sunday, or the spring of open doors

Wow. So much has happened in two short months since I last wrote. It truly was the darkest before the dawn. I was hanging on for Sunday.

This is the storm, this is the storm
The storm before the calm
This is the pain, the pain before the balm
This is the cold, the cold
It’s the cold before the warm
These are the tears, the tears before the song
This is the dark
Sometimes all I see is this darkness
Well, can’t you feel the darkness
This is the dark before the dawn

And just as it has for eons, the sun arose. Answers finally came. Doors that had seemed stuck shut, finally opened. Not just opened, but basically were blasted off their hinges.

So I’m waiting for the King
To come galloping out of the clouds while the angel armies sing
He’s gonna gather His people in the shadow of His wings
And I’m gonna raise my voice with the song of the redeemed
‘Cause all this darkness is a small and passing thing

Our adoption paperwork finally was kicked loose from USCIS and is moving along in the Haitian court system! Our foster daughter’s case was finally decided – we get to move forward with adopting her! And in a surprising twist, we are moving to a new home later this summer. Bing, bang, boom. Hello, Sunday.

Spring was short in Minnesota this year. It was winter, then it was spring for about three weeks, and then summer temperatures hit and warmed everything up quickly, melted the snow, the flowers bloomed, and the trees BURST into green. Our family’s story has mirrored this new season, just as it had mirrored the long winter – new beginnings, fresh sunshine of grace, doors flung open to welcome the beauty and warmth of YES.

I imagined the sorrow of the disciples and Jesus’ closest friends as he laid in the tomb, but I can also picture their absolute rapture and joy when they learned that He HAD risen JUST AS HE SAID. When the tomb door was pushed aside, and the grave clothes they had wrapped his broken body in just days before lay empty…when it dawned on them that what He had said was true – I can imagine the awestruck wonder.

The past ten days have been a wild ride of God opening doors to a new home for our growing family, but I’ve been in awestruck wonder and slightly giddy joy over what He is doing: a new thing. I feel like I couldn’t stop this train even if I wanted to – God is clearly at the throttle and we are excited to be along for the ride. Deepest valleys, highest mountaintops – this journey has been intense, but beautiful.

I’m so grateful for Sunday. Thankful for resurrection. Undeniably aware of the dawn.

I had a dream that I was waking
At the burning edge of dawn
And I could see the fields of glory
I could hear the sower’s song

I had a dream that I was waking
At the burning edge of dawn
And all that rain had washed me clean
All the sorrow was gone

I had a dream that I was waking
At the burning edge of dawn
And I could finally believe
The king had loved me all along

I had a dream that I was waking
At the burning edge of dawn
I saw the sower in the silver mist
And He was calling me home

Advertisements

saturday, or the winter of waiting

I’ve always been drawn to the Saturday of Holy Week. What was that day like for those who loved Jesus and believed He was who He said He was? He was dead and buried in a tomb – they laid him there. They wrapped his bruised, crushed, broken body in cloth and poured precious spices and oils over his dead body, cold and still.

Did they remember his words about rising again? Did they think about the way he had spoken Lazarus right out of his tomb and did they hope against hope that he would use that same power to raise himself? Or did they wonder if they had believed a lie? Did they sit, confused and heartbroken, wondering what the past several years had been for if not for Jesus to save the world as the Messiah?

Waiting. Wondering. Watching for the dawn of Sunday. Would their hope be realized?

I’ve been in a Saturday season for almost a year now. The things I thought would happen have not (yet) or never will. I’ve felt frustrated, boxed in by things I cannot control or have little hope of changing. The timing of so many things has felt jarring, awkward, not at all what I would have planned. My hope has been deferred and it has made my heart sick. Dreams and ideas and hopes have died and lie buried beneath what I thought would be. New things are taking root and growing, slowly the new is coming to pass, but the buds are not yet bursting forth into bloom.

This winter has been a long, cold, snowy one in Minnesota. The two week forecast has no signs of spring, and my heart is weary. I’m usually a little more Pollyanna about winter, but the waiting and delays in our adoption proceedings, stress of every day life, the uncertainty in our foster daughter’s future, and my own sinfulness have piled up like the snowdrifts at the end of our driveway and my heart lies cold under the depths of it all.

A long winter. The longest of Saturdays.

But everything changed in one day, in one moment, really. Where there was death, life and love conquered the grave. Winter cannot withstand the power of Spring. The trees bud and bloom, the flowers blossom, the grass grows. I will see green again, just like I have in the other 35 springs of my life. The icy grip of doubt and despair and frustration will loosen and my heart will thaw by the warmth of the promises of a mighty, unchanging God that sees me and walks with me in every season, through every valley.

