Blessed~In the Menial

July 18, 2014 by Namachildren-burger-cookie-Mcdonalds-family.jpg//

Big and Important!  That is what I would choose, I wish to do big and important things !!!  That was my written answer Continue reading

Commitment~Part 2 of Our Adoption Story

July 17, 2014 by Pappa with thoughts from Nama


Today we celebrate the gift of those gorgeous chocolate eyes.  9 years ago today we received our referral for N.Doumoundo B. Lamien.  We will share the very first images that arrived in our inbox of our 5th child and the miracle of Love that filled our hearts and home that day. Continue reading

Blessed~To Need Him

i woke this morning electrically excited for a DEAR friend, her husband and their “already” children.  One week from today, 7 days from today our friends will trust a world of others with the houseful of babies they already nurture and board a plane for a land far away to collect two tiny special needs children (both 5 years old) who have been waiting all these long years for their mamma and daddy.  The miracle, the energy, the magic of the journey into adoption is so incredibly amazing.


Within seconds of the adrenaline rush of realizing the calendar had moved and the “days to travel” counter was now in the one week range, 7!!, my heart took a sharp turn and i began to feel the grief my friend will process this week.  Much ALL will change for this mamma, daddy and their houseful of littles the moment they board that plane.  Why would you say yes to something that guarantees so much upheaval, adjustment and sacrifice?  There will be big sacrifice and selflessness required for every member of their family.


Yesterday i shot Tim a desperate text, “call me if you have a moment and the energy for a rant”.  Tim called on his lunch hour, i tried to be grown up and logical but the moment i heard his voice i spiraled into a crying baby + a tantruming two year old.  Sparing you the unnecessary muck, our morning had begun WAY to early with an unexplainable amount of energy and creativity.  Things were escalating by the moment, disappointment entered, “poor me” crossed my mind and i agreed with “that lie” one moment too long.


In the midst, my Blondie came home with a treat from Starbucks for me. She was caught in the crossfire, there was no energy or time to sit and chat wedding or hear about her morning at work.  i was done, or wanted to be done, or go back to the woods or rant to My Man.  i sent my SOS; pretty much the answer is always the same from Tim, life is only hard if you let it be, God is enough, be nice and do the right thing, be dependent on His Grace.  As it always goes, Tim listens to the many offenses i “need” to vent but he hears my sin and directs me back to what i have to do to smooth the waters.  Tim’s only specific guidance was, “make sure you do not say anything out of your hurt and sadness that will hurt Blessing’s heart.”  i am sad to tell you, honestly, some things had already been said that i had to apologize to our sweet girl for.


A bit later Blessing was at Library Club; i claimed a quiet corner and used my time to read some truth.

…in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors . . .” (2 Corinthians 6:5)— in all these things, display in your life a drawing on the grace of God, which will show evidence to yourself and to others that you are a miracle of His. Draw on His grace now, not later. The primary word in the spiritual vocabulary is now. Let circumstances take you where they will, but keep drawing on the grace of God in whatever condition you may find yourself.  The entire study is found here:—-now/.  It is worth your time.

Well look at that…just about the same stuff My Man pointed me back to.  i wonder if i could possibly learn to run to His Grace with my rants and spare Tim the headache.

Here is the deal; Blessing and i had a full afternoon ahead of us when our train veered off the tracks.  When Tim helped me redirect, i still felt incredible frustration.  i did what i knew was right but did not feel any of it.  i spoke gently (sheer will), i apologized (fighting a grudge), i let go of a bunch of junk (heart still aching), i made a deal with my girl, “if mamma chooses patience and gentleness for the rest of the day will you choose obedience and kindness?” She said yes, i had my doubts…she is an impulsive 10 year old,  at this point i would be a bit surprised if  i kept  my end of the deal.  Six hours later we were pulling back into the neighborhood, Blessing was silly singing, we were gut giggling together and i spontaneously said “ahhh, Blessing what a fun day we have had together.”  As i heard the words come from my heart, i was taken aback; actually we had started with a really rough day, some ugly sin and lots of material for resentment and angst.  Where had “Fun Day” snuck in, when had giggles and silly songs shown up?  His Grace is enough for my most common everyday challenges. i know he redeems the big and bad stuff, but maybe more amazing is when we see Him redeem the everyday selfishness, disappointed expectations, harsh tones and lashing words.


As i feel the reality of all the challenges my dear adopting friend is facing i know the cost and pain very personally, yet it is so easy to switch back to ecstatic excitement because i know without a doubt that feeling my weakness more often, doubting my ability constantly, hearing my selfishness scream louder is the only path to knowing HIS Grace more clearly.  When i am weak, HE is strong.  When i am alone, HE is my all.

