Friday, May 30, 2008

God and Me-2

Spiritually this week I was reading another adoptive parent's blog and she was talking about the lessons she has learned while waiting for her girls to come home. One of the things she talked about was the way others have rallied around her and her husband to share their burdens. I really have hung on that idea this week, with the words "the fellowship of shared burdens" rattling around in my head.

In America, we have so much and we are so independent that we hesitate to ask for help. We balk at letting others carry our burdens for us or even even letting someone carry one side of our burden. We want to do it ourselves. We don't believe others really care for us and are willing to help. We are afraid of inconveniencing someone. The reality is, God designed us to fellowship around shared burdens.

Fellowship may seem like a wierd word if you're not "churchy" but it really just means "togetherness and connectedness." Often church people host fellowship dinners or have a Christmas program with a time of fellowship afterwards. Usually, that means time to talk with Christian friends. Often, that fellowship revolves around the plans someone has for next week, how much someone enjoyed an event, how lovely someone's dress is, etc.. Sometimes that fellowship can go deeper than just a conversation about what's on the surface of life and people do feel comfortable sharing their hurts and joys. But even if it does go that far, rarely do we deliberately let others shoulder our burdens. We don't ask for the things we really need both physically and emotionally. We pull back inside our selves and let a wave of logical thought rush over us. Our brain somehow recruits our mouth to say "I couldn't possibly accept this. It's all right. We'll be okay." And you probably will be, because usually life has a way of working itself out. But by glossing over our needs, we miss out on the fellowship of a shared burden.

There is something amazingly sweet about having a friend lift your burden for you. Sometimes you don't even know how desparately you really needed someone to hold on with you, until your hindsight sees just how valuable that friend's actions were. I'm not advocating whiney, what's in it for me behavior. But I do think we often dismiss opportunities to be helped and to help.

We have personally experienced many examples in the last year where others have shared our burdens, instances where others have crawled into whatever pit we were in and stood beside us, gritting their teeth and pushing our burden up. That is fellowship at its finest; true fellowship that has strengthened us and helped us at times when we didn't even know we needed strengthening. My best friend from high school sent me beautiful flowers in September when she first heard that my mother in law had cancer. Her own mom has had multiple battles with breast cancer and she said she knew what it was like to need someone just to love on you when you are so busy worrying about someone else. At my mother in law's funeral, seven friends from our church traveled over two hours to be in attendance, just because they knew we were hurting. A few weeks ago, a couple from church gave us a card with $500 enclosed, saying that they wanted to be a part of brining our kids home. They knew that our upcoming trip to Haiti was unexpected and a strain on our finances. They knew because we said so in passing conversation. Not in a lengthly one, just a quick two minute deal where I mentioned how expensive traveling was. They heard our need and took action. And the funny part about this latest gift is that it was one of those situations where I really didn't feel like we had a huge need. Yes, I was unsure of how we were going to pay for the trip, but I had just resigned myself to putting it on our credit card and paying it off. Instead, our friends shared our burden.

I encourage you to not hide your hurts and needs from your friends. And to take the time to really think about your friends and their needs. Partake in the fellowship of shared burdens.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Waiting Heart

As we are preparing to head to Haiti, Kenson's room has become the staging area of sorts. It's been his room since December of 2006 when we thought he might get to come stay with us on a medical visa while we worked on the adoption process. As events have transpired, obviously the medical visa did not come about. Thankfully, the heart murmur the doctors were worried about seemed to take care of itself. But since December 2006, his room has been ready. As you might expect, we don't go in there too much. Mostly, it's just depressing.

In fact I read somewhere that hope is the hardest work of waiting. That's true because his room is filled with signs of hope. Clothes ranging from 9 months to 24 months, including clothes I bought with the long end of the time frame in mind are now in danger of not fitting once again. Toys from Christmas that my cousins opened that seemed so developmentally appropriate that now make me think "I hope he won't be too big for that when he comes home." There all signs of the hope we held and the hope that's been deferred.

A lot of the people who read this are not people who are adopting. Some of them have experienced adoption in their own lives but most of them have not. So tonight, as I was starting to rearrange and sort items to take on our Haiti trip, I thought that maybe I'd do a post about the things a waiting heart thinks. So here's my list, chock full of things that my heart has thought. Some are silly and some are sad and some are just downright selfish.

-It has been exactly one year since I held my baby. One year, 365 days. I wonder how many hours that is? How many other moms would dare to say it's been a year since they've held their baby?
-What was it like the day his mom brought him to the orphanage? What was his little brain thinking? Did he cry a lot on that day? Did she? OH God protect his heart.
-And what about Conleigh? She's been with three "moms" so to speak. OH God, protect her heart.
-I wonder who he'll date in high school. Will there be people in our area who wouldn't dare let their daughter date my son?
-Crap! I thought I really wouldn't need to learn Creole. I'm working on Spanish as it is. I don't think I can do Creole too.
-I don't have any pictures of my kids as little bitty babies sleeping on their dad's chest.
-What if Kenson doesn't like soccer?
-Lord, please don't let him move to baby room 2 before he comes home. Just let him stay with Violet. Don't let him switch. (For the record, he's in baby room 2 now.)
-Is it terrible that I've got a whole year's worth of scrapbook pages done for Kenson but none for Conleigh? That second child thing really does seem to be true.
-New pictures from so and so's trip to the orphanage! Is that her? Look at this picture! I think so, no, maybe not, well maybe it is, I wish I could see her whole face, no that's definitely not her. Keep looking.
-Lord, protect and heal their hearts!


