Monday, July 21, 2014


Twice in the last week, I've had the opportunity to hear different perspectives of the same event. Neither event was even a ripple in my world, so my perspective on the situations was relatively clear.

Twice, they relayed completely different takes on a situation. I mean huge differences. Major.

My take-away from this has me pondering. We really have no idea what is going on in another person's world. It was eye opening. I mean, I knew that we don't really know what's going on in another person's heart, but how very far off we can 180 degrees off....way off, that blew my mind.

Today I am going to try to remember that just because I think someone thinks/feels/acts/said/did/insulted/humiliated/offended doesn't mean they do/did or meant to.

Take a deep breath today, Jamie, and don't pick up the offense/cast the judgement.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Artificial Twinning

There have been many, many moments in the last 13 years that I wondered what God was thinking by giving us our eldest "twins." But there have been many, many moments when I have been so glad He did. Like this morning when Princess rode off with Eldest to go to weightlifting and agility with the boys. As if most 13yo girls would have the guts to do that. But with a brother by her side? She's unstoppable.

 When he tells her, "Go change?" Love. It. He actually doesn't have to tell her. He tells the little sister. But sometimes he is confirmation when she asks, "Is this immodest?" I tell her, "Go ask your brother." I can't think of a better judge that the one who shares the locker room with 13yo boys.

These two make my whole heart happy.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Rat Snakes

Yesterday there was an enormous black snake on my porch. There was much little girl screaming and giggling. I still have the skeeves. But I was a big girl and told my kids to, "LEAVE THE SNAKE ALONE!"
Snakes are gross. Mice are grosser. Rat snakes eat mice. And apparently rattlesnakes.An enemy of my enemy is my friend.

I have become my mother who told me as a child that the black spider on her ceiling was her friend. Brown spiders under clothes, however, die a swift and painful death. Shake a rattle at me and you will lose your head faster than you can say, "die."

My teen daughter walks with me in the morning. My husband walks with me at night. Both provide many moments of connection. I have to talk very little on either walk. Win win.

I think I'm going through caffeine withdrawal as I have only allowed myself one pot a day. You cannot imagine my joy upon discovering the dregs of my morning coffee in the afternoon.

Adventures Under the Mango Tree

I'm a sucker for the story of the person who gives up their American life and trades it in for a life of service. I read Kisses from Katie on my way to Ethiopia and I read No Greater Love after coming back. I grew up on the stories of Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong and Corrie Ten Boom (which isn't the same thing, but talk about your self sacrifice). So I was very excited to be asked to review Adventures Under the Mango Tree by Lilian Ann Klepp.

Back Cover Copy
Hearing the tremendous needs of orphans in Sudan, an ordinary woman in Wisconsin prayed, "Lord, what can I do?" His answer was life altering!

"Sell all you have and give it to the poor," He said. Acting in faith and with a heavy burden for orphans, author Lillian Klepp and her husband, Dennis, sold everything they had and moved to war-torn Yei, Sudan. There they opened Harvesters Orphanage and Christian School in a place ranked worst in the world for women and children's well-being. Together, in the midst of a civil war, they battle chronic malnutrition, poor schooling, cancer, malaria, and poverty.
Adventures Under the Mango Tree is Lillian's journal of touching stories with heartwarming photographs of the precious orphans they help, the dedicated people who love them, and the often life-threatening struggles they face together.

When I accepted this review, I was in need of inspiration. I needed the reminder that laying down one's life is a calling. Something. It's no secret that I've been in a dark place, but books like this typically pull me out of them, at least for a bit.

That said, I think I read it for the wrong purpose. I wasn't particularly inspired. Maybe a little terrified. My take-away message was ....yep, it's hard and it gets harder and there are moments of joy, but mostly it's hard.

Tell me about it.

