The Bell Family

Random ponderings on God, life, and the humor all around us


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Miriam Turns 5!

Our fourth little Bell turned five over the weekend. This girl rocks. my. world. Miriam means “life” and “laughter” because of her Easter birth on a toilet, and she’s certainly lived up to that name. We call her our life-lover and our big hot mess. She’s beautifully comfortable in her own skin, not pressured by what others are doing, and crazy joyful. She’s the most likely to incorporate the word “poop” into every conversation and to shake her booty for her friends before her dance practices. She wrestles with the boys, will jump from death defying heights, and barely sniffs when she scrapes a knee.

When I found out I was pregnant with Miriam, I struggled to find joy. I was drowning with three children under the age of three, and Esther was only four months old. I wanted to feel as though that pregnancy was a blessing, but my brain wasn’t convinced. Then when I found out she was a girl, I was disappointed again. I thought it would be best for Liam to have a brother. God showed me how very wrong I was and how to trust that his plans are ALWAYS better than mine. I’ve learned more about contentment and seeing the good in people and circumstances from Miriam than from anyone else in this world. This girl makes me laugh hard and has brought me joy in the midst of sorrow on numerous occasions. I can never express how grateful I am to have been given this fourth child, a little girl, the perfect addition to our family. She was exactly what we needed.

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All dolled up

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Hot chocolate AND dessert on a date with Mom

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Dance recital

Here’s a video of Miriam “feeling” the music:

When our kids turn five, we throw them a “friend party.” Here are some pictures from Miriam’s Jungle Safari party:

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Our little monkey

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Ready for a safari adventure

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Eating like a giraffe

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Crocodile ring toss

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Wrapping her friend to look like a zebra


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Kidisms

Talking about her younger sibling:

Miriam: I like Josiah a lot, and I like Victoria a little.

Right after Miriam farted:

Liam: That was Miriam and that was cool!

While decorating for Christmas:

Miriam: Do we have any hooks to hang our stockings with?

Bill: No.

Miriam: Well what do we do? Do we call the police? Or are they only for catching bad guys?

During breakfast:

Liam: Too much syrup is bad for you. You should have powdered sugar instead.

Almost…:

Miriam: Liam is eight which means he’s almost twelve.


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Family Update

We moved to Indy eighteen months ago, and it seems as though we’ve all but been on radio silence since. There are many of you who still shoot us notes now and then to let us know you’re praying for us, so here’s a bit of an update on what’s going on so you know how to pray more specifically.

We bought a house on the near north side of Indy in February. It’s crazy close to the Children’s Museum, so if we find out you came up here to go there and didn’t tell us, expect a FB unfriending soon…

Our house looks nice, but our neighborhood doesn’t. It’s broken–physically, relationally, spiritually, and emotionally. And it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve known. People are real. They have no reason to hide their problems. They feel comfortable with who they are. That also means they’re comfortable knocking on your door at any time to just hang out or ask for a favor. This I love.

We recently decided to begin a weekly neighborhood Bible study. We’ve had three different families on our street now interested in what we’re doing here, but the concept of a church meeting in a home is pretty foreign. Bible studies feel more comfortable to them. So we’re taking time for “official” discipling and fellowship along with the organic times that are happening most days.

image Once a month we’re also getting together with some other families around the city who are meeting in their own homes so we can encourage one another. God brought these peeps to us around May. They’re theological studs and studettes who get the gospel and get what it means to love on those around them. They have become our Jonathan/David and Elizabeth/Mary friendships.

I’m not gonna lie. I’m ready to throw in the towel every other day. It’s everything I wanted plus so much more, and it’s hard. Like way harder than anything else I’ve done. I love routines, schedules, organization–things that have no place here. I’ve had to learn to trust God’s providence in a way I’ve never known. There’s no prediction to when someone will knock on the door, when I’ll need to set out extra plates or scrounge up more food last minute. Crohn’s disease leaves me feeling fatigued most days. For many reasons, there are frequent financial needs somewhere, finances we don’t have but give away anyway in faith.

We’re also lonely. Our church is small and spread, and it’s difficult to find time to get together with others who will offer the encouragement we need to get through.

Through all this, though, I’ve learned a couple of surprising things. I realized for the first time ever that God controls everything, not me. Who knew?! Yes, yes, I’ve said that to others a gajillion times, but I’ve only begun to really learn this in Indy. The thing I haven’t yet figured out is how to trust him in all this without throwing a toddler-type temper tantrum, sticking out my bottom lip because things aren’t going my way.

I’ve also learned that I need the church. As in they’re more important than air. The fact isn’t new, just the realization. I’ve been part of churches whom I’ve craved seeing when the time comes, but I’ve never needed our church as I do now. I’m forced almost daily to give up my wants at all the times I would normally just serve me. In the past, seeing my church was simply another way to fulfill my self-serving agenda. Now, I CANNOT do this work without someone encouraging me to keep my eye on the prize, to fight the good fight, to remind me of the gospel and what’s been done for me. I can’t do this without someone pointing my sins toward the cross or giving me some practical advice on what I should/shouldn’t be doing. Without them, I would stop fighting.

We’re in a hard season. Not the hardest it could be by any means. We enjoy our children, all of whom are happy and healthy. Bill’s job continues to blow us away with blessings. We have good friends. God’s shown us favor in our neighborhood. But our souls are being stripped of all our preconceived notions of who God is and how he works. Perhaps that’s why we’ve been on radio silence. We aren’t quite sure what to say yet. So we ask you to pray, church. And we’ll write when we can and pray the Spirit speaks on our behalf.


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Kidisms

After watching Liam play soccer for three weeks:

Esther: Why are they always kicking the ball?

With a full mouth during dinner:

Miriam: I can’t answer you. My mouth is full.

Dinnertime games:

Miriam: I have wings, a circle head, a small body, and small legs. What am I?

Me: (after several wrong guesses) What color are you?

Miriam: Whatever color birds are.

Me: Are you a bird?

Miriam: Yes!

On a breakfast date with Daddy after eating half her food:

Miriam: You’re not going to cook anymore for the rest of the day, right?

Bill: We’ll still have lunch, supper, and maybe a snack.

Miriam: (looking worried) I can’t eat anymore today! My belly’s already way too filled up with food!

Bill picking on me regarding a time I locked the kids in the van (which Liam doesn’t remember):

Bill: What would you think if someone locked their keys in the car?

Liam: That would be kind of dumb.

Bill: What if they locked their kids in their car?

Liam: I’m not allowed to say that word, but it’s spelled s-t-o-o-p-i-d.


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Kidisms

*We couldn’t decide which blog these should be on. They reflect fun parenting moments and are sweet memories for our family, so we’ll be double posting these each time.

Ariana and Liam were being competitive one day trying to get their school work done first:

Me: You two don’t need to race.

Ariana: Yes, we do.

Me: Why do you think you have to race?

Ariana: Cause when we mess up, we have to race.

Bill: Do you mean erase?

Ariana: Oh. Yeah.

Big announcement:

Miriam: My favorite colors are black and green, cuz that’s the color of my poop.

That makes sense:

Bill: Should you disobey Mommy?

Ariana: Uh huh.

Bill: What?

Ariana: Uh huh means no.

A child’s observational skills:

After Esther held Josiah in the bathtub so Bill could give him a bath, she observed: “Daddy! Josiah has a tail like you and Liam do!”

We obviously still have much to learn with time concept:

Liam: How long will it take you to drive to Florida?

John: About 18 hours.

Liam: Whoa! That will probably take you 4 days! Maybe even 12 days!

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