Every day a collection of moments

It seems that at the end of every day Amy and I look at each other and recount what’s happening or happened.  It’s almost as if every day is a collection of moments.  The moments may be an hour-long, it may be 2 seconds, or it could be 20 minutes.

The moments may be hard and frustrating.  Perhaps they are tiring and exasperating.  And then there are the moments that are life-giving, encouraging, funny, fun, etc.

Each day….a collection of moments.

Our collection from this past week

  • Sad – There have been some sad moments this week.  Phone calls that didn’t happen.  Visits that were cancelled.  Just a lot of sadness.
  • Victory – L POOPED ON THE POTTY.  MORE THAN ONCE!!!.  She immediately followed that up by running to her room and pooping in her pull-up.  But ya know you take the good and take the bad!
  • Encouraged – Friends and family have stopped in (THANK YOU!!).  Whether it’s dad showing up on Saturday, a good friend coming over to see Amy on Monday when doing Z’s hair, or bible study on Tuesday, THANK YOU!  Everyone is ALWAYS welcome at our house.  Please stop in, consider this your invitation. Our door is always open!
  • Unexpected – Over two days, Winston – Salem received ~5″ of rain.  Well that led to trees falling on some power-lines somewhere around our grid and as a result the power going out at our house (for 4 hours).   In a moment of preparedness, we got everyone glow sticks.  But there was still some sadness from Z.  In a moment of learning, we realized she had lost power several times in her life due to other circumstances and she was scared.
  • Victorious AGAIN – On Monday’s everyone is in school but Z.  So every 2 weeks Monday’s are hair days for Z.  Amy successfully did Z’s hair (with no power at the house I might add)
  • Adventurous –  I’ve lived in North Carolina my whole life but I had never, ever been to Pilot Mountain.  I also had never visited Mt. Airy.   There was one failed attempt to get to Pilot Mountain with Amy and the kids that resulted in getting lost (don’t ask) but this past Friday all of that changed.  Some staff from church went out to hike around the top of Pilot Mountain and at a Snappy’s … apparently a staple from the Andy Griffith show.  It was great time with great dudes!
  • Blessed – A blessed moment when a friend has Madeline go home with her daughter, feeds Madeline dinner and transports her to girl scouts.  Giving Madeline some great attention and special time was just what she needed!
  • Culture – We LOVE our Elementary School.  I know we have shared before.  To recap: Almost all of the teachers are from a different country.  Friday night, the school hosted an international night where they had booths for over 85 countries INCLUDING FOOD!  It was a great family adventure!  and L ate her weight in international food, including a Jamaican pattie that was a little too spicy!
  • Frustrating – Z needs dental work done to take care of some poor dental hygiene and eating habits previously.  We had the initial consultation and Wednesday was the day!  Well it didn’t happen.  The dentist said “this will be a little pinch” and that was that.  Z shut her mouth and sat directly up and after 40 minutes of Amy trying to convince her to trust us, she was all done.  A frustrating moment because her teeth hurt her but we need to try a different pediatric dentist to help get the work done!
  • Normalcy – We are starting to get a rhythm to our family and our house.  Appointments are always thrown in here and thrown in there but we feel we are getting the hang out it.  In a moment of normalcy from this past weekend, Amy and I binge-watched Netflix (13 Reasons Why) and played board games!  We are two wild and crazy kids!!

Life to us right now is a collection of moments.  And each moment, whether frustrating or funny, whether life-sucking or life-giving, each of these moments is our life that God has given us.  We turn to Him and celebrate and praise every moment! We love our life full of little moments!  We pray that you all see and cherish all the moments as well!

Praises / Prayer Requests:

