Bring Bennet Home

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Bad Blogger

Y'all I have been bad at blogging lately. And not for lack of blog worthy events, but because I can barely make myself sit and read your blogs for some reason, little alone think coherent thoughts to put into words for my own posts.
Since I last posted: Bennett turned one and we had a party. He also got to spend about 28 hours in the hospital. Chris fell off a kitchen chair while keeping all three boys alone and was shortly there after found way out of it by a church friend and got to ride in an ambulance. (He's ok, but has really hurt his shoulder and been in lots of pain.) Halloween has come and gone along with our church's Fall Festival. We also had a semi-disastrous family picture session. Geez - three boys all looking and smiling at the same time is near impossible! All of these things have pictures that accompany them. All of them have stories and information I need to document, should document. But the free space in my brain can't seem to compute. I'll get it done. Some day.
But we're all here. Alive and well. Loving our new home and church family. So until I can muster up some more thoughts there ya have it!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Casen's Gotcha Day - October 1st, 2013

After an entire year of adoptions we are finally done with all the red tape, paperwork, follow up visits and court appearances. We have been extremely blessed to not experience any problems with any of our adoptions, but the process is still a little grueling. We were once again surrounded by family as we stood before a judge and officially added the fifth Gordon to our little tribe. Hooray for being done with adoptions... at least for a long while! 
The boys all needed a little snack. Thank goodness there were plenty of Grandma's around to help them out.

Pictures of all five of us are always a crap shoot. You get what ya get these days.

Thankful for how these three love my three. We couldn't do life without their help and we for sure wouldn't have survived the last year without their endless sacrifices and love. SO thankful that I have the family I do.

DiDi and her Gordon boys. We're thankful that Chris's family also loves our fellas so much!

Our last little Gotcha.

Tuck had plenty to tell the Judge. He's a hoot! But here we are. All five Gordon's. What a great place to be!
We are so thankful for the three boys God chose for our family to love. I can't imagine life without any of them. We have been exceedingly, abundantly blessed.  

Moving On

So we made the big move last month. We left the house we became a family in. This was an extremely emotional process for me. I was surprised how often the tears came as I packed away memories of babies and accomplishments and transitions that the walls of our home for the last five years held. I unprepared. Excited for what was coming next, but sad to leave this sweet home where so much life had happened. Here are some things I want to remember. Some of my favorite walls. 
This was Tucker's room. Even though we only had three weeks to get ready for his arrival I painted this wall for his nursery. I loved how fun it turned out and spent time before he was born just looking at, dreaming of the boy who'd live in that room. He has not disappointed. 
When we found out Bennett and Casen would be joining our family we didn't know if Casen would be a boy or a girl so I wanted to go with something neutral just in case a little lady would share this room with her big brother. I also loved all the chevrons that cluttered my Pinterest feed so that's what we ended up with for Ben. 
The youngest couldn't be neglected with a fun wall all his own. These were the hardest to paint, but I loved how they turned out. 
These are my Africa Baskets and they have hung in every house I've lived in since college. I got them the summer I lived in Zambia and I still love them. This is probably my favorite configuration of them. They hung in our living room in Sayre and reminded me daily to pray for those who live on the other side of the world. 

Things started to get real.
It's like the Friends finale all over again!

We left our mark. I wanted to leave a note behind because we will never be the same because of the time that 2 Darla Drive provided shelter and safe harbor for our growing family.
When we arrived in Greenfield we were welcomed immediately by note from our kids at church. Pretty special. 

The boys enjoyed the new "toys" that now littered our new house as I unpacked. 

Here's a picture of a newly painted and decorated wall in our new house.  I  like how things are shaping up. We're excited to see what life has in store for us in our new home.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Move

