Babe of my Heart » Our Family's Journey

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Finding Joy in a Little {the art of not keeping up}

It took my awhile.

I wish I had learned sooner. Practiced it more often. Not worried so much. And just stood still.

Looking back–I see a frazzled mom trying to flip through magazines to catch up with what color would be cool for the next season…as if it mattered and staying up late monogramming tees. I confess I am Southern and in my 2nd year of parenting got an embroidery machine for convenient monogramming for Christmas. (Ten years later–that machine is collecting dust. Because there is nothing wrong with monograms–but we just don’t need them so much anymore.)

Wearing the new color of the season (for fall by the way it’s a cool minty green)…or having the kids in the right sports or schools or neighborhoods…(the list goes on)…are things that I have let go of. Roll your eyes all you want if you never have quietly or not so quietly wanted for these things…but 10 years into this mommy thing–I am finally finding joy in a little. The simple.

The new stress of school work...the goat eating your pencil.

The funny part is…when you begin to find joy in the little–you begin to see the gaps. You see the things that matter of the heart. The things that need more tending that you have missed, and had you not slowed down…they might have been missed forever.

And it’s the heart that matters most.

But. But will they be okay not having this things we ask? Will you be?

And I think about my upbringing. How I rarely share…the joy that was found in the little.

My parents got married at 18. My dad joined the army and shortly to follow my sister was born. I came 14 months later. My little sister would follow in just a few years. Neither of my parents had college diplomas. My mom would return to school later many times taking us and our coloring books with her. It wasn’t until 8th grade that I could have a friend spend the night because if it rained in my elementary years–20 buckets came out to catch the water. By high school we had come far because of the hard work and determination of both my father and mother….and I had learned the gift of simplicity, learning to make something with what you already have and finding joy in a little. Not having or needing what others have…but this was probably more by circumstances than choice.

But out of the choosing. The choosing to stay in the simple…the joy seems even sweeter there.

No matter what you have or don’t have–you will struggle with keeping up with the world…until–you don’t.

You decide one day–that the keeping up with the world just isn’t worth your heart, strength, time…but living deeply and being real is…and you can’t possibly do both.

I’ve chosen to laugh more. Not fret about the small stuff. And if I want to change things up–an $8 highlight from the grocery is a whole lot of fun–and it’s…just hair. And for a mom…a girl who used to care…there is freedom in that as silly as that may sound. If the thought of a $8 box of hair dye sounds like a risk to you…um–then we might have a ways to go;).  This was my entertainment for last week…

Now that’s vulnerability in my $8 kit gone bad;).

I’m learning there’s waste in comparing–energy, soul and heart. And moving out to the country–there isn’t a thing we miss. We haven’t been to our bigger church in 5 months and only 4 out of 2,000 have noticed and checked in…and we have made some pretty sweet friends at this small church of 200 and jumped right in with Rich teaching the 4th graders and me welcoming in the mornings. Life is happening in new, real, deep ways and we are thankful.

There is truly freedom in learning to find joy in the the little…and not needing things or being a part of things to make us feel like we are somebody. Learning over here to just slow down and rest…right where I am…He is enough…in Him I am enough…and I just need to be still.

I’m learning to slow down in new ways…and truly–learning to love and live with no regrets, retrieve or reserve. We have but one life…I want to live deeply and fully. You in?

Here are a few pictures of us lately…

Date night...our favorite night
Aaron staying with us from Africa
Homeschool Project: baby barn
Rise and shine: morning goat feeding
Mommy and Laney craft fun: a fall table
A sweet front porch view
Practicing with Laney with calligraphy

Not sure if this blog makes a lick of rambling sense! But if it encourages one…the rambling is worth it! And it will help me remember these sweet days later–because I’m quite sure my mommy brain will forget!















The best part of today {Mommy!!!}


Today was full of so many things.


I made 6 bottles of goat formula for these two..

Sugar and Domino

Later in the day, I decided to surprise Richard and finish the goat fence. Which was so much fun because Isaac helped.

Mommy! Please let this be the last board! I'm getting wet out here! This is the last one…right mommy?

Sweet conversations as we worked together.

He worked too.

I was so proud.

