Saturday, December 18, 2010

What will they remember?





Hot chocolate, Daddy reading out loud by the fire, talking about the history and birth of Jesus...




Jigsaw puzzles, giggling at our favorite movies....




Snuggling on the couch watching the Christmas lights twinkle...

These are some of the things that mean the most. They are the things my babies usually come back to as the things they love.

Why? Is it really the activities that mean so much? I don't think so. It's the way those things feel. It feels slow and safe and warm. It feels like family. It feels quiet and calm and comfortable. It feels like love.

The truth is my kids probably won't remember what they got for Christmas or even exactly what they did.

What they will ALWAYS remember is how it FELT... How I made them feel.

That's why I won't spend all my time running around having a crazy busy Christmas. Yeah, we'll do the fun shopping and running around but a good chunk of my time will be spent looking at those twinkly Christmas lights curled up with my babies.

Most of the time the moments that feel like love don't happen while we're running. Most of them happen in the slow motion moments when we stop and take time to cuddle, and read and breathe together.

This Christmas I wish you many slow cuddly moments with those you love.

Hugs, Angel :-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The whole picture

Here is the thing. I think we need to learn these two things and learn them well....

Soak in every ounce of joy God sends your way.

Embrace every ounce of pain God allows.

So many times I think it's way too easy to swing one way or the other. I think I have done both.

For a good chunk of my existence I was running from pain like a bat out of H-E-double hockey sticks. I used to proclaim loud and proud that I was ALLERGIC to pain. My goal in life was pretty much not to feel pain. I was missing half the picture...




Running from pain is so dangerous. As we numb ourselves out from feeling the inevitable pain we numb ourselves out from feeling everything that means anything. It's when we turn around and embrace the waves of pain that everything changes.

I now see it all differently. In God's equation pain isn't something to be avoided. It's an amazing way to grow. Pain shows us who we really are and helps us become much more than we thought we could be.

Then there's the joy. For many years I was running after joy. I was pursuing it as my idol. It was everything. The truth about joy is it just doesn't work that way. Real joy can only be a gift. When we run after it suddenly it's illusive. It can't be won... Only received. Anything we run after is a temporary fix, a high, and leaves us running for more.




Honestly I think when we start embracing pain, stop running, that we start receiving deeper joy. The two go hand in hand.

AND when that joy comes we must recognize and embrace it! I see too many people who learn the importance of the struggle only to turn around and forget the importance of the joy.

We should not run after comfort... Nor should we run away from it. When our Father hands us a gift He doesn't receive glory or joy from our misplaced guilt or sense of duty.

If God brings me prosperity, comfort and joy I pray I will embrace it! I pray I will share it to bring others prosperity, comfort and joy as well.

If God brings me pain I pray I will throw open my arms and hold it close for the way it will grow and change me.

Joy and pain.... Hold them close. That's all I'm sayin.

Hugs, Angel :-)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Depraved Indifference

This is a powerful and beautiful message. It's most likely the best way you could spend the next 8 minutes of your life. Understanding THIS gospel might even change all the minutes after that. Angel


Thursday, December 02, 2010

Compromise

Kaitlyn Elise was making me a nervous wreck rolling blading all over the house. So naturally I told her, "KK, if you're gonna roller blade in the house at least put on your helmet so I don't have to take you to the ER." Compromise. The beauty of happy parenting.


Hugs, Angel :-)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

It doesn't just happen.



It hear it a lot... People look at our family and say, "I wish I could....." (fill in the blank)

Adopt a child, stay home with my children, go on a mission trip, homeschool..

I'm not saying that any of these things are for everyone. I don't believe that. It's just that it truly hurts my heart to hear people just dismiss a dream God has placed in their heart while looking at me as if I have some special code I cracked.

What I'd like to say is, "You can. Do it. It doesn't just happen."

I'm not some super woman who was magically given all the abilities, luck, skills and money to do these things.

I think sometimes it's easy to look at the picture of someone's life and think it looks pretty and neat and easy and wish we had it... But it didn't just happen.

