My Journey to Joy

December 15, 2012

Thornton Wilder on Gratitude

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  ~Thornton Wilder

October 11, 2012


Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 8:51 AM
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Just sitting on the family room floor, still in pajamas, reading a book to my precious boy.  We smile, point at the pictures.  A cute puppy, a bunny, fall leaves.  Then the last line makes me come undone: “We both have so much to be thankful for.”  *

I kiss a dark, curly head of freshly-washed hair, and I can’t stop crying.  He’s still looking at pictures, and doesn’t know that Mommy is behind him, now praying: “Thank you, thank you, thank you, God.” 

So much to be thankful for…



*Biscuit Is Thankful, by Alyssa Satin Capucilli; pictures by Pat Schories


August 30, 2012

Walking Toward a Miracle…Finalization

Filed under: Contemplations,Uncategorized — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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It was 71 days between when we got Nathan and when we legally became his parents.  During that time we were considered his guardians; something like foster parents, but with more flexibility.  We were required to ask permission when taking him out-of-state, and to inform our social worker of any significant medical decisions.  His name had not been legally changed, but he was referred to as: “the child known as Nathan Wayne.”  All that aside, he was our son long before a judge signed a paper!

July 20th we had an appointment with Judge Primeaux at 9:15am.  We got up around five, put Nathan in the car in his jammies, and headed back to Mississippi.  We were both sick with nerves, and arrived at the courthouse without the extra time we would have liked.  I quickly put my bewildered boy in a clean diaper & cute outfit (while parked across the street from the courthouse), styled his hair, and headed to meet the judge.  Our lawyer whipped into a parking spot and finished dressing as well, pulling on a coat and tie.  Our social worker joined us, and we all went in together. 

We had to ask to bring our camera, and have our belongings searched by security.  (To his credit, the young officer didn’t empty my carefully packed diaper bag; then we really would have been late!)  We went upstairs, and our attorney consulted with the judge.  Then we waited…

Twenty minutes of sitting in the courtroom, making small talk, waiting for 9:15 to come and go.  Finally, Judge Primeaux called us into his chambers.  We vowed to be truthful, and sat down across from the judge.  Our lawyer asked us a list of questions for the judge’s benefit.  The judge confirmed that we knew that adoption was forever.  (I had to smile.  Oh, yes, forever!  We know!  He’s really ours!)  We promised to take care of Nathan for the rest of our lives…and that was that.

A few photos with the judge, handshakes and hugs for our attorney and social worker, and we were done.  It went by unbelievably fast.  Such a huge weight lifted!  The anxiety gone.  He’s ours.  Really, finally, ours.  Thank you, God!

August 23, 2012

Walking Toward a Miracle…Gotcha’ Day!

Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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Thursday night was spent getting everything ready.  We tried to get some sleep, but that wasn’t really happening.  Friday morning, we left half an hour early, and headed to Mississippi.  It was a good thing we left early, since we made lots of stops on the way down!  Our nerves were so jangled; I felt like I’d had several pots of coffee.

Neither of us are good with directions, but Meridian is small, and we found the Lifeline offices quickly.  I started to cry when I saw the brick building, but quickly got control of myself.  We were precisely on time.  We gathered everything from the car, and walked up to the glass doors.  A social worker stuck her head out and said to wait just a moment.  I was so antsy at this point, it seemed like forever!  Then she motioned us into the building.

We walked in, and there he was.  Lying in a wooden cradle was the most beautiful baby boy.  Our boy.  Our Nathan.  I stepped up to the crib, and dropped my purse and the diaper bag on the ground.  (Good thing I didn’t have the camera!)  Through tears and a few sobs, I reached down to pick him up for the first time.  I kissed him, again and again, and whispered to him how much I loved him.  After a minute, I realized that his daddy might want to see him too, so I turned around, but wasn’t willing to let go yet.  I now believe in love at first sight!

Nathan had a blanket that a local ladies’ group had crocheted for him.  His foster mom had sent a sweet card for me, and the social workers gave me my first Mothers’ Day card!

After much sniffling (on everyone’s part!), we sat down to do paperwork.  Since this office has such a limited staff, there was no one to keep him while we signed things.  (Typically a baby is given to the parents after everything is completed.)  I struggled to hold him while scribbling my John Hancock on what seemed like reams of papers.  Thankfully we’d already read it all, so it was just a formality.

About thirty minutes after arriving, we walked out of the office.  We’d come in as a couple, but left a family.  Praise the Lord!

March 24, 2012

Cathy Parker on Knowing God Through Pain

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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God sometimes strips away what’s important to us, not to hurt us, but that we may really know God as He is, that we may see His love and His desire to do us good. “Good” may not always feel good to us at the time, but we will thank God over and over that we have the privilege of really knowing Him.

November 24, 2011


Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about thankfulness.  Not just thankfulness for the material.  “Thank you for food, and trees, and my car…”  Not just thankfulness for people: “And my husband, and my parents…”  Not just for spiritual things:  “And salvation, and heaven…”  I’m thankful for all of those things, very, very much!  Please don’t misunderstand me.  But I’ve been writing my way to 1,000 Gifts, and it’s been taking me to new levels of awareness and thankfulness.  There is so much to be thankful for!  And so much I didn’t or still don’t notice…but I’m learning a new way to live, to be.  Grateful. 

