A Pirate Party : Jacob Turns 9

We celebrated Jacob’s 9th birthday (actually later this week) on Sunday with a pirate party. It was his choice a month ago and I loved that Friday happened to be Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Friday totally pumped us up for the party.  I decorated Saturday afternoon knowing that Sunday after church would be totally insane.  I loved having our new table with the two leaves–I was able to seat all 10 kids!  Normally I’m cobbling together a few tables to make everything work but this was great to have.

It’s so hard to tell in pictures but it looked like the table was a ship.  We had the fan blowing and the pennant was even blowing in the wind like sails.


I got everything on Amazon last week. I was so happy when everything went so well together.  I’ll list them all at the bottom.




The party was in the afternoon so I kept the food simple with some cute signs I printed.




For the games, we decided to keep it simple and go old school.

First was the tug of war. I think this was everyone’s favorite game.





This picture is fuzzy because I had to zoom in so much but you just have to see Lexi’s victory face after the girls won the first round:


My girl is nothing if not competitive.

Next we did a few iterations of walk the plank–they had to hop and walk backwards.  I think a few of them thought it was lame, but everyone got candy when they got to the end so it was worth it. If only our pool wasn’t freezing cold, it would have been awesome to do as a pool game.



The next game was a real treasure hunt. We hid 10 pennies in a huge container of rice at a time. Each one had 20 seconds to find as many as they could.  It’s harder than it sounds! I think the most anyone got was 7.



Next up was the ship pinata which was entertaining, as always.  Emma still talks about the princess castle she had at her 3rd birthday party (<--yes, I blogged about it 9 years ago) and all the candy fell on her head.  She cried and cried and apparently was traumatized seeing that 9 years later she's still talking about it!




Cake, ice cream and presents of course are a must.


I can’t pass by this part of the recap without a little extra transparency. Jacob was–something–at a few parts of the party. Overall, he seemed to be having a fantastic time. But at a few moments he seemed overwhelmed? Holding back because of his ADHD meds?  Being triggered back to his past? I don’t know and this is the hard part of adopting an older child.  I don’t have all the pieces to know what was going on. I would love to hear other adoptive parents experiences with first celebrations.



According to him this was his very first party. Even in foster care, they didn’t do big parties so I think the most he’s had is a cake with family.  Even so, he assures me he had fun at the party and liked everything. He was zooming around on that scooter all evening, shooting everyone with the nerf guns and shuttling his new remote control Jeep when it was charged.


I know big themed parties aren’t a must for childhood, but it’s definitely part of our family culture.  I have fun doing them and I can’t even tell you how lucky I feel to get to give him his first–hopefully just the first of many!




  • I used the Rapscallion font and layered a black and red rectangle shape underneath to create the tags.
  • Gold cups were found in a fall pack of cups at Walmart
  • Here is my Pirate Party Pinterest Board with most of these ideas

From Amazon:


Lynn’s Feather Story: Comfort in a Crisis

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I got a message from a reader named Lynn this week.  She found me through a mutual friend and she’s been reading about our feather story.  Turns out God had some plans to use it to comfort her in one of the worst crisis of her life.

I was so amazed at God all over again and asked if I could share it with you.  She was more than willing to share, wanting everyone to see what God had done.

Here’s Lynn:


My mom’s health has been declining over the last year or two… But the last 2 to 3 months have really been the biggest decline. Over the last 6 or so weeks she has moved from the hospital… To rehab… Where she fell the day before her discharge and dislocated her shoulder… Back to the hospital… Back to rehab… And then another move back to the hospital for low oxygen saturation. As a COPD’er… She has been in the hospital many many times over the last couple years. This visit didn’t seem much different. She was admitted a week ago Tuesday. They opted to put her on a bipap machine to help her breathing.

