By the time we were 29 years old, Erik and I had three boys, all under the age of 5.  At the time, my definition of family was the traditional one of  two parents and their biological kids.  Twenty years later my definition and our numbers  have grown.

Erik and I both grew up in our respective families with “extras” living in our homes, be they exchange students, friends, or extended family.  So it wasn’t a reach for us when we established our little homestead,  to open our doors.  There have been many short term residents in our home – some staying for a few months, and others for a few years, but four of them have enlarged us from a family of 5 to a team of 9.  Enter Princess Erica, one of my Young Life kids who needed a place to stay for a while. Our little boys fell in love, and after she moved out she became one of their favorite babysitters. Fast forward a few years and while Erik and I were out on book tour or speaking tour, Erica was the big sister figure who would hold down the fort while we were gone.  She fed, drove, loved and listened to our boys as if they were her own. Eventually she moved back in and stayed with us, for four wonderful years.

Five years ago we had the opportunity to  take in AC and Chris for a while, two brothers who have been childhood friends with our boys since they were all little.  Their addition to our gaggle of boys has brought more laughter, more noise and more fun and also more depth  to our home than we could of imagined.

Somewhere in the midst of it all, enter Sam the Man, the boy’s Young  Life leader,  who became a staple in our home and the “adult in resident” while Erik and I were away. It was loud and rowdy and crazy and Sam had no problem rolling with the punches of our house  full of teenaged boys.

My definition of family has grown exponentially and my heart along with it. Our big loud crazy  Family is where Our story begins. #butterflybtc