Let me begin by stating the obvious... moving with small children is dumb. hard. frustrating. stupid. Pretty much any not fun adjective you wanna throw in there applies. This was our first move since adding the three little people and man do they come with lots of accessories! Added packing. Added loading. Lots of added logistics.
But we did it! I sent the little blessings to my Mom's for three days so I could pack. And that I did. I packed like a crazy woman. From sun up till well past sun down for three solid days I packed myself silly and got all I could done and left out only the essentials. Well what I thought were essentials, but it turns out I'm not so good at packing in advance because we spent the next nearly two weeks trying to string together with what we had to make things work without unpacking a single box. Packing was hard this time. Full of emotions and just being overwhelmed by the shear amount of stuff we've accumulated in five years. When we moved into our house in Sayre I thought we'd never fill it up, but add three people and it happened without a whole lot of effort or realization from me.
We downsized houses in this move so that also made things a little tricky. As I packed I also purged. I didn't think I'd have enough stuff to have a garage sale because we had a massive one last year to raise adoption money, but turns out I had plenty to do another sale. So we squeezed that into the move as well. Who wants to move junk you know you don't want/need anymore? We had a great turn out and sold all our big stuff plus made enough money to buy new living room furniture for the first time in our lives. New furniture!
Furniture shopping was exciting and fun at first. After the initial trip it became overwhelming and a little stressful. Too many choices and lots of money. Anyway after a trip to a couple of Mom & Pop stores and one to the big guys we ran back to Main street and bought a really great navy couch and love seat along with a new khaki recliner with our garage sale money. It was fun to get to get new stuff that wasn't hand me downs and will be wonderful for this phase of life.
Nearly two weeks after my packing frenzy we sent the boys back to Purcell and loaded up a U-Haul and trailer (and by we I mean Chris and some guys from FBC Sayre) and left 2 Darla Drive behind. This was a super emotional process for me. Leaving our church and home of five years was tough. I cried a lot more then I expected to. We became a family in that house. Tucker and Bennett took first steps there. Chris and I transitioned from a couple to parents under that roof. Not to mention saying goodbye our neighbors, friends and church family. It was all awful!
They had us stand before the church on our last Sunday and people came by to hug us and stuff. The second lady in line was Dora Jean. She's a spunky 85 year old lady who wears shorts no matter the weather and gives us gum every single week. She is who I hope I age into. I mean she's a hoot! Anyway she was crying and sent me into a weeping mess for the rest of the procession. Sayre was a wonderful place for us and we were so well loved there. Saying good bye is always hard I think, but when it's been so good it's even worse. The three girls I was closest to there and I didn't even say good-bye. We just couldn't. I just told them I loved them and see ya later. I couldn't do the whole thing with them.
We arrived in Greenfield to a house full of helpers who unloaded our stuff, brought us dinner and breakfast, put our beds together and just enveloped us with love from the moment we stepped out of our cars. We have been just overwhelmed by how people are already loving us here! Who knew this pastor's deal would be so sweet? Chris has preached two Sundays in our new place and he's done great. We're thankful to move from one good place to another. Watching Chris in his new role further confirms this is where we're supposed to be. It makes the sadness, Tucker's questions and the disruption to our routines worth it.
I'm still trying to make our new place feel like home. The to do list is still really long. But this move has made me decide I don't want to do all of this again anytime soon so I hope the people here really like us! Moving is for the birds!!!
Let me also say we could NOT have moved without the overwhelming help of my Mom and sister. They kept the boys so we could be productive and to make the transition easier on all five of us! They were troopers and I'm once again reminded how much I have to be thankful for when it comes to my family. I seriously wouldn't want to/couldn't do life without them!!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Pastorate

