Tag archive for "Faith"




14 Comments 19 July 2010

First things first:  Happy Birthday, Eliot McKenna!!  Our baby girl turned six years old on July 14th!  May the next six years be every bit as amazing as the first six, Darlin’!

Now, onto the post…..

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”  Helen Keller

I’ve been feeling pretty restless lately which for me is not terribly uncommon, but it is a noteworthy feeling nonetheless.  And by “restless” I mean agitated, aggravated, like nothing I am doing or am about to do is quite right or satisfying…lack of focus, difficulty in being present in the moment, any moment.  You may have a different word to describe feeling, I call it being restless.

As you know by now and as many of you also often feel – we’ve got a lot going on right now.  The babies and Little Miss Sunshine keep me busy enough, but between work and filming and trying to maintain a vibrant and lively marriage with my beautiful Casey Ann, you would think I have enough going on to keep me from feeling this way.  I do all that I can to be a devoted father, a caring husband, an earnest student (of life!), and an ambitious businessman and I think I’m doing pretty well.  Yet there it is again….


It’s like the wheels are spinning, but they have not yet grabbed hold of the solid ground lying somewhere beneath the treads.  For those of you who pray often, it is the feeling you get when the only impact your daily prayers seem to have is to fill the room with noise as they echo their way right back to the ears on your own head.  Or maybe it’s the feeling you get when the book you’re reading is just not grabbing you and pulling you in, the newest bachelor is falling for the wrong woman, and your favorite star just got voted out of the next dance…and all of this happens on the same day, the next day bringing just as much discontent as today.  Things aren’t necessarily going badly, but they are definitely not working out the quite like you expected them to and for some reason no one is getting the message you are broadcasting, no one…including the broadcast-er…


So what is the message in this meandering restlessness?  What is it that I am missing or better yet, what is it that Christ is trying to tell me?

I told you that this feeling is not all that uncommon for me, but I also said that it is a noteworthy feeling.  It took me awhile to figure this out, but when I finally discovered the reason for this feeling, this agitation, my whole world was changed.  In fact, it took me most of my life up until this point, but I finally know just what is happening when nothing seems to be happening at all.  I started to take note of other feelings that accompanied this surge of unrest, I started to listen more intently to the world around me…and finally I began to notice that the reason nothing else in my world seemed to be just what I wanted it to be was because…

…it is at these very moments when Christ wants my attention somewhere else entirely.

No, it’s not that he wanted me to stop being a devoted father, a caring husband, an earnest student (of life!), or an ambitious businessman – those things were clearly charted by his hand and I do not believe I am ever being called away from them…not in this lifetime, at least.  But notice a common theme among the life purposes I just mentioned – father, husband, student, businessman.  Do you see it – the common thread?  It is not an obvious theme, but it is, I believe, a very important one to understand – selfishness.

That’s right, I said it and I’ll say it again:  being a devoted father and a caring husband and carrying out all of the other “responsibilities” of manhood are in many ways selfish pursuits.  And that is the message that I believe Christ wants me to understand in these times when I am restless, agitated, and aggravated.  Think about it for a minute – what do I get from being a father, husband, businessman, etc. and from being the very best of those things that I can be?  Am I reviled at work for my family focus?  Am I bombarded with objections by my family for being a good businessman?  Of course not!  The payoff to being a great husband is having a loving, generous, energetic, and respectful wife.  For being a great dad, I get darling daughters who adore me and a son who lights up when I walk in the room – both of which are in strong competition for the best feeling in the world!  And of course we all know what kind of pay comes with being a great businessman.  On the flip side, what do I get when one or all of these things are out of line and I am not being the husband, father, businessman I should be?  The answers are easy enough – a wife who finds it hard to love, children who may or may not care about your presence in their life, and all of the stress and frustration that comes along with  failed business endeavors.  In my time, I’ve experienced many of the frustrations arise from not giving my all to those things that so completely deserve it.  Believe me, you do not want to go there…

Ok, ok – so maybe saying that being all I can be as a husband/father/businessman is a selfish pursuit is putting it a bit harshly.  But let me put it another way and see if more of you agree.  What would you think of me if I were not all of those things or worse, not even trying to be?  Would you cut me some slack?  Would you say it’s ok because I have so much going on?  In this hyper-judgmental world we live in, would my failures escape the specter of public criticism?  Now do you see where I’m coming from?

