The Bell Family

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


Bell Family Update–September 2016


I always get to these and think we didn’t have much going on over the past month. But when I look through pictures, I realize just how full our month was! Here are a few things we did.

Though there aren’t many pics of these things, along with school still being in full swing, all other activities are, too. Speech therapies, dance, after school program at the Children’s Museum, and Aiden’s half-day preschool. It’s fall, ya’ll!

The kids all worked hard reading books for the summer reading program. One thing they all earned was a game of mini golf, laser tag, and two games of bowling at Woodland Bowl. It was a full, beautiful, and fun day!20160829_203631766_ios

Two of our dear friends got married at the beginning of the month. I basically set them up, oh yes, I did! Bill had the privilege to officiate their wedding. *Bride not pictured, cause, well, she was a bit preoccupied on her wedding day. Weird, huh?😉20160903_005707396_ios

I had to include a few of these, because as I was going through all the pictures, there were an insane amount the kids just took on their own any time they had access. I just saw most of these for the first time.20160905_100120120160905_100142120160905_10071220160905_1008210

In honor of the 2016 Olympics, Liam made up his own version for our family with five events. The kids made flags and medals. His games were so creative!20160905_172230193_ios20160905_180207913_ios20160905_181112683_ios

Every month, we have something we call an SND (Skip the Nap Day). This month we took a trip to Dayton, OH, to visit Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. We’d never been before, but it was an easy drive, and there are many reciprocal benefits to other museums around when you have a membership. We really enjoyed it!20160909_195322703_ios

Family walks, one of our favorite ways to spend time together.20160910_205651369_ios

Silly faces!20160913_164335000_ios

Ariana and I got to make sugar cookie dough and colored frosting for our sweet friend, LaKieya’s, eleventh birthday party. Her mom planned an at-home Cookies and Canvas party. The girls painted the cutest emoji canvases and decorated cookies. Ariana had a blast! 20160916_150614042_ios

We had our annual girl/boy weekend this month. This year, the girls and I just stayed home, and the boys went camping, a first for the little boys! Bill was a brave, brave man. Pics from the weekend follow:

The Girls
Since big sis was at her Cookies and Canvas party, the other girls and I painted our initials on canvases at home.20160916_212025807_ios20160917_200817794_iosMiriam gets really into movies. This candid shot of her during a tense part of Maleficent is the best!20160917_001346385_iosFinished products of a Michael’s Kid Craft event. 20160917_142850628_iosEsther and Ariana eating like a boss!20160917_154353512_ios20160918_185605000_iosMaking a fairy garden!20160917_180728446_ios20160917_184410833_ios20160917_185657851_iosThe results of a baking day and tea party.20160917_202145196_ios20160917_202227381_iosFun hairstyles20160918_122933796_ios20160918_144704310_iosPeewinkle Puppet Theater. The puppets seriously look alive. The puppeteers were so talented!20160918_165531369_iosPainting pottery at Half-Baked Pottery. I could have stayed there for hours! They were amazing to work with and so good with the girls. We left everything for them to glaze and bake the finished products, and we picked them up a week later. 20160918_192814149_iosLosing a tooth!20160918_225049282_ios

The Boys
The guys were in Bloomington at a Jellystone Park. They spent one rainy day at Wonder Lab down there.20160917_135650594_ios20160917_140318976_ios20160917_141839995_ios20160917_153629540_iosPlaying at the pool20160917_181146317_iosMeeting Boo Boo!20160917_193102442_iosKris Kross will make ya jump, jump!20160917_194141294_iosMy handsome fellas!!!20160918_125850016_ios20160916_235055747_iosLittle guys napping and Liam finishing the last Harry Potter book! 20160918_191014469_iosHiking20160918_211750665_iosBoys get crafty, too, yo.20160918_225424000_iosBell boys in da house! Or outside the tent.20160919_115959335_ios

One of our friends began a community choir this month, and I’m participating! Though I’m teaching private voice lessons again, I haven’t sung in a choir in years. This pic is totally candid. Really.20160920_004350783_ios

By far the best event of the month was that our little Miriam was baptized!!! Her beautiful faith challenges me all. the. time. She was pure joy during her baptism (she pretty much tried to baptize herself she was so excited) and getting to participate in her first Lord’s Supper. For our other children who have been baptized, we’ve partied afterward, telling them they can choose to go wherever they want for ice cream, cupcakes, cookies, whatever. In true content Miriam form, she just wanted to stay home to bake cookies with me. Love her so much!20160925_143528000_ios20160925_163830546_ios

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My Wife Cracks Me Up, Part 6

Private correction
Telling me about how one of the kids needed some correction while she was driving in the van: “You know how I do it. I tell them I’m gonna talk to them later, and then I just go ahead and say it anyway.”

