December 16, 2012

Seriously

So I've been mulling the shootings in Connecticut over in my head for the past few days. I'm sure most people have had it in the back or fronts of their minds as well. I've been asking the same questions that most people have: the hows? the whys? the who's? The one thing that keeps coming back and nagging at me is the trend. The gunman entering a scene of innocent or unrelated people, killing as many as he wants and then offing himself. And it seems to be happening more and more. Many people have theories: video games, the media immortalizing the deranged killing thus encouraging copy cats, our mental health system, parents not doing their job, technology unplugging us from the world around us, apathy, God's punishment, and the list goes on. Although those theories all have their merits, it seems that those are all "part" of the problem.

It has seriously been driving me crazy! Thinking, praying, praying, thinking. So this morning I'm praying about it and God's like, "where am I?" My answer: "not here." Not in the theological sense, of course, God is everywhere, but in a cultural sense.

We have systematically removed God from our culture. I'm sure this is not a new concept for anyone. Many preachers, Godly teachers and Fox News telecasters (haha) have brought this idea to the forefront for many christians. However, for me, it has not been so real as it is now. We have taken God out of government, especially but not limited to the judicial branch. We (as a country, not as believers) have taken him out of schools, universities, public forums, community events, the daily grind (as very few businesses observe the sabbath, even in small ways). There are so many things that we have removed God from that I have become desensitized to it. I'm sure there are more.

The question is: what happens when you remove God? In the new testament when the 70 some-odd disciples were commissioned, their orders were to preach the good news. If the city or town rejected it, dust your sandals off and move on. The city rejected God, so God left. God didn't tell them to scream, yell or kill those who rejected him. He just told them to leave. The town itself was on its own.

What happens, then, when God is asked, politely or not so politely to leave? What are we left with? The goodness of man? Oh, please y'all. That is a lie sold by the devil to proud and illogical men. We are meant to be filled. Either by God or by Satan. Either good or evil. We want there to be another option, but there is not. So when God is kicked out, evil moves in.

A friend of mine was shot at Columbine. A long time ago she told me the entire horrifying story. This week a different friend reminded me of her story. She said (way back then), never underestimate the role that evil plays in events like these. I saw it. I felt it. It was there.

That struck me. Everyone wants to blame something. To have a reason for such atrocities. But they don't want to invoke evil, because that means we would have to invoke God and that means we would have to be held accountable.

It isn't isolated. It isn't fair. It isn't good. It isn't love. And it isn't God. For all the God-blamers out there, find another whipping boy. I am not here to defend God. He can do that on his own. But just like Jesus, we need to testify to the truth. I don't think I have all the answers and the hurt I feel over this for the people experiencing it pales to the hurt God feels. Someone lost their Sam. That, I could not, nor do I want to imagine.

Ironically our society wants freedom from God. And here we are. Classic bait and switch. Well played, Satan. Well played. Thankfully, we know who wins in the end. Thankfully, it wasn't my children, and I know I speak from a place that is not mourning the loss of a child (praise God). Thankfully, God gives big grace, loves an underdog, and wants to be glorified. I pray that we as a nation, will be redeemed and in doing so, give glory to God.


Peace Out,
Michele

September 6, 2012

Confessions

Before I had children...

  • I would watch kids melt down in the grocery store and say "never. my. kid."
  • I had a strategy (proven strategy...I mean, it worked on me) for raising my children.
  • I didn't have their future mapped out, but I certainly knew they would arrive there politely and well-behaved.
  • I thought I would adopt. from China.
  • I didn't know the joy of Target by myself 
  • I thought I would have three kids. (now...who knows?)
  • I thought I would keep working part time or get bored or go crazy (might still go crazy :))
  • I thought it was easier than everyone was making it out to be.
  • I was unaware of how extremely selfish I was. I mean, close the door while using the bathroom? SELFISH! Eating my own breakfast? SELF-CENTERED!
  • I didn't pray first thing in the morning... asking God desperately for a good day because, honestly, I got through the day pretty well on my own.
  • I didn't use the ellipse so much (...)
I love my children. Love. LOOOOOOVE. But some days, they drive me crazy. And they are NOT how I thought they would be. And I apologize to everyone I ever EVER judged (consciously or unconsciously) for their parenting abilities in response to how their children were behaving. They may be awful parents, they may be able to write books because they are such good parents, but I don't get to pass judgement. Because I'm a good parent, and my kids, they don't always reflect that. That may sound prideful, me saying I'm a good parent, but I've had home studies done for adoption, and they think we are at very least "fit" for raising children. So there's that. And I'm the kind of person who has to remind myself that I don't suck. So this is my friendly reminder. My PSA. Yeah for not sucking! You may now return to your regular viewing...



