Monday, December 16, 2013

What Dreams Are Made Of.

I had a dream last night that rocked me to my core.

We were leaving the church Christmas program and piling into our van like we do when a dirty little girl with uncombed hair wordlessly climbed in on my lap where she appeared to have no intentions of leaving. She didn't speak, just sat. Brent and I consulted and we came to the decision that we needed to find someone who knew where this child belonged.

Brent stayed in the van with the kids and I took the girl into Orphanage? Projects? Colorless hallways where I did, finally, find an elderly woman who told me the girl's story. Her mother was dead and she was looking for another one. What about her father? He beat her. Where is child services? No one cares about these children.

Somehow I got up and faced this little girl. I prayed for her protection. I prayed she would find a mother. And I promised her I would not rest until she was safely cared for. She grew up before my eyes as she drew up, into herself, steeling her resolve and she told me, "Never you mind. There's more of me. There's always more of me."

I looked around and I was surrounded by dirty children and no adults save the one old, tired, grandma and I felt completely hopeless.

When I dream like this, detailed enough I can write it down, I generally ask, "Lord, what am I to do? She's right. You 'save' one and there are always ten more. Not only that, you look back and ask yourself if you did the right thing 'saving' one in the first place."

My husband, in his wisdom, reminded me that this is why we sponsor through organizations like World Vision. And sponsor some more. And encourage others to sponsor.

He's right. We need to keep children in families. And we need to give families the resources necessary to care for their children.

Please, for the love of all that is holy, come alongside me and help these kids.

Twelve years ago, we accidentally happened upon being one of the very first sponsors of a brand, spanking, new ADP (Area Development Program, I believe) and we were able to see, with our very own eyes, what World Vision does from beginning to (near) completion. It is truly amazing.

You have that opportunity now. World Vision is opening a brand new ADP in The Democratic Republic of Congo and you can get in on the ground level. All the kiddos on my page are in the same ADP. You can sponsor one and a friend of yours can sponsor another. And your grandmother can sponsor a third. And you can see synergy happen. You can talk about something more important than the weather. You can visit them together. Imagine....

We've done this before. Let's do it again. Help me help this little girl.
Be the change.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

For the Tired Mommies in the Thick of the Christmas Trauma

Go Again.

Because some of us need a daily reminder of why we can't just give up.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Diet Plan

I have lately been accused of being too thin and questioned whether I had a "problem." Brent and I were laughing over my "diet" plan and he suggested I share it. I know I already did this once, but I now have a more complete list. Here it is. The miracle diet.

1. Spend three weeks in a third world country. Breathe in the poverty. Consume things you shouldn't.
2. Come home with a parasite so bad that food crossing your lips is an invitation for your entire digestive tract to violently empty. For six. weeks.
3. Bring home a child at the same time who thinks your food is the epitome of evil and is certain you are trying to poison her. Food battles ensue that spike your adrenaline which takes away what little appetite you have.
4. Because you have not been able to eat or drink anything fun for six weeks, you no longer crave it, and besides, your digestive system still hates you. Large amounts of sugar causes a less extreme case of stage two. Since it is working in your favor and it is something in your life you CAN control, give up sugar.
5. Do couch to 5K with your daughter who wants to run one. The sense of power running gives you is indescribable. You have conquered something. 
6. Begin to question whether you have larger underlying issues. Give up gluten. Consume vast amounts of probiotics in an attempt to heal your gut.
7. Go on daily sunset walks with your husband because it gives you 30 minutes of peace at the end of a day of chaos.
8. Get tired of having back pain. Do lots of abdominal work nightly while watching three seasons of Heroes.
9. Run with your daughter to train her for cross country since she's discovered she wants to be powerful, too. Discover the added benefit of ab work: faster run times.
10. Once you decide that it is humanly impossible to have hypo- and hyper- thyroidism at the same time and your issue is really exhaustion and control, eat whatever crosses your path that sounds good.
11. Discover you don't really like it anymore.
12. Be annoying and eat clean.

Who thinks I should write a book? Best seller in the making.

Where You Begin


I just finished Divergent by Veronica Roth and in the Bonus Materials I ran across this little tidbit, interesting to me considering where I am right now.

"...both of us are wrong about perfect. We have no idea what it would look like, and our approximations of it are incomplete.
    And that gives me a lot of hope, because if I don't know what perfect means, it's not something I can reach on my own. Which means that I can stop trying to be perfect and just try to love the people around me and the things I'm doing. And strangely enough, that's Tris' journey. She tries selflessness on for size, and then she tries bravery, but at the end, it's what she does out of love that's more important than any virtue."

Friday, November 08, 2013

Adoption is Trauma

If I were feeling chatty, I would have said this. I was going to title it Adoption is Trauma. And I would have said some things directly relating to my children. But since she did it without me revealing my children's inner secrets, I'll have you read hers.

This is why I can't talk right now.
This is why I'm snarky and this is why I'm drowning and this this why I cry in the produce section when they are out of bananas.
And this is what you can be praying about.

