Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday's Thought

I scrapbook in my basement, so naturally my albums end up on a shelf down there. Convenience. But the other day I was thinking about why I scrapbook ...

... to capture the ordinary details of everyday life that are worth remembering.
... to tell stories.
... to remember people and places.
... to preserve memories.

And what good is it to capture, tell, remember and preserve if the albums are sitting on a shelf in the basement? So I finally found a place in our main living area that can house some albums. These albums are sitting on top of my china cabinet in the kitchen. They are up high enough that little hands can't reach them but on display where people can look at them. At first I thought it was weird to have something like this in the kitchen, but then I thought about how many times we gather in the kitchen ... to eat, to talk, to laugh, to play games ... and I decided that really there's probably not a better place to house memories.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Cate enjoys all that goes on at Grandmom's house ... In addition to Divi the Cat, there is Bailey the Dog, and, of course, her cousins ...

Cate likes to drive, you know. Here she is pretending, while Milla played Mario Cart on Wii.

At 9 months old, Jax is really on the move. And he really likes people. As you can see, he apparently had something important to tell his great-grandfather ...


We met Kelly and her daughter Amilia at the Louisville Zoo on Saturday morning. It was such a beautiful day to be there and we enjoyed being with our old friend.

I love that picture of our sweet girls! Amilia (who is four months younger than Cate) gave Cate a hug, but Kelly + I didn't have our cameras out. We asked them to do it again, and they did ... as they watched the tiger.

Greg's ankle is still hurting, so we rented a wheelchair for him to get around the zoo. He did pretty well driving it, but he did have this little mishap with the bushes on the way to see the gorillas.

Sunday morning we took Cate to the Louisville Science Center, which had a great kid's play area ...

Again, Cate found a steering wheel to drive! I didn't count how many times she said, "I drive bus."

The water table was pretty neat, too. Plus raincoats were provided. Smart thinking!

While we were there, we took Cate to her first movie ... on the IMAX screen. It was called "Animalopolis," and which catered to Cate's love of animals.

Cate crashed on the way home yesterday after all the fun we had this weekend.

There are a few more pictures in my Facebook album.


Cate has been wanting to help her Daddy.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Lord has done this for me ...

... Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord ... Luke 1:13-15

I started gathering paperwork for our home study this past week, thus kicking off the process to adopt a second child. Thankfully, we don't have to start from scratch because we're using the same agency that did our home study two years ago.

It's very different this time, for many reasons ...

1. Greg and I are in a different place with our desire to expand our family. There is less urgency this time and far fewer emotions.

2. Every morning we see the face of God's faithfulness in our daughter (who is almost 2) and can cling to that hope as we wait. Plus she keeps us busy so there is less time to dwell on our desire.

3. We're doing the paperwork first. Last time we met a birth mother first, then completed the paperwork we needed. This time we're hoping to connect with a birth mother through an agency.

I'm in the middle of "A Woman's Heart" by Beth Moore with some ladies at church. Basically, the study takes us through the Israelites' experience building the Tabernacle while drawing parallels to the ways God dwells with his believers today.

I've learned about how God wanted the earthly Tabernacle to be a replica of a heavenly plan, so much so he instructed the Israelites on how to build things, where to put them and how to decorate them. Yes, our God is someone who appreciates (and notices!) details.

I've been reminded that the God who instructed the Israelites is the same God who heard my prayer for a baby and orchestrated the details to bring us Cate. He knows our hearts and is faithful. While we don't always understand his timing, God provides when no time could be better.

In the Bible, Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah understood these truths. Decades after they prayed for a family, Gabriel appeared to tell Zechariah he was going to be a dad. He had his doubts, but God proved faithful. Beth Moore commented in the video lesson we watched last week that every time God makes childlessness an issue in the Bible (Elizabeth, Hannah, Sarah ...), he is preparing his people for a miracle. EVERY TIME.

