Three Strands

I am always on the lookout for new ministries to partner with.  The world is so wide and big to just partner with one or two groups.  I don’t want to miss all the amazingness out there.  My eyes are peeled for passionate people letting God use their stories and their hands to bring Him glory.  Makes me all kinds of teary eyed.

I recently was introduced to a ministry called Three Strands.  As I read about this ministry I big giant lady baby cried.  Completely sobbing.  As an adoptive Mom I know the immeasurable value of birth mommas…they chose life for their children.  They made hard decisions no one ever wants to make and they chose life when they could have chosen another route.

As an adoptive family we hear a lot of words which are intended to be nice and kind and encouraging, but often make us feel uncomfortable.  A lot of times we are praised for our choice to adopt, when really, those amazing and incredible birth moms are the deserving ones for those words.  Without them our family would be missing two incredibly precious boys whom our family needed.  Most the time birth moms & birth dads walk away forgotten, left behind and lacking a support system to help them move forward and process what just happened in their lives.

Three Strands is moving to change this.  Their vision:

No BirthMom leaves the hospital without a community of support that will honor her choice, help her heal and equip her with resources that will launch her forward with great promise for the future.

A BirthMom is a brave, unsung hero who has made the courageous, selfless choice of choosing life for her child and making an adoption plan to give that child the best possible life at that point on her journey.  Three Strands is making a difference by focusing solely on serving BirthMoms in the critical post-placement state.

They also meet and deliver bags to these precious mommas while they are in the hospital.  They fill a large Land’s End tote with things like a Ralph Lauren sweatshirt, frame with footprint paper, disposable camera & gift card for developing, an “I am beautiful” necklace, Vera Bradley toiletries bag, Mary Kay shower kit, fuzzy socks, Bath & Body works 3 wick candle and a John Maxwell book “The Choice Is Yours.”  All of these items we’re chosen by other birth moms.  What an uniquely curated gift for a birth mom on such a hard day.

I was given a list of the things they needed right now…cameras, gift cards, fuzzy socks and candles.  And thanks to all the January Bible journaling classes we set to work.  I love telling our kids about these kinds of ministries and why they exist.  I love fielding their questions and seeing their minds turn and process.  I always want to encourage them to think from a different perspective than their own.  Harper was, as always, more into picking items than the boys.  She hand picked every single candle and smelled every single one as well…if they didn’t pass her smell approval they did not make it to the counter :)

I am crazy excited to meet their director this weekend.  I may have already sent her a gushing email proclaiming A) my craziness and B) my love for this ministry already.  I made it very clear I am indeed completely crazy, but that we wanted to help.

You can find Three Strands on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.  Please check them out, like their pages, tell your friends and join in on this amazing movement of supporting a brave community of birth moms who are so often forgotten.

Happy Thursday.

Random Wednesday

On running:  I have been a runner for years.  I always say it’s like free therapy.  I mean, if I could A) afford and B) find the time to do therapy every week I totally would.  The therapy I do have under my belt was crazy good and helpful, but alas…monies & time.  So there’s running.  I love the physical and mental push, but sometimes I hate myself and this was one of those time.  THIS HIIT workout is insane and you will be dripping buckets of sweat.  Buckets.  Bump the 5.0 speed to 6.5 each time and you’ll cover well over 5.5 miles in your 45 minutes.

On Memphis:  Last Friday I headed to Memphis with a car load of Timbali and a cherry limeade in hand to teach a Bible journaling class.  It’s been a while since I’ve been alone in a car for that long.  I did things like think :) and jam to music.  Josh Kelley’s truck console is pretty much a music time warp…Everclear, old school Kings of Leon, The Darkness and so many more.

Sidenote:  Well first I clearly have two different sized eyes.  Hahahahahaha.  And second, I ended up in stand still traffic for forever and that’s when I discovered they had given me a diet cherry limeade VS a regular cherry limeade.  Oh the humanity!!!!!!!!!!!  Diet drinks are not my friends.  Ever!  End side note.

It was such a great night.  My cousin Rebecca hosted and my other cousin Amy came too.  I met the sweetest kindest ladies in all the land.  Everyone was just so nice.  They ate snacks and bought up Timbali and asked Bible journaling questions.  I can’t say enough how much I love talking about this subject so I love hearing what other people are thinking as well.

