Saturday, November 7, 2015

God sees me.

My mom invited me to go to a Fall Women's Conference at Third Church in Richmond, VA to hear Sara Hagerty speak... my mom is awesome like that... and this post is because of this experience. I'm tempted to tell you each detail from this morning until now, but I'll try to stay focused. You'll have to try and see her in person yourself for the whole experience or read her book!
I'd heard her voice in my head as I read her book "Every Bitter Thing is Sweet." I knew her story. It was like mine, but different. Isn't that how it is with all of our stories? Her words had touched me during a time when I was struggling and today her words touched me again. 
I am not one to highlight in books. I'm more likely to write down a quote for a card or share it on Facebook or my blog than make a mark in a book just for myself. But I did. As I read Sara's book over a few days last October, I clicked on one passage on my kindle and hit the yellow button.
"My mess wouldn't forever be my curse. One day it would be my crown. One day it would tell the story that, yes, He is good... to me."
I looked at those words just before the worship time today. I know those words. Do I believe them? 
Sara's opening question was "How do you think God sees you?" Then, she said try it without Sunday school answers. Honestly, I sometimes wonder if He is even looking my direction anymore even though I know He is. I've had so many struggles and so many times that I've questioned Him and His goodness toward me. I want keep Him at arms length. I don't know if I want Him to see me.
At one point today, Sara told about a day in her life and her mistakes. It seemed like she was standing in my kitchen watching me and now telling my story! We all have those days. One of those bad days. One of those days when you know what you need to be working on to be a better person and you still get it wrong at every step.
Desiree's Day
Missed my quiet time because I slept in. (Great job genius. Can't even start the day right!)
Spoke with a not so nice tone to the kid asking me for help with school because I wanted to finish my workout for once. (Could I be more selfish? That really showed where my priority lies.)
Remembered at noon that I hadn't been to the store to get anything healthy for lunch and fed the kids ramen noodles. (How is it that God thought I could be responsible for the health of six kids?)
I could keep going if anyone needs to feel better about themselves! 

She spoke of heading up to her room for prayer time and to, basically, punish herself mentally for all her mess ups that day. As she crossed the threshold to the room, God's Spirit spoke to her that He had seen the good things.

Desiree's Day through her Father's Eyes
Fixed coffee for Matt and packed his lunch with lots of protein for after his workout. (God sees me doing and says great job being a helpmeet.)
Did Bible time with the six kids and encouraged them to spend their day focusing on thanking God for the small things throughout the day. (God sees me and says thank you for training them to make Me a priority.)
Put a band-aid on a scratch that didn't need it just to help my little one feel better. (God sees me and smiles because He knows that one needed to see that mommy really cares today.)
I could keep going because I am good because He sees me as good.

God... Thank you for seeing the good you have done in me!! Thank you for delighting in me even as I accuse myself.
One of the question on the reflection sheet was "What are the voices - people, circumstances, accolades, or corrections - that are speaking loudest to you about who you are?" My quick response was...
Give me 10 minutes and I can list the thousands of mess ups and missed opportunities and the times I stayed silent when I should have spoken. I am the loudest voice. I am my biggest critic. You call me "Supermom" and I shrink back because I know how many times I lack control with my words with my kids. I hear you say I'm beautiful, but I feel like I'm not where I should be. You tell me how well behaved my kids are and I can only think it is despite of me and not because of me. I'm 32 years old. How can I still be messing it all up so much? How can you not see all my failures?

Do you do this to yourself too? 

My hope is that I can begin to focus on Him. His thoughts about me. His word that He has for me. The joy in His eyes as He looks at me. His compassion. His grace. His love never ending. I'm not good at looking toward Him because if I look at Him He might look back at me and see me ... and that's personal moment when you look at one another. That's a closeness that I want, but that makes me nervous all at the same time. It's going to change me and I'm not real good at change. I'm not good at letting people get near me much less the all powerful God of the universe... But I'm going to try. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

James is Next

I am so proud of this young man. It was his idea to share his story when I asked if he wanted to apply to be one of Under Armour's #TeamNext Athletes. James will be next because he works for it!! #TakeYourSpot buddy!

Thank you Hawkeye Wrestling and Coach Gabe for encouraging him in his journey to reach his goal of helping win a team trophy and an individual medal.

