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.