Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gladney Approved!

I just checked my e-mail and found that we are officially Gladney approved! That means our homestudy is being sent to CIS and we are just waiting for the "golden ticket" from immigration. We have already been fingerprinted, so we hope it will come very quickly. We are supposed to start working on our dossier now, but since Kate already has it all and she and Natalie have reviewed it all, we can only wait for that coveted 171H. Maybe we'll miraculously make my original April 15th waitlist date. (Okay, stop laughing all you fellow adoptive parents, I said miraculously!) Yeah, one more hurdle down!

Monday, March 24, 2008


I have been tagged by my blog friend Rebecca Kepley who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Mestas' twins birthday party. Before I tell the 10 interesting things I am supposed to share about myself, let me just say... Rebecca, you've been waiting FAR TOO LONG for a court date and I feel for you. It doesn't make any since that so many others have whizzed by you in the process. This is one of those times that believing that God's timing is perfect is the only thing that would keep me sane. Please know that I am praying and rooting for you that "Cutie Pie" will be home with you soon!

Without further ado, here are my 10 (not so) interesting facts:

1. I met my husband 15 years ago at the Baptist Student Union in college. He was not only a cutie, but he has always been able to make me laugh- a lot. That helps tremendously when you're living on nothing but love and potatos.

2. I love to travel. Although my international travel has been very limited thus far, there are very few places on planet Earth that I don't want to visit.

3. I am a very picky eater. The pickiest eater I know. I don't eat anything green. I tried 4 green beans in an effort to find a vegetable I could stomach last summer. My kids watched me like I was a circus act when they saw that I put beans on my plate.

4. My husband and I are often called gypsies by our parents because we have had 16 addresses in our 13 years of marriage. When we moved into our current home I told Ryan that the only way I was leaving was with a pine box or a burning bush.

5. I served as a student summer missionary in Alaska the summer before I got married. While I was there I caught a 53 pound salmon.

6. I love to cook. I especially love to try different desserts.

7. I don't like dogs. They're smelly, needy, and they make me sneeze. My children are constantly asking for a dog- it's a great source of frustration in our home. I did get them a tadpole a few months ago. However, before it could mature into a frog I accidentally washed it down the bathroom drain while cleaning the bowl.

8. I love to read. I always have multiple books going at one time. Currently, I am reading: Mom Walk by Sally Clarkson, War of Words by Paul Tripp, and Revolutionary Parenting by George Barna. I especially love to read fiction, but I have to limit myself because once I begin a fiction book I neglect everything else in my world. So, I tend to read fiction only on school breaks. I read an entire Beverly Lewis series over Christmas. I read 2 of the 5 books in a 24 hour period. OOPS!

9. I basically have spent my entire life working with children. Some of my jobs have included: tutor, childcare worker, preschool teacher, preschool director, 4th grade teacher, 5th grade teacher, nursery director, and mom to 4.

10. I love Jesus and my number one career goal is to raise my children to know and love Jesus even more than I do.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Okay, so I am a to-do list kind of person. It's so bad that my favorite Christmas gifts from my husband this year were these two fancy list pads he bought for me from this swanky gift shop in Raleigh called Swoozies. Never mind the watch, clothes, or Kitchen Aid mixer- I loved the list pads.

That being said, you'll understand why this weekend was such a delightful one for me. We have had a commitment every Saturday since Christmas, until this weekend. So, Friday night I told my husband that I really wanted to get the schoolroom organized this weekend. I've been trying to get it "just so" since we moved in in November and there just wasn't time. I had gotten it functional, but not where I wanted it.

So, my sweet husband, having been a student of my "issues" for 13 years, took it upon himself to help me. But, he did it in such a beautiful way. He took my four children out for the day. He fed them lunch, got all 4 of them haircuts (the girls posed for the above picture), he picked up groceries, and even went to Staples and found just the right 3" binders that I needed for my new Tapestry of Grace curriculum for next year.

