Thursday, November 15, 2012


so...the last few weeks have been a bit crazy at the patten homestead.

not the good crazy.  (if there is such a thing).

i'm talking about the chaos crazy.

and really, it's nothing new for us.  for the past two years we have seen and dealt with behaviors from our six year old daughter that we never expected to see from her.  it finally got to the point that we scheduled a psychological evaluation for her to find out what we were/are dealing with.

and this is what we were told...she has cognitive and emotional delays and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). not a huge surprise to hear her diagnosis but it still felt like a punch to my gut.

in layman's terms...our sweet daughter in her confusion about life and adoption and our family brings chaos.  and it's not her fault.  i'm learning, it's not her fault.  because of the environment she was in before we brought her to our family, her brain functions differently than a "normal" child's brain.  so she functions from a place of not trusting.  anybody.  especially me.  her mom.  and the behaviors she exhibits are to push me away.  now i know many of you have seen her and me together and would probably argue that she doesn't seem like she's trying to push me away.  you're right.  in public she is the sweetest girl in the world.  she wants to hold my hand, give me hugs, kisses, be by my side all the time.  it's a completely different story when she's home with me.

i could list all the behaviors we see at home but i won't.  1) it will be a long list.  2) you probably will have a hard time believing me, if you're not familiar with RAD.  so i'll spare you the details.  i do welcome questions from any of you who want to learn more about RAD and the effects it has on the child and the family.  of course, when she's not in ear shot.  {smile}

why am i telling you all this?  well, it's therapy for me.  and because i used to be one of those mom's who would look at a misbehaving child and instantly think it was the parent's fault.  now i don't jump to that conclusion as quickly.  i used to think that psychological evaluations were for "crazy" people.  now i see them as a helpful tool to better understand what's going on in someone's brain.  i used to think respite was for adoptive parents who can't control their adoptive child.  now i see respite as a safe place for my daughter to go to so the rest of my kiddos can live in some peace for a few days at a time.

God has not only answered my prayer, "give me Your eyes for my daughter, please Jesus."  but He's also opened my eyes to see things in a less judgmental way and in a more compassionate way.  i've spent too much energy trying to figure out why people are, do, say, behave the way they do.  instead i'm called to love them in all their mess.  after all, isn't that what He's done/doing for me?  loving me in all my mess?  yep.  He is.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

certificate of adoption

i was thinking today after j's adoption hearing and after we had the "official" paper in our hands...i was thinking, "if this were the oscars or academy awards, and i were to hold up this certificate and give a speech, this is what i may say"...

thank you.

thank you for calling us crazy but not leaving our side.

thank you for the phone calls.

thank you for the emails.

thank you for the texts.

thank you for the meals.

thank you for the groceries.

thank you for the babysitting.

thank you for the shoulder to cry on.  a lot.

thank you for not judging.

thank you for the prayers.  so.  so. many.  prayers.

thank you for the high fives & thumbs up.

thank you for the anonymous gifts received in the mail because you love Jesus and have a heart for the orphan.

thank you for whispering Truth when so many times the lies were screaming at us.

thank you for grace.  grace.  grace.

and finally, thank You, Jesus, for leading us on this journey.  us, a couple of misfits, lead to birth two children and then foster and adopt four more.  we never in a million years knew You were going to take us on such a journey.  and we never in a million years will ever regret going on this journey.

thank You.

bless You.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

one year ago...

on may 9, 2011
a precious little boy was born.
nine days later we had the privilege
to take an elevator to the 8th floor
of helen devos children's hospital
and fill an empty infant car seat
with a little bundle weighing a few ounces
over 5 pounds.
and bring him home.
over the course of 365 days (minus a few)
we have had...
many sleepless nights
many dirty diapers
many bottle washings
many outfit changes (acid reflux - yuck)
many teeth coming in (the kid had 8 teeth by 8 months AND started working on his 1 year molars a month ago)
many tub times (which includes mopping the bathroom floor because of all the splashing he does) {smile}
many tears
many laughs
many prayers
many prayers
many prayers
many ways we saw the hands and feet of Jesus through the body of Christ - the Church
many times of questioning, "can i really do this?  be a mom to 6?"
many times He (Yahweh) responding, "no, you can't.  but I can, if you let ME."
many times surrendering.  and then taking it back.  and then surrendering.  again.  (still do this)
many hugs.
many cuddle times.
many ways our olders have stepped up to the plate (way to go, b and sj!)
many ways our middles are comforted by knowing their little brother comes from the same birth mom brown just like them.
many ways my moses has had to learn that he's not the baby any longer...he's gettin' better.
many struggles in my marriage...'cuz a half dozen kiddos is a lot to take on. (we're a bit out numbered).
many revelations in my marriage making it stronger than it's ever been.  ever.

all of these blessings
plus a thousand more.
all because of a little bundle
that we opened our hearts to
and said
yes. (btw, we would do it all over again).

happy birthday, jeremiah leigh patten...our full-of-life, spunky boy!  blessing God for you on this special day!

