Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Love Letters: Samuel Brave

Sometimes your life can be impacted by a life-changing, heart-stopping miracle; and sometimes those miracles can get lost in the common hours of diaper changing and getting dinner on the table. May this serve as a reminder to treasure the miracles in your life, and as hope if you're still waiting for your miracle.

The very One who created and designed you says to delight yourself in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart. That's what God told me. He said I wouldn't have to do anything, because He was going to do it. He was going to personally fulfill my heart's deepest desire. It's hard to hold on to that when years have passed and the Heavens are silent. In those heart-wrenching moments, God was teaching me to relish the Giver above the gift I was seeking. Enjoy Him. Enjoy that He is a good Father who loves to give good gifts to His kids.

What was this gift I was asking for? A son. My heart was longing for a son. We already had three precious children, Kaleb, Gabriella, and Sophia. How could I ask for more? But somehow God had given me this heart's desire. This impossible wish. My husband, Ben, had suffered horrible injuries in a motorcycle accident years earlier and due to complications from this, having more children would take a miracle. But there it was, we both felt this promise in our hearts that a son would come. God had planted this deep longing for a baby boy and He gave us the name Samuel. It means "Asked of God" and "God has Heard". So ask we did. God says you have not because you ask not. So we asked, and pleaded, and begged, and asked some more.

Sometimes it is darkest just before the dawn. At one of these extremely dark points, God spoke to me. In the middle of doubting whether I had truly heard from Him, if He was really going to do what He said, or if it was just all me, I had a dream. God doesn't normally speak to me in dreams, but it was apparent that this was something He was doing. In my dream, a little blond boy came up to me and handed me a yellow construction paper card with Elmer's glue, gold glittery letters that said "Don't give up on the impossible." My heart stopped. God had heard my desperate heart-felt pleas that I thought had, at times, bounced off the ceiling. With Him, all things are possible. God was doing this, I just had no idea how.

Well like God said, I didn't have to do anything. Ben and I are pastors, and through a series of events, we met two of our heroes. Hannah, six months pregnant, and Joshua were ready to put their baby up for adoption. We immediately began all of the paperwork and meeting with the adoption agency because, by some kiss from Heaven, they had chosen us to be their baby's parents. Their words to us: "You guys are the family God has been especially preparing for our child." Wow!

We obviously knew that cost was involved with adoption. In one particular meeting with the agency, they went over and detailed all of the financials, and then they dropped the bomb. We would pay all the costs and then should the birth mom change her mind, we would not get the money back. We would pay everything and may walk away with nothing. The car ride home was silent. It felt as though we had been punched in the gut and that the hope was going out of our dream. We were in despair for a day or two and then one morning the Lord woke me very early. Jesus' words echoed so loudly in my heart, "I paid the price for you, with no guarantee that I'd get your heart." That was costly love poured out upon that cross. He paid the ultimate price. And it was then that I realized, I too am adopted. God says that He picked us out for Himself before the foundation of the world. He calls us sons and daughters. How could I not love like He did? How could I not give, and possibly get nothing in return? We knew what we were to do.

Along with meetings at the agency, we met with Hannah and Joshua. They knew our heart for adoption and that we had prayed for this baby, but they did not know the name the Lord had given us. At one point Hannah shared, "Of course you can name the baby whatever you want, but we really feel like his name is supposed to be Samuel." Tears streamed down my face, and Ben was speechless. God had ordained this whole thing!

God has the best for us if we're willing to wait for His timing. He has put those desires in our heart, not to withhold them, but because He wants to fulfill them.

Samuel was born December 7th at 7:03 a.m. weighing 7 lbs, 2 ounces and was just perfect. He was completely worth the wait. God had heard. If He can do it for me, He can do it for you. No heart-wrenching longing is too big for Him to fulfill. He sees you. He knows. And He is a good Daddy who wants to give.

Samuel Brave you are our promise, our fulfillment, our son.

"Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Matthew 7:9-11

- Holly Binger

Note from Kassi: Holly and Ben Binger are pastors at my family's church back home in CO.  When my mom told me this story I was just blown away.  I asked Holly for permission to share a few more details that I think make this story even more amazing.

