Apr

12

ELATION!!!  For those of you following our adoption story, we’ve had TWO grand steps forward.  And one knows, in the adoption process, any and all steps are to be celebrated with much glee.  This week we have been submitted for Ethiopian court and also received our long awaited PAIR letter!!  We’ve been waiting and hoping and praying on this one item since we were assigned our referral in November.

 

Honestly, I thought I’d have way more to say but sometimes when there is such relief and thankfulness, the words actually don’t come and there is nothing to do but quickly post the good news and then sit and breathe.

 

All praise and gratefulness and joyful relief go to You Father God.  All of it.

PAIR

Jan

04

Yup.  Really wanted my favorites today.  Chocolate.  And coconut.

So, I made up a cookie recipe.  And it was quite delicious.  See what you think?GF cookie

 

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter (can sub in coconut oil if you want)

3/4 cup real maple syrup (none of that HFC stuff)

1 TBs Molasses

1 egg

1 Tsp almond extract

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1 TBs cocoa powder

1/2 Tsp salt

1/2 Tsp Baking powder

2 1/4 cups oat flour

As many chocolate chips as you feel is necessary

 

Blend up and bake at 350 for 10 minutes on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Then devour at least 2 before they completely cool.

 

Dec

31

Why?  How?  What were we thinking? Was it all for nothing?  I MUST put all these questions out of my mind.

 

Because there’s a pretty good chance no answers will satisfy.

 

With the recent rumors circulating, a recent proposal to possibly shut down adoptions in Ethiopia, and very little in depth communication with our agency, my heart is galloping leaps and bounds… and not in a good way.  Processing what all this could mean, when we are sooooo darn close to having our little daughter home, is bewildering and frustrating to say the least.  My mind naturally wants to dwell on the gravity of the three years we just spent waiting, hoping, keeping documents current, gobs of money being invested, names being picked, and on the adorable photo on the fridge.

 

I know this is a risk everyone takes when adopting, especially from another country.  And it doesn’t make any sense with the thousands of children living out their lives in institutions without families.  But I will drive myself absolutely mad if I do not allow God to lift my head, slow my panic, catch the tears, and fill my thoughts with His truth.  And the truth is, God is SO GOOD.  He is holy and just.  He loves us.  He loves the orphan across the sea.  Not just he “nice benevolent” kind of love… but the kind that gave His life in exchange for ours. He is not punishing me or angry with me or playing games in some weird faith test.  We have not been overlooked.  Adoption will be part of our family’s story.

 

His plans are not to harm us but to give a future and a hope.  I won’t deny that my heart would be absolutely crushed if this adoption fell through in this last stretch.

 

But nothing, NOTHING is wasted with God.  He redeems all things.

 

When I went to kiss Alicia last night, I asked her if she’d like to pray for Baby E.  I hadn’t shared with her the details of what mama had been bawling about.  But she looked at me with large brown eyes and replied, “oh you mean about the Ethiopian government not letting us have our baby?  I’ve already prayed twice.”  This girl never ceases to amaze me.  She said she’d overheard me earlier talking with Brian and so he had explained things as best he could.  And we will choose to worship God no matter the dark road or the bright sunny road, unashamedly.

 

Thank you all who have been supporting us with encouragement, prayers, and with fasting.  We will post more as we know more of the outcome of Ethiopia’s decisions concerning their adoption laws.

Dec

05

We just returned from a quick trip up to D.C. this last weekend. I am amazed again and again at the amount of artifacts and stuff that is packed into the multiple, massive Smithsonian museums. We are a people that love to recollect… to keep alive that connection with the past. I went through the house where Abe Lincoln died. Did you know they still have his bloodied pillow? Wow. Being the history nerd that I am (I fully admit it), this type of stuff fascinates me.

