Tag Archives: family

Roadblocks

Roadblock 2

Recently I got an email from a sweet reader B asking about roadblocks. I have written several times about the various ways in which our family faced difficult times, changes in our plan etc. She is facing a roadblock of her own and she wanted to know they whys…and what to do about it.

While I am at times an expert in living with the roadblock, I unfortunately don’t always deal with them well. In looking back at some of the major setbacks we have faced, I can see more clearly. I can see why God has us walk another path…why we needed to go through the difficulty.

But honestly, in the moment, all I can see is pain and frustration.

Dominic and I were talking again yesterday about how God answered a very simple prayer with a seemingly difficult answer. Almost 5 years ago Dominic started praying that God would bring him someone that would teach him another area of law…give him a chance to learn and thrive.

When we got that call from a head hunter about a position in MN, we did everything “right”. We researched the area, the type of law he would be doing, the man he was being interviewed by. We got down on our knees every morning and prayed together that God would clearly open or shut doors so we knew we were making wise decisions.

We didn’t want to make a choice based on money alone, and while the salary increase is what we needed financially at the time…we didn’t want to have dollar figures rule us. At the end of several months of interviews that resulted in a job offer, we took it excited to face the adventure ahead.

Dominic and I are the type that are comfortable in sameness. We don’t go out  much, we are homebodies and do well with routine. Living apart for the following 8 months, he in MN and the rest of us in SD, was one of the hardest things we have been through.

On top of the difficulty of living apart, his position at the new firm quickly turned to a hostile one. The environment there was awful, to say the least, and Dominic was under so much stress he was wearing it on the outside.

Why would God lead us to this place that was so toxic?

We pushed forward though, prayed about selling our house which sold after 1 viewing, in 4 days. An open door to make a move to MN to all be together.

And then, as I have shared before, months later we both found ourselves unemployed. How did this happen? How could God let this happen?! Those were the thoughts that went through my mind each day.

That year on my birthday my sister gave me a plaque with the following saying on it. “Sometimes God doesn’t give you what you think you want, not because you don’t deserve it, but because you deserve so much more.”

At the time I couldn’t see the truth in all of it.

I was bitter and angry at God and just wanted to be done with all the struggle. Have you ever found yourself there? Just wanting life, everything to come easy?!

But as you know, those dark times led to big steps of faith. Those steps led to the opening of our own business, my transferring to the office to work with Dominic…and today a successful business.

It isn’t easy. We are busy and often stressed at the workload, but it is a good stress. One that we are grateful for because we know that God’s hand was in the entire situation. God answered Dominic’s humble prayer so many years ago.

He provided someone that would teach him the basics of this new area of law, and while we had anticipated that he would be working there for a very long time…God had bigger plans for Dominic. Ones that we couldn’t have thought or imagined at the time.

Yes we had to face roadblocks and setbacks through the process, but ultimately our prayer was answered with a result that is far better than we could have hoped.

I don’t know what roadblock you may be facing today. And like I told B, I wish that I could tell her the “whys”, and the “what nows.” I don’t have all the answers, and honestly as I walked through my own I didn’t do it with a lot of grace.

So instead maybe learn what not to do from me! 🙂

Today I try and spend some time in the Bible each morning. I pray that God will guide our every step. And I try to remember all the ways that He has been faithful to us throughout the years, so when I face another roadblock (and oh they WILL come) I am prepared with my arsenal of faith stories to get me through in a positive light.

If you are facing a seemingly impossible situation today, would you leave a comment and let me know. You don’t have to give details if you don’t want, but I would love to pray for you!

Photo Credit: B4bees

More than anything, I want them to see You

merry go roundI am less than a week from turning 40. The BIG 4-0. And I am surprisingly ok with it all.

I wasn’t really dreading 40, I feel better about who I am and where I am, than I probably ever have. 40 isn’t something to fear or dread. It is just another year right?! And I am surrounded by some of the best family and friends a girl can have, so I am really just overwhelmed with blessings.

I have spent more years than I can count, and really that I would like to admit, worrying about trying to be the perfect person.

As far back as I can remember, I wanted what I didn’t have. I wanted the Strawberry Shortcake dolls that the girl down the street had, or the cute red Esprit jeans with the white hearts on them. (Oh how I coveted those pants and don’t even get me started on the matching heart sweater!!) Maybe it was the name brand jeans or a place on the cheerleading squad…there was always something missing.

I found myself wanting, lacking, and it wasn’t a place that I wanted to be.

So I studied hard so I would be the smart one and do something amazing with my life. Then I went off to college and couldn’t hack the career that I was certain was for me. And once again I knew that when someone looked at me, they just saw someone who was lacking.

