Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Langham Christmas ‘09

It was a fun Christmas at the Langham house this year.  We had Grandma Lynn and Mamaw here with us again this year, which the kids loved (and so did the grandmas).  We had our big dinner Christmas Eve so that we wouldn’t have to cook any on Christmas Day and could just enjoy our toys and our leftovers.  We woke up Christmas morning, as did the rest of NWA, to a white Christmas and it was beautiful!  What a blessing! 

Ok, prepare yourselves – there are a lot of pictures ahead.  I know!  You’re in total shock right now, aren’t you? :)

The bird… “before”…



The Christmas Tree



The stockings – hung by the chimney with care…



…and three stinkers that could barely hold it together for one good picture out of about 175 tries.



See what I mean?!



Reading the Christmas story out of Luke 2.  Didn’t Daddy do a good job being all creative in his picture taking? :)



Getting Santa’s cookies ready.



Rachel leaving the reindeer a little snack of oats.



Busting through the paper tapped over the door on Christmas morning – rushing to see what Santa brought.



See!!  I got tools!!!



One of the many looks Tanner had while saying “OH YEAH!”



Rachel was excited about her purple lounge clothes.



Porter loved his drum… he plays it a lot.  I’m so excited.



Opening his guitar.  The last time he wanted to play an instrument, he got a starter set for the bagpipes.  BAGPIPES, people!!!  I don’t think so…  We’ll see where this takes him.



Mike was very excited that he got peanut M&M’s from Granny rather than the lotion he expected was in that bag.  He HATES lotion! :)  Good job, Gran.DSC07714


Over all is was a wonderful Christmas.  We’re all looking forward now to what the new year is going to bring!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Drumroll Please.....

We are officially able to be public with our news.....


Adoption is something that Mike and I have talked about since before we were married. I think it's something we always knew we would do "in the future". Well, friends, the future is now. We have 3 healthy children that we totally adore and yet, our family doesn't feel complete. I knew I wouldn't be birthing any more babies - I'm soooo over that. So, obviously, adoption was a very definite option for us.

Sunday, November 8th, was Orphan Sunday and we had a big program that night at our church centered around Esther's House Orphanage and the Kennedy's trip to Malawi. That morning started off not so great. You know how the devil always tries to get his foot in the door on Sunday mornings? Yeah, he'd pretty much invaded our house that day. We were late for church and I ended up not singing in the choir, which is very unusual. Pastor talked that morning about how there's no clearer picture of the gospel than when adoption takes place. We are 'adopted' into God's family through our acceptance of Jesus, and what a beautiful picture of that when a family adopts a child. Adoption was very much in front of us as several of our friends have adopted and are currently in the process of adoption. I think subconsciously, it was something we knew was getting closer and closer for us, we just hadn't really talked that much about it and certainly hadn't made any decisions yet. Once the invitation was given on that Sunday morning, part of what Pastor called the people to pray for was whether or not it was in God's plan for them to adopt. Mike grabbed my hand and off to the altar we went to pray. It was a special time of us asking forgiveness of each other because of our attitudes that morning, but even through that, we felt God's stirring in us regarding adoption. We came home that afternoon and began to discuss what we felt like God was telling us and then had our Esther's House program that night, which just helped to solidify things even more. That week, we knew for sure that we were supposed to adopt.

But where were we supposed to start?

We pretty much knew international adoption was out of the question, purely for financial reasons. My heart has been tied to Africa since I was there in 1999, so if we were to adopt internationally, it would be from there. However, we really didn't feel like that's the direction we were supposed to go, financially restricted or not. We began looking into all of our options on what we could do. Like I said, several of our friends have gone before us in this process, so we had lots of resources for our questions. We looked at an agency that some friends have used and is a trusted agency. We looked at another local agency that does domestic adoptions. We researched just about everything and talked to just about everyone trying to decipher where we felt like God was leading us. We were blessed that some friends at church put together an Adoption Q&A meeting shortly after our decision to adopt. It was a very helpful resource for us as well. We contacted the AR Department of Human Services and requested some info from them as well. We learned they were having an informational meeting on December 3rd regarding foster care, fostering to adopt, and adoption through the state of AR. We went to that meeting as well. Once we left that meeting, I think both of us were very clear on what we were supposed to do.

We will foster to adopt.

The information we received in that meeting just about brought me to tears. In fact, it did the more I thought about it later. There are so many children, just in Arkansas, waiting for a Forever Family. And the statistics on what happens to these children if they are not adopted - it's devastating. The more we thought about it, the more we were certain to our bones that this is what God was directing us to do.

