The freedom of flying


My grandma is 96 years old. And she still knows my name, and everyone’s names, and tons of stories from her life. Seriously, she’s amazing. She loved adventure and didn’t take anything too seriously. She wasn’t afraid of change or just living outside the box. I like to think she’s lived this long because she found freedom by walking in ways others didn’t expect. She flew!  I think many people have had the dream of flying. I mean, without a plane, just free falling, then up again and around, over the rest of the world below us.

Great-Grandma, Max and Knox!

Great-Grandma, Max and Knox!

Kids love be in the air. It’s so effortless for us parents to give them flight. You lie on your back, put their tiny bellies on your feet and up they go, whirling around, arms spread wide. The smiles, the joy, the giggles are just pure freedom and letting go of all other thoughts their heads may have had. I think if I could really truly fly, any cares, any worries, any problems would dissipate and the grin on my face would be impossible to replicate apart from that moment.

I’ve been traveling this week and last, and telling our family’s story to new colleagues, acquaintances, business peers. We share who’s waiting at home for us and everyone always smiles when they hear about my babies. It’s been fun to visit with people who are amazed at the way God has orchestrated my life. And when I am provided these opportunities, I become amazed myself, again and again. I fly! These years have been so gloriously ruined.

As I sit here waiting to fly home to my family, I am thankful for the Safe Haven Law and those I told about it even just today. I’m thankful for my friends and family who have helped us through times which Jonas and I were completely unprepared to deal with on our own. I am thankful our wings held steady through it all and I think Knox’s birth mom would agree. She surely has had her own flying experiences, ups and downs. I think of her so often. I think of her smile. Is it his too? Or her hair. Does Knox carry her curls in his own beautiful locks? What made her laugh today?

Maybe we’ll both have questions we always carry for each other? I suppose so. Maybe that information will be one flying session that just doesn’t come to a close and maybe that’s okay too. I keep telling those I meet how wonderful she is, how I love her and love my story. I love my plane, my wings, my runways and the airports which have been the meeting places for it all. It’s freeing to fly. It’s freeing to accept your own flight path and know it’s uniquely yours.

So, wish me a safe flight as I go see the world from above. Thanks, Grandma, for always giving me the courage to venture out and experience something new. And tell someone you know about the Safe Haven law. Just keep talking …. It makes a difference. Thanks!

“Speak life” and the communication tricks of Irish twins..


This is starting to get tricky. My boys are just two peas in a pod, and as the school psychologist told me last week, “They’ve got a good thing going, and don’t want anyone interrupting.”

I’m a writer. I like to talk A LOT. I love to engage with others, and be a part of a problem-solving experience, or a deep emotional conversation. But I’m now stuck in my own problem and can’t talk my way out of this one: I have a 3-year-old who is incredibly smart, almost too smart for his own good.

Double trouble!

Double trouble!

He and his brother have formed an alliance and without even knowing, I’ve been kicked out of it. (I mean, I thought we were the Three Amigos. Guys? Hello? Guys?)

Watching them play and communicate is amusing and honestly, completely astonishing if you pay close enough attention. They direct each other, they discipline each other, they encourage each other, and are constantly in communication. Constantly.

Because of that, we are not. They are tricky and now I have to get Knox in some kind of “communication education.” The funny thing to me is that he communicates, and like his mom, is actually talking “a lot.” Just not in ways anyone but Maxwell understands. Good grief you two.. help a mom out here.

So, it is what it is. They are my highs and lows, my best and most challenging, my every day and every night. I love them, what’s the phrase? “To the moon and back.”

Especially with this situation and life in general, I’ve been feeling God’s peace and grace so much lately. I had resisted that still voice knowing Knox needed some help for quite a while. (Of all people, it was my unassuming brother who helped me through it. Love him!)

Anyway, my husband and I went to a concert this weekend. Christian artist TobyMac told the audiences the stories behind  a number of his songs, one of which was Speak Life. He said it comes from a quote in the book Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning. Manning says that a person can either offer life or drain life with their words, nothing in between.

