Tuesday, September 30, 2014

3241 to 3250

3241. Sunshine.
3242. A roomy dress.
3243. Dreams that make far-off friends feel closer.
3244. Popcorn.
3245. Vava's expanding vocabulary: "gis-gussing!"
3246. Sam cuddling down for a good snuggle on the couch with me.
3247. Fresh veggies from our neighbours' garden.
3248. Sweet sleep.
3249. Line-dried laundry.
3250. Cold clean water.

Monday, September 29, 2014

3231 to 3240

3231. A very fallish day.
3232. Vava squeaking "baby K coming soon? I so excited!!"
3233. Sam hugging Vava at bedtime, saying, "she's my brother. Sorry Papa, you can't take her."
3234. Sam and Vava playing in the leaves.
3235. A nice playdate.
3236. Installing baby K's carseat.
3237. Packing my hospital bag.
3238. Sam being so excited to find dozens of slugs under his sandbox.
3239. Having only 10 days left til due date :).
3240. Lounging with my one true love ♥.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

3221 to 3230

3221. Patrick bringing me home a brand new vacuum.
3222. A sermon about looking back and pointing forward.
3223. Knowing You can make us holy.
3224. Chatting in the nursery with wiser, more experienced moms.
3225. Getting the laundry off the line just before the rain hit.
3226. A deep sweet nap.
3227. Vava's cute post-nap pretending: "dinosaurs coming! They bite my face. Rarr."
3228. The kids playing puppies.
3229. Vava in her dinosaur costume and pyjamas before bed.
3230. Sam's insistence on long sleeves and long pants, even when wearing pyjamas.

Friday, September 26, 2014

3211 to 3220

3211. Coffee.
3212. Patrick biking to work.
3213. The kids eating a good breakfast before the waiting room marathon.
3214. The kids behaving well at the doctor's office.
3215. Coffee.
3216. Vava coming up close to Sam while he was in timeout, putting her arms around him for a hug, and quietly poking out her tongue to lick his arm.
3217. Chatting with my dad.
3218. Jesus speaking of days like this: "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." -John 16:33.
3219. Nobody dying in the Great Duck Crash of 2014.
3220. Watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with my One True Love.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

3201 to 3210

3201. Playgroup today!
3202. Remembering to get the garbage out for pickup. (Seriously, I have pregnancy brain ... and forgetting is a stinky hassle.)
3203. Sam falling crazy in love with our new (to us) Hannah Montana guitar.  Or maybe it's the Hannah Montana decal on the front ... "she's so byooful!"
3204. Sam playing the guitar and singing Holy Holy Holy.
3205. The way the kids at playgroup were so intense about singing time.
3206. Vava saying HI HI HI HI to everyone in Walmart.
3207. The mom who stopped me to chat about babies and couldn't believe I'm 38 weeks along.  Thank you!
3208. Vava asking for Patrick as soon as she woke from her nap.
3209. Sam praying before bed.
3210. Getting some overdue things checked off my to-do list.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

3191 to 3200

3191. Chatting with my sister.
3192. Vava's pretty feet in too-big pink sandals.
3193. A sunny tricycle ride to the store.
3194. Delicious beef jerky.
3195. A visit, and lunch, and supper - feeling blessed and filled.
3196. Sam shrieking from the height of the swingset's arc: my bum is crazy!
3197. Precious baby Colby, sound asleep.
3198. Two kids bursting with glee because Papa came home.
3199. A pleasant bedtime.
3200. Friends with patient ears and bright laughter.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

3181 to 3190

3181. Sam and Vava helping me clean up.
3182. Sam being so thrilled to help fold towels.
3183. Another hot and sunny laundry-line day.
3184. Friends and a cookie picnic on the deck.
3185. Chatting with my sisters.
3186. Vava's temper tantrum and sweet sweet apology.
3187. Playing frisbee with Sam in the backyard.
3188. The reminder that His Word is sure - most sure!
3189. Patrick doing the dishes.
3190. Baby growing and growing.

