Hostage Negotiations and life with 4 yr olds (x2)

I am convinced that any parent(s) who survive raising twins should receive something like a PhD in life.  I can’t say I’ve earned it yet but I feel like the experience I’m getting should qualify for something extraordinary.

The bottom line is, I have become the queen of negotiating.  Pretty soon, I will have the confidence to talk down a hostage situation, or someone on the ledge… as long as I can get in touch with what really drives them.

Daniel and I are children of a spanking generation.  I’m not saying that was good or bad but we’re pretty pleased with how we turned out.  When you’re parenting children from hard places, that aren’t your own and that have experienced trauma in their life – spanking isn’t the best way to motivate.

Our very dear friend who happens to be an elementary school counselor explained to me one night that we have to have a currency.  I have been frustrated at times because it seems that all of my best intentions have failed, they just don’t listen and obey.  But JA explained that we have to find the currency that motivates them.

Well friends… here is what I have found.  The motivating factors for 2 little 4 yr olds are:  1. candy  2. Peppa Pig   3. Vacation   4. McDonalds

This is how things go down in our house:
Me – I have already told you to stop doing that. If I have to say it again, I’m going to eat a piece of your Halloween candy.
Twin – but mommy, you don’t like chocolate
Me – I know.  This hurts me more than it hurts you.

Score one for the parental team.  I have faithfully consumed a bucket of Halloween candy against my will.

These girls worked hard for the candy

Mommy’s currency is, 1. Peace  2. Quiet  3. Sleep.  If anyone can promise and deliver on these three things, I will give them whatever they want.

Last night for example, they were too excited to go to bed. I was too tired to fight any more battles.  On my 3rd trip to their room, I threw out all the stops.  If you cry again, we will never watch Peppa Pig again… ever… no more Peppa.   And if I hear one more sound from this room… I’m canceling vacation and eating all your candy.  Mommy is sleepy. Please let me go! 

Dear girls, I am sorry for all the things I say when I am tired. I do love you very much.  I love you more when you are sleeping. 🙂

So, we didn’t cancel vacation.  We’re headed out for a week of little adventures kicking it off with the girls’ first Auburn game.  At 3:20 am a little voice called me from her room.  I went in to see what she needs. “I just wanted to give you a hug and a kiss mommy.  Is it wake up time yet?  Is it vacation day?”  No dear, it is not wake up time. I will come get you when it is.    30 minutes later…  “Mommy, is it wake up time yet?”

This is just too exciting!  I know you aren’t supposed to share on social media if you’re going out of town or anything.  I’m going to trust that none of you will break into our home while we’re away.  Just in case you are considering it… be warned:
1. We have an alarm system
2. The house is booby-trapped.  Think Home Alone and a war on mice.
3. We live in a retirement community with very nosy neighbors.  Our homeowner’s association will fine you faster than the police will get here. Park on the grass…I double dare you.
4.  The only thing you will find in our home is a sea of pink toys. It’s seriously not worth your time.
5.  There are germs. For real.

Earlier this week I got the dreaded call from daycare.  “Abby, this is Beth, did you know that hand-foot-and-mouth is going around Baby Girl’s class again?  She has a couple of bumps, I think you might need to come get her.”  This is not possible.  We have Jesus. We use oils. We haven’t been around any cows.

Speaking of cows… I may have the only girls in the world that will be disappointed one day when they meet a cow and it doesn’t actually say “eat more chicken” to their face.  I’ve almost convinced them that’s what cows say.

And about Jesus. I’m not saying anyone that has had hand-foot-and-mouth doesn’t have Jesus… I’m just saying that there are a few things I am specifically trusting him for, and this is one of them.  And the oils… they better work.

Good news, I think we dodged a bullet.  Baby girl is good for now.  Put a little oil on those bumps and they were gone in no-time.  I’m not saying she did or didn’t have it… there’s no proof one way or the other.  Thank you Jesus for saving us.

Oh and lastly, while I’m sharing about germs and adventures in parenting.  Have you ever been to chick-fil-a when things go wrong in the kiddy-play?  We’re averaging about 3 for 4 with the “somebody peed in the slide” moments now.  Fortunately, at this point we haven’t been the “one” but we’ve seen it enough to know the drill.  There’s pretty much a hazmat team that comes in with masks and stuff, shuts down the playground and carefully removes all evidence and aftermath of the accident.  But just in case the sign on the door and the hazmat team aren’t enough notice… my girls will always be there to alert any new person walking in, or any child attempting to make their way into playland.  “Somebody PEED on the Slide!”  announcements are made over-and-over-and-over again.  It’s almost more embarrassing than actually doing it.  (By the way, there’s no shame… mommy, it is not your fault… keep your head up… it could happen to any of us.)

Ok. Time to wrap things up.  I just wanted to share some of our lighter moments with you – so you would know our life isn’t all battles and tears.  We’re loving almost every minute of it.

