Monday, August 31, 2009

Yay

Two weeks ago I posted about an adoption fundraiser for Drew and his family. I'm happy to report they not only reached their goal but also surpassed it! What a blessing to get them through the next step of processing everything toward their DTC. I know that the red tape is important ... I just wish some people could get a "free" card or a "pass steps A through E" bonus or something.


In other news I cannot believe I won one of the raffle items! I am so psyched 'cuz I never win anything! And I have to admit I had a big prayer in my heart before I read through the post. (Not necessarily for any particular raffle item but really as one of those "Gideon laying out the wool" tests. I know it's just silly ... but a girl can dream and this one does ... probably way too much.)
But regardless, I was tickled/shocked/giddy to see that my name was drawn for a gift certificate to "Girly Girl Bowtique". They have really neat hair accessories (check it out!) And as my good friend said, "Girl, with all that testosterone in your house YOU NEED SOMETHING GIRLY! It's about time."
I don't think I could have said it much better. HA HA!

So thank you again for the opportunity to help bring Drew home. What a blessing to feel like we all are a part of something so much bigger than right outside our front door. Hopefully if need arises down the road we all can band together again to get big things done through lots of little things. (I have a feeling that most everybody reading my blog also follows the majority of the blogs on my "blogs I follow" sidebar. That in itself is cool.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy Mother's Day, belated

I made this post way back in May and forgot to post it in time for Mother's Day! However, reading through it just now I felt that I really wanted to share it anyway. Even if you've read it before it just is so perfect and worth the read again. I hope it blesses you tonight as you tuck your little ones (or big ones) in and treasure how special they are to you and how special you are to them.

Before I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not
my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.


Before I was a Mom,

I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind
and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,

I never held down a screaming child
so doctors could do tests..
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night
watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because
I didn't want to put him down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn't stop the hurt.!
I never knew that something so small
could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,

I didn't know the feeling of
having my heart outside my body..
I didn't know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond
between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small
could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment
or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom .

May you always be overwhelmed by the joys of life
rather than by the cares of life

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rice Bowls


I started collecting these blue and white rice pattern bowls sometime in late High School or early college. (They're probably a dime a dozen in China ... but I find them so cool.) From what I've read (which to be honest is off of a g@@gle search) is that the pattern is made by putting actual grains of rice on the porcelain before it is glazed and fired. Now, as the daughter of a ceramic artist and an artist myself it's no wonder I'm unexplicitly drawn to these! Then figure in my fascination with China and walah ... yet another thing I collect.

I first spotted them in an antique shop and my mom surprised me with them at Christmas ... can it be about 17+ years ago already?! (oh my goodness ... lets put away the numbers and stop counting!) What caught my eye about them was the translucent "rice" designs embedded in the porcelain. And the way the light seemed to almost glow through them. It was kinda magic to me.

When I married Jeff in 2000 so many of my special things were packed up from my apartment and just haven't found a way out of their boxes (especially now that we have 3 VERY ACTIVE boys who love balls and running ... not good for breakables.)

However, with Jeff's recent trip to Shanghai one of the gifts that he brought back for me was a small very beautiful egg-shell painting. Since his arrival back had us on the fast giddy-up to attend a family funeral I hadn't taken the time to ooo-and-ahhh over it like I should have ... until recently. I wanted to find a special spot for it to remind us of a special place far to the East. It was then that I remembered my rice bowls and set out to find them. I think I have 2 more of them but they are remaining illusive right now. As a family of things from the past and present it really makes a cool collection which I look forward to expanding. The more I unpack boxes that I've had put away, the more things I find that I've unknowingly collected and learned about from China. If I ever get a China cabinet (that has been on my "Wish List" for 9+ years now) I have a few neater bowls to add into the mix too. These are courtesy of my Great Aunt Ruza, an opera singer, who traveled to China in the 1950's. She was a fascinating person that I didn't have the chance to get to know during her lifetime but with whom I think I would have had many similarities. When she passed away she left her piano to me along with many other artsy things including fascinating letterpress books (another passion of mine).