And this in between, this Saturday, this winter that seems to never end; where things do not go how I want them to or how I thought they would…it teaches me to sit with those in a similar place. To allow for grief over what might have been or what I hoped could be. To be a witness to the pain of walking through this broken world, saying “I see this is hard. I see you here. Let’s sit and wait for the burning edge of dawn together.” It reminds me to love well and carry hope, and be a friend in the middle place between death and dawn.

My Deliverer is coming. Saturday night must end in the dawn of Sunday. My Jesus destroyed the power of sin and death and He will bring His good, good plan to pass in my life. This winter of waiting, this Saturday between the darkness and the dawn, it will give way to Spring and Sunday. I know how this story ends.

currently 12.0

whoa. it’s been four years since I’ve done a “currently” post. Well, really its been four years since I blogged with any regularity. 😛 Sigh. Life! It happens. Motherhood and fostering have both taken huge bites out of my brain and my time.

current reading material: just wrapped up Seabiscuit and The Glass Castle – finally! Those two had been on my list for years. Currently halfway through Half Broke Horses and listening to The Aviator’s Wife on audiobook. Apparently I go in spurts with reading because I hadn’t really read since our trip to Mexico in January until the past month. Silly me! I love it so.

current songs o’ delight: “Give Love” by Andy Grammer.

current projects: ripping out our basement wet bar that we never use, so we can turn it into a more functional space for schooling/play.

current recipes I’ve tried: this fabulous Chopped Chicken Salad with Creamy Peanut Dressing. I omitted the peppers in the dressing, and skipped the jicama and Asian pear in the salad, but otherwise followed the recipe. Makes a good amount, so we had leftovers for lunch and dinner the next day too. Could be Whole30 if you subbed a bit of fruit juice for the coconut palm sugar.

current hair color: natural with a healthy dose of blonde on the bottom 2/3. the grey is creeping in, y’all and I’m just not ready to face that music yet.

current events: just had a lovely trip up north to Grand Marais, where we enjoyed all our favorite things and also tried our hand at innkeeping for a friend who needed a little break from her five unit motel. We liked it and hope to do it again sometime later this year.

upcoming events: Jackson turns 8 in just over a week and I’m a little in denial. Time is a thief.

or this version….

loving: pineapple strawberry La Croix sparkling water – the Curate’ version
reading: Half Broke Horses, by Jeannette Walls (just finished her first book, The Glass Castle)
waiting for: clarity for our foster kiddos case and a referral from Haiti
shopping for: pool floaties and chemicals
excited about: possibly going to NYC in the fall with Kyle
trying to: not lose my sanity caring for a VERY, super, uber busy toddler and my other three too
working on: achieving perfect pool water. ha!
enjoying: the She Reads Truth Romans’ study
using: bug spray. the mosquitoes are fierce again.
wearing: breezy summer dresses on repeat
planning: Jack’s 8th birthday party
singing:
needing: a haircut. and a meal plan that works.
learning: more about attachment and how to fix disordered attachment
listening to: Souvenir by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors
wishing: I was lean/could find a meal plan or diet that works for me.
doing: more cooking! I realized I’ve been just coasting in survival mode and making tasty, creative meals gives me life. So I’m trying to do more in the kitchen again.
dreaming of: a bigger house with more space for people. my people, our family, our friends, all the people. but maybe just making this house bigger. Somehow.

adoption update 4.0

I can’t believe that its been over 4 years since we began this journey. It’s had surprising twists and turns, many delays – both perfectly timed ones and ones we don’t understand. We really thought back in September something was finally going to happen, but after 5 months of silence since then from the Haiti social services department, we and our agency have concluded something got lost in translation and we didn’t get the referral we were hoping for and anticipating based on the payment requested and given.

It’s been hard to keep hoping and dreaming of our family being complete with our kid(s) home. It’s been difficult to keep trusting that God knows what’s best for us and knows the timing that’s perfect as well. But its been good for us to keep looking to Jesus, reading His promises that He is working for our good and His glory, and for us to keep loving the kids God has brought to our home through foster care.

We hope that 2017 will bring us a match with the kid(s) God has for us, and maybe even see our child(ren) come home. In the meantime, we’re going to: keep practicing Creole (I’m about to label everything in our house with it’s Creole word), pray for our kid(s), update our home study, ask God to move mountains, get to know more Haitian adoptive families here in MN, continue learning about adoption and attachment, and love the people and live this life God has put right in front of us.

We also still have more money to raise, especially if Haiti does match us with siblings. You can go check out our Adopt a Love Story page!

adoption-header

2016 Year in Review

The Year that Was – 2016

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before? Took the kids on a road trip by myself. Set foot on the African continent, specifically Morocco! Took an epic westward road trip with our family. Saw my little brother get married!

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I made goals again, (not resolutions) and made headway on many. Several will move over into this year’s goals, and others will fall into the crevice of unmet hopes and good intentions. 😛

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? yes! Several good friends and my sister-in-law.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No.