Monday, August 10, 2015


I've played a few instruments in my life... not very well, but I played them. My favorite was the French Horn. It was such a powerful sound. I was the only one playing it in middle school band and it could still be heard and I still hear it loud in films and smile. Check out a tribute here to the horn in film and especially this tribute to John Williams!

The horn doesn't ask to be played or used. It doesn't attempt to break out of its case. If it had feelings, it probably would not appreciate having someone's spit coating it from the blowing in one end and having the players hand in the other while getting its keys pressed. Being an instrument doesn't sound like a fun job, but the beautiful noise that comes from the willingness to be used by a musician is priceless.

We've been listening to an album in the van by Matt Maher (Saints and Sinners) and it's pretty amazing. My kids all love the song Firelight, but I'm pretty partial to the one that comes next... Instrument. It doesn't have French Horn, but it does have lyrics that speak to me right now right where I am. It makes me think.

I'm tired. worn down. done fighting against the hate. feeling hard hearted. broken. spent.

This isn't how I have to be!! God has made me for more than this.

So today I'm...thanking Him for His grace. Begging for His pardoning for my daily failings. Remembering the promise of His peace. Crying out for His love so I can love. Hoping that I can lay down my hurt and my plans and let God use me where I am today. Right now. In my home. In the life of each child.

Let me be Your instrument.

Where there is hatred Lord, let me sow your love
Where there’s injury, let forgiveness be enough
Are we giving up, fighting the good fight
Where there is despair, just a flicker in the flame
Could break the veil of night

To the Father and the Son
And the Holy Spirit, three in One
I offer you myself, though I’m broken and spent
Let me be Your instrument
Let me be Your instrument

May I never seek, to be consoled as to console
May I understand, to be loved is to love, to be loved is to love

To the Father and the Son
And the Holy Spirit, three in One
I offer you myself, though I’m broken and spent
Let me be Your instrument
Let me be Your instrument 

Oh praise Him, Hallelujah
I offer you myself, though I’m broken and spent
Let me be Your instrument

Let there be peace, pardoned in the pardoning
Born again when we die, You have raised us to new life
Let there be peace, pardoned in the pardoning
Born again when we die, You have raised us to new life

Writer(s): Matt Maher
Copyright: Sony/ATV Tree Publishing, I Am A Pilgrim Songs

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


My husband is amazing... for many reasons.

If he drives my van, he tries to pay attention to if I'll need gas soon and will stop to fill my gas tank. I appreciate his gesture. It's sweet. I also love the feeling of looking down at the gauge when I get in and seeing the orange needle pointing to the F. 

I can go anywhere. I can do anything. There is nothing stopping me. Well, almost nothing. Nothing but my six kids and loads of responsibility. For a second though, I'm golden.

Full is a word that can be used so many ways.

"I'm soooo very full." 

"He's full of himself." 

"You have a full house!" 

"Use your full name."

"My heart is full."

"My plate is full."

and on and on and on...

This past weekend was so full. The HEAV Convention filled up our Thursday evening, Friday, and Saturday. 

It was a good full.

If you home educate or want to or want to see if we are all really weird or you need encouragement in raising your children or you have a pulse or... you get it...  you must come next year.

The speakers ranged from those well known, like Voddie Baucham and Ken Ham, to the ones you may have never heard of that you shouldn't miss, like Rick Boyer and Todd Wilson. Some of the classes and keynotes were packed full of information and people. Some of the classes had you laughing. Some of the classes had you in tears. 

Homeschooling your kids can be tiring and lonely. Yes, I can get lonely with 6 kids in the house every single day. On top of the feeling alone, I sometimes wonder if I'm doing it right. Are they really learning? Will they be able to function with a real world schedule one day? Have I showered today? Can I count running errands as PE? Is that a stretch? Am I crazy? When was the last time we really did science?

Going to the convention. Seeing all the families. Hearing the intelligent conversations of the graduates. Witnessing the sharing of remotes at the robotics expo. Dodging rolly carts. Walking in to a room full of adoptive moms. Seeing husbands wearing neon stickers that say their wife is their hero. Moms like me everywhere. These things fill me up for another year. 

I have had people tell me how I must have so much patience or that I'm super mom or that I've got to be so organized. I'm not. I'm just a mom surrounded by moms on all sides... moms that have made it and are done... moms that are right in the thick of it with me... ones that are just starting out. Each of them, without them even knowing it, filling up my homeschooling tank for another year. I look down at the gauge today and see it on F.


I can go anywhere. I can do anything. There is nothing stopping me.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

This boy.

