Monday, November 9, 2015

Aiden: Seven and a Half

He's seven and a half and his baby-ness is dissipating with each aging day. So when he chose to sit on our laps and let us wrap our arms around him, I had to snap a picture because things like this are happening less and less. Sometimes I wonder if he feels pushed out of our laps by the smaller but much louder little ones or if he's, simply, just needing us less and less. Perhaps it's a complex mixture of the two but knowing him, I'm willing to bet he's quietly sacrificing himself for the greater good. Either way, I will jump at every chance to let my love for him be known.

Out of all my kids, he reminds me the most of the handsome man with the kind, blue eyes to the right. Quiet. Introspective. Sensitive. And kind. I worry about Aiden because the world prefers bold, flashing lights rather than the quiet, intricate goodness that can touch your soul like a really great book. It takes a while to become acquainted but once you do, they never quite leave you entirely.

I tell Jarod all the time how similar they are. He listens and nods. But I don't think I convey that every time I make the comparison, I'm also reassuring myself. If he turns out anything like his dad, then I know he's going to be just fine ❤️

Friday, August 21, 2015

the girl who holds the world in a paper cup

There are few songs that can deeply affect you your whole life. As far back as I could remember Kenny Loggins played on my parent’s cassette tapes and on the soft rock radio stations that my parent’s played incessantly to the point that I even naively believed 70’s and early 80’s music was the only kind of music that existed for more than half of my childhood.
Even as a young child, I’ve been enthralled by words in such a peculiar way that I see now majoring in English was always my inevitable path; it’s as if my heart has always been spoken for. One song with its magical array of cleverly assorted words has continued to grow with me alongside the ever increasing lines that grace my face. As a little girl, I heard Loggins sing of loving “the girl who holds the world in a paper cup.” Although, I wasn’t quite sure what those lyrics meant back then; I wholeheartedly decided I was going to be that girl.

Loggins sang “even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with you, honey,” and those lyrics carried me through all the years when we had no idea how we were going to pay our bills and we lived, quite literally, on love. He sang how “a smile, a face, a girl that shares my name,” changed the boy who “will never be the same,” as if he personally knew the affect my love would have on Jarod.

He sang about babies being “conceived in love,” and seeing “a family where there once was none” as if he knew how much I still marvel at these children that surround us with their presence and affection. 

He sang about the kind “little boy (being) mine,” and how a “Pisces … is a very good sign,” as if he knew Aiden’s existence even before Jarod nor I ever were a glimmer in our parents’ eyes. He sang as if he somehow knew I would tenderly sing those lyrics to our first-born in the quietness when a mother and a child’s hearts are first entangled and seemingly inseparable. 

Years have woven into our marriage and even almost eleven years later, Loggins tenderly reminds me that I need to “try to earn what lovers own,” because love is never devoid of effort; this wisdom whispers in the recesses of my mind when I selfishly demand more without loving reason.

And most importantly, he reminds me “in the morning when I rise, you bring a tear of joy to my eyes, and tell me everything is gonna be alright,” for the sun has always risen after the darkness envelopes the entire world and hope has always been miraculously prevalent. Our sole job is to, simply, believe.

Danny’s Song is much more than a favorite song. My simple words can only suggest a minuscule of the depth of emotion and meaning this song provokes in my soul. Thus, absolute joy filled me when I sang back these beautiful lyrics to the singer and songwriter himself while sitting next to the man that “shares my name,” the Pisces “little boy (that is) mine,” our three other babies who were “conceived in love,” and my best friend who often reminds me that “everything is gonna be alright.”

This moment will forever be a favorite.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

if God exists . . .

