Thursday, December 30, 2010

Belonging to you

Ten year ago today I made you mine, as much as anyone one of us can ever belong to another, I belong to you and you my dear belong to me.  I remember how proud I was to have that ring on my finger, the way I would point at things or touch my face to try to show it to everyone, look at me, someone loves me this much!

Even now so many days later I look at you sometimes with your strong voice and your sure stance, the way you use your hands to turn nothing into something, and I feel pride, that you belong to me, that we belong to each other.

A marriage is a string of tiny moments laid out over time, the best ones, the worst ones, the ones we never notice, coming one after another, often before we take the time to stop and live in them.  You asked me this week which moments were the important ones, the ones I remember, and I was caught of guard and so I took the easy answer, houses bought, children born, trips that took us far.  But this is the truth, the important moments, the ones that have made us this one we've become live without a date in my mind.

They are the Saturdays that we would work and work to make our little house something beautiful, they are the drives in the country when we would dream, then see a sunset so beautiful, so as to think that just maybe this was not a real place to live after all.  They are the bike rides where we would ride till we could ride no more and feel so proud of what we've created, this family tucked safely in the trailer behind us.  They are the nights when we would finally stop yelling long enough to hear the other's pain and to walk into it, because no matter the pain, this is worth it.  It is the first time I realized that when you look at me, you really see beauty.

When I look in your sky colored eyes, I remember better who I was when I met you long ago, because I used to look into those eyes and think all my dreams resided there.  Over the years I learned to look into the Father's eyes to find my future, to love Him first, and He has taken this obedience and blessed it.  The more I love Him, the more I love you, the more I identify myself as His, the more I belong to you.

My life is full of gifts, there are days when I pay attention enough to see that everywhere I turn is blessing upon blessing.  But if there is a gift next to my savior that stands above the rest, it is this belonging to you.  It is the safety I feel when I crawl into to bed at night, it is the understanding of what you feel before you speak, it is the freedom of being loved by someone who is half of the whole.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas from Jack

Allow me to translate, jingle bells all the way, oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh, hey!  Then we were interrupted by the big sister.  Here's take two:

Again allow me to translate, "wish you a merry Christmas, happy new year too!"  It's the kids' version of "We wish you a merry Christmas"

And because if you're like me you can't get enough Jack, here's a favorite Jack quote from this week.

Mommy: "I love you, Jack"
Jack:  "I love you, too!"
M: "Well, I love you, 3!"
J: "I love you 6,7,8!"

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hunkering down

We've been hunkering down today, all four of us are still in our pajamas, something that I know has never happened in the history of my family.  We have been attacked by the dreaded stomach bug.  We fell like flies first Jack, then Kylynn, then me, then Kyle.

There is of course so many sliver linings, mainly that only one member of the family has been in the throwing up stage at a time.  That this is not how we usually feel and that we have a comfortable spot to lay down our weary body.

Praise God that he created sleep that helps restore our bodies, that this day only lasts 24 hours, and for PBS!

One side effect of having an entire family of people with the worst kind of sickness is I now have an empty calendar (besides some much needed laundry of course).  Somewhere in here is the gift of family time, and the ability to focus on what's really important, the way I feel right now makes it really easy to focus on what matters most to me.

I pray each of you has some really good family time this week of Christmas, minus the sickness.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My new to-do list

Have you looked at the calendar lately, if you haven't, there are only nine days till Christmas, and that's got me a little upset this evening.  No, not that there are "only eight more shopping days left" or that I have so much left to do, but that I have wasted so much time, and one thing I'm sure of is, you cannot go back in time.

I've been busy this Christmas season, busier than I am on normal weeks and busier than I usually allow myself to get during the holidays, I think it might have something to do with keeping my mind off of Chloe, but that's for another post.  Today I was driving to get the kids from school and I realized, Christmas is almost here and I have done nothing to enjoy it, nothing to stop and take it all in, nothing to worship.

After we got our Christmas tree decorated this year, Kylynn was so excited, she told me what she wanted to do, sit in there at night, turn off all the lights and look at the tree while drinking hot chocolate, it was such a wonderful idea, and I've yet to make time for it.  I've somehow gotten my priorities flipped on their heads and forgotten that sitting with my daughter enjoying Christmas is something I need to do.

As we've been praying over how God would like Christmas to look in our house we've removed some of the distractions that get in the way of our family worshipping God this time of year.  In their place God has shown me several ways to make this time magical while we remember Him, one of them, lighting the candles during our Advent study was a big hit with the kids.  The problem is making the time to do these things, with nine days left we still have three nights of advent to complete.

In order to honor God with how we celebrate, it is important to replace the old traditions with new ones.  I don't want to just stop letting myself get busy with what the world tells me I have to do, I want to get busy doing what God wants me to do.

Tonight we did something I hope will become a tradition for our family, our friends invited a group of people together to go caroling.  It was wonderful, the kids were so excited they could have flown from house to house, and while I sang the words to "Silent Night" or "O Come all ye Faithful" I managed to pause and remember Him, the baby born in a manager, born to save us.

As I looked around I decided something.  I may only have nine days till Christmas, but they are going to be different from the first 16 days of this month, they will be slower and more purposeful.  I will write on the top of my to-do list, drink hot chocolate by the tree, go look at Christmas lights, and be still and focus on Christ the Lord.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'm not that frugal...

Yesterday I headed out to the dollar store, with two cranky kids in tow.  I like the dollar store if I'm in the right mood, it's a bit like a treasure hunt.  There is always something good to be found, sometimes more than others, but you have to be willing to look past a lot of junk to find the treasures.

