Gotcha Day –> Year Two

He is the light of every room he enters.
He is the son a mom could only dream about.
He is full of life and possibilities.
He loves hard and big.
He is starting to be more brave in most aspects of life.
He has a natural servant’s heart.
He is the best big brother I have ever seen.
He loves his daddy and longs for every moment he can spend with him.
He loves to kiss his mommy and his baby brother.
He would eat corn dogs every day if he was allowed.
He loves ice cream something fierce.
He works the phrase “Paw Patrol” into every conversation he has.
He loves to laugh and to make other people laugh.

My Sweet Aiden Jahreed-James Ribble 

This weekend, two years ago, a judge in Grenada declared that Aiden could be our little boy. He was officially a Ribble the morning of June 25, 2015.

I watch him every day and marvel at his life. His life is so much more now than it was two years ago. He has grown in maturity and definitely physically (he has legs for days).

Aiden when he revealed that he was going to be a big brother

I will never stop marveling at him and the plans God has for him. I am so honored I get to watch his life unfold. I am so proud to be the mom on the sideline cheering him on. I just get giddy with excitement when I think about all that God has for his life.

My Aiden <3

Happy Gotcha Day sweet boy.

I am so glad to have more days to love on you. You are exquisite.


We Do What We Want

I have always said, “People do what they want.”

When I’m disappointed in the outcome of something based on someone’s actions, I remind myself of this. And if I am being totally honest, I try to point the finger back at myself when I don’t want to do something and feel terrible about it.

Honestly, think about it – you do what you want. You spend your time how you want to.

This is a time I did exactly what I wanted and I made my husband go along with it – I searched LA for the Golden Girls House. Yes, please.

My husband and I were having a discussion the other day about the things we spend money on and how that shows what we value/where our hearts are. This conversation started because we feel we are spending too much on our television choices and we do not want TV to be that big of a thing in our family. We do not want the amount we are currently paying to be reflective of how much we value TV- so we were assessing a change.

We tell the world who we are internally by our outward purchases and actions.

I was driving downtown with my boys the other day (we live in Nashville and we were going downtown to get into the CMA Fest madness. If you have never been … umm it’s crazy-town; especially for those of us who are local.)

As we were driving, I pointed out some of the government buildings to my oldest and I said, “You see those buildings? Mommy went to those buildings a bunch of times to fill out paperwork and turn it in so that they would let me come get you and bring you home.”

A: “Those big buildings? You filled out paperwork so they would let you bring me to Nashville?”
Me : “Yes baby. All the paperwork, because I wanted to bring you home.”

Our first trip to Grenada – this was right before we took him back to his orphanage at the end of our time with him

As I was saying this, I remembered all the times I drove downtown. All the trips; all the parking fees I paid; all the hills I walked up to a building and down to another one – all the hours  of filling out information about myself and my husband.

(This is where I will insert my two cents for those who always ask me, “Why do they make it so difficult?” Because it SHOULD be difficult to adopt a child. We SHOULD have to jump through hoops to make sure these children aren’t trafficked or headed to their doom. It isn’t easy, but nothing worth fighting for should be easy. Every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears is worth every ounce of his protected life.)

A: “Mommy, when I was in Grenada I would cry and cry because I never thought I would have a family. But because you filled out all the papers, they let you bring me home to my family.”

(I proceeded to cry my eyes out for quite a while over this statement. I don’t believe he actually cried about it, but I do believe he longed for a family and he now, as a 6-year-old, has the words to tell me what his 3-year-old self was feeling.)

You see, I showed my son the other day what mattered to me. I showed him that I did what I wanted and what I wanted was to give him a home. I showed him that I would fill out all the papers in the world to bring him home to me. He doesn’t know it also means I spent all the money I needed to make it happen as well; that I raised every penny I could to make him my son.

What do we show our loved ones with our actions?
Do we show them that when we do what we want, we want to love them well?
Do we show them that when we spend our money, we aren’t wasting it on things that don’t matter?

What do you show your children?
What do you show your family?
What do you show your friends?

