our moments

Scroll Down

Let Me See Milk and Honey

Sierra Leone is not the safest place to vacation. I know that. 
In 2011, Chance led a missions trip to this West African country. He took a team and travelled halfway around the world to meet an unfamiliar missionary. The team’s goal was to encourage this missionary, to learn more about the ministry (Lifegate in Africa), and to serve in any way possible. 

It was never Chance’s plan to fall in love. 

But he did. The people — their warmth and their resilience — it drew him to this place. The loss, the devastation, it broke his heart. 

He returned home, knowing he had to do something. He was smitten. 

Just a few short weeks later, Chance and I returned to Sierra Leone. I was reluctant to go (there were no resorts or swimming pools), but I followed the man I love to the place he loved. 

And then I fell in love too. 

From my first day — teaching village children finger plays about Jesus and his people — I knew I would never get this piece of my heart back. 

We believed God impressed a call on our lives during that trip. At the time, we thought the only way to serve would be to move to Sierra Leone. Two years later, we were asked to consider a partnership that allowed us to remain in the United States and bring awareness and funds to a forgotten people. 

We accepted, understanding this meant regular travel to and from the country that gripped our hearts. 

Chance’s position is unpaid by the ministry. He raises support and asks partners to aide him in growing the kingdom. Because of this, we knew our budget for vacations would need to be re-written for trips to Sierra Leone. 

I love the country so, but still, there are a lack of resorts and swimming pools. It’s a war-recovering, desolate place. It reeks of medical malpractices and primitive knowledge. It wears the badge of not only the highest infant death rate in the world, but also the highest maternal mortality rate. A few years ago, Sierra Leone was named the most desperate place on earth — and that was before Ebola plowed through the country, leaving chaos and death in her wake. 

Sierra Leone is not the safest place to vacation. I know that. 

Well-meaning friends and family have questioned our desire to travel to such a land — especially two-and-a-half years ago when we went with our two babies in tow. 

But is it safe? No, it’s probably not safe.

But as I see the faces of the people affected by the work of God through Lifegate, I see milk. 

As I watch the children of our orphanage run with smiles on their faces despite a lifetime of loss, I see honey. 

A radio station broadcasts bible stories nightly in the citizen’s native language. I see grapes. 

In the Old Testament, God promised the Israelites a land of their own. All they had to do was trust his providence and lean on his power. 

When the people arrived at the promise land, twelve representatives spied on the land. Twelve men witnessed the place their forefathers dreamed of. 

Ten of the men saw giants and danger. 

Maybe they saw war and devastation. They saw corrupt government and witchcraft. They saw an unsafe place for travel. 

Two of the men saw God as the ruler of all. Everything. The things that appeared frightening and overwhelming — these men saw God’s sovereignty over them. They saw milk, honey, and grapes. 

As I return to Sierra Leone for the third time, I recognize that it is not a safe place. I know there are giants. I acknowledge they are there. But I also acknowledge God’s sovereignty and reign. 

I see the milk, honey, and grapes. 

Spread the love & share the posts you love:Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

Mama, I Need You

About a month ago, Chance and I took our first extended trip away from our children. For so long, Nasko’s behavior issues kept us extremely close to home.

Knowing this trip had the potential to overwhelm our remaining kids at home, Chance and I crafted our words carefully the day before we left. We sat Louis and Edward at the kitchen table; we told them we were taking a trip, but they were staying home. We outlined the next five days as we had an arsenal of friends and family scheduled to keep them safe and busy.

While describing our plans, we repeatedly asked our kids if they understood — Mama and Taty were leaving for a few days, but grown-ups always come back (thank you, Daniel Tiger and his fine neighborhood). Though we had explained the plans a few times, you could physically see realization as it spread across my five-year-old son’s face.

He became panicked as we continued through our scheduled events one final time. As we wrapped up our explanation, Edward couldn’t contain his response any longer:

But Mama! I neeeeed you!

(Hello, future drama major.)

But son, you’re right. You do need me.

You need me to feed you. You need me to administer your life-giving medicine. You need my loving touch and my soothing comfort. You need me to teach you and assist you in maturing. You need me to reassure you as you try hard things. You need me to tell you the gospel story in words you can understand.

Edward, you DO need me.

