Thursday, July 26, 2012

NO Longer MIA

It’s July. Yes, I realized that the last time I blogged was in February. 
I needed to take a break to walk the new road that the LORD was calling me and my family too.   
In a nutshell:

In January, we pulled Isaiah from public school.   It was a very fast decision.  In the middle of the 1st week back after Christmas break, we prayerfully decided he needed to be home.  Friday was his last day.  No curriculums ordered…no clue what I was going to do…just trusting the LORD to guide us in regards to Isaiah. 
Shortly after that, Brian left a 17 year career with his construction company.  After a year of praying, researching, praying, testing, praying, reasoning with God and then finally submitting, he resigned to start a non-profit.  (More info to come on this later.) 

And then to top it off, like icing on a cake that you are too full to eat, we adopted a dog.  Why?  Because that’s what it looks like when you are fighting for the heart of a grieving child.  Did I want one?  NOT.AT.ALL!   But to see your adopted son curling up to your adopted dog and saying, “Ginger, I’ll love you forever because you and me, we are both adopted.  You are going to love it here because it’s the best family ever.  I’m going to play with you and feed you and tell you about Jesus so we can be together forever!” was worth every muddy paw and chewed up pillow we’ve had in the last 6 months. 

All of this going on while I was still healing from a surgery I’m not convinced I needed, and health concerns I still didn’t have answers to. 

I’m not going to lie.  Some days were very difficult.  This was all unchartered territory for me.  And keeping up with 3 at a school while trying to figure out how to home school one with some learning difficulties was…AHEM…difficult to say the least.

But you know the verse about the LORD’s strength made perfect in your weakness?  Well yeah, that’s how I survived – every moment of every day.  And when I finally relinquinshed and gave it ALL over to the LORD, my days got easier, my joy lingered and my hope returned.  I am treasuring those moments of laughter and celebrating the victories.  Why?   Because there is ALWAYS "rejoicing in the morning." 

Here are a few moments that are worthy of celebrating:

Though it happened before January, it’s too important not to go back to.  Jaxon had made the decision to follow Christ a few years ago, but every time we discussed baptism, he would say he wanted to wait for his brother to be home.  So on 9/11 at 9:11, 5 ½ months after Isaiah came home, our 10 year old sons, brothers who will carry the same last name forever, were baptized together.  
(I'm so sad but I can't get the pictures to download. :(  Just trust me, it was beautiful!)

In the spring, Jaxon received the Award of Excellence in Writing from the State of Texas for a piece he wrote on Diversity.  It was for the PTA Reflections contest.  He usually doesn’t show the initiative for writing, but he saw the topic and came home one night and said, “Mom, I think if anyone knows diversity, it’s our family.”  So he sat down and wrote about our family.  It was beautiful to see his heart so vulnerable and tender.   Very Proud Momma Moment!!

On March 18th, we celebrated our Gotcha day!!  I found a Caribbean restaurant downtown so we got all fancied up and had an amazing dinner that Isaiah LOVED!  Ruth just wanted chicken from Chick-Fil-A. J 

Our precious baby girl, whose name should be Joy, turned 7 in May. And she got a full, invite-the-class, kind of birthday party.  I have never let the kids invite more than 5-10 kids, but Ruth’s face just lit up at the mention of all her “best friends” in her Kinder class playing with her at her party. Obviously I couldn’t say “No.” J But I couldn't say "Yes" to 25 kids either, so we compromised - she could invite all the girls in her class.   She insisted on a swim party!
Ruth with two of her favorite friends from school.
Oh, how I treasure this little girl! 
The last few months have brought a shift in the relationship between Chloe and Ruth. They got along from the moment they met, but it’s become something deeper lately. And it’s absolutely beautiful to watch. So much so, that I find myself saying yes to things that I would never have condoned prior to adopting. For example, sleeping together on school nights.  Even when I say, “Not tonight,” I find them like this… 
They have their own secret sister dance that is adorable. Their baths take over an hour because they can’t stop talking and playing long enough to wash. Chloe will sneak snacks to Ruth when she senses a meltdown is on its way. They have a formed a bond that brings tears to my eyes just typing this. This is Jesus…plain and simple. And it’s humbling and inspiring and its beautiful.
And then May came and our summer league swim season started. For the next 2 months, I loved on and coached 182 swimmers, including all my 4!! This was an amazing season and I couldn’t be more proud of each and every swimmer. And once again, I’m left with tan lines that someone my age shouldn’t be sporting. J Isaiah finished the season with the Most Improved award in his age group. YEAH!!


Me and the other coaches, after winning the coaches relay. :)


"But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refue in times of trouble.
You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
you, God, are my fortress,
my God on whom I can rely." Psalm 59:16-17

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day Flames

Valentine's Day was flaming hot at our house last night!
...just not in the way one might assume.

