Thursday, January 28, 2021

Happy Birthday Will

This week we celebrated Will. 

On January 23rd, 2018, we met Will for the first time.

 On January 24th, 2018, Will, Hubby and I signed the official papers and he became our son.  

On January 25th, 2018, he turned 14, the age at which he would have forever lost his chance for a family and lived the rest of his life in the "second orphanage".

On January 24th, 2021, we started Will's 17th birthday celebrations a bit early. We couldn't resist taking these two out to dinner seeing as though in a few days, they will both be 17 years old... 

that is until February 12th when Caleb turns 18!!


We spent the evening talking about girlfriends and futures and time we could not get back and as I sit here tonight contemplating Will's "could have been"...

I am eternally grateful for what is now, his "could be".


 During dinner he asked me what my dream job had been when I was a little girl. The question is a simple one, but for Will it is one full of hope and an understanding of what a future is.

It has finally settled in and taken up residence in his heart and the hope is reflected in his ease.

I don't always understand but I have learned to always trust.

 On January 25th, 2021, Will turned 17 and he has the rest of his life ahead of him, a life that I am so grateful to now be a part of. 

I will never forget that first day, the day that we met our 4th son. 

He was nervous but ready. He gently took my hand and trusted. He placed his trust in those he could not see and could not understand. 

Yes, his life is better and yes, he now has a hope and a future but on the night of Will's 17th birthday, we know we are the ones with such a gift!

Will has a wisdom that comes from hard, which could have hardened him but the Lord protected his heart and that gentleness with which he took my hand has followed him home and we are blessed.

There is a difference in his pictures then and now... 

just as there is a difference in OUR pictures then and now.

He is changed but so . are . we...

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Smokey Bear

So, if you remember a few weeks back, the great feral kitten wrangler had wrangeled herself a wild little black kitty. If you don't remember, you can read all about "my little prodigy" here, Crocodile Dunshe!

Both Lizzie and the kitty were in shock and scared and when they got home...

the real work began.

Sound familiar?

I watched as this precious daughter of mine fed and cared for and comforted and loved this tiny scared kitty.

It took great patience and faith as she nurtured through hissing and hiding and scratching and fear and as the days turned into weeks, she persevered because she knew.

She knew the love that was growing in her heart and that as frightened as this tiny one was...

that one day... 

he would know it too and while fear may always be a part of him...

she knows his familiar healing and now she is beginning to know ours.

And as she wrestled with the choice of finding him a good home or keeping him forever, she began to understand that as much as he needed her...

she . needed . him.

Through this tiny one, my tiny one is gifted a small glimpse into the love that grows by God's grace as He heals and restores the giver and the receiver... 

I watch her as she cares for him and I recognize the doubt and the fear and the joy and the love and the surrender and the embrace and . the . healing and it is familiar.

Lord thank you for your constant healing and the gentle way in which You care for us and restore us in ways that touch us so deeply.

So now I can officially say that we have our 2nd "grand" and he is also a CAT and his name is Smokey!

No worries Chewy, Lizzie's body may be tiny but her heart is HUGE😉!

 Besides... you are MY dog😆

You can read about our 1st "grand" here, Boots!

Now I guess I will be stuck with a name like Memaw!!

I . AM . THE . DOG . LADY!!!

I mean I could have had a cool grandma name like G-dog but noooooo...

My partner in crime rescue had to go and rescue a cute little kitten...

and oh my goodness just look at those squishy little cheeks😉

Welcome to the Ham Fam little Smokey Bear!

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Deep Calls to Deep

Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.
Psalm 42:7


I recognize it in her.

The quiet that permeates speaks volumes to me as we occupy her silence.

The unspoken words and the tears, not allowed to fall, are so familiar to me.

There is a knowing that we share, a knowing that hurts and sets apart but it is a knowing that transforms.

Most don't "know" her because they only see what she allows them to and there is so . much . more. 

She steps in silently, many times before I have even recognized the need because, unlike me at that age, she is not swimming against those strong currents that threaten to fully consume her heart. They frighten her but she is not afraid.

Her shyness overshadows the charm that is reserved for the fortunate few who persevere. 

She requires work but what you receive is an invitation to a heart that is full and ready to give.

At 14 years old, she is embracing the heart she was given - something that took me 40+ years to yield to.

Her beautiful blend of timidity and confidence endears her to those who look past her surroundings to really see her and her acts of grace, which are so natural for her that they are not spectacular, but just a part of her.

She laughs at herself - something that I still have not yielded to😉

I know her humility and it will help her at times and hinder her at others but she is learning to walk by faith.

It is a delicate balance to traverse the path between this world and the next. Sometimes the dance between the two is seamless, gracefully flowing in harmony as you influence without loosing your own footing. Sometimes it less like a dance and more like a tug of war as you choose between the moment and the word

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

My dearest Emmeline, the Lord has entrusted you with much...  

"you were made for such a time as this"

Continue to release your heart and loose your "self" in the dance that He has so beautifully choreographed for you.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Christmas 2020

I didn't know whether to hug him or hit him...

so I did both!

I mean what posses a mostly grown "man child" to tell his mother (who then went on to tell his grandmother) that he would not be able to make it home for Christmas, while secretly planning his surprise grand entrance... 

(with his fully grown "man father" in the know - I might add)!

Oh wait...

They're both MEN!

Nuf said😉 

Not only was "I'll Be Home For Christmas" playing on a continuous loop in my head, but there were planning and preparations that needed to happen!


So at exactly 11:30 p.m. in my front hallway on December 23rd, 2020... after wondering if my Sleepy Time Tea was working overtime and it was all just a dream...