Friday, April 20, 2012

gonna do a little boasting...

in my Jesus.

here it goes...

my hubby was out of town all week for work. he left on sunday and will be arriving safely home (Lord willing) tonight. which means i've been home with my six precious ones all week. all by myself. and when a couple of friends found out about my being a "single" parent for a week they looked at that as an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus to my family.

all week long, i did NOT have to make dinner. huge blessing! i could sit and enjoy dinner time with my kiddos instead of throwing a meal together while babies are crying, middles are arguing, and olders are trying to help with the littles.

twice this week, i was able to get away. just me. once for a doctor's appt. and once to workout with my running buddy. that may not seem like a big deal. but believe me. it is. to walk into a doctor's office without a diaper bag, stroller, blankies, binkies, etc. was a huge gift.

and...i even got to go out for ladies' night. we had a little "t" time. {wink. wink} if you're wondering what "t" time is...just ask christina, katie, or beth. or myself. it was a ton of fun. i felt a bit like back in my college days. and don't worry it wasn't anything illegal. all of our husbands were aware of what we were doing. well...most of them. {smile}

and last but not least, in fact, the most important one of all...i could feel the prayers. after coming out of a tough couple of months i wasn't sure i was going to be able to handle being on my own for a week. and i am usually a bit anxious about going to sleep without my hubby next to me. but He reminded me over and over that He will never leave me or forsake me. that I am His and He is mine. can i just tell you how much, not just peace...a deep peace... shalom...rested in my heart AND mind? SO MUCH! i could almost feel it.

will you bless Him with me?

He is so worthy of my/our praise.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

a little behind

well...i would love to post pics of all the projects we've done over the past two months. yep. i would love to post them. if i had them. i don't.


i thought when i heard the words in my heart, "it's time to get your house in order". i thought (silly me) i thought that meant to get things cleaned up, painted, polished, thrown out, etc.

i was wrong. kinda.

what i found out over the past two months was the cleaning, ordering, and working needed to be done in my heart.

and here's why:

for the past three or so years i have been in survival mode. my marriage has been in survival mode. my family has been in survival mode.

what is survival mode? it's where you are just getting by. just getting through the day without entirely losing it. escaping (physically, mentally, or emotionally) when too much chaos is around you.

life, circumstances, priorities, responsibilities (the list could go on) started crowding out my time (intentional time) i would spend with Jesus. until i hardly spent time with Him at all. sure an occasional prayer was said, or verse was read. but my heart had become busy with other stuff (good and bad) that it didn't have room for Him.

so...i've taken a step out of "survival mode" by clearing my schedule, stepping down from ministry, working on my marriage, hanging with my kiddos 'cause i want to, taking a time-out from facebook, AND spending time with my Saviour by re-learning of His great and enormous love for me.

no longer surviving.

i'm learning to thrive. and it feels wonderful!

i'm still running. even started working out to jillian michaels. and thrown in some bike riding, too. it's been fun and much needed.

projects...hopefully. a girl can still dream, right?

picture-a-day...yeah, when i can.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy "Gotcha Day" Moses!

this sweet boy officially became part of the patten clan one year (and a day) ago today.

he officially became part of our hearts way long before that but we took time to bless God for the joy and delight this boy has brought to our family.

he makes us hard. almost to tears. his little quirky sounds. his smile. his laugh. his wee-bit delays. the way he runs. his tantrums. cleaning out my kitchen cupboards. squishing play-doh all over the counter. rocking in the rocking chair with his bink and blank.

all of these things wrapped up in one little boy who captured this momma's heart the minute i laid eyes on him. and i WOULDN'T trade it for the world.

happy gotcha day, moses john!

we love you!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

umm...hello? anybody there?

i know. it's been a month. and i fully intended on keeping you up to date on the step by step process of painting our kitchen (a.k.a. "project #1). but alas life crept in and NOW (one babe is sleeping and the other is completely obliterating the family room) is the time i have to update you on where things are with the three "goals/dreams/ideas" i'm going after this year.

let's start with the kitchen. our kitchen has been boring white for eight long years until jan. 31, 2012. yep. that's the day our kitchen's wall color officially became "deepest aqua". take a peek.

everyone here at the patten residence loves seeing the new color which puts a big smile on this momma's face.

secondly...picture a day. i have taken pictures. every day? nope. almost every day? yep. some are more intentional than others. here's a peek at one that was VERY intentional.

{brotheres side by side eating popcorn and watchin' a movie}

and finally...running. boy oh boy! in many ways, it has been so good to get back on the road and run. and in many ways, it has been a big reminder of how out of shape this momma is. woo-wee. thankfully, i have a running partner who is very understanding and flexible. it took some time to figure out when to run because we have ALWAYS ran in the wee morning hours..before the sun...before our families would rise and shine. but with my precious and feisty baby boy who will sleep one night and then awake for two nights, it was hard for this momma to get out of bed. until now. now my running partner and i are hittin' the streets in the afternoon. and can i tell ya' somethin'? it's great! really. i have found my love for running again. i don't care if my body hurts. bring it. i would rather be running than not running. and as for races that we may or may not be training for.'s a few we're talkin' about.

this one.


this one.


