Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Today I am sad. It is completely a selfish sadness, and it swirls about with so much joy. How the two can intermingle so entirely without canceling each other out, I don't know.

But, there they are.

I rejoice today, because my sweet niece, Ellie, turns seven! Nathan and I were there when she was born, just one month after our wedding.

I also rejoice as on this same day, I gain a NEW niece, Emily, according to the law (though she's already been my niece for two years irregardless of the law.)

The last two years of her life have brought SO much uncertainty, tears, and hope. I'm so thankful that God has chosen to allow Emily to be my sister's daughter. She has been apart of her forever family now since she was 11 months old. She's now just over three years old. It's been a long time coming, sweet girl! Welcome! You couldn't ask for a better family!

You're probably wondering why I'm sad. Days like today make me feel to my bones the weight of living away from family. I'm on a little island on the other side of the world, 8 hours ahead of all of the celebrating. I want so badly to be in the courtroom today when Emily is declared "ADOPTED." I want so badly to see my sweet Ellie Bell blow out seven candles.

Days like to day remind me of how sweet Heaven will be.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

In over my Hair

I wasn't a very girly girl growing up. I couldn't even put my hair into a decent pony tail until college. (Please don't embarrass me by finding any of my high school yearbooks). I can't blame my mom... because I love her.  And I won't blame my sister... because... I love her too.  But, I can say, it's been a slow yet fun journey learning how to embrace femininity and also instill that quality into my little girl.

Eliana was born with a LOT of hair.

Her hair is soft and slippery, and it grows forward in a constant effort to hide her beautiful face from the world. I've tried clips, rubber bands, bangs, head bands- you name it. And while conceptually, Eliana likes the idea of looking like a princess, she has a severe case of the wiggles and apparently a VERY sensitive scalp (and by "apparently" I mean, the girl could fall off of a small cliff, break bones, need sutures, and still dust herself off and say, "I fell" and then run off into the sunset. So, I'm not buying her "you're hurting my head!" act.)

Anyway, inspired by my dear friend Brittany's faithfulness to braid and care for her daughter's hair, leaving Sophie the constant love of my dear Elijah's life... I thought I'd try to braid Eliana's bangs this morning.

After a fairly sloppy attempt at a french braid, the hair behind it launched a massive offensive and plunged right over the braid and promptly hid Eliana's face. Undeterred, I grabbed another wad of hair, and with equally deliberate sloppiness, I forced it into a braided line. The hair behind that decided to try something new. It launched itself straight up in the air then fell in a disorganized heap down the back of her head.

So, one thing led to another, and Eliana ended up with a head-full of five sloppy braids. I think it suits her. It's cute, spunky, and despite all attempts to contain it, it still marches to its own beat.

If any of you women out there, seasoned with femininity want to offer me any bi-racial hair care advice, I'm all ears! (or thumbs).

Monday, September 12, 2011

One Beautiful Rock

My sweet boy came home from school today and declared he had a surprise for me. He was so excited... and so I was a bit befuddled when he pulled a rock out of his pocket. 

My "um...oh...." turned into a mushy "Awe!!" when he explained it's purpose. 

He said, "Now when you miss me or think about me during the day, you can put the rock in your hands and pray for me, since I'm where the rock came from."


Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Biblical Role of Women

I listened to a sermon this morning, which was a breath of fresh air for me, yet I know the topic is a very controversial one. What should the role of women be in the family? Should they be the bread winners? Cook and clean? Are they less important? More important? The pants wearers? Heck, is there any need for a man or husband in the home at all? As suggested by so many, would my kids really be better off being at school at 2 or 3 years of age? With a nanny? Can a teacher teach my kids to share? Not be picky eaters? Be independent and well adjusted? In today's culture, it is super offensive to suggest that a women belongs at home. Even yesterday, I met with blank stares and gasps of shock when I suggested I actually LIKED being home with my kids, and I didn't want them to go to school at 2 or 3 as I LIKE to be the one to teach them, nurture them, discipline them, and yes, help them not be picky eaters. I also LIKE to take care of my home and my husband. Even more importantly, who else could better model to a child a life lived to obey God, to love Him and serve others (apart from dad, of course!) I am so thankful that God has blessed me with these five people to love, serve, and minister to. I'm frankly tired of feeling like I have to apologize to people for my choice to stay home and serve my family and seemingly waste my education.

I encourage you to listen to this sermon and think about it. If you don't believe in God, or you don't think that God's Word, the Bible is true, then this will more than likely make you angry or it will just seem ridiculous. But, for me, Alistair's sermon was a breath of fresh air as I get so tired of feeling pressured to bend and twist God's Word to look like our culture. I would much rather see our culture bend and twist to line up with God's Word. Imagine what a world that would be?! Husbands leading and loving. Wives loving, nurturing, and respecting. Children obeying and honoring. Workers working hard and being honest.

