Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Story of Us +1

What's that thing about (wo)man making plans and God laughing? I guess he's getting a real chuckle going at this point....

It wasn't even a month ago that I wrote the The Story of Us. I told you that Chazzo completed our family and I said that because that's what I always say. What I didn't say is that for a while, like a maybe year, I have been getting little nudges about a baby girl. I'm not talking about life altering information here, just like what ifs. And I could have been making it up. I've watched lots of my friends have and raise babies and I'm no spring chicken, so maybe my body was telling me it was time to get going or miss the boat. Maybe it was all this testosterone I'm surround by on a daily basis and me needing some pink in my life. Maybe it was just God. I'm not sure. But a few months ago, these little nudges started to get a bit stronger and I decided to test the waters.

I have a friend in Rwanda who runs a pretty incredible orphan prevention ministry. They work with the local government in our area to support mothers and families in the most vulnerable of circumstances and lock arms with them to care for their most vulnerable family members, babies. "If a mother passes away or is unable to care for an infant, the cost of formula often far outweighs an average weekly income. Through sponsors Hope for Tomorrow provides bottles, health insurance, weekly formula, powdered milk, porridge, fresh fruits, infant cereal, and sugar." And they don't just meet nutritional needs, they have built a community addressing emotional, social, medical, and spiritual needs of the families as well. Mothers learn life skills and go to literacy classes and are empowered to support themselves and each other in the future. It's a beautiful thing to watch and it's, oh, so needed. Often the needs of the community are beyond the capacity of the rapidly growing ministry. If you follow along with us on Facebook or Instagram, you know that last fall our family fostered 9mo old twins, Denny and Denyse, through Hope for Tomorrow. Anyway, I mentioned to this friend that if she happened to get a call about a newborn baby girl, with no family, needing a home, we would be interested in fostering. "It's a definite possibility", she said. And we waited. And prayed.

A bit of background, we wanted her to be a girl because, even though the boys are grown, we have a very set, and sensitive, family dynamic. (Hint: our "baby" was not thrilled to be giving up his seat.) Also, as future husbands and fathers, I really wanted the boys to love a girl. We wanted a newborn because we have been reading (well, I have been reading and sharing) so much about how formative those first few months are for development and adoption was also, obviously, in the back of my mind, but Rwanda has been closed for international adoptions since 2010. However, if you know me, you know I tend to be a bit stubborn in my faith and I'm not scared to take a leap...

The first call we got turned out to be a boy and, to honor the family we already had, I felt like I should say no. (I didn't actually have you say the word "no", it was more implied once 'she' was a 'he'.)  It messed me up. So, when we got the next call about a 6mo old girl, I talked to the boys about it and we all agreed there was no way we could say no. And we said yes, but as it turned out, she wasn't meant for us either. Little did we know our girl was going to make her presence known in just a few days.

It was shortly before 5am on a Sunday and I was dead to the world. My phone was ringing and I was dreaming about being late to class. (??) It was JD. I answered, wondering what he could possibly be calling about at this time. He said, "Tara, there is a baby at your gate." I shot out of bed. Surely, this was a dream....

She was only 5 days old and we named her Ishimwe Myla Jean. The boys chose her Kinyarwanda name which means to praise or give glory. Myla means merciful and Jean (after my mom) means gift of God. And we do praise Him for the sweet, merciful gift of her. She didn't officially come home for 5 more days. We met at the local government office and I signed paperwork as her foster parent, promising to "care for all needs, financial and otherwise, for the life of the child".  It was a terribly awkward feeling sitting in the room, holding my girl, surrounded by 6-8 government officials and JD, speaking on our behalf. I was trying hard to translate all the Kinyarwanda as they discussed a plethora of things, including my family, my business, and our future. The honor is not lost on me that this room full of Rwandans would entrust me with her precious life. And precious doesn't even scratch the surface; she truly is a dream and we are all over the moon.

From here, we're not entirely sure what the future holds. What we know now is that we are all healthy and happy and together. Myla isn't just lucky to have us, we prayed hard for her and the day she showed up was the "luckiest" day of our lives. I can say the same thing for each one of the boys and I know they would say the same thing, collectively, about our family. One of the topics the officials discussed in the room that day was if I was willing to adopt her. I thought I was going to pee myself (because YES and as far as I knew that wasn't possible) and JD very calmly said, "We can be discussing that." What we didn't know at the time is that, last month, for the first time in 7 years, Rwanda very quietly reopened international adoption. And so, again, we wait. And pray.

