My Journey to Joy

May 21, 2018


Filed under: Uncategorized — aunthoddy @ 9:15 PM

He slips away from us.  Sometimes so slowly we don’t notice, sometimes breathtakingly fast.  So much of his mind is gone now.  There are some many things he will never do again.  At first he was fearful, but now he often looks at us with a vacant gaze.  He’s lost interest in almost everything.

But not the children.  That spark of love is still strong in him.  His eyes light up, and a grin stretches across his face when he sees them- his precious great-grandchildren.  He can’t always remember their names now, but he substitutes terms of endearment instead: “Hey, Buddy!  Hi, there, Beautiful!”  Children have always been his delight, and that remains unchanged.  He is never happier than when he is with the children, and they can still get him to do almost anything!  We’re astonished to see the quiet little man (who now spends most of his time in bed) pushing a swing, taking a walk, and getting on a trampoline!  He kisses their pictures when he walks by; nothing brings him more joy than being “Papaw” to his “grands.”

Throughout my life, he has been there.  Always.  I can’t remember him not having time for me, ever.  I spent hours at Nana & Papaw’s house, chattering away and being royally spoiled.  He could never tell us no.  In high school I got my first “B,” and he was furious…at the teacher!  When I learned to drive, he had long since been retired.  But that didn’t stop him from getting up every morning to see me off to school.  He’d stand at the end of the driveway, rain or shine, all seasons.  I’d zip down the driveway, usually late, and roll down the window to hear him say he loved me and to wish me a good day.  I don’t know how long he stood there each morning for a few seconds to talk to me, but he didn’t have to say anything…he said “I love you” standing there every morning.

All through his life he loved to putter, fix, and “improve” things.  He would plan and tinker, using whatever was available.  He loved to be outside.  He loved to mow his grass.  He loved to sit on his porch for hours each day.  After we moved in across the street, he would sit and watch me mow my yard, waving as I went by.  He watched out for me, to make sure I was okay.    He’d walk over occasionally and point out a better way to do it.  (Always improving!)

Today I was mowing my grass, and I was sad when I saw an empty porch.  Another thing gone, one of a list too long to bear thinking of.  As I came back around, I automatically glanced again, and there he was.  I waved and blew him a kiss and my heart was full.  And I’m thankful for a little thing that lets me know he’s still there.

He’s confused about so much now.  He can no longer drive, or care for himself in so many ways.  He can’t always recall my name, but somehow, thank God, he still remembers the love.



Since I wrote this, less than a month ago, a stroke has taken away even more.  He is even quieter, with much of his language gone.  What he does say is so precious, little phrases that he’s repeated so many times they’re automatic-   “Hey, there, Sweetheart!” “I love you” & etc.  There is still a spark and sparkle in his eyes from time to time, especially when he sees the kids.

I’ve been thinking about legacy.  He isn’t an educated man; he left school early to help on his parents’ farm.  He has never been powerful or commanding, but was always a gentle, caring man.  He worked hard, but never became rich.  His legacy is simple, but I believe it’s the best anyone could hope for.  His legacy is love.


March 20, 2017

A Letter to My Godchild

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunthoddy @ 10:03 PM

Hello, Precious One.  We had hoped to meet you today, but God had other plans.  We wouldn’t take you from heaven, but we miss you until we can see you there.  Do you know how much you are loved?  Do you talk to your sibling there with you about us?  We remember you both and think of you often.

Your brother and sister down here will be dedicated to Jesus soon.  Your mom & dad are trusting them to God’s care, too.  (Your mom & dad are incredible.  You’re going to love spending forever with them.  Your momma may not let you go for a few hundred years…)

We don’t understand why you were gone so soon, but we are trusting God.  We promise we’ll see you someday.  All of our love…


April 26, 2014

Just Adopt

It seems that I tend to write most when I hurt most.  That’s when thoughts swirl in my head, demanding release.  And so I click away at the keyboard.

I’ve been talking about infertility this week, in a larger venue than I ever have before.  It’s been intimidating.  Scary.  I’ve felt vulnerable, and revisited old feelings and hurts.  It’s been worth it.  I’ve had messages, connections…and I hope and pray someone has been helped to know that they are not alone.