I agree with every word.
Every one of them.
Yep, that one, too.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Funerals n such

They leave me asking how my life will be perceived. May I live mine with as much dignity.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Why I'm Not Blogging

I was recently asked why I'm not blogging. The answer is complicated. And long. And I may give the full story some day when I'm feeling chatty. And over this particular hill and before I see the next rise ahead of me. But the short, vague, answer is blogging gives people an opportunity to look into my life and make a judgement on it without engaging IN it. And right now I don't need people in my life that don't want to bother engaging. The road we've chosen is too dang hard to have a bunch of people who think they know what is going on-but don't-judging us based on something I did or did not say on my blog.

I'm not talking about YOU, of course. If you bothered to peek in after all this time, there is a chance that you might really care. Maybe not, but maybe. If I am talking about you, may you feel the wrist slap stinging. I'm too tired to care. Go ahead and make a judgement on that, too.

Meanwhile, some days I hear a song and I think, "YES, this is what's going on." So, for the time being, I will tell our story through song. This is today's version.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Born of Persuasion

Eight years ago, I wrote a story in 20 minutes, had my sisters proof read it over chips and salsa (they missed the misspelling of frapuccino (I'm still not sure how to spell it)), and, on a whim entered a fiction writing contest. Because of that story and the fact that it made top 10 in a nationally recognized contest, I call myself a writer. And because of that story, I found my first critique group that we called the Upstarts.

I have no idea where most of them are now.

But I opened an email from one of the Uppies the other day that started with "I don't know if you remember me...."

Remember you? Really? Which part would I forget? The part where you were my roommate at my first writers conference and we stayed up late discussing whether he was a sociopath or psychopath, or the part where you fed me your book chapter by chapter every time I sent you a message that said, "MORE! I need MORE!"

Friday, that book was released so that the rest of you can finally enjoy Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta.

The press release reads, "Bronte meets Austen" and that just about sums it up. Witticisms over tea meet creepiness upstairs, but it's inherently readable for people who just. can't. slog through the old language.

I have been known to tell people that once I got used to the fact that Jane Eyre was a trilogy rather than a novel, I liked it. It frustrated me that there seemed to be a story that came to and end and just as I got used to the new story line, it switched to yet another one.

I've decided to eat my words. My only complaint with Born of Persuasion is that it is a true trilogy and that is just not cool. I would prefer it be long like War and Peace in the Jane Eyre almost trilogy style. How am I supposed to wait to find out the end? (When she was feeding them to me chapter by chapter, I only got 2/3 of what is now book 1).

Well done, Jess.

And yes, I noticed that you dropped your opening line about the dun hooded sky and your old English spelling of colour. I also know you sneaked "dun hooded" in later (editing win! now that I know what it means....). The big bad They did a nice job of retaining you and opening with action. Eight years did nothing but make your story great. And it taught lots of us patience.

Jess is hosting a virtual tea party and 31 days of (basically Downton Abbey) giveaways on her Facebook page. You should stop by. Right after you go buy her book on Amazon.

Here's her back cover copy:
Few events unfold in the way they are supposed to. And if you look closely, you'll find that every story has two sides and each player in that story wears a mask. Everyone has a face they show the world, and a face they hide.

And therein lies danger.

Seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston is hardly prepared to handle the complexities of the Victorian era, much less the duality of human nature. She lives in a society where workhouses and slums loom in every parish, and her need to find a husband is more pressing than that of the average young lady. She is uneducated, orphaned and living ont he charity of friends.

When a rich, titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society she quickly accepts. Just when she thinks she's made an advantageous match, she finds herself a pawn amidst a deadly gave of chess playing out between two of England's most powerful men. Her only hope of safety lies with discovering who is telling the truth and who is lying.

Sometimes truth is elusive.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Normal Day

We went to the zoo yesterday. It was a gorgeous February Sunday afternoon in Kansas and out and doing was far better than in and trying unsuccessfully to nap. Or painting, which my love has been making me do any time we get a free hour and a half.

All the animals were really active. Maybe they were as tired of being cooped up for winter as we were. What, you don't see animals in this picture? Huh.

My monkey wanted to have a rest in the monkey nest.

"Why does the baby keep hitting the mama?" "Maybe he doesn't want to let her have a Sunday nap, either."

must pose with all statues.

oh look, another statue

huh, another statue.
The most extraordinary thing about the day was its complete ordinariness. It was a normal day.

Those of you who haven't adopted an older child might not understand the significance of that. Those of us in adoptive circles have been known to whisper or yell, "When will this feel normal?!" Those of you who adopted a newborn for your first child, I feel your pain, too. Your life will never be normal again. However, it will be far richer.

I'm happy to report that at the ten month zoo visitation mark, there are moments of normalcy. Enough so that even the children noticed. I feel especially qualified to say that since we did the zoo twice in our first month....and didn't brave it again until now. So I know to which I compare.