While they were out, I got my school room finished, listened to 6 Family Life Today episodes and a Focus on the Family too. When they came back I was refreshed, de-stressed, encouraged, and more in love than ever! I think that might have been a better gift than my fancy list pads. What a guy!

Tears of ?

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16

I take great comfort in Psalm 139, especially verse 16. It is a comfort to me as a child of God-especially as a mother. It's the verse that sums up my emotional experience during our worship service yesterday. I don't usually get weepy during the worship service- maybe an occassional quiet tear, but not so this week. I was ugly face crying by the time the service ended. There were basically three things that brought me to tears.

First, the pastor decided to close his sermon with a video clip of the crucifixion. It showed scenes from the death of Christ, but it was basically presented from Mary's point of view. It's always emotional when I face the facts about my Savior's sacrifice. But when you factor in Mary's loss- it really affects me. I distinctly remember the first Christmas after my oldest was born and how very different the Christmas story was to me that year. It came alive in a different way after being a mom.

Secondly, I watched a family weep their way to and from the altar and it broke my heart. I have been praying for them all week. The mother and father were in a motorcycle accident last week and the mom of three has been in a medically induced coma for almost a week now because of the severity of her head trauma. She has three children ranging from 1 year to 5th grade. I saw the dad escort his 3rd and 5th grade girls to the altar as they interceded for their mother. It was such a sad and beautiful thing. They were eager to go as soon as the music began and I was overwhelmed at their situation.

Finally, before I could recover from that moment, another precious thing happened. About three weeks ago, I mentioned a friend of mine who had had a near miss with an infant adoption and I told the story of her 6th grade daughter's heartbreak. Well, God truly does make all things new and through a series of events, that baby is now in their home. She came to them last Sunday and she is theirs! I found out about their rejoicing last week as they were bringing the baby home. But what really affected me yesterday was watching that same 6th grade girl step out and carry that same precious babe in her arms to the same altar where she'd wept only three weeks before so that she could rejoice and give thanks to the God who gives and takes away.

Lord, I can only say that in all of this, I cling to the fact that all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Praise God!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Wait for me...

We were so relieved to get our dossier sent in the mail on Monday. Kate has reviewed it and there are a couple of minor changes that need to be made, but nothing that should cause any real stress or delay. I found myself so much more relaxed this past week. I feel like I've done what I can do, and now I just wait for God to bring us our baby. I am sure there will be times where I get anxious again, but it is nice to be able to focus on other things without the constant paperwork list hanging over my head.

On Friday we went shopping for Easter dresses for the girls. Yes, we are old school and we still buy Easter dresses every year (though we do forego the hat, purse, and lacy socks.) We have had a hard time finding something we all agree on, so we finally broke down and drove an hour on Friday to the nearest outlet malls.

After finding the dresses, I decided to pop into the Gymboree outlet. Ryan and my mom had stopped in another store and so the kids and I were on our own. Abby, my oldest, kept gravitating to the baby section and I kept guiding her out, insisting that we needed to hold off until the referral came. Every time I went over there, this cute little brown sweater caught my eye.

Finally Ryan came in and helped me make some decisions about clothes for the girls. Abby drug him over to the baby section and tried to convince him that we needed baby items too. When I went to drag them both out, I pointed out the cute brown snail sweater I'd been eyeing. I took a moment to look at it more closely and realized that the text on the sweater said, "wait for me..." When Ryan and I read it, we smiled at each other and quickly agreed we had to have it!

