Dry Bones

I have spent recent months in a place of spiritual discontentment. I found myself feeling like every story I read was one that I had read a thousand times before and, to be honest, I didn’t feel like reading it one more time.

And at the same time my bones were dry and my insides were dead.

I prayed for new eyes
I prayed for a renewed hunger for God’s word
I prayed for a fire to burn in my heart
I prayed for a passion that would drive my life

and I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed
and my bones remained dry and my insides remained dead.
I remembered what it felt like to want to know Christ more for awhile and I wanted to want that. And then I got tired of wanting to want and it just became a numb thought at the very back of my very full mind.

I still knew the words to say and I still read and I still prayed but Jesus felt far away, and I started to wonder if this would be what our relationship looked life from now on.
And then I picked up a book.
“The Insanity of God”

cs-insanity-lNow please don’t go all super spiritual on me and lecture me about The Bible being the only book I should need because it is God’s inspired and Holy word. 

I know that.

But I believe that in that moment, when I was reading, but not really paying attention to The Bible, God placed in my hands exactly what He knew would get my attention. Honestly, He could have used any book and that’s fine (though this is a great one and if you haven’t read it you should). 

And frankly it wouldn’t have mattered to me what book He used I’m just so thankful He did.

And finally after months of dry insides and dead bones God woke me up again and I am reading with new eyes and a deeper sense of gratitude for grace. 

I’m reading John right now. I am using the Gospel Transformation Bible. My prayer is that with every verse, chapter and book I read the transformation in my own life becomes more and more obvious. My prayer is also that my relationship becomes one of such intimacy that I can hear everything the still small voice whispers, and that I would have the courage to obey. 

You probably thought there was a point to this post when you started reading it. There really isn’t. I just felt like I needed to write down what has been going on in my heart recently. And this just barely scratches the surface. I do hope that if you find yourself in the place I was in that this gives you hope.

~Kels~

T-2 Weeks and Counting!!

So Clint and I have been keeping a giant secret for like 3 months and it has been killing us!

So last night we decided it was time to tell the girls that we are going to DISNEY WORLD in only TWO WEEKS!!!!! 
I wanted to find a fun way to tell them so I googled and Pinterested and googled and Pinterested, and I finally settled on a treasure hunt! =)

I googled imaged Disney World treasure map and found this
(The picture is a link)

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The places on it were not what I needed so I spent a little time in Photoshop (don’t be critical, I willingly admit that I do not know what I am doing when it comes to this software) and erased those places and with a lot more google imaging I added new ones. The final map looked like this:

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After I made the map I printed it out in 6 different sections and cut it to make a puzzle. Each section had a clue written on the back. 
When Clint came home he and the girls sat in the hot tub while I hid the clues around the house. 
The hunt started in the living room where I had wrapped the first clue in a ring box and wrote “Open Me” on the outside, after they opened it they read

“Today I think is 1-of-a-kind, because today is the day that you will find the biggest treasure, use your eyeballs, look around, for the next of your clues is hidden high above the ground….”

The next one was hidden in the ceiling fan, they found it in about 5 minutes.

Clue 2: “Two weeks will pass and you must be kind and happy and nice you see, for if you aren’t your mother said, “I will send those cranky girls straight to ____”

They did not have a hard time at all finding the next one hidden with minnie mouse on the bed, they did however have a hard time grasping that the pieces were a puzzle haha. 

Clue 3: “You will pack your brand new bags and you will need lots of rest because this next adventure will be the best! But don’t go too far because to get somewhere one’s journey must always begin in the ___”

They had a harder time with that one, it wasn’t one of my best rhymes haha. Once we clued them in to the fact that the word they were looking for rhymed with far they guessed car pretty easily. They ran to the car where I had hidden new rolling bags for each of them. The funny part was they thought that was the surprise hahaha. They were done when they saw the bags. We had to show them the next clue and explain that the treasure hunt was not over before they continued. 

