Category Archives: Family

Goodbye Week, I am Done With You!

Dear last 7 days,

I am breaking up with you.

There I said it. I have tried REALLLLLY hard the last several days to keep an upbeat and positive attitude, but you have made it difficult to say the least.

Last Saturday started out so good, a Missions Committee meeting where I got to share my passion about community, a successful trip to the grocery store and ready to start the day. We are repainting our sun room space, little by little, and I wanted to get it completed that day. I was headed in the right direction until I decided to step off of the bar top/counter I was standing on to reach near the ceiling and through the ladder instead of on to the ladder.

Painting Sunroom

Yep, that’s right and this girl went a tumbling down, all.the.way.down.

There was paint on the floor and all over my clothes and my leg/ankle was hurting BAD. Gabriel came running right away asking if I was ok and all I could say to him was “don’t speak to me, just don’t speak.” I cleaned up the mess, assessed the damage to my leg, quickly finished painting that section of wall on 1 foot and then spent the rest of the night with my foot elevated and iced.

Thankfully nothing was broken, although I have one large/long bruise down my leg to remember the fall by.

On top of the fall, Elijah spent Saturday night and on and off on Sunday with weird stomach pains. No fever, no vomiting or other symptoms…just sharp pains in his gut that would last 20 minutes and then go away for several hours only to return later.

We stayed home from church to recover (which never starts my week right) and spent the day resting.

On Tuesday the High School called because Isaac was sick, same stomach pains but with some nausea to boot. In 4 years he has never gone home sick, so I knew he wasn’t feeling right. We thought it was the same thing that Elijah had…

Then on Wednesday morning he sent me a text at 4:30am asking me to call him when I was up. Because Karlena has not been sleeping well ALL.WEEK. I was up. (I am exhausted btw, exhausted and need sound sleep more than I can say)

Isaac had been unable to sleep all night, the pain had also radiated to his back and we were worried about the possibility of appendicitis, and his pain was bad enough that off to the ER we went.

Isaac Hospital

After blood work and a fun drink of mylanta and lydacaine, they sent us home thinking it was likely a virus, but to watch and see. Being the awesome mom I am I forgot to fill his prescription for the anti-nausea pills they gave us, so Isaac got to suffer another sleepless night again. Good times.

When Isaac went to school yesterday, still not feeling great but unable to miss anymore in-class work that his schedule demands, I noticed he had a red spot on his cheek. I figured it was a pimple and didn’t think anything of it.

When I got home from work he came downstairs and I took one look at him and said “You need to go to the Dr. immediately!” It looked like he had been in a bad fight. His entire cheek was bright red and swollen and too close to his eye for my comfort.

So as I ran Gabriel to his band concert, Dominic was in a late meeting and Isaac had to go to Acute Care alone. Turns out he not only has a staph infection that came out of nowhere on his cheek, he has such a terrible ear infection in both ears that he can’t even hear out of one side.

So lucky Isaac, got a shot of some heavy duty antibiotics, and a prescription of horse pills to take for the next 10 days.

Friday, you couldn’t have come fast enough.

My only prayer is that as we come close to the close of this week, that we won’t carry any of the terribleness forward with us. Please God, no more.

Normally a trip to my favorite local shopping boutique would be warranted right about now, and would probably make me feel better about things (ahem)…but I have committed to no unnecessary spending (and even more specifically on myself) over this period of lent…so I  must suffer through. 🙂

I wonder if I can find any chocolate around here…that may just help! 😉

Worn and weary and wishing for a new shirt, Kristin

Our 2014 Christmas Letter

Christmas picture 2014

Since Christmas is over and I finally have a moment to write, I wanted to share the Christmas letter that we sent out this year! 🙂 I hope you all had a wonderful time with family and wish you a Happy New Year!

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I have to be honest, I was beginning to think that this Christmas letter wasn’t going to happen this year. I don’t know that I have ever waited this long! It seems crazy to think that another year is coming to a close. How has it gone so fast?!

