Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mid-life is full of Choices

I am reading this book. A co-worker, who retired this year, recommended it as a fun read. So far, it is not great, but it is interesting. I am (oddly) interested in her descriptions of life in NYC. Having never lived in a large city, I cannot imagine it. Her love of the city makes me think I'd love it.

Other things in the book, I cannot agree with. We won't even go into the details, but suffice it to say, I'm thinking we (Nora and I) could be friends, even if we don't see eye-to-eye on everything.

My favorite quote from the book (so far) is found on page 57. And I quote:

"All this changed around the time I had children. You can blame the women's movement for it---one of the bedrock tenets of the women's movement was that because so many women were entering the workforce, men and women should share in the raising of the children; thus the gender-neutral word 'parenting' and the necessity of elevating child-rearing to something more than the endless hours of quantity time it actually consists of.

Conversely, you can blame the backlash against the women's movement---lots of women didn't feel like entering the workforce (or even sharing the raising of the children with their husband's), but they felt guilty about this, so they were compelled to elevate full-time parenthood to a sacrament."


Since I was growing up during the years of the women's movement, I feel like I remember this shift in public thinking. Very interesting to me. I remember my mother completing forms which required her to write an 'occupation'. She always wrote 'housewife', which to me, was the saddest, most pitiful thing to have to admit.

Look at Shirley Partridge, Mary Tyler Moore, Suzanne Pleshette and those other hip and cool women of the 70's!! Now, that's who I was gonna be. Intelligent, independent and a Mom. I always wanted to be a mom. I just wanted to be a different sort of mom.

So, here I am independent and a mom (and I used to be hip and cool, so to me, that still sort of counts) and here are the choices I am faced with...

I feel bad that I have to choose between hot flashes and cramps. What kind of a deal is that? Sheesh and good grief.


And I *am* sad about my neck, too. Ephron's solution is to wear turtlenecks and chokers. But, I can't wear turtlenecks and chokers because that draws attention to the fact that I HATE my double chin.


(sigh)
Here is a minute and half clip of our high school dance team winning the second place trophy at the annual Westdale spirit competition.

My girl! goes to get the award for the team.

video

Beauty and Laughter


My pretty girl, as we waaaited and waaaited for the awards to be presented.


Brittany's dad and my girl doing "peace out". You can tell by the look in their eyes, everyone had had a loong day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Conclusion to the previous cliffhanger

"Your marriage vows included nothing about more children".

(insert cricket chirping here).


Well, shut me up and put me in my place. I could not argue with that, because it was so. very. true. And I knew what God meant, in that wacky way that conviction works; I knew exactly what He meant.

"I, woman, take thee, man, as my husband to honor and cherish...as long as he keeps the babies coming, till I say stop?".

In that ugly moment, I was willing (in my deep, dark heart) to beat up and sell out my husband, to claim some sort of hyperspiritual trophy with my willingness to trust God (ha! ha! HA!) with growing our family through the holy, spiritual desire I had to adopt (adoption *is* holy and spiritual, but was not so in my heart, at that moment). Know what I mean? How unbecoming.

I am nothing, if not transparent, so I had to only struggle a moment or two (serious) in the counselor's office, before I stunned the men in the room into silence by saying, "Alrighty then. Here is what God just showed me. This is causing my husband pain and God reminded me that adding children to our family, although it is something that Husband has always known is important to me, was not part of our marriage covenant".

End of session. End of discussion. Game. Set. Match.

It really was, in that moment, that simple. Was I happy? Not hardly. I was mightily p*issed off. I knew that this meant I would 'lose' my dream.

Could I have kept that God's little revelation to myself? ::snort:: Not I, said the speech pathologist. It would have eaten me alive.

So the outcome of the story to this point? We will not be completing a China adoption (we are now deemed too old) or an adoption from Vietnam (they are closed).

