Jun 27, 2013

"Office School" ?

I'm not sure where or who first used the term "home school" with The Angel, but about every six weeks, she asks me if and when she will every be home schooled. I always give her the same answer, "I have no idea" and "I hope never". 
To be frank, homeschooling has always intimated me and one of the things I always beg God not to call me to do. 
But He saw fit to give me a daughter to think that homeschooling is her personal garden of Eden. 
Because of our summer schedule, The Angel has been in church camp, day camps, etc. for the last five weeks. With our family vacation scheduled at the end of July, there was a three week lapse in what we had scheduled for The Angel. The Hero and I talked about what to do while we were at work and the answer seemed to return to her spending her days with us at our offices. 
So I told her we were giving her a reading list and buying a couple of work books to give her a boost before third grade and she'd be spending her days at the office with me, doing some school work and reading. 
I thought she would scream, protest or profess eternal boredom. 
She's upstairs as I type, packing a back pack, sharpening pencils and giving The Dinosaur the 411 as to what home schooling looks like when your mom works a full time job.
Lord, this is only 3 weeks. 
3 weeks. 

Jun 20, 2013


For the second year in a row, The Angel has spent a week at church camp.

The last night of camp is family night, where we are invited to come have dinner with the campers.

The Dino has asked EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. 

"Is it time to see her yet?"

I finally got to tell him YES tonight.

While she's had a blast and has exhausted herself with late nights, 
friends and junk food, our pack of four doesn't function with one missing.
Stoked to pick her up tomorrow afternoon.

Jun 18, 2013

To Pack or Unpack

I read her blog post this morning like I do most every morning. Today, I read it through tears. A night that ended in prayer and tears and hurt, wondering if I'm doing what He's asked of me carried over through her words on the other side of the world. And I couldn't stop sobbing.

Trips to Africa are easy for me. It's the daily grind on the plains of Oklahoma that wears me down. I can hug and love an orphaned child, but patience with my nine year old's laundry strains a mama's nerves all the tighter. Weary and travel worn after international trips leave me fulfilled and brimming with renewal, but find me at the end of a work week and I'm stressed and ungrateful for most everything.  

As I saw the pictures of one of my favorite places today, more than a twinge of malcontent flushed my brain. 
The longing to pack a bag, hop a plane, to return to my second home grew.
"I need to be there."
"I need to go."
"I'm best on African soil."

But as he often does, the whisper came. 
It begins at home.
Going for you is easy. 
It's the here that is hardest.
Learn it here.
Live it here.
Love me here.
Love me now. 

It hit harder than I thought. Truth usually does that. I am always better on the go. Staying proves hard for me. Consistency in living love here is a rocky, previously rutted road. 

So how does one daily live out love from behind a desk?
A kitchen counter?
Under neath piles of laundry?

The more I prayed, the more convicted I became. The list grew long, but short on execution:

Checking on a friend.
A walk through a garden.
Putting down my cell phone and playing another game of hide and seek.

Encouraging a co-worker who I know is struggling personally.
Continuing to practice the always tough "I'm sorry. Please forgive me?"
Complimenting the lady who served me lunch.

Pull out of the drive thru and pull up to our table for a home cooked meal. And yes, hot dogs and cheetos count as "home cooked" some days.
Turning off the T.V. and tuning into my husband's worries and stressors of the week.


Slowing our pace to where we not only hear each other but that we SEE one another.

Learning less about characters I'll never meet and digging more into the character of my children.

Continually, consistently, and sincerely giving thanks. "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Documenting my #1000 gifts, one day at a time.
Writing our sponsorship children letters.


Closing the shoe sale window and opening up a list of needs of some of our favorite charities.
Writing a check to some of our favorite missionaries-no matter how small I see it to be.

Quit flipping through the latest magazine wanting some thing and flipping to the Psalms for what my soul needs.

While each one is small, no great thing was ever big without starting as lesser. Because to someone else, their perspective of size may be opposite of yours. I think that's why in Matthew He tells us to give someone a glass of water. A bucket is too much and a thimble requires too little of our effort. It's about the receiver and the giver, both receiving rewards from the gift and the gift giving. Pouring enough of ourselves into someone else to fill the need, no matter how small we see the need or our action. 

"I ask-ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory-to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him-endless energy, boundless strength." Eph. 1:16-19, MSG 

This walk, the journey of grace and love and leaning on Him requires both the going and the staying, knowing when to pack and what to unpack. Rejoicing that someone's going is encouraging me in the staying and praying for the opportunity to return the favor for someone else. 

Praying for you all today, whether your are packing or unpacking, going or staying and praying that you are filled with endless energy and boundless strength to accept and grow in the place where you are.


Jun 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day

I'm not sure how other men handle years of infertility, struggling, begging God to have a baby.
I don't know how any other man deals with a crazy wife who dreams of adopting, not knowing where that road might lead.
Maybe there are better stories of heroism and bravery, but I haven't heard them.
I know that you held me when the sobs of despair had overtaken me.
I know that you breathed "yes" to adoption before it was every really an option for us.
I know that you followed Jesus day in and day out on our road to becoming a family.