Here are a few of the remarks I sometimes hear.

I wish I could adopt a child but...

YOU CAN!

For me that one started for me as a teenager. I had that wish and dream at 15. Having that dream come true even involved making sure I dated guys who were open to this. :-) It took 15 years for us to bring home our first adopted child. It was a long road and lots of sacrifice. It involved making sure we had enough income. It involved buying a cheaper house than most of our friends. It involved buying really old and basic cars all so we could afford the adoption fees to come.

Even after we brought our first adopted child home it was no picnic. It involved being yelled at and hurt sometimes. It meant not taking it personally no matter what. It meant that when I accidentally took it personally I ended up in a ball on the ground weeping.

Then our second adoption- It meant adopting a child who was special needs and was supposed to need at least one surgery for cleft palate. It meant my 10 yr anniversary was spent on a pick up trip with my momma instead of in Greece with my hubby. It meant a toddler who at 2 could not walk well, run, eat well, talk..

Third adoption-Meant adopting a lil boy with a lot of papers that said he has lots of scary problems. It meant deciding at the drop of a hat to stop everything for an adoption we had no idea was about to happen. It involved canceling a vacation and stopping life to love this little wonder.

And it's all WORTH IT!! I wouldn't trade it for the world. See that's the thing. We worked our tushies off for this thing called adoption. So you see... You CAN do it.

I wish I could stay at home with my children but...

YOU CAN!

Again this took YEARS to accomplish. Even before kids we lived only off of Russ' income. We went to MBA school 2 months after KK was born and lived off of school loans so that Russ could make more money after graduation.

Again... Bought cheaper house, super cheap cars, all our clothes come from Marshalls, yada yada yada...

SO.. YOU CAN DO IT! It may take time and effort and sacrifice but it is SO WORTH IT!

I wish I could go on a mission trip but..

YOU CAN!

Scared? Yeah. So was I. Ask my hubby. Before the trip when I went to Africa I spent the night before bawling my eyes out cause I was just nervous. I also spent 24 hours in Africa on a toilet while simultaneously barfing into a sink while there was no running water. Look, I'm just getting honest here. Turned out to be a life changing trip.

Ya know what??? SO WORTH IT and YES you can do it.

I wish I could homeschool but...

YOU CAN!

Are you kidding me???? I was terrified to homeschool. I cried for 2 SOLID weeks- completely petrified of the prospect. I am not brilliant or crafty or terribly creative.

It came down to this... We were bringing home a traumatized, sensitive, sweet and easily injured almost 8 year old who had never had a minute of education or a healthy bonding experience. Sigh...

I was terrified. I looked into private school but there is that whole thing about it's really expensive and we spend lots of money on adoptions and me being a stay at home mom. :-)

So for me that meant- Homeschool was it. Now I can't imagine it any other way. I am so grateful that our situation pushed me to do it. I LOVE IT!

SO YES! You can do it!!!

It might be messy. It might even LOOK impossible. So many of these dreams seemed so unreachable 15-20 years ago.

You may have various obstacles in your way that I never had to face. We all walk our own journey.

Here's the thing. God didn't ever promise us that the things He called us to do would be simple or pretty. Sometimes people's lives may look like post cards but I know from experience... They NEVER are.

If God has placed a dream in your heart GO FOR IT! Maybe it will take 15 years. Maybe it will scare the tar out of you. Maybe it will stretch you and make you cry.

GOOD!!

That's the best kind of dream. It's the kind that draws you closer to God and makes you more than you are capable of being. DO IT! Start your journey...

It doesn't just happen.

Hugs, Angel :-)

Truth Pandemic

Today is world AIDS day. Several years ago I started educating myself of the TRUTH about HIV and AIDS and I was SHOCKED at the lack of education on the subject. HIV is highly misunderstood and therefore the victims of this disease live in unnecessary fear and shame. WE CAN STOP THAT by educating ourselves!!! Would you start by watching this short video and sharing it? Let's change things in a small way today. Hugs, Angel