My sweet sweet obedient friend, charge ahead with full confidence and joy, you are stepping into a whole new beautiful “knowing” of your Lord’s Grace,of his provision, his comfort and strength.  i promise you the challenges will be there, this is so good because we only need HIM and call on HIM when we can no longer manage on our own. That is hard, that is beautiful!

There will be plenty of days when you have to “just deal” with whatever it is that day…

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Just be certain you are not “dealing” in your own strength and ability, you can not do this on your own.

Keep your eyes on your Lord,

Run into His Grace,

and know that Needing Him is the very best place you could be.

Please pray for our friends as they enter the Great Adventure our Lord has written for their family.


I absolutely adore this little Library, it is so much more right exactly as it is so much less.

ImageThis little golden locks has gotten exactly everything she wanted all week long with one aunty, a Nama, a Pappa ,Mamma and Daddy all to herself. Sharing Bluemoon, Blessing’s favorite.

ImageApron curtains and the best Rueben in the North woods.


Strolling Boulder Junction where we found this little guy …..


Who made us feel like our Kaydra and her Cody were with us but also miss them more at the very same time.ImageWhen we are in the hustle of home these PJ shorts just need to be put away, in the quiet of the woods they remind me how much I ache for Africa and I am more grateful for our tiny African Treasure, Blessing.ImageWhen we are at home this chaos of our little makes me crazy, today it was easier to just be grateful she found shirts and pants and got herself out to the truck without a lot of hub-bub.ImageThis gorgeous little blossom has found it’s perfect place to bloom among the toughest of conditions.  May I be so wise and willing.Image

ImageI I have continued to fight for fitness over fifty even on vacation because…..well it is necessary. 
ImageFinley’s first words each morning, Ble Ble ??

the library is closing in 5 minute, says the kind little lady with the permed hair.

I am refreshed and refocused, there has been a lot about forgiveness happening in this too hurried heart and I need to press publish now.

It appears from my limited viewing some of my images did not load, I’ll catch up when we are back home , as well as share some of what Piper, Lewis and Bonhoeffer have been rattling my cage about.


Blessed~His Grace

june 13,2014 by nama

i find myself very vulnerable to discouragement and hopelessness when i crack the gate of my thoughts to self-doubt.  More specifically…spiritual self-doubt.

“Did i do it wrong?”

“What did i do wrong?”

“Am i doing enough?”  i am capable of losing my peace, joy, motivation and sleep being caught in the futile round-a-bout of trying to sort it all out so i might get it all “right”.  Just the right tiny whisper in my busy little mind of  “You messed that up!” or “This is really all your fault, you failed!”  And i can spiral into a miserable state of  “i am such a mess-up, i will never be capable of pleasing my Heavenly Father?”

John Piper shared the amazing Truth of God’s word this morning in a way that illuminates the very sad lie and destruction i surrender to when i allow those lies to have a place in my heart and mind.  Please read Pastor John’s full (very short) encouragement at Solid Joys.

The title of today’s reading asks the question…

Who killed Jesus?

 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)

Are you kidding me?  i doubt that Love?  The kind of love that caused My Heavenly Father to give his very son’s life that i might have full rich forgiven life.

 This verse is the most precious verse in the Bible to me because the foundation of the all-encompassing promise of God’s future grace is that the Son of God bore in his body all my punishment and all my guilt and all my condemnation and all my blame and all my fault and all my corruption, so that I might stand before a great and holy God, forgiven, reconciled, justified, accepted, and the beneficiary of unspeakable promises of pleasure forever and ever at his right hand.    By John Piper

 i’ve never really questioned my eternal forgiveness and security, that is easier for me.  He loves me, He provided a way, i am blessed with eternal life.

But the daily Grace He has lavished on me, that’s tougher for me to settle into. The grace He pours out because He knew i would mess-up, because He knew i would need to be reconciled, justified and accepted daily. The daily cleansing by His son’s blood, the forgiving myself, laying it down and moving back into the freedom and joy of his unspeakable promises of pleasure for today.  Accepting, settling into and living that Grace is harder for me.

Today i will dwell on his promise..

 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)

 i will rest in His Love and gracious gifts when i disappoint man, when i choose my agenda over His direction, when i fail and i am fully aware that it is i who missed the mark.

My gracious Heavenly Father took care of all my mess-ups long before I was here to do the messing up.  He gave his one and only son to free me from the muck of my human failing.  It really is the saddest thing that i choose to wallow in the failures when He has given me every good thing I need to know  Solid Joys today and every day.


