Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Gotcha - Ruby Grace

I haven't graced these here blog pages for suuuuuuch a looooong time.

Eh. Life.

But today I had to write.

It's hard to believe that 4 years ago, I was walking in to work the Farm Progress Show with my very tired hubs when we got the phone call. It was short. It was sweet. It. Was. Life. Changing.

"Dillon's birth mom had a baby. Do you want the baby. We have to know within the hour."

Um...YES!!!! We didn't know if the baby was a boy or a girl, but we did know that she was an answer to prayers....groanings & desires of the heart...

These 4 years have been hard. Good. Hard. Heavy. Uncertain. Tiring. Joyful. Sad. Questionable. (Did I mention exhausting? Because that's a thing, too.)

And 4 years, to the day, I'll be walking in with my now 9 year old to work that same Farm Progress Show with many of the same people who shared so much joy with me that first day.

In the adoption world., Gotcha Day is a big deal...Mine's January 16th, and my parents almost always call and make sure I know how much I am loved on that day. It's like a 2nd birthday. And thus it must be celebrated.

So tomorrow, we'll retell her that story. The one God weaved for our family (and is still weaving, really). We'll remind her how much she is loved and how much she has changed our family. We'll reflect on the pure joy and the pure insanity that her life has (at times) brought us. And most of all, we'll be thankful.

I don't understand God's ways. I don't know if I ever will.

But I, for one, am glad this little spit-fire, sassy, smiling girl is all mine.

**And there'll be another celebration soon when we make her officially ours!**

Monday, May 5, 2014

That Moment

It was everywhere. She's been potty-trained for a while now (to the tune of 7+ months), but we're just now in the thick of "accidents." {This toddler parenting thing...are there words for it?} So when I say "it" was everywhere...I'll let you use your deductive reasoning...

And he's done a little grocery shopping (one of my least favorite things to do now with kidlets in tow)...and he comes around the corner...right when I think I'm going to lose it. Both kids fussing, me holding back a few tears of frustration from all the chaos.

He has a bouquet of flowers. He shoves them in my face. "Thank you for being the best wife ever." Shy grin.

And right there - in that moment - he turned the WORST moment of the day to the BEST one.

Here's the thing: I'm not the best wife. {Not even close.} I'm selfish and get angry. I care about EVERYTHING (even where the ketchup goes in the fridge), and I rarely keep my thoughts/opinions to myself. I huff a lot...and assume he can read my mind...even when I really know he can't.

And even though I'm not the best wife, I do want to be. I do try hard to get everything done that needs to be done, all while "momming" and ya know...everything else. And so - even though I know it's not true - it means the world to me that he said it. Because I am trying. And I want to do better.

And now I have a beautiful bouquet sitting on my table to help me remember.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Last week we had a GROW Conference at our church. {Grow Conference = old school revival = awesomeness.}

I walked away with so many fresh, new thoughts. I learned some new things. I heard some truths that were hard to hear. I prayed some prayers that were hard to pray.

My favorite part of the GROW Conference? My new-found love-affair with the Word.

This is not the first time it has bit me like a love bug, nor do I hope it goes away. These words are life. These words are truth. These words are hope. And if you love Jesus and aren't digging in - REALLY digging in - you're missing out!

But that's not what this post is about.

Pre-GROW Conference, I read the Bible {almost} daily. I did devotions. I prayed. I lived and served Jesus with all of me. And so on the 2nd message of our conference, I was a little annoyed that the preacher kept referring to my "device" as less than ideal for God's Word.

Here's the thing - I love having it with me EVERYWHERE. I love looking up stuff in an instant and moment of need with the search engine. I love the devotions, encouraging words, and truth at the tap of my "device." And it doesn't get much better than free. Not to mention the fact that you can read it in 12 different versions in a matter of minutes if you so wish.

So when preacher man said it the second time, the hairs on the back of my neck went up. {God always has to have stuff repeated for me to listen up - why is that?} The third time in two sermons, and I'm officially saying, "Okay, God...what do you want me to learn from this?" And I meant it, too, in case you're wondering.

No less than 12 hours later, I would find out why.

As a part-time SAHM, I homeschool my 7 year old. These days can be long, since I don't have 5 full days to get school work in. I found that not "hovering" helps work get done faster (on his part), so I read, catch up on emails, do my devotions, housework, (etc) when he's doing independent work.

I'm reading my open Bible. Pen/highlighter nearby when I sense him breathing down my neck {which I kind of hate}.

D: "Whatcha doin', Momma?"
Me: "Reading my Bible."
D: (long pause - thought he left) "Oh...I never see you do dat before."

