Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Abundance

My garden symbolizes my life very well--abundant and crazy! As I was planting my garden my dad tried to gently inform me those giant pumpkins were going to fill up my garden. He was right!

In a similar fashion, my kids have filled up my life! :-)

But it's good! It's all good!

The pumpkins got so big and thorny we can hardly get to our tomatoes and I can't even FIND our cucumbers! For all I know, there's a kid lost in there somewhere!
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One of the pumpkins in growing on the OTHER side of the shed next to the garden. I've got a green thumb! For the first time in my life!
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An Obscure Home

You probably surmised, from my last post, I needed some down time.

You know how the airlines always tell moms to put their oxygen mask on first--THEN their child's? I can tell you, I wouldn't. If I saw my child struggling I would be trying to help my child, all the while thinking that surely I could hold my own breath long enough!

I think I held my breath a little too long and was suffering from a lack of oxygen--"me" time.

As a treat to myself I have been reading back through one of my favorite blogs-- Steppin' Heavenward.

Here is a post I especially enjoyed, from Jan 18, 2007. She attributes it to Laine's Letters.



Mary was studying her Bible quietly at her desk. A still, small voice began to speak to her.

"Mary?"

"Yes, LORD?" Mary had been walking with the LORD and recognized His still, small voice. Especially in His Word.

"Mary, what if I was to ask you to go to work for Me."

"Oh, yes, LORD." Mary answered anxiously. "To France, perhaps?" As she gazed at the globe on her desk, pointing a finger decidedly on Paris.

"Mary, what if I was to ask you to go to work for Me in an obscure place."

"Ah, yes, LORD." Mary sat dreaming while moving her finger down a bit. "Africa. The jungle..." Her mind wandered to the missionary stories she had read, "perhaps where Elizabeth Elliot worked."

"Mary, what if I was to ask you to work for Me in an even more obscure place."

"Hmmmm...even more obscure. South America, LORD? Or innermost China? Or perhaps Indonesia? Is that what you mean LORD?"

"Mary, what if I was to ask you to work for Me in a home."

"Ah, now I understand, LORD. A home for handicapped kids."

"Mary, what if I was to ask you to work for Me in an obscure home."

"An obscure home? Perhaps a home for orphaned children in Mexico or South America?"

"Mary, what if I was to ask you to work for Me in your own obscure home?"

"Here, LORD? Here?! All I do here is scrub, vacuum, wipe noses, wash clothes, sing lullabies, pray with toddlers, change diapers, cook meal after meal, sweep and dust, stretch one income, mop and mop; oh, and then over and over the very same thing again. Sometimes more in one day that I can count. This can't be the obscure home You mean, LORD!"

"Yes, Mary. This is the home. Will you do it for Me? For when you do it for the least of these, you do it for Me. Will you do it for Me, Mary?"

Big sigh. "No one is going to notice it, LORD. Not even the ones I am doing it for. None of them really even care, LORD. Everything I do, they undo. And then I have to do it all over again. Don't you think Paris is kind of obscure?"

Big Smile. "Mary, I have chosen you especially for this work in this specific place. I have Leaders and Warriors being raised here. I have wives of Leaders and Warriors being raised here. Will you wipe these noses for Me, Mary? Will you bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the LORD, Mary? Some day I may send them out to places like China, Indonesia, South America, Mexico, and yes, perhaps even Paris. Will you do this for me, Mary, in this obscure home of yours?

Spinning the globe gently, Mary bowed her head, "Yes, I will, LORD. Yes, I will."

"I'll do it through you, Mary. Keep coming to me for your strength. It is a very big job raising My Warriors and My Wives of Warriors; but I will walk you through it every step of the way."

Mary thought of her namesake, the mother of Jesus, raising her LORD and Savior in her own obscure home. "You are too awesome for me, LORD. You are too awesome for me." Mary said, as she bent to kiss The Word.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Where's The Remote?

I'm feeling so maternal today. SO maternal.

You know the movie Click? The guy has a remote control and can fast forward through life. The show actually has a good message but it's lost on me today.

You see, today I just keep imagining that I have that remote but instead of fast forwarding, I would just press "pause." For a very long time.

Do you know what I would do during that very, very long pause? I would sleep. I would go to Starbucks. I would go to the bookstore and peruse. How often does a mom get to peruse?

I'd eat Chex Mix and veggie pizza and drink Coke and eat dark chocolate--Godiva chocolate--and I wouldn't share with anyone. Then I would go workout and run on the treadmill while watching CNN plus all episodes of Grey's Anatomy THEN go sit in the hot tub (I'm at a club in this part of the dream--go with it). I'd get a massage then talk to my trainer (still at my imaginary club--keep up!).

I would go home, lay in the hammock and read something I really, truly wanted to read (which, at this point, would NOT include anything about adoption, attachment, parenting, marriage, grief, homeschooling OR remodeling) while listening to The Beatles, Queen, and my most awesome praise and worship CDs.

I'd watch the movie Little Women with two of my best friends: popcorn and hot chocolate. I wouldn't share. Then, I would take a very long nap.

And, of course, when I got up I would blog a whole, whole bunch.