Top 2 favorite moments:

1)  Saturday morning I woke up early and walked into the kitchen.  Brian (Bec’s husband) was up.  He said Rebecca was still asleep.  I made a bee line for their bedroom and crawled right up in bed with her and then we just chatted.  This reminded me of my mom.  Anyway time talks were going on in her home we were either all snuggled up in her bed or sitting around her table.

2)  My Aunt Janie lives next door to Rebecca and we went over in the morning for breakfast.  Again, Mom flooded my heart and mind.  Aunt Janie fixed breakfast and we all gathered around her little table chatting and eating away.  I stayed a little longer than everyone else talking with Aunt Janie.  I even helped myself to her pantry for a bowl of cereal…or two :)  Aunts are like that.  You don’t even have to ask.  When I hugged her goodbye I creepily smelled her neck because she even smelled like mom.  Turns out she wears the same perfume.  We laughed.

And sadly I walked away with NOT ONE flippin’ picture.  Geez.

On brownies:  THIS is my go-to brownie recipe.  Solomon has an intense love affair with brownies and is always requesting brownies, but with added things…like chocolate chips, m&ms, chocolate sauce, ice cream, etc.  This year he went total homemade brownie ice-cream sandwich.  A true boy after my own heart.

On ice-cream sundae bags:  I love my Aunt Tootsie’s homemade chocolate sauce recipe.  Make it and then seriously eat it by the spoonfuls.

When you make it just get ready because there will be so much of it.  What I always do is divide it out into jars and then gift people with an ice-cream sundae bag.  You guys, this is so easy and so fun.  I love to share this sauce, but honestly, it’s just mean to give them a jar of chocolate sauce all by itself.  I’m not a monster.  Clearly this chocolate sauce needs friends.

 On Waiting Wednesday:  God’s word says His plan for us is perfect.  Praying over that perfect plan for this crazy sweet boy’s life today.  **Meet Shakur. Shakur is about 11 years old and is HIV positive. He lives in a rural orphanage in Uganda and does not currently have access to the medical care he needs to thrive. Despite a lowered immune system and bouts with pneumonia his spirit remains strong. He is an amazing and gentle boy who would be a blessing to any family. email erica.mho@gmail.com for more information.**

On Sins:  Sometimes I get incredibly jealous of people around me.  I envy the flexibility in their lives and the help they receive…how they are able to go and do all they go and do.  I play the comparison game big time which absolutely wipes out my joy.  Both of these unpleasant feelings stem from sin in my own life.  This year I have been praying very very fervently that God would use me as He sees fit…not how I see fit or what I deem important or valuable…but just as I am…5 kids, making ends meet, all that our life entails right now, in the madness & chaos, even despite myself…just as I am.  I want what He desires for me, not what He desires for someone else.  I want my everyday ins and outs, the monotonous, regular tasks at hand to bring Him glory.  I want my ordinary to still be extraordinary.  I’ve also been asking Him to change me.  I want to see and recognize and then combat all the ugliness in my heart.  I want to say my sins’ names out loud so I can recognize them for who they are.  I don’t want them to take root knowing good and well some of them already have.  I want God to do a major overhaul in and on my heart.  I want the junk, like pride and envy, to be ripped out…root and all.

Yesterday I finished up 1 Peter and 5:5 struck a deep chord.

ESV “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

the Message “God has had it with the proud, but takes great delight in just plain people.”

I want to be just my plain self before Jesus.  I want to clothe myself with humility.  I want to offer myself up just as I am and see the value and worth His plans for my life really have…even when they don’t resemble what I had in mind.  I want to know His plans for me are absolutely enough and how being humble can bring about great change in my heart.

On snacks:  I adore crunchy things.  Like pretty much obsessed.  These chips from Kroger are ridiculously good.  I don’t even like sweet potatoes and I could easily eat this entire bag.  The whole thing.  I have no shame party people, no shame.  Crunchy sweet potato chips for life.

Happy Wednesday.

February Bible Journaling Class

February is here and we’ve got this month’s Bible journaling class in our home on the books.  I have been absolutely amazed at how God is just adding more and more classes to the calendar.  It’s an honor. I simply love this class because I love reading the Bible now…which was not always the case up until about 18 months ago.  I love sharing about this crazy good game changer.

