Gotcha Day –> Year Two

He is the light of every room he enters.
He is the son a mom could only dream about.
He is full of life and possibilities.
He loves hard and big.
He is starting to be more brave in most aspects of life.
He has a natural servant’s heart.
He is the best big brother I have ever seen.
He loves his daddy and longs for every moment he can spend with him.
He loves to kiss his mommy and his baby brother.
He would eat corn dogs every day if he was allowed.
He loves ice cream something fierce.
He works the phrase “Paw Patrol” into every conversation he has.
He loves to laugh and to make other people laugh.

My Sweet Aiden Jahreed-James Ribble 

This weekend, two years ago, a judge in Grenada declared that Aiden could be our little boy. He was officially a Ribble the morning of June 25, 2015.

I watch him every day and marvel at his life. His life is so much more now than it was two years ago. He has grown in maturity and definitely physically (he has legs for days).

Aiden when he revealed that he was going to be a big brother

I will never stop marveling at him and the plans God has for him. I am so honored I get to watch his life unfold. I am so proud to be the mom on the sideline cheering him on. I just get giddy with excitement when I think about all that God has for his life.

My Aiden <3

Happy Gotcha Day sweet boy.

I am so glad to have more days to love on you. You are exquisite.

-Mommy

Eyeglasses Matter + DIFF Eyewear Giveaway

My son, Aiden, has always had terrible eyesight.

The first time we were with him in Grenada (where he was born), he didn’t have glasses on and we realized he could not see anything.

We would hand him a book and he would bury his face in it to see even one thing on the page.

We were walking down the beach one night trying to point out some crabs scurrying on the sand to him and he nearly fell over trying to bend down close enough to see them.

Aiden wearing my DIFF sunglasses over his regular glasses. 🙂

My Mommy heart broke when I saw this, yet I understand it so much as I suffer from terrible eyesight as well – but not near as bad as my son does.

He has a couple of issues fighting against his vision that we have been working on over the course of his two years home with us.

If you get me to talking at all about his eyes, you will know right away how important it is to me that we take care of his vision and have him in the perfect glasses.

This summer, after a year and a half of researching on my part and doctor visit after doctor visit after doctor visit, Aiden is having surgery on his eyes. The story of how I came to this and what is being done is too long for this post, however, as nervous as I am about this, I am so excited for him to have better sight.

You say smile and he sticks his tongue out. Go figure.

Even after his surgery, he will need glasses. I will always be an advocate for his eyes and remember how helpless I felt when he needed them in the orphanage and I could do nothing about it.

When I came across DIFF Eyewear, there was something within this mama’s heart that fluttered a bit. Not only do I love their sunglasses, but they give eye glasses to people in need with every purchase of sunglasses. 

Among the eye care they are able to help fund are eye exams, vision assistance, and eye care treatment to those who would otherwise not receive it.

Go to their website to read more about the wonderful work they are doing : www.diffeyewear.com

I have the Bella Motley Frame sunglasses with blue mirrored & polarized lenses. I LOVE them! They are so clear when you look through them, they do not fatigue my eyes at all, and the frames are super comfortable. I am certain to be purchasing another pair in the near future.

I spend a lot of my time these days gazing at two little boys who have my whole heart 🙂

Now for the good part – DIFF and I have partnered together to do a great giveaway today and offer an amazing discount to my readers.

I am giving away ONE PAIR of sunglasses to one of my readers. Follow the instructions below to enter and win. 

However, ALL of my readers get a special 25% discount on your own pair of DIFFS from now until the end of the month when you use the code KRYSTAL25 at checkout. SWEET!

To Enter:

1. Like this post and FOLLOW BOTH @krystalribble and @diffeyewear on Instagram

2. Tag two friends in a comment on my Instagram contest photo who would love my mission and @diffeyewear’s mission to uplift the broken people and places of this world

3.{optional for a second entry} Visit www.krystalribble.com and subscribe to my blogs (Pink Button on the Blog Page OR pop up on home page) in order to be notified each time I do another giveaway

4. {optional for a second/third entry} repost this photo with #krgiveaway and tag both @krystalribble and @diffeyewear

GIVEAWAY winner will be drawn at random on Wednesday night June 21, 2017 and announced on my (@krystalribble) Instagram (Giveaway not sponsored by IG. Please know that I am receiving no compensation for this. I just absolutely LOVE what DIFF Eyewear is doing with their sunglasses and I want you all to join me in supporting their cause!)