Real Hope for Haiti

Haiti has many problems including a history of government instability and corruption, an 80% illiteracy rate, and poor government infustructure. Three of the biggest immediate problems most people in Haiti face are lack of basic medical care, lack of education on minor heath issues, and lack of food. Real Hope for Haiti is an organization that tries to address these three needs as well as other needs people have. I've learned a lot about Haiti from the websites of two sisters who are a part of this organization. There is a link to the sister who provides medical care on the side of my blog under "Why Haiti?" Through her site, I've really seen how prevelent malnutrition and lack of medical are are in Haiti as well as how horrific the effects of these two things are. They are currently struggling for funding and several people have dedicated this week as a week to using the Internet to raise awareness of their needs. I'm joining in on this too. Sites to check out include and .
I encourage you to visit the sites I've shared and consider how you might be able to help. The address for donations is Real Hope for Haiti, P.O. Box 23, Elwood, IN 46036. One of the goals of this campaign is to raise more monthly ministry partners ie people who will consistently give on a monthly basis. However, I know they also load semi trailers twice a year with supplies like peanut butter, clothing, and medical supplies. When D's mom passed away, we had a ton of medical type stuff from her months of being at home. (Really odd things like wound care kits and neck braces.) We contacted Lori from the rescue mission and then sent our donations to them to ship on their next semi load which just arrived in Haiti this week. Consider how you might have a source for donations. Or consider being a prayer support for them. Pick one day a week and promise to pray for their ministry on that day. Try it for a month. They are doing amazing kingdom work that you and I can't do.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Summer is here!

I swear I saw a mosquito today. When you couple that with a hot, humid day, you have reached "summerdom." This is the first year I would say that our landscaping is finally looking up to par. When we moved in, there were lots of plants just plopped in the middle of the yard. We like to work outside together so we've redone all the flower beds, added some beds, made a fire pit area, and made raised beds for our vegetable garden. We just got a new camera which D has totally enjoyed messing with so enjoy some photos of our yard which has sort of been spruced up for summertime.

God and Me-1

For those of you who don't know, for the last two years, I have tried my darndest to send out weekly emails to friends and family. Those emails stemmed from a mission trip to Peru. During that trip, I saw the Church as I had really never seen it before; it was real and alive with constant concern for souls and their places in eternity. I had read all the New Testament stories of miraculous conversions and the church as a living breathing dynamic body but in Peru, I experienced the New Testament church like I never had while living in the States. The church we worked with indirectly challenged me to be more transparent in my life and to constantly view life as something with the shadow (or light) of eternity cast upon it. I decided that I would begin emailing my friends and family every week to tell them what God was doing in my life that week. My goal was two fold: for my friends and family to consider their spirituality at least once a week and for friends and family to feel like they could diaglogue with me about faith and God and their lives. Now that I've started this blog, I'm still sending out my weekly emails. But I also plan to post similar style posts on my blog. So this is the post version of my email from last week.

This week I mananaged to make it upstairs to get my prayer journal and actually write in it! It has been sitting upstairs for two weeks but I was just too lazy to go up and get it when I was doing my devotions. Stupid, I know. If you don't keep a prayer journal, I highly recommend it. Even if you don't like writing, it really helps to focus your thoughts and keep your brain from wandering. I got D a book called Praying in Color a while back and it suggests doing an art journal as a prayer journal. It has you basically doodle and create art as you pray. D hasn't used it yet but I hope he does because I know praying is hard for him and I think this would really help.

Writing those words "praying is hard for him" really makes me see how much D has grown spiritually. He is fairly comfortable praying. (Although having to be in a small group at church with Warren Wiersbe just about did him in one time! Those of you who are our church folk will know exactly what I mean.) I'm very thankful for the way my husband has grown. Watching him grow as been good for me too. I'm naturally a take charge, get outta my way, I've got a plan type person. It was easy when we were first married to just barge in and take over. As D has grown spiritually, he has also grown in his ability to be a leader for our family and I've really worked at letting him lead and not complaining if it's not the way I would have done it.

Update-took my prayer journal upstairs again. Haven't brought it down yet. Didn't pray or do quiet time for two days because my journal was upstairs. Totally ridiculous!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Less than a month!

In less than a month, we will be traveling to Haiti. Unless there is a miracle, we will not be bringing Kenson home this time because he still needs a Haitian passport and a US visa in order to board an airplane and leave Haiti. We will first travel outside of Port Au Prince to Conleigh's orphanage. It sounds like it is a 45 mile drive that takes around 3 hours. I'm especially interested to see the countryside of Haiti. This will be our first time meeting Conleigh. We also hope to meet her birth mom and do some painting at the orphanage. After that, we will be visiting Kenson at his orphanage. We will do some sight seeing, work in the orphanage, and go to the Embassy to apply for Kenson's visa. A couple of friends and I made textured busy blankets to take for every baby in the orphanage so I will be taking those with us and attaching those to the cribs. We've got our flights made and our hotel rooms booked and have started to get things ready to pack up. The trip will be here before we know it.

Photo credit-fellow adoptive parent Heath McDonald

Saturday, May 17, 2008

We have entered into a brave new world...

We've entered into a brave new world, the world of blogging. It's not really a new world, just one we really haven't felt the need to do. We already spend way too much time online so creating a blog seemed like more of a hinderance than a help. But we are planning to travel soon so we wanted to give our friends and family a way to check up on us while we were gone. We also anticipate our family to undergo changes in the near future as we adopt our two babies from Haiti. Our family isn't right down the road and some are quite far away. And a few of our friends are far off too. So a blogging we will go!