Here’s my point:  doing everything I can do to be the best husband, father, businessman, and Christian that I can be is simply the buy-in at the game of the life God calls us to.  These things are a baseline, the cost of admission, the minimally acceptable standard by which I can live my life.  Period.  Anything less is not acceptable.  Of course mistakes will be made and the course may need correction from time to time, but the bottom line is that doing these things is the absolute…well, bottom line.

There was a time when I was not the best husband I could be.  Like many young married men I sputtered when learning the lessons of giving my life to another.  Putting my “self” aside for the sake of “us” was a tough ante to pay…and as a result, we struggled in our marriage.  There was also a time when I let my own ambitions get in the way of my pursuit of perfect parenting.  And there have certainly been times when my job did not get my best and Christ seemed to get whatever was left at the end of it all, which was usually nothing or at most not much.  And it was during these times that I owed it to myself, to my wife, to my family, and to Christ to do all that I could do…

...to dismantle and discard everything in my life that stood in the way of me becoming the best husband, father, businessman, and Christian that I could be.

And so I did that, we did that as a family…and things changed, dramatically so, for better and forever. What you have seen from me and from us the last couple of years are the result of those efforts and have been in many ways the apex of what we have tried to accomplish in our marriage, with our family, and in our pursuit of faith in Christian living.  It has been unimaginably good in so many ways and we believe things will only get better as we continue the pursuit.  We believe that the last couple of years has only been the first of many apex’s we will conquer in this life.

So now what?  Can I check the box and simply go off on whatever trivial pursuit catches my interest for the time being?  If so, I’ll see y’all on a mountain somewhere in Colorado trying to be the best skier I can be…I could totally live the ski bum life!!!  Oh, but wait – that’s not the way it works, is it?  No, it isn’t.  The responsibility of being who I am – the joy (mostly) and the pain (not to be denied) of it – will always be with me as long as I live.  Consider it the price of admission to life, our life, love it or hate it (bet you can guess which one it is for me!), this is our life.   But is this all there is, not that this is a bad thing or that it isn’t enough, but is there anything more?  Is there anything outside of these “selfish” pursuits that Christ is calling me to?

And that is when we come back around to this feeling, this restlessness…..

So here is what I believe it means, this is my theory.  In a sense, learning how to be a great husband, father, etc. is sort of like learning how to be a great musician.  You work hard, you struggle, you push yourself, you practice, you try every little trick in the book, you walk away, you come back more committed, you push, push, push.  And then one day you realize you’re there…maybe not all the way there (not sure that you ever are), but you find yourself exactly where you envisioned you would be when you first began.  And it feels good, really really good…great even.  You find yourself in a zone where you instinctively know what to do and how to do it, where to go and how to get there.  Sure, some days are better than others and it is certainly possible to drift very far off course.  But there is a knowledge and a skill base that is always with you, no matter how far you may wander from the days when you practiced for hours on end in your efforts of becoming great.

But now that I have found myself here, now that the foundation has been established and firmly set in place, why the restlessness?  Why the agitation and frustration?  Whatever happened to enjoying the fruits of victory?  I think the simple answer is that in this life you can never truly declare victory and that the inevitability of change in life’s weather will necessitate repair and refocus on the foundation that has been laid.  But I also think there is another answer to this question.  I believe the restlessness could also be God’s call to do more and to look outside of this comfortable, happy little world that he has helped us create and do whatever it is that we can do to make someone else’s life a little more manageable, comfortable…victorious.

And that is why I love that quote above, the one by Helen Keller – “Life is either a daring adventure, or it is nothing.”  It may sound a little cheesy or strange, but I would absolutely describe my life as daring and adventurous.  I have no real sense of what tomorrow may bring and I love that about the life I’ve been given.  But at the same time, I know deep in my soul that Christ expects great things of me, us, and each of you reading these words today.  And that is why I believe I feel so restless lately…I am not at this very moment living up to the expectations of Christ’s calling.  God wants more than the price of admission – he will gladly accept that when it is ready to be offered – but do not think for a minute that he is going to send you off on a luxury cruise for the remainder of your days.  No, I do not believe that is how he works…sorry, Charlie.