And I would probably even clean the closets and garage and cars! For that matter, I'd clean the whole ding-dong house! AND rearrange the pantry, catch up on four years of scrapbooking, write in everyone's journal! Whew!

Then I'd do everything all over again--except the cleaning part because it would all still be clean because everyone would be paused, remember?

And then, maybe, just maybe, I'd finally miss all the little poop-heads and free them from their motionless silence.

THEN, they would all wonder how I went from being in such a bad mood to being in such a good mood in a matter of seconds!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Miracle Of Truths

I can see how death could jade a person. Especially with the most unexplainable deaths, multiple deaths and the death of children.

Today was Levi's service. It was just very, very tough. He was such a joyful little guy; such a loving little guy. His death brings so many questions . . . with no answers this side of heaven.

My niece spoke at the service assuring those in attendance she will survive in the hope, the knowledge, she will see Levi again. She also assured everyone that the joy of loving Levi and having him in her life, even for such a short time, far outweighs the sorrow of losing him.

Will and I recently had the same conversation. Dr. Will and I get into philosophical discussions quite often. Will and Joe were not only brothers, they were best friends. The pain for him is so great a question occurred to me.

If he could choose, if he somehow could have made a deal with God before he was even born, would he have chosen to bypass all the sorrow with the trade of never having known Joe at all?

He didn't hesitate for an instant in his resounding, "No way!"

Like my niece, like me, Will believes it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. And having lost, I think we all appreciate what we have, when we have it, even more.

Each day, each hour with those we love becomes more precious. I find myself questioning more and more how I spend my time and with whom. I want each second to remain a miracle. I want to slow down, enjoy more.

I rarely get upset about the "small things" in life, now having a context so much greater. Spilled milk really is just spilled milk and one more bedtime story might be a memory for a lifetime. I do not believe God caused death to teach me these truths; I believe God teaches me truth out of my sorrows and pain.

Instead of becoming jaded I will use God's promises to dry my tears. I live in the knowledge my sorrow will only last a short while--I will live in the miracle of God every day.

I'll leave you with a poem by Walt Whitman:

Miracles

Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet
and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the
ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

Friday, September 19, 2008

E-MAIL

I should have added this to my last post but if you want to meet-up on our "tour"
e-mail me :-)
crazy_for_kids@hotmail.com (make sure you use "underscores" not "dashes")

I already have a place to stay in most of the locations (relatives rock!) but might stay one night or at least meet up for lunch and a playdate!

FUN!

Have Kids Will Travel

I really, truly, want to say "Thank you!" to everyone who sent sympathetic and encouraging words. I felt your love and passed it on to Levi's family. It makes me want to meet each of you in person even more.

So, why not?

Anyone live in Texas? Portland? St. Louis? Baltimore? Spokane? Seattle? Boise???

I'm planning to visit all those places in the next several months.

Why? How? When? Who, what, where???

Let me back up a bit . . .

First day of school pictures:
Kim and Paul--Paul was actually more excited than he looks. He has an AWESOME teacher who has survived four of our older kids.
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Here's me off to high school. Oh, wait a minute, no, it's not me, it's Lizzy but she is wearing the exact same outfit I wore in high school. At least, those boots look just like mine did . . .
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Will's getting ready for college.
Those are not girlfriends! You pervs! They are related--cousin . . . sister . . . cousin's friend (considered related!).
He is selling his car so he can make a more economic choice of cars--one that gets more than 10 MPG.
Anyone want to buy a gas hog but really cool Nova?
For Sale. FUN to drive! Accessories not included.
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Do I have everyone covered for first day of school?
Left out a couple?
That's because three days before school started I decided to go off the deep-end and . . .
HOMESCHOOL Patrick and Vu!
Yup! Count me as a crazy!
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Why?
This was also taken the first day and no, it is not posed. If it were I would have pulled Patrick's shirt down over his undies. At least he has undies on which is more than I can say for Vu who has reverted to his VNese freedoms:
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What does this mean? I also have freedom as in--I can travel freely. Well, as free as one can be with two 6yo boys!
On the top of our travel agenda is to visit some of Vu's friends from his orphanage who now have families in the U.S.! Anyone want to meet up? Anyone have a guest room? Of course, I have to "know" you, as in know you for real OR from the internet. (Wow! That sounds SO wrong! I really hope my social worker is not reading this!)

We have some upcoming happy times!

Thanks again for helping us through some very, VERY unhappy ones.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Forever Love

Here's a video about friendship but it reminds me of how wonderful it will be to reunite in Heaven. You'll love it!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Heaven

Levi is now in the arms of Jesus; happy, healthy and whole.

Our tears are for ourselves and especially for Levi's mom and dad--but I know there was a big party in Heaven today and I know that Joe is enjoying his cousin very much, he loved babies!

Thoughout the years, in almost every family picture, Joe is holding the baby of our family. I have no doubt he is holding Levi right now with big smiles on both of their faces. He's probably teaching Levi how to blow big spit bubbles.

Thanks for all your prayers. We know God heard, that's for sure. Someday we will understand, for now, it's just plain hard.

Blessings to you all.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Special Prayer

We've had many tears here but we are not giving up hope even when doctors say things seem hopeless.

