Tuesday, November 10, 2015


As morning hues
peak above outstretched land,
casting its light
on dew sprinkled roses,
the sweet song of dawn
rises from the depths.
Blankets of clouds
have come down,
nestling themselves
in the open fields. 
For that small moment
heaven and earth
are not separated.
It is here...
in the space between
night and day,
where the world is quiet,
the slumber still sweet,
that I find peace,
that I find rest. 

~Kayla Leveille

Fields are my favorite. Some people love mountains, some people love oceans, but give me rolling fields with beautiful trees hugging the edges and I'm home. 

For me, mountains are captivating, and will forever put me in awe. Oceans are musical, and will forever sing a beautiful song to me, with mysteries beyond my imagination. But fields... fields are new every day, that roll and spread across the land, best when trees dance among them. Fields are open, and I can see the sun rise in the morning, and set in the evening... Fields are home. 

I'm not one to share my 'artsy' written work. I write things here and there for friends, but mostly everything stays safely tucked away in my journals. But there are two pieces that I wrote, that I keep going back to over the past couple of months, and even though similar, they give me peace. 

Both written as I gaze out into the open space, of my small versions of home. They bring me to the moments where I sit in awe at God's goodness, his grace, and his beautiful creations... when the world was quiet, the air sweet, and my heart still... and I remember. 

Cold crisp air surrounds my soul,
the smell of sweet autumn comforts me.
The sun beams through the leaves of old,
to give off days last light.
Clouds had billowed of white,
now turn to specks of radiant color
to grace the sky at dusk.
The rustle of leaves proves life,
birds sing their last song,
as the world says goodnight. 
You are here.
You have always been here.
You whisper through the breeze,
'comer forth, come near.'
I am pulled into your presence,
your power, your awe.
Away we wander,
sweet lovers delight. 
To walk through the meadows,
to sing with the rain.
To find each others essence,
each others song. 
As dusk draws to a close,
the night draws near. 
But you are here. 
You have always been here. 

~Kayla Leveille

Monday, October 19, 2015

Where are you?

Something I get asked on a weekly basis by friends and family is; where are you in the adoption process?

I love the question, because I know that people care about our journey, about the kids we hope to adopt some day, and are excited for us. The problem is, I never know how to answer it.

The waters of adoption are murky. Sometimes you think you are making no progress, and look down and realize you really have gone places, and other times you think you've been running, but not realizing you're on a treadmill and not going ANYWHERE and exhausting yourself for no reason! Sometimes the progress you've made isn't physical, sometimes it's what God is doing in your heart to prepare you for what it to come... and really, how do you measure that? How do you tell someone 'where' you are in the process, because you're on this journey, with sharp bends, corners, hills, and valleys, and when you've taken the first step on this journey, you don't know how long it is, what it's like, where it goes... so you never know 'where' you are, you just know that you are where God has you. And the funny thing is, when you think you've reached the 'end,' that part where your kids actually come home, you realize you've really only begun!

I think it took me something like 6 months to FINALLY get ahold of the social worker we have to go through. I felt every email I sent, every voice message I left, just got sent into the vast open desert to be lost forever. When she finally answered one day, I was in so much shock that there was actually a voice on the other side of the line, that I didn't even know what to say and was just speechless. She probably thought it was some prank call as I stumbled over my words trying to think of what to say now that she was actually on the phone.

Some people ask 'Why do you keep going through them then? It's so slow, and hard!' Yes. Yes it is. And we know we're not even in the thick of things, we know we're just beginning. But all adoptions are hard, and you never know how long each one is going to take. So we press forward. We call. We write. We fundraise, because we know that when the bills come they will be high and costly, and it's only a matter of time before they come. We fill out forms for a home study we don't know exactly when we will get the go ahead to dive into.

So why? Why do it, why wait, why press forward, why pay the costs, why not just move on? Because we can't.