Peace Out,
Michele

August 22, 2012

Down Time

I tend to write in the blog when I am between exciting news. I'm pretty sure that's a good way NOT to get people to read your blog! After my last post I was so excited. And you never really see what's around the corner...

It takes a while to fill out an application, write a few essays, proof read them, etc. Finally we had everything we needed to turn in our paperwork. Now, this is just for the application to the adoption agency, not anything beyond that. So, I emailed them to see if they could send us a hard copy of an information packet and I get the following back: thanks for your interest, we are really excited to help, we are not accepting applications at this time. We will re-evaluate in 2 months.

Did you hear that? That was some serious wind being taken out of my sails. Ugh. Seriously? Have you ever felt like you are trying to do what God wants you to do and you keep hitting road block after road block? I mean, we aren't going into this without serious prayer, thought, discussion, prayer again. It is so frustrating.
Then I start to ask myself:
Question: "Are you sure this is what God wants?"
Answer: "aside from a burning bush or instructions written in chalk on my driveway? yes."
Question: "Is this part of God's timing?"
Answer: "well, yes, everything is part of his timing."
Question: "Have you ever really fought for anything? Like, against all odds? Or have you always walked on the safe, logical, team bench, sidelines?"
Answer: "well inner monologue, that's a bit critical, but I am a bit of a safety pup if you must know." Question: "Did the pilgrims turn around?"
Answer: "no."
Question: "Should they have?"
Answer: "No. They were convinced that this was God's plan for them, and regardless of the death and the cold and the dying and the cold, did I mention the death and the cold? they kept going. They had road blocks. They had plenty of reasons to think that God was telling them to go back."

So maybe I should stop over analyzing and worrying about what God is doing and just let him do.

And maybe, just maybe, I should not publish the conversations that I have with myself. Just kidding! What's the fun in that?

Peace Out,
Michele

July 28, 2012

Adoption Update: No More Limbo

What a crazy summer it has been for us! We have had so much fun going to the pool, visiting family and friends in Tennessee and North Carolina, going to the library and just enjoying the warm weather! Earlier in the summer Luke and I started doing "happy hours" on the back porch. It was great! The kids ran around, we drank wine and talked, so fun. During one of our happy hours we discussed our plans for adoption. I wanted to respect Luke's processing and decision making, but I had been living in limbo for months. I didn't need an answer right then, quite the opposite, but I asked to be plucked from limbo by Caroline's second birthday. It was quite a few months away, so I felt like I wasn't laying on any pressure. It was a great conversation...I love wine!

And from there, life went on. I continued in limbo land, but I felt good that we had an end date. It wasn't really on my mind as much. Probably a week later, Luke and I were talking about random stuff, and then he turns to me and tells me that he can either live life based on principles or based on fear. He still was a bit afraid, but he wanted to live life based on principles. I was (and am) so proud of him. In that moment I was like, "wow. I am the luckiest woman in the world." When faced with a very scary and hard decision that many, many people would write off immediately, he stopped, he asked God what His plans were and he listened. Regardless of if his answer matched my desires, I would have felt good about the conclusion.

What a relief! It was so great that, no matter what the outcome, we had a plan. A very loose plan, but a general direction none-the-less.

Over the next month I researched agencies and states and when my head was officially full, I presented my findings to the board (myself and Luke), then we had some friends over who have been through the process twice and pumped them for information. This is after I contacted a few friends via email who have also adopted. Phew!

So now, we've chosen a state, we are applying to an agency that we feel good about, and we do what we do best: paperwork and waiting. My biggest accomplishment is moving forward! We have decided to stay on the list in China. At this point it can't hurt anything to just be there and we don't have guarantees for domestic any more than international.

Overall we are excited, hopeful and at peace. Thankful for our beautiful family and God making himself so real and evident in the decision-making process.

Peace Out,

Michele

June 2, 2012

24 Hour Road Trip!

Two nights ago, I had an idea. Luke was about to leave town and head to Grand Junction for work. Usually we can't go because of school, MOPS, etc, but I had no plans for Friday. So we left the dishes on the table, food out for the dog, stuck the kids in their pajamas, loaded up the car, and headed out for the open road!

Lets first discuss assumptions. We thought the kids would conk out around Frisco (about 1 1/2 hours in). That would be a BAD assumption. Sam was awake until 8:30 (not the worst thing in the world), Caroline, on the other hand, was awake until 10 (cue the ominous music). Next assumption was that, due to the lateness of their falling asleep, they would sleep in....maybe even until 8! Again, a BAD assumption. We all slept in the same hotel room. Caroline in a pack n play, Sam in a bed, Luke and I in a bed. Six a.m. rolls around (note: on a normal day, my kids don't wake up until 730), and Caroline is literally SCREAMING she is so excited that she has awakened to this wonderful scene! All of her favorite people in ONE ROOM! EEEEEEK!