And Miss Teri (as she is called by her students---and herself; creepy third person references are frequent in my head) is jusst now climbing out of the deep pit, whereth she sulked in a rather deep funk for lo, these many months.

She has recently had the strength to change the banner and wallpaper on her cell phone (both used to contain references to my brown-eyed girl(s) who were so real in my heart). She is relinquishing her library of books to deserving (but likely financially challenged recent adoptive families), along with the many cute shoes and a few cute outfits she had lovingly stockpiled. She has removed herself from all adoption agency sites, Yahoo groups and many blogs. She is trying to trust God, by being willing to speak to Him, to assume the best about Him, and sincerely seek His face again.

Is the desire to adopt from Him? I believe it is. It is, of course, Biblical.

Is my personal desire to adopt from Him? Not sure. Maybe yes and no. I believe that He would be honored if we adopted. He would be glorified. A child would be given the love of a family. A hole in my heart would be filled.

Is adoption the *only* way that the He might meet those needs---children needing parents, parents needing children? I doubt it. That seems awfully limiting to my VeryBigGod.

So I am officially open to other things that God might want to do through us to help orphans (and me). And God has breathed a sigh of relief. lol

And God looked upon the forehead of his stubborn, rebellious, petulant child, bruised and bloodied with her repetitive banging against the brick wall and with much love, kissed it and wiped away both of their tears.

And joy and a tiny seed of hope was again planted in the heart of the silly girl, that she might someday see the fulfillment of a dream to love orphaned children.

This is how it went down...

Mia's Mommy commented on a recent post in which I had declared my need to let go of the idol I have created out of my strong desire to pursue adoption. A few of her comments seemed as though they might lend themselves to further explanation from my end of things.

Of course, I sort of struggle with how much to share, in a public forum, that which is mostly a private matter. But, I have decided that it is perfectly OK (and perhaps helpful to other women?) to post my own portion of this story (that is still being written). So, here we go...

I have always wanted to adopt. Have lots of children, both biological and born-of-my-heart. That desire was really solidified when I went to VietNam with Hope Haven International or the first time in 2001 (I think?). I fell in love with the country and the people, just the way Mark had. Anyway.

By the time we got all computer and internet savvy and I could really begin some research into the complexities of adoption (I knew *nothing*), adoptions between the two countries had ceased. Bummer.

I was next bitten by adoption fever in late 2005ish. I researched endlessly (gotta love a laptop) and came to the conclusion that we should adopt our brown-eyed girl(s) from CHINA.

Why China? Hmmmmm...was that where the Lord was leading? Ummm, no.

*I* picked China after my careful research because, as I stated to anyone who asked, "China adoptions move like a well-oiled machine. Fewer surprises. Fewer unknowns. Less likelihood of a shutdown".

Not at all God led. My research. My ideas. My comfort level.

My rationale for all of this? If I researched enough, I could avoid: international shutdowns, unethical adoption, unscrupulous facilitators, attachment disorders, surprise medical conditions, angst, worry and I while I was at it, I could probably achieve world peace.

Niiiiice.

Stooooopid. (embarrassed wince) ugh. Of course, I now know how ridiculous this thought process is/was. And how completely without God it all was.

Not to mention confusing to my poor, dear husband, who loves(d) all things Vietnam.

One country was not, is not, superior to the other. I believe that if I had been pressed by someone who had influence in my life, I would have recognized that there was waay too much 'me' in the process and not nearly enough God.

So there was a moderate course correction and we signed with an agency, got on their wait list and started the preliminaries to adopt from Vietnam. Land of our first love.

Meanwhile, my wonderful husband began to have (appropriate) second thoughts about the wisdom of adoption for us, since we are already OLD, parents to 6, grandparents to one and only two of our six are successfully launched into independent, self-sufficient adulthood.

Heart-wrenching, Gut-wrenching, Stuck-ed-ness ensued.

And it all came to a head at our dear (and overworked! ha) counselor's office soon after. Husband said his piece. I said mine. We both looked expectantly at our dear and overworked (and underpaid--truth!) counselor.

