I recently discovered a new creative outlet & have some canvases for sale. (I’ve had several people ask if I’m going to sell them, so here you go!) They will be sold on a first come, first served basis by emailing me using the “contact” link in the menu above. They are sold “as is” and all are wrapped around a 1 1/2 inch wood frame. If you’re interested in ordering a custom piece, please feel free to contact me for details. Thanks!
“Life’s roughest storms prove the strength of our anchor”
This is our last week of Reading Club. I can’t believe it’s coming to an end! I’m not gonna lie – some (most) days it’s been hard. We shifted a few weeks in and started incorporating a lot of character development into our time together. It is needed, and there are little glimmers of hope that some of it is sinking in here and there. All in all, though, it’s been a blessing to have the opportunity to work with the fourteen kids who come, and I’m thankful for being able to invest a little bit in their lives. Here are a few of them working on their reading map for The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe.
Speaking of little glimmers of hope…yesterday one of the girls from Reading Club left these on my doorstep (she lives with her grandmother on our street). They were there when we got home from church, and I cried when I saw them. Despite the fact that she picked them from a neighbor’s yard (oops), they symbolize so much to me. They were given in love by a little girl who wasn’t with her mom on Mother’s Day – whose story I don’t fully understand yet. Those simple blooms remind me that what we’re doing here makes a difference & that something beautiful IS coming from our intentional living and loving in this neighborhood. It was a sweet reminder and a promise for the hope of what’s to come.
Last week was teacher appreciation week, and I found myself wishing that we had lots and lots of money so I could buy each and every one of my kids’ teachers something really nice. But alas, they have 13 teachers altogether, so I had to keep it really simple. There’s no way I could ever adequately express my appreciation for all they do. Yohannes made his teacher a sweet card, and the inside read “GOOD JOB!” with a huge smiley face – made me laugh!
Speaking of Yohannes, he asked me to take this picture at the school last week. He says he wants to marry this classmate because she’s smart. I like his priorities, but I’m not ready for my SIX-year-old to be talking about marriage yet!
A week ago today our friends, Justin & Jessica had their precious baby boy, Luke! He’s so tiny, and I loved getting to meet him for the first time! They’re going to be amazing parents, and I’m really happy for them! Look at him sleeping with his mouth open…haha!
Another sweet baby entered our lives this week, too, and is already gone (sniff, sniff). Baby M came to stay with our foster parent friends, Jared and Kaitlyn, for a few days. I got to babysit her today while they were at work, and I might have shed a few tears when I found out that she would be leaving their home this afternoon. We will continue to pray for her, though. Check out her perfectly squeezable legs!
Saturday afternoon we had a bunch of people over to watch the Grizzlies play (beat) the Thunder! Between Mercy Hill friends and neighbor friends, we probably had between 50 & 60 people at our house…so crazy and so fun at the same time! We mostly hung out on the porch and in the yard because the weather was so nice (& we of course had a TV on the porch)! There were so many kids…and babies! And, of course, we played a little ball of our own, too.
I enjoyed hanging out with my boys yesterday for Mother’s Day. The weather was great again (yay!!!) so we were able to spend some time outside. I kind of feel like Jamie about Mother’s Day, and it’s always bittersweet because of Yohannes’s story – but I’m so grateful to be their mom! They’re crazy & we have fun together!
That’s a little bit about what’s been going on around here lately – lots of good stuff! Thanks for reading along, and I hope you have a JOY-filled week!
Whew! It’s been a busy weekend, but it’s been SO good! Saturday morning I ran my first half marathon with my trusty, far more experienced running buddy, Brad. We finished in about 2 hours and 6 minutes, beating my goal time by a few minutes! It was so rainy and stormy the night before and earlier that morning that I thought the race would be cancelled, and I was so excited when it wasn’t! There are so many things I could say about experiencing my first half marathon, but this post is already long with pictures, so I’ll say these five things: 1) black cherry shot blocks are the bomb, 2) the last 2 miles were pretty tough, 3) it felt really, really good to accomplish a goal I’ve been working on a while, 4) creating an awesome playlist is worth the time, and 5) it was very fun to finally be able to run a race with my hubby & not just cheer him along on the sidelines! St. Jude, here I come in December, baby! (Thanks to Brad’s parents who were in town for the weekend – they hung out with our boys A LOT and saved the day!)
Saturday night we celebrated my awesome friend, Kaitlyn’s birthday. Here she is with her husband, Jared.
We walked to Cafe Eclectic with them and a bunch of friends to eat dinner, and then we had Muddy’s cupcakes at their house afterward. What’s a birthday without some Muddy’s?!?!
To make the night even more special, our friends Matt & Peter serenaded us with a lovely medley of songs…
Today we did our normal Sunday afternoon basketball at the house with some guys from the neighborhood. I must say that this basketball thing excites me SO much! I look forward to Sundays every week because we get to hang out with these guys!
On a slightly different note, I saved a baby bird’s life today. Our one lone little baby cardinal fell out of his nest, and I found him and put him back in it. His mama came back to take care of him, and I so hope he makes it! We definitely bonded, and if I wasn’t the crazy bird lady before, I surely am now!