Isn't it neat how God uses threads throughout our lives to weave the tapestry that becomes the unique design He has always had planned for us? In awe and amazed ... always.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Clouds of Preschool


I should have realized that I would not have the "sailing" experience with my second son's first day of Preschool that I had with my first son two years ago. Different child--different reactions.

Here's what I was hoping for: a beautiful sunny day that I could leisurely take photos of him happily standing in front of the School Elementary Sign, giddy with excitement about meeting new kids and being at school for the first time--man I can almost taste the sugar sweetness dripping off of that picture ... instead today it is dark and raining outside which doesn't boad well for my digital camera's photo taking ability and instead of excitement, Easton melted as he dodged the classroom by heading into the girls bathroom finally admitting that he was scared! And judging by the death grip on my leg he meant it.

I had a feeling that he would be a little nervous but until that moment he had not let on to it. I guess he was being brave ... up to a point. That point being the classroom door and seeing his teacher.

He's pretty much cut from the same piece of cloth as me in so many things (I think God has reasons for this as it teaches so much humility knowing that "yup, they got that trait from me." Ug.) And this is why I should have expected it even beyond the skipping up the sidewalk only minutes before.

New experiences can be scary as they are full of unknowns. I hope that I'll be able to comfort him in his anxieties and that even better that we will be able to bring him up to cast all his anxieties on the Lord who cares for him deeply (1 Peter 5:6-7) and is always with him. Also, I hope I can learn to embrace new experiences more openly seeing the potential and not just the changes.
And the photo? This Mom thought ahead and took that last week, "Just in case." Yup ... I guess maybe deep down I knew :-)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Honest answers

I just updated the little "Blogs I Follow" area on my right sidebar. I guess I finally got tired enough of stalking other people's websites as a springboard to see if the sites we had in common had new posts! So, if you notice I'm not pinging your site a bajillion times a day don't feel bad, I just decided to streamline things a bit. In the process I noticed that I had forgotten one site. A total oversite, but I almost feel like Satan himself was keeping me from reading this or something because it has got to be hands-down one of the most in your face, honest, heart opening blog post I have read about why people do not adopt. It's shameful for me to admit I've actually thought in my head a few of those excuses myself while working through potential conversations with my husband ... and I'd love to adopt! Honesty can hurt.
So, if you haven't already you should check this out.

And to the blog writer ... I'd leave you a comment but for some reason I can't! (It seems like half the sites I would like to say something to I can't leave a comment. I think it's my old OS system or that I'm on a Mac or something. Anyway, if you read this, THANK YOU so much for your post! It is encouraging, even if it's like a poke in the eye, to do what you know is right.

P.S. The one that got me the most?
•Adoption is so expensive (yes it is, but my God owns cattle on a 1,000 hills)

Last Days of Summer-First Days of School


Last week was one of those weeks that deserves a list. The square boxes on our calendar were so full there was NO ROOM for anything more. I have been at kind of a loss on what to blog about as everything seems kinda little in the larger picture of life. In fact I've been kinda bumming about how I feel that I don't really have a BIG purpose or focus right now. Maybe it's because there are so many "little" things I'm supposed to be treasuring and holding in my heart.
Here are a few highlights:

Last day of summer bug search:


Brayden's First Day of First Grade:



Easton's 4th B-day cake that we FINALLY had 4 days after baking it.
(Please excuse the red frosting that started to run. It was good, but would have been REALLY good on day 1--oh well, the Birthday Boy didn't seem to mind at least!)


Kindergarten shots (even though he's just starting Preschool this week--I'm sure there will be a blog post about this milestone for Mom ... er,I mean Easton.)


Hockey Travel Team Tryouts (Brayden is #9):


Belated birthday party at The Pl@yst@tion (the local hot spot for kids to catch germs ... I mean, to have fun.) I have no idea who the 2 other kids are in the photo but they kept insisting on posing for me and my 2 kids were not working together, so at least they were!