I sure he was praying harder than either Husband or I, because it was (clearly) his (unspoken) prayer that was answered, "HOW IN THE HECK AM I GONNA GET THESE PEOPLE OUT OF THIS MESS?" lol

Because in that expectant, tense moment, when all I wanted was to hear from the wise (paid) man was, "There there, dear. Of course, it is God's will that you adopt (100) children!!", I instead heard from God Himself. And this is what He said...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's not about me...

It really *is* all about You, Jesus.

It is.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Memorable Moment

Last night, husband and I were out riding on his motorcycle.

Nice night. Sun setting.

One mile from home, it began to rain. A nice, polite, sweet rain.

And on the back of the motorcycle, I laughed and laughed, as Mark sped up to get us home.

I stretched out my arms, face to the sky and laughed all the way home.

And felt fabulous, special and personally loved by God.

What God is Sayin' to Me...

1). "I have given you many children. Enjoy them. Pour yourself into them. Be faithful with what (whom) you have been given". (I already do this, but I know I can do much better).

2). "It is time to lay down the idol of adoption" (it had become that to me).

I will be figuring out a fun way to give away (if the recipient will pay shipping) all of my adoption books and resources and a few (OK, lots) of cute shoes and a few outfits.

Here is an example of one of my favorite books--so cute (I have the Vietnamese one)--and it's on back order status at Powell's in Portland.

If you have a suggestion about how to do this, leave a comment. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure God can handle it.

Look for more soon! (excited clapping)

I am finally able to do this, say this and mean this---

It's gonna be OK.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Girlfriend in the Citi(es)


Remember my friend, Kelley, who got married in March? The incredible Kelley?

She and Doug moved to the Twin Cities, bought a house and settled into married life.


Well, after a respectful bit of time (new family bonding), we have reconnected. And boy, was it
fun!

Their new home is beautiful, with Kelley's creativity on display everywhere. New paint colors, new IKEA finds (I'm so jealous) and ethnic art combine to make a welcoming, stylish place.

They are building Kelley a salon in their home and combined with the sauna (already there), the new tanning bed (an incredible find), the master suite, complete with 2 person jacuzzi, the large trampoline out back, fireplace, great room, formal
rooms, basement---there is enough room, enough fun for everyone; all five kids and the newlyweds!

We hung out, ate, laughed, spent an afternoon at IKEA, watched Olympics, had dinner with all but the oldest daughter (she as out of town), listened to new worship music, gave me a trim and
TALKED non-stop for allllmost 48 hours.

It was great. God is good. They are so happy. (contented sigh)


So, here are just a few photos of our fun. There aren't very many because talking nonstop does not lend it self well to photography, I guess...


Kelley and her new dog, Zoe out for Zoe's morning potty walk! Kelley's gonna kill me for this one!


Lots of PDA with newlyweds!

Can you tell I'm in the market for a new TV stand? Loved this one.

Overnight rain made this pretty scene in their yard.


Can you guess the name of their new city? These were in EVERYONE'S (except Doug and Kelley's) yard. lol

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Nothing to say

Huh. Felt like blogging, but I have been sitting here trying to begin and... nothin', I got nothin'.

So I'll move on with my day (going to the fair!) and come back if I think of anything good or interesting to say.


Friday, August 8, 2008

She who sees...


“Earth's crammed with heaven,


And every common bush afire with God;

But only he who sees, takes off his shoes -

The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

AOADD--You try living like this!

Adult-Onset ADD. Not even sure that is a real diagnosis, but I've decided I have it. Either that, of "the change of life" (sheesh--what a ridiculous term) thing is affecting my brain.

In no particular order of importance, I am pondering the following:

From the song "God of Wonders" there is some sort of 'bridge' in the middle, where Jeremy Camp says, "Precious Lord, reveal Your heart to me". Gets me every time.

