HER NAME IS RED

November 26, 2018


Her name is Red Elizabeth Bratcher.

If you follow me on ig, then you know about 6 weeks ago, we welcomed another sweet little girl into our lives via adoption. We are definitely in that newborn haze and still trying to figure out how to balance 5 kids (not easy!), four of whom I am currently responsible for their schooling. It’s been pretty silent in this space and I had thought I would share more seeing how November is National Adoption Month, but we’re too busy adjusting and enjoying this sweet little babe of ours. Plus, I’m still trying to figure out what and how to share. There are so many hearts involved; adoption is joy and loss existing simultaneously together. It is Red’s story to share, so I don’t want to overstep because this belongs to her. But just like I have shared the birth stories of our other girls, how she entered our lives is something we take joy in too. I will share what I can in time, which probably won’t be much, but for now, let’s start with her name…

Red symbolizes blood, life, and family. It’s sort of a different take on the name Scarlett. We are so thankful that her birth mom chose life for her. While she didn’t grow in my belly, from the day we found out this possibility, God started growing her in our heart. All 6 of our hearts. She is part of us. The Bratcher Bunch went from 6 to 7. Also, our prayer for Red is Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” We pray that she would ultimately find her identity in the REDemption of the blood of Jesus and what He did for her on the cross.

Elizabeth is birth mom’s middle name, so we gave her the middle name Elizabeth to honor Red’s first mama. Her name is something that we discussed with her first mama prior to her arrival, and it was the name she was given at birth. Our adoption is open adoption, and we will always celebrate her unique story, so it is special that her name is a reflection of that.

My mother-in-law put all the girls’ names together in a way that’s easy for people to remember. She tells people, “A true, brave soul glows red.”


THE SIX OF US

October 15, 2018


This was a special Sunday for the six of us. My girls have grown so much the last few months. Life throws unexpected things and these girls have risen to the occasion. God’s provided all the strength, courage, and peace they need, and then some. God is using this particular moment in time for their good and His glory. We might not see the immediate effects of the trials now, but we know it’s doing some deep work in the depths of their heart. All good things, I know.

The song “Wonderful Life” from the movie Small Foot has kind of been sort of family theme song lately. It’s a song of excitement, curiosity, and thankfulness for what’s to come and I think we’re especially feeling that now…

Take a look around
And see the world we think we know
Then look closer
There’s more to life than meets the eye
A beauty to behold
It’s all much bigger than we know
It’s only just beginning to unfold
So let it all unfold

Far beyond all reason in your mind
There’s a world mysterious
There for you to find
All these questions
That we always have
All we are is curious
There’s nothing wrong with that
So go ’round every corner
Search every part of the sky
‘Cause a life that’s full of wonder
Is a wonderful life

We will continue to wait on God to unfold our story. We know it’s gonna be a good one, even with bumps that may come up. This life now, with its joys and pains, points us to Christ. He is our hope, truth, filler of wonder, and because of that, it certainly is a wonderful life.


DEAR OCTOBER

October 1, 2018


Dear October,

We’ve been nervously and eagerly anticipating you. We know this month will bring new mercies, more joy, some fighting, abounding grace, lots of forgiveness, and probably a few surprises too. The girls have lots of plans for Halloween and we mostly have all the costumes put together. Some big things are coming up, like my BFF’s official adoption day of her 3 girls that we have all been waiting forever for, a sushi bowl party to celebrate my sisters’ birthdays, and a trip to Texas. I have a pretty long to-do list of things to prep this month, so I better get to it. I spent my free time, on this first day of the month, listening to a couple podcasts, reading articles, and taking a nap (on accident), so yup, none of those things got done. I better get to it cause this month will fly by I’m sure.

Here’s another month to allow God to work in our hearts and put into action that heart shifting and convicting He’s been doing lately. We’re in for the wild, or maybe tame, ride life might bring this month. We’ll see. September was busy getting back into the routine of homeschooling and finishing up some house projects. For awhile there, I didn’t think we’d have an organize house again, but the girls are settled into their new rooms and we are all loving the little switch-a-roo.

We know you don’t bring us vibrant red and orange leaves, and we are content with our evergreens and palm trees. The sun is setting earlier and the days are a bit cooler, so we are definitely feeling the change. Welcome, October, we greet you open arms. Also, we gotta get through you to get to November, and I love November because it’s my birthday month.

Love,
Ruby


SEASONS CHANGING

September 18, 2018


I’m sure most of the country is already starting to feel the change that fall brings. Leaves changing colors, crisp evening air, the need for sweaters, etc. All things that definitely haven’t happened yet for sunny Southern California. We are the land and people that vacillates between a perpetual summer and spring. We do get some sort of winter cold too. Well, cold to us (cue eye rolls from other parts of the country). Right now though, it’s still summer. The intense heat waves of the summer haven’t made a reappearance, but the days are certainly still warm. I’m not even sure when fall will make its grand entrance (though technically, it happens on September 22nd), but we wait in anticipation for that change of season.

