Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Midweek Meditation - God's Chisel

So many times we try to live our lives the way we think we should. We don't let God work in our lives, because we don't trust Him. This clip addresses this issue in a wonderful way. God bless you today!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I am a Teacher. I am a Mother.

I am a mother. I am a teacher. I was a teacher before I became a mother, but there are times when the teacher in me is silent and I must love as only a mother can.

This weekend I attended the wedding of a former student. It was a joyous occasion and one more reminder (not that I need any) of the fact that I am getting older! When, I had to ask myself, did that cute little boy change into the handsome, young man awaiting his bride at the altar? Not while I was watching, I can assure you! Was he really old enough to do this? Legally?! The grey hairs upon my head confirmed the bittersweet truth.

Other former students were also there. We've never really lost contact, but walk different paths that seldom cross, except for times like these. We chatted and laughed, catching up on each other's lives, and reminiscing. Oh, how the memories came rolling in!

But, for two of these students the memories don't always bring a smile to their faces. I was their teacher during the darkest period of their young lives, when their mother lost her battle with cancer.

Although we don't mention it at social gatherings such as these, I have to wonder, have they truly healed? I remember the talks and the tears we shared. I remember the funeral and the empty, lost looks in their eyes. Their whole world had collapsed. Barely in their teens, they still needed a mother's love and guidance. And she had been such a wonderful mother.

Each child grieved so differently. The boy simply shut down, not wanting to discuss her or anything about her, except for the one day when he asked me to take him to her grave. Even then, he changed his mind at the last minute. The girl wanted to talk, wanted to share her thoughts and feelings. She needed to be around people so she wouldn't be alone with her thoughts. She showed up at school the day after her mother's death. When we expressed our surprise, she said simply, "I want to be here. It's like a second home for me."

The years passed. Their father remarried. They accepted their step-mother, but she would never replace their mother. She couldn't. The shoes left behind were way too big for anyone to fill. They moved out on their own. Worked. Traveled. Partied. Socialized. Smiled. Drifted.

This weekend, I wasn't satisfied with the simple "How-are-yous" and "I'm-okays." This weekend I felt I needed to reconnect with them. I needed to know how they were really doing deep down inside. I invited them to lunch, just the two of them, so we could talk and catch up. They quickly agreed. "I'm probably going to cry," he said quietly and looked down. She squeezed my hand.

I am their teacher, but it is my mother's heart that loves them so deeply.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Waiting ...

I am a doer. From the minute my feet hit the floor in the morning until the last hour of the day, my brain and hands are in constant motion. It is when I am required to wait for something, that I struggle the most.

Waiting, for me, is discouraging. If I can push, grunt, and struggle towards a goal, I am content. But to wait, to stand still and watch life pass by, is sheer misery. It is when I begin to fall apart. I question myself. I question God. I whine. I complain. I doubt.

I've read the Bible verses. I've even quoted them to others trying to encourage them as they wait. But, I am ashamed to say, I still have not yet learned how to wait well. And so, God is giving me another chance to learn this lesson. I am waiting again.

We want to adopt again. It started as a small flicker of a desire in our hearts about a month ago and has slowly begun to burn with greater intensity. We have not yet contacted an adoption agency, because we are still stuck in the questions. Where do we adopt from? How many? Boys? Girls? Ages? How will our girls respond to another child or two at home? How will we raise the money? And, suddenly I am overwhelmed.

I've come to realize something about waiting. Waiting periods are the time when the foundation of a dream is being laid. It is the time when God prepares us -- physically, mentally, and spiritually -- for our next adventure in faith.

And so I wait for God's answers to come. I don't know yet the path we will walk, but I do know that God is preparing us for the journey. In faith, I reach up my hand to grasp His and hear His promise, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Midweek Meditation

Osiyo! Thought I'd post this song in the Cherokee language for my Midweek Meditation in honor of my daughters' Cherokee heritage. The Cherokee National Holiday is held over Labor Day weekend at their headquarters in Oklahoma, and, although, we live far from there, we celebrate too by spending the day learning about Cherokee history, language, culture, and cuisine (only the vegetarian part though).

It is believed that this song originated somewhere along the Trail of Tears, when the Cherokee Nation was uprooted from their tribal lands and forced westward. Called "Orphan Child," it is a simple reminder that we are all orphans in need of adoption by our Heavenly Father, whose love encompasses all nations, tribes, and people.

"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands." Revelation 7:9.

This is performed by the Cherokee National Youth Choir. You can hear more of their work here:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tears of the Orphan

143,000,000 orphans worldwide and counting ...

