Sunday, January 30, 2011

Logan’s hair

Logan:  “Hey Mom!  My hair is tickling me!  Right there.  Fix it please??”

me:  “Ummm…sure.  What exactly do you want me to do?”

The funny thing in all this?  Logan’s hair is maybe:::MAYBE::: 1/4 inch long.  He’s recently had a haircut—#2 clippers, no bangs.

Sure, Logan.  Your hair is tickling you.  I think you’re silly!

Friday, January 28, 2011

strike a pose

no later than spring 2007, making him no older than 2 1/2:


October 2008, almost 4:

Chicago trip 020

Christmas 2010, age 6:


It appears that this is one of Logan’s favorite poses!  Fun to see how he’s grown…

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


“The question isn’t who causes something to happen, but rather, whether you see the outcome with His eyes or yours.”  ~Susan May Warren (Happily Ever After)

“What if there are children who will suffer somehow because I failed to obey God?  What if my cowardice costs even one child somewhere in the world his or her life?”  ~Richard Stearns (The Hole in our Gospel)

“The mission God gives us is always about people.  We can never justify disregarding God’s children.  The interruptions in our lives may be God calling us to serve.”  ~Richard Stearns (The Hole in our Gospel)

sunrise January 26

DSC_0095 DSC_0094


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

so it goes


conviction + deep thinking + disappointment + discouragement = a very uncomfortable place. Something akin to wearing a hair shirt, perhaps.

Needless to say, I’m not enjoying my own company at the moment. Neither are my children. I’d say that a week on a nice sunny beach would help, but somehow those things would manage to come along, I’m sure.

Some days a winning lottery ticket seems like just the answer. If I had the winning lottery ticket, I could set aside the ‘old and tired’ reasons for not adopting and bring home a little girl. I’d be all over that…even knowing that she would be a special needs child, and that it would mean more trips to Children’s, more therapy, more stress, and more work. If I had a winning lottery ticket, I would order an FM system for Logan on the spot! He’d be able to hear better, and we’d make more progress (without me tearing my hair out!) in his schoolwork. He can clearly learn, but he needs to hear well to do so effectively. This would make all the difference in the world to him!

Somehow, though, I doubt that a winning lottery ticket is in my future. Especially since I don’t play! :) But, even in my blue funk, I am confident that my God, who is faithful, will provide the answers we seek. So even as I squirm under the conviction and struggle with the discouragement and disappointment, I will “lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1

After all…

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Tuesday view


5 of the little ones in my class, having lunch.  Isn’t that a fun shot?

Friday, January 21, 2011

feeling convicted by my 6 year old

After my conversation with Logan on Wednesday, I went outside to wash my car. The sun was shining, the car was covered with the accumulated grime of several trips through the mountains, 2 snowstorms, and the resulting dirt that comes from sandy roads and copious rain. Plus, I needed the space. Logan’s words had hit me hard, and I just needed to think. Feeling convicted by a 6 year old? Absolutely!

So many things go through my mind when this comes up. I struggle with the bottom line, though—selfishly, I don’t want to do the work again! Bringing Logan home was hard. The first 6 months were brutal. Absolutely BRUTAL. He would have tantrums that lasted over an hour…kicking, screaming, crying, hitting, and even trying to bite. Sometimes we had several a day. Always there were several a week. If he knew the words, he would have screamed “I HATE you!” He made it abundantly clear that he had no use for us. As it was, he spent hours and hours and hours begging me to send him back to China. Alone. I spent long hours wondering what we had done. Had we destroyed our peaceful family? Would it ever return to something even remotely resembling ‘normal?’ After 6 months or so, things started to settle. A little. Most days were still hard, but not necessarily brutal.

Some of the issues were our fault. Probably most…maybe even all. It’s hard to have preconceived expectations for behavior, and have a child essentially thumb his nose at any and everything you expect. I can promise it does not bring out the best in a parent! It didn’t help that Logan had difficulty hearing. He had difficulty with speech and being understood. He had difficulty with his gross motor skills. Some of our expectations were, quite frankly, well beyond his ability. I reminded myself daily that although his body was 4 (or whatever age) his skills were not even close to that well developed. Occupational therapy helped. A little. Speech therapy helped. Some. Adjusting our expectations helped more, but getting a handle on where the line is between having the bar high enough and causing great frustration because the expectation is unreasonable was hard. Having a child wired like none of the other 5 was challenging.