 

It occurred to me this weekend, that we also began the adventure of moving to North Carolina exactly 365 days ago.  So, I’m setting up that year milemarker with relief, amazement and a couple paragraphs of some recollecting of my own.  Within 2 weeks of Brian getting a job offer, the house was packed and I was bravely waving goodbye to my fella.  Alicia and I would join him 2 days before Christmas.  I could not have been prepared entirely for what lie ahead. My silly brain had been assuring me things would go on pretty much the same, but better of course, and in a “warm” new zip code.  Isn’t that how it often is?

 

Brian began working for a company called Sports Endeavors. A steady nine to five.  (and with health insurance). Big change. I’d become accustomed to having him home, working in his home “office”. We shared a car. We took lunches together. His schedule was FLEEEEXIBLE… and for 6 years I enjoyed that incredible blessing without truly knowing what a huge blessing it was.

 

Alicia is now in a fulltime private school. Which happens to be exactly 20 miles away. And I drive that. Four times each day. You do the math. Big change. The amount of petrol we use and the cost of her tuition is shocking. Alicia has been homeschooled up til now, and dropping her off each day at Grace Christian in Raleigh has reminded me how swift these childhood years pass, and how careful I need to be to make each moment matter. This change has been needful. It has been hard.

 

I also began looking for a part time job. With Alicia in school all day now, I was free to jump back into the world of dresspants and customer service. Big change. Somehow, with each place I applied for and interviewed with, there was a small nagging feeling that this wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. Practically and logically speaking, I rationalized that getting a job was exactly what I needed to be doing with my “free time”. We had an adoption to pay for for crying out loud! Hadn’t I been looking forward to this opportunity for years? But one by one, doors refused to open. And the ones that were open, just didn’t suit. I have had to reevaluate and face myself over and over, realizing I don’t need a job to fill hours and fill the heart and fill the bank account…

 

As many of you know, we received a long awaited call from our adoption agency. They had a darling baby girl ready to process out. And she could be ours. Maybe not on legal paper yet, but in our hearts, she IS ours. Big change. We now have a daughter, currently living in a small care center in Ethiopia. And I pray that I can be the mother she needs. Oh how can I even anticipate the changes this coming spring when she comes home?! This is to be our last Christmas as a threesome.

 

There it is.  A quick recalling of this last year…  God’s favor and grace and beauty in the midst of these big changes.  365 days of His Shepherding presence. New co-workers and learning a whole different perspective outside the christian bubble. Enduring a challenging odd cabin in Durham for 4 months. Being side slammed with intense loneliness. Having a car payment again.  Church hopping for 8 months. Meeting new families and being okay with my introvertness. Believing these people will be core friends and fellow sojourners but rejecting the pressure to make it happen instantly. Navigating a contrastive city and culture. Moving again, into a Cary neighborhood. First time with swim team! WILD thunderstorms we’d never experienced before. Being part of a spank’n new church plant! Raleigh State Fair! Transitioning from mega church style to baby small church style. HanIMG_4290ding up my expectations and dreams, and taking hold of God’s arm, wherever that may lead day by day. Pioneer day at school! Welcoming our adoption referral news but far from our family and friends. Seeing God do the miraculous. Seeing God meet us in the daily little things. Purchasing an ice scraper for the below 30′s mornings. Carrying with us holiday traditions and incorporating new ones. Rejoicing and resting in the season of new life and new light and hope.

Nov

15

all threeToday I spent an entire day with a friend, hunched over a fabulously messy table… tapping, hammering, and measuring.  And dipping brass in Liver of Sulfur, holding my breath.  And buffing with soft pad carefully stamped letters that hopefully catch the heart.

 

Redeemed. Courage. Endurance.

 

Words that have been my companion these past 25 months as we’ve waited for “the call”.  The call from our adoption agency that will give hope and tell us that all our waiting and working and praying has now brought us face to face with a small photo.  She has enormous chocolatey brown eyes, wisps of dark, Ethiopian hair, and big future ahead.

 

Em’net means Believe or Faith.  And while we aren’t sure that will stay her first name, it certainly fits the spirit surrounding the circumstances that have brought her and us together.  For now, we call her Baby E.