A chicken almost got in through pool fence. I do CPR but not sure how that works for chickens so I'm glad we diverted that course.

This. This is the crazy we hoped for. Crazy. Fun. Messy. Hard. Perfect.

Richard and I even managed our date night getting to try a new fun pizza place…just us.

So fun going over the highlights of my day with him and he with me. This one I just have to write down because it's a mommy moment for me. It even made me cry over pizza–and I think I might have caught a tear in my Rico Suave too as I shared. The best of all of the moments in my crazy day…

I arrived to the preschool to pick up these two sweeties from their morning of play…

And I wish I had a picture of the moment just 5 minutes before this.

Still holding my breath thinking about that moment.

I was standing in line with a handful of moms in front of me waiting to pickup their 3 year olds.

The children were all in a circle playing. Except Zeke. He was sitting in the circle but stretching his little neck to see each mom that came.

I could see disappointment at each face…and his brow crinkled up as he strained to see.

He didn't see me yet.

And I knew…he was looking for me…mommy.

Here this love who entered my arms when he was 2 years old and now at 3. Waiting in this circle and hoping the next one was…me. Mommy.

I held my breath…because some times as a mommy through adoption you some times think…what if. What if i hadn't called that day when I was captured by that sweet little face of this boy I was praying for online. What if someone else had called? What if no one had? What if I had missed him? Or he me? What if he was waiting and waiting like that little boy stretching his head to see mommy…and no one came? Everyone needs mommy…and oh my…this mommy needed him.

I have a unique experience as mommy having biological babes and babes through adoption–my heart too. Sure they were all my choice to have…but with adoption it is different. I didn't know if my first three would be girls or boys or if I'd miscarry or if they would finally be in my arms. When I found out each time I was pregnant–we hoped…we prayed…for so many things…health, just making it here…and then…here they came with the miracle of birth. But with adoption…

Sometimes it's a phone call. Or a picture. You know months…some times years of health information–and the stories, medical history and backgrounds are often a pile high of papers to sort through with 24 hours to say yes to. And just like that…you are mommy. And you wait. You wait. You wait. And you wait some more. I watched mine grow up for many months in pictures while we waited for every clearance…every step another YES…toward I am mommy. Much of it all–really a choice…really for us and not so much for them…just hopes they will one day shout it…want it…want us–right back too.

And he sees me.

Mommy! Mommy! My mommy is here!

He squeals the same thing. Every. Single. Time.

And it never gets old.

My knees jolt from the impact of that little boy who just raced to run into them with a giant 3 year old hug.

I hold my breath. And force a smile instead of tears.

I am blessed.

I am mommy.

He is mine.

My sweet son.

Today I hold on to that memory. With thankfulness that His story…the One He writes for us…is so much more beautiful than anything we could write for ourselves. Trusting Him every step of the way!



Growing… {the farm}

We are slowly growing the farm over here!

We came with just this guy…who is still keeping us entertained as one of the indoor pets:)…

Then came Oreo who is the sweetest ever…

Next came the chickens!

And in just a week or so we welcome 2 baby goats! We visit them every few days and can’t wait to bring them home!!!
We are building a goat barn this weekend among our normal crazy and can’t wait to grow our little hobby farm!! My vote is for a protector for the goats next which leaves a donkey or llama in the running:) We shall see!!! So thankful for this sweet and fun season of stepping out together and learning a new way of simple yet crazy fun:)
Hope y’all have a sweet weekend!!








Breathing in Today (when they are little)

A grandmother–not by blood but heart–picked us…more than 7 years ago to pour into. She’d show up at my door with trinkets and little “happies” for the children. “They’ll be spoiled with these things,” I had thought. But year after year–season after season she came…giggling and sneaking up on my porch with treats and sneaking away.

Years passed. Our family grew…and so did the number of trinkets and gift bags she delivered.

Trials came…she beat cancer…still she came with her beautiful scarf tightly wrapped.

I slept through Lyme and could hardly keep up with the seasons myself one year…yet with each season I’d walk by the front door to see a rainbow of tissue peaking through the side windows…waiting for us to finally see them.

This grandmother of ours came for miles, year after year, with tissue filled bags.

