My photo
We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Soul Growing to Know Well

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works,
                                                                                      my soul knows it very well.

I remember sitting at a Women's Conference many years ago and hearing this verse read and the admonition to echo it sank from my ears to my heart. The truth immediately elicited an emotional reaction. Tears burned the sides of my face as I tried to swallow and fight back the kind of cry one would rather take place in private. The thought that my body was fashioned to house my soul for those moments--- for the years behind and ahead--- made me marvel. The complex systems humans strain to understand, from the structure of skin on the outside to the minute hormonal, cellular processes on the inside, are apologetic arguments in and of themselves. Even with the presence of wonder in what it means to be intimately created by a loving Creator, in His image no less, the thought still brought a deep measure of sadness.

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Today, I feel much the same. For the past year, my thyroid, or what is left of it, has (at best guess) ceased to function. It is amazing that a gland so small can control so many vital functions! It has taken months to get me to a place where I am getting some answers. Some of those answers have come with a new set of questions. I do have a new doc--- one with a medical degree, twenty years experience in internal medicine, as well as a degree in functional medicine. I feel like I am in a tunnel looking for the light at the end. I am sure it is there, I am just not sure how long until I can see it.




If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

I have been unable to do some of the things I love--- including writing! My brain has been foggy, a term I had heard but had not experienced. It is a thing. 

O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.

I generally don't wrestle with symptoms of problems. This, along with a myriad of odd health issues peppered throughout my life and particularly in the last year, forces me into a head-on confrontation of the realization that this body is not made to live forever. The questions that most often permeate my thoughts are ones around trusting that God, who made me in fear and wonder, did so under the weight of the fall. As 40 approaches in the next couple of years, it seems this is the magic age for more to go awry. But even as I grieve the loss of taking my energy level, dietary freedom, and less dependence on interventions for granted, I am reminded of the mercy behind the misery of it all. 

I was recently teaching through Genesis 1-3 again with a gal who will soon be married. As I walked through the drama of scripture:

{the admonition given to Adam about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, his communication to Eve about the command, their fall into sin, the consequences for all mankind, the curses to follow, and most importantly thread of hope that runs ahead of the brokenness foretelling crushing of the serpent's head and the sacrifice that allowed for the covering of the naked and ashamed couple}

the phrase that always stands out to me, left unfinished, is, "Then the LORD God said, 'Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—'" First, the differentiation of the two trees is important. Before the fall, eating from the Tree of Life was permissible. Eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was not. Adam and Eve had to be separated from the Tree of Life, lest they live eternally in bodies encumbered by sin. I have read commentators who say that even the thought of that was too much for God to imagine (if I may be so liberal in that term), so the sentence is incomplete. They are kicked out of the garden. In a way, it seems a great punishment to leave the place they walked with Him so closely. Yet for their own good, it was a great mercy. The older I get, the more I know that to live is to sin and know that I am a sinner. There is only one way out. 

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Adam and Eve, forced from the Tree of Life, leave with the wages of sin both in curse and consequence. But they don't leave naked. They exit clothed in covering provided by the death of another--- animal skin. 
It seems terrifying to know that God knows all my thoughts--- my anxieties and worry, desire to know and control everything, and all my attempts to get around suffering--- unless the path of repentance and faith is safe. Just as He has searched me, he has made the everlasting way my way by the person and work of Christ. 

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

Absent fruit from the Tree of Life, my body is both beautifully made for a life which will meet an end. Without that knowledge, I may have never begun to wrestle with what comes next! I find it no mistake that the psalmist says "my soul knows" the Lord's works are wonderful. My body cries, "What in the world is happening here?!" My soul knows it well--- while flesh is wasting away, my soul is being renewed day by day. A growing knowledge of my dependence on the Lord has been and continues to be a source of life. There are many good gifts that delay and help, but they are only temporary. It is going to take my lifetime for me to shift my gaze away from looking for the cure apart from the work of Jesus on my behalf. It doesn't mean that the wasting away part doesn't absolutely stink! Sometimes it is absolutely terrible. Sometimes it physically hurts. There is no diminishing those facts. But the promise remains that God is continuing to turn my eyes from temporal things to the eternal. And isn't that the struggle--- to see all things in light of what He has done and is working to do. He is unmaking my body to make me His forever. My eternal body will work properly! The days of deteriorating will not last forever. 

