Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Halloween...a little late!

Hey there!
I thought some of you might enjoy seeing the boys dressed up for
Halloween! If you haven't seen the movie, "Monsters Inc." then they
won't make any sense to you! Ezra's "Sully" and Ki is "Mike
Wazowski." They had a LOT of fun!

In His grip,

"expect miracles!"

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Ever find yourself in a moment, when out of nowhere simplicity strikes? I admit that these moments are becoming fewer and farther between as I age, but on some level that makes them all the more sweet. At Ezra's preschool they have the kids sing the "Johnny Appleseed Prayer" before they eat their snacks. Well, we've been hearing a lot of it at home, and recently, amidst the chaos that is my children playing, that song was stuck in my head. Just at the moment I thought I had lost patience with all the little boy rough-housing around me, I was hit with simplicity... "Oh, the Lord's been good to me, and so I thank the Lord, for giving me the things I need- like the sun and the rain and the appleseed. The Lord's been good to me..." What do I have to complain about?!? God is good, and if I believe that, I trust that, and if I trust that, why stress?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Malaki is TWO!


Well, today is Ki's 2nd birthday!!! It does not seem possible that he is already 2 years old. My dad took these pictures of the boys when we were in Portage the first week of October. They were not very cooperative, but we got in a few good shots. I have been wanting to post more frequently, but it just hasn't happened lately. One of these days we'll invest in faster internet and maybe then I'll keep up a little better. Life here is good. Not fantastic, not terrible, but good. We're lacking a little drama for the moment, and I am trying to embrace that and enjoy the normalcy. I know times like this are precious, but there is always that side of me that enjoys a bit of drama now and then... :) tee! hee! Since there is so little drama, there is also very litte to write about.

Hunting season has begun, although so far Cody has not been out bow hunting. He has, however, been out getting things ready for gun season. We're seeing deer daily on our property, so we are hoping that's a good sign for hunting.

The boys are Cody's little shadows lately... desperately trying to be just like daddy. They play baseball, basketball, football, or golf almost daily- and want to start the minute dad comes through the door (you may want to take a moment and pray for Cody's sanity!!!).

Ezra started pre-school this fall and is loving it! It is only two afternoons a week, so it's been good for Ki and I as well. Ki usually naps for most of the time Ezra is gone, so he's not feeling to lost without his "best buddy." I'm usually not a huge fan of pre-school (I just don't think there's any need to start school sooner than you have to), but this is an amount that I like. He gets just enough to give him a taste of "school" before kindergarten next year, and not too much that he misses out on being at home this last year.

Ki is as sweet as ever. He is quickly making himself known for clowning around, and he seems to find humor in just about everything. He is obsessed with trains and animals, and has little or no trouble keeping up with his big brother most of the time. He is quickly learning to exert his "maleness" and is climbing, jumping, breaking, throwing, etc. seemingly 24 hours a day! :) He continues to bless our lives in ways we never imagine and we thank God daily for the path that lead us to his adoption!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sleepy Ramblings

My Sunday nap is taking it's toll...
Well, much to my dismay I find myself regretting the fabulous nap I had this afternoon. It's rare that I get to enjoy a nap on a Sunday afternoon, but everything aligned itself perfectly today, and it was accomplished with relative ease. The boys both slept for almost 3 hours this afternoon, our regular small group was cancelled in honor of Father's Day, and the teens weren't scheduled to be at our home until 7pm. So, even after cleaning up lunch and all that that entails, there was still time for a snuggle on the couch with my hubby and a lengthy nap. Sounds great right?!? Well, it's now 1:20 am and I am still raring to go. The fam is all sleeping soundly and I cannot shake this nervous energy I've got going for me now. I'm sure I'll regret this when the alarm goes off at 7am, but for now I thought I'd channel my energy into something more productive. I'm not sure blogging was what I originally had in mind, but here goes.

