I don’t normally post on the weekends, but I wanted to wrap up my 30th birthday week…30 Acts of Kindness.  Yesterday was my official birthday and it was great. I felt extremely loved and encouraged and that was really nice.  Thank you so very very much.

And here’s how my last six acts of kindness played out.

#1  Birthday bag & cupcake drop.  My friend Eric has the same birthday as me and well, that makes us practically twins.  Eric loves bacon and I wanted to surprise him with a little birthday and bacon love.  I bought some fun birthday items like a birthday banner, hats and blowers, plus an awesome $1.50 game of Pin-The-Tail-On-The-Donkey and paired them with some Maple Bacon Cupcakes.  Let me take a moment and say how super amazingly delicious these cupcakes were.  They were awesome…bacon and all.  Give them a shot…you really will not be disappointed.  And happy birthday Eric…glad we’re twins.

#2  Muffins to pediatrician’s office.  We love our pediatrician Dr. Eidson.  He’s really just the best.  And he loved my mom.  He always brings up sweet stories about her that make me cry, but the good kind of cry…the remembering and sweetness.  We see him quite often…we actually had back-to-back appointments this week and yesterday Huddy had his 4 year check up.

Dr. Eidson and all of the staff are always just too, too good to us and as a mom, I cannot say enough how much I appreciate their love and kindness and patience and hard work.  Instead of muffins I ended up making Nutella Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting.  Why don’t you, right now, stop whatever you are doing and go make these.  That’s about all I can really say.  Superbness.

#3  Cupcakes to the bank.  My Mom loved her job and she was incredible at it.  Mom’s job at Pinnacle Bank was not just a job, but great friendships and family.  Her co-workers have loved on our family like crazy and it has just been humbling and made us feel so very cared for and we truly appreciate it.  I wanted to bless them with some yummy chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  Just a little something to say “thank you.”

#4  Buy someone’s lunch.  Since it was my birthday, the boys and I headed to Chick-fil-a after Huddy’s check-up.  We drove through and ordered some lunch and then paid for the car’s order behind us.  A very simple act that could change someone’s day.

#5  Popcorn, candy and movie rental bucket.  We love a good movie night and decided to share this with another family.  I fixed a little box with some microwave popcorn, some popcorn mix, giant movie theater candy and a Redbox gift certificate.  Did you know you could buy Redbox gift certificates…you just print it off or email it to the recipient.  I drove around looking for a family checking out a movie together and found one outside a McDonalds.  It took some persuading…no, I did not want money for the bucket…no, I did not want them to sign up for something…no, there was not a catch, but finally after some explaining the mom took the bucket and said thank you.

And #6  Surprise art drop.  At Harper’s school fundraiser a sweet friend really went after my silent auction art basket pretty hard.  She ended up not getting the basket and made a comment about one particular piece.

I made this canvas up and did a surprise art drop yesterday.  Who wouldn’t want to come out to your car and find something fun on top of it?

And that wrapped up my birthday week.  It turned out to be a much better week than I had anticipated and I credit God for every bit of joy and love this week encompassed.  I am just your everyday person…a very flawed individual and sinner…the deal breaker is Jesus.  Because of the love of Jesus I have been transformed into something special…something extraordinary…something created for a purpose.  Just like all His people.  That is something definitely to celebrate and share with others.

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday {+ Giveaway DAy}


Tuesday’s kindness acts are done.  Boom.  This is how we rolled yesterday:

#1  Doughnuts to school.  I was a kindergarten teacher so I know first hand what a hard and under paid and joyful job being a teacher is.  I was thrilled to be able to bless Harper’s school staff with something simple and yummy like doughnuts.  Yesterday morning’s kindness acts started early…I literally rolled out of bed and left the house in the clothes I slept in plus boots and a jacket.  It’s cold here in Tennessee now.  I was looking H.O.T.  My friend Brea said she looked like “death on a cracker” the other day.  Yep, that was me yesterday morning.

And here’s a little Krispy Kreme tip for you the Krispy Kreme lady shared with me.  If you call ahead with an order of 10+ boxes they will give them to you for $5.10 a box.  I did not know this prior…now I know and am passing the info along.

#2  Flowers for Mrs. Sherry.  Mrs Sherry is the custodian at Harper’s school and I figured she would appreciate some pretty fall flowers and some yummy cookies.  You can never go wrong with either.

#3  Gift card for a single mom.  God bless you single mommas our there.  You work crazy hard and deserve some extra love.  I thought a pedicure and some extra grocery money would do the trick.