How To Look Like Jesus

We do not know what Jesus looked like physically. We have ideas and some people have drawn their depictions for our imaginations; however, we really do not know what He looked like.

One way that I have discovered what Jesus may be like is by who He shows Himself to be in the Bible. I can imagine His demeanor and His mannerisms by the stories I read about Him in His Word.

As I look at my oldest son, whom we adopted, I am always lost in thought about what he will physically look like as he grows up. Everything about him will be a surprise to us because we have no idea what his biological parents look like.

one of the first pictures we took of Aiden with his daddy in Grenada

Each year when we visit the pediatrician for his check up, we find that he is always in a very high percentile for his height and the doctors tell us they think he will be really tall.
I would say this assessment goes really well with how many pairs of shoes and pants I go through with that kid. I can’t keep them on him. Seriously – I bought him a pair of tennis shoes at the beginning of the summer break (which was the end of May) and they are already getting small. Amazing.

What I love about our situation with Aiden is there is no comparing him physically to family members. We do not look to our family genes to know what he might appear like in the future – we are able to focus on who he is as a person.

one of my favorites of Jared and Aiden in Grenada

Just like I do not know what Jesus really looks like, I may not know what Aiden will physically look like. However, I can read God’s word, take stories that show who He really is and pour those into my son so that he can look like Jesus when he grows up.

I am so thankful God gave Aiden an earthly father who is doing this for him – showing him the traits of Jesus in a very real and tangible way every single day.  I am able to see my husband be such an amazing father to him. A father that is showing Aiden what it means to be a good soul, to have a good heart, to love others well. Aiden is able to watch his earthly father and mimic his traits to this world.

Jared holding our youngest, Ryman, with Aiden nearby

Are you doing this for your children?
Take who Jesus shows Himself to be in scripture, mimic that in your own life, so that as your children watch you – they are watching Jesus.

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads out there. I am so blessed that my boys got one of the best!

-KR

The Trait Project : Allison Michelle

Prior to this Trait Project, I have written about people who I have known for a long time. However, I sometimes find the brightest of gems in people I just meet or whom have barely graced my years yet.

Allison is one such person.

Allison Michelle Coble.

My sweet friend Allison and her husband, Kyle.
Isn’t she stunning? 🙂

I remember the first time I ever saw her.
I was in Washington, DC right after we lost our little Veronika’s adoption in Ukraine. Through a series of emails and trying to figure out who I needed to talk with to ensure V’s safety, I was paired with The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. They were able to connect me with the Congressional members and other organizations I needed to speak with.

I scheduled a meeting with them and I joined them in their DC offices one afternoon to discuss my story.

As we gathered around their conference room table, the staff mentioned to me that one more person may join us later.

A few minutes later the cutest gal walks in, in a hurry, trying not to disturb our meeting and scurried to her seat as she said, “Hi! I’m Allison! I’m so sorry I’m late!”
She eagerly sat down and proceeded to catch up, as she could, with what I was saying.

I remember her so vividly that day because she was so intently listening to what I was saying. Not only was she listening intently, she was positioning her heart in a way to attach to mine. I could see it in her eyes and read it in her body language. She was diving into my story and wanting to reside with me.

I have rarely seen this – someone who listens so closely because they are opening their heart to help and hurt with you.

Allison did that for me that day so it is no wonder she has made a huge impact on me. She joined my heart in all the joys and hurts and wanted to be there with and for me.

I can count on both hands the amount of times we have actually been in the same city spending quality time together – however, I would consider her one of my closest friends.

Every time we are together, we make sure that we have dinner or time to catch up a bit.

Allison is a living, breathing, form of compassion and empathy. Her heart is a rarity; her kindred spirit unmatched. And the amazing thing is – I have only scratched the surface of who Allison is. There is so much more to discover about who God has created her to be – and I hope we have many years of friendship for me to get to know her better.

a picture showing Allison’s heart and her work with CCAI

She is going through some big things in life at this moment and I really hope she feels that I show up for her. I  hope she knows I would go to any depths of emotions with her because I really value her.

I pray my sons can grow up with a touch of Allison in them. I hope to take her heart for others and emulate that for my boys so that their hearts can attach to people who are hurting and help them in the healing process.

Allison, I know that I can’t physically be there with you during this time, but I hope you know how much I love and admire you. My phone is always waiting when you need me. I love you so much. Thank you for loving me well.

-KR

We Do What We Want

I have always said, “People do what they want.”

When I’m disappointed in the outcome of something based on someone’s actions, I remind myself of this. And if I am being totally honest, I try to point the finger back at myself when I don’t want to do something and feel terrible about it.

