1st and 3rd Little Pumpkins B-Day Bash

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This past Sunday we celebrated Faith and Zori’s birthdays.  It was actually Faith’s 3rd birthday.  I cannot believe my  first baby is 3!  My beautiful Faith Hope Love has so much personality, she can hardly contain it in that little body.  She is just as sassy, sweet,  bossy, and sensitive as I am (I’m not as sweet though).  Faith takes a while to show this side of herself, but once she warms up to you, watch out!

Rwenzori Grace will be 1 on October 22!  It’s funny how much I see myself in all of my girls (poor Dane).  Zori knows what she wants and she is just as impatient as me.  We have been working on her screaming when there isn’t food in front of her fast enough.  Other than that she is an extremely chill, go with the flow, baby.  She has been walking since almost 10 months, so now she is practically running and trying to climb on top of everything.  She got a nice cut and bruise over her eye, right in time for the party, by trying to climb on top of a 12pack of Cokes!  Zori is trying hard to keep up with her big sisters so there is never a dull moment in our house.  There was no way I was doing two parties in one month, especially while we are semi-homeless.  We had the party at Squirrel Lake Park (amazing park if you have never been there) and it basically rained most of that morning.  So I prayed that we would get a break in the rain and we did long enough for the party and it was dry enough for the kids to play also.  It was perfect weather for chili, which is what we had along with many homemade pumpkin decorated desserts.  I have to thank my amazing Mom(JaJa), mother-in law (BiBi), and aunt Lisa and uncle Max who helped cook and put everything together!  Thanks to all our family and friends who came out to the party.  The girls had a great time and Faith will probably continue to talk about it for the next year!

A quick update on all the Loves; we have been renting a house at JAARS for the past month and will be moving into my parents house next week while we continue to search for a home.  I keep trying to remind myself that Home is where my family is and not the actual brick and mortar or vinyl siding that makes it like HGTV tries to tell us.  That is easier said than done.  I know wherever we end up is right where God wants us to be.

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Free Smash Cake from Harris Teetr!  Can't beat Free!

Free Smash Cake from Harris Teetr! Can’t beat Free!

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What would we do without JaJa and BiBi?

What would we do without JaJa and BiBi?

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Joyce cannot wait for her Birthday now!

Joyce cannot wait for her Birthday now!

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The word “Adopt”

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The number one definition for the word “Adopt” is; ” to take a child of other parents legally as your own child” (http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/adopt).  The biblical definition of “adopt” or “adoption” comes from the Greek word (huiothesia [uiJoqesiva]) which means to “place as a son”.  Are we getting the key terms on these two definitions, one secular, one biblical.  The keyword is child or son, not pet.  I know I’m going to be majorly stepping on some toes here because I know how much as a society we love our pets.  Please understand me, so do I.  We have two dogs and I personally have always dreamed of owning a unicorn if only they were real, but I would settle for a beautiful Palomino.  But they are still animals, not human beings, not my children.

As I was scrolling through Facebook and reading things about “Pet Adoption” since it is National Dog Day I became more and more aggravated and I believe rightfully so.  Let me give you an idea of why.  What are the steps involved to adopt a pet?  Are there stacks and stacks of paperwork to be filled out in a timely manner, or fingerprints taken and sent to the FBI, criminal background checks run through local and federal governments, many visits through a homestudy agency to approve you as proper guardians/parents, physicals to be approved by your physician, finances scrutinized, money to be raised, long extensive trips planned with no certain outcome?  No.  You literally go pick up the animal, put the new collar around their neck, put them in the carrier, and take them home, possibly to another cage/doghouse, or maybe they are lucky like my dog and get to sleep in the bed with you.  How is this any way shape or form comparable to the adoption of my beautiful daughters.  You are right, it’s not, and to say as such is completely offensive to us as parents for the HELL we experienced to bring them home and completely offensive to my daughters history and the lives they lived before becoming “adopted”.  Not to mention the emotional  rollercoaster an “adoptive” parent is going through during all of this knowing their child is somewhere in the world needing a mommy to hold them and love them if only you could only get through this red tape fast enough.

