Monday, February 16, 2015

Little Sister Stuff


For Christmas, Little Sister asked for a Barbie house.

I am not a lover of Barbies. 

I cut their hair and drew upon their faces with markers as a child.

Having just brothers will do that to you.

When I was a little older my cousin gifted me her Barbie case that opened up to be a fabulous closet with Barbie clothes and shoes and such. I tried to play with it some, but I was really too old by then. 

About a year before our girl arrived I gave it back to Bevy because there were no girls in sight. 

I wish I had kept it in hindsight.

Even still, I wasn't on board about this Barbie house. I made an unspoken rule that if I could find a good used one dirt cheap  then I would buy it.

Well, I found one. Handed down from two previous owners, some furniture included and looked brand spanking new.

Just my luck.

So, I bought a new Barbie with a little sister, an extra outfit for the one half naked Barbie we had at home and called it a day.

Little Sister has played with this dang Barbie house every. single. day. since.

She loves it.

So, it was time to expand the Barbie family.

Let me tell you, well dressed black Barbies are pretty hard to find.

I'm not willing to pay shipping. I'm not willing to break the bank. If I'm going to house Barbies, they are going to dress tastefully.

So, after a month of searching I found this treasure of a doll at the Target yesterday. She's not a Barbie, she's a Moxie doll.

$2.99.

Little sister size.

Modestly dressed.

I scooped her up and ran her home. Little Sister named her KeKe and she joined the Barbie family. 

They're going to live happily ever after, I just know it.

I'm still on the prowl for a few more darker skinned girls for the family. There's talk that they need a man around the house, but I'm not sold on that one yet. A twenty-five cent sticker at a yard sale could seal the deal though.

Having a little girl has been far more fun than I ever imagined it would be. I've even played with Barbies.

God is good, all the time!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Owner's Manual


In a year and a half this boy will ease into his freshman year of college as this girl bursts through the doors of kindergarten. 

God is hilarious.

This boy didn't come with an owner's manual. I feel like we've messed up a million times over on him, like he was our practice kid. God hasn't wasted anything on our Jordan though. This boy loves Jesus. We've been so proud of him lately making some decisions for his future and sticking up for his convictions. 

He's had two amazing offers to serve in ministry for the entire Summer this year. He'd have to give up all of his personal plans to do either. No Summer camps, no vacation time. He's had the hardest time deciding which one he wants to do, but didn't bat an eye about giving up his own Summer plans. That's our sweet boy.

I can't wait to see where God uses him!

God is good, all the time!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Riley's Check-Up


We hopped, skipped and jumped over to see the eye-ball doctor earlier this week. It turned out to be the longest day in this history of this wonky eye-ball world but in the end it all boiled down to not much news.

Riley's eyes continue to show gradual disease progression. In plain terms his cataract has grown a little, there's a little more accumulated infection and his band keratopathy has gotten a little worse. The doctor said the news isn't great but we're never going to expect to come in and see things are better. At this point a report of stable/very little change is our good news. 

The life of the last steroid injection has expired (he had this in July 2013 and it is good for 18 months). We expect that at this point the disease will gain a little bit of an upper-hand, increasing in probability and strength as time passes. The plan at this point is to go back in May and retake scans of the eyes that can be compared with the scans from a year prior. This will give us a clearer picture of disease progression over the last year and will enable us to make a better plan about what to do next. 

Riley is not in any pain and is living the normal teenage life, so the only concern we have at this point is preserving his sight for as long as possible. He has started to be more aware of what the future might bring for him and displays a healthy concern for that. He is very interested in seeing eye dogs, not necessarily wanting to need one for himself, and has devoted some time to researching about them. 

We appreciate your continued prayers for him. 

God is good, all the time!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Coming Home

Christmas morning I woke up with void in my heart. There was plenty of Christmas happiness and smiles and gifts around, but my fireplace only hosted five stockings, thirty-nine were missing.

It's hard sometimes to be the Mama of three, but also the Mama of thirty-nine more. It's an unbalanced scale of who I am, and who I really am.

The fact is that God sent me in to be the Mama of teenagers when I was just barely a Mama myself. It was hard and it was good. 

I'm not really sure why people don't get how deep this love goes. I think most can understand the love of a biological child, and even an adopted child. Something about a kid not getting that official "adopted" stamp across the top of a piece of paper draws an imaginary line in the sand in the minds of some. I'm here to tell you, you don't need a fancy stamp to wrap a child up in love. It doesn't matter if they come to you at six months, six years or sixteen, they'll wrap your heart up and cinch it up tight in a skinny minute. Probably when you're not looking.

And so it was on Christmas morning, I missed my girls something fierce. Those achings of my heart just couldn't be ignored this time. If I was longing for them, chances were, they were aching for home. Barry and I took a look at each other and said we had to do something. We wanted our girls home: all of them.