I don't doubt the hearts of these people and I fully believe their stories are inspiring to them and their experiences very real, they just didn't translate to the page. Analyzing it as a writer, I think this was a case of telling more than showing (as opposed to the adage "Show, don't tell."). Analyzing it as a super-tired adoptive mother, it may be a case of I may not have rebel armies coming at me, but my service is hard, too. And it may just be that I wanted to finish the book and feel like it was time to move to Ethiopia to help the moms keep their kids. And I didn't. It may read better for the non-jaded. I hope it does. It just didn't do much for me.

Edited to add: And then my daughter comes to me talking about the compound she wants to build and what do I hand her? This book. 

Monday, July 07, 2014


I'm thankful for sisters that keep me accountable to do one Thing a day that drags me down. Sometimes the Thing is as simple as picking up the hot dog package left on the patio from Memorial weekend grilling, or, like today, putting away the coats, gloves, hats, scarves and boots that were piled on the coat closet floor. It is silly that these things drag us down and even sillier that we don't do them. I'm so glad I have a village that makes me do them AND that don't mock me when I send my daily email confessing my daily Thing.

I'm thankful that two play-dates came to me today instead of me having to do the phone calls. Everyone is happy and my phone phobia could rest for a day.

I'm thankful that my teens will be home from camp in a couple hours. A couple hours after that, I am going to try to remember I'm thankful for all their noise enthusiasm.

I'm thankful that there are people who actually think I would be good enough at a job to ask me to do it, even if it is the last job in the church building I would want to do and yes, I have considered cleaning the toilets and I hold to my statement. I know I would be rather horrid at it not necessarily be the best candidate for the job, and I may be the bottom of the barrel, but maybe they actually think I would do a decent job.

I took a Facebook time waster quiz the other day that informed me my optimal job would be social activist. If I wasn't so afraid of intimidated by reclusive (OK, can't spin this one positively), I think Facebook would be correct. So I looked around and found a way to be a social activist by appealing to America's need to accessorize. I absolutely love this company, so I'm going to sell for them on behalf of all the mamas out there that want to find a way to keep their children. Poverty alone should NEVER break up a family.

Intentional Optimism

When you run into me on the streets or in the library or at church, there's a good chance that you'll walk away from the interaction thinking you've never met someone so enthusiastically negative before. Even if you aren't thinking it, I'm thinking it. And there's a good chance I'll be kicking myself for several hours afterwards.

I'm tired. Lord, I am so tired. I'm tired and jaded and bitter and angry and it spills all over my attitude so that even I am sick to death of myself.

I didn't used to be this way. My mom used to comment that everything comes up roses for me and I fully agreed. But let me be the first to tell you that the last three years have murdered my spirit. It has been an absolute slaughter, but instead of being over quick and dirty like, it has been the slow bleed out with just enough transfusions to make me live another day.

I drink two 12 cup pots of coffee a day. And I slog through the day like I am not existing on stimulants alone.

My husband, though less dramatic about it, is the same. We have become angry people. Angry, tired people. Angry, tired people that go on walks and hash through our days and try to figure out how to not be so angry and tired and bitter and jaded all the time. How to not answer the phone wondering what this person wants from us that we are physically, spiritually and mentally unable to provide. (Hint: if they aren't offering coffee, we probably don't have the energy for it.)

So, on our most recent walk/therapy session, we decided that together we will read Learned Optimism and, dammit, we are going to learn it.....again. We used to be suck positive people and we want to be those people again.

After this post, it is my intent to reopen the blog with enthusiasm and positivity and optimism and joy. I may not be feeling it, but I'm going to type it until I do. When I first started this blog it was a place to hash out my thoughts and come to a resolution where I remembered that God is still God and He is Good. All the time.

Here's hoping.

I told Brent that I'm afraid to only talk about the good things because I really want people to understand that my life isn't sunshine and roses all the time, so let it be said now and forevermore, sunshine and roses are rare about these parts. Don't forget that. I may put up a brave online face and make it seem like we have it together, but I have sucky days too. Don't hate me for all the beautiful that I am determined to find.

This feels fake to me and I'm a Don't Bother If You Can't Be Real kind of girl. But as of today, I'm going into fake it till you make it mode.

Pray for me.
And starting in