Monday, June 28, 2010

Birthday Kisses

Sweet Tyrus,
Mommy is tired. The guests are gone, the cake demolished, your presents put away.  Such a special party for my special boy.  I can believe you're a year old. I've spent the months soaking in all your moments. Your light up the room smiles and adorably cute nose scrunches did not pass me by.  Mommy paid special attention to every ducky detail to make our day memorable. I know it's supposed to be your day, but our hearts are so connected I think I enjoyed it as much as you. 

You are so loved, so thought of.  We had guests from Texas, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Tennessee all in to pay tribute to your miraculous life. Such fan-fare my babyheart!

When I look back on our year, together, I am astounded. One of my favorite Chris Tomlin lines sings, "He will wipe away your tears and return your wasted years...This is our God."  You have given our family new life, Tyrus. I remember the wastelands we walked, but there is no longer a pull in my spirit nor ache in my heart.  You have been a healing balm.

I must confess, you've taken over our lives. Our days and schedules are organized by you, our love consumed with thoughts of you.  You make my face beam, my heart shine. I feel like a love-sick puppy. 

Your person makes me laugh. You are equal parts fire and love. I'm not sure how the two go together. Your temper is hot, your screams of disgust often, yet your heart's softness contagious.  I love your sweet "Muma" sounds and spontaneous, unsolicited kisses. I love how you take time out of your play to kiss my knee or elbow or cheek. The tender in your heart is most vivid when I'm sitting on the couch and you pull my knees apart just so you can get closer. Such gestures remind me of God's love. His love for me, his love for you.

I know you'll never remember this day, but I hope the moments captured in word and picture will be a just representation of the difference your life has made.

Love you, baby.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Me & My Dad

Ty thought matching Detroit Tigers caps would be the most appropriate gift, today, for his daddy. 

Turns out he was right.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy Birthday from Daddy

[Guest Post from Ben]

To my Little Buddy,

“Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them”   – William Shakespeare

Ty, a few weeks after you were born your Mom asked me to write down my thoughts so you could always know how I felt at the beginning. I had trouble at that time putting into words all that I was feeling and experiencing. To try and explain the day I first met you and first kissed you was an impossible task. It still is. From the moment I first held you, I knew it was love, but just saying the word love doesn’t seem to measure up to the overwhelming bursting in my chest that started that day you were born and which continues to grow each day - so much so that most days I can’t even handle it. I think about you and I know I’d give my life for you. I think about keeping you safe and I know I’d suffer unimaginable pain if it meant you could walk through life unscathed. I know that feeling, rather the aching necessity to keep you from harm, is irrational, but it’s how I feel. I now know exactly why parents never stop worrying about their children even into old age. It’s not a choice. It’s an ingrained passion you first feel the instant you hold your little one, and it never goes away. This passion for you Ty is made greater every day by who you are, and that’s the best part, Son. Who you are. Who you are every day. Who you are becoming, and the man you will one day become. One year seems like a short time to draw conclusions from such a young life, but I can absolutely say, Ty, that you are greatness. Here’s to the greatest year a father could have ever asked for, and here’s to my Little Guy.

While we were spending our first three weeks together, in June, in a mountainside cabin, with no air conditioning, you were a sweaty mess. You were grumpy and irritable and had minimal sleep. Or was that all me? I think it was both of us. Right there I knew we were going to be buddies.

You jump up and down and squeal when your Mama walks in the door. I feel that way about her too.

You love to eat, and you love to throw things. We’re gonna spend a lot of time together.

From the start you’ve been a lover. Rocking you to sleep in the nursery as you drift off to sleep with faint giggles and smiles is something I’ll never know what I did to deserve.

You are free with the kisses. We’ll revisit this one in about twelve or thirteen years.

You have the best hair. And eyes. And perfect lips. And cheeks. Seriously, you should see yourself. How I haven’t eaten you yet is beyond me.

We have matching Tigers beanies. It’s awesome.

We’re gonna go fishing with Grandpa soon.

Your Nana is absolutely amazing with you, and you love her.

You know how people always joke about baby boys peeing all over the place every time you change their diaper? Well you’ve never really done that. It’s been nice. Except for one time that was a complete sneak attack in the bathroom at a McDonalds, at the tail end of driving all day somewhere in rural Indiana. You soaked you. You soaked me. I think you soaked Ronald himself. I don’t think we’re welcome back. I was so tired. I don’t even remember what we did. Timing is everything buddy. Good one.

You’re a peanut. On the plus side, you have a nice sized head. That’s great for brains. The world needs doctors Ty. And point guards. Not everyone can be a giant. I think you’re perfect sized. Don’t get down just because other boys your age are shaving already.