And even though it seems like the weekend couldn’t possibly get better, it did! Straight from playing basketball, we headed a block up the street to Little Flower Catholic Church’s backyard for a Mercy Hill Church baptism and BBQ…..and our oldest son, Riley, was baptized! I could write a whole other blog post about it, but for now I’ll just say that we are so proud of him and his decision to love and follow Jesus! Our friends, Whitney and Laurie were baptized as well, and I’m grateful for their willingness to share their stories with us today.
We were originally supposed to do the baptism/BBQ downtown by the river like last year, but it crested so we couldn’t. Thankfully St. Therese Little Flower graciously allowed us to use their backyard, and Christ City Church let us borrow their “trough” for baptism! I’m thankful for the partnership we have with other churches in our community! It was a beautiful afternoon and evening, and I’ve never been more grateful for this journey we’re on, this neighborhood we’ve been brought to, and the amazing people that we get to do it all with at Mercy Hill!
Whew! And now it’s time to head to bed with a smile on my face and a very happy, content, joyful heart! I hope you all have a JOY-filled week! Thanks for reading and following along!
Brad and I have been training for a 1/2 marathon, and we ran a little over 10 miles Monday. I was surprised how good it felt, and I think I can squeeze out 3 more miles…we’ll see! The race is next Saturday, the 27th. It will be my first 1/2 marathon, and I’m really excited! Brad is so much faster than me, but he’s been good about letting me set the pace, and it’s been a lot of fun to train together. He generally takes Mondays off since Sunday is a work day for him, and we’ve gotten accustomed to doing long runs on Mondays.
This has become my favorite post run breakfast…an everything bagel with a little cream cheese – so good!
The weather last weekend was BEAUTIFUL! I sat out in the sun watching the boys and some neighbor friends play basketball. It was perfect – except for the fact that I got sunburned!
Speaking of basketball, we do a lot of that these days! We move our goal to the end of the driveway, and kids just start showing up….sometimes even the big “kids” come out to play!
This is totally random, but did you know that we had a pet squirrel when I was little? His name was Squeakers. Check out my hair, paisley shirt and “Born to Shop” button, too! Way cool.
I just started reading this book today about public education, and I painted my nails this color (mint apple) with this on top!
We took the boys to Sonic for all day (tax day) Happy Hour Monday after school. It was crazy – so many people there! We got cherry limeades and they all wanted tots….our very own little Napoleon Dynamites!
Yohannes acted really tired and didn’t want to eat breakfast this morning, and I just wrote it off as him being sleepy. When I picked him up at school today I could tell he didn’t feel well, and when we got home his temperature was 103.2°. I asked him if anything hurt or if he felt sick, and he kept saying no. I just tucked him in for the night, though, and he felt pretty lousy. He hasn’t been sick much at all since he joined our family, and I hate seeing him feeling so badly. I hope whatever he has is short-lived.
We’re in the fifth week of the reading club we started, and it’s going well! It’s a lot of work, and Tuesday and Thursday afternoons are really busy – BUT I’m so glad we’re doing it. I love these kids and dream big dreams for them! Here are a few of the club members…
If you follow me on Instagram (I’m katie_joy5) or Facebook, you’ve seen that we have two robins’ nests in our yard and today I also discovered a cardinal’s nest! Here are some pictures I’ve taken over the past week or so of one set of baby robins…
And here are the cardinal eggs. I don’t know if the mama bird will lay another one or two, but I read that they usually lay 3-4 eggs at a time. This nest is right in our front yard by the porch, so you know I’ll be keeping an eye on it…haha (Brad calls me the “crazy bird lady”)!
And I’ll be trying to keep this guy away from all these baby birds!
Happy Wednesday! I hope you all have a great rest of the week! Until next time….
We spent the weekend in Alabama celebrating my Daddy’s 60th birthday, and while our time there was short, it sure was sweet! We had a party for him yesterday at his and Joan’s new house. It’s beautiful, and it was a beautiful day spent with a lot of family we hadn’t seen in a while. Here I am with him and my sister, Kendall.
Before the party began, Brad, the boys & daddy decided to “christen” the new pool, and it was a little chilly! We hadn’t brought swimsuits, so we had to improvise a little. First jump!
The boys had fun with their cousin, Olivia. She’s so tall…growing up way too fast!
Cake time! He had a “beach” cake because we go to the beach with them for a week every summer. This summer will be our 13th year to go, and it’s always my favorite week of the year!
And this is how the day ended…with a beautiful sunset…just perfect! I’m so thankful for my Daddy and for such a perfect day celebrating him with some of the people who love him most!
In the fall of 2009, our family became very aware of & burdened about the orphan crisis, and we made the decision to begin the process of adopting from Ethiopia. On June 16, 2010 we received a referral for a precious little 3.5 year old boy. We met him for the first time on August 2, 2010 & he officially became a 'Dunlap' on August 4, 2010. We brought him home September 10, 2010!
The church began in the fall of 2011 as we opened our home to begin the first missional community. Since then God has faithfully moved families into the neighborhood and allowed us to begin loving and serving the 11,000 people who call the Vollintine-Evergreen Historical District home.
I've recently become part of Compassion International's Advocate Network. I'm very excited to have the opportunity to be a voice for children in need around the world. Please email me using the Contact link to the right if you're interested in hearing about the various aspects of Compassion's ministry OR click the box below to sponsor a child!