On a completely unrelated note... if you haven't checked out my friend Josh's progress on their church blog, you should... it's really inspirational, and it will keep you from groaning about your own life so much... I know it kicks my butt on a daily basis. Plus, it might inspire you to pray for them, and that would be so appreciated!

Not much new here. The adoption waffling continues- we continue to pray about our next move, and are considering working with the state and doing foster care for a while. Major shift, I know, but it's a long story and I'll get around to explaining one of these days. Basically we're doing our best to trust and be open to whatever options are presented until God makes it clear one way or another. Not giving up on the Africa idea, just considering a different route while we wait.

I mentioned that I read "Gone With the Wind" a month or so ago, and this past week I read the follow up novel, "Scarlett." My friend Tari mentioned that I should, and I'm so thankful I did. I found it at a secondhand shop for 50 cents and couldn't resist. Everything I loved about the first book stayed consistent in the second, and everything that left me wanting in the first was resolved in the second. If I were a true literary snob, I would probably hate the second because of all the resolution, knowing that the ending in "Gone With the Wind" is part of what makes it so famous and so compelling. I know that until I read "Scarlett" I could not shake the original and it was driving me mad. I could be driving down the road listening to the radio and a song would strike me in a completely new way, and I'd find myself wondering if the artist had been inspired by Scarlett and Rhett. I know, I'm a complete dork! I can appreciate the quality of such a novel, because I love the various "what ifs" in life, and I dwell in possibilities, but this one was gnawing at me. So much of what went wrong in the novel was simple misunderstandings or timing issues. The truth of their love was never fully recognized and that was driving me insane. The way Rhett knew Scarlett better than she knew herself, and the scene where she finally realizes that Rhett is the haven she's been looking for all along... augh... it just killed me to have all that insight end in nothing. "Scarlett" went there and dealt with what was left undone, and although it was a long and miserable process, I enjoyed the character development and plotline of the second so much more. Maybe its just because I'm Irish and most of the second book is set in Ireland. :) tee! hee! In all actuality I think I'm just a hopeless romantic and I enjoyed my "happily ever after." Cody says it's because I identify with Scarlett at the core of who I am, and I wanted her to find what she needed and wanted in life. (I'm not sure if being like Scarlett is good or bad, but I think there may be some truth in that) Hey, if you've ever read both novels, humor my inner dork and listen to U2's "With or Without You" and Celine Dion's "All Coming Back to Me" with those novels in mind. It's kind of creepy how well they fit. And yes... I actually own a Celine Dion CD... but, I plead the fifth because it randomly came on the radio when I connected it to my latest reading adventures. (I know... I didn't change the station... I already admitted I'm a hopeless romantic, what more do you want?!?)

I'd better get to bed and attempt sleep one more time. Thanks for humoring me and my randomness. Here's hoping your life's timing is full of unexpected twists and happy endings... more importantly that you find yourself in the center of God's will- knowing His timing is perfection, and our stories are never fully recognized if we are not in touch with the Author.

Much love... sweet dreams... e-mail me sometime...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

In the Past

Okay, so these photos are a little old, but they are so cute I could not resist sharing them with whoever is out there reading this. Taken last October, they are a fairly accurate representation of the boys personalities... Ezra hamming it up with a twinkle of mischief in his eyes, Ki plopped comfortably and smiling contently with an overwhelming gentleness about him. I am truly blessed! (just FYI, earlier today I added pictures to a bunch of the previous posts to spice things up a bit... it's nice having access to fast internet once in a while)

Anywho... what's new in our lives?... well, no new news on the adoption front. We're still praying that God will provide a way for us to grow our family without tremendous expense, and we are still believing that we are supposed to be pursuing a sibling group from somewhere in Africa. Those two things seem mutually exclusive, but we know God is bigger than our limited understanding of the possibilities, so we are trusting that He has something planned. We're going to attempt to sell our pop-up camper this Memorial Day weekend to help with the funding, but it probably isn't worth enough to make much of a dent. Our piano may be next...

