Sunday, April 10, 2016

Let me be her answered prayer

Today I was looking back on a journal I began writing when we first started our adoption journey.  I wrote,
'Lord, where are you taking me? I'm entering a world, a journey, I know nothing about.  Being so helpless, poor and alone that I cannot care for my own child.  I don't personally know anyone who lives like this, yet is this my child's birth mom?  Is she too young, or sick or has other children and cannot feed another? I will take them.  Let me be your hands and feet to help a girl who can't bear to be separated from their child but has no choice.  Let me be her answered prayer.'

Reading back on my journals remind me of the incredible miracle we have in Zoe.  We are approaching her 3rd Gotcha Day on April 12 and I'm always reminiscent of the events and thoughts and prayers that lead us to being her parents.  I write an update on her growth and development every year and send it to our agency in hopes that this will allow Ethiopia and other countries support the adoption effort that is so needed.  Just a couple of months after we brought Zoe home her orphanage shut down and the children who were 'left' were sent back to their villages.  I cannot even imagine.  I support the way our agency chose a child for us rather than us looking through pictures and choosing one that stood out to us.  We were on the journey to choose two children at one time.  We were told it's a longer wait for a sibling group but we could wait.  In my journal, I was reminded of some government changes towards adoption cases.  We still were giving this to God and waited for two children to show up for us to adopt.  Scott went to Haiti during the aftermath of the earthquake at that time and obviously was struck by the huge orphan crisis in Haiti.  I wrote about God softening our hearts to possibly one child in Ethiopia and one from Haiti.  I'm so glad I documented my thoughts.  The process was full of changes and answered prayers along the way.  How could I rely on anything but God in this situation?  He knew the big picture.  I would wake at night worrying for our child.  On Mar.11'11 I wrote about reading Mark 14.  In preparing for the Passover with Jesus some disciples were instructed to go to a city and find a man and follow him to his home etc. and in verse 16 it says,'and the disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them.'  I always think about how Jesus could just get the essentials himself.  Make them appear and still amaze his friends. Just like he could make this government block disappear.  Allow Zoe to come home and not endure life in an orphanage. I asked God many times why we were jumping through unnecessary hoops to do a good thing.  God says take care of the orphans and we wanted to but why did it take three years? The disciples got to go on a journey and watch how every detail of this Passover feast was unfolding by following His every step.  We took lots of steps I had forgotten about. That's why I journal.

Saying yes to God never comes up short.  I'm listening to the audio book titled, 'What Happens When Women Say Yes To God'.  Lysa Terkeurst says,'Don't look at your inabilities and give into your insecurities.' 'In my disobedience what am I missing?'  If I didn't say yes to adoption look at what I would have missed out on!

We waited three years for Zoe and now we have had her in our care for three years.  How can that be?  My yearly update included how Zoe loves school.  She has been a great world traveler.  She eats well and growing like a weed.  She is getting better at sports and loves to read.
I often Facebook about the crazy things Zoe comes up with and I want to leave you with what I documented on Feb. 27'16
Tonight Zoe asked Scott to read her about Jesus' death.  So they read the bible and she said, 'What is rich?' Scott answered. 'What is poor'? Scott answered.  Then Zoe said, 'I was poor.'  Scott told her that her birth mommy loved her very much and God had a plan for her.  Zoe answered, 'ya, to be with you guys.' It makes me cry every time!

Psalm 22 is a cry for help by David.  Verse 24 says,'For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.'

I thank God that He listened to the cry for help by two moms and for their worlds to collide.  We were each other's answered prayer.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Forgetfulness Is Not A Virtue

I recently read a great blog someone reposted on Facebook. I agreed wholeheartedly with her parenting tips.  It was clever and witty and I wished I wrote the blog myself. Then I thought, is that what I'm doing? Trying to write the best blog? Get the most likes? Be heard? Then I sat in silence for about 30 minutes. That's a long time, I know. Kids are sleeping, Scott is out of town and even the dog we are watching is cooperating with the silence I'm experiencing. 

I am a big note taker. I think I've admitted that before. I love sticky notes and journals and what the heck did I ever do before I had an apple phone with a note taking app. And don't get me started on life without Siri. From grocery lists, to birthdays, I can't retain these simple items in my brain anymore. I find myself arguing with Scott more often about not remembering his schedule and blame him for not telling me, when I probably just didn't listen (better yet blame Siri for dropping the ball). 

Every single day I laugh at something my kids say or am amazed at what God teaches me or marvel at the wisdom that comes out of Scott's mouth (that's going to score me some brownie points). So I write them down. Blogs form in my head all the time and most days they don't go out into internet space ( yes I just called it that). So I had to ask myself; do I blog for others to learn from my infamous wisdom? Heck no. My blogging started when I first accepted weakness in my life and felt the need that it was therapeutic to spill my guts to the world ( I known that not many people read this thing). It's easier then making an appointment with someone who will listen and analyze my thoughts. Way cheaper too. 

