Tuesday, January 28

When a Phone Call Knocks You Speechless

You know those seasons of life when you're parting the last of the trees at the edge of the forest, and the freedom of a beautiful green clearing has just become visible? That was me three and a half weeks ago. Even as the mama of seven, I was beginning to have room to breathe. I've been stretching my legs and slowly coming back to the woman I've been searching for.

Emmalie is fast approaching two years old, and the three year-olds are making great gains. They're not acting so... well, three. It's a hard year, no? The twos have nothing on the threes.

Then enter a phone call. It's amazing how one "hello" can change so much.

On a Wednesday morning, we received a call that rocked our world and stunned us speechless. We were asked to adopt a child. A 6 year-old child. The sibling of one of our little ones.

This was huge. A decision we did not want to take lightly or make too quickly. And then there's the wow factor in all of this. Wow. Just wow. We were NOT expecting this. At ALL. Not in the furthest reaches of our imaginations.

We questioned, cried, prayed, gathered information, laughed at the wonder of it all, and waited for an answer. We needed to hear a sure word from the Lord. Should we do this? Can we do this? We were excited, yet terrified. But even before a decision, we loved this child. We knew for sure that this child had no family, and that is not okay, no matter who you are. Our hearts were (are) beating on the outside of our chests.

After a week, He spoke, and we had our answer. We should and we can. So we began moving forward to bring this child home. So here we sit weeks later. We've been fingerprinted, have filled out mounds of paperwork, and are now waiting to hear the "when." All we know is that it will be soon.

We're up to our eyeballs in projects to ready the house and ourselves for homecoming day.
We're building bunk beds and painting dressers and walls.
We're buying mattresses, clothing, and stuffed animals.
We're sewing blankies and pillows.
We're preparing to extend more of ourselves.
We're discussing how we'll parent differently.
We're talking with the kids about the empathy and compassion needed.
But mostly we wait and pray.
We have an idea, but we don't know exactly how things will change in our family life.
I've had moments of panic. Moments of missing this child so much I can't hold it together. And moments of sheer worship. God is so good. So, so good.
Just because it appears as if we're entering another forest, doesn't mean we will.
And just because another forest may be ahead for us, doesn't mean it won't be good.
We've received the emails warning us. We know. We aren't walking into this blindly. We know adopting an older child isn't a cake walk. We teach classes on this very thing.
We're as prepared as we can be. And that's okay with us.
Our God is so personal. We know He is holding our hands, and will continue. A child is coming home.
And do you know what?
Maybe the person I've turned into while living in the forest these years is the person God meant for me to be all along. I don't need to search for the true woman any longer. She's not gone, nor is she hidden among motherhood. She's already here. And I like her.

This is all the information we'll be providing for now.
You may have questions. We understand. We have our share as well.

Hopefully very soon, our home will be rejoicing and swelling with thankfulness, as we wrap Christ's love around another.

Friday, January 24

A Bit of Small Talk {My First Stitch Fix)

So, January hasn't turned out to be a stellar blogging month. Writing three posts so far this month is not what I'd intended, but it's not horrible either.  I think about it each day, but can't seem to get myself to sit down long enough to work on anything new, coherent, or interesting.

So let's just small-talk for a sec, shall we? I'm bursting at the seams about this one:

I finally scheduled my first Stitch Fix. And I'm crazy excited. Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that ships 5 items of clothing and accessories that were hand-picked just for you for a styling fee of $20. You give them all the details: sizing, style, budget, and the date you'd like your Fix to arrive. Then voilĂ  -- a box full of goodies arrives on your doorstep.

And what's best, is that the $20 you've spent to be styled turns into a credit to be used toward an item in your box. Anything you don't want to purchase is sent back in a prepaid mailing bag. Easy-peasy.

These guys are legit. I've been watching some of my favorite bloggers enjoy their fixes for a couple years now, and it's finally time to give it a whirl. I can't wait, and I promise to post about the experience. I may even model them for you. (I'm crossing my fingers they fit!)

You can schedule a fix just before a big event if you're looking for a certain sort of look, or schedule one whenever you get the notion! There's no commitment. That's why I've been drawn to it. Plus, can I tell you a little secret?? For every person who schedules their first fix and signs up using the links in this post, I'll receive a $25 credit to my account. I'd hate to neglect mentioning that, because that's one of the greatest perks. Once you're signed up, you can share your own link with your friends and family and start earning your account credits too. Win-win.

Clothing without the shopping, and trying them on in the comfort of your own home? YES, please.

Here's to a box of clothes coming in the mail! Schedule yours HERE.

Happy last week of January to you, friends.

Monday, January 13

Forward {Moving Past the Regrettable Moments as a Mom}

I'm going to state the obvious right out of the gate. It's the bad news we're familiar with.

Being a mom is incredibly difficult.

Had you said that to me when I was pregnant with my first child, I would have laughed in your face.

Had you said that to me when I was a new mama with a fresh babe in my arms, I would have laughed nervously because the giving birth and recovery part was hard, but the mothering? It seemed so easy from my vantage point. My new baby needed me. And that felt good. Sure, I was exhausted. But incredibly difficult? Nah.