TobyMac at Appleton PAC

TobyMac at Appleton PAC


TobyMac said that idea stayed with him a long time, and after hearing him sing the song Friday night, wow, did it mean something else and resonate with me too. During the show, he explained how he used to believe most encounters were just meaningless, transactions, every day life. But, now it’s always an opportunity to speak life, to change a day, a heart, with one word.

I know there are many times I don’t speak life, and I get excited or anxious. I’ve prayed earnestly for that the last couple days, for the Holy Spirit to get to me before I speak.

But I’ve also realized that speaking life isn’t always being meek or mild. It may mean tough love, or a encouraging “get your butt in gear” from a friend. I’ve experienced both many, many times and now know I’ve been blessed to have been spoken life to for 35 years.

So, I hope that Knox starts to develop strong language skills and I know he’s so excited to start school. We’ll be doing the early childhood screening soon, right after the holidays. It’s a good thing, but most importantly, I want to teach him to speak life and God’s love. He is a child that has changed so many lives already, and I get goosebumps just thinking of how he’s spoken to us all, without a single word. He and Max are gifts. They have brought families together; they have warmed hearts and just yesterday, Knox sweetly offered his quarter to the lady checking us out at a local gift shop. Just because, without a verbal communication. A “Merry Christmas” and a speaking life gesture to her.

Here’s a link to TobyMac’s song if you’ve never heard it.

And after you listen, please pray for me and these tricky Irish twins I’ve got here! They just came in from helping Daddy and Grandpa shovel corn by the bins. As much as they won’t talk to me, they LOVE to work! God appreciate that too, guys. Keep it up!

That moment your child realizes he’s different


I was telling a friend this story and she said I had to share it, with my blog readers, but also to preserve the memory for myself. Enjoy! 

I guess I knew this day would come, but I wasn’t prepared and really, even glad for that too. The response was so much more genuine and memorable. Anyway, on with it:

Knox’s 5-year-old cousin looked at him this past Sunday morning after a fun sleepover and said: “Knox, why are you brown?”

He was sitting on my lap at that moment, and he immediately drew himself closer to me, lowered his head to the ground and wouldn’t look up. He ignored the question, became very sullen and didn’t want to play with the other kids, when right before she asked he had been running around screaming and creating chaos as usual.

She sat still and looked at him with concern. I asked if he was sad. “Yes.” Was he sad about what she said about him being brown? “Yes.” Was he sad he was different than the other kids? “Yes.”

Knox, his cousins, brother, mom and dad

Knox, his cousins, brother, mom and dad

And that was the moment. The exact moment, which I will remember as long as I live. He had been so indifferent and so had we. He’s our little baby, our family’s blessing, our Knoxie. But at almost three years old, he realized he didn’t look the same as the rest of his family. And what a miracle it was to share in that moment with him.

Oh, I think I did okay and explained to him how we loved him. “Remember how I tell you YOUR story, that you’re adopted?” Yes, he remembered that. I told him he was perfect and would always be our joy and fit in just perfectly.

Then I asked if he wanted to walk to Grandma’s with me to get some eggs.(I had five kids at the house and five eggs left in the carton.) I knew he would want to see her, his best friend in the world besides his brother Max.

I told her what happened and she smiled a sweet smile, rocked with him and as she softly spoke, I sat and listened, and cried quiet tears. Grandma told him how loved he was, how he was always going to be her special boy and that God created him to be just him and that everyone is different in their own, wonderful way. She told him God brought him to us and how lucky we all were. She said how fortunate he was to grow up on farm and how his parents were wonderful. She asked if he was happy? “Yes.” She asked if he knew we loved him? “Yes.” And they shared what I think she will remember as long as I do and even more than him, the day Knox had his “a-ha” moment.

When we got home, he ran and played again like nothing had happened, and smiled that beautiful, “I Love you Mommy” smile at me that melts me every time. Now, it gets me even more.

I remember wishing his Grandma Judy had been there, or that I could have called and told her. She had been so excited to share in this special adoption bond with her little Knox. Lord knows she would understand more than anyone, and I like to think she was with us then. I like to think she calmed his heart through our words, that she comforted him and made him feel special and loved.

