Thursday, September 21, 2006

Waiting, waiting, waiting!

Everyone (meaning everyone that's involved in Chinese adoption) is anxiously awaiting the newest batch of referrals. Will they make it into August (a "slow" month), or just through the end of July? Will there be more Hunan referrals? When will they arrive?

As usually, nobody knows. I know there are those that think the CCAA is sort of playing with our hearts, but I truely don't believe that to be the case. I think they just work on their own schedule and no amount of anxious parents will change that (if it could, I'd already have my daughter)!

AM is doing great in school. While I'm on that subject, let me take this opportunity to suggest everyone reading this runs out and buys stock in Spray n Wash. Perhaps I was naive (okay, I was), but I really didn't think it would be a problem for AM to wear khaki pants with light blue or white tops. I was wrong. I bought the child two new pairs of khaki pants two weeks ago and they look like he's been mud wrestling in them........or they would without my trusty Spray n Wash ammo. Sheesh. I'm thinking the navy pants idea is a very good one (hides more stains). Unfortunately, navy pants with a navy shirt doesn't really work, so he'll still have a light colored top. Until this year, I NEVER had a problem with stains on his clothes. I guess the "I like to crawl on my knees in the grass"-switch was flipped when he began kindergarten! I now know why there are never any "gently used" boys clothes available at garage sales! Anything worn, on a regular basis, by any boy over 5 years old surely looks like it's been sitting at the bottom of a lake for a month. I suppose I'm lucky he waited until now to start ruining clothes. As it is, I'm thinking of making him vinyl pants.....

Not much else is happening right now. I just found out (today) that I have tendonitis in my thumb....on my right hand (I'm right-handed), which makes working interesting. But this too shall pass (hopefully with the aid of good anti-inflamatories).

For now, I'll sign off.....talk to everyone soon!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

And then summer was over!

Many of my posts of late have been on the "heavy" side, so I thought I'd lighten things up a bit!

Last weekend, we went to the Winderemere resort on the shores of Lake of the Ozarks. Despite the weather forecast (which called for a 90 PERCENT CHANCE of thunderstorms all day Saturday), we had beautiful weather. We spent Saturday paddleboating, swimming, roasting hotdogs and just generally having a good time.

This retreat had been planned for months and I was the "organizer". To tell the truth, I was a little worried about the "deluxe" accommodations I booked for us. I have memories of church camp that include rooms with cement floors, no a/c and whatever linens mom let you take from home (or a sleeping bag). I knew ours would be a "step-up", but when the lower step is SO FAR DOWN, there is reason for concern! I was terrifically relieved when we arrived to find a very comfortable "lodge" with lovely accommodations. **phew** Plus, it was nice to take the kids someplace where there weren't scantily-clad women (who have no business being scantily-clad) and teenagers with potty mouths. We get enough of that at Walmart.

Then we came home....and it's been almost cool all week. Last night we celebrated ES's (brother-in-law) THIRTIETH birthday with dinner at Texas Roadhouse. Yes, this is the SAME Texas Roadhouse where I horrified fellow diners by falling OUT of the booth last year (they though I had a skirt on..............it was a SKORT, I promise!), but we were pleased to see that they allowed us back. Afterwards, we went to Silas and Maddys for some ice cream......and proceeded to FREEZE OUR REARS OFF outside (if only that were actually possible)!!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't August just end, like, three days ago?? Someone needs to quickly send Al Gore a memo and figure out how this works into the whole "global warming" thing.

So now it's Sunday afternoon and I'm updating the blog while MotH works on the deck. Which, of course, he's always doing these days. Oh, he did take an evening off earlier this week after being BASHED in the head by a board and having to get stitches.......but otherwise he's always out there. I am a lucky girl, however, to have a husband that is such a capable "handyman".

I, on the other hand, am hoping to live in denial long enough that the master bath will actually complete itself. You see, FIVE years ago, I began a project. My project was to remove the old, nasty blue carpet from the bathroom, replace it with ceramic tile, remove the old grout from the shower (tile surround), repaint and then bask in the glow of the amazing transformation from all I had accomplished.

So we've been without a working master bath for five years. No basking yet.

Now, you ask yourself, what would make a reasonably motivated woman like myself ignore something as obvious as an inoperable bathroom? I will sum it up with two words: tile and grout. See, I am a Christian woman. I am supposed to have a clean mouth and mind. When I work with tile and grout, I find myself with much to confess afterwards. So really, I'm saving myself from offending God.

Okay, okay.....that was a really lame excuse for why I'm avoiding the bathroom. Seriously, though. If Boeing used sanded grout to build it's aircraft, there would be no need for the "black box" (assuming it would be able to fly with all that weight).

I finished the floor last summer and it looks mighty fine, if I do say so myself (though if "pride cometh before the fall", my grout line will probably crack any day now). My work-in-progress is removing the old grout. I never would have imagined that tiny, 1/8 inch grout lines would test my will and resolve like they have. I've tried nearly every grout removal tool out there and have come to the conclusion that they all stink. The least stinky is using a grout removal tool on a Dremel, but this creates so much dust that I'm forced to breath through a haz-mat mask (while wearing a shower cap on my head). And it is s-l-o-w going! I have worked on this for probably a combined total of six hours thus far and only have the top 1/3 of two walls done!

