Fake fingernails, suffering and selfishness….

Sunday, September 3, 2017 Posted by KK

I am under the weather a bit and decided yesterday was a good day to remove my acrylic nails so I feel like typing now that I can with ease. I only got the nails put on because I decided it was time for me to be a big girl and stop biting my nails (it only took me 40 years) but in order to start their growth I needed a shield of protection on them because I have anxiety and little control over the desire to chew them. It has been a lifelong battle.

We didn’t go to church today but I had a brief but meaningful text conversation this morning with my brother, Brent, (not blood, my ex-brother-in-law and the closest thing I have to a true brother) about suffering. I got more out of that than I may have gotten out of church today. My brother was a preacher for decades before his life was turned upside down by my cruel sister and he found himself suffering alone without his wife of almost 20 years wife and without his four children. It is a very sad story.

But it’s also such a common pattern I have seen over the years and continue to see and hear about nearly every day.

A few years ago a very good friend of ours’ wife abruptly left him for another woman after 16 years of marriage. This guy didn’t do anything wrong. Why was he being punished? He is now happily remarried to a beautiful, God-fearing young lady and they’re expecting their first child any day. The sun came back out from behind the clouds for him which is what we prayed and hoped for but at the time couldn’t see. But why did he go through so much pain to get to where he is today? I grieve for him the decades he lost and the pain he went through like I grieve for my brother and so many others.

Our high school had their annual spiritual retreat last weekend and I prayed and wept with several girls who are suffering through hard things and it breaks my heart not only because they are suffering but that they really have no idea what kind of suffering their lives will bring just like I had no idea when I was their age. I want to hug the daylights out of them and tell them everything will be ok like this is the worst thing that may ever happen to them knowing it’s not. People lose their jobs, people get divorced, people get cancer, people die. There’s nothing anyone can do to prevent these these things from happening. Maybe it is how we choose to react to these things when they happen that grows our faith? Dang it, I am finally growing up. Didn’t see this coming.

I think as a child I was hyper-sensitive to others’ suffering. My heart was broken for the lonely and less fortunate at a very early age. I cried if I saw a kid eating by themselves at lunch. I remember begging my parents to adopt a child. I decided I would when I grew up. Jason and I only “dated” a month or so before we decided to get married and this came up sometime during that time which was me saying, “So this is something I am doing. Cool?” He agreed. He was very agreeable back then when we had our rose-colored glasses on. A month later we got married. A few years later we had Wheat, then Lake and after River popped out I was like, “So don’t forget about that whole adoption thing, yo!” and you could hear the record scratch looking at the glare he gave me. Bless it.

Despite dreaming of going to Africa and adopting that medically fragile, naked, hungry, skin-and-bones little boy with the swollen belly crying dry tears laying in the dirt covered in flies that I saw in a National Geographic magazine in 5th grade we reluctantly began with foster care. I say reluctantly because I was more or less twisting Jason’s arm at this point and taking what I could get.

After nine years of fostering and advocating for children, taking in 26 foster children and adopting three that were not reunified with their birth parents we closed our home about this time last year.

Jaden, aka “JJ”, came to us a 15-month-old, malnourished, undernourished, brown-skinned little boy very skinny with a big swollen belly who cried more than any kid I have ever seen over every little thing except when I was holding him. Coincidence? Ha! After an extremely long and rocky two years, four months, one week and two days he finally became a Bailey and was appropriately named “Justice” for we thought that his adoption signified the end of his (and our) suffering. There was a whole lot of suffering during that time, on our part and his. But we had no idea what suffering even looked like, really. During that time we were also gifted with premature, medically fragile twins that were nearly free and clear for adoption the day we were signing the foster care contracts (who became Baileys within 8 months) that I believe was God’s little peace offering during our suffering. We were so naive.

