Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A New Chapter

Well, its been 18 months since I lasted updated this blog! Wow, how time flies!!! Over the last few weeks I have had so many people tell me that I need to write down all that is happening in our lives, that I thought I would start blogging again.  I guess I need to start by catching everyone up on our last 18 months first.

Starting with last summer...it was our second summer as a family of 7.  All the "firsts" were done: first Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter; July 4th; first birthdays, first vacations and now reality really started to set in.  So did grieving.  Every adoption begins with a tragedy.  Because of this, there is much grieving that goes on, especially when older children are involved.  Last summer we were all grieving and trying to adapt and adjust and it was HARD! We were trying to develop new, healthy relating patterns and let go of some unhealthy ones that had developed during the first 18 months.  With all that said, this mamma needed a break from it all.  I was really struggling physically (with my health), emotionally and spiritually.

Brent and I planned a trip away to Florida for just the two of us for our 16th anniversary (we had to skip over our 15th because things were still too new to leave).  The first night we were there we had a "discussion." It didn't end well.  I left the restaurant in tears and we drove back to the hotel in silence.  As we drove a scripture came to my mind "Then your healing will quickly appear...".  However, this was the only part that I could remember of the scripture that I had memorized years before.  I knew I needed healing in many areas and couldn't wait to get back to the hotel and look up the remainder of the verse to find out what the "if" part was.  What did I have to do to have my healing quickly appear?

As soon as we got back I searched on my You Version app, and found that the passage was from Isaiah 58.  This passage was a message to the Israelites from God through the prophet Isaiah during a time when things seemed to be good.  Temple attendance was up, everyone was "doing" all the right things.  From the outside all seemed to be great.  However, God is not concerned with what is on the outside, God looks at the heart (1Samuel 16:7).  God tells the Israelites through Isaiah that He is not looking for people who are going through the motions.  He doesn't want someone who is "performing" rituals and deeds that look good to everyone else.  What He is after is someone whose heart is after Himself.  Someone who obeys His commands out of a love for Him.  Someone who desires to follow Him at ALL costs.  What does a love like that look like?

Isaiah 58:6-7: "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?"

As we dissected this passage what we began to see is that we were just hypocrites going through the motions.  We went to church, check; we tithed, check; we taught Sunday School, check; we gave to the poor sometimes, check; we adopted from Africa, check! We did all these things that looked good from the outside looking in, but raised our fists at God, and like the Israelites, said, "Why have we fasted, and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?" What God taught us through is this: we were serving ourselves, not Him.  If we really wanted true, lasting and whole healing it was only going to come when we started serving HIM. Pouring ourselves out and spending ourselves for HIM.

That night we hit our knees and renewed our committment to follow the Lord in whatever journey He had for us.  We confessed our hypocrisy and selfishness.  Some friends had already asked us to go with them to Haiti for spring break.  It wasn't where I wanted to go, where I envisioned I would serve, but it was an opportunity presented to us and it was something that we could afford to do with the whole family.  We decided that night that all 7 of us, even little Whitney, would go and serve "the least of these" together.  It  was only the beginning of a journey that will likely last a lifetime!

Yes, we all wore matching Mickey shirts! I know your husbands are jealous!!!

The Beach 2012

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

April & May

In the Rutland house, April means BASEBALL!  Jordan had been practicing throwing a ball with Ryan since his first day home and couldn't wait to play for real.  Brent coached his team and we had a great time watching him grow as a BB player :-)

Ryan played on a new team this year, the Franklin Generals, and we were so blessed to be on a team with wonderful families and boys.  They were excited to have won several tournaments including the first one they played in for the season!

This year has been full of so many firsts for R & J and Easter was no exception.  They got to participate in a few egg hunts which they thought was the greatest thing...free candy?!?!

 Whitney and her sweet friend Ava

Whitney in the bike parade at The Little School:

For Easter this year I wanted to start a new tradition of having a traditional Passover Sader (we have actually done this 2 times before just not by ourselves at home).  Brent, as the head of the household, read the script.

                                                                                      Our Passover plate:   

We visited the Resurrection Trail at Christ Community Church in Franklin...


At the station below the kids had to wash their parents feet like Jesus did the disciples' feet at the Last Supper.

Me with the kids on our front porch Easter morning.

Above: Dying Easter Eggs with neighbors.
Below: An egg hunt for all our neighbor friends.

Rachel in action...

May had us saying goodbye to some great teachers as we prepared to move to the new school opening.
Rachel with the beloved Mrs. Gonzales; her ESL teacher.

The older three with Coach Campbell...we sure do miss her!

Hayley & Rachel with Mrs. Hullett.  My first 2 third graders had this awesome teacher.  We were sad she stayed behind at Trinity and Ryan didn't get to have her too.

Fifth grade celebrations...

Jordan with his kindergarten teacher.
Rachel with her class at field day.  She had an awesome class!

Another school year over. Summer fun awaits...

Friday, August 5, 2011


We started March off with dress up days that week at school.  The pic below is the girls dressed for "Wacky Wednesday."  They had fun trying to be the wackiest!

The girls got to have a father/daughter dance this year at Trinity.  The boys got a more "masculine" date with mom.  We built birdhouses and then ate in the cafeteria.  There was a DJ and the boys had fun doing dances like the chicken, cha cha slide and the YMCA.  It was fun to watch Jordan dance with all the boys.  It didn't take him long to learn all the moves!