Internet therapy. I blog to remember. I blog for sanity. I love reading other people's blogs too.  Another searching soul who shares their scars, mistakes and triumphs. That's what we do every day. So in my 30 minutes of silence I want to remember four things today. 
  1. I was not made to live my life alone. God has given me a wonderful spouse for life, kids to raise and love on and friends who make me a better person. 
  2. I must stop beating myself up for forgetting. I try to remember people's birthdays, surgery dates and prayer requests. But we all have crazy lives and forgetting doesn't always mean I don't care. Its more about discernment. What thought, care or task will occupy my brain today? I will give grace to others when they forget my junk too. 
  3. Life is short. Dare I say 'seize the day'. I don't know how long I have on this earth so make the most of every day. For me that doesn't just mean I do things to keep myself happy and comfortable but to allow God to guide my steps each day to make my day worthwhile. 
  4. Remember where I came from and I don't mean Canada.  I mean my upbringing. My faith in Jesus Christ. Joshua 24 reminds me of the testimony he gave to his people before he died,'who will you serve?'  Then declared in verse 14, 'as for me and my house I will serve the Lord'. 
There. A simple list.  

Today I'm planning on scrapbooking with a friend and place memories in a book that my kids can have around for life. What will you remember today? Maybe it's time to start your own blog. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Love is...

Being the youngest of five, I grew up sharing a room with all my sisters at some point. But I remember sharing a room with my oldest sister the most. I think because when I was 8 she was 20 and she had a phone, tv, record player, 2 goldfish and makeup!  She liked me when I kept out of her things. Not much space was designated for an 8 year old's treasures except for under the bed.  I remember competing for door space to put puffy stickers and a Beverly name plate with my sister's  Love Is ... Comic strip taped all over 'our' door. These were big in the 70's. Love is ... what gives you a smile from ear to ear. Love is .... Being able to say you are sorry. You get the picture. I was reminded of these comic strips that covered our bedroom door while reflecting on Christmas and a new year approaching. I came across the book, Crazy Love, By Francis Chan in my ibooks on my phone and started re-reading it.  A line struck me today;

“Nothing compares to being truly, exuberantly wanted by your children.”

My primary love language is gifts. This means I feel loved the most when you buy me something. How shallow right? It's really not. I didn't hear the words I love you as much as 'let's go to McDonalds and get a small fry' or 'I'm going to take you to Niagara Falls and of course buy you a giant souvenir pencil'. Yep, I was definitely loved. I do the same for my kids.  Even though not all three have the gifts love language I'm good at showing my affection this way. Love. How will I be challenged to be more loving in 2016? It's an emotion I struggle with if I don't feel like it. But that line above from the Crazy Love book really makes me think about how much God wants me to love Him. Am I living a life that shows God, my Heavenly Father, that He is wanted? 

"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
—Matthew 7:11”

See, I think the gifts love language is legit. I don't need a hug, I don't always need the affirmative words and you don't have to serve me. Just buy me jewelry and we can be friends. Just kidding. I want to reflect on all the good gifts my Lord has given me this year.  No! I NEED to reflect on all the love God has bestowed upon me!  Be more appreciative of His good gifts.  

I’m entering a year jammed packed with change. In fact, if I’m honest, it terrifies me.  I’m coming up on new territory with Jacob, my oldest, getting married this summer. I'm cherishing the last lunches I'm making for Blaire as she enters the home stretch to graduate highschool. I'm entering a stage of new status as mother- in- law and want to do it all well. Showers, grad parties, celebrations, decisions, planning, money…!  I want Love is statements to flow from my mouth and my heart in 2016.

I love new beginnings and fresh starts!  What's your Love is statement today or better yet what will your focus be for 2016!  Happy New Year!  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

mosquitos think I'm chocolate

I think the mosquitos think I'm chocolate. 
Just one of the funny things Zoe said yesterday. That girl makes me laugh daily. And others too. She says the simplest of things and yet so profound. My 6 year old doesn't complain much. This was actually her way of telling us she was being bugged by the little flies in her face but stated something possibly really true. Mosquitos crave your blood like I crave chocolate so I get it girl. It's also a fun way Zoe stays real about who she is and what she looks like. She knows she's brown like chocolate. We have gone in stages with how Zoe realizes she's different. On a daily basis kids in preschool used to comment on her hair. One boy told her mom he liked the way her skin looked. I don't know anyone in her class that stays away from Zoe because her skin is brown. She has an infectious smile and laugh and gets invited to every party going. She is loved. 

