that foster parents get the rest, support, and energy they need to accomplish the tasks before them. 

4) Pray that families trust God with the potential heartbreak of foster care. There is nothing like looking at a child you love knowing they might go back. The weight of that ever-looming grief is heavy. Ask God to help moms and dads have peace, believing He will carry them through.

5) Pray that foster families make the most of the opportunity they have been given. The gospel is the most life changing thing they can give a child. Pray that families show the love of Christ and speak the love of Christ. Pray that the hearts of the children would be soft to Jesus, and that the Gospel would take root in their young lives. 

6) Pray that biological children embrace a lifestyle of protecting and providing for the vulnerable. I have often worried that by deciding to foster, my two kids would become embittered. Pray that God helps families to make fostering a family mission. Pray that it would strengthen rather than weaken the faith of the biological children. 

7) Pray that God would raise up more foster families. The need is great. Few things bless the hearts of foster families more than hearing of new foster families! Pray that God would call more Christ-following families to open their homes to displaced children. 

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Other Mother

Since day one, many have asked about The New Chick's biological mom. And for all seven of the months he's lived in my house, I've put off writing about her. But, there is a season for everything, and a time for every purpose under heaven. 

The first time I saw her it was in the Chambers County Courthouse. I looked up from admiring the five day old baby who was snug against my chest, and saw her walking toward us. I knew her by the tears pouring unchecked down her face. She humbly asked me if she could hold him, and I began to wonder at the world I had just entered.

As I unswaddled all five precious pounds and placed him in his mothers arms, I realized this entire endeavor was going to require more of my heart than I had expected. I felt all at once tremendous pain for her, and ferocious protection over him. 

Those two emotions would only swell with the passing weeks. At times they were at war within my soul. 

Someone commented on her right after he came to us. They posed a question, that was really more of a statement, along the lines of how could anyone do what she has done. The person went on to make her out as a total sinner, and me a total saint.

I just blinked and ashamedly said nothing. But inside was a raging inferno.

There is nothing fundamentally different about she and me. The only thing that polarizes her life from mine is that I was given a gift when I was 6.  

The gift of the Holy Spirit when I got adopted by The King.

Without that gift I would have been her. I would have chased this world and let it have it's way with me. I would have made costly decisions; looking to all the wrong things to make me feel happy and all the wrong people to make me feel loved. I would have given myself to a man way too early and gotten pregnant and had a baby. 

It would have been me watching the social workers walk out of the hospital with my first born son, still sore from giving birth to him. 
It would have been me wondering where they took him.
And who was holding him. And what was going to happen to him.
It would have been me facing every parent's worst nightmare.

It would have been me.

But Jesus.

I won't lie. There's another side to my feelings about her. It's not jealousy. Or competition. It's more like looking at her and wondering if I will be her in a few months. 

I fear the pain she's already lived through.

Handing my baby over to the social workers to be cared for by strangers. Wondering where he is and if he needs me. Missing his firsts and wanting him so desperately it hurts. Fearing that he's wants Mama, but can't have her.

I hate the notion that her success will mean my greatest loss. And just as much I loathe the idea that if she fails, I somehow win. 

Because if he goes back, I'll curl up and die for a while. But if he stays, I'll grieve with the knowledge that she'll do the same. Either way, pain will be thick. 

It's true that she and I are very different. I was adopted and she wasn't. She brought him into the world and I didn't. I know him in ways she doesn't. 

And every time I say "Come to Mama" I am reminded that there is another.

But in this we are the same. 

She and I are both the other mother.

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

How to Love an Orphan

It's been almost a year since this young man stuck his lanky legs under my table and ate my spaghetti.

I'm talking about the one on the right. The cutie on the left rejects pasta in every form.

But that handsome Haitian, he melted my heart when he gobbled down my cooking like it was something special. In actuality, he had my heart two years earlier when I first saw him in this picture. 
My husband showed it to me after returning from a trip to Haiti early in 2012. He and Bill Howard, the director of Alex's House Orphanage, had taken a detour on the way to the airport to visit the mass grave where thousands were buried after the earthquake. 

They found Renel and his brother Remy there, at the grave of their parents, begging for food. 

Every day those two boys, 11 and 8, left the tarp they lived under and walked an hour down the mountain to the mass grave. 