She mentioned Hannah and Joshua, Sam's biological parents.  They didn't just get randomly matched up with these two people at the adoption agency.  Hannah's mom had called the church the Bingers work at for prayer on a completely different matter.  While talking to the church receptionist it happened to come out that her daughter was going to an adoption agency that very day.  As soon as the receptionist got off the phone with Sam's biological grandma, Holly walked through the doors.  The receptionist, knowing only recently of Holly's dream of adopting, told her all about it.  Holly was floored by the fact that this mom's name was Hannah, who in the bible gave up Samuel for adoption.  And here she was hoping and praying and believing for a Samuel of her own.  She called the grandma back immediately, and that's how they ended up meeting Hannah and Joshua, and eventually their little Samuel.

As Holly said, through Him all things are possible.  He hears us and answers us.  Sometimes that answer is no, sometimes it's yes and sometimes it's just wait.  But if this story doesn't give you hope for whatever is going on in your life, I don't know what does.

Thank you, Holly, for sharing this beautiful story!

Also, how cool is the middle name Brave?  Kicking myself for not thinking of that on my own!  ;)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Daddy Daughter Dance

Every year LifeTime holds a daddy daughter dance in February and I couldn't wait for the day Ryan and Lyla got to go.  When he emailed me the details I couldn't believe the time had already come, but I knew it would be a dream come true for L.  She recently got to ride for the first time in daddy's fancy car, and she's talked about it every day since with only

She's also always been very into dancing.  The other weekend while getting ready for church I was in our bathroom listening to them as Ryan got her dressed, and about every 30 seconds she'd say "dance!"  I peeked  into her room to see them slow dancing, her in his big arms.  You better believe I teared up over that one.  I'll never forget that image as long as I live.

So, to combine daddy's "fast" car and dancing?  Like I said, dream come true.

The whole day we talked about the dance.  Before Ryan got home from work I gave her a bath and let her pick out a dress, did her hair, the whole nine yards.  Turns out it was kind of my dream come true too.  I was absolutely meant to have a little girl to do all that stuff with.

Once Ryan got home he whisked her off to the dance.  About an hour later they showed back up, Lyla with a little crown, princess wand and flower.  I asked what they did and she said "run!"  According to Ryan she did do plenty of that, along with starting a dance party on the DJ stage.  If you know me at all you know that my heart swelled with pride after hearing that.  I only wish there was a video for proof. 

It's hard to believe that next year he'll have two little girls to bring.  Lucky guy.  ;)

- K

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Star Gymnast

This week Lyla started gymnastics.  And I cried.  I purposefully chose a day and time that I wouldn't be available to take her so that she has something in her schedule that is regularly a no-mommy thing.  With a new baby coming I know I won't be able to be as involved in every little detail and activity as I typically am, so I thought it would be good for both of us to have something that she does regularly without me.

But the truth of the matter is I love being involved in every detail, and brushing her hair into a ponytail, putting on her little boots and talking with her about how exciting gymnastics was going to be killed me a little bit.  I wanted to be the one to take her.  But after a couple of tears I pulled myself together and I knew it was the right thing.

Ryan got to take her to her very first class, and I could only imagine what all the other moms thought of this big guy running around with his tiny daughter on those mats.  I can't help but assume some drooling occurred.  ;)

He was the proudest dad, and by all accounts it sounds like she's going to be a star gymnast.  At least until she develops her mom's hips and passes the average 5'3" gymnast height by the time she's 10 years old.  But for now, pure gold, baby.

Here's some pics from her very first gymnastics class!

- K

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Family Photo Sesh

A few weeks ago we took some family photos, which happened to coincide with a Broncos Playoff game.  No big deal.  In my defense I did schedule them back in October, and who's thinking about football playoffs then??  Not this girl.

There's something about paying a photographer that makes me feel like I should end up looking like a Victoria's Secret model in the photos, and then somehow every time it ends up just being me.  I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.  ;)

But, considering we were doing one of Ryan's least favorite things while one of his most favorite things was happening, Lyla was teething...and also an almost 2 year old, and I am (come to find out) not a Victoria's Secret model, some of these are pretty darn cute.

Here are some of my faves. 

- K

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Big Birthday!

