About Me

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I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother.  Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing.  Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.

Surviving the Valley Series

Surviving the Valley Series
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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

I'm exhausted, as I am recalling now that Thanksgiving break has never been one to leave me feeling refreshed and rested, but my heart is full. However, for the moment, I am embracing a few hours of silence, hoping to recharge enough to head back in to a classroom full of seven-year-olds tomorrow morning. It's amazing what a little solitude and silence can do for me.

Thanksgiving break held a lot of purposeful, intentional activity, like:
 An afternoon coffee/game date with David. ( I love how we always resort to games when we have a little extra time on our hands).
 A nice dinner out with Juan after I picked him up from school and then took him to take his Spanish CLEP test (which he rocked, as expected).  A few extra Spanish credits to add to his transcript to get him a little further ahead with his studies, credits that he doesn't have to pay for and classes he won't have to take.
 Thanksgiving at my parents' house for the first time in many, many yearts. 
 Some scrumptious pies for dessert. 
 Cousin time.

 A Cowboys win
 Nice fall and Thanksgiving decorations for a change (I am not much of a decorator.)
 A little more game time with David.
 More fall decorations.

 Juan dancing while he made his grandma a pot of ajiaco soup, a soup that's typical in Bogota, Colombia.

 Family time--even Matt, who came on crutches after breaking his pelvis just a week before. (Ang is there, too, just taking the picture.)

Free coffee at Dunkin Donuts (thanks to the Cowboys win) after a day of Black Friday shopping.
 A guys' night out to watch the Sachse football team in the playoffs.
 Juan made me changua for breakfast, a typical Colombian breakfast that we enjoyed many times while waiting in Colombia for his adoption to finalize.
A coffee/tea/soda date with one of Juan's high school ESL teachers--one of the many people I am thankful for God strategically placing in Juan's life.
 A little Christmas decorating  with some of my favorite nativity sets
The set we had when I was growing up that I still put out every year.
My Jesus tree with ornaments that have different names of Jesus 
(my favorite decoration of all)

 A new nativity my mom just gave me from her collection she had in St. Louis.
The new tree we bought two years ago and haven't used yet (due to traveling last year). The cat posed just perfectly under the tree for me, but I forgot to move the shoes out of the way before I took the pic.)
A selfie at church with one of my favorite friends.

A quick selfie with my son, just before I left him at DBU for the next three weeks before Christmas break. He sure is in a good place there. I loved having him home for a few days, but I love watching him continue to grow and learn in such a good place. 

In the midst of all the gathering with family and friends, I did cherish some time alone to clean, reorganize (at least a little bit), and read two whole books that I've been wanting to read.

A full break. Fulfilling and fun. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Giving them wings

It's a different season of life around here. This mama heart has taken a break from sharing and has spent more time just cherishing and pondering, collecting special moments in my heart and thanking God for them daily.

My boys are in a new stage, trying out their wings, attempting to fly on their own, though they both still need to come back to the nest every now and then. I am having to intentionally look for available times to connect with each of them in their own way, on their own schedule, and in their individual love language. We rarely get to be together as a whole family anymore, so the focus is quality time that counts rather than trying to squeeze out a huge quantity of time that just isn't available like it used to be. I knew last Christmas might be our last big chance to make a family vacation happen for awhile, and I'm so glad we didn't let that chance slip away.

This current season has Juan in his second year at DBU, living in an apartment, still struggling to figure out all the responsibilities he holds as a college student. He's right where he needs to be, surrounded by people God hand-picked to continue influencing him, but the realities of the gaps in his maturity are still very real and pronounced in this stage of his life. But prayers work miracles, and I am constantly seeing God answer many of my daily prayers for that boy.