Isaac turned 18 a few weeks ago and is in his final year of high school. He is excited to be done and move on to his next phase of adulthood! We have toured a couple of different colleges and he is leaning towards SDSU and likely studying pharmacy. We are confident that he will succeed wherever he decides to go!

Gabriel, now 11, made the transition to middle school this year and is in the 5th grade. He has joined the band and is playing the Alto Sax. He has a natural talent and is learning lots of new songs. His favorite part of the year was camping with his Grandpa Johnson and fishing on our vacation to the Black Hills!

Elijah is 5 and is in full time preschool this year. He loves school and always comes home with fun stories to share. He wants to do everything and anything that Gabriel is doing! It is nice that they get along so well. I hope it continues!

Karlena will be 4 in a few weeks and started preschool herself this year. She attends 2 mornings a week and wishes it were more. She loves school! She is involved in dance and has an hour class every Tuesday afternoon. The have their first recital next week so we will finally get to see her progress! Karlena is obsessed with horses and wants to ride again as soon as the weather warms up! She got to ride twice this summer and it is all she talks about.

In July we added a new puppy to our family! Her name is Sydney and she is an Australian Shepherd. She is a very loving dog and wants to always be around us. She has been a fun addition to our family, even if she did chew a hole in our recliner!

Dominic and I continue to run Legal Estate Planning Solutions together and even have had Becky, Dominic’s mom, working with us part time since March! We continue to be blessed by this community and the clients we have the opportunity to work with.

We are looking forward to some time with our extended families this Christmas season and hope to enjoy some rest and relaxation as well! Our prayer is that you would be surrounded by God’s peace this season and would celebrate the Savior’s birth with thankfulness! Many blessings to you as this year comes to a close and we enter 2015!

Love, Dominic, Kristin, Isaac, Gabriel, Elijah and Karlena Smith

Finding the Wonder and Magic of Christmas

Merry Christmas

I dreamt about their house last night. It has been years since we have been there, but the walls and halls of my grandparent’s old home in Chicago City, MN filled my dreams.

We spent many years at their home for Christmas. It was a long drive, but my parents always made it fun. We would rent tapes from the public library and sing and listen to songs from Sesame Street….”C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me…”

Those were days filled with great excitement.

Grandpa and grandma’s house was huge and in it’s backyard, a massive lake….at least it seemed massive to me at the time. In the summers we would run down the big hill, dig earthworms out of a small wooded area behind the boat house, grab our wooden poles and fish off the dock. We would haul in sunfish by the bucket loads and haul them back up the hill where grandpa would come and filet the fish on an old board over the washer.

In the winter the hill was the perfect hill for sledding. Bundled up, we would head out and get out the tobbogan and go cruising down the hill. Snow angels covered the snow in the places we didn’t sled. They are magical memories.

The house was decorated for Christmas and grandma was always in the kitchen preparing something. In the summers she would stand over the stove and fry the bite size fish filets that grandpa had just prepared and we would feast.  On the holidays there were Christmas goodies and treats galore, cranberries and ham or turkey. Potatoes and fresh rolls….everything smelled so good.

They had a large dining room and we would gather there to eat, often the kids had their own little table, I remember being so excited when I was probably 12 and FINALLY old enough to join the grown-ups at the big table. Once dinner was done the dishes had to be cleared AND washed. Oh the washing drove us nuts!! As kids we just wanted to get to the presents already! 🙂 But as soon as every last piece of good silver was put away we would gather in a circle and hand out gifts.

Some years it was oldest to youngest and others the reverse. Each taking a turn, sharing their gift. It was painful to wait our turn, but we shared and laughed as a family. I think of those times today and long for the wonder of it all.

Family pictures would be taken sitting on the fireplace hearth and then we would head out to the church down the street. Every year there would be a very large tree at the front of the church covered with white decorations. It was beautiful. The choir would sing and we would join them in the more traditional hymns. Candles were passed and we would light each others as the flame was passed down the row.