I needed some Christmas ribbon, and I looked and looked, knowing they must have some, but not finding it anywhere.  On my search through the store I found these adorable kids drinking glasses.  They had different Disney characters on each of them, and were perfect for Kylynn to use.  I thought they were adorable, but knowing that I run my dishwasher (because it's full) everyday, contained myself and bought up four of them.

I got home and wanted to put them in the dishwasher I was about to start and went to remove the different stickers, thinking it said something like "dishwasher safe".  Um, no, it said, "WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm."

I think I'll pass, I'm frugal and all, love a cute glass for a dollar, but not frugal enough to give my children glasses containing a chemical that can cause reproductive harm!  The good news, they did have Christmas ribbon, I saw a man with some in his cart and he helped me find it, thank goodness for the kindess of strangers they were hiding that stuff!

If anyone knows where I can find cute disney glasses that won't cause harm to my children let me know, Kylynn was crushed to lose her princess glasses.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Two years ago

Two years ago, I did one of the bravest things of my life, I took you from her arms, the only arms you had ever wanted, and told you you were mine.  I held you while you slept.  I held you while you screamed, while you fought with every bit of strength your body had to get away from me.  I prayed over you and I told you I loved you, and when I didn't know what else to do I cried too, and clung to the promises of my Father.  In the end, we had become mother and son, through the fire, we found love and an unbreakable bond.

We got on a plane the next day, you had finally fallen asleep, on this day long journey to my home, our home soon.  I laid my weary head back, closed my eyes, and began to listen to the music I brought along.  The words washed over me as if I had never heard them, they were bigger than before and when they sang of God's grace and mercy, His goodness, and His plans and I was undone.

I looked at you sleeping, memorizing the way you looked, and I worshiped Him.  The words were like good medicine, refreshing me and giving me the strength I would need for this journey, this day long plane ride and this lifetime of questions.  More words were sung, how He holds us in His hands, how big He is, how Holy is our God, and my soul spilled over, poured out tear by tear, the joy was too big to hold inside of me.  God.  Is.  So.  Good.

Two years later I doubt a day goes by that I don't look at you and am overcome with a need to worship.  God.  Is.  So.  Good.  And you my dear boy, are a gift.  I understand the way God loves me more since you came home to me, that He would pick me to raise you, a gift.  That this is the plan God had for me, a gift.

Last week you woke sleepy from your nap and I asked if I could hold you, you said yes and laid your head on my shoulder.  I stood there looking out the window at that gray day, slowly rocking from foot to foot, and He whispered to me, I am using you, this is a good work for me.  This, I asked, this is just love and everything good in my life, this is a good work for you?  Yes, my child, you are walking on the path I set you on.  The tears came again, just as they had two years ago, God. Is. So. Good.

Today, we will celebrate, that on the other side of pain and loss, is a love that makes us a family.  We will celebrate all the mess that is adoption, your birth mom choosing life and your foster mom choosing to love without regard for self.  That you are Korean, that you are American, that you are Jack, and that you are Hyeon-jun.  Most of all we will celebrate our God, that He is good, and He longs to give good gifts to His children.  You my baby boy, are a good, good gift.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How to make Christmas cookies

Step 1: Realize that all the days dishes are blocking the counter you plan on using, do the dishes.  Don't forget to listen to your daughter whine that you're supposed to be making cookies, while doing dishes.

Step 2: Hear that your son is up from his nap and you need to go get him before making cookies.  To appease daughter show her how to place a small amount of sprinkles in each of the 5 bowls, explain clearly that you put just one type of sprinkles in each bowl, also explain three times how little you need in each bowl.

Step 3: Come downstairs with son to find this, in. all. five. bowls.  Notice that all your sprinkles that should have lasted you a good three years are now gone.  Breathe in.  Pray.  Talk to daughter about disobeying.  Decide that Christmas cookies don't have to be perfect and move on.

Step 4: Decide that before you make the cookies you should wash son's blanket, after all he'll be having fun making cookies and shouldn't mind at all.  Start washing machine.  Comfort hysterical child, when that doesn't work bribe him with food.

Step 5: Read ingredients and directions, realize you are missing one ingredient and call hubby to pick up on way home from work.  After all it is now 5pm and you are yet to start actually making the cookies.  To appease rightly frustrated daughter, bribe her with food.

Step 6: Get missing ingredient from hubby and actually start mixing some cookies.  Since it is now so late you will need to get dinner going at the same time.  Place meat on the stove to cook.

Step 7: Take daughter's picture with cookie cutters in hand, even though this recipe doesn't call for cookie cutters, because daughter feels the need to accessorize in pictures.  Roll cookies into balls, and allow daughter to roll in sprinkles, continue to cook dinner while daughter takes forever rolling in sprinkles.  Place beans and corn on the stove top to cook.

Step 8: Place cookies on baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and flatten with the bottom of a glass, try a few glasses till you find one that actually flattens.  Allow daughter to lick the spoon, then stop her when you catch her eating the bowls of sprinkles with a spoon.  Throw away all but one bowl of sprinkles that did not get slobber on it, make a mental note to buy more sprinkles before next Christmas.

Step 9: Take cookies out of the oven, set on stove top next to meat, corn, and beans that are cooking on a gas stove.  Call husband when you turn around and see that the parchment paper is on fire, when husband thinks it's no big deal and goes up stairs, yell for him more franticly till he comes down and saves the day.  Make a mental note not to place cookie sheets with parchment paper on the stove top while the burners are on.

Step 10: Clean the ashes off of the cookies.  Scoop the ashes out of the corn.  Move the cookie sheet and turn back on all the burners so dinner can finish up.  Give up on ever having a clean kitchen again.

Step 11: Serve cookies for dessert after dinner is served at 7:30 that night.

