"For You O Lord are a shield about me, You are the glory and lifter of my head. Psalm 3:3

"For You O Lord are a shield about me, You are the glory and lifter of my head. Psalm 3:3

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Pause.

Pause: a temporary stop; inaction caused by uncertainty; hesitation.  ~Webster's

For this mama, motherhood is a catalyst for such pauses.
a pause from laundry to whip up tasty treats to watch the royal wedding with littles
The pause: Alice drops her paci and I'm not sure if I can bend down to get it while holding her, much less rise again after the squat...
Reason: because my overly-ambitious workout running the OU stadium stairs the day before once followed by a nap in my pre-baby days was instead followed by picking up the oldest from school and a full day with kids. (Note: this also applies to the last stages of pregnancy.)

The pause: freezing in the nursery as if being hunted by a T-Rex...
Reason: because I think if I don't move, the sweet little nugget won't see me and realize she hasn't been in my arms for hours.

The pause: saying to myself repeatedly Don't laugh, don't laugh, don't laugh...
Reason: because the Hulk reached her limit of the oldest's verbal taunting and decided to end it with a nice uppercut to her jaw.  A job well done but nevertheless not the best way to solve the problem.  Discipline is warranted but the mama keeping it together, keeping composure is now the goal.  I feel this pause happens often.
a pause in the day for a Dokeberry Slushy (lemonade, gatorade & berries)

And then there are the moments when I don't pause and wish I had.  When I react instead of respond and the lack of pause results in asking for forgiveness from a little one, and maybe the hubby too.  When I don't pause and instead rush the teachable moment, because my patience is lacking.  Ah, the pause would have served all of us well here.  

The pause.
Like the first moment you jump into a cold lake and it takes your breath away and all you can think about is how cold you are.
Or the words from the pastor's mouth "I now pronounce you man and wife" and the world stops because it's all your heart and soul want to soak in.  He's mine.  Forever.
For me, the pause is a life saver, the inspiration in the moment to dig deep and respond in the way my lovelies deserve and not be anywhere else but right there.

Today, I need more pauses.  More seconds and minutes for the Lord to decrease me and increase His love and affection, His perspective and joy.
a sissy pausing her playing to sing to her baby sister
Dear pause, I'm learning to love you.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Adoption: a Royal Fire

My fire started at 15 years old.  While I should have been daydreaming of normal teenage adventures, I envisioned one day adopting orphans.  Specifically siblings.

At 19, some kerosine hit the fire and I spent a month in Ghanian orphanages holding little ones.  Without a true home, without love, and without the hope of living past their thirties.

At 23, the fire was permanently ignited.  A trip to the bush in Botswana would forever engrain images in my heart and mind I didn't even have to journal about.  Because they are there forever.
one of our medical clinics in Accra, Ghana

Some say adoption has become a fad, the thing to do these days.  And I'm completely okay with it.  Because unlike skinny jeans that will one day be discarded to a donation box, these little treasures will be alive, thriving, and living from a place of safety and love.

Money.  Not sure where it would come from.  Normally I am annoyingly practical and prefer order and structure.  But not here.  I'm not even sure how to bring them home.  
do know we can love them and bring them into a home where perfection is nonexistent but knowing their value and worth is constant.
And the fire burns.

Emma and I were looking at photographs of little orphans...  
Emma: "Where are their mommies and daddies?"
Me: "Their mommies and daddies don't live with them."
Emma: "Why?  Where are they?"
Me: "Some of their parents are in heaven and some parents' hearts are hurting so badly that they can't take care of their children."

She's thinking.  And the mama loves it.

The hubby's heart and mine are processing, dialoguing, and trusting in the Lord's steps and timing, for His provision and peace.  Will we bring home littles some day?  I'm ready today but trust only He knows.  And that's really hard for me.  My heart can definitely do the kick and stomp tantrum performance wanting it right now.  How do you calm a blazing roar of vibrant oranges and reds?  I don't know.

I believe every little one deserves to know they are royalty.  They are sons and daughters of the Most High King.  I trust He lights fires in us to be aware, to pray and contend, to provide monthly support from an ocean away, and for some, to adopt.  Whatever our role, it's valuable.
So my burning heart is waiting to see what our part will be in this royal fire.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Weekend

Easter is...