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 

Until then, I am so thankful for a doc who is working so hard to help me. I feel hopeful that God will use him and his expertise to get a handle on my hormone levels! I am comforted when I remember that God has always cared for me by way of many means and promises to continue be with me. I am so grateful for each moment I can sing and dance, move and breathe, think clearly, and all the things that have suddenly become difficult! I also find rest in the Gospel--- that Jesus gave His life so that I may live. He is my complete covering. The Spirit meets me and seals my soul. ~Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief~ 

You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.



All that said, please pray for me. This has come at an interesting time! Our dossier is now in the hands of the folks in Haiti. Now, we wait to be matched with our children. I can't help but wonder if this timing allows for some gained stability before we travel to meet our Haiti babies. I pray that my needs are met each day with daily bread, sustaining strength, courage, and most of all, faith in the finished work of Jesus. 

scripture reference, Psalm 139; Genesis 1:9, 2:16-17, 3:2-3,6-7, 14-19, 21-22; 2 Cor. 4:16




Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Hearts Toward Haiti

The day of the election, while our country moved on in its history, I stood at one end of my dining room table, Micah at the other, and we took another step in ours. We looked into each other's eyes and while we used different words, we spoke in unison. For the first time in a long time, I was vulnerable and open. He was resolute and firm. In the quiet spaces, hearts had shifted. Clay was being quietly, firmly molded and pressed, given over to the thought that maybe, just maybe, there may be more. ~ This seems a dramatic scene, but I assure you, it is this vivid in my mind. And sometimes I feel like I live in a novel. ~

We had prayed for a large family. God granted what we asked--- not in a way we could have dreamed or imagined but in a way that has and continues to direct our faces toward His love and grace. Micah and I have had the honor to love our five. They remind us every day that life is precious and in it, God writes beautiful stories that sing His love. They teach us more and more about His Fatherly affection, the forgiveness offered by the Son, and the nearness of the Spirit. We have had the opportunity to love more little ones beyond the five we see, even for such a short time. I am so thankful I got to know of them. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to love them with a motherly love. I am thankful to have the hope of meeting them again, when we all are whole. Until then, I find myself in the thick of it. There are dance parties, struggles, schoolwork, housework, conflicts, resolutions, tears, smiles, running, resting, failure, success, quiet, loud, and all that happens between. It seemed we had encountered a likely bookend to this season. Yet, there was always another thought. What if God would bring children once orphaned in different ways into this home? Our home?

Over the last few years, Micah and I have talked about adopting again.

((I am going to give you just a minute to gasp, or laugh, or whatever emotion that last sentence might evoke))

Until the last several months, we might mention it and laugh too, often with an eye roll. There always seems to be a little crazy in calling. I can't say I know what exactly has changed but something most certainly has. As the country was watching election results either reeling or rejoicing, he and I spent the majority of the evening reorienting our thoughts around what was happening much closer home. We were and are all in.

Adoption. Yes. International. Yes. Where would we be both geographically and circumstantially approved? Most importantly, where might a child or children live as orphans who we might call by our name? In just a few days, reckoning information, thoughts, feelings, desires, it was clear to us. The answer was Haiti.



As of right now, our home study has been approved. The piles of paperwork have aligned (with the help of an awesome social worker).

Since last November, God has given us hearts for Haiti; for its beauty, for its struggle. Micah had the privilege of visiting for a few days with an old Seminary friend of his. Many of the people there have great needs, as do we, but markedly and variably different. They also have great resilience. I try to follow the landscape of need, and am aware that there exists, sometimes in whole countries, a kind of desperation I do not know living here.

I am thankful that in the last few years, Haiti has come under the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. It seeks to make children the priority and serve their best interests, limiting corruption and the exploitation of children. It addresses trafficking--- which is utterly evil. It affirms children given for adoption are true orphans.

We are praying for a child or two siblings--- opening our hearts for who might be on the other end of this. Part of our preparation has been learning as much as we can about the Haitian culture. We'd love to learn the language. It is our desire to honor their heritage and learn from them.

One thing I want to make clear, we are neither saving children or being saved by them. They will be a precious gift to us, as we hope we are to them. If there would be a child or children who would benefit leaving the home they have always known to come and live with us, we are available. We want to be their forever family. I know the people who live with me and they (as do I) have a lot of love to give, as we have been so loved first.