To be honest, it feels a bit sticky to talk about this.... This perfectly imperfect family we have built is not, in any way, legally binding; yet it is, in every way, forever. Myla isn't adopted, but maybe one day she will be. The boys are past the age of being adopted so they won't ever have that chance. Both of those things are hard and sad and not as they should be, but my kids are my kids and no label they could be given would change anything for any of us. (Except for their ability to come to the States!) What I'm trying to say is, the details around adoption are a million times touchy. Each story is unique; most are painful and all are personal. I've said before that I feel very protective of the boys, of their hearts, and of their stories. I care deeply about the way they are portrayed or perceived. Honestly, a lot of times I care about it more than they do, but one day I think it will matter to them. None of us, including Myla, ended up together because things went the way they should have. We are all part of a beautifully redeemed Plan B. The boys are able to speak for themselves, or to tell me what I'm allowed to speak about them. Myla isn't and I won't do that for her. I'm happy to share about our family, through my own experiences, but I don't plan to share her specific and private details on this blog or anywhere else.

We appreciate your love and support so much!! We love sharing about our lives and love showing off what we believe God has done for us. The boys feel special knowing that you know their names, and care about them, and are cheering them on. They love reading your comments and seeing your 'likes' and 'loves' come in. They grew up differently than Myla will. They had so many people looking after them and their lives were constantly on display, whether they liked it or not. (And they mostly liked it, they didn't know any different.) Myla will know only us. Her family. She didn't get to chose this, but I will do my very best to make sure that she knows that she does get to chose who she is in this world; she isn't defined by her circumstances and she doesn't owe her life or any parts of her story to anyone for any reason.

And the world spins madly on. Myla is a rockstar baby; eating, sleeping, and pooping like a champ! Our sweet friend, with Hope for Tomorrow, has been so kind to help us get situated a bit. We bought formula and diapers and are borrowing clothes and blankets, and a little Moses basket for her to sleep in. For the last couple of months, I've been ordering a few things here and there to Grandma's house in Oklahoma, anticipating a baby girl's arrival at some point.

Unfortunately, long before we knew anything about Miss Myla and her grand entrance, I had a 3 week trip planned to States. I leave next week. My bestie is getting married and I get the immense honor of standing next to her! I wouldn't miss it for the world, but I sure will miss my crew and time with my baby girl. The good news is, I'll get to stock up on all the things she needs and Grandma gets to come back to Rwanda with me and meet her! While I'm gone, Myla will be staying at our house, in her routine, with one of the No.41 girls; she'll be getting an early start 'going to work' at No.41 every day. (As you can see, Frank is also on the job!) The boys will be wrapping up their final exams for the year and it'll be a party when we're all back together. Several people have asked about a registry for Myla and we did create one at Target. It's linked here, if you're so inclined. Again, we love you and we are so grateful for your love and support. Thank you for sharing in our journey. xo

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Story of Us

Hi. Lately I've had a handful of people ask to hear the story of how our little family came to be.

L to R: Terry, Richard, Angel, Chazzo, Tara, Innocent, Moses

So, ok. I hope you have 7 hours, because maybe I'm about to tell you more than you ever wanted to know.

If you've heard me talking in the last 2(ish) years, you know that talking about our family is one of my most favorite things and I think it's so sweet that people would ask to know more. Loving this crazy crew is, easily, the hardest, best thing I have ever done. These jokers rocked my whole world. And then they became it. However, I've never really told the story of how God rounded up the most unlikely cast of misfits, each sinking in our own ways, and He threw together a set of circumstances that made it seem easy-- coming together. So that's what we did.

Hear this: it wasn't easy.

The truth is, we didn't set out to become a family. Not like this. I don't know that any of us were expecting it and that's what makes it so much sweeter. And tougher. To me, looking back, it was like we woke up one day and we were together. Suddenly. Finally. Always. And forever.

It feels a bit sticky to share our story. I feel very protective of....them. Of us. And what we've been through. We all fought to be here and while I've been fairly open about my own struggles that got me to this place, I took some time to talk to each one of them about their sides of how and why we became a family and what they wanted me to share. I guess I should have known, but I was a bit surprised at how stark and matter of fact their answers were. It's all appears to be very surface level to them; what you see is what you get, and what happened is what happened. However, and I suppose this doesn't come as a surprise to you, I tend to be pretty emotionally driven and pretty much live life with my heart smeared all over my sleeve. And the other one, too. And my pants. And my face. And my hat, if I happen to be wearing one.... Maybe that's why this whole thing works for us. Anytime I get too high or too low, they bring me right back to now. Because, for them, that's all there is. There are lots of (hard) parts in this journey where I've said that I, literally, just "Care-Bear Stare" the boys. Because that's what they need. I stand there, even when it hurts, and try to shoot hearts and rainbows and all the love life has allowed me to collect in their direction. But, I digress...