For a perfectionist like myself, this is a terrible place to be. Because when you looked at me I wanted you to see beauty and grace and maybe the least bit of fashion sense.

But I was certain that what you saw was the opposite.

Have you ever found yourself there, on the merry-go-round of striving to be something, someone better than you feel you are? (<====Click To Tweet)

And yet it seems that no matter how hard you try, you come up short.

The past few years have been growing ones for me.

Yes I may have added a few pounds towards my waistline, ahem 😉 that comes with the aging I am told but I am not talking about that today. No, even more than that I am discovering who I am. What I love and where my passions are. I have reconnected with my love of writing and that alone has brought me so many gifts.

This refinement process hasn’t always been easy either. Dominic and I are learning how to work well with one another in our business, as we also try to manage a reasonable balance between work and home life. We have big kids, and middle kids and little kids…and raising them isn’t always a cake walk.

I yell too much, and get frustrated about little messes. I often forget to take time to count my blessings.

But despite all of that, all of my shortcomings, I am filled with the overwhelming peace that God will use it all for His glory. (<====Click to Tweet)

I have seen Him do it in my life already. How He took all the messy and the ugly parts of me and healed them and then gave me a story to share. He gave me a heart for others, for loving them and sharing the hope that is found in Him.

I don’t head into the Big 4-0 wanting you to see me and how put together I am or what a wonderful wife and mother I am.

More than anything, I hope that when you look at me you see Him.

You see a woman who loves Jesus. A woman who is admittedly a hot mess most days, but even on the worst of them can see the potential for God to use it for good.

Yes Lord, it is my prayer for year 40 and beyond…as long as you have planned for me here, that when people see me, they see You in me. Fashion or no, good hair days and bad, muffin tops and veiny legs….none of it perfect Lord, but through You I have the faith that I will be perfected for Your glory.

And that is all that matters.

Photo Credit: Great Beyond

We All Need a Little of That!

Community

As many of you know just a little over a week ago I was surprised with a getaway birthday weekend to Houston. It was a weekend filled with love from my friends and family.

While Gindi and I shared a delicious BBQ chicken pizza from California Pizza Kitchen (which by the way was YUM!!), we talked about this idea of community. On FB the night I found out about my surprise I posted a picture of my letter and this comment “To say that I am floored and overwhelmed and crazy excited all at once is an understatement….not exactly sure where I am headed on Saturday but the “three birthday bandits” have completely surprised me!”

130 people liked that post and I had over 40 comments…

I don’t say that to brag, it is a reflection of how much something like this would mean to so many people.

“Best present ever!!”, “I want to get kidnapped”, So fun, can’t wait to hear about it”…and on and on.

People, women especially, long for this type of community.

Maybe we don’t say it or admit it…but it is true. We love to feel loved. (<====Click to Tweet)

I think it is in our nature, it is how we were made. I know so many women who love big and love well. But this experience for me was proof that we all have a secret wish that someone would love on us in a HUGE way like I was.

And I don’t want it to end with me.

I realize that many of us might not be able to plan such an elaborate surprise like I received…but as Gindi and I talked I was challenged to think of ways that I might be able to love on others well, here in my own front yard.

Because we all need a little more of that, don’t we?

Of community, friendship, lavish and unconditional love?

This may mean that we have to step out in faith…and what if it isn’t well received? What if we put a Turquoise Table in the front yard in April, invite our neighbors over, and no one comes?

It could happen.

It probably won’t, but there is that risk.

But you know, I have found that by being willing to take the risk, the crazy leaps of faith…that I have been given back so much in return.

If I hadn’t been willing to open my heart to the idea of online friendships…well last weekend would have never happened. And what a blessing that was in my life.

I hope you can understand that I face these challenges with the same fear that I expect many of you are facing. We are in this together!!

That is why I felt like it was so important to write about this today. I often make decisions based on fear, especially fear of the unknown.

But when we see a need – how can we NOT respond?! Maybe your response isn’t with a surprise trip, but instead a call to a friend for a lunch date. A card in the mail to a neighbor or introducing yourself to a “stranger” at church.

The act itself doesn’t have to be monumental, but I am seeing that the small things can become monumental if we are invested in and working at community. (<====Click to Tweet)

So I come here willing. Prayerfully considering how this looks in my own life and open to being pushed to where I may feel uncomfortable…because if I can be the hands and feet of Christ here…who knows what might happen!

Photo Credit: Niall Kennedy

Dear Dominic, We Are Getting a Turquoise Table!

turquoise picnic table

Dear Dominic,

Can I first start by just telling you once again how grateful that I am that you helped arrange my birthday trip. What a gift it was. Especially when you got to have several days full of “barf duty”…I am so sorry about that!! That being said…there is something that I want you to know….