I know we boarded a plane together as 2 and came back as a pack of 4.
I know that from the moment he met you, you were his "person" and he's been attached to you ever sense. 

I know that she sees strength and power in you and she relies on you for that. 
I know that you are teaching her how to be purely loved so that YOU are the standard she judges all other men by.

I don't know how other men handle tough situations in their lives, but I know how you handle yours.
And I couldn't be more honored to have my life validated by having you in it. 
Happy Father's Day to the most pure hearted, amazing Hero I know. 

Old & New Again Friends

I've been blogging for almost 4 years now. 
The kids have been home for over 3. 
Out of all the people in the adoption community we've "met" online and in person, there are still those couples who we think "would love to meet them. Would love to see our kids play togther.", etc.
One of those families is the Briggs family from Colorado Springs.
Through our adoption journey we learned we had a lot in common.
Early 30s. 
No biological children at the time of our first adoption.
And adopted two children at the same time, of almost exactly similar ages.
Our kids were even born in the same region of Ethiopia and
were together at their foster care in Ethiopia for a time.
So imagine our excitement when Juli emailed me and said they would be driving through Oklahoma on vacation and wanted to know if we could meet up for lunch.
We were thrilled.
The Angel has been asking for a sister for years and having her former buddy back for even a short while did nothing to diminish her desire.
What a beautiful short time with old friends who were made new again today.

Jun 10, 2013

To Be Loved Well

He's never been overtly kind to our dogs. He likes them and they try to tolerate him, but he's a boy and curious and hyper. And often with them he tries to be the boss. We're blessed both of our dogs are older and have lots of patience. More patience than I do some days.
But things were different when he met my sister's English Bulldog, Edith. I'm not sure if it is the fact that she's big, or whether it's that she mothers him like he's her own baby, but there is something about these two together that is beautiful to watch.
He asks about her all the time. Wants to buy her toys at Target so she'll have something to play with. She follows him every where. Sleeps near him when he sleeps at my sisters and refuses to go inside if he is still playing in the yard.

My sister went out of town last weekend and we were all to glad to have another four legged friend in the house. And The Dinosaur was on cloud 9 when we told him Edith was coming for the weekend.

Sometimes life's best teachers are the ones who never do much talking. The bible tells us that every good and perfect gift is from above and it's funny to think that a dog would be heaven sent, but all you have to do is see them together to know for sure.

Jun 3, 2013

Living In Oklahoma...Tornado Season

Since all the commotion in my little home state the past few weeks, I'm getting asked a lot what it's like to live in Oklahoma during tornado season. As I sat with no power Friday night listening to hail and wind and rain pound our house until the early morning, I typed this on my ipad.

In the early part of summer, as the wind whips the plains, the mood in the atmosphere above Oklahoma begins to change. Carefree moments of spring fade and a watchfulness goes up to the sky. Factors once ignored individually are now documented in groups: the wind, the heat, the air and the rain are tracked, calculated and re-assessed.
And we've grown so good at this process, years of sky watching and debating, has made every farmer, lawyer, mechanic; experts in the laws of physics and vortexes and timing.

When the air grows stale, and the Oklahoma heat gives way to a musty, heavy presence, all eyes look up. As the clouds roll in, we roll out our safety measures: shelters packed with food and water, blankets and pillows stuffed in closets and bathtubs. Candles, flashlights, batteries, generators and radios become close at hand. And we wait. And calculate. Tune into our favorite storm tracker as regularly scheduled programming is suspended and prime time is now maps of city streets and local emergency protocols.
And when the air and the wind and the rain and the timing form a perfect, hellacious union, a finger of the sky touches the earth. It begins to spin.
The turbulence and force, wind and rain breed hail and clouds of debri, which uproots trees and demolishes homes. Seconds, minutes, hours rush together and then lull into waiting. Power flashes on then off, on then back off. Candles get lit and flash lights clicked. Board games and coloring sheets are the only entertainment and a radio is the only connection to the outside world.

And all eyes look to the sky.

Things quiet. People come out of the ground, their shelters, their bathtubs.

Assessing what's been lost and whose lost what comes next. Hugs and tears and "thank you Lords" passed out to all, regardless of your status of relationships. Because the morning after a storm is always the most beautiful. Like the arms of a dangerous lover, the fervor of the night before is replaced by the sweet calm of morning. Thankfulness washes anew and the petty things of yesterday are replaced with reminders of the truly important.

And all eyes look to the sky.

It's now that our work begins. Re-building a house or passing out water, its all the same to us. We'll fix our fence, then offer to help you with yours. It is a part of who we are, these storms we've come to expect and respect and deep down we revere this time, this season, because it has formed who we have become. So don't ask us why we live here or why we don't leave. Because the only way to recover from a storm is to face it, prepared. Not run away from it.

- Hugs n Love,