Honestly, think about it – you do what you want. You spend your time how you want to.

This is a time I did exactly what I wanted and I made my husband go along with it – I searched LA for the Golden Girls House. Yes, please.

My husband and I were having a discussion the other day about the things we spend money on and how that shows what we value/where our hearts are. This conversation started because we feel we are spending too much on our television choices and we do not want TV to be that big of a thing in our family. We do not want the amount we are currently paying to be reflective of how much we value TV- so we were assessing a change.

We tell the world who we are internally by our outward purchases and actions.

I was driving downtown with my boys the other day (we live in Nashville and we were going downtown to get into the CMA Fest madness. If you have never been … umm it’s crazy-town; especially for those of us who are local.)

As we were driving, I pointed out some of the government buildings to my oldest and I said, “You see those buildings? Mommy went to those buildings a bunch of times to fill out paperwork and turn it in so that they would let me come get you and bring you home.”

A: “Those big buildings? You filled out paperwork so they would let you bring me to Nashville?”
Me : “Yes baby. All the paperwork, because I wanted to bring you home.”

Our first trip to Grenada – this was right before we took him back to his orphanage at the end of our time with him

As I was saying this, I remembered all the times I drove downtown. All the trips; all the parking fees I paid; all the hills I walked up to a building and down to another one – all the hours  of filling out information about myself and my husband.

(This is where I will insert my two cents for those who always ask me, “Why do they make it so difficult?” Because it SHOULD be difficult to adopt a child. We SHOULD have to jump through hoops to make sure these children aren’t trafficked or headed to their doom. It isn’t easy, but nothing worth fighting for should be easy. Every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears is worth every ounce of his protected life.)

A: “Mommy, when I was in Grenada I would cry and cry because I never thought I would have a family. But because you filled out all the papers, they let you bring me home to my family.”

(I proceeded to cry my eyes out for quite a while over this statement. I don’t believe he actually cried about it, but I do believe he longed for a family and he now, as a 6-year-old, has the words to tell me what his 3-year-old self was feeling.)

You see, I showed my son the other day what mattered to me. I showed him that I did what I wanted and what I wanted was to give him a home. I showed him that I would fill out all the papers in the world to bring him home to me. He doesn’t know it also means I spent all the money I needed to make it happen as well; that I raised every penny I could to make him my son.

What do we show our loved ones with our actions?
Do we show them that when we do what we want, we want to love them well?
Do we show them that when we spend our money, we aren’t wasting it on things that don’t matter?

What do you show your children?
What do you show your family?
What do you show your friends?

Challenge : Do what you want and let what you want do a world of good.

-KR

 

 

Love Me In The Waiting

I have something really awesome brewing in my life all because of this message – Love Me In The Waiting.

Since I am still fleshing out the meaning of it all, I had to share some of my thoughts here. I believe they will encourage you on a deep level.

I am a firm believer that we can all do a better job loving one another. 

Some of us do this well 99% of the time. Some of us never do this well. Some of us are in between.

I have several friends going through intense waiting periods right now.

One friend is waiting to see if her fertility treatments are working. 
One friend is waiting to find out if they are going to lose their job.
One friend just began trying to have a baby. 
One friend is waiting for God to answer a lifelong prayer. 
One friend is waiting for her adoption agency to call and tell them to come get their baby. 
One friend is waiting for their marriage to heal. 
One friend is pregnant and waiting for her baby to enter this world; whom they know will pass away not long after being born.

One friend is waiting for their house to be renovated so they can move in.

I could go on and on. Each person waits in a different way. Each waiting period has its own anxieties and pain. 

waiting for my baby boy

What I have realized is that we can all love one another better in our waiting periods.

When a friend is waiting for God to speak, to direct them, or to give them something – we can be God’s arms of peace on this earth for them. 

I remember when I was waiting for my adoptions to finalize, I felt so alone during those times. Any act of kindness towards me took my heart a thousand miles in the right direction.

me after a social visit in Ukraine about our adoptive daughter. we would lose her adoption days after this.

Find those people in your life and figure out a way to be the arms of Jesus for them.

You have no idea how painful their waiting period is. Step in and help them breathe through it.

Be Jesus for the tribe He circles around you. The blessings will be twofold. 

-KR

In Case You Feel Lonely

When I was a child, I had this tiny pink bear that I slept with every single night. I carried him everywhere. I thought he was the greatest.

I always knew, if I ever felt lonely, all I had to do was get my bear (whom I named Justin.)