Step 12: Have a glass of wine before you have to tackle cleaning that war zone that once was a kitchen.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Because it's time

There is something I need to be honest with y'all about, I have a problem.  I waste hours a day on the internet, reading blogs, checking my email, window shopping, and the like.  For a few months now it has occurred to me that it's getting worse, as I find another amazing blog that I just have to keep up with, or find another coupon site that I can use to find more ways to save money.  For a few months now it has also been running around the back of my brain that God is not pleased with the way I am spending my time, as His child, my time belongs to Him and I am not honoring Him with the use of my time.

Our lives have gotten even busier the past six months, how is that possible, and instead of working hard to keep up with it all I've sought out an escape.  A world I can enter that drowns out my children's whines, blinds my eyes to the piles of laundry, and numbs my frustrations of my husband's work schedule.  The problem is I want to enter that world many times a day, that world is always easier than the real world I live in.  And when I spend so many hours of my day in an escape I don't have enough time for the things that matter.  I "don't have time" for spending time in the Word everyday, praying about discipline issues with Kylynn, working on home improvement projects, or keeping up with the cleaning, but somehow I have time to not miss a word of about 10 daily bloggers.

But even with the conviction that God is not happy with how I'm spending my time, even knowing that it is affecting my walk with the Lord and the way I parent my children, I was going to just kind of put a little band aid on it and hope no one would notice.  Until I read this post over at SortaCrunchy, followed the next day by this post over at It's Almost Naptime, and then this watched this video that sealed the deal while thoroughly cracking me up (I told you I read a LOT of blogs).

So I'm joining up with Missy on her Advent fast from the internet, and like her it's not going to be complete, after all there are things I genuinely need the internet for, like paying my bills and finishing my Christmas shopping.  But during the fast, I am going cold turkey when it comes to blog reading, oh it pains me to write that, but I know I will see growth in my walk with the Lord, when I use my time to read the words He wrote down, the words that are living and active, words that are truth.  I will also be checking my email five times a week as opposed to 6000 times a week, so if you need to talk to me, call me, or if you must, text me, but I'll want that 20 cents from you next time I see you...kidding :).

I won't stop writing either, as you can see that is not one of my time wasters as I have a hard time finding the time to write even a few times a week.  I hope to not just deal with some of my self control issues through this fast but also to clean out my ears, my brain, and my heart and allow God to speak truth to me.  Most of all I hope to be still this season and really reflect on the miracle of Christmas, that God would love us enough to leave His throne in a perfect kingdom to be a servant in a fallen world.  That I would reflect on the greatest love story ever told and I would allow my life to be changed by that love, that big and crazy love He has for us.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The magic camera

We went home to San Antonio for Thanksgiving last week, the kids and I were there for a full 7 days, and let me tell you just how much I love my peeps, I was kinda sad to come home.  But now that I'm here I'm glad, well sort of.  I'm torn between feeling glad to be home and feeling sad that now all the chores belong to me instead of to my mom or mom-in-law.  Vacuuming, laundry, dishes, bill paying, list making have filled this first day home.  But that's not what I wanted to talk about, I wanted to tell y'all that when I went home I was given one of the best gifts I've ever been given.

My sis-in-law, Laura, is pursuing starting her own photography business, she's got herself one of those professional cameras and that combined with her mad skills makes for some pictures that make me want to do the happy dance.   After 10 years of marriage and 4.5 years of parenting, Kyle and I have yet to have professional pictures taken (unless you count the pictures taken at our wedding, on day 1 of marriage).  It is something on my to do list but 1) it cost money, 2) who should I hire 3) all the getting everyone ready overwhelms me.  So instead I did it spur of the moment, with no time to pick out outfits or even bribe my kids enough to cooperate and still they turned out amazing!

Now I get to send out a Christmas card picture in which my children don't look like they hate us and Kyle and I look way prettier than we do in real life, doesn't get much better than that.  Thank you Laura, it really is such a gift to have these pictures of my children and our family.

If you live near Lubbock and are looking for some family photos let me put you in touch with Laura, just email me and I'll get you connected.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful series, part 4

Part 4: Family

Let's end here on the day that started the desire for writing it all down.  Let's end on this day of thankfulness with those that I am most thankful for, family.

As I sit here, they surround me, hold on a minute let me count, 10 to be exact.  And because they're all here, I am content, nothing can go wrong in the world, because all the people I need the most are right here where I can reach out and touch them.

If I stop and think about it, if I focus really hard, I get back to this place, where family is all that matters.  When I can do it, I remember to be grateful, for I have been blessed 10 times over.  And on this day, where the smells from the kitchen wrap me up in goodness and the noise from the chatter soothes my nerves, this Thanksgiving day, I will be grateful.

I will try to carry it into this next month that is filled with noise and stress, try to remember to turn my face away from all that stuff and look into their eyes, and remember.  I will try to carry it into this next minute when my mind turns instead to the one who is missing, the 11th who has no idea her future holds Thanksgiving dinners.  I will be grateful, and allow the 10 to be enough, to be able to love the 11th and miss her, and still be content, with this moment right here.

There is bread to be crumbled, mashed potatoes to be mashed, pots to be stirred, and so I'm off.  I want to be there right in the midst of this day, pausing and remembering when I laugh at their joke, or look in their eyes, there is nothing in this world I need besides you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful series, part 3

Part 3: All of it

* the color of kyle's eyes and how I always dreamed of having a baby with those eyes and God gave me Kylynn.

* the sound of Jack's laugh, if I could bottle it up with me I'd never be sad again.

* that my house is one big canvas, every room needing work, and the rest of my life to work on it as I find the time.

* for my friend H, that she sees me and still likes me, that she is slow to anger, slow to speak, and quick to listen.

* that Chloe's hair sticks straight up, just like her big sister's did.