  • PrayerWisdom / Discernment – We are dealing with disappointment and conflicted feelings.  Will mom be at visitation?  The answer is we don’t know.  Why wasn’t she there?  The answer is we don’t know.  “I don’t want to go and live with mom.  I want her to come and live here.”  When will I talk to mom again”  Pray for Amy and I as we navigate all of these crazy emotions, hard questions, and difficult conversations.  We KNOW we don’t have the answers and the ability.  Pray the Lord fills us!
  • Prayer – Self-Care: Amy and I are still struggling to find margin in our lives and specifically time for just us, individually and together.  Pray for wisdom, some great baby-sitters, and the discipline to get out.  Pray that the update next week, we are celebrating a date night AWAY from the house without the kids!  UPDATE: Still no date night away from the kids but we did have the Friday Night fun night.  Continue to pray for a date night away from the house.
  • Prayer – Financial SupportUpdate – We have had some supporters jump in, A few at $100/month, some at $25, and a couple at $15/month!  Right now we are still looking to meet our goal of $1200/month in new financial partners.  IF you are interested in partnering with us financially, please email Amy (edmonds.amy@gmail.com) or myself (joshua.m.edmonds@gmail.com) and we can get you what you need to know!  If you need more information on our living expenses, budget, where the financial support would go, please let us know we are happy to share our current budget!
  • Prayer – Dental Work – Pray for us as we navigate getting Z the necessary work done!  Pray that she trusts that we want the best for her!
  • Praise – Preaching – I had the opportunity to speak last night at our student ministries as I shared my life verse.  Thank you for praying!  We had a great time and I believe the Holy Spirit moved through me as I shared God’s Word!
  • Prayer – Preaching – I have the opportunity to preach in big church 🙂 in May.  We just started a series “I just want to be happy.”  It’s based on Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  I am so excited to share with our church in May.  Pray for me as I work to finish preparing the message and polish practice and preach one weekend next month!

And now a look into our moments from the past week!

The famous fried pork chop sandwich from Snappys! It was worth every calorie!

Elijah at International Night

Lunch dates with Madeline are special moments for me!

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Getting Inked up

I’ve always wanted a tattoo.  Three real barriers with that desire:

  1. Amy does not like tattoos
  2. I am hairy like a gorilla and anywhere that I legitimately thought about getting a tattoo I  have to ask myself how would it show through the hair.
  3. I can’t decide on what to get.

Now the first two barriers are hard to get around, but the third barrier there’s something that can be done about that!

At one point in my life (freshman year of college at NC State…Go Pack), I thought about getting this on my arm.

First tattoo Idea

Well let’s take a moment and praise God that wisdom prevailed or truthfully celebrate that I would rather have spent the $50 my freshman year on Gumby’s Pizza Pokey Sticks instead of Wolfie on my arm.

As time passed maturity set in, I settled on two scripture references one on each wrist.  I already had one picked out.  I have always loved the posture of Samuel in 1 Samuel 3 as the Lord calls him.  He eventually responds in the last part of 1 Samuel 3:10 “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.”  So first wrist tattoo: 1 Samuel 3:10.

For the next one, I waffle back and forth, not really landing on one reference that I would desire to have forever on my arm.  I couldn’t really decide on ONE and here’s the deal with a Scripture reference as a tattoo, you better KNOW that Scripture BY HEART!  And I wasn’t going to commit to the full sleeve of scripture memorization.

Enter the girls, Z and L, into our house.  Amy and I were talking about the last 3 weeks (yes it’s only been 3 weeks) and how “both / and” it’s been.  It’s not been an either / or time; it’s been, it is a both / end time.  It’s BOTH wonderful AND hard.  It’s BOTH frustrating AND rewarding.  It’s BOTH tiring AND life-giving.  It’s BOTH confusing AND secure.  This process, this time with our new daughters is a BOTH / AND time.

Amy and I looked at each other and both said “we are called to this.  we will be obedient but it doesn’t mean that it will be easy.”

This along with the Easter season and messages got me thinking about Mary, Jesus’ mother.  After visiting with the Angel of the Lord (which had to be TERRIFYING), Mary’s response as a teenager pregnant with The Lord is powerful

 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant[f] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” – Luke 1:38

I imagine for Mary it wasn’t easy.

  • It wasn’t easy when she told her husband Joseph about the pregnancy.
  • And from what I observed about pregnancy with Amy, I KNOW it wasn’t easy being pregnant in a hot part of the world.
  • It wasn’t easy giving birth IN A STABLE (without an epidural or modern medicine).
  • I am sure it wasn’t easy with the pressure of parenting the Savior of the World.
  • It wasn’t easy when people said terrible things about her son.
  • It wasn’t easy when her son traveled for 3 years and did ministry.
  • And of course it wasn’t easy as she watched her son beaten tortured and crucified.

