this might sound really strange to yall, and you might want to slap me afterwards, but I’m just going to come out and say it: Mondays might be my new favorite day of the week. as in week week, not weekend.
I know, I know. but it’s so refreshing and beautiful to start a NEW WEEK! I love having my babies home on Monday’s and we usually don’t have any social plans. it’s just me and them. I typically don’t get much “work” done on Mondays, I mostly stay off the computer and do housework. which sounds lame, but my Pricilla Schier Gideon study has really opened my eyes to finding the JOY in the mundane, and loving the “assignment” God has given me.
[my bestie Lauren Casper made this fabulous printable that I made my phone background! sign up for her monthly newsletters to also get these!]
So Mondays have become what I like to call my “domestic day”. We typically go to the grocery store, drive through the dry cleaners or the bank, enjoy some time outside on the porch, and have a nice morning together. After nap time is usually when I start cooking. I have been trying to bake some sort of breakfast goody once a week for those school mornings. Last week it was blueberry muffins out of a box – nothing fancy, just something yummy to put on the table Tuesday + Thursday morning. So I make that. then I also this past week made yummy baked ham + swiss sandwiches for the kids lunch boxes [and for me...who am I kidding...] and then Monday nights have sorta become our dinner hosting night.
Before we had kids I hardly ever had people over for dinner. The excuses were either ” I don’t cook” or “I don’t have a big enough table”. Well now that we have our lovely White House Table Co farmhouse table + I am already cooking 2-3 times a week for my family, it’s easy and so much fun! I love busting out my placemats, pretty monogrammed pitcher, and drinking glasses we got as wedding gifts. makes me feel fancy. I love trying out new recipes and making a full corse meal – which I don’t typically do during the week. oh, and the best part! after I get everything prepped, before I put it in the oven, or clean the kitchen – I take a little break and me + the kids watch the Pioneer Woman. I kid you not – my kids can be screaming or just throwing a fit + I turn on Ree and they get quiet. here’s proof.
[taking a break to watch Ree!]
It’s been pretty amazing to see who God has brought around our kitchen table. Mostly it’s couple friends who don’t have kids yet. They come over around 6:30 and we snack on appetizers + have a glass of wine or beer while the kids play and then we put the kids down and have a quiet dinner with friends. Maybe it’s selfish – but it’s just so nice to have an uninterrupted dinner conversation every once in a while! and the thing that has been really god authored is all the couples are going through seasons or struggles that either we are currently going through [so we can relate] or that we have been though in our almost 7 year marriage [ so we can speak wisdom and truth]. I just think it’s really awesome and I am so honored to get to share my dinner table with such special friends.
Tears of affirmation streamed down my face as I was reading Shauna Niequist book, Bread and Wine, when she says about sitting around the table: “it’s about what happens when we come together, slow down, open our homes, look into one another’s faces, listen to one another’s stories“. YES, I pray along with Shauna that I’ll gather people I love around my table to eat and drink to tell stories, to be heard and fed and nourished on every level.
what day is your favorite?
Gotcha Day “is designed to show your adopted child how much you wanted him and that every year you continue to cherish him.”
yall, I seriously have been blown away this weekend by everyones love + support [that has not stopped since we started this process 3 years ago].
I have been in awe of our God who would see it fit for us to be Camp + Asher’s parents. in awe of God for the growth and change that He’s allowed in them over the past year.
feels like we hit a milestone. my “baylor alli” sent me some sweet words this weekend + in them she said that she always jokes that a child’s 1st birthday party is more of a celebration for the parents as well as to say “we made it” and she said these words, “you made it, Wynne! with flying colors!” and that pretty much sums up how I feel. We made it! We did it! one year is in the books. I can’t wait to continue to watch these babies grow + to see what God has next for our little family!
tonight we celebrated with our sweet community at the park! very low key + casual. Ethiopian themed [down to our outfits!] and all about the kids! we ate cake, played, and celebrated all God has done!
One thing that has majorly blessed me + my family is having other Ethiopians in our community. These girls, oh they are sweet, and I can’t wait to watch them grow up together!