My Justin Bear. Look how worn he is. My mom probably sewed his leg and head back on at least 10 times.

Because I had a little bear I loved so much, I always imagined every child fixated on a stuffed animal or a blanket. It just made sense to me.

In my adult life I always saw this to be true. Most children had a beloved toy that if they needed comfort, they could grab it.

Then enter my son, Aiden. He has nothing he is attached to. There are things he loves and things he longs to have; but everything in his world is only there for a season.

I can not get him to love any stuffed animal or any blanket. Know why? Because in the beginning of his life, he had nothing.

There was not one single item he could call his own until he was 4 years old.
There were no toys he could put away for safe keeping. There were no coloring pages he could save as his own. Nothing.

Aiden with his Paw Patrol Chase stuffed animal. He looks attached. Ummm…. this Chase has never seen much play time. But he looks good in Aiden’s room. 🙂

Jared and I went through some serious growing time with him when he finally came home and he had some toys that were actually HIS. He would immediately freak out if you reached for his stuff because he thought he would never see it again. It was heart breaking, but Jared and I had to prove to him that we would protect him and his stuff at all costs. That lesson has helped us tremendously.

As sad as I have been at times that Aiden doesn’t have a security blanket or something he can cuddle with to feel better, I have also grown to love this about him.

Why? Because Aiden find’s more security in Jared as his dad, me as his mom, and Ryman as his brother than any item he owns.

The other night after dinner, Aiden was describing his ice-cream to me by the color of it. He said he had pink, white, and brown ice-cream. Then he said, “You know, brown, like I am brown.” Then he grinned from ear to ear.

I walked over and hugged him so tight – his arms wrapped around me and matched my intensity. I whispered in his ear, “And I love every single thing about you. I love that you are brown and I love who you are. You are amazing.”

My Aiden hugging me.

I could feel his body relax into mine. I am his security. I am his home.

Isn’t that what we have with our Heavenly Father?

While I am so happy to have remnants of our Lord here on earth to love and hold on to – I am so glad I can close my eyes and climb into His lap for my security.

Friend, when you feel lonely – know that there is a God who longs to be your Home. He knows your heart and your hurts. He knows you and loves you and longs to have you wrap yourself in Him.

What wonderful truth I felt the other night with my son’s arms wrapped around me.

In case you feel lonely – know you have a Father who is waiting to hold you.
Close your eyes. Be still. Hear Him speak.

Love-
KR

 

The Trait Project : Jared James-Robert

I have been nervous to start this Trait Project. I know that seems silly because this one is about my husband and it should be the easiest to write.

It’s not.

It’s the hardest because he means so much to me that no string of words put together seem to be adequate enough for him. I am terrified to not do this incredible man the justice he deserves. So here it goes, my attempt to tell you about the most wonderful human I have ever met.

Jared James-Robert Ribble.

Jared, on a golf trip in Ireland

He came into my life on June 1, 2008. This is the day he responded to a message I sent, to what I believed was the band he played for, but the message went to him personally. It’s a funny and very unlikely story. I never imagined I would meet the man I would marry in an “unlikely” way, but even to this day, I think about how we met and am in awe I share my life with this man.

When Jared came into my world, I was a skeptic and he was a bit wounded. He was healing from the end of his first marriage and I was beginning a new life in a new city where I carried a mindset that it would take a long time to find the right guy to spend my life with.

I thought it was terrible timing, but as I look back, God brought us together to tie up the loose ends of the respective things we were going through.

Jared would never be completely healed until God brought him the woman He made specifically for him.

I would never stop being skeptical of every guy I met until God brought me a man whose traits stood above all others.

We would never be complete until we met each other.

one of our engagement pictures shot in Door Country, Wisconsin

I could write an entire book on all of Jared’s traits. To spare you the time, I will focus on one that I see in every moment of his being. One that I love so much.

The first conversation that Jared and I had, he asked me a million questions about myself. He was so interested in everything about me – what I loved, what I hated, where I have lived, what I had studied, what I want to study, where I want to live, how I spend my time- On and on. He asked millions of questions.

I honestly had never in my life felt like anyone had taken such interest in me before. I don’t know that I had ever answered that many questions about myself.

moments after he proposed to me

I have noticed over the course of my life with Jared that when he meets someone new,  he always has a ton of questions for them. Sometimes people are intimidated by this and feel interrogated. Most of the time, people are as taken back as I was because someone they just met is taking such vast interest in who they are and who they want to be.