It reminds me of when Moses was on the mountain with God and Moses asked God to "Show me Your glory". Wanted to pull the car over and get out and get on my face before the Lord. Yeah. I'm demonstrative in all areas of my life, especially when expressing love and compassion.


"Hinds Feet on High Places", by Hannah Hurnard page 60:

"The High Places", answered the Shepherd, "are the starting places for the journey down to the lowest place in the world." My margin notes: dated 6/07 "Well, that answers the question of 'why'?" I was in the desert after living entirely on the mountain my whole Christian life. I seem to have 'forgotten' that revelation, since it is a year and two months later and still I' m questioning. See? AOADD.

Where, oh where, is the place where I can go and love children and have it make a difference, an eternal footprint?

I love my job, but the load of federally mandated procedures and papers (all rightly designed to protect the student and family) is intense some days. Where can I go and purely love the children--no papers; just love?

If I were to go to VN, is there such a place? Does the need for that kind of 'help' exist? Maybe there is no need there and I should point myself elsewhere?

"Precious Lord, reveal Your heart to me".

"Show me Thy glory".

(artwork from this site)

Jealous

Ever since I heard that Mia's Mommy went to a Beth Moore conference, it won't leave my mind. I think it is the next thing I want to do.

The last few months, I have been searching EBay periodically for the opportunity to purchase her DVD series and companion workbook and leader's manual for the book of "Daniel", ever since another friend (waving to Addy) told me of it with SUCH ENTHUSIASM I couldn't believe it.

Anyone have one I can borrow? Anyone wanna go to a conference with me?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Another Faith Spotlight in the Media--the continuing saga

UPDATED: NEW TITLE "Faith in the Media--the Continuing Saga" was a bit unclear, as I read it back this morning. It implies (perhaps) that I *have* faith in the media; my intent was to write that the subject of 'faith' was being covered (again) by the media.

Larry King is not my favorite person. I rarely watch him. I have never wanted to have lunch with him.

But, since the Chapman family was going to be interviewed tonight, I wanted to watch. Again, I am so proud of the Chapman family for being real.

And as kind as the interviewer from "Good Morning, America" was, Larry King felt rather coarse and dismissive to me. ugh.

It seemed to me that Larry King either thinks Christians are misguided or are simpletons. Or actually, he probably thinks we are both.

And you know, that is no surprise to me (in case you are reading, Mia's Mommy? That's for you--lol).

It's just that, even if you think that of certain people, of Christians, it seems to me that you could table that for people who are grieving the loss of a child/sister. And come forth with a bit of warmth. I think he actually can not even begin to understand the family's faith. How sad.

Oh well. I remember a time when that would have been wasted on me, too. Look what God can do with a misguided simpleton. :~)


John Wimber had a statement and a question, "I'm a fool for Christ. Whose fool are you?". I know my answer.

And apparently, so do the 95% of the people who answered Mr. Kings' question on his website, "Has faith helped you through a difficult time?". That's a whole lotta fools.

Amen. May it be so.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A picture of God's grace, in the here and now

I could not be more proud of the Chapman family. They conducted themselves during their interviews this AM on "Good Morning, America" with honesty and grace. Amazing.

The verse I think of is in the book of Psalms chapter 27:13.

"I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living".

I was worried that the Chapman's might feel the need to put on a brave face or a Christian face or some other mask, but nope. They were real. So real, that I was bawling at work, while watching.

ABC was gentle with them. Amazing.

Here is the full video of the segment.




After you watch this, please go and watch, one more time, the music video of "Cinderella" with SCC and his daughters. Watch it till the very end.



Then, go hug and enjoy your Cinderella (or your Prince), because, as this mom of a senior girl knows (the last child in our nest), soon she will be... gone.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Monkey--be gone!

(ahhh...a couple of things I dislike; animals wearing clothes and being forced to do ridiculous things ::snort::)

Odd, isn't it? Once you start feeling better about things, you feel the need to justify *not* grieving. To explain your happiness.


