Tuesday, December 15, 2009

that face...

...can't imagine my world without it. this is just one of the amazing pics that my friend corinne took during our family photo shoot today.

i write this blog post through tears tonight. i often stop by my friend jason's blog to read up on the latest adoption issues and gain his wisdom on such matters. tonight what i found broke my heart. i heard the words of a young woman who (without regret) had chosen to abort her unborn child and claimed, sadly, that she 'needed an abortion' and had no other options. i couldn't help but think about how different the world would be if lucy's birthmother had the same mentality...if she had bought into the lie that at the age of 15 there was no option for her but to terminate her pregnancy. that would mean no lucy and that is UNIMAGINABLE to me.

look at that face... when you do you'll not only see one of my greatest joys...you'll see the result of a courageous teenage girl who understood the truth about life and out of great love made a decision that would change all of our lives for the better...

...praying God would change the hearts of many so that they might see the beauty of adoption as we have...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

my list...

lucy and i spent a little time this weekend getting in the christmas spirit. what a gift to see this season through the eyes of your children...

so you've heard that song - my grown-up christmas list...well here's my 'grown-up, postpartum, mommy of 2' christmas list...
- 1 hour free of toddler tantrums
- 1 full night of peaceful slumber (and not having to sleep in a nursing bra would be a bonus)
- a cleaning fairy to whisk in and out leaving my house spotless and completely organized (and then come back the next day to do it all over again)
- my pre-pregnancy body
- 1 day of complete uninterrupted time with my husband
- bottles that wash themselves and diapers that change themselves
but most importantly i wish for...
- complete appreciation for the pure joy of spending this magical holiday season with my healthy, happy family of four...

Friday, December 4, 2009

oh, how a month flies by...

i've written dozens of blog posts in my head over the last month (while changing diapers, pumping, washing bottles, pumping, doing laundry...and did i mention...pumping) but i've yet to actually get anything in writing (sign of a lazy writer)...

oliver is one month old today...crazy! our family of four is getting into our groove and gearing up for christmas...what a fabulous time to be on maternity leave and spending lots of time with the ones i love most!

Monday, November 9, 2009

our little guy is here!


November 4th, 2009
8 pounds 7 ounces
21 1/2 inches
...sweet tiny boy...he's already stolen our hearts...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

the gift of time...

our little man still hasn't arrived yet. apparently he has decided to fall right into line with a serious family history of late babies. we are embracing the 'waiting period'. there are few times in your life when you have your schedule completely cleared and can wake up each morning simply awaiting what the day holds. this is our world right now and it is truly a gift. it has been a sweet time of reconnection for me and joey and a priceless opportunity to savor every moment with lucy (who seems to grow up minute by minute). our days have been filled with family meals together (breakfast, lunch, and dinner!), impromptu trips to the playground, visits with family and friends who we normally don't see enough of...and bedtime routine is now a family affair (with all three of us squeezed on lucy's little twin bed for stories and prayers). tonight lucy (in her halloween costume/clemson game day attire) took full advantage of some last minute undivided attention from her uncle robert and the rest of our family...

so...yes - God, i do eagerly await the arrival of our tiny boy and pray that you would deliver him to us safely. but also i thank you for knowing what we need and when we need it. we have truly been blessed in the waiting...

PSALM 27: 14 ~ Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Friday, October 9, 2009

eating figs in the driveway with granny

this is certainly a season of joy and celebration for our family.

i write to you from a hotel room in charleston where joey, lucy, and i have traveled to witness the wedding of joey's sister, lindsay. we love lindsay and we love her soon to be husband - will. we also love being married. for these reasons we are overjoyed to be spending this precious time with them and supporting them as they begin this crazy journey of discovering what it means to be husband and wife.

it's an amazing season of life for us...being married (which despite it's challenges continues to be the most rewarding, beautiful, ever-changing, ever-growing relationship i've ever know...i truly adore my husband)...raising a sweet, fun-loving, adventurous spirit we call 'doodlebug' (a.k.a 16 month old lucy)...and preparing for the arrival of our 2nd little one - oliver - due to arrive in a couple of weeks (so really...any day now...but hopefully not until we get home from charleston).

with all the BIG things going on around us i think it is extra important that we continue to pay attention to the little joys...the momentary gifts God hands us daily. i had one of those moments a couple of days ago when i was sitting in the driveway at my granny's house.

it was late in the afternoon and the weather was crisp (hinting at fall). lucy and i had stopped by for a short visit on our way to the grocery store. granny and i sat in the iron chairs under her carport and watched as lucy wandered around barefoot looking at leaves and sticks and other highly interesting objects.