So we have started something which I believe will ease the restlessness stirring in my soul.  Unfortunately I cannot say what it is because it very well may end up on your TV screen one of these days, but the treads have begun to grab hold.  We are taking small steps as we learn how to walk in this others-focused world, but I believe that there will be a day when these very small steps will have proven themselves to be a lot bigger than we now give them credit for.

If you cannot use those words I used to describe your own life – adventurous, daring, bold, dynamic – I encourage you to discover why that is and ask Christ to lead you away from the mundane and into the daring life he calls all of us to live.  I believe that life for all of us is a thing to be pursued and that in this pursuit we will all discover the bold, daring life that Christ has been waiting for us to find all along.  Feeling restless today?  Maybe it’s time for you to jump in and join the fight.  Maybe it is time for your own pursuit to begin.  Pursue life……it’s what we were all created to do!

God bless,





13 Comments 27 May 2010

How do you define yourself?  Is it the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the music you listen to, or is it the tattoo across your back?  Is it the place you are from or the place where you now call home, the team you follow, the school you attended, the tweets you broadcast to the world, or is it the thoughts you have in your private, silent moments?  Which person is the real you – the weekday you or the weekend you?  Are you really the serious professional you present to your colleagues or are you the fun-loving free spirit you present on your Facebook page?  What about the church you or the in-front-of-your-parents you who utters no foul language and can’t believe the degradation of society today – is that the real deal or is it the party you who knows the words to every song and likes to dance to the break-a break-a dawn (thank you, Beastie Boys)?  Or is it a combination of all of these things?  Are we simply a sum of all our parts, all our “selves” or is there a central, unchangeable, unmistakable you that is hiding (or was once hidden) underneath all of the layers of other “you’s” that are perfectly packaged and  presented to the world at the proper time?

I am one of those who once had layers upon layers…upon layers(!!)…of other “me’s” that I transitioned between given the situation and the moment.  There was definitely the in-front-of-my-parents me (sorry, mom and dad), the sports field me, the frat-daddy me, the church me, the alone with Casey me, the business me, the school me, the out with my friends without Casey me…the list literally has no end in sight; I don’t think I am even aware of all of the “me’s” that I had created along life’s highway.  I was Mr. Everything – not that I could actually do everything, but I could certainly appear to be everything to everybody in every situation.  I could be the life of the party, the church-going moralist, the hard-driving employee, the world’s best boyfriend/fiancee/husband, and all points in between at any given moment.  I defined myself by the fraternity tattoo on my shoulder, the Alice in Chains and Rage Against the Machine decals on the back of my truck, and the chip on my shoulder…oh yeah, that was one giant chip, just ask my mom and dad!  I also defined myself as a good person, as a leader, as a man with all the answers, and when it was convenient…as a Christian.

So were any of those the real me and if so, which one?  Well, none of them were.  And at times all of them were, at least in a very singular, simplistic sense.  Most of the time I acted like a leader, approached problems with the heart of a good person, had lots of good answers (sometimes to very difficult questions), and many times I even acted in accordance with Christ’s teachings.  So does that mean that I was all of those things?  What about those other times, the times when I did not act like a leader, did not choose to be a good person, or acted in a way that was clearly un-Christian?  Did God’s grace simply wash those times away, even when I did not ask him to do so, leaving only the good in me behind?  Is it really that simple – act however you want, be the person you choose to be for the moment, good or bad, then double down on Christ’s crisis on the cross and skip your way past the pearlys when your time has come?

Well, I’m no Biblical scholar so I do not really know the answer to those questions.  But I have led somewhat of a double life in times past and I have had some experiences that lead me to believe one way over the other.  So I’ll throw out a few of my thoughts and let you all decide for yourselves…..

I believe there is a real, unchangeable, perfectly designed me…and I believe the same of you.  I believe that underneath all of those layers that we so carefully display there is a real you and me dying to show itself to the world.  I believe there is a definition to your soul which was written, designed, manufactured, and is now being quality tested by inspector #1…the only one who has the right to do such a thing.  And I believe that all of those other versions of you and of me that we all encounter every day are our own creations, established simply for protection from the harsh reality that sometimes defines life in general.

For me, I eventually ran into a reality or two for which the many different versions of myself had no more answers.  Finding out that you cannot provide your wife with a child in the way God originally designed is just one of those realities…and of course, finding out that you are going to be adding five little lives to the family mix is another.    Those were times when God literally took account of everything that he had invested in me up to that point and simply said, “everything that you have will not be enough; you’ll have to trust me.”