I have the special honor of being his fan – with this comes the unique privilege of being in his audience. I get to watch him be himself on the daily and I just love my seat in his story.

Now, when we meet someone new, I know the canon of questions is coming and I sit back and get ready to watch him be great.

This new person doesn’t yet know that they have met someone who will make them feel like they are the only one at the table that matters in that moment. I love to see this unfold and watch their “taken back” emotions turn to curiosity and then gratefulness.

there was this one time, we were on HGTV – such a random story. ha!

Every human on this planet should have a chance to be questioned by Jared – to feel the way he will make you feel at the end of a conversation.

Everyone deserves to be known- to be sought after- to be valued.

Jared loves when I anticipate something he loves or wants – such as being in the kitchen cooking together and I grab what he needs and hand it to him before he even asks for it. He will smile and say, “It’s so good to be known.”

Babe, you make everyone you meet feel known- feel worthy of attention.

Girls in their twenties can often be strewn through relationships that make them feel the complete opposite of known and valued and worthy.

You came into my little world and made me feel like the queen.

Every day you find moments to show me that my opinion matters- that my feelings matter- that who I want to be and who I am is more than enough.

You have not only shown me, but told me, that God has made my place in this world so spectacular and that no one can fill the shoes God made for me.

my favorite wedding photo

What a man you are. What an encourager you are. What perfection you are to me.

I pray that our boys take this trait from you. I pray that they meet people and their curiosity spurs them to ask questions so that no one feels they are falling through the cracks in this world. I want everyone they encounter to feel that they are leaving conversations with our boys feeling more known and more important than they ever have.

Jared with our boys, Aiden & Ryman

You have given me a ton of gifts in this life already, but one of the greatest is that I am KNOWN. Who God made me to be – how the clay of my existence was formed in God’s hands- you have shown me that who I am is one of the most precious gifts to this universe.

No girl could ask for more.

I love you with everything that I am and everything that I will ever be.

-KR

The #1 Thing To Do This Summer

A title as catchy as that should have something profound beneath it.

I’m not sure I can be “profound,” but I can be real.

This summer has been much-anticipated and much dreaded in my house.

We wanted to enjoy this summer with our 6-year-old and also share sweet moments with our newborn babe.

We still will, but this summer will be difficult.

Our 6-year-old has major eye and ear surgery in June and I have my ACL & meniscus repair surgery in July.

Not exactly how we want to spend our first summer with our 3 month old.

However, as I have battled through the levels of grief with my ACL injury, I have come out (for the most part) on a pretty positive side. (Some days you can catch me down and out about my knee – I’m trying to stay positive-I really am.)

Last summer was my first summer as a mom and I wanted very badly to just “be” in all the moments I had with Aiden. I wanted to be present and there and whole for him.

What I didn’t know last summer was that it was easier when I didn’t also have a baby to care for on top of everything else.

Aren’t they cute?!?!

This past month has had me hobbling on crutches, battling a bunch of different knee braces, therapy twice a week, not being able to carry my kiddos because I can’t trust my leg, trying to still make lunch and pack snacks and do normal activities with my kiddos but all while one leg down, etc. On top of all the Mom and Wife duties, I am exhausted from just getting myself from room to room.

So after I had a pity party about this summer and all my limitations that will take away from my children’s fun –  I looked up from my poor self and realized –  the same truth of last summer is still here.

My sons still need me to just “be” with them.

kissing my boys after a long day

My 6-year-old needs me to be present and focused and interested in his days. My baby needs me to be attentive and loving and whole for him.
 

They need me to BE.

They need me to BE THEIR MOM.

Krystal and Ryman

Aiden riding his scooter
(the same scooter Krystal tore her ACL on- ugh!)

When I am struggling with what to wear to the pool because I still have Ryman love cells hanging on my hips and because I have a leg brace that is uncomfortable without leggings on…. My kiddos don’t care, they just need me to BE THERE. My boys do not look at me and see extra love cells or uncomfortable clothes or the flaws I feel right now –  they both look at me with these lovey dovey eyes that I could only dream about. My kiddos don’t see me as the struggling cripple I feel like right now –  they see me as God does –  perfectly made for them.

So suck it up Krystal. Find a moo-moo and drape yourself up and go enjoy the freakin’ pool with your kids.

From one Mama to another  : The #1 thing to do this summer is to BE. 

Let’s BE AMAZING for our kiddos this summer.
Let’s BE REAL for our friends this summer.

Let’s BE AVAILABLE for those that need us this summer.

BE YOU. It’s the only you that will do. 

-KR