"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." James 1:27.

Unexpected Joy

We didn't need another cat. I didn't want another cat. We now have another cat. His name is Milo and he has taken us all by storm. He is an unexpected burst of sunlight in our lives.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Long Trip Home

The trip home from Georgia was long and filled with delays. We left my sister's house at 10 a.m. Eastern time and arrived home at 2 a.m. Pacific time (5:00 a.m. Eastern time). A total of 19 hours of travel time is hard on anyone, but even more difficult when you are only four. Or maybe it's the other way around!

The first leg of our journey was relatively uneventful. A pleasant stop at American Girl Doll store in Atlanta preceded our arrival at the airport. Maya picked out her souvenir and I chose for the other girls left home with dad. At the airport I decided to check in curbside. Plans changed when Maya told me she needed to use the restroom ... now!

No problem. It wasn't too hard to hurry with two suitcases, two carry-ons, a purse, and a booster seat OR even to pack them all into the stall with us. A near-miss, but we made it and emerged from the stall all smiles. Off we sailed to check-in at the counter.

One-and-a-half pounds overweight on checked-in luggage would cost me an extra $50. I had to quickly reshuffle. I would now carry that one-and-a-half pounds onto the plane myself. After lugging my baggage over to a cart (they wouldn't take it at the counter) we were off to security.

Oops! The security officer noticed I had no boarding slip. Back to the check-in counter Maya and I walked with our two carry-ons, including the extra one-and-a-half pounds of stuff in them. Waited politely for the person in front to finish, requested the boarding slip which the ticket agent insisted she'd already given me. Back to the security line at a slightly quicker pace. In the interim, the line had grown from one single line to three. Waited again. Smiled politely at the fellow cattle, ahem, passengers, shuffling along beside me. And then...

Broke into a sweat getting off shoes, sweaters, opening the laptop, and sliding everything through the x-ray machine under the scrutinizing eye of security agents and with the collective breath of the masses behind me hot on my neck. Took a deep breath as I padded barefoot and undignified through the metal detector. Then repeated the above process trying to re-collect my belongings, plus that extra one-and-a-half pounds which had begun to feel a lot heavier, off the conveyor belt. Then to find our gate...

Maya informed me she was hungry as we jogged towards our gate. I made her all kinds of promises IF we could just make it to the plane on time. I was beginning to worry a little. Engaged in a delightful conversation with a missionary's widow on the shuttle towards our gate. Maya attempted to stand without holding onto the safety rails. Not a good idea.

We arrived at the gate just as they were summoning the last two boarding zones. We'd made it! I was feeling a little wobbly in the knees. Maya promptly began a conversation with the man sitting next to us. I wasn't really in the mood to meet anyone at the moment. But Maya was insistent.

Santiago turned out to be pleasant enough. He and his wife are trying for children. The subject of adoption came up and suddenly, I was all ears. The quick flight to Charlotte was uneventful. I shared some information with Santiago, which he jotted down, and we were off.

Charlotte at last. A leisurely lay-over awaited us and we browsed through various shops. Maya was fascinated by all the people who rushed past us. Those waiting for our plane seemed especially friendly. I had no idea they were angels in disguise.

A big man introduced himself as "Big Bird" when Maya asked. A mother traveling with her two teen-age sons, Kendal and Riley, sat across the aisle from us in the plane. We smiled politely to each other as the plane backed out from the gate. And then ...

The pilot's voice informed us a repair was needed. It wouldn't take long, he assured us. Not more than an hour ... or so. We were free to leave the plane and walk around the airport while the repair was completed. Noooooo! I thought. Maya simply bounced on the seat next to me waving her miniature Disney princess figurines to Kendal and Riley.

For the next two hours we wandered aimlessly through gift shops. Maya waved at every fellow passenger she recognized from our plane. (I had never talked to so many people on one airplane in my life!) She informed "Big Bird" that our plane was "sick" and needed to be fixed. Riley and Kendal entertained her for much of the time. They seemed to have more energy than I did at the moment.

Mercifully, they transferred us to a new plane. After a bit more across-the-aisle banter between Kendal, Riley, and Maya, everyone settled down for the flight home. Home! What a sweet thought, I mused, as I drifted off to sleep with Maya snuggled on my lap.

And somewhere during our flight, while we slumbered peacefully up in that starry sky, Maya peed on me.


P.S. A big thank you to Kendal, Riley, and "Big Bird," for being so helpful and kind! May we be blessed to meet more like you.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Midweek Meditation - Amazing Grace

Timeless hymn. Be sure to listen until the end. John Newton would be honored. :)