It has been exactly five years since his adoption and almost every single day I am angry. Not quite the reaction I expected. This is what I always wanted, right? Most days I am so angry I can’t even think about anything else much less others who are suffering far worse than we are. I am angry at his birth mother who chose to drink alcohol and do drugs while she was pregnant. I am angry that she lied when he was born and angry at the hospital who sent him home with an addict who then neglected him even more and failed to meet his basic needs causing a lifelong lack of trust and security. I am angry at a broken system who failed to protect him causing his permanency to be delayed so long prolonging his healing. I am angry that I fought that system so hard for a child that has completely wrecked my perfect little dream who causes us daily frustration, sadness and anger. I am angry that our biological kids who have already sacrificed more than most kids their age have to live this life with a special needs sibling whose special needs aren’t outwardly visible when all their friends live lives that appear far more glorious and “normal”. I am angry he causes them so much frustration because of his choices that they know what it feels like to hate something at such a young age when I have tried so hard to teach them to love unconditionally. I am angry that my house is in constant chaos over the disruption he causes. I’m angry our kids don’t want to bring their friends and girlfriends home because they’re embarrassed. I’m angry that we set out to do something good and I feel like we are being punished every day because of it.

I could go on and on and on.

But the reality of that entire rant is a result of my selfishness. I want to truly live on the inside that fun, outgoing, happy life that my quirky personality and funny antics lead everyone looking in from the outside believes I live. I want the nice house that all my kids’ friends have so they won’t be embarrassed to bring their friends and girlfriends home. I want to go on relaxing vacations like everyone else gets to do and not worry about all my littles having behavioral issues and/or sensory meltdowns and spending money that we may or may not have to use toward therapies, evaluations, neurofeedback sessions, old car repairs, home repairs, etc.

But I am slowly learning. Through walking through others’ suffering with them and enduring my own suffering I am learning more and more each day that this life truly isn’t meant to be easy and relaxing. There’s no “frustration-free packaging” in the real world and if it appears that way somebody’s still got their fake nails on and underneath that acrylic are chewed up, ripped and weak nails that need a shield of protection for them to gain their strength. The only thing that is real is our relationships with those we love and the faith that inevitably grows when we are faced with suffering. My brother reminded me this morning that God develops Christ-like character in us through trials and suffering. (James 1:2-4) But that it also sucks. (His words…and I agree wholeheartedly) He also sent me this… “Anxiety (anger) does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” (Charles Spurgeon)

One day I will let go of my anger towards Justice’s birth mom. Right now it helps a little for me to be angry toward her than angry at him when it seems like he does everything in his power to make me angry some days and that isn’t his fault. We both have healing to do.

The sun (and the SON) are shining so I must go…..it’s been real, Harvey.

My girls…

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 Posted by KK

Posting about two of my favorite girls this morning…..my sweet and only daughter and one of my best friends.

This is my best friend, Heather.


Heather is one of the most amazing gals I’ve ever known. She is so loving and caring. She doesn’t judge. She loves everyone for exactly who they are. There just aren’t enough amazing adjectives in the dictionary to describe her. She and I met when her husband, Dan, began dating. Dan had been Jason’s best friend since they were kids so I knew I had to like this Chica and it was easy.

In late April she felt a lump in her stomach and after a trip to the ER, a CT scan followed by many tests she was told she had follicular lymphoma. After another week or so upon receiving more results from more tests they told her that she had not one but two types of lymphoma, also known as “double hit” lymphoma, meaning one was growing inside the other. Double hit lymphoma is rare and has only been known for about five years and only successfully treatable for two. You know what her response was? “Thank God I wasn’t diagnosed with this five years ago!” Love her. So much.

Heather has to undergo seven rounds of chemo every few weeks which puts her in the hospital for five days. After only two rounds of chemo she had a PET scan which showed her tumor had shrunk from 12 cm to 3 cm. Incredible, right?? She just completed round three like a boss. I can’t wait until she is fully HEALED!! She and her family live in Chattanooga and it sucks really bad that I can’t be there with her all the time to help. She has such incredible friends and family around her who are such a gift and I am so thankful for them all. I’d like to ask you to pray with me for her, her family, and all her friends who are tirelessly cooking meals, running errands, taking her healthy food to the hospital, running her kiddos around to various practices, etc., all while Dan works & helps take care of Heather at home and in the hospital. This girl, y’all….I’m tellin’ ya. She’s the real deal. Please pray with me!