I am still struck by the gravity of what adoption means. It would be desirable for children to be raised by one or both birth parents and I am grateful to groups who help hold families together by helping provide the means for steady income. These orphan prevention programs are such a blessing to many families, particularly in countries where extreme poverty and the effects of major natural disasters are constants. Regardless of those efforts, and as I know well, there will still remain orphans because we live in the land of broken things. In recent past or even as I type, a mother and/or father are feeling the weight of caring for a child or children they cannot. The resources provided them aren't enough. Or, death separates. Whatever the circumstances, hearts are breaking. Lives have been or are being torn apart. This is where the need for adoption begins. The weight is necessary. It cannot be glossed over. It cannot be denied. We look to honor it and corporately remember the One who brings family together and promises to redeem broken things, us included.


So--- this is an invitation. We ask your prayers; for Micah and me, for our children, and for "Haiti babies" (as our triplets call them) who will, God willing, one day come to be with us.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

It Is Well

When law and life press in, I find the words I have sung so boldly meet the question, “Is this still true?” The gift of faith through grace affirms, yes. The theologian in me asks, “How can this be?” The Spirit leads again to Gospel, to the old road, to the Good News. It is the thing I quickly forget when flesh and heart fail. It is the most fleeting thought when I am sinking in sin or circumstance.

Day by day, new mercy by new mercy, the Lord continues to teach me. By word, sacrament, sermon, suffering, in holy community, my Father continues to gently remind that He is the One singing to me, in the person and work of Christ Jesus.

When peace like a river, attendeth your way.
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever your lot, I continue to say
It is well, it is well with your soul. 

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ has regarded your helpless estate,
And hath shed his own blood for your soul. 

Your sin, oh, the bliss, of this glorious thought
Your sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and you bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o your soul With your soul

It is well, it is well
With your soul. 

It is well, it is well
With my soul. 

Original lyrics: Horatio Spafford

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Year So Far in (Very) Quick Review

This has been quite the year so far. We traveled out-of-state twice in December, one in January, twice in February, Micah out of the country in March, and then he and I celebrated our anniversary this past weekend in east Tennessee. Writing has been something I have been planning in my head, as the days continue to roll along, amid the bustle of moving around constantly. I can't wait to share some of what has been ruminating on paper! I shall soon. I did want to give a quick, mostly-pictorial, update and share some of my favorite moments over the past three months. Enjoy!

Andrew--- strong, intentional, kind, competitive, intelligent.
Elijah--- passionate, reflective, compassionate, hilarious, imaginative.
Isaac --- curious, energetic, joyful, creative, agile.
Eliana--- affectionate, nurturing, observant, determined, tender.
Isabella--- independent, fun-loving, comedian, helper, genuine.

Elijah, the adventurer


This is why I can't get through my email...
The cat that we thought was Lexie, but is actually Leo! The vet made a gender mistake!
Five-year-old cuties
The triplets birthday celebration in Gatlinburg


With GG in Gatlinburg
With Parker and Chelsea, before braving the Alpine Coaster in Pigeon Forge
Home base, best rest
In Dallas, TX at Chick-fil-a Seminar
Enjoying a warmer day
Maple Syrup Festival, Salem, IN
Our outside pet, who visits every morning around 7
Cardinals vs Pittsburg
13th Birthday for Andrew (and one little girl who loves him very much)
Lake Tahoe under many feet of snow

Boy, have I been feeling the winter this year. The frozen ground, colors-sleeping, bone-piercing cold makes things more difficult for me. It makes my soul still and draws out the longing, the desperation, the unmistakable humanity. So much hard here. So much pain. Even my body has been determined to force the acknowledgment of weakness. Lent is the culmination of a season of feeling deeply my limitations. Then comes Spring. We have had a few, warm, teaser days but I feel so much anticipation as I keep peeking around the corner for the first hints of the bright display of intricate, interconnected art in Creation. I need the visceral reminders that what I experience today, while real and true, is not all there is. The hope of resurrection in Easter speaks into my still soul in a way that reminds me that in Christ, all things will be new. I wait to see it in my favorite flowers, taste it from the garden, emerge in soft grass, be whispered in warm wind, and all the while, pray to be encouraged by it once again.

