Pure and Undefiled Religion

We. Are. Adopting.!!!

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Yes! We have begun the process of adopting from India! Man, so many emotions and thoughts this New Year. We have always talked about adoption, even before we were married. And, the timing was just never right. But, this season, we knew that God was calling us and to turn around wouldn’t be fulfilling what God has in store for our family.

Over the last six months or so, I have hit such a wrestling ground with my faith. Who is Jesus? What is ministry? What is the church? What does Christianity look like? And, the way that I view all of these things or my experience, does it really line up with Bible or the actual truth? I have flat out wrestled with so many things. Feeling uneasy and uncomfortable, not uncommon while growth happens. But, unsure where I felt on so much. Except that I knew I loved Jesus, yet was finding a hard time reconciling so many things.

Was God calling me to something different? I could sense that the Lord was stirring me onto something, but I also felt completely clueless as to what. Okay, maybe I go back to school? I’ve always kept nursing school in the back of my mind. I got all of my transcripts together. Began studying for the nursing entrance exam at a college down the road. Attended an informational meeting for the program. But, absolutely was not peaceful about it. I cried and cried to John knowing that I wasn’t supposed to do it but still feeling like something was missing.

More searching and searching and praying. What now? I found myself completely uneasy with so many things. I’ve never been one that has wanted to settle in my walk with the Lord for the easy. The thought of sitting around and complaining about the comforts of my house or car or clothes when I actually have a house, car and clothes just hasn’t ever settled right. Can I call myself a follower of the Lord and spend my attention on stuff or some kind of unattainable feeling? For me, no.

I kept finding myself saying things to John like “the gospel just looks a whole lot like caring for orphans to me”. And, I would continually say it as an example of what I felt was a life living out the gospel. But, not once did I look at it as something God was stirring in me and us at the time (I’m not claiming to be the sharpest tool in the shed here, okay?!).

So, time went on and we continually prayed through what my unrest was telling us. Our first conclusion was me coming to the realization that I LOVE good storytelling. I don’t care the avenue, just really good storytelling. We actually went to a local theater to see “Peter and the Starcatcher” just before Christmas and it was one of the most life giving things to me. (Ahem, it was all about orphans, too👍) But, a story told well, just makes my heart skip a beat. Makes sense that one of the things I fell in love with about John is his ability to translate a story to video and engage you completely within that story.

So, now we had an idea of one of things that presses me on. But, what on earth does that look like for me or for us? Around this same time, what seemed to be happening completely separately was this idea of adoption. This isn’t the first time we’ve prayed whether it was the right time for our family to adopt. So, I was pretty unassuming when we felt like we should start praying and talking.

We began talking and praying and wondering. And, eventually had a FaceTime phone call with some friends that are currently in the process of their second international adoption. We talked and laughed and talked some more. They encouraged what we were already sensing. Let’s just take a step forward. Let’s start with a yes rather than a no. Let’s come from a place of assuming we are supposed to rather than we are not. And, pray like crazy in the meantime trusting that God will shut a door if we’re not supposed to adopt. So, we walked through each small step and here we are now.

It’s kind of funny to me look back on the last six months and see how God was moving and preparing. Caring for orphans is a religion that is pure and undefiled. {James 1:27} That verse in James has been one of my biggest ah-ha moments in this journey so far. That’s why I’ve been at such unrest. So many little stories and details planted firmly in my heart to bring us right here to this moment. I have no idea how the storytelling aspect will weave into it all, except soaking in other people’s adoption stories and for me doing my best to keep you all updated throughout our own process. I know what it’s like to feel the tug of adoption in your heart and to see others adopting, then to wonder if you could ever actually take it on yourself. So, maybe if there’s a few of you out there like me, our walking through this journey, with as much transparency as we can for a public platform, will be life-giving to you.

I’ll update with some FAQ’s soon!! If you have any questions you want us to answer about the how, what, or why, just ask and I’ll do our best to answer! But, we’re thankful to have to you all walk this with us!

https://www.facebook.com/PhillipsIndiaAdoption/

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Jed’s Star Wars Nursery

After Warner passed away, one of the more difficult things for John was not being able to share his love of Star Wars with him. So, when we found out that our next baby was our Jed{i}, I decided that he needed a Star Wars nursery. But, Google and Pinterest carried a lot of tacky. And, while I’m not the classiest person in the world, I can’t do full-on tacky. So, despite never even seeing all of the movies when I decided on his room, I was bound and determined to make his room look cool! We were on a tight budget, but I’m really glad how it turned out. Enjoy!

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What I Wore- June 24, 2015

Hello fashion world! Today, I’m linking up again with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday.