Brent's parents both work in the school system and are lucky to have spring break off.  We were blessed with a visit from them on their spring break.  

For spring break we decided to take a mini "get away" with everyone and see how everyone would do.  It would be our first family "vacation" staying in a hotel and going fun places.  We have traveled to and from TX a couple of times, but we always stay with family and are mostly in family houses the whole time.  I made all the kids a goodie bag with essentials for the trip: sunglasses, candy, snacks etc.  The pic below is of us about to leave with everyone's sunglasses on.

Our first stop in Atlanta was the aquarium.  The kids really enjoyed it.  We did have one scare.  We couldn't find Whitney and Ryan for a few minutes.  We finally found them at the top of the jungle playground.  Whitney was scared to come down the slide and refused to move.  Many kids were coming through trying to encourage her to go, but she wouldn't move.  Ryan stood by her side and didn't leave her.  Finally the attendant let Rachel (who was technically too tall and was not allowed to go in the playground) go up and rescue Whitney.  She had to drag her screaming and force her down the slide.  By that point we had quite an audience watching the scene!  The pic below is of the kids petting the sting rays.

Cute family pic:


Ready to watch the IMAX movie:

The highlight of the girls trip was to go to the American Girl Doll store.  Hayley used her birthday money last summer to buy a "Just like me" doll to give to Rachel when she came home (she has such a beautiful, sweet heart).  They had both been earning some money doing some chores around the house and saving it to spend on this trip.  I gave them each a little more to spend that day and we had FUN shopping for the dolls!

When Rachel first came home and couldn't speak good english we couldn't explain to her how to take care of the American Girl Doll's hair.  She would just brush really hard and it destroyed her hair.  Luckily, they have a "doll hospital" you can send your doll to and get it fixed.  They even brought our the "Doctor" and he asked what her favorite foods, tv shows etc. were!  They put her in a hospital gown and took her away.  So cute!  Two weeks later we got her back in the mail good as new :-)

The girls ate at the restaurant there and although it is NOT cheap, the food was really good.  The dolls got to sit in high chairs attached to the table and had their own plates and cups.  It was super cute!

It was a dream outing for these girls.  I know I would have been in heaven as a little girl!

The month ended with Turkey season.  Ryan went hunting with Brent and shot his first wild animal.  He was SO proud.  We got to eat it and it was really good :-)

That is all for today!  Hopefully I will have another post up soon...

Saturday, July 30, 2011


As I stated in my last post, I had planned to bring my blog up to date while we were on vacation at the beginning of the summer.  As my March pictures were uploading I pushed my computer back so that I could reach across the table and help my brother do something on his computer.  What I didn't know was that there was a glass of water sitting in the middle of the table between our computers.  I knocked it over and it ran into the back of my MAC.  I didn't realize it had flowed into my computer for several minutes.  When I went to get back on it, it wouldn't do anything.  I then thought to shake it and see if there happened to be any water inside.  We all sat in disbelief as water drops began flying out of my computer.  No worries , I thought, my hubby bought the protection plan and I was smart of enough to have backed everything up before we left.

Ha! The so called "Protection Plan" that he bought from a big, popular retailer of electronics did not protect anything!  When we dropped the computer off they said not to worry that they would either fix or replace it.  However, their story changed once they got my computer.  We were told later that we should have bought a more expensive plan to cover "accidental" damage.  I am not sure why we would have bought a "protection plan" at all if it didn't cover accidents since Apple covered everything else for free.

I am happy to say that after almost 2 months of "negotiations" we reached a "deal" a couple of days ago and I am the happy owner of a brand new MAC book Pro!  Soooo...stay tuned for the promised updates to our blog.  I want to keep it all in chronological order; one because that is how I think and two because I want this to be a  journal we can look back on and read about our lives...in order.  Maybe I will have it all updated before school starts in 2 weeks????  Ahh, we shall see!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More February....Part 2

I found a few more pics of February and decided that I needed to share them with you.  The first is of me and my cast.  Notice I am resting my foot on my infamous knee roller (I got a lot of unwanted attention everywhere we went thanks to this invention:-).  

Then there is Whitney being her silly self.  She SO fits the profile of the "baby" of the family.  Always the clown and performer!

I also shared the pics of my sweet friend Sallee coming home with her cutie pie, Samson Jude, from Ethiopia.  Many of you have seen my girls wear their "Poppy Dip" skirts/dresses.  Sallee is the talented seamstress who made them to raise money to bring Samson home.  Shortly after they brought home him, Sallee starting feeling really bad and it was discovered that she had ovarian cancer.  She has already undergone a few surgeries to remove it and is awaiting the start of chemo.  Please, Please, remember her in your prayers!  She has her new little guy as well as 5 other kiddos at home.  You can follow more of her journey here: http://itspoppydipblog.blogspot.com

Me and Whitney waiting to get me cast off!  It was an exciting day at our house!!!

Whitney being her funny self...

My 3 girls plus two of the Pedicini girls waiting for little Samson Jude and his parents to get off the plane.
Little Samson and his sweet Momma, Sallee, looking so cute after flying from the other side of the world!
A few more faces playing and waiting for Samson's arrival.

More kids being funny as we waited for the Couch family to arrive.  Airport homecoming parties are the best :-)

March is still coming!!!  Stay tuned....