Saturday, March 23, 2013

I am not missing anything....

Well today I am thinking about milestones and tombstones ha ha and the fact that I am leaving "50" behind. Fifty was a great year and honestly it was not super short, not super long and it didn't feel like I thought fifty would feel like. I personally think "50" is the new "30", but I have friends that disagree!

Can you remember what it was like when your parents turned 40? You thought man, i should start telling them what I want cause they are going to croak soon...well maybe not that bad but I do remember a conversation where we all thought fifty was one foot in the grave. 
Why was my teenaged or childhood image of fifty so "ugly", so "old" so "desperate"?
I do not feel old, ugly, or desperate, I may look it sometimes but thankfully most people rarely tell me so. (i will leave it to you to deduct that yes, some people have)

I think because it is just that,  perception. So I will tell you now, I am not missing out on golfing, or a new SUV, I don't miss eating in pubs, (giving it up for Macdonalds) I don't miss staying out late, oh wait we never did LOL, I do need to plan more but we are also spontaneous all the time, and we get out way more! Our parenting encore has us out of pre retirement planning and into fun days at local places. 

We walk, we play, we sing, we pray, we budget, we intentionally visit others and build relationships with a whole new group of people, most not affiliated with any church. We fellowship on a whim, and we talk about the incredible blessings we have. Read the list, we are not missing anything, we have gained!

In 2010 I sat in the airport in Miami for my birthday, we were on our way to Haiti, via the Domincan. We knew exactly what we would see but not what we would do. That year post earthquake Haiti, showed us the incredible resilience of the people and showed us the gift of adoption.

In 2011 I went off to work, wishing I was anywhere else but home. This was a year that aged us. We look at pictures and we are both shocked at the differences, but this is also the year we saw our girls faces for the first time. So it all pays off!

In 2012 we were joined by Kelsey and my mom and we set out to meet friends and family at the airpark to celebrate my big "50' and walk, run or wiggle. We had just over 900km to do to finish the walk for Carry Me to Kinshasa. A walk that had taken us  all across the USA, across the ocean and now had reached mainland Africa. A walk that joined a huge group of people in helping us metaphorically and financially to bring our girls home. We did finish!

In 2013 I am not cooking! I asked for coffee in bed, and when Miss G asked what she could get me for my birthday, I told her nothing, because I have all I need right here. She smiled a smile that could light up a room and said because me and Miss P are here, and I said yep, and with that she asked for a kiss. 

I love my kiddos, all of them. Saw Danielle the other day, going to see Nick sing on Friday and stay with Kelsey for a few days and I think to myself if there was anything that I could have what would it be? Time! I wished that the dates above were different and that our girls came home sooner, I wish I was 30 (knowing everything I know now of course), only because it is around 30 when I started seeking out the options of adoption.

International adoption specifically and 21 years ago, Africa. 
What took so long? 
Many things and many paths, and many great experiences.
Just for the record yes,  I will be 65 when my youngest graduates, crazy?You bet! 

But not for one instant do i feel a huge difference physically  going to take all the ailments of getting old and pray them away. I will take the experiences I have had and I will share, and I will keep playing sudoku to improve my memory, lest I forget a child at school or any other important scheduling piece. It is my own determination to be thankful that I woke up and I am alive, that gets me up early every day and the pitter patter of little feet that keeps my hopping throughout the day and one hit of chocolate daily that ends my day when everything is cleaned up and the littles are fast asleep. 
I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Want to try it for yourself? Ask me how! International Adoption !

and just for fun...a lil Pintrest searching..This is me!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Where is your super suit?

I have incredible kids, but this is a story of my little incredibles. My bigs are always incredible and without their love and excitement about having lil sibs, this entire journey would not have been possible. My littles on the other hand, give me a joy and wonderment that I am experiencing for the first time. Through the eyes of my children, the gospel is coming alive, becoming tangible and becoming all powerful. I was so busy in my twenties just trying to keep it all together and financially needed to go to work, when they were still infants, so having an opportunity to stay home has been a gift. Having mornings when I didn't need to get ready and get out the door has opened up the greatest conversations about our lives as children of God. I tell my girls all the time, that we are all adopted, adopted into the family of God.

Ephesians 1 - 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will... 11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his were marked in him with a seal. NIV 

There is a great video on You Tube from Third Day about being children of God.