Okay, so I didn’t take as many pictures this week BECAUSE I WAS IN SURVIVAL MODE. But, I think I’ve been gathering lots of mental notes for bettering my selfie skills. So, let’s see if next week looks any better.

I’ve noticed I am on a bit of a maxi skirt kick lately. Maybe it’s because I got two new ones at Target for $7.50 each. Either way, it’s an easy way for me to be comfy and still not look I just threw something on quickly. Here’s some highlights from the last week:

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Shirt: Forever 21, Skirt: Target, Sandals: Maurices, Third Arm: Bevelled Mirror

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My new purse: Dottie Couture I’ve had the same purse that I have used almost every single day for the last three years! It was on clearance on PacSun for $4 and I think it’s safe to say I got my money’s worth out of it. But, it saw it’s last day when Charlotte accidentally ripped the already fragile bag. So, I was just forced to get a new purse. Found this one on clearance and free shipping! So far I love it!

That’s it for this week! Fashion on, my friends

10 Things While My Baby Daddy was Gone for a Week

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John was out of town for five nights this past week. The longest trip since Jed has been born. I get it that other Mama’s have husbands gone much longer than me. And, let me just say, I’d rather give into the back-in-style-high-waisted Mom shorts rather than have him gone more. So, since I’m drinking ALL the coffee and still trying to recover, I only have energy for a brief top ten synopsis of my five nights alone with a 4 year old, 3 year old and 6 month old.

10) Leaving the airport, I totally thought I had it all figured out. “Oh, I got this.” YOU SO DUMB. One of them is asleep! You pacified the 4 year old with a sip of soda to stop the wailing of Daddy leaving! (You should buy more soda to try that trick again later) They’re strapped in the car seats, so they can’t go anywhere! It’s sweet to think that you’ve already got made…

9) By the time I get home, I had the big kids play outside. There were pooped panties. It was gross. I thought it was my worst poop situation of the week. I was wrong.

8) A {very} newly potty trained 3 year old can poop on the floor of her bedroom and use her feces to paint her wall in the time it takes for me to eat a fast lunch. Yes. Feces painted on the wall. If I could go back in time, I’d either potty train a year ago or just never.

7) Sometimes you ugly cry with a roll of paper towels in your hand, multiple disinfecting items at your feet, poop surrounding you, and drawings on the wall with poop that must resemble early caveman drawings. The 4 year old might say “Oh. Mommy’s crying.” But, not long after go back to general mayhem. The tears might get stronger.

6) You might think poop on the walls could be the only possible thing to induce tears that day. Well, you would be sorely wrong. In the time it takes to send a few text messages, the 3 year old can flush 5 brand new head wraps down the toilet. Miraculously, the cheapest toilet at Lowe’s won’t clog. It’s like the toilet knew John was gone and decided to cut the house some slack.

5) The second ugly cry of the day will cause the children to realize that, in fact, they have broken me. The 3 year old will sweetly say, “Oh, Mommy, don’t cry”. But, the 4 year old will turn on her, complete with actual finger pointing “You made Mommy cry! You flushed the bows!” Both of their Little personalities in crisis mode. Bless.

4) Chipotle is crazy crowded at 12:30pm on a Thursday when it’s your final day to care for the brood. But, thankfully, Angus Jack is not by 1pm. But, as soon as everyone gets settled and the baby finally sleeps, everyone will have to put the circus in the bathroom because the newly potty trained one has to go potty NOW. Instead of “Hold it because otherwise the food will get cold”, I wanted to avoid a bullet point number 8 in a public place, and traipsed to the bathroom.

3) Sometimes, two middle aged women will just stare at me while I take my three kids by myself to lunch at Mama Fu’s. They got a tad bit snarky with “Oh. You’ve got your hands full”. But, I was too tired to respond with my normal “Yes. Full of good things!” And, instead of giving the snark back, I smiled. I should’ve gotten some free edamame for that restraint. Or, maybe my prize was eating out for half of the meals while John was gone because WHO CAN DEAL WITH MEAL PREP IN CRISIS MODE?

2) Trying to take my first pictures for What I Wore while the photog husband is gone and the Littles run amuck? Awkward selfies.

1) I survived! And, more than survived, I actually thrived. These kids are the ones I’ve longed for since I was a kid myself. While I definitely love the fact that John and I parent as a team, I’m glad to know that Jesus will give me exactly what I need when I need it for these Littles

What I Wore- June 17, 2015

Okay, so before all of my sweet babies, I actually used to dress pretty well. After all of my babies? Hit or miss. I never seem to know what’s on trend, what’s not, what fits right on my I’ve-had-a-few-babies body, and just the all around time to shop or coordinate an outfit. 

