Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Clarity Hilarity"

Ok lets see if I can explain this with a straight face. We have waited three weeks for DSS to give us the go ahead with their blessing to continue this road of adoption since receiving the official state pardon. I finally sent a short letter asking what in the world we were waiting on...which I never received a personal response to. Instead within a day or two of my letter the higher ups and lawyers of DSS contacted my home study coordinator and said she could go ahead and do our home study and take our 1600.00 but they still reserve the right to deny our request. Now, I ask you, how straight is your face right now? The only thing I can come to a conclusion over is that we are a one has ever actually bothered with getting the requested pardon so DSS has no protocol to go by in figuring out what to do with us. They do not want the responsibility of being wrong but will acknowledge their kudos when they are right, in the end. There is no road map for us to go get Marina. We blaze the trail, off-roading with Jesus once again. I don't know about you but it feels like there are land mines everywhere I step. Why is this so insidiously difficult for people to see this as not our mission but one from a much higher authority? We didn't get here by ourselves and we sure won't get there on our own merit either. Getting in God's way will glorify Him in the end because He will triumph but I am only human and I am totally going to look war torn by the time we open our arms to this small child. I can see it now...Hi Marina, I will be serving as your earthly mother should I last through the roadtrip to get you...
And speaking of Hi Marina...I went to church by myself this morning because Tully stayed home with Evan who was coughing his head off...and as I was listening to the music I got so caught up in realizing that one day she really will be here, God willing. I really will hold her little hand and watch her as the music flows through her from head to toe. The tears began to well and then fall. The sermon was on Love. The only change I think I could make to 1 Corinthians 13 is that love is should say that love is fierce. I find that my love is not very patient with the space that is between us. It is the same sort of determination that I feel when I know I will see Caylyn again and throw my arms around her too. Mother love. The kind that can make you crazy insane to keep harm from your little one, protecting at all costs. Mother bears insight a sort of connotation for a reason...Then there is Jesus love. The kind of love that can make you crazy insane to understand that someone loves you that much...enough to die for me and you and prepare a place for me and you, and my children, and your children...for all those that love Him too. What an honor to be loved by the King of the Universe. What an humble honor. May we be fiercely full of love and grace and thanksgiving as we celebrate a day of being thankful for all that we are, no matter where we are. Our opportunities are boundless when they are backed by God Himself.
Plowing forward. This is our journey with the breathe of God at our back.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Why do we wait?

I was up early this morning and have found my way to another persons' blog that I find totally captivating. I actually found it last night but after four hours at Chucky cheese on a Friday night, I was unable to see out of both eyes, having been blinded by the shrill screams and sheer joy of a sea of children. Anything other than "see Jane Run" would have been over my head. Anyhow this blog is about this girl who just turned 21 and is....uh, I stop for the right words here, and they do not come. She is so much of an example of what I would love to see myself as comprehending in this world. She is simply amazingly full of obedient love that is way more authentic than Hollywood love (an oxymoron as no one in Hollywood ever seems to get it right). She is Jesus Love. Yeah, that is the right wording. the Journey
Anyhow I found this exerpt from her blog this morning and wanted to share it just a little further...

Francis Chan wrote, "How we live our days, is how we live our lives." I had to read it several times as I let it soak in. Because it is true. So often we find ourselves waiting for a specific moment, a specific call, something special. For what? How we spend our days... that will be our LIFE. Because today could be it. If Jesus came back today and said, "Let's go!" would we be ready? Would we be doing what we want to be doing when we meet Jesus? People say to me often, "You are so lucky that you found your calling, that you know your purpose in life." This statement boggles my mind. I AM so blessed to live the life that I do. But it isn't rocket science. God did NOT part the sky and shout out to me, "Katie! Serve my people." I read it in His word. You can too. We can all see as plain as day that Jesus says the number one commandment is to love the Lord and love your neighbor.