Monday, September 22, 2014

3171 to 3180

3171. Noticing that my phone isn't publishing to my blog anymore ... in time to save this list from the mysterious fate that met my last two lists.
3172. A gorgeous sunny day.
3173. Texting with my sister on her birthday :).
3174. Saving the handsome orange cat that was stuck on our roof.
3175. His obvious gratitude.
3176. Sam yelling "KITTY!" and chasing the poor thing all over the yard ... felt a little bit like a scene from Monsters, Inc.
3177. Vava looking gorgeous in her pretty new sweater.
3178. So-perfect presents arriving for baby K!
3179. A relaxing bath while Patrick settled the kids.
3180. Vava bringing me a play cake she made, and singing happy birthday. Heart officially melted.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

My Brother's Keeper

On Fridays, I take the kids to Moms' Group.  My friend who hosts it also watches a few boys Sam's age during the school year, so as well as their usual summer circle of friends, Sam and Vava get to play with some new kids.

Yesterday they were so excited as we got ready to go.  "Who wants to leave for Moms' Group?" I asked, and they cheered like football fans and ran to the door.  Suddenly, Sam grabbed my arms and looked intently into my eyes.  "What if the big boys are mean to Vava?" he asked.  "Well, what would you do if you saw that happening?" I asked.  "I would put out my hand like a stop sign and say NO and I would shoot them from my eyes!" he declared fiercely.

Sam already knows the answer to Cain's insolent question: yes, I am my brother's (and sister's) keeper.

We take care of the people we love.  They matter.  So yes - we put our bodies between them and the possibility of harm.  We step out into traffic to grab our naughty toddlers, we nurse our sick spouses at the risk of getting sick ourselves, we get up in the night and drive to the hospital to sit with our friends.

And we do it for people we don't even know -  mothers with morning sickness and tired bodies carry a 40-week burden to birth someone they've never met, donations pour in for disaster relief from pockets halfway across the world, firefighters run against instinct straight into burning buildings to rescue people trapped inside.

During a routine prenatal appointment a few weeks ago, a doctor asked me why we had adopted Sam.  Adoption isn't something that's done in her culture, she explained, and she didn't understand what motivated people to adopt.

I didn't know where to start.  Adoption was one way to grow our family, especially with my infertility condition and a good chance we'd never conceive on our own.  But it's more than that - there's something about adoption that resonates in my heart - it's a physical expression of the gospel, it says Your life is valuable! I treasure you!  Parents reach out all over the globe to take care of children who don't carry their genes - not out of obligation or duty, but because they believe with all of their hearts that yes - I am my brother's keeper.

It's why we respond with disgust and anger when we read about children being found sick with neglect, unwashed and unfed by the very people who ought to care for them most tenderly.  It's why we ask "are you okay?" when we see someone crying.  It's why our hearts ache with loneliness when no one reaches out to show us we matter to them.

It's why rape and murder are crimes and sins - the violent treat the victims' bodies as if they don't have a responsibility to them.  We do.  We have a responsibility to respect and care for our brothers, our sisters.  Rape is an act that declares "your body, my choice."  It's evil; it goes against the truth that we are our brothers' keepers. 

I am responsible to care for you - at the very least, I am responsible to deny my desire to harm you (and believe me, if you cut me off in traffic, it's a very real desire).  And as a Christian, God compels me to do more than just cause no harm - but to actively bless and serve and love the people around me, the people I can reach. 

I'm not very interested in politics, but yesterday I read an article that could have been titled "My body, my choice."  A politician was touting the pro-choice (poorly named - I think it's the side with the fewest choices occurring) stance that no one can tell other people what to do with their bodies - specifically, in the case of whether or not to abort their baby.

I think rapists and murderers would agree.  "My body, my choice," their actions say, as they walk away from the carnage they leave behind.

