Nov 25, 2012

Painting this Season Differently

I've been thinking and praying for a while about how to do Christmas differently this year.
I want my kids (and myself) to feel the wonder of the season,
instead of just the pulse of MORE STUFF.
We've prayed about it as a family
and I've begged Jesus quietly on where the RESTART button
between Thanksgiving and the end of the year.
I told The Hero I even wanted our Christmas cards to look different.
We are not the sweater and chino matching type.
And even though I try so hard to try to keep up with that image,
we are never going to be a J. Crew family.
I saw a pin on Pinterest awhile back about a photo shoot that involved paint.
I knew in an instant it was for us.
The perfect start to a different kind of holiday.
I called my friend, turned photog-pro Vanessa at Dear Okie
and asked if she was crazy enough.
I think her exact quote was "HELL. Yes."
I found us all white shirts.
And we "looked" like we'd take average ole, "stand in front of the fireplace" pics.
You should have seen the kids' faces when Vanessa and I pulled out the paint.
Vanessa explained we were going to paint the canvas as a family.
I doled out the brushes and
The Hero set up the canvas.

The kids got busy chucking paint.

I got lost in just being together.

The Dinosaur almost hyperventilated when The Hero threw paint on him on purpose.
He was so worried about his shirt.
Until I tossed a brushful in his hair.
And begged he do it back to me.

We painted one another.

Then went back to the canvas.

We tossed paint and wrote on each other for the best part of two hours.
Laughing and screaming.

Letting the paint and joy drip all over.

 We covered paint on every inch of each of us.
Including Vanessa.
(thank God we spared her camera).

I've never seen The Dinosaur make this face before.

Here is the masterpiece we created:

Out of the 340 pictures Vanessa took, only five of them were of all four of us staring at the camera.

The rest were so perfect, we didn't need to be looking at the camera.
It was us in our glory and mess.
Just like every day.

But with free license to embrace who we are without all the expectations.
Be. Still. My. Heart.

Here is to you and yours this holiday season from a family who is trying to start our traditions all over again.
And praying that we paint it right this time,
while covered in love and joy.
If you haven't had a chance to buy my kid's book yet, go to the top of the blog and hit the "Buy Now" button for paypal. All proceeds from the book go to build a water well in honor of our sponsorship son through Children's HopeChest. There are only 1000 copies printed and we are praying they are sold as soon as possible. Thanks and God bless.

Nov 23, 2012

A Black Friday I Can Be Excited About

I didn't expect to hear from my book printer for the next two weeks.
I just opened my inbox from my printer saying they had finished the first 500 books.
He wanted to know if it was okay to go ahead and ship them to me?
So here you go.
The first peeps to see the cover of the kid's book that took me almost three years to complete.

Isn't my illustrator amazing?

I think so too.
So here is where I start begging you to buy the book.
I only had 1000 copies printed.
Because selling 1000 copies will pay for a water well to be built in our sponsorship son's honor.
And to be really honest with you, I didn't have enough faith or garage space to house any more books.
The book won't be available on Amazon or another online outlet.
Just here.
And a few in-person places in Oklahoma City.
My sights are really just set on this first printing.
If God has further plans for this simple children's story, then He will handle the details.
You may order at the button on the side of the blog.
If you are local, I will hand deliver your book to you.
Will love and tons of kisses.
Thank you so much for being on this journey with me.
If you've read here longer than two blog posts, you'll know my family's passion and love for Ethiopia and our desire to see the people of the world educated about clean water.
Can't buy a book?
No problem! Please help Tweet, Facebook and blog about this opportunity.
Thanks Again,
I couldn't do this without you.
And I wouldn't have written this story if it weren't for him.

Nov 22, 2012

Thanks Is Not Enough

Thank you Jesus.
There is simply nothing I did or will do to deserve the love of these three hearts.
Full with a thankful heart today.
Love to you and yours.

Nov 4, 2012

Orphan Sunday 2012 Westmoore Community Church

November is National Adoption Month and today, specifically was Orphan Sunday. A national day for churches and organizations to gather to honor and reflect on the millions of foster care, abandoned and orphaned children in our world. Our church put together a great video of families who have adopted, are adopted or are fostering. How amazing to be with so many like minded people. We were honored to be asked to appear

I had a plan for today. I thought it was a really good one. One of those plans that when pulled off to perfection makes a pretty postcard moment memory and I look like supermom.

I should have known better. In three years of motherhood no plan that I have devised has come close to working. And I don't think supermom feeds her kids ice cream for dinner; but alas I tried to plan today nonetheless.

We would have church and then prepare a simple meal of beans and rice and reflect and spend time as a family praying and discussing re-vamping our Christmas expectations.

Only one thing happened as planned.

We made it to church. Well, three of us made it to church. The Hero ended up being at the station today. The Dinosaur had a soccer game, so we spent the day racing from one event to the next.
And I drove through McDonalds for dinner. Nothing says reflection and prayer like a big Mac.
As I sat down tonight after putting the kids in bed, I felt really guilty about not making today more poignant for my kids and I.

But as I sit here typing this, two Ethiopian angels are tucked into my bed waiting on me to come and sleep. And no matter how today started, it's about to end just perfectly.

Nov 2, 2012

A Face To Africa

I wrote my first children's book three summers ago.
On a legal pad.
While vacationing at my sister's house.
Watching my two kids swim in her crystalline pool.
I was supposed to be working.
All that yellow paper was designed for some thing legal.
But it was destined for some thing lovely.
As the kids swam and splashed with their new aunt,
I swam and splashed through my tears at the edge of the pool.
How so much can change in a small span of time.
We hadn't been together four whole months yet.
English was still an accent on their tongues.
Most smells and sights were new and each experience more exotic than the last.
And Africa was still very much in my heart and thoughts.
I think I've said before that I believe David when he said
"God sets the lonely in families."
I believe that because I never knew how lonely I was until I got my kids.

As the kids splashed and played,
I wrote.
Wrote the story of the boy who walked every day for water.
A boy who carried the liquid on his back,
while my new kids covered themselves in water I was telling them not to drink.
I wanted a way for kids every where to learn about his story that stole my heart.
A story that would bring him and others clean water.

I found an illustrator that weekend.
It was a pure divine encounter.
He fell in love with the story too.
As he began sketching the outline, we met several times.
He asked me when I envisioned my story set in Africa, did I see a face?
I laughed out loud.
But of course, I did.

This was the first picture I sent to him:

This was one of the first illustrations Jerry sent back:

My words didn't seem to do the art justice.
But now at least Africa had a face.

In other news, I just heard from the printer and books will ship November 21!
I'll start taking pre-orders in the next few days.
Scared out of my mind.
But the kind of scared you get as you top the incline of a roller coaster. :)