So here are the details:

When:  Saturday February 27th

Time: 1pm-4pm

Where:  Our house…near Nashville, TN

Cost: $50

As with every class, we keep none of the money and it all gets given away to do some kind of good in the world.  For January we bought tons of supplies for Three Strands.  If you have not heard of them check them out now.  I will share more soon.

This class will be 3 hours in length and we will talk about the process of Bible journaling and I will share how I go about this each day.  We will also talk about supplies and tips, tricks and techniques I use.  There will be time for questions throughout the class as well as time for you to do some of your own Bible journaling and practicing.

Each person will bring their own supplies.  You can read about the supplies I use on THIS POST, but please feel free to bring the items which work for you.  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PURCHASE THE ITEMS I USE.

There are 8 spots still available for this class.  If you would like a spot email me at pitterpatterart at gmail dot com or Message Me Here.  You can reserve more than one spot, so chat with your family and friends and make it girl’s day.  This will also be a kid free time…sorry, no kiddos.

I am so excited to share we are super close to having the class available online.  I have a ridiculously talented friend working on it and she’s crazy kind and good.  Kind people are the best kind of people.  I am also teaching this class to larger groups, women’s events, conferences and private parties/small groups, etc now.  It totally delights my heart to bring the class to you.  You can message me HERE if this is something you are interested in.  Every penny from these events also is given away and goes towards doing some kind of good in the world.  A purchase with great purpose.

Happy Tuesday!

Solomon {Seven}

I have been incredibly weepy about Solomon’s birthday this year.  First, I’m kind of an emotional train wreck lately.  When I saw Josh Kelley was drawing BB8 for his birthday door…I cried.  When our sweet photographer Cheyenne sent me a little preview of the pictures she took yesterday…I cried.  When we watched Kung Foo Panda 3 yesterday…I cried.  As I was making two pans of brownies for the birthday boy late last night…I cried.  Seriously, I’m a total lost cause.  Second, he’s freakin seven.  What on earth??!?!?!?

(photos by : Shots by Cheyenne)

He makes me weepy because I feel so dang lucky to be his momma.  I tell him all the time, I’m the luckiest momma on the planet and I stand by that :)  I also grieve for the missing parts.  I grieve for his loss and I thank God for his birthparents who chose life for him, but it’s all a mix of big emotions.  I’m simultaneously insanely thankful and honored to be his momma and also really sad on his behalf for the loss which has occurred in his life.  Adoption is beautiful, but also hard.  Celebrating our kids birthdays is so special and important to us, but for Sol it seems even more.  We don’t need big parties or elaborate set ups and decorations…just giving him the reigns to plan his special day and saying 1000 times over “We’re the lucky ones to have you.” seems to do the trick.

Solomon has always been a planner.  He thinks about all the details and mulls them over before committing.  He also is crazy into dessert choices.  Every celebration he comes up with a new concoction.  This year we celebrated early on Sunday since he has school today.  He nailed down all the details:

Sunday:  Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch.  Kung Foo Panda 3 right afterwards.  Skittles.

Monday:  Fun cereal for breakfast.  Lunch with mom at school.  Homemade brownies with mini M&Ms to share with his classmates.  Star Wars Rebels after school.  Pizza for dinner.  Brownie and mint chocolate chip icecream sandwiches with homemade chocolate sauce and whip cream.  Do you think we’re food people??!?!?!

This morning he was all smiles.  It’s his day.  Pretty sure he’s relishing in all the love and extra attention.  I mean, we even got to eat on the stage in the cafeteria at the big table with the fancy plastic table cloth.  Hudson and two friends of Sol’s choice joined us.  It was the sweetest.  All his friends gushed over his M&M brownie choice and one little girl said, “Is Solomon really nine today?”  He’s a tricky one too :)

Solomon Kelley you are a gift.  Being your mom is a highlight in my life.  I pray prayer after prayer over your heart and the life you will choose to lead.  I beg God to be everything you need…to be the answer to all of your questions.  I hope you truly know how big and deep and wide His love is for you and that His plan for you is perfect.  Dad and I are crazy about you.  You are fun and kind and hardworking and quick witted and smart as a whip and always ready to help and strong willed and determined.  We think you’re pretty grand.  We look forward to seeing how God uses you to change this world.  We love you more than brownies & ice-cream!!!!

