Tuesday, July 29, 2008


In the last post I said that the grandparents were having dinner with their six grand children. SIX? The last time I checked there were five of them. I'm not counting again just in case I'm wrong. I don't want to know if I'm wrong.

I am claiming five children at this point and wanted to make sure you all knew that this was an unintentional slip and not some hidden message.

There are only five of them, there are only five of them, there are only five of them, there are only five...

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Weekend in Review

My parents were here from Friday until Sunday morning. It was quite a weekend. They got a first-hand look at our community grill-out nights. Mom stayed in with the baby most of night to "keep the gnats from bothering Justus." Sure, Fran. I think she was using "gnats" as a code word for rambunctious children.

Here are a cuople of Friday night shots:

Saturday was my parents wedding anniversary -39 years! We decided to give them a romantic dinner... alongside their six grandchildren. They were the honored guest at a very exclusive restaurant called Chez Sextone. You might be tempted to think that this establishment serves more than just food. It doesn't. The kids took great pleasure serving as hosts/hostess and waiters.

And then there was the main event of the weekend: just hanging with the grand kids.

When we visit Atlanta my mom always says, "Boy, do I know when my kids are home. Ya'll have stuff strewn from one side of this house to the other." Ahem, don't worry Mom, I'll ship you your black shoes, white sweater, Steak-n-Shake cups, Daddy's socks, and cooler.

Boy, do I know when the grandparents are here. ;-)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Grandparents and Homocide

Not necessarily in that order.

Tim made a declaration upon arriving home from work Thursday. "We need to embrace a lifestyle of peaceful tranquility." I only had one question: "Where are we hiding the children's bodies?" yeah, that was when the declaration became a pipe dream.

Last night was rough. It was a phone call near midnight - poopie diaper at 1 - Isaiah leg cramp at 2 - bottle at 3 - Justus doesn't want to go back to sleep 'til 5 - why won't you take your pacifier - oh, because that's your ear I'm shoving it into - kind of night. yawn.

But my parents are here (I will try to post grandparent/Justus pictures tomorrow) and it's fun to relive the newness of his being here through their eyes. Now if I can just convince them to take the night shift...


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Justice for Prostitutes

To clarify -that's JustICE not JustUS -lest there be any confusion. =)

I have a Daily Bible. 365 Daily Readings in Chronological Order. What could be simpler? Today is July 24th. I am on May 12th. sigh. Oh, and that is after I skipped February, March, and most of April trying to get caught up. double sigh. But I keep plugging away.

I don't know about you but when I read the Bible, weird things jump out at me. I see the lessons and the obvious things that you'll find in commentaries, devotional books and such but sometimes the strangest things capture my attention. This could mean that I am total heretic who rips Scripture out of context and distorts it for my own purposes. I hope not. Or it could just mean that my brain (hopefully in conjunction with the Holy Spirit) works in mysterious ways. Here's what I'm pondering today.

1 Kings 3.16 Classic story where Solomon displays his God-given wisdom by discerning the true mother of a child after threatening to cut it in half. A bizarre story from beginning to end but this is what struck me today...

v.16 "Now two prostitutes came to the king..."

Did you know that already? Somehow in 3o+ years of life, I must have locked and sealed into my head the kindergarten, children's bible, G-rated version of this tale. They were prostitutes. Working girls, women of the night, streetwalkers, harlots, whores, tramps, sluts. Okay, okay, Amie. What's your point? My point is that these were women who would hardly have received a second glance from any of us, apart from a disdainful shake of the head, given their ungodly and shameful career choices; and yet, here they stand before the king, seeking justice. And God not only gives justice (clearly coupled with mercy) to the mother of this child, but He uses this incident as the first example of His divine gift of wisdom in Solomon's life. He uses this story to set the people's hearts in awe of their new king.

God is not in our box.

And this immediately turned my mind to the adulterous woman in John 8 -"caught in the very act of adultery." yikes! The Pharisees wanted justice according to the law. Jesus scatters her accusers and spares her life -giving her true justice soaked with mercy.

God is not in our box.

And then there's the Samaritan woman in John 4. Five husbands and shacked up with her current lover?! Based on what was considered "just" or right in those days, Jesus never would've even spoken to her. And yet, the Messiah reveals Himself to her and offers her living water.

God is not in our box.

In most of our "god-boxes" there is a compartment reserved for scandalous women such as these. It's the one labeled "condemnation." The young woman who aborts her baby, the promiscuous teen, the cheating wife, the teen pop star who doesn't bother wearing underwear, and so on and so on -all stand condemned under our self-appointed title of judge and jury. But Amie, sin is sin and God never lowered His standard! So, humph! You're right. He never lowered the standard...

He lowered Himself. So that side by side, hand in hand, arm in arm, face to face, we might have the strength to take one tiny step closer to the standard.