Tough call
I asked Court jokingly, “Which kid is your favorite?” After a thoughtful pause, she replied, “It’s hard to choose between the two.”

Lower than what, exactly?
After reading a reference in her school notes, Courtney asked me, “And why are we called the lower 48 states? I know my geography is terrible, but isn’t Hawaii close to the bottom”

I’m not sure going all-organic is the answer
Giving a theological treatise on the effects of sin in our bodies: “All disease is stupid. It all comes back to a piece of fruit.”

Smile, because it confuses people…
In reference to the fact that Ariana and I are perpetual smilers: “You’re both like the Joker.”

Don’t we all?
After telling the kids about my days loading packages for UPS and the frequent drug dog visits, Courtney pipes in: “I want a drug dog.”

Channeling her inner Yogi Berra
In response to a minor scrape: “A little pain never hurt anyone.”

A gentle word of correction
When one of our girls was acting cranky: “Your panties are in a wad and I’m not gonna reach in there to pull them out for you.”

Smart fun
At family camp, Victoria was doing something incredibly stupid at the playground that was most likely going to get her hurt: “You can have fun without being a moron.”



Bell Family Update–August 2016

Since we’ve been terrible at family updates on here, I’m just going to give a run-down of the last three months.

Most of the post is in pictures, but one sweet part of our summer was spending a few days with Bill’s sister, brother-in-law, and our nephew in Nashville, TN. We haven’t spent much time with just them in a few years, and this was our first time to really get to know our brother-in-law since their wedding last summer. So much fun just hanging with them and swimming in their amazing pool! Unfortunately, we didn’t take a single stinking picture while we there. What?!! I promise it really happened, though.😉

The summer was kicked off with Victoria’s Strawberry Shortcake birthday party. Though we always celebrate birthdays, the 5th and 10th are themed friend parties, so this was an extra special one for our Vi-Vi.20160604_191456753_iOS20160604_213835891_iOS


Strawberry picking with friends has become a tradition for our family, though this was Bill’s first time.20160607_151921697_iOS


Aiden and Liam finished up spring soccer. It was Aiden’s first time to be old enough to play.20160607_223711289_iOS


All five girls did summer dance. Ariana often helped watch the dance instructor’s little cutie, and I love this picture!20160608_204300413_iOS


Lots of playgrounds and parks. The second picture is our favorite state park, Turkey Run.20160609_164857965_iOS20160619_144635982_iOS


We got free tickets to see our professional soccer team, Indy Eleven. So much fun!20160611_230258637_iOS


Lots of goofing around. I am seriously loving the tween stage!20160619_183417328_iOS


Sweet time with my littles while the older five were at camp.20160620_164214142_iOS


Getting an infected tooth pulled.20160624_152058964_iOS


The baby’s birthday, who may not technically be a baby anymore…20160626_201220850_iOS20160607_152343356_iOS


Fun in a new exhibit at the Children’s Museum.20160630_213455620_iOS


Celebrating Bill by putting together a puzzle he was gifted with. His kind of day.20160703_175257660_iOS


Repurposing a Craigslist find. Wish I’d taken a before picture.20160709_185538571_iOS


Liam having his first experience shooting a gun on a father/son night.20160709_235732914_iOS


Riding on the zoo train together.20160730_174323681_iOS


This was probably our sweetest memory of the summer–family camp in Michigan. So much fun!!! Beaches, activities, fun food, new friends. We kind of wanted to live there. Descriptions of the pics: 1. Fun on the beach. 2. Getting ready for a gathering. 3. Our family assistant working hard.😉 Seriously, this lady was amazing!!! We invited her to live with us, but she said no. I think our awesomeness was too overwhelming for her… 4. Awkward human pyramid with Juan, a wood man challenging us to “Love One (Juan) More.” 5. The beach and lake. Bill even got to go water skiing. 6. Whole family picture, including our family assistant, which just felt right. She’s in her 20s. Really. 20160802_134035711_iOS20160804_140412922_iOS20160804_155643888_iOS20160804_172804323_iOS20160806_133753898_iOS20160806_133835261_iOS