Ezra and Malaki are becoming fast friends and I am finding myself with more and more free time throughout the day. They do keep me busy, but thankfully they also entertain each other much better than I could, and they truly seem to enjoy each other's company. I look at Cody and his brother, Dustin, and I know I would be happy if Ezra and Ki find even half the friendship that daddy and his brother have. (as an added bonus a few weeks ago I read "Gone with the Wind" from front to back, it's been a while since I've had time for a novel of such epic proportions... now I need to see the movie--- that's right, I've never seen the movie--- pick your jaws up off the floor and keep reading!)

Lately I am struggling with my desire to see great things happening in our community, craving more intimate and diverse friendships, paired with my knowledge that I just really don't want to work at any of it. I don't know if it's apathy, laziness, or just an overwhelming contentment with the way things are right now, but I am at a loss. I miss so many of the friendships that I developed in my college years and its been hard to find that same level of intimacy and committment in the people around me. Not that its not available (it may not be, but I'm not really sure one way or the other), but maybe I'm just not as invested as I once was. I often long for those old friends to start e-mailing or drop in sometime, but time has taken it's toll on those relationships too. There are a few, and for those, I am eternally greatful (you know who you are- tee! hee!) but so many others that for one reason or another were lost along the way. I'm oozing sappy nostagia at the moment aren't I? sorry...

Anyway, I'm not really sure what my point is, just that I'm a bit restless and at the same time, a bit too at ease. Does that make any sense?

I've been focusing on 5 action steps for my life lately, some are easier than others... spend time with God and in the Word daily, volunteer for something or someone at least once a month, reach out and build relationships that draw others to the Lord, do the next "right thing" (whatever it is that you know God is leading you to do, little or big), and... yeah, I can't remember the 5th... oops! It's based on something I read on a church's website, and they got it from a book. I just liked having more clarity and direction in attempting to motivate myself to act in new ways with my faith.

Oh yeah, the 5th... the one that started the trip down memory lane... "find a friend you can invest yourself in with all that you are, someone who you know will do the same in return." That's the kicker one for me. I tend to have a lot of one sided friendships, all about me, or all about them, very rarely are they mutually beneficial. I am prayerful that God has people in my path who will fit that bill, I just have to step out in faith a little more. I already have some of those, and for you I am appreciative. :)

Okay, I just re-read the above and I fear I am rambling out of control. I'll stop now, but if you are one of those friends whose been around for the long haul... thank you! You continue to bless me, even in memory.

much love... Amanda, Lucy, Manders, Man, Fred C. Foley, Beautiful, Betty, Scrub, Zulu Warrior Princess, Springhead, or whatever other nickname we may have had for me over the years (TNT, I'm not listing the one you call me, but I didn't forget it... :) tee! hee!)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007



So, I thought you all might enjoy hearing the amazing words of wisdom that pour from my son's mouth seemingly everyday. Here are a few of my most recent favorites:

1/23- Ezra asked me to marry him so I could sleep in his bed with him at night. I told him I was already married to his daddy and he said, "Hmm... mommy? Do you know who my wife will be?" I told him I didn't, and that I probably wouldn't until he introduced her to me. He replied, "Oh, that's easy, her name's Trinney." :) We don't know any Trinneys, so if he brings one home with him some day I may just have a heart attack!

2/13- We were sitting around the dinner table when Ezra said, "Dad, you are too big. Ki, you are too small. Mom, you are too medium... but I am JUST RIGHT!" I think we've read Goldilocks one too many times. :)

2/16- Cody was gone for the weekend on a winter retreat and I was tucking Ezra into bed when this one occurred. I told him that since daddy was gone for the weekend he was now the man of the house. He replied, "No I'm not, look!" and he thrust his arm up in my face. When I asked him what I was supposed to be looking at he said, "There's no fur on my arm yet, I'm still a boy." :)

3/28- This one is very "Easter Appropriate." We were working our way through one of his educational sticker books the other day and he was matching letter stickers to the letter shapes on the page. For each letter I would ask him if he knew what letter he was working on. He knew them all until the letter "t." I said, "What letter is that?" Ezra replied, "That's the letter 'cross.'" I said, "Well, it looks like a cross, but it's actually the letter 't.'" To which Ezra innocently replied, "Jesus died on a 't?'" :)

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ezra is FOUR!