It is also a change in season for our family. More to come;)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmastime in the Hope of Immanuel: Part Two

The miracle of Immanuel always leaves room for deep reflection. From the time of nativity until the moment Jesus ascended into heaven, He fulfilled a mission. He was the promised one. He was the awaited one. His mission was to address mankind's biggest problem. He lived a perfect life imputed to those who, from centuries past and for centuries to come, find life in His name. He suffered on behalf of sinners the fate all those bound in flesh and blood are bound, enduring the wrath of God. He descended to the depths and on the third day, emerged victorious over death and the grave, giving us a glimpse of what is to come.
The incarnation is pivotal to it. The sinless became sin for the sinful so we might be saved. There is no greater love than this. There is no greater Love than His. If this was all that could be said of the work of Christ Jesus, it would be enough.
Yet beyond taking care of my biggest problem, Jesus, both God and man, had a ministry - to love and serve in human form. He is not only the Perfect Priest offering a sacrifice once for all, but an intercessing one. This is most distinct from both past and contemporary religious leaders. I am painting with a large brush stroke here, but from what I know of those worshiped or followed in other religions, they either lead with authority or in compassion. Some offer "saving" (most often, save yourself) and others "loving" as the way to higher living. The triune God of the Bible offers both saving and serving.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Heb. 4
After Jesus came in flesh, He continued His mission and at the same time, met humanity in service. In the gospels, I am in awe of His response when met by sinners, poor and needy. He did not pass them by. In some accounts, it is said that He indiscriminately healed everyone He encountered (see Matthew 4 & 8, Luke 4 & 6). He wept with those who wept. He rejoiced with those who rejoiced. He felt hunger. He enjoyed fellowship. He entered in to all kinds of human suffering and frailty--- casting out demons, healing, and providing for physical needs--- to both fulfill the prophecies and moved with compassion. He did not only see needs, he felt them in His skin, and He did not leave those who came to Him as they once were.
He loved His neighbors like no other--- both for His people as substitute and as a servant.
This gives me hope today as I think about the flesh and blood babe in the manger. The ones most aware of our neediness ~those abandoned, betrayed, exhausted, childless, sick, lonely, rejected, widowed, orphaned, suffering in every other kind of way~ our Savior also sympathizes with us because He walked among us. When it seems like no one sees us and no one understands, Immanuel does.
This Christmas, I want to sit with you vomit-covered or (hopefully) not, as a person in need of everything God has done and still promises. I wish to marvel at these things, sit with their weight in my chest, and wonder at the curious, compassionate nature of His ways.
God, in the person and work of Christ Jesus, has demolished our biggest problem and proves that He cares deeply about all our smaller ones. Our cries for help, when confronted with our biggest problem, sin, and all the myriad of others, suffering, reach the heavens into the ears of our Great High Priest. The God who has and will intervene. The One who came to save will come again to redeem. In the meantime, I pray for an increased awareness that I do not have a Savior who is unaware or indifferent toward joys and pains of life even now. He is Immanuel--- God with us.
Lord I believe, help my unbelief.

Christmastime, in the Hope of Immanuel: Part One

Wrapped in the close and distant memory and not leaving much to be desired highlighting the expanse of human experience,  I feel the most deep, complex nostalgia in this holiday. I have read several written pieces that speak to the profound implications of the incarnation and its anticipation in advent. The ones I have enjoyed the most resonate the deepest, not necessarily because of their articulation of fact (which is always appreciated), but because they understand our ~my~ need. This has been the busiest year and I have felt my limitations more over the past several months than in years past. Who knew the pre-teen years could be so volatile;)! When someone, somewhere hints that I am not alone as I sit here, feeling so much mix of deep joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, remembering Christmases past trying to feel something of the present, as the holy season is whirling by, I take a breath.

In another attempt to thwart the holiday bustle, my husband and I took the kids to Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God concert at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. It was quite the trip. I honestly felt like I was escaping the less desirable parts of the holiday--- the ridiculous traffic, long to do lists, short tempers (including my own), the pressures, and all that is between--- as we headed out. But the craziness went with me! I was overwhelmed as we hauled the luggage to the van, hurried as we traveled down the highway, anxious as we tossed our belongings in our hotel room and searched for a quick dinner, and exhausted as we landed in a clump in our seats before the concert. Literally covered in vomit, as one of my sweet gals had a bit of first-concert-jitters that spilled right out of her soon after our arrival, I listened, viscerally aware of human plight. (I just want to take this opportunity to apologize to those who sat around me with sensitive olfactory senses. So sorry people.) I don't know about you, but this year for me has been so full. Not only was I spent physically, mentally, and emotionally from the trip down, but I am spent physically, mentally, and emotionally, from the year. I feel my humanity more and more as years progress and I wasn't sure that anyone around me understood.



