Monday, April 28, 2008

Belonging

My first memory of visiting College station was the fall of '96, I was 17 and a junior in H.S. The trip was not something I was looking forward to. We had moved to San Antonio 4 months earlier causing me to move from "my home" outside of D.C all the way to Texas as a 16 year old. For those of you who don't want to remember what it's like to be 16, it was the end of the world to me, all my friends, my life, my H.S. had to be left behind. Considering how unhappy I was to be in San Antonio, how much I was not enjoying the gigantic H.S. I now attended I decided that I would be attending a small private Baptist college, the two I liked best were Oklahoma Baptist and Baylor. Attending Texas A&M was not even on my back up plan, the idea had never occurred to me.

So there I was a moody 17 year old about to have my whole world flipped upside down. This is what I remember, we arrived in College Station friday night and to get the whole Aggie experience attended midnight yell. While walking to Kyle field and attending my first midnight yell I felt like I was apart of something bigger than myself. I wasn't yet sure what exactly what these people were a part of, but I knew I might want to be a part of it too.

My next memory of the trip and perhaps the strongest is of the people we were staying with, it was three sisters who were the daughters of our next door neighbors. You have to remember I was raised in Maryland, to understand that these girls were the best type of weirdos to me. They loved the Lord and they were not ashamed of it at all. They spoke about their faith, Christian literature was in their house and on their walls hung Bible verses, and they even prayed before eating (in public!). I had never known people like this and I felt loved and welcomed by them, I thought maybe I can find out how to be like this here at this school, in this town.

The next day we went to the game and all that that entails. After that experience (which I cannot explain, you have to experience it for yourself) I have never been so sure of anything in my life as I was that day. I was meant to be an Aggie, I had finally found where I belonged.

I have lived in College Station for almost 10 years now, and love this town almost as much as I love Texas A&M. I had no idea that day so many years ago, how right I was. I have never been a part of anything as special as the Aggie family. I had no idea then why the Lord wanted me here, that I would fall in love with my husband here, start a life here, have my daughter here, but most importantly find God here. No, God does not live exclusively in College Station, I understand that. But for me this is the place where I've learned more every year, who He is, what a relationship with Him looks like, and the woman He is calling me to be.

No matter what the future holds for us College Station will always be my home, it was here that I learned that there is nothing more freeing, more wonderful than belonging.

Whoop!

Go here: Aggie Band , to get that great feeling that swells every time you watch the Aggie band perform.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Crown

I have just finished an amazing bible study, that really changed my perspective on this world so I thought I'd let y'all know about it. It is called the Crown Financial Bible study.

When Kyle took the training to be a leader I stayed home with Kylynn so when he said that he wanted to lead this study this year, I was bummed. I didn't want to spend 10 weeks on a financial study. I thought this study is not for people like me, I don't have debt, I have a budget, I'm a saver, and I love to give. Well turns out God really does know what I need more than I do :) I was blown away by this Bible study!

If you ever have the chance to take part in their 10 week Bible study or their one day training, do it!! This is not a study unique to my church or area, it's world wide for more information you can go to: crown.org . This study is about finances yes, but it is really about living your life with an eternal perspective. It really changed the way I viewed "my" money, not thinking 10% belonged to God but that it all belongs to Him. Kyle and I were really convicted reading the chapters on honesty, submission at work, and caring/providing for the needy.

This area is still hard for me but one way I am different today then I was before I took the course, is if I want to buy something even if it's just a pair of jeans I try to remember to pray and ask God what He thinks about it. And even harder for me, I try to look at the decisions I make each day with how I spend money and time and choose those things that I will be rewarded for in heaven not those that will disappear with this earth.

It is amazing how much your relationship with God relates to the way you view money, the Bible has over 2300 verses relating to money or possessions, there must be a reason for it. So even if you never get a chance to take the course you can read the book that the course is based on: Your Money Counts by Howard Dayton. I challenge you to see what God has to teach you.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mommy's addition to "Daddy flys solo"

Kyle did a wonderful job taking care of Kylynn while I was gone and since his blog was so sweet, I won't even be mad that he stole my password and logged on without permission :)

Since I know grandparents read this blog I thought I add some videos to go along with his blog. video

This one is from last week, Kylynn is helping Daddy put backs onto her kitchen that I previously blogged about, so if you want to see the kitchen God gave us, here it is. video
This one is of Kylynn playing with the edible play dough that Kyle made for her while I was gone.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Daddy Flys Solo

What a difficult job! Jenny is out of town this weekend on a women’s retreat with our church, so I, Daddy, had my first ever solo weekend with Kylynn. The trial is over and the verdict is in: Jenny has a difficult job.

