Monday, September 29, 2014

21 and 21

For this entire month, I have had a 21 year old and a 21 month old.

I joked about it all month, but then it hit me...
This is fun and all, but I hope I don't have a 21 year old and 21 month old at the same time again! If that happened, we would have another teenager and a newborn baby at the same time. And y'all, that's not for the faint of heart! 

Babies go to bed early.
Teenagers stay up late.
Babies wake up in the middle of the night.
And the sun rises way too early!

But seriously, I wouldn't change a thing about any of it!

Having a 21 year old means you get to joke around and they actually get your humor (most of the time). They roll their eyes when you try and act cool or be funny. They try eating most things because it's adventurous. They can dress themselves! They still depend on you for things (because you make more money than they do) and so you get a great excuse to hang out with them - BUT they don't need you every single second of every single day.

Having a 21 month old means I hear "mama - holds yous" while getting hit on the legs or my pants pulled down because attention is needed ASAP all of the time. A 21 month old will try a lot of food I put in front of him, but spits a lot out as well. (We're working on this). But they also want your attention and demand you give it to them because you are their world! They want to do everything with you by their side because they love you so stinking much! Hugs, snuggles, kisses, reading, more snuggles, singing, playing and more. It's a fun age of soaking up everything and repeating everything they hear. They are sponges, adventure seekers, and little mini-me's.

But both of these put under 1 roof and it makes for an interesting life. 

When I was 21, my goal was to be married for a few years and have 3 kids by 32 and be in the process of adopting another couple.

Funny thing is, no matter how off track my life is from "my" plan, God's actually given me quite a bit from what I asked to begin with! And in all honesty, we could have 4 kids in the very near future (or heaven help us - 5!!!)

I promise I'm not crazy.
Well, at least I don't think I've gone crazy yet.
We'll see what the next few months holds for me.

So I'm savoring being the mom of a 21 year old and a 21 month old.
Because it's what GOD planned for my life.
And it's just a little great.

He gave me the story of salvation wrapped up in my life story.

I was broken, needed a Savior, and He stepped in and radically changed my heart.

You see, I get to explain this story all of the time to perfectly good strangers.

When I take my older son out to eat and the waitress brings him the check because they think we're on a date. Yes, this has happened more times then I'd like to count. But then I get to graciously take the bill and explain that he's my son. (I tend to give a moment of hang time just to see their reaction - hope that's not too mean!) And then I have the opportunity to explain that we adopted this amazing man when he was a teenager because God told us to. And we are eternally blessed by him becoming a Carson!

Sometimes they walk off, a little stunned, and sometimes they ask questions. Other times I get a "you're crazy" look. It's okay, I understand.

I really love when we're all four together and they can't figure out who is who in the family. Just cracks me up watching people analyze us.

And now we're about to take our crazy looking family across the world to get stared at more and questioned more. 

It's why we're going. 
It's what we're counting on! 

They will be so bewildered by us they will ask our story.
And then we get to share!

Because of God's grace we get to share!

So please pray for opportunities.
Pray for patience as a parent.
Pray for protection over my family.
Pray that we will listen to the Holy Spirit guiding us when to talk and when to be silent.
And pray that we will knock down doors through the story God has given us for the gospel to be spread!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Family on Mission - Part 5 - It's Official!

As of this week, we are fully funded for our family to go on this trip!!!

I was so grateful to get that text message. But secretly, I was not shocked. About 2 months ago, I went into full panic that we would have to come up with the money ourselves and I had no idea where that would come from. Kelly and I prayed about it and felt such peace that the Lord would provide every last dime. So when I was told that we had some donations come in and we are not only fully funded but had a little extra to cover our meals we thought we would have to pay out of pocket for, I hate to say it, but as excited as I was, deep down in my heart I knew the Lord would provide. He always has and He always will!

I am so thankful for those that were obedient to the Spirit and gave towards this trip. I pray that you are extraordinarily blessed! I am grateful to walk this narrow path with you all. We love you!

- - -

So now it's really official...

We leave in exactly one week
Only seven days from today
This is really happening!

Next Friday we will board a plane to East Asia and will return 10 days later.

Look at this picture!
Isn't it beautiful!
It was taken by a team member last year on the trip.

I can't stop looking at it.
I'm mesmerized by sunrises and sunsets.

But as I look upon this picture, a particular verse keeps playing over and over in my head:

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." 
- Matthew 5:14-16

This is our prayer for the trip.
To let our light shine before the people we meet. That they would see how we love God first, and love others second. Really love others. With the same passion that we love God. Radically life changing kind of love! And that kind of love makes us live our lives in a completely different way. A way that is foreign for them to understand.

We love them enough to come meet them.
We love them enough to (really) listen to them about their families 
and stories about their childhood and life.
We love them enough to share our most precious assets - our own children with them!
We love them because we share the same Creator! He loved us enough to create us. We must love Him enough to share with those that do not know.

One thing that keeps playing in my head is that I could have been born there. I don't know why God made me a white girl with believing parents in a good family with a great marriage and fabulous children living in a place where I have little fear and lots of privilege. 