Things have settled down quite nicely. There are still days when we have tantrums, but they’re mostly related to the frustration of Logan’s limitations. He generally works hard at school, but I have to keep his global apraxia in the forefront all the time. One of the hallmarks is the total inconsistency—something that he could do yesterday might not be possible today, or next week. It is hard to watch. And it makes expectations…and progress…feel like pipe-dreams.

So with all Logan’s progress, what holds me back? Lots of things: cost, paperwork, time, our age, spacing in the family (I don’t necessarily want to bring home another older child and I don’t need 3 families!), commitment. They all factor in. And yet, if I am completely honest with myself, all those things have the same root cause—selfishness. I don’t WANT the work. I don’t WANT to deal with the questions and the stares and the intrusive remarks from strangers. I don’t WANT to spend the money. Or, more honestly, I don’t have the money available. It would take work to raise enough to adopt again. Could we? Sure. Do I want to do that? Not really. I don’t WANT to make the sacrifices. Instead of changing the world for a child, I’d love to have a car that is newer than a 1996. I wouldn’t mind a real vacation. It would be nice to have a slighter larger budget. :) Those things are selfish. Are any of them insurmountable? Not at all! Even the money isn’t really an issue…if I truly have faith.

The fact is that God calls us to look out for orphans and widows (see James 1:27). He tells us to care for those around us in need. He makes it clear that He provides for those who do His will. Is it His will for us to adopt again? I HATE that question, because if I am honest with myself, I know that the answer can only be ‘yes.’ He COMMANDS us to care for others. All the excuses I can come up with are just that—excuses. If I had faith, none of those things would stand in the way. Only God closing the door would stop us.

I am NOT making an announcement. We are NOT planning to adopt again. I’m really just processing…and as I re-read what I have written, so much sounds like ‘justification’ for why we ‘can’t’ adopt again. I don’t think I like this place.

Clearly, if my desire is a heart that longs for God, that is hurt by the things that hurt Him, that is willing to say “Not my will but Thine, O Lord”, I have a LONG ways to go.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Logan and I were looking at pictures of his time in China this morning.  He wanted to know about some of the children in the pictures—where they lived, who they lived with.  I could answer for some of them.  I know where they’ve ended up.  For others, I had to say that they were still in China, particularly those who still need sponsors.  Logan’s eyes filled with tears, and he asked, “When are we going to go bring home another China boy?  Or a China girl?”

When I told him that I didn’t think we were going back to China again to bring home another girl or boy, he immediately asked why.  Taking a deep breath, I tried to explain:  “It costs lots of money.  It takes lots of time.  And Mommy and Daddy have lots to do with you and Ryan and the big guys.”

His response cut like a knife.  “I’ll work harder Mommy.  I promise.  I will learn faster.  Can’t we please help another China baby?  PLEASE?  I will help you so it’s not as much work.  I’ll be a BIG helper!”

Such a tender heart.  Such pure faith.  And a depth of understanding that no 6 year old should have.   My heart breaks today…for Logan, and for those still in China.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011


“Okay boys, who is bigger?” 

With a sigh, Ryan replied, “Logan is” just as Logan joyfully shouted “ME!”  The next question was harder:  “How much bigger?”

After a bit of thought, Logan answered, “Thirteen weeks, 5 inches, and 7 pounds.”

Guess that about covers it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

life…and loss

Dying is easy.  It’s living, REALLY living, that’s hard.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,  keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. I Pet 3:15-16 (italics mine)

Saturday afternoon I attended a memorial service for a 16 year old girl.  Amber and her family used to attend our church—we were in a small group with her mom and dad before Amber and her older brother were even born.  They moved away when Amber was only 3, and we lost touch.  Cheryl and I reconnected just after the first of the year in the saddest of circumstances.  You see, Amber was called home to heaven 2 days after Christmas.  I heard the news through a mutual friend and sent Cheryl a note of sympathy.  She replied, and sent me information on Amber’s service.  It wasn’t too far from home—far closer than I thought—so I went.  What a beautiful service!  What an amazing young lady!!  Everyone who spoke of her talked of her deep faith, her love of Jesus, her care for others.  Amber’s life radiated hope!  She was beautiful…inside and out.  The overwhelming sense of grief at Amber’s death was balanced by the rejoicing that she is now pain free and in the presence of the Lord.  The confidence that they will see Amber again has kept them moving forward, Cheryl said.  Without that faith, that knowledge, the loss would be even more painful.