I imagine Mary responding each time when it wasn’t easy and reminding herself that she is The Lord’s servant.  And as Scripture mentions at times when it was good (people worshiping Jesus when he was young, the visit of the shepherds and wise men) that Mary stored up all these things in her heart to reflect upon.  Because here’s what I know in our lives right now, obedience to the call or will of God does not equal the easy road.

The past week with Z and L have been full of ups and downs for everyone.

  • We’ve had a lot of hitting.
  • We’ve had biting.
  • Madeline’s had tears crying at night that she wants to love Z but it’s so hard because she’s mean sometimes.
  • We’ve had yelling, pouting, crying, screaming.
  • We’ve had arguments over food.
  • We’ve even had the “I hate it here, I’m being bad so you will send me away” talks.

In all things, Amy and I have responded that we are obedient.  “We are The Lord’s servant, may it be according to His Word.”

And when we step back and realize that obedience doesn’t equal easy, we can see and cherish the good times, storing them in our heart.  Things like…

  • The laughter
  • Z learning how to ride a bike, 1st with training wheels and now without
  • Z learning her letters
  • Having both girls say “mommy and daddy” to us.
  • Having the opportunity to present the Gospel to Z and her hearing it for the first time ever!
  • The snuggles in the morning and at night
  • And the opportunities to extend grace and leading our kids in the example of giving God’s grace even when we don’t want to and it’s hard.

And Josh and Amy stored and treasured these things in their heart.

We are The Lord’s servant may it be according to His Word, His Will and His plan.  And ya know I think I might just be one step closer to getting inked up…. now only if I can convince Amy to like tattoos.

Praises / Prayer Requests:

  • Praise – Easter: We had a GREAT Easter service at Church!  Lots of new families!  But Guess What?!? Jesus is still Risen this Sunday!  Pray for our church staff and volunteers that we serve with the same energy this week as last week!
  • Praise – ZOO: This past week was Spring Break, so we took ALL the kids to the Zoo.  It was so exciting to see Z and L see these animals for (what we think) was the first time!
  • Prayer – Self-Care: Amy and I are still struggling to find margin in our lives and specifically time for just us, individually and together.  Pray for wisdom, some great baby-sitters, and the discipline to get out.  Pray that the update next week, we are celebrating a date night AWAY from the house without the kids!
  • Praise – Hair Care  – Amy successfully did BOTH Z and L’s hair and THEY LOVED IT.  Unfortunately when Amy combed out L’s hair and didn’t braid it she went outside and fell into a HUGE pile of tree pollen.  And if you didn’t know L’s hair is apparently magnetic to tree pollen, so Amy had to re-comb it out!
  • Praise – Veggies – The girls haven’t eaten very many veggies in their lives.  This week we have gotten Z to eat cucumber, sweet potato, and last night she had TWO HELPINGS of salad.
  • Prayer – Financial Support – We have had some supporters jump in, A few at $100/month, some at $25, and a couple at $15/month!  Right now we are still looking to meet our goal of $1200/month in new financial partners.  IF you are interested in partnering with us financially, please email Amy (edmonds.amy@gmail.com) or myself (joshua.m.edmonds@gmail.com) and we can get you what you need to know!
  • Prayer – The Gospel – Pray that the Gospel and God’s grace would penetrate every heart in our house, flood every conversation, that times when we are frustrated that we would turn FIRST to God’s Wisdom and rely on His strength instead of our own!

Pizza is a favorite night in the house. Praise God for Amy and her ability to do most things from Scratch

9 baskets (including miscellaneous socks and linens) of laundry. An every 2 day routine in our house!

Elijah being Elijah at a park

Every Sunday I take one of the kids early to church to help set up the children’s ministry. This past Sunday it was daddy / daughter time!

It’s a bird….it’s a plane

Faster than a speeding bullet.

More powerful than a locomotive

Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

It’s a bird….

It’s a plane…

It’s….SUPER WOMAN!

Well it’s Amy.  And I can’t say “just Amy” because this past week, she finally proved that she was super woman!

A week ago last Sunday I woke up and had a slight headache and was feeling relatively crummy.  Well Monday I woke up and I felt more than crummy, but (like an idiot) I stayed up and watched the basketball game.  That led to a night of the shakes.  Tuesday was a little worse only we had a small group party that night and Amy needed me to power through.  Wednesday was worse than that and by Thursday (Madeline’s birthday), I was almost certain I was hallucinating.  A quick trip to the doc and sure enough Flu = positive.