The sun is shining, the breeze is cool, the birds are chirping.

I will mess-up, the pain of this fallen world will be apparent and felt.


I have a gracious Loving Father who has got my back.

Eyes on Him, I’m off to treasure His freedom and Joy.

Join me?

Yes!  Please?

It’s a beautiful place to hang.


And just because i love pictures and i think you do too, a photo peek at our week…

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Finley goes to very few people if Nama and Pappa are around, she happily went to our guest, we think it may be because our friend looks like Finley’s Favorite, Blessing.


Our friend’s youngest is just weeks younger than Finley.  Friends.

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This makes me smile, a lot !

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Over the top, this one, always Over-The-Top! (she had her own gift card)



Blessed~Taste of Liberia

june 6, 2014 by nama 

i often grieve all that we do not know about Blessing’s beginning months.

Blessing came home when she was 15 months old.  As we treasure our Grandbabies, three of whom have passed their 15 month birthdays, i am constantly reminded of all we missed, all Blessing missed in those crucial first months of her development.  One very precious gift we have is a set of  images shared with us by a young lady who served as a short term missionary in Blessing’s orphanage months before we traveled to Liberia to bring Blessing home.

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That little tiny bundle being held with the thick tuft of hair on her bald little head is our Blessing.

When i traveled to the orphanage in 2005, i was told that Blessing was referred to as Frisky~O by the nannies.

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  We did not see the “Frisky~O” in our Blessing until months after she had come home, apparently the transition was so traumatic she was “shut down” for a long period of time before we saw the Blessing we now know and adore.  I am guessing that big boy got her bite of mango.

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As it turns out, our big girl Blessing is obsessed with mango.

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She loves to peel them and eat the entire thing skewered on this long grill fork.  I don’t even bother asking.

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Apparently the counter is too high to work on and that trash can right behind the chair doesn’t work either. It is so much easier to treasure the “blessing” in all of this when i reflect on our little tiny Blessing in Liberia fighting for another bite of mango, how thankful i am that she is making mango mess in our kitchen.

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I am so thankful for all the tiny peices to Blessing’s story we are allowed to know.  His plan is perfect, knowing our girl knew the sweetness of mango as a little tiny is one perfect gift he has granted.

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Is this as creepy to you as it to me?

 1 plastic baggie, 1 eaten clean mango pit, fill with warm water and leave on kitchen counter till it “Grows more yummy fruit mamma!”.

Cuz i know you have been wondering how to do that.

Blessed~Our Clan

may30, 2014 by nama


One of the big challenges that came with adopting when our first four children were older has been the change it brought to our family structure.  When Blessing came home at 15 months old our first four were 10, 13, 17 and 18.  That was easy, an adorable new baby fits anywhere and causes little adjustment to relationships.  As Blessing grew and became more active, boisterous and creative the adjustments it has required  have been more measurable and at times “costly” than we had foreseen.  Our adult children rarely get “adult” time with mom and dad.  There is not a lot of sitting in the quiet living room, sipping something and talking deep theology here, or when the conversion does go deep,  Blessing is not easily included, there is no pack of playmates to run with while the adults are all serious.  Our adult children have to parent with a busy, filled with ideas 10 year old in the mix every time they bring their babies to Nama and Pappa’s.  We are their babies’  Grandparents, at the very same time we are also Blessing’s parents.  When they spat, or don’t want to share or Blessing walks off with their newborn as if he is a dress up dolly our adult children have to process their reaction and how they handle those things through many blurry filters.

One of the biggest blessings we get from the gift of adding a tiny to our home so late in life is watching the generations work it out and do life together.  Everyone has to be less self focused.  Everyone has to consider additional layers of needs and desires.  Everyone gets to give a little more.  Everyone gets to learn and grow and know the blessing of  HIS refinement in a deeper way.

Blessed to be a nest with so many layers of Love built into it.


This series of pictures makes me smile.  Watch the moving relationship.


 This is our third son Parker with his newborn Timothy building girl Legos with Blessing.


Timothy !


Blessing… “Hmmmmm  ‘.


      “I don’t quite get it.”


 “Ohhhhhh, I see.”

I love Lego Friends (girl Legos), where were these when our first princess was little?

Photo Tip: Because as you have noticed, i am such a pro ; ),  take a series of 10-20 pictures of the exact same frame.  The capture of still shot relationships can be so much more fun than a video.

We send our California three back to their daddy and husband tomorrow, there will be lots of grandbaby+ Aunty fun here today, Pappa took the day off.