wade in the water

You may remember the series of posts on Davis's journey of faith; we talked with our pastor about baptism and he advised that we continue to talk with Davis about the gospel and watch for the evidence of the grace of God and fruit of faith in his life.

Though we waited quite a while, there is no doubt in his mind (or ours) of the transforming power of the gospel in his heart.

So, on Father's Day, Kevin had the honor and privilege of baptizing Davis.  We helped Davis understand baptism as a ceremony.  In the same way a wedding publicly proclaims a man and woman belong to each other, a baptism publicly proclaims you belong to Jesus.


a 13 minute investment

Kevin showed me this video about a month ago, it has some graphic images in it, so if you get queasy, you may want to skip this one.  However, it is enlightening to the internal, mental battle that so many of our combat veterans face.  If you are one of those that desires to understand what those with PTSD are really facing on a day to day basis, watch this video:

Now, after

cutest bath time pictures ever

I know, I know, it's a pretty weighty claim, but look at these guys!  
 Eli is on the right and Evan is on the left.  At first, they were sitting side by side with their backs to me, but the water shifted them just a bit.


an effort to understand (or why not Portland?)

What happens when you tell the world your plans? You have to tell them you've changed them.

Those of you who have been following our story probably remember a blog post from October about our plans to move to Portland (I removed it temporarily while I have been trying to put this post together).

We have decided to stay here in Oklahoma (can you hear the cheers coming from the grandparents?).  There are some peripheral reasons for this, but primarily we are choosing to make Kevin's health a priority.

Questions start forming: does he have cancer? is he seriously ill? what happened to him?

War happened.

Yes, it was almost three years ago.
Yes, he served two tours.
Yes, he seems fine.
Yes, we are a happy family.

While all of those statements are true, it is nearly a daily mental struggle.  If his legs had been blown off by an IED (improvised explosive device) people would be anxious to serve him, however he is trying to pull the shrapnel out of his heart and his mind, which is an injury that is completely unseen.  There are very few civilians who have an inkling of what it is like for our returning soldiers, especially the ones who saw intense combat (Read this article by a soldier who was able to articulate really well what the experience is like).

Perhaps the inability of civilians to understand is because it is incredibly difficult for soldiers to communicate what war really has done to them internally. Sure they can tell you stories, but this is not the same as explaining why though they love their families and war was possibly one of the worst experiences of their lives, they want to go back.

Kevin has described PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as a dark cloud over him that cannot be lifted.  Some days it is merely overcast, but others have tornadoes and the threat to take shelter.

So, we are staying.  We are learning how to cope, how to heal, and how to best love each other through this part of our journey.


Sunday best

It's hard to believe these guys are 16 months old.  Here they are looking absolutely handsome.
 Eli has discovered accessories; belts, scarves, sunglasses, you name it, he is excited to wear it.
 Evan is our climber!  He is capable but cautious, here he is preparing for his career as a performing cowboy.
These days Eli jabbers away with nonsense words, but will talk to you for ten minutes or more, Evan is working towards real words like ball, Papa, eye, bye, and a couple others (Eli on the left, Evan on the right).


note from self

Last night I was talking with some friends, and one of them started to share with the rest of the girls something "profound" I had told her.  My ears perked up, "what did I say?"  I honestly couldn't remember.

She began to explain the scenario, and it came flooding back to me:

When the babies were small (which actually lasted for quite a while), Kevin was working late, I had already put our big boys to bed, fed the little ones, swaddled them, and was standing over one and calming the other one down.  I rotated between Evan and Eli; one would be crying while I held the other, and it continued this way for at least an hour.

I felt like I was at a breaking point, and I cried out to God, "Please...please, help them, put your hands on them, calm their little bodies, I believe you can do it, take this burden away even if it's just for an hour."

As my friend explained, she was on the edge of her seat, wondering, did he? Did God calm them?

No.  They continued to scream and cry.

But through their tears the Holy Spirit spoke gently to my heart saying, "My grace is sufficient, I will calm your heart, this is how you will know more fully who I am."

It is in moments of desperation we find the grace of God to be most fulfilling.


cooking with boys

A couple weeks ago, when our family was gathered for lunch, someone mentioned whose daughter I was.  Ronin nonchalantly looks up from eating and asks, "What's a daughter?"

Everyone chuckled, realizing that this is a word which does not fit into our vocabulary since there are four sons, four brothers, and only one mom.

The absence of girls really does change things, though I don't always notice just how much.

One night the boys were helping me make cookies (which means they poured in a few ingredients, stared at the mixer, and incessantly asked when the cookies would be ready).  As the butter and sugar were creaming, they both stood on stools; peering in unable to control their laughter.  Ronin thought the sound was exactly like the sound of their dart guns hitting each other on their bare backs.

After they recovered from laughing, their noses were nearly in the mixer smelling that wonderful aroma of sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla.  They were breathing it in.

The store had been out of regular semi-sweet chocolate chips so I bought the mini ones instead.  As I poured them in, Davis exclaimed, "Bees!! It looks like a bunch of bees!"  As the chips were folded into the dough, it just affirmed it for him, "it really looks like a beehive now."  More laughter, this time from all three of us.

They sat on the counter after I had put the first batch in the oven.  Fresh baked cookies have a way of luring any boy into the kitchen and it wasn't long until Kevin was at the table waiting for a warm cookie.  Out of the first two batches of cookies only two were left on the plate; and three guys at the table with empty milk glasses, napkins with crumbs, and big smiles.