Friday, April 30, 2010

BLOOM's new look...

we're here in minnesota for the summit and so far...amazing.  i will give a more complete update (with pics!) once my brain gets a little rest and i have time to process all that i am learning and experiencing.  in the meantime...check out our new BLOOM logo...
we also finally have a facebook page so if you're not already a fan please become one...we'd love to keep you updated on all our orphan care endeavors!  more to come...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

minnesota here we come...

today my friend amy and i (aka - the BLOOM girls) head to minnesota for the christian alliance for orphans summit!  sometimes i think that our family and friends grow a little tired of hearing about our crazy dreams for ministering to orphans and promoting adoption in our community...this week we don't have to worry about that.  all the folks we will be with at the summit are as crazy about orphans as we are...how awesome is that?!  we'll keep you updated!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

new beginnings

today i'm taking some time to revel in the beauty of new beginnings...spring is always a good time for that.  new beginning #1...jilly...


it's true...baby jill has been consuming most of my thoughts lately...i promise to include some other things in today's post, but first...an update on our little miracle...


here is a picture that i took yesterday in the nicu (sorry...i only had my phone so it's not very high quality)
last week megan was able to hold jill all wrapped up in her blankie...this time she got to snuggle that sweet thing down her shirt (aka - kangaroo hold).  ahhh...pure joy (for all three of us).  jilly was as animated as i've seen her.  when we talked to her she opened up her eyes and looked for our faces.  and i  know y'all will tell me it's not possible but that child smiled at me at least 4 or 5 times when i was telling her how precious and loved she is...i think she knew it was her aunt lizzy doting on her (that's what i'm believing anyway : )  as you can see from the pic she is not only off the ventilator but also off the oxygen mask continuing to get stronger and stronger...praise God...


new beginning #2...springtime (yippee!!) and all the new growth (in creation and in my heart) that comes along with that...


ok - my husband would be the first to tell you that my own family has been somewhat neglected over the past week (but for good reason).  joey has given sacrificially of himself during this time by working overtime as 'daddy' so that i would be freed up to help megan and the rest of the gang as needed.  we were able to squeeze in some much needed family time over the weekend.  as lucy and i planted sunflowers... 
 
...and went over to check out the summer garden that uncle robert has begun planting...my heart was full of the fresh new joy that this season brings.  i have often joked that i have seasonal affective disorder (translation - getting depressed when the weather is dark and dreary and cold).  i have never been officially diagnosed but i can tell you with certainty that my mood lifts and my step regains it's spring with the sun starts shining with more regularity.  this aversion to gloominess is why i chose arizona state over university of minnesota for grad school...no brainer, right?



so i'm a happy girl as i watch new life unfold all around me...
 
(this is the phlox i planted last year that never had a single bloom and shriveled up and died...i noticed last week that it has been brought back to life and i have a feeling it will produce beautiful blossoms this year...not unlike our own lives...)

...if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 
~2 Cor 5:17

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

jilly:NICU rockstar

after the roller coaster ride of our adoption process my friend arin sent me a verse from ephesians on the day lucy was born...the day i held her in my arms for the very first time - 

'Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!' (ephesians 3:20-21)


this same verse immediately came to mind today when i heard the news that jill (who has survived in the womb for the past 12 weeks with little to no fluid and was born 10 weeks early) was taken off the ventilator less than 24 hours after making her debut in this world!  
let me emphasis the magnitude of this - 
JILL IS BREATHING ON HER OWN!  
y'all know i don't use uppercase letters very often...but this is more than uppercase worthy...this is MIRACULOUS.  
we have prayed fervently over the past months that jill's lungs would be strengthened and developed and be able to stand on their own once she was born.  this was the biggest fear that we all had...a very real fear...that she would not be able to breath.  {if you have not already read megan's beautifully articulated entry on her caring bridge site about psalm 150:6 ('let everything that has breath praise the lord!') you should go do that now.}  


today i sat in awe, with tears streaming down my face (shocking, right?), as i listened to jill's nicu doctor explain to me and megan that we are witnessing 'best case scenario'.  he was very thorough, outlined some of the risks that are still out there, and explained many important things (1/2 of which i can not remember now) but more than anything i will not forget that he used the words 'miracle' and 'blessing' more than once.  

in my conversations with God about jill i have always asked that he work miracles.  
one time when we thought megan was in labor i even asked him to reverse it...stop the contractions, close her cervix back up...seriously...that's how much confidence i have had in God in all of this.

