Showing posts with label Cate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cate. Show all posts

Monday, March 23, 2015

Whatever Wanda :: A Review & Giveaway

I’ve been known to tell my kids they need to adjust their attitudes. And I’ve heard God tell me the same thing about my own grumpiness. In the pages of a children’s book, my daughter and I found encouragement to adjust our attitudes.

Wanda doesn’t want to go with her family to the Rubber Duck Days festival and brings her grumpy attitude with her! I know I’ve been much like Whatever Wanda and I’ve seen my kids to do the same.

But Wanda learns a valuable lesson: “Sometimes you have to believe something will be great before it actually is. Being positive is a choice that makes everything better, not to mention, a whole lot more fun!” And it’s one God been teaching around here too!

My 7-year-old daughter, Cate, even said that lesson is why she loves the book :: Before she learns that lesson, to everything about the Rubber Duck Days festival she says, “Whatever.” Waddles asks her, “Do you want to join your friends?” Wanda says, “I didn’t play. I didn’t think it was fun.” Then Waddles says the lesson: She should change her attitude. I hope this lesson will come in handy. That’s why I like “Whatever Wanda.”

And that’s why this momma likes “Whatever Wanda” too. It’s a lesson my girl and I both need.

This is the third in Christy Ziglar’s Shine Bright Kids series. And we’ve loved all of them. In fact, when “Whatever Wanda!” came in the mail recently, my 7-year-old daughter gathered the other two and read them together, pointing out to her 5-year-old brother how Wanda, Marvin, and Willow all make appearances in each other’s stories.

{Read our previous reviews :: “Can’t-Wait Willow” and “Must-Have Marvin.”}

ABOUT THE BOOK :: “Whatever Wanda!” is a 32-page, hardback picture book. Officially, it’s recommend for kids 4-8 years old. This book is part of the Shine Bright Kids series, which provides children and their families with the tools to teach the importance of making good choices. The series explores such topics as using good judgment, taking responsibility, having a positive attitude, and demonstrating perseverance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR :: Christy Ziglar is a financial planner, mother of twins, and the niece of legendary motivator and optimist Zig Ziglar. She and her family live in Atlanta, Georgia.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR  :: Paige Billin-Frye lives with her husband in Washington, D.C., where she gardens and grows food in her city yard. She has illustrated numerous children’s books and works in a studio over a neighborhood hardware store. Coincidentally, Paige has amassed a collection of rubber duckies of all sizes across the years.

GIVEAWAY :: One of you will win a copy of “Whatever Wanda!” by using the Rafflecopter widget below. This is for U.S. and Canadian residents only. A winner will be randomly selected on Monday, March 30.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thanks to FlyBy Promotions/Propeller Consulting LLC for both the copy of "Whatever Wanda!" my family got to review and the copy one of you will win. The opinions here are my own. If you have won a prize from FlyBy/Propeller in the last 30 days or have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win. 

Want more insights? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Three Word Wednesday :: Keep On Singing

You know that song “10,000 Reasons”? I love it, but one part gets me every time:

“Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
let me be singing when the evening comes.”

That line gets me because most evenings I’m not singing. Really, most evenings I’m done trying to hold myself together. And plenty of evenings I’ve already crumbled.

When the evening comes, I’ve refereed sibling arguments while cooking dinner. I’ve been disappointed by people I love dearly. I’ve answered the same questions multiple times. I’ve been frustrated with those hard-to-love people in my life. I’ve been challenged and encouraged and failed in a matter of minutes.

But whatever may pass, whatever lies before me, God wants me to be singing. {Tweet that.}

I’m not patient, naturally. But I know that’s what God is working on in my life. He wants me to see people as he sees them. He wants me to remember my kids are watching me. He wants me to know him more so I can be more like him.

“You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind.
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find …”

My husband and I had a hard conversation this weekend. It was one of those that started with one frustration I was having and overflowed into other related struggles. The conversation ended with him encouraging me to have a different perspective.

Y’all, adjusting my perspective is hard. And, really, I was at a loss of how to even begin. And then just two nights later during our small group, a wise friend said, “When we change what we think, we can change how we act.”

God answered the question I’d been holding onto. He reminded me he’s working here – beginning in my soul and overflowing into my home and my relationships.

The following night – three nights from when Greg and I stayed up too late discussing some hard parts of life – my daughter wandered out of bed a couple hours after we had tucked her in. “Is Jesus coming back tomorrow?” she asked us sincerely.

The three of us talked about how the Bible tells us we don’t know when Jesus is coming back but he is one day. We talked about how God tells us not to worry about tomorrow because he’s already there.

“He knows my whole life, doesn’t he?” Cate asked.

“Yes, and we’re so glad he knew you would be our daughter,” Greg told her.

We talked some about salvation and baptism and what being a Christian looks like. We talked about how we can’t do anything other than believe to become a Christian, but that when we do decide to follow Jesus there is a responsibility to love and serve others.

When Cate walked back upstairs, I could tell she was more at peace than when she came down 10 minutes earlier. Greg and I were reminded that despite our imperfections, God is working here in our family.

That hard conversation with my husband. The unsolicited advice from my friend. The unexpected conversation with my daughter. Those are reasons to keep on singing.

I add them to my #choosingJOY list on my phone and glance at others :: 148. Listening to music with Greg while driving home with the kids sleeping. 149. Kids’ excitement over passports. 150. Sky High Sports. 151. Songs and sermons that convict and encourage at the same time. 152. Doughnuts. 153. All four of us falling back asleep in our bed on Sunday morning. 154. Seeing God bring people and visions together.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name”

I'm also linking up with Lyli Dunbar's Thought-Provoking Thursday

Want more insights? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

{Three Word Wednesday} Living while waiting

There’s a magnetic notepad and pen hanging on my refrigerator. One morning as we were somewhat frantically making breakfasts and packing lunches, my 7-year-old daughter said she thought the notepad would be a good place to list what she wants me to get from the grocery.