Nolan in the ball-pit (He looked like such a little peanut in there! But he had a blast!)


All good things and happiness which I thank God for allowing me to be a part of. I hope that He can use me outside the bounds of my immediate family as well. I guess that's the yearning I feel most in my heart right now. And that's not all bad either. It's drawing me closer to Him as I search out what all it can and should mean.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bring Drew Home

See the little button on the right? Isn't Drew a sweetheart?! His forever family is in the process of adopting him and due to the slow economy they really could use some help to get them over a bump in the road and to the next stage. To read the entire story go HERE. (You may need to scroll down to Tuesday, August 18th on their blogspot for the full story. OR click on Drew's button to the right.

Drew's mom and dad are holding a really cool raffle to help raise some funds. They are not asking for a bazillion dollars, just something small and I'm sure they would appreciate prayer and encouragement as well! If you could post their cause to your own blog so the word can feather out that would be great too. It can be so hard to ask for help but which one of us would be unwilling to help someone especially if asked?! I am amazed at their humble and yet very faithful spirits.

While thinking on what to write for this post I was reminded how things happen to bring glory to God. Yes, it would indeed bring God great glory when Drew is adopted by this Christian couple and they raise him as their son and a son of God, but wouldn't it be even more impacting if it affected hearts and lives beyond this family. Perhaps God has orchestrated this timeline to fall at this moment for a deeper reason to touch more lives, move more hearts and bring Him even more praise and glory through a shared effort of everyone who reads his story!

As for the raffle, the prizes are donated by some neat places and folks and they are seriously cool! (I'm not sure if I'm wanting the Baby Be Blessed doll or the T-shirt more? Hmmm, doesn't matter, we just want Drew home!) Don't miss out--on the prizes AND on helping this sweetheart's family get their DTC in the mail ASAP.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Baptism



This is one of those posts that I keep putting off because I'm sure I won't do it justice. But I don't want to miss the opportunity of saying how great God is in His timing.

This past week has been pretty busy with Jeff having people here from China for work and Easton turning 4 years old and me trying to entertain like I'm even close to a Martha Stewart and celebrate milestones that make memories. The week was capped off by my baptism as an adult. Yup. You read that right Family and Friends who come from a purely traditonal MidWestern background. Full immersion. And I didn't drown, the sky didn't part or a dove decend, nothing monumental happened on the outside. But hopefully on the inside and at an eternal level and in the larger battle.

This is something that has been a journey of faith as I was baptized as an infant and brought up in a loving, God centered home. I didn't see the need to be rebaptized. And when my husband first brought it up several years ago I bristled to say the least. I had been baptized, confirmed, a faithful church-goer, a Sunday School teacher, a church camp counselor, a faithful servant (somewhat at least)--Why did I need this? How many hoops did I have to keep jumping through? It was a thorn in my side for such a long time, a burr under my saddle that kept annoying me until I decided to really take a look at what bothered me so much about it. It really came down to Pride. My family's tradition of infant baptism was so deeply entrenched into me that I knew it was "right" in my eyes but I couldn't tell you why it was and knowing that bothered me too. There are so many people that I could name off who were baptized as infants and for some reason think that they have a "Get into free card" for Heaven just for having their parents do that for them.

Don't get me wrong. I love that my parents baptized me as an infant. They gave me back to the Lord and raised me in His word and brought me to this point in such a loving and God-like household and upbringing. They are an inspiration as a parent. However, as an adult it was a privilege to finally be free of the burden of tradition and do it again for the first time with a knowledge of why and a testimony of my journey. I want my sons to see that THEY need to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I can't do it for them. I can help them by being a good example, a good provider to them. giving them the tools and opportunities to make wise and faithful decisions, but when it comes down to it they have to decide what their walk will be. I want so much for them to have a life-long commitment to the Lord--any thought otherwise just sucks the life outta me!