On Wednesday morning when they tried to take her off….   They couldn’t. When my brother called me to tell me this, I was on my way to Bible study fellowship for the intro/welcome class so that I could join their study this year of Moses. I chose to go on to class because I would be able to be at the hospital by 11:30am. Due to late start day last week for my daughter, I had to catch a ride with a friend to the hospital afterwards. My friend lost her mom about a year ago… So we actually sat in the hospital parking lot for about an hour talking about the struggles of taking care of elderly parents… The heartaches… The strain on your own personal family… And the turmoil of realizing that you can no longer care for them at home.

I climbed out of her car and headed into the hospital. As I walked up the walkway to the entrance… There in the middle of the sidewalk was a feather. I gasped. I picked it up and so totally sensed God’s presence and comfort. I walked in feeling a little lighter.

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I sent JoAnn Blackwood and my other friend Crystie a picture of my feather. They both knew your story. Crystie said she had asked God for a feather… But hadn’t gotten one. I told her I purposely had not asked. I then realized in my heart it was because I didn’t want to be disappointed when I didn’t get one. (Many realizations later… Because I didn’t want to be disappointed with God… Because he didn’t meet my expectations… Like I can’t trust Him when He doesn’t do what I want Him to… Heart journey with The Lord started over that realization)

As I left that day knowing that my mom’s health had turned a corner that I didn’t want to turn … I thought, wouldn’t it be really nice to find another one. Almost to my car… Nothing. Then boldly thought, Wouldn’t it be nice if it were right by my door so i’d know it was just for me. Well… I didn’t find one by my door… But one by my tire and another one by the curb. Three in one day.

On Thursday as I parked again and went toward the entrance of the hospital… I found another one. Then another one. That day we received the news that my mom’s health would not improve. Not only was her breathing issue a critical issue… But she was in heart failure… And what started as a antibiotic resistant UTI… Was now in her bloodstream. It would lead to organs shutting down. We had a very difficult discussion with her about her desires for the end of her life… Whether it be weeks or months. What she wanted that to look like. Hospitals and needles? Or hospice? Or home?

Either Thursday or Friday… I shared your/my feather story with my son that is 24. He looked at me like I was crazy. He left to go to grab a bite to eat… And returned with big eyes… And his own feather. I told him I had asked God to provide a feather for him so he would understand. That night when my son got home to his own house… A feather floated through the air… Right in front of his face… And he was able to catch it. He was floored.

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My sweet moma passed on into her eternal glory and home on Saturday. God had given me at least one feather every time I went to the hospital. And another one as I left every day. There was such peace with her passing.

Saturday afternoon after my mom passed, I asked my friend Crystie if she would run to Bath & Body Works to grab me some candles. (She had asked God for a feather… But didn’t get one) she asked God again for a feather even if it’s just for Lynn… And as she came out to get into her car… There in a puddle was a WHITE feather. All of my others had been dark. She grabbed it up and brought it to me. Crystie used her white feather to create a picture with a scripture reference on it… Psalm 91:4, “He will cover you with His feathers”… (A coworker shared this exact scripture with me on Friday after hearing this story). I had those printed and framed for my family.

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On Sunday night I gave one to my 20 year old daughter and realized that somehow she had missed this story over the last couple days. She also thought I had lost my mind. When she got home.., she found 2 feathers inside her home. She was floored!! God hasn’t given me another feather since Saturday… But he has covered us with his feathers throughout this whole difficult time.

I shared it with the Pastor that did my mom’s funeral on Tuesday. He didn’t do a great job with your part of the story… He tried… But I don’t think he was able to really get the story to translate to the people there… But it wasn’t because I didn’t tell your story before my story.

Thank you so much for sharing your story… So God could use it to not only provide peace and comfort during my mom’s passing.., but also to slap me with my own issue of unbelief and the need to trust Him even when he doesn’t do what I want. (And I thought we had already been there, taught that lesson… And I thought I learned it)

Much love! Lynn


Y’all, I am just floored. Bless you, Lynn, and your family as you travel this difficult road.  I am so thankful we serve the same loving God that can meet us in the worst of times.