The word “Adopt” is now thrown around so lightly it takes away the insanely, miraculously, beautiful weight of the True meaning.  Let us not forget the One who adopted us first.  Christ Jesus came, died, and rose from the grave so that we could be co-heirs with him in Heaven.  Yes,  insanely, miraculously, beautiful.  Let me share one of my favorite passages of scripture in Ephesians chapter 1;

4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5heb predestined us for adoption to sonshipc through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9hed made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

How then can we apply this term to a pet, or a highway?  It’s not comparable.  I know that many people who have used the term “adopting a pet” have probably never even thought how this might hurt someone and maybe if they had realized how hurtful it was would change their verbiage.  Can you imagine one of my daughters overhearing someone talking about “adopting” a puppy or kitty cat and then in their minds comparing themselves to an animal?  The thought terrifies and disturbs me to my core.

Please know if you have ever used these terms to apply to your animals I am not trying to ostracize or chastise you, only educate you to the fact that it is harmful and hurtful.  And I will now get off my soap box and go to bed.  Happy National Dog Day, I really do mean that, I love my puppies too, just not as much as my children!

Joyce's First Day of 3rd Grade!  She did great and loves it!

Joyce’s First Day of 3rd Grade! She did great and loves it!

Zori is walking!

Zori is walking!

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When Lacey was a puppy.

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Life Like a Country Music Song

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The last time I wrote we were living in a chaotic half packed, half not packed house.  Since then the deal on our house fell through in a bad, bad, way.  We were threatened to be sued (no fault of ours) and had to back out of other house that we were going to buy.  The same day all this happened Dane locked his keys in the car while it was running, our van was raining on us from the inside, and Dane broke his tablet.  We have since signed with the Realtor who was helping us with the other house and already had a showing tonight. So this past two weeks have felt like we were living in a country music song.  You know the depressing kind where the dog dies, car breaks down, lost your job, etc.  We were having a major pity party for ourselves, questioning why nothing was going “our” way.  We finally came to our senses realizing this “stuff” happens to everyone, not just us!  Although, the dishwasher stopped working Monday night and for some reason we had no hot water today, we have a much better attitude than we did two weeks ago.

In the midst of this house drama I realized I was putting my trust and hope in a house.  If we could just get in the newer, bigger, house, our lives would be so much easier.  I would get organized.  Relationships (with kids and spouse) would be better because we would all have a little more space.  We could settle in and figure out life.  This is the Big Fat Lie that the World sells us.  I finally painstakingly realized I was falling for it.  I was dissapointed with myself.  Why would I fall for these lies after God has already taught me so much, and I felt like has brought me so far.  But as Dane reminded me, we are being refined in the Fire, and that is not meant to feel good.

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:7

So what if our house sells.  Do we want it to sell, yes that would be nice.  But we will all be okay if we stay in our little cozy house for a while longer.  Our kids are home, healthy, and happy (80% of the time).  People are dying overseas in war, for their faith, and deadly disease everyday.  Having a pity party over selling or not selling our house should not take up even a third of my brain power (which is so lacking these days) and my prayer time.  I need to move beyond what I think I need and pray more for others and their real needs.

And the girls are doing well.  Joyce is having a hard time finding the balance between being a nine year old and still helping around the house and with the kids.  I know in time it will come.  She really is amazing, they all are, but I am super biased.

That is the update for now in the Love household.  It is so nice to know that God doesn’t leave us where he finds us.  He continues to mold us and use us in ways we will only know when we get to Heaven.

 

Doing a Throwback Thursday for my pics since it is now midnight!  I really need to go to bed…..goodnight!

P.S.

For any runners out there we have two great races coming up:  The Kickin It for Karamoja Race in Sept. (can register on FuelUganda.com)

and the Chosen Race on Oct. 18 at the Speedway (register with Team Mosaic FBCIT this week and get even more money toward the churches ABBA Fund!)  Can register at chosenmarathon.com

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite baby pics I have of Faith in Uganda.

One of my favorite baby pics I have of Faith in Uganda.

Rwenzori Grace Love, only a few hours old.

Rwenzori Grace Love, only a few hours old.

The first picture we ever saw of Joyce.

The first picture we ever saw of Joyce.

So Much Can Change in 1 Year

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One year ago today we had just arrived in Uganda on time for our July 1st court date (after the most Hellish travel experience of a lifetime) only to be told court had been moved to the following week!  And so our time in Uganda continued to go quickly on a downward spiral with the way things were “supposed” to go not going at all.  And now today Joyce has been home 4 months!

