We’ve had a lot of firsts since we met the boys two weeks ago.

Most of the firsts are reason to pause and smile- like the first time flying a kite and eating ice cream. Some are a reason your heart breaks just a little more for them- like when they tell you how they normally walk alone to church every Sunday and sit on the front row throughout mass. A few bring you to your knees- like when they’re anger is on display.

It looks like the honeymoon phase of this adoption is wearing off and reality is coming more clearly into focus. The fact that Filipe speaks Portuguese is a blessing/curse and has accelerated the process.

Finally. It’s what I’ve waited for and anticipated all along, but now we are staring it in the face and know what we’re dealing with. It’s the ugly, hard stuff. The stuff pictures don’t show. The stuff we don’t want to talk about. The stuff we wish we could ignore. But we all know it’s lurking beneath the surface.

Disobedience, defiance, disrespect. When staring you in the face they can send any parent over the edge and wishing they could throw in the towel.

And then I’m reminded.
Love. Jesus.
He’s our model. He showed us how to treat others.

I’ve been put in my kids’ life to teach it to them. But words don’t matter. Words are not understood.
Love must be shown with actions.

It’s easy to talk about love when those in front of us are nice to us, respect us even. But to love when we’re not shown love is a whole different thing. That’s when what is inside of us is truly revealed.

I love that Scripture simplifies things for us. My natural self wants to complicate it all and come up with rules and formulas.

I found myself asking the question (again), what is love?

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love doesn’t boast & isn’t proud.

Patience. Kindness. Humility.
Those are the three things I’m focusing on. That’s it.

When a child is impatient with me, how can I show patience in return? When a child is mean toward me, how can I show kindness in return? When I feel the need to prove I’m right and state the obvious, let it go.

It may be simple, but it’s not exactly easy. And I’m not even guaranteed a desired outcome. That’s just how a Christ-follower should respond. It’s who I desire to be and am asking daily for the Holy Spirit for help.

While there are tough and challenging moments in a house with five kids, there are fun and sweet moments too. Our relaxed schedule allows us flexibility- though a predictable routine keeps us all a little happier. We went to a (free) zoo last week and visit a new park often.

I’m thankful for other bloggers who share their travel tips- like Tsh’s little secret on where to get open internet. (Thanks Tsh!) I started Gilmore Girls over the weekend (I never watched it when it aired. Gasp.), and it’s just the light-hearted, anxiety-free show I need right now.

’til next time…

Mandy Sig

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