Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Alex got his haircut!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How sad is it that Alex's haircut is my big news of week? Hmmm, I don't think I want to ponder that thought much longer...makes my life seem...well, a little pathetic.

Simply stated: 'nuf said!

Never say never...

I've learned my lesson and will never say never again (preceeding sentence excluded).

I realized it was time to remove "that word" from my vocabulary when I asked Don, with some urgency, to go buy a trampoline for the girls a few weekends ago. You see, years ago in my once firmly grounded maternal opinions I had said we would never own one. Yet here it is, in all of it's blue and gold glory towering over the weeds and moss grass and shrubbery in our backyard. But the girls love it and it's great exercise.

This isn't the first time I've been bitten in the behind by my use of "that word." When my boys were little I boldy proclaimed that they would never own guns, especially of the BB variety. But there I was on Alex's 13th birthday accompanying him into the store to buy a BB gun with his own money. I remember well the irony of the moment because Alex couldn't actually carry the gun out of the store since he was a minor. Instead his responsible and firearm phobic mother had to schlep the box out to the get-away car. Now both boys have BB guns, potato guns, marshmallow guns and paintball guns. Guns 'r' us!

Education is another area replete with broken promises of never. Back in Maryland where the schools were good and education was important to our politicians (snotty tone intentional), I never saw the need to homeschool or even worse **gasp** Yet here we find ourselves in Arkansas, doing both.

I don't know what, if any, is the lesson in all of this. What I've come to realize is that the use of the word never is a bit egotistical and for the most part excludes God's divine plan for our lives. I'm sure I said I would never move away from my extended family and the east coast, yet here we are living in Little Rock. I know I said we would never have more children after Caroline was born and we took permanent measure to insure we would have the final say on the matter. But somehow God saw fit and found a way to add to our family. I'm so glad His ways are not our ways.

I do know at least one exception to the never say never rule, one that I know God finds pleasing. And that is, I will never leave Don. The marriage covenant is based on never leaving and forever cleaving to one another. What a wonderful design God had for marriage!

It almost seems as though when I say never, God's ears perk up and He smiles and thinks to Himself "we'll just have to see about that!" So instead of "never" I think "whatever" might be the better that leaves us open to a blessed and abundant life.

Simply stated: Be careful what you say "never" to!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's just so sad...

While I was doing my 2:00 a.m. email check and blog stalking, I saw a post that the young daughter of one of our favorite singers, Steven Curtis Chapman, had been killed in a horrible accident at their home. During a day of great family celebration with the recent engagement of the Chapman's oldest daughter and the high school graduation party for one of their teenage sons, their 5 year old daughter was accidentally struck and hit while playing in their driveway by an SUV driven by one of the teenage sons. Their daughter's name was Maria and she was apparently a precious child. She was the Chapman' s youngest daughter and their third daughter adopted from China. Sometimes other peoples tragedies stop you for a moment and other times it causes one great pause. This one has consumed my thoughts today.

Having met Steven Curtis Chapman personally at an adoption conference and having talked to him in great detail about the story of how they come to adopt their Maria, I am even more heartbroken for their loss. Years ago Steven had written a song entitled "Who's Gonna Love Maria" This was long before they met their Maria. Steven graciously autographed a CD for our Maria even before we brought her home. The Chapman's organization also gave us a grant to help pay for our Maria's adoption and so I feel in many ways we have been blessed by a family that we've only met very briefly.

This is a two-fold tragedy now that the Chapman's are dealing with the loss of a beloved daughter and also undoubtedly the grief and guilt of their son. Having sons of similar ages my heart breaks for this dear boy and how his life has been altered. I pray that the faith this family was built on will carry them through the rough days to come.

This is a startling reminder of how quickly the landscape of our lives can change and how every moment is precious. May we not stop praying for this sweet and generous family.

Simply stated: Tell somone you love them tonight.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunshine or Quiet

It's Sunday afternoon and Don is sitting outside reading the paper while the girls jump on the trampoline...or jumpoline as Maria calls it. I'm finishing up some Taco Soup to take to community group and I have a tough choice to make. Go outside and enjoy the sunshine or stay inside where it's just me, no one else, all by myself. Tough decision, huh?

Well, we have an hour until community group so maybe I'll split the difference and spend a half an hour inside and half an hour outside. Or maybe I'll clean. So much to do and so little time.