This weekend Dane took me on a weekend getaway to the mountains.  It was the first time away from Rwenzori and Joyce.  As we were sitting on our private porch at the Bed and Breakfast I asked Dane if he realized that a year ago that day we were in Frankfurt Germany on our way to Joyce and the following day in Egypt during the Revolution.  And the night we were in Frankfurt instead of seizing the once in a lifetime opportunity and going downtown to enjoy the festival that was going on, we instead spent the entire night at the airport frantically searching for our lost luggage, that we still did not find.  I so wish at the time we had been thinking of the verse in Matthew 6, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ?”  That is what you call Hindsight.  And also sin.  Sin because we were letting our circumstances and situation dictate our joy and peace of mind when we know it’s all in God’s hand anyways.

All I can say a year later and what God continually keeps teaching me is that I am not in control and the sooner I let go of what “control” I think I have the freer I become.  And that as cliché as people may think it sounds, God’s timing is perfect.  God certainly was not surprised that the U.S. Embassy would not give Joyce her visa right away.  Maybe He knew that I would have had a mental breakdown with a colicky newborn, needy toddler, and moody pre-teen all at once.

And what God is teaching me now that all my beautiful daughters are home is that I cannot be a good person, wife, or mother without Him.  On my own I mess it up Every time.

So, what does life look like now in the Love household?  Well the dining room is filled from top to bottom with furniture and packing boxes, bare closets, and empty walls.  That’s right, we are moving.  Still waiting on our closing date, but we will be moving to Hemby Bridge.  The packing boxes have been handy when trying to curral Zori since she is into everything and crawling everywhere.  I cannot tell you how much I crave some normalcy and consistency to life right now!  I’m over life in Limbo for the time being so the sooner we move, the better.  Joyce is a little sad about the move but I know when she realizes how much closer we are to everything and her friends she will be okay.  She is already ready for school to start back.  She will be starting a Soccer camp that is on Saturday’s soon.  I think soccer will be perfect for her because it’s high energy and she has plenty of that!

Dane keeps asking me if I am going to continue to blog since everyone is now home.  I just feel like I’m not done with the whole blogging thing yet, although it will be less and less frequent.  So, until next time…

Two peas in a pod!

Two peas in a pod!

She loves the sand!

She loves the sand!

She is getting too big!

She is getting too big!

Happy Mother’s Day

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Today is Mother’s Day.  I cannot help but think about two years ago making the decision to adopt Faith, then days later finding out that we were pregnant.  For those of you that don’t know the whole story, we just decided to adopt first before trying to have biological children. So we told our parents on Mother’s Day they would be getting two grand baby’s in a year only to have a miscarriage two days later.  Then when we left to go get Faith I was 8 weeks pregnant, and two weeks into the trip I went into pre-term labor and lost the baby.  That is when God started working on our hearts to adopt Joyce.

I just got up from a sweet afternoon nap with Joyce and Faith.  They came and layed in my bed with me while Zori was napping.  I woke up to Faith’s leg on top of me and her mouth wide open.  And looking at them laying there sleeping I couldn’t help but think about the mother’s that gave them life and the pain our little girls have already endured in their short lives.  I am beyond thankful that their mother’s chose life for them.  Their choices later may not have been what I agreed with, but I have never walked in their shoes.  It’s so easy to sit and point fingers, but until you live someone’s life and face the challenges they face you will never truly understand.  I know that my girls will have scars and hurts that even my love will not be able to erase.  But I pray that as their Mother I can point them to the One who will fill up every whole in their hearts, Jesus.

So I lay there feeling sad with tears streaming down for a while.  Sad for my girls and the hurts they have that no one can see, and for all the millions of other motherless children in the world.  But I am hopeful that God will call them to Himself and draw them in His everlasting arms and help them to realize that no matter the circumstance they were born in or came to us, that He created them for a glorious purpose.  And that is really what our first jobs as parents are.  It’s discipleship and pointing them to Jesus.  And I am hopeful that there will be more families out there that long to be mommies and daddies that realize there are a multitude of children that want to be part of a family more than anything.  Children that want desperately to have a Mommy to hug and wipe away their tears.  To be honest, it is a hard road, but I love each of my kids as much as I love Rwenzori.  I don’t believe everyone is called to adopt or that this is “The” solution to the orphan crisis, but it is a step in the right direction.  I hope you all have a lovely Mother’s Day celebrating with your families.  If there is someone out there longing to be a Mommy, I would ask you, what is holding you back?

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This was the best pic I got today and Zori was not happy!

This was the best pic I got today and Zori was not happy!