Yesterday was a little crazy with kids activities overlapping, so at 4:15 I showed Brian what needed to be done to dinner and out I ran to take Ruth to swim lessons.
(Yes, I totally see the irony that I'm taking my youngest to swim lessons considering I teach and coach 180 kids in swimming so please don't point that out to me.) :)

I was running a few minutes getting home because of this...
Ruth passed 2 levels and got to ring the bell and receive her ribbons. 
YEAH Ruthie!!

So I walked in at about 5:15 and looked outside to see this...

So I went and grabbed the fire extinguisher so Brian could do this...

Apparently, putting olive oil on heart shaped hamburgers is NOT a good idea if you are going to grill in an open flame. 

I LOVE my exciting, never-a-dull-moment life that the LORD has blessed me with!!  Hope ya'll had a happy Valentine's Day too!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Our Weekend...

Happy New Year!  Yes, I'm still alive!  And I have SO much catching up to do!  And I fully plan to go there.  Later.
It's been a rough couple of months.  No, that's a lie.  It's been a hard year.  There is a verse in Psalms that says, "...your Word is a light unto my feet and a lamp unto my path."  I haven't been able to see my path.  I barely have enough light to illuminate the steps for my feet.  And as the year progressed, the light seemed to grow dimmer.  I ended the year with a surgery that humbled me like nothing before has.  And I will write about that later.  This particular blog is not about that.

The last few months we've had No Time on the weekends for us - for family, for life, to enjoy each other, for laughter.  Brian has either taken the kids somewhere without me because physically and emotionally I just haven't been up for anything, or we were being dragged through this rat race we are calling life and our obligations no longer belonged to us. 
Both of these last two things have changed. 
My fog is clearing.  My joy is returning.  My body is healing.  And we are taking our life back.  No more <insert evening activity here>.  No more <insert weekend sport here>.  Nothing on the agenda.  That feeling alone can give you years back to your life.  It's Freedom.

So Saturday morning we realized that we had a completely free weekend!  N-O-T-H-I-N-G!!  And it was an absolutely beautiful day!  High in the 70's and sunny.  I needed to be outside!  So I suggested camping.  Granted, I've been camping once in my adult life and it was without children, but I thought it sounded fun.  Brian couldn't get a campsite anywhere the day of, so we threw that idea out (I think that was the LORD just watching over me). :)  Then I suggested Enchanted Rock.  It's a beautiful place in the Hilll Country.  It's also a vertical climb, on your own legs, of at least a mile.  Brian quickly reminded me that a week ago to the day, I had been in the hospital and there is no way that he would let me go.  I argued my point.  He won.

This was my 3rd suggestion... 
Isaiah and Ruth had never been to the Zoo so I knew this would be fun for them! 

I actually remembered to take pictures so I'm just going to let the pictures tell our story...

The Reptile House:
Yes, Chloe, that's how your mother feels about snakes too...
Chloe did this with every-single-animal!  She might have more pictures than me!

Look at the bonding between siblings!  Only the LORD can do that.
It's an Okapi.  Which poor Isaiah just couldn't quite understand.  He thought is was 1/2 cow, 1/2 zebra, 1/2 horse, all with the neck of a giraffe.  I have no idea where he got interpretation, but that's what he came up with. 

Ruth LOVED the fact that she had an Elephant on her shirt and kept yelling at the Elephants to look at her shirt.  Too Cute! :)
She also kept asking for a pet elephant.  She wanted to ride it instead of drive in a car.
The Elephants kept spraying themselves with dirt and the girls would yell, "STOP!!  You're getting yourself all dirty!! 
They are going to make you take a bath if you don't stop!"
The Hippo did this...

Which made Ruth do this... :(


And because every trip to the zoo must end with our traditional train ride...

I have to share this picture of Chloe and her beloved daddy. 
I just love the joy on her face!

And this was the rest of our weekend...

And games!  Our favorite right now is Apples to Apples, the kids version.  Our weekend was all about Family.  We had Fun.  We Laughed.  We made Memories.  The kids put away 11 loads of laundry WITH a good attitude!  We ended our weekend with the boys last flag football game on Sunday night.
As I type this, I realize I really want a farm somewhere.  I want my mom to grow all our fruits and vegetables.  I want some of these:
I have NO idea what they are, but they look cute. And really, really soft!

I want a crystal clear spring fed creek that runs through it with huge oak and pecan trees for the kids to climb in and explore for hours.  I want Colorado scenery with Texas weather.  I want a little white school house where I can teach my kids their subjects from a biblical worldview.  We were made for fellowship so I want other families that we can do life with.  I'm not talking about some freaky compound that will end in a gun and fire standoff... (Waco - 1990's). 
I'm talking about simplicity (with electricity).  Slowing down (but still keeping a car).  Being able to to leave for a month on a mission trip to Africa WITH our children.  
You hear adoptive mommies quote James 1:27 ALL the time to prove their point - "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..."
But there is a second part to this verse that is equally as important - "...and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
That's what I want.  That's what I want for my children.  To teach them to be in this world and love this world and fall head over heals in love with the Creator of it all, but not become polluted by the world. 

So who's in?

Oh and by the way, this is my fantasy so make up, shoes and bras are optional.  :)