But, in an effort to not wear John’s old t-shirts all of the time, I’m going to try linking up with The Pleated Poppy What I Wore Wednesday on (hopefully) a regular basis! I felt super silly about it at first. But, then, I noticed I actually made a little more effort this week. 

And, can we all laugh together at my terrible quality pictures?! I didn’t realize that taking a selfie was so difficult. Then, I realized my phone’s camera lens was smudged (little fingers perhaps?). And, that my Littles are always in my screenshot. Maybe I’ll perfect the art of selfies in this challenge? 

   
Shirt: Gap, Shorts: Gap, Sandals: Maurice’s, Smile: Product of uncertain selfie skills

  

Tank: H&M, Pants: Charlotte Russe, Sandals: Reef, Strange Angle: trying out new lighting 

 

Tank: H&M, Maxi Skirt: Target, Necklace: Can’t Remember, Awkward Angle: still trying to figure out a good fashion selfie

Six Months

Six months ago, my water had broken and it was time to welcome Little Man. It was the first {full term} time that I was in tears and not sure if I could do it. Anxiety, sadness, and fear threatened to choke the joy I didn’t even know was coming.

What if I didn’t bond with him over a fear of losing him, too? What if something does happen and we lose him? Will I keep checking the clock for the 45 minute marker after he’s born? What if each contraction pain reminds me of the last time I dealt with labor pains? 

Those were some of the questions plus many more that I had during Jed’s pregnancy. And, they all seemed to rush over my mind at 2am on a Tuesday morning. How would I walk back into a delivery room when I know what it’s like to walk out of one without your baby?

A friend came over to watch the girls and I bet she’s never seen such an unsure mother walking out the door to head to the hospital. Especially for a mother that’s birthed three before that night. But, we did what we could and snapped an awkward picture of myself before heading to the hospital. One of the very few pictures I even have to document our rainbow baby’s pregnancy.

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It was cold outside, but not too cold. The 20 minute drive to our chosen hospital was a bit surreal and then we were at the emergency room entrance {after hours entrance for L&D}. After a few contractions and some paperwork in triage, we were up to the room that I had feared for nine months. The room that held the ushering in of new life and our family’s next phase.

My admitting nurse would be off her shift very soon, but not before I cried all of the tears. Bless her soul, she seemed fairly new at her job and unsure how to handle a Mama that wasn’t decided if she could birth this baby without a broken heart. But, time marched on, as it always does, and the superstar nurse that would all but deliver our Jedidiah arrived.

She calmed me each time Jed’s heart rate dropped, which was quite a few times {and, the first time for this Mama to experience it at any of my births}. She explained and smiled and encouraged. She didn’t seem at all thrown by my obvious discomfort. And, discomfort of the body, any labor nurse is familiar. But, a discomfort deep down and beyond any explanation, takes a person placed by the Lord to be able to walk with a stranger.

I flipped through “Jed’s Birth Book” as I called it and read the Scriptures. God gave us many verses in our time with Him and God used others to give us even more. I spent the last couple of weeks before Jed’s birthday hand-making each page that I would flip through while he was about to enter a hurting family.

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John and I prayed over that room, those nurses, the doctor, and our baby. I would stop during a contraction and John would pick right up and continue praying. I’m not sure I’ve ever begged God for peace like I did that day. And, He brought it. Everything seemed to shift and we knew we had limited time until our lives would change forever. Again.

Four hours later, things got intense. Sweet nurse perfectly placed stays calm and declares that it’s time to have a baby. There was no time to wait for a doctor. Lots of nurses screaming for anyone that could come in and help. A heartbeat barely detected on a monitor, oxygen masks flying on, and lots of hard pushing. Everyone begins to look worried and I had a flash of “it’s happening again”. But, God is good and brings a deep peace that only He can. Doctor runs in just on time, and Jed is out. Sunny side up and out at an angle. But, out.

Is he okay?!” There was nothing else to scream.

Then, Little Man peed everywhere and everyone laughed. But, me.

Is. he. o.kay.?

Then, baby cries…what every Mom looks for to know that her baby is okay. Screams and cries and all is well with the world.

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I have never been so bonded so fast after having one of my babies. By the grace of God and the answer to many prayers, Jedidiah John was born to a Mama that was deeply in love with him. In the moments following his birth, he brought joy into a family that had been full of intense sorrow.

There may have never been a more scared Mama that entered that hospital room. But, there may have never been a more deeply grateful Mama that left that room.

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For the last six months, Jed has given everyone in our family a renewed sense of God’s faithfulness. God was good in the really bad. And, He’s been good in the really good. I rarely set Jed down and I don’t care how anyone {outside of our little family} feels about it. Jedidiah is one of our gifts of joy in the sorrow. He won’t always want to snuggle and while he does, I’m not putting that baby out of my arms.