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Settling In

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It seems as though we are starting to get somewhat of a routine or schedule, only to have it disappear in a month when school is out.  As my devotional this morning put it, “Oh Well”.  God always knows what I need when I need it, and I just have to keep remembering Perspective.  So this morning was all about when little petty things don’t go the way we planned just let it go that way when the real issues come you have the reserves you need to deal with it.  It ended with what we now call our Life Verse/Uganda Adoption Verse which is 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “ Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  I really need to get better at memorizing scripture because I could repeat this as a mantra some days.

I am sitting here in peace and quiet for the first time in a long time.  Dane took Faith and Joyce to One7 and Zori is sound asleep.  I promised myself I would take a nap and I did that for about 20 minutes and now is blog time.  Joyce is really loving school, I think she will be sad when she gets out for summer break.  Faith seems to be enjoying more time alone with Dane and I, although normally the first thing she asks when she gets up is, “Where is Joyce?”.  And Rwenzori is doing great.  She turned 6 months old last week and I continue to make homemade baby food for her and she has yet to really like anything.  We have tried carrots, sweet potatoes, bananas, and avocado.  She makes the funniest face when you put the food in her mouth.  Everyone tells me I will know when she is ready, and she is apparently not ready yet.

I want to take some time to update everyone on what’s going on in Karamoja.  I’m going to share another blog site from a missionary couple that is living there now.  Interesting enough they are also in the adoption process in Uganda, but  I believe they are fostering in country, which was our plan if Joyce hadn’t been able to come home.  This couple has actually been working in the same village that Dane and I worked in when we first went to Uganda.  It’s called Lomorucubae, and that  is where I met Kemaleyna.  She was the beautiful girl who stole my heart, and she still lives there.  Here is the link for that update http://danielandrachel.wordpress.com/

Also Lantern Vision made an awesome video about bringing water to Karamoja.  Here is the link

http://fueluganda.com/karamoja.html

This is Kemaleyna.  She and I just had a connection and she will forever be in our hearts!

This is Kemaleyna. She and I just had a connection and she will forever be in our hearts!

I want to take another moment to share another blog post from another adoptive parent.  I have actually read a few other things of hers not knowing she had adopted also.  I think she is right on the money and it goes right along with my new approach, PERSPECTIVE.  http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2012/05/where-is-mommy-war-for-motherless-child.html

Sorry I’m sharing so much from others.  My brain half functions now, Dane is starting to really believe it too.

I think I'm going to have to get a Canvas of this!

I think I’m going to have to get a Canvas of this!

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These are their Ugandan dresses!

These are their Ugandan dresses!

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All pictures were taken by Kristin and Aaron Byrum.  There site is http://www.kristinbyrum.com/Fresh/.  So thankful some of our best friends are the best photographers ever!

 

Can’t Believe I Have a Kid in School!

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Joyce started school this past Monday.  It’s amazing how much more cooperative she is at bedtime now because she wants to get her rest for school.  She seems to really be loving it.  Dane took her on Monday and met her teacher, Ms. Koester.  Ms. Koester taught at Shiloh when I was there.  I met with her on Tuesday morning, and after I left I realized I think I remember her so well because she was my A.G. teacher in 4th grade, though I still need to confirm this.  All the teachers already knew Joyce’s name and were saying hello to her as we were walking in.  Next week is Spring Break, so I think this week is a great way to start her so she doesn’t get so overwhelmed.

Faith wakes up every morning asking where Joyce is. It’s so cute.  We have experimented with skipping naps with Faith this week.  It makes for a long day for me, but she goes to sleep now at night instead of playing or getting up, and she is sleeping in until 8:30am!  Our sweet neighbor Grace has been so helpful and comes over and sits at the house with the little kids while I take Joyce to school when Dane is at work.  This is a huge blessing because I think one of the hardest things to do is getting all the kids out of the house.

Everyone is really adjusting well.  We still have to deal with a lot of moodiness but that’s a pre-teen for you, and I know it’s only going to get worse.  I have had a few meltdowns myself and had to apologize for my behavior.  You really never truly understand people when they talk about how hard parenting is until you actually do it yourself.  But we wouldn’t change a thing.

2 Corinthians 6:10

10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

This verse has a new meaning to me now.

Silly Girls!

Silly Girls!

Joyce's first day of school in America! 4/7/2014

Joyce’s first day of school in America!
4/7/2014