Monday, October 5, 2015

Why the name change?

So...yes, I changed the name of my oft-neglected blog.  Again.  If you've been following for very long, you might notice a trend.  You guessed it...every time I name this thing Terry, Party of ___, something happens and that number has to change!

Zeke and I have always loved adoption.  In May of 2014, I detailed that love here on my blog.  And God, in His infinite wisdom (and with his infinite sense of humor) probably cracked a smile.  A few weeks after that post, we were headed to the beach and discussed that, although we loved the idea of helping others adopt, we both still felt called to adopt ourselves--even with the carload we carried of a one year old, two year old, and nine year old.  We talked about our "elephants"--what we each felt we needed to do/work on before we could adopt.  We stopped at Peach Park, and lo and behold, there was a woman in the park with her adopted baby, who engaged us in conversation.  Umm...yes, God?  We got back in the car, laughed it off, decided to start working on what we felt like we needed to work on to prepare, and keep thinking and praying.

Fast forward to April 2015.  Really no progress on the "work" that we had outlined for ourselves to prepare for adoption.  Still praying, still loving adoption, but no real debt being reduced or people getting healthy.  Courtney and I headed to Birmingham for the weekend to hear our BFF Jen Hatmaker at Shades Mountain Baptist Church, and I left that day spent after wrestling with what God said, and finally, in tears, saying yes.  There is not a doubt in my head that God spoke so clearly that day--NOW is our time to adopt.  Not later, not when we are healthier and have less debt, not when our kids are a little older, but NOW.  I even wrote it on my rock, see?

On the way home, I decided not to tell Zeke just yet.  He was my "fleece".  If you know me, you know that I tend to get a little bit excited about things, and I wanted his call to adopt to be as real and clear as mine was, not simply a result of my excitement.  A couple of weeks later, he surprised me during prayer time in our Sunday School class as he asked our friends to pray for us as we prayed through the possibility of adoption.  I had butterflies!  A couple of weeks after that, we talked to Kinley about our decision to adopt.  She was over the moon!  She asked if we could tell people, and although I think I said let's wait until we are approved, she swore she never heard that part.  Her sweet teacher burst into my classroom the next morning by 8:10 to tell me that Kinley had shared the best news with their class!  I am so glad that my baby girl is excited about our adoption--she has been a huge catalyst for keeping the idea at the front of our minds all of these years.  Our girl wants a sister,  y'all!

We officially applied with Lifeline in July, were approved within a week, and then were accepted into the China program a week later.  These were all fun phone calls--we decided that it would have been awkward if we hadn't been approved, since there are three children already in our house!

So, fast forward to now.  We have finally sent in our first set of paperwork and are preparing for our home study.  We had awesome adoption photos made and are beginning our first fundraisers to support our adoption.  And we are praying so hard, every night, for a little girl on the other side of the world who we can't wait to meet!   

I am planning to keep up with our adoption process here on the blog.  I already have two stories to share that didn't make this post!  If you would like to be notified when there is a new post, please click over on the right side of the blog and enter your email address.  Thank you for following our journey!  We covet your prayers as we prepare our hearts and our home for our new addition!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

An Update on the Terry Littles

Here is a snapshot of my babies, right now:
**I actually wrote this post at the end of February and never clicked Publish.  I am going to publish it today, since even in the last month they have changed so much!  I could update this already, but I will leave it as is...

Kinley is in fourth grade and is doing so well.  Her grades are amazing and she is learning more and becoming more responsible every day!  She is still loving gymnastics and goes 4 days a week for a total of 12.5 hours each week.  She is in Level 4 and is gaining confidence that she can do hard things.  She has also joined our first ever school chorus and is constantly getting Disney songs stuck in my head as they prepare for their spring concert.  She is a quick learner on the guitar and mandolin--I'm pretty sure those are Terry genes showing themselves strong!  She is having fun with her friends (as always).  She continues to show her unique sense of style and makes us all laugh with her sense of humor.  She and I have begun a new hobby, Bible Journaling, and she is super creative and does beautiful artwork.  She is witty and sharp!  She keeps us on our toes and I am so proud of the young lady that she is becoming!

Case is three (and 1/2!) and is all of a sudden turning into a big boy.  He is the most tenderhearted of my three.  He loves his mommy and still pinches my arm to go to sleep.  My favorite Case quote is "I wuv you too Mom."  He loves Batman and all of the people that come along with him.  He also loves anything to do with police, firemen, "airmbeences," and rescue helicopters.  He is super creative and loves to pretend--one moment he comes through as a policeman using a lego brick as his walkie-talkie, and the next trip through he is a fireman on his way to a fire that is about to destroy the construction site.  He is very interested in learning his letters and numbers right now!  He loves "Mater Doe Gator (Mater the Greater)" on Netflix and watching Imaginext toy reviews and play-doh on YouTube.  He also loves telling stories, each of which starts with, "Once upon a time, long time agos, waaay far away in the wooos..." He is quite persnickety and likes for things to look the same, taste the same, and BE the same all the time.  I can't imagine where he got that from(!!).

Camp will turn 2 in just over a month.  He is a MESS.  He is fearless and loves jumping and climbing.  We have put him in the twin bed because he climbed out of the crib every night and came to our bed!  He loves to hit people and follows it immediately with "sooy."  He has a great vocabulary and talks quite a bit.  He likes to tell stories too!  Zeke always starts them, and before he can even say, "Once upon a time," Camp has jumped in with "Woos!  Bad guy!"  Each story includes a bad guy and an alligator (who snorts like a pig), but he's starting to branch out.  He loves being outside and trying to get him from the house to the car at GraGra and Papa's and then from the car into our house every day is exhausting.  He even sneaks outside when the door is open for Allie.  Naked, barefoot, or fully clothed, it doesn't matter to Camp!  He loves reading books and can remember so much.  He is the one who has climbed into cabinets that were never baby proofed, draws on walls, and raises his Daddy's blood pressure with his addiction to climbing stairs.  But he also loves to give kisses, and his sweet baby breath when he goes to sleep at night melts my heart.  He is our little wild man but he has taught us that the messier, louder, and more full throttle life is, the more fun it can be.