* that Kylynn will have a sister, a relationship that shaped my life in wonderful ways.

* that my dad is the funniest person I know.

* this mac, oh how I love my mac.

* bloggers, your stories of your lives fill me up with joy and hope and the security of knowing I am not alone.

* my new necklace from 31 bits, it looks so good, if I do say so myself.

* these new yogurt places, with the real frozen yogurt and the endless toppings, and you pay by the weight, I do declare!

* i am being used by God right now, and it is something I haven't felt for the past couple of years.

* it's my mom's turn to have us for thanksgiving this year, and there's just something about eating the food your mom has made every year of your life.

* i know how to read, and I have a library card.

* the way I can apologize to my children and can talk to them about hard far, so good.

* christmas music, especially mariah carey christmas music.

* phone calls with my sisters.

* make up, hair dye, facial moisturizer, you get the picture AND the fact that there is not a person in this town who hasn't seen me make-up free with two inch roots.

* to have made it this far in marriage and find that after all the pain there is great reward, a love that truly does cover a multitude of sin.

* that people actually take the time to read the words I put down on this blog, thank you.

If you'd like a change of pace, read this great article by Dr. Russell Moore, Why I'm Ungrateful

Thankful series, part 2

Part 2: Community

Sunday night we got together with our homechurch (think homegroup or biblestudy) to have a Thanksgiving meal.  As I looked around a very full house filled with, the members of my group, and our friends, family, and neighbors, I thought to myself, this is what loving God is supposed to look like, this, right here, is what being a community is all about.

We began reading this book, this semester, and it has gently rocked my world.  It's a book about loving the non-Christians God places in your life, building relationships with them, and sharing with them how they can have a relationship with God, once you have earned that right (so to speak).  It is not rocket science, in fact, I often read a chapter and feel a weight has been picked up off my shoulders, because I can do this.  This, is evangelism that doesn't scare me.

As we've read through this book we've each began to build relationships with and love on people God has placed in our lives.  I feel like we've all become one big family, not just our homechurch, but the friends and family that we've been praying for over the past months.  We each care about the others and we each are invested in our goal of sharing God's love and truth with those around us.

One of the chapters in the book, is how evangelism is not something we have to do alone, reminding us that we are part of a body, and we need people of all different gifting to come together in order to be effective.  We've begun to serve as a community and I find that God is using that to knit us together even more.  There is something about serving with someone that makes you a team, you are reminded of why it is you're serving.

Sunday nights were once a time for family and I thought by starting this homechurch that I was losing that.  Instead I found that Sundays are still a time for family, just a bigger, more joyful family, with a lot more coffee and dessert eating.  I am so thankful this year for each one of them, for how different we each are, for all the truth that God has taught me through them.  I am so thankful for a community to walk this path with me, people who I can open up to when I fall down and people who I can rejoice with when I get it right.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thankful series, part 1

In honor of Thanks giving, I will be doing a series on what I'm thankful for.

Part 1: Friendship

Here I sit in a house that seems, in contrast, so very quiet and so very still.  The three women I began this motherhood journey with, have all returned home, their 11 children with them.  This morning the four of us allowed 13 children to run free so that we could just talk, if just for a minute or two and catch up on what is going on these days.  As I sit here, I feel such gratitude, to have this, these times with these women that care about each other and who's children have known each other all of their lives.

I remember it so clear, that it's apparent now that it was a life line that I desperately needed.  The coordinator of the infant playgroup invited me to attend, Kylynn was 8 weeks old, and my immediate response was YES!  An invitation was not needed to attend, but I'm not sure if I would have ever made my way there if she hadn't reached out to me.  To have a few hours a week, where I could have a conversation with, not just adults, but mommies in the same place in life I was, was a gift.  We shared our struggles and our joys and always left lighter than when we arrived.

The four of us have out grown a weekly playgroup, our lives are much too big for that these days, but we still need what it provided.  A place to ask questions, did this happen to you when you were nursing, did he ever gag on food, how have you dealt with talking back?  Even more a place to say the big things that you're afraid to say out loud, until you do and they say, me too.  To have someone you can look in the eye and tell the truth when they ask how you're doing.

And even after three hours, there were so many half finished sentences, so many interrupted conversations, insuring that there will be a next time.  A time to connect, as a group of four women, who were placed together in life because our circumstances were the same, and found in the end real friendship.  I for one am already looking forward to the next time, mostly because I know it won't be at my house this time :).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Big love

I awoke this morning to this beautiful bit of goodness (I took the bite, I'm impatient, especially when it comes to doughnuts).  After ten years, he knows, if you want to communicate love to me do it by leaving me a chocolate glazed doughnut waiting for me in the kitchen.  Perhaps that's a bit specific, I do experience love in other ways too, but you know what I mean.  Chocolate=love, doughnut=love, chocolate doughnut=really big love.

My sweet hubby, who has been busy, busy these past six months few days, decided to use his time creatively and take Kylynn on a daddy/daughter date in the morning before us normal people are awake.  They had doughnuts and kool-aid and Kylynn talked and talked, I'm sure, while Kyle barely got a word in edge wise.

Kylynn (can I tell you how much I love this fashionista, look at how she buckles her belt on the side, love it!) had a breakdown this morning because, in her words, "but I need to share Jesus with Jack mommy."  Talk about pulling out the big guns in an argument, geez.  Jack had said that Daddy made his boo-boo all better, and Kylynn needed him to understand that no, only God makes boo-boos better.  This began a back and forth of, no daddy!, no God!  And when I told her to stop arguing with her brother, she laid that one on me.  Oh, the pressures she puts on herself, she is definitely her father and I rolled into one up tight little girl.

