Wednesday, January 28, 2009


It occurred to me that I completely blew by Bella's birthday without posting. Guess that's what happens when you have too many kids to keep up with. We did celebrate her second birthday on January 13th. Much to the chagrin of the older children, we decided that she didn't really care if we went out to a restaurant and that a cake and song were plenty at this age. Here are a few pic's and you can read more about her adoption story here and here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Snow Bunnies

I love this snowsuit from the back

- reminds me of A Christmas Story

Mamoune and Jayla

Big Snow = Big (fake) Smile

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy MLK Day!

Tim took the day off and we are having a black history movie marathon! Actually, the kids were getting stir crazy so they are on a two hour intermission to run off some energy.

Here's the line up:

Glory Road
Keep the Faith, Baby
Remember the Titans
Antwone Fisher (not for the kids)
Crash (also, not for the kids)

Basically, I tried to pick PG movies that paint a picture of life during the height of the Civil Rights movement; movies that highlight the power of reconciliation, equality, and the lives of those who endured injustice on many different levels. We have lots of discussion about how life would have been different for all of us just 30-40 years ago; how we wouldn't have been able to sit in the same restaurant together much less in the same home as a family (and friends -a couple of the neighborhood crew joined us.) And on the eve of the inauguration celebration, it's very moving to see how far we've come while still knowing how far we have to go.

I remember a time when I was very young that someone made this statement in front of me, regarding MLK Day, "Just another dead nigger." (you have no idea how painful and unnatural it is to write that.) Even as a child I felt personally injured by what I had heard. It stung my heart but I had neither the words nor the understanding to articulate why. I have both now. And I believe it was because the Holy Spirit in me knew the truth; that the Civil Rights Movement, the equality of all men, the just treatment of every person was not the brain child of Martin Luther King, Jr., or Adam Clayton Powell, or Malcolm X, or Abraham Lincoln for that matter. They were all just mere men whose faults can be easily pointed out and used to discredit their passions by those who desire to do so. It was, however; it is the heart of a humble carpenter who gave His life as the ransom for ALL people --and in Him there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female.

I could write a mini-series but I won't...


Have a great night!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

About Time

For any one who vaguely remembers the little story that I started on the literary brain dump, well, I'm finally back at it. Two new posts are up and ready. Maybe someday soon we'll finally get these two characters married and loaded up with a bunch of kids or something fun like that. =)

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sacrifice and Provision

For about four years now, Tim has engaged in the practice of naming our year. Not the year that has just passed but the year to come; sort of declaring that this is what we think this year will be about for us. It's been so amazing to look back each time and see how the name he chose was in a sense prophetic. Let me give you some examples:

2006 was "The Year of the Faithful Witness." This was the year that Tim determined to faithfully share the gospel at the Spirit's prompting. He picked up random hitch hiker's, helped stranded motorists, and invited people into our home that made me, well, a little less than comfortable. It was also the year that I learned to trust my husband more and how to express concern without questioning God's direction.

2007 was "The Year of Radical Obedience." This was the year that we believe God called us to leave the country and serve as missionaries in Haiti. It was the year that we sold our house, got rid of our dog, and yard-saled away most of our belongings. It was also the year that the mission door closed, the adoption door re-opened, and we crammed six people into an 800 square foot barn for three months. Though we admittedly missed plenty of God's directions and were probably losers in a myriad of ways, we tried hard to obey. And He certainly held us to the "radical" part.

2008 was "The Year of No Regrets." We wanted to look back at this year and know that we hadn't missed any (at least the obvious) opportunities to serve God and others. It was our first full year living in the 'hood and the year that we began our summer season of Friday night hot dog parties for anyone in our community who would join us. It was the year that we "birthed" a new Sunday School class and found that God sent us just the people we needed to jump start our neighborhood ministry. And it was the year that slowly but surely and with the help of many friends, we started seeing kids from our area come to church every week. Again, we are not prideful or stupid enough to pretend that any year has been perfect but there aren't a lot of regrets for this past year in retrospect.

And so, that leads us to 2009. Oddly enough it was I who felt impressed to name this new year. But for several weeks I squelched it because I didn't really like the name God gave me. By now, I've looked back enough to know that He gives us these ideals and then actually holds us to it. So, I fought hard. And then He spoke it to me again through Tim and I knew it was time to submit. ugh. 2009 - "The Year of Ridiculous Sacrifice." See what I mean?

And sure enough, we are only 11 days into the year and so far, I've spent the better part of a week with an extra kid in the house to help out a single mom who works nights, attempted to befriend and counsel a teenage girl who's been kicked out of multiple homes, and shared the gospel with her boyfriend -an admitted gang member, who is also a drug user and has been in jail upward of four times. The most recent stint ending just two weeks ago. You guys know me, and I'm not about to lie or sugarcoat the facts. These "sacrifices" have been hard at best, and downright scary at worst. And I'm afraid we've only scratched the surface. BUT...and this is a BIG BUT...

this is where the provision comes in. And already in this short amount of time God has proven Himself faithful. One of our frustrations with the work we're doing in the neighborhood has been trying to provide transportation for all the kids who want to come to church with us. (yeah, it's a good problem but a problem just the same) We have such wonderful class mates who've gotten to know and love these children just like we have, who invest much time and energy into helping with this issue. But ultimately, we are out-numbered. There are at times more kids than seats available.