In the years leading up to Cate birth and adoption, I often wondered why becoming pregnant was easy for so many people. The heartbreak that accompanied that question was eased when God turned our attention to adoption and quickly taught us he has more than one way to create a family. But I thought about that question again this week, and loved Beth Moore's perspective: This thing that comes so naturally to others came supernaturally to me. I was chosen not to do the regular thing, and in the process witnessed God's glory in an unique way.

So when Beth Moore used Elizabeth and Zechariah as an example, I found my heart encouraged. And that's a good place for me to be as I continue to gather the rest of the information we need before we meet with a social worker.

"The Lord has done this for me," Elizabeth said. ... Luke 1:25

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday's Thought

It's been an interesting week around here. Greg turned 31 yesterday, but on Sunday he did this to his ankle. Pretty swollen, huh? And these pictures are from last night -- three days after he hurt himself playing basketball.

So I've learned some things about service this week. And I've realized how much Greg does do around here. He helps clean up dishes after dinner, takes out the garbage, walks upstairs to get his shirt, drives himself to work, drives us around when we all go somewhere and picks up after himself -- all things that he hasn't been able to do this week.

He's hobbled around, usually with crutches, and I honestly don't think I've heard him complain once. If the roles were reversed, I'm certain I would have mentioned the pain more than once. I know he's disappointed he won't be playing basketball for awhile, but I'm glad I've had this chance to appreciate and respect my husband even more.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

And the birthday season continues ...

Cate got a birthday present in the mail on Friday. Her Aunt Christine is efficient (and early!) ...

Included was a gift card for a fish. We'll probably get her new pet tomorrow. Like I've told a few people this weekend, a fish is the ONLY pet allowed to be given to someone without prior approval (right, Shelley?!). And for as much as Cate loves fish, this is a great gift. (And she liked the bow too!)

Much of Friday was spent playing outside with friends. Some friends in the morning. Other friends in the evening. For such little girls, I'm so amazed at how high Cate and Malaika would swing. Cate had never swung on a regular swing until this swing set was assembled in our back yard.

The birthday season continues ... On Saturday we went to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate our friend Bryan's birthday. He turned 29.

Jaclyn and I wanted to commemorate the outing with a picture of the girls. You can read about what Jaclyn thought of her husband's birthday party over at her blog.

Cate really liked riding this horse ... and so did Greg! It was called the "KenChuckE Derby."

Cate took her hands off the wheel to give the dog a hug and really enjoyed smacking those sharks (?) down.


Tonight we had friends over to play inside games because the rain interfered with our outside party plans for Greg's birthday. He turns 31 on Wednesday. The only picture I took (of him blowing out his 3-1 candles) didn't turn out very well, so you'll just have to wait until our next party for more birthday pictures. No worries, though, I turn 30 and Cate turns 2 in the next two weeks.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

my own sort of time travel

For most of Lost's quantum leaping fifth season, the show has meditated on the idea of changing the past for the sake of a better future. And for the past several episodes, we've gotten stories that have dealt with the notion that personal and collective histories can be boiled down to defining moments — Sayid shooting Ben; Kate and Sawyer bringing Ben to the Others; Ben defying Charles Widmore and swiping Baby Alex. These stories have invited both the characters and the audience to wonder: What might happen if those defining moments were tweaked, altered, or removed altogether? --Doc Jensen about Lost episode "Some Like It Hoth"

Prompted by the mysteries of Lost and reconnecting via Facebook with most everyone I've ever known, I've been in a reminiscing mood. It's pretty easy for me to do. I relate places to people and music to moments.

The taste of circus peanuts take me back to my best friend's house. Even though we counted more than once, I can't remember how many steps it was from her house to mine. But I'll never forget how close we were as next-door neighbors and continue to be as life-long friends.