Clue 4: “You like to color and mom likes to sew, off to the _____ _____ we must go!”

Ok, so from this point on imagine 2 little girls rolling suitcases behind them from room to room until they got to the final clue. 
Once they got in the craft room they found Clue 5 hiding with a Mickey mouse coloring book (and were still clueless).

Clue 5: “Mirror Mirror on the wall there are 2 most beautiful girls of all, and in the ______ they can see the amazing reflection of their incredible beauty”

They figured out they were supposed to be in my room fairly quickly and as the older one looked around for the last clue the younger was a little too distracted by the present sitting on my bed with Mickey and minnie figurines perched on top to care about what the last clue actually said.

Clue 6: “In only 2 weeks, on July the 1st, the four of us shall begin a vacation far from the worst! There is magic, we will meet Ariel, and Mickey Mouse too! We are going to the place where dreams can come true! With our nails painted pretty, and our hair nice and curled, we can’t wait to take our girls to DISNEY WORLD!!!!”

This was followed by a lot of screaming from the older one and a really confused face from the younger. We let them open their present, which had our fancy magic wristbands (which are so cool by the way) They look like this:

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They get you into the park, your hotel room, they store your meal points and you can buy things in the gift shops with them! It’s pretty fancy. 

Anyway after opening the wristbands we spent a little extra time with our little one explaining what this all meant and we looked at the map in a little more detail. She was not as excited as the older one but I think once we get there she will be. 

In retrospect I think it would have been better to have them packed and end the treasure map by explaining that we were leaving the next morning, they were ready to go as soon as we told them. That’s alright, this gives us time to watch the movies they haven’t seen and get a few essentials (without me having to buy them behind their backs)

We are super excited and can’t wait to leave for our big trip!! These two week cannot go by fast enough! =)

 

A phone call to remember

I remember thinking it was a really strange phone call.
My dad said, 
“Kels, we are taking your mom to the Doctor, she has been really tired for weeks now and we want to see what is going on.”

I didn’t think much of it except that it was weird that my dad was calling to explain that he was taking my mom to a doctor’s appointment, but then he called again a little later,

“mom was really low on blood” 

I don’t remember the specifics (because I am not a detail oriented person), but I remember the amount of blood they had to give my mom was crazy. I remember the Doctor told her that it was amazing she was even up and walking around. I remember that in the weeks to follow my mom had more appointments and things were very up in the air. I remember that I knew was that this was a lot more serious than that initial phone call left me feeling. 

And I remember the day they gave my mom the diagnosis. Myelodysplastic Syndrome. 
We learned that she would need a bone marrow transplant which would require chemo. Basically the disease was treated the same as cancer.
And Clint was in Canada
And we had not lived in Texas very long
And I could not think of where to go or who to call

 

I finally called Rachel. She was the first friend I made in Lufkin, she was the first real conversation I had after moving to Lufkin. And she is wonderful. She sat with me and she cried with me and she prayed with me. I am so very thankful for the people God placed in my life here. 

I remember talking to my sister a lot more often than I normally do, we were both researching the disease looking at the numbers, comparing statistics. They didn’t look good. The only person in our family that could even possibly be a match was my Uncle and we eventually found out that he was not. After that discovery my mom’s information went into an international database where we waited for a match. 

I remember losing it on a regular basis. I remember my brother being the rock out of the three of us. He was so peaceful, like he just knew it was all going to work out. His faith was unwavering. 
Another side note, my siblings are incredible. I couldn’t have asked for better.

Then the call came, they found a donor and mom started the whole big long process where she spent a large majority of her year in Houston. We were all there off an on to keep her company, my grandparents stayed with her the whole time and so did my dad. It was a hard few months for my mom as you could imagine but I think we all grew through the process.

One thing I can look back and say for sure is that God was glorified through the situation. The amount of people my parents came in contact with that they were able to share the love of Christ with was amazing. The amount of faith stretching and relationship building that happened for us spiritually and as a family was incalculable. 