Jaw = dropped.
Eyeballs = wide open.
Heart = racing.
Dread = settling.

Point = made.

My kids needs to see me read my Bible. My kids need to see my love for the Word. It's not a secret thing. And it's contagious. Only 2 days after I start keeping my Bible open as I read it throughout the day (highlighting and underlining and note-taking), Miss R (age 2) starts carrying hers around (it's a full size Bible she found in her a cheap-o one they give away). She also "colors" in it. And she calls it her "Jesus book."

Now, D asks me what it's about - what I'm reading about today. And sometimes it leads to some pretty amazing conversations about God's love story for us...because isn't that what the Bible is all about?

And I am in awe of how quickly God can make a point in our lives. Are you listening?

for realz

Sunday, January 26, 2014


 Those of you who know little ol' me know that I sing. I love it. I used to do a lot more of it, but now it is reserved only for those under the age of 7 and contains mostly silly songs, in addition to classic oldies but goodies - B-I-B-L-E, This Little Light of Mine, and Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Boy, do I miss singing.

And - whether I say it out loud each week, my favorite part of church is the singing. I like to listen to others sing; I enjoy dramas; choreography is okay; teaching and preaching - I soak it all in. But singing? I. Love. Singing.

All this to tell you a sweet story that I might be telling just to make sure I don't forget it.

I sing with my kidlets a lot. I'm sure all moms do. *shrug* Not sure it matters, but I do love to hear my littles sing.

Miss R is 2 and is all 2 at that. We have our roller coaster days with great sillies, funny moments, squealing, potty chairs, screaming, fit-throwing, snuggling, and lots of moments in between.

Tonight, as I was rocking her (she wouldn't let me do it when she was a baby but wants it now...I'll take it!), we were listening to her lullaby mix on the ipod. It plays over speakers in her room. {Both my kids have it - counselor has said it's very soothing for middle of the night issues for my older one - not to mention the calming effect quiet Jesus music has on any soul.}

A song came on that I love: "Hallelujah" by Heather Williams. I usually am humming or quietly singing along with the song. Sometimes Miss R will put her palm against my throat...she likes the vibration in my throat when I hum/sing. Tonight at the end, when there are quite a few long "hallelujahs," I was singing along, and to my utter delight - she did too.

She knew all the hallelujahs, when to take a deep breath to wail out the next part, and when she got loud and quiet.

All while having her whole palm - warm and gently pressed up against my throat.

That was fun. Being a mom is such a delight.

my kidlets...they're totally i right?!

Oh, and I miss singing. Did I mention that?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

While I live...

They jump at me sometimes. Words. And today, it was no exception.

Sometimes it's clever and witty (like Jon Acuff) or poetic and lyrical (like Ann Voskamp).

Today, however, it was truth. Sweet, beautiful truth. It's not like this is new stuff, ya know? It's not like I probably haven't read it a dozen or 17 dozen times before.

Psalm 63:3-4 (NKJV) reads this: "Because your loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you. Thus I will bless you while I live; I will lift up my hands in your name."

A handful of praise songs and hymns have adopted the lyrics of the third verse of this Psalm, but verse 4 is what popped out to me tonight. "I will praise you WHILE I live." While. I. Live.

Not while things are well.
Not when storms have passed.
Not when the chaos of all the details of every day life have calmed for a bit.
Not when kids are perfect.
Not when the house is clean and my space is clutter-free.
Not when I feel caught up at work.
Not when I have a great period of time in my marriage.
Not when I feel like I have a handful of great friends.
Not when I get it all checked off my list for the day.
Not when I *finally* see the positive stripe on the pregnancy test.
Not when I don't have any "issues" glaring at me in the mirror.
Not when my journal pages don't have tear stains.

While. I. Live.

While...meaning "during." Meaning that no matter what. No matter when. No matter how. Just during...."while."

While. I. Live.

In my own reality. In my own chaos. In the uncertainty of each tomorrow, I will bless you, Abba Father.

While. I. Live.

I'd love to share this image with you! Email with a request, and it's yours! {joskeathley[at]}

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

#2014 Word

Time for the annual reflective New Year's post, which I have been writing in my head for about 3 weeks.

If you know me, you know my theory on resolutions. They're REALLY great if you have a disciplined life/personality and want to make changes.

And I generally pick a "focus verse" or a "thought" or a "word" that I focus on. And in reality, that word/thought/verse does keep coming back to me and kicking my butt for lack of focus (again). Though I do plan on doing my verse/word for the year (read on)...