I want a kiss. No really, I’m pausing to go give you a kiss……. Ok I’m back. Mom is jealous. We have a funny game at night before we go to bed. Each one of us tries to sneak in and give you kisses before the other one realizes it. You are so sweet.

You are really good in the bike trailer. We got caught in a monsoon the other day and you were a champ. Smiling and being all cute. No surprise there.

You drove cross country before you were a month old. You were lugged up the sides of waterfalls and rock formations before you were two weeks old. You flew back across country before you were a year old. You’re an adventurer. You didn’t really have a choice on this one. See quote at the top.

You were the sweetest boy and loved on your birth family the first time we revisited them when you were ten months old. I was so proud of you. This is another situation you didn’t choose. See quote at the top.

You’ve loved your Mama and me every day for the last year. This wasn’t your choice either. See quote at the top.

You see Ty, that’s the thing about greatness. I’m not here to say that you are great because you are the cutest baby that photographs have ever recorded. That’s a fact, but it’s not greatness. I’m not here to say you are great because of any of the normal reasons that parents brag about their children. All of those things certainly apply, but you, Son, were born into a unique situation and have been exceptional in it. Someday you’ll fully understand the circumstances that have brought us all together, but for now, just know that in the fallen world we live in, situations arise, but God’s redemption is always near. What the enemy meant for evil, our God uses for good. And you are more than good, Son. When other boys your age start to worry about girls and sports, you will have all of that, but will also have the added complication of continually learning and understanding more and more about your adoption. You didn’t choose this exceptional journey. You didn’t choose these challenges. Somehow, I think God knew you would excel, though. I know he didn’t create this situation, but I am certain that he was there working miracles to restore the lives involved and bring redemption to an otherwise impossible situation, on all accounts. You, Son, have brought healing to many. In your one short year you have delivered grace and love to those in need. By being you, Tyrus Lee Pinchback.

My amazing little lover buddy.

Sweet Baby Ty, Good times never seemed so good…..

- Dad

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New Year - New Blog

It's officially birthday week!!! We like to celebrate birthdays all week, around here, and sweet Tryus will be no exception. He might even get two weeks for being so cute...scratch that, we are celebrating for two weeks because his party isn't until the end of the month!

Can you guess the theme???

Because there were so many little people in my life turning one, this summer, I did some research to find the perfect homemade gift. God has planted a major SIMPLIFY seed in my heart, hence the birthing of our year's (and longer) motto: Live Simple, Buy Less, Give More. I've gone from enjoying simplicity to hating excess. When I see the work Compassion International is doing and I read about poverty stricken nations; a violent, abuse-strewn, American city; and watch some of our closest/longest friends stare at the remains of their fire ravaged, used-to-be house (yesterday), I know God has given to us so that we can give out.

How can we be an abundant, ever-flowing, outpouring blessing if we're racked with the I-need-more bug and endless debt????

We've always been very disciplined stewards of our money, but God's taken me to new heights this year...and I'm getting crazy thrifty...

All that to say, a new blog has birthed. Thrifty Heart. It's where I'll be writing out all the changes we're making, things I'm crafting, and money we're saving. I wrestled with a name for awhile because although I will be making many homemade things, I didn't want it to be a crafting blog...I want it to be a here's-how-our-life-is-changing-and-we're-able-to-give-more-and-live-on-less blog. When I looked up the definition for thrifty, I was sold. Thriving, prospering, growing. Perfect.

So...I hope you'll follow me as I try to weed through the jungles of "too much" in my life and learn to simplify. This place, of course, is staying and will continue to be the pounding out of my heart cries.

It sure took me a long time to finish my initial point. I came across the genius of bunting banners on my quest to make something special for all the birthday boys. Such a wonderful, classic way of inserting happy into any day! My hope is that each recipient will look forward to getting his special banner out, year-after-year, for his big week.

I just finished Ty's, this week, and it hangs proudly, through the entryway. It's the perfect amount of zig-zagged festive and makes me smile, when walking through. (The banner is several feet long and spells out "Happy Birthday Tyrus").

This tutorial, and so much more, will be coming soon over at Thrifty Heart. I seriously love this banner so much, I just told Ben I'm making more to hang for our birthdays (smile). Nothing says happy day like a crafted-with-love (only about $8 to make) banner. Love it!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Words from Rebekah

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Lesson in Love

I thought about it all day. Fine China. Candlelight. Racy red getup. Thoughtful gifts.

Last night was our 8th year wed and the year past meant more than most. Our night, however, was strangely interrupted with a call. A call from an expectant mom. An expectant mom looking toward adoption.

After much conversation, I had a choice. Me or her. My feelings or hers. Picking one to prefer was not natural or easy. I'm being honest.

Folded in the weaves of complication I found myself asking heartfelt questions. Have you truly thought this through? Do you know this will be one of the most difficult things you ever have to live with?

