May our focus always be on the One who made all things possible. Wishing you a Christmas filled with love to overflowing!
May our focus always be on the One who made all things possible. Wishing you a Christmas filled with love to overflowing!
I couldn’t type one word of this post without tears. It’s what I do now apparently: snuggle and chase a bunch of little ones all day and cry a lot.
The tears are mostly the result of joy and awe spilling out all over my face. But there are also a few bucketfuls that are from heartache, frustration, fear, and longing. Never before these last 2.5 years of starting our foster care and adoption journey have I realized my absolute need for God’s strength and provision. I am so thankful for what I am learning. I am beyond thankful that God is perfectly in charge.
Wait. I’m not in charge? No, and it stinks. Except that it doesn’t, because so many times I pray for something that I think is best, and then God shows me that guess what? His ways are still best. Better than mine. Always.
So here’s a family life update, which is constantly changing, full, and often smells like a dirty diaper.
Well, let’s see, where to start? Our summer was full of long walks with the babies-turned-toddlers riding in the double stroller, and Brayden, our 6 year old walking beside me. We walked for miles, using the time to practice Brayden’s struggling speech skills. We did a lot of “unschooling” during this time noticing bits of nature, talking through math problems, finding things that started with different letters – so much learning. I will look back on this summer as one that was incredibly busy and wonderfully wonderful.
Elias graduated from high school and we were finally able to celebrate with a simple party in June. We had a cake pop and iced coffee bar (I highly recommend the iced coffee! Cake pops? They were a hit, but I’m not sure I want to take the time to make them again, ha!)
Justus was blessed to spend the summer in Texas as a youth ministry intern. As a result of his great experience, he came back in August ready to add another major to his original college plan. So now he is both a vocal performance major AND a ministry major. What a beautiful combination for whatever career God has for his future.
Just before school started we were amazed to get all seven boys together for our traditional back-to-school lunch. We didn’t go school shopping together like we usually do, and we didn’t go to the restaurant like we usually do. Instead, we grabbed take-out and ate together at the park.
Mid August, we got Elias and Justus moved into their college dorms/apartments. Even Keith helped. :)
Suddenly, Malachi went from the youngest of four boys to the oldest of four boys at home. He rocked this role from the start. We settled into our school year homeschooling a sophomore and a first grader while chasing two busy toddlers.
Just when we thought we couldn’t get any busier, God surprised us and changed our lives completely by putting a newborn bundle of pink in our lives. She’s a bio family member of our other bonus kids, so God’s yes was an immediate yes for us too. We were all smitten from the moment we laid eyes on her.
Our littles love to pile on our big boys whenever they show up.
Phew. So here we were. Trying to juggle this very full life with four awesome big kids, a fabulous six-year-old, two one-year-old toddlers, and a newborn. Homeschool much? Well, isn’t that the question of the year.
Malachi is a sophomore so he’s able to do a lot of his work on his own and with a tutor that God led us to hire for him. Homeschooling Brayden became a much bigger challenge, though the truth is, the challenge had started even before we got a newborn.
The past several months had revealed more of the struggles our little guy faces with academics and behavior. The time his needs were taking me every day took away from other important needs, and I found that even when I poured a huge amount of energy into his learning and behavior needs, I still wasn’t able to give him what he required. I regrouped, tried different ideas and methods, prayed, prayed, prayed.
God answered. I ignored Him though because He told us to send Brayden to school. Send our boy to school? No, that couldn’t be the answer. We’ve always homeschooled. I could do this. I would do this.
God said it again in a different way. Then again. Then again. Finally, I listened and we obeyed. Funny how I’ve always supported every person’s educational decisions for their family no matter what they chose, but goodness I had a hard time letting go of this for myself. I’ve grieved and cried because wow this change is a big one. I’ve always been a homeschool mom, I cried!! Then Justus said, pointing to Baby Sis, “Well up until two weeks ago you’ve always been a boy mom.” Well isn’t that the truth? Change might be hard, but it doesn’t have to be bad. Change can be very, very good.