Hello, independence. Have I told you I love this age? And, um, she wins for being the first member of my family to want to invest in the grocery list. {Sorry, husband of a dozen years …}

So she wrote down “bagles” and “cream chees” – I told you, she’s 7. We had finished what we had of those two items that morning and she figured they needed to be replaced.

We went about our morning. I honestly didn’t think about the list as I went about my day because I wasn’t meal planning or grocery shopping that day. I figured I’d consult the list another day. When Cate got home from school that afternoon, she wanted to talk about the list.

“So did you get the bagels and cream cheese? You know I want the white cream cheese and not the pink one?”

“Yes, I know you like the white better. But I haven’t been to the grocery store yet.”

She seemed disappointed in me. “But we’re out of those things,” she said.

I started to explain instant gratification – and why we don’t need to live like that. Bagels and cream cheese don’t require a special trip to the grocery. They’re on the list. I’ll get them when I’m there next.

I think I was fairly convincing. She seemed to understand. It wasn’t long before she added other things to the list. {Another point for helping! Not that we actually keep score around here …}

And then I caught myself doing the same thing – with, because, hello, epitome of {nearly} instant gratification with Prime shipping. I was out of light bulbs – added them to the cart. I needed a certain size battery – check. Talk about convenience.

I suppose instant gratification doesn’t matter much when it comes to batteries and light bulbs or even bagels and cream cheese. But I’ve learned some of my most profound lessons of trusting God when I had to wait. {Tweet that.}

I waited to get pregnant, never actually did, and learned God hears the desires of my heart.

I’ve waited for the phone to ring or mail to arrive.

I’ve waited for clarity on pursuing adoption again. I’ve started to dive in – more than once – and then remember God works while we wait.

I’ve waited for a friend to understand or my husband and I to get on the same page.

I’ve waited for my kids to get well this winter.

Like I share in my ebook, we are sanctified and perfected in the waiting. {Tweet that.}

Even knowing that, I don’t always wait patiently. Sometimes I want to rush the silence and uncertainty. Other times I assume I’ve got it all figured out and don’t need to wait on anyone or The One who actually is in control.

I eventually bought a bag of blueberry bagels and whipped cream cheese, not the strawberry flavor. The batteries and light bulbs arrived on my door step 48 hours later. God led us to adoption twice after he made it clear we were supposed to stop trying to conceive. My phone rang. Necessary conversations happened in the right time. I still don’t know about that third adoption. And I’m not sure how long my kids will stay well.

But I believe God is working.

Sometimes he makes it clear what we should do, where we should go, and when the changes should happen. Other times we have to wait. But we can worship and live and serve and rest and learn while we wait because God’s got a plan – because our names are scribbled on the notepad in heaven.

An InLinkz Link-up

I'm also linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory and Meredith Bernard's Woman to Woman Wednesday

Want more insights? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How snow days free us

I remember the faintly sounding phone ringing. It interrupted my sleep enough I knew what it meant – I could go back to sleep. Long before the days of texts and automated calls, the phone tree went to work spreading the good news our school district was closing for a snow day.

My dad was a principal of one elementary school and my mom was a teacher at another. There was one year my brother, my sister, and I were all at the same elementary school where my dad was principal. I was in fifth grade, Kevin in second grade, and Cassie in kindergarten.

We rejoiced on snow days.

In a family whose life revolved around the school calendar, these unexpected days off were treasures. I figured when I grew up, I’d care less about snow days, being a girl who loves summer and all.

Not true. I still really like them.

Sure, having snow day often means moving the last day of school back another day. But there’s something freeing about a day you didn’t expect to have totally at home. {Tweet that.}

I couldn’t do it forever, but I can hunker down with books and my scrapbook table. The kids make tents and build with LEGOs. Cate makes crafts and reads so many pages from so many books. Ben pesters his sister to play with him and asks about time like he understands what minutes and hours really are.

And when the school principal send the text mid-afternoon to inform everyone that tomorrow is another snow day? That’s the best. I don’t even have to set an alarm for the next morning. Yesterday was a scheduled day off for Presidents’ Day – ironically, it was a built-in snow-day make-up day, but we didn’t have any days to make up. Until yesterday.

The kids went sledding with our nearby friends. We ate two batches of snow cream and leftover soup. There is a pile of clothing by the front door and my husband’s hanging coveralls keep spooking me because I think there’s a person standing in our foyer.

The kids watched episodes of “My Little Pony” and “Wild Kratts” while Greg and I watched “Blacklist” and “Scandal” on the DVR. There were rounds of Phase 10 with Cate after Ben went to bed. And then there episodes of “Blue Bloods.”

Evidence of our day at home is all over – crumbs under the table, layers of clothing scattered in multiple places, dirty dishes that didn’t fit in the dishwasher, books and toys in every room. Real life isn’t always tidy, but it’s full of joy. {Tweet that.}

Today is Snow Day #2. There’s probably at least six inches covering our yard, maybe more. And there is another inch forecasted for tonight with lingering cold temperatures. This is Kentucky, so who knows when we’ll go back to school and our normal routine.

But maybe when we do go back, we’ll be a little more relaxed, less stressed, and ready to soak up the joy around us. Snow days are opportunities to breathe deeply and regroup. God gives us a chance to remember that he makes all things new and washes us clean because spring is coming. {Tweet that}

What’s the weather like where you are?

I'm linking this with Mary Carver's Works for Me Wednesday. Despite loving summer, snow days do work for me. They're good for my soul. The interruption in routine is freeing for my Type A self and teaches me to let go and be present. 

EDITED on Friday, Feb. 20  :: We're on Snow Day #5 now. And there are more flakes falling. I recently shared about #FringeHours ... and what a week to epitomize that. This week has been full of time at home with my favorites, opportunities to sit at my scrapbook table, and chances to cuddle up on the couch and read fiction. Next week may be a rude awakening when "real life" sets back in, but, for now, I'm enjoying the extra time to care for myself and my family in simple ways. 

I'm linking up with Jessica Turner, author of "The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You," who hosts a weekly link up focusing on how women like to spend pockets of time dedicated to self-care. 

Want more insights? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox." Amazon affiliate links included.