[an annoyed looking Lomi, sassy Asher, happy Emme + missing Eva...it was the best we could do]
I feel like I had my face behind a camera tonight, but it looking at these images tonight it was worth it. I love seeing all these families and parts of OUR story represented. old friends who’ve walked through it all with us, “grandparent” types who have been my mentors and “moms” in Midland, friends from our first community group, friends that we just started walking with in our current community group, our beloved neighbors + great friends, our Ethiopian adoption besties, friends I used to work +serve with, friends who I’ve been in Africa with, play group friends – pretty much everyone and their dog [literally, there was a dog too]
what a sweet picture of community. I hate to think we might have missed this. missed the opportunity for these amazing friendships, support, love, prayers, and hearts stirred towards adoption. what if we had kept this to ourselves and not let anyone else be a part of it? or worse, what if we had said no to adoption?
tonight my heart is just grateful for all God has done. and for my two blessings, Camp + Asher!
it’s so hard to believe it’s been ONE YEAR since these two were officially ours and officially coming home.
the fulfillment of Gods promise – our double portion.
it wasn’t easy. in fact, we fought hard for these two. and one day I can’t wait to tell them how they are dearly loved, chosen, fought for, highly anticipated, prayed over by thousands.
now they are son + daughter. orphans no more.
they are a part of us. it’s like they always were.
I love these images from when we picked them up from the transition home to take them home forever. those ladies loved my babies so well + we are forever grateful! Look how tiny they were! poor Asher was so scared, she bursted out crying. but her daddy quickly helped her calm down. I’ll never forget driving away from the transition home that day. It was like…well ok they are OURS NOW! now what? haha. We had no idea what we were doing, but we rushed to embassy appt, cleared, got our visa + spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with friends at the IEC Bazzar, eating at my fave restaurant in Addis, and then home on Sunday. We literally spent the weekend in Addis. I blogged about it here + here. and then the infamous airplane post.
it’s hard to believe. God has us on this crazy journey and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I would do over all the heartache, all the time in the pit, all the tears and prayers, ALL of it if in the end I would get these two again. We didn’t know we were going to get two – that wasn’t OUR plan, but once again God was showing off showing that His plans are SO MUCH BETTER than our own.
November is “adoption month” – and I have so many posts I started but never finished when the kids got home. My hope is starting the first week of November to share more resources + stories with you about adoption. You can expect posts about: resources in the wait, fundraising: noonday, T-shirts, community garage sales + insta sales. I hope to finally finish + publish the story of when we got their referrals [and our first referral], how we told our people, our babymoon, their first birthday party and more.
[I am going to take this opportunity to document all the things I've learned//things I want to pass along//stories for my kids to have forever] so stick with me for adoption month!
I asked myself this out loud recently. Actually I was praying and just thanking God for the struggles in my life and how they have only driven me to a more intimate relationship with Him. I was crying and just saying “what if my life was normal?”
then these words from Krista’s anybody story this week hit home + I decided it was time to post these stirring questions in my head and heart.
God was making us unsettled with “normal” and we began to wrestle with 2 big questions. The first was…
If God is real, and Jesus truly came to redeem us and to redeem this world, then shouldn’t that make a huge difference in how we live our lives?
The second question was…
Would we be willing to say yes to anything God called us to?
It was becoming more and more apparent to us that we were living the life that we chose. The way we lived our day to day lives and the posture of our hearts were not running with the wild abandonment that should match the reality that God is real and sent Christ to redeem all that was broken. We had a sense that God had a bigger story to write with our lives. But that was scary. What would he ask us to do? Would he call us to move and leave our friends and family? Would people think we were crazy? Would His story for our lives be as good as the story we were writing? Would it be full of pain and struggle? What would he ask us to give up and how much of a risk would it be to truly say yes to God?
What is normal anyway?