We can't, because God didn't on us. We've been adopted as God's sons and daughters, and he has paid a far greater price for us then we will ever pay. He didn't stop pursuing us, just because it got hard, just because it was slow, just because we never answered HIS calls out to us. He kept pushing forward, until we came to him. Until we were home in HIS ARMS. So we will push, we will pursue, we will work, we will cry, we will fall to our knees until they are callous and sore, bruised and bloody; because each child matters, each child deserves a family, and we won't stop until our kids, whomever they may be, are home in our arms.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Carmel Apple Pie

I'm not one of those people that grew up making pies. I have friends who say that is what they did with their moms, but my mom made more of the cookies and cakes. So I didn't grow up with a love for pies like some people. So a pie has to be really good in order for me to swoon and ahh over it.

This pie. This pie made me take a trip straight to heaven with one bite. Oh. My. GOODNESS!!!!

Remember my post about picking apples? My husband was chomping at the bit to eat some baked goods from all the delicious apples. So, I set out to find a good apple pie recipe.

Now, I don't follow recipes. I can't remember the last time I followed a recipe to a T. I'm that person who substitutes everything, and puts in a dash and a pinch instead of getting out my measuring cups.

This time was no different.

I pulled a little from this recipe, and a little from that, and since we still haven't unpacked all of the kitchen boxes, the only measuring utensil I have is a 1/2 Tablespoon. But, the two recipes I stole bits from was this one for the crust, and this one was the base for the rest. I know I used more and less of a few things, so I'll write my list of ingredients for you if you want to try it out :) Also, I didn't want a recipe with Crisco or Lard, so I went with a buttery crust!

Ingredients for the crust:

2 1/2 cups of flour
2 TBLS of sugar
1 TSP of Sea Salt
1 C. of Salted Butter (usually I use unsalted, but my husband bought salted)
6-8 TBLS of cold water (I ended up using 8)

The original recipe said to use a food processor and other fancy smancy things... like measuring utensils... but I don't have a food processor, but it's totally possible to do this without it.


Mix dry ingredients, then cut up the chilled butter in half inch increments and add it to the bowl.

We don't want the butter to get too soft when doing this all with your hands, so use only your finger tips to crumble everything up and mix it together. If it gets pasty, you're probably using too much of the palm of your hand and not the finger tips. Gradually add one TBLS of water at a time until the dough starts to form moist clumps.

Split dough in half, and form two balls, and place each in a ziploc bag. Flatten into circles, and pop into the freezer for 20-30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the fixings.

Ingredients for Filling:

7 C. Peeled cubed apples (I used the ones from our apple tree)
3/4 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Flour
1 TSP Sea Salt
1 TSP Cinnamon
1/2 TSP Nutmeg

Mix all ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Ingredients for the Crumble Topping:

1 1/2 stick of salted butter
1/2 cup Flour
1 C. Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 C. Rolled Oats
1/2 TSP Sea Salt
1/2 C. Chopped Walnuts
1 C. Carmel Sauce.

Mix the flour and butter the same as you did with the crust. Then add in the brown sugar, oats, and salt. It will become thick and pasty, perfect for plopping on top of the pie!

Preheat over to 375 degrees.

Take the crust out of the freezer and place onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out until about 1/8 - 1/4in thick, or large enough to fit into your pie plate with 1 inch to spare on the edges. Place in pie plate, and trim edges to fit pan, and fold in and pinch the edges.

Place prepared apple mixture into the prepared pie crust, and press down to fill in all the spaces and create and even surface.

Spoon topping onto the top of pie filling. It will be enough to cover the entire surface and will be ever so delicious!

At this point I took one look at the pie, and knew it was going to make a mess in my oven. So before putting it in to bake, I placed it on a cookie sheet to catch any delicious drippings that might sneak out.

Bake pie for 1 hour at 375 degrees. Try not to die from the divine smell that fills your kitchen.

Also, if you're anything like me, you may just turn on the oven light and watch in awe as the pie bakes, and the filling bubbles with flavor.

Once pie has baked for 1 hour, top pie with chopped walnuts and bake for another 5 minutes.

Once pie is done, place on cooling rack.

Now it's time for carmel!

I didn't measure how much I put on, but I covered the surface, and then to be extra naughty, I got a chop stick and poked holes into the pie and filled the holes with carmel... I like to live on the edge!