 

These are genuine leather cuffs to adorn your wrist; where you will see it and be reminded, that you are Redeemed by Christ.  That He fills us with Courage to face anything!  And that we press on with Endurance as we follow Him.  Each one is handmade and intended to be unique with little imperfections.  It was certainly a labor of love!

 

Every cent earned by these leather cuffs will go directly to bringing Baby E home to her family.  To purchase, either use Paypal or you may send me a check.  $37, free shipping…  (Next week, I will be making some leather cuffs that are black with antiqued nickel.)

Thank you all for looking and supporting us with this adoption!




courage Redeemed
 Endurance  smile
 adjustable  snaps

Oct

29

I love the sun.  I’m drawn to it’s light like an ant to a picnic crumb.

 

I really wanted to take some pictures of the morning sky today.  Instead I focused on maneuvering four lanes of early morning cars,  staying ahead of the coming traffic deluge. But take my word, the sky was magnificently glorious.

 

Blushing hillsides, all shades of pink and gold…. the lifting sun streaking yellow fingers through the high wispy clouds.  Mmmmm-mmm!

 

While the sun itself is a ferocious mass of flaming gas and fire hurtling through space, it brings gentle warmth and a softening to these terribly groggy mornings.  Face turned up to its rays, I thank the Lord for such a heavenly kiss today.  I need it.  IMG_8916

 

Hwy 40 snakes around the top of Cary suburbs and the edge of Raleigh.  Momentarily, the sun vanishes behind tall Carolina trees, winking here and there.  I should be concentrating on my coming exit.  The sun is back, higher now, glaring through the windshield.  No sunglasses for me.  I. Love. It.

 

I grew up in the sunny, temperate, coastal valley of California’s bay.  Each summer, my brother and sis and I would play outside from dawn til dusk.  By the second week of summer vacation, we were tanned brown as berries.  Back then, no one was chasing after their kids to slather on the sunblock.  Rather people still enjoyed baking their skin.  While (ahem) slightly more intelligent now, and we know the benefits of sunscreen, I am still a huge fan of the sun’s rays which fills us with not only healthy Vit D but scientifically proven, a large sense of well-being.  Sunshine can lift my soul faster than a starbucks mocha.  Seriously!

 

So the thought of heading into these cold winter months has me daydreaming I was on the same travel plan as those geese overhead, wings pushing hard toward warmer regions.  Our extended family is nestled in their scarves and under umbrellas on the other side of the country, and while I don’t envy the gloomy rain, I know they are also preparing for the icy months ahead… and I think how I miss them tremendously.  Truly the dropping temps and darker days is such a challenge for me.  I recognize it, and for those out there who know what I’m talking about, we are all headed to the health stores and grabbing our bottle of Vit D and adrenal support!

 

Thankfully I do not have to live grey and dormant all winter.  While C.S. Lewis’ Lucy Pevensie entered a silver, bejeweled winter with no hope of Christmas, I know that these darker bone-chilling months will in fact be lit up with warm candles, roaring campfires in the backyard, and strands of sparkling holiday lights.  I also think about the One who is the True and Everlasting Light of the world.  He is more than the grace of the bright and cheery sun.  He is the heat and life and strength that runs through the veins and propels me forward.  On days when I don’t feel like getting out of bed and the sun isn’t shining brightly like it was earlier, Jesus draws me upward and is the Light within.

 

May your Fall and Winter be filled with crunchy red leaves, peppermint mochas, and fat orange pumpkins.  And when your pumpkin has rotted and the leaves turned to gutter mulch, I hope you don’t lose heart under the heavy dark sky, but that the Shining King, the Hero of heaven, brings Light and Peace and Joy to your spirit.

 

 

Oct

02

For two weeks we’ve been planning our first real official adoption fundraiser event.  Yeah, and I was scared spitless.  I despise asking for money.  I loathe it.  I love it when people give me money.  But the whole awkward part of fundraising makes me wish I could saw off my right toe instead.