Oh how grievous sin is, that it's mangled God's good plan for us. I'm so thankful that God sent Christ to die for our sins so that we no longer have to be slaves to sin, and we have a hope in Heaven, when all will be made right again.

And in case you're wondering... by being a mere house wife, I don't feel enslaved, hindered, or devalued. I feel FREE.

Here's the sermon: http://www.oneplace.com/minist

Thursday, September 08, 2011

A rather long post...

This week has been nerve wracking, sad, joyous, victorious, and entirely covered by God's grace. On Wednesday, I watched my baby (wasn't he a baby just yesterday?) walk out the door for his first day of school. I know this is nothing new to parents around the globe, but for me, it was hard(er) on many fronts. I remember my first day of kindergarten. Both of them.

(That's me with the mullet and coke bottle glasses)

I began one every-other-day class at the beginning of the year, but then had to join the other, every-other-day class half way through the year to be able to continue my meeting with the school speech therapist (yes, I had the "cute" habit of saying, "I'm sowy, did da thiwy wabbit go dat way?") Anway, I hid in the closet, petrified as to why on earth MY classroom was filled with DIFFERENT kids. Thankfully, my big sister grabbed the closest girl she could find, flung open the closet door, and said, "Look Julie, this is your new friend, Gina!" I got over my shock fairly quickly- after all, everyone spoke English, looked similar to me, and played outside on the same huge playground and grassy field.

For me, Elijah starting school has been me putting to death a lot of my own expectations and familiarities. He is probably the only American to ever attend his school. He is the only toe-head in his class. He speaks approximately 20 words of Spanish (thankfully, "may I go to the bathroom" being among them"). There is no playground (only a concrete patio with toys parents donate). There is no grass. Really. He doesn't go to a cafeteria for lunch (they eat a snack at 10am, then eat lunch at 2pm when school is out). He is now being told that all of the letters of the alphabet sound completely different than his mommy taught him. He sees bullies picking on little kids and doesn't know how to say anything, so he just hides. He also has to remember that his name is now Elias (Aye-Lee-Us) and not Elijah.

But, you know what....? He loves it! He hasn't cried once! He is excited to leave and excited when he comes home. Isn't it a blessing if he can't get grass stains on his pants? The boy will be bilingual by next June! He will learn to listen, read people, be sensitive, be intuitive. I imagine there will be tears shed this year (by more than him), but I believe God is sovereign, and in control over every aspect of our lives. God knew, before he was born, that Elijah would be raised cross-culturally. I can trust that God will use all of these circumstances to form him into the man he's supposed to become. It is my role to, with an open, yet close hand, watch and support as God does a work in my little man's life. This school adventure is just another opportunity for me to "be still and know that HE is GOD."

I remember one wise, weathered mother telling me that it's good to create an environment in your home that makes your kids happy to return after their day at school. I wanted yesterday (Elijah's first day of school) to be special, so I baked his favorite sugar cookies. I made him a dolphin, as they are his favorite mammal.

(but now the problem is, he expects baked treats every day... sigh)

What has been an unexpected and wonderful discovery is that the other kids are THRIVING in their new found roles. Levi LOVES being the "oldest" for part of the day. He is so much calmer than his big brother. He takes his school time with me very seriously, and is very motivated to learn to read right now. He likes being put in charge of things that used to fall on Elijah. He could spend the whole day doing art.

Eliana, who normally found her role in being the pesty, disruptive little sister who zinged in and out while the boys tried to do "school" with me, LOVES getting more focused attention, and so has jumped right into her role as student. Despite her apparent short-attention span, she is quite bright. I'm realizing that when it appears she's indifferent or not paying attention, she's secretly learning and retaining. Sly little thing :-)  She and Levi have gotten along considerably better with Elijah gone, and she's been much more joyful since she's receiving a lot more of my undivided attention.

Lucas, the silly fellow, spends 98% of his day in two activities: Trying to stand up on objects (and getting stuck there upon, until I come and rescue him. He's spent some sleepless nap times due to his relentless urge to stand up) and eating any and every object he finds on the floor. Please don't call CPS, but today I had to fish TWO more thumb tacks out of his mouth. At the same time. Pray he survives this "explorer" stage. He is quite vocal. He has repeated a lot of words, but his three official, self-initiated words are "hola," "Lijah," and "acala" (which is chocala..."give me five" in Spanish). Oh, and as a side note, he now weighs a pound more than his sister!)

Nathan and I just celebrated our 7th year of marriage! We love each other dearly, and I still have to pinch myself that God blessed me with such a godly, humble, hard-working, servant of a husband.