Our conversation ended with me promising further contact and a return call with phone numbers to help point her in the right direction. The crux was defining right. After a night of mind battling, I was able to honestly admit that her right and my right were not the same.

My right meant making me a mother of two - quickly, easily, less expensively. Her right meant choices - options with support and friendship and health. Consequently, her right takes away from mine. And mine hers. I hate that it was even a struggle. It's bothersome that, for a night, I put my needs above hers and was only thinking about me.

When you meet at the threshing floor, God exposes all sorts of kinks in your heart, but the beauty is in the grinding. The smashing of love and correction and grace.

I'm not so arrogant to believe that every available baby for adoption is meant for us. Part of our push to foster care is knowing the number of families lined up behind us to adopt, domestically.

Part of this young woman's right was connecting her with an agency. And for the adoption boo-hoo-ers, I connected her with both crisis pregnancy center and adoption hotlines. To be quite frank, her predicament has handcuffed her options. I'm not sure that parenting her baby is even a choice. Her situation is desperate. She has immediate needs and requires resources.

After taking some steps back it became clear that God has given me much opportunity to be his voice - not mine. I don't know what will come of this young girl and her precious baby, but I know that God has brought them into my life for a purpose. I am so thankful for the platform he's given me to love and his continued efforts of beating the self out of my heart.

A year ago, I would have looked at this woman with ravenous, envious eyes. Hoping/praying/begging for her to give me her treasure. Today, I see a hurting soul that needs a friend. A friend that is neutral, non-intrusive.

Such an Aha! moment to see the shades of change that I've come through. For that, I'm eternally grateful.

This is the mother I want to be for Ty.

Monday, June 7, 2010

New Book Release

You know me. Well sort of.

I hope that you know I live my life wide-open, always looking for ways to expand my heart and knowledge.

Meet Kevin Hendricks.

He lives his life the same way.

He just wrote an out-of-box version of his son's adoption story. And I mean out-of-box. It's a collection of tweets that had me laughing, wondering, and inspiring on how God could use me. It's so much more than an international adoption story. It's a call to global awakening.

The exchange of whimsy between him and his young daughter are lightening to the heart, but an underlying challenge exists.

Kevin writes: "In an ideal world adoption wouldn’t be necessary. To anyone feeling like they can’t adopt, there are so many things you can do to ensure that children don’t need to be adopted."

Like mine, I hope your heart cried, YES.

Check it out. The book is:

Addition by Adoption: Kids, Causes & 140 Characters

It's $9.99 on Amazon and $2.00 from every book goes to Charity: Water to build a clean water well in Ethiopia. A lack of clean water is the #1 cause of infant mortality in Ethiopia, killing 300,000 kids every year.

You can check out Kevin's website, HERE, for more information.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


And the winner is.....

Jenn from The Three Amigos!!!! Happy shopping Jenn!

Hope everyone enjoyed the sunshine, this weekend. Ty and I had great pool fun!

From his brand new teeth to his water logged toes, I couldn't get enough of this boy!!

Friday, June 4, 2010


We are in full birthday celebration mode!!! Sweet Tyrus turned our world right side up, nearly one year ago (official day: June 16th). Living simply, without excess, is important to us and a trait we want instilled in our little man. We want Ty to look forward to more than just gift-getting on his big day. We want his birthday to be a life celebration - full of memory and family and friends. I have been a busy bee making very special homemade-somethings for his birthday that represent the essence of what I mean. It has been so much fun thinking about traditions I want to start, this year, that will lead his whole life through.

All of that to say, as Ty learns the beauty of giving vs. getting, we'll be doing a weekend giveaway to celebrate him, but bless you!!!

CSN stores, once again, are generously sponsoring this event. Because Ty's gift choice, for you, might be slightly different than your idea of perfection (he is completely satisfied with cardboard boxes and velcro straps, these days), the winner of this giveaway will be receiving a $40.00 gift certificate, good at any CSN website. Remember the cutie Skip Hop diaper bag from March's giveaway? That was a CSN store product. I would say that you can pretty much buy anything, but the bathroom sink, from their sites...but you actually can buy a bathroom sink. They have a whole site dedicated to
bathroom vanities! It is completely your choice on where and how you spend your gift certificate. For a full list of CSN stores you can go here.

If it were my choice I would probably by this fantastic wooden toaster for Ty...

or this amazing wallpaper for our guest bathroom...

or these adorable boots....for me!!

The options are limitless!

To enter this giveaway simply leave a comment below (make sure you include your email if you don't have a profile account with it listed). If you are a Heart Cries follower or become a follower you get a second entry. Make sure you comment twice for an additional entry. This giveaway will run until 12pm, Sunday. The winner will be announced soon after.

Happy shopping and Happy Birthday baby boy!!!