It’s been a two-year prep time for Angel and finally the day came. She got braces. We’ve had a ton of events that warrant anticipation in the Lawrence household, but none of them were as highly anticipated as the day Angel got braces. Apparently it’s cool to have braces in 5th grade. Let me tell you… it wasn’t cool when I got braces the week of Homecoming my Junior year. I was bitter to say the least.
Angel counted down the days, noting her last Sunday without braces (then went on to declare each day of the week as it came), her last time to eat Cane’s without braces, her last time to clean her room without braces. You name it, it was a milestone. I humored her for the most part, but eventually her sister and I were about to lose our minds. So far the most important decision in here life, besides her decision to follow Christ, was what color rubber bands she wanted. She settled with green and purple.
So it’s done. Angel has braces. She’s pumped and Christal is on deck. Thankfully we have a couple of years before Christal joins team Brace Face.
Last Picture Without Braces
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I really do think I have been given the best gifts in the world in Angel & Christal. They are precious, kind, servant-hearted, smart and just generally awesome. They are constantly trying to find the good in circumstances and people. For instance, Christal’s soccer team lost their game on Saturday. While they were huddled up Christal told the team, “It’s ok guys, we did our best.” If you know Christal at all, you know that in Christal’s world everyone’s a winner and things are usually all rainbows and unicorn milk.
So last night after I got home from soccer practice Angel skipped into the garage to tell me that she spent her time writing encouraging notes to the duty teachers. I asked if there was a special occasion. She said, “no, but they have to get to work so early and I think this is a good way to start their day. Besides, it helps me learn more verses. It’s a win, win!”
I could learn loads from my girls. I pray they never lose the gift of encouragement they are to those around them. I just love them so much!!
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I will dedicate my first couple of sentences of this post to acknowledging the fact that I haven’t posted since February 1st. That would be right about eight and a half months. I’ve been busy what can I say…
I know I’ve mentioned before that parenting is hard. I mean for real… parenting is HARD! Back before I was a parent, I knew everything. I could look at a situation and know exactly what the parent should do. I can’t count the number of trips I took with teenagers when a 6th grade girl would join the club of womanhood and have no idea what was going on. Oh how I wanted to shake parents for not having “the talk” with their kids. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what was so bad. Well, I’m here to tell you it ain’t as easy as it looks!
A pastor friend of mine once said that if you don’t have “the talk” with your child by the time they are nine, you’re too late. They will start hearing it from someone else. With that in mind I was a responsible mother and made sure that when both girls turned nine we went to a Body Basics class and had dinner to discuss the birds and the bees. It wasn’t horrible, but I was way more nervous than I expected.
With the basics behind me I just knew we were good to go. We have random conversations every now and then where I can correct misinformation the girls get from friends. I’m loving the open line of communication. However, I have discovered recently that “the talk” isn’t a one time thing. Should we be so lucky… Oh no, sex is everywhere around us. Some of the most scandalous sex talk is in the Bible. Which I discovered when we were having Bible study and my amazing leaders let me know the Scripture ahead of time. I looked them over and there was no getting around it, I had to talk to Angel before we had Community Group.
I called her into my room, explained that we needed to have a life lesson chat and I jumped right in. I read the verses that discussed God letting people have their way in sin… men will have unnatural relations with men, women will have unnatural relations with women… you get the point. So there I was having to explain homosexuality to my almost twelve-year-old. In order for me to explain what is natural I had to explain clearly what is natural and God’s plan. For some reason when you’re sitting in front of your child it’s not just Science. You can try as hard as you may to make everything proper and biological, but inevitably it becomes personal. She asked if Matt & I have sex and I had to be honest with her. I almost died a million deaths, but if we can have an open communication and she understand God’s plan, it’s worth my mortification.
I want my kids to have a healthy, Godly view of sex. At whatever the cost… my pride, the awkwardness, the hard to talk about subjects. I’ll get over all of it to make sure my kids know what God intends for them. They won’t hate it, it won’t be taboo, it won’t be in a list of things they can’t do. I want it to be beautiful and something that they can always talk to me about. In order for that to happen I have to pray constantly and seeking God’s grace and direction.