In the land of grown-up kids, trying to match up schedules just isn't pretty. It was decided that we wouldn't even try. So, that early Christmas morning we shot out some messages here, there and yonder that read "new tradition: Sunday dinner." Our girls and their families would be invited to Sunday dinner (all of them!) about every six weeks or so. We threw it out there not knowing if any of them would even come and within minutes our phones were buzzing with excitement. Our girls were coming home!

We knew there was no way we would get them all over at once, but we also quickly realized we couldn't do it at our home. Our girls have babies coming out of their ears! We reserved the farm at the children's home that we all once called "home" and set up a menu where everyone would share in bringing the meal. 

Yesterday, four of our girls and their families joined us for our first Sunday dinner. Oh my heart, it was so good. It's one thing to love these kids, but it is another thing to tell them that we love them and hug their necks in person. 

Kaylyn, Terreyka, Nikki, Bethe

By the end of the day messages were coming in from more kids, the neighbors kids, our kids' siblings: they all want to come. Of course, we said yes. 

My heart has been wrecked over the last 24 hours over this idea of home. My girls have always been welcome to come home, but having a set time and day and knowing that you are welcome made the difference for our family. These girls are our family. 

I think this is that place where foster care fails kids. Where do they go to Sunday dinner? Who do they call to say they've had a bad day, are getting married or are having a new baby? 

We've decided that for our girls, if they will allow it, that void stops here. We have always tried to keep in touch, but we have already seen the difference a circle around a Sunday on the calendar can make. I love Sunday dinner.

My girls come home again in six weeks. I can hardly wait.

God is good, all the time!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Hair-Do


When God sent this girl to us I knew not a single stitch about taking care of African American hair.

I know a twinge more now.

Last year we began visiting a local beauty shop where an older black woman (who we love!) would wash, treat and style Kendra's hair for us. She was a precious soul and she did a wonderful job. The environment there was, well, just not appropriate for a child.

Earlier this month I found a new lady in a new place. She has not only worked her hair magic for us, but we LOVE her. We love the beauty shop. We love that her two young daughters are there and they take turns playing games with Kendra as she sits in the chair. 

We were spending 3-4 hours in the beauty shop before. Now we are down to an hour, and the time flys by! We're on a two week rotation now. We go in every other week and our lady washes, treats and styles it. Then I maintain it between visits by doing whatever she tells me to do. I do exactly what she tells me. :)

This lady has been such a blessing to me already. No more tears for either of us at the beauty shop. (Well, until it is time to leave, and then little sister wants to stay longer.) So thankful for these new friends in our lives. 

God is good, all the time!



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Teasy Peasy


This girl. She really is as hilarious as she appears. Loves to be funny for attention all the live-long day. I was so lucky to capture this moment. She moves so quickly.

A while ago my Mama and I discussed starting a small handmade business where we would make fabric place mats for little girl tea parties. My Mama's diagnosis of breast cancer and God's timing put our plans off, but now we've set off on this new adventure together. I'm the cutter, she's the seamstress. We work as we can with me cutting out patterns in the evening at my house and then delivering them to her at work in the mornings. She sews in the evening as she is able. One of the side effects of her cancer journey has been muscle spasms in her hands and feet. Some days just aren't for sewing. We just go with the flow.

My girl is definitely reaping the benefits of the business and there are tea parties galore happening over in our neck of the woods. We have different guests each day. I wouldn't be surprised if the Dutchess of Cambridge herself popped in for a spot of tea one afternoon.

The main reason we've started this business is to help cover some of Riley's medical costs. The medical care for this eye disease is expensive. We travel out of state, out of network, see two specialists and an additional local provider, etc. It adds up. I never seems to go down. The travel expenses themselves are beyond the abilities of our budget.

Riley's God Pocket has carried us through so many times and we still have that little envelope. Riley's next appointment is in two weeks. We've planned a little sale for our "Teasy Peasy" sets on Instagram for February 2nd to help fill it up. His appointment is two days later. You can follow along on Instagram at @small.town.joy. 

We are prayerful that this will be a blessing to us, but the fun is already happening at our house! I mean, how cute is this picture?

God is good, all the time!


Monday, January 19, 2015

One Story One Purpose


I wanted to pop in and say we're all fine. 

Wrestling is good, and as it turns out, I may like it. Riley returns to Emory for a check-up in two weeks.

Little Sister is up to 265 Pez dispensers.

My tall boy is still pushing pizza at the local hut.


The excitement right now is getting ready for our guests to arrive for the One Story One Purpose gathering. We have guests coming from five states so far (yippee!) and we can't wait to meet them, each and everyone. If you were thinking of coming, it's time to go and snag your ticket. The remaining tickets open up to our host church on February 1st. It has been so amazing to watch how God has written names on these seats one by one. It will be a sweet day of fellowship. I can't wait!

I hope you're coming too!

God is good, all the time!