Levi sustained major brain injury during the cardiac arrest and doctors do not believe he will recover.

Our hearts ache, especially for his parents. We all are left wondering just how much grief one family can take in such a short amount of time.

My friend B. sent this beautiful prayer. She gave me permission to share it. Thank you for your blessed, blessed prayers. We especially ask you to lift up Levi's parents.

Prayer For Levi

"Father God, You are our source. Our ever present help. You love us. We know this. We worship You, Father, in all circumstances.

God, our hearts are broken with this news. God, we cry out on Levi's behalf. Restore him, Lord. You are able. Nothing is impossible for You. It is NOT a hopeless situation.

Father, give Levi's parents wisdom. They have so many decisions in front of them. Surround them with heart safe friends. Give them unity and times of quiet where they can hear Your voice.

We pray that the doctors would be given wisdom. We pray that they would be full of compassion and gentle words. We pray that Levi will be given the very best of care and attention.

God, You are the great physician. You can restore this little boy. This is our heart's cry and we ask it in Jesus Name. Amen."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Levi

Thank you to all for your prayers.

Levi is not doing well. The outlook is not good. We will not give up hope because our God is a God of hope. We know that whatever happens He is with us; please pray for a miracle.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Please Pray For Levi

Our sweet nephew Levi desperately needs your prayers. He was to undergo another heart surgery but when doctors started the surgery he went into cardiac arrest. They were not able to do the surgery and he is now in ICU. They are trying to stabilize him but he is not doing well. He must have the surgery to live.

Please pray for healing to this very special baby. We call him Miracle Man because he has already overcome so very much.

Here he is in July with Lizzy:
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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Marathon

There's a lot you don't know about me. For instance, did you know I'm also a professional singer and actress? My stage name is Reba McEntire. I get asked quite often for my autograph.

I'm also a runner. Sometimes I even run marathons including one I just finished. It's hard to run long distances, sweat dripping into my eyes and searing back, leg and foot pain . . . oh the pain! Most marathoner's claim a feeling of ecstasy after running. I just feel exhaustion.

During a vacation I fall behind in my running schedule so upon returning I usually start off running hard--marathon training. I will even get up early in the morning to start training and continue on until it's dark.

Here's some pics of my most recent marathon--

Running to get new running shoes--for myself and the crew. Also running to get school supplies, school clothes and soccer cleats. I logged a lot of miles.
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Ran up to the cabin again:
Kim and Paul take out the boat all by themselves for the first time ever:
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Paul caught a whopper:
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He learned to clean fish--Patrick is helping but check out the glove he is wearing--city boy that he is!
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Signed up four kids for soccer and one for volleyball. Ran to the bank to transfer money into the checking account. How much money have we spent on sports over the years? Wait a minute, don't tell me! I don't want to know!
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Applied for and was accepted into the University's School of Social Work. Hooray! I'm really going to do it! I'm going to FINALLY finish my bachelor's and then my MSW so I can work in international adoption! EVERYONE will be invited to my graduation party. Don't go out and buy a gift yet--I probably won't be graduating for another 20years.
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Ran to Home Depot on an hourly basis for a week solid while Eric and Will remodeled the bathroom. Check it out! Don't you love those fish I painted on the walls years ago?
Before--Patrick painting over the fish:
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After--new tile, counters, mirrors, the works! The walls are now a pretty green.
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Ran to the store to replenish all food, water and toilet paper supplies (here Bottomless Pit Will has a snack):
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Ran kids to get haircuts. Patrick and Paul got faux-hawks. Patrick looked at Paul's with awe and wonder and very slowly said, "Paul . . . you . look . like . a . REAL . Korean . boy!" Some of his friends don't even recognize him!
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And just for the record, I really DID used to be a runner and I have taken it up again. Here I am:
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Okay, I don't have any pictures of me but I really am running again. Really. When we got back from vacation I stepped on the scale and couldn't believe I had lost seven pounds! Then, I stepped off and realized my kids had played with the dial and I had actually GAINED poundage so yeah, I've started running again.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

RTW--Gifts

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To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
--Steve Prefontaine

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Adoptions Shutdown

It's official. And it makes me very, very sad.

While I GREATLY support a more transparent process and end to corruption I was hoping Vietnam and the U.S. would continue to allow ethical agencies to find homes for children until a new memorandum could be signed.

Here's the beginning of the AP article:

"HANOI, Vietnam - A U.S.-Vietnam adoption agreement expired Monday with the two sides unable to resolve disagreements over fraud and corruption, disappointing hundreds of prospective parents who will have to seek children elsewhere.

The two countries said they will continue trying to iron out their differences, but for now the program will be suspended indefinitely."


(I do have to comment here on the author's choice of words "seek children elsewhere" Ugh!)

Read it in full here

Another site to read is Voices For Vietnam Integrity

It's so discouraging to know that a few greedy, corrupt people will keep thousands of kids from having a mommy and a daddy.

My heart goes out to PAPs whose arms ache with emptiness and kids whose lives do.

I have much to catch up on with everyone but couldn't let this day pass without a post.

Praying for all . . . .