God is faithful and good. He paved this out and eased Brayden’s transition, and here we are. Brayden has been going to public school for two months now, getting the extra help and resources that he so badly needed. Truly, we are so grateful.
So back to being more than just a boy mom. What a huge change, and well, it’s alright I guess. ;)
We try to sleep when we can. My kitchen floor is almost always gross. Our toddlers are almost two. One of them is likely to go back to bio family soon. Keith (our adopted toddler) is Mommy and Daddy’s sidekick whenever possible. And look at this! Asa and his film crew came from Lincoln to feature Keith in a special video. I’ll let you know when it comes out!
Malachi holds Baby Sis (diapers are a no-go though!) so I can chase toddlers and make dinner. Just when we started to feel settled in again with our newest little one, God answered a prayer we’ve prayed for a very long time…
Another bio family member of our littles gets to move in with us too! So now there’s not just one girl, but two!
Friends? We have a GIRL ROOM in our house now!
Our newest one is sweet as can be and constantly amazes us with the level of girlness she has brought to our home. Princesses, dress-up clothes, hair styling, dollies, crafts, sparkles – once again, we are smitten. I walked into the boys’ room one day this week to witness this:
So this is our life now. Seven boys. Two girls. For today. And we’re truly learning that we must live just one day at a time.
God’s mercies are new every morning. We ask for your prayers and we thank you for your constant encouragement and support. Whatever you do, don’t underestimate what God may have for your life. If He surprises you by bringing you something unexpected, lean in, and be open to all He wants to teach you through it. The challenges that come with the changes will be met with God’s strength in the most beautiful way you can imagine.
Looking for some creative ways to spend time with your family this summer? Here are some ideas for Family Summertime Activities that we shared last year. We’ll be pulling these out again this year to do all over again!
It’s easy to have big ideas at the beginning of the summer to think that you’ll do ALL THE THINGS with your family before school starts up again. It’s ok to come up with lots of ideas but don’t feel bad if you don’t get to all of them!
We hope that the ideas we’re sharing here are unique and doable for you. Just choose what seems to be the best for you and your family.
Obviously, anything food related is always a hit! So you’ll see that many of these ideas have to do with food. What can we say?
Also – I can’t say this loudly enough: SERVE OTHERS TOGETHER!!!
Do not make summertime or anytime all about you. Ask God to help you find ways to serve others. The opportunities are endless and God will most definitely show you who needs your help when your heart is open for service.
Our family has made so many wonderful memories together serving others. Not because every act of service has been easy or fun. But because serving together has taught us more about who God is. And looking back on that as a family is always glorious.
So whatever your plans this summer, put “Serve Together Often!” at the top of your list. Pray as a family about this and watch God work!
Here’s the precious face I’ve been looking forward to sharing with you!
He’s learning to feed himself, and he’s oh-so proud.
His name is Keith, and as of today, he is Coppinger Boy #6.
Foster care and adoption is an emotional experience in at least a thousand ways. There’s joy and there’s sorrow. Adding to the family also means there is loss in some form. We don’t take that lightly.
But today, we fully embrace the joy of adding to our family. We embrace it so much that the tears won’t stop. This little boy, who has been a part of our family since he was just 2 months old, has overcome so much in his short life. That we get to be a part of this and learn more about victory in Jesus because of him humbles us greatly.
Keith loves Mommy and Daddy. He thinks all of his older brothers are THE BEST. But when Brayden walks into the room, there’s no doubt who he thinks is the BEST BEST.
These two have a special bond – so much so that Keith’s first word was actually “Brayden.” I was lobbying for “mama.” We all asssumed it would be “dada.” But when the big day came, Keith looked up at his beloved Brayden and said, “Dudden! Dudden!” It is the sweetest thing ever.
We continue to foster Boy Babe #2. Our older sons continue to embrace this new life with grace and love. Matt and I stand in amazement as we experience all God is doing and teaching us through this.
Thank you for walking this journey with us. Your love and support has meant so much – and I’ll thank you by sharing lots of adorable Keith pictures now that I can!!!
Here he is with Justus, age 20. Because yes, we now have sons aged 1-22!!!!!