Huh?  Can you run that one by me again, Lord?  “That’s right, son, there is nothing that you can do that will impact the final outcome this time.  Trust me, I know what I am doing,” came the reply.

Looking back, I can now see the beauty in those events, along with a few others, that played a pivotal role in the effort of casting off all of the past wanna-be me’s and allowing the true me to define the future.  In those times, when God’s Kryptonite stripped me of my superpowers, I discovered something – I like this definition of who I am.  And not only do I like it, it is a whole heck of a lot easier to go through life when you only have one you to keep up with!

People ask us all the time how we do it.   They say, “How do you manage to keep up with five babies plus Eliot and then handle all of the other stuff that you have going on?” or some version of that question.  And while I could reply by saying things like we gave up TV, we never rest, or other stuff along the same lines, the real answer is another thing entirely.  I discovered the real me by defining myself through Christ and Casey did the same thing.  And because of that, God’s grace allows us to manage it all; there is simply no other answer.  I have retired the old “me’s”, hopefully forever, though I know it is a battle that will continue until my last day.  But there is only one me that I want you to know and that is the same me that I was designed to be…by the only one with the authority to do such a thing………

God Bless,


Get Out of the Boat!


Get Out of the Boat!

25 Comments 01 April 2010

“‘You have so little faith,’ Jesus said.  ‘Why did you doubt me?'”  Matthew 14:31

You would likely not be surprised to know that when you tell people you are expecting quintuplets or that you have quintuplets, you open the door for those people and many others to give you advice, offer their support and encouragement, have a nice laugh in bewilderment, or any combination of reactions ranging from shock to awe.    Meeting people, seeing their reactions, hearing their stories, and learning from their words of wisdom – this has been one of the more enjoyable pieces that has been added to this puzzle we now call our life.  Our lives have been opened up like never before and in response, many have opened up their own lives to ours and for that we are extremely grateful!  We never realized the potential of community in our own lives until that day when poor Dr. Silverberg (God bless him, I think he nearly had a heart attack that day!) dutifully counted out the five future fabs that were then growing in Casey’s belly!

One of the more frequent versions of the casual counsels we have received goes something like this:  “Don’t worry, God only gives you what he knows you can handle.”  And believe me, these words have served as great comfort at many of the more stressful, chaotic, and otherwise difficult moments during our great adventure!  What a thought – to know that the God of the universe knows that you can handle your current circumstances, believes in your abilities to succeed, and trusts you to do what will serve his purposes best can be incredibly motivating.  It kind of makes you believe you can run through a brick wall or…walk on water…or something like that!  Trouble is, I believe that this sentiment could not be farther from the truth of how Christ expects us to react to the challenges we face and how he works in our lives through the obstacles that threaten to wipe us out…

For some of you, I imagine you might have to pick yourself up off of the floor after reading that last statement, but stay with me a bit longer and hear me out.  Here is how my thinking goes…

(And let me preface this by saying that I am no Biblical scholar and I am not an expert on anything about which I am speaking.  These are only my thoughts based on my experiences and the teaching I have received, nothing more.)

Here is how I see it – God does not trust us…he knows us all too well for that!  He knows our abilities, he knows our talents, and he knows our weaknesses and he also knows that we are just about guaranteed to screw up most of what he asks of us.  And he is perfectly ok with that.  What I believe is that, knowing our inabilities and our fears and our weaknesses, God intentionally gives us challenges that are way above our pay grade.  Way, way, way, way above it in many cases!  I absolutely believe he did that individually with me and with Casey and even with Little Miss Sunshine, Eliot McKenna, and also with us collectively as a family.  Do you really believe that God would test us just to confirm for himself that he knew we could handle it all along?  Again, I’m no expert, but I do not believe this is how it works.  Rather, I believe he tests us in order to force our hand, to create circumstances in our lives which cause us to make the decision, one way or the other.   Do we leave our own ambitions and judgments and understanding behind us and lean on him like we have never leaned before?  Or instead do we continue to do things our way and shoulder the load with no guiding hand from above?

