Friday, October 8, 2010

A Journey of Blessings

Whew! WELCOME back to my regular blog.
Thank you to everyone who bought a pendant from Sarah's Treasure Box in honor of The Rippee Family's Adoption! Nearly $500 will be donated by Sarah and her family from the one day event!

It's interesting how this blog of mine weaves together family and my passion for adoption ... it sometimes doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me ... and probably even less to my readers (not that I have a  throng or anything.) Wait a second how many really make up a "throng?"
But this blog is a tiny reflection of where I am. We're not a family who is adopting, yet anyway... and quite honestly, it's my passion and only shared on the periphery by the rest of the family ... and I struggle with this wanting it to be more--feeling a heavy burden of it being MY JOB to get their hearts involved. But it seems like when I try the hardest I meet the most resistance. And really it leaves me tired and frustrated.
The feeling like I've failed.

 ... and that's usually when a quite breeze blows in and "they get it." Kinda out of the blue and in ways that are more true than anything I was trying to force onto them. And I realize it wasn't in what I feel I'm TRYING TO DO ... but rather just doing what I do and letting them see through example instead of being forced into a mold of doing something that their hearts are not ready and willing to do.

ANYWAY, regardless of my efforts, it is a blessing to see our lives intermingle with adoption on a variety of fronts--some that I cannot imagine trying to orchestrate so I am SURE that God is fully behind it. And here is where this story takes off.

Our family recently took a mini-vacation to Chicago and the Wisconsin Dells--my husband had a few days of vacation that were in a "use it or lose it" situation. So ... how could we just LOSE vacation?
We did things a little differently than our usual plan, as we didn't go up North to the family cabin (whew! can you say, Lyme Disease is just too close in my memory) and we didn't have ANY set plans. That is NOT like us to be unprepared. So, when Monday rolled around with a blank week standing before us like an unpainted canvas (we still hadn't heard back from one of our hopeful destinations on whether they had any rooms available for us.)  Jeff suddenly suggested driving WEST instead of EAST ... no maps, no plan ... no destination ... and me with no packing done.

I quietly packed the boys for about any situation we might come across (okay, I was grumbling inside my head for how crazy this seemed,) helped Jeff stain the front porch (that had been badly needing it all summer and why not squeeze it in right now) and did about 300 different things that had not gotten done before that day. Oh yeah, and we sent the kids to school for the day even though they were prepared to be on vacation ... yeah, even had their homework done! Amazingly they didn't balk too much at going. But after all of this, it is no wonder that a day into the vacation I came down with a wicked sore throat that developed into a cough and what I thought was pink eye. I'm a planner ... so, too many things outta the blue and it kinda stresses me.

We did finally hear back from The Dells and made our reservations to travel EAST ... which relieved my mind a bit knowing that we had a destination. It also left me strangely giddy ... asI was on our trip to Texas this Spring when I got to meet my sweet friend Tara and part of her family, I was going to have the opportunity to meet another dear friend (I'm not going to say "blog friend" anymore because that just doesn't explain it deeply enough. Do you recognize this little sweet fellow playing with Nolan?

 Yes! That is Evan from New Day! Who would have thought in a million years that I would get to meet that sweet little guy and actually "give 'em five." And this is my dear friend Molly, his mom.

As you might notice, Molly has been blessed with a very unexpected blessing ... due sometime early next year!! So when she emailed me the exciting good news a few months ago late in the evening, I was SO happy for her! She was, I think, in a little bit of shock about it all ... and mentioned that as they had not expected this, they had given away all of their baby stuff and would be starting from scratch. The amazing part was in the fact that earlier in the evening my husband and I had just had "another" discussion (argument--um, no ... but we had "words") about "the stuff in the basement."
Oh yes, "the stuff." I had a ton of baby stuff in our basement that we were no longer going to be needing ... as I'm now 40 and my husband is now done with adding to his family (according to him, although I continue to pray for that issue.) So, me having a difficult time parting with "stuff"--what an incredible and unexpected blessing to know a beautiful Christian family could be using it! Instead of having it gather dust and harsh words in our basement. I offered it to her in case she was interested (hey, it's been through 3 boys ... well, actually several more than that as some of it was gifted to me when we were first expecting!) And she so graciously accepted--and hopefully it's been a blessing.

This trip east gave me the opportunity to deliver it AND get to meet her in person! God is so cool. Something that had become such a burden to me in not needing it anymore ... became an incredible blessing to another when I let go enough for Him to use it where He needed it. And it ultimately became a blessing to me ... in a different way than expected. 