And now it’s the middle of the night.  My husband is snoring, and a thunderstorm is rumbling outside, washing away the flower seeds I planted a few hours ago.  And I’m going to “pull back the curtain” on our adoption journey…

This is our second, and let me immediately say it has been easier.  We started at such a different place emotionally; happy, not wrecked by years of disappointment.  We have our son, who is a near-constant delight and joy.  Easier.  Not easy.

We were sure that the homestudy process would go more quickly this time.  Our application for our first adoption was received February 15th, 2011.  We were approved August 26th, and received our first birthmother profile on August 31st!  (6 months for homestudy)  After that, we were shown more than 15 times.  For our second adoption, our application was received on August 19th, 2013.   By November, we had completed everything… and we were approved February 7th, 2014.  (6 months, again!)  We received our first birthmother profile 45 minutes later.  That was the start of being constantly shown/about to be shown/waiting to hear, that lasted April 2nd.  I don’t know how to describe how that feels; I would if I could.  Tense.  Alert.  Tense.  Of the five possibilities, three of the babies had already been born (a set of twins and a single birth), one birthmother was in labor, and two others were due in the very near future.  Sometimes our social worker asked for our answer by the next week…or the next day…or in one case, in the next two hours!

And we’ve been riding an emotional rollercoaster of epic proportions.  Imagine how it feels, waiting…  Knowing we could be parents tomorrow, today, right now… or not.  We’ve sat poised to buy plane tickets or embark on a road trip to go and get our baby.  We made lists for last minute purchases.  We checked our schedules, noting the arrangements we’d need to make if chosen.  We began to imagine our family with a precious new member.  (He/she will be here by Easter/Mother’s Day/Camp Meeting.)  And then, jarringly, abruptly, it’s over.  And it wasn’t our baby after all.  And we try to gather our hopes and dreams, repacking them until the next round.

Sometimes a placement seems so perfect, the fulfillment of dreams I’ve hardly admitted to having– then receiving the dreaded e-mail: “I’m sorry.  She chose another family.”  As decisions stretched out, sometimes for weeks, I began to check my mailbox again and again, just so it will be over.  And I carried my phone everywhere, so I wouldn’t miss “the call.”

And then, everything stopped.  Silence.  No new e-mails.  And there is relief, a respite.  But it’s so quiet.  And now I’m checking my e-mail again, hoping to see a profile, a chance, a hope.  This may go on for years.

And God is in control.  And we are powerless.  Time passes, life continues, and we wait.

And a friend sends a message that reads: “…we seem to have been chosen to walk parallel paths of uncertainty. While I lay no claim on understanding the pain of infertility, I can relate to waiting for the phone to ring, to checking email almost minutely for news….any news. We all know that Gods time is perfect, that His plan is best….but that doesn’t mean that questions don’t arise, that doubts don’t stay a little longer than they should. In the darkness, remember the verse that was brought to my mind tonight by someone also walking this path, several years ago Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  And tears fill my eyes as God once again takes something painful and makes something good.

I couldn’t tell you how many people told us we could “just adopt.”  Some of those same people have since walked this journey with us, and would now be the first to defend and educate.  There is no such thing as “just adopting.”  Not every family is meant to adopt.  Some are unable, for a myriad of very personal reasons.  (I won’t even begin a list; those are their stories to tell, if they wish.)  And for those who do, the process is more often than not grueling, requiring everything you’ve got, then more.

So here we are again.  God obviously has more to teach us through this process.  Our hearts are open, and broken.  And we wait.

January 12, 2013

Cathy Parker on Trust

Filed under: Notable Quotables,Uncategorized — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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We must give God the chance to earn our trust by obeying Him before we understand why.  ~Cathy Parker

November 21, 2012

Ann Voskamp on the Goodness of God

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunthoddy @ 10:04 PM

“We won’t stop confessing He is good and we won’t stop thanking Him for grace and we won’t stop holding out our hands — and taking His hand. We won’t stop believing that “God is good” is not some trite quip for the good days but a radical defiant cry for the terrible days.

That “God is good” is not a stale one-liner when all’s happy but a saving lifeline when all’s hard.