For any of you out there considering a radical grout color, like fushia, to jazz up your bathroom.....DON'T DO IT!!!!! The pain of removing it will make you regret the decision!

Anyway, by the time we get our house ready to sell, we aren't going to want to leave! We surely won't find anything in our price range that will end up being as nice as our house. Darn the stupid busy street out front.

For now, I must run. MotH has promised AM a family bike ride this evening and I suppose my presence is required for that. I certainly need the exercise after steak, potato and ice cream last night!

Until next time...

Hope.....and a little bit about peace too.

I suppose I should have included a warning when I started this log: ****Warning**** God ahead...Jesus crossing. Then again, most everyone that knows me already knows of my belief in God, so perhaps the warning isn't needed after all. At any rate, if you don't want to read my Jesus ramblings and are only here for adoption updates......you can feel free to skip this post. It is my prayer, however, that you will find some encouragement if you do read this.

I just hung up the phone with a dear friend. This woman and I have been friends since highschool, when we were as close as sisters. Chances are good that if I'm reminiscing about school, Nici was somehow involved in the memory.

As long-time friendships go, ours has ebbed and flowed. Many times over the last decade, our correspondence has been limited to an occasional phone call to share good or bad news. Earlier this year, she was in a terrible car accident and called me. The years melted away and I wanted to spend time with her and bring even a small measure of comfort, if possible. Well, she battled back from her injuries and just when she began to really put the wreck behind her, she found out she has cervical cancer.

As we've done over the years, she called me to tell me the news. What she doesn't know is that when we hung up, I wept bitter tears over her news. You see, that's how it is with sisters of the heart. We may not keep in touch like we should, but when I found out she was hurting, I hurt as well.

During our conversation we talked a little bit about "hope". She was telling me that she shared my blog with a friend who's wife had just suffered their second miscarriage. She mentioned that we don't always know why things happen, but that God has a plan....we just may not know what that plan is until years later when it's been revealed to us.

So that led us to the topic of hope. The Bible tells us not to mourn as those with no hope. See, life without hope is rather empty. It's void of, well, hope and hopefulness. I'm certain that all of us, at one time, have felt a sense of hopelessness....but to live that way entirely would certainly crush the soul. The hope that the Bible refers to is our hope, through faith in Jesus, that we will not just die, but be raised to life eternal. If we HAVE that hope, if our loved ones have that hope, then certainly we should never mourn as those without it.

It is this "hope" that provided the balm I needed to heal after Bailey's death. Certainly it was hard to understand when it happened, but now I can REJOICE knowing she is truely NOT dead. Were it not for that hope, I would undoubtedly still struggle with her loss.

In addition to hope, God gives us a peace. And not just ANY peace, a peace that "transcends" all understanding.

Phillipians 4: 4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Let me tell you that I have experienced, and am experiencing, that peace right now! It is absolutely NOT in my nature to sit by while someone else determines when I will be a parent again. Yet I have peace in the process.

I see dozens of people on various adoption boards that do NOT have peace. They are in obvious agony as they wait. Their anxiousness is evident in every post, their fear apparent in the way they react to bits of information. And why wouldn't they be in agony? Anxious? Fearful? Their HOPE and PEACE has been placed at the feet of humans!! I'm certain there isn't a person reading this that has never been let down by a human. ......it happens all the time! The easiest way to guarantee pain is to place your "faith", or try to find your hope and peace, through a mere person. Even looking to ourselves for peace and hope is a recipe for disaster (ever let yourself down....I sure have!).

Yet when I go to our agency's message board, I see something very different. The families on there are still anxious and impatient, but they are at peace. They don't "go off the deep end" each time a "bad" rumor comes out about the wait. There is no cursing, no anger, no anguish. Why? The only reason I can come up with is that they have put their faith for hope and peace in God. Over and over I read posts from families saying they know they'll get the child they are meant to have. They are soothed by the knowledge that God is in control. They are encouraged by the fact that God is dependable and that there is NOTHING He cannot overcome.

But when there is an absence of that, it just comes down to ourselves or other people.....it's no wonder so many people feel hopeless and anxious these days! Oh that isn't to say that believers don't feel anxiety. We certainly do! However, when we place those cares on Jesus, the knowledge that He is "walking the walk" with us is a balm to our hearts.

Matthew 11: 28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Am I facing a different circumstance then the families I see without hope or peace? Many of them have fewer months of waiting then we have remaining. Did they go through more pain trying to create their family? Many have experienced infertility and even miscarriages, but I would say that our experience with AM and Bailey is at least as painful. Do I just have better coping mechanisms? Perhaps I'm not as "emotionally invested" in the adoption as they are?

Or perhaps it's because of the Lord of light shines His brightness into the darkness of these situations? Gives me hope. Gives me peace. Gives me the knowledge that He holds this WHOLE situation in His hands?

Let me assure you, that is the case. And it's available to all those who believe. You see, I don't have to rely on myself or other's for my peace or hope. I can rely on the God that created the heavens and the earth. That's a whole lot better then depending on some faceless person on the other side of the world holding my adoption paperwork!

I pray that those of you reading this blog know that peace. Know the hope that comes from a relationship with the living God. For WHO (or what!) can stand against us if God stands for us! (Romans 8:31).