Day 84: Still

I was thinking today about how often I ask God to rescue me or someone I love from something.

I got this picture in my mind of someone needing to be rescued from the ocean, in the middle of a terrible storm, crashing waves, big winds, etc.

As their rescuer approached, they did what any person in this situation would do.  They started moving toward the rescuer, and then tried to help the rescuer rescue them.  And, as we have all seen in the movies, this rarely works out well for either the person needing to be rescued or the rescuer.

Logically, we know we should just be still and let the rescuer do their thing, but instinct and the need to survive takes over and we end up "helping."

We cry out to God to be rescued.  He says, "Be Still."

We cry out to God for help.  He says, "Be Still."

We cry out to God for peace.  He says, "Be Still."

All that to say, imagine if just for a moment, we were actually still. I am not good at still.  But you know what God says to me when I say, "I'm not good at still, Lord.  Tell me what I can do to help."  He says, "Be Still."

Day 83: Lest You Think It's All Funny Stories and Sweet Moments

I decided to buy groceries with the girls yesterday.  I let them take a good long nap (just to be sure they were going to be in a good mood).  Normally they enjoy the grocery store.  Normally I enjoy them enjoying the grocery store.

Not so much.

First of all, I'm an IDIOT!  What was I thinking trying to buy groceries on Sunday afternoon?!!!!  I think every person in town was at the store, and they got there 5 minutes before me and bought all the stuff I wanted/needed to buy . . . I digress.

As we entered the store, they had an HEB BUDDY station set up in the produce section and gave the girls the cutest little tiny green apples.  These cute little apples entertained them for about 1/2 the store.  And then it all turned for the worse.

Shortstack decided it would be fun to rub her half-eaten apple all over the basket, while taking bites in between.  She'd rub it on the filthy basket, then take a bite.  GROSS!!!!

When I tried to take it away from her, she hit me with it.  Multiple times, in fact, before I could grab it from her.  When I finally managed to pry it from her (remarkably strong) little toddler hands, she screeched the most blood curdling screech you have ever heard.  Needless to say, that garnered a few stares.

Having been their mom for a while now, I am used to such show downs and am equally as use to such stares from people in the store.  She screamed and cried and snotted and blew snot bubbles at me for almost 20 minutes.  I probably should have just gone home.  But at that point I had over a half a cart of groceries and I was GOING TO FINISH SHOPPING!

Finally, I succumbed to her screams and put Barney on the iphone and shopped the rest of the grocery store in peace. (Seriously how did I parent my first set of kids without an iphone?)

Once home, I discovered that Nitro (who just recently learned how to blow her own nose) had been blowing her nose in the back seat, without a tissue!!!!  I heard the noise, but thought she was sniffling from her stuffy nose.  I was wrong.  I will spare you the description of what that looked like.  But she'd been doing it for over 5 minutes, so . . .

I finally got all the groceries put away, tried to cook dinner, managed a full blown, full restraint temper tantrum that lasted well over 30 minutes, and then I cried.  (After reading this several times, I realized I should probably say the temper tantrum was not mine!)

All that to say, I write this lest you think it's all funny stories and sweet moments.  Our babies have special needs.  Often needs I cannot meet or understand.  I think that's why I have learned to treasure the good moments and focus on those.

Day 82: Jesus Has a Tummy Ache

Ever since last week when the girls heard the story of Jonah at church, Shortstack has been obsessed with the notion that Jesus has a tummy ache.  This notion came because the teacher told her that the whale must have had a bad tummy ache from swallowing up Jonah!  I guess she got all the whale, Jonah, Jesus data mixed up and it came out as "Jesus has a tummy ache."

So, despite my best efforts to assure her that Jesus is just fine and does in fact NOT have a tummy ache, she is very worried about him.

Today, on our way home from church, she was singing The Farmer in the Dell when all the sudden she said, "Jesus tummy hurt bad.  He not go to church.  He not see Martin.  He not see Kim.  He not dance."  (apparently we dance at our church, and well, if you have a tummy ache, you shouldn't dance).

I tried to convince her that Jesus was just fine.  I told her that he was perfect and that he never got sick.

She challenged me.  She said, "He have a TUMMY ACHE."  (She was quite emphatic)  I assured her that he was perfect.  That he never got in trouble or did anything wrong.  I assured he that he never missed church and that he never got sick.

She looked at me.  Still unconvinced.

She started singing again.  "HA HA" (I said in my most victorious voice . . . in my brain) "I win!  She has conceded that I am correct.   Jesus is alive and well."

As we were wrapping up our lunch, she looked over at me, smiled the most mischievous smile, and said, "Jesus has a tummy ache." 