From my perspective, my family in Rwanda has always been fluid. I assume it's common knowledge around here that I moved here for Innocent and that's where it all began. He lived at Noel and so did I. (So did all the other boys, but we'll get there in a minute.) When I moved out of the orphanage to start No.41, I moved into a house just a few doors down. The house had 5 bedrooms, which felt crazy for just one person, but the comfort level that I felt was necessary for myself (things like indoor plumbing and some semblance of a kitchen) was only possible in larger homes. So, I prayed that God would fill the house. I walked circles around the perimeter praying. I knelt in each room for the person(s) who would sleep there. I bought furniture not knowing whose clothes would fill the drawers or love would fill the walls, but I trusted God to make that happen. And He did, multiple times over. I never spent a single night in that house, in all 5 years, alone. If my calculations are correct, more than 20 people have called that house home for, at least, 2 months. Some much longer. Some shorter, too. The biggest part of that number were girls and all somehow in relation to No.41. People came and went as situations evolved or as they moved on to other things.

Inn and I. My first week at Noel

Moses and Richard

Chazzo (third from left), Richard and Moses (back to back), Innocent (far right)

Moses (shirtless), Innocent (in blue)
My one constant was Inn. Though he was in and out, especially during the season when I was taking more frequent and longer trips to the States, bouncing between boarding school and time with his bio-family, he always came home. March of 2015 was a particularly rough visit for he and I; we didn't get much time together, as he was in school, but I knew that he was struggling. At the same time, Richard, who I knew as one of Inn's best friends from Noel, was also struggling. Richard and I have always had a close relationship and if there is anyone I remember spending as much time with as Innocent, it was always Richard. (Sidenote: Earlier that year, Noel had, officially, closed it's doors. All 630 kids had all been reunified with families, which I had very strong feelings about at the time and still do to this day.) During this trip I found out that Richard had been kicked out of school. He had also recently been reunified with his family, but was living nearby with a good friend of ours. Because he was nothing but available, he and I spent a good amount of time together and one of those times included a trip to see Inn for visiting day at school.

Inn and Richard. My first Christmas at Noel

Ange, Tara, Innocent. Visiting Day at Sonrise

The school was just over an hour from where we lived and as we were walking to lunch after our visit, we ran into Moses on the road. I recognized Mo from Noel, but I didn't really know him. Richard asked him to come to lunch with us and I took the opportunity to find out how things were going for him since he had been reunified. As I expected, he wasn't exactly thriving. Moses is the youngest of 5 children and, unlike most of the kids from Noel, both of their parents had passed away. The siblings are all very close, in age and relationship, but each of them were working or studying, trying to make their own way and, as the baby, also kicked out of school, there wasn't much time or resources left for Moses. Mo is an incredibly hard worker and was working whatever small jobs he could find just to try and stay fed. He asked if I could give him a job at No.41 and, at the time, I told him no. I was leaving in just a few days to head back to the States, but I told him if he would come to my house in July, when I returned, I would see what we might be able to work out.

Mo and me
True to his word, July came and so did Mo. It was a Saturday and I asked him to come back on Monday. I wanted him to be able to meet with JD (our Program Director at No.41) so that we could work out a plan together. The following day Richard (recently kicked out of another school, if I'm remembering correctly, and now living at home with his bio-family) and I went to a big football match. It's an annual match, the Noel team against a local school; but this match was particularly packed out because it was like a reunion for the Noel kids, most of whom hadn't seen each other since the closing. It was fun for me, too, seeing so many familiar faces. One of those faces was Terry. We weren't super close at Noel, but he was always friends with friends of mine and I knew he was a good kid. Shy, smart, kind, athletic-- he was captain of the football team. But that day he looked terrible. I asked around a bit and was told 'his life is hard'. I knew that he had recently been kicked out of school and he was also reunified with his bio-family, but when that didn't work out he went out on his own with some friends. They made poor decisions and worked very hard labor jobs, earning very little money to get by. He didn't talk to me that day and I was too disappointed to talk to him, but on Monday he showed up at my house. At the same time as Moses. He wanted a job.