Allow to cool slightly before serving!


Saturday, September 12, 2015

It's Raining Apples!

It's raining around here... raining apples that is! 

When Josh and I looked at Éveiller House the first time, we never noticed this precious little gem nestled in the corner of the property next to the road. I don't think we noticed it the second or third time either, to be honest! We were more concerned with the house itself, and didn't pay a ton of attention to the trees that graced the property line. 

This gem is a 100 year old apple tree, that stands about 30-40 feet high, and has produced literally hundreds of the most delicious apples for us! It's been fun watching the tree branches sag with the weight of the apples as they grow, and the rich color grow redder and redder as time goes on. 

Our kids have been begging to pick the apples from the first time they laid on eyes on the tree. It's been a challenge to keep their grimy little paws off of the apples, to be honest! But today, today is the day that they got to pick apples to their hearts content! 

The boys had loads of fun, climbing the ladders, picking the apples, and were proud as peacocks when their buckets were filled all the way to the top! 

Jared also thought this was the funnest thing ever, but his idea of picking apples was taking bites of all the ones he could get his hands on... Stinker! 

Jared and I abandoned the picking when the bees decided that Jared sticky, sweet smelling, apple juice covered hands were just too good to stay away from. That, and instead of shooing the bees away, Jared just let them crawl all over him, and wanted to pick them off. I usually caught him just in time before his little pinchers pinched the bees, and he never got stung, but I figured it was just a matter of time before our luck was going to run out! 

We only ended up picking maybe a third of the tree before our 10 gallon bucket was filled to the brim of red delicious goodness! 

The tree is so tall that we're not sure how to get to the majority of the apples that sit up at the top. Josh had his 10 foot ladder out, and got a good 12-13 feet up into the apple tree with it, but there is still so much more to go! 

What is the plan with all of these delicious apples? Well, I'm not totally sure... lots of good stuff to be certain! We plan on making some apples preserves, and apple sauces... and probable some yummy baked goods as well! 

It's raining apples around here! Especially when my kids are picking... you have to watch your head of your anywhere near where they are picking, haha! 

Monday, August 31, 2015

...be the person...

I want to write about something that has been on my heart lately. I understand, I don’t share the same opinions as everyone else. I may get a lot of flack for writing this, and that’s ok, maybe somewhere this will help someone, and that’s what matters.

As some of you know, my husband, Josh, and I were separated over 4 years ago for about 8 months. We never made it ‘facebook knowledge’, but anyone who was in our lives at the time knew about it, and we actually don’t have a problem talking about it with people now. We believe that we went through something, we grew from it, we learned a lot, and we should help others because of it.

There are people who still don’t like us to talk about it. They get uncomfortable and like to chant their secret, perfect cry of ‘shame, shame, shame.’ Oh, they may not loudly, obviously, show their disproval, but it is obvious to us, when they cut us off from sharing our story with others in the room, or the second you start talking, they give you, or their partner the disapproving look, or bow their head in embarrassment for you. We’ve seen it so many times, but it’s not their story… it’s ours.

So, what is this ‘thing’ that is pressing me? Unfortunately, in our day and time, it’s not uncommon for couples to split. I’ve known a few who have done so, all under different circumstances, and although each has a different story, I’ve noticed a pattern from people who know said couples.

From my experience, people always blame the person who leaves first. See, no matter the reason that is given for why they left, they will always be at fault in the eyes of the majority of people who know them. Maybe this is just in the Christian church, I’m not 100% certain, but from what I’ve watched and experienced, the leaver will always be at fault instead of the one left, because it’s just a big no-no.

Was their spouse being a jerk? Doesn’t matter, you left, you’re at fault. You should have stayed.
Was their spouse physically abusive? Doesn’t matter, you still left. You said ‘I do’ so suck it up, buttercup. It’s called counseling.
Was your spouse verbally abusive? Controlling? Oh sad. You left, it’s your fault. Don’t be such a pansy.
Or my favorite.. ‘Oh, so YOU left?!?! Well, what are YOU in to? Or should we say ‘WHO’ are you in too?’ (… just, please… stick it where the sun don’t shine. Sorry… but, not really…)

I know, it sounds ridiculous, right?!?! But it’s not far from the truth. I’ve witnessed it over and over again, and it drives me crazy!

