Sunday, December 18, 2011

things I love

Sometimes the grey dreary days of winter threaten to get the best of me.  Today would be one of those days, and being  exhausted from a string of bad nights with my little one and fighting a stuffy nose and sore throat aren’t helping much.  Instead of focusing on all the things that aren’t ‘right’ in my world at the moment, I decided to make a list of things I love. 

In no particular order…

These faces: 


And, of course, the older ones too (of whom there are no current pictures…yet).  They bring unbelievable joy to our home!

Sunset, as seen from the bow of the ferry in mid-December:


If you know me, you know that one of my all-time favorite things to do is ride the ferry.  No matter the season or weather, I’m outside standing in the bow, enjoying the view and the wind in my face.  This particular ride was about a week ago at sunset; the return trip was about 8:45 at night.  It was COLD but amazingly gorgeous standing out in the bow…

Mint brownies:

brownies (1)

This nativity set, made and hand-painted many years ago for us by my brother in law and his wife:





And the things without pictures:

  • My big guys home for the holidays, whether it’s for 3 weeks (like Emily) or 3 days (like Brent).  Hey…I’ll take what I can get!!
  • New friends.  We had a great time hosting some new friends for playtime and lunch on Thursday.  Can’t wait to have them over again!  And the other new friends God has brought us…SO special!  It’s fun to be at the beginning of these new relationships, looking ahead to good times. 
  • Old friends.  The shared memories.  The laughter.  The tears.  The tenderness and the ability to pick up where we left off, no matter how long it’s been since we were together last.  These are people I cherish…and never see often enough!  I was SO blessed by an old friend recently—I got a gift certificate for some time at a spa for my birthday.  What a treat!
  • Friendships that are neither new (less than 1 year) or old (more than 10+ years).  Although there’s not the excitement of a new friendship or the shared memories of the long time friends, there is the joy of the journey and the hope of a shared future.
  • An incredible small group.  We laugh together, cry together, and are challenged together.  They are a great group of people, and it’s a privilege to be part of their lives.
  • My parents.  In a word, they’re awesome!  They live close enough to be part of our world regularly, and we see them often.   Everyone is looking forward to Christmas this year with Grandma and Grandpa.  :)
  • The joy of adoption, and the depth of understanding about my worth to God it has brought.
  • The challenges of adoption and parenting a special needs child.  Some days it’s tear-your-hair-out frustrating, but the rewards rank right up there with slobbery kisses and sticky hugs.  And the side benefit?  Refining our character.  (Or maybe that’s the primary goal!)

So that’s a start.  The list is by no means complete, but the blue funk that had captured me this afternoon is definitely gone.  (Now, if the sinus headache would move on, the afternoon would be pretty close to perfect.)  The hot cider is waiting, and I hear Ryan playing backgammon with Daddy in the background.  The girls are off finishing their Christmas shopping, and Logan is watching a Christmas movie.  I’m off to enjoy a quiet Sunday afternoon with my crew. 

How about you?  What are the things YOU love?  Is it time to put them on paper and beat the dreary grey hanging around?

Friday, December 16, 2011


 define necessity

This picture has haunts me.  Before 2004 (when I spent some time in Honduras working with orphans and feeding centers in the slums), it probably wouldn’t have affected me as much.  Seeing poverty—the kind that makes a woman walk away from her 1 year old baby, never to return, so that he can have food to eat—will change your perspective.  Seeing people live in cardboard-and-blue-tarp tents in highway medians will change your perspective.  Seeing crib after crib after crib lined up, with small children starved for food and attention will change your perspective.  Seeing your own child in the poverty of a Chinese orphanage will change your perspective.  And with changed perspective comes changed ways of living.

We’ve never been huge Christmas gift givers.  It’s always been a ‘3 gift’ thing here:  a toy or book, an article of clothing, and something either needed or wanted (depending on the circumstances).  Stockings are typically filled with fun treats but minimal as well: an orange, some gum, a toothbrush, a small treat like double-stick tape or band-aids, and a box of favorite cold cereal.  Our children don’t really NEED anything.  As we have had to redefine necessity here, our children, who have had the privilege of seeing poverty and its effects up close and personal, have also shifted their priorities. 

This year, I’ve been re-thinking.  Again.  Last night at small group we had a conversation about the things that make us ‘angry’.  Not things like being cut off in traffic, although that sure makes us angry.  :)  Instead, we were talking about things like homelessness and orphans and foster parents who don’t provide for their foster kids but are only in it for the money.  We talked about how ineffective it can feel to be just one small contributor to solving the problems.  But we also talked about how important each person is, each contribution is.  Only as a team can we make a difference!  We started exploring ways we can make a difference.  And we talked about priorities.  How to adjust.  WHERE to adjust.  How it will affect our children.  Why it’s important.

It was a good discussion.  As I look at our tree, I know that we’re making progress.  We still have a long ways to go, perhaps, but our priorities are getting better.  Seeing our grown and nearly grown children ‘get’ this is amazing.  They are wise beyond their years sometimes.  But seeing how 98%+ of the world lives will do that to you.  They are fortunate—they’ve witnessed it.  And the difference that getting involved can make.  This year we’ve cut back again.  Next year?  We’ll take it another step.  What will that look like?  I’m not sure…but we’ve got a year to figure out how to make a small difference in the things that make us ‘angry’.  That’s a start.  Our time and money and energy at Christmas may go that direction.  We’ll see. 

Getting real with one another…just in time for Christmas.  Gives hope for the new year!

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.  On the contrary:

   “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
   if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 

Rom 12:9-21

Friday, December 9, 2011


Check this out!  God is SO GOOD…our sweet friend Katie Collier (whose story is here and here and here) will be playing basketball tonight.  You can read today’s blurb in the newspaper here.

SO looking forward to tonight!  It doesn’t hurt that it’s an away game, and we get to ride the ferry.  :)


Katie and Tori after the game.  Kate was the leading scorer for the Warriors last night.  That’s pretty normal for her when she’s healthy but incredibly impressive under the circumstances. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

big day today

Today’s the first day of our neuro-psych (cognitive and learning issues) evaluations for our Logan.  It’s a phone appointment about how he learns and other concerns we have.  I think I’m nervous…not specifically about the appointment, but that I can correctly describe the issues we see, and that I don’t forget anything important!!  You should see the white board on my fridge…
This appointment today will help determine the testing they do in person next week.  If you feel inclined, please pray for wisdom and clarity as I spend time on the phone with the doctor this morning.  I’d appreciate it, and Logan will benefit from it!  Thanks.  :)

Update:  Phone appointment was amazing!!  Thanks for the prayers...the dr. has some great ideas for what tests need to be run, and she thinks we'll get some answers when we do them.

And another update!  The testing next week has had to be rescheduled for the first week in January.  I knew it was a possibility, and it's happened.  So now we wait a bit, but at least he's still on the schedule.