Wow. That is profoundly simple. Until you read it again. And widen the understanding. I want to do more and better than I did yesterday. Or the day before that. But in order to do that, I can only accomplish that when I let go of me. Because I am not big enough to do God size things. But God is big enough to do God size things through me when I let Him. And letting Him in feels like sunrise on my face. I saw a book title the other day while perusing Amazon and the title was a one sentence Whammy. "Deliver me from Me-ville". What else can I say? I did not even have to buy the book-(at least not yet:). The title alone was extremely loud in the way it pointed a finger. The apostle Paul talks about how every day he has to die to self. It sounds like we are giving something up that we need. But we are not. We are giving up smallville for a Grand Plan. Life is hard most days. What makes life hard is that we are often waiting for something that we have focused on as a goal. So we end up losing the days that we do have our hands on.
Today is a new day. Be thoughtful how you spend it because you exchange one day of your finite life for it. Leave something good that makes a difference where today is. I personally have succombed to the enemy of stolen opportunity many times. "where did the day go?" "Wow time flies"....Time never seems to just walk in sync with me. It either flies or crawls...and in clarity here, it does both at the same time. Wow this was a long day, but it sure flew by! What will today bring in opportunity to serve, to give? To share a kind word, a soft smile, a chance to make a difference in someone's day? I learned recently that church is not where your own ministry is. It might be, but the Church provides opportunities. Not ALL opportunities, but some. A few, really. But I am exposed to the Heart desires of God all the time. These are my own personal opportunities to serve. And I have probably blown it a million times. Conservatively speaking.
Grace from God gives today a new chance to be tomorrows yesterday with results. This is a lot like saying "play nice" and "don't run with scissors". We know these things and yet we allow the enemy to steal our days anyway, as we don't play nice and sometimes run with scissors when no one is looking. The next thing we know, we are in time out, and bleeding. Waiting on something we know in our souls will not look like the painting we have crafted. And the potential for it to be way better than our childish version is always there when we let it go. Trading finite wisdom for infinite. So Lord, I let go of the day and offer it to you. I know you know me. I know You love us all. Talk with me in my times of floundering and frustration, when I do not understand that you are indeed creating the most amazing tapestry of our wildest imaginations, if we would just stop pulling the threads and let you work.

If you did not know from the subject matter here, we are still waiting on approval from the next level of DSS. Slowly our dossier (french word for "your soul on paper") which is complete, is beginning to get un-complete as the time frame for said documents withers by the calendar of constriction--nothing can be over 6 months old, not even the ten year old marriage license--the notary on it has to be recent when it is submitted. The notary license has to be NOT expiring for a year after we submit. In blind faith I will re-order the documents. And the notary stamp has been reapplied for. Perhaps we will travel in the spring now. But I know it is not my plan to force. We can only be obedient to doing our part. Thanks for prayers. And I have finally wisened up and stopped asking God to teach me patience:). Now I just ask for it as a gift. Give me patience. I resist the obvious faux pas to tack on the word "Now".:)

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I cannot exactly figure out why we go camping. We compose lists of items not to be forgotten, (only to forget the flashlight), we listen to the relentless question from our 4 year old "Today? is today when we go camping?" This is the replacement question for "can we go camping at the beach?" It has been a quest-song for nearly 2 months. Writing that, now I remember why we are going camping. We were honed down as logical thinkers from months of rhetorical questions. I have let a 4 year old convince me it would be fun.
Yesterday we loaded up the Durango with tent, 2 blow up mattresses, 2 camp chairs, toys, clothes, bedding and bath items, small coffee pot, cookware, food for a week and no flashlight. We are going camping for 2 days. Never think an item is too obvious to put on the list.

My husband takes on the driving as it gives him radio control privileges. I cannot hear anything whatsoever because I have a new book and have been transported on page 11 into the story. Our son is settled in to the back seat with various items designed to keep "Are we there yet?" to a minimum for our 4.5 hour trip. All is well and the book is pretty good. I look up at the first "are we there yet"? so I can give a truthful answer. what I see is a big blue sign that says "Welcome to Georgia". Since we are camping in Murrells Inlet in Myrtle Beach this sign is not so welcome. We are almost 2 hours the wrong direction on I-20. There is no shortcut back. I will spare the details but Thank God Almighty for nap times for 4 year olds. When he awoke we were exactly back to the point we got off track, two and a half hours prior. There is no one in the car I do not feel sorry for. No, we are not there yet.