I do have to share how I first "met" Molly. It was just LAST October during Operation Giggle. I had asked to sponsor Sweet Samuel from ND. (You can search my blog history on my sidebar to learn how this child has touched me so much.) However, through a glitch or two my emails kept going into a SPAM mailbox and not to Sherri. When I finally got through that hurdle, Samuel had already been sponsored by someone else. I cannot express to you deeply enough how sickened my heart was when I saw Samuel go unsponsored each time the updated list would come out. I wanted to sponsor him SO badly, but could not reach him!   ... So, when I found out he was sponsored, even if it was not by me, I had some peace with that. We chose another sweetie, that I let the boys choose this time. In the meantime, Sherri went above and beyond her duties and asked the other sponsor, who was Molly!, if she would relinquish Samuel to me since I had asked first and it was through the SPAM glitch that we had gone unmatched. She SO lovingly gave him up to me--even though she has such a heart for him too! That touched me so deeply. So, I let her know what we had sent to him ... and we kept emailing over him ... and by February had become Prayer Warrior for him to find his Forever Family. In fact, we were joined by another sweet woman, Heather, who also had been advocating for Samuel unbeknownst to us all last fall! I met Heather in January when SHE won the interior vinyl lettering that I donated to Operation Giggle. WHO could have orchestrated all of that?! And to top it off we were joined also by Tami, Sophie's mama, who had connections with a prosthetics doctor who happened to be taking a mission trip to Beijing this year. If this does not make you stop and ponder the huge expansiveness of God and his heart for each of us, wow, I just don't know what would.

Some people don't appreciate the blog world, but I have found it to be a beautiful way to come together with people far away in distance but so close with people in shared hearts. It is such a blessing to pray for each of you and to know that you are praying for me. I love having had the opportunity to meet Tara and Molly!!! And if my path ever crosses with any of the rest of you I am sure I will be equally as blessed!

And here's the whole gang ... Brayden, Easton, Me, Nolan, Molly, Evan, Olivia (and you'll notice Mason hiding behind his mom-heehee.)
Strangely, all of our children (except for Nolan and Evan) were unusually reserved and shy that morning. Go figure ... but at least there weren't any tears over the items switching vans! (I absolutely LOVE how Evan has his little hand on "the baby bump." He's going to be a really good big brother!


P.S. Some of you may be followers of Shannon at, Throwing Our Arms Open Wide. Please PRAY for Shannon, her family and her sweet daughter Georgia. If you would like to post her daughter Georgia's button on your sidebar to remind yourselves and others to pray for her, I've included the code below. Sweet Georgia was brought home to her Forever Family with Doug and Shannon last August and received a life saving surgery almost immediately upon arrival. After receiving a clean bill of health, she has had some heart episodes of concern lately. We are praying that God would grant the doctors wisdom and knowledge to know what the problem is and how to repair it and heal her completely.

You can copy and paste her button from the code at the right on my sidebar or from the code below (which will also include the box with the code under the button on your sidebar so others can then copy and paste it from your blog and spread word of this prayer request! Thank you!

To add her button with the text box so this continues to spread.
Open your Design page,
Add Gadget
Choose HTML/JAVA button
Title it if you'd like in that field
AND add all the following to the content field (click on it to view it larger, sorry you have to key it in, it's a photo):


Tara Anderson said...

Oh what a WONDERFUL blessing for the two of you...for your entire families, in fact! Although it must be admitted that I'm a little bit jealous! :) And how cute to see Molly in all of her pregnancy glory. She's even more beautiful now...and that's saying alot!

Gretchen said...

Ok...when you heading to Florida?!?

The Sanders Family said...

I am crying right now. I don't even know how to express how joyous it is seeing the Lord work in you and through you, and through this amazing blog world. I don't have words to express all that is in my heart about all that you wrote right now. Maybe when I see you in person. Maybe... For now, hugs to you my sweet friend. Love, Angie :)

WilxFamily said...

I couldn't have said it was AN HONOR to have finally met you...though it seems like we've known each other in person for much longer!!!

God is so amazing!!!

TanyaLea said...

Molly had mentioned to me in an email that she got to 'meet' you in person. SO neat! You're so right... the term 'bloggy friend' just doesn't do so many justice. Seriously, many of you are like extended family that just lives far when we finally meet in person (and I KNOW we will on one of your MN trips!!) it will just feel like a reunion, more than meeting for the first time! :) I think we really do have to plan a big ol' bloggy get-together one of these days!!

I love how you an Molly were connected. I remember the emails I sent to Molly when I found out she had Samuel for Christmas, asking if she wouldn't mind if you took him instead, and then contacting Sherri. Oh the things Sherri put up with! ;) LOL!! But it all worked out in the end. I love that you and Molly got to meet, and I love that you blessed her with some baby goodies!

Also, you already know how much I love you and how special you are to me... but when I look at all that you do for the adoption community, I am in AWE of your servant's heart. You are always there to help, and then you take it a step further. Like when I needed a button for Khloe's fundraiser blog. You didn't know how to make them yet, but you worked on it and figured it out that very day!! ...and now look at you "Miss Button Designer" ...I LOVE IT! The way you are helping so many... from NewDay sponsors, to OG gifters, to Sweet Georgia Mei... I love your heart Valerie...LOVE IT! Don't EVER doubt if you are doing enough... you are a HUGE blessing to SO many, and I'm proud to call you "friend"!!

love ya!

The family

The family