At this point, we begin to pray: "dear Lord, please..." and that's all we can get out because they are hungry. Our sweet Jesus must have known what we needed because things turned around! We ate a great breakfast with a side of heavy whining, but we got through it. Then we went to the hot springs across the street. Glenwood Springs has the largest hot springs in the country? NAY, the WORLD!!! We swam, we said hi to all the old folks and we headed to Grand Junction.

Things went pretty smoothly for the rest of our time on the western slope. We played at a playground, at lunch and headed back to Denver around nap time. Surely after almost no sleep the night before, they would sleep until...lets say Frisco, right? WRONG PEOPLE! WRONG! Sam began whining while Caroline did her best to remind us that "I may be the second child, but I'm first when it comes to screaming and making you believe that I very well could be dying back here!" HOWEVER, they did not know what I had in my arsenal...classical music. HA! We played Cannon in D 5 times in a row and sweet Caroline was no match. She slept until Glenwood Springs (which was about 90 minutes into a 5 hour drive...sigh.)

We did finally stop for some frozen yogurt in Frisco. It was the most disappointing thing I've ever experienced. The workers were so excited to tell me that it was "gluten free, sugar free, lactose free, dairy free, fat free." And I wondered why they even called it yogurt. To make matters worse all of the toppings were sugar free and the "chocolate" toppings were made from carob. CAROB! The look of absolute disdain I gave them was not enough to communicate that the ice cream treat stop was supposed to turn this trip happy again. And now we have CAROB! FANTASTIC!

You should have seen us all by the end. It was basically a mutiny. I actually "pulled the car over" and made empty threats (which I almost never do) which turned into pleading for everyone to hold it together! By the time we got home, we were all falling apart and to make matters worse there wasn't a drop of wine in the whole house. NO WINE!

After the kids were in bed, cooler heads prevailed (funny how bed time has that affect). We concluded that the trip was ok minus the last few hours and we would wait a few years to try a 5 hour road trip in 24 hours again. And we certainly were NOT going to stop in Frisco for ice cream.

Peace Out,

Michele

April 29, 2012

Update: not a dramatic update

Remember a few posts ago when I was like, "sorry its been a while, but I didn't know what to write, and this is whats going on for better or worse."? (I'm pretty sure the punctuation on that sentence is jacked now that I look at it. Where is my blue handbook from high school?) Well, here we are again! Its the slow and steady process of life and decision making and darn it if things go faster on whatever show the cool kids are watching these days...Revenge, Glee, insert CW show here. (If the cool kids are watching Downton Abbey, I am much farther ahead of the game than I thought, but I'm doubting it.)

So we continue to pray and talk. More praying and less talking incidentally. Which is good. But it feels slooooooow. And thats ok because I am supposed to pray about this and be patient, but it feels so sloooooooooooow. So I am praying that in God's perfect timing, Luke and I make a decision. Anti-climactic update, but there it is. For better or worse.

As always we covet your prayers for Luke, myself and our family! I'll keep you updated of course!


Peace Out,
Michele

April 10, 2012

Meeting with Domestic

Today Luke and I met with another branch of our agency. It was the domestic adoption side. A year ago, you would have dragged me in there kicking and screaming! "Domestic is not for us!" was my battle cry when people would ask why we were going overseas. I actually remember thinking "God, I really won't. I really can't. Please no on domestic adoption." I would have told you that there was just no way, no how. And here we are.

Today was just a fact finding mission more than anything else. Luke hasn't committed this specific thing to prayer yet, so we are in no way making decisions. Neither one of us feel a strong answer from God on this so far, and we won't be moving until we do. We have decided to both pray about it and see how God moves.

We found out a few interesting things...
  • the time line is faster with minorities (no shock there, sadly)
  • A few states on the east coast are to be avoided because of up 4 weeks of "takesy-backsies". And Utah for some father registry thing that can complicate things and result in takesy-backsies.
  • Once the parents sign over their rights its binding. that happens usually while the baby is still in the hospital.
So, there will be more research if we feel like God wants us to move forward on domestic. Until then, I'll try to pry myself away from websites and blogs and focus on listening and obeying.

I have had a lot of family and friends asking about this and praying for us. I just want to say thank you. It means the world to know that we are being lifted up!

Peace Out,
Michele

April 2, 2012

Adoption Update: things are getting interesting

Oh man. Its not so much that I am a slacker at the blog, its more like I don't know what I should write. Don't get me wrong, I've got plenty going on, but a lot of my updates on adoption are not "happy ending, everything worked out the way I thought it would" kind of updates. Here's the deal...since Luke and I were dating...no wait, I've got to go back further than that...

since I can remember being me, I have always had a heart for orphans. We used to "rescue" field mice and try to raise them when we were kids (didn't always work out, actually). I hated seeing injustice or suffering (who doesn't?). Then in the early 90's, I saw a presentation at my church about orphaned girls in China. And that was it. I knew that one day, adoption would be for me.