                I used to look at the pain of the world and scoff at the notion that a loving God existed.
                If God existed, He would never let this happen, I thought as my eyes rolled in the back of my head.
                I know I’ve made remarks in this seemingly abandoned blog (cue the tumbleweed slowing passing by) that my thoughts have made quite a 180 reversal in the last year. But one example is I no longer scuff at the non-existence of God’s presence ... but desire to be of God’s service.
Now I see that God works through people who act with love and compassion in their forefront.
                Now I see people that seek to glorify God through their kindness can only do so because of the wisdom and strength that Christ has graciously given us.
                Which leads me back to foster care, Jarod and I came to the conclusion that it’s too much for our family. Ahem, in other words, Jarod decided it was too much for him and our family. I still have such a big passion for foster care and adopting … but I’ve come to learn to respect Jarod’s wishes and let him take the lead in our family.
                I understand that although God has put this in my heart, Jarod doesn’t have it in his.
                However, I believe that my passion for children, especially those who suffer from neglect and lack of love, doesn’t exist for nothing. I don’t know what God’s plan is for me but I know it will include this avenue in some way.
                I pray that Jarod will one day have a change of heart. I know how pure his heart is, that adoption isn’t a new idea we just recently toyed around with (we talked about it early in our relationship), and I know our current financial situation overwhelms him at times (which will dramatically change in the next year, more about that in a different post); so I do have a small amount of hope that he may have a change of heart.
                But for now, I’m content. The other day, I went to an informational orientation to volunteer with a foster care center in the neighboring area. I’m really excited about this. It’s a one year commitment to volunteer for one shift once a month. I don’t feel like it’s much (because I wish I could do so much more) but it’s something.
                And it will make a difference.
                You see, a few months ago I stopped questioning God’s presence in the mess of this world and I started taking responsibility for my lack of involvement. I stopped questioning where He is and started asking where He wants me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

the struggle of marriage

How does one even begin to explain what ten years of marriage with you looks like? I've been the happiest I've ever been - with you. I've felt moments I knew, even in the millisecond that time was unraveling, would forever be etched in my heart as the reason life exists. We've celebrated birthdays, holidays, milestones in our "adult life," and the indescribable joy that comes from bringing home a new baby created from our love with one another ... a wondrous four times.

There have been countless amazing moments.

But ten years of marriage, ten years of life, is not always amazing.

I have felt utter dislike for you - as I know with certainty you have felt for me. I can easily recall the time when your mother absolutely hated me and my father loathed to even look at you. I remember when we were painfully confused between being kids versus adults, our parent's children versus each other's spouses, and between remaining innocently happy versus jaded by the harsh coldness of life.

There has been an undeniably amount of pain and struggle.

I can look back and see the moments we could have easily walked away from each other, walked away from our faults, and our struggles. I have an intimate understanding of just how delicate relationships are and how easily they can unravel.

Life is hard and marriage is even harder.

But, loving you, has been the easiest thing I've ever done. It's not terribly difficult to love someone who is kind, thoughtful, selfless, intelligent, funny, hard-working, and good-looking.

You ... have made difficult moments, such as miscarrying our first baby, saying good-bye to my Lola, countless weeks in the hospital (for Lola and our nephew), and when people and life were just too much for me, a little more bearable.

Our life together has never been comfortably easy. We've been thrown a few curveballs and sometimes our reaction is to unjustifiably to take it out on one another. "Hangry" has absolutely no comparison to the level of stress and exhaustion that our lives sometimes affords.

When I think of ten years of marriage with you, I vividly remember all the hardships we've gone through. But when I see you, and even when I just think of us, I can see the growth and strength that only emerges from struggle. When I think of ten years of marriage with you, I see you and me fighting for us, for each other, and for our love.

I love you, Jj.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


I've grown as a person in so many ways this past year. I know how clique that sounds in so many ways but it's true. 2013 me would have never imagined this new 2015 me. At. All.

As much as I was growing as a person of faith and furthering a very real, authentic relationship with Jesus, I couldn't grasp a solid foundation of who I was because my foundation was evolving and changing.

Putting yourself out there, in any aspect, such as a job interview, meeting someone new for the first time, a first date, and blogging takes a lot of courage. Honestly, I feel like I wasn't ready to expose all of who I am because I wasn't quite sure who all I am entailed.

Yes, I'm different. There's a gratitude inside of me that failed to exist before. There's a relationship that I put above everyone and everything else now.

But I'm happily still me.

I'm not perfect and I have many, many faults.

But I do like my own authenticity. I like the messy parts of me just as much as the "perfect" parts. I like that I'm slightly neurotic. I'm positive I have a slight undiagnosed case of OCD. I will shove bags upon bags of dirty laundry in the closet when company comes over but I'll expose my messiness and faults on the internet for the world to see.

I love ridiculously, cheesy (annoying) "Hallmark moments" and believe life ceases to exist without them. Yet, when someone acknowledges the real, messy parts of life and parenthood unapologetically, I can't help think 1) I'm not alone, 2) somebody really gets me, and 3) why aren't me and this person BFFs?!

As much as Jesus has changed my soul, I'm still human. I desire to be more and more Christ-like. Period.

But I'm will never be that perfect and this is my open-for-the-world-to-see journal. I'm here to give blogging another go with this new identity ;)