We are getting a Turquoise Table.

I know that when I came back from Allume and told you all about this turquoise table idea, you thought that I was a little crazy.

You may be right, but you know….I am ok with that! 😉

I am crazy, but I want to create a better environment of community in our neighborhood. We have wonderful neighbors, we really do. But the reality is we don’t ever really take time to spend time with them.

We have an annual block party, which is awesome…but I am craving more. More for us, more fun for our kids. I want them to grow up craving community as well. To learn the art of hospitality…even if it starts in our front yard.

I realize that logistically we don’t live in a place that can accommodate a turquoise table year round. But my hope is that if we try this…try and encourage and build community in our own front yard, that even in the winter we might desire to find ways to gather together inside.

That is my prayer with this idea.

The good news is that we now have a truck that can get the $98 table from Lowes in Brookings, to our front yard. And conveniently enough I have almost a full gallon of paint left from our toy room redo! Woot for keeping the costs down! 😉

So there it is Dominic.

In my mind I have pictures of the kids from the neighborhood gathering at the table. I am taking ideas from Gindi’s events and hoping that we can invite our neighbors once a month to our yard for treats and conversation.

It doesn’t have to be elaborate or fancy, doesn’t have to cost too much money…but if we make the effort I think that we might see something blossom. These are my wild ideas and big dreams.

It is wonderful that I have met such amazing people online. But I am now challenged to try to build and strengthen relationships in our own community.

I believe it is possible and maybe a turquoise table in the front yard is crazy enough to make it happen!

Thank you for loving me even when I have crazy ideas…I am hoping that you will come to enjoy the turquoise table idea as much as I already do!

And now I cannot wait for April to come, snow to melt and the painting to commence!!

Love, Your Dreamer Wife

Photo Credit: Shabby Old Potting Shed

 

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

Some Goings On

Thanksgiving

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is tomorrow! How did November whiz by so fast?! We are hosting this year again but it will be a much smaller group. I am just excited to spend time with both of our parents, and get geared up for Christmas decorating…my favorite!

Since I don’t have anything really profound to share with you right now I thought that I would just give you a peak into some goings on here recently.

  • Isaac gave blood at school yesterday for the first time. I didn’t even know it was happening, but he heard about it and being 18 and all, he went ahead and signed up. I seriously just love his heart. I am so proud of the man he is becoming. And I get a little twitchy when I think about the fact that in a few short months he will be moving out.
  • I did a bunch of my Thanksgiving prep in advance this year. I have worship team practice tonight so I won’t be at home to do it then, so the cranberries and applesauce are ready, the elements of the stuffing are ready to go and the turkey is all set to be put in the roaster early on Thursday morning. I will do the mashed potatoes before I leave tonight and will rewarm them in the crock pot. The other dishes will be made in the morning tomorrow. The only thing I haven’t figured out yet is a bread product. Not sure what will happen there, I need to figure that out! 🙂
  • Speaking of stuffing, next week I will share the recipe that I am using. It is a recipe that I have changed and doctored for the past 2 years and it is AMAZING. I am more excited about the stuffing than anything else. This year I am making it in individual muffin tins to try that…I will let you know how it all turns out!
  • I was invited to speak at our local MOPS group next Tuesday. The speaker they had lined up went on unexpected bed rest and they needed someone short notice. Heather, who takes our family pictures, sent me a text 2 nights ago asking if I would come and share with them about hospitality and why as women we often feel we have to have it perfect to invite people into our spaces. Since that has been something that has been on my heart since Allume, I felt confident that I could come up with something. I have been praying that God would give me His message to share…I haven’t written anything down yet though. I better get on that!
  • I have most of my Christmas shopping done, even found a couple of deals early that I thought I would have to get tomorrow so that is nice. Although I am one of those crazies that loves being out on Black Friday…I try to be extra friendly to the people working and make it a fun experience. So I will probably go out just because! 🙂
  • It is snowing here today, and I am not happy about that. My parents were supposed to head to our house today…but that may be delayed. Snow before Thanksgiving should be banned. It has been a COLD November and I am nervous about how the remainder of the winter will be!  Sometimes I think living in the south would be nice…but then I hear stories about leeches in bathrooms and roaches in microwaves, and am thankful that because of the cold we don’t deal with that here!
  • Most of all I am thankful this week. God has blessed our family in so many ways and while we don’t always live in full gratitude, our hearts seek to acknowledge the blessings on a daily basis. My prayer for you is that your Thanksgiving would be safe and happy and full of wonderful food and time with family!

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.

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.

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