When I met and married Chris Gordon I did so with full awareness that he was in the ministry. That I would join him in that. I wanted to work alongside him with teenagers. I wanted to be heavily involved. I also entered into this agreement with NO desire to "promote" from being the Youth Pastor's wife to being the Pastor's wife. No thanks! I do not fit the mold of what that looks like in my own head, little alone in anyone else's.
Before moving to Sayre we got calls from other churches very regularly. I mean like one a month or so. But when we got here the calls stopped, which was WONDERFUL! When you live where your "called" it's harder to know where that's supposed to be sometimes. At least it is for me. Not having that stress for three years was just what we needed. When we started in Sayre we had just weathered two very difficult summers in ministry. I really wanted to be done before we came here. I wanted to join a church and minister as Sunday School teachers or something. No more full time ministry, but God had other plans. When the first church contacted us it after we'd moved to Sayre it was almost a shock. It was the first time I ever contemplated actually leaving our people here. And we have some really good people in Sayre, America. I cried at the thought of saying goodbye to these precious folks who have loved my family so well. We interviewed with this church and even went and visited but as soon as we arrived I knew we wouldn't be moving there. It was big. Big city. Big church. Busy schedule. Little input. I just couldn't see us there. Sure enough the door closed with them, but the thought of leaving had been planted and processed a little. In the coming months Chris got a few more calls, but nothing that was promising. This all began in December 2011.
The following spring Chris began wrestling with another calling he felt on his life. People confirmed him without even knowing where he was. On and on that spring he kept feeling more and more like he was supposed to be a pastor. I thought he'd be a great pastor, but I did NOT want to be a "Pastor's Wife!" But as we talked about it I thought it'd be safe for me to go along and play the role of the supportive wife because of all the "strikes" that we have against us. We have tattoos, plural. More than one. Okay for the youth guy, not so much for the preacher. We have brown kids. Some folks still don't think that's a great idea. I'm opinionated and overly involved and sometimes hateful and 100% not precious. I usually don't see my husband doing church work and being gone from us as "laboring for Kingdom purposes" I mostly feel sorry for myself and resent him for not being at home to help me. I'm selfish folks. It's ugly. For most guys their first place to be the Pastor is small and filled with little old couples who don't like tattoos or the color we would add to their Fold. Like my grandparents before they fell in love with my fellas. We were safe from actually having to BE the Pastor's family, or so I thought.
For over a year Chris sent his resume to churches all over the state. Big ones, small ones. City churches or country congregations. We only interviewed with one and while we thought it was promising it didn't pan out. In July we got a full day together with no babies. The first one in a long while, like maybe since Casen was born in February or Bennett in October. I can't remember. But on our day of uninterrupted conversations my original dream came back up.
I have a huge crush on Jen Hatmaker. I want us to be like her and Brandon, her hubs. I would love to just follow her around and laugh at her sarcastic wit and honest way of living transparently. I fell in love with her the first time I read her blog about her adoptions. I just think like she does. I want to raise my family like she's raising hers. Learning to the BE Jesus instead of just knowing about Jesus. Anyway, on our day away church planting came back up a la Hatmaker. That's always been a down the road dream for us. But after a year of sending resumes with no promise of a church on the horizon we thought maybe that was more of a now thing then we thought. We got really excited about that option and began looking into the how to's and trainings and support methods etc... Then about three weeks later Chris came to me convinced he's supposed to go to seminary before we could plant. Not just online, but he was sure we were supposed to move to Wake Forest, North Carolina. NORTH CAROLINA. Needless to say I was none too thrilled about the thought of moving cross country with our brood for four years. No thank you. I did not want to go. We even went and visited and while it was a beautiful place, I don't like living three hours from my family, little alone 21 hours away.
About a week before we left on our little visit Chris got a call from a guy in Greenfield, Oklahoma. (I owe you a dollar if you know where Greenfield is.) Chris explained to him we were moving to NC for seminary, but the guy continued to ask questions for almost two hours. In the next week Chris received three more calls from different people who were on the Pastor Search Committee at Greenfield Baptist Church. Including one from a guy named Smokey as we landed in Durham, NC. It seemed pretty obvious that we needed to talk to this committee before we committed to moving so far away, especially since I wasn't exactly on board. The more people Chris talked to the clearer it became that this was from God and I was suddenly way more excited to be a preacher's wife. Apparently I needed the threat of moving 20-ish hours away from family to get excited about a role I've stereotyped to death. We went and interviewed with the committee and at the end of our evening with them they invited us to come in view of a call September 15th. Every bar we set for them they jumped over, including Chris attending seminary. Not only can he do it online, he can take hybrid classes and make 2-3 trips to Southeastern a year and finish in a reasonable amount of time. The church is not only supportive of this idea, but are willing to pay for ALL of it. Fees, books, flights, expenses while staying... ALL OF IT! See - they've jumped over our bars. I could go on and on with how God has confirmed this is His will for our family.
We went this weekend and were so loved on. It's a tiny church in a really tiny little community. It's halfway between Geary and Watonga and about 100 people live in Greenfield and the three businesses in town are the church, a co-op and a post office that's only open three days a week. The church runs 50-75 on Sunday morning and the best part is that most of those people are our age! With kids our boys age! That is unheard of in small country churches. Chris was voted in with the church's first ever 100% vote. We are packing up and saying goodbye to five years in Sayre this week and will start in Greenfield September 29th. It's crazy!
I'm packing up a storm and purging five years worth of accumulation. I mean we've added three people to our family in this house. It's unbelievable how much stuff we have. I've never packed kids before and man oh man it adds some boxes. But we are busy packing, purging and garage sale-ing while we say goodbye to a place and people that will always be so precious to our hearts.
Please say a little prayer for our family, our youth group that we're leaving and our new church family as we all transition. Pray specifically that our boys make the move smoothly and the students we're leaving will weather the change well. Lots of change, but lots of good things to come.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Bennett's 10 & 11 Months Letter