We are not alone in our struggles–whatever that might be.  He sees you, he loves you and he wants to comfort you!


Adoption – A Six Week Update

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Today makes 6 weeks that our new family has been together.  If I had birthed Jacob, it would be time for me to go back to work.  My body would be healed, he would be eating a little less frequently and we’d be getting on a good schedule.

In a lot of ways, I feel like we are getting into a groove like that. The shock of a new family member is wearing off.  And yet, on my first day back to work after Emma, I bawled like a baby.  I did some of that last night too.

Even though everyone is beginning to find their place, I have begun to mourn both the family we were and the one I had envisioned for us.

I don’t mean to say I have any regrets about adopting or any of it is a disappointment.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt we are meant to be a family.

There have been moments–glimpses of hope–that I have seen.

Jacob and I cracking up laughing at Emma and Lexi singing their own version of Let it Go from the back seat.

Watching Jacob absolutely shine like a rock star at soccer practice. (Y’all, he is REALLY good).

Him cuddling with me at night when we read. And then writing a story at school about how he loves it.

Pulling up into the driveway and seeing Jacob sitting with Scott on the lawn mower cutting the yard.

Seeing all three of the kids laughing and jumping with the water hose on the trampoline.

All such good moments.

And yet, a lot of the time I am breaking up arguments between the kids.  Lexi and Jacob in particular are both a little too stubborn for their own good.  They’re trying to parent one another and prove themselves right about everything and anything. Neither will give up.  They even argue when they are both right.  It’s insanity. The more I talk to moms, the more I hear this is normal sibling behavior for two strong-willed kids.  And the more I hear that, I am both comforted and frightened.  If this is the new norm, I am going to go stark raving mad.

Jacob and I are making progress. Mostly I have learned to give a little grace, not to take it personally and yet, put my foot down a little harder.  The behavior chart is working. The day after day of providing is working.  It’s slow, but I see progress from 6 weeks ago. And yet, I see a different Jacob when he’s with Scott on his own.  We’re still not there yet.

It’s in those moments that I seriously wonder if I will be able to make it.  Where is my little family of four?  Where is that family of five that I imagined?

In the midst of this, Emma is quietly playing the neutral older sister.  She has slipped into middle school and youth group. She is doing amazing.  If you’ve been around for awhile, you know that starting elementary school was difficult for her.  But she blossomed. She started middle school excited and ready. She had no hesitation whatsoever. As I watch our family struggle, I also feel like I’m watching my little girl slip away.  Just when I want to slide in and spend the most time with her, she is slipping into her own little person that needs more freedom than ever.  It’s breaking my heart.

And so, at this 6 week mark, I am both hopeful and sorrowful.  Our little family is changing and it’s not easy on this momma.

But God.

But God is providing comfort and rest.  With Him, his mercies are new every morning.  I may have a moment of tears, but He meets me there and I get back up and do it again. He’s so good to bring just what I need when I need it.  All things are possible with Him, including helping a changing family find their way.

Feathers – The Next Step




May I be so bold to suggest first thing on this Monday morning that you go watch Friday’s video? I’d suggest you’d watch all of them if you haven’t, but Friday’s will suffice if that’s all you have time for.


On Saturday, I watched Beth Moore’s live simlucast at the last minute. In one of her first sessions, a statement she made shocked me so much that even my sister, who was watching the simulcast at a local church, texted me seconds later “Oh man!!!!” to share her shock.  She didn’t even have to say what it was about it was so clear it was a message for us.

Beth said she asks the Lord all the time to reveal Himself to her and the people attending her events.  Reveal, reveal, reveal.  She said she felt in her spirit last week that He said, “I’ve been revealing myself to you plenty. Now I’m looking to you to respond.” I half-expected her to talk about feathers it was so closely aligned to what He’s been doing in this space.

But I felt it so swiftly, so clearly, so powerfully that the message is for all of us involved in this feather story.  God wants us to respond.