We were on a tour in the Blue Mountains of Australia yesterday. The tour guide might have had some reservation having a six year old on his private tour starting at 7 am. But she was quiet, polite and inquisitive. A perfect companion on a tour. After viewing God's amazing nature we stopped at a quaint town with boutique shops. We were left to find some lunch and browse the shops for an hour. When we returned to our van the tour guide presented Zoe with a gift. A Santa cookie jar. So sweet and unexpected and so not necessary. On our next stop at the wildlife center Zoe runs out of the van and hugs our tour guide. That's Zoe. She is lovable and loves hard. Being a father of three he hugged her back. We talked later about my adoption. A Jewish man from Israel who has traveled the world and has visited my hometownToronto.  He was surprised to find out my husband and son have also been to his. A family man trying to make a living who was friendly and polite. I'm not saying all people are friendly and polite but the more I travel the more I realize how important it is to accept people everywhere i go. I chatted with a lady from Japan in the park three days ago. She was curious about our Christmas traditions and I asked about hers. You know I had someone tell me I shouldn't adopt Zoe because she is from a muslim country. A sad statement stemmed from ignorant thinking. With all that is going on in the world I'm not sure what is the correct way to help Syrians or other refugees from crises but I do know we need to love. I know they have children who need medical attention that can be given in America. I know they have children who need an education to one day have the chance to be a doctor. Right or wrong I know I'm called to love. After vacation I will be thrown back into Christmas chaos mode. I'm a little behind on my Christmas to do list however I vow to take some time every day to pray for our country and its leaders, reach out to someone in need and be thankful for all God has given me. My ugly 'entitled' gene must diminish if God is going to use me to spread His kingdom. Whether you celebrate Christ's birth or not I wish you a very Merry Christmas.  

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Green Shoelaces and Life Lessons

So many times we overlook reading the Bible for answers.  Often times it's viewed as old fashioned and irrelevant.  I've read it many times over the course of my life and I'm constantly surprised at how God uses His word to encourage and speak to me and answer questions.
I'm in a summer long challenge to read the Bible guided by a book put together for our Hope Water running group.  It came with green laces to boot so if you are bold enough to wear the florescent green laces you are saying 'I'm in this reading challenge for 20 weeks.'  Now, I have to admit I'm not up-to-date with it.  I'm a few days behind,generally, but I want to take it all in without rushing. Today, I was reading a passage that I was familiar with.  Sad to say, but sometimes I approach these ones with less excitement and attentiveness that leaves me void of any new insight.  This morning it's quiet and it's just me and God.  I opened my Bible and read Luke 1.
The birth of Jesus is foretold and we read about the birth of John the Baptist.  Zechariah (his dad) blew it by expressing his doubt in God. Been there, done that.  God made him mute for the duration of his wife's pregnancy.  But it was ok.  God spoke to both John's parents and how cool that they got to see their son was set out for a great purpose.  They stepped back and watched God move.  Then I got the hand to forehead 'V8' moment.  This little workbook I'm using to guide my reading asks three questions every day.  1. What does the passage say? 2. What does it mean? 3. How can I apply this insight to my life today?
As parents, everyday we watch our kids grow and I keep hearing the phrase over and over 'where does the time go?'  I constantly have to keep my hands open when it comes to my kids.  Their schooling, friends, choices.  We must guide and step back.  I don't want my kids to get to the age of 18 and not be ready for real life.  Luke 1:80 says,'and the child grew and became strong in spirit'.  I have two now at this stage in life where I have to watch and let go.
So today Luke 1 means to me that as a mother I'm to give my kids to God.  He has a perfect plan. Step away and be in awe of how God is guiding them without me!  Whew! With all the chaos and worry in the world this really is a peaceful place to be.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sibling admiration

 It hit me when Zoe started off her day following her big sis around on the morning of Blaire's 17th birthday. She said, 'Blaire, when I'm 6 I'm going to do the same things you do; sleep in and do my homework'.  Zoe's presence has radically changed both Jacob and Blaire.  When adoption first hit our radar I wanted my kids on board.  I was afraid they would reject the change and chaos it would create in our family.  It had been the four of us for a long time and Jacob and Blaire were very close.  I didn't  know what a new addition would do to all of us.  I have to say that Zoe is very privleged to have a wonderful sister who loves her so much.  From day one in Ethiopia, Blaire was so excited to meet her and to have a younger sister.  She never gets upset with her and gives her so much attention.  Blaire has many friends and when they come over they too are playful and attentive and love Zoe like their own sister.  Jacob didn't get a chance to go to Ethiopia with us but the second we were greeted at the airport by the family I put Zoe in his arms and she has felt so comfortable in his embrace ever since.  They were just two kids who grew up with following us in a few big moves and this was no less a crazy idea when we first began to talk about it out loud.  I couldn't be happier to see Zoe learn and grow in character with two wonderful examples living with her daily.  It fills my heart to see her love them and talk about them to her friends and the age difference doesn't matter.  Jacob has come home more often to be with Zoe through college and they both babysit a lot.