Silent Night, Holy Night….

Then we would head home for some more Christmas cookies and off to bed to dream of Santa coming. It was magical and each year we would be certain that we had heard the sound of the reindeer stomping on the roof.

I woke this morning longing for that magic back. It feels like it has long since been lost. Packed away, or smothered by the demands of life, parenting….It hardly feels like Christmas most days.

Sure our house is filled with the sights and sounds of Christmas, but for me the wonder of it all seems hidden.

I am a gift giver by nature. I love searching for, finding the bests gifts for my family and friends. I do love that part of Christmas. I hope that when my kids look back on their time with family, that maybe they felt a bit of the magic as well.

But my heart seeks for more.

A slowing, time with family and friends. Enjoying the smiles on the faces of our kids when they see what is inside all of those packages. A reading of the Christmas story from Luke just like my grandpa would do each year.  As a child I don’t think I appreciated it like I would today.  We don’t get to celebrate with my grandparents like we used to, but boy would I love to hear his voice reading that story to my kids….“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered….”

I am so grateful for the memories we have in that house together. And while its walls and halls are now filled by new families, I seek to find that magic and wonder with my own.

Sometimes it is hard to grow up isn’t it?! As a mother myself I can now appreciate all that went into preparing for these few special days. I might not have done the advent readings like I had hoped this year, or been patient with my kids like I should have been…but in the next several days we will be sneaking away for time with family. Time to gather and laugh and make new memories and I will cherish them all.

Friends, I wish you Merry Christmas from our family and pray that you will find time to celebrate with your family, to laugh and find the wonder of the season. Always remembering the greatest gift we were given in the Christ child.

 

Photo Credit: freeloosedirt

Exhaustion, Influenza, Christmas and More

I realize I have been pretty quiet here lately. It is hard for me to believe that I had the capacity to write every day for 31 days in October. I posted 9 times in November and only 3 times this month. I think God knew that I could handle it in October, because clearly the remainder of 2014 was going to be an all out war.

To lay it out there honestly, I am EXHAUSTED.

Pretty much everything life is throwing at me right now is too much, and most of that is self imposed I know. Some of it was unplanned and those things have hit me the hardest.

I have lit the candles on my advent wreath twice. There I said it. Day 2 and I think day 6. We read a smidgen of the book I had all perfectly laid out and the pages haven’t cracked since. Sure looks pretty but it is all show. Plain and simple I have failed having a spirit of Advent in our home this season.

Advent wreath

Our Christmas Angel has moved each day, but typically not at 9:30pm when my reminder alarm is set because Karlena is ALWAYS still awake…so I forget and scramble at 5:30am instead. One of the days I am going to get caught.

Christmas Angel

Last week Elijah was sick and out for 4 days, poor kid didn’t have his spunk….except for the day he was at home with me when our daycare was closed, the day after my surgery, when I should have been resting but he and Karlena fought and screamed so badly that I may have lost my temper at them that my screaming caused me to double over in pain.

Elijah sick

Yes THAT was a proud moment…the moment when you tell your kids that LITERALLY they are going to make their mama explode if they don’t stop fighting.

Heading right on into our weekend was Karlena’s first dance recital…where I stressed over getting the perfect ballet bun. We tried a couple of times and figured it out thanks to You Tube.

ballet bun

She was adorable and while she doesn’t seem to be a natural quite yet, she looked beautiful in her costume and fulfilled my mama’s dream of having a dance daughter.

Karlena ballerina

 

I have not wrapped a single Christmas present. NOT A ONE. My kids keep asking me to please wrap presents, but first I would have to box everything up into unidentifiable containers so that I can wrap in front of them, or with them as they would prefer….but this mama is EXHAUSTED. Did I mention that?