#4  Treat for photographer.  We had family pictures taken yesterday afternoon and our regular go to photographer Cheyenne of Shots by Cheyenne was completely booked.  She passed on the info of her partner Laci of Barefeet Photography and Laci was able to get us in…and was amazing…to say the least.  When I saw this picture…big tears people…big, big tears.  I adore this child.  And Laci is having an awesome “pay it forward” photo session giveaway right now…CHECK IT OUT HERE.

And while I’m “God blessing” people…God bless Laci for putting up with a hot mess of wee Kelleys.  The boys had MDO yesterday which means no naps, plus they had Halloween parties.

Well let’s just say I had to take my wooden spoon with me when we left the house…for all you parents who spank, you know what this means 🙂  {Side Note:  If you don’t spank, that’s cool…different strokes for different folks.  Un-Side Note}  Laci totally earned her little treat…some cookies and a Starbucks card.  Thank you so much Laci for your patience and hard work…we appreciate you.

As we drove to our photo destination Harper said, “Do you think this is what Green Lantern girl would look like?”  Ummm, yes.  Nailed it.

When we got home the back seat looked a little like this.

And Amon practiced his photo bombing skills after everyone was in bed.  I love this kid.

#5  Chalk door hangers.  I bought these awesome hanging chalkboards for super cheap a while back on Pick Your Plum.  When I bought them I had no idea what I was going to use them for and then it dawned on me.  The boys and I hit up all our unsuspecting houses before I dropped them off at school.  My favorite part was when I stepped in dog poop at one house and Huddy said, “Dogs should really learn to wipe their bottoms.”  Yes, that would solve my problem.  The door hangers made an easy little act of kindness.

**See that reflection…that is a “death on a cracker” reflection.

And when I got home this was hanging from our kitchen cabinets.  Let’s do one more “God bless”…God bless Josh Kelley.  He’s a keeper.

#6  Share Sonic happy hour.  $5 gift card taped to the order board at the beginning of happy hour and Bam!…Happy Sonic Happy Hour to the next person to pull into our spot.  And I may have ordered myself a cranberry sprite while I was there.  Getting crazy on day #2.

And today’s list is a good one.

Plus it’s Halloween…my favorite holiday.  Don’t judge.  I know some people are not fond of the holiday, but I am a big lover of it.  Sadly, I’ll be rocking it out with Amon…aka Superman…at home.  Handing out candy and being away from germs.  The wee Kelleys will be going door-to-door with Josh.  Fun will be had.

And I almost forgot…see #4 on my list for today.  Yep, it’s an art giveaway for you guys.

Up for grabs is this 10×10 Mumford & Sons Canvas…”So I’ll be bold, as well as strong and use my head along side my heart.”

Here’s how you enter:

Please leave a separate comment on this post for each entry.

Entry #1 Tell me if you’ve done some kindness acts of your own this week…or what you’re doing for Halloween…or any old comment will do.

Entry #2  Share this giveaway on your personal Facebook status or Twitter.

Entry #3 Subscribe to PPA to receive posts by email.  Check out the right side bar and enter your email address under Email Subscription.

Entry #4  Become a fan of PPA on Facebook HERE

Again, please leave a separate comment on this post for each entry.

Giveaway will end tomorrow, Thursday, November 1st and I will announce the winner in tomorrow’s post.  Canvas will be mailed directly to the winner.

Happy Wednesday!


Crazy Blessed {Hope}

Crazy blessed…

by sweet wee Kelleys who are bad at fake sleeping…except Huddy…he nailed it.

…that this little ace of hearts should not be doing this, but is.  I am constantly flipping him back over all day long.

…by kiddos who can fight the hardest with each other and still love each other fiercely and adore each other and have just too much fun together.

…to be a part of their everydayness.

…by the possibility of one life event forever changing our life’s path.

…to comfort in the not-so-good parts of the day…even the accidentally-poking-yourself-in-the-eye-with-a-stick part of the day.

…by sweat pants and comfy house shoes.

…to be this kids mom.  Seriously?  He’s for real isn’t he?  He so is.

…to find dinner on our front porch.

…for groceries to be delivered to our house.  Such sweet friends are all around us and just smothering us in love right now.

Today was such an encouraging day…a day I found belief and hope in.  God is constantly reminding me of how truly crazy blessed we are.  Life is never perfect or easy or smooth…it can be pretty darn hard, but just the same it is full to the brim of blessings & is indescribably beautiful.  Hope is a wondrous thing God gives and I am deeply thankful for it today.