I know as he begins to talk and learns more, additional questions will come, additional moments will arise. This, however, was so special. It was heartbreaking to see him so sad, so in realization that in that second, with one question, life had changed. It was so overwhelming in joy to see him find peace again, and realize that we WILL be his family forever, that his skin color does not define a darn thing.

I hope we did his biological mom proud that day. We all have those days when we feel different, not good enough or alone. It’s just human. So, I hope she smiled about something on Sunday, October 26, 2014. I hope she didn’t feel different, but instead loved by someone. I hope she felt the hugs we gave Knox, in indescribable affection for her son.

I like the verse below as a closer to this post, because we were very sad with no hope for a family and it was hard to see others grow theirs. Today, God has answered my prayers and given Jonas and I a sometimes very challenging road, but one I wouldn’t trade for anyone’s. My dearest friend gave me the most loving encouragement this week, of sharing life and joy. For that, I am thankful.

Thank you for reading and this week, tell someone about the Safe Haven Law.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.” – Proverbs 13: 12


Lessons from a toddler: Non-verbal communication


I recently returned from a long business trip overseas. While I figured my boys would forget I was gone within a minute, what I didn’t anticipate was the challenging weeks following my return.

My two-year-old could care less and is going about business as normal, but the nearly three-year-old is a different story. He is waking up my awareness to non-verbal communication in ways I’ve never thought of before. He’s scared, cries, clings, and then kicks and hits and hangs on my leg, my neck, my arm, well, there’s a lot of hugging going on. Let’s put it that way.


Anyone who knows the boys, will laugh with me at this pic. One is always telling the other what to do.

He’s not much of a talker. He and little brother team up against the adults to not speak to us, but then communicate with each other all day long. It’s their little game and they has established the rules without me. I’m still trying to figure them out, so prayers are appreciated on that front.

I think the Safe Haven law really gives moms a chance to establish some of their own rules too. It gives them the ultimate ability of non-verbal communication at a time, when like Knox, they are feeling scared, unsure and really wanting someone to make it all better, without having to explain why or how or when or what.

My kids are such miracles, but the blessing has been in all I’ve learned from them. Knox’s behavior really makes me think about how we all communicate non-verbally. I do often. I hang my head in embarrassment, walk away in frustration, fill my eyes with tears in sadness or worry, hug real tight in love and kiss for affection. It is the deepest relationship, the most personal form of communication.

Normally though, I am quick to speak and not always pay attention to how someone else is feeling by what they are showing in their face or actions. A three-year-old clinging to me has forced me to rethink that quite a bit since I have no choice but to respond immediately, and in a positive manner. I am very open with my feelings, but not always aware of others’ and I want to be. It’s so easy for me to show love to a child, but not an adult who may just be feeling the same way. And when I am scared, even I only want to be held and comforted just like Knox does today. Don’t we all?

Let’s just open our hearts to those moms who offer the most intimate love possible when they hand over a child and walk away. Let’s not ask why but respect this non-verbal communication. I know I don’t like being attacked when I am unsure and lower my face. No one wants to be kicked more when they are down.

These women are making the ultimate sacrifice for that tiny human, without saying a single word. Now I know not every exchange is completely silent, but the fact that they don’t HAVE to talk is special. It’s a gift.

I know Knox is really just finding his way and well, I’ll give him that gift. I’ll offer comfort and compassion, and pray the tantrums will pass soon. I’ll help him grow independence, but realize that independence does not mean insensitivity to his or others’ feelings. You know, many times the toughest people are the ones who are very authentic with themselves and their feelings, because they’ve given and lost much. His mom is one tough woman and she didn’t have to say a single word. She is brave and loving to the highest degree.

So, that’s today’s lesson from toddlers. No, it won’t be a new theme of my writing. (You can breathe a sigh of relief now.ha.)  I’ve missed writing this blog. It’s been a crazy summer, and I thank whoever’s reading this for just being here. Have a blessed day. :)


It takes one decision


My husband sent me roses today. They smell and look so beautiful! It’s our anniversary. Seven years of bliss. Okay, we all know it wasn’t total bliss. ha! To our credit, though, and God’s grace and mercy, we’ve made it this far. We have had highs and lows, but I like to think somewhere in the middle we flourish and sustain.

That said, I was thinking about this concept of “one decision” the other day.

