Saturday, April 18, 2009

When We Fall Down...

"Our steps are made firm by the Lord, when He delights in our way, though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong, for the Lord holds us up by the hand." Psalm 37:23

Several weeks ago, Miss Em was headed out on a field trip to the insectarium. Yes, the bug house. I mean what more fun could be had by a giggly group of first graders? She was excited, happy and even, might I say, giddy. It was raining, but she looked so sweet in an adorable blouse my mom had gotten for her and a cute pair of capris that have hung several years waiting to be the right size for her.

We were on time. Hannah was babbling about the rain and old men and bumping heads, and such. Em had one thing on her mind...getting to the bugs. Now, I know the picture I posted would assume that Emily is graceful as a swan and just as ladylike as she can be. Not so this morning. As we headed up the walkway for school, I warned Emily three separate times that the ground was slick and to please stop running. Well, as we can all figure by this point, she skidded, her bookbag fell to her side tripping her and down she went, on her belly, a huge puddle.

Now, I had a choice. I felt my face redden with anger while my heart ached for her. I could tell by the look on her face, she was not only sorry, but she was okay and not injured, with the possible exception of her ego and her heart. And I prayed..."Lord, please give me the right words. Please do not let me blow it." And He spoke to me in that moment, rain pelting our heads, Hannah gloating with joy, "OOOOOOOhhhh, Emmy is in trouble, you mad mom? You really mad at Emmy?"


How many times have I fallen? I mean really fallen. How many times has He issued a warning, maybe even three, and yet, my own will got in the way? How many times have any of us fallen from grace? Far too many to record. And in this season so close to Easter, I am reminded that it is only in the sacrifice made for my flawed human self by the King of all Kings, that I am pulled up from the ground, shaken yet renewed just as quickly as my tumble occurred. The Bible assures us that He, Himself, holds out His hand to us.

And so, I extended my hand to her, we marched into school with our heads held high, Em dripping all the way:) She sat down in class and had snack with her friends while they waited for the bus...

and I?

Of course, I ran home quick as can be. I retrieved another pair of pants, floored it back to school, parked illegally, begged the Assistant Principal to let me back in, changed Emily in the nearest bathroom, kissed her little red head and told her to have a super day with her friends and the bugs.

The lesson from this seemingly normal, rainy morning has proven to be extraordinary in resonating the last few weeks. Time and time again, the visual of my sweet girl losing her step has reminded me of my need for His grace and mercy. It has helped me fall headlong into this verse, accepting His hand when I stumble and extending my own, in times I thought I could not.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Because It Makes Us Smile!

We all have a favorite song. A lullaby. A work-out tune. The pure musicality of our song makes us happy and perhaps the words bear special meaning. Well, Hannah's favorite song does have special meaning...meaning she probably won't even understand for quite sometime. But, for us to hear this little cutie belt out her lovesong is sheer joy. So, as promised....

(You may need to quiet my music at the bottom...the current song allows some lead time, so it may not interfere)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

"But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has been raised, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and indeed is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him. This is my message for you."
Matthew 28:5-7

But He rose on Easter morn
The battle He had won
Angels rolled the stone away
His work on Earth was done
Sing the glory of Christ on high
In Heaven He shall reign, until the day He comes to earth again...

The most meaningful of all Christian celebrations, blessings to you and your family for a wonderful Easter.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bringing Hannah Home

Our delivery room was a crowded, noisy airport terminal. It was dark, not nighttime dark...rather, lack of appropriate lighting dark and the cold from outside seeped through the open doorways. For a brief time, Emily hopped on and off the pad that opened the automatic door, playing, waiting. She held up the sign. For a long time, she held it high in the air, putting it down only to inquire if it was time yet.

We looked like any other family awaiting returning members; except, we were waiting to meet our newest member. Rob had already enjoyed her giggles and sweetness for about nine days and I was more than ready to catch up. Emily nervously paced and jumped, she was beyond excited for her daddy to be home and she found herself contemplative about her raven-haired counterpart, whom she would be welcoming.