i always followed my requests for miracles with a request that He would be magnificently glorified in mighty ways.  part of my job right now is to point to HIM so that others would see his glory and witness his faithfulness to the canady family and to those of us who love them.  as we walk through this process day by day it is easy to forget that the prognosis for this baby girl was very grim not so long ago.  what has happened over the past 10 weeks IS miraculous and fills my heart full with gratitude and love to a heavenly Father whose strength is made perfect in our weakness and whose compassion and generosity towards us knows no bounds...to Him be the glory...


since the day i found out about megan's pregnancy and the risks surrounding it God has been using this child to transform me.  today when i stuck my hand in her little pod and felt her tiny fingers wrap around mine i knew that i was on holy ground...  
i prayed a prayer of thanksgiving - thank you God for allowing me to see and touch and HEAR this precious child that i have prayed for for so long...


{P.S. - for those of you who have labored through my wordiness and random thoughts wondering - 'where the heck is the information in all of this?!?!?  i just wanted a simple update!!'...i apologize...here's a few things i learned today that i'll pass along...(1) we can expect jill to be in the NICU for a couple of months but depending on her progress it could be more or less (2) megan will be home by the end of the week (3) megan's amazing mama arrived tonight and will be here helping out and loving on them for a while (4) you can pray specifically for jill's lungs, intestines, brain, and eyes...these are all at-risk in preterm babies}

Monday, April 12, 2010

miracle

{please forgive my writing tonight...i'm running on empty...my head is ready to hit the pillow but first i need to begin to tell this story}  


when i hopped out of bed this morning and began my typical monday routine i had no idea that this would be the day that i would witness the greatest miracle my life has seen thus far.  

for the past several months i have spent quite a bit of time on my knees requesting some big stuff on behalf of my best friend, megan, and her unborn child, jill elizabeth.  my prayer life has deepened greatly and my ability to go to God in confidence has been taken to a whole new level.  

i have pleaded for the life of a precious baby girl who just 10 weeks ago appeared to have more than an uphill battle in front of her.  
like i said...i've made a lot of requests of God on her behalf.  

tonight my heart sings praises because earlier today jill entered this world at 30 weeks gestation in a tiny 3 pound, 1 ounce body and reminded me that God still works miracles.  there are still many unknowns but what we do know is that she is here, her heart is beating strong, her limbs are moving and free of deformity, and she appears to be trying her darnedest to breath.  the x-rays so far indicate that her lungs (which were of greatest concern) are functioning like a typical 30 week baby.  

as i sat down in the waiting room during megan's c-section today i immediately opened my bible hoping to find some words to fill my jumbled mind...something that i could grab onto and lift up in prayer. i landed in romans 15 and though i read the entire chapter over and over and over again, it was these words that kept resonating in my heart - may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (v.13)


let me introduce you to my perfect picture of hope...baby jilly...





...i promise to have more (and hopefully better articulated) posts over the next few days...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

squeezing in some 'craftiness'

i secretly love crafty projects...just don't usually have time for them.  this is just a quick post to show off my handiwork.  i started working on these canvases for lucy's room before oliver was born (he's 5 months old now!)...just finished them over the weekend...


...amazing what you can do with a little paint, ribbon, fabric, and textured paper...oh...and most importantly...gotta have some modge podge to hold it all together...i love that stuff...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

the hunt continues...

i am super excited about rolling out a new blog but i still haven't landed on the perfect name.  i've gotten some interesting options via facebook.  here are a few (in no particular order)...
MAXON OUT LIFE
ROUTE ONE-REAL LIFE
ALL MY EGGS IN ONE BASKET
MAXON MENAGERIE
THE BLOOMING MAXONS
LIFE SCRAMBLED
GOLFING WITH COWS AND JESUS (i didn't say i was actually considering all of these)
let me know if you like any of the ones listed or if you have other suggestions.  there is still a basket full of farm fresh eggs waiting on the creative genius who comes up with the winning idea.


a few things to keep in mind:
(1)  i don't think i want to put the name 'maxon' in the address (but i'm still trying to decide)


(2)  my family is super lucky to live out in a quiet little piece of the woods just south of charlotte, nc.  thanks to my brother (this is him pictured with my almost 2 year old) we get to taste a little bit of the farm life.  we have chickens, ducks, cows, bees, and gardens galore.  our love for the outdoors and our country life will definitely be a big part of the blog.  and farmer robert (believe me - he's a character) will often be a featured guest.