Jack has gotten wind that his third birthday is 3 months away, and unfortunately my theory is holding up.  Terrible twos-some silly rhyme made up that has nothing to do with reality, terrible threes-oh golly hold onto your hats.  The boy will say no to things he really wants, just so he can say no, then he has to come back and change his mind, because what child doesn't want chocolate milk.  He has also decided that as of now he will take no more being pushed around by Kylynn, not gonna have it!  He also gets mad at her if she looks at him, tries to talk to him, breathes on him, or thinks about him.

The good news, Kyle found a secret cubby in our coat closet, under the stairs where the kids can be locked up play.  I'm hoping that they'll soon spend some more time in there so I can think clearly enough to cook some dinner, or catch up on a chore or two.  So far they just stayed in their long enough to decide they wanted everything in the Christmas toy catalogue that came in the mail and then came out to tell me all about it.

This is my life and I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy every crazy minute of it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's time to shop

Have y'all seen that nifty button up there on the upper right hand corner of my blog, you know the one that says "Home for Christmas."  Go ahead and click on it and check out all the amazing stuff you can buy for Christmas this year, or if you're like me all the amazing stuff you want other people to buy you for Christmas this year.  All of the shops listed (and there are a ton!) are raising money to help pay for their or other's adoptions.

LoraLynn over at Vitafamiliae put this list together and had that nifty button created to spread the word.  She also blogged about all the different shops by category, so if the vastness of the list overwhelms you head over to her blog and read her past entries to see some of her favorites, divided by category.   Did I tell you it's good stuff, and bonus: you won't accidentally buy someone something they already have.

Want to help spread the word?  Paste this code on your blog to get the button:

<a href="" target="_blank"><img a="" an="" border="0″ alt=" bring="" buy="" christmas.="" for="" gift.="" home!"="" home="" orphan="" src="" /></a>

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Enough about you, let's talk about me

I've often wondered if there is some common character trait that all bloggers share, if there is I think it would have to be an ability to always bring the conversation back to ourselves, I kid...kind of.

But since we're talking about bloggers, and I'm a blogger, and this is my blog, let's talk about me.  Thank you, each one of you, who has been praying for me, after being dealt the blow of learning that Chloe's adoption process is on a two+ month hold.  I have felt your prayers, in a big way, God has reached down and picked up the sadness I was carrying around like a wet blanket, and I feel peace and joy, for the first time in a long time.  It's bigger than me, so I've stopped trying to understand it, but I feel ready to wait for God to bring her home in His time and I feel blessed to enjoy this time as a family of four with as much fun as we can squeeze in.

One of the ways God is filling me up with joy is through the love of strangers.  When a stranger shows me kindness I am always overcome.  In their kindness I see Him, using their hands and feet, to say, you are loved.  The other day I was at the grocery store with both kids, after they had spent a nap-free day at school.  This equals crazy children, and sweaty and stressed mommy.  I was walking down the cereal aisle and Kylynn was dancing around and got in the way of an elderly gentleman walking the opposite direction.  I asked Kylynn to get out of his way, in I'm sure, a very exasperated voice.  He looked at me with such kindness, saying, "I'm in no hurry, she can keep on dancing, before you know it they'll be old enough to do the shopping for you."  I wanted to hug him, instead I just thanked him and hoped he didn't notice that I was about to cry.

This Saturday, our town had a miniature horse show at the expo center, it was free to go, so you know we were all about it.  We took the kids out and of course they were in heaven, horses just their size!  Jack was standing in the stands doing his donkey impression (close enough) and it's a really good one.  This lady just fell in love with him and asked us if we would all like to come and meet her horses.  She took us over and introduced us to a few horses, let us pet them, and let Kylynn walk one.  Her daughter was showing that day and she shared with us their story of how they came to be involved with miniature horses.  I cannot tell you how kind she was to our family, how nice it was to have a conversation that was real, with a woman who's name I will never know.

I walked away that day carefully holding something beautiful, yet fragile, I could feel it's weight and see it's beauty.  God had given me the gift of seeing His love in everything around me, and I held it close and smiled.

Truth be told, I still don't have a clue why Chloe can't come home today.  But I have finally, picked my feet up off the ground, stopped dragging them, and allowed God to drive the car.  Who knew being a passenger could feel this free, this light.  The wind is blowing through my hair and joy has settled deep in my heart.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Get a flu shot, get $5!

If you get a flu shot this year between November 7th and November 30th, Lysol will give you a $5 rebate.  To print out the rebate form and see details head over here.

I didn't actually have to pay for my flu shot so I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to get one, we'll see.  Good luck fellow frugal friends!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Because you served, free stuff

Happy Veteran's day, and thank you to all the men and women who have selflessly served our country. I can't personally thank you all but I hope I can help a few of you find a store or restaurant that would like to.

There are so many deals offered to veteran's on this day.  I was shocked to see just how many restaurants, stores, and parks offer free or discounted products.  Some of my favorites were 10% off at Lowes, a free haircut at Sports Clips, and a free meal at Texas Road House, check them all out along with the details at The Military Wallet, what a neat website!

Now go out and have a free breakfast, lunch, and dinner, get a free haircut, and then get some stuff for 10% off, it's way less than you deserve but I hope it brightens your day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Living in the past

And now that Thanksgiving is around the corner I will get around to posting my halloween pictures, you're welcome :).

On Friday, we had a trick-or-treating event, that the company Kyle works for hosts every year, otherwise known as our first stop in our "how much candy can two kids get" experiment. 

Then we headed over to our church's country fair, also known as stop #2 in our "how much candy can two kids get" experiment.  We had such a good time, we took some International students with us and they loved seeing how we celebrated.  We went on a hay ride, played games, listened to live music, and ate some great food, and got candy of course.

