Wednesday, November 27, 2013

10 Things I am thankful for


10 Things  I am thankful for in no particular order: 
  1. That my heart can still be moved. Many people I know are very mechanical in their faith and their lives. There are things that I wish I wasn’t as pessimistic about however I am still very moved by God’s love for me and I am moved daily my my kiddos. 
  2. That sports exist. I have never liked exercise but playing sports (basketball mainly) has provided me with better health.  I love playing on team which led me to love to coach. Parents are not always easy or helpful. My favorite thing is to be able to help kids develop good character. 
  3. I am thankful for what an amazing housewife and mom Camille is. It is an incredibly hard job and I don’t thank her enough. She really is incredible. 
  4. Music. It moves me and I love that. 
  5. Advocare. I really think Advocare saved my life. I have been able to loose weight and we are paying of debt that we took on over the last year. I will probably blog more about this in the future but for now I am thankful for the best nutritional supplements and an incredible opportunity. 
  6. Mission Athens Music: It has been a perfect outlet for me. Great friends and good music. The perfect combo. 
  7. Rosie Cotton. She is the best dog. If you have been around her you know she is a good dog. It will be a sad day for all when she is no longer with us. 
  8. My parents. The older my kids get the more I know how hard parenting is. I can’t imagine being a single mom or being a dad that doesn’t live with his son. Regardless of how it is done, parenting isn’t easy. 
  9. Athens. I would have never thought I would enjoy this city like I do. I also have enjoyed becoming more of an all around UGA fan. I mentioned this is my sermon, Men that put so much hope in boys playing a game, they need to grow up. Sports allow you to feel apart of something larger. The issue is: sports are small. 
  10. Snikerdoodle muffins. I mean I kinda hate them at the same time as love them! Camille started to make them recently and geez they are good. 

Happy Turkey day friends.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Life Change Pt 1

I want to past blog post to describe the first HUGE change in our lives. We now have 3 kiddos. This is a blog that Camille wrote to update everyone about our adoption.
This is part 1 of my 'Life Change' series I will be posting. There have been a handful of life changing events for me and us that I want to share with everyone. Some will be obvious like adoption and some a bit less obvious.
Here is a link to the original blog post with pictures: http://goo.gl/PJQAPT

Here is the post itself:
We skyped with Asher’s birth mom and birth dad on May 13 and felt an immediate connection to them.  We really liked them and loved their bravery in choosing both life for their baby boy but also choosing adoption knowing that they were not prepared to care for him.  We were chosen by the them on May 15 with June 10 being Asher’s due date.  We were overwhelmed and excited to see how quickly God was growing our family.  I need to say that we knew that his BM and BD (birth mom and birth dad) wanted a very open adoption.  This meant that we would continue to be in contact them past what Lifeline required, which is quarterly updates sent to Lifeline for birth parents to pick up.  We felt called to domestic adoption with the thought of loving a BM and being a part of God’s redemptive work in her life as well as the baby we adopted.  So while this road might not be for everyone we continued to take each step God put before us and He has led us into a beautiful relationship with Asher’s BM and BD.  

Asher came earlier than we expected and what was supposed to be quick trip to Alabama to meet his BM and BD turned into a call from our social worker saying, “they are inducing her tonight, so pack for 2 weeks and hit the road!”  We ran around town like crazy tying up loose ends and then made the drive to meet not only our BM and BD but also to meet our son!  God was so very evident in every detail of our 2 weeks in Alabama.  It began on our way there with our social worker from Lifeline calling us with a possible place for us to stay in Alabama before we could travel back home after Asher was born.  We had many possible places to stay but had been praying that we could find a place that had a kitchen and a place for Bella and Levi to come stay with us since we didn’t know how long we would have to stay in Alabama.  Well the Lord answered that prayer one hundred fold for us.  We met and stayed with Jeff and Teri Kerby who opened their basement (and home) to us and gave us a home to be in those first 2 weeks with Asher.  They loved us so well and have become life long friends.  There are so many ways they blessed us-- home cooked meals, holding a screaming Asher for me to eat them, having Levi and Bella running around their house with their precious kids, to just having real conversation about life and Jesus.  We were blown away by God’s graciousness to us through the Kerby’s obedience to the Lord to say “yes” to being a part of our adoption story.  We are so thankful for them.