Oh and yesterday I went to see a Dr. because I was feeling like I wanted to die, and was told I likely have Influenza. (They don’t even bother testing when you have all the symptoms) Because OF COURSE. So go home and rest mama, and oh too bad so sad the pharmacies in town are all out of the meds to treat it. 🙁 I cried a little and crawled in bed. I posted an updated to FB and someone I know, who will remain nameless, contacted me because they had just had Influenza and had extra meds…because the week before the pharms were packed full of meds and they were filling scripts for the entire family. And one of the peeps in their family didn’t use/need the meds they bought. This may be some black market/illegial stuff going on but I was desperate.

But Praise Jesus – I mean seriously PRAISE JESUS. These meds were a LIFE SAVER. I told my mom I feel 800 thousand times better today. Not great, but I am not whimpering in a corner either. Life is looking up.

Christmas is ONE WEEK away, and did I mention that I have NOTHING wrapped? Oh, sorry I am still a little foggy here…I am going to just go with it. We may just celebrate Christmas up in Isaac’s closet….where all the presents are “hidden”…and I use the term “hidden” loosely, but since most of my children are too young to know I blog, they won’t read this soon enough to know to go and peek. Mom for the win.

Some day I will post my award winning, best ever stuffing cups recipe. Some day I will maybe even share my family Christmas letter…but for today I am hanging on by a thread, guilty over all the time away from the office I have spent in the last week…stressed over all there is to do in ONE WEEK, one week people! Agh!!

So may your days be Merry and Bright…around these parts I am just hoping for a little less insane! <3

Not What I Wanted For Today…But…

Choose Joy

I shouldn’t be surprised really, it seems it always happens this way. Life hits, harder at times, and it can feel like things are spinning out of control.

Tomorrow afternoon I am going in for a fairly simple, “routine” laproscopic procedure. It is same day, I should be home around the dinner hour…I am not worried at all. But there is a TON of things I wanted to do to prepare for a few days of me being tied to the couch as I recover.

And so, on a day when we have client deliveries and need witnesses, a day when Dominic won’t be able to answer the phone, or prepare for the things coming up while I’m out…our youngest boy is sick and I am at home.

It is moments like this that I can get so frustrated. Why does this have to be happening now?

But what good does that type of attitude do me?

Yes it is inconvenient, yes it is frustrating…but it isn’t the end of the world.

While my natural response may be one of anger and pity, I can choose to have a different response.

This morning I spent a few brief moments circling my family in prayer. Praying over our meetings for the day, for the health of our family, my upcoming surgery and the big choices that face Isaac in regards to college etc.

What an honor it is to pray for my family.

While I do bring my requests to God, I also bring my thanks even when life isn’t perfect.

I am thankful for each member of my family.

I am thankful for all of the blessings that God lavishes on us.

We don’t worry about food, or heat, or how we will get to and from where we need to go.

We are spoiled really, and while a day like I hadn’t intended isn’t my plan, I can still be grateful.

But gratitude is a choice.

Each and every day I must make the choice to choose joy, in ALL things. (<==== Click to Tweet)

Yes it may be work, it may go against the grain of what my natural response might be. But my hope is that when I make that choice over and over again, it might become the natural response I have to any kind of situation.

My prayer for you today friends is that regardless of what you are facing, that you might make the choice to choose joy. Choosing right along with you this morning!

When Anger is My Expected Response

Last week I shared a little bit about my struggle with anger. Of course when I open up and share the ugly and my hopes to overcome the struggle…I have to anticipate that I will be given plenty of opportunities to “practice” a different response.

Anger

This past week I have had some failures and some successes. For a bit of light today, I want to share a success and why it was a reminder once again that my attitude and response to my kids can make such an impact.

On Wednesday last week, Dominic and I took Isaac back up to SDSU for a college visit. Becky (Dominic’s mom) was in Marshall and picked up the kids from school for us because we weren’t going to be back in time.

Usually the after-school pick up is the time that I have with just me and Gabriel to ask how his day was. Depending on the day he usually has a good, or a bad point to share. 🙂 It is less than 10 minutes really that we have together, but it has become an important time for both of us.

We got home from the college visit right before it was time for Gabriel to go to Awana. So he and I jumped in the car and drove the 15 miles to our church.

