The truth as I know it:

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time & miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands. ~~~ Kristi Larson

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hope and Promise and Blessings

Today is a good day for our family. My nephew, Brody Franklin Moss was born at around 12:30 in the afternoon. He's gorgeous. And I am reminded how sweet and precious newborn babies are, what a miracle new life is, and how blessed I am to be able to have a relationship with my niece and now nephew because they live around the corner from me. Holding that new little life, I couldn't help but thank God for the gift of life, and feel a little twinge of sorrow for the birth mothers of the world. Holding little Brody, I can't imagine having someone else raise him or not getting to watch him grow up. Of course all the emotions of my own child's birth are brought back to me. It's hard to believe that big ol' Connor was ever that tiny, but he was! He was almost exactly they same size as Brody. It's such a privilege and a blessing to be part of new life, especially when it's a child you love!

Also, my little Connor has strep. He is a tough kid. This is the child who NEVER complains that his ears hurt until about an hour before his ear drums burst. I have yet to get him to the doctor before his drums are about to burst because he doesn't ever run a fever with an infection and he never complains. So on Saturday when he told me it felt like there was a thorn in his throat, I gave him some Tylenol and put him to bed. The next day he was totally fine, running, playing, happy. Monday he woke up with a rash over his entire body and I knew immediately that his "thorn" was strep. Sure enough, we went to the doctor and he is now on antibiotics. Which led me to think of Katie and her kiddos. When Katie's kids get sick with something like Strep, are they even able to be seen by a doctor? Are there antibiotics to give them? If so, surely they aren't readily available and it can't be as easy to get them as it is for me. Also, I thought of how hard it would be if we didn't have insurance. For me, there was no thought whatsoever of whether to take him to the doctor, but I know for so many people, it's an agonizing decision on whether or not something is worthy of the money it would take to be seen by a doctor, which means kids get sicker and sicker until it's a must and probably the condition is far worse. And of course, my copay for his medicine was $10. No problem to pay at all, but what about if I didn't have insurance? How much would it have been? And my little nephew was born today in a clean, sterile environment where my sister-in-law had adequate care and pain medication. There was danger, certainly, as there always is, but it was minimal. We never really worried that her life or the life of her baby were in danger. How different our experience today would have been if we were living in most other countries in the world. Tonight, I will go to bed thankful for the privilege of living in this country, for the insurance that allows me to keep my kids healthy without thought of money, and for the medical care that is available to us that makes little illnesses like strep a, well, little illness that can be cured within 24 hours.

And also, Stellan has RSV. Many of you follow MckMama, as I do. And her precious little miracle baby is in the hospital. How blessed their family is that this precious baby, who everyone prayed so hard for and fought such a spiritual war for, doesn't have to suffer and die with something like RSV, but he can be helped and kept comfortable (at least semi-comfortable) and his Mama can be there and know that very capable and smart people are helping him and God has placed him in a place where there are tools to help him. Aren't we all so blessed!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Things that meant alot to me this year....

It's 12:36 on Saturday, December 27 and I am still in my pajamas. So are two of my four kids. What a decadent and freeing end to the hustle and bustle of this week. As I went through my overly gifted week with my children (which, sadly, still has more gifts to come from my side of the family) I couldn't help but think of a few things that are real blessings to me this year:

I couldn't help but think of all the friends I have made on the adoption journey this year. I especially thought of Norm and Karyn, Susan and Randy, Becky and Keith, Carol and Lance, and a few others who are getting to experience Christmas for the first time this year with a child in their arms. I remember so well that first year with Jack. He had been home only three and a half weeks when Christmas rolled around and it was absolutely THRILLING for Brian and I to finally be getting the experience of creating our own Christmas memories and traditions.

I was also thinking of my special friends Michelle and Ian, Nicole and Brett, Barb and Stefan, and Karen and Kerry, who got to celebrate with a little pink this year after many years of ALOT of blue. I could identify with them so much this year and thought of them when I was purchasing things like Meg's play kitchen and tea set, etc.

The other thing that meant alot to me was this idea from Karyn about putting an envelope on the tree to celebrate the birth mothers of my children. Since I didn't see the idea in time for Christmas, I am stealing her idea and gong to do this as a way to commemorate the Russian Christmas, which is in January. I am going to take some of the unused photo boxes I have in my closet and label each one with a child's name on it. Starting this year, I will put a piece of artwork, maybe a Christmas photo, or some other memorable trinket from the year. I am also going to carry on Karyn's idea of making a donation in honor of each of their birth mothers. I love this idea and wanted to pass it to all of you who might be looking for a way to honor a birth mother than you can never reach out to. Thanks for the idea Karyn!