Challenge : Do what you want and let what you want do a world of good.




The Trait Project : #5 {DeaNa MeRae}

Growing up I went through ebbs and flows about getting married. When I was really little, I thought every single girl got married and had kids one day. As I grew up, I realized that wasn’t true, but that I would probably want to be married one day. Then in my early twenty’s, I kind of decided…. Nah…. I don’t need to get married.

Jokes on me…. I got married in 2011 to an absolutely exquisite human being.

In January 2011 when I married my prince, I gained a family I could have never imagined in my wildest of dreams. I adore my in-laws.

Among these people, I have a most unique relationship with my mother-n-law. Usually, when you are the girlfriend/wife, the mother-n-law can be a difficult person to get along with. We all know moms and their boys; the only comparison is dads and their girls.

DeaNa MeRae Foat Ribble. My mother-n-law.

Hawaii Trip {A trip Jared & I took to Hawaii with my Mother and Father-N-Law}

She is a woman who knows what she wants. You can meet her one time and you know she has exactly in mind what she wants in life and all the ideas of how to achieve it. I can see in my father-in-law’s eyes that this was one of her spicy qualities that drew him to her so many years ago.

She has fire in her eyes. The good kind. The kind that makes you want to join any cause she seeks.

She has this uncanny ability to promote and seek fairness at all costs. She sees when it should be exhibited and holds everyone to a moral standard of ultimate proportions. Seems harsh in concept, but I have seen her compass correct many situations with poise. My husband inherited this from her as well as my oldest nephew. To see how each of the boys displays this is quite astounding. Especially my nephew. Being twelve and having such an innate measure of fairness has proven to show him as one incredible friend to have by your side.

DeaNa Being Silly {A throwback from when we were dating. You can see why it was so easy to love this woman to begin with :)}

I had the privilege of living with my in-laws for a little over a year when my father-n-law ran for the US House of Representatives for the first time. Bonding with and seeing my mother-n-law on that campaign forever shaped my relationship with her and my view of her.

As we can all see right now with the Presidential election looming upon us, campaigns can be nasty. Even if there is nothing bad to say about you, people will make up slanderous things and spew them for the world to see. It’s horrific. I had to watch as my family went through this. At the helm of the hurt? My mother-n-law.

My father-n-law had a goal in mind. He allowed the hate and lies to roll off of his back. My mother-n-law took each blow for the family. When it was difficult she winced a little, but she kept pushing. Why? Because she knew the decision to pursue this office was the right decision. She knew how to keep our family compass pointed north and she herself was the needle holding us on course.

Deana & Nephews {DeaNa with my nephews, Benjamin & Joseff, while we were working on the Campaign in 2010}

I was able to be next to her for comfort and companionship during that very lonely and tiring time. I wouldn’t trade those days for anything in the world. It shaped our relationship. I was able to understand my mother-n-law on a level I think most daughter-in-law’s miss out on. I fully believe if we knew our in-laws as intimately as the parents who raised us, we might view them differently. If we knew what makes them who they are and if we knew what it was about them that raised our spouses the way they did; I think we would have different relationships with them.

And more importantly, if we knew their inner struggles–  the things that keep them awake at night and the heartbeats that keep them pursing the health of their family at all costs–  if we knew these things, we would then fall into their arms as their own child with thanksgiving for being bestowed the honor to call them yours.

{I fully understand each person’s experiences are different. These are just how I view families who really have healthy dynamics that they sometimes take for granted.}

This is what I have in DeaNa. I truly have a second mom.

I have never in my life loved a human being like I love her son Jared. And with that gift came a whole family I can now add to the list of “mine.”

DeaNa & Reid {My in-laws : Reid & DeaNa}

DeaNa, thank you for your fire and your fairness. Thank you for instilling that in your son whom I married. I look forward to him teaching our son those qualities and what it means to protect and pursue those you love with passion.

I can never say thank you enough for welcoming me into the Ribble family with arms wide open. I love you.

“Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.” -H. Jackson Brown, Jr. {author}