Oh my sweet Bennett,
You are just so busy these days. You wake up, want down and only make exceptions when you're hungry to sleepy. You are fast on all fours and could walk if you really wanted to. You've taken a couple steps here and there, but I think you're waiting to take off till you can run. You're so close! I keep thinking you'll take off any day now. You already keep up with Tucker at all costs and love to play with both your brothers.
You love your brothers, balls and your blanket. You refuse to sleep without it and no others will do. It's pretty cute that you have a lovie. One more way you are total opposite of your big brother. You still love your Daddy most of all and also love to say "Dada" while refusing to say Momma at all. You occasionally say "Bubba." You still love to clap your hands, patty cake, and blow kisses. You also really enjoy singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider or rather watching Momma and Tucker sing it. You are also becoming quite the little dancer. You love to shake your booty when you hear music, pretty cute! You also really like Tucker's trampoline and bounce on your knees until Tucker jumps close enough to bounce you. Sweet brothers.
You do not love to be fed anymore. You are so independent in all you do really. You'd much rather figure things out yourself, but you will still let us help with some things. You hate having to be still enough to get your diaper changed. You are definitely strong willed and make your own mind up about things/people. You are a little mean, especially to Casen. You LOVE to pull his hair or be rough with him and it seems like you're doing it on purpose sometimes, Little Turkey! We have to watch you guys all the time.
You are eating lots of table foods now and we haven't found much you don't like. Your favorites are yogurt, ritz crackers, biscuits, beans, sweet potato, grapes and bananas. You still eat baby food regularly.
You wear size 12-18 month clothes because your so long. Your in size 4 diapers. You weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 pounds. You are waking up once a night again for some reason and while we really loved sleeping through the night once with two under a year old isn't bad. You have 8 teeth and are working on some more. You've been pretty cranky this last couple weeks and running a low grade fever on and off.

We have an appointment scheduled for you see an ENT who will remove the cyst on your eyebrow. It's kinda scary, but also routine for the doctors. Nothing to be concerned about they think.
You flew on your first airplane this month and you did great! It was also our first time to travel with a baby on board, but we had no reason to worry. You were a trooper. We flew to Durham, North Carolina and spent a few days checking out the seminary Daddy is going to start taking classes from.
I cannot believe you are almost a year old! This year has passed so quickly! You have been the absolute best baby on the planet. While your independence is causing a little bit of discipline you have truly been one of our best dreams come true. I cannot imagine life without your sweet toothy smile, your slobbery kisses or you precious giggles. I'm so thankful that God chose me to be your Momma!
I love you more,

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bennett's Gotcha Day - August 15th, 2013

We FINALLY got to finalize our sweet Bennett Harris's adoption on August 15th. It was a long road with a few bumps in Texas, but it was well worth it! We got to go to court in Sayre which made it extra special because some really special people got to come/be involved. Tucker wasn't sure what to think of the court room and the official business. When the clerk, a friend of ours, asked everyone to rise for the judge Tucker said, "Oh no!" SUPER loud and provided a good laugh for everyone in the court room. I hope we added a little funny to a very serious day for everyone else who was waiting to see the judge that day. We're so thankful for the blessing of adoption in our life and all of the support from our friends and family that have made it possible. 
Our sweet lawyer, Molly Priest and Judge who gave all three boys surprises after the official proceedings were over. She was awesome!

The whole crowd. We're blessed to be loved so much by so many.

Bennett and Granna we're both super excited for him to officially be a Gordon!

August 15th made it hard for every one from my family to come because one of our favorite girls started kindergarten that same day. 

Man oh man, do I love this boy! He is definitely in my top four favorites of all time! 

Di-Di and her Gordon Boys.

Chris's Dad and Grandma Chloe came over from Elk City to be apart of Bennett's Gotcha Day!

These boys LOVE their Granna girl! We wouldn't have all survived this long without her endless help, advice, patience and support. I have the best Momma!

Two down, one to go!!!