The second birthday was a huge success!  We had a small family celebration the morning of her actual birthday, complete with don dons and gigantic balloons.  On Saturday we had a big party with some of her little friends.  Ryan's family was in town, and even his sister surprised us and flew out for the weekend.  I wouldn't have been able to pull off this party without them, they were so much help.  I'm a little surprised they continue to come visit with all the work we make them do.

Like most parties are, it was a bit of a whirlwind but I really tried to focus on L and what she was doing.  Last year at her party I ended up feeling like I barely saw her, the way she was passed from one family member to another.  This year I tried to take it all in a little better, and what I can tell you is the girl had some fun.

We had a little craft time and had the kiddos make their own treat bags that I filled with goodies before they went home, and I don't think Lyla's ever taken anything more seriously.  Between that, the presents and all the sugar she was definitely in two year old heaven.  We all had so much fun - thanks to all the friends and family that were there to help celebrate our girl!

Here's some pics from the day!

- K

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tomorrow She Turns Two

Well, it's officially Lyla's birthday eve and we're busy preparing for the morning's festivities.  While we fill huge balloons and build slides and pink cars, I can't help but think of this night two years ago.  Since I was induced we had a very definitive last night before baby, and I remember so vividly the fear, nerves, and excitement I felt that night.  As much as I told myself to get one last good night of sleep I just couldn't force my mind to calm down.  The next morning we got up early, packed up our suitcases and stopped at Panera on the way to the hospital.  Later that day, at 5:18 pm I held my baby girl for the very first time...and she immediately pooped all over me.  It was love at first sight.

Thinking back to the last year it seems like such a blur.  I feel like I can't even remember how we went from a baby with barely any hair and two little teeth, just starting to walk around and saying nothing more than "mama" and "dada" to this wild little girl running around with the cutest ponytail, screaming "YEAH! YEAH! FUN! FUN! FUN!"

It makes me feel just a little bit panicky because that's everything I feared from the first time I held her...time going too fast and not being able to remember every detail of every day.  But truthfully this past year has been the absolute best, maybe even better than the first.  I love, love, love that cozy newborn stage, but the girl we have these days is just so fun.  It's funny because holding that tiny newborn it feels like you're so far from the days of having conversations and really interacting and playing with that little squishy thing, and suddenly here we are with this playful girl, having picnics and tea parties galore.  I swear someone gives her fun pills every night while she's sleeping.

So, even though time is going fast, each day is sweeter than the last.  I can't wait to see what this next year has in store.  Seeing her bloom into her own little person is the absolute joy of my life.

Sleep tight, baby girl.  I have a feeling your second birthday will be the best one yet.

- K

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Weekend

So Lyla may not have been able to use her touchdown celebration as many times as we hoped, but it was still a pretty great little weekend.  Saturday was mostly spent working on the new TV in the man cave.  For those of you that don't know, this is a very serious, very important project.

We also had a Backyardigans birthday party to attend that afternoon, which Lyla had been looking forward to for weeks.  Every time she saw the invitation she'd say "WHOA!" and then point at each character and say "dat? dat?"  I've never seen the show and have absolutely no clue what the characters are so I'd make it up as I went.  After several "party! go!" demands from Lyla we managed to pull Ryan away from his TVs and headed to the party, Lyla clutching that little invite the entire way.

The party was cute, and it's always a kick to get a bunch of toddlers together.  Lyla still pretty much stays to herself, running around exploring every inch of every room as fast as she can.  She eventually won the "Most Curious" award, which I think couldn't have been more perfect for the girl.

Sunday was obviously...well, a disappointment to say the least.  But, we had a great get together at our place and I think it'll go down as the best Super Bowl ever in Lyla's book.  At least until next year.  I'm pretty sure she thought the party was for her, the way she'd run up to just about anyone at the party, grab their hands and drag them off to go play.  She even got an entire dance party started in the man cave during half time, running to each person, literally pulling them off their chair and waiting until they started dancing to run off to the next person.  My personal favorite was when we moved back upstairs and she pulled me in the middle of the room and made me dance in front of everyone for the remainder of the half time show.  It was just like college, except stone cold sober with a huge baby belly. 

Hope you had a good weekend too!

- K