Monday, July 27, 2009


It has happened! God has added another baby girl to our family! Lily Ana Faith was born on Thursday, and we were able to bring her home on Saturday! What an amazing day it was--full of raw emotion to say the least. We met Lily Ana's birthmom only twice before the day she so selflessly placed her tiny, helpless little body in our arms and hearts. On that day we experienced joy & sadness; exhilaration & heartache; and most of all love. And what a day it was!

With Lily Ana's placement in our home, I've been much more aware of the ignorance of people when it comes to adoption. I don't mean that in a callous way, but in the way that ignorance is simply "not knowing" about something. Several people have said to me, "I just don't know how anyone could GIVE this baby away!" I've just looked at them in disbelief. If only they could have been there. If only they could have seen the red, swollen eyes of a sweet young lady who'd been crying for hours before and will continue to cry for hours, days, months, and even years after placement. If only they could have seen the tear stains on Lily Ana's blanket--the blanket that her birthmom chose for her and slept with so that she would continue to know her smell when she came home with us. If only...

The choice was not one to give this baby AWAY, but instead it was to give this baby MORE. Lily Ana's birthmom prayed over her decision for months. She agonized over profiles of families and didn't find the one she was looking for. While she was praying, we were also praying. We prayed daily for God to give us THE baby He wanted us to have, not just any baby, but THE baby. And as the Holy Spirit so perfectly does, He laid it on the hearts of the sweet, wise ladies at New Life to show this birthmom one more profile--ours. And then there was peace. She knew. We knew. He knew.

And now here we are, still filled with so many emotions. Ours is joy and excitement and happiness, and Lily Ana's birthmom is still filled with so many emotions too. I pray that she is experiencing peace about her decision, but she is certainly still feeling sorrow and grief and misery. I know many of you have sent us messages of congratulations, and I know that many of you will do that once you read this. Thank you for that, and thank you for praying for us as we've walked this portion of our journey.

I have one request of you however. Remember the love felt on the day we brought Lily Ana home? It was the love of an adoptive family for the sweet birthmom placing her baby in their arms and for the new baby being welcomed into their hearts. But most of all, it was the love of a birthmom for the precious baby girl she carried in her womb. And with that love comes so much pain, so much heartache, so much grief. Remember her. Remember her selflessness. And remember to pray for her.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Feels Like...

Well, it feels like a lot of things right about now--the first being that it feels like I haven't blogged in quite a while! It's not for having nothing to write about, it's just that we've been so busy with all that summer brings! My sweet friend Erin motivated me to get writing though! I don't know if it was so much what she said, although it was very sweet, or just that I know at least ONE person reads this, but either way, I'm ready to write!

It also feels like I've accomplished a thing or two!
I've painted the living room, entry way, and two small hallways Behr Gobi Desert thanks to help from Bryan and my dad, and I've painted all of the pulls on the doors and drawers in the bathroom and kitchen so that they are no longer an old, tarnished-looking brass! They are now a Rustoleum Hammered Finish Brown, and they do look great! I still have some door knobs throughout the house to go, but I'm pretty excited about how they are turning out! I've also done a little scrapbooking. I am officially now only one year behind! I just finished scrapbooking our trip to the Frio River last summer on the Fourth of July. It could be worse, right?

Despite the heat making it feel like it's 120 degrees outside, it feels like summer for other reasons too! We got to take a little trip to San Antonio for a few days and spent some time at Sea World. Emma Leigh loved it! She is at a really good age for enjoying the rides and the shows. She rode her first roller coaster and got to feed a dolphin! God was so gracious in so many ways on our trip! Bryan took care of all of our reservations and tickets, and he bought us each a Fun Pass so we can visit as many times as we want until the end of the year. As we paid our $15 for parking the first evening we were there, the attendant suggested we upgrade just one of our tickets to a Season Pass, so that we would not have to pay parking each time we visit. When we upgraded, they gave us our $15 back in the form of a voucher, a book of coupons to use in the park, and a cool Sea World refillable cup! The only souvenir Em wanted was a dolphin that only cost us $4.99 because of the voucher, and we were able to fill the cup we got with ice water for FREE! And then there was the little "Hedge of Protection" He provided when about four vehicles were broken into at our hotel, one nearly stolen outside our window, and our truck was not one of them! God was so good to us!

My sister Amy just had her first precious baby girl, so I'm feeling like a new aunt these days! I helped her decorate the nursery, and it turned out so pretty! We made these cute canvases to hang on one wall of the nursery, and we painted letters and flowers for two other walls. Briley Mischelle arrived Tuesday weighing only 6 lbs., 8 oz. I saw her today, and she's down to 6 lbs.!! She's so tiny, but she's so perfect!

I've always loved taking pictures, and I feel like I have a feel for some creativity with photography. Amy let me take belly shots of her, and of course I have a great little model that lives with me! It's been fun experimenting with my camera, and I've captured some pretty awesome moments!

And then there's the feeling that prompted me to begin writing this post a few weeks back. The whole "Feels Like..." title comes from the Michael English song, "Feels Like Redemption." My very first blog post, written almost a year ago, ended with these words...
"I find myself, at this point in my life though, needing a reminder from God about delighting myself. I'm busy being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, granddaughter, and teacher. My time is consumed with things far from the things God showed me meant "delighting." So my prayer is that this blog not only allows me to share my life experiences with others, but that it will help me to remember to give Him my all!"

My life had become so consumed with doing and being and living that my relationship with the Lord had become hazy. At another point in my life, I'd been in the same place. I taught at a school where gossip, malice, and bitterness were a part of the norm on my team. I fell into a pattern of gossiping myself and hated going to work everyday. The end result, after months of back-stabbing and placing blame, was a huge argument with someone who I thought had been one of my best friends. I was deeply hurt and did not return to teaching at that school the following year. I have carried with me hurt and anger and have allowed that argument to define who I am. My deepest regret of all from the situation was that I had tarnished my Christian witness to people there.

When I began using Facebook, I searched regularly for my friend who I'd had the argument with, but I could never find her. Several weeks ago, I found her through another friend's profile! I excitedly sent her a friend request, and she quickly replied with a message saying, "I hope you know that I think highly of you. I have few regrets in life, but our argument is one of them." I almost cried, not from sadness, but from relief. I had not mentioned the disagreement we'd had out of fear, but the Lord had taken what could have been a terrible situation and reopened a door for me to show what He has done in my life during the past three years. I'm so thankful for forgiveness, for redemption, and for grace! What an amazing God we serve!