Why was I not born there?
Why do I not suffer daily as they do?
Why them and not me?

But if I was, I would be desperate for someone to help me in my hopelessness. I would hope that someone would love me enough to show me God's love!

"Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD."
-Psalm 4:6

"I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth."
-Acts 13:47

May we be a light.

- - -

So what can you do now?


Please pray for our team.
That we would be slow to speak and quick to listen.
That we would open doors for others to walk through after we leave.

Pray for the three couples going, that we would show Christ's servant love through our marriages.

Pray for Kelly and I to love our kids as Christ loved the world, selflessly.

Pray for all of us that our actions, words, and how we love them and each other leave so many questions when we leave that can only be explained through Christ's love.

Pray against any evil plans.
Specifically, please pray against nightmares, mental infiltrations, and fear.
That the Lord and His army of angels would protect us and keep us safe.

But most importantly,
please pray that we would boldly and courageously LOVE them as Christ loves us.

We love you and can't wait to share what our Father did and is doing when we return!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Family on Mission - Part 4

Most of the time on this blog you hear from me. 
A couple of posts ago you got to hear from Kelly.
Here are the posts in case you didn't get a chance to read them.

But now I'd like to let you hear from our 21 year old son.

Meet Kiir.

Soccer fanatic, Ethiopian by culture, Sudanese by blood, and a Carson through adoption. We met our son when he was a 17 year old senior in high school, and will celebrate his 4th "Gotcha Day" the week we return from our trip. He is the quietest loud person I've ever met. If you know him, you understand what I mean. I love when he gets in a talkative mood and will teach me something about Ethiopia or cooking. I could listen to him talk about Africa for hours! 

When we told him we were going on this trip and wanted to bring him along he looked at us like we were crazy. He response was actually "I mean, I want to travel and go out of the country but could we go somewhere else? I mean ANYWHERE else?"

Sorry son, this is the trip we are raising money for.
Take it or leave it.

He said yes.

Writing is his least favorite thing to do in the world, so the following is an interview between us and him to give you a little perspective.

Q-You had to accomplish a lot in order to get your US citizenship in time for this trip. What was that process like?
A-Stressful work just to get a passport so I can leave the country!

Q-Why do you want to go on this trip?
A-Because it's a family trip and you guys (my parents) are helping pay for it. And it's kind of an adventure - something that is good to do and can hopefully help others that go after us. I don't know. It's a different kind of trip. We can't do a whole lot of things but just be ourselves in front of them I guess.

Q-What are you most excited about?
A-Leaving the country. Going to an Asian country I've never been to.

Q-What are you most nervous about?
A-Safety. And being the only black person quite possibly visiting that country. I don't like being different.

Q-Who would you rather sit next to on this LONG overseas flight: mom, dad, or little brother?
A-None of the above. I'll trade tickets with someone else!

Really? You don't want to spend time juggling him around like this??? :)

Q-Do you think this trip is important?
A-Yes. Because we will be helping change the views of stereotypes and building trust. The hard thing is we can't do a lot when we're there. It's weird. But I guess we can help work on relationships with people that hate us.

Q-Any other comments or thoughts?
A-Yes. Next time can we go somewhere like Thailand to a nice, warm beach?

The conversation above is just a snippet of what we talked about. It was interesting watching him think. Hearing broken thoughts roll off his tongue as thoughts became words. This isn't the dream family vacation most kids would love to go on. He still isn't excited. But he's curious. He knows the need for us to go. And what he doesn't understand is that people will be drawn to him, adoring his skin and quiet nature, his smile and how he relates to and plays with his brother. 

This trip will have more impact from Kiir going than possibly any other person on our team.

Please join us in praying for Kiir.

Pray that he has peace.
Psalm 16:1

Pray for him to connect with one of our tour guides.
 Ephesians 6:19 
Deuteronomy 10:19

Pray that others see his amazing personality and his unique love for his brother.
Psalm 19:14

Pray that others are curious about adoption and ask more questions about it.
Romans 8:23

Pray for the concrete doors that in the past have been impenetrable, fall down and allow for hearts to change.
Hebrews 11:30
Ephesians 3:20

We are still not fully funded for this trip we leave on exactly 4 weeks from today.

If you would like to partner with us, you can do so in 1 (or more) of 3 ways:
You can pray for our family and our team. We are a small team of 13 traveling to this undisclosed location. We would greatly appreciate your prayers!

You can purchase a t-shirt and the proceeds will go towards our team traveling funds.

If you would like to pre-order a shirt, please let us know ASAP!
Here is a picture in case you wanted to know what it will look like.
HERE is more info on the T-Shirt
You can give financially! Flying a family of 4 across an ocean is not a cheap endeavor. While we set aside money we have saved, it doesn't cover all of it by any means. If you would like to help us fund the rest of this trip, you can send a check, donate through PayPal (
HERE) or through our church online. Here is the info on how to pay through the church website:
1. Go to:
2. Create an account (or login if you have one)
3. Under "give to" scroll down and find "Korea 2014"
4. Then pick one of our names in the next box.
5. Put how much you want to give and method of payment.
If we raise more money than we need for our family, the rest will go toward helping fund others going on the trip, along with gifts we will take to the people we will be visiting. 