Then on Monday, we (Jim, Ryan, Logan, and I) attended a memorial service for Jim’s Aunt MaryAnn.  She was quite a character.  Opinionated and outspoken, MaryAnn had a knack for letting people know they were loved and valued by her.  Widowed over 20 years ago, she has struggled with poor health and serious loss the last few years.  In some ways, the service for MaryAnn was much like the service for Amber—filled with story after story of her deep faith, her love of Jesus, and her care for others.  MaryAnn lived and demonstrated the hope she had in Christ!  The big difference, though, was in the overarching feeling in the church.  At MaryAnn’s memorial, the overwhelming sense of celebration in her graduation was balanced by the recognition of the loss.  It’s been a difficult couple of years for MaryAnn’s children.  They buried one sister in January 2009 and one sister in June 2010.  Now they’ve buried their mother as well.  Still…the sense of peace that Aunt MaryAnn was finally healthy and whole far overshadowed their sense of loss.

As we drove home from eastern Washington on Monday, I spent some time thinking about Amber.  About her mom and dad, and her brothers.  About Aunt MaryAnn.  About her adult children, and her siblings.  And about the things those two ladies modeled in their lives.  Although they were 60 years apart in age, lived in 2 different parts of the state, and didn’t know one another, they lived very similar lives.  Both were women of deep faith.  Both were committed to a serious relationship with Jesus as their Lord and Savior.   Both LIVED their faith…daily, openly.  Both were committed to living in such a way that others would clearly see Jesus in them.  Both were successful in that endeavor.  And in death, both left such a legacy that those who knew them will be challenged to dig deeper, love more, and live.  TRULY live, just as it says in I Peter 3:15-16.

Two women.  One I knew, one I knew about.  Faithful to the end, their lives—and their deaths—will not be in vain.  At least one person is willing to step up to the challenge to REALLY live.  Want to join me?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

my baby girl

Victoria had Homecoming on Saturday night; it was a masquerade party.  We got a few pictures before she headed out to meet up with her group…and my parents were here when she left.  Fun to have pics with Grandma and Grandpa! 





And yes, she’s really as tall as Grandpa.  With her heels on, she towers over him!   

Monday, January 10, 2011

glad to be home again

Long weekend.  A memorial service on Saturday, an overnight trip to Pullman on Sunday to drop Emily off at college, a stop today on the way home for another memorial service…it’s been a LONG weekend.  Lots running through my mind, and pictures from the trip on my camera (of course!)

Back into the daily routine with both feet tomorrow—preschool, speech therapy, homeschooling the dynamic duo, education committee meeting at Victoria’s high school.  Part of me is SERIOUSLY wishing for the snow to start falling tonight so we can have a snow day tomorrow!  I could use the chance to process, regroup, and catch up.

Friday, January 7, 2011

it’s almost finished




Emily’s lap quilt.  I still have to trim threads and sew the binding on.  Well, and make the binding (out of the white polka dot fabric).  But I think I’m going to make it—I’ve been given a bit of a reprieve.  Em leaves for school on Sunday and I thought I’d have to have it finished tomorrow night; instead, we’re all going along to take her because we need to go to a funeral east of the mountains on Monday.   Combining the trips gives me 5 uninterrupted hours to do the hand-sewing in the car, plus Sunday evening if I need it.  It WILL be finished before I leave Pullman Monday morning!!

What next??

Saturday, January 1, 2011

a new year

2010.  It’s over, and I think it’s okay.  Good even, maybe.  Trying to write our Christmas letter this year (uh…yeah.  ‘Bout that?  There won’t be one.  Sorry) I realized that the only way to describe 2010 was ‘A Mixed Bag.’  Many things that happened were hard.  VERY hard.  There were blessings too, but overall, it was a mixed bag.   It is definitely not a year I’d ever choose to repeat.