The kids getting their first glimpses of real life Nashville Honkey Tonks.


Sally Loyd Jones reading from the Jesus Storybook Bible.
Tired mama and sweet child, hearts full.  
From the sound of the first guitar strum, I was enamored again at the thematic sounds of the season. I have always loved music and once again, found it to be a balm. The experience was fantastic. The artistry, benevolent and beautiful.


The triplets fell asleep right as the Behold the Lamb portion began. This was why we made the trip, as the music tells the story of the birth of Jesus through Old Testament history and the prophets. It is well-loved in our house. It is always ironic to me that even though I work so hard to make something work out, as the point of what we have planned to do arrises, someone misses it somehow! With my big kids self-sufficient, their rest was actually a mercy to me in a way. Four year olds move some part of their bodies constantly and their stillness allowed me to also be still. All the pieces well crafted with unique yet cohesive melodies. There is a song right toward the end where several vocalists echo lines from previous songs. It always seems appropriate to hear echoes of the past in present, like this Theme song. It is a lovely, chaotic, melodious sound, mixing past with present. The lyrics were so moving, I felt a collective sigh rising up, as the cries of the phrases, "pass over us", "deliver us" and "glory to Jesus, ancient and strong,  come to your people, carry us home"  moved from my overwhelmed heart to my lips.
The end of the concert. 
In my experience, echoes of the past live simultaneously in the present. I remember joyful gatherings with families intact, the ones that follow with dear ones missing, first Christmases with Micah as newlyweds, those waiting and aching for children, first celebrations with my big boys, miscarriages, realizing I have far more than I deserve, feeling anxiety over not enough, three babies in-womb, relationships gained, relationships lost, seasons of sickness and isolation, times of wellness and celebration--- the list goes on. My life story reprise plays on and on. Regardless of experiential joys or pain, there lives beneath the surface a cry for intervention. A stubborn neediness. Who knows this song better than I? Who knows all the parts that make up the whole? When I cry for deliverance, Who knows the references of experiences past? Who is outside the bounds of my limited understanding creating the even larger theme? The Creator and Center of remembrance and the One who has intervened, the God who came to be us---Immanuel.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

The God of Judges and Kings


There is nothing new under the sun. For as long as humanity has walked the earth, we, collectively and individually, have had an unsatisfied longing. For those who have the privilege, we raise up and elect officials to make the way better. For most of the Old Testament years, the leaders for whom Israel so adamantly plead ended up being evil. Some were God-fearing. "He did what was evil" and "He did what was right" in the sight of the Lord is many times the summations of entire legacies of the judges and kings of Israel.

Beyond the reaches of law and policy, culture and society, with various affect throughout centuries, the Bible affirms that regardless of the circumstances, God has been for His people. He has remained faithful to His promises. Even while the Psalmist laments in his current circumstances facing death, famine, and sometimes silence, God was always working. Psalm 136 is a beautiful song with the lyric, "His steadfast love endures forever" because for the author, it did, and it does.

It is so fitting that the hope of the nativity is right around the corner. God is with us. He doesn't usually work in the ways we think He should. At a time when people wanted a dictator or king, He sent a baby to a stable. When the proud were perpetuating religion for the sake of god made in the image of man, He was living life on the behalf of His people for the sake of their righteousness. When they wanted someone to overthrow the government, He used its constructs to satisfy the wrath of God and the penalty of death to guarantee salvation for those who believe. And when some bent to prove His demise with a sealed and guarded tomb, He defeated death so we may have the hope of heaven. It is in the quiet of history that the most profound works of the Maker and Savior of men produce lasting effects.

We want leaders--- people who will stand beyond the fray, tell us the truth, and bring safety and fulfillment to our generation, and for good reason. Sometimes, we try and fill the space with ourselves, thinking that if we only had the influence, voice, and resources, we could do what should be done for the sake of our cultures and our communities. There are times heaven breaks through and we enjoy gracious gifts. Sometimes, we feel the weight of the world. Through it all, the longing remains.