5. What countries did you visit? Morocco! It was incredible. I also made layovers in Spain and the U.K., but those hardly count. And new states for me: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and North Dakota on our epic Last Great Adventure of the Summer Road Trip.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016? I repeat from last year and the year before: our yet unknown, but very loved already, child home from Haiti. More patience and time (use what I have more wisely).

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Sept. 1 – because its the day we left on our big road trip that we’d planned for months.

8. What was your biggest achievements of the year? Taking the kids on our spring break road trip to TN. planning and going on our family vacation out west with Kyle. And homeschooling again this year. We also helped several families with their foster babies while they went out of town and had a couple sweet kiddos that stayed for weeks or a couple months this year.

9. What was your biggest failure? Not setting my phone down enough.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I didn’t, but we had a CRAZY October with an emergency room visit with Grant for croup, followed by a foot infection that went berserk and landed Kyle in the hospital for five days for treatment.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Tickets to Morocco. (Plane tickets often make it into this slot.)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Jackson’s. He grew up so much this year and is such a great kid. I’m constantly blessed by his sweetness, his helpfulness, and his excitement for life. He took off in reading, he plays so nicely with his siblings, and he has a heart for other people to know God and love Him.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton. All politicians everywhere.

14. Where did most of your money go? housing, food, church/missions and gasoline.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Going to Morocco! Our trip west. My brother’s wedding.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016? She’s My Wife – Josh Garrels, The Dark Before the Dawn – Andrew Peterson, Hallelujah – Andy Grammer, What Would I Do Without You? – Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: happier or sadder? happier. less stressed!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? writing. I have no idea where my writing self has gone…she took a hike and I need her to come back to me.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? aimless Facebook scrolling. Being short with my kids.

20. How did you spend Christmas? we opened gifts at our house on Christmas Eve, then went to church Christmas morning, and left Kyle home to sleep/work. I took the kids to my parent’s to open gifts and eat dinner, then on to Kyle’s parent’s to open gifts with his family. Grant had a minor cold that went into full blown miserable mode by the end of the day, so I ended up taking him to the ER to get meds for an ear infection and didn’t get home until nearly midnight.

21. How did you spend New Years? We went to a friend’s house and had pizza. Our kids played, we grown-ups talked – it was nice! Then we tucked the kids in here at home, and Kyle and I prayed and kissed at midnight.

22. What were your favorite TV programs? This is Us, The Great British Baking Show, and Grantchester.

23. What were the best books you read? Secrets of a Charmed Life, a fascinating and riveting novel about life choices and their impact on others, set in WW2.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery? Hamilton: the Musical (MIND BLOWN) and Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors.

25. What did you want and got? A trip to Haiti.

27. What was your favorite film of this year? I can hardly remember which movies I’ve seen over the year…I’ll come back to it if I remember.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 34 and it was a lovely ordinary day. We had a little family celebration with dinner and cake before rushing off to coach Jack’s soccer team and play a soccer game. The next day we went up to Two Harbors to camp while Kyle ran Grandma’s Marathon. Later in the month we went to dinner and a Josh Garrels concert and that was kind of my birthday date. It was great!

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Like I said last year – the adoption process being over and a child home in our arms.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016? Dialed in. I know what I like and I have found my groove. Classic with my own twist.

31. What kept you sane? Working out at the kettlebell gym, good music, my husband, and God’s Word.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Nope. Nobody.

33. What political issue stirred you the most? The election. Mostly just depressed me though.

34. Who did you miss? my friends that live far away.

35. Who was the best new person you met? a beautiful soul in Morocco named Kaltoom. She is a friend of my friend and she welcomed me into her home and life with open arms and a generous heart. I was blessed so much by her.

36. Tell us some valuable life lessons you learned in 2016: I can road trip with three kids and survive just fine! Being consistent in exercise/working out at the gym makes me more disciplined in other areas and helps maintain my mental health. I LOVE lifting heavy kettlebells. Kyle and I make an amazing road tripping team and our kids are road trip warriors. I love supporting the global workers we know and want to make visiting them and seeing their lives up close a regular event for us and our family.

And here is 2017 already!  Welcome to a new year – I am excited to see what miracles and beauty you hold and what challenges you bring our way, all under the mighty hand of God.

overheard 2.0

when the kids say something funny or cute, i try to write it down immediately on my phone and/or when I post it on Facebook, then dump them all here. It’s been more than a year since I last unloaded the hilarity onto these pages, and a lot of funny things have come out of kid’s mouths since then.

