Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankfulness Challenge Day 23: Thankful for wonderful memories.

Like most people I know I have loved Christmas for as long as I can remember.
There is something in the air that begins the day after Thanksgiving (when we decorate the house) and doesn't end until January. Its truly magical. As I've gotten older the magic has changed somewhat. As a child/adolescent it was toys/gifts/stuff! Now, its the togetherness of family the season brings. Its a time where we all take a little more time for each other and are a little nicer. I'm not saying I agree with this idea but it is what it is. 

My mom LOVED Christmas! This Christmas marks the 10th one without her and I am almost positive I have blogged about this in times past but its a story worth repeating. 
The first Christmas after mom died we gathered at her sister's house and spent it trying to keep our wits about us. It was very empty and cold feeling and I wondered there was no magic. Since I wasn't home that year I didn't decorate. Never did I imagine I wouldn't ever want to decorate again but thats exactly what happened one year later. 
Thanksgiving came and went and so did the tradition of decorating on Black Friday. I just couldn't get it together. There was no Aunt's house to hide at this year and my kids and B kept asking if we were even going to have a tree. I just couldn't do it. There was nothing in me that even wanted to. Mom was gone and so was the magic of Christmas. 
A few days before Christmas my friend Laurie called. We went to church together, she also had three boys but was about 10 years ahead of me. I loved Laurie. Always had a smile on her face and an encouraging word not to mention her amazing hugs! She was asking how it was going yada yada yada, you know all the small talk. I broke down and told her I hadn't decorated, how I just couldn't bring myself to do it. What was the point kind of thing. Her response...get those decorations down, I'll be right there and she hung up. Next thing I know she is at my door Christmas mugs in one hand and apple cider and Christmas CD in the other. And we got to work. She was so precious. Rachel, she said, your mom loved Christmas and what better way to keep her memory alive during this season then to keep loving it yourself. 
And thanks to Laurie I do! I relish every moment. I am so thankful God brought her into my life and thankful she's still around (albeit we are a few hundred miles away). She helped me remember why. She could of just stayed on the phone and said all the "right" things but left me to my own devices but she didn't. She acted out of compassion for me in my moment of pain and assisted in my healing process. 
Every year since then as we decorate she is constantly on my mind and heart as the vessel God used in the moment I needed something I couldn't produce on my own. HOPE!

And by the way, those same mugs she brought get filled and re-filled all season long.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thankfulness Challenge Day 16: Thankful for Adoption

Praise be to the Lord for He has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy and with my song I will praise HIM!
Psalm 28:6-7

November is National adoption month. I am thankful for adoption.

I am adopted and beyond thankful for that. Jesus adopted me and made me His. I didn't deserve to be adopted. I was completely unlovable, I was broken, dirty and scarred. Yet He took me and my pathetic life and created something new. He took me just as I was yet loved me too much to leave me that way. He turned my life into something I never, in a million years thought it would ever be. He gave me a husband who loves and accepts me unconditionally and blessed me with three amazing boys. And now I want to do the same.
Jesus birthed the dream of adoption in our hearts more than 6 years ago. And in that time, although the waiting has been excruciating at times I have seen His mercy. Never more than in these last few weeks.
I told you a couple of posts ago that we had received a referral for a little girl. Here now are those details.
She is almost 14 months old. She was found on the side of the road when she was about 3 days old. She has a very large birthmark on the right side of her face. As we have consulted our doctor (who has truly been a gift from God through this adoption) he asked us to request an MRI to check for legions on her brain. He thinks the mark may be related to Sturge-Weber syndrome (port wine stain). So we did. And so we wait. And wait, and wait. It has been almost 4 weeks since the request (not to mention we are also waiting for her official release to Holt, our agency). However, in that time and through God and His mercy on us almost weekly we have received some kind of update on her.
The first week were updated pictures and measurements. She is completely on target with all of her development by the way.
Then the following week we learned she is a sponsored child so I have those updates plus 3 more pictures of her beginning when she was 2 months old.
And this week some serious icing on the cake, 5 videos of her!!!! In 1/4 of the videos she is crying but all in all she seems to be a very typical 14 month old little girl. One who is waiting for her momma and daddy to come and scoop her up.
Brian and I are sure in our hearts she is our girl and are just waiting for her release to submit our last pieces of paperwork which are written and ready to be sent. Will you please pray with us? Pray for that release to be sent quickly and the test results to be favorable and submitted to our agency. We so appreciate you standing with us, we can't do it alone.
I am hoping our next post will be a wordless one as we introduce you to our precious little girl but until then I am thankful beyond words for God and His mercy as we wait.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

A Christmas Photo Post

My friend Laurie and I put together a Christmas craft night for some girls last Saturday. We highjacked our ideas from Pinterest and had a blast together, eating, drinking, listening to Christmas music (albeit a little early) and making some of the cutest Christmas crafts I've seen.
Berry letter table.
Glitter tree table.
Debra getting started.
Robin, Laura and Deb
Tonya pulling her berries from their stems.
She thought I was gonna pick real berries for this project.
Me and Tonya
Jennifer, Sarah and Laura begin the glitter tree madness.

Joy letter table with Mary-Lou and Laurie.
Look at Robin go, she is almost done with her letter.
Tonya, not so much. 
Deb is on it too.
The JOY letters required precision, thankfully Laurie is super creative and talented. 
Ya, I had a hard time getting going. Deb said I had commitment issues.  
This craft proved to be the messiest.

Last craft was the yarn trees, Robin here getting started.  
So cute Laurie. 
Laurie showing Robin the fastest way to wrap the yarn trees.

My commitment is still lagging.
Mary-Lou and Jennifer. 
Me and Jennifer. 
Working hard!
The girls!
The yarn trees. The easiest craft to make.
The berry letter. 
The glitter trees are so pretty. 

Love these!

All in all a super fun evening and a great way to get everyone in the Christmas spirit, not that I need any help.
I'm already looking forward to next year!