It is nice to be at a point in my life that I can look back on certain events and see how God used it for His good. Romans 8:28 brings on a whole new meaning. 

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This was my instagram post one year ago yesterday. =)

GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME

 

Love you mom! So so so so thankful to be able to call you on the days when I don’t know what to do and need the advice that only a mom like you can give. 

Happy Friday Everyone!

Grace that can pardon and cleanse within

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“No, we are not putting swimsuits on today,
it is rainy and cold outside.”

Those were the magic words. Most days it takes time and it builds, but not that morning. That morning it took one sentence.

“UGH! You never let me do ANYTHING I want! You’re the meanest ever! Pack my stuff!
I want to go to a new home! I’m not kidding! Call Mrs. J. I don’t want to live here
anymore!”

I realize in retrospect that this is a silly situation but the fact of the matter is we have conversations like this a lot. With tears streaming down her face she will throw every word she knows to get me to believe that she hates me, that I am not her mom and never will be, that her life was so much better before me.

And it sucks.

Before Clint and I got in to fostering we had people telling us constantly about how hard it was going to be. Most the time it felt like they were trying to change our minds about what God had laid on our hearts. We always knew this was going to be difficult, and I even expect the words that she tends to throw my way.

And to be 100% honest with you I have thought a million times over about how much easier it would be to have biological children that we knew would be our to raise. Children that we weren’t improvising discipline strategies for, that we didn’t have to install doorbells on each door of our house for simply because we got a hot tub, children that after a long day and finally feeling like we were getting somewhere we didn’t have to have a gnawing thought in the back of our mind saying “this is pointless, it won’t be maintained after they leave your house, why are you even trying.”

But as soon as that sentence of doubt makes its way to the front of my mind there is always the gentle reasssurance that seeps into my heart reminding me that if it were easy it would not be worth it because when God gave grace through Christ there was nothing easy about it. My heart beats out my mind by reminding me that God is made perfect when we are at our very weakest.

And 15 minutes later after Christ has affirmed this decision in my life my blond haired blue-eyed treasure walks in with a smile on her face ready to begin her day happy again for reasons unexplained to me and I remember that God always knows what He is doing.

A Few of Our Favorite Things

I thought that having kids would give me abundantly more to say on here, and it has. The problem is there is so much to say and so many emotions that I can’t seem to sort through them well enough to articulate them.

So in the mean time I will tell you some of our new favorite activities (and by our I obviously mean the girls);

Rain Drops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens…
Not really, that song is only one of my favorites. If I tried to get my family to sit still for the movie, Clint would fast forward through all the songs and the girls would cheer him on (true story: that’s exactly what he did when I tried to make him watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He just doesn’t get it.).

10171925_10201606277865661_1275577961_nWe love $3 Target Tu-Tu’s, but that goes without explanation.

Sorry (the board game). Can I just tell you, they changed this game. They added tokens called Fire and Ice “power ups”. The ice one we have figured out and we play with it regularly, but even after reading the instruction 3 times I could not for the life of me understand what to do with Fire! Anyway, I have to keep both eyes on the game because I have 2 cheaters and one who is still trying to understand the concept of a board game.

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Mickey Mouse Memory, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and all other things Mickey Mouse. For the record, 4-year-olds do not have the attention span to play a matching game with 64 pieces (that may be an exaggeration). Also, I do not love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I miss classic Mickey Mouse. The characters lack.. well.. character! And at any point in time during the day you can walk through my house and hear “Oh toodles!!” being yelled by the TV, kids, or Clint…

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Toodles is the odd floating head next to Mickey. He has a face most the time and he is their gadget that helps fix things, aren’t you so thankful for the useful information I fill your head with?

