Sunday, October 30, 2011

Apathy


"Science may have found a cure for most evils, but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all... the apathy of human beings."  - Helen Keller

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday Run Update

Another update on the half marathon training progress...

Changes in me since I started running:
  • more energy (finally! the first couple of weeks running = NO energy)
  • a sudden interest in WATER (I used to go days without drinking water; gross I know)
  • weight GAIN of 2 lbs.  Grrrr. 
  • legs looking slightly more toned
  • still frustrated trying to fit running into the schedule while keeping my God-given priorities straight
Run 11, Oct 22 – Best run since I was a student at AU.  4 miles, outdoors, mostly uphill, at a much improved pace of 11:15.  (I know, it's still slow!  Let's focus on the positive!)  I jammed the entire time to Mumford and Sons, which makes me feel like I am actually in tune with culture.  I am not actually in tune with culture, but my cooler-than-me sister introduced me to them while our dad was in the hospital.  Anytime I am into ANYTHING from the past half-decade, I feel pretty big-headed and with it.  So let's just say I was full of myself during this run.  Oh yeah.

Run 13, Oct 26 – Yikes! I'm not superstitious, but my 13th run was seriously the unlucky 13!  Runs 2 through 12, I've not walked one step.  Run 13 – well, let's just say that I told myself 500 times that "a bad run is better than no run" as I ran/walked 3 miles with muscle-aching legs.


Run 15, Oct 29 – Today.  4.5 miles.  Outside.  WHEN I do this LATER TODAY, it will be my farthest run in four years.  Love the milestones!

Friday, October 28, 2011

I Will Bring Your Children...

God's love was first displayed to one nation, Isreal, but He always planned to ADOPT children from every nation, tribe, and tongue.  The following verse became very dear to me during our wait for Amelia.  On a personal level, it was a promise to me that God would bring Amelia (and any other children we'll adopt) to our home at the perfect time.  On a much grander scale, it was the image of a Heavenly Father gathering His diverse and far-spread family together from the ends of the Earth.
"Do not be afriad, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.  I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back!'  Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth -- everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." Isaiah 43:5-7

It's stunning to know that God understands how it feels to be an adoptive parent aching for His children to be gathered to Him.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Photo Queen Me

I am so glad I am one of those excellent moms who takes pictures of her children often.  I am so glad I know how to showcase them at their best... not when the sun is in their eyes or when they are squinting and making odd faces.


I would never take pictures of them, say, in bed watching movies on the iPad, because moms like me simply do not have time for them to watch movies.  We are far too busy with our Montessori learning activities.  And if we ever DID watch movies, we would do so with properly styled hair.


I am so thankful that I'm the kind of mom whose children are ALWAYS smiling... never mad at the world, hauling around naked baby dolls.



Thank goodness that my children never pout.  We run a tight ship, and there is no room for tantrums or running off to the corner to cross your arms and act angry at our house.  (And we definitely trim our shrubbery.)


 My children sleep where they should, and our house is always in order.


There are several essential rules to being a great mom:
1)  Keep your eyes on the road when driving.  Red lights are no place for snapping pictures.



2) Brush your children's teeth FOR THEM until they reach elementary school.  Children cannot properly wipe away plaque, and this job should not be left for their own doing.


3.) Cereal is no way to start your children's day.  They are worthy of a hot meal and YOUR home cooking.


4.) By all means, take pictures of your little treasures.  With a good camera.  Do not rely on your husband to send you morning cell phone snapshots while you're at work.  By all means, be at home with your little ones! And take the pictures yourself!  Otherwise, the composition of the photos might be less than perfection.




5.) And the final rule of being a perfect mother is GRATITUDE... thank God often for what a perfect mother you are. 

(And then bust out laughing at how ridiculous that is!)





Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waiting Wednesdays

For those of you who are waiting...

"Teach us, O Lord, the disciplines of patience, for to wait is often harder than to work." – Peter Marshall



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm Me. Who Are You?

Do you ever feel like an impostor?  I was thinking about this yesterday while I grocery shopped in my running clothes.  I always get a kick out of appearing (mildly) hardcore and want to drop a casual, "I just ran a 50k" line to the cashier even though I actually only ran three miles and the cashier isn't interested in my exercise habits anyway.  There are people who ARE runners – it’s in the fabric of what makes them, well, THEM.  But running is not a part of who I am. It’s just a thing I’m doing.  I (theoretically!) could run 20 miles a week for the rest of my life, and I still might not ever FEEL like a runner.