This also happened to be the weekend when Kylynn got to take home the class mascot (is that right...I don't know), Max.  She had a great time dragging him everywhere we went so that Mommy would have something to write in his journal before sending him back to school.  I can't believe it's happening all ready, but it is, "Kylynn" has homework all the time (all of which is really for me, because it involves things she couldn't possibly do, like write in a journal).

We carved our pumpkins.  Kyle is the pumpkin carver in this house and this year he did one to look like each of the kids, it was pretty impressive, well to me at least, I can't carve a pumpkin to save my life.

See...notice Jack's eyes are more almond and less round than Kylynn's, he was going for details.

They were Superman! and a pumpkin fairy (don't ask, she made it up and it was free, so we were both happy) again on Halloween night, otherwise known as our third and final stop in "how much candy can two kids get" experiment.

We had our home church over to hang out on Halloween and one of our friends decided that if we were going to hang out it might as well be a little party for the trick-or-treaters.  So my friend made a lollipop pull and a bean bag toss (with smoke coming out of the pumpkin's mouth).  We had a great time hanging out and drinking cider and eating popcorn, everyone but Kyle who decided that he wanted to scare the children by pretending to be a stuffed scarecrow and then yelling at them when they took candy, luckily none of the parents punched him :).

Finally I should have a picture of our candy but I don't, it didn't occur to me till just now and it was long ago taken to Kyle's office before mommy gained 10 lbs.  But I will tell you that it would have filled up a 3 gallon bucket, easy!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My story

Today is orphan Sunday, a day to remember the 147 million, and to ask what should I do about it?  There are many roles that one can play in caring for the orphans in this world, the one that I am most familiar with right now is adoption.  But really, what can I say about adoption that hasn't been said before, not much I'm afraid.  What I can share with you is my story, my story of how I got here, it was a lot easier than you might think.

I didn't see this coming, this life I'm living now.  As a child it never occurred to me that children could join a family any other way than growing in their mommy's belly.  The older I got the more I learned about the world and all it's suffering and I remember how much I wanted to help make the world a little bit better, but I didn't know how to go about it and I wasn't brave enough to do much more than think about big issues, like poverty, AIDS, and orphans.  I didn't know that God had told me in His word that it was my job to care about these issues enough to act and even if I did I probably would have ignored Him all the same.

When Kyle and I decided that we wanted to start a family I had been ready for a while, so when it didn't happen right away I quickly began to wonder if maybe something was wrong.  I forced Kyle to think about it and to tell me what we were going to do if for some reason we never ended up pregnant.  For Kyle it was simple, if that happens we'll adopt.  For me that seemed like a consolation prize and a scary one at that.  Eventually I came to a place where I decided I could adopt, I didn't really want to, but I would do it if God asked me to.  Soon though I could forget those thoughts as I became pregnant with our daughter.

When it came time to make to add baby #2, Kyle was adamant that we adopt, his simple argument was this, if we don't do it now we may never do it.  I knew he was right and could see us meaning to adopt "someday" but then after giving birth to two or three children, being too tired to add another one, and part of me thought that would be just fine.  I was scared and very unsure about it all, but finally decided that this was God leading me through Kyle, so I jumped in, trusting He wouldn't let me drown.

It wasn't until I was all the way in, wet all the way up to my ears, that I began to feel about adoption the way I feel today.  In my life adoption wasn't a life long passion, a message spoken to me through a burning bush, or the only window left open in a row of closed doors.  It was just something that I stumbled upon, and chose to say yes.  I signed one piece of paper, then another, and another.

And now here I am.  A mama to not only Kylynn, but to Jack and Chloe.  Sometimes I let myself go there, to consider, what if I had said no.  I would have missed this, this raising of my son, the way he laughs, the ten times a day he tells me, "i love you mommy" and "mommy you pretty."  I would have been the old me, the one who hadn't been stretched and molded into this woman, I would have been missing a passion and a realization that I have a purpose on this earth.

That is my story.  It is not made for TV movie worthy, but I hope it speaks to someone out there that is hearing that whisper and is wondering if God could really be asking them to adopt, even though they're scared, even though they could give birth to children, even though it's never really been something they wanted to do.  I hope it encourages you that there are costs involved in adoption, but the pay off is greater than you ever dreamed possible.

Friday, November 5, 2010

They say it better

I'm in a bit of a rut, my mind is fully engaged in trying to process this adoption delay and still trust God, it takes all of my strength to do that, and anyway even if I had all my brain power these women still speak my heart better than I can.

Why I will adopt all the children God asked me to before I pour money into college funds

Why I no longer consider myself a republican or democrat, but just a lady who really loves Jesus

Stop telling God no, there is no blessing like adoption

And please watch this short video to get ready for Orphan Sunday, this Sunday!

Creation Groans from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

True Religion

This Sunday is orphan sunday, so starting today I will do a few posts relating to adoption, orphans, and how we all can make a difference.  But first I want to look at the need, this video does a great job or reminding us of what we are called to and how much we have to give to so many with such great need.

True Religion from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

When God says No

It is easy to love you, to worship you, to sing your praises when the blessings abound, when my heart only knows joy and peace is my constant companion.  And those times are good, they are worthy, they teach me about who You are and how You love.

But it is when You tell me no* that I have the chance to grow, to be made into your image, to show the world what it is that makes me different, that makes You different.  The no, seems all wrong, even knowing what a small piece of the puzzle I see, I can't imagine why a no would be better than a yes, why empty arms could be better than ones filled up with love.  But I can't seem to find my anger, all I feel is an assurance heavy in my heart, and a need to praise, to obey, to worship, and be made whole.