Sierra Leone, West Africa

But sweet boy, you need me in other ways too.

You need me to love your taty more than anyone here on this earth. You need me to take small breaks from this tough calling of parenting. You need me to take space and recharge when I become worn down. You need me to follow my own dreams and pursue my personal passions. You need me to use my talents, not only to feed your hungry stomach but to bring the Bread of Life to those who are truly starving.

Baby boy, you need me to be my own person.

As I prepared to embark on this two-week trip to Sierra Leone, West Africa, Edward again expressed his need for his mama.

And again, as I spend time away, I know exactly what you, my sweet boy, need.

You need a mama who is willing to do hard things. You need me to sacrifice finances and time for those who are hurting and lost. You need me to use my talents to share the stories and lives of those who inhabit the other side of this earth. You need me to write, capture, and create in order to bring dignity and humanity to those who live differently than we do. You need me to encourage/be encouraged by some of my favorite people who have chosen to make life-altering sacrifices for the lost. You need me to fulfill my role as a mentor to orphans and children other than just you and your brothers.

Edward, you’re absolutely right; you neeeeed me.

You need me to go, to do, and to be. And when I get home, you’ll need me to read all your favorite books, cook all your favorite meals, kiss your owies, and brush your hair.

I promise I’ll do what you need.

I’ve officially left on my trip to Sierra Leone. I’m posting this from an airport restaurant in Michigan. One of my main goals of this trip is to raise awareness of what is happening in Sierra Leone. I know the majority of my readers will never have the opportunity to travel to the other side of the earth, but take heart, I am bringing Sierra Leone to you. For the next few weeks, I’ll be publishing stories. I’ll be recounting my experiences, sharing testimonies, and posting a bajillion photos (Lord willing the wifi signal can handle it).

If you are at all willing to share these stories and pictures on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, I would be forever grateful. Raising awareness means exposing these stories to as many people as possible. We pray awareness eventually will lead to funds in many cases. Funds help to spread the gospel further. Thank you for helping Lifegate in this way.

Spread the love & share the posts you love:Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

Preparing for my Trip

I leave for Sierra Leone tomorrow! (Eek! Yikes! Bah!!!) Over the past few weeks though, I’ve been collecting things, making purchases, and packing.

For instance, I purchased two headbands to wear in Africa since my hair is short this time. These headbands twelve different ways (twelve different ways!!!) according to the package, so I decided to model each of the different ways at dinner one night.

It has never been more evident that I live in a house full of boys…

Edward thought one option made me look just like a unicorn. I decided to rule that option out as “unicorn” is not my fashion aspiration.

Special needs adoption blog, traveling to Africa

At one point during my fashion demonstration, Chance felt the need to grab his own “headband.” He wore it for the remainder of our meal.

Special needs adoption blog, traveling to Africa

Finally, Edward improvised and made his own headband, but with a fake snake – because that’s the same!

Special needs adoption blog, traveling to Africa

It hasn’t just been about preparing my hair for my big trip, I’ve also made a few photography/video purchases. Chance, while he is a gifted speaker and fundraiser, he can barely take a photo to save his life. As our world becomes more and more visual through engaging in social media and consuming videos, it seemed my job should be to help gather media while in-country.

I bought these Moment lenses last week, and I am LOVING them. They attach to my iPhone and improve the quality of photos I can take without having to carry around my bigger, clunkier camera.

My family members were not the most willing subjects (except Edward, but that’s mostly because he was in a cast and couldn’t move away!), so I took lots of pictures of nature as I was getting comfortable with the lenses.

Special needs adoption blog, traveling to Africa

Special needs adoption blog, traveling to Africa

Special needs adoption blog, traveling to Africa

Special needs adoption blog, traveling to Africa

Special needs adoption blog, traveling to Africa

Special needs adoption blog, traveling to Africa

Special needs adoption blog, traveling to Africa

Special needs adoption blog, traveling to Africa

There aren’t any pictures of my final preparation; I’ve been preparing my heart. As I shared last week, this past year has been a very difficult journey for me. I am healing and growing again, and this is such an exciting time to travel and see what God is doing in Sierra Leone. I’ve been preparing my heart and my soul these past few weeks and I know God will use this trip to continue wrecking me (in a good way!).