Fast forward 10 years. Luke and I are going to get married. We talk about kids. I bring up my desire to adopt. He's 100% on board. I bring up China. He's 100% on board.

Fast forward to my 29 1/2 year old birthday. We finally get to apply to adopt from China. This has been our goal. This has been what we have been waiting for. Two weeks before the birth of our second child, we applied for our third.

And now we wait. We knew there would be a wait. We knew it would be lengthy. We didn't know it could be 10 years. Could be. Maybe. It is all very up in the air right now. Once the Chinese government gets past matching families from a certain log in date, things are supposed to speed up. However, its possible that thing will stay the same (hence the 10 year wait). So for now, we are praying. We are sitting tight until we hear from God. We are considering the possibility of obedience.

The thing is, I thought we were obeying in just wanting to adopt from China. We are now considering that the country our child comes from may not have been God's plan, but ours (and by "ours" I mean "mine"). Its a humbling possibility because I have been so sure in the past. If I were completely honest with myself, though, I would say that the prayers then, when we started, were more of asking God to bless what we were doing instead of asking how we could follow his leading.

Do I think it is in God's plan for us to adopt? Yes, right now I do. Do I think that God is going to gift us a child from China? I'm not sure. Right now I'm in prayerful limbo. And that's ok. I would rather wait on God's timing and plan than forge ahead with my own. Again, if I'm completely honest with myself, that's basically what I've been doing.

So, who knows? Thankfully God does, and that's all I have to go on right now. I will keep you updated on my prayerful journey and would appreciate any you would like to throw my way. That Luke and I would get the same word from God, that we would be humble, patient and obedient.

Thanks. For real, yo.

Peace Out,
Michele

January 8, 2012

Hurumph: an update

So, I'm a little discouraged this week. It is beginning to settle in, these 5 years that we have to wait to get our child from China. Its not so much the 5 years, its the possibly more. I was reading a blog about a family who just got their little girl! It started in June 2006 when the wait was 11 months. According to the upper left hand corner of my computer, its 2012. They waited 5 and a half years for their daughter. When we started the estimated wait time was 5 years...what could it really turn out to be?

I've been praying and going back and forth with God and I don't feel that he is telling us to change course right now. Its just discouraging, you know? Ugh.

Pretty pathetic update, I know! Hopefully the next one will be a bit happier!

Peace Out,
Michele

January 1, 2012

My crazy kids

Really just some stuff that my kids are doing right now that I don't want to forget...

Sam and Caroline are starting to become "friends". I use that term loosely as there is a lot of grabbing and screaming involved. I like to think of it as a friendship forged in a fire. Its a bit painful, but they'll stick together for life.

Sam is coming out of (hopefully) a rough patch. Having a younger sibling around is a constant adjustment. As Caroline began asserting her independence, Sam began asserting some authority. It was ROUGH for a while with him, but he is learning. That if he gives her a toy first, she'll leave his alone. That she can't play ruffers as hard as him. Stuff like that. He is stringing his thoughts together so much better and that is helping too. He is getting into longer books and we are going to try out Charlotte's Web soon, I think. He loves music and dancing around the living room. He likes skiing and playing with his buddies. He really likes school regardless of his previous "I DON'T WANT TO GO TO PRESCHOOL" protests. He loves all things chocolate and listening to Psalty songs in the car. He is starting to tell us about his sunday school lessons. Today he kept saying "hey mom, in the bible, Jesus got pots and made special drinks!" So exciting for us to hear! He still can't say his "R's" or "L's" so his sister's name is Cawowine.

Caroline is Ms. Personality. She is a total ham! She will do almost anything for a laugh. She tries to jump, but doesn't get off the ground. She tries to run, but her little legs aren't quite there yet. She tries to climb on and jump off of the furniture which is giving me a heart attack, but at least I'm used to it from Sam. Her facial expressions are priceless. She now furrows her brow for no reason. She has a regular smile and a "cheese" smile. When something big or loud happens she says "WOW!" and it cracks me up. When she takes a toy from Sam that she knows she is not supposed to have, she gets this guilty panicked look on her face and high tails it over to me as Sam begins screaming! She is saying 3 word phrases like "here you go" all slurred together. She loves food. LOVES. If the world was made of crackers, she would be in heaven. She loves music as well and rocks left and right when she likes a song. We sing "sweet Caroline" to her and she does the "bum, bum, buuum" part every time which cracks me up. Welcome to a life of people singing you a song with your name in it. I don't know how that feels! Nope, not at all!

I'm sure I could write more, but these are the highlights and I hope that when they get older they will appreciate knowing what they were like when they were this age.


Peace Out,
Michele