Those who follow my tweets and Facebook postings may have seen me post something along these lines in the recent past:  “Get out of the boat!  Fix your eyes on Christ and dare to live the life he has planned for you!”  Of course I am referencing the Bible story in which Peter the Apostle, a normal human being by all other accounts, walked on water.  It is an amazing story of Christ’s power over the natural world we live in, but here is the deal:  Peter can’t walk on water, just as you and I can’t do the same and Christ knows it!  And if our Lord had not been there to lift him up when Peter’s personality got in the way of his connection with Christ, we would be telling a different story today about that stormy night at sea.  No, Peter didn’t do a thing on his own, except cower in fear as the waves crashed around him before answering the call from his father out on the water.

Think about this…in four months time I started a new business, welcomed two new soon-to-be sisters into our family when my parents took in two foster children, found out we were having quintuplets, and started an MBA program about which I was already concerned given the expense and the time it would require.  I’m not telling you this in an effort to brag on myself; believe me, I have little to brag about.  I’m telling you this to illustrate just how far God will go to prove to you how impossible this life can be when you live it without him.  I’m telling you this to illustrate the amazing power his hand can have in an individual’s life, if only you first accept the call, just as Peter did.  I started my business nearly two years ago and the other three dominoes fell shortly thereafter.  And two years ago, I was wholly inadequate to respond to any of the challenges that were then careening around the bend, their course set for a head-on collision with me and the rest of this little family.  I was wholly inadequate to handle those challenges, except for one very important detail…God was in control…then, now, and always.

Casey and I are normal people with normal needs, wants, abilities, weaknesses, fears, failures, successes, desires, and demands.  Actually, I am all of those things; Casey on the other hand is absolutely amazing in every single way!!  I however am a normal person who encountered far from normal circumstances and responded the only way I knew how – I gave it up to God (and of course the same is true of Casey, except for that “normal person” part).  And while the road has never been easy, (not for even one single minute!) the ride has been wholly extraordinary in only a way that he can deliver.

So, my intent in writing this blog today is not to offend or upset anyone or necessarily to change anyone’s opinion on life and Christ and all things in between.  I simply wanted to offer a different perspective, one that has enabled us to have peace amidst our own stormy nights at sea.  It is a comforting thought to trust that God would not give you any more than you can handle and I do not blame anyone for believing that to be true.  But I do hope that you will consider what I have said.  And I also hope you come to know as I have that the true power and potential that lies within all of us lies firmly in Christ’s hands, not ours.  And if we would like to unleash that power in our own lives, all he asks is that we get out of the boat and dare to live the life that he has planned for us.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5

God Bless,

Ethan, dv


Good Times


32 Comments 21 March 2010

Whew! What a week it has been!!! There is the obvious: keeping up with the demands of this not-so-normal family and our show airing on TLC Tuesday night (that part tends to fill your email inbox pretty quickly). Then there is the not-so-obvious: being stuck in rotation on the mindless carousel that is the City of Austin’s construction permitting process, trying to put the wraps on a major project for my MBA program, and pursuing new project leads that have come in recently.  All of this adds up to ONE…CRAZY…WEEK!!  Aside from the permitting thing, it’s been a whole heckuva lotta crazy fun though, so we’re all smiles over here!!

I’ll start this little recap with the obvious.  The show airing and the response to it has been phenomenal (if not in TV world, certainly in Jones world)!  First, just to see your family on such a big network and to see all of the things they did to promote the show was so awesome!  Really, they surprised us with the big push to the point that the attention was a little discomforting, in a good sort of way…it’s kind of strange to hear a voice-over say, “fall in love with the Joneses” and know that they are referring to your family.  It’s also kind of strange to have your name thrown around with the Gosselin’s and the Duggar’s…scary…very, very scary, my friends!!

And the other obvious?  You know, that family of ours.  Well, it’s been quite a week for them as well.  While Eliot ran off to play with the grandparents this week for Spring Break, Casey Ann and I held it down with the Fab Five.  And they decided that this was their week to show off some new-found skills!  As of this week, we now have five walkers (Jack and Lila decided it was finally time to join the others in the toddler class), five kinda talkers (Britton especially is all about the b’s – baby, bottle, bye-bye, and bubbles!), two future WWE wrestlers (Britton and Jack have perfected the log roll!), one yoga master (Brooklyn does a mean downward facing dog!), and one circus performer (or performer of some kind as Ryan demands your attention…all of the time…with all of her new tricks!).  Oh, and we also have five growlers as they have all decided to be angry, little baby bears with a mean and menacing growl…Brooklyn has the scariest growl of all!  Just wait until Eliot gets back into this crrrraaaaazzzyy mix!

