My Awefull Life » A Pilgrimage of Wonder

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We spent the latter half of June at the coast of Florida on what would become known as The Great Richmond Reset. After the past two years of being fully entrenched in getting Lulu home and then working to find our way to a new normal, the time away, the space to breath, the ocean to calm even amidst continued chaos, was a memorial stone for our unit of five. I did not have my camera out nearly as much as I would have liked to, but thanks to my phone and instagram, many a moment were captured. I put a few of our favorites together below, and thought it would be fun to compile a list of memories or observations made during the trip to accompany the pictures. A former, more ambitious and well-organized version of myself would at this point suggest I’ll make this the start of a new tradition to be built upon with each family vacation. Silly ol’ naive me.



“You know how time flies
Only yesterday was the time of our lives
We were born and raised in a summer haze
Bound by the surprise of our glory days.” -Adele


 1. Asher is emerging as the most hilarious member of our five – 97% unintentionally.

2. Swim diapers + stomach bug = plenty of “just-figure-it-out” parental moments.

3. If we lived near the ocean, it would take all of 3.33 hours for Emma to become a full-fledged surfer girl. Someone get this chick a beach cruiser.

4. It is apparently perfectly acceptable to charge $8 for a shaved ice as long as you call it “Gourmet” and the surf can be heard from your storefront.

5. A scoop of cotton candy ice cream hits the pavement with much more SPLAT! than actual cotton candy.


7. After several tackles to “save Lulu from the OSHA-AN!” Asher may have a strong future in football.

8. How is it we never have enough snacks at the beach? Why is everyone so darn hungry?

9. A three-year-old will spend hours daily casting his fishing line into the trees outside your beach cottage, but won’t last the time it takes to hook bait at the real thing.

10. One bag of kettle corn for two weeks of vacation is a tragic miscalculation.

11. If you encourage a child to “pee in a crab hole” to save a trip back to the house, you will find him urinating in your backyard once you return home.

12. A seven hour drive grows by one hour per child you have in the car.

13. We are still quite the spectacle even seaside.

14. I still cry when we must drive away from the ocean toward home.

15. Regardless of how much fun you have had or how well a trip has gone, on that last morning your children will scream, cry and pout at the mere mention of proper photograph [see below].

16. A vacation with kids may leave us more exhausted than before we left home, but the opportunity to be crazy us, oceanside will always refresh, rejuvenate and reset our tattered sails.

This is where I pinched them and told them Christmas wasn’t coming this year…Oh no wait – I just asked for a photo, that’s right…sigh. p.s. That Emma, bless her heart for always trying.

  • Jonathon Campbell - This looks like fun. It sounds like one of our beach vacations. It is very hard once the parents are outnumbered. 😉 but very rewarding.ReplyCancel

  • Renata - Congratulations and God Bless you for your obedience to this anizamg call from the Lord. We have recently returned with our ten year old son from Ethiopia, making us a family of 6 now! what a journey! Look for Him always, He will be there at every step and in some of the most bizarre and undenibly God ways’! God bless your growing family! ~the Graves’ReplyCancel

We just returned home last weekend from our much-anticipated beach vacation, and going through photos from the trip I knew I had to post these first. Our first few days in paradise were shared with some good friends, and on the drive south from Tennessee to the coast we made a short stop over in Birmingham to see some other mutual friends. Us, having brought Lulu home in March and our friends the Kowns coming home from China with their daughter a month later, was reason alone to pay a visit and make introductions. For two hours seven kids from 7-years to 16-months-old ran circles around the six adults as we shared moments of conversation and nibbles of food. It was chaos and it was wonderful. Just to be together with long-time friends, to have our adoptions completed and all our kids in one place, was a small summer’s slice of Home. So of course, the day begged to be preserved in pictures to accompany the memories being made of East meets West meets deep South. However, in predictable fashion, the younger set of seven was hardly inclined to oblige the memory-capturing and would have preferred to keep on memory-making free of parental directions to stand still, look here, and SMILE(!!!). The results may not be hung on any of the walls in our homes, but I am grateful to have the sequence all the same. Given time, I imagine our kids will also one day share in appreciation for a handful of pictures recounting a couple of hours with life-long friends.

Take One:

Oh wait – we’re missing one.

Take Two:

Found Lu, time for Claire to escape. Hi Claire.

Takes Three through Six:

Time to regroup and go to Plan B:

Popsicles! (you are brilliant Robyn):

  • Bonnie Baker - I LOVE ‘EM!! Really shows it as it is!! Looks like you guys really had to work hard!! Also popcicles did the trick!! Thanks for sharing!!ReplyCancel

One year ago today my phone rang, bringing the news we had prayed and hoped and waited on for several months. It was June 24th, 2011 when we first heard the name Fasika, first laid eyes on the biggest brown eyes we have ever seen, the first day we became a family of five. What a year it has been- full of the greatest battles and greatest triumphs of our lives. Battles we would fight all over again if asked.
We love you Fasika Louise Richmond- you and all your laughter, spunk and adventure. May God’s Hand in your life and through our love continue to redeem what was stolen from you as a precious baby. On the hardest of days, we all would still choose to fight for you, we will always fight for you luv. Always. Happy Referral-versary!




*photos courtesy of Jen & Chris Creed Photographers (exception: referral photo)

Happy Anniversary to my closest ally, the soul I know as well as my own reflection. In 15 years I have come to crave the full, steadiness of breath your presence alone brings. Our laughter, a familiar old home we have together built, grows deeper with each day, each figuring-it-out-episode of life. My greatest hope for us and our 15 years, is for more. More time. More growth. More of you and me. I love you Rob, my friend, my confidant, my big love-story.
To 15 and Forever,



*photos by Jen & Chris Creed