Hello friends! Today my eldest little man turns 4 YEARS OLD! Yikes! One more birthday and he's off to kindergarten. Although there are times when that seems like it can't get here soon enough, most often I am struck by how quickly he's changing. This morning I was going through his baby book, looking for things that needed to be added or updated, and I was a little bewildered to realize that the only item left in his book is recording his height and weight for this b-day and the next. How did he grow that quickly!?!?!
On the upside, I am thankful to have a little man who still desires to snuggle his parents, says he loves me without prompting, and believes that Jesus lives in his heart and protects him when he's scared. These are things I have always wanted for him, and I am glad to know these prayers are being answered. He is turning into a wonderful person, and although he has his moments, most of the time I feel as though I am bursting at the seams with pride. Ezra is smart, articulate, creative, energetic, passionate, and trusting... I could go on and on... but above all else, he is starting to have an understanding of God and why He's so important to even a little one's life.
Today I celebrate Ezra!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007



Hey all, I'm posting today to request prayer for my good friend Josh Buck. Some of you may remember Josh from my dating days in college (he was from IWU), some of you were asked to pray a year and a half ago when Josh's 3 month old daughter, Ava, died in a freak accident, and some of you have no clue who he is... however, after 3 months of dating long distance and 9 years of friendship, I count him one of my most cherished friends.

Josh was seriously injured in a diving accident last Thursday while vacationing in Mexico with his wife Shelly. He shattered his C5 vertebrae and is currently paralyzed from the chest down and recovering at a hospital in Miami, FL. We are spreading the word to all we know, and asking that people pray for complete healing. Doctors are giving his legs a 5% chance of recovery, but we know our God is bigger than their stats. If you would, please send a prayer or two, or twenty, Josh and Shelly's way today and everytime you think of it until he is home. Pray also for their children back home, Noah (4) and Zoe (3) and for their little boy still growing in Shelly's tummy (Ephram). For more information, or to follow his progress, check out his church's website...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

More Questions...

Still working on the adventure...

Okay, thanks to all of you who have inquired about how last week's meeting went. I would have e-mailed you back, but posting it all here at once seemed so much simpler. To make a long story short (or, shorter... you know I can never tell a "short" story!!!), this process is going to be much more difficult than we originally imagined. We left our meeting feeling quite discouraged, and that is probably why it took me so long to start explaining things to people. The biggest shock is that the process of adopting children already in the foster care system... who are legally free for adoption... waiting for a family... requires more paperwork, more evaluations, and significantly more time than adopting an infant. The last fact was where we felt thrown for a loop. Whether we were naive going in or not, it seems so sad to us that there are children out there waiting for parents, and it takes so much work to get to them. I can't imagine how many parents have probably thought about taking this route and chose another way of adopting simply because it was easier and faster. When we started our infant adoption process they told us to expect an expansion in our family within the next 9 months. We were told this process will most likely take a minimum of 2 years. In the mean time, children wait, and that is disheartening.

We did decide we will not be going through Traverse City Bethany for this adoption. There are a number of reasons, most of which involve state regulations and various "suggested practices," which would leave us waiting longer than most families they work with. It all has to do with proximity, so we are looking for a more local agency and there really aren't any. So, we are praying for clarity.

At this point, we still feel we are supposed to be pursuing adoption now. Maybe its because God knew it would take forever and wanted to get us going on it. Maybe its because He wanted to force us to consider other options. Maybe He just wants to teach us something about trust... once again! :) Augh! Who knows. For now, we are putting out a lot of feelers and doing our best to keep listening for God's voice in our midst. If anyone has any ideas... we'd love to hear them.