Casen's 6 & 7 Months Letter

Casen Cole,
Man alive I don't way these letters are so difficult for me to keep up with. I think all the warm and mushy thoughts I did with Tucker, but writing them down seems much more difficult with #2 and #3. I really do love you and apologize for being behind.
You have done some really great things since I last blogged about you. You sit up with ease, you're pushing up on all fours in preparation for crawling (bless it!), you eat 2-3 jars of baby food a day and the biggest, greatest most fab accomplishment is you've almost stopped throwing up all the time!!! This is a HUGE deal! We accidentally changed your formula about a month ago and it has made the biggest difference in you. Not only do you not spit up as much, but you are in a much better mood. You will sit alone without direct interaction and let Momma do something else. You still prefer to be around all the action and your brothers, but the fact that you will sit alone is amazing. I feel so bad for keeping you on the other formula for so long because I really think that was the problem. I wish I'd tried earlier, but your doctor didn't think it would help so I didn't.
You are so smiley and lovey these days. You love to kiss and nuzzle into my neck. You climb up whoever is holding you with your super strong monkey-like toes making you hard to hold. You're super strong and just too cute for words. Now that you feel better your sweet personality shines a whole lot more often.
You are wearing size 6-12 months clothes and size three diapers. The only foods you don't really like are green beans and some of the veggie mixtures. But you really like to eat from a spoon and eat puffs. Your coordination is getting better every day as you put things in your mouth. You've also started drinking a little from a sippy cup everyday and you love that cup, but hate to hold it! You get super excited when you see me bringing it to you, but you would much rather someone hold it to your mouth for you to drink. You drink watered down juice much better then Bennett but he holds his cup.
July and August were busy months as usual. In July we went swimming, to the lake, Granna's and to Falls Creek. In August things have slowed down a little. We spent some time in Purcell and playing with friends, but have been closer to home for sure. We had your final post placement visit and are waiting to hear from our lawyer about your finalization date. We're so ready to have all the red tape over with for your adoption. Soon my baby boy!
You LOVE your big brothers and much prefer them to around for you to watch or play with. Your favorite toys are a bendable rabbit, a cement mixing truck that makes lots of noises and the wire and block maze toy. You also love the water... you liked swimming and love your baths. You flap your little arms to splash the entire time you're in the water. You also like to watch TV, particularly a Praise Baby-like DVD that makes noises and sings. We keep that one on in the van so you will ride in your new convertible car seat without screaming. Another fun development! You are also becoming quite the little chatter box. I love to hear you "talk" to your toys and to us. One of my favorite times you do this is when you're going to sleep and we're rocking I sing to you and you sing your sleepy songs with me for a while. You get really still and close your eyes and just sing away for a little while. Pretty sweet songs Case.
You are seven months old! I don't really know how we got here. Time has gone by in a blur this last year, but we are so thankful that you are the finishing piece to our trifecta of fellas. We love you so much and are over joyed to watch you grow and change. You are tough, strong willed and know what you want. But you are also so sweet and your face lights up with pure joy and excitement when you see me or your dad or when we kiss your neck. I can't imagine life without you and I'm so thankful for you. I knew you were meant to be ours long before it became official. Next week will mark one year since K asked us if we would add you to our tribe and I never had an easier time saying yes to someone. There wasn't even a question in my mind. We're so thankful for you and who you are in our family.

Love you more,

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The List

The inevitable list. I have to make them. When big decisions arise I am compelled to write down the good and the bad so I can see the pros and cons in black and white. I often refer back to these lists and laugh at the things I saw as good or bad before making choices and for the things I  couldn't see beforehand. So here we go!



  • Chris would gain confidence before pastoring/planting. He would be more educated and have a better base of knowledge to lead people as a pastor.
  • The community surrounding a place where everyone is on a level playing field because of a joint goal. Being able to be submerged in a like minded culture and making life long bonds because of the time we'd share in North Carolina.
  • Proving to myself that I can do it. 
  • Getting to make another house our own with creative touches. 
  • Chris and I would have to depend way more on just each other.
  • We'd be a hour and a half from the beach.
  • The boys would be 7 and 4 when we actually plant a church instead of 3 and 1. 

  • It's in North Carolina!
  • We'd be 20 hours away from any family!!! (I feel like this one needs lots of emphasis because this is the BIGGEST con of all!)
  • We know no one.
  • The boys would miss out being surrounded by family for 3-4 years.
  • Isolation of sorts.
  • If something bad happened in Oklahoma we'd be so far away we couldn't do anything to help or to get home quickly.
  • I wouldn't get to see my mom and sisters regularly.
  • Chris will be stretched thin to manage full time school, a job and our family. 
  • Chris would be my only real support system.
  • The next 3-4 years will be some of the toughest parenting-wise because of the boys ages. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Casen's First Haircut

Aunt Sassie made it five months before getting a hold of our Casen Cole's beautiful curly locks. She cut an inch to an inch and half off all over his head. It was LONG! The eldest got his first hair cut videoed and hundreds of snap shots taken. The middle got some pics from the iPhone. And the poor third little guy gets to sit on barstool in a shower for his first hair cut with a big cousin to photograph the whole ordeal. Sorry Casen! At least there are some pictures of the big event, right?