And, what’s even better? While I snuggle him, his Daddy and sisters come in even closer. We all want a part of the gift that is Jed and for a few moments every day, it’s as though the world isn’t broken. God has taken the time to bring some beauty from ashes, this side of Heaven. And, we’ll spend the next six months continuing to marvel at how every single good gift is from Him.

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Birds

IMG_9999Okay, I’m always trying to make some kind of special moment with the kids. Before I became a parent, I was the best parent. Like, I was AWESOME. My kids never talked back. They went to sleep promptly at their bedtime. We played educational games. We never watched TV. And, we only ever ate the healthiest of food.

Imaginary kids are so easy.

Now that we all see where I’m headed with this post, I shall give you the latest and greatest of my “precious moments” parenting….

Apparently this is like bird birthing season because we have two nests at our house right now and I see another at the neighbors. Well, the one in the backyard was conveniently built on top of the fireplace exhaust (is that even what it’s called? BEATS ME. I’m from Florida). But, whatever it is, it gets hot when the fireplace is on. So, to avoid accidental scrambled eggs, we’ve been diligent to make sure that loose-hands-Charlotte isn’t allowed near the fireplace switch.
OKAY, TRUTH POLICE! Charlotte flipped the switch on once. But, John {believes} he caught it pretty quick.

Each time we’ve gone in the backyard, we check on the nest. It has been my “I’m rocking this parenting thing. I’m all, check out this nature. Check out life. Let’s observe and learn and cherish this together“.

Why do I think these things?

The girls have been super into it. {okay, okay, other than the very initial discovery and we tried to lift Ella up to look at the nest and she screamed as those we were lifting her up into her demise}.

IMG_0094Several days ago, the eggs hatched. We’ve loved checking on them every day and seeing their little balls of fluff hanging out in their nest. Then, it happened…

So, the girls asked to play in the backyard. Since Jed has been born, they’ve gone out to play in our fenced in backyard on their own. I open the window and they can come in and out the door {okay, okay, not a million times and I may say things like “IN. or. OUT.?!”}. But, it’s been a good little set up lately while I nurse Jed or get dinner ready. So, I’m nursing Jed and looking out the windows at them while they play. Ella whizzes by and swings the door open…
{panting heavily} “MOM!! The bird was flying and walking and hopping and…. The bird fell. We hit the bird

WHAT?!

I immediately stop feeding Jed (yeah, he was thrilled). I lay him on the ground (again, thrilled) and go running outside. At this point, Charlotte runs up. I ask them to take me to the bird. Way on the other end of the yard, I approach a bird on the ground with its wings flailed out and…

UNDERNEATH A TENNIS RACKET

Like a little bird prison. I immediately yell tell Charlotte to remove the tennis racket. I notice the bird is still breathing just fine and just staring around. I start frantically answering for the story.

IMG_0153I start to surmise that the bird was minding its own business, fell, and Charlotte put it in bird prison. I then begin to grasp that the bird prison was an effort to catch the bird and they began to say they wanted to hold it.
Well, I’m panicking now.

HAVE WE PARALYZED THIS BIRD?!

What is my logical next step? Call John. You know, because he’s totally sympathetic to the needs of me and this bird.
His responses were things like:

“Ohmygosh, first thing is to have the kids wash their hands so they don’t get bird germs.”

“It’s just a bird. If it dies, it dies”

Next thing I know, I’m screaming talking at the girls to go inside and wash their hands (because of bird germs?). And, don’t touch Jed. Then, I kept John on the phone while I knelt down by the bird to try and figure out how I can scoop it up to get it back in the nest.

I get down next to it and start to whisper sweet nothings while trying to gather my nerve. Turns out, the bird was a liar and wanted nothing to do with our family moments anymore. Guys, that bird done hopped up and flew away while squawking for backup. Next thing I know, birds are squawking from trees and everyone has been alerted to kill me. The second that bird jumped up I screamed the name of Jesus twice. Cue John bursting out laughing

“Are you screaming for Jesus to help you with the bird??”

Uhhhhh, YES, I am. It is telling its Mama bird to come peck my eyes out.

I realized that it was one of the baby birds and it was obviously just now learning to fly. Just the day before, the birds were in the nest and now all of them were out of the nest. I realized that the girls had nothing to do with the bird falling. They were trying to use the tennis racket to hold the bird and analyze it closer. They were somehow gentle with the racket and no injury to the bird. But, I mean, here’s the deal, if something insane (rather than precious) is gonna go down, it’s gonna go down with us.

Excuse me, I’ve gotta go see if it’s time to put the front porch birds into bird prison yet…

{Linking up with A Little R&R Wednesdays!}