Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Called to Love..... By Grace

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend for the 3rd year Called to Love.  Called to Love is an amazing retreat for adoptive and foster mom's.  This was a much needed resource for our region and I am so blessed by the fact that a group of women felt called to provide this resource for us mom's on this sometimes unique journey.  The fact is, in day to day life our families look and act much different than your "typical" family.  I almost feel bad for any waiting mama's at this thing, because they hear a lot about the "hard" with adoption.  As our last speaker stated, adoption is a calling, and it's not always an easy path to walk.  For us or our children.

In our previous years of attending, the focus has been a lot on our children and things we can do to help them on their journey.  It has always been good.  This year, I didn't really know what to expect. Seeing the list of speakers and breakouts, I was just kind of indifferent but sure something would stand out to me this weekend.  Can I just say, I was truly blown away this weekend.  The theme was Grace, and the focus in my mind this year was not so much on my kids, although I gleaned lots of wonderful information for parenting them too. But it felt more soulful in restoration and grace for us mama's. This season of life with 4 little's has just been exhausting for me. In a good way, but also it can be extremely difficult.  All the kids are quite little and constantly pushing us in different directions with appointments and extra-curricular activities. Then you throw in the normal daily life stuff and homeschooling and things have just been exhausting.

 This weekend was great for self care.  I came home truly refreshed and with fresh perspective.  This journey with ALL my kids is soooo not about me and I can't do it without much grace from God.  Even in the days since retreat, I have focused on taking care of myself.  If I take care of my needs, I am better equipped to take care of my kids. And if the day to day stuff is going to stress me out and in turn make me impatient with my kids, then it isn't worth doing. It was much needed to take a step back right now, let me tell ya, and just let go of some of that mommy guilt.  

I truly just adore the family God has given me.  They are a true and wonderful blessing from above.  I will finish this post with what I believe is a very simple but profound word given to us adoptive mama's because this is at the heart of why many of us chose adoption in the first place.  Not only did one speaker feel led to give us this word, but two.  Now when two separate speakers are given the same verse to share with us, I think it is worth paying extra close attention to.

John 21: 
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep."

In the past few days, I have been reminded and reflecting on the 3 themes the retreat has had thus far, they combine quite wonderfully into one theme:
Called to Love, love like crazy, by grace! 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Night On the Town with our Princess!

My mom bought Sabrina tickets to a very special evening out with some of Sabrina's favorite characters!  I have never seen our little lady so excited!  She couldn't wait and was bouncing around the house waiting for the time to come.  She was mesmerized from start to finish!

Being so close, we got snowed on, a lot! 

It was a special and fun evening with our girl!  Such a fun age and phase we are in right now! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Malachi's Soccer Season

We are in the midst of soccer season over here. This is Malachi's 3rd year of soccer but his first year on a "real" team with "real" games.  He is on a kindergarten team this year and his team is pretty darn good.  Malachi has definitely earned the title of most improved on his team this year!  He was so clueless at first on what he should be doing but got the hang of it and is a lot of fun to watch now!  


Celebrating as calmly as he can :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Half Birthday's Abound!

In the hustle and bustle, we couldn't forget two of our favorite people and celebrating their half birthdays!  

Malachi was first up and he has been on the countdown to get to call himself a 5 1/2 year old!  I'm in complete awe of how fast this little boy has grown up in front of my eyes.  He's a born leader and a smart cookie!  We are really enjoying all the aspects of his life that keep us busy - soccer, taekwondo, swimming, school.  It takes a lot of activities to wear this kid out!  

And then of course we had our little princess who had her half birthday two days later.  She's a character.  Strong willed, sweet, funny, shy.  She's a hoot!  

Malachi requested peanut butter cheesecake for his special half birthday treat! We also enjoyed a fun movie night! 

And then our princess requested her favorite, a box full of donuts! 

I adore these babies so much and can't believe how quickly time is going. It is so fun watching them grow and start to develop into their own unique people!  

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Weekend in the Gorge

This weekend Peter and I had the privilege to get away for a night and go enjoy the beauty of fall in Hood River.  I really don't think there can be a much prettier place in this country to enjoy fall!

We enjoyed the weekend celebrating the fact that Peter was starting a new job this week!  A new job wasn't part of the plans this year, but a good opportunity was presented to him, and after much thought and prayer we felt it was something worth pursuing.  Since it wasn't something we were really seeking out, it did come with some bittersweet feelings.  Having met all of Peter's coworkers in Ireland, he had a great bunch of people he was working with so I know that was hard for him. But I am sure glad I went with him on his last trip to Ireland!

We are excited for what is to come. This new job offers more opportunity for career growth and is a bit of a better fit putting him back on the track of work that he enjoys doing most.  And it is literally right next door to his old job so his commute will stay about as good as it can get.  We're excited for him to get started!

So back to the trip, we spent the night in the gorge and it was pouring down rain. Fortunately the next morning was gorgeous weather and the sun was shining on us!  We had fun doing "The Fruit Loop" of which we've shared pictures of several years in the past. As much as I enjoy touring it with the family, it was kind of fun to tour it just as a couple this year!  Unfortunately the farm that was the most fun for the kids closed down last season, so I'm not sure they would have enjoyed it anyway (How's that for justification?).

We left the apple valley with a trunk load of apples to make into sauce for the kids.  Then we decided to stop at Multnomah Falls on the way home.  This is someplace I have not stopped at in many years and we've never been there together as a couple.  It was a fun little stop. 

This next picture is of the view from the bridge.  This is as far up as we normally go.  But this time I really wanted to make it up to the top.  So up we went! 

To get to the top it is a nice little probably 1 1/2 mile hike.  My phone says it ended up being about 74 flights of stairs. so it was a nice little hike.  I think for tourists visiting the area, it is a perfect description of Oregon.  Almost anywhere in Oregon, you could find a hike like this.  Moss everywhere, trees, damp trails.  Pretty views. It just smells and feels like Oregon.  

And then we made it to the top!  It was kind of cool, even though we couldn't quite see over the edge ;)  I'm glad to say I've done it. And we'd love to stop in there again and do some of the other trails that lead to waterfalls in the area. 

There were some pretty little falls that lead to the big drop. 

It was a great weekend away together. We enjoy every minute of the time we get alone together as it is quite rare. We are excited for all that is to come and feel blessed for new opportunities!