Date Night with Tucker

Last Thursday night my Tucker boy and I took off for a very special date night. He's been asking to go see Turbo every time he's sees the preview so we snuck away and left Daddy with the littles and got some good quality time in. Our closest movie theater is about 25 minutes away and their website said they had a 4:30 showing, but lied. It wasn't until 7 pm. We arrived for the early show and then had to kill some time waiting for the next show time. We walked around and did some shopping. We ate mexican food at the request of my grilled cheese ordering boy. And we made a quick stop at the park to ride the
carousel and the train before finally heading off to watch a snail become a race car. It was a fun night and I look forward to many more dates with all three of my little men. It's good to be the Momma of boys!

Asking The MOST

In 2006 I entered into a covenant relationship with Chris Gordon. I agreed to life with him. I willingly said "I do" and we started a partnership that has been good. We work well together. We have not been without our share of bumps, disagreements, growing pains and hardships, but we've always been able to work through the things that have come up because we have always been on the same team, the same page, working toward the same end.
This weekend he asked me to do something that I do NOT want to even entertain, little alone do. He told me that he thinks we are being called by God to move to Wake Forest, North Carolina for him to attend seminary at Southeastern.
Before this life altering statement our plan was to begin the steps to plant a church in Norman, Oklahoma. We were planning to attend a church planting conference in September in LA. To begin looking for ministry positions in the Norman area so we could live where we want to plant and begin to build relationships. All of this is 20 minutes from my family. Dream. Come. True. We have friends there. We know our way around. Our family is close. We love Norman and have always wanted to live there. 
But Chris came to me Friday and said instead he'd like us to move 20 hours away. To live in married student housing. With three little boys. Chris would be going to school full time, working to provide enough for us to get by on and being my only source of support. All five of us living in 1,000 square feet for at least three years, probably more. Little money. Far away. All alone. None of this sounds like a good idea to me. It sounds a lot like prison for me instead of the dream I'd pictured in Norman. 
We literally "know" five people there. I say "know" because it's not like we're close to them. We know of them. Barely acquaintances. Having three boys so small at the same time is hard and I cannot do it alone. I've had to have lots of help. I don't like to ask for it, but my family has stepped up in unbelievable ways. As have lots of friends in Sayre. They give of themselves and their time to help me out and give me enough sanity to scrape by some days. The thought of moving TWENTY hours away is really unthinkable. I don't know that I'll survive it. I've never lived that far away from my family, nor had any desire to. I have had lots of adventures, but I don't feel like we're in an adventuring season of life right now. We are still in survival mode in lots of ways. Day to day is all I can handle. It's a challenge.
The bottom line is I do not want to move across the country. The boys are part of the reason/excuse, but really I don't want to. We are really praying about it and I'm trying to be open to the idea, but it's hard to even ask the Lord what He wants in this situation because I already have my mind made up. I don't want Him to make me do this. I think that Chris is capable of being a fantastic pastor/church planter without seminary. I don't see that what he will gain will offset what moving there will cost all of us. I can see it as a benefit to Chris, but not to the four other members of our family or our marriage.
Trying to process this has dominated my thoughts all weekend and they don't get more positive. I don't want to go kicking and screaming and I don't think Chris would do that. But what are we supposed to do if one of us feels called to something the other does not? How does this scenario end in Happily Ever After? I don't know. Ugh.

