Tuesday, August 12, 2014

First Days

This picture captures so much of my little man. Creative, silly, strong, imaginative, happy. I just love it.  

Clara started first grade at a public school.  You can see the uncertainty in here eyes here. Kinda rips my heart out! She was ready and has done really very well her first week and a half of school. There was a small incident at the end of her first day where she was lost and on the verge of becoming totally overwhelmed when her rescuer--Cousin Olivia--happened to find her and direct her to the right area. Thank God for Olivia being in the right spot at the right time. One of the paramount reasons I chose this school--family help & accountability. 

They all look so cute! Olivia looks so grown up! 



All of the kids helped Clara get acclimated on the first day and celebrate her. We had a short prayer time for her in the car before we left...it was the sweetest thing I have ever heard in my life. 

Runiversary--a reflection on how running has changed me

This month marks my 5 year RUNNIVERSARY! I realize to some--you may be rolling your eyes--this doesn't seem like a big deal. To me this is something enormous to celebrate. I will probably even buy myself a new pair of shoes. This is an obscenely long narrative about running. I know. I haven't blogged in forever and I pick running. But I have things to say and things to process and I wont let this part of my life go undocumented.

Five years ago this August I was in the throws of postpartum depression. I had a beautiful, but cranky baby and a demanding 18 month old. Having two under two was way harder than I imagined. I was one moment short of taking the crazy train with no return trip. It was ugly. In an effort to help my brain and my heart and potentially save me from that dark pit, I knew I had to do something. On a budget, short on time and sleep and with the temperature soaring well over 100* I did the only logical thing, I started running.  The first years of running my thighs created so much friction they could start a fire, (the thigh gap has never happened for me people). My gut giggled so severely that I was sure the people down the street could feel the sonic boom (because of course everyone was looking at me while I ran in my neighborhood, at night). And I was breathing so loud that I could hear myself over the passing cars...oh it was awful. But so good. I would run for a time and would call Owen from my phone and he would say, "Judah is still crying. Keep running". In desperation to not hear him wailing, I would. Somehow in the midst of the great effort I was making to run, something changed in my mind. The crazy train station seemed farther away and the track to logic and loving my family seemed much closer.
There's me...trying to avoid the crazy train. August 2009
Don't get me wrong here, it's not like I went out and ran for an hour. I was gone for maybe 20 minutes...and I ran maybe one mile. I would walk sometimes. I ran slow (for fear of fire remember) but I kept going. Every other day or so I would go on a run. Each time it got easier and well, not easier, but I didn't think I would die. And one day I realized that I actually enjoyed running. Not the physical discomfort of running...but the clearing of the mind that happens...so much time to talk with the Lord about how I was feeling. Listening to His truth through music while running. I loved the determination that it created in my mind & body. If there was a point that I always felt tired, I would be determined to push through and not give up....I ran with a group of ladies from church occasionally and a couple of really close girlfriends (there are only a few gals I'd let see the sonic boom). I even ran around the Tempe Beach Park which had always been a secret goal of mine.

Then one day by God's great design I met a great gal named Grace (oh how I miss you so much Grace!) who said that she was thinking of training for a half marathon. I had been running for 2 years (even through half of Wesley's pregnancy) and I was secretly hoping to be able to do something bigger like this! We committed. We trained. We sweated and talked, and bonded. We shared the Lord, we shared our spiritual growth and struggles and we crossed the finish line! What an amazing experience. To try and explain what running 210 training miles with someone does for a friendship is beyond me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Grace!

Ran on the beach at Top sail Island and met the family on the pier.
It would be a major mistake for me not to mention Owen in this...he is the reason I can run. He puts my runs on his calendar...because he loves me. He wants me to run, and even when I am ehem, not being myself Owen gently suggests that I go on a run. Who does that? Having his support so in this particular area means the world to me--and I am pretty awesome, but I can no longer push my children in the bob and run. They weigh too much. He watches them for me every time I go. No gym membership here, just a marriage membership for life.

2 years ago I trained for a local half marathon by myself and I thought I would never be able to do it alone. I did. Running continues to teach me that I can do more than I thought I could.I can honestly say I LOVED training for this particular half marathon. For some reason too, I feel it spreads more discipline to other areas of my life. One specific way is through reading THE WORD. Although I have been a Christian since I was little, I have ebbed and flowed significantly in the area of Bible reading. Sometimes going for years on end without consistent (or any) time in THE WORD. Something clicked for me after I started running--I am compelled to do this. Granted, I have asked that the Lord specifically light a fire in my heart, a need & passion for Bible reading, and He is so faithful. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that running makes me read the Bible...hahaha.  I think that the discipline of running has made me desire discipline in other areas of my life because the result has been so rewarding. 

Last year I trained for another half marathon by myself too...this year was so difficult. More than I could ever say. We had a new house, a new baby, and a family member in major crisis. I barely made it through any of the training runs. Each time I dreaded my run. I felt guilty for the time it took away from the family. I felt sore. I felt mentally absent from the focus my body needed. Significant stress is a major downer on any physical work out...but--physical work outs put stress into major submission. Even though I did not want to or feel like running, I committed (translate, I already paid for this race long before I knew life would be as challenging as it was--I am the cheapest person you will ever meet and I'll run myself into the ground before I pay for something and not get the benefit out of it!)--and I did it. I did the training runs. I ran the race. I improved my time. I finished.
Just before the Half Marathon in 2014. So nervous but
Happy to have my special girl.  And  yes, I wore makeup

This year I look forward to training with my mind in the game so to speak. I am going to do the half marathon in January again and am hoping to get under 2 hours---I was at 2:01 last year. UGH! I would encourage you--especially if you are a mama to young ones to find that one thing that is for you, but also translates into the other areas of your life. For me running has been the ticket.

