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Many of you reading this are well aware of the situation in Liberia, but for those of my friends and family outside the AoH loop, I would like to ask for your prayers.  There is a recent situation with the adoption process in Liberia that could potentially slow things WAY down unless something changes (unfortunately, things like this happen fairly often in international adoption and time-frames can be extended for unbearable lengths of time…)  This affects every family in the process of adopting through Acres of Hope, even those who haven’t received their referrals yet, because the orphanges are full of children waiting to get the releasing documents to be able to join their families, and there is no room for additional children.  It must be so difficult for Acres to have to turn children away, knowing full well how many families are ready to accept their referrals. 

Needless to say, this is really disheartening for everyone.  My heart goes out to those families especially who are so close to bringing their kids home, and many who fully expected to already have them here by now.  

Please just pray for a miraculous intervention and a change of heart in those who have the authority to reverse the situation! 

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I thought you would all get a kick out of this…

Last night Peter was playing with Jo before bedtime and they put her dolls to bed in the dollhouse.  He called me over to look.  He had tucked everyone else into their beds, the daddy included, and the mommy doll was at the computer “reading blogs”!  (…it sparked another round of friendly banter over the real-life scenario between us!!!)  🙂 

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Yep, mommy doll is enjoying herself!  Who needs sleep?!? 🙂

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Okay, this question is for all you seasoned bloggers out there.  (I suppose I could borrow “Blogging for Dummies” from the library, but I’m not headed to town for a couple days, so I’m drawing on my e-resources…) 

When someone asks you a question in a comment, do you:

A.) Reply with a comment on your own blog under the same post (the “con” of this is: what if they never check the comments section again after leaving their initial comment and question?)

B.) Reply with the answer in a comment on their blog (pro: they will get the answer / con: its kind of awkward to go off talking about a subject that has nothing to do with their post… )

C.) Just assume it is a rhetorical question and don’t worry about responding.

(Don’t worry, this is not a test for those of you who shudder at the sight of multiple choice!  I’m a teacher at heart, so I still think in terms of multiple choice… strange, huh?)
And, sorry if it seems kind of nit-picky.  Obviously if its a highly important question I’ll email the person… I’m just talking about the little questions that often come up.  I’m trying to reconcile real-life etiquette with blogger-etiquette and I don’t want to come across rude by not answering questions. 

Oh, I guess I should add:

D.) None of the above (but if this is your answer… please let me know how you respond to questions!) 

Thanks!

Donna sent us some new pictures of Henry about a week ago.   I haven’t shared them yet, because it took me a few days to process the deep feelings they stirred up in my heart.  Henry has a worried expression on his face in the pictures, and it just hit home — in a deeper way than I was prepared for — that I have a baby boy halfway across the world that I can’t comfort and hold and love in person.   I’ve known this in my head… and have read enough blogs to be acutely aware of how hard it is for adopting parents to yearn to hold their children and be separated by such a distance… but it hadn’t touched my heart in such a deeply personal way until last week when I saw the pictures.  I don’t think it was even the pictures themselves that sparked the ache in my heart, but just the reality they confirmed of the distance between us.  I think there is an element in a mama’s heart that is a bit irrational and illogical when it comes to taking care of her babies and comforting her children.   Even though I know in my mind that Henry is well-taken care of, and even though I am grateful beyond words for the many updates and incredible communication from AoH, my mama’s heart really grieved for the fear or worry or pain that my little boy might be feeling and that I’m not there to comfort him.  

The reality of the miles and miles of land and water between us REALLY hit home… as did the reality of the unpredictable timeline ahead of us before we are able to bring him home.  Its the nature of international adoption — total lack of control on our end of the line… which has to lead us to trust that God is entirely in control, or else despair and hopelessness will set in.   He knows the beginning from the end and every moment in between.

This whole process has driven me to my knees because the only solid, predictable part of this crazy journey is God’s unfailing love and unending watch-care.   It deepens and purifies my faith to trust Him in the valleys as well as the mountaintops… when its difficult and my heart aches as well as when my spirit leaps for joy at promises being fulfilled. 

There are so many families that demonstrate the level of trust and reliance on the Lord through their adoption journeys that I so desire in my own life. I have been blown away by reading the stories of all the twists and turns and expectations and disappointments that people face and respond so beautifully to.  I feel privileged to get a glimpse of their lives in all the heart-warming and gut-wrenching reality of imperfect life in an imperfect world.  It is such a gift to follow both the difficult processing and beautiful responses of ordinary, faithful people, isn’t it?  It inspires me and challenges me as we walk down our road. 