Next Steps

Next. Sometimes next is a scary word. Sometimes it's exciting or nerve wrecking or unknown or an adventure. Sometimes it's all of those things in one.
A year and a half ago we received a phone call from a church asking for Chris's resume. This was the first call like this we'd received in three years! This was a big change because before that we had recieved calls pretty regularly. At the time we couldn't imagine leaving Sayre. Saying good bye to these students and people who have become our extended family. The ones who have helped us welcome our babies and supported us through thick and thin. It was really inconceivable. That oppertunity didn't pan out (for the best) but it made us start thinking through what would be next for our family.
Soon after that interview I discovered my woman crush - Jen Hatmaker. I love her. I want to be her best friend. I would love to go to Austin and stock her until she finally added me to her Tribe. I started reading her stuff and quickly gobbled up all she'd ever written. I also read a book her husband had written and began to become super burdened for doing ministry differently. She talks a lot about typical churches "blessing the blessed." That has rang in my heart for over a year. That's what we do. That's what our life's work is. Blessing blessed kids. Making sure they're entertained and engaged and kept comfortable. Not exactly what the Bible talks about. There's not a Beatitude that says, "Blessed are those who bless the bless for they shall be blessed even more." Nope. Jesus tended to look on the outskirts for followers. For people who would believe in Him with all they had. Without questions or reservations. Those who weren't all clean and shiny and expecting. The widows. The orphans. The prostitutes. The invalids. Those society would rather forget about then deal with. We still do that. We still push those who make us uncomfortable to the side expecting welfare programs to care for those who can't care for themselves. I don't want my boys to grow up and not know what need looks like. To become an adult with no idea of what struggles some people face. I want them to know how blessed they are to live where they live and have what they have. I don't want to compete with society and name brands and entertainment. I want them to know what it is to serve others and not think themselves any better then those they're serving. I want them to BE Jesus, not just know who He is.
When Chris was in high school he went on a mission trip to Montana (I think) he thought then he'd be a church planter some day. He's always had a heart for spreading the Gospel by means of church planting. When I brought that up to him after reading Jen Hatmaker he got excited too. We dreamed and talked about what we'd hope a church would look like. Programs and outreaches to those really in need. About being Jesus' hands and feet in a much more literal way then we've ever done in our life or ministry. But we didn't want to just go plant a church because it sounded cool or because we'd get to do things the way we wanted/thought they should be done. I guess mainly due to those thoughts we assumed that planting would maybe come later in our ministry, especially after we found out we were going to grow from a family of three to five really fast. So instead we readjusted our thoughts and prayers.
About a year ago Chris began to feel like he was supposed to transition from the role of Youth Minister to Pastor. He has grown and developed so much while we've been in Sayre and I can see the traits of a Pastor growing in him. He is a man I'd want to follow as my Pastor. He began sending resumes to churches all over the state of Oklahoma. Big. Small. City churches. Country churches. Older congregations. Younger ones. All different types of places. Only one church called him for an interview. We went and visited with FBC Amber, Ok in February. Everything looked really promising but quickly fell apart. The door closed and we went back to praying.
I should say I have not been even a little excited about the thought of being a pastor's wife. I don't think I fit into that mold of who I think a pastor's wife should be. I'm not precious. I don't sit on the front row or go forward to pray every week. I don't want to direct VBS or kids choir or ladies Bible study. Well maybe that last one, but I just have had a really hard time finding my place in this new avenue of ministry. I feel called to ministry too. And I've had a big part of our ministry the last seven years. I don't feel like I'm done or that motherhood is my only calling/ministry even though it does dominate my time right now. I still have a purpose outside of our house in ministry. I've prayed and tried and supported as best as I can, but I've just never been as excited about pastoring as the next stage as Chris has been. Not like I was about church planting a year and a half ago.
On July 6th Chris and I got a whole day to ourselves. I think this is the first time since Casen was born that we've had a whole day by ourselves. We drove to Norman for a concert (GARTH BROOKS!!!) and then came home. We had a lot of time in the car to talk. Like finish conversations and everything! Only parents of young children can truly appreciate how nice it is to finish a sentence or whole thought without interruption. Luxury at it's finest! We hashed a lot of things out and found out that both of our hearts were still drawn to planting. Not because there aren't enough churches. Not because others aren't doing it right. Not because another church hasn't hired us, but because we both feel an inexplicable drawing to it. Because it's the only thing we've both agreed on or been excited by. Because we've done our due diligence with looking for an existing church.
It looks like this is what's next for our family. There's an organization called Acts 29 that partners with planters and teaches and supports them. The way they go about things is really cool and just fits with our direction. They offer a bootcamp in September we're planning on attending to help flesh more of this thing out. There is much to happen and line up for this to continue past this dream stage, but it's exciting none the less to think of this new thing. New body. New way of doing church for our family and our boys.
I'm so excited to see how God works the details out and what this looks like further down the road. Hopeful. Excited. Anxious. Lots of emotions, but a confidence knowing the direction the Father has for us.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

