Thursday, January 10, 2013

On again off again...

Anyone else have those on again off again arguments conversations with God? Melissa and I have been in one of those for what seems like about 6 months now. In fact, if you look at the post just below here from July, it sort of hints at that, and probably why this blog has gone dark since. There for a while we just KNEW what we were supposed to do. So we....

  • Had 2 garage sales
  • Sold a bunch of stuff on Craigslist
  • Sold some other stuff to a jewelry store
  • Saved up some $$$
  • Threw this $$$ at the adoption agency
  • Filled out a truck load of paperwork
Then it happened....

We were down to the very last item, me getting my physical and blood work. This in and of itself is no big deal, it's just a logistical pain in the rear! Our family doctor only does blood work 2 days or something stupid like that, and they are NEVER timely when I go over there and end up missing a half a day of work just to draw blood. I went to an appointment, had to leave for an important meeting because they couldn't poke my finger for at least another hour after my scheduled time, couldn't reschedule for another couple of weeks, blah, blah, blah. 

Then we found out the 2 children our agency had been in the process of getting assigned had been placed, ouch! Now, we don't know what a physical miscarriage is like as we never experienced it, but this is probably what I imagine it would emotionally feel like. I'm not sure Melissa and I talked about it for many days, we had just lost 2 children! This lead to the, "that's it, I'm done" declaration to God. And we both meant it. So that settled it, we were done. It's too stressful, we're getting too old, I don't want to raise any more money, we're tired of people asking when are we traveling, we're focusing on other things for a while... did you hear me?


God patiently listened and said nothing, for quite a long time. Then one day, I don't remember when, like a faint whisper, I could sense something. "Are you ready to talk about it again?" It came as such a loving nudge from God. I was overcome with a sense of loving warmth and God's desire to speak to me and my heart. It was really just a simple, "it's not time to give up, there is more".

I scheduled some time with Herbe at Lifeline to understand the logistics of waiting. I was so encouraged by him and his staff, they are truly amazing workers for God! So I am going to find a way to get that stupid blood work done, and we're going to sit and wait for a while. Our home study and majority of our paperwork is good for a while, at least long enough to sit and listen more.

Now, if I can just learn to listen as patiently and lovingly to my kids as God has done with us during the past 6 months!

Monday, July 23, 2012

White Bread World

This month marks the 10 year anniversary of our family moving to Birmingham Alabama. We moved here from Broken Arrow Ok in July of '02. I'm not sure if it was a leap of faith or just a leap of I Need Out of Oklahoma and now.  Chris and I can be pretty impulsive sometimes. It's gotten less so over the years but we really flew by the seat of our pants for a while.  New cars, new houses, have another baby, whatever.

We decided in March of '02 that it was time for a change of scenery so we took a spring break trip to B'ham to look at houses. I'm pretty sure we didn't pray too hard about that decision. Chris found a job pretty quick teaching computers at Vestavia High. Talk about a demotion. He was a doctoral professor at Univ of Tulsa and now he was going to teach keyboarding. But the Lord blessed that decision. Thank goodness. Turns out we love Vestavia, Birmingham and the south in general.

The only problem with our little world here is that we kind of live in a bubble. A little white bread bubble. Our neighborhood is white. Our church is white. Our school is mostly white. Our family is not white. Well that's not entirely true. Chris and I are white, our bio kids are white. E & F are not white. Any future kids that may join our family will probably not be white. I love that about our family. I've always loved lots of color.

What will it be like for E & F as they get older in this little white world? I really don't feel any need or desire to move to a more colorful part of town. I don't feel called to change churches or schools. So I guess we will stay and try and make things less white around here. But what will E & F have to deal with? Right now they are young and treated just like any of our other kids in church, hood and school. But what about middle and high schools? Will they be shunned by old friends or treated differently by teachers?

I hope not.

I'm not sure that's realistic tho'.

I think it's my job to let them know that their family will always accept them. Their true friends will always accept them. Especially Jesus will always accept them. They will always have Jesus to lean on and guide them through every difficult situation. I want them to be proud of their culture and heritage but I also want them to know that they belong here. Just like everyone else around here. They belong.

I know many people around here think that we are crazy. 5 kids, 6 kids, 7 kids? Who knows. When will you stop adopting? When God tells me to. Not when I decide. When He decides. What would I do with myself? Play tennis, PTA President, shop. No thank you. When I'm old I want to know that I did something worthwhile. Not just the bare minimum. I want to make a difference in the world and to my children.  All my children. Even the ones I don't know yet.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hi there.

This is Melissa writing this post. Chris has been doing it up to now but he's having a hard time finding time and inspiration so I'm taking over for a while.