Monday, February 9, 2015

{Review & Giveaway} Rasmus and the Vagabond

I have a treat for you fellow book lovers today! My daughter, Cate, who is 7, is sharing her first-ever book review with you! Stay tuned because there is an opportunity at the end of someone to win a copy of "Rasmus and the Vagabond" by Astrid Lindegren, aka the Creator of Pippi Longstocking. 

I love “Rasmus and the Vagabond” so much I think you should read it. Rasmus runs away from an orphanage when he does he meets Oscar a tramp. They go together. They have an adventure, solve a mystery, and catch culprits. People think that Oscar is the culprit. (He is not.) So he is put in jail!

So some people named Lif and Linder will help Rasmus get Oscar out of jail, but only for the money that they stole! (Oscar has it). After a while Rasmus found a family, but Rasmus does not want to leave Oscar.

So he stays with Oscar. It turns out Oscar and his wife, Martina become his mother and father when they adopt him. That was his home, forever.

Read the book if you want to know more. You should read it because it is happy. Really in the end.

Reading the book taught me not to be afraid because Rasmus was not afraid. It might teach you something too!


ABOUT THE BOOK :: “Rasmus and the Vagabond” is recommended for kids 8 - 12 years old. Soft cover. 180 pages. Originally published in 1956, this newer edition was published by Plough Publishing House this year. Official website.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR :: Astrid Lindgren, the creator of Pippi Longstocking, Emil, and dozens of other world-famous characters, has thrilled three generations of children with her storytelling. She is the only children’s author with a literary prize, a theme park, a museum, a satellite, and a minor planet named in her honor. (After this last honor, she suggested changing her name to “Asteroid Lindgren.”) A jury appointed by Swedish Radio’s Culture Department to elect the “Author of the Millennium” voted Astrid Lindgren second after William Shakespeare. She was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal and heaps of other awards and honors.

GIVEAWAY :: One of you will win your own copy! Share in the comments your favorite children’s chapter book or who you know that would like to read this one. A winner will be randomly selected on Monday, Feb. 16. Congratulations to Teaque and her daughter for winning their own copy of "Rasmus and the Vagabond." Hope y'all enjoy it like Cate did. 

Many thanks to FlyBy Promotions/Propeller Consulting LLC for providing my girl a copy of "Rasmus and the Vagabond" as well as one to whomever wins this giveaway. We received the book in exchange for this review. Our opinions are our own. If you've won this prize on another blog you're not eligible to win again. This post also contains an Amazon affiliate link.

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Joy to the World (Vol. 3)

Happy weekend, friends!

Today I've officially known Greg half of my life. We met 17 years ago through a mutual acquaintance and then went on a date the next week, on Valentine's Day. Ah, how romantic! I suppose, but, really it was about logistics of going on a date the next Saturday. It was my freshman year of college people, I wasn't looking for marriage. My how time flies ... and most of it's been fun! 

Life with Greg also been a bunch of real life that looks nothing like I expected. I mean that in a nice way. Really, that's the theme of my life ... 

We had a little blimp in our normal routine this weekend when both kids came home from school at lunchtime Wednesday with fevers. Cate also complained of her throat and stomach hurting, so I ended up taking them to the pediatricians' office to get swabbed for strep. Positive!

This was Ben's fifth strep diagnosis since late April 2014 and third since Christmas. It's Cate's second time in less than a month. Talking about health and medicine always prompts a good Facebook thread ... 

But they're better now. Hopefully for good. Or at least the rest of this winter.

Meanwhile, I've been posting things I'm loving over at Instagram, so I'd love to have you connect with me there. Here are some snapshots of #choosingJOY the past couple of weeks ::

1. "Experiencing Joy" by Jeannie Cunnion :: Joy seems to be a theme on the internet right now. At first I thought, well, isn't my focus this year cliche? And then I realized it just means there are that many more resources out there. Like this article.

"What produces JOY is first remembering the good news of God’s grace and then letting it flow through us to one another." {Jeannie Cunnion}

2. Extra! Extra! board game :: Even though I haven't played this game yet, it's making my list. Here's the back story: Greg and I have played Settlers of Catan regularly with our best friends since February 2007. In May 2007, we started an perpetual scoreboard that we still tally wins. We sit in the same order around the table.

I haven't been wanting a new game. I'm still happily addicted to Settlers of Catan, but then I read about this one. By the makers of Settlers! Before I was a mom, I was a reporter. So, yeah, this game seems perfect for me.

3. Road trips with friends that involve stops at good restaurants and our favorite college basketball team :: This has happened once with our friends the Gachokas. And it's happening again today and next Saturday. I love basketball season. And my friends.

4. Sharing my story at other websites :: Yesterday I has posts at both places I regularly contribute – God-sized Dreams website and Circles of Faith. The GSD post is about marriage and how I've known Greg half my life {officially, today is 17 years!} and at COF I'm sharing another excerpt from my book that talks about how God hears the desires of our heart. I'd love for you to join me at both places.

5. Reading a new cookbook like a novel :: I've been lacking meal planning inspiration. So I resubscribed to eMeals and ordered a new cookbook, recommended by my friend Kayse Pratt. I spent an hour Thursday reading "Dashing Dish" by Katie Farrell.

6. From my #choosingJOY list on my iPhone :: 63. Walking in the morning. 64. My time with Ben during the day and him saying, "We have a busy day, you and me." ... 67. LeeAnn Willet bringing me JOY stickers at a Racers game. 68. A meal with so few carbs {tilapia, green beans, salad, blackberries} I barely have to take insulin.

How have you been #choosingJOY lately? {Tweet that.}

Read other JOY-related posts and Joy to the World (Vol. 1) and (Vol. 2).

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

4 Things I Learned in December

I know it's cliche, but I can't believe 2014 is basically finished. The harder I try to slow down and be in the moment, the faster time seems to go. December was full of Christmas, college basketball, and sickness for us. We love being with our favorite people and soaking in the season.

