Franklin Five

Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Snapshots

This year, we spent Christmas at our home and enjoyed lots of our family coming to see us. Perpy and the boys enjoying Ice sculptures-until our hands and feet got so cold that we couldn't stand it.

My mom and Sam with our family

My mom got a Wii for Christmas, and Graham had so much fun playing it with her.

Christmas Eve lunch
Nana, Graham, Will, and sweet Grace along with our friend, Hiroto

Nana and Graham made a gingerbread train

Friday, December 18, 2009

Her First Ornament

For some reason, everytime I see a bird, I think of our daugther. I don't know why. It started when I was decorating our newly remodeled our bathroom and found some bird things at store. I was just drawn to them, and they made me think of her. One was a print of a mother bird watching over her nest full of eggs. It just seemed fitting.

I have lots of ornaments on the tree representing different stages in our boys' lives. From an expecting parents ornament to lots of baby's first Christmas ornaments to handmade ornaments the boys have made, our tree is full of ornaments for our children. I knew I wanted to find an ornament for our daughter, and when I found a dainty, ceramic bird, I knew it was perfect for her first ornament. Graham helped me hang it on the tree, and I like to look at it often. It helps my heart to feel a little closer to hers. I can't wait to show it to her next year and to talk about it every year when we hang it on our tree.

I found some ceramic ornaments for the kids to paint and they helped me paint a bird for our baby girl. It's blue with glitter and on the back I wrote, "waiting for our baby girl".

We are waiting for you, sweet baby girl. Our hearts long for you to be with us next Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

When Love came down to earth...

This Season, my heart has been overwhelmed with the humble manner in which our King came to redeem the world. I just keep feeling amazed that our Savior did not come with great fanfare and earthly glory but as a gently, helpless baby.
We sang this song in church on Sunday, and my heart was touched again. If only you could have heard it! What love has come to us! Merry Christmas!

When love came down to earth
And made His home with men,
The hopeless found a hope,
The sinner found a friend.
Not to the powerful,
But to the poor He came,
And humbled hearts
Were satisified in Him.

What joy, what peace has come to us!
What hope, what help, what love!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Traditions gotta love them. They help connect our memories from year to year, create bonds among family and friends, and teach us about what is truly valuable.

I love the short-lived tradition my best friend, Christine, and I made over the Christmas breaks during our college years. We would get together and make ornaments. Some of them made of glass balls and dough still hang on my tree. As I show them to Graham and we talk about each one, I remember her sweet friendship and our precious times together.

I also have some ornaments hanging on my tree that my parents gave me when I was a child. We had the tradition of recieving a new ornament every year, and my mom passed along those ornaments to me when I became an adult. Seeing the little brass angel with its dangling bell or the white ceramic bear with the red bow bring up some tender memories of when I was a little girl.

I remember the tradition my brother created with me when we were little. Every Christmas morning long before anyone else was awake, he would sneak in my room and wake me up so we could go see the goodies waiting for us by the tree.

Tim and I are trying to create traditions with our children in hopes that someday they will look back and smile on the ways they celebrated Christmas as children. Some of them are simple and fun like making ornaments to give to family. Some of them will hopefully show love to others like baking treats to pass out to our neighbors. And some of them, the most treasured, will help to remind us of the truths of Christmas. They will center us around the manager and cause our hearts to adore the Savior.

I love the tradition of the Jesus birthday cake Tim and his sister had in their house growing up, so now we bake a cake for Jesus with our children every year. Another special tradition is the Jesse Advent tree. A few years ago, I got together with some ladies in my church to make ornament for the Jesse tree. The 25 ornaments represent different prophecies written about in the Old Testament that foresee the coming of the Christ. Every night, the boys are excited to find out which ornament we will hang on the little Jesse tree. They might not understand all of it now, but in years to come, I hope it will become an important tradition to them.