Growing up I loved the idea of keeping a diary but could never keep it up. I would write for three or four days and then nothing. Every diary I had was basically empty but I kept trying every couple of years. I do write a Christmas letter every year. I thought about quitting but I skipped it a couple of years ago and caught all sorts of grief from different family members so I haven't let that happen again. I try not to be too braggy in the letter but since I can only get a few sentences in about each family member I don't feel the need to mention the negative aspects of each of my children.

I figured out today that there are 34 days left of summer. The summer has actually been going pretty well this year but I do love the school year. I like schedules and consistency. Loosey goosey days are not my cup of tea.  The kids have done pretty well tho'.  Bailey and Channing are old enough now to make their own plans and keep themselves busy with friends, church, camps and dance. Dutch has discovered D1 and football camps. He loves it up there and I love the fact that it's two minutes from the house. The little boys have done various church camps and church school. All they really want to do is swim though.

We haven't been to the beach or Oklahoma yet this summer. We probably need to squeeze both of those things in pretty soon. Fisher has only been to the beach once since he came home so he is dying to go back. Saying he loved it is an understatement. He loves all sorts of sand, dirt, mud etc. The beach is right up his alley.

I wish I could give you a major update on our adoption progress but there isn't much to report. We are STILL working on our homestudy. It's been about five months now. Basically Chris and I stink at homestudies. I can't believe how long it's been taking. We have made some mistakes that cost us some time. We sent in our fingerprints without getting the police officer to sign the cards. How stupid are we?!  Little things like that have really slowed us down. I'm finding it harder and harder to believe that we have actually adopted twice in the past. How did that happen? Apparently I am capable of getting paperwork done but you wouldn't know it by looking at things now. Maybe once the kids go back to school I can focus!

So there's the update for now. I'll try and include some pics with this post. Chris is out of town so I'll have to figure it out on my own so if it doesn't happen I'll try again next time.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Week of Chris

For those of you who were a product of the 80's, it seems just about anything we do now in life can always be referenced back to something from Sienfeld. Every year there is a week in June that I appropriately claim as the week of Chris.

The reason I've claimed it as the week of Chris is because our anniversary is on the 12th, my birthday is on the 16th and Father's day is that Sunday.  Unlike George, I at least like to try and find something better to do than try Frolf. Some years, the week of Chris comes and goes with little fanfare depending on that season of life, what the kids have going on, etc...

But this year... the stars and planets must have aligned up correctly because it was one of the best weeks of Chris I can remember.

It started with Melissa and I actually getting to go out to dinner ON our anniversary, it just doesn't seem to happen all that often. We had a great evening just hanging together over dinner and doing a bit of shopping for new bedding. I know, not terribly exciting, but hey, you take the wins when you get them after 19 years! To be clear, the bedding search was for a nice new down comforter as I think we were sleeping with bedding that we've probably had the entire 19 years we've been together. We were stoked, and that's what counts, right?! What actually made it great is we went through an entire night out and returned home without 1 single text or phone call from anyone at home crying, telling on each other, asking us to tell so and so to stop being so mean, etc... It was the first time we could EVER remember leaving all of the kids home together and this happening!

The very next morning I was up at the crack of dawn to catch a plane to a conference for the remainder of the week. Normally this would be a total drag given that it IS the week of Chris after all, but would you believe it? The conference was in Park City, Utah! So while I did spend a decent amount of time inside at some sessions, we had enough time to do and see plenty of this:

The Canyons just outside of Park City was beautiful. For those of you that know me, being in the mountains does something for my soul in a way that is hard to explain. I'm probably the only person you'll ever meet that moved away from Vail to Oklahoma, twice! So while I was there for "work" it was the most refreshing conference I've ever attended!

Saturday the 16th is my birthday and I spent all day traveling through airports to get home Saturday evening. For some reason, getting to the western 1/4 of the country is relatively easy, getting back always seems to take twice as long due to flight schedules. So while my birthday itself was nothing to write home about, one of my sweet daughters, C, mashed up some pics and I was pleasantly surprised when I received this as a text message while sitting around in the Memphis airport for 3 hours:
Now how awesome is that?!! She is now 14 and this might have been one of the sweetest gestures anyone's done for me that I can remember.

The next day was Father's day and we got to do something I've wanted to do with some of my kids for a long time after church:
We went kayaking on the Coosa river! It was such a great time with my Dad, B, C, and D. It's only about an hour and half away and we spent about 3 hours on the river together. I couldn't think of a greater way to have spent Father's day afternoon. It had it's adventures and trials as getting dumped in the rapids and rocks can be a bit daunting for the kids first time, but in the end I think everyone really enjoyed it. They are still laughing about some of it this week.

It will be hard to live up to the 2012 week of Chris, but anything close to this will be hard to beat! It really was an amazing week and I'm so thankful for the variety and joys received through all of these events this week.