Monday, September 28, 2015

Book Review: Girl Meets Change by Kristen Strong

I had read this author's blog before and enjoyed it, plus the book sounded interesting when I read the short description.  To be honest though, I wasn't sure what to expect when this book arrived in the mail.  I certain now that this book ended up in my hands for a reason.  Girl Meets Change: Truths to Carry You through Life's Transitions by Kristen Strong encouraged me, challenged me and helped me to reflect on life's changes in new ways.

As you probably know, our family has been through some huge changes in the last nine months (catch up here, here, and here).  While I didn't have time to read a whole lot during the thick of our big transitions, this book would have been a blessing had it been on my shelf to page through and remind myself.  And yet, reading this book toward the end of our big transition has helped me to reflect on how I approached the changes, how friends and family came along-side us, and how God has blessed us through all the changes.

Everyone faces change of one type or another: the changes you know are coming and feel planned for, the wonderful surprises that turn into a bit of crazy, and the hard news that knock you off your feet.  This is a book that can speak to so many because it grounded in scripture and truth.

Kristen writes from a voice of experience - her family has walked through many seasons of change and transition- but also a voice of grace, compassion and hope.  Throughout the book she dives into Biblical stories of those who went through great change (Abraham, Joseph, Ester) to gather God's wisdom and illustrate how God uses change to bless.

She reminds readers that changes- whether hoped for, surprised by or crushed by- bring stress and are not something you can just "get over".  She doesn't sugar coat, give band-aid solutions or minimize the difficulty of the changes you might be facing.  Instead she brings truth and hope.  The book covers the phases and challenges of change from a faith-filled perspective, helping readers see how God can use change and how faith can help adapt ones perspective and responses during seasons of change to allow you to thrive through it.

This book is exactly what it says... it is filled with truths to carry you through life's transitions.

If you want to learn more, take a moment to read a bit from the author and take a quiz on whether you think of change as a friend for enemy.

* I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for a review.  All opinions and words are my own.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Doubt

This week I'm again participating in Five Minute Fridays at Kate Motaung's blog, (after another long hiatus) encouraging bloggers to write on a prompt unedited for five minutes.  This week's prompt: Doubt


It doesn't take long for the voices of doubt to whisper and whine.

Or for me to start to listen to doubt's words.

Doubts about my role as mother and my ability to mother the tough moments as I should.
Doubts about what I can handle or what I am called to do.
Doubts about my ability to make any difference to others.

And once I let those doubts start to bounce around in my head, during long tired nights, rough mornings, or the crazy hour before supper, my ability to hear His words about me, to hear His love for me gets dimmed.

But I am blessed.
....To be married to a man that knows me and reminds me.
....To have friends to see the real me.
....To have a church family that encourages.
....To find reminders of His Love and His view of me in scriptures, books and in the most unexpected places.

I know that the more I fill my mind with Truth, the stronger I am against the doubts in any form, whispers or shouts. And fortified with Truth, I can take that next step, calm that tantrum or start that next thing they He has called me to.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Our Family Day Party (photo overload)

On Labor Day, we had a family celebration in our backyard to commemorate the completion of our family's adoption.  We invited our extended family and some close family friends -- all of whom had impacted and encouraged our family during our wait, the transition, and all the crazy wonderful changes we've walked.

About 45 people were here for the day (and a some even came a few days before) so it really felt like a party!  So many helped us put the day together and we were blessed with an absolutely beautiful weather that day, just so wonderful all around.

I didn't get a family pic taken but here's our three kiddos, enjoying their big day.  It was hard to get them to slow down enough to take a pic together!  Our sons' shirts say "I'm the MVP of Brothers" and our daughter's says "Sister of the Year".
siblings by adoption

When I asked them afterwards what they thought of the party one comment was "it was almost like a circus".  And it some ways it was!  We ate a yummy lunch outside in the backyard, on the patio and under tents.  
backyard party

Then the adults visited while the kids had FUN!  (Ok the adults had fun too).  There was of course the swingset, sandbox and playhouse, yard games but also a new trampoline.  And if that wasn't enough, Dad and Uncle built a zip line the day before which was a huge hit.  
backyard fun

There were ice cream cones for dessert plus cotton candy from Grandma.  Plus a tattoo table for the kids, just for fun (notice our kids in the first pic!).  Later in the party our kiddos convinced grandparents and aunt that they need a fun tattoo too.
backyard party

A day of wonderful memories here on the gravelly road!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

First Week of School 2015

Before all the excitement of adoption day, our three kids made it through their first few days of the new school year.

Ike is in  first grade this year.  He was not thrilled to have his picture taken on his first day as he was fairly nervous since his teacher was at a family funeral during open house and didn't get to meet her ahead of time.  But after 3 days, he says he likes first grade!

"Z-man" is in preschool 5 mornings a week and loves being in the same classroom as last spring.  He was so excited to be able to help the other kids "know how it works".

"Peaches" is in preschool 2 mornings a week and loves her class and her teacher.  She would love to go to school every day like her big brothers but its nice to have some time with just the two of us too.

Little Sister's first day was the brothers' second day, and they wanted to take a few more pictures that turned out pretty cute.

Dear Lord -

I ask for a special blessing on the school year adventure ahead of each of our children.

Guide their teachers as they give guidance, encouragement, and build the tone of their classrooms. Grant them your discernment for those moments when a child's tears or frustrated words are coming from a deeper hard place than just a tough morning.  May their classrooms be places of learning and inclusion, a safe place to try, fail and try again.

Watch over our three as they build friendships, face challenges, try new things, handle squabbles with classmates, and discover more about the world and this thing we call education.  Guide their words and actions so that they are kind and compassionate to those around them.

Thank you again and again for allowing me to be the mom of these precious kiddos.  I am so honored and challenged daily.  They each are growing and changing so fast it often takes my breath away.  Continue to grow them into the people you called them to be and help me to help them see how you are working in their lives.


Friday, September 4, 2015

Adoption Day!

Today was our family's adoption day -- officially making us a family of five, though our new son and daughter have had a place in our hearts long before today.  The court proceedings were short and simple, though I was still nervous during my short time of testimony.  The kids sat pretty well and soon it was over.  Yet the promises we made before court to our two new precious kids are not something we take lightly.

We were blessed to have a number of family members make the trip to share our day and all went out to eat together afterwards.  It was wonderful to see everyone, our family plus several people who played important roles in some tough times of our kiddos lives.

It was a good day.  Our daughter was excited for us all to get dressed up fancy.  The boys thought their ties were cool (for a while).

We stopped for ice cream on the way home and relaxed for the rest of the evening.  Now the kids are tucked in their own beds after a busy day and I have a moment to reflect.

The kids might not quite understand all that happened today besides the fact that they now have our last name.  But today will be one we talk about with them for years to come, a big day in their story.

God put our family together but it is good to know that now our family is recognized on paper too.

We are SO Blessed.

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