When it all began, everyone around us thought we were doing too much, too fast. That we were really naïve about bringing home a baby girl from Ethiopia, only to decide right away to also adopt a six year old. A boy older than our biological boys, which is apparently a major no-no.

you're going to destroy your family

But we knew with overwhelming confidence it’s what God was calling us to do, so we just smiled, said “thanks for the advice,” and continued on…praying and gripping Christ and His faithfulness with white knuckles, all the way.

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trust

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proverbs

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It sounds a little cliché though, doesn’t it? It sounds so simple, so streamlined and easy. Wrapped up in a pretty little box with white satin ribbon holding it tightly together.

Trust.

Trust even when things are scary, even when you have no idea how it’s going to work out, even when your friends and family don’t necessarily support your calling. What then?

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Ephesians

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I love going back to The Message version of the Bible when I want to read a passage in a new light.

Here is Ephesians 2:10 again, actually here are verses 7-10.

Ephesians 2

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He’s got this! We just need to say “YES!” and hold on tight.

Really, really, tight.

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Galatians 1

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Swing back on Thursday for the second half of this post.

Because remember…

your calling

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I’m not a huge electronics fan. For our kids, I mean. I struggle with it because I know that’s where the world is headed…yet Ben and I don’t want our kids to lose their imagination or be addicted to the tv, computer, and video games. It’s a struggle, isn’t it?

I'm not saying

We actually have found a great app for reading called Bookboard and the kids love it. I know there are many out there, and yes…we have a few.

But there’s just something about unplugging and holding the actual book…feeling the pages, and inhaling the scent. Who’s with me?! {or maybe I’m just weird}

please turn it off and read a book

{please tell me you love this as much as I do! head over to The Tomkat Studio to print it out}

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We obviously love books over here and have worked hard to encourage our Crazies to love them, too. It has certainly taken work. And patience. But they’ve finally been bitten by the reading bug.

Sigh. Finally.

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Do yours struggle to enjoy it? If so, please don’t be discouraged! I’ve been there, believe me.  Head over here for some reaaaally great ideas.

fun + consistency

In our house, we  have quiet time every afternoon while the little kids nap. They can work in their workbooks {Summer Bridge & Brain Quest are two favorites}, but they must read for at least 20 minutes.

workbooks

I’m horrible at getting books back to the library on time {sorry Ben} so instead, I often take the family to second hand book stores or Goodwill to find stacks to add to our collection.

Churches and schools have fantastic $1 book sales, too!

reading corner

It doesn’t take much to get a kid excited. We often build a fort in our basement, stuffing it with pillows and blankets. They fill up a basket with books from the shelves, and voila…they’re thrilled. Sometimes they even ask to turn the lights off and switch on flashlights to read by. Totally camping style.

Other times I’ll build a “reading wagon,” filling the Radio Flyer we found on Craigslist with a picnic blanket, mason jars full of lemonade, paper straws, and a whole slew of books {of their choosing}.

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don't give up

Keep working at it. It’s all about trial and error, figuring out what will hook them.

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Think about what they love. Is it soccer? Find soccer books. Do they have a mechanical mind? There’s a book for that!

Ezekiel basically despises fiction so we’ve found all sorts of historical or {gasp!} historical fiction books for him like I Survived and the Who Was series.

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After bringing home both Abreham and Ezekiel, our eyes were opened in how difficult it was to comprehend the basis of a story. Their conversational English developed relatively quickly, but reading comprehension was a challenge.

I’ll talk about this in the next week or so…along with tips and things we’ve found to be a big help in encouraging them both to understand what they’re reading, and to fall in love with books.

Hope it helps, if you’re going through this same difficult season!

{much of what I’ll talk about can be implemented to help any struggling reader}

reading

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//// I’d love to know…what tips and ideas do you have? ////

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For those of you who don’t follow me on instagram and seen all our photos, our family has been vacationing in Breckenridge and loving the slower pace and family time.

I woke this morning while the house was still quiet and snuck out to Starbucks, where I now sit looking at the incredible beauty out it’s windows: the mountain of green, still spotted with patches of thick white snow. It’s been a fantastic week.

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Today though, I’d like to introduce you to my sweet friend Danielle Burkleo.

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I met Danielle last spring at Hope Spoken {which she and two friends, Emily & Casey felt the Lord press upon their hearts to put together}.

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A New Yorker and fellow adoptive mom, Danielle is so many things. She is sweet and real and loves Jesus with the kind of passion we all want. She is also a creative and incredible graphic designer, creating logos, blog design {and so much more}.

And she has a really fun Instagram feed.

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Today I have the honor of guest posting on her blog.

 //// Check out her blog and my post by clicking here. ////

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Wednesday was rough. Rough, rough, ROUGH. I don’t know how else to say it.

By the time Ben and I finally got the kids in bed (and to stay in bed), we were completely exhausted to our core.

This weariness and exhaustion was so consuming, that we thought for some reason the next day was Laith’s birthday.

Ummmm…it’s not.