We simplified our schedule and the amount of presents bought this year, and those were welcomed changes. We held on to our favorite traditions and took life one day at a time, which mostly involved wondering if Cate was going to have a fever again and when Ben was going to have his turn being sick.

Before December ends and I have to remember to write 2015, I want to reflect on the month. Here are four things I learned this month ...

1. Amazon Prime Pantry will keep me from having to go to Walmart. I discovered the service on accident when I searched for Qtips on Amazon, thinking they would be an add-on item I could put in my cart for my next order. Turns out Qtips are part of the Prime Pantry! I got so excited I started a conversation on Facebook about it. Turns out I wasn't alone in my excitement.

The excitement continued with 76 trash bags, 185 Qtips for kids, 500 regular Qtips, 18 ounces of body wash, 100 Ziploc sandwich bags, 6 rolls of paper towels, 36 rolls of toilet paper, 70 Tide pods, 16 ounces of angel hair pasta, 2 bags of animal crackers, and 32 ounces of ketchup showed up on my front porch.

While adding products to my Prime Pantry box, Amazon tracks how much of the box is filled. What percentage of the box an item will fill is indicated as I shopped.

The prices were similar or cheaper than what I usually pay. Plus the convenience is worth something, trust me! Amazon also had a promotion that day that included free shipping (which is usually $5.99) and coupons worth $3.63 that applied to my order. The coupons and free shipping were automatically applied and shown as discounts at the check-out page.

2. Rend Collective's Christmas album may be my favorite ... ever. It's been on repeat around here and is tempting me to stay in the rotation after Christmas.

3. Make-up school work is no fun but a slow start to the month was sweet. 

Cate started the month with almost three weeks of sickness. Walking pneumonia then a virus with a high fever. There were inhalers and much ibuprofen. And there were slower moments than I expected to start this month.

Specifically, she missed six full days and two half days of the 15 school days between Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. We went to the pediatricians' office four times. She had two finger-prick blood draws and another from her vein in the out-patient lab. And there was a chest x-ray.

And then momma Googled too much and temporarily became a hypochondriac.

Cate was fever free the week of Christmas. Praise God! And then Ben started running a fever the day after Christmas and was diagnosed with strep throat on Friday and flu A on Monday.

I'm thinking about asking Murray Pediatrics if we can get a frequent patient punch card ... 

4. Ben made it to his maintenance allergy shot doses. So now it's once a week for those two shots. We had been doing twice a week for almost 11 months so this is a welcomed change. Of course, he hasn't had an allergy shot in more than a week with Christmas and now sickness.

How was your December? Did you learn anything worth sharing? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

I'm linking up with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky, who inspired me to document life this way. I love these monthly posts. Read previous posts: {From 2013} June. July. August. September. October. November. {From 2014} January. February. March. April. May. June. July. August. September. October. November

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Friday, December 19, 2014

For All That You Have Done

“... From mountain top to valley low
through laughter and through tears
Surely the goodness of my God
Will follow all the years

For all that You have done for us
for every battle won
We’ll raise a song to bless Your heart
For all that you have done

You know our failures and regrets
You always led us home
Redemption’s arm has raised us up
Our triumph in the storm ...”

{From “For All That You Have Done” by Rend Collective}

I cried yesterday – several times. I cried out of frustration. I cried when friends texted, Voxed, and Facebooked prayers and kind words. I cried when life seem complicated. This week has sort of been building toward that kind of day.

Tasks were taking extra steps – getting prescriptions filled for the diabetes supplies that I use EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE required extra phone calls, the grocery store was out of peanut butter chips for the Cookies in a Jar gifts I made for people so I had to go to Walmart, the food pantry was closed when I tried to drop off donations from neighbors and friends and then when I went back again a volunteer was blocking the parking lot and told me I’d have to come back again. My kids’ principal – who is also my friend – won’t get her Christmas gift until after the break because it wasn’t ready this morning.

And Cate woke up with a fever yesterday morning. Yes, again. She’s missed six full days and two half days of the 15 days of school between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There was walking pneumonia, and then virus, and now nothing really. Her blood work and exam were good. She doesn’t have strep throat, the flu, a virus, or mono. And she seems fine today.

But I couldn’t shake the momma instinct that something else was going on. I mentioned some medical history things to the nurse practitioner, who agreed Cate seemed tired and off. I think she heard me. I’m not usually a hypochondriac. I don’t worry about worst-case scenarios. But I Googled too much yesterday.

I told Beth how I was feeling and essentially apologized for whining and crying. She told me I could call it whatever I wanted but God catches all the tears. She reminded me about friendship and faith – two of the most precious things that aren’t really things that God gives us.

Sarah and I had an ongoing text conversation throughout the day. Despite her own troubles, she heard my frustrations. Kayse insisted on gifting me some essential oils to boost Cate’s immune system. Honestly, I’m not sold on oils yet, but I’m sold on friends who care and am willing to try what they have seen work in their homes. Courtney put on her nursing cap and heard my heart. The prayers and texts and Facebook comments sustained my weary heart yesterday and reminded me about what matters.

Some of this year has been hard in a different way than this week. But I’ve never doubted God. I believe He will deliver goodness even in the midst of the pain. I know He redeems and makes new so many things – even when we can’t see how it all will work together. When I step out of my earthly, emotional fog, I see all around me what God has done and is doing for me. As I start the mental list of the blessings, I get teary in a different way. I see how God has blessed my husband’s business, our home life, our extended families, our friends who are like family, the kids’ school, our church, and so on and so on. The good definitely outweighs the bad and offers promise of what’s still to come.

That hope is alive because of Jesus – who is the reason for this season and for every day of our lives. And that’s worth believing regardless of the kind of day you’re having.

Rend Collective’s Campfire Christmas has been on repeat around here. I. Can’t. Get. Enough. If you haven’t heard it, I recommend it – all of it.

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Sunday, December 7, 2014

On sickness, colored lights & miracles

My girl has had a fever for seven out of the last eight days. 

She started running a fever when we got home from Nashville. It wasn’t surprised because that’s what being around a bunch of cousins always does! I ended up taking her to the doctor the next day because THREE of the said cousins had strep throat.