The day was made even more special because the gentleman Jeff had visiting his work from China chose to spend the day with us on Sunday including going to church with us, making a chinese noodle dish for us for lunch, playing around on our 4-wheeler and with the horses and also to witness the baptism as he was unfamiliar with much of Christianity! Yes, he chose to do these things! Out of curiousity perhaps, but he was there and asked so many questions. It just blows my socks off how cool God is. I have such a heart for China and as a cherry on the top of the Sundae (Sunday) God sends a person from China to witness to on the day of baptism. Never in my wildest dreams could I have thought of that. I hope some eternal seeds were planted.


The actual baptism was supposed to occur at the beach at the lake about a half mile from our house. However, with thunderstorms lingering throughout the day it was forced to be moved indoors ... and due to a water-problem at our church it was moved to a different church with a regular baptism fountain. No doubt the lake would have been really neat! With the clouds maybe they even would have parted and it would have been WAY COOL! But the testimonies would have been difficult to do without a sound system and so weren't really planned to be shared. However, because the change of plans in location, our pastor decided that he would ask each of us an individual question. It was an honor to tell about my journey, my hesitations and my heart of God. I hope I did a good job for Him--because He never fails to do an AWESOME job for me!
Giving my testamony:

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy Fourth Birthday Easton!


Easton finally turned FOUR years old today! He's been asking every morning since his brother Brayden's birthday in May if it was his birthday yet. And I mean EVERY single morning he would ask! What a happy day it was finally! Four years ago AND today!

Easton was born ON his due date and it doesn't surprise me now. He is such a good listener I think he was afraid he didn't have a choice, it was his due date, he HAD to arrive. And it was such a quick labor--wow. Thank goodness we made it to the hospital in time ... but there was not alot to spare.

He is a loving, gentle, friendly buddy to his brothers and is a tremendous blessing for our family! Being silly and telling jokes is his specialty. His favorite jokes are knock knock ones and I find him absolutelly irresistable when he puffs his cheeks out just for fun.(I'm not sure where this started but it's a hoot!)

We love him SO much! For his birthday he got his first peddle bike. However, the one we had bought for him was too big so we exchanged it tonight when we went into town for supper. He was such a good sport about it all and it was even more fun to shop for it together as a family.

We plan on celebrating with cake tomorrow after church. Easton wanted to save his cake in order to share it with his dad's co-worker that is here from China and will be spending the day with us tomorrow. (How's that for a big-hearted four year old!) He wasn't sure if they had birthday cakes in China and he wanted to make sure he got to have some while he was visiting here. Tomorrow also will be a special day for me as I will experience adult baptism (more to come on that.)

Here is a photo of Easton and Brayden tonight with their soccer outfits dad brought home from China for them.(They would wear these continuously if possible.)

We love you Easton! Happy Fourth Birthday!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The year of the screeching tiger?



We went out to eat last night with another one of Jeff's co-workers that is now here visiting from China. The older boys were good, but Nolan was a screeching tiger ... oh my goodness and I eventually just had to hold his squirmy little guy body while trying to cut a super hot pizza for my 4 year old just to keep him quiet. Normally that would be great! I love that... but of course he didn't want to stop there. He quickly tired of that and soon wanted to crawl ... of course toward the 7000 degree pizza ovens near the open kitchen. (The architect did not consider kids when he/she designed that layout!)

Nolan has gotten a bee in his britches during the last week to assert himself. He is usually so easy going. Yesterday morning he decided to be a cat and crawl from the couch to the flimsy antique table next to it (it's about 3 feet high and holds a basket of silk flowers.) The first time I got him in time, the second time he crashed to the floor. (Table did not break and neither did he.) Oh my. I resorted to eating an entire Hershey's bar by 11am this morning as a means to keep up with his energy.
"Gee Mom, it can't be me that you're talking about can it?"

Monday, August 10, 2009

Broken By God

Can God break your heart? And when He does what will you do? Out of your brokeness I hope you choose to act in some way. Some way that is your very own that makes a difference for you ... and for someone you probably don't even know.

