Monday, December 31, 2012

DEAR 2012

It's like I can't help myself.  A 2012 recap post feels so cliche, and yet it feels so right.  So, without further adieu, here are my farewell letters from 2012.

Dear 2012,
I can't believe you are coming to a close.  It's like we just met, and we are already having to say goodbye.  Time marches on, and you are seeing the sunset of your life.  It's hard for me to believe.
We've had a good run, you and I.  You brought the beginning of our adoption process, which I am still in delighted shock over.  I certainly had no idea when we began our time together that I would be dreaming of little brown boy faces to call my own.  But I am, and I'm so thankful.


Dear SE Asia Trip,
Oh My Word.  I sometimes still can't believe we got to take you.  Thanks for the memories.  Thanks for showing us that doing what God wants for us may not always make the most sense, but it does bring the most joy.  Thanks for not getting my Bella girl crazy sick when she ate stuff handed to her by the locals.


Dear Mayans,
I'm glad you were wrong about the world ending in 2012.  Though, to be honest, I would be sort of glad if God was ready to come get us.  This world can be a nasty place.  This year, as many others, we saw and felt hard things happen.  But, they brought a greater understanding of who God really is, how small and fallen we really are and how much we have yet to learn.

Dear Potty-Training,
Amazingly enough, we had a good run this year.  With much time, patience and ultimately a daughter who decided she wanted it, we were able to overcome you.  I am not pleased to say that we will probably have to meet again next year.  God help us all.


Dear CFA,
We had a lot of leadership turnover, which meant we had to say goodbye to dear friends, but God has continued to be so gracious to provide great people to work with.  Looking forward to the year ahead and lots more chicken eating.


Dear Orphan-Care,
Now that we are starting to get to know one another, I can see that God's heart is with you.  And I want to be there.  Thanks for giving me an avenue to serve and for teaching me so much.

Dear Cookie-Making,
I think we've come a long way this year.  I actually dreamt of different icing types last night, which I am pretty sure makes me a total psycho.  I sort of stalk Sweet Sugarbelle's blog now.  Good thing she's so sweet about it.

Dear Snowpacalypse 2012,
I'm sad that the only thing I got from you was no power.  I do not have one cute snow picture to show from your trip to Little Rock.  Please tell Entergy to get power back on for the rest of my friends.  Sitting in the dark cold is no fun.

****insert cute snow picture here**** Except that I can't.

Dear Hairs on my Head,
This year was so good for us!  It's like we finally learned how to work together.  I learned how to do the top-bun.  I learned how to properly tease my hair, while I was in Honduras no less.  And, I learned how to use a curling wand.  This is all super MAJOR.


Dear Closet,
This year we did not expand you at all.  I have missed buying clothes - I'm not going to mince words about that.  However, learning to see all that I have right in front of me has been so good.  Though our deal to not buy clothes stops tomorrow, I am going to have to think very carefully about how to add to you in the future.  Living with less is where it's at.  (I need to start chanting this to myself when I am at Target.  I always forget at Target.)

Dear John, Lily and Bella,
This year brought each of us our highs and lows.  Thanks for being the family that God has for me to live life with.  Thanks for pointing me to him in different ways.  Thanks for always loving me.  I'm thankful all our love grew deeper in 2012.


Dear 2013,
I can see you - I can see your face peeking right around the corner waiting to greet us.  I'm looking forward with great anticipation to see what you bring!

I know I am probably forgetting stuff that really matters, but that is what happens when my brains are slightly addled from being a parent of two very young children.  Peace out, 2012!

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Yesterday brought Day 3 for us of having no power - it was actually Day 5, but we missed the first couple of days from being in Kansas.  Everything at the store was good, so John was able to hang out with us ladies, which made a world of difference for me.

We ate a continental breakfast at our hotel.


We went and visited Ms. Frances - an 85 year old woman who works for us who was also without power.  It was an excellent reminder that many people in hard situations were in the same boat - powerless.  She was actually doing really well with a little gas bathroom heater, which was great to discover.


I stalked the Entergy Outage map from my phone, hoping for my area to turn green.


We went to the Museum of Discovery.


And then out to lunch at the River Market, which was super fun.  So many unique options - and so tasty!  We shared a cannoli for dessert.


Then it was back to the hotel for naps.  I went out and ran errands, including picking up stuff from our house for the next day.  As far as we could see, we were not getting power.  Our house was cold and smelled of smoke from camping in our living room a few nights before.

John and I realized that through this ordeal, we seemed to have forgotten our brains.  There were so many things we could have done differently to make this a better experience.  Starting by working together - we had a hard time getting on the same team.  Once we really started working together, things started to click, and we were able to think more clearly.  Amazing how that works.