Even Sam knows that's false.  Even Sam knows he's responsible to care for his sister - not because I've told him so, but because no one should hurt her and if they do, he's on the job.  If someone hurts her, he's going to put up his hand and make a stop sign and say NO and shoot them from his eyes.  They can't freely choose to hurt Vava with their bodies as long as Sam's around to stop them.

I understand that pregnancy is hard and inconvenient and goodness knows the church has caused a lot of pain and loss by shaming those who have gotten pregnant unmarried.  That's not what Christians should do, btw - we should put our arms around anyone vulnerable, (scared pregnant moms especially, because they're especially vulnerable!), and protect them because yes, I am my brother's keeper!  And I'm not writing this to hurt those who have chosen abortion ... because I am my sister's keeper.  I care.  I care so much - and if you need to talk or want help or need someone to listen and care and be on your side, I am here.

I'm writing because I have to - my heart is full and heavy and these words need to get out.

I must stand against the ideology of "my body, my choice" because those who are most vulnerable and unable to stand up for themselves are the ones we are most responsible for.  I wouldn't expect Sam to defend me against adults - but I am thrilled that his feisty little heart aches to protect Vava.  

I must stand against it because I am an adoptive mom.  Sam's birth mom chose to use her body to bless Sam and bless us - and any way you look at it, adoption is a sacrificial choice that declares yes, I am my brother's keeper.

Ordinary heroes and mamas and daddies and brothers and sisters, wrap your arms around this hurting world and stand strong.  Be the good Samaritan in the place where you are, and whisper brave against sore hearts and lonely lives Your life is valuable! I treasure you! 

xo.

Friday, September 19, 2014

3141 to 3150

3141. My sweet happy morning bugs.
3142. Patrick kissing me good morning and telling me I'm beautiful.
3143. Sam asking where the sun went.
3144. Chatting with my sisters and dad.
3145. Friends who pray for each other.
3146. Stretch pants.
3147. YouTube lullabies.
3148. Talking about delivery.
3149. Watching a tear-jerker with my One True Love.
3150. Patrick ♥.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

3131 to 3140

3131. Sam and Vava's adorable happy morning hugs and hellos.
3132. Playgroup being back in session.
3133. A picture-perfect (if freezing) morning at the beach - sunshine, birds wheeling through the sky, and Sam and Vava with their heads thrown back, laughing on the swings.
3134. Painting with Sam, and his hilarious Space Friend.
3135. Sam helping me make 2-ingredient cookies.
3136. Vava waking from her nap, wearing a hat she hadn't gone to sleep in ;).
3137. The furnace repairman absolutely making our day ... and loving the kids' excitement at his arrival.
3138. Patrick manning the kids' supper and bedtime.
3139. My luscious massage.
3140. Crockpot potato soup with bacon bits and cheddar cheese. Mmm.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

3121 to 3130

3121. A delicious quiet morning with Patrick.
3122. Warm breakfast - sweet comfort on a dark and rainy day.
3123. Happy hugs from my darlings.
3124. Playdate with nice friends.
3125. Cinnamon banana muffins.
3126. Sam and Vava eating lunch like pros.
3127. Cuddling with a beautiful brand-new baby.
3128. Sam's adorable tenderness with baby Colby.
3129. Patrick doing the dishes and picking up the toys for his unwieldy wife.
3130. Getting some freezer meals all prepped. Ahhh.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

3111 to 3120

3111. Patrick.
3112. Sam.
3113. Vava.
3114. Baby K.
3115. Coffee.
3116. Sam and Vava pretending to be puppies.
3117. Vava making a play picnic of old sponges and inviting us to eat.
3118. Sam's response when I told him to go back to sleep: "my belly is a stop sign and my heart says No Thank You."
3119. Pizza & spinach smoothies for supper.
3120. A quiet evening in with Patrick.