I saw that smile...

that timeless, mischievous little smile and I knew it wasn't a dream and my Charlie was actually home and after the initial 100 or so hugs and a well deserved smack 😉 I wondered if this child of mine should transfer from the sports trainer internship program to the theater internship program!

Harrumph !

So our Christmas began with our own little Christmas miracle...

Charlie lied and came home and I didn't kill him, or his father - who is such an enabler!


(Note: this video is from Christmas Day when we surprised my Mom, cause I am just wrong😆)

Needless to say, I was up way late on the night of the 23rd. (did I mention the planning and preparations that needed to happen - MEN😉) and it was AWESOME but it reaffirms my desire to NEVER have a surprise party! 

Now, if only Bella had surprised us... 

I would not have smacked her😉...

but she was made to sit in the spotlight and open her gifts early - so there😁

I am a planner and a preparer and an anticipator and I think that is how I enjoy Christmas; I plan, I prepare, I anticipate and I ponder. 

I think so much about Mary during Christmas. I am certain she was planning and preparing and anticipating the birth of our Lord, her son. I think about how the plans for her life that had been laid out before her were swept away in an instant as she let go of control and embraced God's plan for her life. I am certain there was fear as well as excitement as the Lord prepared her heart and the magnitude of what lay ahead began to settle in.

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!" Luke 1:45

Mary believed and trusted that what the Lord had planned for her life was far greater than anything she could plan, prepare or anticipate!

I know only just a little of what Mary may have been feeling as she prepared to step into His plan and anticipate what was to come. I imagine she may have felt unworthy as she began to understand what God had entrusted her with but it is in that place that she may have also begun to understand her great need for Him and the steadfastness of His faithfulness. 

There are many days that I feel unworthy of the purpose He has given me. I know I am not wise enough or young enough or patient enough or selfless enough or loving enough and it is in those moments of precariousness that the Lord ministers to me and His presence is especially palpable and I am brought back to a place of trust. 

Cause, y'all, we will never accept our deep need for Him until we recognize the depth of our sin and the darkness in our hearts and we will never do either as long as we are safe and comfortable and secure in the world.
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

Imagine giving birth to the One who created you. In those first sweet moments, I wonder how much she knew. The Lord has a way of gently revealing just what we need to know, in a time that neither overwhelms or intimidates.  However, I think there is a knowing deep inside a mother's heart, a knowing that prompts the treasuring of moments past and the pondering of moments yet to come.

After 8 kids, you would think there would be no time for treasuring up or pondering but that is where I so often find my heart. Time is relentless and yet we fill up so many of our precious moments with things that make no eternal impact.

The distractions of this world can be beguiling and can lead us away from those moments that are worthy of treasuring and pondering.

This year has been so hard for so many but I truly believe there were many moments of eternal impact and my prayer for 2021 is not a return to normal but a return to Jesus.

Sooooo, speaking of distractions and no eternal impact 😉...

The annual kids and dogs Christmas pictures turned out much like 2020...

just lousy y'all!

I didn't realize until later on Christmas Day that my camera settings had been changed and were way off so almost every single picture I had taken for Christmas 2020 was just bad...

I thought about deleting them all and trying again later but maybe they are just perfect for a year like this one!

At least the ones at Mom's were in focus...

but Maggie was apparently freezing...

 and Em was apparently hiding...

or Lucy has apparently been hiding about 6 inches all this time...

Lizzie was apparently wrestling another wild kitten that morning that left it's mark on her jeans😆...

 and there weren't even any good out takes and that is entirely disappointing!

I mean come on...

I expect much more out of this group!


We did manage this rare gem...

rare because I am safely behind the camera, Mom hates having her picture taken and Bub suffers from RBATF syndrome, or in layman's terms, "Rather Be At The Farm" Syndrome😁

However, despite the failed picture sessions and the environment in which we find ourselves these days, we fully enjoyed the extra time at home and made certain that our Christmas traditions survived the year!

 We pulled the kids out of school a bit early and decided we would just start celebrating.

We went shopping...

and I am not ashamed to admit that I took full advantage of  my little shopping elves.

We made Reindeer Food.

We made Christmas Cookies.

We decorated... 


We watched as Will placed the Angel on top of the tree.

We enjoyed our annual visit to Hyams Nursery and Christmas Shop.

Just don't ask about poor Fredrick😧 Sorry, inside joke (Emmeline😆)

We loaded up and headed to the Christmas Lights.

Something we hadn't done in a couple of years but we felt the need to revisit and linger in our traditions!

We, unfortunately, had to attend Christmas Eve service at home but were still able to enjoy the candle lights.

We readied the table...

We cooked and we ate...

and made a mountain of trash as presents were opened... 

Lizzie Santa was harassed... 

a family tradition😁...

and The Holy Grail even made an appearance...

It's still not funny😉

Old soccer jerseys were made new... 

for my Mighty Number 45...

and new gifts were tested.

AUHmazing!  More on the trumpet later😉

So another Christmas full of God's provision and plans and even though I just do not understand why His plan and His provision did not include a good Christmas picture, much less any good out takes (haha), I am full of gratitude for His constant provision and submission to His unerring plans.

This year has been hard, very hard for those who lost jobs or businesses or friends or most especially, loved ones, but there were blessings and there were lessons and there was an awakening for so many of us who get caught up in the distractions and the busyness that can seem Holy but that take us away from the One who IS Holy.

So on New Year's Eve, we celebrated the year that we were given...

and on New Year's Day we headed to my Brother's farm for some Hoppin John and Collard Greens to celebrate the year to come... 

and as with the close of every year, we pray for the strength to consider ourselves blessed regardless of our circumstances as we pack up the ornaments and the lights and the decorations... 

treasuring the memories they hold and pondering the year of memories ahead.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!