Did I mention parenting is hard?
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The fact that the Lord created all of us… each and every single human being… in His image is a truth that my pastor preached on Sunday. The girls love the concepts that we are all the same and everyone deserves the same love and respect because after all we’re all image bearers. They managed to teach a huge lesson…
We are having a joint birthday party for the girls soon. The girls and I were chatting about it yesterday and I was explaining that I thought it was cool that they wanted to include their friends from church, school and the neighborhood, but at the same time it had the potential for people to feel left out. I gave an example of one of their friends that always seems to feel left out. That’s when they spilled the beans…
“Here’s the deal Mrs. Jess, (insert little girl name here) does nothing but lie. She lies about everything and it’s just not fun to play with her. When I tried to talk to her about lying she told me that I was lying by saying she lied.” (Insert tears from Angel)
“Well, I’m proud that you tried to tell her that lying isn’t right. Do you think you should invite her to the party?”
“Just because she’s a liar doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be her friend. Besides she looks like God too…”
Once again, I was speechless. The momma bear in me wanted to simply tell them that they can’t play with her anymore, but my girls have managed to look at their lying little friend through the eyes of Jesus so why couldn’t I? So, instead of forbidding them to play with her we decided that we would start praying for their friend and love her the way Jesus loves her. In order to do that their foundation and love for their Savior has to be steadfast and constantly growing. There is a battle waging for my kids and now more than ever I have to be on the front lines praying for them and equipping them.
Don’t get me wrong I want them to be protected and surrounded by positive influences, but who am I to keep them from loving a little girl who is so obviously crying out to be loved. I will most definitely keep my eyes and ears open and there won’t being much going to her house, but instead she is welcome in our home, where I can keep an eye on them, and watch my girls treat her with the love of Jesus.
Raising kids to be God fearing and God honoring adults is hard work. I’m so glad that He’s given us everything we need for life and godliness…
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It’s been two years ago to the day that the girls had a visit with their mom and Christal came home with us for good. Sometimes it seems like just yesterday and other times it feels like it’s been ages. Either way she’s ours forever. She’s pretty amazing and I’m thankful God thought that Matt & I were cool enough to be her parents.
Christal in pictures….
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Our Community Group gave us a session with Lindsey Whitty of mustard.seed.photograpy as an adoption gift. It was perfect and I loved every minute of the time we spent with her. She has an amazing gift and of course God used her make the girls feel like they are beautifully and wonderfully made. I’ve been waiting with bated breath to see the final product and here are just a few…
Get a good look at her. She will be lock in a closet until she's 30.
I love that she's showing off her blue polish.
Oh how I love this man!
Did I mention we had fun?
My favorite!! I wonder what secrets they're telling...
One adored man!
I still can't believe I get to be their mom!!
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The other night at dinner the girls were asking us what it was like before they came. They wanted to know where we sat for dinner, what our routines were like and who put our dishes in the dishwasher since they do now :).
One of the things we told them about was how we used to go out on dates all the time. They thought it was so sweet and suggested we start doing that again. So we did. Matt and I went on a date last night. Since the day the girls arrived it’s been a struggle for Matt and I to find time to actually go out on dates, but from some encouragement from the girls we actually did it.
The girls were so excited that we were going. They helped me pick out an outfit and get ready. You would have thought I was going to go to the fanciest place in town with the stuff they tried to get me to wear. It was fun.
The more I think about it, the more I like them being involved in or just being aware that once upon a time Matt & I fell in love. The mushy gushy kind and that we are still in love. I want them to have a model of a marriage that honors God and each other. They grew up understanding what it meant for their mom to be “ditched” for another woman. They saw their parents fight with their words and their hands. I want them to have an experience and a picture that far overshadows those memories. They deserve a Matt Lawrence. They deserve to be loved and honored they way Matt loves and honors me. They are growing up in a home where I strive to love and respect Matt. They watch Matt help me around the house, do laundry & come home from working hard everyday.
So date night is more than just a great time with Matt. It’s an opportunity to show our girls what it means to be treasured by their future husband. I think we’ll do it again next week!
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