I took the time to ask Gabriel about his day and he paused, sighed really big, and said that he just had to tell me the truth about something. He seemed stressed, so I told him to please go ahead.

He said that he lost his folder. His main folder that holds his homework, contains his reading log…it is kind of a big deal. He was unable to participate in math class because he didn’t have his homework…and he feared telling me because he anticipated that I would be angry.

You see when anger is my first response, I teach my kids that anger should be the expected response. (<====Click to Tweet)

When Gabriel told me about his folder, I honestly wasn’t angry about it…but he was afraid that I was going to be. He said that he didn’t want to tell me, but he remembered once when I told him that I would rather know the truth and deal with a situation right away, then not be told the truth.

I said that I was sorry he had lost it, that it had caused stress during his afternoon. I asked if he wanted to pray about it and he did. We prayed over his finding his folder. We prayed a prayer of thanks that God forgives, and I reminded him that we all make mistakes. I said that he could learn from this and work a little harder about checking to make sure he had everything he needed when he left his classroom.

After it was all said and done he thanked me.

It honestly broke my heart, but he thanked me for being comforting and not getting angry.

You see he has experienced me being angry at him enough, that when my response is one of compassion, he thanked me.

It was a reminder why this journey is such an important one.

I want my automatic response to be one of compassion, not anger. (<====Click to Tweet)

Yes we will all make mistakes, and while there are consequences, my attitude doesn’t have to make the consequence worse.

Such a stronger reminder to me that my response can have such an impact.

And the next day Gabriel found his folder in his block 2 class. Praise God.

Lord, I thank you for giving me opportunities to “practice” at being a better responder. My prayer is that my response will not be one of anger, but of compassion and patience. May my life be a reflection of all the patience and compassion that You have shown to me. In Jesus Name, Amen

A Golden Birthday – Celebrating Isaac

Isaac 18

I think I may be in a bit of denial over this one – but my baby turns 18 today. Can you believe that?! 18!!

18 years ago we found ourselves in a hospital anticipating the arrival of our firstborn. We didn’t know what we were having, but I was sure it was a girl (ha!) I labored for what seemed like hours (oh wait, it WAS HOURS) Long, slow hours that may have been filled with me being angry with Dominic because he could eat and walk and not be in pain. 😉

And then late that evening the doctor said it was time and Isaac Immanuel joined our family of two and everything changed.

He was perfect, and huge (8lb 15oz)…my doctor at the time told me she didn’t think he would be bigger than 7 1/2lbs….little did she know! But he was strong and adorable and we were in love.

We left that hospital a few days later, right after a terrible ice storm, and spent our first night as a family at my parents house because it wasn’t safe for us to drive home. I was terrified at my responsibility, I was a mother but I had no clue how to do it right.

We spent many days and nights those first few months, Isaac and I, crying together. 🙂 He had colic and I was a nervous wreck. I was sure I had messed him up and done something wrong because he cried so much. But then a few months passed and he was all smiles.

He had the biggest grins and he made us laugh. Fitting as his name means “he laughs.”

When people say that time goes fast and it will be gone in a blink of an eye, they aren’t kidding.

I feel like I blinked and he was walking, blinked and he was starting preschool, blinked again and he was starting elementary school.

Each moment, a blink and then on to the next.

Isaac has always been a good student, but 2nd grade was a tough year with a teacher that didn’t enjoy the boys in her classroom – that year could have paved a negative path for him. But in 3rd grade, Mrs. Bonte, saw that he was bored and needed more of a challenge so she started giving him “extra math assignments”. She made it fun and encouraged him to work hard…He excelled and I credit her for how that encouragement shaped a path that he continued on until today. (Mrs. Bonte passed away unexpectedly last year and I never had the chance to thank her for how she changed Isaac’s path that year – teachers you can make such a difference!)