There are some things that are hard to forget.  Last year on New Year’s Eve, we’d just come through a Christmas without Brent and I was missing him.  Although not the first time he’d been gone at Christmas, it’s amazing how knowing that you can call and visit makes such a difference.  Last Christmas Brent was at Marine Corps boot camp, and there were no phone calls.  No cards.  No conversations or laughter or hugs.  Nothing.  Then, on New Year’s Eve, the phone rang.   The news was not good, and I spent last New Year’s Eve in tears.

When they tell you that “No news is good news” from boot camp, it’s true.  We learned that day just how true it really is.  Brent called to let us know that he was in the hospital.  He told us that he’d had an episode of heat stroke and that they took him in with a core temperature of 107.7.  He was, when he called, coherent, but clearly disappointed and discouraged.  He had only a few minutes to give us the briefest of information and let us know that he’d call again when he was placed in a new training platoon.  In the meantime, we were not able to write because his stay at MRP (medical rehab platoon) was to be short.  Well…’short’ turned into 2 weeks.  The first week was standard operating procedure for recruits after heat stroke; the second week was fighting a strep infection.  Finally he was dropped into a new training platoon and finished boot camp only a couple of weeks later than we originally anticipated.  It was only when we went to San Diego for his graduation did we learn just how dangerously ill Brent had been.

There’s NOTHING that can prepare you for learning that your child has had a significant health issue.  At lunch on Family Day, sitting in the courtyard outside our room on base, Brent proceeded to describe what happened that day.   He only remembers bits and pieces but knows that his heart stopped and the medical staff had to do CPR.  What we didn’t know in March (but have seen clearly since then) is that the nearly unbearable heartache and the overwhelming relief  we felt that day would be part of much of the rest of the year.

Yes, that episode was pretty indicative of what was to come.  There were some AWESOME things in 2010:  Brent’s graduation from boot camp.  Emily’s graduation from high school.  Ryan and Logan starting kindergarten.  Victoria’s awesome volleyball season.  Hailey finding a ‘perfect’ job.  An incredibly relaxing vacation this summer.  Discovery  of the beauty of Pullman and the Palouse.   Sun on my birthday and snow for Thanksgiving.

For every wonderful thing that happened this year though, there was a painful counter.  Brent broke his wrist just prior to graduation, then suffered a knee injury in May.  The knee injury was serious enough that he was medically discharged from the Marines in September.  That was hard.  Re-entry into civilian life was excruciatingly painful for him, and the losses just kept coming.  Even now, it’s hard.  My nephew, Nicholas, who has leukemia, relapsed after his first bone marrow transplant.  They found out on my sister’s birthday.  Nick’s had another transplant and is doing well, but it is agonizing watching them struggle through this.  Hailey had some things fall through at the last minute this fall and ended up living at home for a term.  Not a problem for us, but a challenge for her, as she’s ready to move on!  :)  Em loves her classes but is finding that homesickness can be brutal.  My sweet home-body thinks that 300 miles is a LONG ways from home! 

As I look back on the year, I find myself getting teary.  It’s hard to watch your children hurt.  Bandaids and chocolate don’t fix the kind of owies we had.  I don’t know that it’s ever been harder to be a parent than it was…and yet as I look back, I can clearly see God’s faithfulness.  His provision.  His love and care.  Some of the things that happened  have changed my children forever.  For the good?  I don’t know.  My human eyes can’t see how.  Yet God is all-knowing; we see through a glass darkly (I Cor 13:12).  My faith has been stretched.  Challenged.  Refined by fire.  Grown.  When things are hard and there’s absolutely nothing you can do, you hang on to the only thing you can:  God.  That’s where we ended 2010.  It’s my very fervent hope that I have learned well, that growth has happened, and that 2011 will be less difficult than 2010.  But if it’s not?  Well…my faith has grown enough to say with confidence that God will never EVER let me down.

That’s the best way of all to start 2011.  And it probably makes that ‘mixed bag’ of 2010 a blessing, even if some if it is still in disguise.