We are blessed beyond measure to get to parent these sweet Image Bearers.  (Genesis 1:27)  May we always see them as such!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

2015 Goals's been a minute since I posted on this sweet little blog, huh?  I feel like so much happened in the last half of 2014, and some catch-up posts are definitely in order, but I want to start with one of my favorite parts of this blog--the goal-setting/accountability piece!

In 2014, I was at that point of coming out of the newborn fog and I really wanted to make some things happen.  The last few years were a whirlwind for our little family--we moved in with my parents the summer before Kinley started Kindergarten, we built our house, and then we had 2 babies in less than two years.  Enter lots of just "making it."  I knew that I could just keep "making it" and things would probably be ok, but I didn't want to spin my wheels through the next 18 years or so.  I felt a call to live this life intentionally--for myself and for my people.  It was at this point that I was introduced (via clicking around in blogland!) to Lara Casey and her PowerSheets.  I can honestly say that these things work!  I ordered my first set last year, and although health issues (hello, Satan!) derailed my progress for much of the year, I know that I did at least move forward in some areas, because I have those beautiful worksheets (and a few blog posts!) as proof.

As 2015 began, I knew that my brain was in a better place and I was ready to begin again.  I am not in the same place that I was at the beginning of 2014.  I am a bit beyond just "making it" as a mom of three, but as a creature of habit, routine, and order, I am sometimes so afraid that I will continue to work all week, grocery shop on Friday nights, do laundry all day on Saturday, and go to church on Sunday, and then wake up one day when I'm 80 and realize that life was just a series of routines and I missed out on so much of God's great big, amazing world.  (One big part of the PowerSheets is "beginning with the end in mind," or thinking about what you want life to look like when you're 80.)  I ordered my new PowerSheets, and followed Lara's lead of praying through goals in January rather than rushing into "resolutions" on January 1 after a hectic holiday season.  I adopted February 1 as the beginning of my new year and felt ready for the challenge!

Disclaimer--I fully realize that I am quite the nerd and love planning and making lists and checking off boxes.  I also know that things like this work for my brain but may not work for everybody.  However, I can honestly say that reaching intentionally set goals is such a feeling of satisfaction that I would encourage you to find something--anything--that works for you!

So, without anymore explanations or disclaimers, here are my goals for 2015:

2015 Goals

1.  Love Jesus--Obviously I love Jesus already, but everything kind of fell into a love category, so here goes.  This one includes daily quiet times, setting a routine for Bible Study, getting up EARLY to spend time with Jesus, and attending conferences/worship experiences/whatever that will push me outside my comfort zone.
2.  Love my people--Again, I obviously love my people, but this means loving them well.  Knowing their love language and speaking it, spending one-on-one time with my babies, date nights with my man, having screenless family fun time, and taking care of them mentally, physically, and emotionally.
3.  Love me--This includes little things that affect my health like going to the dentist, establishing self-care routines (like taking my makeup off and washing my face EVERY NIGHT), eating healthier and finding some type of exercise that makes me happy, learning more about my essential oils and how to use them, and then other things that "sharpen my saw"--reading, gardening, spending more time with my friends--just doing the things that fire me up and keep me going.
4.  Love our home--Organizing our photos, having a system in place for our paper, doing some upkeep, landscaping the front yard, decorating my boys' room...these are just a few things included in my plans for this year.
5.  Love less--Continue to budget and use our envelope system so that we can give more, simplify our STUFF, intentionally pay off some things in 2015.
6.  Love others--Send a random handwritten card to someone each month, be a better friend, find my area of ministry and do it.
7.  Love adventure--Have at least one experience each month that takes me outside my comfort zone, whether it's a place, a food, or an event.  Travel to new places as much as possible--close by or far away.  Variety is the spice of life!

The really cool thing about PowerSheets is that, once you discover your goals for the year, they help you break those down into monthly goals, and then break those down into weekly goals, and then break those down into daily goals.  Yep, that's a lot of lists and a lot of boxes to check off, but I'm telling you--it makes me happy!

February Goals:

1.  Begin the She Reads Truth Lent study.
2.  Plan (at least!) one Screenless Family Fun Time
3.  Date night
4.  Read one fiction and one non-fiction book
5.  Collect Clean Eating ideas
6.  Make dentist appointment
7.  Get all pictures together in one place
8.  Clean out the boys' closet and gather ideas for their room
9.  Budget our extra funds for the upcoming months with Zeke
10.  Some type of ministry opportunity

Weekly Goals:

1.  Stay in budget
2.  One longer Quiet Time with Bible Journaling (more on this later!)
3.  Exercise 3 times per week
4.  Blog 3 times per week (oops!)
5.  Read
6.  One-on-one time with each kiddo

Daily Goals:

1.  Quiet Time: Get up early!
2.  Take off makeup and wash face EVERY. NIGHT.
3.  Do something small for Zeke (February is a stinky month for my this month my "love others" is all about him!) a couple of weeks I will update February and post my March goals.  I know we've all heard it before, but writing it down makes all the difference in the world--it is much more likely to happen--and I'm pretty sure putting it on the blog counts twice!

I am interested to know:  What are your goals?  How do you set them and track them?  Please share...Inquiring minds want to know!