He didn’t do all that just for us to ooh and ahh over it.  This isn’t a Hallmark movie we’re watching. This is the real-deal God trying to talk to us.   He’s been preparing this literally for years–years he’s been orchestrating this proposal to you. And now it’s your turn to respond.

What does your response look like?  The answer could look a million different ways.

Maybe He’s asking for some daily devoted time to Scripture.

Maybe He’s asking for you to finally check out that church you’ve been eyeing.

Maybe He’s asking you to join that small group you’ve been invited to.

Maybe He’s asking you to teach or speak or lead or leave or stay.

Maybe He’s calling you to Himself for the first time.

Maybe He’s asking you to finally trust him.

Only you know, or can know through His word and the Holy Spirit, what your next step is.  What I do know is He’s waiting on you to take it.

My next step is absolutely to get in Scripture every single day–as hard as I looked for those feathers, he wants me looking for him in the pages of his word.


Since the simulcast on Saturday, I haven’t received a single message about a feather found.  It’s the first day since August 27th when I first found the 3 on my walk that we’ve missed a day. I feel a doneness in my spirit about it.  It doesn’t mean no one will ever find another feather and think of this or His word–I hope people do. But I do think he set aside these few weeks to uniquely reveal himself to all of us and to comfort our family during this transition period.

But wholeheartedly, I believe this sanctioned time is over. God is done revealing himself this way. He wants you and he can’t wait another minute.

How will you respond to this God who has so clearly shown how much he loves you, how much he provides for you, how much he wants to cover your sin, how much he wants to guide you, how much he wants to comfort you?  Scripture says he longs for it, but you have to let him.


After her comment, Beth continued to teach on the idea of responding.  She said it’s the picture of a ship pointing itself in one direction and going forward. It reminds me of an eagle’s intensity when it has locked eyes on its prey. It’s extremely focused and will not stray to the right or left.  That’s what this response should look like.  Make your decision and do not point your ship in a different direction until you see it through.

You will be distracted.  You will doubt. You will question. Circle back and read this if you have to.

He’s revealed Himself.  Now let’s respond.

Eagle Feathers: The Cleansing



If you haven’t watched any video in the last few weeks, this is the one to watch!  As far as I can tell right now, this will be the last lesson on feathers. The Lord tied everything together today and has a request for each of us.

If you didn’t get time to watch (oh please, do!), please know that God circled the wagons.  These feathers are a reminder of his word in our life.  He is calling us to spend time in Scripture, just as the eagle spends time every day cleansing and preparing his feathers by preening–a steaming and oiling process.  When we daily are reading his word and letting the Holy Spirit speak to us, this is our oil and water.

It is our daily manna, it is our comfort, it is our provision, it is a reminder of His love, it is how we raise our kids together, it is how we remove sin in our life, it is how we soar higher in a storm.  All these things are done by daily reading his word and letting the Holy Spirit speak to us.

I know actually doing this is so hard to do consistently. If you need some next steps:

  • IF:Equip is starting right from the beginning of the word in Genesis on Monday.  Make a commitment to read along with them for 3 months.
  • Our church “just happens” to be starting the entire chronological study of the word this weekend.  If you’re local, get to North Rock Hill Church. If you’re not, catch them online and learn his word every week.
  • I have done the Bible in 90 Days study several times now and it is the number 1 most transformative thing I’ve done as a Christian.  There’s something about reading it quickly that helps you piece together the true story.
  • If you have a smartphone, grab the YouVersion app or the SheReadsTruth app.  Both are great resources with reading plans.  Also, the YouVersion app has an audio options that is very helpful.
  • If you need something printable there are lots of reading plans on BibleGateway.com
  • I also find it helpful to read a Proverb every day that matches the date since there are 31 of them.  You can pick up any day that you missed. So, today read Proverbs 12.


God and all his perfect feathers are there in his word waiting to cover you.  Don’t miss him.