And then, we drove by the house to pick up one more thing and found this -


Hurrah!  I literally screamed and squealed with delight.  We immediately switched gears to be able to spend the night at our house and unpack and do laundry and clean out the fridge.  It's definitely the most organized and clean the fridge has been in a while.  I'm glad Diet Dr. Pepper doesn't go bad.


So, we are now warm and happy at home, thank the Lord.  Many of our friends also got power back last night, so it was fun to rejoice all together.  However, there are still so many people that don't have it.  And it's cold.  It's also just a bit miserable to be a vagabond - especially with kids.  We realized very quickly that this is the kind of thing that would be a bearable adventure for adults, but once you add kiddos to the mix, it becomes a massive ordeal.  Keeping them warm and situated becomes top priority and requires a lot of effort without your own house at your disposal.

I think in the end I have realized many things.

1.  I am a giant baby when it comes to discomfort.  I often like to think that this would not characterize me, however, I have been deluding myself.  My true self is not good at inconvenience.
2.  Everything is better with friends or family around, and because John had to handle things at the store, I had more time by myself (with my children) than I am used to.  That made this harder than it might otherwise have been.
3.  It was a very real reminder that people regularly have to live like this.  People have to sleep in the cold.  People don't have a home to go to.  People don't have others they know offering to take them in.  People don't have the resources and relationships to make it through hard events in their life, and they are stranded.  And that is stressful.  It made me wonder what ways that I should be working on their behalf.  We have so much, and I want to be better at sharing.
4.  I have berated myself a bit for how badly I have responded to this whole thing.  Some of that is justified, because I behaved poorly much of the time.  However, it does me no good to stay stuck thinking about how it could have been different and continuing to think about myself.  The sermon at church today reminded me of God's grace that is free and always covering me.  I have repented of my heart issues and am asking God to work inside me.  Because of that, I don't have to wallow in guilt - I get to move forward and ask God what I should do differently today.
5.  Having power is really such a wonderful thing.

I'm hoping and praying that others in Little Rock receive their power soon.  Certainly, there are people that need it on much more than we did, and I hope it comes quickly.

Friday, December 28, 2012


To say that I have bourn up badly under this tiny amount of suffering is probably an understatement.  I have been sort of a mess.  I even had a blubbery ugly cry tonight.  We have been in transition for about a week now, between our trip to Wichita, our night by the fire last night, and now we are at a hotel.  We are safe, we are warm and we are well fed.  We really have nothing to complain about.

And that is one of the hardest parts of it all.  I keep mentally berating myself for the self-pity that I feel.  I don't know how to acknowledge that this circumstance is frustrating and challenging, especially with small children and also bear in mind that I have it so good even still.  That so many people in the world struggle with very real challenges that dwarf this on a daily basis.

So, I am still asking God to work in my heart.  Apparently even minor suffering for me reveals how absolutely spoiled rotten from comfort and convenience I really am.


The girls have been having mostly a great time.  Except when they have been screaming and whining for no real determinable cause.  They love staying at a hotel, and they loved our living room camp out last night.


In a cruel twist of fate, while I was typing this post, John was at our house and the power came back on.  He called to tell me, and it went back off while we were talking on the phone.  We shall see what the morning brings.  Hopefully it brings light to our house and a new attitude of gratefulness and joy to my heart.  Lord willing on both counts.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Our backyard, taken from a friend at our house yesterday.


I'll go ahead and say it. I have no real business writing a post about having no power since I got to my house for the first time at 6:15 tonight.

Glad I got that off my chest.

That said, I am going to write one anyway, since I am sitting by the fire in my dark home and learned how to blog from my phone today. Honestly, it's been a hard day. And not because anything has been that hard. I just feel off-kilter inside. Like I started tearing up while placing my order at CFA kind of off-kilter.


I am regularly amazed at my own depravity and the ways that I make life all about me. That has been in full effect today to no one's benefit. I have been reading in Proverbs lately, and I have taken note of all the verses that talk about how terrible it is to live with a contentious woman. Most of the time, I would not fit the bill, but today I have felt powerless (do you like that play on words?) to make myself behave differently. I have been short with John and the girls. I have been a bit sulky. I have made life about me.

Which always turns out badly.

And never reflects what God has for me, which is that I should look first at him and then at others. Some days that seems the hardest to do. I know all the right things in my head, but I need to ask God to work inside my heart to help me believe the right things and live them out in ways that bring glory to him. Starting with treating my family as the precious gifts they are instead of feeling all of the inconveniences that are really so minor in the grand scheme of things.

It's amazing what a bird's eye, grand scheme kind of perspective can do for you. Praying that I can get more of it, straight from the breath of God. I certainly need it.

And really, we have it oh so good. The girls are now sleeping soundly in front of the fireplace, and John and I are about to enjoy s'mores. Camping in the living room is fun!