I cannot wait to share my trip with all of you, but as for today, more packing and preparing!

Spread the love & share the posts you love:Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

Your Moments Defined – I was Built to Care for Her

This blog was not born out of a defining moment in my life or my husband’s life; It was born when we made an intentional decision to turn our tragedy into Our Moments Defined.

I know many of you have done the same. Tragedy and heartache have come your way, but you’ve sought the Father and have redefined those moments.

I want to share your stories through regular guest posts. Today’s guest post is by Stacy Philpot. She is not only a mom, a writer, and a friend, but she does it all while suffering from a chronic illness. Her positive attitude despite her circumstances is such an encouragement to me.

Like most newlyweds, my husband and I had been naïve about the peril our marriage would see, the stormy seas our ship would sail. We’d flown through every pre-marital book we could get our hands on, taken a class at church on blended families and assured ourselves we’d never be one of the “horror” stories. Having both been married before we felt sure we’d learned from our failures and were better prepared for success this time around.

But none of the books we’d read or classes we’d taken had prepared us for this. And truth be told, never in my wildest imagination had I foreseen us setting out on a sea so stormy, so soon.

Whenever I tell the story I remember it as our four-month-wedding anniversary but my husband says it had been five months. We’d enter the hospital through the emergency department but my neurologist had called ahead and told them to expect us. A friend of mine who’d suffered a spinal cord injury had brought over one of his first wheelchairs earlier that day. I was no longer able to walk myself to the bathroom or wash my own hair. Sometimes I couldn’t even pick up my own fork to feed myself. Just months before, I’d been running three miles a day.

This particular evening, horrific muscle spasms racked my body. Shuddering through my right side, I struggled to stay within the wheelchair each time they hit. The neurologist had examined me within his office and announced his suspicions of MS right away. As the days passed and we awaited insurance approval for the brain MRI and spinal tap I’d need in order to confirm his suspicions. My symptoms had continued to worsen. So here we were, bypassing insurance approval and settling in for the night. Happy Anniversary, babe!

As we awaited the results of my testing the following day, my mentor came to visit. She took my husband, Ryan, down to the cafeteria to talk. Over coffee, she looked him in the eye and asked, “What will you do if it’s MS?”  Ryan didn’t skip a beat.  He said, “This is nothing. I was built for this. I was built to care for Stacey.”

And while the tests would say it wasn’t MS and it would be four more years before answers, the diagnoses would come –  that day, our moment, our marriage was defined. Because while every facet of our lives together have been kicked and thwarted and cussed at by chronic illness, Ryan has continued to look at me and say, “I was built to care for you.” And every day I am learning more and more about how to accept that care. We all have dreams, desires, ideas and expectations about who we will or want to be in our spouse’s lives. I wanted to bless my husband. I wanted to be someone he could be proud of. He says this stretching and forced reliance on Christ is a blessing. He admires the way I’ve continued to fight to overcome and chase my dreams. And maybe, that’s our marriage defined. Perhaps, marriage is sometimes about letting go of your ideas and ideals about what love will look like. Maybe in our case, it’s about unclasping your hand and letting go of the dream of what would be so you can appreciate the beauty of what is.

Calling my husband over to wash my hair for me because I couldn’t just months into our marriage wasn’t the “honeymoon” period I’d envisioned. But can I tell you that it was and is stunningly beautiful? On the days I am thwarted by pain, unable to be the loving spouse I desire to be, still Ryan comes when called to wash my hair. It’s not what I thought our story would look like. When the stormy seas toss us about I still see my husband standing fixed in the knowledge he was built to care for me. I see me learning to lean into the beauty of that care.

And that’s our marriage, our moment defined.


Stacey is an author, goofball and avid reader. You can find her blog at chronicallywhole.com where she endeavors to encourage other warriors like herself along in their journey of battling for health and discovering wholeness. She is mom to Hayden and Avery, stepmom to Julie and wife to Ryan (a smarty pants who works at NASA and logs their whole life on spreadsheets and pie charts – true story!) She has a strange affinity for eating whole meals in bed (don’t tell anyone) and is convinced smelling old books will make her smarter.

Spread the love & share the posts you love:Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

Trust In You – A Page From My Journal

I have walked a very difficult journey this past year. It began last November when I briefly contemplated suicide. I am finally ready to share some of what I have experienced, and some of where I have been. I pray that sharing my story might help others in a similar situation. I share to bring hope.