Little hearts sharing...
Emma Rose: "These guys, they didn't like Jesus.  They took Him and beat Him.  Then they put Him on a cross...mommy, He was all alone.  He was put on the cross for our sins so we can live happily ever after with Him!  Then He rose again!  He lives forever and ever and ever!"  Sophie Lynn chimed in with a few chirps of  "Jesus!", "the cross", and "not kind!" (referring to the men who nailed Jesus on the cross.)
This happens to be my new favorite version of the Easter story.
My girl, proudly showing me her fearlessness on the rope swing at school.

Planting an Easter garden...
To let my lovelies use their hands and eyes to see He has risen!  We put His wrapped body in the tomb (pink and purple clay) and come Easter Sunday, we will go back to the tomb and see He is alive!
Our little Bunny's first celebration...
Complete with giving her first kisses.  There is nothing sweeter.  This weekend, she napped on my chest to reduce her reflux discomfort.  I happily laid still and watched the wind blow the freshly cut grass into the air, along with my to-do lists and projects for the afternoon.
And my little heart skipped a beat.  Pure joy.
She had some cuddles for her daddy too.
Egg Hunts...
In quest of colored eggs, filled with treats, alongside sweet company.

Sunday brunch...
Of rich french toast soaked in eggs, cream, vanilla, orange zest, and cinnamon.  Topped with the sweetness of warm syrup, dusted with powdered sugar.  With eggs, sausage and savory cheddar and a side of fresh hash browns.
Preceded by the much anticipated discovery that our garden tomb was in fact empty!
And they danced with joy!
Indeed little ones, He is risen! 

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Magicians live in my house.  They're little, but don't let their age or size fool you.  They're quite capable, powerful, and fast.  Their creativity and impulsiveness allows them to make any space into a perfect stage for impeccable destructiveness performances.
A newly discovered mud zone in the backyard yielded a tub of suds to pay the toll to enter the house.
They know exactly when I've retreated to the bathroom and they appear in a flash, ready for supreme invasive tricks.
Their heightened senses alert them once I have even attempted to make a phone call and they can rapidly increase their volume and decrease their ability to get along with their fellow magicians.
Once the house is cleaned, and I mean actual cleaning products are used, within minutes they can quickly transform vacuum lines and the shine of Pledge back into crumb piles and fingerprints.
Before your very eyes, they can dumps all sorts of colors and textures on a once clean outfit and may even manage to smear it all over the kitchen, before 8am.

Magicians live in my house.  They are cuddly, lovely, creative, and can perform magic tricks at the drop of a hat.  They occupy houses, cars, backyards, and even the tiniest places like a closet or an office.  
They're everywhere.
My irises were once growing beautifully in the backyard until suddenly, my oldest magically made them into a bouquet.

And their magic will one day disappear as they move onto other stages, their own.  
Meanwhile, they take "abracadabra!" to a whole new level and leave David Copperfield in the dust.  
Well done my little magicians.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Main Course

Remember this scene?
"But I can be Jell-O..."
"Creme brulee can never be Jell-O.  You could never be Jell-O."
"I have to be Jell-O!"
"You're never gonna be Jell-O!"
~My Best Friend's Wedding

I think in terms of food.  In my little heart, most things in life can somehow be related to food.  

The menu for today consisted of meeting some friends in Sulphur for some hiking and playing in the natural cold springs.  It sounded great when we planned it.  The start of the day was one of those This menu stinks moments.  After an hour attempt to actually leave the house due to the Oh I forgot ___ , the diaper blowout, and half a dozen other occurrences, we pulled out of the driveway.  Victory.  
Now, what's the appetizer going to be?
A platter, with hints and tastes to wet our palettes of a day spent dipping our toes in the crisp, cold water of the springs and watching our splashes reach high in the air.  Bite size pieces of little moments where our little bunny was awake, taking it all in.  She is so sweet and my day was savored holding her little body close to mine.

For the main course, a day spent together hiking and making plans of our camping adventures that await us.  We had a full plated day of laughter, discoveries, cuddles, and good conversation.  Our hearts were full to the brim with His goodness and faithfulness to bring a day of time together making memories that will be edged in my mind forever.  
We were full, but not too full for some sweetness.

And saving the best for last, the dessert.  Topping the day off with an evening with Muka.  She is so sweet and we savor our time with her because she's lovely, and wonderful, and you can smell her perfume in the house even after she's gone.  And every good dessert just has that lasting effect, that sweetness and fullness that stays with you even after the meal is done.
Today we feasted.  We indulged.  We enjoyed every bite, some bitter and not so tasty, but mostly wonderful and full of joy.  Today we made a delightful platter of time together uninterrupted by anything other than us.  And it was so delicious.

Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Psalm 34:8

Happy Monday!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spaghetti Calzone

We here at the Doke house love us some pizza, preferably large amounts dipped in Ranch.
The Pillsbury Pizza dough can and I love to try out various types of home-made pizza.
Mexican, pepperoni, cheese with fresh herbs, tomato pesto, classic sausage, etc.
Tonight's menu: Spaghetti Calzone 
What I love about cooking is the dish can be as simple or as piled-on-high as you like and/or have time for.  My pots of fresh herbs in my kitchen were acting like kids waiting to be picked at recess dodgeball...pick me, pick me!  So lots of freshness in the pizza this time.
Tonight's rustic look is courtesy of 3 littles waking up from naps at the same time and trickling into the kitchen.  I literally threw the dough on the sheet.
1 can Pillsbury Pizza dough
parchment paper or cooking spray
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 lb. ground beef
1 jar spaghetti sauce
olive oil
2 c. mozzarella cheese
1 tbl. fresh rosemary (chopped)
1 tbl. fresh thyme (chopped)
parmesan cheese (for sprinkling)
garlic salt
*preheat oven to 400 degrees
1.  saute garlic in olive oil 
2.  add beef, cook until done
3.  stir in spaghetti sauce (use half for pizza, half for another day)
4.  put parchment paper on a cookie sheet
5.  place dough on sheet, spoon sauce on one side 
6.  add mozzarella
7.  sprinkle with herbs
8.  close dough over, seal edges, crimp edge shut with a fork
9.  brush with olive oil, sprinkle garlic salt, parmesan cheese, and cut a few slits for steam
Pop it in the oven for 16-18 minutes until golden brown
...and get ready to enjoy!
(Side note: it also works to just crack open that jar of sauce, pour some out on the dough with some mozzarella cheese, fold that baby up, and throw it in the oven.  Ka-ching!  Dinner is served.)
I have been treating myself lacking self-control and have helped myself to Sophie's potty training treats therefore consuming a steady diet of donuts, Oreos, gummy bears, jelly beans, Cheetos...and so I'm looking forward to an actual meal with substance and protein.
And little hands will like it too.
Bunny wanted some too...soon little one, soon enough.
Happy weekend to you!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

This & That

This post is one of those mundane collections of the every day things.  Even though they lack excitement or scenery, I want to remember them.
Ah the tubs.
The beauty of having all girls is the clothes get passed down...and the tubs are over taking our closets.
I tried the vacuum bags, they look awesome on the commercial, but for some reason don't last very long at our house.  And I'm okay with my growing collection of tubs.
I'm not one for bribing my little ones for the daily expectations of obedience and compliance.  But when it comes to potty training, I ooze with bribery.  It's like I'll bake you a cake, while standing on my head juggling small cows if you will please just pee on the potty.
I took Sophie to the Hostess cakes section at the grocery store and said "Pick out whatever you want!" and I wish you could have seen her my-mother-has-completely-lost-her-mind face.  It was priceless.
On to the Toy Story Potty Party.  Day 1 was successful.  We just may have a lot of explaining to do at her next dentist appointment.
Emma had a hay ride field trip today at school.  How do you get a princess to channel her inner cowgirl?  You add some pink and a few curls.  Viola!  Or should I say giddy up!
Now for some not so mundane news.  We saw our pediatrician for a re-check on a growing (non-cancerous) mass on Ali Beth's eyebrow.  In 2 months, it had doubled in size and was very irritated.  So he scheduled an appointment with a plastic surgeon at Children's and an appointment with a dermatologist.  
That was not what the mama wanted to hear.  We prayed for Alice to be healed...and that is exactly what happened!  2 days later, the mass ruptured (sorry for you squeamish folks) and I called the doctor and learned this was in fact good news!  He cancelled all of our appointments, placed her on antibiotics and some other regimens, and it's already healing!
Now that is what I'm talkin' about!  He is so good!