Monday, September 15, 2014

3101 to 3110

3101. A roof overhead.
3102. Hot coffee.
3103. Good morning kisses.
3104. Food in our bellies.
3105. Vava blowing the competence tests out of the water.
3106. Sam singing and dancing "I Love You!!!!" with me.
3107. Patrick forgiving my braindeadness.
3108. Cow candies.
3109. My so-understanding np.
3110. Vava, tenderly feeding her toy bottle to the stegosaurus.

Because-of Beautiful

My dear friend,
You had a rough beginning.
Broken, like glass, sharp edges that pierce and sliver.
More than anything, you long for wholeness,
You try with all your blessed might to shield your children from anything that might give them the same broken lessening.
You don't see
The because-of beauty in their mother:
Her gentle kindness
Her deep-heart softness
Her careful thoughtfulness.
Qualities etched into broken glass by tumbling waves.
My dear friend
You are precisely you
Because of your broken beginning
Not in spite of it
(God doesn't deal in spite)
And your wholeness
Is the wholeness of a life worn well.
I pray
You will be granted eyes to see
That what you think made you less
Has been used to make you great
And your well-worn dust
Has been filled with the breath of God.
Your life
Is beautiful.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

3091 to 3100

3091. Sam and Vava playing together first thing this morning in baby K's room.
3092. Baked peanut butter oatmeal for breakfast.
3093. Our loving church family.
3094. Patrick giving me a footrub.
3095. A gigantic, brilliant rainbow.
3096. Vava feeding her babies.
3097. New twinkly lights for our living room.
3098. Sam thanking Patrick for his new water gun.
3099. Vava wanting a kiss and cuddle from Sam before bed.
3100. A tear-jerker picture of my beautiful mama and sister.

Greatly Loved

My Samjam is a pretty tough nugget.  I've dropped him, tripped over him, accidentally bonked him in the face with my knee - and he doesn't really mind too much. Physical pain?  He can handle that.

But add a hint of animosity to the slightest touch, and he will wail at full-volume, with crocodile tears and drool and chest-heaving incoherence.  It's not the pain he can't handle, but the possibility of malice.

When he's naughty and I put him in timeout, if I'm angry at all, he will shriek "owwww!"  There isn't any pain to protest, but the anger - that's what hurts.  If his sister accidentally steps on his toes, he doesn't even blink (well, she is a featherweight ;)), but if she is angry at him and stomps her foot and accidentally steps on his toes, he will burst into a torrent of sobs.

I've discovered lately that if I hold him close and look into his eyes and say "I love you and I care that you're hurting, Sam," the sobs will instantly stop.  That's all he needs to know - that I care.  Then he can bear the timeout, or whatever is causing him to cry. 

Because that's the thing about love - when we know we're loved, we can bear almost anything.

I've been reading in the book of Daniel lately, and was struck with the phrasing used to comfort him.  Daniel was a man of great faith and courage and he did not fear the punishments of the king, even to being tossed in a den of lions.  But when God sent him visions, he was terrified and did not understand.  He fell down on his face in sheer fear.

God sent the angel Gabriel to speak to him, and I would have expected him to say something like this: "O Daniel, remember that you are a man of great faith.  Trust in God and fear not."  Which would have been true, and reasonable. But what he actually said?

"O Daniel, man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage."(Daniel 10:19)

Greatly loved!  That's the first thing, the first comfort - you are loved.  Don't fear.  Rest easy.  Be courageous. You are loved.

Brothers, sisters - we are loved.  Love bears all things.  And perfect love - God's love - casts out fear.  How can we fear anything when the deep underneath-it-all glad truth is that He loves us?

I've been feeling like a bad mom, like a failure - comparing myself to other (good, yes!) moms who do things differently from me.  I'm not the organic mom, the homeschool mom, the cloth-diaper mom, the Pinterest mom.  I'm not even the successful-potty-training mom. 

But I am Sam and Vava's mom, and God assures me that I am indeed a good mom doing His good work.  When I tell myself I'm a bad mom, I'm just speaking fear and lies - I'm not resting in Him. I'm not courageous. 