Laughter and cheering I would hear in the foyer as little things catapulted out of the bags…some little things lasting but just a few days but bringing much joy none the less. Rich would walk in to see tissue paper and empty packages torn open and say, “I knooooow who stopped by today!”

A season of motherhood for me–I had no time to hardly catch up on groceries much less to mosey the aisles or the appreciation yet of how fast this time of having littles would pass.

It’s been over 7 years since this fairy of a grandmother was brought into our lives. Now well and full of energy…I finally have eyes opening to the passing of this make believe time, and this grandmother of theirs has rubbed off on me. I’m starting to really see why the fairy dust was worth the investment to her.

Now I’m in a season where I can really breath, be creative and have fun with my children. There WAS a season I was seriously surviving…so it was hard to really see–but God brought her to me because He knew I would get here and wish for time back to really play…with the impractical but oh so practical things filling those baskets at Easter and even Thanksgiving. God brought me Mama Judy in that season of surviving and learning to thrive–and to enjoy their squeals and what silly things brought them.

And without fail now–I think of her when I see trinkets like these.

And my tendency is still to shake my head and say to myself, “Oh that’s funny. But we need _____ and this decoder pen will last a day…”

But then—Then I run and grab a little shopping basket and fill it up…giggling to myself as I race to them…filling my little green basket with a few things to make them squeal. And I think, “I have GOT to tell her about this place! Oh my…she would flip over this hair dye comb for her grands or this rubberband tub boat for the boys in her world…”

She taught me to trust The Lord to bring others into my life to be my village—to love my children with me. She taught me to make time to play…even when you are tired–laundry and clean floors can wait. I started mommy hood being not only being  far too tired but even far too–strict…worrying that “things” would win more of their hearts. I let control (by me) and performance (expecting from them) take a leading role—so much so I found myself being a director instead of a passionate person in the play. Schedules…and “obey right away”…taking more of their hearts than pick-up-sticks ever could.

I thought God brought me this Mama Judy to love my children in a season of first years mommy fatigue…but her fairy dust, finger lasers and bunny baskets have reminded me how fast and fleeting this time is…and what our children really need in many times–is for us to simply get down and play and be…to just BE with them…enjoying their giggles and to PLAY. To mosey that silly aisle and get the light up yo-yo…not because it’s another thing to have….but it’s something to do together—and it’s going to be really cool to try in the closet with the lights off or among the fireflies.

These days are precious. Slowing down…climbing trees…and pulling these little treasures out I found yesterday–just to hear them squeal! Thank you Mama Judy for teaching me to be a silly, fun grandmother type momma and that the schedules, clean cupboards and even groceries and keeping things “together” can many times wait. Because the memories, connecting and conversations that happen during pick-up-sticks is truly priceless. I only hope some day I can remind other mommas the way you have reminded me…making time to play today…



When things break (Give Us Eyes to See)


Every single day–something will break.

Slow down. Ask for eyes to see.

Because it's not about how the world may crumble around you or that you are a failure and can't keep it together or that you aren't enough…or that nothing goes your way.


It's about choosing to see…changing perspective.

When things don't go as planned–EXPECTING to see something really amazing unfold from it…from small breaks and big breaks.

Just TODAY. I forgot my cell phone at home. 45 minutes from home when I realized it. Late for Parker's orthodontist fitting and with my phone as my navigation–LOST. I prayed for a sweet saint and help–and I walked in an office complex…and met a sister that reminded me of laughter and joy and we scrolled through her phone to find the way….a new friend that I will take a gift to later for her kindness…and He will work…because He always does.

Because I was late–the timing was perfect. They laughed on the phone when I told them how I was calling–and when I arrived the receptionist said, “You know your dear friend Melanie is about to be seen by the doc. Why don't you surprise her?” So I put my hands on her shoulders and with my best orthodontist voice said, “Let's lean you back and take a look in that big mouth of yours!” Laughter followed. And the biggest hug. I had no idea how much she needed that until she told me. (Love you Melanie!)

And on my way home–I thanked God for broken things.

Because in the broken-the Mender does miracles.

Every single day in the small and big broken–not going your way moments–breath…and thank Him for whatever He is up to.

#prespective #choosingtosee


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