Today I’m in the mid-600’s.  I wouldn’t want to share my entire list with you.  Some of it intensely personal.  Some of it is silly.  But all of it is changing me.  Shifting my perspective.  I’ve started to see God’s hand in unexpected places.  I’ve started looking for the good in negative situations.  And I’ve started seeing beyond what’s directly in front of me.  (Key word: “started”; so much more growth still to do!)

I try not to write the exact same thing more than once, but chocolate may have been in there a few times- just sayin’!  I do occasionally read through some of my list so far.  It shows an interesting chronicle of my life.  Seasons of thankfulness for snow, then green sprouts, then sunshine, then fall leaves…  Seasons of thankfulness for hope, then God’s help in disappointment.  Want a peek?

#2 The safe arrival of Madelyn Rose!

#6 Ideas, inspirations, and jumbled thoughts

#9 Bible study with good friends

#13 A new pastor and wife!

#26 Fun, pretty shoes

#30 A full moon rising

#37 The healing that comes with forgiveness

#40 Sundays

#48 You knowing what’s best for me, even when I don’t understand

#54 The hope that God may sing through my emptiness

#57 God holding onto me when I can’t hold onto Him

#66 Bro. Bragg’s generosity

#81 A husband who can fix our cars

#94 Seasons

#104 Clean, folded laundry

#115 Hot apple cider

#131 Heaven holds no sadness or pain (Rev. 21:4)

#141 Joy in sorrow

#147 Friends who share my burdens

#150 Christmas lights

#163 Snow!

#172 Precious children: Dailey, Jerrel, Patrick & Madelyn Rose

#188 A prompt response from Lifeline

#197 Friends who pray for me

#201 Spring flowers

#231 Forward progress on the adoption

#237 Sweet nephew cuddles

#254 Trust in God and growing faith

#274 Knowing that He knows

#286 Candles, glowsticks and hotdogs

#289 My small group

#298 Hope

#306 Peace that God will handle things

#309 Being “the best back tickler in the world”!

#310 Hint of fall in the air

#312 The faithful wounds of a friend

#323 Profile being shown

#338 “I’m too tired-I’d better go home with you!”  Melt!

#340 Waiting, knowing God knows the outcome

#348 Endless gifts from Your Word

#355 More than I need

#365 Certainty in God

#368 Hymns that still speak

#372 Peace in the middle of uncertainty

#382 Encouraging comments on blog posts (I had to include this one!  😉

#388 Hope for a baby

#394 God’s healing touch on my heart

#406 Job interview

#414 Progress on grants

#427 Friends helping raise $ for adoption

#447 Truth when I don’t feel it

#454 Another new job!

#467 Safe travels

#477 A new niece or nephew

#481 Surrender…again

#506 New level of peace about the adoption

#507 Gift of waiting

#523 God showing me where I need to change

#530 Knowing God holds my baby, wherever he/she is

#539 A Father who heals the broken pieces

#546 Coffee

#553 All things possible with You

#568 Knowing beyond feelings

#577 The awakening that comes with anguish

#584 Daniel off work

#590 Encouraging testimonies

#622 Supper at Michelle’s

#636 Pies & cakes baked & loaded (32!)

#637 Thanksgiving celebrations

What can I say to encourage you to start your own list?  Grab a notebook, set up a file on your computer, download the app, set up a chalkboard- something!  I’m so behind on my thanks, I’ll never catch up…but I intend to have fun trying! 

November 22, 2011

Songs for the Journey- Beautiful Heartbreak

Filed under: Songs for the Journey — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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November 15, 2011


Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 5:43 PM
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 Rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep.  Romans 12:15

Tonight I am crying with a dear friend who has had an unthinkable disappointment.  I am so sorry for their pain, and so frustrated at the workings of our government’s children system.  And then I read:

Always be glad because of the Lord!  I will say it again: Be glad.  Philippians 4:4

Happy about this situation?  No way!  Still hoping for a different outcome?  You bet!  And praying for that to come soon…  But our God, He hasn’t changed.  (My friend believes this too, and I pray it will be a rich comfort.)

“…all things that are true of God  are true of Him no matter what is going on inside of us or in our lives.”  ~Stormie OMartian

Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything.  With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.  Philippians 4:6

“We [often] neglect to thank God in the midst of whatever is happening (or not happening) to us…”  ~Stormie OMartian

He’s holding me.  He’s holding them.  He’s holding all of us.  And He hears us.  And, oh, I am thankful that He hears us.

Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand.  And this peace will control the way you think and feel.  Philippians 4:7

This is what I’m praying for my friend tonight.  God’s peace.  When it doesn’t make sense to feel peaceful.

“When we are fearful, apprehensive, worried, or terrified, the peace of God can restore us to calm, assured confidence.”  ~Stormie OMartian

I can’t take away my friend’s pain.  I can’t give them a sure answer of when or how things will be resolved for their family.  I can bring them before my “God, who gives peace, [and] will be with [them].”  Philippians 4:9b

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.  Matthew 5:4 

Looking forward to their time of rejoicing and ours…

Songs for the Journey

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

November 9, 2011

Thankful Chair

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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