We felt very weighed down by the potential of having to tell any of "our" kids that they couldn't go to church because we didn't have a spot for them. This very weekend, as Tim did the job of making calls to try and scrounge up rides and was met with many obstacles (legitimate ones); we hit a wall emotionally. And we finally did what perhaps we should have done way back when- we prayed. We told God that we had kids who wanted to go to church and while we would continue to use families to help us build relationships into the lives of these children, when it came right down to it we just needed a way to get them there. This was on Saturday.

Sunday after church, I passed a friend of ours in the hall and he said, "Hey, tell Tim to give me a call when he has a chance." Okay. Didn't think much of it. This friend, however, happens to own a Suburban that we have on occasion borrowed to carry kiddos to church. We ate lunch and I passed the message on to Tim and added as a bit of a joke "what if he's gonna offer us his Suburban." We had already been looking on craigslist for mini-vans, passenger vans, limos, hearses, pretty much anything that could be crammed with younguns. Tim stopped right there and prayed a quick gosh, Lord that would be cool but whatever...kind of prayer. He called. Left a message.

When the guy called a short time later he basically said, "God told me that I'm supposed to give you our Suburban." I didn't hear him say it. I was in the living room and Tim was in the bedroom. But when I heard Tim's voice crack as he replied through tears, "Man, you have no idea how amazing your timing is." I knew. By the time he hung up the phone we were both sobbing. I don't know what caught me more; the reminder of how much God loves us or the reality that He loves these kids even more than we do.

And so, if this is to be The Year of Ridiculous Sacrifice, I have to ask myself-- how could I offer any less to such an amazing God?

More Pictures!

The Many Phases of Waiting
brought to you by Isabella Sexton

Phase 1: Annoyance

Phase 2: Temporary Resolve

Phase 3: Boredom
Phase 4: Despair

Phase 5: Who can I kill?

And now...

The Many Phases of Happiness
brought to you by Justus Sexton

Phase 1: I'm pleasant.
Phase 2: I'm happy.

Phase 3: I'm very happy.

Phase 4: I crack myself up.

Phase 6: I'm so happy I can't control myself!


Okay, there have been lots of "kodak moments" the past couple of weeks and I've decided to dump 'em all on you at once and get it over with. Afterward, I'll try to get back to posting something of substance. =)

Where's WaldoBella?

Tim's birthday was on Jan. 5th. After dinner that night, he mused about not having a birthday cake. I decided to work with what I had and give him a special treat on the spur of the moment.
This was my first attempt: a small mountain of white chocolate morsels and a matchstick.
He was unimpressed.

I went for plan B. A snickers bar. He said it looked like poop with a candle stuck in it. And yet, however distasteful he found it to look...

He didn't even share one slice of it with me. shrug.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Milestones for Justus

Over the Christmas/New Year Holiday, Justus accomplished many things:

Gained a new appreciation for gifts.

Came face to face with a ferocious beast. ;-)

Still managed to get plenty of naps.

Started eating solid foods.

First bite...not so sure.

Second bite...a pro!

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's A Wrap

While this is officially my end of the year-stories and pictures from Christmas-summary of 2008 post; I MUST begin by saying on this 5th day of January 2009 ---

Happy Birthday Timothy!

I love you so much! You are my favorite person on the planet. Long hugs, slobbery kisses, and other mushy things that gross out our children (and blog readers) to you on your special day. "Special" meaning eight hours of work, five needy children, a disheveled wife, and lots of homework awaiting your return. woot! Don't worry, babe, we'll save up our partying for Ocean Isle!

Advertisement: Speaking of our second annual trip to Ocean Isle - we are now accepting offers for child care between February 13th and 16th. We have five lovely and well-behaved (oh, wait you've been reading this blog -drat) well, lovely anyway; children who will make a delightful temporary addition to any home. No reasonable offers will be refused. ;-)

Back to the 2008 wrap up. We had a wonderful trip to Atlanta to visit family. Tim and I managed to coerce the grandparents into a lunch date (for us not them) and I squeezed in a couple of shopping trips with my sister sans children which were a highlight of the trip. Overall though, I would have to say that one of our favorite moments came via Isaiah.

Tim's parents took the crew out to dinner at Ruby Tuesday's. My kids have never been ones to order from the children's menu. No. It's just not enough food. They have adult-sized appetites and so they want adult-sized food. I tried to sway them toward the mini-burgers that come four to a serving, thinking that would at least be easier to handle but Isaiah was having none of that. He wanted the big burger. And he got it. When they brought out the plates, Isaiah couldn't contain himself --"That's the biggest hamburger I've ever seen!!" he exclaimed.

The waitress was amused by his excitement and was telling another waitress about him when the visiting district manager overheard the conversation. "Let's show him a REALLY big burger!" she suggested. So, as we finished our meal and Izzy put away the last bites of his already big burger; out comes the waitresses with a platter just for him -the Colossal Burger.

I was already voicing my protest when she said, "Don't worry. It's on the house." Basically, they just wanted to see his face light up when he got a look at that burger and it did! He was in heaven. Naturally, I did not have my camera but we got a picture of him with his monster burger the next day at lunch.

So, to the waitresses and manager at the Ruby Tuesday's in Peachtree City, GA -you made the boy's night! Thank you!

More pictures and stories to come.