Raising a child all day, every day, isn’t difficult in the sense that trigonometry homework is difficult, or riding a bucking bronco is difficult. No, this is difficult like paddling a kayak across the Pacific Ocean. Paddling isn’t hard and the activity is fun, but it goes on forever. Kylynn continually requires something, whether it’s a kiss where she bumped her head, a snack, attention when she’s bored, or direction to steer her away from some forbidden activity, it just never ends.

One and a half days down, half a day to go. What have I learned? I rediscovered how valuable my wife is. Not only does she do a fantastic job raising our daughter, but a host of other commendable things as well. I wrote a list of her stellar traits tonight so she would have something encouraging to come home to, because the state of our house when she returns will not be encouraging. Here is an excerpt of the list.

I am grateful that Jenny…
- enjoys being outside
- praises people for things they do well
- cooks tasty food regularly
- smiles at me

When I consider the implications of this challenging weekend on my desire to adopt another child, a few ideas come to mind.

First, nothing could dissuade me. Christians are called to care for the orphans and widows, this will play a role. I am adopted into the body of Christ, and so I desire to adopt other people into my nuclear family. The difficulty of the task does not detract from my responsibility or desire to perform it.

Second, we’re up to the challenge. Parenting is a hard task, but the list of reasons I am grateful revealed that Jenny and I are on the same page. What a blessing to be free from the strife of parents arguing about which church to go to, or whether a child should be taught about God at all. How freeing it is to know that I trust Jenny completely with Kylynn’s safety, discipline, education, and character, when I’m not around. Therefore, this team that we formed, it’s solid. We can handle more kids.

Finally, adopting a child will be good for all of our children. I read a blip about our president meeting with the president of the nation we’re adopting from, how they discussed issues of international importance, yet it was under 200 words. No one else will teach my daughter to feel compassion for or awareness of the rest of the world. I trust that by bringing in someone from another country, both children will grow more sensitive to people’s feelings of belongingness, comfortable cross-culturally, and attuned to and engaged with the plight of the rest of the planet.

Kylynn has a wonderful mom, and we pray she will soon have a wonderful sibling.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Grief

If you've read my previous post on money, you know that when it comes to adoption the money never caused me pause. But something else did, the grief. What if it made me too sad? What if adopting a child was too hard, the process, the waiting. What if, God forbid, the child I got was a bad apple (I mean after all it wouldn't have my great genes).

What about the months or years of my child's life that I will never be a part of? What about the fact that I will not get to feel this child grow inside of my body? What about how I will not get to nurse this precious baby and have that wonderful bond that I did with my first child? What about the trauma this child will have in his short life, losing the only mother/father he has ever known and being taken to a new country to start a new life?

Those are hard questions, and I would be selling you short if I didn't tell you that they are all part of coming to the decision of adoption. I don't really have the answers to the questions (not specific ones at least), but they are still important questions to ask, to give a voice to.

Grief is a process, eventually it becomes more of a sad memory than a constant pain, it is not always so big. So go through the process. Trust. Trust God in the journey He's placed you on, even if it doesn't make sense. Trust yourself that you are strong enough to go through the process. Trust your child that although someday the things that were hard for you will be hard for them, the unknowns, the what ifs, they will love you and you will love them.

Parenthood has rivers of grief running all through it. Perhaps the griefs of adoption are different, but grief would still have been there once you became a parent. Children have disabilities we didn't envision, they don't get the grades we think they should in school, they decide they "hate" us, they go to college at UT :) But if your signing up for this job of parenthood you had it coming. And in the end it was all worth it, the joy outweighs the grief, it was the time of your life, and you accomplished the most important job there is. The grief makes us stronger, it makes us cling to our God, and it makes the joy that much more special.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My own backyard

I love spring in Texas, now that I am a Texan, it is my favorite season. My most favorite spot to spend a spring day (as I am doing right now) is my own backyard. My hubby and I were talking the other night and agreed that it is our favorite part of the house.

If it were up to me in the spring (early spring that is) I would live outside, play outside, eat outside, sleep outside. Part of the reason is my chores are all inside and my husband's chores are (almost) all outside, so when I walk outside I don't see anything I have to-do, but instead a beautiful yard that magically stays that way.

We love to watch the birds, so we have a bird-friendly backyard. We have a bird bath, several trees, and of course a bird feeder. And it works, the birds come, all different colors and sizes and Kylynn and I watch them amazed at their beauty and their songs.

Most of all I love to be outside in nature because it is where I am able to experience God the most. When I get lost in this world and I cannot hear His voice, I go sit quietly outside and am finally able to “Be still, and know that I am God!" Psalm 46:10. One of my favorite verses is Luke 19:38-40: (the crowd of disciples began)" shouting, "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." Wow! the stones will cry out! It makes me feel like I am surrounded by a creation that knows it's creator and wants to sing His praises. So in my backyard, I too remember my creator, how great He really is, and I begin to sing His praises.