 

A friend here talked me in to it.  Why?  Because she did something similar last year for another adoption related event.  And because I totally trust her.  She’s a beautiful mom with 6 of her own kiddos, three are adopted.  She’s been there.  And I watch her and think, “wow, she’s beautiful.”

 

I nervously put the word out to our very young church family.  I say young for two reasons.  One, they ARE young, in age.  We happen to be in the top 20% of 35 and over.  And secondly, the church has officially just begun, we are 4 services into our church plant.  So, I put the word out that if anyone had a knack for baking cupcakes, that they could contribute them to the booth we’d be having in exactly 2 weeks at the farmers market.

 

I can’t tell you how fast I received responses.  It was like I said “hey, I need cupcakes” and within a few days, I had been promised over 100 sweet little treats.  Rather than rejoice, my ever cynical and fearful mind blurted out over and over to me… “Becca, can you really expect to sell all those?!  You’re going to be left with dozens of cupcakes and then what?”  Oh the annoyance of that voice for 2 whole weeks.

 

At one point, Brian exasperatingly said I was “limiting the Lord” and “who knows what a bunch of cupcakes could multiply into in the hands of God!”  Either he had way more faith than I, or he was just plain to busy to think on it, OR (and this is my hunch), he was looking forward to gorging himself on delicious leftovers.

 

Fast forward… Saturday morning opened with beautiful crisp sunny skies.  The booth was set up with relative ease.  I noticed we were next to another vendor selling bakery goods and my heart sunk.  But I didn’t have time to mull over and fret for long.  Our friends showed up and we organized the table, took a few photos and before I knew it, we were in the middle of a fullblown cupcake sale.

 

We also had these amazing t-shirts with Africa and a scripture verse design as well as two baskets of the most incredibly lovely handmade Ugandan beads. All in all, I didn’t sit down once. We had eager helpers (Alicia and several friends eagerly hawked their wares and couldn’t wait to bag up some goodies for those who wanted to take theirs for the road.)

 

Towards the end, I offered cupcakes for free to anyone passing just to make sure we didn’t come home with a load… and without fail, they all lit up, came over, and after picking a few melty cupcakes, tossed their contributions into the jar.

 

We were one of the very last booths to come to a stop and tear down.  My feet were sore, I hadn’t even stopped to eat lunch.  The kids were coming down from their sugar high, and I was ready to close myself away into my quiet car and head home.

 

All in all, we sold nearly all the cupcakes.  And we made a little over $1200.  God did WAY ABOVE what we imagined.  Truly.  We are so utterly thankful for the friends who, moved by God’s heart, came around us and supported us each step of the way through this.  And all my awe goes to the Lord.  For He is good.  And He delights in showing Himself strong.

 

Ps- And amazingly, the bakery vendor next to us sold every last item on his table. He even came over and bought a t-shirt from us.

IMG_8670 IMG_8685
IMG_8688 IMG_8687
IMG_8682 IMG_8671
IMG_8678 IMG_8676

 

 

Aug

28

This solitary place.  Something I have always despised.

 

I see everyone around me filling their days with busyness, juggling careers, hectic calendars that are impossible to penetrate.

 

Today, I find myself again in this solitary place.  You, God, have me here.  Holding me still.  I do not feel peaceful or flexible enough currently to enjoy with radiant abandon the taunt corners that surround me.  But I know You are with me.  You are GOOD.  And in this quiet place, I learn that You have made it with me in mind.

 

So I push tomorrow out of my view.  I will stop craning my stiff neck and calm the constant fluttering within me.  Today is all there is.  Today is before me.  Forgive me Papa God for writing it off as menial and unfulfilling.  For believing the lie that I must be moving at break neck speed pinging from one task to the next to be worthy of living.  For believing that I must be earning a wage and have an impressive resume in order to be someone worth noticing.  For believing the dastardly fib that solitary seasons are wasted seasons.