As we move into the week of Thanksgiving, I can’t help but remember this time last year, preparing our hearts for the girls to leave us before Christmas.  My how things have changed, and how quickly they did.  Even though our waiting seems long and our hearts are ready for finalization, I’m learning to live each day and trust God for the timing.  Thank you friends for your love, support and prayers.  We hope that our story gives you hope, courage and a glimpse of God…and if nothing else, something to laugh at every now and then.

Much love to you all!


My Story

The Battle… is real


Trouble surrounds me, chaos abounding; My soul will rest in you.
I will not fear the war. I will not fear the storm. My help is on the way, my help is on the way.
(Always, Kristian Stanfill)

I wish there was a pretty way to say this, but there isn’t.  The battle is real and friends, we.are.in.it.

This isn’t a fun post to write.  I’ve wrestled for a week with how to share in an authentic way, baring our scars, sharing our wounds, showing our fears yet claiming the truth.

It hit me last weekend, late in the night as I was sitting in the emergency room for the second time in as many weeks.  Daniel brought me a “bug-out” bag with toiletries and change of clothes since I had just found out Prissy was being transported to another hospital for observation and such.  It had been a long day and an even longer night.  He held her hand beside the hospital bed and I just looked with tear filled eyes and said, I’m really tired of being under attack.

It was the first time we had acknowledged it but it felt like saying it out loud brought a bit of freedom.  This can’t be normal life.  There are too many pressures, too many pains, too many surprises to think this is normal.  Or maybe, the battle is our new normal?

I remember waking up on Monday morning and thinking, I cannot be an adult today. seriously, can someone else be an adult for me. I just want to go back to my parents’ house, curl up in my bed and pretend like I’m not an adult.

My honest, gut level response to attack is to evaluate what we’ve done to set us up, drop it and pull back, bringing relief from the enemy.    Is it fostering?  Is it adopting?  Is it Wellspring? What do I need to do to get relief, fast?

Well, I’m sure it’s any one or all of these things… but each of these are where we believe the Lord has called us and each of these are worth fighting for.  What’s a girl to do?

Look for Jesus.

Two months ago I sensed the Lord say to me, You will not be shaken.  That’s always fun to hear.  Why would he say that? Why would I need to hear that?  Probably because I would be faced with attack that over three weeks would make me feel like many things were failing, that he was not seeing and that I am alone on a battlefield.  In the midst of the battle, I need to remember his words; and despite what life feels like, I can know that we will not be shaken.

There have been many people over the past month that have loved me well, engaged my heart and the painful things that I couldn’t understand.  Many have prayed as we’ve invited them and I feel like we’re coming up for air. What I want to share is two-fold.

First, I invite you to pray with us.  We need you guys to continue praying that God would give us strength, grace and perseverance every day.  Secondly, I want to share some of the things I’ve learned so that as you walk through your own battles, maybe you can find hope.

One of our pastors shared last week in the sermon series “Battle Lines” about being under attack.  I wasn’t able to attend but I was able to watch it later in the week.  It had a powerful impact for me and I want to share some of the key points.  I hope this is legal…

Some of you are in the fight of your life – the hour of darkness – and considering exchanging the most precious things in your life for things that will alleviate the spiritual attack…  don’t make concessions.

It is easy in the midst of a battle to want relief, to feel weary and wish you could give up.  Don’t make concessions.

I am reminded of the scriptures in Isaiah God gave us at the beginning of this journey with the girls, So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

The battle is in believing God is for me, that he is with me…. it’s not for the breakthrough… it’s for the believing. 

In one of my struggles I entered some significant disappointment that made me question if God even sees me.  If what I’m praying for, believing for, hoping for doesn’t happen  –   what does that say about me?  Am I worth it to God?  Have I done something to deserve this?  Is God even there?

There are many things I will never understand this side of heaven.  I can’t even begin to list some of those questions. But one thing I’ve learned is that I have often confused having hope in God with having hope in an outcome.  Once I shift my hope to believe that no matter the outcome, God’s heart towards me is good, I can rest in his promises.

The tactic of the enemy is to go after your relationship with God.  Yes, he uses all the things around you that you love and hold dear, but ultimately, he wants us to question if God is who he says he is.

In the sermon he went on to challenge me to “Look beyond the hour”.

The hour of darkness is not meant to prove us but is meant to reveal Jesus.”

There’s really not much I can do about the attack, but I have full control over how I respond.  My hearts desire is that my response to the disappointment, the pain and even if one day I experience suffering, that it reveals Jesus.

John 12:27 in the Message says: “Right now I am storm-tossed.  And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’?      No, this is why I came in the first place.  I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.'”

Friends, October was not fun. I feel storm-tossed. We’re a bit weary. But Lord willing, we’re still standing!  I don’t think you could find a happier girl to see the month of November begin.  As I sit and reflect on the things that have felt hard, I cannot help but be thankful for God’s grace, for your faithfulness to pray and all the many ways I can see he is fighting for me.

Hope is rising like the light of dawn.

There’s too much at stake.  The battle is real. But it’s worth fighting.

To hear Pastor Jeremy’s sermon, feel free to watch “The Hour of Darkness” at this link http://www.destinyworshipcenter.com/battle-lines-series/