my granny (also 'lucy') had just witnessed the burial of her sister earlier in the day - my great-aunt evelyn. i sensed she was somewhat saddened but peaceful and i hoped that merely our presence was lifting her spirits (if they needed that). she mentioned the service and seemed pleased with how it had gone...i used this opportunity to gauge her feelings on the matter. we both agreed - a little tearily - my aunt (granny's sister) had been freed from great pain and distress that often comes upon our earthly lives...she was now much happier than any of us could imagine. i was reminded of the faith of my family and how grateful i am for that.

in between digging in the dirt and bringing tiny flowers over that she had picked for her great-grandmother, lucy remembered the figs. in her very creative (though sometimes difficult to decipher) communication style she indicated to me that she needed some help getting over to get a fig from granny's backyard. when i 'got it' and asked if she wanted me to take her over to the fig tree she nodded enthusiastically and off we went. we returned to sit with granny and eat freshly picked figs.

i have never enjoyed figs as much as i do with my daughter. they have a brand new appeal to me after watching her excitement as she scans the branches, spots a ripe one, watches me pluck it, without hesitation takes a big juicy bite, and then grins in utter delight. in that moment i watched her face and then glanced over at granny's face too...i saw the same delight. i wished that there were someone hiding in the bushes who would quietly snap a picture of that moment so that i could hang it on my refrigerator forever. i knew that was not the case so instead i closed my eyes and tried hard to make an imprint in my memory and vowed to write it down so as not to forget...so here it is...my kodak moment in words...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

first of all...photo credits go to my friend corinne (that's her daughter, dylann, with lucy)...y'all know i can't take pictures like that!

some random reflections after attending my 1st 'she speaks' conference...

1 ½ days FULL of writer/speaker information overload…feeling inspired, overwhelmed, humbled, confident, guilty, free, stuck, tired, energized (but most of all…grateful).  

spent time in the prayer room repenting of the bitterness and resentment i have been carrying in my heart lately.  asked God to replace it with a grateful heart and a spirit of joy and humility (will need to continue asking repeatedly until this becomes habit again).  requested specific direction on where to go from here (even though I know it’s not that easy).

just finished reading some SARK for the first time which gave me the last little push i needed to actually sit down and write instead of busying myself and only THINKING about writing (and swearing i don’t have time and am not focused enough at the moment to get anything worthwhile done).  remembering ‘stream of consciousness’ writing from mrs. brown’s 9th grade english class and all the ‘brainstorming’ i did in PROBE during elementary school…  again – grateful – grateful that my mind has at least been trained somewhat to bend and flex and be fluid and override my desire to wait until i can get things 'just right' (a.k.a procrastination…or is it perfectionism…or is it both…or maybe just laziness).

and finally...'EL' - strong one - who God is proving to be in my life right now.  at 6 1/2 months pregnant the daily grind really does seem like a GRIND most days but God keeps reminding me to rely on his strength and not my own...

I am the Lord, the God of all humankind. There is, indeed, nothing too difficult for me.  ~Jeremiah 32:27

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

birthday girl!

so hard to believe that our baby turned 1 this past month...time flies!  i truly underestimated the joy i would find in planning and celebrating her big day.  every moment i spent glueing together invitations, planting flowers, baking cupcakes, decorating the front porch, were all precious opportunities to show my deep love for my daughter.  it was a happy day filled with happy memories of a year full of blessings.  

joey and i have made a commitment to take special events in the life of our family and turn them into opportunities for outwardly blessing our children and intentionally breathing specific truths into their lives.  even at this early age it is an amazing experience to purposefully claim the blessings God has promised for our child...and to experience the support and encouragement of family and close friends who understand our deep desire to see her tiny heart led to jesus.  there are so many things about my savior that i want to share with my daughter...no need to wait...if i start whispering these truths to her now she'll never know life without them...

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up...be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (from The Shema - Deuteronomy 6:4-12)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

sorry no pics...just me getting a rare minute to write...

Mark 9:33-37

v. 37 – Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.

This piece of scripture is very familiar to me but I don’t remember ever really examining it in its context before.  This time around there was new light shed on Jesus’ words. 

What prompted this statement from Jesus was an argument among his disciples.  They must have known that it was a silly argument because when Jesus inquired about it they ‘kept quiet’…ashamed to tell him what they were wasting their time on.   I would have been pretty ashamed myself.  The truth is – we’ve all gotten into the debate the disciples were engaged in – the debate over who is better.  Maybe we don’t outwardly promote ourselves as being superior to others but our minds certainly go there from time to time.  We so often measure ourselves up against one another and remind ourselves of all the ways we come out on top.  It’s that nasty pride creature that rears its head and tries to convince us that being better is what’s important and that the goal of being the best is what should drive our decisions and our actions.  All lies of course.