He’s already learning to cook. I’m pretty sure he was making me some coffee…
Keith got to wear Elias’ hat!
Yes, he truly is as sweet as he looks.
And most days, he’s happy as can be!
God bless YOU in whatever ways He is working in YOUR lives. I have no doubt He is doing great things!
With love overflowing and hearts full of wonder, we wish you the happiest of Christmases.
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.
I’m curious how much you pay for a doctor’s appointment. And for healthcare in general.
This is not because I’m nosey. Well fine. It’s a little bit because I’m nosey. I’m just really curious about how healthcare works for different families in different circumstances.
We pay full price, out of pocket for doctor appointments (specific $$ amounts below).
Our family has chosen to have Christian Healthcare Ministries as our health insurance provider and it is perfect for us. We pay a tiny total of $135/month for this, which I feel is remarkable. We have a high deductible ($5,000 per incident). But we had the same super high deductible when we were paying almost $900/month for regular insurance too. So obviously, we really love the $135. :)
(How happy are we that I don’t have to put stickers over Bonus Boy’s face anymore!!!!)
With CHM, we don’t have a copay for doctor visits. We don’t have amazing benefits, dental, or vision coverage. Basically, we only have CHM insurance in our back pocket in case something major happens. Therefore, when we need to go to the doctor, we pay 100% out of pocket for the appointment.
BUT, the hundreds of dollars we save each month (around $765 to be exact – whoa!) more than covers all of those doctor fees. Plus it gives us a cushion so we can save for the deductible if we need it.
I love that instead of giving so much money each month to an insurance company (it felt like $money$ down the drain!), we can instead put that money toward our chiropractor, natural doctor, and wholesome food. We only go to a doctor when we really need to, trying natural remedies at home first.
Ah, so I haven’t even answered my own question yet. Our chiropractor costs $45 for a thorough adjustment and healthcare advice. Our natural doctor charges around $65 for a consultation, then we pay additional amounts for the supplements and remedies she offers.
Last time we went to our local Urgent Care for a check-up (Matt and I had to get a physical before becoming licensed foster parents) – it cost us $125 each. And that was apparently a discount because we were paying cash. Hmm. Then we got billed separately for the urine test. (I can’t remember how much those were.)
So all of these come out of our pocket each time we need them. Still, we save thousands of dollars every year going this route.
Sure, if the copay was $5 like it used to be. Remember those days? I remember those days!
At this point though, and you’ll have to let me know how it works for you, I don’t think a copay would benefit us. We really, really like paying such a low monthly premium. And since we rarely go to traditional doctors anyway, I don’t think having “regular” insurance would really help us much.
That’s what we pay when we go to the doctor. Plus the cost of the supplements they recommend.
We go in phases of needing to go frequently and have periods of time that several months go by without a visit. It all depends on the need!
Oh, and last year when Elias suffered a terrible ankle injury during a basketball game, we got to drop a cool $850 for an ER visit with all the perks (like a wheelchair ride). Good thing we save almost that much every month on our insurance premium. Ha!
I’ve been thinking about all of this – the cost of a doctor visit, the cost of health insurance, the cost of supplements – as I have considered this:
It may sound funny to think of this as a “health care option” but hear me out!
As this year’s Healthy Living Bundle sale time was approaching. I spent a few hours looking through almost every single product. We’re talking 46 eBooks, 32 eCourses, audios & workshops, 10 printable packs & workbooks, and 2 summits. Phew.
Why did I spend so much time on this? Because I can’t and I won’t promote a product or recommend that you purchase something if I don’t feel confident that it’s worth your time and money.
While reading through so many of the materials, watching the videos, printing the packets, exploring the eCourses – I found that I kept learning new tidbits that would really bless my family’s health. There I was, looking to see what I could maybe share about the bundle as I determined if it was “worth it” – and the entire time I found myself learning:
There’s much more, but those were some highlights for me.
And then I realized: The contents of this bundle, this package containing $3000 worth of health information and tools, costs less than one of my chiropractor appointments. I have learned so much already, and while I don’t need or want all of the products included – paying $37 to learn what I have learned and I’m learning is absolutely worth it.