I feel like this is our life right now too. We are on the cusp of the change. For my big girls, who are (slowly) inching towards womanhood, I can see the slow gradual changes in them. They are teetering between being little girls and teens. There are still remnants of the little girl in them, but at the same time, there is a bit more defiance in them too. Glow’s babyhood is on the brink as well. There’s so much baby there, but so much of her own little person coming out. Soul, she’s been my steady gal of late, but even she is blooming in her own way. Then, there’s Ben and me, God’s definitely been doing a whirlwind of things in our hearts. All good things for sure, but it doesn’t come without some growing pains. My heart is settled into the change that is to come, not quite sure when it will makes its arrival, but I know that God’s been prepping me for it. God’s been prepping all of us. And while I’m savoring this particular season for as much as I can, I will usher in the change with open arms because I know my God is the one upholding my arms to do so.

Until then, we will drink the last bits of summer…


MEMORIES ARE A FUNNY THING

September 10, 2018


Memories are a funny thing. Like I have all these memories of my girls being born, first bath, first feeding, and all the baby firsts, but they won’t remember much of that. In fact, they don’t remember much of those first couple years. We’ve been cleaning and purging and I came across this tiny shirt. It was a shirt my parents got me when I was a baby, and they clearly left me for Vegas. My mom must have given it to me a long time ago, and I kept it, which is definitely a surprise to my parents because I am the tosser of everything. Well, to them at least. But for the record, I do save certain things. Like this shirt. I’m even thinking about framing it and hanging it somewhere. Because I’m all about eclectic and this fits the bill.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot of the girls’ younger years and all the memories I have of that.  I had all of them so close in age, so while the older 2 do remember Glow being born, they’ve pretty much only known life all together. They travel in a pack. Parents have this big bottle of memories from their children’s  infant and toddler years, but kids don’t ever remember much of that.

When I think back to what I think is my first memory, I remember swimming in the pool of our apartment complex with my parents and their friends and almost drowning. I didn’t know how to swim and I think I let go of the edge for a quick second, and panicked. I have other vague memories of waving goodbye to my dad as he left for work while we were living at the same apartment complex, but I don’t know if it’s a real memory or because I’ve been told that story. Also, I remember going to this particular park with my dad and I loved when we would ride these really big, bumpy slides. That might have started my love for rollercoasters! In all these stories, I was about 3 or 4 years old.

I’m thinking I’m going to have the girls write down the farthest back they can remember now. I’m so curious what they will classify as their first memory. Been feeling really sentimental lately with all the changes going on as the girls grow. So much of this season of motherhood is hard, but it’s also the best. I want to soak in all I can because you blink, and then they’re all grown up.

I’m curious, what do you think your first memory is?


MOM ENOUGH

September 5, 2018


I’m challenging myself to read a book weekly (or a 2 week period depending on the length) that will aid in fueling and refocusing my soul to love Christ more. I have yet to share about my time in Minneapolis this past June, but one of the blessings was coming home with a stack of books from Desiring God. Ben had put this particular book on my list of books to bring home, and while I didn’t know much about it, God knew I needed it (and so did Ben).

The book is called Mom Enough: The Fearless Mother’s Heart and Hope, and it’s such an easy and quick read, a compilation of many different writers. I actually read most of it on my plane ride to Texas in July. Now, I’m definitely not a fearless mother, and I lose heart and hope, and especially my cool often. Ruby pre-kids was always optimistic and bubbly, and you’d never imagine that that young girl would have such a hard time mothering. I was always good with kids, teaching a kids Sunday school class since I was in 7th grade, then going on to study child and adolescent development and get my multiple subject credential to be a teacher, which led to teaching my own classroom of 30 kids. And then I had kids, and that same girl who was a natural with kids, was not a natural with her own kids. LOL

In a sermon recently, our pastor said something along the lines of “If you want to be anxious, then try to control things.” I let out a big internal laugh because that’s so me. I love my kids, and I have fun with them, but motherhood is not for the faint of heart. And I’ve mentioned it before, if you’re a control freak like me, it’s especially hard. Mothering definitely refines my selfish heart; it’s a constant dying to self. It reveals all my weak spots and reminds me how much I need to cling to Christ. Reading this book reminded me why it is I do what I do. Why we have 4 kids and didn’t just stop at 1. Children are such blessings and treasures!

In the book, Christine Hoover writes, “Let us choose to joyfully give of ourselves for our children. Everyday.” In another chapter, she says, “The home exists for Christ.” So many yes and amens to this. May God keep giving me a heart to live that out every single day. I’m certainly not mom enough, but Christ is enough, and that is what shapes my parenting.

Next book that’s coming up will be The Scars That Have Shaped Me by Vaneetha Risner.


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