My little angel, Blu Belle Meadow….


We’re smitten over this one and have been since the day we met her in the NICU at 5 weeks old. She & Ev will be 2 1/2 in a couple weeks and they’re just the center of our world all the time with their funny little personalities and tantrums and everything. Our baby girl is having eye surgery in a few weeks to fix the muscles which are making her eyes turn in. We’ve known for some time that surgery was in her future but I didn’t really think it would be so soon. She began crossing her eyes when she was about 11 months old and by her first birthday she had glasses. She is extremely far sighted and will wear glasses and/or contacts the rest of her life. In addition, the muscles in her eyes are not doing what they should be. We’ve been seeing the opthamologist every two months for the last year and a half and this past Friday she told us it is time for surgery. This will be the first time our little girl has been sedated and while the surgery itself is extremely common with some typical risks I am always very freaked out when one of my adopted babes has to be sedated because we know little to no medical history on any of them despite them all being domestic adoptions. In her medical history she still has and will always have “history of epilepsy” listed because of how her body decided to withdraw from the drugs in her system that she was born addicted to despite being cleared by her neurologist more than a year ago. As a mother, I can’t help but worry. She is also going to be very uncomfortable with stitches in both eyes and I just don’t even care how much ice cream I am going to have to give her to make her not rub her eyes or cry all the time because of the pain. We love this little one to the bones, crossed eyes and all, and if it weren’t affecting her brain capacity and learning I would tell them I don’t want her eyes fixed. They’re perfect and they’re just a part of her unique little self. Our entire month of August will be full of pre-Op appointments & post-Op appointments. I know we’ll be fine but I’ve yet to really grasp all this because I’ve been so busy so I’m asking you to pray with me for our little girl that this surgery, one that her doctor says she routinely does several of every week, is smooth with as little complications if any and that this one takes the first time (another risk is that the surgery has to be repeated once or twice in a matter of months).

Thank you all & God Bless!

My girl.

Thursday, May 23, 2013 Posted by KK

And so it begins… she finds a marker, opens it and proceeds to draw on her face no doubt because she has seen her mama doing it. Lord, help us make her see how beautiful she is without the world’s ideals of beauty and that she is fearfully & wonderfully made & SO precious in His sight! Help her SEE!! If only someone, ANYone, had told her birth mother this when she was young things may have been SO different for her!! :(

And her new specs make her look like she’s five. S’body come check on my kids in a few minutes ’cause I am feelin’ light-headed.

Please pray!

Thursday, May 2, 2013 Posted by KK

There’s so much on my mind this morning and I have absolutely NO extra time to be sitting down writing this so excuse the typos…

The last few days have been very tough here. I have been hit with so much that has caused so much stress and anxiety and weakness and physical pain & sickness (I was literally running a fever last night for the first time in years). Jason and I are making some very big, life-altering choices that is causing me a great deal of stress. My children have become ill again (allergies, I’m sure) and I have also been ill. I received a devastating blow yesterday that sent me immediately to my knees in prayer and will have me there for many hours each day in the coming weeks. And all of this happened in the few days leading up to my departure. Yes, I am leaving my entire family for three days to attend an adoption & orphan care conference in Nashville. The enemy has hit hard and I firmly believe that he has tried his damnedest  to get me to cancel my trip. So WHY? WHAT is there for me? What does he NOT want me to see or hear?? It is of no surprise to me that this all has happened….especially since I have signed up for more than one breakout session on special needs adoption. Oh stupid satan….you will never learn.

So please….if you have one second during the day over the next few days PLEASE remember my family in your prayers. The enemy is on the attack! And Jason is home with six children all by himself for the next three days. Yes, he is my rock. And he will do fabulous. And my phone might be ringing with texts continuously when he can’t find clothes for the babies or how much medicine to administer, etc.

Please pray!!

Thank you!!

Hello. My name is Heen.