Meanwhile Amy during the week…did the following.

  1. Got the girls to one visit with their mom
  2. Planned, prepared and executed a small group cookout / party for around 30 people
  3. Didn’t kill me
  4. Made Madeline a special birthday dinner
  5. Planned and executed Madeline’s birthday party for 19 girls (a spa party at that!)
  6. Learned how and successfully did Z’s hair this week since her mom wasn’t able to.

I am sure I am missing something (like the 1000 loads of laundry that is our house each week).  Oh and planted the summer garden (15 or so tomato plants and pepper plants).  She really is super woman!!!

I’m happy to report that I survived the flu and that as a public service announcement to all…please go get your flu shot in the future!  I will ALWAYS get a flu shot from now on…UGH.

Foster Care Update

We are almost 2 weeks in to Z (5 yrs old) and L (2 yrs old) in our house.  We had GREAT strides this past couple of weeks!!

  1. We got both girls to the doctor and had to catch up L’s shots (she needed several)
  2. Z went to the dentist to have an assessment and plan of action for some relatively extensive dental needs
  3. Both girls were enrolled through God’s grace and the grace and kindness of the preschool director into Jojo and Elijah’s preschool for the rest of the school year.
  4. Enrolling L in preschool for the next school year and getting the information about enrolling Z in school for next year.
  5. Successfully taking the girls for a visit with their mom
  6. Washing and doing Z’s hair (although this is a constant source of tension, pain and prayer in our house currently)
  7. Teaching healthy eating times – We assume that the girls were allowed to roam without structure at eating times.  Therefore, Z desires for snacks ALL the time, every. single. minute.  We have been able for the last several days to structure eating around 3 meal times and 2 snack times a day.
  8. Girls are sleeping in their own beds – When the girls came to our house, we learned that they had never NOT co-slept.  For those who know us, you all may recall our bed is a NO KID ZONE.  So that was a tough lesson.  The girls were sleeping in one bed in their room.  We had one single bed and one crib.  Well Amy thought maybe L was scared of the crib and took it out of the room in exchange for Madeline’s twin bed.  Madeline graciously decided to sleep on the floor on a mattress – don’t worry we ordered her a new bed.  Now both girls are sleeping in their own beds!
  9. Paci – L came with a paci (it seemed) glued to her mouth.  She had it in all the time.  Well Amy and I decided we LOVED her smile and her joy and wanted to make sure that paci didn’t hide it.  So for the past 4 days we have only had the paci at sleep times!

So you can tell it’s been and eventful time.  Just like our prayer on our last update we don’t have it all together.  Not at all!!!  But we are taking each day as an adventure and celebrating each and every victory!

Praises / Prayer Requests

  • Madeline TURNED 7!  Pray for her as she adjusts to not being the only bossy girl in the house.  She is our fiercest care giver and is doing a great job showing the girls the ropes.
  • Hair Care – The girl’s mom is a hairdresser.  Typically she does hair on visits but she wasn’t able to do hair for Z this past week.  Amy successfully got her hair down, conditioned (washed) and then tried to get it up but a lot of tears have been had by both.  Pray that mom is able to get Z’s hair done this week and/or we are able to get her scheduled at a place!
  • School – We successfully enrolled L in school for next year and both girls for the rest of this year!  That is a HUGE MIRACLE and answer to Prayer!
  • Easter – we are gearing up for a great Easter at our church!  Pray for MANY new families to come with soft hearts ready to hear the Gospel!  Pray for smooth ministry logistics for all of our systems!
  • Self-Care – Amy and I are adjusting to this new normal.  Pray we find margin in our life and specifically enough to do some self-care (working out, gardening, etc)
  • Financial Support – Amy and I are on the support trail again.  We are praying for $1200/month in new financial support.  That breaks down to
    • 12 supporters at $100 / month
    • 24 supporters at $50/month
    • 48 supporters at $25/month
  • If you are interested in supporting us financially, please email us back at joshua.m.edmonds@gmail.com, and we will get you all the appropriate information.

We appreciate you guys partnering with us along in this adventure of life!  We love hearing from you so write back often!  Until next week….get out and enjoy the spring weather, where ever you are!

A few pics from Madeline’s party

It’s finally getting to be Eno weather!

Spa party = lots of nail painting