Taylor keeps us on our toes, and is always talking, so there is ample opportunity for something hilarious to pop out. So the following are things she’s said in the past year:

  • I told Taylor to please go to her room to find a happy heart and to quit whining. Moments later I heard a mournful cry from her room, “I can’t FIND ONE! It’s LOST…forever.” Oh the drama with this one.
  • “You have to be so so so quiet, ’cause you don’t want to unsurprise it!”
  • “I got a letter cut!” (a paper cut.)
  • Said to her brother, Jack, when he wasn’t sharing with her: “YOU’RE SINNING!”
  • As I tucked Taylor into bed one night, and was getting ready to walk out,she grabbed me and declared, “I’m never letting you go…I’m PHAROAH!” We both laughed!
  • While taking care of her bathroom business: “I’m gonna stink this place up!” (And boy, does she!)
  • One night she asked if God would please give us another girl so we could have three girls in our family to play princesses. So sweet.
  • She heard sirens while driving somewhere with her Grandm Meri. Grandma tried to explain why the sirens were on: to go help someone who is hurt. Taylor retorted, “Yeah, Grandma is called an EMERGENCY.”
  • Water leaked out of her sippy cup on to her dress: “Water! It’s so, so, so…wet.”
  • After eating Grandma’s birthday cake (probably mostly frosting): “My tummy hurts because I LOVE cake!”
  • Talking to her daddy one evening: “Daddy, can I kiss you? Because I love you. I miss you so much when you’re at work, and when you go places by yourself. But when you’re here, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. So I kiss you.”
  • We let Taylor participate in the communion service around Thanksgiving. Taylor leaned over and stage-whispered to me, “Is this the blood? Because Jesus had blood in him. I need to drink more blood.”
  • After hearing me tell Grant, “I love you, fat baby!” Taylor said to me, “I love you, mama fat!” Later she came by and said, “I love you, but I won’t say chubby mama, ’cause that’s RUDE.”
  • One warm summer day, she was convinced she was sick. “I’m so dehydrated and I think I have a beaver.” (Fever. And no, she didn’t.) LOL.
  • Taylor was out with her aunties at a softball game and was getting tired. Auntie Anna held her and Taylor got incredulous. “Where’s GRANDMA. This is NOT how Grandma holds me.” well!
  • She was very pleased with her outfit one day: “This is soooo FAB-LEE-US! Isn’t it, mom?”
  • At a lake: “Don’t step on the allergy!” (Algae.)
  • When her throat hurts, “I have a throw neck.” (that’s a combo word: sore and throat = throw.)
  • She thought something she heard was funny: “That’s HILARIOUS. Is hilarious a bad word, mom?”
  • Telling me a story: “Yeah, I LUsually do it too.”

 

Grant

  • Oh-KAI. (How he says okay.)
  • In November 2015, after seeing his dad and big brother play lots of football, he wanted to play too and would say, ” SET. HIKE. CHUCHDOOOOOWWWWWNNNNNN!”
  • Singing Twinkle, Twinkle: “Winkle winkle yillll taaaaar.”

four years, sixteen kids

Today Facebook reminded me that four years ago we were first licensed to provide foster care in our county. It was several more months before a child was placed in our home – siblings, actually. I’ve kept each name written in a little notebook, and I have a picture of most of the sweet kiddos who have stayed with us. Some only stayed hours. Others days. Two teeny tiny babies stayed months.

We’ve had great experiences, and terrible, total breakdown moments. Our hearts have been broken over the pain and suffering these little ones have endured. I have been desperate to know how to help more than one screaming baby find comfort, since their mommy couldn’t help.

We have worked with social workers and birth families. We’ve seen kids who have stayed with us join forever families that loved them fiercely. It’s been a joy to see children return to their families who are more ready and equipped to properly care for and parent their kids. We have known that kids were going back into a situation where they could quite probably be hurt again.

It’s been so good, and so hard. Fostering is full of these strange marriages of bitter and sweet, good and bad, hard and easy. It’s good to provide a place for a child who needs a safe home. It’s bad that any child can’t stay with their first family. It’s hard to say good-bye, but it’s easy to hold a tiny infant.

It’s bitter sometimes to put aside what I want to do and what I want my life to look like to care for another child, to lose sleep because a toddler can’t rest in a strange bed…but it’s so very, very sweet to earn the trust and love of a small person who has been hurt so often by the people they should be able to count on always. It’s sweet to see them smile shyly and lean in for a hug. It’s sweet to hear them tell a silly story and laugh together. It’s sweet to see the way God provides for us, physically and emotionally as we soldier through this hard and good thing to which He has called us.

We’re taking a break from (as I’ve called it) “the fosterhood” for awhile. Back to back placements from July-January and very unique circumstances around both of them were taxing. A recharge and regroup was in order. It’s been a crazy adventure, this foster parent thing. But I can definitely say I’m glad we’ve done it and I’m glad we can do it again. Kids need love and people who will care for their souls and bodies. I can do that! We can do that. I’m so glad we can do that.