The Bell Family

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


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.


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.



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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