OMgosh!  Are you kidding me?  I give up.  I suppose that Jesus, son of God and man, could have, at some point in his life here on earth, had a tummy ache.

All that to say, there is no convincing a toddler when she's made up her mind!

Day 81: A Beautiful Harvest

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time at all, then you know that we are in the process of adopting two three year old girls, whose online identities are Nitro and Shortstack.

To even get to a place where we could say that we are "in the process of adopting" has been a very long row (and yes, row is the right word here, not road, though  I suppose you could say road and it would still make sense . . . but I digress).  To get to a place where we could say that we are in the process of adopting has been a journey to say the least.

There have been many times when I felt like it was the right time to start the process, but Mike wasn't as sure.  And there have been an equal number of times when he felt it was the right time, but I didn't.  This is the first time that we BOTH have felt certain of God's hand and timing.  So here we are.

And while I am positive it is the right thing to do for the girls, it still makes my heart hurt for their birthmom because I have come to care for her and her very fragile heart.  I'm certain all of the events of the next days and weeks and months will break her heart.  But there are no other options if the girls' lives are to be rescued from the lifecycle they are certain to repeat if they remain in her care.

So the process begins.  On September 7th, we have our first hearing.  I don't really know the purpose of this hearing, but I know she will be there.  I know it provides some sort of custody to us (hopefully) while we sort out the rest of the pieces of this.

Today we are expecting to meet the girls' attorney (they have one of their own, who knew?)  It's for a homestudy  (feels like we just had one of those . . . oh wait, we did.) I'm a little nervous about that.  I cleaned like a mad woman yesterday.  I'm pretty sure she isn't going to be inspecting my baseboards, but I figured a clean and fresh smelling house can't hurt!

Yesterday we had to pay to hire an attorney for the suspected birthfather.  We don't even know for sure if he IS the birthfather, but we have to pay someone to represent his interests in his absence.  The sad thing is that just a couple of weeks ago he was in prison.  But oh, timing is everything, and now he is out and the people who need to find him can't find him, so the process says that we have to hire someone to represent his interests.  Crazy.  The process, I mean.

After this, I don't know what happens.  But I'd love you to commit to pray for our family during all of this.  For me and Mike and Zack and Jacob and Nitro and Shortstack. 

All that to say, there are things that could happen that would allow this ENTIRE process to be over before Thanksgiving.  We are praying for that.  Would you pray too?  We'd love this long row to turn into a beautiful harvest by fall.

Day 80: Bedtime

For months now we have struggled to find just the right bedtime routine for the girls.  Prior to a couple of months ago, bedtime at our house was pretty much of a breeze.  We read two stories, sang two songs, prayed, and laid the girls in their beds.  At which point they both went promptly to sleep.

But two months ago that all changed, and the last two months have been a tremendous struggle.  Shortstack has a big fit, pretty much every night, complete with throwing everything out of her bed, including pillow, blanket, stuffed animals, and sometimes even her pj's and diaper!

Nitro is sweet about the song and the prayer, but she mostly just seems to want to get into her bed.  And then once we put her in the bed, she has this nightly routine of giving us a million reasons why she can't lay down.

For Shortstack, I have learned not to engage in her fit throwing.  Instead, I just let her go, and then after she calms down, I go back into her room, pick her up, comfort her, give her all of her things back, and then she goes to sleep.

For Nitro, I mostly just laugh because her bedtime routine is a crack-up!

Tonight, I tried something new.  I set both girls down on the bottom step of our staircase, and I talked to them about thanking God.  In my grand pride, I was thinking, "Man this is going great! These girls are riveted!"  And then I asked them each what they would like to thank God for.  (I had modeled all the things I was thankful for first, so they were primed!)

Nitro said, "Thank you God for S."  (It was so sweet.  I actually teared up.)  Then she said, "Thank you for trains, and snacks, and puppy, and airplanes and school buses."  (Keep in mind she doesn't talk much and doesn't talk clearly, but these words were pretty clear.)  I still thought her prayer was pretty cute.  Then she said, "not funder." 

I laughed, hard.  She really doesn't like thunder.

So then it was Shortstack's turn.  I expected big things from her.  She's incredibly verbal.  And a pretty deep thinker.  She said, "Thank you God for Santa."  I said, "Santa?"  In my head I'm thinking, "Santa?  You want to thank God for Santa?!"  She persisted.  "Yes, Santa.  Thank you God for Santa."

I asked her if she wanted to thank God for anything else and she said yes, closed her eyes, put her hands together and said, "Thank you God for snow."  SNOW?  She's never even seen snow.  I said, "You want to thank God for Santa and snow?  Why Santa and snow?"  She said, "God hides in the snow."  (Clearly I have some work to do here!)

