The Bell Family

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

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Ariana’s Ninth Birthday

For the past year, we’ve been writing letters to the kids in their birthdays. Here’s Ariana’s for her ninth birthday:


To our sweet and lovely Ariana,

Today on your ninth birthday, we celebrate you as our firstborn daughter. We celebrate the sweetness that God has worked in your heart through his Spirit. And we rejoice in the loveliness that he’s given you. Not just in outward beauty—of which God has made you truly gorgeous. But also with inward beauty. You have a heart to serve others. You are full of joy and life. You see beauty all around you and embrace it.

You also have an eye to see beauty and recreate it in other forms. You have a God-given talent for art. You draw and paint and create beauty. You have an eye for colors and shapes and designs. You are an artist and you should be unafraid to chase after that. Creativity is a reflection of God’s own creative nature. By seeing and shaping and creating beauty, you are reflecting the image of our Creator God.

You are eager to love others and serve them by putting them first. You’re quick to give things up for the sake of others. You’re constantly making gifts for others. You learn the names of all your friends and always know about what they like and who their families are. You have a big heart that loves others well. There will be some along the way who will want to snuff that out of you. But you also believe in a King who has an unstoppable, never-giving-up love. And he’s put that same love in you, too.

But there are also warnings for you. Fear is chasing you, wanting to stop you from loving well, from obeying well, from living well. Fear is a temptation to stop trusting in our Good Father, who gives us every good thing. It’s this same fear that makes you shy and want to speak quietly when others can hear what you’re saying. You have every reason for confidence in who God has made you. Not confidence in yourself, but confidence in the Spirit that is so powerfully at work in you. If God is for you, who can be against you? Easy answer: no one.

You’re at the beginning of leaving girlhood behind and heading into womanhood. It’s not going to happen right away. And there’s still a long way to go. But you’re well on your way. Your mother is about to start taking you down that path—showing you what God has designed for you as a woman. Trust your mother. Listen to the words and the teachings she gives you.

More than that, be like your mom. She has been crafted by God’s Spirit into a godly woman. She’s wise and filled with the Spirit and lively. She can cook and write and decorate cakes and raise babies and organize a home and clean anything and counsel women and see things as they really are. Listen to her and learn from her. She is your best asset on your way to becoming your own woman.

Ariana, your name means holy. Remember that you are holy because of what Jesus has done for you. And your middle name means “God is my crown”—because as much as every girl wants to wear a tiara and be a princess, there’s no crown worth wearing but the crown of God himself. Crown yourself with him every moment and every day, for he is good and will always hold you.

Happy birthday, darling.

Dad and mom


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First Day of School Pics – August 2015


Just wanted to put up some updated pics of the kids while we slowly work on getting some more in-depth updates ready.
Clockwise, starting from the top left:
Miriam (1st grade)
Josiah (Preschool)
Heaven (2nd grade)
Ariana (4th grade)
Victoria (Pre-K)
Aiden (Preschool)
Esther (2nd grade)
Liam (5th grade)


Bell Family Update – June 2015

I really don’t know where to start in trying to give an update on the Bell Fam up in Indy. Our last update was about eighteen months ago and to say a lot has happened since is as insufficient as saying that Indiana’s RFRA bill caused a bit of a stir.


The biggest news that isn’t really new anymore is that we now have two new kids that are nearing the end of the adoption process. H_____ is a seven-year-old girl and A____ is a three-year-old boy. Since the adoption isn’t final, we’re still not allowed to part their names or pictures (hence the fuzzed-out faces and Les Miserables-like names). There’s really far too much to say than I can fit into this update, though I’ve already written about it for a separate post. The two kids have been with us for almost a year and we are in the last stretch for finalizing their adoption—right now the adoption hearing is set for June 30th. Transitioning from a family of eight to a family of ten has been incredibly beautiful and tremendously difficult, so much so that there is still much struggle. So please pray for God to knit our family together through his Spirit more and more each day.


In so many other ways, God’s goodness to us is certainly on display. I’ve since taken a new job with a Medicare contractor doing work very similar to what I used to do in Louisville. This job has been a huge blessing to our whole family, because it’s been less stress for me (less stress = happier hubby and daddy) and the role fits my skill set much better than the job I first had when we moved to Indy. The biggest change has been that I’m able to work from home three days a week, which has been a huge blessing for Courtney and the kids. We’re very grateful to God for the job and my boss and the work environment.

Our church has also gone through some changes. The Coveneys, who came with us to start this whole church thing, moved away for a new ministry opportunity in Tennessee and are now currently walking the Appalachian Trail as a family! We’ve also found ourselves settling into a pattern of life and community with five other families. We’ve settled on the name Indy Ekklesia for our church, because it simply means “Indy Church”. Not that we’re claiming to be the only church in Indy, but because it was getting long-winded for our folks to say “we’re part of a church that usually meets at Bill and Courtney’s house, though we move around sometimes to Dan and Neka’s or Myron and Sohn’a’s, too”. Brevity can be a good thing.

Otherwise, we recently got to visit Destin, Florida, with my parents right after finishing up the school year for the kids. Now we’re hitting warm weather, noisy neighborhoods, summer camps, and more. God’s grace abounds.

Thank you for your ongoing prayer and love, even if from afar.


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My Wife Cracks Me Up, Part 5

A lesser known fact about the kingdom feast
After I suggested getting some Chick-fil-A and then immediately being deflated realizing it was Sunday, Court comforted me with this: “That’s okay. You can wait till we’re face to face with Jesus and all we eat is Chick-fil-A.”

A lesser known fact about Eden
Court was trying to explain to the kids that even though we teach the kids to keep their bodily functions quiet in public, that doesn’t make them sinful: “I bet Adam and Eve burped and farted in the garden.”

A lesser known fact about Jonah and his fear of lions
Courtney was trying to train the kids on obedience by giving some negative biblical examples: “And don’t forget about Jonah. He didn’t want to go to Narnia when God told him to go there. And what happened to him?”

A lesser known fact about Court’s lack of obstetrical privacy
After getting what she thought was a random Facebook friend request, Courtney realized it was a nursing student who had observed one of her pregnancies. After thinking about some other seemingly odd friend requests she’d recently gotten: “I don’t know—maybe it’s just a bunch of other people who have also seen my hoo-ha.”

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Liam’s Last Year for Single Digits

Liam, our guinea pig child, is turning into quite a little man. He follows after Jesus, blows us away at times with deep thoughts, loves all things with an electric screen (TV, Wii, tablets, computers, etc.) and legos, experiments with humor, and always has something to say. He’s sensitive, funny, and concerned for others. Babies and little ones are his favorites, and he still isn’t above the occasional cuddle with mom.

Liam challenges me. He talks openly about Jesus to anyone, never fearing what they might think. He loves people all the time no matter the circumstances, and there’s no difference from one person to the next. There’s much I learn from him.

He’s also the perfect big brother. He equally protects and annoys his many younger siblings, and they all think he’s the best. I tell him he often reminds me of my own big brother, a high praise.

So grateful to have been given this kid nine years ago.



With his favorite brother

2014-04-04 12.35.59

Being goofy with his sister


Lego creation




Picking apples



Love this kid


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.


All dolled up


Hot chocolate AND dessert on a date with Mom


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:


Our little monkey


Ready for a safari adventure


Eating like a giraffe


Crocodile ring toss


Wrapping her friend to look like a zebra

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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.


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


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