No food. No water. No watchful parental eye supervising. No future. No hope. No nothing. 

Except that the eyes of the Lord were on them. 

After a series of events that only He could arrange, those two children who were once hungry, now go to bed well fed. They have beds and clothes. They go to school and play soccer. They have people who love and care for them. They hear about the love of Jesus. 

This Jesus who loves them so much he sent a group of men to start a Christ-centered orphanage in a dark and poor Haiti. Men who could no longer pretend those children weren't there, and who answered the call to provide.

If you've known me more than 30 minutes you know I love me some Alex's House. I love their vision. I love their love for children. I love that they want to rescue more off the streets of a harsh Haiti.

If you want the chance to be a part of what God is doing through Alex's House, here it is. 

Buy a $10 ticket. 

That's it, ya'll. $10. Most of us spend that much a week on our cable bill.  

The $10 ticket gives you the info needed to bid on a ticket to the Alabama vs. Auburn game. But really, it's not about winning tickets to the hottest game in the Southeast. 

It's about loving on this kid. 

And these kids. 

It's about making sure Alex's House has the funds they need to care for them, and more like them. 

So here's how to love a Haitian Orphan. Click the Paypal Donate button and send in your ten bucks.  Comment below with your email address and I will send you the info on how to bid on the Auburn vs. Alabama tickets. 

Even if you have no interest in the game, it's $10 folks. 

My readers are the best. I love doing kingdom work with you.

*If you sponsor a child at Alex's House, tell us which one! Do them a favor and share this post. 

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Spending More on What Matters

I enter Walmart for the third time in 32 hours. 

We need one thing: face paint to transform my son into an army man for a school function. I head to my target and throw two tubes into the cart.

Since I'm already here, I might as well grab some camo pants to pull the costume together. I blaze a trail to the clothing section. 

A reminder text from a friend, "Don't forget we're having soup at church tonight." No way are my kids touching that. Better swing over to the grocery section and pick up a couple of Lunchables. 

On the way to check out, I notice the new fall scented Glade plug-ins. My house has been smelling seriously funky lately. Artificial pumpkin spice would be a welcome change. Toss it in and get out before anything else finds it's way into the cart.

I went in for less than a dollar's worth of stuff. 45 minutes later I leave after spending over $2o. Anybody?! Multiply that scenario by 3 times a week and we're talking big money here. 

Looking at my receipt later, I thought of the verses that keep playing like a broken record in my mind:

If you spend yourselves 
in behalf of the hungry,
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your light will become like the noonday sun.
Isaiah 58:10

Considering how I spend my money, I'm investing myself on behalf of the wealthy, and satisfying the wants of the privilegedBecause to the world, my family is the wealthy. We are the privileged. 

And if you are reading this, you are too.

If your family makes $48,000 a year (the median in the US), you are in the top 1% of the world's population. That means you are richer than 99% of the world. Even if your income is half that, you are still in the top 2.24%.

Image via

It's not even the fact that we're so rich that has me disturbed these days. It's that they are so poor.

29,160 human beings died of hunger TODAY. An estimated 22,000 of them were children. 

I look at mine and wonder what kind of agony it would be to watch them die of starvation. I close my eyes and my my mind because my heart cannot even go there. 

Already burdened with this image, what am I doing buying more junk that my family does not need? I'm not against face paint or plug ins. But when the accumulation of worthless rubbish robs my budget of the ability to help others who are starving, there might be a priorities problem.

According to worldometers, a real time world statistic website, 179 million dollars was spent on weight loss programs in the last twenty four hours. 

Ya'll, when we're spending that kind of money every day to shed the weight of our excess food problem, while 22,ooo children die of hunger...

I can't even.

And here's the part that really gets me. It's never taken so little effort to make a difference. We have the ability to read about the overwhelming need and in the same breath click a button sending funds to aid in alleviating it. We have the wealth and helping couldn't be easier. So, why isn't this poverty problem getting smaller? Could it be because our greed keeps getting bigger.

Jesus help us.

Does anyone else have the sense that we're really missing it? I do too. But I don't want to keep missing it. I want to start spending less on the worthless clutter our culture convinces us we must have. And more on what matters.

Like helping children take their next breath and live long enough to hear the name of Jesus.

Picture via

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