The following is a post from a fellow blogger's site and I was so moved by its message I can't seem to shake it out of my mind. I wanted to share it and didn't want to make it difficult for anyone that didn't want to take the time by clicking over to her site, so I've reprinted it by permission here.

Heart for Orphans
From http://karleighmei.blogspot.com/, August 8, 2009

"Some days my heart aches for the orphans of this world and I feel so helpless. One of the things that I feel the most helpless about is the fact that so many people are completely unaware of them.

Today I was at a church function and the speaker was telling her testimony. She talked about how as a child she wanted a doll with a teardrop on her cheek called "Little Miss Nobody Loves Me". She went on about how she wanted to care for this little doll, that she wanted to show her love. She also talked about going to auctions/garage sales and buying boxes of unwanted dolls with the intention that she would put them back together. As she was describing these dolls, my heart just broke, because what she was unaware of, was she was describing almost to a "T" the abandoned children of China with special needs. She talked of some dolls missing limbs, eyes, and of others with badly cut haircuts. Of how she would take them and soak them in the bath because they were so dirty and poorly taken care of.

How many of us long to do this? How many of us know that there are children all over the world, without anyone to love them? Just like these dolls, left with missing limbs, eyes, and poorly cut hair. I think that most of us are completely unaware and it saddens my heart. Who will be their voice?

I have felt such a burden to be their voice. Praying that the Lord will direct me in His ways."

_____________

This post really hit home to me for so many reasons. I guess I too have always had a very soft heart for the lonely and abandoned--even as a child when it was stuffed animals or dolls or discovered discarded "treasures" found amongst the ordinary. (Okay, truth be told I bought a little doll with dirty toes last Spring and brought it home and cleaned her up a bit and she's good as new, so I guess it wasn't just when I was a kid.) ... It also reminded me of a conversation I had this Spring with a family member while I was sharing what I had learned recently about the orphan plight and how I wanted to become involved and do something. She wondered aloud, "How can you learn about the children of this world that are homeless and parentless. Doesn't it just break your heart? And do you really trust what you are reading?" Well, yes, it does break my heart. It makes it ache and so very sad and exposes my selfishness that I hate to admit is there. It also makes me a better parent to the blessings that God has already entrusted to me.

She sadly was happier just living an oblivious life ... and yes that is easier ... but I hope that the knowledge that touched her heart that day ebbs at her and breaks down that wall of comfortableness.

I don't know what the story of our family will be concerning the orphans of the world but I will pray for them and I will advocate for them and we will do things day by day. I hope you will to.

How can you be a voice for those who don't have one? Here are a few suggestions:

• Pray. (This is something that is FREE and is FREEING and the most powerful.)
• Sponsor a child.
• Sponsor a formula project.
• Sponsor a foster home
• Adopt. (if it is God's will for your family)
• But most importantly Pray. "HE is might to Save."

"... Once our eyes are opened,
we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act ..." -- ~Proverbs 24:12

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Brayden's Toad


I'm the mom to 3 boys ... so I'm bracing myself for increased exposure to frogs, toads, snakes, bugs and other stuff that really interest boys ... especially when it's kinda freaky and can get a rise outta mom.

This week Brayden and Easton were playing on the slip n'slide and our wading pool in our back yard and they discovered a friendly toad. I was worried for the little fellow especially since he was heading for a small crack in the concrete between the patio and the door threshold. Long story short the toad ended up hiding in the crack and Brayden was in tears because I had mentioned that if they chased him into the crack he might get stuck so please don't harrass him too much. (Oh my, bad mom, bad mom.) The toad was obviously fine if he got in there ... but I had already brought the idea into his mind that the toad might not be. (I honestly did not think he would fit in there I was mostly afraid he'd get about half way and get stuck.) Well, Brayden prayed for that toad that night (a long hard prayer out there with his brother unprompted by me or my husband ... ) and in the morning the first thing I see is him darting out the door to check on the toad (who was still in the hole much to his disappointment.)