A woman recently left a newborn baby one mile from a police station in Massachusetts. And now they’re gone; the mom disappeared into the crowd and a baby girl will be buried. That one mile boils down to a single decision she made — one decision that has changed a community and many lives.

I just stopped as I read the article and thought about the enormity of that. One mile.So many of us would have ran barefoot in any kind of weather to reach that child, to reach that mother and love them; it was just a mile. I’m not very fast, so many of you could have made it even faster than me! ((That’s a joke!))

It was a intentional, one decision we made to get married seven years ago. It wasn’t an easy one for us. Our marriage didn’t start with wine and roses as many do. We had to make a line in the sand and commit to each other.


At our reception, a few months after the wedding!

Each morning as I drop the kids off at the sitter’s, we say a prayer for our day before I take them into the house. Today, I prayed for our marriage, for our family and for that one decision that has brought these two children into our lives. I prayed they knew how much we loved them and in those valleys of marriage, when it’s just so hard, that they realize we will stay committed, for them and for us. We will honor each other and our vows. I prayed that in the days of prosperity and the times we look into each other’s eyes like we were 25 again, that the kids still will realize what it takes to have those happy moments and the commitment of that one decision.

And today I pray for this mother. I hope she forgives herself; I hope she knows God forgives her, but I also hope we can stop these one decisions from being such sad, desperate ones.

If you’ve ever made that one life-changing, horribly stressful, challenging decision, you get it. You know what it’s like to say, “jump” and know looking back is not an option. You know what it’s like to be broken and scared. You know what it’s like to have to put all your money on love and hope that God knows what the heck he’s doing, because you sure don’t.

No monumental decision is ever simple. If you truly love, it can’t be simple because you care for others as yourself.You know that family means taking risks and following God’s will, even when it’s not your own or what others think you should do. I like to think this mom just panicked, that she didn’t realize the implications. I don’t know. I do know we have the responsibility to keep talking and helping those like her make that one decision a wise choice. I hope someday this mom becomes the voice behind the Safe Haven movement, guiding other women who are in the middle of making the decision she did. We each have choices after all, and in a mere second, what decision we make can change the course of life as we know it.

Happy Anniversary Jonas. I can’t say it’s been what I expected, but I can say it’s been more than I could have dreamed. You and I have a lot to be proud of and when we look back on that one decision,  no matter the highs or lows of the day, I know it was the right one. I love you.

Colossians 3:14 “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”


Taking a stand for surrender


Happy Friday!

I could tell you why I’m taking  a stand for surrender, but I thought some pics might be better.









As many of you know, I’m a freelance writer by day (and night, and weekends)! While it’s a lot of fun and the schedule is awesomely flexible, God has given me a great responsibility. I’m happy to say “Yes, Lord” and do it, but I get overwhelmed. I struggle to manage the demands of a mom, wife, business owner, journalist, daughter, sister and friend multiple times each day. I often feel my head spinning and at night,I emotionally and physically crash.

I truly understand I am not alone and that I choose to be career-focused. I also LOVE working, simply for the joy and challenge of it. I’m just venting to hear my own voice I suppose. (The kids have been cranky this week!) No matter the path you’re on,however, there comes a time when you have to say “Enough! I NEED help!” I did that a few weeks ago, and let me tell you, it feels GOOD!

Like the happy dance in your birthday suit kind of good. Gaining back a part of your sanity good. Snuggling with your babies at night and knowing it’s okay to take the time to do so good. Spending quality time with your hubby and watching Scandal every single Thursday night with no other plans SO SO GOOD!

But you know what feels even better? Knowing that my need to relinquish some responsibility in turn has blessed others. I’m giving them work, some pocket cash and the blessing of knowing they are helping me. I don’t know why that blows my mind, but it does. First, I felt so guilty getting a babysitter three days/week. Recently, I felt so guilty hiring someone to help with transcriptions.