So I decided to tell you about it.
I’m not sure what you pay for a doctor visit, but I’m guessing the $37 price tag on this Healthy Living package is comparable or even much cheaper. I want to encourage you to check into this because well, where else can we pay just $37 for so much worthwhile health information?
Me too!! I have them all and seeing as they’ve been around since 2012, that means this is my 8th one. :) But each bundle is brand new and full of the latest and greatest. I guarantee you’ll learn something new (or if you’re like me, you’ll learn 7 new things in the first hours, ha!).
When the price is lower than a doctor visit and holds so much more information than I could ever get in one doctor visit – that’s when I know it’s beyond worth it to purchase. (Though it doesn’t take the place of a doctor visit if we need one. It had to be said.) ;)
And then there are these:
All of this comes with your bundle purchase, which is so much fun and so beneficial.
I always get the Lymph Rub from TriLight Health because it is so good to have on hand to fight off illness! I like a lot of their other products too, and keep them on hand as ready-to-grab home remedies.
I already also ordered the bonus from Perfect Supplements, Earthley, and MadeOn. So many great free items to help keep our families healthy!
I’m thankful that we rarely need to go to a doctor, and that when we do, we have great options for natural care. (I’m also thankful for traditional doctors who are there when we need them!) I’m thankful for home remedies and natural home-care options. I’m thankful for everything I can get my hands on to read and learn and grow in ways of healthy living.
So, I’m thankful for this, and I recommend that you check it out and enjoy learning from it too! —>
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! It is my honor to introduce you all to our son, our Bonus Boy:
If you’re crying over that sweet face right now, you can be guaranteed that I am too.
Yesterday was a very, very big day!
We all wore flamingo apparel to the courthouse. Why, you ask? Why would we all wear flamingos for our special day in court?
Because we are a flamingo family. See, our oldest son Asa started a flamingo-wearing tradition a few years ago at the beginning of his freshman year of college. He started wearing some sort of flamingo apparel every Friday, dubbing it “Flamingo Friday.” It was so much fun that slowly we all started picking up flamingo socks and shirts also. Last year I even decorated my re-constructed bathroom with flamingos (because how else can a mom living in a household full of males have a PINK bathroom, am I right?!?!).
Anyway, flamingos. We love them. It’s a Coppinger thing.
So it only made sense that on this special day when we were adding a precious new one to our flock – we should all wear flamingos to celebrate.
So now it’s official! He is Brayden, our Bonus Boy. He made our youngest child become a middle child. He made all six of us reevaluate our priorities. He made us dig down and examine what it means to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus daily. He made us let go of the idea of soon having an empty nest, and helped us embrace the beauty of a home that starts over and embraces God’s better plan.
He made us the Coppinger7.
I stand in awe of this and of all the unknowns that God has yet to reveal.
While the adoption is now final, we realize that the journey is really just beginning. Yes, we are incredibly blessed to have this opportunity. But there’s no such thing as a “happily ever after.” We find that we need to constantly be in prayer over each day, asking for wisdom and guidance as we navigate roads we haven’t traveled before.
More than anything, we’ve learned that having an open heart to “whatever it is God wants to do in our lives” means that He’ll likely take us to a place we didn’t expect. But what better place is there than one that God leads you to Himself? Guaranteed, through it He will always provide for every need.
We praise God that our open hearts led us to this challenging and beautiful new life. Welcome to our world, Brayden Coppinger. You are dearly loved.
Once Upon a 25th Anniversary…
On this day, 25 years ago, two kids got married.
They were sweet and they were head over heels and they were ready (or not) to embark on the next journey of life called marriage.
Immediately following the wedding, they excitedly drove away toward their honeymoon destination, Colorado Springs, Colorado. They enjoyed a stay in a hideaway cabin, while taking in the scenery and walking the fun streets of Manitou Springs.
All the while, they talked and dreamed. They imagined what their life as a married couple and family would become. They talked about their future sons and daughters (ha!), what they might look like – if they’d be tall, blond, athletic, and adorable.