Terry and I at our birthday party. It was his first party. He turned 21.
Before Moses was set to arrive, I had prepped JD on what I was thinking. We didn't have funds to hire Mo, but I felt like we could offer him training at No.41 and a place to live as "payment". (Background: By this time, our landlord had built a second house on his property and we were renting that house, too, for No.41. The girls worked in the living/dining room, they used two bedrooms for storage and office space, and the other two bedrooms had beds, just in case. Living in the main house was Ange, Angel, Innocent, home on holiday, and recently Richard who had been sleeping over.) Mo and Terry got to the house before JD. I told Terry he could stay and talk with JD and then we would decide if we could offer him the same deal as Mo. For whatever reason, for me, a 2-for-1 deal felt somehow easier. When JD arrived he had tears in his eyes as he greeted Terry and told me how they had known each other. Prior to working at No.41, JD was a teacher and Terry was his student, his top student. JD was so sad to hear how Terry's life had taken a turn for the worse and he said, "We have to help these boys." They were given a stern talking to about the rules, what to expect, and what was expected of them. We all agreed and both boys left with a plan to come back that weekend with their things. JD and I lingered long after they left, still trying to work out if we had made the right decision and how all of it was going to go down. I was leaving again in just a few weeks and he would be the one running the show. Over lunch, I asked JD if he would ever consider living in our house to keep an eye on the boys. (More background: At the time, JD didn't have a car and was renting a house nearby to be closer to his job during the week and he would go home to his family on the weekends. This isn't entirely uncommon, especially when good jobs are so few and far between.) Without hesitation, he said yes. He said yes because he said, if there was any way he could help these boys and he didn't do that, he didn't know how he could live with himself. He said yes because he's one of the greatest men I have ever known. He moved in that weekend.

No.41 football match
So, if you're counting, that's four: Inn, Richard (who never left, but eventually did start school), Moses and Terry. We called Inn and Richard the little boys and Mo and Terry the big boys. Though they were all big. And somehow all little.

I left in Rwanda August and came back in November to all four boys, JD, Angel who was finishing up university, and Ange who was engaged and on her way out. I arrived just in time for Thanksgiving. And Chazzo. Chazzo is Richard's older brother by three years. I didn't know him at all from our time at Noel, but in the time since I had somehow gotten an impression in my head about him and it wasn't a good one. I'm not sure why. When Richard told me that Chazzo had gotten an internship at the tea factory across the street from our house and needed somewhere to stay, I wasn't that excited about it. We were all still trying to get our footing in this unique scenario, and when I say that, I mean that we were still working out kinks. Big, huge, hairy kinks. It made me nervous to bring in another boy when we were already in over our heads, but it was only for 6 weeks and I told Richard, "I'm only doing this for you."

Chazzo and Richard

Now is maybe a good time to say that even though our house has been a revolving door of sorts, there isn't a single person that has come through that hasn't been prayed through. There have been many over the years who have come to the house asking for jobs or help or a living situation that I haven't said yes to. Not in a mean way, but in the way that, one, I'm not collecting people and two, I'm not saving people. But three, I hope to always be open and willing for whatever (or whoever) God sets in front of me. I'd like to model that willingness to be open and available for the boys to see. And maybe that's why we have so many dogs....


I fell hard and fast for Chazzo and even still it's hard for me to put him in words. He is the epitome of laid back. His style is loud and quirky, while he, himself, is quiet and cool. He walks to his own beat and dances almost nonstop. His smile lights up the room and his laugh is second to none. If I had a nickel for every time one us said, "For Chazzo, no problem." I would be a very rich lady. Chazzo is no problem and he has no problems. He is stubborn in his English, the way I am with my Kinyarwanda; whether it's the brain's refusal or the lack of confidence to just spit out, I don't know, but we somehow manage just fine. Chazzo's internship came and went, but thankfully he stayed. He made us complete. Even if we didn't know it yet.

Chazzo and Price, me and Wizzy
Chazzo and Mo's first birthday party and a new phone
After Chazzo came Christmas and alllll of our birthdays. I think it was somehow during the mess that we became a family. Oh, we were crazy; me, as in out of mind, them, as in they had never experienced anything like this. To me, we were as unconventional as families come. To them, it was the most traditional roles they had ever known. It was around this time that I started trying to plant ideas in their minds about going back to school. Innocent and Richard were hanging on by a thread. They had both been asked not to return to their schools the following year. (Also, in case you're counting, that's three schools Richard had been kicked out of, one for each term, that year.) Moses and Terry hadn't been in school in two years and Chazzo "dropped out" of school to go into vo-tech for a year.