And then I had the much-needed “a-ha” moment. Our sitter just bought her senior prom dress and her mom says to me matter-of-factly: “Well you paid for it.” I was like, “Oh, okay,”all weird and awkward. And on the drive home, that comment had me thinking though. I did pay for that dress, didn’t I!? She earned the money, absolutely no doubt, but I had earned it first and passed it on to her. And here she was, smiling so wide and beautiful, so excited she could afford her dream dress. We were both working toward the same goal and I hadn’t even known it! Instead of feeling embarrassed or that it wasn’t enough to give her or I should do more, I instead was feeling joy – for her and me.

Katharine (KK) and the boys

Katharine (KK) and the boys

It’s really all about perspective, don’t you agree? I was so   thrilled that I could make her eyes just sparkle with happiness! I never felt like I was giving because I was also asking for help. It wasn’t until that moment that I saw this entire circumstance in a completely different frame of mind. We all are in the position to take and to give, and without critique or guilt when we find ourselves in either camp for the night.

Let’s think of this life and the Safe Haven law as just another opportunity to pay it forward. Sacrifice is not always comfortable or easy. I honestly don’t like knowing I have to give up more of my profit every month. It’s not a fortune to begin with. (That’s just the businesswoman sighing within me.) I do like, however, knowing this is all part of the bigger plan, totally out of my control. And surrendering is starting to feel awesome!

When birth moms feel they need to take a step away and say “enough” we need to be the hands applauding them and showing them the joy in our hearts for their sacrifice. I know I am applauding the ones who help me as I spend this weekend with my family.

And, I’m pretty good at telling it like it is. If you ever need a third-party perspective in surrender, just call me. I’ll help you take a stand.

Have a great weekend, friends. :)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) 

To know and be known…


This is a common phrase in the Christian community: “to know and be known.”

It really references this Bible verse of 1 Corinthians 13:12:

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

God fully knows us. He always has and always will, and once we see Him face to face, we shall also know Him fully. Those who believe will stand with him in glory. Gives me shivers just thinking about it, to be honest.

A good friend once asked me about my son’s mom finding us, or him finding her when he’s older. Was I okay with that? Even though his relationship with her is anonymous, is it even possible? We discussed it and agreed: probably. Technology has its limits, but it also has broken barriers we could never have imagined 50 years ago. So who’s to say what will come in my lifetime and even more so my children’s?

Take a look at this link below. A grown woman found her mom through Facebook by posting a pic of her holding a sign, just like the ones teachers use to show students how fast information can be spread. Did you hear about it? She was dubbed the “Burger King baby” for many years after being left at a local Pennsylvania restaurant bathroom as a newborn and now they have been reunited. Read the last line of this article: “Deprill said her birth mother expressed regret during their tear-filled meeting. She said she forgave her ‘110 percent, absolutely.’ ”

Is a person ever fully known without actually knowing where they come from? The Bible says yes, to God we are. While that gives me peace, I don’t know if I would ever be fully me without my mom, my dad, the innate reason I have blue eyes, (I won’t tell you what size) hips and curly hair. On the other hand, I am Knox’s mom, Jonas is Knox’s dad and he is fully known to us. We know every smile, laugh, cry and tantrum this two-year-old throws.

My amazing family!

My amazing family!

I know his tricks and triumphs. But he is also someone else’s. I can’t deny he is a part of something more than us, anymore that God is not simply a level of understanding to attain, but a Savior to worship and praise.

This is why I’m not worried or threatened by another mom in his life. Heck, I have a bunch I run to for a variety of questions, concerns or full-out meltdowns. :) I would want Knox and his birth mom to know and be known to each other. I can say that confidently. If she desires this relationship someday and my son desires to meet her, then it will be left up to a bigger power than myself to stop that. If not, then I know that we were gifted an enormous place in this little boy’s life. We already have been, but unfortunately, won’t have answers to questions he’ll have and that only someone else carries.

Yesterday was National Safe Baby Haven Day. Tell someone you know about the Safe Haven law. It doesn’t matter who, or if that person even needs a reason to hear your words. Let’s just keep spreading the word. Pray that these moms know God loves them and their children, and yes, even their deepest desires and fears. Our God is stronger and greater than any circumstance. He knows if they want to stay anonymous, if they NEED to stay anonymous and bring them to their babies once again if that’s what is best.

Let’s help the moms know and be known too. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to love.

“And so it is,” my dear mother-in-law used to say.