It is dusk going dark when we pull up to Huntington Island state park. Again we are greeted by a welcome sign that is nearly covered over by the no vacancy sign. This is not so welcome either. Seriously I begin to doubt my husbands salvation as I hear non christian verbage (and nounage) coming from his mouth. Twenty more minutes in the car is torture now but we break up the monotony with a victory cry when the illumination of the Dollar General sign looms ahead on Hwy 17 Garden City Beach. 3 flashlights and some tylenol and a pack of gum and socks later we are excited to be in the final 10 minutes of our prison on wheels. It starts to sprinkle small drops of rain.

we check in to a nearly packed ginormica camp ground and are given a sight near the bathroom. This sounds both great and logical as I sign the paperwork. As we find the sight, having circled the dark ginormica campground three times in search of "our" sight I realize the bathroom is lit up as a lighthouse beacon simulating daylight for all. It begins a steady rain. I walk back to the camp store to renegotiate our space. She kindly gives us the darkest on in the entire campground. At that point all the rangers have gathered around the glow of the weather radar screen. One pinpoint green dot of precipitation. Over the campground. I feel conspicuous now. I know it is over me. Rolling my eyes and blowing rain out of my dripping hair I mutter "Go figure" and nonchalantly head back out to traipse through the green dot effect. I get BACK in the car. We circle the campground entirely 2 more times to the irritation of those already asleep. We locate our pitch black hole and i am temporarily afraid that we will be sucked in to the dark never to return. I forget about this possible out to this impossible day as it begins to torrentially downpour. My laughter, not driven by joy, borders on maniacal. Having borrowed the tent, there is no familiar feel to the wet metal bars that fall into the mud. Luckily there is a picture of what it is supposed to look like and that has to suffice for instructions. I cannot wait for the rain to stop because I cannot stand sitting in the car for one more second. Our son deliriously cries that we are here! we are here!. It is too dark to know exactly where here is but yes, here we are none the less. In 30 minutes the tent is up thanks to the help of the head lights gracing 1/3 of the entire section of the campground we have been allotted between two large winnebagos. At 9:15 pm there is no way to start a campfire out of green wet wood. We eat cold hot dogs and tortilla chips, bananas and gogurts. Our 4 year old bounces in joy and says it is the best supper ever. I love him to pieces for carrying his positive outlook for this long. I now vow to stay with him on this. Tomorrow is indeed in sight.
The air mattress is also new as I bought it off craigslist just yesterday for fifteen dollars. It is awesome and actually the height of a regular bed with box springs. As I join my son in the tent for our dry cold dinner by flashlight I sit on the edge of the bed. Never do this unless you are in the circus. I realize too late that I have sat on air with a full plate of food. Seconds later I recover to squeals of delight from my son. My plate is semi-intact. My dignity far from it. "Do it again mom, that was funny!". Lucky for me my husband is still out muttering in the dark amidst the soft rain, trying to make a ham salad sandwich from memory, since he cannot see his hands.

Finally we are physically ready to release the day. Mentally it was gone hours ago. At 5 am I realize that the entire campground IS the flight pattern for the Myrtle Beach airport, now supporting jumbo jets bright and early...bright may be too optimistic there.

I lay in the soft darkness, remembering my prayer list and lifting up those I love and some I am not sure about but feel their burden, to the high court of powerful appeals. The soft breathing of both my husband and my son are the only sounds that filter through the air. Seamlessly the sun rises up the most beautiful morning. Coffee is brewed. Hot chocolate next. Fire brings about eggs and bacon, blueberry bagels, juice and yogurt. Our RV neighbors do not hate us as much as I had imagined the night before. The light of the day reveals that we are only 3 camp sight blocks to the beach...which we drive. We are not lazy but a 50 pound tired 4 year old will be heavy later on. The sky is a true Caribbean turquoise and it is 80*. We pile out of the car and our son hits 50 miles per hour on legs, failing to stop even due to the 65* water and the waves are screaming riptide. Actually I am screaming stop, riptide. He does and now I remember why we go camping. This beautiful day is why. The ocean is bigger than us and reminds us of God --wild and unpredictably predictable, and always there. "Look mom, magic shells!!" I agree, then back up and ask why they are magic...the answer is simply because they are so beautiful he says. I look at the beaten broken shells in his sandy wet hand. They are beautiful. I think they might be a lot like us. They became magic when they were noticed and appreciated.

With that thought wafting through my mind, my husband lays a perfect albeit lifeless monarch butterfly on these little pages of this now documented journey. The day may be fleeting but it is ours. Yesterday must have been the caterpillar. Today the beauty of a Monarch is laid in my lap.

I wrote this a couple weeks ago on our camping trip. I am sharing it here to remind me that sometimes even the worst part of a journey has its purpose. We are currently under review in the highest offices of DSS investigations. They do not make exception to their rule very often. I imagine very few people ask them to consider this request. I have a little more paperwork to gather tomorrow. Maybe that will be it. In the meantime we pray for Marina to remain healthy and patient and well out of harms way. I would hate for her to ever get to miss this family idea of a vacation:)