They rode the Cog Railway to the top of Pikes Peak, and as they rode, they made a decision. Right there they declared, “On our 25th anniversary, let’s come back here and do this again!” And so it was decided. They would celebrate their 25th anniversary back in Colorado Springs.
As the years went by, God made many of their dreamy dreams come true. They were in ministry together, went through hardship together, figured out more of life together and would you believe? They had four adorable children – all sons – who are most certainly tall, blond, athletic, and much more incredible than they could ever have imagined.
Somehow those children grew and grew and began to leave the nest. They became teens and adults and the couple saw God at work in them in ways that left them constantly in amazement. Through this, the couple recognized more and more their need for Christ. They learned that God is the Father of their children. Surrender became a keyword in their household. They asked God to help them learn what it meant to live fully through the Holy Spirit because they knew they couldn’t do any of this life through their own strength or without help.
Then, one day without warning, God taught them a lesson in true surrender. Who was this? A 4-year old boy on the doorstep? Would they be willing to give him a home?
They gathered the family and spent some time in prayer. Yes, they decided. They would gladly give this dear one a home.
So four boys became five, and they all marveled at this unexpected turn of events in their lives. While big boys were leaving the nest, a new boy was added. Then just a few months later, the boy’s baby cousin moved into the home too. Six boys? One of them tiny? Well now, no one, not anyone had seen this coming.
But God. He had known all along. And as the family looked back on the past year’s events, they saw how He had prepared them for this. How He was fully in this and how He would always provide.
The oldest of six graduated from college just as the youngest of six was learning to crawl. Tears of trial and tears of gladness fell frequently down the mother’s cheeks. “How did we get here?” she often wondered.
Then quite suddenly, the couple’s 25th anniversary began to approach. Laughingly, they remembered their decision, made so long ago, to go back to Colorado Springs to celebrate their 25th anniversary. The couple marveled again at the innocence of the decision they had made as newlyweds, the unknown blessings that God would provide to their family and home through all these years. The four biological sons God would give them. The Bonus Boys they would fall in love with. The life, the ministry, the lessons, the love.
So much for the 25th-anniversary trip, thought the couple. No matter though. God had them where He wanted them. They could go on that trip another time.
But their friends wouldn’t hear of it. As they listened to the story of the sweet young couple who had so long ago made dreamy, faraway plans, they stood resolutely and said, “We’re making this happen for you. You are going.”
Tears fell again over the love being poured out. And then, because God was a part of it all, the plans began to fall into place.
With the help of the couple’s fabulous, servant-hearted grown sons and the absolute determination of the kind and loving friends, the couple filled the freezer with nuggets and the refrigerator with applesauce. They made a five-page instruction list and gave thorough tutorials to their sons on how to change diapers and make bottles. The sons and the friends said, “Enough. We’ve got this. GO.”
And so they did. The couple was amazed that it was happening, but away they went. They drove and they talked and they reflected on all God has done during the past 25 years. They praised God for their willing sons and darling friends who were so precious to care for the little ones so they could have a much-needed getaway.
It really happened. They went to Colorado Springs. They hiked and they walked the shops at Manitou and they relaxed and they soaked up the sun. They went to some of their favorite honeymoon spots and realized in awe how long ago it had been, but how quickly the 25 years had passed.
They laughed at themselves because even while they were away from the kids, they found that they talked about them constantly. They prayed together and they rested and they conquered The Manitou Incline – a challenge they loved taking on together.
Meanwhile, back at home, the kids were all well. From the friends to the big boys to the little boys, all fared just fine.
The couple returned home refreshed and ready for hugs. What they had once dreamed of, then had written off as impossible, had actually become a reality thanks to the love of so many who were willing to serve.
What will the next 25 years have in store? Well, if the couple has learned anything during these first 25 years of marriage it is that only God knows the plan. They know to be open and willing to say “yes” to God’s yes. They know that He is providing for them and preparing them for all that the unknowns that are to come.
Praise God for 25 years of experiencing God’s goodness and faithfulness, together. Here’s to every new tomorrow…
I have a new favorite cheat meal, and I don’t even feel bad about it.