Overcoming depression, trusting in God.

It was almost one year ago, November of 2015, when I sat in my driveway and experienced a breakdown. I questioned my worth as a mother, as a person, and as a Christ-follower.

I parked my car and gazed into the dining room window. My husband had prepared a meal for my sons and was corralling them to the table. I paused and questioned whether this life would be better if I were not in it.

By God’s grace, I had enough mental clarity to recognize these thoughts as whispers from Satan. I quickly confessed my struggles to Chance and we sought a professional counselor.

Letting go of every single dream.

I lay each one down at Your feet.

Through the blessing of a counselor who leans into the Spirit every time she speaks, I identified many errors in my thinking — I am a do-er. I attempt to control situations in order to prove my value. I am a perfectionist. I shield myself from being vulnerable for fear of being rejected by others. I try to earn God’s grace through my actions and obedience.

I’ve tried to win this war I confess.

My hands are weary I need Your rest.

In January, as I spent two weeks away from my children and the stresses of my daily life, I was reminded that God does not desire my perfection or my actions; all he asks is that I abide in him.

For a do-er, resting and abiding in an invisible God seemed like an impossible task. In February, I begged God to show himself through songs, scriptures, books, and sermons. In his faithfulness, he did just that. His spirit pulled me towards specific books in the exact times I needed their messages. The sermons preached in our church addressed issues that were a dominant struggle for me in the week prior.

As I abided in him, he maintained his perfect presence in my life.

Mighty Warrior, King of the fight

No matter what I face, You’re by my side.

Then in March, after four months of trying to find a group home for Nasko, we were told he had been accepted into a placement. The timing was perfect as Chance was leaving for a two-week trip to Africa. We knew Nasko would struggle with the schedule upheaval and missing his Taty, so moving into the group home seemed like an answered prayer.

The day before we believed he would move in, we received a phone call. His placement had been denied. He was too dangerous for this facility. His behaviors were seen as a threat to not only himself, but potentially the other children in the home.

The facility was right. I feared for the safety of the other children. Nasko truly was a danger to any other children in his home; this had been made clear in our home, with our younger sons.

The facility felt the need to protect their children, but who was protecting mine?

I was absolutely crushed. I cried while sitting on Nasko’s bed. He was in school, and I panicked knowing he would be home in just a few short hours. A mother should not be afraid to get her own child off the bus at the end of the day.

I was isolated. No one else understood our pain, and I was unable to be vulnerable enough to explain it anyway.

I felt completely abandoned.

When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move,

When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through,

When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You…

I thought the group home was going to be our answer.

I continued meeting with my counselor. I knew I had issues to work on, but I also believed Nasko was the root of all my mental health issues. If he were removed from our situation and placed safely in a group home – despite the heartache it would cause – I believed I would eventually return to “normal.”

Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings.

There’s not a day ahead You have not seen.

In June of this year, my eyes were opened. I marched into the therapy office and repeated the exact words my counselor said to me during my very first session, “This is not about Nasko at all.”

While there absolutely was stress from keeping my family safe, my mood and my behavior directly related to whether or not my life looked perfect. My life did not reflect a sovereign God – a God who loved me and my family, even when things were hard.

I was unhappy and could not allow God (or anyone) to love me because I could not keep control of my imperfect family.

I had not truly surrendered my life to the Lord.

I was willing to do God’s work and adopt his orphans, but only if it wasn’t too difficult. I agreed to follow his plans, as long as they made me look good and perfect. I would accept his grace, but only if I felt I had truly earned it.

I had not given my life over to Jesus and his will.

So, in all things be my life and breath.

I want what You want Lord and nothing less.

I had absolutely not trusted God with my life. I had attempted to earn God’s love by doing his work, but I refused to trust him and accept his grace when my life was hard, and messy, and imperfect.

The day after I realized my depression required a change of MY heart, and not a change in our life circumstances, a group home called and accepted Nasko’s placement.

When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move,

When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through,

When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You,

I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!

I finally surrendered my life to God. I trust in him.

You are my strength and comfort.

You are my steady hand.

You are my firm foundation; the rock on which I stand.