These words to Daniel burst on my heart like a river, a sunrise.  You are greatly loved.  Fear not. I don't want to raise my kids as a mom who can't see past her own fear.  No.  I want to trust that God has called me, chosen me, set this task in my hands.  He has given me what I need to complete it well.  And when I find myself bowed, stricken with my own sense of inadequacy, howling crocodile tears like my tender-hearted Sam, I will listen to these words.

"At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved."  (Daniel 9:23)

I don't know what your week has in store for you, but I want to write this in blazing, sure letters on your trembling heart.

You are loved.  Fear not.  Rest easy.  Be courageous.  You are loved.

Greatly loved.


Friday, September 12, 2014

3081 to 3090

3081. Sam, hearing the phrase "pedestrian crossings" explains "if you walk in the street a car can hit you." Patrick and I were so surprised ... smart kid. :)
3082. Remembering the bag of clothing donations in the trunk, just when Vava was sodden and yucky from spilled Yop.
3083. Finding my phone when I thought I'd left it at home.
3084. Patrick caring so much.
3085. Sam's shy phone-voice.
3086. Sam standing on his tiptoes, telling me excitedly "I so bigger now!"
3087. Moms' group.
3088. Vava snuggling on my friend.
3089. Doing something about a bad situation instead of just whining about it.
3090. YouTube and cozy blankets with Patrick.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

3071 to 3080

3071. Growing our baby ♥.
3072. Patrick taking the kids out for a quick errand and giving me a few minutes to miss them.
3073. Emails from dear friends.
3074. Sunshine on the deck this morning.
3075. Sam telling me the things he loved about his day.
3076. Vava asking me for dinosaur kisses.
3077. Pumpkin vanilla smoothies.
3078. Pulling off socks at the end of the day.
3079. Bedtime going so smoothly.
3080. News of a friend's baby arriving safely.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

3061 to 3070

3061. Waking up chilly next to a cuddly furnace. ♥
3062. Sam's gurgly belly saying thank you for his favourite toothpaste.
3063. Patrick and Sam helping me vacuum out the vents.
3064. Vava telling me she was a Princess Dragon.
3065. Chatting with my heart-sister.
3066. A morning movie date with friends.
3067. Wiggly toes in my ribs.
3068. Cozy socks on a chilly day.
3069. My sister's phone call.
3070. Receiving my cousin's gorgeous album in the mail.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

3051 to 3060

3051. Sam's beginner theology.
3052. Vava being excited to wear a 'pippy dess!'
3053. Talking with my sisters.
3054. Making glow-in-the-dark bedtime toys for Sam and his friend.
3055. Homemade pumpkin spice lattes.
3056. The softness in the air before rainfall.
3057. Sam 'helping' me mow the lawn.
3058. Vava's face lighting up when our neighbour gave her flowers.
3059. Vava asking to go in the potty!
3060. Sam going to sleep right away ... cuddled next to a squirmy, snuggly Vava.

Monday, September 8, 2014

3041 to 3050

3041. A productive early morning.
3042. Being awake when my kids woke up ... and much less cranky ;).
3043. Friends checking in to make sure I'm okay. ♥
3044. A houseful of kids.
3045. Sam's enjoyment of quiet time.
3046. Little guy falling asleep on the couch.
3047. Vava running for me with her tongue hanging out, looking like a joyful puppy, when I came back after a 10-minute errand.
3048. A little date with Patrick.
3049. Texting with friends.
3050. Chrissy, staying home with our kids, and loving them so much.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

3031 to 3040

3031. Sam praying a funny little prayer for breakfast.
3032. Our beautiful church family.
3033. Vava telling me a few times she wants a pig theme for her birthday party.
3034. Lots of Facebook love.
3035. Playing in the park with the kids and friends.
3036. A wonderful impromptu supper date.
3037. Planning the rest of the month like an actual grown-up.
3038. Sam's beautiful new triangle of freckles. ♥
3039. Couch-snuggles with my one true love.
3040. Slipping into a fresh bed after a good shower.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