“But I’ll still believe though there’s cracks you’ll see.
When I’m on my knees I’ll still believe.
And when I’ve hit the ground, neither lost nor found.
If you believe in me I’ll still believe.”

-Holland Road by Mumford & Sons

Happy Tuesday.

His Eye Is On The Sparrow

This morning I am thinking about how precious we are to God and missing my mom.  One thing she reminded me of often was how valuable I was in the eyes of the Lord.  I am His!  Today I was reminded of one of her most favorite verses:

Matthew 10:29-31  “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

I hope some of you needed this reminder like I did today.  And thank you for your continued prayers for Amon.  Turns out he has an infection now, so looks like we are going to be here a few more days.  He is truly an incredible kid.

And Happy Birthday to my brother Chris.  Pretty sure he doesn’t read my blog, but wanted to throw a shout out just in case.  Love you Chris!

Now how about a Halloween re-post in honor of the 1st day of October.  This is a project Harper and I did last October.  Hope you will enjoy.  Original post here.


I recently saw a cute little Halloween paper bunting on Pinterest.

If you haven’t ventured out and joined Pinterest yet…I totally recommend that you do.  It is amazing and a great waste of time.

If you need an invite, just let me know.

You can check out all my boards HERE.

The original of this adorable Halloween bunting belongs to Organize & Decorate Everything.  I loved the idea, the fact that it was all out of paper and that it was easy and quick…no special trip to Hobby Lobby.

So Harper and I took another bit of time to make some paper bunting for our family to enjoy.  The boys were done crafting, so this was mainly Harper’s doing, with my assistance.  Needless to say, when we were done, she was thrilled with her handy work.

Everything was made out of paper and then we just used a piece of ribbon and some small clips to hang each flag up.

Harper had a lot of her own ideas for each little flag, so we added our own Kelley touches here and there.

And when all Halloween crafting was said and done, there was nothing better I could have done with my time this morning.  And I felt better, like I had really actually accomplished something…finally.  And the kids and I were all in great moods and ready to tackle the rest of the day.  So maybe my one little coping skill really does work.


Happy Monday!

To Ethiopia & Back

Last Friday morning we received embassy clearance for Amon’s case so we immediately started booking flights.  Turns out Ashley and I hit the airways Tuesday, landed in Ethiopia late Wednesday night, had our embassy appointment Thursday, flew out of Ethiopia Friday and landed in Nashville, Tn on Saturday evening.  How’s that for the fastest trip to Ethiopia ever.

Here is our last family “waiting for you” picture on Tuesday before I headed off to the airport.

The US Embassy was so accommodating considering Amon’s health and got us in and out in no time at all.  God was truly working and moving all around us.  Our time in Ethiopia was very short, but so very rich.  I was so glad Ashley was there to experience it all with me.

And being with Amon again was like gold.  Pure, expensive, exquisite gold.  He has this place in my heart that is just so huge.  And he is brave and strong and beautiful.  This kid owns me.

He did great on the flight home…had a few little tense moments, but Ashley and I handled them just fine.  We were definitely a bit stressed, but we made it 🙂

Officially in the US.

And our homecoming, well our homecoming was grand.  Once our plane landed it was if this burden had been lifted.  We still have quite the road to travel, but getting him home was half the battle.  I cannot wait to share our airport pictures.  They are truly incredible.

So we have been soaking sweet Amon in.  Breathing his scent in deep.  Rubbing his head often.  Kissing his cheeks always.  Cuddling him extra close and just relishing in the fact that God planned our family a long, long time ago.  I just could never accurately describe how thankful I am for my beautifully, knit together family.  And I am still in awe, that Amon is sitting right here with me as I type.  God is just too too crazy good and deserves all the praise.

Happy Monday!


Expedited & Book Cookies

Well I had this little post about some cookies I decorated with some of our favorite book characters…kind of lame, but it was a Friday post and I do like cookies 🙂  Then I woke up in the middle of the night…3:30amish…couldn’t go back to sleep…felt like God was spurring my heart, so I got up and went to check email.  And there it sat.  An email all the way from Addis with a subject line that read: Cleared Case.

(The sleeping grin at its best.)

And that is what I would like to call “expedited.”  Amon’s case was submitted for embassy last Wednesday, but we got word that it was officially submitted, like it finally got in the right hands on Monday.  5 days…that is definitely what I want to praise God for.  Expedited indeed.  I’m just floored and why should I be?  God is so so good.  So we get our embassy appointment confirmed Monday and I’m flying out next week.  I can’t believe it’s finally here.  I’m actually leaving and coming back with my son.  I’m buying plane tickets and actually getting on a plane.

