Day 12: Forever

Today was an incredibly big day in the life of our family, and more specifically in the life of our two little girls.  And for the sake of the birth mother's privacy, I will not divulge the details of the day's events.  But because I saw that over 100 people have viewed my blog already today, I kinda sorta knew that people were looking for some information.

In April of 2010, two little twin girls came to live in our home, where they found safety, and security, and stability, and deep love.  Their lives prior to that time were lives of turmoil.  If you let your minds wander to very difficult and dark places, you would most likely encounter a piece of their past.

After 11 weeks with us, they left our home because we were by name a "rescue" family.  Which simply means that their stay with us was designed to be temporary until a more permanent home could be found for them.  Through a series of events they ended up back in the home of their birth mom who called me one day to come back and get them.  We have had them ever since.

I cannot recall the exact moment that I knew that God was calling us to adopt them, but both Mike and I knew that when they came back to our home the second time, they were supposed to be ours forever.  This was confirmed through so many people and so many prayers.  So, after almost a year of them living in our home, we filed for permanent legal custody.

Since that day, we have had to keep our eyes focused on our Creator because everything else was just too much to handle.  "One day at a time," He would say over and over to me in my quiet times alone with Him.  "I've got this," He would say when I felt the need to control things.  "Just trust me, Carol," He would say when I doubted.

So yesterday was an incredible day.  A day that legally paved the way for them to be forever ours. 

But I cannot forget that while yesterday was a beautifully joyful day for us, it was an incredibly difficult day for a young mom who made a very difficult and selfless decision for these two girls.  I know that her heart must be heavy this morning.  And while people are telling us, "Congratulations!" and "What a miracle!" there is no one in her life telling her the things she needs to hear.  So please pray for her today.  Just pray for Mama K and ask God to comfort her heart and to always tell her what a great thing she did today.

All that to say, Forever.  It's a big word, and one I doubted I might ever hear in the context of our daughters.  Thank you God that you are a God that works miracles.

Day 11: You Gotta Have Friends

I have been blessed in my life to have many good friends.  And though I don't usually do things like this in my blog, I want to tell you about 5 such people that I know.  They are people that I not only love; they are people I hold in very high esteem. I love them because in the midst of incredibly difficult circumstances, they were Jesus to me.

Each of these five friends is uniquely different and much loved for different reasons. Mary, Courtney, Rodney, Louie and Casey.  Thank you.  Today's an anniversary.  Though you might not know it.

Mary and I worked in cubicleland together.  My absolute favorite thing about her was that she would randomly bust out with a ridiculous song, often incredibly loud and equally off-key.  On the day I was fired (yes, I said fired) she showed up at my house with two pints of ice cream and two spoons.  No one knew I was fired.  It happened after everyone had gone home.  But somehow, Mary knew.  And she cared enough to make the drive.  With ice cream.  Those are just two of the reasons I love her.  She is Jesus to so many.  I count myself lucky to know her.

Courtney and I worked together in a very different way.  She was a pretty good volunteer, but I knew she had so much more in her than just acting on stage.  I saw great leadership in her, and I challenged her to rise up and lead.  And she did.  And her capacity to empower others, to dream, to create and to love . . . incredibly inspiring. I love Courtney because she isn't afraid to embrace life.  She makes me want to embrace life in return.

Rodney and Louie are seriously two of the nicest guys I have ever known.  I have never heard them say a single bad word about anyone. Ever.  That's rare, and commendable.  I remember on the day I left, Rodney said, "I don't know the real reason you are leaving here Carol, but I just want to take this opportunity to tell you that I appreciate the way you have worked with such faithfulness here.  I noticed.  And Jesus noticed."  I don't really know why that has stuck with me all these years, but it has.  I love both of these guys because they love people in a way that makes the people around them feel special, and valued, and needed and loved.

And lastly, Casey.  Casey has more integrity than any person I have ever known.  And he knows why I'm saying that.  And that's enough.  I love you Casey and your single act of loyalty and integrity is still the greatest thing anyone has ever done on my behalf. 