I remember watching "G.I. Jane" the night before I left for college and while I don't remember the movie very well, I can still feel my conflicting emotions about beginning my new phase of life. And when I hear "Lie on Our Graves" by Dave Matthews, I'm immediately taken back to the summer I was 19 years old and two of my friends sat on the couch in my parents' living room singing/playing an impromptu rendition that I still like replaying in my mind. Indigo Girls and Dave Matthews were the soundtrack to my college years, and I can still hear Greg telling me how much he wished we could listen to something else.

Steak-n-Shake is the scene of two sets of memories involving two groups of friends. The hot-potato game Catchphrase will always take me back to ringing in 2003 with friends in Lexington, even though I've played many times since then. My interview at the Ledger & Times in 2003 is clear, both my outfit and my mixed thoughts about whether I'd take the job if it was offered. Turns out it was offered, and despite my hesitations, I loved doing that job.

Thankfully, scared isn't an emotion I've experienced often, but I remember calling my mom and my husband to tell them the doctor diagnosed me with Type 1 Diabetes and was admitting me to the hospital. They both reassured me and made plans to come take care of me. And I remember that after three days of learning about insulin, needles, carbohydrates and blood sugar levels, going to a Murray State basketball game when I was allowed to leave the hospital was a good plan because I could stopping worrying for a couple hours and cheer. I don't remember who the Racers played, but I remember the escape not working, as I made a grocery list in my mind and worried about the days to come. Now, injecting insulin every time I eat is second nature.

It was December 2004 when I stopped taking birth control pills. But it's the doctor's appointments, blood work and conversations of infertility that remain fresh in my mind. I remember my most emotional breakdown at my dear friend's baby shower; I felt safe even though I crumbled emotionally in many, many pieces. And, thankfully, I remember our decision to adopt and car ride home from our reproductive endocrinologist in Nashville, where we left our treatments and trusted God on the next segment of the journey to Cate.

I was never as alert when woken from sleep as I was when Cate's birth mom called at 5:45 a.m. (central time) to tell us that her water broke. I've never gotten dressed and out of the house faster and more prepared than I did that Sunday morning. Although it was surreal, I relive those hours in the hospital often, especially the ones that included a dark-haired baby in my arms.

And I'm certain "Finding Nemo" will forever take me back to today, when I have a toddler who has befriended the fictional fish, among other animals.

Looking back, I'm sure I would have handled some of those defining moments differently. In some cases, I would have said more; in others, less words probably would have been wiser. I'm sure I would have complained less and rejoiced more. Regardless, I'm sitting here as the person I am because of those moments, and, more importantly, the people in them.

While I've never traveled to a time before I was born and seen how events played out to eventually influence my life, and certainly have never been stranded on an mysterious island with strangers who became friends and enemies, depending on the day. But, still, somehow I can relate to the recent theme of Lost: What happened then influenced today, and today will influence tomorrow. The thought of changing a detail or two is tempting, but, really, if life didn't happen like it did, I may not be me.

Cate's house

This is Cate's early birthday present from her PopPop! She loves it. Yesterday when the guys were finishing up the assembly, Cate noticed them putting on the playhouse roof and said, "House." I said, "Yes, it's your house." For the rest of the afternoon, she talked about "Cate's house."

More pictures of Cate enjoying her "house" are in this Facebook album

Thursday's Thought

We're going to New Zealand! I'm beyond excited, as you can imagine. In case you missed it, my sister and brother-in-law have lived there since February.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jesus' Dirty Shirt

We went with some people from our church to see "The Promise" at Trace Creek Baptist Church, which for you non-western Kentuckians is a large church in the middle of the country. We took Cate, thinking she'd be entertained by the songs, live donkey and live sheep. We were right. Plus she really loved the fish some of the disciples tossed from their boat onto the dock.

I should mention the program was 2 1/2 hours long. That's well beyond a toddler's typical attention span. We sat on the aisle, thinking we may have to get up and walking around with her; we never did.

What she kept talking about after it was over was Jesus. And how he had a "dirty shirt."