It was about this time last year that I wrote my Beyond the Free Range Chicken post. In that post, I expressed that while I still love and desire to feed my family as healthy as possible, I’ve learned that it is more important to focus my time and energy outside the kitchen loving people. What’s more important?
I’m going to go with The Greatest Commandment.
Little did I know what God was doing in our lives as He was teaching us to take hold of His commands and the promises of joy that came with them! He’s helping us learn to love better, to see people, and to share the hope He constantly provides. Meanwhile, He moved a 4-year old Bonus Boy into our house. He’s the son of one of the “neighbors we were loving on.” The 4-year old turned 5, and after a few months, it was decided that our family would adopt him.
The busy lives we had been living became much, much busier – but no matter because God has been in every part, perfectly providing everything we need. He’s been showing us during all of this how to let go of what isn’t important for His Kingdom and to fix our eyes more firmly on what He has to offer.
I could share thousands of words about all we are learning. But today, regarding food? Here’s a biggie I’ve learned: Who cares if you sometimes need to eat a less-than-perfect meal if the tradeoff is having more time to share Jesus’ love with others? Pray over the food, throw out the mixed greens or easy veggie to go with it, and trust that God is still providing His best for you.
This leads me to share my current favorite cheat meal. Don’t get too excited. It’s not even something to pass out over.
It’s homemade-ish pizza.
Sure, I can make homemade pizza crust. Here’s the recipe for the days you have time. It’s fabulous. I recommend it. But you know what else I recommend for the days you don’t have time (because you’ve been sharing God’s love with people)?
Pre-made Pizza Crust. Organic…or not. Whole grain…or not. God is bigger, my friends. It’s just a pizza crust. This should not make us lose sleep. God’s purposes for our lives are bigger than the occasional serving of white flour.
I now regularly buy pre-made pizza crusts to keep in my freezer. About once every week, between foster care meetings and court dates and diapers and bottles and therapy appointments, I ask my big boys pull some out and top them as they please. This is our lunch or our dinner and it is so easy!
First, I don’t stress over it. A peaceful heart is great for one’s health. Second, we pull out mixed greens and eat salad with it. Often fresh fruit too. Again – SO EASY. It’s also fun and tasty, an added bonus.
And there you have it: My favorite cheat meal.
In the tug of war for all that demands our attention, loving people should win every time!
Today let’s talk about using Chicken or Beef Broth instead of water when cooking!
Around these parts, I am a little bit famous for making all the people drink water.
Little sips, here and there, all day long. Go drink the water.
I preach this to my family, to all the college students in and out of my house, to all the dear ones I’m reaching out to in our community, to everyone who has a complaint. It’s a simple start to anything that needs fixing.
I say it so often that people tease me about it when something happens – like when my shoe comes untied at a soccer game. “Well, Laura. It looks like you need to drink some water.” Touche.
Drinking water is necessary and vital and crucial (my thesaurus and I could go on and on). Our health depends on it.
But do you know what is even better than water? Bone Broth. Indeed.
Bone broth is made with water, but also with vegetables and sea salt. Vitamins and minerals AND water? Yes. And also gelatin from the bones, which is awesome for our skin, teeth, bones, digestive system, and more.
I say all of this to encourage us – if possible – to use broth instead of water while we are cooking meals for our families.
Not only will we enjoy many more nutrients when using broth instead of water, but we will also be enjoying an incredible boost in flavor. Rice cooked in broth is incredible! Veggies steamed in broth are many notches above.
Make the broth. Or buy the broth. (I do both. I buy broth to have on hand in a pinch so I can use it often. I make broth as much as possible so I can be ensured of maximum nutrition and flavor!)
Confession: Lately I’ve been making pot after pot of Beef Broth instead of Chicken Broth. Why? Because it’s much faster BECAUSE THERE ARE NO CHICKENS TO BONE!!! Taking meat off chickens is not my favorite job. You already know this about me. So instead, I almost always make broth with Beef Soup Bones. Then the meat falls off the bones and my job is done. Amen, hallelujah.
My latest broth-making-thrill is that I’ve started making it in my Instant Pot. Boy does that save time! How to Make Broth in the Instant Pot…post coming next!
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