Monday, April 22, 2013 Posted by KK

I’ve been keeping a secret. I have only shared the below with a very few select friends who know me deeply. It’s really just weird more than embarrassing or humiliating or sad. It’s going to come out eventually (as it has already been spoken out loud in Target, Earthfare, etc.) so I would rather you all hear it from me firsthand. It is time to come clean. Maybe saying this out loud will change something. Maybe blogging about something this ridiculous will help another mother out there struggling with a similar problem.

‘Mommy, Mama, Mom, Ma, Mother, Mommy Dearest, Mimi’….all pretty normal references to hear from a child you’ve raised, er…, managed to keep alive, right? (ok maybe not Mommy Dearest…that’s creepy. I am calling DCS if your kid calls you that.) I’ve even known some kids to call their mothers by their first names. If this happens in your house we cannot be friends. Sorry. But no.

My kids have always called me ‘Mommy’ (from babies to toddlers) until they get to an age where it’s just not cool so they begin calling me ‘Mom’. Even all of the foster kids we’ve had come and go have called me ‘Mommy’ or ‘Mom’, some even from day one, because it just felt right to them and I let them.

Enter: Blu Belle & Everest

Their first word was ‘Daddy’ (around about 10-12 months old) it sounded more like ‘Dayey’ and still does. I was cool with it. I’m pretty sure all our boys said ‘daddy’ first as well. I didn’t really care. So once the twins began saying ‘Dayey’ every time Jason walked in the door from work or somewhere I began waiting to hear ‘Mommy’ or something similar. Sadly, I am still waiting. That’s right, folks. Our twins are 26 months old and have been calling Jason ‘Dayey’ for more than a year, more like a year and a half now, and I am still waiting. Up until just a few months ago we realized they didn’t call me anything at all and we talked about it, thought it was a little weird, but then realized I am with them all the time and never leave their side, like, ever, so why would they feel the need to call me anything? Jason has been quizzing them for months by asking “Where’s River?” and they both point to River. “Where’s JJ?” and they point to JJ. “Where’s Mommy?” and they point to me. Yes, that’s right…they KNOW I am Mommy but they just don’t call me that.

At Christmas I was perusing through baby dolls on Amazon and wanted to get Blu Belle a Baby Stella doll for her gift. I had it in the shopping cart and everything and then came across a “Sweet Sounds Baby Stella” and turned to my big kids and said with way too much enthusiasm “Guys! Look! This Baby Stella says ‘Mama’ when you squeeze her hand! If I get this Baby Stella doll for Blu Belle instead of that other one that’s dead inside and says nothing then she’ll start calling me ‘Mama’!!” I got it for her and guess what?? She calls her Sweet Sounds Baby Stella doll ‘Mama’ now. I die.

You’re gonna love this next part…

So just a few months ago they began calling me SOMEthing, which I saw as huge progress to much greater things, but it isn’t exactly great like ‘Mimi’ or ‘Mema’ or anything remotely similar to ‘Mom/Mommy/Mama’. What do my darlings call me?


That’s right. Heen. Pronounced like the word keen but with an H.

What the #$%, right? I have no idea…

At first we thought they were saying ‘hen’ and we thought ‘awe…that’s cute…like mama hen’. Nope. There was no mistaking it, folks. There IS no mistaking it, folks. I am Heen.

Scenario 1:

<insert any family member over the age of 2> says “Say cheese!”

<twin> says “Cheese!”

<???> then says “Say Lake!”

<twin> says “Yake!”

<???> says “Say Lissy!” (our cat)

<twin> says “Yissy!”

<???> says “Say Mommy!”

<twin> says “Heen!”

What the whaaat?

Scenario 2:

I walk into the twins’ room when they wake up in the morning or after naps and they alternately (and sometimes simultaneously) say “Hiiiii Heeeeen!”

Scenario 3:

When they’re being possessive of me, because they tend to be VERY possessive of me at times, and they see another child walking towards me looking like they’re about to want something they run to me as fast as they can and wrap their arms around my leg and proclaim “MY Heen!”