Perhaps this is an area where we could benefit from the Victorian custom that dictated a specific time frame for persons to 'mourn'. If I understand the custom, it required that a person wear black clothing, refrain from parties and other merry-making events and, in the case of a widow, mandated the term of her singleness.

Once the specified time of mourning was completed, society was satisfied and the widow/er was free to move forward. No judgment or guilt from within or without.


Well, my particular grief is over the decision *not* to add more children to our family. It has taken a year (or more) to get used to this idea; the dream of mothering more children has been inside me for at least 20 years. Remember, I even had names for these little ones. They were real to me.

During this year of rather profound mourning, I did not wear black (unless I felt it was slimming--ha!). I did self-limit my merry-making; I simply did not *feel* merry or social. I felt reclusive and cocoon-like. And sad. And very blue. And wholly unable to move along; to find the joy, the silver lining, the upside.

Now, I am feeling better. Softening heart. Dusting off the cobwebs in my head. Feeling joy again. Feeling *anything* again. And now, I feel....guilt.

I want to make certain that people understand (why I even care, I don't know) that if it were up to me alone (not God and dh), I'd adopt a hundred kids. I am not bailing on orphans, choosing Harley's and home decor over helping children find a forever family.

I am bending my will to that of the Lord's. How could it *not* be the Lord's will that we adopt an orphan child? Don't think I haven't ask (screamed) this question to God bajillions of times; I have. It is not His will. There is no mistaking that this is not going to happen apart from a miracle.

If it ibecomes His will for us, I will be the first to excitedly clap my hands with childlike glee, never once minding the fact that I had wanted this all along and even became heartsick over "hope deferred". Who cares at that point?, I will think. I get to parent and love more little ones!!!

But, if not, I feel like King David, I guess (btw, I am NO King David). I petitioned the Lord as hard as I knew how to petition. I mourned and asked and waited and prayed and hoped and sought. To no avail.

And like David, once it became clear that the Lord had given His answer (nope), it was time to wash, dress, eat and visit the house of the Lord to worship. (please know I am aware that it took me a weeee bit longer to respond than King David).

David's actions after the death of his child confused his staff and friends; maybe mine behavior is confusing to people in cyberspace; my cyber-friends. I don't know.

What I do know is that by remaining in the place of 'hope deferred', I was living in the future, remembering the past and completely missing the gift of the present.

God is still God, whether we adopt a child or not. He is sovereign and thank God He is!! He is worthy of my worship and praise and trust.

So, instead of shallowness, I hope people see submission. Instead of callousness, I pray they see contentment. Contentment that was hard won and still quite fragile.

Please if you have comments, I ask for kindness. Thumper rule, people.

Phew! That monkey is off my back! I feel lighter already.

Now, if I could only lose that 20 pounds...

Persimmon and Pink (and Blue)!!

Head over to Persimmon and Pink's blog for some exciting and miraculous news!!!

Sun/Son Salutation

Anyone else tell the Lord, "Good Morning" when they wake up?

I do. Mostly, on weekends or days I do not have to work. Those days, it is almost like a reflex. I am cheerful and thankful and almost chatty (with the Holy Spirit), before even setting one plantar fasciitis-afflicted foot on the floor.

Work days are a little rougher. My mind is usually racing with "What do I have to get done today?" thoughts before I ever set one plantar fasciitis-afflicted foot on the floor (yes, please feel sorry for me). I have to reign in those racing thoughts and remember to tell the Lord, "Good morning" and "Thank you" and to ask, "So, what can I do for You today?"

When I became a God-lover at age 30, this was easy-peasey. No-one taught me. It just came. A God-loving geyser, I was. Effortless effervescence for the Lord.