I did my first wine and canvas. I don’t do creativity, so shut it.😉20160821_012632484_iOS


Josiah and Aiden started pre-K Handwriting this year, so they’ve been introduced to the infamous Mat Man, a part of their curriculum.20160823_125040037_iOS


Doing school with some of our dearest friends. First is our best-face-forward pic, second is the real deal.20160824_162147584_iOS20160824_162207650_iOS


For school, Liam and Ariana took a bread-making class. They made two loaves of bread, three types of rolls, pizza crust, and cinnamon rolls. All 100% on their own!20160826_224343761_iOS


Bell Family Update – June 2016

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Well, here we are, a year later from our last update and incidentally just at the year mark since the adoption of Heaven and Aiden was decreed. In many ways, the last year has been unremarkable in that there haven’t been any drastic changes. That alone is remarkable for us!

Currently we’re in summer break from school. The five oldest kids are in the middle of a four-week day camp at the Children’s Museum. Courtney is using the time with just the three little ones to get some special time with them as well as prepare for the next school year. At work, I’ve recently been promoted as a team lead, still doing similar work but with increased responsibilities. I’m pretty excited about it.


Also, Courtney recently got to attend the Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference, which was in Indy this year. Not only was the conference a blessing, but she got to go with her mom and two of the ladies in our church, as well as connect with some old friends.



Below I’m going to give some brief updates about each of the kids. I’ve included a picture of each, taken last year by our dear friend Lawana of Unforgettable Photography. They’re beautiful and we didn’t want to pass up sharing them with you, our friends and family.


Liam is 11 and about to start sixth grade. He’s figuring out humor and sarcasm/irony, which is super fun. Though he’s still part kid and part growing up, which is really weird to watch. He actually just took a Safe Sitter class, so he’s taking his first steps toward being able to watch his younger siblings–though we’re not quite ready for that yet!

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Ariana is 9 and almost as tall as Liam. She’s still the mother hen and super sweet, always wanting to learn more and help out with stuff around the house. As she’s growing and changing, we’re seeing an increasing desire to connect with Courtney and learn to do the harder, more complicated tasks she does. For instance, this year she wants to learn cake making and decorating.


Heaven is 8 and still integrating into the family. We still have many times of hardness and withdrawal but there are more and more times in between where things feel pretty normal. She’s still trying to figure out how to just be authentic, where she can really rest and be who God made her to be. Change may be slow, but we’re seeing it.


Esther is also 8 and our most recent believer. She probably suffers the most from the middle child syndrome, not really knowing where she fits or what her strengths are. But since believing, we’ve seen the Spirit working in her heart to bring about kindness and love for others that’s far beyond anything we’d seen before.


Miriam is 7 and our perpetual life lover. She’s unusual in our family in that she’s so unpretentious and unconcerned about anything other than soaking in God’s world and loving others. She’s got a big heart and big smile. Recently, we were creek stomping and Miriam got pulled into the current. Two ladies nearby saw her plight and jumped in to rescue her. Miriam told us later that when she got pulled along, she prayed that God would save her and knew he would.


Victoria is 5 and still a bit of a stinker. She’s got those golden curls and puts them to use with her sparkly blue eyes far more frequently than any child should’ve learned how to. She’s recently started to get her own daily chores to help out with (till now she’s been part of the “littles” and not the “bigs”).


Aiden is 4 and, as our friends say, a Bell through and through. He certainly still has his moments of disobedience and the such, but they’re mainly because he’s four, not because he has different biological parents. He’s certainly our risk taker, the one willing to make big leaps and try crazy things. He’s got a big grin and is finally learning to relax into his place in the family. He still struggles a lot with language development, so we have a long way to go there.


Josiah just turned 4 and is definitely the baby of the family. He’s pretty used to everybody else doing everything for him and tossing in his little charm-grin to see what he can get his momma to give him. He’s also full of life and hardly ever sad about much of anything.

And a little outtake for your viewing pleasure:


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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.