(So maybe "hardcore" is the wrong word to describe our look.)
Why is it that some interests enter your life as side-dishes, while others become part of the meat of WHO you are?

I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister. I am passionate about adoption. I might become a foster parent. I am an avid fan of the Indigo Girls, (and I am sure that they will someday be recognized alongside Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf for their literary genius.  I am shocked that you laugh.  I am amazed that you don't also love them.  I am still stoked that my sister took me to their concert years ago.  I am hoping to get several of their CD’s for Christmas since I only have burned copies I stole off my dad & not even many of those, hint hint Brad!  But I digress...)  I am a child of God. I am falling in love with His Word. I am a reader, a learner. And until God changes me, I am often negative, passive, and a long list of other things that I’d rather not name and I am praying to un-become!

But I am not a runner, though (for now) I run. I am not an accountant, although I, um, account? I am not a writer, although I would desperately would love to become an artistically talented one! I am not a teacher, but I can learn to teach! There are so many things in the “I am” column I’d like to drop, and so many “I am not’s” that I’d love to take ownership of.

How about you? What are you? What are you not? What would you like to be?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just Do Something

So it seems like a jillion people are interested in foster care, but it’s the actually-jumping-in-and-doing-it-part that is so daunting.

If that describes you, I feel ya.

I am totally at a loss as to when/how/why/who we would foster. God, what are Your plans for us? We are lost, here!

My brother sent me a book last year that has totally changed my motto on what to do when something SEEMS like a God thing but I'm not sure how/if it should be played out in my life.  (You have these questions too sometimes... Should I adopt? Foster? Special needs? Move? Stay? Quit? Start? Marry? Homeschool? Missions? Switch?) My new answer to these questions is the same as the title of the book he gave me… JUST DO SOMETHING! We won’t have all of the answers. Faith takes… well… FAITH. Meaning that we MOVE without always knowing how it will turn out.

Check out that subtitle. :) Love it.
God is less concerned about whether we know the answers; He is totally concerned with whether we know HIM.  And so we act, putting "it" in His hands and knowing that uncertainty leads us to rely on Him with increasing passion and trust.
That’s why Brad and I are taking these foster care certification classes. Should we foster? I don’t know! Adopt domestically? That sounds good. Wait to do much other than provide respite (foster babysitting) relief every now and then while we focus on Amelia’s adjustment to our family? Couldn’t hurt.

We don’t know what we’re doing.

But we’re taking the classes because I know we’re supposed to DO SOMETHING. We’ll see what that “something” is soon enough.

In the meantime, we’ll seek God’s face. I may never see a day in my life when I’m sure of what the next day will hold, but the point is that I (increasingly) know the One Who holds it.

(And for those of you who are wondering what the classes are like, I'll post about that soon!)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Running Fool

If I’m really going to attempt this half marathon, I figured I might as well post updates for your pity every so often.

He also runs a 12 minute mile.
Run 1, Oct 5 – My first run in a year or more. I ran all over my little neighborhood.  I figured I must have met my 2 mile goal because I was gasping for air and had to take walking breaks. I later clocked my route in the car – 1.7 miles. Rats! It took me 23 minutes, which, my friends, averages a 13.5 minute mile. Pitiful. At this point, I would not pass my middle school P.E. class.

Run 2, Oct. 6 – Two miles on a treadmill feels like a peice of cake, especially with a TV to distract me!  I average 12.5 minutes per mile. Sadly unimpressive, but a huge improvement from the day before!

Run 7, Oct. 15 – 3.5 miles at a 12 minute pace, no walking.  Booya.  I'm starting to get cocky, until I remember that I've only run 11.5 miles all WEEK... a half marathon, for the record, is 13.1 miles... AT ONE TIME.  Yikes.  Hello, humble pie!
Run 11, Oct. 22 – 4 miles.  Today.  I haven't done it yet, but I will if it kills me.  Should I feel the burn with an outdoor run, or make it easy on the ol' muscles by opting for the treadmill?  I'm thinking wimpy treadmill... yesterday's cake is causing sluggishness. :)


Friday, October 21, 2011

A Cake Run Dumb Nothing

So it’s Friday. I’ve been posting less than ever lately – my thoughts have been delightfully frivolous and air-headed lately, and well – I don’t want to embarrass myself on my blog with inane ramblings, so I haven't written.