My big kids have all at some point said how cute they think it is that the babies have chosen such a unique name for me instead of calling me what every other child in this house calls me let alone every other child on the planet calls the woman in their life who has nurtured them into being to which I say “Thanks boys. That’s sweet. But you’re still not playing Minecraft so stop brown nosing or I will make you sleep outside.”

Can they physically say the word ‘mama’? Why yes. Yes they can. But they CHOOSE to call me Heen. Somebody please freakin’ explain this to me because I’m about to start perusing therapists. For me AND my precious babies.

#mamaneedsadrink …er…  #heenneedsadrink

Jesus IS Enough.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 Posted by KK

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Sticks and Stones…

Sunday, April 7, 2013 Posted by KK

Just a little Sunday afternoon adventurin’…

A barefooted church.

Friday, April 5, 2013 Posted by KK


As you approached the altar to take communion, what if your church leader tells you about how just down the road from your church there is a homeless community in dire need of shoes, GOOD shoes, because the only shoes they ever receive are worn out because they were someone else’s old, dirty castaways. What if he then prompts you to, as you take your communion, leave your shoes at the altar for this community.

Would you do so without hesitation? {I would hesitate}

Would you look down to see which shoes you were wearing first? {If you did not know what shoes you currently had on your feet without looking you may have bigger problems}

Would you wish you had known in advance that he was going to do this so you could have worn your $2 Old Navy flip flops or your work-in-the-yard boots to church {as. if.} instead of your pimped out Toms wedges or your most expensive loafers? {I really heart my Toms wedges even though I’ve not worn them once}

Would you fake a trip to the bathroom if you wore your favorite shoes? {I wouldn’t. That would be too obvious. I would fake a notification from the nursery instead.}

Would your decision to do so be based upon the outside temperature knowing you’d have to walk barefoot to your car after church or not be able to go eat out afterwards without having to first go home for another pair of shoes?

Would the church leader where you regularly attend church ever even have the guts to ask his church to make such a sacrifice?

“…and I heard Jesus whisper: This is how I want My church to look. I want her to rip the shoes off her feet for the least every single chance she gets. I want an altar full of socks and shoes right next to the communion table. I want to see solidarity with the poor. I want true community rallied around My gospel. I want a barefooted church.” {excerpt taken from Jen Hatmaker’s book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess}

A barefooted church. Divine. …said the girl who thought she was sacrificing by only alternating between two pair shoes for 30 days which happen to be Birkenstocks and Vibrams. Lord forgive me.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013 Posted by KK

If you don’t follow Jen Hatmaker’s blog or Facebook page or Instagram then, well, get your act together. You’re missing out. She and I should be friends, not because I think I am cool enough to be her friend, but just because I wanna be. She’s real. She’s funny. Just do it, ya hear?

My bestie recently began reading Jen’s book “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess”. She told me and another friend of ours she was reading it, loving it, and invited us to join her and then go to hear Jen speak at an upcoming event in Knoxville. We agreed and have all been reading and chatting about it. To say I am having fun is an understatement. The book is. just. incredible.

So if you haven’t read it, well, Google it because I am too tired to tell you about it. If you retained anything from grade school about context clues you can probably read the title and get an idea. Here’s a condensed description from her web site:

7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence. In the spirit of a fast, they pursued a deeply reduced life in order to find a greatly increased God.

The seven areas of excess that Jen explores are food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste and stress. She spent a month exploring each topic where she only ate seven foods and only wore seven articles of clothing, etc. I’ve only finished food and have just started clothing. Food was great, and hilarious, but I can’t say that I gained much from it except sore stomach muscles from laughing. If you know me then you know that I am insanely uptight about what my family eats and what food we buy and where we buy it and how I cook it. It’s just who I am. I’ve tried to change this occasionally and buy cheaper food and eat more processed/convenience foods but my kids hate me. I have spoiled them and my husband. It’s their fault our grocery bills are out the wahzoo. Not mine. However, that section did encourage me to begin making homemade bread again which I did for some time recently and just stopped for no reason. So perhaps I shall resume…

The clothes section is hitting me harder than I thought. Again, if you know me (warning: I may toss that phrase around a few times) then you know I mostly wear orphan t-shirts and jeans. Even my kids rag me about it. One day a while back I went out with River (7) and he wore an orphan t-shirt and jeans & I snapped a photo of him wearing my hippie tam. Lake said “River, you look like mom!” because he was wearing my hat with jeans & an orphan shirt.