Six children have the run of our home. Their voices escaping from one of the many rooms or coming through the windows from outside at almost all times of the day. The smeared hand prints on the front door that were wiped away twenty minutes ago are back already. They can't help it. The hot weather has them going in and out... and in and out again. 

Right now though, it's quiet time. A few of my extras (the cousins) are napping. One of my girls is off playing with an old friend while she is in town. Two of my girls and two of my boys are building together in the front living room. This one boy though... he sits in here with me. Not because he wants to, but because he needs to. 

Four days ago was great. Three days ago was pretty good too. Yesterday and today were hard. His manners are amazing. His reading skills have improved at a surprising rate over the last month. I can see the beginnings of him moving out of survival mode after sixteen months in his new home. I wish I could say that all these positives make the hard times easier to handle, but they don't.

It was a simple task. Circle the sentence that is correct. It begins with a capital letter. His sister read him the instructions. His dad read him the instructions and explained it. He refused. He can do it. He wouldn't. 

Not sure what triggered the pulling away from the family today, but it happened. Again. All of a sudden, he can't read or speak clearly or make eye contact. All of sudden, every answer to every question that was asked he gave the exact opposite to what was correct. All of sudden, this boy, my son, ran down the old path in his brain and vanished. He was gone. In his place was a moody, angry, and controlling mess.

So now... hours later... after providing him his punishment and then space to work through this...

We sit. 

I type. He draws. 

He shows me the picture when he finishes part. Then, right back to drawing. 

He's calm again. His eyes are happy. 
His posture is good. His hands are relaxed.

I pray for him to understand that tomorrow is new day and we will try again to blaze a new trail in his brain that doesn't include him shutting down or shutting us out. Until then, I'll take the ordinary uneventful days or hours or minutes that the Lord gives me and this boy fights to give me and I'll be thankful.


I've asked John if I can share our story as we go along. 

Parenting a child that doesn't know how trust is hard. 

Being a child that doesn't trust must be so lonely.

Together, as a family, we will continue on trying to find a way to make this work. Praying together and alone on tear soaked pillows for strength and patience and understanding and new mercies each morning. We trust in a God that loves us and sought us out and made us His own and hears us. He is our hope and our future.


For further reading about RAD follow the links below.

This one is a letter from a specialist to a teacher. It sounds extreme and we don't suffer from each example, but I hope it opens your eyes.

This one will give you a glimpse in to how hard it is to change the brain and how easy it is to go back to our old ways. It is not specifically about RAD. This could be good for anyone who doesn't understand why people don't just stop doing things that aren't good.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

This day.

Last year. 

This day. 

I sat with a broken hearted boy as he cried over the picture of his momma. 
It was my first Mother's Day as his new mom. 

I don't say this to evoke pity or mess up your happy celebrations. I say this so that you realize that for some this is a happy day. For some this is a sad day. For some this is a "sappy" day. That's Azriel's word for sad/happy. There is a quote from a lady (Jody Landers) that echoes in my mind today and other days too...

"A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me."

Four of my children have never known anything but having their momma near by. To pick them up. To squeeze them tight. To fix their plate. To comb their hair. To kiss their ouchies.  

Two of my children have known too much loss. They remember their family. A dad. A mom. 8 boys and one little girl. Living as a close knit family in the close quarters of their two room home. They remember it all falling apart. They remember these people that don't speak their language or look anything like them coming and telling them they love them. They remember yesterday hugging their little sister and dropping huge tears as she left after visiting with her family.

I say all this today for this purpose...

This day. 

This day I will not let just pass by.

I will smile. I will cry.
I will thank my God for the love He has poured out on me through my mom.
Through my mother in law. Through my sisters. Through the women I call friends.
I will thank Him for my husband who leads our family.
I will ask Him for another year to love on and be with my children.
I will hug them tight.
I will cherish motherhood.



This day.

I will not buy expensive gifts or flowers that will die. I will not send a pretty card. Not because I think that those things are wrong, but this day I have decided to say to those mom's that I love (and you all know who you are) "Happy mother's day!!!" through simple text. The money I want to spend on lavish gifts for you will go to Ned being able to spend the next mother's day mourning the loss of his first momma with his new mom. Join me if you can. Right now your money will be doubled because of their matching grant. 

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

One more birthday post before I talk about the deep stuff.