Ok, so maybe it wasn’t good thing for them to leave, maybe they should have stayed, and you can clearly see that and are wondering why the hell they would have walked out the door. I mean, don’t they get what a big mistake they are making, how good they have it?  Really, if I would have had their spouse, I mean, goodness, they're amazing… what dirt bags for leaving… right?!?!

Can I say something to you? From the deepest part of my heart… IT DOESN’T MATTER!!!!

Oh. I just hit a nerve. Sorry… but, again, not really.

See, it doesn’t matter WHY they left… you know what this couple needs from you? SUPPORT! They don’t need you to analyze their problems, believe me, plenty of people are already doing that for them, and if not, believe me, they have already done it themselves for far longer then you even knew that there was a problem in their marriage!

You want to know what they REALLY DO NOT need? For YOU, yes YOU, the one who hasn’t lived with them day in and day out, who hasn’t known ever deepest, darkest secret of their marriage, who hasn’t been there for every tear that was spilled in the dark bathroom in the middle of the night, for YOU to place the fault on ANYONE in the situation.


So here is the thing… you aren’t going to fully understand why one spouse left the other. Even if it is so clear to you (who doesn’t live in their life, btw) what the problem is, believe me, you don’t get it.

Take Josh and I for instance. I left Josh. It was when our second child was about 10 months old.  

Josh is a quiet man to everybody on the outside, even at home he's not one to fill in the silence. Because of his quiet nature, no one would ever think of him to be causing any issue. To the rest of the world, I’m the loud one, I’m the opinionated one, I’m the one with all the ability to cause problems, not Josh.

No one, not even myself, knew that I was suffering from Post Partum Depression.

Oh, believe me, that was not our only problem, but that was a huge reason why I did what I did. See, PPD plays with you. You don’t even realize it. It’s playing a game with your mind that you don’t know you’re playing, and it’s made up all the rules; it’s always winning. Small things become much bigger; hurtful words are that much more painful; fights are that much more debilitating. Some people think it only affects how you feel towards your kids, but that’s not the case. It affects everything, and sometimes, it doesn’t affect anything to do with your children. I loved my kids; they were my everything.

But I kept feeling like I needed to escape. Not my kids, but my tiny apartment that was suffocating me, and my husband, who, no matter how hard I tried to talk to him, didn’t want to talk. He’s a man of few words, talking about feelings isn’t helpful… to him, it’s a waste of perfectly good air. I would try to talk about how I felt, and he would walk away saying he had no time for ‘this crap’ and that it was a waste or he’d rather sleep. Worse, my husband wasn’t entirely born with the sympathetic or filtration gene… what that means is: he made horrible jokes about sensitive issues, and those sensitive issues being me, or things I cared deeply about. He thought they were funny and playful and only slightly inappropriate: I thought they were mean and vicious. There were plenty of other things as well, of course, but you get the point. We had problems.

To make a long story short, small things started to manifest in my mind due to the PPD, and the things that actually were big grew into giant monsters that took over. Josh grew to hate me, and hated his life and his job. He had wanted to leave me, long before I had ever left him, but he said ‘I decided I was going to force myself love you.’ Which, in the end, meant tolerate, not love. I didn’t know which way was up or which way was down, and I was easily persuaded by those who thought they had all the answers. I needed help, and I needed out.

So I left. I took the kids, and I was afraid, and I left. His joking, which to him was fine, scared me. I was afraid. I left. But…

Oh, how people hated me. And…

Oh, how people talked behind my back.

I am pretty sure I was the most hated woman in Minnesota because I took my kids and left my husband. My, to the rest of the world, perfect, quiet, never causing an issue, husband.