Happy 7th birthday Solomon!

Currently…

Listening:  To Julie & Julia.  I’ve never seen it and several people have mentioned loving it.  I saw Meg post about watching it the other day, so I checked it out at the library.  So far it’s adorable and Julie is a blogger…which I love.  And she’s adorable.  And it’s about food.

Eating:  Nothing.  It was taco night which leaves zero leftovers.  If I had cookies I’d eat them.  Or chocolate.  Or ice-cream.  #help  I really want to make these Sea Salt Chocolate Macarons.  I had some a while back and wowzers!!!

Drinking:  Water.  Always and forever.  I do have a plan to snag a cherry limeade on my drive to Memphis tomorrow.  It is Friday and I’ll be missing happy hour with the Kelley kids, so I’ll carry it on alone.

Wearing:  PJs.  But I am loving these tees Created For Care has in their store.  I bought the Burn Bright for myself and the Born To Shine for Harper.  The money goes to help put on Created For Care and send adoptive & foster moms on the weekend retreat.  A purchase with purpose for sure.

Feeling:  Excited, overwhelmed, emotional, sad and hopeful.  Can someone feel all those emotions all at once?!?!?  Ha.

Weather:  Cold.  I pretty much hate winter.  Bring on Spring.

Wanting:  A new tattoo.  I really want to get something for all my kids, but am coming up empty on ideas.  Think I might go with something super simple and maybe geometric.  Also kind of digging a simple cross, but who knows.

Needing:  A good nights sleep.  True story.  I’m trying to get to bed earlier these days, but turns out it’s kind of lost cause.  I try though.  I really do.

Thinking:  About reform.  And the past.  And the present.  And how can we work to change things.  Just Mercy does that to you.  It’s amazing and heartbreaking and earth rocking.  It settles into your heart and mind and just sticks around…like it should.

Enjoying:  Julie & Julia.  I’m over an hour into it now and it’s adorable, funny, completely charming and makes me hungry.  I might eat a spoonful of peanut butter.  If only I wasn’t out of chocolate chips to put on top.  That sounds like a great idea.  Alas I might settle for pistachios.

 Happy Thursday night!

Night Thoughts

**Today I found myself alone for the very first time in 2 weeks and my mind just swirled.  I kick my mornings off early with my friend Alissa almost every week day.  Some days we have to start extra early and this morning was one of them.  After our workout I still had some time at home before kiddos we’re waking up for school so I did my Bible journaling.  1 Peter has been so great.  My mind raises with all it says about suffering…I’m processing all of that slowly and cautiously.  It scares me to pray for suffering. But this morning I was caught by 1 Peter 3:4.  I loved the comparison of the ESV version and The Message.

“…but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” ESV

“Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.” The Message

I want that kind of beauty and character.  I want the kind of beauty and character which God delights in.

 

**I’m heading to Memphis Friday afternoon for an evening Bible journaling class.  I am ridiculously excited.  A) I love talking about Bible journaling because it has rocked my world B) I get to meet new people which is hard for me & class makes it easier.  And C) 2 words: Car snacks!  I love good car snacks for road trips.  I’m a lost cause people.

**I’m “reading” Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson.  I think every person should read it.  Every.Person.  I cried in Joanns today while grabbing some supplies and listening.  It made my stomach just churn the whole time and my blood pressure rise and my heart split and several times I wanted to bail.  It’s hard to listen to and it should be, but every person needs to read/hear this book.

(I checked the audio book out from the library.)

**I’ve been getting work done which is so nice.  Key fobs are out of control and I finally quit taking pictures of them.  Ha.  It felt great today to have a solid amount of time just creating.

**We are feeling the ups and downs of foster care lately.  Emotions are all over the place for just about everyone involved which is hard.  What’s crazy is the range of honest human emotions felt.  Love, compassion, empathy, anger, sadness, frustration, exhaustion, hope.  All over the place and it’s hard handling that range of emotions some days.

**Amon and I are having lots of him and me time this week while the bigs are in school and our littlest has longer visitations.  We’ve picked out new glasses for me & Solomon a birthday gift, grocery shopped, banking, post office…he’s the greatest errand running partner of all time.  I let him pick a treat the other day and he chose a large peppermint patty.  It was the cutest thing ever watching him eat it.