I would love to hear some of the traditions you had as a child or ones you are now creating as an adult.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Andrew's neighbors' dog had puppies, and he invited us over to play with them. They were adorable, and the kids loved it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


We spent our Thanksgiving with Tim's mom and his sister and her family at a lakehouse in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It was a relaxing time and the kids enjoyed seeing their cousins. The whole gang

Graham on the dock outside of the lakehouse.

Davis, Graham, and Hayley

Hayley loves alligators, so she was thrilled when she got to pet one at an alligator farm in Hot Springs.

Perpy and Graham enjoying an Oreo turkey cookie.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Big Brother

Graham is really beginning to take his role of big brother seriously. He and Wesley have started playing together so well, and it seems they are truly enjoying each other-not just coexisting. I love watching their friendship deepen. Graham likes to "read" Wesley a story before naptime, and when Wesley was sick a few days ago, Graham would give him kisses on the check and say, "Are you feeling better, little buddy?"

We still have lots of moments when the two are struggling to share, but right now, I want to be thankful for how they are both maturing and learning to love each other.

Graham is also excited about being a big brother to his "baby girl", as he affectionately calls her. He frequently asks when we will get her picture in the mail. Today, he said, "Mommy, I used to not want a baby girl with dark hair, but now I do. I can't wait for her to come." I told him how excited I was too and that God made her so beautiful and perfect for our family.

It seems that it's not just my heart that is getting bigger. In the tender heart of a big brother, God is growing a love for his little sister.

Monday, October 26, 2009


DTE=Date to Ethiopia October 23, 2009

Our paperwork is complete, has been notarized and certified, and is in transit to Ethiopia as I type these words. Our adoption agency gives everyone a date when their paperwork has been sent to Ethiopia, and the agency refers to that date throughout the process. It's an important date, and we feel like we have made it to a big milestone now that we have our DTE. We are so excited to be well on the way through the adoption process. We hope to receive our referral in about 9 to 11 months and be traveling to Africa next Fall.

I've heard it said several times that when you adopt, you don't have a baby growing in your tummy, but the baby is growing in your heart. Everyday I feel my heart stretching, getting a little bigger, and I find myself thinking about our baby even more. I picture her playing with her brothers, and I get a lump in my throat every time I think about kissing her sweet cheeks.

In some ways, I think these next nine months will go by quickly. Our boys keep us busy and our days are full. We have a lot to do to get ready for our little girl. I want to cherish this time and not wish it away. I know lots will change once she's here, and there will be lots of adjustments for all of us as with every new baby in a family. Right now is a sweet time with Graham and Wesley, and I am trying to treasure each moment with them. But sometimes I find it hard to be patient. I can't wait to see our baby girl and to have her here with us.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pumpkin Farm

For the last few weeks, we've been counting down the days until our trip to the pumpkin farm. My boys just love going to see the pumpkins, going on the hay ride, and playing in the dried corn at the farm. Their cousins joined us again which made the day even more special. It was a little chilly, but that didn't stop us from having a great time.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our trip to California

A few weekends ago, Tim and I traveled without our boys to California to visit some good friends. Amy and Jeff live a few hours outside of San Francisco, so Tim and I got to spend a few hours visting the city before heading to our friends' home. We drove through some of those crazy, hilly streets, walked around Fisherman's Wharf, and enjoyed some yummy chocolate ice cream at Ghiradeli square. I had never been to San Franciso so I thought it was really interesting.
After our afternoon in the big city, we drove through farmland to the small town where our friends live. It was so fun to see where they live and even more exciting was meeting their sweet baby girl that was born about six months ago. We had lots of fun playing with their four-year old boy, Jonathan, as well.
Amy and Jeff took us to see Yosemite and that turned out to be quite an adventure. Once we got to the park, it started snowing and then turned into a rainy mist. We weren't about to do quite as much as we had planned in the magnificient park, but we were still able to get a glimpse of God's amazing creation. Someday, I'd love to go back with our friends and bring all of our kiddos.
The trip ended with a nice dinner out. Amy and Jeff got a babysitter and treated us to a delicious dinner. It was so great to be with our dear friends!
me in front of Ghiradelli square
Half Dome, a well-known mountain peak in Yosemite, is behind us trying to peak through the clouds.