But here are things I want to be/do:

I want to do good.
I want to encourage people all along the way.
I want to keep sending snail mail (even though the costs keep getting higher).
I want to call my Grammy more. She always loves it when I call her.
I want to influence my kids. In the best way...I want to be someone that I want to rub off on them.
I want to laugh. A lot.
I want to remember that everyone is fighting a battle. And it likely looks *nothing* like mine.
I want to hold hands with the hubs.
I want to keep better in touch with my true friends. The ones who love me always, no matter what.
I want to be more spontaneous (and in turn, be more flexible when my family wants to be spontaneous).
I want to make someone smile.
I want to help someone who is walking a much harder road than I am.
I want to make memories with my kidlets. Good ones. Fun ones. Cheap ones. ;-)
I want to...ulitmately...find joy in all moments: the good, the bad, the ugly.

My truth? Balance likely won't come this year. Not with 2 youngins, a stinky dog, a hubs with 2.5 jobs, a part-time job in ministry, homeschooling, taking care of ailing in-laws, and living far enough away from family to have any extra support. BUT - I can work at being the person I want to be, even if all my items don't get crossed off my to-do list at the end of each day.

Ann Voskamp, in her book One Thousand Gifts (which I am, like, 2 years behind in reading), has given me my word for the year: eucharisteo. You should totally read the book, but the essence of this word is that in grace ("charis") thanksgiving ("eucharisteo") brings joy ("chara").

In grace, thanksgiving brings joy.

So...the last thing on my list is that I want to keep writing down all these little tiny glimpses of God's glory in my life. And through the recording of my thanksgiving, joy will come bursting through.

And if I can keep being thankful...this year will not be in waste.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

Cheers to #2014.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Thoughts

I know all 7 of you who read this {Hi, Marmi!} will appreciate the link to my favorite Christmas post from last year, My Grown-Up Christmas List. I have so many things I'd like to add to this list, but this wishes are kinda...just thoughts. Thoughts I will share with you.

Christmas is just...not what it's supposed to be anymore.

This present-clad, rush-rush-rush, ca-chinging Santa, naughty list-ed DAY. It's not what it's supposed to be {in my humble opinion}.

I'm not hating on Santa (we believe in him here, but don't push the issue). Though I'm not a gift-giver by nature, I'm not even hating on that...just...the sheer amount of them {and the expectation thereof as well}.

We've toned down Christmas at our house. A lot. And by Christmas, I mean what I've described above.

There were discussions. There were parameters. There was a short list made and time spent purchasing the few items we decided we would get, and that's it.

Photo by Rockwell Photo Indy

Instead, we're focusing on memories & traditions.

Hot chocolate has been perfected and consumed.
Christmas movies have been watched & discussed.
Lots of conversations have been had about what Christmas is really about.
Crafts have been made and given away.
Christmas treats are on the list of things to do when we're done with school tomorrow.
Ornaments have been created and added to our tree.
Christmas songs have been listened to and sung. {Miss R is a pro at several of them...cute.}
Truth in the Tinsel has been...not done regularly, but done enough that we get the idea. Good stuff.

Many hours have been driven looking at Christmas else can you captivate a grumpy toddler on a cold night after being stuck inside all day. There are few things that delight my kidlets and I like Christmas lights. Much like fireworks, the beauty of the light standing out in the dark dark me hope. And reminds me in a very visual way what Jesus looks like. And what hope looks like. It looks like light in the dark.

And hope...that's what Christmas is really about. Which is why I've refrained from buying my son EVERYTHING he wants (and then some). I keep seeing things that he would enjoy. And I *want* to buy them so badly. Because we just don't really buy stuff often, and this is a treat for him. And because I love him and want to make him happy.

But...then I remember my childhood. So - many - memories. Treats made and consumed, Christmas lights gazed at, caroling with friends, lots of smiles and laughter over yumm-o food.  Christmas Eve praying, nativity story reading, and listening to good music with the fam. Going to Indiana each year @ Christmas and getting snow (usually), even if it was Christmas Eve midnight falling snow. Cousins and aunties and games and uncles and jokes and listening to my dad and his brothers guffawing about this and that. Grandpa Ken reading the Pony story {every single year, even when he didn't want to}. Cinnamon rolls and egg bake on Christmas morning with parents and sibs. Shopping in Bloomington the day after Christmas with Fazolis for lunch - always. And comparing who got the most bang for their buck when we got home.

THAT is what I remember about Christmas growing up. Memories. Experiences. Traditions. Hope.

And that's what I want to give to mine.