When Gabriel was born, Isaac was so excited to be a big brother. He was so helpful and couldn’t wait until he was old enough so that they could play together. It was the same with Elijah and Karlena too. Isaac’s siblings adore him, and while they don’t always get along they all love having Isaac around. I am not sure how we will all handle it when he moves away next fall!

We moved to Marshall when Isaac was a freshman. Talk about life change. I know the first year wasn’t easy for him and even today a big part of him wishes he could be back in Beresford with his friends. But he took it in stride, adjusted well and continued to work hard at everything he does.

He continues to amaze me.

He works 2 jobs and gets great grades. He has a plan (for now) for college next year and it is exciting to see where God’s path will lead him.

For a lot of years I know I really failed Isaac as a mother. I didn’t always manage life well and he likely saw and felt the consequences of that. But he is a strong, brave, kind man today and it is a testament of how God can take our brokenness and in spite of us, make something beautiful out of it.

I am so blessed to call Isaac my son. I hope that this post (if he reads it) isn’t too embarrassing. 🙂 Maybe today it will be, but my hope is that someday he will read this and be reminded at how much he is loved. How thankful I am to be allowed the great honor of being his mom.

My life was forever changed 18 years ago, and I have been blessed to overflowing because of you Isaac. God bless you today and all the many years ahead. I am excited to see where God will take you and will always be here to cheer you on.

I love you son.

Crockpot White Chicken Chili

We are always looking for new recipes that we can use to feed our family quickly and easily. I especially like soups/stews in the winter that I can prepare in my crockpot and set and forget it.

Dominic was recently visiting a client and he was persuaded to stay for dinner. He was served white chicken chili and raved about it. We searched for a recipe that would be similar and tried it yesterday.

White Chicken Chili 2

This recipe was so easy and I adapted it from one we found on Betty Crocker.com. A link to the original recipe is here. We changed it just a bit so I will share my updates.

4 lbs boneless chicken. The recipe says you can put the chicken in the mix uncooked, but I just didn’t like that idea so we browned it with onion before we added it in. Also we basically doubled the recipe from the Betty Crocker site to make a full crock pot.

2 cans white beans. We used 1 can of Great Northern beans and 1 can of Cannellini beans. Make sure to drain and rinse your beans. I personally think the “sauce” they put on beans tastes like dirt (I know I am weird) so I always rinse my beans off.

2 cans fiesta corn, drained. And 2 cans Rotel. I used original Rotel, but in the future I may use the mild Rotel so it is less spicy. Dominic and I enjoyed it but the younger kids thought it was a little spicy.

2 16 oz jars green taco sauce. I originally only bought 1 jar and when we set out to make the recipe I thought it really needed the second jar so we searched our cupboards and found a green salsa verde so we added that instead of a 2nd taco sauce.

The last ingredient was chicken broth. The original recipe called for a 1/2 cup …but that wasn’t nearly enough. I bought the organic chicken broth that is found in those boxes and used at least half the box. I wanted it to be soupy…not too thick. But you could adjust it based on your liking.

We put everything together over the lunch hour and then put the crock pot on high. It was hot and ready by the time I picked the kids up from school. If you started it in the morning I would just cook on low for the entire day.

We served it with cheese, sour cream/plain greek yogurt and corn chips.

White Chicken Chili

It made a lot, but with 6 of us it won’t last long. Fast and easy and oh so yummy! What is your favorite crock pot recipe? I would love if you shared it below because I am always looking for new recipes!

God Creates Us

Adoption Awareness

It is an honor to have my friend Kristin here today. She and I were both on the God-sized Dream Team together and she also is a writer at the GSD website! Kristin recently launched a new e-book called Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & Family. It is a beautiful story filled with God’s redemption and Kristin’s transparency. I am so excited that she has agreed to share a little of her story here today!

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“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)

God surprised me over and over again in the best ways throughout Cate’s adoption process, but one of the biggest visible surprises was Cate herself. With an Iranian birth father, we expected her to have olive-toned skin.