L to R: Mo, Terry, JD, Richard, Tara, Inn, Chazzo
Richard, Chazzo, Terry, Angel, Mo on Christmas morning

I hoped everyone would go back to school. They hoped I would shut up. Yet, when I asked each of the boys when they knew we were a family, Moses, Terry, and Chazzo all said "when you asked us to study." This came as a total surprise to me. Looking back, those couple of months were some of the hardest (early) times for me as a 'mom', but I suppose I could do well to remember that under all that hard-- the begging, the arguments, the flat-out refusals; something in them sensed my love for them and my belief in who they were and who they could be. Something in them wanted to believe that, too. We were a family. Everyone did eventually start school. Four out five had to start again in primary school and you might of thought I sent them straight to hell. They made sure I knew what hell felt like, too. But, by the grace of God, they finished. They all took and passed the National Exam and headed into secondary school. Around that same time, JD was buying a car and moved back in with his family full time. And I came back to Rwanda full time, as well. For most of us, this last year has been all about consistency and stability. It's meant everything and the changes in us, individually and together, are undeniable.

Innocent, Chazzo, Terry
It's hard to know where to wrap this all up, because in so many ways it feels like we're just getting started. These days, Ange is married and living in Kigali with her husband and Baby Tara. Angel graduated university and got a job working as the accounts manager at a local cafe. Richard is currently living with JD and his family and is still working hard (sometimes) at getting his act together. So we're down to 5 of us in the house, four dogs, and seven chickens, and that feels really manageable. If you've been keeping up with the blog lately, you know that, even though we're still working out some rough patches (and probably always will be), we moved into a new house better suited for our needs as a family. We are settling in. We're learning how to love and support each other well. We're starting to put down some roots (that we'll tell you about soon). And it feels good. Two years together is nothing. Especially when most of us have spent 10 times that apart. But God's hand is so heavy on this little rag-tag group and it feels like we've made some great strides. I can't speak for the boys, and I wouldn't, but for my part, I've said it before, and I'll say it forever: loving them saved me. I can't imagine not being here and I can't imagine my life not loving them.

Thank you so much for you kind words of encouragement and support for our family. None of this would be be possible without y'all, my sweet friends, who allow us to stumble through this and prayerfully and financially keep us alive. Our fam is looking to increase our monthly support by $200. If you feel lead to give, there is a link to donate on the left hand side of the page. Thanks again for following along and cheering us on. You've made the boys feel like superstars! xo

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Family Pics


For the last two weeks our little fam had the immense pleasure of having our pal Lacey here visiting. If you've been following along for a while, you know that Lacey has been with us in Rwanda a few different times over the last 5 years. So have several of her family members. The last time Lace was with us was 2 years ago, as we were all just getting started on our journey together as a family; Angel and Ange (the big sisters) were both still at home, one boy was home, one at boarding school, two just moved in and were testing the waters while interning at No.41, and one was still yet to come. 

Lacey has developed quite a reputation around here, with her zest for life that is virtually unmatched by anyone I have ever met. And we all couldn't wait to have her back! The 41 girls asked nearly every day when she would be here and when the day finally arrived, they were too excited to work and we all just sat outside on the front porch and waited for her bus. While we waited, to pass the time, each of the girls performed their best Lacey impressions, which all included lots of shouting and stomping, followed by roars of laughter. Finally, we saw a backpacked figured walking up the road, they all went running! 

From the moment she arrived, the boys and I were constantly in stitches and Lacey, officially, claimed the title of "Auntie Lace". We cooked, we explored, we watched all the Harry Potter movies. She rode Mo's bike and drove JD's car, both with a flair and enthusiasm this little village has never seen before. She also took some family photos for us that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Innocent, Wizzy, Terry, Prince, Chazzo, Frank, Tara, Caroline, Moses, Bobby

The whole thing was all very last minute. We had talked about it a bit, but made no real plans. As our time wound down, we were at the school one day eating lunch and decided this would be the only day it could happen. 