Anyway… enough rambling… golly, I am glad to have an outlet! 

So here are a couple of the recent pictures of our beautiful boy.  I wish I could be the one holding him… but thankfully I can ask the One who watches over me to watch over my baby 6,000 miles away.   After all, what is 6,000 miles to God?

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**Ah, yes… about the wool hat.  I, too, wondered why in the world he was wearing it!! Donna said the temperature dropped to the balmy low-70’s and apparently in Liberia that warrants a beanie!  I shudder to think how he is going to adjust to the winters we have in northern WA!! )

We had our last soccer game on Wednesday night.  I’m sad the season is over because we’ve had such a great time, but it will be nice not to have to run for ninety minutes straight in the heat!  We tied our last game against a skilled team, so it was a nice way to end the year.  Peter made a goal, too, so he was stoked.  I was playing defensive wing for most of the game and this really tall striker from the other team whammed into me — hard.  He caught the bone right under my eye with his shoulderblade and I have a nice little bruise to show for it.  But that and a few bruises on my legs are the only ‘war wounds’ from this season, so I can’t complain!

We have a great team.  Can’t wait for next year, guys!

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I’m so glad Peter and I got to play together!  (thanks, Mom and Donna for watching Jo!)

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Joanna and I made bread today.   I always feel so nostalgic whenever I bake bread because my mom taught me, and my grandma taught her.   I feel tied to my past when I roll up my sleeves and knead the soft warm dough…  I have so many special memories of helping my mom make bread when I was a kid.  It doesn’t seem like enough time has gone by to be making it by myself with my daughter helping me!  Ahhh… I must be getting old!

I don’t really look forward to baking bread (in fact, I put it off for weeks…)  but I actually do enjoy it once I begin.  There is just something comforting about grinding the wheat, mixing the simple ingredients together and kneading the dough.  I always end up with flour everywhere because my little helper isn’t all that coordinated and yet is determined to pour the ingredients in and knead her own little ball of dough!  It really is a day-long process because of how long it takes for the dough to rise between the initial mixing and the final kneading (with sub-kneadings in between…) The best part is when the fresh loaves comes out of the oven and we cut huge slices and lather on the butter… yum!  Theres nothing like it!  

I’m not an aspiring pioneer woman making my own bread (sorry to disappoint you, Rae 🙂  I have to bake bread every six weeks or so because Jo has some significant food allergies and she can’t eat some of the ingredients in bread from the store.  So I am kind of forced to connect with my roots in this way, because, lets be honest, can you imagine what you would do without the option of PBJs for your kid’s lunch?  Its an uncomfortable sort of feeling when I take that last loaf out of the freezer…  I will sleep well tonight knowing that there are six sandwich-filled weeks ahead of me before I have to roll up my sleeves and start over!

(*note: I actually love to cook… I just don’t care much for baking bread from scratch because it is such a long, messy process.) 

Here’s the proud little baker waiting patiently for me to get the bread knife:

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Well, maybe not so patiently!

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And finally eating it…  I look hot and tired.  I was hot and tired!  The oven heated the whole house up.  You would think I would be smart enough to wait until a cooler day!   But when the bread-baking inspiration hits, I have to take advantage of it! (its been several weeks now since I’ve been out of bread for Jo and enough was enough!)

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Several of the blogs I read have had posts lately on seeing God’s blessings in our lives. When I reflect on all the blessings surrounding me, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.  I feel so blessed… so humbled…and in awe!  In keeping with the rain theme, I feel showered by blessings and am soaking wet!

Anyway, since I am such a visual person (and since I finally figured out how to optimize my photos so they appear more clear on my blog) I thought I would share ten of my life’s “blessings” through pictures…  (I don’t know if these particular blessings are my top ten right now specifically related to the adoption, but they are definitely things I feel intense gratitude for every day!!)

I am so grateful for loving, supportive family:

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and deep, life-long friendships:

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For bountiful provision:

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and frogs that turn into princes!!!

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For the beauty of God’s creation:

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and the colors of flowers:

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For challenges that make me stronger:

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and for my freedom-loving country!