So, Brother Baby (that's Lily's latest name for the baby to come), wherever you are, we are waiting for you. Whether you're in the womb or in the arms of someone who will care for you until we can get to you- please know we're praying and waiting, and delighting in the thought of having you very soon!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Mommy Guilt and a Beautiful Thing Called Balance

The picture above was taken on Saturday at our Upwards end of season celebration. It was a fun way to end our commitment to Upwards basketball, and a gentle reminder for me of lessons learned.
About 6 years ago, I was self-diagnosed with a condition called Mommy Guilt. I have since discovered that many women suffer with the same condition. Some of them go undiagnosed for many years. Most go untreated. The condition is chronic- there is no cure. The primary symptom for me is "the list." I call it the good mommy list. You may be familiar with this list, it goes something like this: good mommies bake cookies from scratch, good mommies never yell, good mommies keep a spotless house, good mommies listen attentively all the time, good mommies don't buy sugared cereal - you get the idea. The only treatment I have found to be effective is a complicated therapy called balance.
Let me tell you a little bit about my initial diagnosis. It was the summer of 2002. My oldest daughter had just turned 4. I also had a 21 month old daughter and a 3 month old son. I was trying desperately to be a good mommy. So, I had signed my 4 year old daughter up for a well-rounded summer of "opportunities." That summer, we were committed to swim lessons, Kindermusik, ballet class, and a preschool art class that I was teaching. (Yes, she really was 4 and yes I had 2 younger children, and yes, I really had committed her to all those things!)
One afternoon on the way across town from swim lessons to ballet, Abby had a melt down to which I had a less than perfect response. She was crying that she was tired and she wanted to go home, her 3 month old brother was crying because he was overdue for a bottle, and I was crying because I felt like one big failure. I realized that my fear of not giving her enough opportunities had lead me to a complete lack of common sense which resulted in more mommy guilt because of my stupidity.
Fortunately, a good friend had given me an excellent mommy book as a baby gift, and God used it to open my eyes to the ridiculousness of my thinking and the reality of my Mommy Guilt condition. That summer, I made some changes in my perspective. I began to think about what I hoped to accomplish as a parent. The one thing that I knew I wanted, more than anything else, was children who were head over heals in love with my Jesus. I realized that to achieve that, we were going to have to let many of the "opportunities" available to us go right on by.
I began to look at the example of my savior and how he took 12 ordinary men, invested large amounts of his time and energy into them, and ended up with a group of radically transformed world changers. I realized that their transformation didn't come from a 12 step Bible Study or even from 12 years at the finest schools Jerusalem had to offer. It came from breakfasts around the fire, afternoons fishing together, and conversations on a hillside. Now don't get me wrong, I don't claim to have the wisdom or knowledge of Jesus. But according to Deutoronomy chapter 6, I do have the responsibility of discipling my children.
So, even though Abby would do great on a swim team, we do most of our swimming on lazy afternoons at Grandma's pool. Lizzy has the build and fearlessness of a great gymnast, but we do all of our flips on the monkey bars at the local park. I know that they have the potential to be great at a variety of things. But, I'm just not willing to pay what it costs to pursue those things. Occasionally, we do budget some time for those types of things- like Upwards or our current pursuit of piano lessons. But, we try very hard to count the cost first.
I feel quite confident that when my children are 35, they're going to be much more thankful for their memories of family dinners, tickle time with daddy, and walks around the block than they would be for a box full of trophies or ballet recital costumes collecting dust in my attic. If I'm wrong, I guess I'll offer to pay for their ballroom dancing classes- maybe that will help to take care of my mommy guilt.

Happy Birthday Isaac!

When Ryan and I accepted our first full-time church job, we had the pleasure of serving at a church that had lots of grandmother aged women. I'll never forget something that one of them told me one night. I was trying to survive the weekly Wednesday night fellowship dinner. I was trying to make plates for four children age 5 and under at the time, and my sweet husband was stuck in conversation #157 since walking into the fellowship hall. She looked at me and said, "Motherhood- the days are long, but the years are short." Honestly, it was hard for me to believe at that moment, but I'm beginning to be convinced.

My sweet boy turned 6 years old today. That means he's approximately 1/3 of the way through his time in my home. Wow! Thinking about it that way really makes me want to savor every moment. We are having his astronaut party on Saturday, but we did start out this morning with muffins. The funny thing was, his muffin was so hot, the candle melted inside the muffin. Oops! I thought I'd post a couple of photos we took this morning before getting started with our crazy day. Isn't he a knockout? And doesn't he look like a carbon copy of his daddy?