HOWEVER…

It’s Friday, and lots of people embarrass themselves on Friday. Why shouldn’t I? And I miss writing. So what if I have nothing of depth to say!?

So here goes nothing.
Really.
I mean NOTHING.

I leave this afternoon for a retreat with my one year ladies’ Bible study group. This means a dozen ladies of all ages cramming into a cabin with books, Bibles, praise music, and food so delicious that it’s not even close to holy. I told my hair dresser this yesterday and she stammered in confusion, “So… are you dreading it? Or is that a good thing?” Ha! I suppose I see where her “dread” comment comes in. I make it sound like I’m singing kumbaya with The Church Lady. However, I could not BE more excited! These ladies are awesome – far from holier-than-thou – they are instead quite real and pretty hilarious. We’ll laugh more than we cry, we’ll seek God together, and we’ll eat this ahhh-mazing cake I made for the occasion.


(Southern Living pic)
 Yes, that’s cheesecake stuffed between layers of decadent cake baked with chocolate candy bars and pudding.  Don't be jealous.  Just think of the calories you're saving by NOT eating it with me.

Good thing I’m scheduled to run 4 miles when I get home from the retreat on Saturday!

Which brings me to my half-marathon training. I’m trying. My poor body is taking the wrath pretty well, if you ignore the fact that my aching feet can no longer handle wearing my beloved high heels, and that I have some mysterious new digestive issue. (TMI? I told you I’d embarrass myself.)  The upside of half marathon training?  My husband bought me some rocking new running gear that makes me FEEL hardcore, even when I'm running a twelve minute mile.  The shoes below were part of that deal.  Cute, right?


Before I say goodbye, I should close with at least ONE tidbit of substance. (Thanks to my husband Brad for providing one thing that actually matters.) Brad is on staff at our church and is planning our church’s FIRST EVER Orphan Sunday service! Rock on! It’s going to be awesome. Monumental. Historic. Fabulous. I’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime, I better quit writing before I hurt myself. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Waiting Wednesdays

For those of you who are waiting...

"To wait on God means to pause and soberly consider our own inadequacy and the Lord’s all-sufficiency, and to seek counsel and help from the Lord, and to hope in Him (Psm. 33:20-22; Isa. 8:17)… The folly of not waiting for God is that we forfeit the blessing of having God work for us. The evil of not waiting on God is that we oppose God’s will to exalt Himself in mercy." - John Piper
 
 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Waiting Wednesdays

For those of you who are waiting...

"He may delay because it would not be safe to give us at once what we ask: we are not ready for it. To give ere we could truly receive, would be to destroy the very heart and hope of prayer, to cease to be our Father. The delay itself may work to bring us nearer to our help, to increase the desire, perfect the prayer, and ripen the receptive condition." - George Macdonald

Monday, October 10, 2011

Broken and Needy... YOU!

I was born with a heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. I was so young when it was repaired that I don’t remember the surgery or being sick. In fact, I have a great story to display my level of heart-history-forgetfulness: When Brad and I discussed which special needs we were willing to consider at the start of Amelia’s adoption process, I checked “no” to children with heart defects – without realizing how hypocritical and sadly ironic that move was.

Fear makes us do irrational things. Like when I refused to consider adopting a baby whose defect might be identical to mine. Thank God that I was never an orphan with no medical insurance, because odds are pretty good that no one would have adopted me. How many people request babies needing open heart surgery? My life might have been a short one.

I don’t bring up my decades-ago heart surgery to evoke sympathy for me. My life has been full and active, without restrictions. My greatest dreams – pregnancy and adoption – have so far been unaffected by my heart history. But I fear that my spiritual heart has been far too unaffected by the scars that my physical heart bears.

Who wants to look in the mirror and see that it is really ME who has special needs?
Who wants to admit that I am weak? Imperfect? Un-whole?
I’m not sure if I am now referring to the deficiencies of my physical heart of the far more severe ones of my spiritual heart.

I do know this: It is more comfortable to label OTHERS as “special needs.” It feels better to put check boxes next to them as we tilt our superior heads and hold our pens mid-air, considering whether they’re worthy of our checkmark and concern. I am not strictly talking about adopting children here. I am talking about human sympathy. Who do we deem “too difficult” or “too risky” to get involved with?