(deep breath)

this one.

so there you have it, friends. that's where things stand, for now. next project (#2)...breezeway. and let me tell ya', we have our work cut out for us. wallpaper removal, painting, installing paneling, floor removal, installing new floor, and, oh, so much more. i'll be happy if we get the wallpaper off and the paint on. {wink}.

and an update wouldn't be an update (at least for this momma) without telling you about my heart and the work that has been going on in it through all of this. remember those verses i posted last month? the ones that inspired me to go after these three little ditties? well, it has come in handy many-a-day. i've realized how easy it is for me to let the things of this world drag me down/overwhelm me (i.e. referee-ing siblings, crying baby, tenacious toddler, school work, and the list goes on). thankfully, He brings me back to these truths and it gives me what i need to keep my head up and keep going. and i'm learning to take the time to be still. breathe. and be thankful. for everything (including the list above).

until next time...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

better late than never...right?

as i sat watching baby j play on the floor this morning, my mind started rabbit trailing hither, thither, and yon. somehow thinking about one of fred's neice's daughter's birthdays reminded me that we (the patten8) never celebrated q and kiki's "gotcha day" which was back in december. december 18th to be exact. on that day three years ago they officially became pattens.

here are a few pics to commemorate the day (in no particular order).

and some pictures that you don't see are the ones of us going to Big Boy for breakfast with fred's dad and sister. and the kiddos gathering around Big Boy for a photo op. it was a celebratory kind of day. {smile} may be asking yourself, "how could she forget a day like that? she's their mom for crying out loud!". bottom line is i'm not perfect (sorry for those of you who thought i was). if i could go back a few weeks and wake up with a great idea to celebrate their "gotcha day", i would. but i can't.

so we move forward and tonight at dinner we'll reminisce and have a celebration of how God brought them to us and we will celebrate q. and we will celebrate kiki. because they are worth celebrating, loving, learning, sacrificing - they are worth it.

and that, my dear friends, i would not change.

Friday, January 6, 2012

off and running...well, almost

6 days into the year and i've charted a course for my goals/dreams/ideas that i mentioned here.

  • a picture a far so good. here's a look-see. my two boys "playing" together. moses is working on sharing.

  • one project each month for the next twelve months. my husband is super-excited!!! (a wee bit of sarcasm in that sentence). {wink} we'll be starting with the kitchen walls. they are in desperate need of some color - "deepest aqua".

  • running...well, this week i walked five days and started strength training (sore quads make stairs a bear). next week i will be running with a goal in mind -which i may share with you once i've actually started training. {smile}

these are the fun things i get to wake up and think about every morning. sure, i still have to be a mom to my six and play referee, taxi, chef, diaper duty, baby food administrator, implenting "take a break", pay bills, etc. but here's what's different - my heart and my mind. instead of being consumed with what's right in front of me and feeling overwhelmed - i'm looking UP! to the One who will carry my burdens and fill me with His grace - daily.
Colossians 3:1-3
The Message (MSG)
So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.
Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you'll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ. (italics mine)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

hello 2012!

wow! where has the time gone?

it's been A LONG time since i last sat down to type a post for this blog.

so many changes. so much life. and now the beginning of a new year!

when i look back at 2011 i feel overwhelmed. don't get me wrong, so many good things happened. and we saw the hand of God in our lives so many times. BUT in many ways it was one of the hardest years (not complaining, just stating the fact).


this year is going to be different. i can feel it. this year is going to be a year of creativity. to be creative. something i haven't had the time or energy for the past 12 months. but i do now.
a few ways i'm hoping this may play out:

1) journaling a picture every day. no matter what. i've seen some daily picture blogs and it's pretty cool to look back over the course of a year and see all that has taken place.

2) next week marks my 15th wedding anniversary to fred. and i had an idea that instead of getting each other a gift or going someplace nice, we would take this next year and work on one project together each month. sound challenging? yep. but here's the thing. we've lived in the same house for 8 years and we've kinda just let it go because of no time, no energy, no money, or no motivation. well, we've not fallen into a lot of dough but i do feel like i've got the motivation, energy and with help from the kiddos - time. and we'll be working together...that's romantic, right?!? {smile}

3) running. that may not seem creative to you, it is to me. i NEED running. it is almost like breathing to me and i don't realize how much i miss it until i'm not doing it.


i've got my work cut out for me. thankfully, there is One greater than me who will give me the grace to accomplish or not accomplish these goals/dreams/ideas because He loves me. and really. that's all i need to know. cling to. and abide in this year.