Tag Archives: Children

Mother’s Day Blessings and Memories

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there who love everyday in big and small ways. In ways that are noticed and acknowledged and in so many ways that are not but will be felt, remembered and cherished. Generation after generation.

I know I am a little behind on sharing Mother’s Day sentiments but I had a busy Mother’s Day myself; enjoying church with my family, doing a little antiquing on my own, and then watching The Avengers and Captain America with my husband and kids.

Yes, those were my movie choices.

What? Well we couldn’t watch Thor, we’d just seen it a few days ago.

Then yesterday, my husband and youngest took me out for sushi and to browse the bookstore and enjoy a treat in the café. So today is the first chance I’ve had to share Mother’s Day with you.

While Mother’s Day is a day for watching action movies … what? … it is also a day for reflection and celebration of the women who have mothered us. The women who have nurtured us, stood by us, been both patient and frustrated with us, disciplined and molded us, mentored us but above all, loved us. Always.

Everyone’s story is different. But I hope with all my heart that you had or still have a mother or mother figure in your life to remember and be thankful for. Whether you are able to hold her hand or just her memory.

I am blessed to have some wonderful women to celebrate on Mother’s Day …

Mom-and-MeMy fabulous mom who was always in my corner.

I am so thankful for all she taught me (and all she put up with from me in the process). Self-sacrifice, the reward of  hard work, the ability to do a lot with a little, dinner at the table as a family, cooking, gardening, homemaking – homemade is best, anything after 1am is just going to get you into trouble and to pray, attend church, read and study my bible and look to God in all things.

I also got her sassiness, temper and eye rolling death stare. It’s true.

And if you ever wonder why I am a little “over-the-top”, this was my 4th grade Halloween costume …

Marie-Antoinette-for-HallowMarie Antoinette

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She made the whole thing.  The dress. The powdered wig.  I got “over-the-top” from her.

And I love her for it!

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I celebrate my Aunt Andi (my mom’s sister) too. She’s fun, independent and tenacious!

And I still look at her like that sometimes.

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And my grandma Ibby. I’ve told you a lot about Grandma Ibby and her incredible recipes have been the subject of many of my blog posts. I’ll be posting her delicious banana bread recipe on Friday. You won’t want to miss it! So much of what I learned from my mom came from the lessons and example of her mother, Grandma Ibby. She is deeply missed.

Grandma,-Great-Grandmas,-Mo

I love this picture of me with my great-grandmother Rose, my great-grandmother Clara, my grandma Eileen (my first best friend) and my very own super-mom! It is a blessing to have known two of my great-grandmothers. I will share their stories one day. But I do hope you will click the link just above and read about my grandmother Eileen. She was such a huge part of my life and I have so many wonderful memories of her. A love of antiques and making all that is old new, beautiful and loved again comes from her. Plus she let me eat Fruit Loops (banned and forbidden by my health conscious mother) before bed. Which was awesome.

So now, I am a mom too. I have learned from the best. Not how to be June Clever perfect  but how to give everything I have, to keep trying when I fail, to say I’m sorry when I need to, to love the Lord with all my heart and to pray for my children in all things.

I received some pretty incredible gifts this Mother’s Day. Gifts that let me know my kids love and appreciate me, even if I don’t always think they show it.

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Ask any mom, that is what she wants most and the simple gifts made by her kids are the most precious!

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Nathan gave me a sweet card and poem and “mom’s helping hands” with the things we like to do together written on them.

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Purple was my favorite color as a child. Sara knows that and made a purple necklace for me. Her sense of humor came through with a piece of paper with the word “PEACE” written on it. Whenever they ask me what I want for my birthday or Mother’s Day, I always answer “peace” as in a peaceful relaxed day with no kids fighting or arguing. So, she gave me peace.

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David made a book for me at school which was filled with his creative writing and story art all the way from the beginning of the year.

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This is a picture of him in his Halloween costume. He was a Ninja and that is exactly what it looked like right down to the “spider” treat bag and the “fluf pads” muscles. So cute!!

No, I did not make it.

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He answered questions about me. He knows me. I love that!

He also said my favorite TV show was “Beerfoot” which is Barefoot Contessa. My favorite hobby is cooking. My favorite book is a cook book. My favorite restaurant is “all” restaurants. I enjoy cooking. And that if there were four extra hours in a day, he would spend them cooking with me.

I’m sensing a theme, maybe I need to expand my horizons a little.

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He also listed three reasons why “you are special to me.”

You love me.

You say prers (prayers) with me.

You love me more than I can love you.

And then he wrote this. And I cried.

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I’ll never forget the time you “never gave up to adopt me.”