I laid in bed and just thought about how I would love to pick up the phone and wake my Mom up to tell her the news.  I called way too late to chat, way too many time.  I liked her sleepy voice…her startled voice, “Laura, what, is everything okay, what’s wrong?  Oh, you just need to know how to boil water?  Okay.” 🙂  I always had ridiculous cooking questions for her.  She would have been Over.The.Moon…to say the least.  Everyday is a battle over the sadness…every single day.  Grief still hangs around, at least for me, for a long time.  So today is seriously one of the best Friday’s ever…one of the best days ever…and also a really hard one.  She would have been so smitten with Amon and it overwhelms my heart thinking about all the prayers she prayed for our sweet boy…even though she never had the honor of seeing his face.  But she was that type of woman…that type of mother…that type of Grammy.  A woman I most definitely want to be like.  So here’s to a crazy awesome Mom and a son who has rocked our world in the best way ever.  This is a Friday to remember.

{Post intended for today.}

Since I was making cookies yesterday and had some leftover dough, I decided to make a few with some of our favorite book characters.  We are crazy book people.  I, myself, do not read a ton…I wish I did.  I’m working on it.  Kids books on the other hand…The wee Kelleys, they are a whole new ball game.  We read every single day and lots of books.  We have way too many favorites, but some that are always in heavy rotation are as follows:

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems.  Every pigeon book actually.  Every Mo Willems’ book actually…they are all amazing.

Olivia by Ian Falconer.  Again…all Olivia books are off the hook.

A Color Of His Own by Leo Lionni.  Again…Leo Lionni…incredible.  Pictures are crazy good.

Not A Box by Antoinette Portis.  Way cute.

And Where Is The Green Sheep? by Mem Fox.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Mem Fox.

So I picked some of my favorite pictures from the book and set to work.  These will probably not see the end of the day.  They will be all eaten.  The wee Kelleys cannot wait to help devour them.  It’s probably going to be a good day.

What are some of your kids most favorite books?  There are great ones out there.

Have a great weekend.  Happy Friday!


We arrived back in the US this evening.  Bags are unpacked and dirty laundry is already in the wash.  Harper, Hudson and Solomon are all asleep in their own beds.  We are back in our house…together…but not complete.

Ethiopia was just as beautiful as we remembered and the people just as amazing as we remembered.  Our son, well he was stunning in every aspect.

As we sat in the Charlotte airport today, gate C16, I thought about how this was our last flight home.  We had been on 7 different airplanes and were about to board our 8th and yet, it didn’t feel like we were really going home.  My home is Josh and Harper and Huddy and Sol and now, our newest itty bitty member.  So home will really be home, when he has finally joined us…when we are all together…our new beginning.

So many things are still up in the air and honestly, I feel like we just rounded third base and headed straight for home plate, but we haven’t scored just yet.  We are so close…we are so close to diving head first into home plate and kicking up some dust…just so so close.

Since we started this journey almost 2 years ago, the one thing we knew for certain was that I would be staying in Ethiopia after court and through embassy.  Up until actually purchasing the tickets this was the decision.  I had done my homework and research and I knew what to expect and what to pack and I was ready…like really, really ready…and then some new things came to surface and advice was given to us and we began to second guess our decision that had so firmly been decided…written in stone.  I had done some major planning in Sharpie and then it seemed to completely unravel and all the work and research and effort and planning began to be erased.  And we decided we needed to take the counsel given from the wise…the people who had ALL the information and so we did.  One of the hardest things I have ever done was to book my ticket home from Ethiopia…even harder than that was actually getting on that plane with Josh and Harper today…maybe yesterday at this point…and actually leaving our boy.  I’ve thought all day about how to actually describe it and really, I don’t know if I could ever accurately depict what I felt today…I’m sure some of you can relate.  And since holding our son in my arms…I can call him our son now…I began to doubt our change in decision.  Isn’t that just like life…you think you have it all figured out…then something throws you for a loop…you reconfigure…and then just like that, you feel like you have to reconfigure it all again…again.  It’s almost too much for the brain.

Three nights ago, I woke in the middle of the night and just prayed.  I prayed more than I’ve prayed in a long time…like out loud…not written on paper, but out loud fervent prayers.  Prayers for our son and prayers for friends and for family, but yes, mostly for our new little guy.  And I told God I was handing this whole mess over to Him…He could have it because there was just no way I could carry it.  I try to do things on my own a lot, but when I held our tiny baby boy, I new instantly that this would be a whole new heartache I had never experienced before.  Leaving him was way too big for me to handle…way too emotional…much, much too heavy.