It was this topic that brought us to an amazing conversation of His power in us. We had talked about how we have power to be all that He has called us to be, we have power in us to help us make good choices, we have power in us to heal our bodies and power to love with unconditional acceptance, even if that person is hurting us. We were born through love and we were raised in love but as adults we become jaded and careful, hurried and side tracked. (well at least I do...if this isn't you...tell a friend you think may be sidetracked and they can read this...and you can carry on) So my jaded careful heart is also ever present in my momma bear attitude when it comes to my kids. If you have witnessed this intense reaction in your own life you know the one. The one that sees your toddler falling and you cant get there fast enough, the one that watches your child at school not get picked for a team and feels lost, the one that watches your teen, agonize over what her friends think of her, all of these bring out the fierce love of a mother. A love so deep you cant really explain it, nothing is stopping it, and it may not look Christ like either.

Imagine being a child of God and pre-destined to His plan, given hope, love, mercy, grace, and having Him watch you become all consumed in the day to day ritual of life with little time to share and show the love of His son.

 The gospel in action this week showed up with an amazing comment about forgiveness and choices. Miss G wanted to know if Satan had made a mistake would he ever be given another chance? Did God ever check in on him to see if he was ready to make a good choice? (parenting in our home sometimes requires neutral corners and a check in to see if we are ready) I sat humbled at the intensity of the question and realized as adults we write off people, and here was my kid thinking if God says everyone can experience grace, why not Satan? She was sad he made a bad choice, she wanted to pray that he would listen! Why not? With a burdened heart I told her all that I knew about grace and about the perfection of Jesus and that I would ask someone more versed in the bible about her question. Seemed like a good answer while getting two littles into the car and off to school, until I had a few minutes to think it out. Imagine a God so powerful that He can change even the most hardened heart, that we are all His.

So on our way to school we sang at the top of our lungs and I shared the only thing that came to mind and that "we" had His power in us, and that Jesus was this close. (insert visual of hand on heart)  He lived in our heart so if we needed Him we just had to ask for His power. That power was right there waiting to help. That school can sometimes be tough, that making good choices is not always easy, that God allows us to make mistakes but He is there to help us fix them and He is there when we need to talk. That seemed to be slightly off topic but was from Him. From the back seat I heard shouts of 'give thanks with a grateful heart...slightly off key but music to my ears, followed by a request to sing number 27 on the CD.
 Open our eyes, Lord
 We want to see Jesus
 To reach out and touch Him
And say that we love Him
 Open our ears, Lord
And help us to listen
Open our eyes, Lord
We want to see Jesus ...and with tears streaming down my face I sang loud and gave thanks with my grateful heart for the pure sweet love of a child, the childlike vision of the good in everyone, and the spirit filled wonder of a BIG and powerful God.

We talked more about His power in us and the only thing I could think of at the time, was Mrs. Incredible from the movie. So with a round of air high fives, some punches thrown in to show the enemy he had no power in our lives and a good yell of "Honey, where is my super suit?" We arrived at school with our super suits zipped up, His power in us and a reminder that no matter what we have done, or where we came from, we are all adopted into ONE family. A family of supers... a family that sticks together and a family that makes mistakes but thankfully there is grace.

What a great reminder that in my adult busyness of life I had forgotten my super suit in the closet and that I could do all things according to His plan and purpose for my life. I needed to pray for all those that I have written off and remembered there is never any choice that separates us from having Jesus in our hearts. He is the mender of fences and He is my daddy.

So this post went here and there but so did the conversation and so did my careful,  jaded, adult heart, but it all came back to the faith filled promises of God; there is nothing that can separate the love of the father from me. I am so thankful and so humbled that God chose us to be the parents of these little incredibles. Do you have a super suit? you need to dig it out and remember that He is as close as the beat of our heart? Put your hand on your heart and feel Him, He is there. Then go and show His love by forgiving somebody that you really didn't think mattered, but they did. Buy a cup of coffee for the guy behind you in the line, without caring if he was buying for six other friends, and smile at the guy that cuts you off, because you have a super suit and your mission be continued!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Behind Closed Doors

For a million reasons I have put off this post, mostly because once it is open the internet is on there forever and I like to think that if things are left unexposed they gradually diminish or reconcile over time. I don't think this is a season; I think this maybe the new normal.

I am not saying that I am having a major relationship crisis or that I am actually an axe murderer but a simple difference in how we are "outside the door" and how we are "behind the door."

I recently read a devotion on being a godly wife, mother, friend, grandma, get the picture....the list is endless and so is the task.

I can't do it all!

If you catch me on a good day I might be doing well at three or if you catch me on a Friday I am probably sitting on one, maybe two. If I am rested, and the sun is shinning, my kiddos are busy, I can probably hit four; but I struggle day in and day out with trying to do it all.