3021 to 3030

3021. Baked pb oatmeal for breakfast.
3022. Vava gobbling rice krispies.
3023. Walking to the street fair.
3024. Sam and Vava seeing the Shriners' train and calling it "the Gertrude" from Peppa Pig.
3025. A great nap.
3026. Taking the kids through a car wash.
3027. Giving Sam's hair a much-needed trim.
3028. The way Vava wants to be just like Sam.
3029. Chatting with my mama.
3030. Sam's endless excuses for staying up late ... creativity at its finest.

Friday, September 5, 2014

3011 to 3020

3011. Patrick gently pulling the blankets up over me when he got out of bed.
3012. A Facebook-free morning; playing with my kids and being silly.
3013. Moms' group.
3014. Lunchtime visit with Patrick.
3015. Gifts for Sam - including a dinosaur costume! - from a thoughtful friend.
3016. Sam and Vava wearing their costumes all afternoon.
3017. Donair night :).
3018. Lovely friends.
3019. A gift of grace and truth.
3020. Braxton Hicks ... taking me closer and closer to baby K!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

3001 to 3010

3001. Amazon order arriving - new reusable applesauce pouches are a big hit!
3002. Quiet lunch to myself while Sam & Vava napped.
3003. Sunshine after rain.
3004. Earl Grey Tea and company.
3005. Jesus being in the boat.  Not watching it. Not monitoring it. In it. Peace!
3006. God working His righteousness ... not just expecting me to, and blaming me when I fail, but planning and helping and guiding me in it. ♥ blessed.
3007. Relaxing in the sunshine.
3008. Pumpkin pie soap.
3009. A gorgeous massage.
3010. Coming home to supper with my love and the kids already bathed & in bed. Ahhh.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

2991 to 3000

What You've Taken
2991. My sin.
2992. Grampie.
2993. My fears.
2994. Baby Belzoir.
2995. My questions.
2996. My ignorance.
2997. My prayers.
2998. My offerings.
2999. My ineptness.
3000. Your own good time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

2981 to 2990

2981. Sunshine and friendship.
2982. Sam praying for Jedidah's trip home.
2983. Sam getting mad at me for keeping Vava awake on our drive home.
2984. Vava opening the marker when Sam was trying to help her ... "want me to open it, Va? ... hmm guess not."
2985. Lying in baby K's room and dreaming about him.
2986. Sam stuttering and then exclaiming in confusion "I can't say it!"
2987. A night out with Patrick's work peeps.
2988. Patrick ♥.
2989. An amazing last-minute babysitter.
2990. Sam calling me to his room and asking if I'm too busy or can he tell me something. The something? "I love you! Can I have a hug?"

Monday, September 1, 2014

2971 to 2980

2971. Patrick being home with us today.
2972. Baked peanut butter oatmeal.
2973. Friends :).
2974. Vava's distress at being separated from Sam.
2975. Their ecstatic reunions.
2976. Sam telling me he saw a "dead stunk! And flies were eating it because it was so delicious.  Because it didn't get off the road and a car was going so fast."
2977. Well-loved friends joining us for supper.
2978. Jedidah doing the dishes - again! - and spoiling me rotten.
2979. A cool evening walk under the stars.
2980. Conversation and that just-right feeling. ♥

2961 to 2970

2961. Sunday morning breakfast.
2962. Sweet old ladies at church.
2963. A reminder that God delivers the weak. ♥
2964. Sam and Jackson's joyful reunion.
2965. Donairs for lunch!
2966. Spray-painting fun.
2967. Soaps on sale.
2968. Chrissy & Jedidah making me laugh.
2969. Playing at the park with Sam and Vava.
2970. Vava wearing her tutu.