Turns out, Cate did not have strep throat. She had walking pneumonia. I would have preferred strep, but, hey, I don’t get to choose these things. So the treatment plan was azithromycin, ibuprofen, and albuterol. Wednesday morning she seemed to go to school, and that’s what the nurse practitioner had indicated would probably be the case. She said to call back if she was still running a fever on Wednesday.

On Thursday while I was with Greg at a holiday lunch at our local crisis pregnancy center that we support, the lady from the school office called to tell us Cate wasn’t feeling well. I went to pick her about two hours early and learned she had a fever again.

For as long as she’s been talking, Cate’s always said her eyes hurt when she has a fever. Sure enough, her eyes were hurting again Thursday.

And they’ve basically hurt since. The fever has come down when there’s ibuprofen in her system, but when that wears off, it’s been getting up to 102 regularly and even 104 on Friday night. We did go back to the doctor on Thursday – you know, because we were supposed to call. Flu and strep tests were negative, thankfully, but blood work revealed something viral going on.

So while recovering from walking pneumonia, Cate also picked up a virus of some sort.

Part of me says, “Well, ‘tis the season for all these germs.” But the other part of me is remembering October, when she also had a virus that prompted a high fever and kept her home from school for days. Enough is enough.

This weekend was pretty much all about Christmas – and I hated that Cate had to miss out. She got a little sad Saturday morning when she realized she was going to miss out, but I couldn’t blame her because I was a little sad myself. And, y’all, she’s been the best patient possible while rotting her brain on continuous episodes of “My Little Pony.”

I took Ben to the local Christmas parade, where we met up with some cousins and friends. And then we all went with our friends the Goodriches for our fourth annual tree hunt. It’s become a family favorite tradition – and the Goodriches didn’t care Cate had a slight fever. Plus, it was as low as it had been for as long as it been … until it decided to spike back up yesterday evening. She did get some one-on-one time with Gran-Gran while Greg, Ben and I went to watch our Murray State Racers beat in-state rival Western Kentucky.

Back to the tree ... Last year our tree was so big we had to keep trimming it so it would fit in our living room. It was wild and crazy. I loved it. But, you know, I love our tree this year too. Cate picked it out, which is likely the highlight of her sickly week. It’s a smaller tree, more like Charlie Brown’s and less like the Griswold’s, and will forever be remembered as the EASIEST TREE I’VE EVER PUT UP IN ALL MY LIFE. Y’all, that’s quite a title, but it’s true. It’s little branches can’t even hold all of our ornaments, so we chose to leave the heavy ones off.

Although I did for an instant wish we had white lights – which we did at some point. But Christmas lights don’t last forever. In fact, I threw away a strand today. I can’t deal with those tiny bulbs that go out and kill the whole strands. Last year, that big tree I mentioned required Greg to make a run to Big Lots to get some extra lights.

Anyway, our tree is pretty. And it fits right in with this less-is-more idea God keeps putting on my heart this Christmas season. I’m going to elaborate on that another day.

{Read about our tree hunts from 2011, 2012, and 2013.}

Meanwhile, I just keep praying Ben stays well. It’s a miracle, really, he hasn’t picked up anything yet. He had strep in October, but otherwise has managed to stay healthy. I realize I probably shouldn’t speak that aloud, but, hey, I’m craving conversation.

I say that like I haven’t enjoyed all this time at home. But, really, I have. I’ve purged, organized, cleaned, stuffed and addressed Christmas letters, scrapbooked, and read.

Side note: In eight days starting with Thanksgiving, I read FOUR FICTION BOOKS. Along with Ben staying well, it’s a miracle. I devoured the series by Dani Pettrey and pretty much want to hang out with her main characters, the McKennas now. Of course, they live in Alaska, which I’m not sure I can handle right now. You know, all that literal darkness and coldness. And there are probably more germs I don’t need to be around.

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

{Three Word Wednesday} I Get To ...

Welcome to Three Word Wednesday! If you’re joining me from Beth Stiff’s lovely place, I’m so glad you’re here. Please make yourselves at home. 

152 Insights to My Soul
If you’re not sure what Three Word Wednesday is about, then please stay and let me tell you. Three Word Wednesday is a chance to pause in the hustle of life and hear God. Sum up what you’re hearing in three words. Those three words are enough. But I like stories, so feel free to elaborate with your words or pictures. Then link up your post below each Wednesday and visit your link-up neighbors. If you don’t blog, you’re still welcome to participate. Share in the comments below or on Facebook.

Feel free to grab the Three Word Wednesday button from my sidebar and share it at your place. 

And one more piece of business :: Ava Watkins, you’re the winner of “Bread & Wine” in Beth’s giveaway last week. We hope you love the book as much as we do.

Without further ado, I GET TO …

My kids were helping me unload the dishwasher recently when my 7-year-old daughter Cate stopped with a stack of plastic cups in her hand and said, “Didn’t we do this yesterday?”

Yes, we sure did. I reminded her that we eat multiple meals each day, thus continuing the unending cycles of loading and unloading the dishwasher. And as a family, we work together when things need to be done.

{I should have launched into how when Cate was born we didn’t even have a dishwasher. I washed all those bottles by hand. And then when she was about 8 months old, we had our kitchen remodeled, thus clearing the space for a dishwasher in our other house.}

But, yes, we unloaded the dishwasher yesterday. Because I cooked dinner yesterday too. And I did laundry who knows how many days in a row. And I drove you kids to school. And … the list could go on and on.

My girl’s question reminded me of how many chores and outings and tasks I do over and over again. Too often I take that repeating cycle for granted. I just go about our routine, sometimes even complaining about more clothes and more dishes that need washing, like the household chores own my time. But, really, shouldn’t I be thankful I have people to clothe and feed? Shouldn’t I be grateful we have machines that I can load and program to help me with my work?

That same evening – after the dishwasher was unloaded and loaded back again – I gathered in my basement with some other women for our weekly study of Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free.” At the beginning of the video session, Beth Moore said something that applied directly to Cate’s question not an hour earlier: “Don’t let familiarity cheat you of a blessing.” She was talking about how we assume we know what a scripture will speak to us because we’ve heard it so many times.