And with trying to do it all, comes the feeling of unworthiness, and guilt. I often self talk myself and say it is ok to be riding on a hope and prayer LOL

I am not looking for sympathy or someone to say you are doing a great job, yep I am doing a great job and I know the place I am in.  I am talking about general day to day, reminders of what has to be done, who has God placed on my heart and needs a text sent to, which one of my bigs am I ignoring this week, because frankly my littles keep me hopping. Oh and by the way, the guy who goes to work every morning, yes he is in there, just down the list for no other reason other than he gets it, and has the same struggles. Thankfully he loves me unconditionally and never asks for me to give only to him. He may ask what I did all day (inserts sarcastic face)  but that is another post LOL

Outside the door, I meet people all the time, and everyone always remarks how beautiful the girls are, how thankful we must be, how far they have come, and a handful of other feel good chit chat, at which time, I answer honestly, yes they are, yes we are, and yes they have. Easy, but the real truth is, it is still hard every day.

International adoption takes it toll, the wait is a huge emotional roller coaster that will take years to recover from. I liken it to pregnancy weight loss, some people will walk away and be back to normal, upon meeting their child, some will do a very rigorous exercise or self care program and bounce back after six months, and some will struggle for years. I am not sure where we are yet. Time will tell.

My life is busy and I would not have it any other way but the face of "wow she looks like she is doing it all" and the face of "wow she looks great" (ok i added that one to make myself feel good lol) those faces are all because I am on the outside of the door. Catch me on the inside of the door and you may see a women who has not brushed her hair, is not wearing a bra, has not showered, had floss a few months ago and now can't find it,  loves coffee  re warmed a gazzillion times, is playing puzzles on the floor and wiping away the dirt so the pieces sit straight.

The other me behind closed doors is the parenting me...yes,  I am not perfect. You know the sweet honey voice, I use outside the door when I say..."are you making a good choice right now, we need to think about good choices" is the same women on the other side of the door that is saying "seriously, what the heck are you doing???? possibly in my "loud" voice. I might even follow with "PLEASE" "help me out here, I am trying to make dinner, answer the phone, deal with a kitten who has miraculously been put in the dishwasher, making the culprit bleed and scream for a band aid and a husband that is asking where the nail clippers are? Yep, my life. Love every last minute of it.

So the next time you see me, get a visual of the real me...
-the me that cannot cook like other moms do on Pintrest and if I did, everyone would ask where the dry potatoes and beef is, followed by can we have gravy tonight.

- the real me, that quite possibly is driving the oldest child to the bus in her morning clothes, sans undies, yellow gumboots, and a toque because the hair has yet to be brushed

- the real me that lets a 4 and 7 year old play hair dresser with daddy so I can finish the dishes and then just hack off with a number two blade the rest of the hair

- the real me that told said youngest child if she can at least make it around the grocery store without taking off an item of clothing I will give her a candy, yes i bribe and yes those the same clothes she wears all week (favourite clothes make for happy dancing)

- the real me that arrives at church with spiffy looking kids, haphazard clothes on the man...he has to dress himself, (insert smiley face here) the same outfit I possibly wore last Sunday, because outfit repeating is for the those that remember that they actually wore it, I cant remember the day before let alone the week before

-the real me that sifts through Value Village like a woman possessed, comes up with a deal, and dashes back to the car, with the child that is putting up a good fight about the glittery shoes two sizes too small that were left at the till

- the real me that uses a swifter...the one that chases the floor dust up onto the other surfaces because I hate to vacuum

- the real me that crashes into bed at night, with a smile, a prayer and plan for the next day that will rarely come to fruition.

Yep that is the real me...I am a mom, that without the grace of God would not survive each day but the mom that is ok, to say "I don't have it all together and what you see is what you get" A final laugh, the other day I looked in the rear view mirror (after re attaching it from the hands that tried to see if it would hold them up in the dash) and saw my ear lobes. They had AGED, I mean really aged, when did they hang low???  is that what the song is about??? were my earring just too heavy??? no my lobes had aged. Don't ask about the rest of the body, so I may have to go to pearls, quite simply, who knew?

PS. To my bigs I do apologize because when you were little I really cared what other people thought so the getting out the door in the morning was stressful. I apologize that I made you wear matching socks, in addition to the many Colleenisms,  hopefully you have received therapy.

PSS To my littles, I love you guys so much, thank you for bringing "life" to our family, what a incredible gift you both are!To the man in my life, I could not imagine this any other way, well maybe with ten million dollars and your personal helicopter but this is what we have!