****** Edited later
Here are links to the other days:
Day Two

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


We are heading home from Wichita after spending the Christmas holiday there. Here's a high/low run down.

High: Spending time with my family, and everyone was there, which made it lots of fun. Mom and Wes were excellent hosts.


High: Hanging with the boy cousins. Here's adorable Max.


And little drummer boy True.


Low: It was very cold in Kansas. So cold, in fact, that as we were walking to the car from church, Lily was repeatedly screaming, "It's too chilly!" I was laughing hysterically, which only further enraged her. Coats were a battle each and every time, since we haven't had to wear them in two years. Our blood is thin.

High: Seeing the kids act out the Christmas story in costume and then sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.

That's the shepherd and the angel.

Baby Jesus is on the table with his cake.


High: Mom and Wes's house is perfect for hosting a large group at Christmas. We made a Christmas arena downstairs. And the stockings were all laid on the wet bar with care.


High: Christmas morning with the girls. They were so excited and fun to watch. Their big presents were Radio Flyer tricycles, which were a huge hit!


High: Getting some down time. We watched movies and played lots of games.


Low: Missing out on the White Christmas of the century in Little Rock, but still having to deal with having a business there. It kind of kills the fun of snow. Especially snow that we didn't get to see.

High: Having power for the last couple of days when I know ours is out at home.

Low: Heading to a house without power and little hope on the horizon.

High: Being reminded of how blessed I really always am. I have nothing to complain about, truly, and so much to be grateful for. Thank you, Lord, for your goodness to us.

I wrote this blog post from my phone in the car using a couple different sources of pictures, so I don't know how it will look. Hope it works!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


We are busy enjoying a chillaxing afternoon in Wichita, KS.  The presents are unwrapped.  Most people are napping, and the wind is whistling through the air outside with the possibility of snowfall later.

We hope you and yours are soaking up this Christmas Day and the joy of celebrating our Savior's birth.

Here's the digital copy of our Christmas card by Main Street Studios.


The paper copy is cut in that shape, and I do love the way they turned out.  Thanks, Luke and Ellen for the design and pics!

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Last Friday, I hosted a cookie exchange for the third year in a row.  This year I have really enjoyed making cookies.  In fact, I may have been slightly obsessed with cookies.  So hosting a cookie exchange was a good place for all that energy to land.

The kids were included, so it was quite the party.


People brought a wide array of delicious cookies.


I love my sweet friends and their sweet babies!

(baby girl is getting her own cookies)

I had fun trying new techniques on sugar cookies.


Friday afternoon, the girls and I delivered plates of goodies to the neighbors.


My little delivery helpers loved getting in on the action.  All in all, Friday was full of cookie fun!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Today's the day before the "cosmic shift" predicted by the Mayans.  It's the day before a cookie exchange that I am hosting and really need to pick up my house for.  It's the day before one of my best friends from high school's birthday (Hi, Erin, hope we all live to see you turn 32!).  Today is right in the heart of the glitz and fun of the Christmas season.

But my heart is heavy today.  There's a cancer diagnosis of a woman my age.  There's this story of a woman that I don't know personally but have 41 mutual Facebook friends with and keep having it thrust upon my heart to pray for her.  The headlines of the funerals in Newton are heartbreaking.  The plight of the orphan is more real to me than ever before as we walk through this adoption process.  Where are my sons?  What about their birth family?  How will they celebrate Christmas?

I'm craving things that are not offered in this world.  The sentiment of the season does not satisfy.  I want more.

I want the peace on earth that is promised for someday in the future of God's choosing.

I want the God of the universe to be near to those who are suffering.  I know he is, but sometimes it is hard to see.

I want no more sickness and no more death.  No more orphans.

Now that my heart is really breaking for some of the things that break God's heart, I can see that the Christmas fluff is just that.  Fluff.  Not bad, especially in its place.  There are so many good places for celebrating, decking the halls and decorating cookies.  But, my heart is not the right place for those things.  My heart is reserved for the Savior.  The one who came to a world that didn't have room for him but needed him so desperately.

It's hard to be melancholy with children around the house.  They are crying, but it is for different reasons.  Like the fact that Cinderella got turned off by the younger sister.  Or like cereal being spilled all over the floor.  Or like having your head hurt after you have banged it into the wall, on purpose.  I can't sit and mope and moan in the midst of all this, which is better for all of us.  I get to look at my own little reality and be thankful for the health and joy of today.  I get to pray for those who are hurting while I ice cookies and hurt with them.  I get to try to show Christ's love to my daughters even when I don't feel it.  I get to wait with anticipation for the day of Christmas and celebrating Christ's coming to earth.

I also get to drag these little ya-hoos to lunch, where they entertained much of the restaurant by doing their "Begge" (pronounced Beg - e) dance.


So that sums up this Thursday before the apocalypse.  Linking up with The Anderson Crew!