 

My heart has been hard and my eyes pinched shut because it is so darn easy to get caught up marching to the tempo of the world and glorifying some false reality that busy is better.  It is an illusion.  The paths that are solitary are largely unappreciated.  But You promise unfathomable Joy and bursting surprises and nourishing rest unlike what a plump bed or hefty vacation can give.

 

Perhaps there is no magnificent lesson or deep nugget of knowledge to pour over and study today.  Perhaps, I think, today is just about ‘being’.  Being alive.  Being okay with this moment.  Being close to my Creator, sensing His presence, quiet.

Aug

16

As we drove up to our new school, I suddenly wanted to significantly delay this departure.  Alicia was unbuckling and getting out, ready to start 3rd grade.  I desperately wanted to savor all over again the speeding years of this growing girl.  Her backpack enormous, stuffed with new school supplies and a warming cheese stick for snack, we made our way through the crowd of smartly dressed littles and hand-holding moms.  Good.  I wasn’t the only one.

 

The beginning of each new school year always feels like The One, the turning point of small kiddo changing to independent young person.  It’s a needful transition but always mighty tender on a mother’s heart… it tugs hard on the first day of the new school year.  Sheesh, she looks so grown up and… when did she get so TALL!?  Why didn’t I better cherish her ratty morning hair and never ending “mom watch this!”?  Rather than guilt myself over not being a more doting mommy, I give her another hug and help her sharpen fresh Ticonderoga pencils.  Did I give her enough in her lunchbag?  After nearly 9 years of having complete and full responsibility and joy (and exasperating challenge) of caring and training and loving my baby girl, I am now in essence, handing her over for the main hours of the day to another “parent” who will now work to guide and shape and teach and nurture her.  These whimsical thoughts hardly crossed my mind during the seasons of showing up to library storytime in yoga attire wearing someone’s breakfast.  Or during months of pleading with Miss Doodypants, who refused to use the potty simply because it was easier to dump a load in the undies.  Perhaps the nighttime routine of endless requests for sips of water don’t seem so unreasonable now.

 

I met a girlfriend for coffee after I dropped Alicia off, right in the heart of the city.  Sometimes this introvert enjoys being surrounded by the bustling caffeinated public.  And it didn’t hurt having a last minute mocha date which forced me to not shed a ridiculous tear as I waved goodbye to Alicia for the 300th time.  Sheesh.  You’d think I was sending her off to the moon.

 

I know it is only for these first few days and then I’ll get over it.  We’ll soon be immersed in multiplication and science projects and chapter books.  Oh joy.  Yes, JOY.  And always more than I bargain for.

Jul

31

Some days I just wake up and rabbit trail all day long.  You know, where you start one thing and it leads to another and four hours later you can’t believe how the day got away but you simply must finish the task you now find yourself in, even though spit shining the baseboards behind the toilet wasn’t what you had on the agenda at all. (gaaa!  Must you really ask if I used my spit?  I didn’t ok? Carry on)

 

Today was a cleaning rabbit trail.  I PLANNED on taking Alicia to a new park in Morrisville that I’d read about.  I’d planned on straightening my hair and filling my bird feeder up, and maybe applying myself to some time with the sewing machine.  Somehow entering my daughter’s tornado of a room to ask if she’d done her teeth and the knowledge that a good friend is flying in to town tomorrow (and might possibly come over in the near future, heaven forbid she see our abode looking so lived in) launched me into this absolute crazy cleaning mode.  By 9am I was already on my stomach pulling out scraps of trash from under Alicia’s bed.  In order to save her room from being completely upheaved by energized mom, Alicia was compelled to also launch into this cleaning frenzy.  Together for an hour, we sorted, organized, folded, and threw away.  Since I could now see the carpet again, why not vacuum it?  Real quick, mind you.  Got to get to the park.

 

But vacumming has this soothing effect on me.  The lines in the carpet look so clean and precise I can’t stop at just one room.  I make my way in and out each room and vacuum the whole upstairs!  Beautiful.  Which leads to MY room and all its messy contents.  Not so beautiful.  (Yep, the park has vanished from my thoughts.)  I’m motivated and MULTI-TASKING.  I think.