Had you said that to me when I had three young babies and preschoolers, I'd have nodded my head in agreement. Remembering how many timeouts I'd doled out that day and that someone was always following me around. Even into the sacred space of the bathroom.

Had you said that to me when I had grade schoolers, preschoolers, and babies under my care, I'd have high-fived you, and hugged you in the same movement. Because it is difficult.

And if you said it now that I have a teenager, middle and grade schoolers, preschoolers, and a baby my eyes might start to well up in the corners. Because it is incredibly difficult.

It isn't incredibly difficult because of my kids. Not always, anyways.

Mostly, it's hard because I don't always behave well toward my kids.

Moms are faced with opportunity after opportunity to choose wisely or unwisely. Selfishly or selflessly. In light of the grace given to us or not.

And that is incredibly difficult.

It doesn't matter how many kids you have, or how big they are. It just so happens that for me, as the number of kids grew and then the actual kids grew, the stakes grew too. The choices you make will become more and more important as your kids grow.

You'll be less and less able to sweep bad choices under the rug, because kids notice.

They're forever assimilating information. And unfortunately we don't get to choose what they keep and what they overlook. It'd be swell (though creepy and harmful) if we were able to program their brains to remember only the good stuff. But alas, we can't. So we're stuck with the risk of them remembering the junk too. Because there will be junk.

We will utter careless words.

We will get angry, and react in embarrassing and regrettable ways.

We will raise our voices to levels we never thought possible.

We will argue with their father.

We will be so exhausted that we treat them poorly.

We will partake in sinful habits that are hard to shake.

We will push them to the backburner in search of our own interests.

We will be impatient with questions, nagging, messes, the dragging of feet, and bedtimes.

We will be overly sensitive.

Yeah, there's a lot of junk. But it isn't all bad. In fact, it's good in a way. Without screwing up and feeling awful about it, we wouldn't see our need for help.

Help in the form of Jesus.

He is the good news in all this.

The moment we accept His covering -- His redemptive act on our behalf on the cross, is the very same moment He lifts us from our mess. Sets us back on our feet, and bids us to keep walking toward Him. Grace lifts. And urges us to keep moving forward.

There is no grace punch card that is full of punches and then must be handed over. Jesus doesn't run out of the desire to lift us. He does it because He loves us.

Just as we lift our toddling child as she learns to step -- face plants and steps again. We cheer, we lift, we cheer again. We never grow tired or weary of lifting our children back to their feet. They are learning and growing, so we show them grace.

“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”  -  Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage 

See? He loves us this way.

He bids us forward. One step.

I kept my voice controlled in the face of a lying child.

Another step.

I held my tongue this time when my child repeated the same mistake. Because she already knows.

This is forward.
Not perfect. Just onward.

This is you. Moving into and reminding yourself of the grace given you. He lifts.

So we lift. Again and again. Choice after choice.

 Psalm 19:14
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Friday, January 3

Hello, 2014. {forwards and favorites}

Moving into a new year is always thrilling to me. Yes, we're still in the dead of winter and the daylight hours are short. Even so, there's a newness and a fresh perspective that comes with a clean calendar.

This year, I'm all about moving forward.


Care to move forward with me?

Let's be women who...

Seek God's approval above all others'.
Delve deeper into The Word. Treasuring, Learning, Growing.
Say no to fear and yes to God-led risk.
Remember Christ is in us to help. We're here to help make Him look good. 
Aren't afraid to say no.
Say yes to kindness, patience, unconditional love, and peace.  
Keep our promises.
Forgive and ask for forgiveness.
Think of ourselves less. Not less of ourselves.
Are slow to speak, quick to listen.
Keep focused amid distraction.
Pray as a first resort. You get first priority every time. 

Even though we're moving forward, I would like to take a step back and recap some favorites of 2013.

The Scarlet Paisley Reader Favorites of 2013

When Your Life is in Ruins {Turn Around}
Confessions of a Pollyanna
5 Reasons Why a Bigger House Isn't Always Better
Homeschooling: You're You, I'm Me
So much GRACE

Favorite Books of 2013

A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman


What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst

The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp {Advent Devotional}

The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones
(This has been a favorite since 2010, but it's that good. Really. Get your hands on a copy.)

Modern Essentials {A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils}

Favorite TV/Movies of 2013
Downton Abbey - Season 4 begins this Sunday, January 5th on PBS
(Miss an episode? Catch it HERE during the week.)

Funny Face (1957)

Honestly, I don't remember seeing many movies that became favorites this last year (but I may want to add Frozen to this list after I see it tomorrow with the older kids), but here's a couple old-favorites I've watched and re-watched so many times, I can't not recommend them.

Emma (BBC, 2009)

Father of the Bride & Father of the Bride 2 (1991, 1995)


Favorite Music of 2013

Ellie Holcomb - With You Now is my current favorite album. Download it HERE or listen on Pandora.
Dallas String Quartet
Passion: Let the Future Begin
Christa Wells, song Shine
Christy Nockels

There you have it, a peek inside my brain this last year.

May God bless your efforts and make you more like His Son. .
May you rest in and accept His gifts.

What are you moving forward into in 2014?
What will you be intentional about?
And of course, what were your favorites from 2013?