We’ve walked a very hard road these past ten years. We’ve been let down by fellow Christ-followers. We’ve been hurt by the church. We’ve watched my belly swell and then flatten four different times. We were present at the birth of a sweet baby only to return to an empty nursery. We’ve waded through the waters of the adoption process twice, only to be greeted with much more severe diagnoses and behavioral issues than we planned for. We’ve buried extended family members and moved best friends around the globe.

Your ways are always higher.

Your plans are always good.

There’s not a place where I’ll go, You’ve not already stood.

But for the first time in my life, I have laid down my plans, my desires, and my perfectionism. I can finally see the glory in the suffering as I required a broken spirit before I could truly surrender.

It all changed this July when I realized my heartache and depression had nothing to do with Nasko. It had everything to do with not trusting God with my life.

Today, I can truly stand with my feet firmly planted as the storm of sin and unrest surround me, and I can say,

When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move,

When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through,

When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You,

I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!

I will trust in You!

I will trust in You!

I will trust in You

Maybe you are experiencing feelings of heartache and depression. If Satan is whispering lies over you, I implore you to seek help. It has been life-changing for me. If you are local, I have a counselor recommendation. If you need someone to talk to, please message me. My days are not perfect, but I am finally trusting God with all of my days – the good and the bad. I want you to do the same.

The poetic words and lyrics are by Lauren Daigle. This song ministered to me in my darkest days. Maybe you needed to hear it today.

Spread the love & share the posts you love:Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

Counting Down

We’ve attempted to maintain an upbeat attitude about Edward’s half-body cast. It’s cumbersome (he weighs almost half as much as I do) and restrictive, but we’ve managed to make this experience as fun as possible:

Special needs, adoption blog

Meet our very own Spider-Man!

We’ve also encouraged Edward to gain as much mobility as possible (again, he weighs half as much as I do — my back and arms are perpetually sore). He has learned to “crawl” across a room and roll over as needed (in my defense, I didn’t realize he was going to start practicing these skills in his sleep. He rolled out of his bed last week!)

Despite our positive attitudes and go-get-’em spirits, the countdown is ON.

At a doctor’s appointment last week, we were told the date this cast would be removed:

October 11.

Edward will probably receive a new cast on that date, but we are praying for a single-leg cast which will allow much more movement and independence.

The doctor made it a production to tell Edward he only had two weeks left in his cast. Edward caught the excitement and clung to her words.

Poor, sweet Edward thought she meant two days.

The day after our doctor’s appointment, Edward woke up and held up two fingers. He then put one down to tell me he only had one day left in his cast.

And thus, our countdown became necessary.

Special needs, adoption blog.

I attempted to explain “weeks” to a disappointed Spider-Man. I quickly abandoned this complex concept and created an entirely new countdown — 13 days until the cast is removed.

Days continue to tick by. Today is just eight days from the removal of Edward’s cast.

As we constantly check the date for Edward’s cast removal, I have an additional countdown taking place. Every morning when we discuss the number of days until his cast is cut off, I silently add just one more day.

I’m counting down to an event of my own. I’m leaving for Africa on the day after Edward’s cast is changed.

Spider-Man and his brother, Louis, will be staying home with their father as I board a plane to visit my best friend and our missions organization.

You see, I’ve been counting down for much longer than Edward has.

My best friend and her family moved to Sierra Leone one year ago to serve as full-time missionaries for Lifegate in Africa (the organization Chance also represents full-time). Since she and her family boarded their flight, I’ve been planning a trip to go visit them.

I knew though, I could not leave Chance alone with our three boys.

Last November, we realized how severe Nasko behavior truly had become. We determined we needed help in raising him, so we began to search for a group home. Our process was slow and draining, but I knew I could not leave the country until he was safely placed in his new home. The boys were too much for just one person to handle.

When Nasko moved into his new digs this summer, I was able to purchase tickets to go to Sierra Leone.

As Edward counts down his days until this cast is removed, I am mentally adding one day; I’m counting down the days until I see my best friend and her family again.

I, too, am counting down.

Lest you think I’m just heading to Africa to get manicures (ha!) or eat bon-bons (again, ha!) this is also a trip for raising awareness. I will be capturing media and writing every day.