Stay tuned for Part 5 (the final segment) to come soon!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Dear Fellow Struggling Parents...

Today started out like most days.

Lex woke up talking to himself in his crib. After getting him out, he ran into the kitchen and demanded some milk and food because he was starving! After opening the fridge door, I heard a loud "NOOOOO!" because he wanted his pumpkin granola cereal for breakfast instead (never mind I was getting milk out for his sippy cup). After feeding the child what he wanted for breakfast, he gets down from the table and runs to find a book. I hear from the other room "MAMMMMMMAAA! BOOOOOOK!" to which I have to turn around because recently this is followed by the book being thrown at me. After going through 4 "redos" on how to hand mama a book and asking to be read to instead of demanding it, he finally asks nicely and we read the book 3.5 times. Then when I start to undress him so we can change his diaper, he goes full-on meltdown because diapers are the worst thing ever and even though his current diaper is so full that there are drops of liquid running down his leg, that is better than laying down to get a new diaper on. After a lot of yelling, tears, kicking and shoving, the diaper finally makes it on the child. But now comes the dressing and picking out shoes he wants to wear. He is the most opinionated 21 month old when it comes to picking out clothes and shoes. Especially the shoes!

These were the first 45 minutes of my day.

(Time to reheat my coffee again)

I am the mom of a toddler and half of the time I feel like I am run over by a semi by 9am. And I only have one of them this age thus far!

Today we went to the library. Driving into the parking garage I see a toddler running down the middle of the entrance with a mom frantically chasing her child. Walking in, there is a mom behind us with 2 children, one trying to sleep and the other screaming because they don't want to be in the stroller because, you know, strollers are the worst thing ever! When we enter the story time room, there is another child arguing over which carpet square she wants (and not letting others get one) while her mom is trying to convince her to just choose one and sit down. As story time begins, another mom keeps apologizing because her daughter keeps hitting my leg. A friend of mine keeps trying to talk her daughter into finding a place to sit since she keeps moving around. I see a dad leaving with their child 5 minutes after arriving because they want to hold the book the librarian is reading and can't. Towards the end, my son gets mad because I taped the stick onto his mask instead of letting him. He continues to rip the stick out and throw it across the room. As we leave and check out the 9 books he picked out, he realizes that the book he returned that he has grown to love more than life itself is not going home with us. I stop him as he runs toward the box that took his book and he flings his body to the ground, screaming, crying, and such because life as he knows it has ended.

Throughout this morning, I heard numerous parents apologizing for how their children were acting - as if it is our fault as parents that our children are misbehaving. Or trying to come up with excuses because there HAS to be a reason right? Truth is, we are all in this together. We all feel the pain of this tiny person that we love so much acting like they are hoodlums in a split second. Please don't be embarrassed by their behavior. Don't think you shouldn't take them to places like the library, Target, and even your front yard because of it. We understand each other and this trying time of raising children that can be sweet and gentle and act demon possessed in the blink of an eye. 

We are not judging you and hope the feeling is mutual.

As we drove out of the parking lot, I saw a dad carrying the handful of books he checked out for his son in his arms (because he too, like me, forgot to bring his reusable bag to place them in, but unlike me does not have a purse to shove them inside as an alternative option) and is trying to convince his son to walk holding his hand. Instead, his son is sprawled out on the sidewalk, kicking and screaming because he wants his daddy to carry him, not caring that he might hurt himself on the concrete.

Bless that daddy. You are brave. You care. It shows.
And I hope you got home okay with all books (and child's body parts) intact!

When I see your child screaming in the grocery store or throwing a tantrum as you try and get them in the car or throwing an object at you because they are not getting what they want - please know I am sending a look of "I feel your pain, know what you're going through, and hope tomorrow is better" your way. 

Parenting is hard!
There is no room or time in our day to apologize for everything our children do
NOR is there a place to judge each other.

So fellow parents out there, bless you for not giving up. For keeping at it, each and every day to try and mold that character even when it seems unmoldable. For not throwing in the towel when you have tried every book's, friend's, doctor's, and Pinterest's advice without finding success. I have been told that one day you will look back at some of these moments and laugh, and even miss them sometimes. 

And as a mom of a tweenager (my name for a teenager - early twenties) as well, I can tell you they don't want to spend every single moment with you anymore. You have to beg for that time, and even when they agree on giving you a smidgen of it, you still have to send text reminders! Or even bribe them sometimes! 

Moral(s) of the story:
You are a good parent.
Tomorrow is another day.
You will survive and so will they.
Take joy in the small successes. They make parenting worth it!
And when you've had all you can take, send them to a friend or grandparent's house, take a nice looooong hot shower, and go out for a night of peace and quiet. We all need our sanity restored every once in a while!