Kids Songs. Squirrely (the younger of the two) is very inquisitive and if we are in the car she will ask a million questions about ridiculous things that I cannot answer. My patience for this grew thin after a month so I had an idea one day in the car; Kids Songs! Oh my it was a hit, and not just for Squirrely but Lilttle Momma (the older of the two) LOVES them as well. We sing the baby bumblebee song, tiny turtle, days of the week, The B-I-B-L-E, and Zacchaeus pretty much every day. That’s fine. I will sing about smashing a bumblebee any day if it means I do not have to listen to One Direction. (Every song sounds the SAMEEE)


On that note, I need some more kids song, so feel free to leave suggestions!

Leggings. Ok, if you know me you know that one of my biggest pet peeves is when people wear leggings as pants. THEY ARE NOT PANTS. If you want to wear them with a long shirt that covers all your parts, fine, but wearing them as a substitute for jeans is not ok past like 2 year old.
This is a concept that was never taught to my girls. They have more leggings than all other clothing items combined. We have had to take a shopping trip to find shirts that are long enough to be my version of acceptable with leggings. And I am about to cave on Jeggings. It’s just a battle I can’t fight anymore.

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I don’t really love these greeting card things, but this one seemed appropriate.

Their favorite part about living with us (as they informed the caseworker) is church =). We love that. It has made such an impact in their lives that BioMom has started attending a local church so that they can keep it in their lives when they go home (as long as everything keeps going the way it is currently going). We are thrilled about that, we know that Jesus is the only one who can fix a broken family and make something beautiful out of it.

That is the hope that I cling to every day for my girls.

Anyway, thanks for reading!
All you friendlies that I don’t get to see on a regular basis: I miss you!

*Kels

 

Exhaustion=My Life

Well, 

For those of you who have not heard yet, we got kids on Wednesday! We have an 8 year old and a 4 year old. They are sisters. I’m pretty sure I can’t say much more than that on the world wide web, but we are having a blast.
Life has changed tremendously, for example I’m tired ALL THE TIME. Ok, so, that’s not really all that different, but I am really tired. On top of being tired I got sick like a day before the girls came to live with us, and it has just gotten worse. And now Clint has it =). I’m good at sharing. 

Enough about us, I’m sure you’d rather hear more about the girls.

I can’t post pictures, and I can’t tell you their story, but I can tell you about them and a little bit of what our life has looked like so far.

The older one is quite the mother hen. I think she is very used to being the boss, so that has been a bit of a battle. She is so sweet, and a great helper though. She especially loves to help me cook. She also loves music, she conned Clint in to starting a “rock band” with her and she makes him practice every day. She also loves softball which Clint is thrilled about, because he is dying to have someone to play sports with.

The younger one is so sweet, and very compliant. We rarely have a hard time getting her to do what she is supposed to do. She is very affectionate, loves to be held, and is quite the chatter box. She told us tonight to “please turn down the music so you can hear me singing” =). She constantly tells us she loves us and never wants to be in a room alone. 

Those are our girls in a nutshell. They have already wiggled their way right into our hearts, and took no time at all making our house their home. Tomorrow they get to see their mom and they are so excited =). I am excited for them. 
I haven’t met her yet, but it seems like she loves them, and is really trying to make a better life for them. 
So now you are all caught up =).

I will keep you posted!

Thanks for reading.

Kels

Today’s Life

So here is the scoop:

We got our license for foster care about 2 weeks before we left for a 3 week trip home for Christmas.And then there was silence.
Until about 2 days after we got to Oklahoma (Who is surprised?), and it was perfect. A 3 and a 5 year old. So we prayed about it, called our case worker and said that we would be home in 7 hours.
But they had already found a placement.

We haven’t had another call.

I know that God’s timing is perfect (and, for that matter, God’s timing is the only timing). So we will wait. Anxiously. And we will pray every day for the kids that God is planning to place in our home eventually.

Thank you all for caring enough to want updates on our lives. We love you all.

Kels