PSSS to my friends and family, thank you for being a part of our lives,

and when finishing this blog post, my littlest decided to dump a bag of coin rollers and elastics...proceeded to put elastics on her feet like shoes, and rocks from my planter attached with elastic as she banged around the hard wood floor, the dog slept with his ears open because life is never boring and the cat crawled into a box for safety from the man eating dishwasher....jealous of my life, I bet you are!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Family, friends and a pink shirt...

 This last week was crazy busy with our "youngest big" Kelsey coming for a visit with our little grandson. They went home on Friday and then friends came from Victoria for the weekend. It was a great week, full of laughs, moments of sweet snuggles with the little man thoughts and conversations about life and adoption, funny childhood stories and about "our stories". Adoption for decades was somewhat clandestine and secretive. Here we were sharing funny stories and realizing we were Miss G's age when we first met...(our men rarely keep up but Ian had some winners this weekend) It had been at least 43 years that we had known each other and funny thing is our "history" is ours. We both married and then there is "history" that includes our husbands.  Children were raised and now we had two littles making new "history" but with huge gaps in their "first years" history.

Adoption has changed, for many families they have contact with birth family, not as often in international adoption but definitely in domestic adoption. Children grow up in schools able to share that they are adopted, and teachers modify assignments that focus on heritage and birth. Organizations are born out of the desire to build relationships with other adopted families and that is a blessing. The Internet has linked us into relationships with families that I treasure and I cannot imagine having to walk this road without them. These cyber friends get it. They understand in a way that I cannot explain or describe. I value the wealth of information we have as a team. Alone we are coping, together even if we never met face to face, we have travelled a road together and we are doing it...winning..strength in numbers.

It is hard some days to protect your kids from "life" but not shelter them.
Do you understand what I mean...protect vs shelter?

This last week was also Anti Bullying Week,. with a special day to wear pink and talk about being a buddy vs a bully and what bullies looked like. In our home, this year it took on a whole new meaning. Miss G wanted to know if kids that called her black were bullies. I stood in my kitchen catching my breath as I had honestly by passed it in my head. She was in grade one, and I was more concerned about finding her a pink shirt and get her out the door with a quick explanation on anti bully day and instead I was stopped in my tracks.

Had someone called her black, did someone hurt her, did she beat some kid up (she can hold her own) because they said something. My head was like shooting stars...

So I decided we needed to properly explain "what is a bully"  "What are differences?" and "What is respect?"
It was something that I must have talked to my bigs about, but they were always the type of kids on the receiving end and or the ones that walked away and not actively the bully type, so I was exploring new territory. So here was a kid that was a little fire cracker if she was wronged and I had to make it understood from both the bully and the bullied. She needed to understand both roles in order to make her own judgement and perception and to chose to do the right thing, I am not always there to protect her from things kids say (and adults). I will not shelter her away at home either. Fine line, how much do i tell her, how much do I leave out. What is the impact of bullying?

So we talked about respect, we talked about being different, we talked about examples of how to deal with a bully and we talked about how it feels to be bullied.  It was a conversation that was forced upon me because of timing and school but i think i was negligent in truly making her aware of the many differences that cause people to go down the path.
She looks the same as her sister, I look different. She looks different from me but I look the same as Kelsey. I like coffee she doesn't, she likes hockey but her friend likes soccer. She loves to wear blue and her sister loves PINK. (understatement)
It's grade one and that all worked for this year. But it won't always be that easy. That is what breaks my heart. One day my girls will be the brunt of another persons joke or ignorance. So I will prepare and gather the right words, I will teach them to respect everyone...I will guide them along life's highway and help them in relationships...and one day I pray racism will be something we read about in history books. Tall order, you bethca.

Please remember to pray for all the kids out there that are feeling threatened, for the kids that are teased, of course it gets worse in the teen years but for kids in general. There are so many things that shape character and some of them out there are not the best choices.
I pray that I will chose choices that build, challenge and direct our girls to be socially and emotionally strong in who they are. Here are some pictures of the fun we had this weekend, kids being kids, and a little west coast sunshine...long awaited...I might add! Thanks Auntie Tracy for being a great photographer, I am actually in one picture instead of being behind the camera!

Swing time in the sunshine

At the beach 

This is Miss G watching the other kids play hockey and wishing it was her...soon!
 Miss P taking a time out in the penalty box for splashing....rain rain go away!
G and Jude 

Yep we are the cutest!!!!
And my favourite picture of all.  Miss P washing her nephew Jude's feet. This picture captured a smile deep within, because the simple acts capture the beauty of our family!