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Trying to figure out where the week went, I scurried around cleaning up the kitchen and setting the table for Laith’s Breakfast Party. Grabbing 4th of July banners from the basement, picnic inspired red and white plaid napkins from a bin, and sneaking into the little boy’s room for an armload of baseballs.

As I set the pinwheels in the middle of the table, I turned to Ben. “What day is tomorrow?” I asked. “Laith’s birthday,” he responded. “Yes…but the date?” “Well, today is the 16th…so tomorrow would be the 17th. Annnnnd not Laithy’s birthday.”

We just started at each other awkwardly for a minute before starting to laugh.

And such was our day. Sigh.

pinwheels birthday

When the kids go to bed the night before their birthday, we say goodnight to their five year old selves (or however old they may be). I kiss the birthday-kid on the forehead and whisper “I’ll see your older self in the morning! Goodbye five year old. In the morning, I’ll say ‘hellllllo six year old!’”

But this morning he’s still five. And will be for a few more days.

Oops.

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In the meantime, we’re filling those popcorn boxes with thick slices of watermelon and still having a Breakfast Party.

And we’re giggling about how even mommy and daddy mess up sometimes.

These pinwheels were made for Laith’s second birthday. The theme was ‘Vintage Toys’ and it was spectacular. I became addicted to making pinwheels because they’re so fun and easy. I think I may have made 5o, or so.

Several houses later and an entirely different state, and some are still around. They usually sit on the marble table in our entry but as I moved them, I was reminded of all the fun we’ve had in the years between his second birthday and now his sixth.

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I had posted a tutorial on these pinwheels ages ago…I mean, seriously ages ago…when I had just begun blogging for more than just my mom and mother-in-law to read. The photos are small and not well taken. I’m still working on my photography.

Like Laith and all we’ve learned in his six years, it’s fun to look back and see how much I’ve learned about this blogging thing and continue to learn.

Laith, my sweet boy…may your day today (your pretend birthday) and your day on Saturday (your real day), be filled with joy and love and fun. I pray you know how much we treasure you and my cup runneth over seeing how much you love us and love the Lord. You’re amazing, buddy. Can’t believe I get to be your mom.

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/////  Lisa Leonard has a great pinwheel tutorial on her blog, if you’d like to make your own! /////

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So…we’re all friends here, right?
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Whether we’re real, face-to-face buddies who grab a cup of coffee or glass of wine together…or simply virtual friends online, it doesn’t matter. We’re friends. And I still want to be real and vulnerable and share with you.
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prayer request
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A few weeks ago, I sent my proposal to the VP of Acquisition over at Thomas Nelson and was thrilled to have heard back from him quickly. Sadly though, his email was letting me know that although he loves both my proposal and blog (!!!), it was his last day at Thomas Nelson and was forwarding it on to a colleague.
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(Sigh. Shoot. Ok God, You know what you’re doing. I’m still trusting.)
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Fast forward a few weeks later…to this morning. I woke early, as I do every morning. I sat in my favorite reading chair, cupping my hot latte in my hands as I poured my heart out to God. Having a serious heart-to-heart with Him, I pleaded that He show me I’m going in the right direction. I asked Him to give me clarity that He’s working behind the scenes.
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Because truly, I’m doing this because He asked me to. This is His project, so I want to make sure I’m moving toward whatever it is He wants me to do with it.
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Bible
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The kids woke, I made breakfast, and we scurried out to the orthodontist. And on to swimming lessons.
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exciting
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The Editor in Chief (of Nonfiction) asked if she had my permission to bring my proposal before the Editorial Board next week.
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Um….let me think about that. YES. Yes you can. (commence a bunch of jumping up and down)
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As I have learned through this crazy process of publishing, most publishing houses only work with someone who is represented by a literary agent. But I found a little “in” over at Thomas Nelson and with shaky hands, I emailed them my 54 page proposal (plus three sample chapters). From what I understand, most of the time the author never hears back. They receive so many proposals and manuscripts every day, I don’t think publishing houses tend to even send a “thanks but no thanks” email back to the writer.
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But if…IF…they think there’s potential, the next phase is meeting before the Editorial Board (or the Ed Board, they call it), which is where we are now!
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The Ed Board meets together after having all read the proposal to discuss the size of the author’s platform, the extent at which the author can promote the book, how fresh the idea is, things of that sort.
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journal
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The Marketing Board then assembles a mock-up marketing plan to bring to the Pub Board (Publication Board}. That meeting is next, should my Ed Board meeting be successful.
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In the Pub Board, the editorial staff advocate for the proposal and pitch it to the sales people (who work with Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Costco, Lifeway, etc). As they all look over the proposal, forecasting is discussed, along with numbers which will empower the business decision
(and whether or not they’re willing to take a chance on me).
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So. Likely way more info than you needed about the process, but I’m really REALLY excited to have gotten this far.
Please pray if you would, that my Ed Board meeting goes well and everything continues forward. God is in control of it all and I know I need not stress…but my heart still beats fast and my palms still sweat.
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thank you
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 Want to see some sneak peeks of this book I’m talking about?
///// click here & here /////
I’ll keep you updated! .
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