(3)  my heart is burdened for the plight of orphans in our country and around the world.  we adopted our spunky little toddler, Lucy, almost 2 years ago and during that process i felt a calling to do something more to improve the lives of orphans.  my friend, amy (check her cool family out at www.4ourkiddos.blogspot.com), and i started an organization called BLOOM Project (www.bloomproject.org) to promote adoption and the care of orphans around the world.  you will definitely hear a lot about orphans and adoption on the new blog.


(4) i am a proud mama of two (lucy - 23 months and oliver - 5 months) and wife to the most patient, kind, and handsome husband - joey.  he's a golfer (yes...this is for real his job...right now he primarily teaches and does club work - www.maxongolf.com -  but he used to play for a living...our 1st year of marriage we traveled around the country in an RV and i added the job of 'caddy' to my resume).  all of this is good material for the new blog, too.


(5)  as far as i am concerned the trinity is amazing...God, my Father, proves faithful again and again in my life.  there's no place i'd rather be than on the 'wild goose chase' that is life led by the Holy Spirit.  and - well...Jesus...i love him...he gave his life for me and every day i surrender mine to him.   hopefully most of my posts reflect these beliefs is some way or another.  


so that's a lot of information to put into one name...see my struggle???  obviously i probably won't be able to capture all of that in one word or one phrase but maybe that gives you some inspiration...let the naming competition continue...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

what i'm reading...

the truth is - at any given time i am typically reading a minimum of 3 or 4 books.  this is clearly a reflection of my innate disorganization (believe me...i work hard to combat this every day but it often feels like a losing battle).

at the moment i am 1/3 of the way through Crush It which i highly recommend for anyone who really wants to tap into social media to promote who you are or what you're doing.  i'm hoping that for me this will result in (1) a new and improved blog {please let me know if you have ideas for names...think - farm, adoption, golfer husband, family...all rolled into one} and (2) a brand new platform for promoting my non-profit organization BLOOM Project.

i also just started a book that my mom gave me - The House That Cleans Itself.  as my mother she knows all too well the innate disorganization that i mentioned earlier so she's hoping this will help.  sometimes when she arrives for a visit i think she holds her breath and prays that what is behind that door will not resemble the bedroom that i grew up in.  the one that always looked like a tornado had hit it.  the one that had a dozen projects 'in progress' laying on every surface.  the one that police thought had been ransacked by thieves when our house was robbed {but in reality looked exactly the way i had left it}.  the truth is my mother extends tremendous grace to me in this area and every other weakness i possess.  the book was meant to be helpful and encouraging.  i'm hopeful that it will be...the first page made reference to that scene in mary poppins where she snaps her fingers and the messy bedroom begins to clean itself...i'm hoping to learn that trick.

my 'main' book these days, however, is a little gem written by one of my favorite lovers of Jesus - Francis Chan.  the book is called Forgotten God and it is challenging my perspective on the holy spirit.  if you love francis chan you will love this new book.  if you have no idea who francis chan, but appreciate someone who is bold and relevant in their faith, you may still love this book.  i just soak up the urgency and authenticity that resonate in his words.  his manner of writing and speaking make you seriously consider how much deeper you can (and should) take your relationship with Christ.  i remember when joey and i heard francis speak at a conference last year...as we got up to leave i had tears streaming down my face...joey looked and me and said - 'i feel like a dirtball'...not the intended response of the speaker but ultimately joey and i both felt led to do more with our lives.

specifically, Forgotten God, is reinforcing one of my (what i call) 'life themes' right now. in many ways God is calling me to listen to and depend upon him more as i tap into the power of his holy spirit. i desire to be more in tune with his spirit that dwells in me and less distracted by the world around me.  i'm being called to put much more effort into the discipline of listening and setting myself up to hear from the living God himself {isn't it amazing to have that kind of accessibility to the creator of the universe through the holy spirit that lives IN US?!?}.  many more blog posts about this them to come.  for now i will leave you with this excerpt from the book...
And this is the question I just can't get around: If it's true that the Spirit of God dwells in us and that our bodies are the Holy Spirit's temple, then shouldn't there be a huge difference between the person who has the Spirit of God living inside of him or her and the person who does not?  
There is much more to God and following in the way of Jesus than getting a bunch of talented people together to hold a church service.