So today as we flew across the ocean…miles and miles and miles away from our boy…I cried a lot on the plane and in terminals and waiting in security lines.  But I reminded myself I had handed this over to God.  It was His now.

The night before we left Ethiopia Harper wanted me to read to her before we went to sleep.  One of the books she brought with her was this odd little book called The Lord Is My Shepard…Selected Psalms of Encouragement.  I have no clue where she even got the book.  It’s quite lengthy, so I told her to pick one page and we would read the page and then go to sleep.  She chose Psalm 62:

5-6 God, the one and only—
      I’ll wait as long as he says.
   Everything I hope for comes from him,
      so why not?
   He’s solid rock under my feet,
      breathing room for my soul,
   An impregnable castle:
      I’m set for life.

 7-8 My help and glory are in God
      —granite-strength and safe-harbor-God—
   So trust him absolutely, people;
      lay your lives on the line for him.
      God is a safe place to be.

I said I handed it over and I did.  I know this home stretch of waiting…this sprint down the third base line, will be wildly difficult…will take our breath away, but I have given this time…this last bit of wait…over to Him…to the One who is good and strong and is the rock under our feet.  I have nothing left, but to trust that He is going to take us all the way home and unite our small little family, finally, together as one.

So many more things to share and so many pictures to post.  We passed court…we are officially a family of 6…4 wee Kelleys…and God is just too good and I’m already ready to get back on those planes and see our itty bitty boy again.

Waiting On Court

Well here we are…one month in on our new waiting game for our court date.  I feel like God is really working on my patience…goodness knows, I need it!  Today everyone slept late.  Harper slept until 9am.  I told her I was really going to love her as a teenager…the girl likes her sleep.  So we got a late start on our morning pool time and all the while I just couldn’t get itty bitty boy off my mind.

We were driving over to Josh’s parents pool and Blessed Be Your Name by the Newsboys came on the radio.  Flashback city hit.  Almost 3 years ago to the day we were in the exact same position…in June we were waiting to hear about Solomon’s court date and I was driving Harper and Huddy over to swim at Josh’s parents house and this same song came on the radio.  I remember just sobbing over the song and I told Harper and Huddy…a wee 2-year-old and barely 9-month-old, how we needed to always praise God…good or bad…no matter what.  As we rode in the car I told the wee Kelleys the story all over again.  It was very surreal and gave my heart a bit of hope.  God cares about those small moments of hope.  I dig that.

(I still haven’t changed the clock in the van…hence it really being 9:51…and I may need to clean the van too.)

Then we got our swim on.  I’ve decided swimming is pure joy to the wee Kelleys.  They just swim their little hearts out.  They always do a little people watching too.  I’m afraid I am raising nosey kids 🙂

Harper is now a full fledged swimmer.  She jumps in the deep end and swims all the way back to the shallow in.  All she needed was a bit of confidence and to see my friend’s 3-year-old on Facebook swimming 🙂  She was super proud of herself.  And Sol isn’t far behind.

And Huddy…well, he’s just Huddy.  He’s brave and courageous and cautious all wrapped into one.  He’s just a bit more concerned with pulling himself up on the side…I love his upper body strength…and staying warm.

He talked Sol into chilling with him for a bit.  Sol is a good sport when it comes to showing his brother some love.

Sol may just in fact be a swimmer when he gets older.  Can you see it?  I can.  Be still my ever loving heart…this kid kills me.

Then they all did a bit of sun bathing before we headed home for some lunch.  I know just about every mother feels this way, but they just make my day.  I cannot for the life of me understand why God allowed me to be their Mom.  I am so honored.  Some days I feel like I am dropping the parenting ball all over the place…making huge mistakes…and then I just take a good long look at the 3 of them and I think to myself, “We’re going to make it.  We’re going to be okay.”  And I believe we are.

After lunch, to keep my mind busy and off hoping and praying the phone rings soon with our court news, we made up some Bunny’s Cake to share.  This may in fact be the best chocolate cake ever.  It’s my Aunt Peggy’s recipe, which she got from a sweet lady named Bunny years and years ago.  It is now known as Bunny’s Cake in our Hall family cookbook.

Go ahead and make some up today and thank me later.  Oh and it totally needs to be shared…it’s just too good not to share.

Happy Tuesday!