**And another day another tea.  Peach this time.

Josh Kelley and I are finishing up a documentary called Ride the Divide and then I’m off to bed.

Peace out Wednesday night!

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Day No. 6

Snow day number 6.  I broke down and made cookies…two days in a row…and partook…because I’m not equipped to handle this many snow days with no sugar :)  We just finished some house wide reading time while the littles were napping.  It was quiet while everyone read and I read and Bible journaled…I’m feeling quite confident I can and will keep everyone alive for the remainder of the day.  It’s the little things right?!?!

We have played approximately 1,211 games.  Games, games and more games.  Board, card and the electronic variety.  We can’t stop.  Heavy in rotation is Speed, Yahtzee and Sorry.  Sorry is one of my favorites…I remember playing it over and over again when I was a kid.

Yesterday I decided our plates & bowls should most definitely be where our glasses & coffee cups are.  Obviously.  This is what too much time in our house does to my brain.  Josh Kelley was crazy enthused I decided to rearrange and purge kitchen cabinet contents.

More tea.  This time raspberry.  I don’t even know who I am anymore.  It’s quite delightful and makes me feel quite sophisticated.  And it’s hot.  Could tea make me smarter?!?!?  I think so.

I have gotten some work done and by some I mean a smidgen.  Ahhhhhhh.  I absolutely adore my kids, but my mind is also hard wired for creating.  When I create I feel so much myself.  And sometimes the quiet to hear myself think is crazy good for my head and heart.  Won’t you join me in prayer for our local school district and these ice covered roads.

 I did make up some extra key fobs while working on a large custom set.  They have not been clasped yet, so these can be personalized with your choice of text (10 words or less).  Shoot me a message HERE with the number (s) of the ones you would like to purchase.

**5, 7, 6, 9, 13, 18, 20 & 21 sold**

And we have our next Bible journaling class set for Saturday February 27th at our home from 1-4pm.  I’ll do an official post with all the details this week, but if you’d like to go ahead and grab a spot(s) you can message me HERE.  There are 10 spots available.

We are about to start our 15th movie and eat our 23rd bag of microwave popcorn in 6 days.  Send help and cookies.

Happy Monday!

Whoa Nelly!

Well we’re rocking another snow day, but this is no ordinary snow day for us.  We woke up this morning to a winter wonderland and it’s seriously snowed all day long.  I just took our most recent measurement.  Whoa Nelly!  That’s a lot of snow for Tennesseans.

I can’t remember ever getting this much snow.  Ever.  We have been living it up.  Josh Kelley is home and we’ve bounced between outside and inside to let our clothes dry all day long.

This snow is the good stuff.  Super easy to pack.  Great for snowballs and snow forts.  Sticks to your gloves.  Sticks to everything.  Easy to munch.  Super thick.  The kind of snow kids dreams of.

Josh and Hudson attempted building the Hoth rebel base.  Then our nephew Coop and his friends came over and these turned into the BEST giant snowballs for a fight.  We don’t kid around!!!!

Cookies have been made and consumed.  Popcorn snacking.  Shows going most of the day for warming up inside.  Lego playing.  Crosswords, word searches and mazes.  The dryer has been working over time…non-stop…all day long.  Tent building.  IPad time.  The whole 9 yards.

We took our current littlest out and almost lost her :)  Pink pants and pink boots for the win.  She loved it for a grand total of 15 minutes.

Mountain bikes we brought out.  Crazy high, thick snow meant Josh Kelley was the only successful biker.  Solomon gave it his best though.

I’m still working on my hot drink relationship.  Another tea.  This time black cherry and I was pleasantly surprised.

And this!!!  I read this passage and just cried like a baby.  We are chosen and then called out of our darkness and into not just any light, but His marvelous light.  Then mercy, boat loads of mercy.  Totally kills me.

1 Peter 2:9-10 ESV  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

What a week.  I didn’t give it my best.  I had a piss pour attitude the majority of it, but I felt His mercy today.  I felt the love big time today and basked in His light.  It was a crazy good day.  Here’s to a snowed in kind of weekend.

Happy Friday!