And then, we saw them, quite a distance away, but close enough for us to lock eyes. My first thought was, "She is so tiny!" And they looked so incredibly great. We mark these anniversaries in celebration. A celebration of the gift God showered on our family. We do not take lightly the fact that Emily was a part of every aspect of the adoption. Her little signature accompanied ours on our Adoption Letter and was notarized and sealed for all time. Her joy and enthusiasm at the airport were contagious and really sweet. Her help with every moment of Hannah's transition was critical.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Today was a wonderful day. Though the weather was cold for April, it reminds me of the day we brought Hannah home. Cold, damp, but simply perfect:) We went this morning to help dear friends and my parents. They run a mission and their goal this morning was Easter baskets and lots of them! The girls counted out jellybeans and carefully tucked them into eggs. They stuffed grass-filled baskets with toys and the sweet goodness of chocolate crosses. They watched their Nan wrap beautiful ribbons on the baskets knowing full-well their intent was not to receive rather to give back. And I thought about Hannah...our deepest desire to share our lives with yet another child. To give love away...the irony of parenthood. We want so badly to be "enough", to teach them well, to watch them emerge. And yes, that happens but somewhere along the way, we see love in a whole new light through the hearts of our children. And we are changed, forever.

The timid child who was placed in my arms two years ago today is a shadow of the child she has become. With her bossy, commanding presence and her smile bright with dimples (like her daddy), Hannah has rocked our world. She absolutely adores her Dora pillow and a popsicle before bed every night. She dresses herself and loves jewelry. She wants to do all things "Emily" and is convinced that she is one of the big girls:) She lets us know when we are going the wrong way and she offers hugs and kisses when we are hurt or sad. She competes with all of us to get her turn to pray and she tells anyone who will listen that, "She's got Jesus." She has plenty of moments that cause us to wonder if it is just her personality or is that truly a result of the first ten months of her life. Regardless, we don't care about the "whys" nearly as much as we care about the "nows". Now, she will know love, always and unconditionally. Now, she will have boundaries. Now, she will have her own things, but will learn how to give to others. Now, is the time to nurture her, enjoy her and giggle with her. Now, is the time to see the world through her heart.

So, though we choose to remember and to celebrate the specialness of those initial days, we forge ahead joyfully. We rejoice in who she is now, this moment... knowing that when we re-visit this time next year, there will be new things to capture the essence of Hannah.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Travel Group Reunion!

"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength...they shall mount up with wings as eagles." Isaiah 40:31

When a family sets off into the adoption journey there are many unknowns. How long will it take? What does my baby look like? Will I be enough? Who will the Lord join us with that we might walk this walk together?

When I think about our travel group, I am reminded of how saddened I was to learn that we are very spread out...we span many miles. We have friends whose travel group members, literally, span exactly five square miles; Every family lives within one to two miles of one another. Our group, definitely not the case.

Not to despair though, somehow we do manage to keep our families connected. This weekend, we were blessed with the company of four of these families. An aside, Kim and Dave, we missed you and the peanuts terribly and cannot wait to be in your company again. Terry, Dale and Jenna, we remain in prayer for Terry at this time and will continue to do so until a clean bill of health is issued, we missed your presence.

It was really fun to watch the children enjoy one another this year, little girls and bigger siblings...they all got along so well. It is quite amazing how much these little cuties have grown and what a difference two years makes:) We waited collectively for our miracles...we grew our families collectively with little girls from the same province in China...we collectively share trials and tribulations all parents encounter and best of all, we collectively share the joy of our families in ways that only we can understand.

I am beyond thankful for these special relationships. I love these mommies and daddies and adore their children, all of them. I look forward to the time when we can all share the same space and in the meantime, we will assemble when and where possible and love on each other for a time.

Big girls loving little girls!

Emma and Emily

The whole wiggly bunch!

A bit blurry, but had to include these sweet little girls hugging away the day!

Who needs those pesky tables?

Our Flying Fish

Gorgeous Lyla!

Hannah and her mommy, just too pretty!

Another great mommy/daughter moment...what a beautiful pair! Lily and her mommy

See Everyone Next Year!


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