You have yet to answer my questions, for you do not answer to me, so I will never really know all the parts of the puzzle that you were creating.  But I have learned, through years of just almost understanding, I finally believe that indeed You have a plan for me, a plan to give me a future and a hope.  You have convinced me that You are still good, in all ways good, even when you say no, to a plan I had all worked out in my head.

You had whispered to me months ago, that I was praying for the wrong thing and I quietly switched, so I suppose you didn't really tell me no.  For I began to pray for your timing, for her to come to me when it is time, once you've completed that which needs to be done, the work in my heart, the work in others, the part of the puzzle You're building right now.  And you will always say Yes to prayers that speak your work into this world, and so I will continue to pray for Your timing and for the hope you have promised to create in me.

*We got news today that there will be no more children permitted to leave Korea this year, the quota has been met.  In January our process will pick up where it was left off.

Monday, November 1, 2010

31 bits

This Christmas season I have a couple of goals when it comes to the shopping.  First, spend less money, we just paid for Chloe's adoption and so money is tight, so I really want to be mindful of every dollar I spend during the holidays.  Second, find creative gift ideas and great deals so that no one knows I spent less money on them this Christmas (unless of course they read my blog that is) :).  Third buy gifts from organizations who take my money and use it to change lives.

So far, so good, but I had yet to spend any money to meet my third goal despite knowing several great organizations out there, until today.  Today I headed over to 31 Bits, that sells jewlery made by women in Uganda, earning an income that allows them to rise out of poverty in a war torn country.  The mission of this organization is, for "the women [to] earn an income that allows them to provide for their families, receive financial and savings training, and maximize their creative skills and abilities. We strive to build a loving community that cares for individuals’ spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical needs."

Their necklaces, bracelets, and headbands are gorgeous and if you don't like anything you see, wait a few days their winter line is coming out on November 4th!  Go check them out and buy a gift that will make bring joy to the receiver and to the lady who made it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A missing camera and a reading assignment

Happy Halloween y'all.  I have pictures of all our halloween fun this weekend, lots of pictures, problem is my hubby has gone off and stolen my camera, that for some reason he thinks is "our" camera.  I'm not sure where he got that idea, after all I am the one with the blog, he only needed it for his paying job.

So I will get you those pictures soon, in the mean time head over to Stuff Christians Like, my friend introduced me to this blog that is just too funny.  This one, Praying for things you shouldn't, is great.  In case you're wondering I have the "spirited" children and have often been tempted to pray these same things for a few of my smug friends :).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sweetest words

It was that time of year, so the words came in in abundance.  Some written by hand, others typed on keyboard and sent magically straight to me.  Words to wish well, words of pride and love, words to tell me who I am.

And I read them fast, like one eats a candy bar, I took them in quickly, ravenously, barely tasting their goodness, just wanting to know what they said, just wanting to fly on the high of the sweet, sweet words, and float awhile.

I took them out again, later, when the world was quiet, the sugar high had gone and I longed for the sustenance of those words, to read again, who they see when they look at me.  I took them in one by one, swallowed the words whole.

They fell into the cracks, and were smoothed over, making those deep places whole again.  When they see me they see a woman that they are proud of, they see accomplishments, they see the one who makes our family work, and the one who does the hard jobs.

How is it that I always miss those qualities, I see only the mistakes, the setbacks, and the failures.  I feed myself bitter words of how I've failed again and how far I have to go.  But right now I have proof, whole words, to tell me another story.

I will allow them to sit with me this time.  I will fully digest them, till they are known, I will write them in nooks as reminders.  I am a woman, who makes the people around her feel loved, feel proud to call me theirs, who makes it all work and I am a woman who fails, who messes up, and who sometimes falls flat on her face.  The setbacks don't change who I am, they know those things too, and still they chose those sweet words.

And I wonder what words He would use to describe me, and know down deep, that they would be the sweetest words.  Know that if I will take the time to listen, He would speak words that would fill me completely, where no room would remain for the bitterness.  This year I will try, I will work, to see myself through their eyes, through His eyes, to give myself credit, that when I fall I get back up and try again.  Credit that in my deepest place I am trying, to live this life for Christ alone, I am trying to live this life to someday hear, well done good and faithful servant.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Researching chocolate

God has begun taking me down a road to honoring Him in all areas of my life, including the things I spend my money on.  It's a new journey for me and so I'm just learning, but this post, over at Rage Against the Minivan, on the chocolate most of us buy in the United States is so helpful to me, this is what I'm trying to change, spending my money on products that promote things God hates, like child slavery.

Please take the time to read this information and you never know you just might find yourself on that same journey, we can learn together, but let me tell you there is a lot to learn.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

How He loves

I'm just going to level with y'all, I've got me some post-baby assignment blues.  Oh yes, that's a real thing, trust me.  The time between when you've been handed a picture of your baby and when you're allowed to bring your baby home is the suckiest part of adoption.  You can quote me on that.

I went back and read through my posts during this time in 2008 just to make sure I felt this way last time (I did) and then I went and read my agency's guidebook to make sure they say you'll fee this way (they do).  So I guess that makes me feel a little better, I may be sad, but I'm supposed to be sad, so there's that.

Adoption is such a time of learning about yourself and about your relationship with God.  For me it is one of the fires that God has asked me to walk through in order to refine me, so I keep praying that I walk through it well, that I don't come out of this unchanged.  It hurts, God, please don't let the hurt go to waste, if I'm going to hurt, please use it to make me more like You.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and I had one of those revelations, when you say something out loud and realize that you have just stated a deep truth that you were not conscious of until that moment.

I told her that I had been from the beginning preparing myself that this adoption was going to be different from Jack's adoption, that no two adoptions are the same.  But I never considered that this adoption was going to be different in positive ways, that it would be faster (not slower), that we would get a girl (a miracle), that she would have no medical needs (not lots).  I realized that this stems from one of the lies I believe about God, that I can't fully trust Him, that I need to be on watch for the bad things coming my way.  I do not fully or maybe even partly understand the way God loves me.