We are in no way assuming this will be an easy process. We know there will be challenges along the way and that there will be difficult times ahead. But regardless, we will not back down. We know that this is what God has called us to do, this is His will for OUR lives, and where He leads us, He alone will give us the strength to endure what He has purposed for us to do. And we know that in the end, we will have another member of our family, which will be worth it all.

So for now, we are just about finished with all of our initial paperwork and have a visit scheduled with a case worker on New Year's Eve. She will come to our home to "inspect" it and make sure that it's an appropriate place for a child. She will pick up our paperwork and then we will start some training classes. We have to go through about 6 weeks or so of classes and then proceed from there. I'm not sure yet of all the details, but of course, I'll be posting on things as they come up.

Our desire, and what would work in our home at this time, is to have another boy that's under 5 years old. We know that God has the perfect child ready for us. Please begin to pray that whatever child that comes into our lives will feel loved and accepted and that the transition would be smooth.

I will keep you updated on things as they occur. As for now, thanks for reading and for praying.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Most of My December - Cliff Notes Version

It has been entirely too long since my last post. To say we have been busy is a HUGE, I mean MASSIVE, understatement!

Since I last wrote, we traveled to Oklahoma for Mike's granny's funeral. It was a very bitter sweet time, but like one of the ministers said, there is no doubt whatsoever that Granny is in heaven with Jesus. It was nice to see all the family and get to visit with them for a few hours that day.

That same day, I learned that our music minister and his wife, Kim & Suzanne Noblitt, are leaving our church to go to a church in Florida. I cried more when I got that email than I did the whole day of the funeral. I love, love, love our music minister! I can't even think how to put into words how much I love Kim and Suzanne. When someone is as involved in the music ministry as I am, it means a lot to have a minister that you really enjoy, and I truly have enjoyed Kim. He has allowed me to grow as a person and a singer and has been such an encourager to me, and to so many others. I can't imagine someone replacing that position, but I know for a fact, no one will replace HIM. He is one of a kind and I'm beyond blessed to have gotten to know him and Suzanne in the time they've been with us.

Through all of that, we've had lots of rehearsals for our annual Christmas program, "Repeat The Sounding Joy". Even though we knew Kim was leaving, we still had to press on and put on our performances. It was a GREAT program this year and we all really enjoyed it. It was the first time EVER that I've gotten a chance to sing on the praise team during a performance like that. I was nervous about it, but SOOO honored that I'd been asked to do that. I was also able to do a smidge of acting in a video that the awesome Zach Kennedy put together. That boy has more talent in his pinky finger, I swear. He and his team put together a video to the song "A Baby Changes Everything" by Faith Hill and it was amazing. I loved being a part of that as well. In fact, you can click HERE to watch the video on Zach's blog. Rachel was also able to be a part of the program for the first time. She was a marshmallow in the song "Hot Chocolate" from the Polar Express that the kids performed. She was pretty excited about being able to be in the program and then during the first performance, she was a bit upset because she wasn't able to be the "main marshmallow" that got to go up in this gigantic mug of hot chocolate. Oh, my child. She loves to be in the big middle of everything. Wonder where she could possibly have gotten that?

This week, we also had our first ever Kids Day Out Christmas program that I directed and our little kiddos performed for their families. It went SO well!!! I'm so over the top proud of all my kids! We'd been working on Christmas songs since October with all of the classes from the older 2 year olds through the Pre-K class. The oldest class was our cast of biblical characters and everyone else got to wear their Christmas PJ's. It was super cute and all the parents that I talked to were extremely pleased with it and thought their kids were all rock stars, which of course they were!

Last night was our very first "Merry Christmas Springdale" program in which we honored all the city employees of Springdale. We were able to have a dinner for them and then our choir and orchestra performed a few songs, along with some pretty adorable kids. As Kim said, it was a dream come true for him that we were able to get outside the walls of our church, as a choir, and do ministry in the community. It was a really neat night and it seemed like everyone there really enjoyed themselves. Hopefully it'll be a tradition that continues each year.

We're heading over to my dad's tomorrow for our Christmas time with him and my stepmom and then we'll be finished traveling for the holidays. I don't have anything on my calendar for the next couple of weeks and I'm ecstatic about it!! I'm excited about sleeping in (or not setting an alarm), not having to BE anywhere, and just having time to hang with my family. I'm so excited about Christmas and getting to see the reactions of my family when they open their gifts. That's always more fun for me than opening presents for myself. I know I've done a good job when they are excited.

Some exciting news is coming up in the next couple of days, so stay tuned. I promise it won't be that long until I post again.... for those 3 of you that actually read my blog. :)