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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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Friday, July 29, 2016

A different kind of summer

Just me, myself, and I today.

One more day till my boys come back from California.

One more night out with my best friend (my husband).

One more week till I am officially back to work after an interesting summer.

Nothing like a rainy day to sit back and reflect over what we've done as our fourth summer together as a family, our third full summer at home.

This summer felt very different to me. I'm a goal setter. I thrive when I feel like I've accomplished something. Most summers we have a focus and a goal to work toward achieving, either individually or as a family. Like rest, health, on-line classes, home improvement, reorganization, fun activities, etc. This year I didn't write down a single goal.

Most summers I send my boys off to their separate camps during different weeks of the summer and focus on a one-on-one relationship with the one who stays home that week. This year we hung out together and no one went their separate way. It's been about family and togetherness. The boys went to California this week, but they went together. They flew on the same airplane. They rode in the same van, worked in the same group, stayed in the same hotel room, and did pretty much all the same stuff. (BTW, after all their hard work, today they're out touring Warner Brothers Entertainment. Must say I'm a bit jealous now.)

Looking back, I'll have to say that as hard as it is for me to let go of the plans and goals, it makes me feel more grateful for each accomplishment. Less expectation and more fulfillment, I guess you could say. Did I get a lot of writing done? No. Did I make a lot of headway on this whole marketing my books experience? No. Did we do a lot of fun preplanned activities? No. Did I stick to a strict exercise routine to get healthier? No. Did I even ride my bike once? No. Did I get caught up on all the dental work and necessary appointments? No. Did I delete all my e-mails and clean up my inbox? Of course not.

But we did go on a pretty last minute vacation up through Indiana and St. Louis, saw a whole bunch of family, sold a few books and got some free advertising in through a great local newspaper, and we did other random fun things along the way. We spent several days at Six Flags with great friends, rode a whole bunch of roller coasters, and got some silly pictures of ourselves on those said rollercoasters. We now have a nice smoker grill out back to enjoy a lot of good meat for years to come, and we finally landscaped the small section of the backyard that's looked so ugly for so long. Mike replaced Juan's flooring in his bedroom and is down to just one more room in the house to finish. Juan got a part-time job, did some conditioning with his soccer coach, and is in the process of repainting his car (my old Neon) so that he can drive to school this year with his head held high. :) I taught a Bible study to two separate groups of women and saw connections made within those groups that I thank God for letting me be a part of, plus I watched women fall in love with studying Scripture, specifically the names of God. I finally got my author e-mail list set up through Mail Chimp and attached a nice, free resource to it for anyone who signs up (thanks to some amazing coaching from my writing hero, Mary DeMuth, and I slowly, but surely, started tackling a long list of marketing suggestions to spread the word on my books. I drank way too much coffee (on my second cup for the day as we speak), and we ate way too much ice cream. But we had a lot of fun, and I feel very relaxed going back to work in a week. Whatever didn't get done in the summer will get done eventually.

My husband hates lists and calendars, and he hates it even more when I give him a list of stuff to do. Since I didn't give him any lists this summer, I appreciate his hard work for what he did do for us because it wasn't expected. I can't live very carefree during the school year, but it was nice while it lasted. I think I appreciate life a bit more when I'm not setting such high expectations--kind-of like that very first trip to Colombia. (Fourteen days in a foreign country where we knew no one and didn't have a single thing planned. Fourteen of my favorite days ever. Don't know what I'm talking about? Read all about it in my first book, Unexpected Tears.)

One more week. Wonder what we'll do. :)

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