One thing is sure: the One upon whom all authority, justice, and mercy has come to make our future sure and will come again to judge equitably. Until then, our hearts will cry out for the land of truth, rest, and peace. Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Lord, help me to hold loosely to the things of this world and keep my eyes focused on the world to come, loving my neighbors along the way. For the days of *pointing* peace, I praise you. For the days of want, I petition you. For all the days in between, give me an awareness of Your presence.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Pet History

My first pet was a cat named Wally. He was orange and white and lived life with three legs. I was terribly allergic to him but dealt with it okay since he lived outside. I would pet him until my eyes itched and swelled. One day, he just disappeared.

When I was a little older, my family and I were given a yellow-headed, white-bodied cockatiel. His name was cotton. His wings were not clipped so I often let him out of his cage to fly around the house. I remember the panic of letting him excitedly exit his cage then realizing the ceiling fan was on. He dodged that bullet several times (whew!). On a summer afternoon, I discovered that cotton was not a he--- but a she! Thankfully Cotton is a name that moves from male to female rather easily. When I was in middle school, Cotton and I became less compatible. I was terribly asthmatic and struggled with her too. She was given to a new family who loved her very much. I missed her "tweet" when she was gone. When I watch home videos of that time in life, I hear her in the background. She had such a sweet, happy chirp.

Micah and I have had our share of animals through the years. I didn't grow up with dogs and didn't quite know how to care for our first. She was part lab, part dalmatian and had a lot of playful energy which we appreciated until she out literally grew our first apartment. Our tight, one bedroom space in an older home with crazy good acoustics shared with three other neighbors, in Statesville, NC was just too small for her. I will never forget the day she skipped off with another family, happy to be out of such confinement.

About a year later, we adopted a cat who we named Phoebe. She traveled to Louisville with us. We loved her as well. Phoebe was content and independent. She loved to curl up with me sometimes and occasionally tolerated being held like a baby... until she hated it and expeditiously let me know it. She was several years old when I realized I was taking four asthma medications and she might be the cause. I was so sad. I cried when she left us. We found a great home for her with a family who lived surrounded by thick woods in a home with large windows. It was a cat mecca. We used to hear from her new owner until the season completely shifted.

Fast forward to Elijah's 6th birthday. After much discussion, we got him a Carin Terrier. Elijah named him Anakin Skywalker. Anakin was a smart, beautiful dog, however, he just had a bit of a small dog complex. I tried to deal as best I could and become the alpha in that situation. It didn't help that Elijah had been attacked by a dog with a similar temperament about a year before... and I was on the embryo adoption roller coaster then pregnant with triplets. Despite months of obedience training and even time away, he had to be re-homed. Thankfully, we had willing folks who loved him and appreciated his spunk. We gave Elijah a guinea pig to soften the blow but the first time we left her to be cared for by a friend, she died.

This past year, we took in two dogs born on Micah's parents farm. Two beagle mixes, they were everything we had prayed for in doggy friends. We named them Sam and Rosie. They were so sweet and obedient. I immediately saw an intuitive nature in them, especially Sam. They were fantastic with the kids. They were easy to train and easy to love. Then, the asthma symptoms began again. After a lot of hand wringing, I realized they couldn't stay. It is amazing how sick a person can get in a short time. Within a week, God gave us a solution for these dogs. They are now helper dogs and seem so fulfilled. I had the pleasure of watching Rosie in action after running in to her with her trainer and new owner at a retail store. She was a champ at her job. The same can be said for Sam. I have treasured updates about how well the two of them are doing.

All this time, our kids have wanted a pet to love. And I have wanted that for them too! It has been such a roller coaster for me!

I have been doing some research about less-allergen producing pets online in hopes of finding some solution and came across the Siberian Forest Cat. Originally from Russia, they are said to have far less of the protein in their saliva that cause allergic reactions. There are mixed review about whether or not folks with allergies have an easier time with this breed over another--- however, we are giving it a go. I am hopeful and sober about the whole thing. We ended up finding a little gal kitten right down the road from us. Our plan is to pick her up in less than a couple of weeks! I am so excited. I am praying the breed's dog-like playfulness has made its way to her and she will enjoy the business of our household. We were first told she was a he (funny how that worked out once again!) and so we named him Leo Tolstoy--- 'cause Russia... famous Christian author... Now that he is a she, we have settled on Lexie Blue. Her eyes are beautiful blue and Lexie, because... I don't know. It's cute and we kept the "L";)

Coming soon... Lexie Blue. Here's hoping this works. I am tired of being the re-homing expert.