Over the last 12 months for birthdays, I have posted multiple photos and a little about each kiddo, including their name meanings, starting with Azriel. The year before that I took special pictures of each of the kids on their birthday. This time around I'm not sure what to do different so I'll just post a few photos.


Azriel is 8!

A special photo of her and Gigi.

Opening gifts with the family and all of her grandparents.

Her chocolate and strawberry cake.

Homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Ozobot. One of the science-ey gifts she asked for. She also got Snap Circuits.

Azriel is my tenderhearted girl. Yesterday, before she left for DC with Dad and her sisters, she was in tears because she was leaving. She loves this family with her whole heart.


Emma is 11!
Emma has been taking lessons on PaPa's old guitar,  
but now she has her own!

Visiting with Ben and Jessa on her birthday weekend after a 2.5 hour wait!

Candles in her cookie dough dip. She had that and root beer floats.

Who can resist licking the candle?

She passed down the guitar and is now teaching Azriel.
My kids rock!

Emma is my mini me. She looks and acts like her mom. We like to call ourselves "passionate" because we put all of our emotions in to our actions and decisions. I'm so proud of the young woman she is becoming.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Titus is 6!

Titus' Birthday

Titus turned six at the end of January! He's my baby.... my really big baby :)


A gentlemen. A rough and tough boy. A boy with a heart softened by God.

He can take a joke! His sister gave him an empty egg carton and had been teasing him all day that this would be his only gift :) 

He loves to look good. Hats. Bow ties. Freshly combed hair.

He likes to get a rise out of people, but will turn around and give you the most sincere 
compliment you have ever received!

Titus really enjoys Lego bricks, super heroes, and playing the Wii U...
Just don't beat him. He doesn't take that well ;)

Nathaniel Titus ... "Gift of God" "Saved"
We are so thankful for God's gift of this boy and that He has not only saved his life, but saved Titus' soul. This year, at 5, Titus accepted the Lord has His Savior! 

My prayer for him this year is that he grows closer to the Lord and that his heart continues to be soft toward the lost. 

Happy Birthday my big 6 year old!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Good Samaritan

Have you heard this parable?

I can picture it.

I man bruised and beaten and bleeding. Two separate "religious" men walk by. One regular guy shows compassion and stops to help. He goes above and beyond. He stops his own journey and spends his own money to care for him.

I've heard the story many times. Many. I never understood how anyone could just walk by a person in that much need. I never tried to see it from their point of view. They were wrong. How could they?!?

Lately though, I get it. I hate that I get it.

These were good men. A priest. A Levite. Think about your pastor. The demands on his time. Everyone coming to him with problems. Always taking care of his flock. Being called out from his bed and away from his family. Spending more time, sometimes, with the members of his church than his own children.

I see him walking down that road. He's been gone since sunrise and he just wants to go home to eat supper and tuck his kids in bed. He sees the man laying there... half dead. Maybe he pretends that the guy is dead. Maybe he has pity on him, but is so tired he can barely lift his own feet much less the body of a beaten man. So, he walks past. Not because he doesn't care. He does. He just can't. He can't anymore. He's been caring for so many that he's done. He. is. spent.


Matt and I were doing a study book last night called "Created to Connect" that was mailed to us just last week from Show Hope. Chapter 2 has you read this parable and at the end asks, "Thinking in terms of the Parable of the Good Samaritan and taking into account your child's history (both what you know and what you don't), in what ways is your child "injured and bleeding" on the side of the road - emotionally, physically, relationally? In light of this, what does Jesus' command to "go and do likewise" mean for you as the parent of this child?"

Ouch. Normally when I type "but God" it is because I know God is good and He has got this. Today, my "but God" is different.

I know he is hurting. I know he has injuries that are emotional that cause him to be hard to parent. I've been nice. I've shown compassion. I've neglected time with the kids that are behaving well to reassure him that my correcting him is out of love. None of my "connecting" has connected and none of my "correcting" seems to correct. I'm spent. I know what you've commanded, but, God, please don't make me right now. I can't. I want to walk by. Just this once.

Parenting is hard work. Parenting a child that is scarred and whose past isn't clear and who won't share with you or talk to you feels impossible. Thankfully, I know anything is possible with God.

So, today, I will attempt to not walk past. And if I do walk past, I will force myself stop. I will turn back. I will try to find those wounds hidden away under his layers and clean them. I will bandage him with hugs. I will care for the "half dead" boy as I pray for God to fill me up with His strength and His love and His compassion because I don't have any left.