Saturday, November 30, 2013

Photo Update!

Thanksgiving, 2013

Grandpa Cotton visit - November 2013

Steven's birthday party - November 2013

Our beautiful Ethiopian girl (cornrows only lasted a few days but they were awesome)

The boys! (Joe, Blake, Steven, Ben, Jason, Jack, Drew, Luke, Cole) Thanksgiving 2013

We like to show off  tummy's in this family, obviously

Celeste, Angie, Danielle, Rachel (a few of my favorite people!)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lots of sickness
Lots of pressure & stress
Lots to be tempted to worry about
But this is life!
Listening to John MacArthur sermons on Phil 2 on not complaining. Ouch, so convicting. Take a listen, you will be changed! (

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thoughts on adoption

Since this is national adoption month I have been thinking a lot about our adoption of Iris. With friends and friends of friends who are in the process now it all feels so fresh to me.
So many times I look at Iris while she is playing and think about the day it must have happened. The day her birth mom had her and left her. I don't know many details and I don't think it's my place to share much more than that, but it's not a great mystery with orphans in Ethiopia being abandoned by their birth mother/ family. But I look at that sweet face, her healthy growing body and wonder if her birth mother ever thinks about her or if she's even alive. I can't imagine being left by my mother at birth, living in an orphanage for a year and then flying home with strangers to a new country, new language and a new life. My girl is so strong.

To be honest the bonding has been harder than I thought. Don't get me wrong, she bonded to us quickly and we loved her from the start, even before we saw her photo we loved her. That began the day we filled out our application! Having her home though, having Blake who is only 4 months older, and then bringing in a newborn in less than two years of having her's been an adjustment. It's been chaotic, stressful, exhausting but of course wonderful and rewarding too.

I see her insecurity. I see her shyness around others and her bubbly spirit at home (she never stops talking at home!) I think my favorite is seeing her love my mom. The woman who encouraged me throughout the three year journey more than anyone else. The woman who became a huge supporter of adoption, my mother. She and Iris have a very close relationship and I love that.
It's strange to think that two years ago at this time we had not even met her! We had gotten our referral in September and had been told it would probably be spring till our court date. Then low and behold we got the call that the day after Christmas we'd need to leave to get there in time. We spent new years in Ethiopia...can it really be almost two years ago?

It has been a great thing but a hard thing. I wanted kids and I got them and quite quickly. To think the Lord chose her, a sweet little helpless newborn girl in a small village in Ethiopia, 5 hours from the capital Addis Ababa & made her ours. I love adoption. I love Ethiopia. I love Iris.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Read anything good lately?

My brother is always reading a good book. He is great about asking me "what are you reading lately"...rarely do I have a good answer. Until lately! The Lord has been prompting me, by my current circumstances mainly, to be reading good books and filling my mind with wisdom and not "junk". It is a discipline for me to spend my time well, the little bit of free moments that I have, but I'm seeing it transform my mind lately. I'm thinking about verses or paragraphs in great books by Elizabeth George or Martha Peace, who has a ton of books on being a godly wife & mother. I'm also reading some really good parenting books as right now Joe and I are in the throws of training our children - these are the nitty gritty years to get it right from the start! It's a daunting responsibility and I want with all my heart to do the best job I possibly can.
I admire my brother in so many ways, as well as my sister in law Danielle, who let me look through their library so I can borrow more and more books. I'm hungry to learn and grow and gain knowledge. I thank them for their example to push me to grow without saying a word but by their lives.

I'm also blown away with my sister Rachel. She has turned in the most giving and sacrificial parent that I long to become. Her entire day is one of sacrifice, love, caring & patience. She is so strong and I want to be more like that with my own children.
This morning as I was walking from the school to the church, I realized once again how blessed I am, to be home, living here, listening to my brother and dad teach God's word each week. Having been gone for 11 years and never knowing if it would here I am with three children living minutes away from the people I love most on this earth. It's so easy for me to get caught up in the daily tasks and not look at all God has given me.
 Reading has so many benefits, so I ask...have you read anything good lately??