I don’t think you can define normal – but for me “normal” is what I would have imagined for my life when I was growing up. I would get married, have a few kids, my husband would have a steady job, we would live in the same town forever and then retire. normal right? That is now the farthest thing from “normal” for me. and it’s hard to be not normal when so many around you [as you perceive] are “normal”. They are having biological kids, have steady jobs with paychecks that come twice a month, cars they lease, churches and schools they are firmly planted at, vacations planned and parents and/or in laws down the street. I don’t have any of those things my friend. Plugged into a church, yes! committed to an amazing community, yes! but we adopted our kids, we work for ourselves and we have no family within 200 miles. We have no idea where we will forever “plant our roots” and I’m beginning to think we might not ever know. We are totally open to whatever and wherever God calls us [which is scary but exciting! ] We might not ever have biological kids that “look like us”, we spend our vacation time on trips to Africa, and are still working on paying off school loans. Our lives looking nothing like I imagined they would.
the good news is, God knew and His plans are far more exciting! God can do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine and He has done that in our lives. It has NOT been an easy road. but He has placed people on it that have walked with us. As I think about some of my closest friendships, I can only recall that they are strong and steady because we have been through real seasons of life together. We have endured hardships, suffering, pain, and loss together . We have also come on the other side of that to celebrate joy and grace and new life and gods goodness. When I think about the closest friends I have right now, I think about the nights we sit around talking about this crazy life we live and Gods big plan. all for HIS glory and our JOY. We share our struggles openly, we pray for each other, we encourage each other and cheer each other up when one of us needs it. we are real with each other.
so what if my life was normal? maybe I would still be trying to put on the “good girl” image that I did in high school and college. maybe I would be still trying to keep up appearances. or I would keep my junk + my sin secret and suffer alone. maybe I would still be trying to play God in my own life. maybe I would be stubborn and only want what I want and not what God wants for my life. maybe I wouldn’t spend my precious time away to go love on gods children in Africa. maybe I wouldn’t have two little brown babies living in my house who I call son and daughter. maybe I wouldn’t have friends all over the country that I’m bonded with forever thanks to adoption and missions. maybe I wouldn’t have my tattoos + would still be a blonde. maybe my family wouldn’t think I was crazy if I was normal. but then maybe He wouldn’t have changed their hearts along the way too…
I’m glad my life isn’t “normal” or what I used to think was normal. My family used to have this thing we would say when we would see people [mainly when we were traveling or out of town] and we thought they might be people we would like to hang out with//we would call them PLU’s. ”people like us”. A few years ago Stephen + I decided that we didn’t fit into that PLU category, and so we made up our own. we call those people “WLU” weird like us.
what would your life look like if it wasn’t normal?
Hi yall, my name is Wynne Elder and I am SO EXCITED about Hope Spoken
I am a west Texas gal married to my best friend + about to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary, and a “work at home” [I am a Noonday Collection Ambassador
+ blogger] mom to my 1.5 year olds, Camp + Asher who we adopted from Ethiopia!
I love the community and friendships I’ve built around this online space + other social media outlets and am so excited to meet so many friends in real life at hope spoken! and I am really excited that along with my “online” friends, some of my most favorite real life friends and family will be there! My mom + youngest sister are coming along with 4 of my closest friends from college! So my worlds will collide and I am both excited and nervous about it. I am a conference-junkie, I love to connect with people, make new friends, share my story + hear others stories. I am anticipating all of those things happening at Hope Spoken. I think the environment is going to be set up to be totally inclusive for everyone, and I hope and pray everyone will feel comfortable sharing their hearts and their stories.
I am a little nervous for my session! I am beyond honored and thrilled to be asked to share my story + I know that it’s ONLY by Gods grace + power. He has written and is writing a beautiful but not-what-I-expected story for my life and I feel like He’s charged me to share that story. To share the freedom that I have found, and see others set free too. From now until Hope Spoken I will be processing, writing, healing, and putting my story to words. Will you pray with me that He would be glorified?
something fun + random about myself:: growing up I was always terrified of having daughters. mainly because I knew if I had one, I had to have two. [she would have to have a sister//spoken from the oldest of 3 girls] we had 24 hours to say YES to adopting Asher, and although it was a terrifying decision, I can’t EVEN IMAGINE if we would have said no. she is the light of my life! oh, and we share headbands…..it’s true. and I wish they made her clothes in my size.
So that’s me // what about you?? What are you excited/nervous/hoping to take away from Hope Spoken??