I will guarantee this: We will never lavish love on those who we feel are inferior to us.

Who aren’t you serving? When we answer that question for ourselves, we might find out who we feel superior to. (more on this another day) Feeling superior over other humans created in the image of God is a terrible and dangerous thing.

I turned my nose up to children with heart defects even as my own scarred heart rushed blood to the fingers checking “no”. But isn’t that all of us? We are walking special needs who refuse to be needy or meet others' needs.  We are deficient and sin-filled and hurting and weak, yet we ignore our symptoms and feel an evasive pity for those we forget are identical to us.

It just makes us feel better. Or so we think.

It’s nice to be superior.

“… God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
“…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28

Friday, October 7, 2011

18 Months -- And Yes, I'm Sure!

I’m overly sensitive.  I like to think that I’m not.
I like to believe that things roll off of my back like water on a duck! That unintended negative comments directed at me or my family quickly float away, out of my memory.

However, there are some subjects – very irrational, weird subjects – that just bug me.

I get very upset when people imply that we do not know Amelia’s correct age. Irrational, I know. Our girl is 97% height and her lanky proportions, long hair, and bright expressions make her look more like a shrunken child than a tall toddler. When we first got her 3 month old referral pictures, Brad and I told everyone that they must be wrong about her age – she’s 6 months old at least! Perhaps even 9!
Pre-teeth, pre Ms. Linda to fix
Amelia's hair! 8-9 months old.

But when we got to Uganda, we questioned everyone about her. We saw pictures of her at 2 days old with an umbilical cord, plus every stage in between. We saw that she was certainly born on Easter. And while she looks very mature, she is definitely our 18 month old girl, without a doubt.

So why should it bug me when people comment on how close in age Amelia and Caroline are? (They look closer than their 2 year difference.) Why should it irritate me when people ask how old Amelia is and follow with, “Are you sure?” How can I be upset when I once asked the exact same questions?

It’s irrational. I guess I am just so proud to know all that I do about our girl. So many adoptive parents are left with holes the size of garage doors in their children’s histories. Amelia has her share of holes – we’ll never be able to tell her much about her birth family. But we do know the exact day she blessed the earth with her presence. Easter Day, 2010. There’s no better day for new life.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

There is so much to catch you guys up on! The good, the bad, and the ugly!

The Good
  • My girls are thriving. Even seven months after bringing Amelia home, I have to pinch myself that she is HERE!
  • My dad is healing beautifully, and we pray for continued healing.
  • Our house is on the market. Not sure that this is for the “good” category, but it’s not “bad” or “ugly.”
  • Our foster care certification classes are fascinating. You should really take them!
  • We continue to meet local friends who are adopting, or CURRENT friends moving towards adoption!! Joy, joy, joy!
  • I’ve gotten to teach Bible lessons more than ever lately! (MOSTLY because of my awesome housemate Chelsey who is over the girls in the youth group and kindly gets me classes!) It is a blessing.

The Bad

  • Our friend “Jay” has not been adopted after all.  After living many weeks with who he thought would be his adoptive parents, he was recently flown back to his group home in Alabama. We’ve told him to call us when he’s ready to hang out, but he doesn’t call. We have no idea what happened, but we’re heartbroken for him. And we’re not really sure whether we should push him to come visit us??
  • I learned in our foster care classes that only 1-5% of children who age-out of foster care become productive citizens – (“productive” = not homeless, on drugs, etc.) Geez. We (all Christians!) have to do something!
The Ugly

  • Amelia is getting over a nasty little rash virus called Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease, AKA Fifth’s Disease. Poor baby!
  • Yesterday, I started training for a half marathon that is in early March. I cannot run. Yesterday’s training = walking with enough bounce to feign a run. I may give up next week. If I do, forget I ever wrote this. You see why this goes in the “ugly” category!
  • We finish foster care certification classes in mid November. We were taking these classes to be certified for “down the road,” and do nothing but “foster weekend babysit” in the meantime. We’re beginning to realize that DHR will actually start asking us to TAKE in foster children AS SOON AS we’re certified!!! AHH!! Sure, we can say NO to taking children if it’s not the right time for our family, but that seems downright UGLY! So who knows what will happen… eek!