Thursday, March 28, 2013

Finding peace in parenting

 I've been doing a book study called Seven by Jen Hatmaker. It's both a book and a study guide. It rocked my world the first time I read it. I read it a second time out loud to Owen (God bless him) and now I am leading a group of women through the book and working the study. I have found so much rich goodness in this book. Less of me and my stuff, more of Christ and His work! If you seriously want a challenge in your spiritual life--you should check out this book (you know, in addition to reading the BIBLE) The practice of the book is to "fast" from seven areas. Although I've learned a lot from the four areas we've already completed, last week was Media. I fasted from blogging, e-mail (except for 1 hour each day) and TV (with the exception of 1 hour for my children each day).

I realized that I still use media as a way to get "peace" from my kids. I use it to distract myself from the task or issues at hand. I use it as an excuse to power up on junk rather than power up on the Holy Spirit through prayer & Bible reading. What I also learned was that I have taught my children to do the same! I was shocked to walk into media week realizing how much I use TV to get my kids to give me peace for a few minutes--while I get ready, while I make dinner, while I just need five minutes of quite for crying out loud! While I think I need peace... what my children need is me to engage with them.
Of course my media fast coincided with a week that Owen was working tons of overtime and our weather in Phoenix was having multiple personality disorder--hot one day, freezing the next and raining the next.  You know the scene, I have been trying to (you can fill in the blank with any of these_____) fix my hair, put my make up on, brush my teeth, go to the bathroom (by myself just one time, please), pack a picnic lunch, have a phone call (without screaming children in the background) type one e-mail, make dinner, but the constant interruption and mitigation between the three children is making my normally 10 minute routine take about 35...I quickly throw in the towel on parenting and turn on a show to quell the ninnies so I can put the under eye concealer on that I so desperately need! I think I JUST NEED PEACE FOR 10 MINUTES!
 Fasting from media gave me a little NEWS FLASH without Matt Lauer or Meredith Vierra. My kids need ME. Not TV or other distractions. They need me to gently remind them that brothers and sisters are the most precious gift from God and they are worth more than the toy they are fighting over. They need me to show them that they are more important that reading a blog or getting back to an e-mail. They need me to teach them skills to work though disagreements with each. They need me to show them how to use their imagination to play with the millions of toys they have. They do not need to turn their brains off and forget that they were fighting/disagreeing/whining/having a pee-pee accident etc. The reality is that those issues are going to be there when the show is over. I should just stop what I am doing--being selfish--and make the correction, help with a change of heart, discipline when necessary and teach my children how to resolve issues together. I should PARENT! I want my kids remembering that I helped them learn to resolve conflict. I want them remembering me reading to them & playing silly imaginative car games with them--not reading an e-mail or talking on the phone.
This was such an eye opener for me...It's time for me to stop tuning out to get peace, but to tune into my kids to teach peace--or at least attempt to teach that. I know that true peace can only come from Christ--but that too is in the teaching & parenting. **Now all this to say that I don't think TV or media is bad.  Umm Hello I am writing a bog. In fact, I think it's just fine and I think I would go crazy if I didn't have a show, a movie or something when I am in a pinch--after all there are sometimes when practicality wins over principal. After our fast we're back to our normal media consumption and feeling fine with it. Media is around us and I'd be a fool to think that I can sequester my children & family away from media until they turn 18--if I did that, I'd essentially be preparing my kids to fail in a media driven world! But what I have realized is that in those moments that things are particularly frustrating I need to lay down my own agenda and take care of my children's needs however long that may take. If I don't make it out the door with make up on--so be it (you better not say anything to me though). If I don't have dinner on the table right at 5 pm no one is going to starve and if my blog posts are fewer and far between I think my 5 readers are going to make it. (Hi mom and dad, Tom and Joy, and Lindsay)
We (our family) is going to spend the rest of our life consuming media at insane rates. I think it is a good idea for me to teach my kids to use media to enhance their life and be a catapult for face to face engagement--not be that thing that they check out to and ignore issues or people that are in front of them.
So yeah, I am learning a lot. It's good. I love how God can use just everyday things to make me see how much I need HIM! I see in my life especially that He uses parenting to humble me and and re-affirm my dependence on Him!

Friday, March 8, 2013

How We Got Here...

Hello Family and Friends--

We've drawn attention to the blog recently as an avenue in which folks can keep up to date on our adoption progress--which means I guess I need to actually write an update!
But I thought I would start with how we got here...This journey as a family has looked a lot like we'd pictured it when we were dating and getting married and in our earliest years--but in the last 2 years our hearts have been changed and shaped in to something different than they used to be. I'll try to share some of that change here. It's hard to put into words. I have written a few other posts previously, which are linked towards the bottom of this post.