Apartment life has him learning how to budget money for groceries and budget time to cook for himself. Living on the second floor (lots of stairs) and not having so much ready-made food available to him has helped with health issues, as well. He's doing well in his New Testament class, is bored in his Art class (says it's too basic for him), is challenged in his History class, and of course is struggling his way through English literature. He's on an academic plan, so we'll find out in another month if he'll be able to continue full-time in the spring or if we'll need to come up with a part-time plan. Either way, it's all a learning experience for him, and I trust God that He's already got the spring semester figured out. I've finally moved my classroom out of his room and have his room ready for him to move back in for awhile if need be, but I'm hoping and praying his grades and funds will keep him on campus.

On the positive side, he's all signed up for another summer at Pine Cove. It's a long, hard separation with very little contact, but this time we can prepare ourselves for all that will entail. I know it was a very good place for him, physically, mentally, and spiritually, and I am thankful he will have the chance to shine more as a leader this time. Plus I'm thankful to know we don't have to deal with the anxiety of not knowing if he'll find a good summer job. From what I observed when we visited last summer, it looks like a summer long mission trip that you get paid to participate in. :)

I'm also very proud of him for taking the initiative to get baptized just a few weeks ago. He talked about it for several months, but he was quite particular about the who, when, and where of it all. He specifically wanted his first youth pastor, Shane, to baptize him (the one who took him on his first high school retreat where he accepted Christ into his life, who attended his Senior night for high school soccer, who came out for his high school graduation, who later took him to Guatemala on his first international mission trip, had him serve as a college leader in our church's Disciple Now weekend, and who wrote him a letter of recommendation for Pine Cove).  I think having him baptize him was a really neat way of acknowledging his spiritual influence/impact on his life. He also made it clear that he wanted to be baptized outside in a natural body of water. He thought long and hard about dates and finally decided on his 21st birthday because he said we already have enough special dates to remember ("Gotcha day", adoption day, the day he came to the U.S., the day we met, etc.). So, as complicated as it was to work out the details, it all came together and turned out beautiful. I secretly invited a few extra people to witness it and then celebrate his birthday afterwards, including my parents, a few people from church, Kyleigh (David's girlfriend) and her mom, and Mauricio, the current youth pastor. Plus Juan invited his buddy, Sam, who spent the summer at Pine Cove with him.

He's also been attending church on the weekends with one of his friends whose dad is a pastor, has been serving quite a bit there to get his needed service hours for DBU, and he's even talking about joining the church. God just keeps him surrounded by all the right people. :) We really enjoyed visiting the church and having lunch with the pastor and his family. It truly is an adventure watching God's plans for my son continue to unfold, especially knowing how tempting it would have been to not have tried for him a second time. We all could have missed this.

Giving an adopted child wings is so hard on many days because you just know he's not at the same level of maturity as his peers, but knowing he's a child of God makes it so much easier to entrust him back into the hands that gave him to us in the first place.

So I've made it a point to just stay connected this semester, meeting up with him somehow at least once every two to three weeks. I sure do cherish each time I see him and get to spend a little time just catching up.

And as far as my other sweet son goes, his wings are his new wheels and his new job. I'm so, so proud of him for how seriously he is taking both of those reponsibilities, but they both have definitely changed the amount of time that we are able to spend together. So I'm always on the lookout for opportunities to take him out to Starbucks or another local coffee shop or even just a quick breakfast at McDonalds. It gets a bit tricky trying to find a time that he's not working on his truck (he's his father's son, for sure), working at Chick Fil-A, or out with his girlfriend and hanging out with church friends, but at least he rarely turns down a chance to go to Starbucks. :) Today we could've stayed home watching TV, but instead we hung out at a coffee shop playing games together. A little pricey, but so worth it. Love that boy to pieces. Can't believe he just turned 17.

 I ate alone at Chick Fil-A every Wednesday between school and Bible study, mainly because David was working and it was my only chance to see him. And yes, I did stalk that cute kid out in the drive-through every week. :)

 All ready for homecoming. :)

Isn't he adorable?????

So, yes, it's a different season of life. Different, but good. Just calls for a bit more creativity and intentionality to stay connected.