Please follow me on Facebook and Instagram in order to see my pictures and video. Also, if you’ve never signed up to receive my blog posts by email (see the bottom of this post), that is a great method for keeping up — time zone differences will cause me to post at different times than usual.

I covet your prayers as I continue counting down to my trip and the day Edward receives his new cast!

Spread the love & share the posts you love:Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

Your Moments Defined – If Something Ever Happened to My Kid, I Would Never be the Same

This blog was not born out of a defining moment in my life or my husband’s life; It was born when we made an intentional decision to turn our tragedy into Our Moments Defined.

I know many of you have done the same. Tragedy and heartache have come your way, but you’ve sought the Father and have redefined those moments.

I want to share your stories through regular guest posts. Today’s guest post is by Kathy McClelland. You can find her blog here. I met Kathy through one of my social media jobs. I am drawn to her spirit of calm and peace despite the chaos of the world she has been thrust into. I know you’ll love her perspective on life as well!


Several years ago I remember overhearing someone say, “If something ever happened to one of my kids, I would never be the same person.”

That “something” alluded to disease, disability, or death. And the statement was power-packed with fear over something bad happening.

Well one of those “somethings” has happened to one of my kids.


My second son was born with multiple medical complications and special needs and I am most definitely not the same person. It was a defining moment for me, but it’s different from what I would have expected. I haven’t completely fallen apart. At times, yes. But overall the different person is a better person. It’s a choice. I can be changed by what I lost or by what I gained in that “something” event.

Over the last three years we have walked through three resuscitations, three surgeries, tube feedings three times per day, catheterizing every three hours, too many hospital stays, procedures, and ER trips to count, and more medications than you think should go into a 24 pound toddler. I won’t even attempt to count how many specialists and therapists we’ve seen over the last three years. Or, the emotional and spiritual impact of having a developmentally delayed child has on my family and me. How could these experiences, this precious child, not have changed me?

I am not changed because I learned, “I am stronger than I realized.” I am not changed because I discovered, “I am a special person to receive a special child.” And I am certainly no superhero or saint more equipped to face these challenges than the next guy. I did nothing (good or bad) to receive this child. This same “something” could have happened to any one of my friends or family members.

What is true is that I am weaker, more vulnerable, and more out of control of my circumstances than I ever recognized or admitted before. I am more humbled by my sin in what seems to be an almost continual high stress level and state of alert than I used to live with before my son’s birth. I am more grateful for the little victories. Above all I am weary and worn and longing more for the day of heaven than I ever was before this special child entered my life.

If something ever happened to one of my kids, I would never be the same person. 


The power is steadily leaking out of this statement for me. It’s still true, but I’m becoming less and less afraid of the “something.” I’m more confident in the Someone who holds it all in his hands. I’m slowly learning to let go of what is already lost. I’m beginning to receive my life–no matter my circumstances or my son’s–as a gift. I am allowing God to change me for the better, and not become bitter. Because what I gained, though certainly not by choice, is greater dependence on the One who holds all of the “somethings” of my life in His hands and Whose presence will never leave me, but will provide grace upon grace.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

Kathy McClelland is momma to two precious boys. Her second son was born with a rare chromosomal disorder which catapulted her into the world of special needs parent. She blogs at kathymcclelland.com about finding beauty and hope, even in the midst of broken dreams.
Spread the love & share the posts you love:Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

Our Three Year Old’s First Online Purchase

Sometimes things happen here that just HAVE to be shared.

This story from yesterday, is just that.

Approaching lunchtime, Louis, Edward, and I returned home from our doctor-library-preschool run. As I parked the van, we all noticed a box outside our back door.

online purchases

Amazon boxes on our sidewalk are anything but unusual (we heart Amazon Prime), but regardless, the children still act as though it is Christmas morning with every single package.

Edward asked if there were any bubbles inside — he loves to pop the packing air pockets. I told him I would let him know if there were any.

Louis and I walked over to the box; I gathered it and carried it inside.

While I was searching for scissors to cut the packing tape, Louis began asking a question that struck me as odd – “Is it my big train inside?”

His prediction of the box’s contents seemed awfully specific, but I brushed it off. I told Louis I was pretty sure the box contained fishing supplies for his taty.

But what do I know?

I cut the tape on the top of the box, and what do you think was inside?