As for the not-so-obvious, life outside of baby world is crazy busy as well, but part of the craziness is quickly coming to a close, thank God!  My MBA program will be complete in a little over a month which will of course free up lots and lots of time.  And, thankfully as well, 2010 looks to be much better on the business front as leads have been picking up since mid-January…being crazy busy on that front is a problem I am very much looking forward to having!

We would like to thank everyone for their support, words of advice, words of admonishment (ok, hard to be thankful for those, but we’ll take the bad with the good), inspiring stories, and words of encouragement!  We have heard from so many wonderful people who have their own story to tell or have found inspiration in hearing our story…the words “overwhelmed,” “gratified,” “humbled,” and “vindicated” immediately come to mind.  At this point, we do not know if our show will be picked up as a series or not, but we are hopeful that it will.  Let me repeat:  we are hopeful that our show will become a series!  Yes, despite the threat of impending doom to our marriage, our morals, and our maternity ward, we believe that people’s lives (ours included) have been, can be, and will continue to be positively impacted through a TV show and hopefully through our TV show (there, I said it, I meant it, and I’m not ashamed of it!).  To those who do not believe that this is possible and to the cynics who have found comfort in their too-bitter worldview, I say this:  read the comments posted to the entries on this blog and read them with an open heart and tell me how it could be otherwise.  Better yet, forget about  how you think God would and would not work in the lives of others and forget about trying to predict how the future of our family will take shape and simply accept events as they unfold, one day at a time…live and let live, for your sake and mine.

All kidding aside, we are very grateful for this opportunity, very mindful of the pitfalls that are sure to challenge us, and very accepting of your prayers for us in that regard.  We entered into this adventure with caution and it is with this same level of prayerful consideration that we will take each new step.  And make no mistake, we need your prayers just as we did when Casey was pregnant and your conversations with Christ carried us through to the day of the babies’ birth and beyond!  I’m not just giving lip service to this, I really mean it.  We believe in the power of prayer and we believe in the power of community (even an on-line community at that!).  And when you combine these two powers, amazing things can happen in your life and in mine!  We have witnessed it, we have experienced it, and we continue to thirst for it.  So join us in this pursuit:  harnessing the power of prayer and the power of this community and allowing God to work in your life and mine to the betterment of all!!



4 Comments 19 June 2009

“For this cause will a man go away from his father and mother, and be joined to his wife; And the two will become one flesh; so that they are no longer two, but one flesh. Let not that which has been joined together by God be parted by man.” Mark 10:7-9

Ten years ago today, Casey and I began our new life together as husband and wife. There have been many good times and a few rough ones along the way, as most married couples can attest. Over the years, we’ve had quite a few major moments, definitive events in our life together, especially in the last few. But the moment we both said “I do” to a life lived together continues to be the single most impactful moment of my life.

This year, unlike any other will continue to shape and mold our future like nothing else before it. And though our ten year anniversary celebration tonight will likely consist of eating leftovers for dinner, feeding babies until all hours of the night, and looking forward to more of the same for the weekend ahead, I have never been more excited about where we are as a couple and as a family! Our life is crazy, so is our marriage, but it has never been better than it is right now!!

Happy Tenth Anniversary, Casey Ann…I love you!

God Bless,


What Day Is It…Seriously?

1 Comment 06 June 2009

Two days ago, which was Thursday, I thought it was Wednesday…all day long. I made scheduling calls for a project I’m running, I made plans for studying that night, and I did all of the other things that I would have done had it been the day I thought it was…Wednesday. This isn’t the first time since the baby invasion that I’ve lost track like this and I’m afraid it will not be the last. We have developed an irritating little habit of forgetting to feed Eliot dinner until she gently reminds us around 8:30 or so that she is about to start gnawing on the furniture if we don’t get her some food. A few weeks ago, several pieces of our clothes, Eliot’s blankets, and a few other things had to be thrown back in the dirty clothes pile right after they came out of the wash. Apparently, somebody forgot to put detergent in the machine and everything that came out smelled like baby vomit…awesome.