And we will keep giving thanks…”  Ann Voskamp

November 8, 2012


Filed under: Contemplations,Uncategorized — aunthoddy @ 7:25 AM
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Holidays can bring extra hurt when you’re “in the valley.”  Last Christmas was one of the lowest points of my life.  We had been going through infertility for several years at that point.  Our adoption journey had been filled with so many disappointments, as we were shown to birth mothers again and again, and not chosen.  I was sick from October through December, likely due in part to a suppressed immune system from stress.  (Studies have shown that stress levels for infertile women are the same as those diagnosed with cancer.)  In December, a number of dear friends were praying for a “Christmas Baby” for us, and a little girl was born December 13th.  I was sure she was ours…we found out December 22nd that she wasn’t.  Life went on as usual for most, with the customary celebrations.  We went through the motions, but it was so very hard.

I have a friend who is still in her dark place.  She’s been there so long.  It’s been so tough, so painful.  She commented recently how the Facebook statuses of “I am thankful for _________” were bothering her.  She’s struggling, and I understand, and don’t judge her for a minute.  It wasn’t appropriate to say anything, but I felt near bursting.  Right now the “thanks” of others are highlighting her situation.  But, oh, I wanted to grab her hands, look deep into her eyes and tell her: that’s the key!  The way out of the dark place.  Telling God “Thank you” again, and again, and again, when you don’t feel like it.  That’s how to leave that pit.*

The most important thing I learned through infertility was to trust God.  The second was finding joy in the midst of pain.  After years of misery, I became desperate for joy.  Happiness is a fleeting emotion.  I am enjoying it much more frequently now, but it was truly rare during those years.  But joy.  Joy is possible.  And gratitude is what opens the door.

*I know that sometimes medical intervention is necessary, and am thankful for the tools God has provided for our use.

November 1, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — aunthoddy @ 9:39 AM
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

First, watch this awesome video!

So, what is ONE thing you can do?  So glad you asked!  😉


Talk about orphan care and adoption!  Many people are so unfamiliar with how adoption has changed over the years.  (A family member asked if we were going to an orphanage to pick a baby.)  Worse, many people have only heard sensationalized horror stories, and been left with an unbalanced perspective.  (Statistically, most adopted children do as well or better in most areas when compared to their contemporaries.)  


I was blessed with a family who prayed for me.  Orphans don’t have that privilege.  Who will stand in the gap for them?  Who will lift up adoptive families facing uncommon challenges?  Who will pray for hearts and homes to be opened to the children who need them?  Will you?


Go to  Ask God if He wants you to share His love with these children who have known so much hurt.  Talk to families involved in foster care.  Pray that God will reveal His hope and plan for these precious kids through His people.


We could never have brought our precious boy home on our own.  God worked through His people to make our adoption possible.  Friends and family gave so much.  Perfect strangers gave when they heard our story.  People we’ll never meet gave through organizations like and  I can never express my gratitude…


Adoption can be long and hard.  Stick close to those in the process, and let them know that you support them.  Help with fundraising, write cards, tell them you’re praying, give hugs, call to listen… 


Support a child through  Do your Christmas shopping at!  Stuff a shoe box with goodies for Samaritan’s Purse.


Read articles  Ask questions.  Buy a copy of or borrow mine!  🙂


Adoption is such an amazing picture of how God works His plan for redemption!  Think about it, pray about it, imagine your family in a different way.  Ask God what His picture of your family looks like!

October 31, 2012

A Loving and Sovereign God Who Lets Me Hurt

Filed under: Shared Findings,Uncategorized — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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This is a wonderful article written by the MS social worker who helped with our family’s adoption.

October 30, 2012

Songs for the Journey- Seekers of Your Heart

Filed under: Songs for the Journey,Uncategorized — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM

October 27, 2012

Vanessa on Empathy

Filed under: Notable Quotables,Uncategorized — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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Experiencing deep and wrenching pain qualifies you in a way that no book or course or degree could ever hope to do because the memory of your pain and the way you may have beat at the walls with your fists at night with tears burning the makeup off your cheeks and demanding that God tell you what the meaning of this cruel and horrible circumstance in your life was, gives you a unique insight and compassion that enables you to take hold of someone who is falling apart beside you and say ‘I’ve been there’  ~Vanessa

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