Yes, his shirt was dirty after he was beaten and taken to be crucified. I guess even for a 23-month-old girl that was a stark contrast to the bright, white clothing he wore before that. Even after he rose from the dead, complete with a clean shirt, Cate still talked about Jesus and his dirty shirt.

I tried to tell her (multiple times) that when Jesus came back he was wearing a clean shirt. She thinks about it for a minute, repeats "clean," then goes back to the "dirty shirt." Truthfully, it's pretty neat to hear her sweet voice say, "Jesus," regardless of what he's wearing.

But, you know, I'm thankful he wore a dirty shirt for me. And you. And Cate.

Bearing our sins did indeed dirty his shirt, but he did it so we could wear bright, white clothes. And he rose from the filth, this time wearing his clean clothes, so he could rejoin his Father and prepare a place for us. I'm certain he's preparing a beautiful place where everything, even our shirts, will be cleaner than anything we can imagine.

As sweet as it was to hear Cate talk about Jesus, I'm looking forward to the day she understands the rest of the story and realizes the his dirty shirt was so very temporary.

Hunting Easter Eggs

We dyed some Saturday, and then hunted some (although these were plastic ...) on Sunday, thanks to Gran-Gran.

There were eggs shaped like sports balls and some like fish. The clown fish (aka "Nemo") and the footballs were her favorites. In fact, she was calling them all footballs at first!

Dying Easter Eggs

You can see she had a system: 1. Color. 2. Dip. 3. Dip several. 4. Let dry.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

We went to an egg hunt this morning at Murray State. It was crowded ...

But Cate picked up an egg then got out of the mess of people. Her daddy is excited she got free Potato Oles from Taco John's.

Cate + Buddy

This almost makes me want to get a dog. Almost.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

I have been reading friends' blogs + strangers' blogs + friends' Facebook status updates today, noticing the different mentions and perspectives about Good Friday. And I've been thinking about what I wanted to share. Then I happened upon these verses while reading and decided these are the words I want to share ...

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with Him, make us fit for Him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that He has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering His Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatsoever to Him.
--Romans 5:1-8 (The Message)

Really, it's beyond good.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thursday's Thought

I really love our community of friends. And I'm thankful our kids have their own community within ours. That's Pierson, Achazia and Cate during our small group meeting at church this week.

More photos are posted here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

inside entertainment

We decorated butterfly cookies today. Hopefully we can get outside + play soon.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Evelyn Nancy Taylor

Joining our April/May birthday season ...

Evelyn Nancy Taylor was born at 10 a.m. today. She weighed 8 pounds 5 ounces and was 20 inches long. Congratulations, Angela and Charles! As you can see, Cate enjoyed meeting her cousin ...

More pictures here.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Let the birthday season begin ...

We stopped to smell the flowers on our way into Nana's party today.

Around here, April is the beginning of quite a birthday season ...

Our best friends here get it started on April 8, when Norah turns 1. Luke turns 3 just four days later. Then their dad, Bryan, turns 29 on April 16. Six days later it's our family's turn, with Greg's 31st birthday on April 22. I turn 30 on May 3 and Cate will be 2 on May 6. (Jaclyn is the only one in the two families without a birthday in this month, but she celebrated March 14, so she's not too far removed from our little club.)

So, Luke and Norah had a double birthday party on Saturday ...

As you can see, Luke was eager to taste his Thomas cake. And, no, he didn't dive in, although it looks like he did. I believe the blue tongue is from him licking the bottoms of three candles.

Norah enjoyed her cupcake. And I must admit, the cupcakes were especially tasty!

Then we celebrate Nana's (Greg's grandma's) 80th birthday on Sunday.

This is Nana and Papaw. You may remember them from their 60th wedding anniversary last year.

This is Cate with one of her namesakes. Her middle name (Anna) is Nana's first name.

There are many more pictures in my Facebook album.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thursday's Thought

"If anything matters, then everything matters. ... Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, my purposes are accomplished and nothing will ever be the same again."
--Papa in "The Shack" by William P. Young