Why, “my big train,” of course!

online purchases

I stared at the box completely confused. I hadn’t ordered this. It’s a toy for a young baby, but I didn’t know of anyone Chance might have ordered it for either.

I immediately sent texts to Chance, but as I was typing, the truth dawned on me.

online purchases

online purchases

Our three year old made his first online purchase.

Two days ago (because, you know, Amazon Prime) Louis asked to look at trains on Chance’s phone. Chance was already in the Amazon app, so he just showed Louis all the trains that could be purchased.

Louis found one he liked, and apparently clicked “buy.”

We’re not quite sure how he knew the train would then arrive in an Amazon box on our back step (maybe he recognized the logo? Maybe there’s a picture of a box at checkout?) but he totally knew what he was doing.

Our three year old made his first online purchase.

Chance looked into returning the train, but it was going to cost almost as much to ship as it did to buy. We decided Louis honestly earned his purchase, so he is now the (very) proud owner of a “big train.”

online purchases

Mama and Taty, on the other hand, are disabling one-click-purchasing on our cell phones…

Spread the love & share the posts you love:Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

On Edward

Two weeks ago, I write a sweet little post on My Louis. A few days later, I shared a huge update about Nasko living as a missionary.

After composing these posts, I told myself I needed to write about Edward next, just to make things fair (lest my children read this in ten years and think I was playing favorites!).

In true attention-seeking, adorable-Edward fashion, the child gave me PLENTY of material to use in his post. So here is a bit about our past month with Edward:

Special needs adoption blog.

For a couple weeks, we noticed Edward was making strange motions with his head and neck. Chance mentioned it to me, and I just assumed Edward needed a visit with the chiropractor. But as I began to observe him, the motions became more and more pronounced. Eventually, they were interfering with Edward’s daily functions.

I attempted to schedule an appointment with Edward’s pediatrician and neurologist, but no one seemed too concerned about what I was describing. Finally, I captured a brief movie of the tics and posted it on my Facebook page.

Everyone there was concerned!

Within a couple hours, Edward and I were checked into the ER, having blood work done. The doctors could not find an immediate cause for these tics, but agreed they did not appear to be seizures.

They discharged us with a neurology appointment (which got pushed back to late November!!) and the suggestion of more sleep and less stress for Edward.

Since THAT was rather unlikely here, Chance and I continued with our plans and headed to Houston, TX for a work conference and a few days away. Louis and Edward did marvelously as they bounced between grandparents and my best friend. Edward’s tics did become more severe, but they didn’t seem to bother him much.

Last Thursday, as Chance and I were boarding our flight to come home, Edward’s teacher called me. I stepped out of line and took the phone call. His teacher reported Edward fell off a merry-go-round type toy while on their field trip to the park. His left leg went under the equipment and got stuck briefly.

His teacher said it was impossible to tell if Edward had actually been injured, or if he was just trying to gain sympathy and attention (that’s our Edward!). His teacher finally decided he should call us, just so we’d know the full story.

My parents were at our house, so I quickly shared the info with them. Their job was to keep Edward comfortable and determine if I needed to take him to Prompt Care later.

Edward seemed ok — as long as no one attempted to move him; he sat completely still on the couch for five hours until we arrived home. He screamed when we carried him to the bathroom or attempted to straighten his left leg.

I decided a Prompt Care trip was necessary.

The walk-in clinic took one look at him and sent us to the ER for a pediatric radiologist. Edward’s injured leg is his under-developed left leg — the one with the limb difference. We needed a specialist to read his x-rays.

So after hours (and hours) of waiting in the ER, Edward had x-rays taken. His femur had a clean and very pronounced break. So much for needing a specialist — I’m pretty sure I could have spotted that break!

Special needs adoption blog.

At that point, the doctors began discussing a cast. There was much debate on whether he would need both legs casted (to stabilize the broken one) or just the left leg. One student assured me he’d probably just have his left thigh and his waist in a cast.

You can imagine my SHOCK the next day when Edward came out of surgery looking like this:

Special needs adoption blog.

Oy vey.

In true Edward fashion, he woke up thrilled with the cast, as it gained him much attention from nurses and other hospital patrons. We were eventually discharged and sent home to figure out life with an immobile child who weighs half as much as I do.