But her words applied to my heart that night in a different way.

I made a mental list of all the things I do every day that I don’t see as blessings. Dishes. Laundry. Dinner. Errands. Taking insulin. Setting my alarm. Packing my girl’s lunch. I see these things as chores and responsibilities.

But I love my life, especially the people in my house. I should go about those oh-so familiar chores and responsibilities and tasks with an attitude of “I get to …” rather than seeing them as a never-ending list of what I have to do before the day is done.

I want my attitude toward all these things that I do nearly every day to reflect how I feel about my people. I want to love my husband and kids through my housekeeping and meal planning. I want to serve and help and create and finish because I get to – and there most certainly is a blessing in that.


I'm sharing this post in two other link-up communities I love :: Jennifer Dukes Lee's #TellHisStory and Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Saturday, November 1, 2014

It's Adoption Awareness Month!

November is National Adoption Awareness Month.

Obviously, we’re constantly aware of adoption around here. My kids both know they’re adopted, although one {I’m sure you can imagine which one …} talks about it more than the other. Not only is one child a girl and the other a boy, but their personalities are different. Cate is so aware of adoption that she likes to talk about it to whoever will listen.

I’ve shared about this before here and elaborate on it in my book. So, in honor, of National Adoption Awareness Month, I wanted to share the excerpt from "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" that illustrates perfectly Cate’s awareness of her own adoption:

The first-year teacher was discussing the life cycle of a mammal with a dozen first- and second-graders when she drew upon comparison to shield the bulk of the bird and the bees talk: “You know, like you were born from your mom.”

My daughter Cate decided to inform her class: “I wasn’t in my mom’s belly. I’m adopted.”
I’m sure she caught her 22-year-old teacher off guard. But that was that.

But the story said more to me. It made me thankful Cate recognizes her birth story is different than most of her friends yet she isn’t ashamed to share it. Being adopted is normal for her because we’ve talked about it since the day she was born. These are the conversations we have regularly, each time revealing more details about her birth mom, our time with this young woman who helped us have a family, and her birth we witnessed.

In 2013, Cate wanted to know more about the seven nights we spent in the hotel waiting for the interstate adoption paperwork to be approved by folks in Indianapolis and Frankfort, Ky. I showed her pictures of her birth mom for the first time on her 6th birthday. It was the sweetest, most revealing adoption conversation we had shared.

This topic is an ongoing dialogue around our house. The word “adoption” has long been in Cate’s vocabulary, but we gradually elaborated on the details of her story with her. From the time they were just days old, strangers have told us how much Cate looks like me or Ben resembles my husband’s family. Sometimes we grin and nod. Other times we let them in on this story of ours.

My husband and I are raising a girl who remembers details and isn’t afraid to tell the truth along with a boy who embraces life to its fullest. We’re bringing up two of the best things God has ever done for us. Adoption is the story of how we became a family. It’s one I will tell over and over as long as someone listens. And now I’m glad to know my girl will tell it, too.

May you embrace the adoption stories near you, and not just this month but always. May you find ways to serve orphans. And may you know like these earthly adoption stories our heavenly Father adopts us and chooses us to be part of his forever family.

In honor of this month all there is to celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of Jennifer Jackson Linck’s “Bringing Home the Missing Linck: A Journey of Faith to Family.” Yes, it her family’s adoption story, but it’s also packed with lessons of trusting God and believing him even among life’s detours.

And because I adore Jennifer’s heart and love how she tells real-life stories, I’m also giving away a copy of her ebook, “Trucks, Tantrums & Trusting Him: Confessions of a Boy Mom.” But, don’t worry girl moms, you’ll take plenty away from this one too. In reading Jennifer’s words you’ll remember how God’s glory really can shine among the ordinary moments of our lives.

So there will be two winners chosen randomly on Wednesday, Nov. 5 – one will win a hard copy of “Bringing Home the Missing Linck” and the other will win a PDF copy of “Trucks, Tantrums & Trusting Him.” Just use the Rafflecopter below for multiple entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I talk about adoption often around here, especially with the recent release of my ebook. A year ago, I spent the month publishing an adoption series with pieces of our story as well as guest posts from others. You can see all those posts here.

Want more stories? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Thursday, October 30, 2014

10 Things I Learned at Disney

October has been a crazy month. And I mean that in a good way. But, goodness, it’s flown by ...

We went to Disney World and then I came home and released a book. I rarely do one thing at a time. So, needless to say, it’s been an exciting month. And these two topics are pretty much what I’ve shared about this month. But I have a little bit more I want to share about Disney, so that’s what I’m doing today.

In no particular order, here are 10 things I learned while at Disney ...

1. Animal Kingdom is great.

It was on the schedule for our second day of parks, but I didn’t realize just how much we’d love it. Multiple of our favorite Disney things were there.

2. Magic Kingdom is best done over two days. 

And I liked that our two days weren’t back to back. We were able to do everything we wanted, except the new Seven Dwarf Mine Train. We saw both the afternoon Festival of Fantasy and the nighttime Electric Parade and preferred the earlier parade. Although all the lights at night were pretty.

3. Building in a day “off” was good for us. 

Two parks and then we went to Downtown Disney for lunch at T-Rex and some shopping, especially at LEGO Imagination Center. Then we spent some time swimming at the hotel.

4. Magic Bands, the dining plan, and Fast Passes are amazing. Magical, really. 

We didn’t regret the dining plan investment and loved the freedom and ease it created. To have that as well as our hotel entry, park admission, credit card and Fast Passes all on our Magic Bands was convenient. Even though I don’t normally wear watch, I kept looking at it to see what time it was! It’s not that magical!

5. Doing just Disney is more than enough. 

We would have loved Sea World, Legoland, or the beach, but I’m glad we focused on Disney. We didn’t even do EPCOT at Disney because I wasn’t sure my young kids would love it like the other parks, plus four days of parks just the right amount for us.