And we celebrated His goodness with some extra lovin' and cuddles with the baby sister.
Chris will ask me how my day was.  I usually respond with Oh, just this and that.  I have a feeling some day I'll be in a quiet house, my babies will be grown and gone.  And the thing that will make me laugh, and maybe cry, are the this' and that's from many years ago.  
And I'll smile and thank God for the blessings...of today.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Phrases of the Home

There's a lot of talking in our house.  Between the girls and my very social husband, let's just say it's never quiet and someone is always talking.  As in any family, we've coined many phrases and we know exactly what they mean.  Thought I'd share some...

"Call it a day" means you (child) have run out of good choices and I (mama) have run out of patience.  So your day is over, you're going to bed, for now at least.  And maybe the mama is too.

"Find/choose joy" means I believe in you, I know this lovely tantrum and ear piercing screaming isn't the real you.  So dig deep, baby and find some joy.  (Note: this applies to the mama too.)

"Need me to help?" means if I need to come help you and your sister work out this argument, there's a good chance my solution will entail elimination of the fought-over toy.

DC (diet coke) not a phrase spoken but a text from me to Chris, meaning, please bring a 32 oz. drink home for me because I didn't get to my to-do list today because I was too busy holding littles, changing diapers, and perfecting my under-dog on the swings in the backyard.  And I'm going to need the caffeine to stay up late.

"Enough" (accompanied with the snap) this is one I'm actually working to eliminate.  It means I've-reached-my-limit-with-your-behavior-and-want-it-to-end-NOW.  I'm seeing this one regurgitated and it's not pretty.

"I'm done" phrase spoken by mama to Chris referring to the littles, which translates to please take over for me right now or I may run away and hide in a cave or eat the whole bag of Oreos if I have to hear "she's touching me!" one more time.
I was paged at church to pick up my Alice...20 minutes into service.
Expected heart phrases: "Um, seriously?", "Really?", "Come on!".  For some reason, these didn't come to mind.  Instead, the phrase "My bunny is crying" went through my mind and I couldn't move fast enough to get to her.  She needs her mama and I'm more than happy to meet her there.
And there are no words or phrases to describe how she makes my heart feel when she's cuddling on my chest and I know there's nowhere else she'd rather be.
Guess what little one?  Me either.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

If You Give a Mama a Night Out...

If you give a mama a night out, she might just take you up on it.

She'll pick out a dress that's just perfect and hang it up in anticipation of an evening out with her Love. She'll need to find some shoes to go with it. She'll find some beautiful heels her own mommy bought for her years ago.

Seeing the shoes will remind her of jewelry, the finishing touch.  She'll look through hers, finding ones that sparks memories of a sweet honeymoon, her own rehearsal dinner, baby shower treasures.  
At last, the pair of dangling ones will do.
She'll arrange for a babysitter, or two.  The day will begin with littles climbing into bed with hopes of cartoons and cuddles.  On to syrupy pancakes and milk in chilled glasses.  She'll dress the oldest for her soccer game, load up all the lovelies for a morning of cheering and playing.  Home for more outside fun, side walk chalk masterpieces, and the best bubbles ever blown.  She'll crank out PB&J's like a champion, nurse the littlest babe, and then tuck little sun-kissed bodies into beds for naps.

Let the transformation begin.

{Jill and Stephen were married...and it was lovely and beautiful!}
And she beams with joy because the night belongs to her and her husband, and many friends all going through the same transformation cycle of a day.
She'll smile and soak up every minute of the evening, in her purple dress.
The next morning she'll see her dress on the closet floor...seeing the dress will remind her of the night out with her hubby and friends.
And chances are if you give a mama a night out, she might just take you up on it!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Grateful & Expectant

Today we are grateful.
Alice had her 6 month check-up...and she's perfectly healthy!  Each time I hear those words, tears well up and my heart bursts with thankfulness to the Lord for my healthy babies.  Our pediatrician started her on medicine for reflux so we're on our way to smoother feedings.  
Bunny's Stats
14.6 pounds 18%
24 3/4 inches 16%
sweet noggin 53%

 We are starting the day expectant for...
{This morning's plate.}
...the Lord to move in our hearts and weave threads of His goodness throughout our day.  Over bowls of Cheerio's and a creamy cup of coffee, we tell the Lord This day is Yours and we ask You for...
His power and joy (Emma), for Emma to have joy at school (Sophie), for laughter when we're together (Mommy).  Throughout the day, we pass by the plate of expectancy of His goodness and remember He is good and faithful.  Later in the day, over dinner, we share and listen to His promises fulfilled.  And they can see from a young age, promises to stand on and what a good Father He is.
 Joy, power, laughter.  Check.
 And maybe a few chocolate cupcakes on sunkissed cheeks.