I want to live life out of the box! To lower myself and offer tender mercies to a world of people who, just like me, have "sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God." What box are you in?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Picture Page

Last Friday's grill out in a downpour.
The ladies/girls played inside while the boys grilled hot dogs
-Mary Poppins style-
and then played football in the rain.

(nickname given by his family -not us. =))

The "Ladybugs."
The precious, chubby cheeks in pink was last week's head injury.
She is recovering nicely. Thanks for your prayers.

Up, Up, and Away

Darth Vader goes GQ!
Back off ladies.

With or without the goofy ninja suit
-you don't want to mess with her.

Bella wearing fashions by Mamoune.
Yes, scary ninja girl also does makeovers.

I could...

... eat him up.


Using Protection

*parental notice -reading to or with your children may cause questions you are not ready to answer.

We had a post-placement visit last night with our sweet friend from Amazing Grace Adoptions. As I've said several times -lots of people have surprise pregnancies; we have surprise adoptions. So, Tim revealed his plan for keeping our crew at it's current membership of five. He said he's going to buy a condom and wrap it over the phone so that we can practice "safe calling." Therefore, no calls which may result in children can get through. Insane. Tim claims that his productivity is down due to the lack of sleep but it seems to have heightened his sense of humor. I would say this is a great trade if not for the fact that he is the sole provider for our family. Productivity should probably be of greater value to those of us who like to eat.

Justus is growing and changing to a round faced little boy every day. Also, I have finally added a new post to the braindump story. Sorry it's been so long that you may have to back track to remember where we were.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Parenting AKA...


Friends recently asked my husband how it is parenting five children. In a moment of practical profundity he said, "It's like that game 'whac-a-mole.' One of them pops up and needs something and just when you knock that one down, another one pops up." And I must add the obvious, that sometimes two or three pop up at one time. Of course, he wasn't referring to physically knocking them down; although I must admit that being armed with that giant, plastic hammer has a certain appeal. ;-)

The truth is "fatigue makes cowards of us all" and PMS makes psychos of us all -well, the female population anyway. If that is TMI then you may want to stop reading now because that's just the mood I'm in. Thanks to the aforementioned PMS. I'm not the best mom when I am exhausted. My kids suddenly seem far too needy and every request is like a pint of blood being sucked out of my arm. I come up weak and dizzy. I'm not the best wife when I am exhausted. My husband is useless to me. No matter how much he tries to help, he never seems to help in the way I think I need him to help at that moment and so the help he has given doesn't get counted as helpful. (it did make sense, just read it again slowly) It frustrates me and you can imagine how badly it frustrates him.

Turns out my children are just that -children. And my husband is human and is not a mind-reader. And even though the PMS will soon enough fade, the fatigue is going to be around for a while. I've got to learn to quit fighting it and start functioning within it. I also need to change my definition of resting. I heard a woman on the radio once talking about how we often take time for ourselves to "rest and relax" by watching television, playing computer games, etc. And while these things do give us a chance to turn our brains off and veg out for a few minutes, they do little to refresh and refuel us for jumping back into life. According to Acts 3.19 "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord."

So true refreshing comes from the presence of the Lord. The presence that dwells in me through the Holy Spirit. Which tells me that if I will acknowledge His presence and act out of that power and not my own fatigue, then even those things which seem to drain me -serving my children, cutting my husband some slack, late night baby feedings, can become avenues of refreshing.

Easier said than done? Sure. Still worth saying? Hope so.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Tim and our friend Nancy (props to Nancy for pulling baby patrol Sunday night! THANK YOU!!) decided to take the neighborhood crew on a quick bike ride around the block. They hadn't gone far when a dog came out at the children and one of our youngest girls took a nasty fall. After getting her home, she became very groggy, disoriented, and then began vomiting. I drove her and her mom to the ER. It was scary. She didn't recognize her mom for the longest time and would say things that made no sense. After a ct scan, they told us that she had a pretty severe concussion and then admitted her over night for observation.

Was she wearing a helmet? No. Please refrain from lecturing; we've learned our lesson the hard way. Even a short trip around the block is enough for something crazy and potentially horrible to happen. The little girl is doing much better now. And on the kinda bright side, her mom and I were able to really deepen the relationship that we've started through great conversations at the hospital and just mutual concern and prayers for her daughter. And our Sunday School class cronies were servants in action, jumping in to help Tim with our kids and the rest of this family's children while we were gone. Thanks guys for doing community to the extreme!!

You can expect our book "Reaching Your Community for Christ -One Head Injury at a Time" to hit the market any day now. ;-)

On Saturday we had a Welcome Home Justus party! It was great fun at the Keel's house and the food...oh mama! Courtenay and Judy seriously out did themselves. Here are a couple of pictures from the party:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Catching Up

For all of you who, like me, get agitated by seeing the same blog post on a site for days in a row -I apologize. It's been a doozie of a weekend and time was just not on my side. So, today, I will attempt to get you caught up...