I've decided. My girls will only be jumpin' on the trampoline for a few short years before they're out and about like the boys. I'd better be gettin' outside!

Simply stated: Peace and quiet will come way too soon.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My sweet, sweet girl!

This week is a little crazier than normal for us. It's our last week of Awana which is a lot more work for me and includes an appreciation dinner for our leaders and volunteers as well as an awards ceremony. It basically means that we practically live at church from Monday through Wednesday. Both of the girls have been real troopers so far this week and have blessed me beyond words. Just when I thought these two precious girls of mine couldn't be any sweeter, Caroline proves me wrong. (This story will reveal another one of my "issues" but it's worth telling because it was just too darn sweet.)

We got home around 8:30 p.m. after a long day at church. I know you'll think I'm exagerating but this house is truly a wreck. Every room has the remnants of the projects I've been working on for this week and haven't had time to clean up after. It's been so busy that Caroline simply wrote "food" on the grocery list.

Anyway, I realized that I hadn't made my bed which really bums me out. It just feels gross to get into an unmade bed. Who knows what could have landed there during the course of the day? I left the room to get a phone call and came back to find that Caroline had made my bed for me. I think Caroline really understands me. (I wonder which one of my issues she'll discuss first with her therapist).

I know you read my blog, sweet girl. Your momma loves you and thanks you!

Simply stated: Children are a gift from the Lord!

Some Simple Things I Find Very Satisfying

I found this idea on another blogger's site and thought I'd try this out for myself.

Folding warm towels right out of the dryer.
Singing praise songs ... really loud ... by myself.
Back scratches.
The smell of new tires (I know, we've been down this road before).
Coming home.
My morning diet coke -- straight from the can.
Our bed ... especially with clean sheets.
Vacuum cleaner lines in the carpet.
Knowing everyone is safe at home for the night.
A perfectly carbonated diet coke.
Listening to Caroline and Maria giggling.
Children praying.
Sunday lunch after church.
My last diet coke before bed. (hmmm. This may be more of an addiction)
"Drop out days" where we agree to accomplish nothing.

The list could go on and on but now it's your turn. Let me know some of your simple pleasures.

Simply stated: Life is good.

Updated "Non-Mom"

Our voices were heard...power to the people! Within hours of receiving my email, and countless others just like it no doubt, I received an apology from Teleflora and a statement that they were changing the name of the category to Adopting Moms. I think this was a great move on their part. Given the short time frame to the actual broadcast of the contest results show, I don't know how much more they could have done. Sometimes all a person wants is a sincere apology.

Some adopted parents feel strongly that we shouldn't be in a separate category at all. I'm still trying to form my opinion on that one. While I understand the thought process behind this argument (we're all mothers) I do think that the adopted mom role is different. This next statement is important....different is NOT bad and it is NOT inferior. It's just...well...different.

Mothering an adopted child has been one of the greatest personal growth experiences for me. I don't take the privilege of being Maria's mom for granted. It is a priceless gift that came at a much greater emotional and financial cost than with my older children. It has made me think more about my actions as a mom rather than reacting purely on emotion and knee-jerk reactions. I'm certainly not doing it perfectly, but I know that I'm parenting much more intentionally than ever before.

I love all of my children equally but I love them all differently as well. Bio or adopted, there's no sweeter name than "Mom."

Simply stated: Different is not bad, it's just different.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Apparently I'm a "non-mom"

Although I have strong opinions on most everything, I seldom act on those opinions by writing letters or boycotting companies. The time has come to speak up!

Teleflora along with some other sponsors (such as NBC) are having an America's Favorite Mom contest where you choose your favorite mom candidate from several different categories. I was appalled, irate, enraged (I can't find the right word) when I read that adoptive moms are in the "non-mom" category. OMG! The previous sentence screams of ludicrousy!

I immediately sent an email to Teleflora (fortunately...for them...I only had 300 characters so my rant was limited). I wrote the following:

"As an adoptive mom I am truly offended by your recent Mother's Day contest featuring adoptive moms in the "non-Mom" category. We are real mom's with real children. My adopted child has the same privileges (in my heart and in the courts) as my children by birth. This view of adoptive mom's as "non-moms" is hurtful and harmful to every adopted child and the adoptive community. Your carelessness sends the message that these children are somehow less than their peers who had the advantage of being born into their families. Please reconsider this category in future promotions and perhaps educate yourselves on proper adoption terminology and etiquette. Thank you for your time."