 An awesome family moment Scott and I enjoyed recently was when all the kids were around the breakfast table on a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning and they brought up the idea of getting a dog.  It was something we talked about but wasn't prepared for.  We gave in to the emotion and within 30 minutes we had chosen an adorable goldendoodle.  This dog was going to be bigger than we have ever experienced but why not, the kids were happy.  Yeah, that lasted all of 24 hours for Scott and I.  Even though the kids begged and swore they would take care of it, I was left with waking up early and training it all day long.  I began to regret the idea but kept seeing the joy it brought the kids.  Until, Zoe would complain it was biting her ankles and when Scott saw his temper flare and his attention switched from Zoe to tending to a dog.  The kids still had commitments and weren't home as much as we would have liked.  This was not working out.  Since it was only 2 1/2 weeks Scott and I had to make a bold move.  We figured our kids would come together and understand the decision soon enough.  We broke it to them one evening and they could not argue with our reasoning.  Scott and I stayed strong and by the next morning we had a new home to bring it to.  Not my finest parenting moment and the kid's consolation prize was that I experienced so much sadness all day long.  This wasn't our plan to take the dog away but after one month now, everyone is fine and we are happier without a dog.  Zoe doesn't miss it and the way the kids reacted toward us was so great for Zoe to witness.

We sometimes say that adoption is such a huge blessing for the one adopted ( and of course it is ) but I look at how the other two have grown in ways I couldn't have dreamed of.  They have seen God move and change them in the last two years.  They have seen answered prayers and continue to marvel at what He is doing through our obedience.  Through family group texts we share the wit this girl comes out with daily and I can't imagine life without her.  Here's a few I've written down lately.   Enjoy.

When Mike Carl walked into her room Zoe said,' This is my room and don't even think about touching my Elsa hat'
Zoe told Scott, 'if you have grey hair, I don't care.'
I asked Zoe to help me carry some bags from the car and she responded, 'I would be honored to.'
Last week after breakfast Zoe hands Scott her bowl of cereal and says ' Here Daddy, if I drink too much milk I will get diabetes.' (she meant diarrhea)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Good Life

I'm not sure where to start with this one. I just woke up and thought 'it's really a good life'. Waking up at 3:30 a.m isn't my ideal, however, it's for good reason. Today I'm off on my second trip in three years that I get to travel with my oldest daughter, Blaire. Just me and her. Three years ago we took a winter break trip to San Francisco. She took lots of pictures, we saw the sights and drove up and down the coast. Life has gotten crazy since then. Zoe came on the scene and Blaire, well, got older. She loves her friends and has countless sleepovers and mom gets pushed to the side. Ugh. Teens! I don't think anyone could have warned me for the feelings I encounter on a daily basis living with a teenage girl. I used to love roller coasters. Now, not so much.  But today is a good day. I'm headed to San Antonio, Texas to show Blaire where I attended Capernwray Bible School way back when I first got out of high school. With graduation in one year, Blaire is also looking to attend the same school ( or maybe another location). Either way I'm happy to get up early and take her around a wonderful city and who's kidding who we both want to feel the heat. I'm coming out of a little winter hibernation period. I have been experiencing knee pain so my exercise gene has been non existent. I've been binge watching stupid shows and eating lots of chocolate ( why can't Valentine's Day and Easter fall on our warmer months). But a lack of discipline is just one thing that has gotten me down this winter. When the flu hit our family I felt visiting anyone was not a good idea. We didn't entertain and I didn't drive home to visit family. I just consoled myself with some truffles and traded in my real life for one that involved living in crisis and high energy relationships because I was a doctor working in life or death situations in Seattle. ( yeah, you know what I'm talking about). So after the constant knocking on my bedroom door and demands of making dinner I woke up and quit the binge watching cold turkey. I started to cook for friends and entertained Zoe's class for Easter and began to run outside again. This trip today has me getting back to reality. I checked out but meanwhile my girls were growing up in front of me and needed me to be engaged. I'm more involved with people who are in my every day life. Easter was instrumental in opening my eyes to God's fresh start He has for me. (And just when you thought I was diverting from where I started this mornings thought ... Wait for it..) I'm overwhelmed by how God works in our lives. Taking this trip with Blaire is somewhat of a new start. She has her whole life ahead of her and my prayer is she allows God to guide her. It certainly is a good life.