Here's the thing, if you've ever heard anyone say "African Time", I want to tell you Please hear me smiling as you read this: it's not rude, just a matter of fact. African Time is not just about arriving at a time on the clock, it's the time it takes to accomplish what needs to happen, pending whatever may happen, before reaching said time on the clock. It's more of an attitude about time, in general, or a more laid back approach to reaching a point in time. On time. What I'm getting at is "hurry up" is a new (and funny) concept to this little crew. We wrangled the cats and begged them to all be home on time. The boys finish school at 4:40 and it's about a 45 minute (purposeful) walk home. We would have a very small window for them to change clothes and take photos before it got too dark around 6. 

Lacey and I got to the house first. We raided rooms and picked out clothes that could all work together. Then we laid each outfit out on the backs of the couches and waited. And waited. And paced. And waited. Poor Mo accidentally came home early and was held against his (very strong) will. (Obvs, I can't speak for all Africans, but in my experience, with my Africans, forcing them to endure the wait on "African Time" is maddening.)

At 5:30, after I ran out onto the road and yelled, and waved, and mimed for them to "run!", they all shuffled into the house, happily put on their matching outfits, and wandered outside. And then it was all business. If there is one thing this family does well, it's picture taking...

The boys had a little solo shoot while I went to grab Caroline. They called out each new pose....

And tried to get Inn to smile.

"Cheeeese." -Mo

I'm pretty sure I am being given the "where to and what for" by Terry in this photo. Look at those hands. And that eyebrow... I know the look well.

It's hard to fathom that we have ended up here. I don't think this anything any of us even knew to dream of, which makes me incredibly excited and hopeful for what's next (and we do have some things up our sleeves). It's been a ride, for sure, and it's certainly not perfect. But I think it's something better.

A few last things: One, would y'all join us in prayer for two of our next big steps that we aren't ready to talk about publicly yet? Prayers for patience, provision, and wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Two, some have asked about how they can help support our crew and we are so thankful. Sometimes I don't know how to ask for help, sometimes I don't know what to say, but I pretty much keep a running Amazon list, that we have only ever shared with Grandma, for things like Christmas and Birthdays and just to help me remember basic things we can't get here, so if you've got an itchy "add to cart" finger click here for our list. Thank you for following along and thank you for loving and supporting us so well.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Taking Stock

Hi! Happy Friday!

I thought maybe since it took me the last couple of months to bring this tired little blog up to speed (mostly), I could maybe be a bit more consistent with some updates. So let's take some quick stock...

This month Angel, our working girl, and Caroline the chicken are out and Bobby the puppy is in. The wayward child from early last month is home. Our determined student is doing well at his new school. And it turns out, the dream house has a nightmare landlord, so more on that soon.

Peeps: Tara, Moses, Terry, Chazzo, Innocent.
Dogs: Franklin, Prince, Wizzy, Bobby
Chickens: Caroline, Elena, Bonnie, Ruby, Noodle, White Betty (aka Betty White)

having: the best time working on new No.41 goodies with a sweet pal.
feeling: really settled these days. Maybe now more than ever.
planning: some fun friend time next week! And by 'planning', I just mean I'm ready.
missing: Mexican food.
loving: the longer moto rides into town.
not loving: the price of longer moto rides into town.
exploring: our "neighborhood".
getting: excited for a visit to the States this fall.
keeping: so. many. plants alive. WHO KNEW?
reading: The Idealists Survival Kit: 75 Simple Ways to Avoid Burnout and so much Mary Oliver.
wearing: sweats and flannels most days.
wishing: we had a real kitchen instead of a stove posted up in the No.41 stock room. And a door on the bathroom would be nice, too.
learning: to keep better boundaries.
stressing: less about what isn't and focusing more on what is.
taking: weekly(ish) work/shopping/friend-time/eating trips to Kigail .
completely obsessing: over catching the boys humming or singing "my" songs. (I tried to video Mo belting out TSwift behind his closed door, but I got caught!)
drinking: Ethiopian coffee!
hiding: cheese, sugar, and peanut butter in my room. You know, the essentials.
writing: is my favorite release that I always forget about.
making: all the oil blends. And sprays. And serums....
collecting: planters and getting laughed at for my random selections of everyday Rwandan items.
looking: at all the houses. All. the. houses.
thinking: about buying one. #yikes
dreaming: about white paneled ceilings and black painted floors.
noticing: my oils keep finding new homes in the boys' rooms.
needing: more veggies in my life.
watching: Survivor every night. Terry and I are on Season 20.
embracing: chaos.
knowing: that we have so much to be thankful for.
praying: so boldly and so often.

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