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For my beautiful children:

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and the deep faith that grounds me, sustains me, and inspires me:

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…and for silly, spontaneous moments along the way!

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So, just after I wrote that last post, I found out that Denise and her family have accepted the referral of two adorable little boys, Joseph and Nyemah (ages 3 and 5).   Its really pouring over their house today!  

And my friend Rachel found out that her daughter, Josie, has received the all-important passport that has held up the process of getting her home.  Now she just needs her visa and she can be escorted home in August.

I am rejoicing with you both! 

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This is for Denise…  She has reminded me so many times through her blog of the symbolism of rain and how God uses it to represent His blessings being poured out upon us.

I was pondering this the other day as I was out working in my garden…  It was a wild day.  A “Last of the Mohicans” and “Braveheart” kind of day… with the wind swirling and the feel of electricity in the air as a thunder storm approached.  The dark and rather ominous clouds overhead were heavy with the promise of rain…  You could just smell it coming — the air was thick with that musty, earth-like scent of rain approaching.  There really isn’t any smell like it!

I was so relieved that the intense heat of the sun was overshadowed by the clouds, giving me a much-needed reprise to get about a week’s worth of weeding and harvesting done!  I was working quickly since it was obviously only a matter of time before the inevitable showers hit, and as I was working I realized just how grateful I was for the mere anticipation of the rain — just as much as I was when the clouds actually opened up and huge drops started falling on my face and arms.  I realized how sweet those moments are right before the rain comes… you can sense it, you can smell it, you can see it pouring on the mountaintops — but you can’t force it to come any sooner… and you certainly can’t stop it either!  You just have to wait… and anticipate the downpour thats coming.  Its a powerful reminder of what a great God we serve!!  One who is so invested in our lives that He knows the exact moment the rain will begin.

As a gardener and lover-of-creation, I am well-aware of what the rain means.  Its not just a convenience for me and a break from hand-watering — the rain represents life itself!  The forests and mountains surrounding our house are so lush and green for the first few months of spring and summer… but by this time of the year, due to a lack of consistent rain, the hillside begins to dry up and everthing becomes parched and brown… waiting eagerly and anticipating the return of consistent rain in the fall.  Everything will then be brought back to life for just a brief spell before unfolding into the brilliant colors of the season.  

This is not my favorite time of the year.  It takes alot of work to keep my corner of the world watered well enough to remain beautiful.   Yet, this season of constant attention and awareness of the dehydration all around, makes me so incredibly grateful for the promise those expectant thunderheads carry.  I am grateful for the rain, because of this season of drought and dryness.

“FOR MY THOUGHTS ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS, NEITHER ARE YOUR WAYS MY WAYS, declares the Lord.  As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  As the Rain and snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish… so is my Word that goes forth from My mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  Isa. 55:8-11

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Most people think Washington state is cool and rainy all year long… but its not!  At least not this half!  We live on the VERY HOT, VERY DRY side of the Cascade Mountains… We never get as much rain as we would like.  In fact, I think we are technically classified as a mountainous desert region.  It was close to 106 degrees here much of last week, and so dry…  the kind of hot dryness that makes your skin feel like its going to crack and split like a crocodile from the lack of moisture in the air!  It has since cooled off to a blessed 85 degrees or so the past four days, we’ve been graced by a few rain clouds that have added H2O to the air, and I am remembering once again just why I love summer… 

We had a great day at the river today with Peter’s family…  Here are some highlights:

Skipping rocks on the river (well, throwing them if you’re the two year old!)

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She stopped and looked up at me with the sweetest look — I love sharing moments like this with her where we are both just so happy to be alive!

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Playing in the sand…

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…building sandcastles!

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Hanging out with my niece:

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Peter taking the girls wading/swimming:

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Eating LOTS AND LOTS of watermelon!!!

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Yummmm!

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A little about me…

Wife. Mother. Friend. Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Student. Adventure-lover. Photo-taker. Book-reader. Organic gardener. Granola-maker. Green smoothie drinker. Snowboarder. Soccer-player. Aspiring rock-climber. Sometime health nut. Passionate about justice and mercy. Adoption advocate. Business owner and jewelry designer. Wild at heart. Crazy-blessed to live out in the country with my awesome family.

Photography Website:

Contact Me:

sunfreckled@gmail.com
"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do." {Helen Keller}

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