We are grateful.  Some days more than others.  Some days our gratitude is a pleasing fragrance, other days we choose not to be.  Some days we slip from thankfulness into ourselves.
When we're ready to choose, we ask Him, and He comes to us and reminds us that a thankful heart prepares the way.  We are reminded of His goodness and unconditional love.
And it is oh so good!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

This is How We Roll

I was just returning a quick email, no time for capitalizing or complete sentences.  I could feel Alice's drool creeping down my arm as she cooed and blew raspberries.  Chris passed through the kitchen with "Uh, really?  Typing with just your left hand, huh?"  
I smile.  Babe, this is how we roll.  
I can bake you a cake, vacuum a house, settle an argument, clean out a refrigerator...with a baby in my arms.  I speak for all mommies when I say things get done, it just looks differently these days.  
A tasty one-armed task: tortilla soup.  The strong, north wind gave me the green light for just one more pot.  Delightful with corn tortillas perfect for dipping.
5 cups chicken broth
chicken (chopped or shredded, I use a rotisserie chicken)
1 can of each: black beans, corn, green chilies, diced tomatoes
2 tbl cilantro (chopped)
2 green onions (chopped)
lime juice
It's one of those soups even guys will like.  I promise.  My meat and potatoes man actually likes this soup and even offers a few Mmm's as he slurps.
Speaking of cooking...
My Sophie Lynn.  She's a busy one.  Lining up ingredients for baking a cake while clutching coffee with a sweet one in her arms.  Hmmm...wonder where she sees that?
This is how we roll.  Mama changes clothes 3 times because Bunny's burp erupted into a bit more.  Little one picks herself up off the floor from an ear-piercing tantrum to receive some much needed hugs and kisses because she wasn't seen or heard...enough.  My tired girl struggles through the day to keep it together reaping the choice to not go to sleep at bed time.  The laundry hasn't made it to the closets.  The right hand is achy because there were too many left-handed tasks completed.
We laugh.  We cry.  We hug and ask for forgiveness.  We are reminded daily, hourly, His grace is sufficient and His yolk is easy and His burden light.  He is near and able.
We receive and soak in His unconditional love and affection...this is how we roll.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Love for Weekends

We had a great weekend!  It was full.  It was sunny.  It was full of family and friends.
Bear is learning soccer.  Taking it all in step by step.  She plays with some amazing little athletes so she's in awe just watching them.
We love watching her and making new Saturday memories together.
{I quite possibly took this picture with a baby in my arms...hence I got half of her sweet face!}
Sweet Dax shared some in-between-quarter entertainment.  I remember when this little guy was born and now he's such a young man who loves Jesus, such a sweetheart! 

Laura.  What can I say other than, she is just lovely.  We have loved her since the first day we met her.  She's a family favorite for sure!  And Bunny was happy to cuddle away.

On the home front, Jonathan, Josh, and Chris hammered away for most of the day on the upstairs deck.  Our girls were pumped.  Jonathan and Josh have celebrity status at our house.  
Well done men.  It looks fantastic!
{Sophie watched Jonathan through the window, saying shouting his name every few minutes.}
While the men were hard at work, I took all the girls to Crew's 3rd birthday party.  It was a delightfully fun party...a moon bounce, a pinata, cake and ice cream.  Mixed with some sunshine and happy kids, it's a recipe for a fun afternoon!

 Poor Sophie.  She had a bit of a rough weekend.  She has a black eye from falling into the stair case and then the back door completely closed on her finger.  Extra kisses, hugs, prayers...and Tylenol for this little one.

Alice opted for a nap in Becky's arms.  Party on, baby girl!

We squeezed in some snake corralling, because why not?

Our friend Asher came to play.  We love this little guy...Sophie Lynn gets really excited when she gets to spend time with him.  And he makes me want to have a little boy some day.

{We love us some OU baseball on a sunny Sunday afternoon!}
Weekends are for playing, squeezing lots into the day, resting, indulging in tasty treats of ice cream, popsicles, pizza.  Weekends are my favorite.  
We trade alarms, schedules, and meetings for breakfasts soaked in syrup, cup after cup of coffee, playing with our jammied-bodied babies, and the fun that awaits.  Come Monday, although we are grateful for the week's adventures, we look forward to the weekend to come.
 Until next weekend.