Throughout my recent (and only--thank you, Lord) desert experience, this Son/Sun Salutation was non-existent. Couldn't do it. At. all. Not even when I wanted to. Not even when I willed myself to do it. Not even to avoid the inevitable self-loathing that poured over me, when I realized and 'remembered the heights from which I had fallen'.

The Bible says all things we have are a gift from God. Even the faith with which we come to Him is not our own. Even the desire to pursue Him, once we've met, comes from Him.

Never was this more evident to me than when I was crawling on my hands and knees over the broken glass and hot sand of my spiritual desert.

Oh, I suppose I could have pretended to be in the same giddy God-place I used to be. I could cover up the struggle and soldier on. I could have put on my big-girl panties and a smile and faked my way through the barren wasteland of a desert.

But, would that have been to the glory of God? Would that have glorified Him? I honestly felt like it would not be pleasing to God for me to fake it. I strongly felt that it would be a dis-service to other women (Christian and not) to fake it. Why?

Because as woman and especially as Christians, it seems like we fake it faaar too often to be glorifying to God.

Which is more pleasing to our Father---to use the expected lingo and the postures, even though we are dying inside? or to humble ourselves, admitting that this sucks (whatever your 'this' is) and that we are lost, hurting and in need? Utterly dependent. Broken. Needy.

I can tell when my children are hurting. Their emotional state is not too hard to read, because I am their mom. They were born from my body. I raised them. Would I like it if they denied their hurt, fear, etc., insisting that everything is fine, when I know they need comfort, encouragement, rest?

Well, neither does God.

The only thing that makes the situation described above worse, is if, when I know my son or daughter is hurting and they are denying their pain, they push me away or otherwise refuse to accept that which they need.

Is it sin to push God away when we are in pain? I'm not sure. I know that this prolongs our pain. I know that it pains the FatherHeart of God. But sin? I don't know. He knows we are frail, silly, oppressed children.

I do know that God rejoices, running toward us, catching us into His giant embrace the *exact* moment we turn toward Home.

And each day He longs for the moment we open our eyes, *see* Him smiling over us and sleepily, happily say, "Good Morning, Papa. Thanks for today".

Monday, August 4, 2008

Music


I have added a play list to the bottom of the blog. The music will not start automatically, so you will need to visit the list and click on anything you'd like to hear. I hope you enjoy the tunes.

The Throne Room


DD and I share an office space. That is, we share the sun room, which is her 'office' and more recently, my meditation space (as in meditating on the Word of God, the Person of God, the Attributes of God, the Names of God, etc.).

The sun room overlooks our little garden; a nice view. I have purchased on of those teeny table top water fountains/vases, a little side table, a wicker chair, curtains and a rod, a cute pillow, etc.
It's not all put together yet, but it is serviceable for now. I am really going to try to get back to 'practicing the presence of God' (awesome book by Brother Lawrence).

Anyway. DD breezed in to check her email, etc. She noticed the beginnings of the transformation of my little quiet space. Her tongue-in-cheek comment?

"Nice scepter, Mom".

She makes me laugh.

**(DD is code for dear/darling daughter)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Obvious--(XPost)

Read the last line, the P.S....then take a peek at the last two photos.

Cracks me up.
No peeking ahead, you'll spoil the fun. lol



What's a mom to do? Learning to let go with grace is the current lesson for me.

So here are the questions I ask myself, before I launch into parental confrontation mode: Is this behavior immoral? Is this behavior illegal?

If the answer to both is 'no', then I inhale deeply and let it go, since I know that I have taught my children well. They know how to clean a bedroom.


The rest is up to them.

I just keep the door closed. And smile inside.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Power of Powerlessness

"When God wants a great work done in the world or a great wrong righted, he goes about it in a very unusual way. He doesn't stir up his earthquakes or send forth his thunderbolts.

Instead, he has a helpless baby born, perhaps in a simple home and of some obscure mother. And then God puts the idea into the mother's heart, and she puts it into the baby's mind. And then God waits.

The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies."

E.T. Sullivan