I'll have to stew on this and write more later. I'm so mad I can hardly see straight...or spell.

Simply Stated: I'm glad I used 1-800-Flowers to send our Mother's Day gift!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

17 Years Ago Today...

our Zachary John came into the world. What a blessing he is! We had a nice dinner and invited Zack's friend Elizabeth and our family friend Benjamin to join us. Don is in Chicago and Alex had to work. Even with them missing it was a great evening of laughing and fun conversation.

I've been thinking back on Zack's childhood a lot today and realizing how much of his personality showed up with him that May morning and hasn't changed much since. For instance...

...there's the hair thing. Zack has always been a bit freakish particular about his hair. Ever since that first ill-fated crew cut, the need to be in control of his hair has been of utmost importance to Zack. Remember the adorable bowl cut?

...there's the audio-video thing. When Zack was about 9 he just wanted to be able to play music so we got him a Karaoke machine for his birthday. He never sang along with it but I know he had it wired for sound. He was dubbed "Mix-Master Zack" by my sister, Leslie. Now his room is filled with a 50 inch rear projection TV, audio mixers, computers, and ipods. Most Sunday's you'll find him in the sound booth at church.

...there's the "wheels" thing. From pushing around his favorite truck as a toddler to towing a little blue wagon on the back of his bike, Zack has been enamored by anything with wheels. This year's birthday was all about his roof rack, floormats, and even a special dusting brush for keeping the pollen off. He spent most of the afternoon working out in the driveway on his car. How convenient that he had to use my car with the full tank of gas to pick up Elizabeth and drive her home because his car is in a few different pieces. The boy's no dummy! (UPDATE: When Zack got home he handed me a five dollar bill for gas. How cool is that?)

It seems like only yesterday I was listening for his cry in the other room letting me know that he was hungry. Now I sit here typing listening for the chime of the door letting me know that he is home safe. Years have passed and the sounds have changed but the feeling is the same. Pure joy in the pleasure of being Zack's mom.

Simply stated: Happy birthday, my sweet boy!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Prom Picture

What good is a blog if you can't shamelessy parade pictures of your children into the blogosphere? This is a picture of Zack and Elizabeth going to prom last week. I, unfortunately, missed the big event because I was attending a conference in Chicago. Zack and Don, however, made sure to email and text me lots of photos. They had a wonderful time at prom and are such great kids. They make us proud!

Simply stated: I'm humming the music to "Sunrise, Sunset"

State of our Union

We've been asked the question often over the past couple of months. "How is Don's job?" (He really likes it by the way). I, on the other hand, have been trying to find an answer that balances the truth with optimism.

I think the heart of the answer actually began about 9 months ago when a little latina tornado entered our world as our firstborn simultaneoulsy left the nest. Change is hard...even good and natural change. And once the change pendulum started to swing it just kept picking up momentum. There was the addition of Maria into our family and the absence of Alex. We homeschooled Caroline and said goodbye to a ministry and co-workers that we loved and respected. Then came Don's job change and new weekly travel schedule. Followed closely by the addition of my part-time job and we've inadvertently created a perfect storm for what feels like merely surviving all the day-to-day demands.

Don and I have developed a divide and conquer battle strategy. Unfortunately, this means that we spend no time together. The good news is that this too shall pass. All of our years of family ministry have taught us that we need to fix this, and fix it fast. We're working on it. (This would be the appropriate time to pick up the phone and offer to keep our girls for an evening:) In the meantime there is great comfort in knowing that Don and I are in this for the long haul and we're ready and willing to do the hardwork to put our marriage back on top of the list of priorities. This is where shared commitment, history, and common goals will prevail over travel schedules, health issues, and pure exhaustion. Notice I intentionally left out the word "love". I love Don with all my being. Love however is an emotion and we know how wishy-washy emotions can be. Now's the time for no-holds-barred commitment and perserverance.

Feel free to ask me the same question in a couple of months when all of the dust of change has settled. In the meantime I'll be doing what I do best to regain control of the mess and mayhem...vacuuming!

Simply stated: Change s*cks! (Please see previous post about appropriate language.)