6. My kids – who are 4 and 7 – are at the perfect ages.

I’m glad we didn’t go to Disney any sooner and I’m glad we didn’t have to haul a stroller. Ben does still sometimes nap so he went the whole trip (minus 30 or so minutes while traveling from the park to the hotel) without a nap, which stretched him. But he managed and he slept well at night. We only kept them up late one night. Everything was really exciting to them. Of course, there’s still plenty to do if we go back when they’re older!

7. The My Disney Experience app is helpful.

Download it and maintain enough of your mobile device battery to use it throughout the day to keep track of wait times, Fast Passes, shows, and dining details. The only downfall is once you use the three Fast Passes you reserved ahead of time, you can’t add the subsequent Fast Passes. The Disney lady at one of the kiosks, where you can add Fast Passes, told me this feature is in the works.

8. Disney customer service and hospitality are top-notch. 

One of my favorite examples is not dealing with our luggage after checking our bags at the Nashville airport. Disney people retrieved them in Orland and then brought them to our room while we were out eating dinner that first night. Likewise, we checked them at the hotel before we boarded the bus for the airport and didn’t have to handle them again until we picked them up at the baggage claim in Nashville. Despite the hyperbole of Disney being the happiest, most magical place on earth, there really are happy, helpful people working there. And the parks are so clean, even with the crowds.

P.S. The customer service of the Disney planner we used also was fabulous. I highly recommend Wish Upon a Star with Jennifer Hart. And, hey, this service is free!

9. My kids can be rendered speechless. 

Everyone in our life except them knew we were going. We managed to surprise and shock them! More on that in an earlier post.

10. Buying souvenir items before we went was good advice from seasoned Disney traveling friends. 

It really nixed the “gimmes” that could easily come with all those Disney gift shops. I bought the kids some T-shirts, accessories, and pajamas that we gave them throughout the week. I gave them some coloring books and other Disney-related activities for both plane rides and had glow-in-the-dark bracelets and necklaces for the night we stayed late for the nighttime parade. Thanks to zulily sales, I found great deals on fun souvenirs in the months leading up to our trip and was able to incorporate gifts for the kids throughout the week. Ben’s gifts were wrapped in Planes paper and Cate’s in Frozen. They all were labeled for which morning or evening I wanted them to open them. They did each have some souvenir money from the grandmas, so they spent that at Downtown Disney, mostly on Legoes.

If you’ve been to Disney, what would  you add? 

Want to read more about Disney so, do so here: Our Favorite {Disney} Things7 Reasons to Use a Disney Vacation Planner. And you can see even more pictures here.

I'm linking up with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky, who inspired me to document life this way. I love these monthly posts that document life. Read more previous posts: {From 2013} June. July. August. September. October. November. {From 2014} January. February. March. April. May. June. July. August. September.

Want more stories? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Unforced rhythms of grace

Earlier today, I published a post about being reminded about the importance of rest – a lesson God put on my heart when my kids were sick for almost a week. And then I rejoiced because everyone was better.

And then my daughter cried this morning before school for personal reasons that I’ll attribute to a possible urinary tract infection.

I was almost embarrassed to call the pediatrician’s office. Again. Seriously?! Our appointment this afternoon makes FIVE VISITS IN EIGHT DAYS. Sure enough, she has an infection. I did go ahead and get Ben an allergy shot too. You know, while we were there. Again.

Back to that post I published this morning about God’s reminder to be still and know he is God. Well, I wrote it yesterday afternoon. And guess what our “Breaking Free” lesson last night was about? Yep.


And to further prove God knows what I need to hear, Monday night I was crying to Greg about being exhausted about a couple hard things I’ve been processing. I verbally vomited on him through my tears and then said multiple times, “I’m really just exhausted.” I was weary of thinking about how to forgive and move forward. I was tired of having an emotional Band-Aid ripped off over and over again. I didn’t want to see my friend hurt anymore. I wanted her husband to step out of the deceptive illusions he’s been putting his faith in.

That kind of exhaustion was clouding my perception. And it had nothing to do with my kids being sick, except maybe I had more time to think about it.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” {Matt. 11:28-30}

And I really love those verses from The Message:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Unforced rhythms of grace.

Too often I try to force life. But that’s not what living in the light is about.

Nearly every word Beth Moore spoke in that video lesson spoke to me. I took so many notes in the margins. I don’t want to live in “captivity of activity.” So often rest is a mental, emotional state of mind, but sometimes it’s physically needed too.

I can rest because I don’t have to perform for God. He knows who I am. I’m not in charge of all my loved ones and their behaviors. God will fight for me and doesn’t always call me to defend my opinions or perspectives. I don’t have to keep repenting for the same sin. There’s grace and forgiveness.

I could go on and on about a need doesn’t necessitate a calling. I don’t have to set out to please everyone or anyone because, really, if that’s my motivation, I’m making myself a bondservant to whoever it is I want to approve me. Seeking Christ needs to be my only motivation.

The “Breaking Free” study has been hard because it’s pressed me to look at some childhood hurt. But it’s been packed with truth and wisdom that applies to specific situations in my life – and it’s setting me on the path toward freedom.

Perhaps I’m actually finding rest in a couple areas where my heart has been so heavy and exhausted. And hopefully my kids will be well again soon. Regardless, being yoked to Jesus is full of freedom and rest, even when life requires an antibiotic.

Read my earlier post from today and the beginning of this story here :: Be still & know.

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Be still & know

I spent most of Tuesday – Friday last week and then Monday at home with a sick kid or two. Other than my kids’ fevers, the first few days were glorious. I started binge-watching “Gilmore Girls” while I scrapbooked pictures from 2012. My kids were on their respective ends of the couch, under their own blankets, watching various shows and movies.

In those six days, I did take someone – or someones – to the pediatrician FOUR TIMES. I’m going to advocate for a frequent patient card where after ten visits we get a free allergy shot or something.

First, Ben had strep throat, but, of course, wasn’t complaining about his throat. I only took him in because he had a fever and NO energy for days. That same night, Cate started running a fever, so I called first thing the next morning to get her tested for strep. Because, really, why else would she be running a fever, right?