On a side note: sort of... Cody and I have been really drawn to Africa lately. Financially, emotionally, and even with our free time (watching a million and one documentaries on the history and discovery channels). We ran across an adoption agency that specializes in placing Ethiopian and Liberian children who are currently in African orphanages with American families. It looks as though we could adopt 2 children from Liberia for about $10,000 (very cheap for an international adoption and less than it was for Ki). This is far more than we have right now, and more than we could have anytime soon (one of the perks of adopting from foster care is that it's free), but we have not completely ruled it out, knowing God will provide if it is His will. So, we pray...

I was hit the other day while reading my Bible with the verse that says, "Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding..." I often feel as though I do trust Him with all my heart... but I know I still lean on my own understanding. My initial reaction to all of this was to try to make sense of it all, in my mind and through discussion with Cody. Such an obvious indicator of the fact that I am no where near "there yet." :) Here's hoping you're farther along than I am!... and that I'll get there one of these days!

Thank you in advance for any prayers you may send our way. We really appreciate all your love and support! :) Hope all is well in the new year with you!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Adventures

Embarking on a new adventure... maybe...

One week from today we will have our first meeting with an adoption counselor to start discussing the idea of adding more children to our family. :) We are trying to be prayerful about this whole process, and right now we are feeling led to at least gather more information. Most of you know, we would like to eventually have 4 kids (I'd like 5) but we are trying to be wise about it all. We know we do not have much money, we know our home will be a tight fit once our children are older, we also know that we do not feel as though our family is complete, and that this phase of life looks best on paper for continuing this process. We have always planned to start this process again once Ezra and Ki were school age. Our hope was that we might be able to adopt a sibling group under the age of 5. That time frame would allow me to really invest in Ezra and Ki for the time being, as well as invest in our new little ones with a little more intensity while their big brothers are in school all day. We are not looking to adopt another infant unless God makes it clear we should. There are so many waiting children in this country and once they get past 6 months old, their options for loving families drop drastically. Everyone wants a baby... and we are nothing if not opposite of most. :) So why now?!?...
Well, Cody's job is very flexible at this time. He has stockpiled 51 days for personal leave time and can use that for "paternity" leave when we add children to our family. His job as an associate pastor is best accomplished in his office, but he can get a fair amount done from home if he needs to. His current employer is very generous about time off, and just trusts that Cody will get everything done and done well. All of this is a luxury we may not have elsewhere... not that we are planning on heading "elsewhere," but you just never know in ministry. So we see this little window of opportunity for integrating new little ones into our family with daddy around more often than not to help aid the process. Plus, there is some concern that waiting longer will mean a more difficult adjustment for Ezra and Ki, and the change that will cause within our family structure. More than anything though... we are just anxious to know our future children. We are craving our future family... if we were doing this biologically, we'd be trying to get pregnant right now! That's where the prayer comes in, because we don't want to be impulsive about this just because we're impatient, we want to know we are in God's will.

Anyway, we would still like to pursue older children if possible, and that's what this info meeting should clarify for us. Usually there is a strongly encouraged policy to maintain a birth order within families... that each child entering the house should be the youngest in the home. We are hoping to work around that a bit if possible. We definitely want to go younger than Ezra (our little "boss of everything" probably wouldn't handle being bumped by a big brother all that well!), but we are not picky about how kids fall around Ki. We figure he'll have to adjust no matter what we do and he's a little too young to really care. Plus, he's ridiculously mellow about most things in life, so he'd probably go with the flow anyway. He'll either have more older siblings, or he'll no longer be the baby. Either way he shifts, so we're hoping that may make the process more flexible. We are also hoping for a sibling group that's non-caucasion. These are some of the hardest children to place, and that is where our hearts are. So, maybe 2 between Ezra and Ki, maybe one between and one below Ki, who knows. It may not even be possible. That's what we're hoping to find out next Tuesday. So, if you think of it, keep us in your prayers. We know God's got it all worked out, we're just anxious to see His plan revealed. :)

So, let the adventure begin!