 

I dive into straightening drawers, stacking bedside books, organizing the closet and unrumpling the sheets.  Emerging some time later, it MAKES SENSE that rather than carry the vac down to the hall closet and just be done with it, I carefully use the vac hose and vehemently suck the life out of the stairway… down each step, …sweat now beading on my upper lip.  Gee that banister sure is grimy.

 

Out come the Lysol wipes to tackle that banister.  But those handy dandy squares of chemical cleaner are in the kitchen and wait, I see an ant on my counter.  They must be enjoying those dirty dishes.  Lysol wipes forgotten, I plunge into a major dishwashing session, suds up to my elbows and grease splattering my new camisole.  Dang.  Dishwasher emptied, faucet off, pots dried, I dash upstairs to change.  While I’m at it with my cami, I should just bring down Alicia’s dirty clothes as well.  Down to the laundry room and I start a load of laundry.  Fishing out the gobs of lint from the dryer (and folding the dry towels still occupying it), I toss it into a nearly full trash, …aaand like any normal wife who doesn’t leave the rubbish for her fella, I lug the bag into the garage.  Hmmm, Julia doesn’t have water or food in her bowls.  Ok, fill them.  Should I do the litter too?  Nah.  I’ll leave that for Alicia.  You know, teaching responsibility and all that.  I astound myself with my parenting skills.

 

Finally snagging those Lysol wipes… for the banister…  I twirl past the stove, and remember how crusty the microwave is and while I’ve got the wipes I ought to just give it a swipe right?  Oh man.  WHY is the microwave always so grody??  If only those dots of exploded food stuck to the inside could be wiped up right away before being cooked to oblivion and solidifying rock hard on the microwave wall.  But that’s impossible.  The reason I use the microwave is because I’m IN A HURRY and usually hungry.  (I briefly recall someone saying once if I nuke a cup of vinegar inside it will be a cinch to clean.  Ok, I’ll try that next time)  No joke, 50 minutes later I finally close that sparkling microwave door closed.  And because wipes are in hand, I decide to wipe down the downstairs toilet and floor, and then the window sills and baseboards in the dining room as well.  (It’s a good thing I buy the economy size container of these brilliant wipes) Finishing that last sill, I realize I’m leaning over the temporary puzzle table in the corner loaded with Alicia’s art projects, some back to school lists, and lots of cat hair.  I can’t just ignore THAT?!

 

Yes I AM making my way to the banister, but ON THE WAY, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for the edges of every downstairs door with fingerprints…  and the wall by the stairs too.  Ok, now the banister.  Oh it is dirty.  Wow.  It’s a good thing I caught this.

 

By now, my ungloved hands are beginning to feel the toxic effects of the Magic Eraser and Lysol wipes and the pink paint on my nails is all chipped from the scrubbing of the microwave.  I desperately need a shower too.  What has Alicia been doing these past hours?  I was going to take her to the park!!!  She’s been happily perfecting her gymnastics in the bonusroom, constructing a Lego village at the top of the stairs, and using more paper than should be legal for more art projects that I will find and “take care of” in a few days.  Incredibly she’s discovered if she stays busy and our of moms way, she probably won’t get roped into one of moms chores.  (aaaand playing is WAY more fun)

 

(sigh) This day has mostly escaped.  How did I tumble down this rabbit trail?  Bounce bounce bounce.  It has been SIX hours of this hopping from one cleaning project to the next. I’m blaming it on the fact that Alicia had Sweet Betsy From Pike on repeat playing in her CD player and I sort of got hypnotized.  But my energy levels are spent and the park is a distant effort I will move to another day on the calendar.  A shower, a book, and something sweet sounds better.

 

I probably should have warned you (if you’re even still with me here) that this blog contains a big fat zero when it comes to worthwhile reading. I just felt like typing out my ridiculous day and marveling at how many spelling errors I had to fix.