my sweet friend, Amy

The four of us before going out to dinner

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Down the Red Clay Road

My mom is one of eight. I'm beginning to think that's pretty neat. I'm not saying I want to have eight children, but I love seeing all of her brothers and sisters together, hearing their stories, and being back at her family's farm.

She grew up in a tiny town in Southern Alabama on a farm. Her dad was a farmer, her mom was a teacher, and together they raised eight children. There's quite an age gap in some of the kids, so my mom and her little brother were like their own family unit with her parents. My mom's little brother, Mark, was her best friend, and tragically she lost him when he was only 15. In his memory and her honor, we chose the name Mark for Wesley's middle name. I have always wished I could have known her little brother who I can't help believe would have been one of my favorite uncles.

We made a recent trip back to Southern Alabama to be with my mom and her brothers and sisters while they buried another one of their brothers. It was a sad reason to get together, but I'm thankful for the time spent with my mom and Sam, and my aunts, uncles and cousins.

There is not a lot to do in this tiny town, but some of our extended family has a small house on the lake. For a week of every summer during my childhood, we traveled to AL to see my grandmother. We stayed in this lake house, and I learned how to ski on this lake. So, it holds some neat memories for me. It's fun to take the boys there and to relive some of those memories. It's especially neat to do that with my mom.
Not a lot of excitment awaited me as a teenage girl on a 12-hour car ride to that small town where my mom was raised, but now I'm beginning to learn there are many lessons to be learned down those red clay roads. I hope my children will grow to love them as I now do.
Nana and Graham before bedtime

on the pier in front of the lakehouse

my mom with her brothers and sisters

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

When I need to be reminded...

Today has been a long day, and I'm tired. It's days like these that I doubt. Should we really bring another child into our home? Am I really prepared to parent a child who has been born in another country?

It's days like these that I cry out to God and ask Him to remind me, to reassure me, to give me affirmation. He always does! When I ask Him, He is quick to answer and tell me our daughter is waiting for us. If it were not for His gentle hand leading me, I would have given up months ago.

Tonight, after I prayed that familiar prayer, I checked our Adoption Fellowship Group's blog and found this video. It was just what I needed to be reminded to press on, to not let fear stop me, and to not give up. Our daughter is waiting for us. And so are many other children. They are waiting for others who are willing to open their hearts and give them a home.

Pause the music on my blog, and scroll down at the bottom of this page to see the video.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Our Family Vacation

Last week, we took a little vacation to the beach in Florida. It was a nice break from reality. Graham and Wesley had a good time at the beach and with each other. It did rain a little but not enough to stop us from having lots of time on the beach.

On the way home, we stopped to visit my Uncle Joe and Aunt Mary in Andulsia, AL where my mom grew up. Uncle Joe raises horses and grows pine trees on the family farm, so Graham and Wesley had fun seeing the farm. Uncle Joe showing Graham the tractor

Graham took this picture of the horses.

Uncle Joe telling Tim and Wesley about the horses

Just a few pictures from the beach...

Wesley didn't want to get too close to the ocean but he loved playing in the sand.

Our little photographer, Graham, took this shot of us.

Wesley and I were walking out to the beach to meet Graham and Tim.

Graham and Tim made lots of creations with the shovels in the sand.

sweet boy

The boys thought it was fun to float their toys around the pool on the boogie boards.

Wesley can't leave home without his beloved tractor.

I love this shot.
Graham was much more adventurous in the ocean this year.

A nice shopping area with restaurants and this great fountain were close to the beach where we stayed. We made lots of great memories and can't wait to go back.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rain or Shine

We are so thankful for our friends that put in many hours of hard work to make the sale a success.

