Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My birthday weekend of fun!

This  past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Empowered To Connect conference put on by Show Hope here in Nashville! It was AWESOME!

My weekend started on Thursday! Woohoo!

Around noon on Thursday, I got to meet - in person - one of the few women who knows me better than I know myself. I know, strange statement, right?

Almost two years ago, when we began the process to adopt our littles, I "met" Jamey - of Zehlahlum fame. I pounced on her on Facebook and we began "talking" via internet messages. She was there when we didn't pass committee for our babies. She was there when we did. She was there when I thought for sure our paperwork was NEVER going to make it to Ethiopia and when it finally did. She was there when I was scared of almost doubling the number of kids under this roof, and I was there when her life was changed and their daughter came home. I have prayed and prayed for this woman, her family, her sanity, her bank account, her children... and then I prayed for all those things some more. I've been that idiot with the cliche' platitudes, and I've tried my hardest to cheer her up on her bad days. I've mourned with her, and laughed so hard my stomach hurt. She's done all those things for me too... and then some. She's listened to me sob on the phone and she's brightened up more days than I can count.

And on this past Thursday... I finally got to hug her neck at the airport!

Yes, Mom, Melissa and Granny... there was a brief moment when I thought... "Uhm, Chrissy? Are you really about to go pick up a stranger at the airport and put her into your car with your precious little boys? What if she's an internet stalker and the past almost-2-years of our "friendship" she's just been gaining my trust so that she can fly here and harvest my internal organs?"

Then I realized, this is NOT a made for TV movie.

So... I drove up to the Arrivals section at the airport, immediately spotted her, threw my van into park, jumped out and ran around to give her a giant hug!
Then we got in the car and it was...
not weird.
And not awkward.
Sorry to disappoint.
It was like we had been hanging out all the time, like she lives next door and like I've known her for years.

Airport sign, in my kitchen.
A few of my kids call her Zoe. It's a dumb story but basically - they didn't understand what I said when I said I was talking to Jamey - thought I said Zoe.. then it just stuck.

We hung out at my house (I obsessively checked the time every 5 minutes waiting for 4pm when the littler kids get home so we could leave the big kids in charge while they waited for Dad to come home from work). I packed my bags (and still somehow didn't pack what I wanted to bring). We ate chips and cheese (which was a first for Jamey, weird - right?). We ate chocolate. We acted like we hang out all the time. I mean, I let her in my UPSTAIRS. Seriously. I never let anyone come upstairs in my house because they see the MESS!! She was at my house like 5 minutes and we were hanging out in my bedroom packing my suitcase.

Finalllllllllllllllllllllly 4pm came. The littler kids got home, I had a mini-family-meeting on the couch instructing them to be good, do chores, and maintain calm until Dad got home. Then... we left for our hotel!

Yes... I was as tired as I looked...thanks for asking.
This is me...finally leaving the driveway on our way!
We got checked in, went down two wrong hallways looking for our room, found our room, dropped our stuff, jumped on the beds, talked for a bit, and decided to go eat dinner before picking up Captain Murdock and her friend from the airport!

The 4 of us hung out that night, talked and talked and talked... then went to bed.

Friday morning was day 1 of the Empowered to Connect conference so we got dressed and went to Starbucks. Of course we did.

The conference was amazing, I learned SO much, I wrote till my hand cramped and tried to soak everything up like a sponge that I could wring out over my children's heads when I got home.
Stolen photo from my friend Amy, at With Fear and Great Joy

I met friends from online (Hi Erin and Mary Beth!) and made new friends too! 
I ran into my favorite social worker, Stephanie, and her fellow staff members!
We left for lunch and came back to soak up more.

That night a group of us met and hung out in the hotel atrium for awhile, then went to dinner. I totally messed up and forgot to let Mary Beth know that we were leaving the hotel and she showed up after we left. SO, so sorry MB!! We would have loved to have you with us! I just forgot! 

Saturday was much like Friday... more soaking up information, writing fervently, laughing at Jamey, elbowing each other at the good parts, etc. 

Oh... and it was my birthday. I turned Schmirtyschmive. We aren't talking about it.

Back at the hotel, my sweet hubby had delivered a birthday basket complete with balloons, awesome Happy Birthday tiaras and horns for all 4 of us! Aren't we adorable?

We went out to dinner, talked some more, heard each others' hearts, heard hope where there wasn't any, laughed a lot, and had enjoyed my free birthday cake for dessert! 

Saturday night was sad too... because Jamey was leaving early the next morning to go back home, far far away, back to her family. Sad. She needs to move here. 

Dear US Government... I know you want to start some sort of super awesome thingy here that needs someone with the exact skill set that only Jamey's hubby has... and soon. Right?? Let's get right on that, okay? 

We talked some more... stayed up late... said our goodbyes to the sleepy Captain Murdock and friend... and went to bed. Because 5am is early on a Sunday, y'all.

I drove Jamey to the airport, told her how thankful I am that she's not an axe murderer, and how thankful I am that she got to come for the conference in my town!! 

Then, I called my hubby to tell him I was coming home.

A couple of things I learned this weekend:
  • Empowered To Connect, Show Hope, Dr. Karyn Purvis and all... they are incredible. If you have the opportunity to go to this conference and you have a child or work with children... GO.
  • Jamey is hilarious, not an axe-murderer, and she's deathly afraid of turtles.
I rescued him from being hit by a car,
tried to give him to Jamey,
but she shrieked like a little girl.
Here he is in the floor board of the van.
She made me free him by the hotel.
I wanted to let him live in the garden atrium at the hotel.
He would have liked that more.
  • Captain Murdock is also very funny, wise beyond her years, and she could probably fit in your pocket.
  • Adoption people are like family. No matter if you've only ever "met" through email or a blog comment or two, we are all just kindred spirits. We just "know" each other.