Friday was Isaiah's birthday. He is seven years old but (according to the growth chart at his recent physical) the size of an average ELEVEN year old. Insane. When the kids attended a VBS at the church around the corner from us, I was surprised to see that Isaiah was in a class with several of the 11 and 12 year olds that we know. I asked about it and his teacher sweetly and apologetically said, "He told us he was six but we didn't believe him so we just put him in the class with kids his size." He had fun either way but I may have to start carrying a copy of his birth certificate just in case.

For part of Isaiah's story, click here. We spent the day at Marbles downtown and then topped off with Dunkin' Donuts. Here are some pictures from the birthday celebration.

Game junkies. They start so young.

Rockin' out!

Crazy women drivers.

After lots of fun we headed home for our Friday night community grill out. Everything was going as it usually does until...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Jesus and Carbs

No, it is not the latest diet fad. It is my strategy for survival. The wiser woman would consider the long-term effects of a healthy high fiber, high protein diet to produce sustained energy and mental balance. I prefer to live dangerously while peaking and plateauing between the short bursts of insulin-induced rushes followed by the deep and catatonic crash of plummeting blood sugar levels.

While you were enjoying your Special K breakfast this morning -I downed a plate of spaghetti and a cup of coffee swimming in hazelnut creamer. I'm not kidding. I can only explain the spaghetti with the fact that my internal clock is way off set by being awake at weird times. Either way, I will be a whirlwind of accomplishment for the next hour or so. After which, well... would anyone out there be willing to come by the house at around noon and scrape me off the floor? ;-)

Uh, Amie, where exactly does Jesus come into the plan? I'm glad you asked. You see, sometimes I write this blog to challenge you. Other times I write it to challenge myself. This is one of those. I admit that the carbs are in many ways more comforting to me at times. I can see them, smell them, taste them. They are tangible. And to my shame, I choose them first too often. That's the ugly truth. A plate of peanut butter cookies is more soothing than the Man who hung on a cross to buy my eternity.

And while I'd like to think that God just doesn't really understand how powerful my sugar addiction can be, I'd have to explain away passages like Psalm 34:8 "TASTE and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" Taste and see...hmmmm. And then Psalm 119:103 says, "How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!" I think God gets it. In fact, I think He is going to great lengths to say that the sweetest thing this world can offer -the hottest melt-in-your mouth Krispy Kreme donut- is just a sad sugar substitute compared to His word.

So, if you happen to pray for me today, you could pray in this way: that the cravings of my spirit for the sweetness of His word and the taste of His goodness would greatly exceed the cravings of my flesh for quick fixes and cheap substitutes.

Love to all!

Monday, July 7, 2008

More Mixed up Math

Here's an equation for you:

new baby + sick husband = crummy blog updates

It is a fact and should be included in the Blogging for Dummies manual (which I'm sure someone has written.)

Justus is doing great. He's a truly content little fellow and is slowly braving the world of awakeness for longer periods of time. I was explaining to a friend at church yesterday how I keep having little moments of realizing that there are five children in this family. It hits me most when we are loading the van and every spot is full or at bedtime when every spot is full. It's all a bit surreal.

To think that 10 years ago we were learning that just doing what married people do doesn't always yield the expected result; and navigating the emotionally charged and sometimes spiritually treacherous waters of infertility. Yet here we are -one of those big families that gets seated in the back room away from the other restaurant patrons. (yeah, thank you IHOP for your vote of confidence.)

How amazing is God? How stupid are we? We actually thought we had a better plan...than God. How amazing that He never pounded us into the ground but with blessing after blessing continues to prove Himself? Hugely amazing!

Proverbs 113.9 has become a very special verse to me because I've had the privilege of living it out -five times over!

"He grants the barren woman a home,
Like a joyful mother of children.
Praise the Lord!"

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It Just Doesn't Add Up

I taught my kids that 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 8. I may have done them a horrible disservice. Someday they will grow up and have babies of their own and they will, no doubt, think me a liar. I know what 8 hours of sleep feels like. Two hour increments are not. even. close.

Tim got the heck out of dodge, er, uh, I mean, went back to work today. Coward. ;-) To his credit, he spent the day yesterday catching up laundry, cleaning out kids rooms, and keeping the medium-sized people on task. With all that done, I have only a handful of personal goals for the day.
  • Update the blog -I am so on top of things!
  • Shower
  • Remember to change Bella's diaper more than once all day. Poor kid.

Clearly no one will ever accuse me of being an overachiever. shrug. I'm also looking forward to hanging with my friend Jena (home from Uganda -yeah!) for a while. The second bullet point is really more for her than for me. Hopefully, Justus will still recognize me as "mom" after I defunk. Here are a few photos to close out the post.

Justus chillin' in a warm bath.

Bella patronizing me with a fake smile. Little snot.

Checking each other out.