We were amazed at the number and generousity of donations.

The night before the sale, the garage was overflowing.

Despite a little rain, the yard sale was a success. The biggest blessing of the day was feeling the love of our friends who showed their support by helping with the sale and coming out to shop in the sale. It was a day full of emotions: humility, gratitude, exhaustion, and feeling so loved.
Thank you!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Yard Sale Tomorrow-Hopefully!

Some thoughtful friends from church have planned and organized a yard sale to benefit our adoption. It is scheduled for tomorrow, and many hours of hard work have been put into this sale. Please pray that it doesn't rain in the morning.

We are overwhelmed by the generousity and love of so many people in the area that have donated items for the sale, and we are so thankful for our friends who are making it all happen. It is a true labor of love and our hearts will always be grateful.

If you are in the area, please come by the sale. It will take place in Chenoweth subdivision off of Concord Road from 7am until 2pm. The address is 9489 Ashford Place.

I'll let you know how it goes. We have already been so blessed just seeing everyone come together for this sale.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Without his love, where would I be?

From the warm day in May when Tim placed the ring on my finger, I have never had any ounce of doubt that he was the man God had for me to marry. A few years earlier though, I said goodbye to him thinking I was to marry someone called into missions. Now, looking back it makes me smile. For now my eyes are opened and as the story of our family is unraveling, I can see how perfectly God created him for me.

If this adoption had been my idea, it would not be happening this soon. My husband was the one that was ready to adopt long before I was. He has been the one to spend many, many hours working on paperwork. He has been the one to email our social worker each week, to set goals for each week, and to write a letter asking for support from our friends and family. He has been a rock, and I’ve been shifting sand.

Several times, I’ve questioned him, “Are we doing the right thing? Are you sure about this?” His answer is always firm, always certain.

And, so, I smile…I smile thinking of God’s amazing ways. He, even more than Tim, is always firm, always certain, always right. In His infinite wisdom, He perfectly and creatively paired us together. He knew I would need someone to share the same passions and dreams for our family. He knew I would need a partner to share the Gospel to our friends, our neighbors, and most of all, our children.

Don’t you think Tim is a missionary? Aren't we all really "called" to missions, to spreading the good news of the Gospel near and far? Don’t you think I really did marry someone pursuing a life of missions? I married someone who has a heart for the lost, a heart for the fatherless, and a heart for those in need.

No, he’s not always perfect, and I’m glad. Every time he messes up, I’m reminded of the One who is perfect, the only One who can truly meet my needs.

I’m so thankful for Tim, and I’m so thankful God knew what He was doing when He put us together over 10 years ago.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Our Truck Boy

Wesley has always loved trucks, cars, and any other motorized vehicles. He makes his daddy proud! One of his first words was "tractor". He couldn't say ball or other simple words but he said "tractor" over and over again.
He made us laugh the other day. I took the boys to meet Tim for dinner at Moe's. When we arrived in the parking lot, Tim was already waiting there in a Titan-the big Nissan truck. I got Wesley out of the car, and he ran around to where the truck was. He looked at the truck, got a huge grin on his face, and said, "Tite...Liiiiike!" It was kind of one of those things that you probably had to be there to hear his voice inflection and see the look on his face, but Tim and I are still talking about it and laughing.
As Wesley's cousin, Drew, would say, "You funny, Wesley, you funny." (Right, Nana?)

While I was gone...

While I was lounging around the pool, going out to eat, and doing lots of chatting with my girlfriends a few weeks ago in Charlottesville, this is what my boys were doing. Does it surprise you? Tim sent me these pictures for the blog. If there are any men that read my blog, enjoy!

Friday, August 21, 2009

We love dessert!

enjoying smores after dinner

Are you wondering what Graham has on? He found an old swimming suit that has the floaties built in and decided to wear it to dinner.