And that is what being a mom is. We never give up. Not ever, no matter what. We are always there for our kids. Fighting for them. We sometimes fail and we often regret but we never give up.

Mother's-Day-2013Because our mom, or someone who loved us like a mom, was always there for us.

Fighting for us.

And just when you think your children don’t realize or appreciate it, they come out of left field with just what you needed to hear.

“You never gave up …”

Of course I didn’t, I’m your mom.

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Adoption Day Reflections

It is a busy Monday. A day filled with errands, laundry, picking up endless toys and shoes and books. A day filled with plenty of the usual things that make-up a typical weekday for me.

But it is not a typical day.

Today is my baby’s adoption day.

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Four years ago today, the documents that made my husband and I his parents were signed, stamped, sealed and filed. Official.

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But I have always been his mommy.

So really, April 29, 2009 was simply the day the State of Arizona finally caught up.

My husband and I are over the moon with joy to have our kids and we are blessed to be adoptive parents but we don’t make a big deal on adoption day. Every family is different and for some it is a day for a party and that is wonderful.

For us, it is a quiet day of thankful reflection. No party, no fuss. That may seem strange, but there are reasons.

For me personally, the pain of our journey through the foster care system remains and while that journey has a happy ending, I feel the welling in my chest as I think back on the struggle.

No, the filing of a piece of paper is not what I celebrate. I am happy and relieved to have it but it is not what I celebrate.

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I reflect and I celebrate the moments I spent rocking my son as he attached to his new life.

I celebrate the dimples and the smiles and the energy and the laughter.

I celebrate the hundreds of times I read Brown Bear, Brown Bear as his tiny hand excitedly turned to the next page.

I celebrate all of the memories yet to be made.

I marvel at and celebrate the depth of the love I feel for this child God has blessed me with.

I celebrate the miracle of him.

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April 29, 2009 is not the day Nathan became my son.

He was my son from the moment God placed the desire for him in my heart.

He was my son from the moment I first laid eyes on him and held him close to me.

He was to be my son from the moment he took his first breath.

But he is not my son alone. My son was not an orphan. My son has another mother. Barely more than a girl herself when he was born. My gain was her loss. I think about her today. I’ve thought about her all day. And I’ve prayed for her.

It has taken me a while to get to this place. A place of forgiveness and understanding. And while my heart is bursting with joy at being my boy’s mama, balloons and cake and celebration just don’t fit.

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I think about the day he will ask me about adoption. The day his daddy and I will explain it to him. He is still too young to completely understand what it all means.

I want him to know that he came from her to me not because he was unwanted or because there was something wrong with him but because he is loved by a Heavenly Father who has a great plan for his life.

I want him to know that before he was her child or my child, he was His child.

I want him to know that he healed my broken heart.

I want him to know that it doesn’t matter that the color of his eyes, his skin, his hair are different from mine. He is my son and I am his mommy. God has made it so.

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II want him to know how his sweet spirit and adventurous nature brought life back into our world. Just when we needed it most.

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I want him to know how much his joy for life and laughter consume me.

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I want him to know that I will always be his mommy.

Always.

I want him to know that he will be covered in my love and prayers.

Wherever he goes, whatever he does.

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So while April 29th may be his adoption day, I want him to know that every day with him is a party and a cause for celebration!

Your mama loves you sweet boy. For ever and always. And I celebrate you Every-day.

Never Tire of Doing Good

With the bombing at the Boston Marathon, our world faces yet another violent, senseless tragedy.

Such an absence of regard for human life.

We get comfortable. We forget or remember less and less. Daily life continues and the realities of the ongoing horrors of this world become removed. War, human trafficking, slavery, abuse, murder, unspeakable brutality. The pain and suffering of rampant disease, hunger, starvation; all a world away.

But this, this jars us awake.

Our own backyard. We are not immune and we cannot live as if we are. There is an enemy and his insidious evil reaches into every corner of this world.

But so does light.

We are all grieving the injury and loss of life in this tragedy. We grieve with the family of an eight-year-old boy. A boy who’s heart carried a message of peace. A life filled with promise. We grieve with a father who right now can’t imagine how he will draw his next breath. How he will tell his wife. How he will help his daughter to cope and to heal. I have fought for that same breath. Not in exactly the same way but enough to know that the next breath will come and then the next and then the next.

I am the mother of an eight-year-old boy who came to my husband and I an abused and neglected toddler only to leave us just after his third birthday, returning to uncertainty; taking my breath with him.

I am the mother of an eight-year-old boy who has experienced the worst of this world. Abuse, neglect, trauma at the hand of the very person who should have loved him the most. But he was not defeated and the next breath came.