Two years ago, we had just brought home Wesley...our third wonderful baby. Things were going great--but then I started to really feel the fact that we were living in 980 square feet. I loved our house.
I still love our house and felt strongly about trying to find contentment. That contentment alluded me and started to do the same for Owen. We thought maybe it was time for us to look at other options and realized we had none. We prayed a lot during that time.  Long story short, Tom and Joy (Owen's parents) generously offered to let us live in their house while they continued on with out of state work. The Lord confirmed this opportunity by providing renters for our current house, smooth transition into the new place and also by opening doors to refinance! We left our tiny house convinced that our only objective was to have more space and to save for a new house (or a remodel of our old house).

Interestingly enough, at about that same time, the Lord began to prod our hearts about adoption. After walking a very difficult bought with morning sickness with Wesley and a continued long recovery afterwards, I swore off any future babies being produced by this body! Despite that--we still had a strong sense that our family was not complete...we knew there would be more kids. How strong of a sense? From about the time that Wesley was 6 months old, every time I would get the kids in the car it would happen...that sinking feeling that I was forgetting something. I would check around the car and make sure the kids were there, I had my cell phone, purse, wallet & keys. It would still be there, making me feel like I had forgotten a child in the house. When we moved into Tom and Joy's house almost every time I fed Wesley a bottle it would happen again. Clara and Judah would be sitting in front of me watching TV and I'd be holding Wesley but I'd have this sick feeling like I left one of my babies down stairs alone. All during this time, Owen and I had casually been talking about adoption and agreeing that it was something for a few years down the road, when we were in our "new" place. God was working on our hearts though! Prompting us in ways that only He could.

We (meaning me) decided to contact our local adoption agency, Christian Family Care and discuss our options. After all, I was the one who was daily reminded that we were not finished as a family! Owen saw it as an investigation meeting. That was in April of 2012. One meeting and Owen walked out and basically said, "well, what are we really waiting for?" Clearly God was already at work in Owen's heart, but the information from that meeting was the confirmation Owen needed to make a move. In May of 2012 we opened our case plan to adopt. You can read by clicking HEREHERE about how that went for us.

We have gone through our training and certification and home study process. We are waiting for a placement--we have been for 4 1/2 months. The average wait is about 9 months to a year. The first question most people ask is "well what are you going to get?". We are expecting a newborn. We are open to all races and both genders. We have talked openly with our case manager about circumstances that we're open to, but to protect our future birth mom and our baby, we won't be sharing those on the blog!

We know that God has a baby already chosen for our family and we're trusting in His perfect timing. It's hard some days to know that our baby is "out there". But other times it's comforting because I don't have the sense that I'm forgetting something now--I am not forgetting that there is a baby waiting for our arms. Each time that feeling returns I use it as a prompting from the Holy Spirit to pray for "our" birth mom and the baby that will be ours. If you would like to contribute to our adoption fund, please click the DONATE button at the top right of this screen.

Thank you!
EM & O and the kids.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Clara's funnies lately

 Clara has been saying the funniest things lately...at my expense. Several weeks ago I mentioned that we took care of some extra kids--that morning I woke up early to get myself ready for the day because I knew it would be rapid fire from the time the extra two kids arrived until late that evening. I was dressed, had make-up on and had already had a cup of coffee when sleepy eyed Clara and Judah walk into the kitchen. Clara, stands observing me for just a moment too long...
Clara: "Hey Judah, you see that? Mom doesn't look all puffy around her eyes and she looks like she's awake."
Judah: "yeah. she's dressed."

Hint clearly taken!
 A few days later, little miss Clara woke up early from her nap. I was watching TV--grown up TV with commercials, something I usually don't have time to do...She's half asleep from her nap but is sucked into whatever commercials are on. One in particular came on--an under eye cream commercial...Clara is watching very intently and then she looks at me even more intently. She says:
"Mom, your eyes don't look like her eyes...you probably should get that cream."

Thank you very much EsteLauder. And now you know why I don't watch TV around my 5 year old...she is going to give me a complex!
 We had a cold snap the other week--this is the weirdest February that I can remember in Phoenix. Cold, hot, and everything in between. It hailed in our backyard which was occasion for snow hats. I'll take any excuse to snuggle with my boys who rarely sit still long enough to snuggle these days!

Wesley's Birthday

I cannot believe this child is two. It's hard to believe because his baby-hood has been the longest in our family (meaning there's not another birth to boot him out of his position as baby) but it's gone the fastest. I think with the appreciation now as more seasoned parents, that this time when our children are so young really does fly by so fast. We watched his delivery video (don't worry, it's like magic, one moment I am preggers and the next moment there is a baby in my arms) and we all marveled at what a tiny miracle Wesley was! To see him now and to feel how fast the time went is overwhelming! Happy birthday to my laid back happy kid. You have made life so much sweeter. Thanks for reminding your mom to just chill out once in a while-especially while you're in my arms. 
 Wesley sitting on his birthday box that came in the mail. He had to make sure he was the only one who got first dibs!
 Big brother Judah helping him out.
 If that is not the face of all faces...if I could make that face every time I see a cupcake and get away with it I would. He's saying so much with his eyes and snarky grin! That boy loves him some cupcake!
Wesley got a new tricycle from Grandma and Papa...he was slightly excited.
 Judah was equally excited for him!