On the strictly vain physical side, running has its benefits too. I'll be honest, I have been running for 5 years and I am just now getting to where I want to be with my physical appearance--It's worth it. Last year as I was going to the marathon expo, I was pushing our double bob stroller and someone said, "You look like a runner, do you know where the expo is?" After my jaw fell to the floor and I threw my arms around this perfect stranger and swore my love to her for this fantastic compliment, I said, "follow me."

Happy Runniversary to me!

If you run and don't have a GPS watch, you need one.

The best place after a race, leaning on a pile of ice. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Reflecting...

This time last year was such an intense time for our family--I cannot help but reflect where we were at this time last year compared to today. I don't know about you, but whenever the anniversary of an intense time comes, I have to really think about how things have changed. How God has taught me and shaped me and rejoice at His work.

Last night as we took the long drive to Judah's meet the teacher night for his home school enrichment program, it dawned on me that tomorrow (Wednesday) was a monumental day in our lives last year! I remember walking Clara to the same classroom we walked Judah to--meeting the teacher for the first time and seeing other home schooling families with their kids. I remember too, a woman who had a very fresh baby wrapped in a baby sling and my heart ached. I wanted that to be me so bad. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had a perfect baby ready for our family at the perfect moment, and I knew statistically that our time was most likely coming to an end. My head tried to tell my heart that all the time! I ached though.

The next day (wednesday of that week) my mom had flown into town to help move us into our new home. We had a busy day of picking out fabric for bedding that my mom planned to make, moving some items, welcoming the carpet & tile cleaning crew and having a family dinner at my sisters house. My mom had yet to see our actual house--so after dinner Owen took the kids home and my mom and I headed over to the new house to get her settled and to hide a HUGE birthday present for my niece (so I was told) in my house. I was so annoyed to have someone else's stuff to store. It was after 8 pm before we got close to wrapped up and were just sitting at our dinning room table (the only piece of furniture in the house). My phone rang...I assumed it was Owen but it said "No CALLER ID". Any waiting family knows that a late night call could be THE CALL. I picked up like a crazy person and tried to get my voice to sound calm. It was not my case worker, but the program supervisor. We got past the pleasantries and I pointedly asked her why she was calling me so late--she proceeded to tell me that my case worker was out of town and that she felt prompted from the Lord to call and ask if she could share our profile with a birthmother whom they had struggled to find a match for. In that moment, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I knew that this woman was carrying our child. Before knowing her name, before knowing her situation, before anything else was said, an assurance settled in my heart (mixed in of course because I am a crazy human, with fear, excitement, joy). I said we were committed to being available to anything that the Lord presented to us. The supervisor went on to say that her situation was a little outside of our scope--but I quickly said that at this point we threw our scope out the door--we can put our perimeters around what we think we want and what we think we can handle--but God's plan is already perfect.  There were very little details actually available at this time to protect this mom and father...I scribbled some notes...I didn't even have names...but we were certainly willing to be available. We said YES. And by we, I mean I. Owen and I had spoken so often of this moment that I knew that he would be OK with this.

I hung up the phone and my mom pulls out that HUGE gift "for my niece". She told me to open it. I told her that it was for Olivia...I am slow sometimes people. My mom had made a beautiful home warming present for me..pictured above. It is so special having something hand crafted just for me from my mom. She even free-handed the lettering. The Word can speak so much more powerfully than anything...there were tears.To know that my mom was walking this road with us and pointing me to Christ in this hard time of waiting (and worrying--the money, the perfect fit, the birth family relationships, the unknown and complete lack of control) There was assurance within the unknown. And then there was so much more to be done!

Thursday (the next day) I am literally carrying boxes up and down  stairs getting ready for our move day (friday) and I have my cell phone practically tethered to my body. It rang finally about 11:30 that day--hoping it was our agency, I dropped the boxes I was carrying and saw an out of state number. I almost didn't answer. But I did and it was our funding agency Lifesong for the Orphan. The woman on the other end of the phone said she had good news--their funding board had re-reviewed our case and wanted to give us a matching grant that we did not apply for. This grant made our adoption 99% funded (we still had $11.00 balance haha). I cried. I was totally incapable of talking. I knew that I knew that I knew that the birth mom I had learned about just the night before would choose our family for her baby.

Yes. "My God will supply all of my needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus".

He provides. He plans. He orchestrates. He leads. He keeps His promises. Today we will proclaim His good works in our family. Only His plan could be this good.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Reviving--picture catch up

Wesley Turned 3 and he looked just like this kid on his birthday card.

steeling my heart.

The boys learned that if they played in the mud without permission they have to take a bath in the laundry room sink

We refinished our cabinets and our kitchen & play room were welcomed to the 21st century! 


Clara accepted Jesus Christ as her savior 

We have precious time with our birth mom--as you can see Julia loves it too! 

Sisters growing bond


someone found her toes

Wesley fell in love with Julia on this day. It was beautiful

Rach and I got to go see The Bible, Son of God tour. It was great. 


Clara became a teenager for a moment.

Easter

all the grandkids! 

Celebrating my birthday with my sis--we look only slightly alike here! 


Really? No words needed


mothers day with all the mothers

My favorite picture & moment so far 


Judah Turned 5

I finally discovered how to do my pictures! Yay! Maybe now I can start blogging again. Also, life seems to be "slowing down" as much as it can as a family of 6. Clara starts school on Monday--There will be tears. I will home school Judah this year and keep the others from killing themselves playing nicely during his lesson times. There are so many monumental moments that I will re-cap here soon. For reals this time.