I haven't made much progress since my revelation because here I sit, sure that God is not going to bring Chloe home by Christmas, that it's going to take forever and that I'm not going to be able to handle all that waiting.

The good news is, my perception of God, the lies I believe, are just that, and it will never change who He really is.  He's teaching me right now, who He really is, the ways He really loves, the all consuming power that belongs to Him alone, and the trust that He has earned.  And I'm learning, really slowly, but I'm learning.  When I look back on this adoption, on this time of waiting, I will see that through the fire I learned one of the most important lessons of my life, how He loves.

"So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God."  -The Bible, Ephesians 3:17-19

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Have y'all seen the show "Parenthood"?  I am in love with that show like I can't believe.  I think I love it as much as I loved "My so called Life", back in the day, ok probably not that much, but I love it.

Parenthood because it protrays the lifes of four siblings and their individual families, and the families are like our families, they have real issues, but they really love each other, and work hard to stay together.  They deal with raising a child with special needs (Asperger's syndrome) in a way that is beautiful, they show the ups and downs and how hard it is on the parents.  They deal with balancing work and family and with balancing your immediate family with your extended family.  Every week I think it makes me cry at least once, but in a good, happy way.  I find it so refreshing to watch a show on TV that I can relate to, that's about my life.

If you haven't seen it, you've got to give it a try, and if you don't like it that's ok, we're allowed to disagree, but I think many of you will.  It comes on, on NBC on Tuesday evenings after Biggest Loser.  If you want to catch up on shows you've missed, you can always watch them on hulu.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The money statement

Let me just be up front with you for a minute, adoption, can be expensive.  This is not news to me, I have written the checks for two adoptions so I don't doubt this information.  What I do doubt is this, that this fact, is the real deal breaker for so many people.

If I had to rank the most heard expression when someone finds out I have adopted, it would be a tie between, "why is it so hard to adopt, I mean there are all these children who need homes, why do they make the process so difficult" and "why is adoption so expensive, I mean there are all these children who need homes, why do they make it so expensive?"

Occasionally it is not a question but a statement, and when this is the case it is almost always the money statement.  "Adoption is so expensive, I do not understand why they make it impossible for people to help these children, but nobody can afford that kind of money!" When I look into their eyes, it's as if as they make their statement, they are locking another deadbolt, patting themselves on the back, for a door they slammed long ago.

This is when I usually begin to bite my tongue, I'm passionate about adoption, but nobody ever won over any converts to their way of thinking by yelling at them, YOU'RE WRONG! so I resist that urge.  It is also where I begin to wonder, one, if it hasn't dawned on them that I'm sitting right there, can hear everything they're saying and have actually adopted and, two, what experience in their past made them have such a strong reaction to adoption.

What I try to say, without much success so far, is that's not true!  First, adoption doesn't have to be expensive there are varying degrees of money required to adopt, ranging from almost nothing to more than I could fathom (if say you're Bragelina and want to adopt a baby in a few weeks).

But it can cost a chunk of money, and this is where I get upset, so bear with me.  The most expensive international adoptions are within the reach of everyone who has ever slammed that door in my face.  I am not saying it is within the reach of every person, but this is America it is within the reach for many of us.

Have you ever bought a new car, bought a house, paid for a college education, then you can afford adoption.  I'm not saying that it will be easy, you may have to work some extra hours, cut out all the fat in your budget, borrow money, or apply for grants (yes there really is organizations that will help you afford adoption), all things people do all the time to afford another thing.

But in the end you are not left with something that loses half it's value the second you drive it off the lot, or something that loses it's shine two weeks later, you are left with your child, with a family.

This is what I know, everyone of you with children would never let money stand in the way of their health, their safety, or their presence with you, it's exactly the same for those of us who have adopted.  We are not some high class society, who can write a check for ten grand the way some do for ten dollars.  But we are a group of people who love our children, people who won't let anything stand in the way of bringing them home, not a year without pedicures, not canceling our iphone, not selling our house and buying something smaller.  And if you really felt that passion about the hundreds of millions of children in need of a family, why not open that door back up, undo all those locks, and see what role God has for you.  God will never let money stop you from the path He has from you and neither should you.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


There are times in the morning, when I get up early enough to catch her fresh out of bed, that I can see it, just for a moment.  Or when she drinks from a sippy cup, her blue eyes look rounder, her cheeks chunkier, and I remember.  She once was a baby, is still my baby, but never again will she be mine the way she was then.

Yesterday, she asked me how old she was when she came home to me, adoption is all she knows, she wondered did she come home at 6 months, 9 months, when.  And it made me happy her world view, she is and will be passionate about her God, she is and will be passionate about adoption.  And sometimes I'm sure that  no one is listening to anything I have to say or caring at all about the millions and how our God said, take care of them, but then I see that she is, she's listening and she's watching and she cares.

I pray big things for her, not specific things, just that she will do better than I have.  That she will let God mark her path from the begining and will follow no matter where He might lead.  One day as I prayed for her, I had a vision of her as adult being His hands and His feet and I wondered, what it might be.

But for now she is four and four is so much bigger than it sounds, it's old enough to say, Mommy, you know, I know that santa and the tooth fairy are not really real.  It's big enough to dream and to pray, "in your heavenly name" something she learned along the way.

And soon, I won't be able to find her baby face, she will just be Kylynn,  a girl, then a woman, with her passions and dreams and goals.  And I will not be sad, I will be expectant and hopeful, I will wonder who she will become and I will pray that in the end, when she's no longer mine (she was never mine) she will want me still.