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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, June 23, 2017

Silence is bliss (but only for so long)

My boys are  now making their way back from Colorado amidst a caravan of fifteen buses carrying 950 high school students. (That's a lot of buses!)

This was the first I've ever had an experience like this, with all three of them gone while I stayed by myself for the whole week. It's been  quite interesting. I haven't had a chance to take a break and breathe since school got out, so rather than make this a week of productivity, I did just the opposite.

I embraced a week of solitude and silence. No TV.  No music. Very few phonecalls. Very few outtings. Just me, the dogs, and the cat, and God. Time to breathe, to relax, to pray, to listen, and to read.

The first day was absolutely blissful. I didn't realize just how much I needed a day to myself, away from all the distraction and noise of the world. I pulled out the workbook for our new women's Bible study starting this week, very fittingly called Breathe, by Priscilla Shirer. Since I'll be gone for most of the study in July, I figured I'd get a head start. No better time to dig into a study called Breathe when I've got a whole week to do just that--breathe.

Breathe: Making Room for Sabbath: 5-Session Bible Study

I opened it up around mid-morning, and it drew me in immediately. It's a study on the Sabbath, showing us how God created rest and modeled it to us. God gave us the Sabbath as a gift, a boundary to keep everything else in life running as it should. It's a celebration, a day set apart to remember and celebrate God's goodness in our lives. When we ignore it, not only do we end up running on fumes, become less productive, and not fully enjoy ourselves, but we miss both the gift of rest and the Giver.

I took a break in the late afternoon to meet a friend for coffee, came back home, made a light dinner, and got the workbook back out. By 10:00 that night, I'd finished the entire four weeks of study. It was like my own little spiritual retreat, and I didn't even have to go anywhere. I felt blessed and knew God gave me exactly what I needed after an overwhelming school year.

The next day, I decided to take advantage of the quiet to curl up with a book and read. Juan and I had just gone to the library to check out some informational books on both Guatemala and Spain so we could start reading up on where we'll be going. We found several good sources on Spain, but we found very little on Guatemala. I did find a fictional novel that took place in Guatemala, so I checked it out and hoped the author had done enough research to make her setting realistic and true to the Guatemalan culture. I will have to say, she did a wonderful job. I feel a bit more prepared to visit after reading the whole book. Yes, I finished a 320 page book in just three days!

Wednesday I got out a bit and enjoyed some company. I met my dear friend, Aubree, from church at a little coffee shop in Wylie, and we sat and talked for over three hours that morning. I got home in time for a late lunch, and then I tried to stay in contact with my mom the rest of the afternoon after I heard that my dad was back in the hospital with another big scare. I felt pretty anxious all day, not knowing what news I might get as the doctors tried to decide the best course of action to help my dad. Early that evening, they performed another procedure on him, and then we just waited while they kept a close watch on him. Thankfully, the Breathe Bible study group started that evening, so I got to spend a few hours in the company of good friends rather than wait anxiously by the phone all alone at home in a quiet house. By 10:00 that night, my mom finally made it home to give us an update on my dad. The doctors seemed hopeful that the procedure would work and that he would recover.

Thursday morning I woke up still feeling quite anxious, so I spent a lot of time both in prayer and also reading, attempting to learn more and more about Spain, the culture that our sweet Laura has embraced as her own. I have been learning a lot as I realized that Spain is one country I never really studied, despite even hosting a foreign exchange student from Spain one summer during my high school years. I am fascinated with the culture, the position, and the history of the country. I'm still quite nervous about the whole trip (probably because it's coming up so fast!!!!), but I am very intrigued by what I'm learning and will get to experience in just a few weeks.

By Thursday afternoon, my dad got to go back home, and I watched God answer another prayer by giving me a little headway into Julian's ticket situation, even if it's just a slight glimmer of hope that I'm not sitting at a dead end. I will call again on Monday to keep pressing on. (Please keep praying that God will make a way for Julian to still get there if it's meant to be.)  I also used a lot of that nervous, anxious energy to clean a few hugely neglected areas of my house.

By Thursday night, the quiet finally started to get to me, and I texted Mike to tell him it was starting to get pretty lonely. As soon as I texted him, my friend, Amy, sent me a message inviting me to hang out with her family on Friday morning to get some yummy peach ice cream at a peach orchard nearby. Perfect timing!

So today I hung out with them, cleaned some more, organized and cleaned out some junk areas in the house, and made some fresh banana bread for my boys to come home to. The last two nights I've been craving sweets. Tonight I suddenly remembered a key fact I learned in adoption training--that sweets and sugar are often seen as a substitute for love. The longer the boys have been gone, the more I craved sweet things. No wonder.

I desperately needed a few days to myself to recharge after a challenging and overwhelming year, but I'm so ready for them to be home again now. (They all had a really great time, though. 😀 Especially Mike!)

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