All that to say, I'm sure this blog is only meaningful to those 5 people, but I wanted to put it in writing.  And to say thanks.  As Louie would say, "You're good people."

Day 10: Streams

Sometimes, when I am lost in the midst of a mundane task, oh say, like putting on make-up or blow drying my hair, I let my mind wander, often onto very stupid inane thoughts.

My stream of consciousness this morning:

(In the background I hear Nitro say she wants a cupcake for breakfast, and Mike says she can't have one, but that maybe I'll make muffins for breakfast tomorrow.)

Why is it okay to eat muffins for breakfast but not cupcakes?  I mean, cupcakes are just muffins with frosting.

Why does the thought of broccoli for breakfast sound so gross?  I mean, I like broccoli.  Or for that matter, why does the thought of dinner for breakfast sound so horrible, when we eat breakfast for dinner all the time?

 I start to put on my make-up

It cannot be good for my skin to rub it so much in the process of putting on make-up.  They should invent a way to put on make-up that doesn't actually require you to touch your skin at all!  Oh yeah, they have.  I saw that infomerical on airbrush make-up.  How is it that airbrush makeup gets on your skin but not your clothes?  I don't get that.

I wash the make-up off my hands.

Why can't they make a bathroom faucet that doesn't get water spots?  For real.  Women have been trying to get the water spots off of bathroom faucets for decades.  Instead of making cleaners that we can clean it with, (cleaners that eat your skin off by the way!) why don't they just make a faucet that won't get spotty?

If I was brilliant, I would totally invent that faucet and women everywhere would say my name with reverence! HA.

Ugh, it's going to be a nasty weather day.  Guess I better use the anti-humitidy products today.  Maybe I'll just put my hair up.  No.  I've worn it up the last few days.  Mike's probably sick of my hair being up.  See, they can invent "anti-humidity" hair products, but they can't invent an "anti-spot" faucet.

All that to say, I just wanted you all to know that my brain does not draw a spiritual analogy from everything!  Sometimes I just think dumb thoughts.

Day 9: Dreams

I was kind of wired to be good with kids.  Clearly God intended for that to be so, because from my earliest memories I can recall thinking that all I wanted to be when I grew up was a mommy (except for that short time period when I wanted to be a model, but well . . .)

From my earliest days I was good with kids.  I was already babysitting by the age of 10 (I was mature for my age).  My decision to become a teacher surprised no one.  My calling into full time vocational children's ministry didn't seem too surprising either.  And even when Mike and I decided to adopt the girls, my dad and step-mom said, "It's like you two were created to parent."

For over 20 years, I worked in some form or fashion in Children's Ministry, so never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would stop.  But I did.  And the man we hired to replace me was an answer to prayer.  No really.  An actual answer.  Well maybe more the fulfillment of a dream than an answer to prayer.

I decided to blog this story because two weeks ago, our Children's Ministry was rebranded. Revamped.  Redesigned. Recharged.   It looks nothing like the Children's Ministry that I led just one short year ago.  On the weekend of its launch, several people asked, "Is this hard for you to watch?  Everything that you were instrumental in doing just changing right before your eyes?" 

And my reply? 

"No, not at all.  In fact, it's the opposite of difficult.  It's like watching God tell you something and then seeing it come to fruition."

Here's the story.

About 1.5 years ago, I dreamed a dream several nights in a row.  I was being chased by a band of demons,  and at the end of that dream, I hid from them in the attic of a quiet family.  As I sat and watched the family interact with each other, I felt completely safe.  And then a big angel appeared next to me and simply said, "You can stay.  And you'll be safe here.  But they'll all die."

Dreams like that freak me out.  Especially when I dream them over and over and over.  But finally I figured out that God meant the Children's Ministry.  He was telling me that I needed to leave the Children's Ministry.   I had long since realized that if we were going to go to the next level, we needed someone who possessed a skill set that I didn't have, namely a creative production ability.  I'm creative in a lot of ways, but the ability to create a dynamic, Children's Worship Environment was just not in me.  And I knew that I needed to leave.  So I did.