If you are in the throes, take a deep breath. Normal is coming. It may be a new normal, but it is coming.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"I want to be on the one that leads to Awesome."

What will be your Space Jam?? Give the world a reason to dance!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Brain Overload

There are just some weeks that are more tense than others. This is one of them. The mental gymnastics that it takes to remember to breathe are almost more than I can take.

And yet, none of it is taking place first person.

My sister reminded me recently that we are lucky to love people so much that we carry their pain. She's right.

If you are in pain today, and I know about it, know that I'm helping you carry it.

You can pay for my massage one of these days when you're back on your feet.

Kidding, kidding.....

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Soundtrack of Life

Brent has to go to San Antonio soon and he asked me if I wanted to go with him.

After we were married, Brent and I split for a summer. I lived in San Antonio and he lived in Minneapolis. The idea being that we were prepping for grad school. Internships helped pave the way to great grad school grants. We were both highly recruited by several schools, but not the same schools and if we were both going to go, we needed an impressive resume (or impressive scores, which I later learned we had, but at the time we weren't so sure). Brazilian samba music reminds me of San Antonio. So does simple Mexican music, but my roommate was from Rio and she loved the samba, which she taught to me. Zig Ziglar wrote in a book once, (paraphrase) "I'm back in this grey town with college students rushing back and forth and I miss the smiles and laughter and music I just left behind in San Antonio."

I told Brent that I couldn't go back. San Antonio tastes like the death of a dream.

Yes, I have a flair for the dramatic. I get that.
It may or may not have also been that I didn't want to use up babysitting on a town I've already done and done well. I may or may not also be regretting jumping at the opportunity to get out of this bleak January in any way possible. But still. My initial death of a dream statement was also a true one.

Never mind that I killed that dream for a new one. I wanted to be a mommy. And I didn't see the point in being a hyper-educated mommy. And I also knew that if I got hyper-educated, I'd have a hard time letting it go to be a mommy. I chose one dream over another. Most days I have no regrets. On the days where I suck at my job, and there are a lot of them.....I wonder if maybe doing research on e.coli for the rest of my life wouldn't have been such a bad thing. You can be furious with e.coli and yell at it and ship it off to a incubator to grow and suffer little to no guilt.

A couple days ago I put on Norah Jones which brought out more dreams I've let die. The novel writer dream. The children's book writer dream. The let's have a dozen children dream. The nature photographer dream. The famous blogger dream. *wink* The homeschooling mom dream. The learn Italian dream.

Or today, I put on Los Lonely Boys which reminds me of sailing in the Pacific before Charming was a glimmer in my eye. When I was toying with the idea of Eldest boy, Only daughter, Baby son sounds like the perfect family. I didn't know what kind of dream I would have traded in for that to be the case. What I would have missed out on. Or how many times I'd find myself whispering to Brent, "I'm so glad we have him."

That hummy, dreamy music you hear at the Target music trial kiosks remind me of my yoga dreams. A phase I'd still probably be in if I'd stayed in the city. There was a time I toyed with getting certified as an instructor. To do that now would be kin to throwing my money in the garbage as people here tend to frown on yoga as if it is all channeling spirits. My yoga instructor was a Christian. I assure you I didn't once channel a spirit in her class. I did find my inner rock star. I miss her. The instructor and my inner rock star. My shoulder doesn't hurt anymore. Apparently my inner rock star wasn't doing her crocodile quite right. Not doing it all all makes me weak, but pain free.

Which reminds me of my dream to be a midwife. First I was going to certify as a doula. Eventually going to school for midwifery. And, when I was rock star good, moving to Africa to deliver babies in the bush. The You've Got Mail soundtrack sends me there. I watch it now and it just depresses me, but I do love the music. What I got out of that dream was three successful home births. Two in the water. I. Did. That. It isn't delivering 3000 babies in the backwoods on my own, but it is a dream I can put a check beside.

I thought about going back to school next year and getting my nursing degree and attacking the midwifery thing from another angle. And then it occurred to me that though I didn't mind death and barf and poo and fluids and crises when I was 18-23, I'm not really fond of them now. A crying child shoots adrenaline though me the likes of which I would never have expected.

Dreams come and go. This morning I told Brent about a house I remember that had a whole wall of built in bookshelves where I sat and told myself that, one day, I, too would have a room like that. He might have looked at me a little cross eyed and told me that dream was irrational. Full bookshelves scattered throughout the house is completely adequate. I told him that I have a lot of dreams that I can do nothing about, but a wall of bookshelves is do-able and to start figuring out where we could put them. But not to worry because next week I'd be on to something different and he won't have to follow through. Yet.

Meanwhile, I'm stripping wallpaper. I have a dream.....that one day.....I will no longer have burgundy/mauve/teal/purple roses/pineapples/paisley on my walls. And when I have killed them once and for all, I will tackle the seven colors of carpet that coordinate with them.

And, because all of this is so Dorothy-esque, or maybe because I have also dreamed about moving to the north shore of Kauai, I give you my theme song of the week.