Instead people debate whether she looks most like Greg or me. We both have blue eyes; she has gorgeous brown eyes that soak up details. She’s always had defined eyes, which seem to have come from her birth father who we’ve never met. Cate tans well and has always had dark hair. It’s lightened some in recent years, making it closer to her birth mom’s hair color.

When people comment on how she looks like me, I pause for a moment because I want to tell them her story, our story. We may not share DNA, but I’m raising a mini-me who was meant to be my daughter.

The similarities go beyond looks. Cate and I are both stereotypical first-borns. She is stubborn, tells detailed stories, likes crafts, loves her friends, wants to have a plan, and has perfectionist tendencies – just like me.

And yet she’s not like me, especially as a child. She’s not afraid of most new things, speaking in front of people doesn’t scare her, she laughs easily, and she wants to play sports. I’m more adventurous as an adult than I ever was as a kid. She makes me proud the way she faces life.

I welcome the similarities because I didn’t expect them with adoption. Maybe it’s our common dark brown hair that prompts people to say she looks like me. Perhaps it’s the skin tone. But it could be the way she responds like me. She likes to make her friends cards, especially when they’re sad or sick. She likes to help me in the kitchen. She likes to take (and plan!) road trips. And each night before she goes to bed, she asks me what we’re doing the next day.

Sometimes I catch myself scolding her for behavior that’s just like mine. Ouch. I see my weaknesses in her and cringe, not because she disappoints me but because I disappoint myself and I know she’s watching. We both get cranky when we’re tired and have been known to break when our plans break.

I watch her live and laugh and write and play and imagine and worry and ponder and plan. And I know that even in my imperfect perfectionist-leaning mothering ways, this girl is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.

God knew when I cried out to him to become pregnant that we would have this story. God knew he was going to make us a family through adoption – through THIS adoption. God knew her brown eyes because he created them. He created every single one of her eye lashes and every hair on her head. He knew how she would laugh and that her stories would be long. He knew how we would fit together.

She’s taught me nurture trumps nature because biologically speaking she wasn’t created within me. But I know without a doubt she was created to be my daughter. I understand her. I yearned for her. I learn from her every day. Her story is my story because through it God rescued my heart. (<====Click to Tweet)

His works are indeed wonderful.

Kristin Hill Taylor

Kristin Hill Taylor tells about the two adoption processes that followed a hard season of infertility in “Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family,” which is available at Amazon. She believes in taking road trips, living in community, and seeking God as the author of every story – many of which she shares at www.kristinhilltaylor.com. She lives in Murray, Kentucky, with her college sweetheart husband and their two kids.

A South Dakota “Bacation” (goes to Wyoming) – Part Six

Alright, last but not least I have to share about our South Dakota, turned Wyoming, vacation stop! I haven’t ever been to Devil’s Tower, I have seen pictures, but it was another few hours farther West.

We decided that if we got going on our last full day at a reasonable time, it would be worth it to make the drive over the border to Wyoming because we were already so close.

Man was it worth it! What a site!

Devils Tower 1

It is pretty amazing seeing these rolling hills and then this tower of rock dominating the landscape!

Devils Tower 2

Devils Tower 3

Devils Tower 4

Once we parked there was a trail that some of us decided to hike around the base of the tower.

Devils Tower 5

Devils Tower 6

You almost can’t see it, but at the far left of the tower (picture above) a little more than halfway down, there was a climber. There were several actually and they need permission to go up! I am sure Isaac is planning a trip back there some day to do just that!

Devils Tower 7

Devils Tower 8

Apparently there is a wooden ladder on one side of the tower…you could look through these spyglass deals and see it. Karlena didn’t fully understand she needed her eye open though! 🙂

Devils Tower 10

Birds circling the top.

Devils Tower 11

This tree was so interesting and unique I had to take a picture!

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Here are the prayer bundles that they warned about touching!

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The hike around the tower was a little over a mile. Karlena led the way most of the time.

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It was a wonderful way to spend our last day of vacation!

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Have you ever been to Devil’s Tower?

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