Monday, September 19, 2011

She's 10!

She's 10 years old today.
How did a decade fly by so fast??
She was a baby like...
She was our little glo-worm,
sitting in a sunny window
with her bili-blanket under her tiny onesie.

Then, I blinked.

Enough with the blinking.

No more blinking.

She's 10 
and she's...
athletic shorts every day
neon green Converse hi-tops
playing in the mud
climbing trees
movies and her snuggie
puppies and kittens
talks loudly in her sleep
wishes for a puppy poster & an iPod 

and she's my little girl!

Now she's double-digits...
two high-five's...
well over half-way through her childhood.

But, she's growing up well.
She's turning into a beautiful young lady - 
inside and outside both.

She helps around the house -
many days I couldn't do it without her!

She is a complete type-A in a tiny package!
We joke that once she discovers Excel documents - 
she will have the whole world 
organized into nice tidy spreadsheets.
With pie charts.
And bar graphs.

Oh, baby girl... I just love you so much!!
Slow down a little, okay?

Happy Birthday, sweetheart!
I love you a million tons!

Friday, September 9, 2011

But ALL the other kids...

Dear sweet children,

I feel as though this conversation may be sorely overdue. See... I have always assumed our parenting style left no doubt in your minds as to the fact that we do not particularly follow along with the status quo when it comes to how we raise you, what values we maintain, our lifestyle, where we spend our money, and the environments we will allow you to be an active part of. I assumed that the multiple conversations over the years would have written upon your hearts and heads the type of people we expect you to become.

However, as you have recently informed wish to do things the way "all the other kids" are doing them. When I say you are not allowed to participate in a certain activity, go to a particular sleep-over, or listen to particular music... the appropriate child-living-under-our-roof response should be "Yes ma'am." NOT "UGHHH!!! BUT, MOM! ALL the other kids are allowed..." because that's one sure-fire way to ensure that you are NEVER allowed permission for said activity in the future.

Beloved, if you are hoping that appealing to my parental version of peer-pressure is going to sway my values over to the dark side, you are sadly mistaken.

If anything, your informative whining does nothing more than assure me that we are on the right path!
Therefore, I thank you for your input!

As for the no-boyfriends-or-girlfriends rule... yeah, it's unpopular. But, know what else? It removes unnecessary pressure from your lives. Blame it on mean ol' mom and dad. "Sorry, super cute girl... I can't 'go out with you'... my parents are horrible fun-suckers." Do it. I don't care. See, here's the difference between being a kid and being an adult: Kids care what their friends think. I care what Jesus thinks.
Personally, I don't think your sweet, tender hearts can handle the pressures of teenage dating. I think the earlier you start 'going out with' someone, the earlier you begin to move up the relationship ladder into areas you are unprepared to enter.

I know your friends are all "in love with" their boyfriends and girlfriends, this week. Then they will be "in love with" another one next week. But babycakes, here's the thing: That's not LOVE. Until you are willing to clean up the other person's puke, put yourself into mortal danger for their safety, trade places with them to keep them from the worst pain of their lives, or worse... choose to love them when you don't like them very much... you don't know LOVE and you shouldn't toss that word around. It cheapens it and it's wrong.
God is love, teenage feelings are attraction or fondness. You can like someone, think they are a decent example of the type of person you may love someday... but you don't love them in the way God designed love.

Yeah, I know... we are a bunch of fun-suckers. You will get over it. And someday, you may even thank us for it.

I love you too much to allow you to settle for what the world calls "good" when I know that what God has designed as "best" is waiting for you around the corner.

Love, Mom

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Crrrr shhhhcrrrr krackle krackle crrrrrr

Ever have one of those days WEEKS  MONTHS where you have
something stirring around that needs to be said...
but no way to actually SAY it...

Me neither.

I know there's this really great, inspiring, thought-provoking, slightly amusing blog post in there - -
crying to get out...

but for today.

I've got nothing.

I really like these rain boots:

PS - if you linked here from Katelyn's Fund blog...
I'm usually much more eloquent than this! :)
Thank you for visiting! I'd love it if you would click "follow"..
things will only get better from here!
OOOh... OR - go click the page "Posts I want to read again"
for some better stuff!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

little boxes

I think God is working on me in the
faith department.

If you read my post yesterday,
you read about our washing machine
incident, and the repairs.
Well, three loads later,
all is well and the seal held! 

Today, I read a line from a friend:
"The reason so many people have rejected Christianity, 
is that they have been offered such a small god, 
through the life example of the christian sharing."

Maybe it's having 7 kids at home...
Maybe it's my weird ability to think in movie quotations...
but my first thought was a line from Disney's Aladdin.
The Genie is telling Aladdin about being a genie and he says:

itty bitty living space!"

I wonder if that's how God feels sometimes.

In our lives, we have this amazing ability to
tap into the most phenomenal cosmic power...
but we keep God in this little box we pull out
on Sunday mornings and holidays.

Or when we are afraid.

Or when we are scared.

Or when we need something.

Or when we can't figure out any other way out of a problem.

Or when our team is about to take the field.

Maybe American Christians do treat God like a Genie in a lamp, after all.

Maybe the reason we have such little faith 
is because we have not allowed the God who 
created everything out of nothing 
to take our dumpy little lives
and create something AMAZING!

Maybe if we were expecting the AMAZING
instead of limiting God
to some warm fuzzy feeling we get during worship
or a cliche punchline on TV...
maybe then we would 
have our whole world rocked
by what He can do when let out of that little box!

I've chosen to expect something AMAZING.
I've chosen to live expecting to see what the Lord 
does in my life and have my jaw drop open,
eyes wide and say 
"WHOA!! Did you SEE THAT???"

What awesomeness are YOU expecting to see?