Jesus took this issue seriously.  He didn’t dismiss it as childish banter.  Instead he stopped, sat down, and called the disciples to him.  He had something important to say.  Jesus began by totally reconceptualizing the way the disciples were thinking of ‘greatness’.  It wasn’t about who had performed more miracles or who was the most articulate speaker.  Instead Jesus said this – “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

In this statement I believe that Jesus was shifting the focus of the disciples lofty endeavors from how they could favorably position themselves to how they could place others in a more favorable position.  If we remove the competition to be first and decide that we are content with last we are free to serve without selfish ulterior motives.  We no longer need to make decisions based on what would be best for us…instead we are considering what would be best for others.

This in and of itself is a gigantic nugget of wisdom from the great Rabbi but he takes it one step further to ensure the disciples understanding.  As he often does in his teachings, Jesus includes a practical example to make his lesson more meaningful.  This time he uses the example of children. 

In verse 37 he applauds those who tend to children.  In fact he doesn’t just applaud them he equates their task of serving children to serving God.  Of course!  It makes perfect sense!  When I have looked at this verse in isolation before I have thought it was a nice statement about the importance of children.  As a children’s ministry director I have frequently quoted it in my appreciation to volunteers.  But upon closer examination it is much more than a call for serving children.  Jesus is telling his disciples that in acknowledging and caring for children we are demonstrating the greatest act of ‘greatness’.  Children have many needs and little to give in return.  Sure…we all experience a child’s laugh or smile or hug as a gift but outside of that they don’t offer us much in our quest for greatness.  They can’t help us get that promotion we’ve been seeking or get us in with the ‘right crowd’ or put in a good word with someone influential.  For this reason our service to them is pure and simply that – service.  It is not service intended for selfish gain it is service for the purpose of service.  It’s service without the pride.  It’s service to God himself because it is untainted by selfish ambition.  The ways that we help other adults in our world always risk an underlying motive…to look like a good person, to get a leg up, to rack up some return favors down the road.  With children the service is purely to serve with no promise of return to us.

At this time in my life this message is particularly inspiring.  As I examine my role as a working mother and struggle with the balance of serving those outside of my home and serving those inside of my home I am reminded of the importance of my ‘homework’…not just to my children and their future but also to me as I allow Christ to mold me more and more into his image.  I believe parenthood must surely be one of the most rigorous parts of the training.  I don’t want to miss out on that.  My daughter’s development is important to me and so is my own spiritual refinement…both of these can be achieved in the time I spend dedicated to her.  This gives my life an exciting new purpose.  It motivates me to discover the gift of being last.

Friday, May 15, 2009

splish, splash!

as part of our family friday joey and i decided to take lucy to the pool for the first time this year (and 2nd time in her life).  we know she loves taking a bath but had no idea how she would do in an extra large size bathtub with water shooting everywhere and lots of other kids running around.  to say that she had a blast would be an understatement.  she smiled and laughed and pointed nonstop for an hour.  the only tears were the ones that came when we told her it was time to leave.  this pool lovin' mama sure is glad her little munchkin enjoys it so much...know where we'll be spending our free time this summer!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

let me (re)introduce myself...

...to the world...

the past few months have been...um...well...i don't quite know how to explain.  it's all part of the fog i've been living in.  

i think that there are some times in our lives when we go into survival mode and begin living inside a little bubble that allows for a very thin transparent (though sometimes distorted) wall between us and the rest of the world.  my psycho-analytical self believes this to be a form of self-preservation...it may just be taking the easy way out.  either way - i've been living there - in the bubble.  

this past week God poked a hole in my bubble and basically told me to get over it and get outta there.  

so...here i am...still riding the waves of pregnancy hormones...still processing the death of a loved one...still trying to bring simplicity to my far-from-organized home...still trying to figure out what it will mean to be a working mother of 2...still facing the yearning in my heart for more adoptions...

...but not at the expense of living every day BOLDLY and with passion and conviction (thank you Francis Chan).

so...if it seemed like i had fallen off the face of the earth...i sort of did...but i've clawed my way back...and as you can see...i've still had my little sunshine (and my hero husband) all along the way...not to mention a thousand other blessings big and small...

'When i no more can stir my soul to move, 
And life is but the ashes of a fire;
When i can but remember that my heart once used to live and love, long and aspire;
Be thou then the first, the one thou art;
Be thou the calling, before all answering LOVE,
And in me wake HOPE, FEAR, and BOUNDLESS DESIRE.'
~George MacDonald (The Diary of an Old Soul)