Edward will probably need to wear this cast for three to four weeks. Then the doctors said they’d just put a cast on his full left leg, but after the last time, I’m not sure I believe them!

As you can see, Edward has given us plenty of writing material these past few weeks. And sadly, I don’t see that changing anytime soon!

Spread the love & share the posts you love:Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

Your Moments Defined – Less Like Scars

This blog was not born out of a defining moment in my life or my husband’s life; It was born when we made an intentional decision to turn our tragedy into Our Moments Defined.

I know many of you have done the same. Tragedy and heartache have come your way, but you’ve sought the Father and have redefined those moments.

I want to share your stories through regular guest posts. Today’s guest post is by Andrea Stunz. You can find her blog here.


We got home from the doctor and it seemed like everything was moving in slow motion. We tried to wrap our brains around this new normal that had been forced on us by the unlucky draw of genetics. Scoliosis would change how our daughter and our family navigated life for the next several years.

As a young girl, I vividly recall watching my older sister wear a Milwaukee brace (chin to hip) and the discomfort and limitations she endured. For our oldest daughter, I was grateful that she had a somewhat less intrusive contraption (chest to hip) but it was confining all the same.

Our oldest daughter, Tori, was diagnosed with Scoliosis when she was in the 5th grade. I was very familiar with this genetic disease since it runs through our family like an unwanted tradition.

Special needs, adoption blog.

She was to wear the brace for 23 hours every day. The night we got home from her brace fitting, she enjoyed a few more minutes of freedom before I strapped her into the plastic and metal prison. I hugged her stiff body tight, told her I was sorry she had to do this and assured her she wouldn’t do it alone. I then went to my bed with the image of her lying flat in her bed weighing heavy on my heart and felt heaps of mom guilt as I curled up and made myself comfortable. From our separate beds on opposite ends of the hallway, we silently wept ourselves to sleep.

The days with her constant companion would become, for the most part, manageable. She would quickly learn how to contort her arms in such a way that she could unstrap and strap herself in and out. I never understood how she did that. If there ever was an example of how resilient and adaptable our human hearts and bodies are, this would be a good one.

To cope, we found humor where we could. This scripture was one of Tori’s favorites. We twisted it a little (pun intended) to bring a smile – we think God was okay with it.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your ‘back’ straight.”  ~Proverbs 3:5-6 

The next year and a half would include church camps, birthday parties and family vacations and hot South Texas summers. She would choose wisely how she spent her one hour of freedom each day but would otherwise watch from the sidelines.

During Christmas break of her 7th-grade year she was having serious trouble breathing. Her pediatrician found no cause. At her scheduled back doctor appointment, he would inform us that her brace was pressing on her lungs. She’d had a massive growth spurt and the curve had increased to 49 degrees and the brace was doing more harm than good. We rejoiced that she was brace-free but we waited for the impending spinal fusion surgery.

Special needs, adoption blog.

Tori would go through surgery well with her upper curve being corrected to 19 degrees (from 49). She developed a staph infection resulting in more surgery, another hospital stay, a pic line, daily home nurse visits and round the clock antibiotic infusions.

This experience affected how we navigated marriage, parenting, and our lives. Our youngest, now 17, still remembers that we didn’t make it to her preschool graduation ceremony. Scoliosis made a significant impact on us individually and as a family. It was up to us to decide whether we let this moment define us or whether we would define it.

Naturally, I prayed that Tori would not have to endure the medieval torture device, major surgery, and complications. But God knew better. He always does.

Scoliosis may have weakened Tori’s spine but it strengthened her heart and character. Scoliosis didn’t define her or our family but it was a defining moment for us all.

“And in your hands the pain and hurt look less like scars and more like character.” ~Sara Groves, Less Like Scars

A 6th-grade boy who sat behind her in class asked her what was sticking out of her back. She said, “It’s a back brace because I have Scoliosis.” He excitedly asked, “Oh no! Are you going to die?” She calmly replied, “No. My back is just crooked.” That’s my girl!


…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4


Special needs, adoption blog.

Andrea is a stumbling pilgrim and gatherer of stories. Stories about Jesus and how He gave His life for me, sustains me and redeems me… even though…

(Find more of Andrea’s words here.)

Spread the love & share the posts you love:Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page