We closed by thanking God for our family.  As we walked up the steps, Shortstack stopped, sat back down and said, "Thank you for my brothers.  For Zack and Jacob and Tina."  (She really doesn't understand Tina's role yet.)

All that to say, I love bedtime.  With all of its messiness and temper tantrums and excuses not to fall asleep.  We'll see if I still love it when they aren't in cribs anymore!

Day 79: Surrender

I may have mentioned a few times that I am reading a book called, "Jesus Calling."  It is a journal by Sarah Young, written to herself as though God is speaking to her. 

Throughout her book, I am finding a pattern.  "Seek the presence of God, and then dwell in it."  Get that right, and everything else falls into place.  Notice I did not say, get that right and everything will be easy in your life.

And, as I have been reading my Bible, I am seeing a pattern in the portions of Scripture I am reading.  That pattern is, "Wait on the Lord."

And as I have been listening to God during my time alone with Him I am hearing these words over and over and over. "Trust Me, Carol."

Seek His presence and dwell in it, wait on Him, and Trust Him.  That's really all I'm supposed to do. 

Funny  how much longer my list is of what I think I should be doing.  In my mind I should be coming up with a plan B (for a lot of things in my life right now).  In my mind I should be busy.  My body should be busy, my mind should be busy, my heart should be busy, my soul should be busy. 

And so I fret, and I worry, and I calculate, and I seek advice from far too many people, and I talk when I should be silent, and I do everything I possibly can to keep myself busy, because THAT'S what I know how to do best.

Oh, but how opposite are the plans of the Lord.  Seek His Presence and dwell in it.  Wait on Him.  Trust Him.

"Many are the plans in a Man's heart, but it is the purpose of the Lord that prevails."  Proverbs 19:21  Imagine if I surrendered myself to that one scripture.  Imagine if I just lived in that.

All that to say, I wonder why surrender is so difficult when God's plans sound so peaceful and mine sound so . . . well . . . busy?

Day 78: Plans

Today was  "Meet the Teacher" day.  It's funny even typing that, as I can promise you that "Meet the Teacher" day is something I NEVER imagined I would experience again.

As the thought of "Meet the Teacher" day passed through my brain, it brought with it all the other things we never thought we'd experience again.  Lunch money, and spelling tests, and school dances, and allowances, and curfews, and teenage drivers, and on and on and on the list goes.

The plans I had for this stage of my life most assuredly never included diapers or tantrums or pediatricians or meet the teacher days.  Had my plans prevailed though, I would have missed bedtime stories and sweet baby kisses and playing dress up and dancing like a ballerina.  I would have missed the chance to watch two sweet baby girls grow into the beautiful godly women they will someday become.

Proverbs 19:21 says, "Many are the plans of a man's heart, but it's the Lord's purpose that prevails."

All that to say, my plans are never as beautiful as His.

Day 77: Happy Birthday

They are three.  Their birthday has come and gone, and they are officially three.  If you ask them, they'll hold up three fingers (with a great amount of effort on their part) and they will tell you, "I three."  Only it comes out sounding a lot more like "I free."  And to that, I say, "Yes, babies, you are."

All that to say, Happy Birthday my babies.

Day 76: GULP

I have been noticeably absent in blog land for quite some time.  In part, because I have had so much to say, but could say very little, and in part because I wasn't sure what I would say, if I could say anything.

Many of you have followed our journey with the girls for quite some time now.  From the very early days when we had them in our home, and then relinquished them into the care of another; to the day when they came back to live in our home again.

Throughout this journey you have been an encouragement to us.  Your words, so filled with life-giving encouragement have often come on days that seemed the darkest. 

On Friday, we officially asked the court system to allow us the opportunity to adopt the girls. (How's that for an artistic segue?)

We have no assurances of how this will turn out,.  The cost of this, both financially and emotionally will be high.  So we ask you to pray alongside us as we follow God's leading.

All that to say, gulp.

PS - As a confirmation to my heart that we are doing the very best possible thing for our girls, Shortstack spontaneously started calling me "Mama" on Friday.  smile.

Day 75: That Carol Jones

Wow.  Has it really been so long since my last post?  It's astounding that anyone still reads this blog anymore!

I have not blogged because there is something fairly significant happening in our life, and I am just not at liberty to discuss it.  And I know that is incredibly vague, and I hate it when people are vague, so I'm sure you will hate it as well.

But that's why I haven't blogged.  Because anything I would have normally blogged about has been eclisped by  . . . well, I can't say.

All that to say, I'll work on something clever and creative to say in the next few days.  Some great anecdote that will make you laugh out loud and say, "that carol jones!"