Wonderfully the toad did come out during the day while some neighbor kids were here during our Ladies Bible Study time. One of the girls LOVES toads and frogs so she kindly showed Brayden how to pick him up and hold him gently (thanks you SO MUCH so I didn't have to!) And when the kids all went home Brayden went to work making a Toad Habitat in our pool adding a big rock for him to sit on in between dips in the pool. He was set to keep him FOREVER! ...


Saddened when I broke the news to him that this would not be a good idea, he and his big heart set the toad free the night of my birthday. It was so sad to see the tears in his eyes and the ache in his heart that he felt. I know it's a small thing compared to true tragedies in the world ... but it was his tender heart. (He's trying to smile for this picture through his sadness, but look at those eyes!)


He cared so much for that toad's safety and happiness. I was proud that he was able to part with him without too much arguing. And we took a photo of Mr. Toad and had it enlarged into an 8x10 and put it in a frame for his bedroom wall. He now gets to say goodnight to him every night and is super happy he did the right thing. :-)
(This is the photo he chose for his wall)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sharpened Arrows in Our Quiver

I find the blog world A-mazing. I've really only been surfing through it since late February and yet I have "met" some of the most amazing people ... that are just normal people ... doing extraordinary things it seems. I know some people find it weird to read about people you don't even know ... but that's the thing, you do get to know them ... and share with them and encourage them AND be encouraged by them. Sometimes at the most perfect and most amazing timing that God would only know. And sometimes it seems the impossible dreams we all hold deep in our hearts are a little more possible when we reach outside our front doorstep and the familiar and ordinary and consider the "what ifs" ... and somehow meeting people "just like yourself" with kids and dirty dishes and fears and dreams, not so unlike your own, and yet they live in another city or state or half way around the world and it brings God closer and more real to the little things that are the big things in our lives.

Today I logged onto a site via another site I enjoy and was delighted to find this person who was writing about her children and the role she plays in their life. As the wife of an avid bow hunter that used the verse she references each time our sons were born this analogy really struck a cord in me ... but in such a new way I had to share it.

"I am a pillar to uphold and sustain my husband as he pours into the nations. I model God's love in my family. Every hug and game of hide and seek are my tools as a warrior princess. I will reach the nations through my arrows, the children God has given me. As I disciple and sharpen them, I will shoot them into the world to impact their generation for Christ." (July 13th entry)

"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them."--Psalm 127:3-5


Wow. Doesn't that mental picture just blow you away?! Our children as arrows that GOD has given US to sharpen to impact generations FOR CHRIST. Wow. That really puts the responsibility on me as a teacher and parent not to fall short! I know that when my children really ponder God's word in their hearts or do something that is a reflection of what God most desires from them (and us) it makes my heart so happy it feels that it could nearly burst! A few of those times come to mind ... like when Brayden shared with his ENTIRE preschool class the TRUE meaning of Easter from Maundy Thursday to the Cross to the Resurrection--and this was in a public school! The teacher, bless her heart, being a believer did not stop him but just let him continue with a huge smile on her face! Or when Easton mentioned this weekend why a dear friend was allowed to die (death really scares him right now and I was afraid how this funeral would impact him.) After our 8 hour car ride home from MN, a little voice from the back of the van declared in thoughtful tone, "I know why Roxane died!"-- we had NOT been talking about this at all and yet he had been pondering it on his own without us being any the wiser. He continued, "Because she was ready!"

I could feel the tears in my eyes well up. No, he doesn't fully understand even all that he said ... and yet the honesty and the truth in his child-like simplistic answer and understanding said it all more perfectly than any long-winded discussion I could have made. A-mazing. Simply A-mazing.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The big B-day


Today I am 39 years old ... and we all know the saying that "you're only as old as you feel" but if that's the case I really think I'm about 32--or maybe 23 ... somedays I really do feel like I'm in my early 20's! How could I possibly be well into my 30's?! I have never really gotten too worked up about the age thing. It's always been just numbers. But this year it's different. Maybe because my husband has been kidding me all year that I'll be turning 40 oh so very soon--He finally realized that the cold, cold response he was receiving was not because I didn't like that age necessarily but that I WASN'T turning 40 for over another year! (This was mid-June.) So he owes me a year I told him.