So why is this section hitting me hard? Because I have so many clothes and especially because I have so much and wear the same thing all the time. In my defense I must say that I don’t buy anything full price and if I buy anything new at all then it is on big time clearance. (Big time clearance = $3 or sometimes less) I mostly buy second hand clothing because I love funky brands like Free People and, well, buying it at full price is just plain stupid. My favorite store is Planet Exchange in Knoxville and has been for years. I buy everything there. I have asked to sleep in their store room so I could be the first to see what might come in the next day. I love the idea of recycling clothing for the same reasons I recycle paper, plastic & glass. It just makes sense.

Another “in my defense” justification (I’m really good at justifying things) is that aside from when I was pregnant, breast feeding or the summer of 2004 when I swelled like a tick from taking back pain meds I have largely stayed the same size for many years only slightly fluctuating a few pounds more or less (please don’t send me hate mail) so I have been able to hang onto stuff just in case it “comes back” in style. It doesn’t. Ever.

So why keep it? Why have so much? Why have so many clothing articles hanging around or stuffed in drawers that rarely even see the light of day when so many people in this world have only the shirt on their backs if that? This, friends. Hard stuff.

On a whim I decided to play along with Jen during this section on clothes since yesterday was the start of a new month. I only decided to play along, however, late in the day after I jumped into my van that morning throwing on an outfit at the last minute to haul my sickly babes to the pediatrician. So, the orphan t-shirt (of course), skirt & leggings I wore to the doctor automatically became 3 of my 7 articles of clothing. I’m ok with it. I looked cute in a hippie-ish, ragamuffin kinda way. I added another orphan t-shirt, a thin, long sleeved sweater & a second pair of shoes (the “ugly” shoes I wore to the doc needed a quick, slip-on style counterpart to go with them & Jen allowed herself two pair of shoes for the month while only making ‘shoes’ themselves count as 1 of the 7 articles). Lastly, I threw in a pair of jeans. I could only choose between three pair of jeans in my closet because that’s all that currently fit me (no thanks to a new homemade banana pudding recipe I have made twice in the last week). The jeans I chose are the most comfortable jeans I own and if you hold them up to the light you can actually see through them in the crotch area. Like I said, I buy used jeans and those had been USED. REAL well. Ain’t no tellin’ what went on in them britches.

I should mention…underwear doesn’t count. It just doesn’t. That’s all I’mma say ‘bout that. Socks do not count either. And I purposely didn’t make one of my 7 things any type of sleeping attire so I guess I will be sleeping sans my typical fuzzy pants, fuzzy socks, thermal shirt and robe. My husband is going to be so flippin’ happy about this. I could sleep in my comfy jeans if this creates a problem.

So to recap…


  • Off-white, long-sleeved sweater
  • Green “Love Orphans” t-shirt
  • Red “Simply Love” t-shirt
  • Comfy Jeans
  • Hippie Skirt
  • Black leggings (I don’t shave October 15 – April 15)
  • Shoes: Birks & Ugly shoes (they have a name but it doesn’t fit the look)

So if you see me in the next month I will have on some assortment of the above. I may or may not smell fresh. Just being honest. I do laundry around the clock every. single. day. But I also have plenty of clothes and am not necessarily conditioned to make sure certain things get washed. We’ll see how it goes.

Meanwhile, I must challenge you to ask yourself what is excessive in your life right now? What are you willing to do about it? What if there is something so much greater planned for you that you cannot see because you are blinded by excess?

I’mma go lookin’…

At last…

Thursday, August 23, 2012 Posted by KK

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