Yes, the baby invasion is taking its toll on our sanity. It is taking its toll on our everything, actually…energy, patience, sanity, civility…say goodbye! School started up last Monday and is in full swing for the next two months, Eliot is losing interest in her new role as daughter-in-waiting – very stressful, the inconsistency of our day-to-day has become a consistent source of frustration, and cabin fever has struck Casey with a vengeance – she left the house one time last week…one time! All in all, this experience has begun to tug at the ties that bind.

Despite all of this, we have found some peace amidst the storm as a sliver of light has appeared at the end of this tunnel. It’s merely a dot on the horizon at the moment, but it is there nonetheless, and it has provided us with renewed focus and a renewed sense of what life will be like once survival mode is a distant, laughable memory. Among other little improvements that have come in the last few days and/or weeks, Ryan’s colic seems to have settled a bit, all of them are sleeping slightly longer stretches at night, and all are smiling, cooing, and gurgling with great regularity, we’ve settled into a night routine that is more manageable than before, and there is a plan in place for Casey to get some time outside the house on a daily basis. None of this was happening or could have been managed just two weeks ago, but now it is and we plan on taking full advantage. It’s possible, rather it is likely, that these whispers of future freedom are the source of much of the frustration of late. We’re an impatient bunch, no doubt, and the hints of progress bring with them much anticipation of better days! And that sliver of light? I have to admit that it is more than just a sliver and it is more than just light…it is soul. Here is what we see when we look around the room at the faces that have already begun to shape our future:

Brooklyn Faith – She has the most unique look of all of the babies – huge eyes, wide lips, chubby cheeks, and male pattern baldness…adoreable! As you know, she also has the sweetest little cry we’ve ever heard. She has developed a taste for her hands which can be found in her mouth, sometimes both of them and sometimes the whole fist, almost all of the time whether she is hungry or not. Maybe it’s just the cry that leads us this way, but we think she is going to be our sensitive one, the crier who just wants everyone to be nice.

Britton Grace – Baby Bright Eyes is living up to her name, though today I started calling her Bobbles. Her eyes shine bright, seemingly all the time, and with her teency, tiny frame she almost looks like a caricature. I’m calling her Bobbles because she loves to stand up and when she does, her growing dome is too much for her little body and constantly bobbles as she looks out at the world. She is the one who we believe will give Eliot a run for her money in the personality department!

Jack William – Just call him ice because he is super cool, all the time. Seriously, Casey and I laugh that if he was our only baby, we’d forget that we had one at all. He lays back, taking it all in, never fussing unless he is hungry. When he is hungry, he eats – no fighting the bottle for this guy who often feeds himself with a bottle propped against the arm of the chair. He is built like a bowling ball and when you hold him he feels like one, too. Big boy doesn’t talk much, but when he does, it is sweet as can be. We don’t think he could have been designed more perfectly for life with five little girls competing for rule of the roost!

Lila Addison – Another little chill bug, Lila is generally kicked back, eyes wide open, watching the chaos swirl around her. With her blond hair, big eyes, and perfect little face she is in competition for the prettiest of the bunch. Just about everyone who comes through here says she looks like Eliot and we agree. Almost every time she falls asleep, she does so with her hands and fingers laid out like she just got a manicure and she’s waiting for her nails to dry…funny! She is a sweetheart who never seems to be too bothered by much, but we haven’t quite figured her personality out just yet. I guess we’ll have to wait and see…

Ryan Elizabeth – She used to be Ryan the Lion because of her constant roar. Now, she is Ryan the Smilin’, Cryin’ Lion because that’s all she ever does – cries or smiles…no in between. She’ll go from screaming so loud you think she’s going to pop to smiling the biggest, flirty smile you’ve ever seen and back to screaming in the blink of an eye. Fortunately, her crying doesn’t come in two hour spurts anymore…thank the Lord! Britton and Eliot better keep their eye on this little firecracker if they hope to continue their diva dominance!

As the metaphor goes, we are still climbing the mountain and probably will be for awhile. But the terrain seems to have leveled out a bit, the trees are clearing, and we can finally see clearly the first of what is sure to be many summits on the path that lies ahead. We still could use your prayers, we still needs loads of help to make it through each new day, and we continue to rely on God’s provision to help us enjoy the craziness we call life. But as these five little lights, souls of the most innocent kind, continue to teach us how beautiful this life can be, we cannot help but feel fearfully, wonderfully blessed.
God Bless,

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