We had to take a picture of our backyard for the adoption and considering how great I think it is, in the back of mind I thought, this is a bonus for us, they're going to see this backyard and move us up on the list :). And really now matter how much I know that's most likely not true, part of me believes that this backyard will help bring home the perfect child to us.
Here are some pictures from this past weekend of spring in Texas, but not in our backyard :)

Friday, April 11, 2008

I apologize

I owe some people an apology.

Have you ever seen the show "Super Nanny"? It is a great show and I think the super nanny is wonderful and quite talented at child rearing techniques. I watch it from time to time and even did so before I had a child myself. That's where the apology comes in. I used to watch the show and go, who are these people! Who can't control a two year old, after all you, the parent, are bigger, stronger, and smarter than a two year old! I passed judgement on them and decided that they were "bad parents". I most sincerely apologize.

A few days ago, I took my little two year old to the grocery store. She wined the entire time, causing me to begin to become frantic and lose my mind (we were there almost two hours!). She whined and demanded a cookie, I went to the other side of the store and gave her one, just for a few minutes of peace. She took off her seat belt and laid on the floor of the "car" shopping cart, I kneeled down and begged her to please let me put the seat belt back on her, I apparently sounded as stressed as I felt, because a police office and his partner came down the aisle and stood there and watched me until I got her situated (that didn't help with my stress level). She knocked down an entire box of taco seasoning packets and as I bent down to try and pick them all up, I considered laying down on the ground and crying for a few minutes, but decided against it. I had two employees come up to me and ask if I needed any help finding things, because I was staring into space trying to think about which product was cheaper, but not able to concentrate due to her whine/scream. I may have developed a fear of going to the grocery store with a child (does that have a name?). And I am sure that anyone who watched how I dealt with Kylynn, thought, that lady needs to go on super nanny, she can't control her little two year old!

Considering that this is not how my days normally go, I don't think I qualify for super nanny. But the point is, raising children is so much harder than it looks, and two year olds may be smarter than we think :) Now I know, I will never again look at someone else's parenting and say, "I will never ..."
video
Here is a completely unrelated video of Kylynn. She is normally well behaved, like she is here, I swear! :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

143 Million

It is estimated that there are 143 million orphans in our world today.

43.4 million orphans live in sub-Sahara Africa, 87.6 million orphans live in Asia, 12.4 million orphans live in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In Central and Eastern Europe 1.5 million orphans live in the public care system (orphanages) alone, and less than 1% of these children will ever be adopted out of those orphanages.

At any given point there are 500,000 children in the U.S. Foster Care system.

Every 14 seconds a child loses a parent due to AIDS.

By 2010, the number of children orphaned by AIDS globally is expected to exceed 25 million.

Sounds pretty hopeless, huh? Here's the good news:

If only 7% of Christians in our world would show hope to one orphan, there would essentially be no more orphans.

There are many organizations working tirelessly to move the Christian church to action, there are many ways that you can make a difference.

Our God works through our prayers. Pray:
Pray for wisdom on how God would have you become involved, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress" James 1:27a
Pray for the orphans and their care givers and those trying to adopt them.
Pray for the work of those organizations wanting to make a difference in the life of orphans.

"Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work." - Oswald Chambers

If you would like to find out more information on becoming involved in mobilizing Christians to help orphans you can visit the following websites:
Shaohannah's Hope
Cry of the Orphan
Hope for Orphans
Focus on the Family

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

G Bum

This post is strictly for those who find Kylynn to be the cutest girl in the world, sorry for the brief departure from my more serious topics....

Today Kylynn and I were playing outside and she kept seeing bugs, so she would point at them and say "bum" I of course kept correcting her telling her no they were "bugs". This went on for a while, so a little frustrated I said, "No Kylynn it is a BUG, with a G, BUG". She just looked at me and said "g bum, g bum, g bum". I laughed so hard that I am sure she will always call them "g bums" :)

Hope y'all are having a blessed day!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Going Home


This weekend we escaped to Decatur. It was one of those weeks...you know the ones where you say I cannot wait to put this week behind me!

So thanks to God's good timing we had previously decided to go to Decatur this weekend. Decatur is my "home". As a child we moved around so I lived in many different places but I was blessed to have one constant, my grandparents' "farm" in Decatur where we returned every Christmas and summer for weeks at a time. I love having a place that I can go where I have memories from as far back as my memory goes. Mainly though it's that I feel more at peace there than any other place in this world.

So we enjoyed a beautiful drive up there, absolutely perfect weather, being in the middle of the country, and most of all visiting my grandma. My daughter is named in part for my grandmother, because she is one of the women I most admire (after all she did kill a snake with a butcher knife once!). She told me stories of all of the people I love, cooked us wonderful beans and cornbread, and made us feel right at Home!
video
This is a video of what Kylynn told me when her and her daddy came back from a morning walk in the pasture. :)