We met Asher’s BM and BD the night before he was born.  It was so very natural.  It doesn’t seem possible but it was.  We spent time hanging out and then headed to bed for her to be induced the next morning.  We visited with them off and on during the day as she labored (with an epidural!) and it was so precious getting to know the brave hearts of this sweet couple.  We met their families and were able to see some baby pictures that gave us some insight into who Asher looks like.  And what a sweet story we can tell him one day-or better yet that his own BM and BD can tell him.  Our sweet BM invited us to be in the room when Asher was born (behind the door curtain).  It was important to her that we hear his first cry and see him as soon after he was born as possible.  Such a precious gift from a completely unselfish heart.  We had some sweet time with them before Asher was born where I was able to lay hands on her and pray for her before she endured the last part of labor.  It was such a blessing. After Asher was born, we had about an hour and half with our BM and BD where we marveled over Asher and I was personally terrified of his lung power (which after almost 12 weeks I was right to be wary of!).  We were able to give them notes we had written as well as a necklace for her.  We also were able to share the Gospel with them through the sharing of the meaning of Asher’s name as well as the meanings of Levi and Bella’s name.  Aaron and Asher’s BD gave Asher his first bath together and we just shared such sweet time with them.  By the way John is after John the Baptist and means “God is gracious” and Asher means “happy or blessed” and was given a blessing of a life of abundance.  I also need to add another way God showed up in the details.  Our labor and delivery nurse was a believer who cared for our BM with such dedication and love.  She embraced our story and ministered to all of us with the love of Jesus.  What a precious way to surround our BM during such an emotional experience.  We were in awe of how God lined up every single detail. 

They wanted a hospital placement which means we had total care of Asher the whole time he was in the hospital.  God was so gracious in providing a free room at the hospital for us.  The hospital staff were so amazing in caring for us and being sensitive to the special circumstances of our open adoption.  We saw our BM and BD before she was discharged and agreed to meet them one more time before we came back home to Georgia.  We then spent the next 10 days living life with the Kerby’s.  It was like a vacation for us and our kids.  Levi actually cried when we left because he didn’t want to leave his new friends!  I think all of us agreed that we loved having built in playmates for our kids and the withdrawals from that was hard for all of us!  What could have been a very uncomfortable situation for us staying in a hotel or in a guest room ended up being a precious time with God ordained friends and plenty of space for a family in the midst of transition.

We passed our interstate paperwork phase (ICPC) in two days which was huge!  We had been told it could take an additional 2 weeks after it was filed.  Instead it took 2 days!  God was again so faithful!  We met our BM and BD for a picnic the night before we left to come home.  They were able to meet Levi and Bella and see the love they had for their new little brother.  I was in awe of her maturity and heart at seeing another mom care for her son’s needs.  She shared what peace she had in her decision and how she was so excited for Asher to be with us.  It was a sweet, sweet time getting to know them more and seeing these two teen-agers selflessly change the course of their lives and their son-for the better.  We love them so much and honor them and their love for Asher.    We feel strongly that God has called us to love our BM and BD as much as He has called us to love Asher.  We text pictures and updates to them weekly.  I’m so excited to say that they are really taking hold of this opportunity to change their lives. We are so excited to cheer them on and love them as they start the rest of their lives.  We know that not everyone will be called to this kind of open adoption but we can say that it has been nothing but a blessing to us.  We have God placed love in us for them and know that we are all in this together-brought together by crazy love for a precious little boy knit together with a purpose by His Creator.  We are linked to them forever and count it a privilege to know them.
  We can’t express how grateful we are to have had so many people be a part of our adoption story.  God has been so faithful to meet us through every moment of this journey and we are excited to see what He has for us in the future!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

So I'm back

Alright folks I think it is time to start blogging again. Life is crazy different since the last time I blogged. It has been two years since I have blogged and our lives look, feel and flat out are different. I am not sure why but I feel like I have stuff to say, I have no clue who will care to read but here it comes.

I will start with a 4 point rant. (old school slaten blog style)

1) Friends that are both loyal and honest are rare.
2) music is one of the most beautiful things in the world.
3) one of my favorite things to do with my kids is cuddle and watch movies
4) I want to go on a legit vacation with my bride one of these days again. no clue how or where but I want a good one and just the two of us.

Strap in here we go blog world, I am back.