And oh, to people, how I left Josh was the worst. Forget that in my mind, all I could think of was my kids and caring for them, and their safety, and that in my mind my husband had turned into a giant monster. Oh no… I didn’t leave with enough ‘class.’ I didn’t leave with enough ‘here honey, let me clean everything for you and make you supper for a few days so you can get by while I’m away as a good wife should do.’ And I most certainly didn’t leave with enough grace. Nope. See, I never knew that there were so many different levels of ‘leaving’ you could f*ck up… apparently, there are a lot!

See when I needed people the most, there were only a few… or like, two. Everyone else wanted to throw in their opinion, and cry ‘shame’ over me. No one saw what had gone on, or why. No one knew what I was suffering with… heck, I didn’t even know! No one knew a thing about what was going on… but only a few stood by, and the rest joined the nay sayers.

Can I just say, the pain from being abandoned in your greatest time of need by those closest to you, is more painful, more heartbreaking, cuts deeper, and is harder to bear, then 90% of the stuff your spouse could have ever put you through.

You’ll NEVER know all the reasons someone left. You’ll never know if everything they said is the truth, or everything their spouse said was the truth. You know what? Maybe their spouse does beat them… maybe they don’t. Maybe their spouse did cheat on them… maybe they didn’t. Maybe their spouse says horrible, mean things to them or doesn’t care… maybe not. Maybe they are suffering from a mental illness called depression. You won’t know… you’ll never know exactly. It doesn’t matter.

Do you want to know what matters? You. You being there for them. You choosing not to talk behind their backs. You choosing to stand by them and figure it out together. You praying for them. You choosing them for who they are and not the choice that they are making.

Do you want to know what else matters? Them. The one who left. They’ve gone through a lot. They don’t need to go through more. They might have been through hell; you don’t need to stoke the fire. They may not realize left from right, or up from down, but you don’t need to spin them in circles and scream ‘shame’ at them as they try to straighten it out. They matter. Their feelings matter. What they say matters.

So, stop talking behind their backs. Try standing beside them, and talking too them. Never leave, never stop talking, never point the finger. If they trusted you enough to let you know what was going on, then you sure as hell better stand with them, and love them. That doesn’t mean agreeing with them, it means being in it together to figure things out.

A few months ago, I spoke with a lady who had a similar situation as mine, and had left. From everything I had known, from all ‘the talk’ that was going on around me, I thought she had a good support system, people talking to her, loving her, being there for her.

She didn’t. All ‘the talk’ was a lot of talk about what ‘should be’ done, but no one actually did anything.

Let me tell you… I sobbed.

I didn’t know the whole story, I didn’t need to know. What I know, is that through God, you can forgive, and forgive, and forgive, but you never fully forgot the pain of being alone in your darkest hour. God lessens it, but you’ll never fully forget. I knew the pain, and I sobbed for all those times for her that there was no one to talk too, no one to lean on, no one to just hug and cry with. And I cried, and actually still cry, because by association with ones who hurt her, I can never be that person for her.

Be the person. Just be the person. Get off of the high horse you want to put yourself on because you would never x,y & z, just be the person. I can promise you a couple of things if you will just be there.

One, I can promise you that they will make far better decisions if they have a support person. Thankfully, Josh nor I ever fell into looking for love in wrong places when we were separated, we both found it in God. But those who don’t find it in God, will more then likely find it in someone or something else which will lead them into deeper, darker places then they could ever imagine. I’ve seen it. Those ‘rescuers’ will say they love and respect your friend… but they don’t love them, nor respect them. They use them to make themselves feel better, and call it love. They ‘care for’ and ‘protect’ your friend who is still married by moving in with them and filling the void of a spouse, and call it respect. That’s not respect, that’s disgracing everything he or she is. Be someone, so they don’t go looking for a someone or a something to numb the pain.

Two, they will never, ever forget the few people who stood with them, whether they agree with them or not. They will never forget, that when they were alone, someone cared, someone didn’t judge, someone listened, someone stayed.

Be someone, be the person.

*Josh and I have since (obviously) gotten back together after a lot of change in both of us. We are just like any other normal married couple, we are far from perfect, and argue about silly things, and tease and poke fun of each other all the time. We love each more now then we ever have, and understand each other much more then ever. Plus, the make-up sex ain't so bad either...