First Stitches... well kinda

Our lazy Sunday afternoon became pretty exciting pretty quickly. Chris was getting ready to head back to church for deacon's meeting around 4 o'clock. Tucker woke up during this process, so Chris had both babies in our room while he was getting dressed while I cuddled with our sleepy big boy.
I heard Bennett playing with the mirror in our room. It's leaned up against the wall and I thought to myself that we needed to move it to a more secure place. Chris walked the two steps across the hall to tell me he was about to leave and we heard a crash. Bennett had pulled the mirror over on he and Casen in the 30 seconds Chris had his back turned.
Chris ran back into our room and yelled for me. I could tell there was panic in his voice so I rushed in. He was holding Casen and trying to wipe blood off his forehead. I grabbed him from Chris and quickly decided the gash on his forehead was for sure worth a trip to the ER for stitches. We quickly put clothes on the boys and I and rushed out the door. On the way to the hospital we called some friends who could watch Bennett and Tucker. Chris dropped Casen and I off and came back to deposit the other boys. He then rejoined us at the ER. The small ER is one of the benefits of living in a tiny town: you know the nurses, its quick and there's no judgement! (I was a little worried just because of Casen's age that the hospital staff would make a big deal out of a tiny accident.)

They quickly cleaned up our baby boy and were able to use glue to close the gash on his forehead instead of stiches. He didn't even cry! He just laid super still and let the doctor work on him. He's a pretty tough guy!

We are all home and fine now. It ending up being a pretty stressful afternoon, but we're thankful Casen is ok. It could've been so much worse! My great grandma always said little things happen so big things won't so we will be watching our little tribe much more closely and not taking chances. It really only takes a few seconds!

Bennett's Nine Month Letter

Bennett Harris,
My sweet baby boy! If I were to describe your personality in one word it would be sweet. From top to bottom that's what you are. You continue to be our laid back boy whose happy to be along for the ride or watching the excitement around him. You are just uber precious and an instant charmer to anyone who meets you.

You are getting so big and doing so many new things. You crawl anywhere you want to be and you're pretty fast. You are pulling up like a champion, but you do it backwards from most babies. You push up on your legs with your hands (booty in the air) and then walk your way up furniture with your hands. You get what you want this way, that's for sure! You have five teeth and I think a couple more will be through soon.

You are wearing size three diapers and 6-12 months clothes. Your nine month things are getting really snug though. You eat baby food three-ish times a day and like everything except green beans, peas, apricots and peaches. You still like your bottles and are flexible between eating solids and bottles. You also like puffs, mums mums and rice cakes. You also have started eating tiny bites of table food most times we eat. Mostly soft vegetables and breads, but you really like them none the less.

You patty cake all the time, blow kisses, wave your hand no-no and flap your wings to be picked up. You're becoming a pretty proficient communicator without words! You have come up with several this month -- "Dada" of course is most popular! You love your Daddy and are for sure a Daddy's boy. I knew you'd say his name first and I'm glad you finally got around to it. You can also say bye-bye, Bubba, hi and several other sounds that aren't quite words yet. Soon you'll be talking up a storm I'm sure.

Our ever flexible child you have been lots of places this month. We have been to the park in Elk City, swimming at Red Hill, Falls Creek and to watch lots of weeball. You were unsure about the carousel but you liked the train. You LOVE the pool and Falls Creek. You were a happy little spectator for the week. Your laid back personality is such a blessing to our busy life.
You LOVE balls and play catch with anyone whose around or by yourself if necessary. You love the water and have dipped your face in the bubbles just like Tucker does several times. You are happy as long as you are close to Tuck. You also like to bounce on Tucker's trampoline while he plays in the back yard.
You do not like to go to people other then Momma or Daddy. You are having a little separation anxiety these days, but I think its just a stage. You also don't like to be still now that you've figured out how to be mobile. You are intent on getting things you set your mind to and don't enjoy us telling you no, even if the thing you're reaching for is Casen's hair.

You are just easy to love and love very easily. You are very loyal to your Daddy, me and Granna. You LOVE your brothers so much and chase Tucker all over the place. You even sneak up on him and wrestle a little sometimes. I hope you always keep your sweet spirit and loyal love.

Ben we all just love you so much!!! I can't imagine a better middle baby or one to have lost his spot as the baby so quickly. You give the best kisses while I rock you to sleep and you smile so sweetly most of the time. You are pure joy and I'm so glad we have you in the middle. I love watching you grow and learn, even if time is passing all too quickly. I can't believe you are already nine months old. For some reason that feels like a landmark age. You just keep growing and learning and being great! We love ya so much Bennett Harris!!!

Love you more,