She didn’t have strep. So back home I went with two feverish kids.

Ben perked up Thursday, but Cate was still sick. That night her fever reached 103.4 even with ibuprofen in her system. So Friday morning I called the nurse. She suggested we redo the strep test that afternoon.

Still negative.

It’s not that the nurses and I hoped she had strep. We just assumed she did. Blood work revealed unnamed viral junk was causing the fever. Of course she woke up the next morning fine.

Hooray, everyone was fine on Saturday! Fine enough that Cate finished her make-up work from missing three days of school. THREE DAYS of school absences! There was a time in my life that would have been unacceptable.

But not now. I just spent more time with the Gilmore girls while my girl rested.

So we had a normal weekend at the soccer field, at the MSU football game, with friends at our church’s annual fall party …

And then Ben started coughing and speaking with a gruff, scratchy voice. He went to sleep fine Sunday night but woke up multiple times in the first couple hours crying, saying his throat hurt, and complaining that he couldn’t breathe.

Um. That seems serious. And he was still taking Amoxicillin for strep throat.

He ended up sleeping in our bed that night, which, if you know me, explains how bad he felt and how much sympathy and worry I had for him. I don’t like extra people in my bed. Even my favorite little people.

He coughed and grasped for breath all night.

So, yes, I started my Monday morning calling the pediatrician’s office. Again. 

Turn out he had croup. A dose of oral steroid, more children’s shows on Netflix, and a couple breathing treatments were what the doctor ordered this time.

When I wasn’t watching “Gilmore Girls,” I was reminded that resting is important. Our lives are so cluttered – and often with really great people and places. But we are never going to be able to do it all. Really, I’m learning that I shouldn’t really even try. Sometimes saying no to a good thing gives room for the best thing. And sometimes even extroverts need to stay home.

Dare I say he woke up Tuesday morning almost totally himself. And I rejoiced for his well-being as well as my own extroverted self who missed being out with her people. I walked and talked with one friend. And then later I texted another: I really want Qdoba for lunch. Any interest in meeting me there?

I felt my heart being filled back up again. And I knew those six days before had changed me in small ways, which when added to the other experiences and moments build on the story that’s being written.

{Turns out there's a Part 2 to this post. Read it here :: Unforced rhythms of grace.}

I'm also sharing an introduction of myself at Beth Stiff’s blog, where she will have a fun announcement next week when Three Word Wednesday returns.

I'm linking up this post with Jennifer Dukes Lee’s #TellHisStory and Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

On living in the light

“You know, momma, I just don’t like the dark.”

Those words came from my 7-year-old girl when I was questioning about why she was having trouble going to sleep the other night. It’s a regular thing: She reads in bed reading for some time. She knows it’s time to turn out the light, but she’s hesitant. And she’s so much like me: Her mind gets going right when she should turn it off. But it’s not that easy, I know.

And, really, who likes the darkness?

So I give her a hug and kiss. I tell her I love her. I say a quick prayer for God to calm her and give her rest. And I don’t see her again until I check on her before I head to bed and then nearly nine hours later awake her for school.

LIGHT has been my word for the year. It’s a popular blogger thing to choose a word for the new year. Like a trendy resolution. I like words, so I’ve been going along with it the for past several years.

But this year has been different.

God has shown me LIGHT in so many areas. I’ve worked through some childhood hurt that has spilled over into my adult life. I’ve witness God’s glory in some hard days. I hear the word in songs and realize its meaning in my everyday life. Book after book I’ve read have pointed me the LIGHT – such a stark contrast the darkness so many of us fear.

And I’m in the middle of “Breaking Free” by Beth Moore. If you’ve gone through the study, you get it. If you haven’t, you should. So many times I’ve felt caught in the doorway between darkness and light. I want to shut the door to the dark room and live in the room with all the natural light coming in through the windows. I spend so much time there, but sometimes meander back to the darkness.

I’m learning how to let go of that tendency. I’m learning to grab onto God because with him there is no darkness. And it’s easier to close my eyes at night because I know I’m not alone. That’s what I want my girl to learn too.

She’s a talker and a thinker. For as many words as she says, I’m pretty sure she has even more thoughts. These conversations about the literal darkness have spurred on so many good words between us.

A few days passed after her confession that she just doesn’t like the darkness. Then she brought me three $10 bills and eleven pennies. She wanted to give it to me. I’m not sure why. She just said it was a gift. As sweet and sincere as the gesture was, I told her I’d like to her to think of something else to do with that $30.11.

After a few minutes, she said she’d like to send Roselyn, our Compassion International-sponsored girl in Guatemala, a gift. We are only allowed to mail flat things like coloring pages, sticker sheets, and letters, so I encouraged her to come up with some like that.

Then her big, brown eyes lit up: “Can I help some other kids like Roselyn?”

I’m not sure she comprehends how “kids like Roselyn” live. Truthfully, I’m not sure I do either. But the fact she wants her $30.11 to help someone else is good. She went to bed with a gift catalog – you know, the one where you can choose meals to feed the hungry and medicine to help the sick – and I didn’t hear about the darkness from her that night.

The next morning, she showed me what she had circled. “Mom, you may need to help me. These things add up to $67.”

You can’t put a price on LIGHT, but I’m certain $67 will buy more than some gospel tracks, hot meals, and medicine. That money will shine the light on some dark situations – in Guatemala, maybe in Ecuador, and certainly right here in my own American home.

It's nearing the Christmas season. I know. I want to shush myself up too. Choosing gifts for others is such a joy. We've loved helping others through Compassion International and Samaritan's Purse and have had good experiences doing so. I'd encourage you to check out those gift catalogs for a meaningful, life-changing kind of gift-giving. We've also loved sponsoring children through Compassion International. There's plenty of children who could benefit from your prayers, money, and relationship. 

Other posts about LIGHT :: One Word. Songs of Spring. Living & Learning

I'm linking this post with Lyli Dunbar's Thought-Provoking Thursday

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."