I read a fellow blogger's site this morning and was happily surprised to see her post about her birthday and to realize that we're virtual twins! Well, except that she's just turning 30, happy with her age, has so many goals, and born one day earlier--okay it's a stretch. She had a nice list and I'm going to attempt to do the same.

• I married Jeff 3 months before my 30th birthday.
• We moved into our new home 3 months before my 30th birthday.
• I was 31 the last time I participated in a sprint distance triathlon.
• I was 32 (and 3/4) when our 1st son was born.
• I was 33 when I became a stay at home mom.
• I was 35 when our 2nd son was born.
• I was 36 when I first had the courage to bring up adopting a child to my husband. (He thinks that would be craziness! Still praying on this.)
• I was 37 (and 3/4) when our 3rd son was born.
• I was 37 when we traded the car that we bought together a month after our wedding for a mini-van.
• I was 38 when our first born started kindergarten.
• I am 39 and going forward in hope for the things to come.

Looking at my list I have to admit that it has been a great decade and that my sadness will come out of leaving the familiar things that made my 30's so great. I hope to find many special things during the next year that will help me make that leap forward with hope and anticipation and not just regret that it's all over and all downhill! Starting my 30's and knowing that I was at the precipice of a new era in my life with a new husband, the promise of children, a new home ... it was sweet.
I wonder what lies ahead ... good things I hope, I know that I have many wishes and dreams that I would like to fulfill.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer 29:11

(Now that verse came to mind and I saw that it is made in the context of 70 years (a lifetime) of exile ... so I'm hoping that I'm not going to have to wait a lifetime in an agonizing exile to prosper!)

Anyway, Happy Birthday to me. Go out there and make it count!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

No Super-hero Needed

After 10 days with a husband in China and parenting our three boys solo through T-ball and hockey practice, slip n' slide afternoons and countless sibling battles while also watching a couple of friends' children throughout the week I finally was planning on "coasting" through the afternoon on Thursday and Friday until I picked up Jeff at the airport on Saturday.

Funny how flashbacks of Sunday's service on not "coasting" through life kept flashing to mind ... and although I don't think God minds us having some down time to regroup and refresh I was reminded that maybe I really wasn't all that stressed out or in need of a true "coast."

One phone call on a Thursday afternoon changed my focus and direction and instead of cruising through the weekend I found myself on the phone with a dear family friend whom my husband had grown up with who had called to let us know that his mom was about to meet Jesus after a long and difficult battle with cancer. Suddenly I wasn't so focused on myself and any sort of tiredness I might have thought I was entitled to having. Instead of whining about not being a super-hero in the eyes of my children or husband I was in a whirlwind of packing for a family of 5 including a husband who would touch down from a truly tiring journey from half way around the world and immediately stuff himself into a van and travel another 8 hours North to an emotionally draining event that we knew was coming but still were praying for a miracle of healing.

It was a beautiful, beautiful celebration not only for Roxane's life but even more for Jesus. He was the focus of her being ... in everything she did and thought. Her biggest wish was not that everyone would be at her funeral but that her funeral would be a testimony for Jesus and that so many would be touched and be saved. Even down to the last thing she could have her hands in on this Earth she wanted it to matter on an Eternal level. Her wish was that each and every person would be THERE with Jesus in the end. She is an incredible woman and will be missed so much by so many and I cannot say enough about how she did things that made a difference even without knowing it.

It is wonderful to have Jeff home again ... and for us to be home again too. As tired as I thought I may have been last week though it compared nothing to the end of the week when I found myself on a journey up North to spend time in an already emotionally charged situation staying with my argumentative MIL who truly does not like me and I was reminded of some truths: What really matters is Jesus above all else, we need to be kind even to the unlovely and unlovable and that when we don't think we can take one more step all we have to do is lean on Him for strength and He will provide. No super-hero position is open or available for me. He is the only super hero and the only super hero we need.

The family

The family