So watching us go through the process of hiring my replacement, and then seeing the Children's Ministry come to life in an INCREDIBLE way, because he had the skills I didn't have. . .  well, it was pretty amazing.  I got to watch God fulfill a dream that He showed me.

Maybe all that sounds crazy to you, but truly, it was amazing that He let me stick around to see it unfold.

All that to say, pay attention to your dreams.  They might be telling you more than to "skip the pizza before bed."

Day 8: That's My Jesus Oil

We had a healing service tonight at our church.  For those of you who might not understand this, it means that we gathered together, worshipped Jesus, and asked God to heal our afflictions, whether emotional, physical or spiritual.

We took the girls with us for a couple of reasons.  One, because they love to sing.  And Wednesdays are a good night for little children to be in the service.  It's a lot less formal.  And two, because they still struggle with some things in their past (emotionally struggle) and we wanted to ask God to heal their precious little hearts and minds.

As we waited for the portion of the service where they would invite people forward for prayer, Shortstack noticed all of the musicians on the stage.  She said, "Mama, is he playing his piano for Jesus?"  And I said, "Yes."

"Is that one playing his drums for Jesus?"

"Yes."  (in my head I thought, "There is a keyboard player, a pianist, a drummer, 3 guitar players and a vocalist on stage, I wonder if she is going to ask me if every SINGLE one of them is playing for Jesus.") . . . she did.

"Is he playing his guitar for Jesus?  Is he playing his guitar for Jesus?  Is he playing his guitar for Jesus?  Is she singing for Jesus?"  YES, YES Oh my gosh YES!

She sat quietly for a minute and then she said, "Mama, Jesus is so so happy right now."


Then, at the portion of the service where we were invited to come forward for healing, we went.  And the elder who prayed over us annointed each of our foreheads with oil.  Shortstack was in awe.  Nitro wanted to touch everyone's oil. :)

As we walked out of the worship center at the end of the prayer time, Shortstack ever so lightly touched her forehead and said, "That's my Jesus oil.  It's from Jesus."


All that to say, I love the sweet and innocent way little children talk about Jesus.  They're just in such awe of everything about Him.  Maybe that's why He tells us to be like a little child.

Day 7: I Love You, Mike Jones

I remember our first date so incredibly well.  I was at a bowling tournament (yes . . . a bowling tournament).  Funny thing is that I was taking bowling because I had to transfer out of my Beginner Jogging class at LSU because I passed out on the track after running a mile.  HA!  If they could only see me now!

Anyway, Mike and I had arranged for him to pick me up for our first date at the Student Union at LSU.  He was supposed to pick me up AFTER the tournament, but he came early to watch me.  My friends were a little surprised to see him there.  And even more surprised by the familiarity with which he placed his hand on my back to let me know he was there.

Mike had a bit of an unsavory reputation back in those days.  He was . . . ummmm . . . well . . . what you would have called a "ladies man" back in the day.  True Story.  So when I told my friends that I was going to go on a date with Mike Jones, I got a pretty common response.  It went something like this: "WHAT????  THE Mike Jones????? WHY????"

I agreed to go out on a date with Mike because he helped me get through my freshman algebra class and he said it was the least I could do. Just one date.  So I went.  And truthfully, I didn't expect too much.

But I was so surprised by him.  He was funny, and generous, and kind, and silly.  He talked passionately about his family and bugs (yes bugs, but it was strangely cute!  He even slammed on his brakes because he saw some special moth, and he was hoping he hadn't run over it!)

And so we had a second date.  And a third date.  And on our third date he told me that he knew he was going to marry me someday.

And he did.

All that to say, first dates are filled with the promise of an unknown future.  I love promise.  And unknowns.  And futures.  Here's to our next 32 years of first dates.  I love you Mike Jones.