I am the mother of an eight-year-old boy who has been delivered from the darkness and who’s light now shines brightly. Piercing that darkness.

Monday afternoon, as I watched the early news reports with him, we talked about what we saw. Not the horrors or the violence.

No, we didn’t talk about you.

We talked about the people we saw helping other people. People rushing to the aide of strangers. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Selfless acts of courage; the best of people. That is what we saw.

We didn’t see you.

We didn’t see an enemy at work. We saw good, people doing good.

And while we watched, do you know what my son said to me? My precious eight-year-old son who has been through so much. “I will be like them mommy. I will run to help.”

He is awake.

I am the mother of and eight-year-old boy who will NEVER tire of doing good.

You have made sure of that.

Your injustice has only made him desire what is right. He will be a “righter” of wrongs.

Your pain and hurt and horror has given him a heart of empathy and understanding; a deep desire to relieve suffering. He has overcome the worst and he will be a light in the darkness.

You have lost.

Yes, another eight-year-old has fallen. His precious life has ended; but still, you have lost. His message is alive. And it has been heard.

Martin Richard Peace

“No more hurting people. Peace.”

If your aim was to strike fear. We are not afraid. We are awake. And you have lost.

If your aim was to devalue, destroy, defeat; know this, the battle has already been won and it is  you that has been defeated. It is written. It is our promise. It is our hope. And we will never tire of doing good.

In the midst of the most unspeakable darkness, there will always be someone there to do good. To shine a light. To shine His light. You have lost. My eight-year-old has picked up the banner of Martin Richard and will carry on. He is awake and he is not alone.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we
do not give up. Galatians 6:9 ESV

A Ton of Bricks

A while back, I read an article that really resonated with me. Okay, who am I kidding? It hit me like a ton of bricks. This article, “The Mom Stays in the Picture” was written by Allison Tate, a mom who was hiding herself, keeping herself out of the picture; until she realized just what doing so meant.

“Come take pictures with me, Mommy,” he yelled over the music, “in the photo booth!”

I hesitated. I avoid photographic evidence of my existence these days. To be honest, I avoid even mirrors. When I see myself in pictures, it makes me wince. I know I am far from alone; I know that many of my friends also avoid the camera.

We’re sporting mama bodies and we’re not as young as we  used to be. We don’t always have time to blow dry our hair, apply make-up,  perhaps even bathe (ducking). The kids are so much cuter than we are; better to  just take their pictures, we think.

But we really need to make an effort to get in the picture. Our sons need to  see how young and beautiful and human their mamas were. Our daughters need to  see us vulnerable and open and just being ourselves — women, mamas, people  living lives. Avoiding the camera because we don’t like to see our own pictures?  How can that be okay?”

Wow, that is me. She is me. I am her. And NO, it is not okay.

Brick load number one.

As I read a little bit more, brick load number two

“I’m everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of  me with them. Someday I won’t be here — and I don’t know if  that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now — but I want  them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see  how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother.”

WOW. I am letting my vanity rob my children of their memories. And it is NOT okay.

Brick load number three …

There are VERY few photos of us together as a family. We fought so hard for this family and yet we have never even had a picture taken together. All of us. Together.

Brick load number four …

Why? Excuse after excuse but the reality, I couldn’t or wouldn’t be photographed with the extra 30ish pounds I have allowed motherhood to visit upon me.

Message received.

The day I read that article, the very day, I called my photographer friend Lorraine and booked a family photo session.

Brick load number five …

Oh.My.Heck. I am going to have my picture taken. Like this.

Yes, I am. Just like this.

As it turns out. I am not the only mom this article struck a chord with. Since it was published in October, it has been viewed millions of times. MILLIONS of times. In response, The Huffington Post challenged moms everywhere to share how they’ve gotten back into the picture.

So today, I am sharing.

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This is my family, ALL of us.

Okay, okay, I know this is cheating but it is a start, I’m in the picture. Family-Photo-2

Okay, I know I am hiding behind a kid. Why couldn’t his head be bigger? Family-Photo-3

Behind yet another kid. My friend Lorraine is a genius “mom poser”. Family-Photo-4

There! I did it. A side view pose in “skinny” jeans.

Just so you know, that is the unscripted, unprompted, unsolicited reaction of my children to their parent’s PDA. Funny kids. Can you imagine how much this picture will mean to them someday? What it will mean to their kids. What it means to our family. What it means to me.

If you are a mom, or anyone for that matter, who is feeling less than picture worthy PLEASE remember that you mean the world to someone. You deserve to be part of the memory. You deserve to be in the picture.

All of the photos on today’s post are the incredible work of the very talented Lorraine Nunes of

Lorraine Nunes Photography