Also this year, our families had decided not to give gifts to each other (parents and siblings did not exchange gifts in our family this year.) When my in-laws came for Christmas with large boxes for each couple, I thought that they had decided to surprise everyone with a special something, but I had no idea how special that something was going to be. They had taken "things" from their attic and closets that had belonged to Brian's granparents and passed them on to each couple. It was a very sweet gift and one that took some creativity, but meant more than anything they could have purchased.

Even though the idea not to exchange gifts was not my idea (it was between my husband and his sister) I think I was credited (or blamed as the case may be) for trying to force people not to do what they wanted to do on Christmas. As grateful as I am for all the gifts we always recieve from all sides of our family, it's such an overkill of what is necessary that I must say that one of the things that meant the very most to me this year was NOT having alot of gifts to open. I couldn't believe how freeing it was not to have piles and piles of stuff to incorporate into my already blessed and overflowing life. Brian and I did exchange, but I really even could have done without that. I just enjoyed having my kids home, seeing their faces as they opened things they were excited to have, and enjoyed the freedom of less "stuff" and more "fellowship" that was created from the lack of trappings. It's so hard to stare into the face of those who have NOTHING and then celebrate the EVERYTHING that I have without a little guilt. I know the poor will always be with us, but I also know there is nothing in my life that I want or need and not having the "stuff" this year freed me, somehow, to honor and dwell on the important things I wanted to feel this Christmas.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, especially those of you who were celebrating a first of any kind in your life this year... there's nothing like it!

Happy New Year!

Psalm 51:17-19

"Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise. For you do not desire sacrifice, a burnt offering you would not accept. My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God do not spurn a broken, humbled heart."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Thrill of Hope

Did you ever think about that before? How THRILLING hope is. Really, think about what hope looks like and feels like. Anticipation of a child for Christmas morning? Hope of "the call" as an adoptive parent? Hope of "It's a Girl!" or "It's a Boy!" for a pregnant mother? Hope for peace! Hope for change. Hope for healing. The thrill of something greatly anticipated is, well, thrilling!

What thrills me this week? The fact that God chose to come to us via a poor, unwed, teenage mother. The fact that the example He gave us of what a holy family looks like included adoption, poverty, submission to God and government, and above all, trust and obedience. I love that Mary and Joseph were both troubled by the thought of this pregnancy, but that in the end, they did as God asked and they left the details of how it would all work out up to Him. They said "Yes", not "Let me think about it." I love that they didn't try to over-control it or "spin" it. And I love that Jesus came at a pretty inconvenient time too. They were required by their government to be present for something, but life goes on, babies are born, and the world keeps turning, even at the most inconvenient of times.

And yet, it's still thrilling. When a baby comes into your life through birth or adoption (as it did for Mary and for Joseph), the inconveniences, practicalities and doubts all have a way of getting out of the way and making room for the thrill of that new life. You don't worry too much about the college savings on the day of the birth!

I also find it thrilling that God ran out and told the lowest citizens he could find FIRST. When you get THRILLING news, who do you call first? After you dance around in your kitchen laughing and screaming, do you call your mother, your husband, your best friend? God called the shepherds... dirty, smelly, uneducated guys who live outside. Imagine, in God's THRILLING moment that He appeared to the lowly. In today's world, if Jesus were being born tomorrow night instead of 2008 years ago, who would God have appeared to? Would He have shown up under the Woodland Street Bridge in Nashville to the little colony of homeless men who live there? Would He have been in the orphanage with the unknown and unwanted around the world? Where would people be most THRILLED to hear this kind of good news? Your home? Mine?

If you have never REALLY listened to the words of Oh Holy Night, please stop for a moment, scroll down to the playlist and start over to hear Martina McBride belt it out. If you can hear her beg you to "fall on your knees" without actually wanting to, then let me know what moves you. Do you think that song is more applicable today then when it was first played on the radio on 1906? Is our world more weary today than it was then? I don't know, but I am THRILLED that our weary world has a reason to pause and rejoice this week... in the midst of economic crisis, in the midst of unknown job markets, housing markets, a war, and a presidential transition, we can know that none of this is beyond God's reach. He has a plan and all He requires of us is a "yes" to Him.

Merry Christmas!

Luke 1:51-53
"He has shown might with His arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Not Me Monday

Hop on over the MckMama's blog for more Not Me Fun:

I did NOT write this whole post with a very annoyed child on my lap. My kids never get jealous when I am on the computer.

I did not change all my music to different artists versions of Oh Holy Night. It is NOT my favorite Christmas song because it's got no meaning whatsoever.

I did not have a complete pre-Christmas meltdown last night at 9:15 because the kids wouldn't stay in bed, my husband wouldn't quit watching football and help me do the wet chores I couldn't do with my hand (more about that below.) I did NOT raise holy cane to the point that the kids made fun of Brian when he went in to check on them because he got in trouble with Mommy.

I did NOT have carpal tunnel surgery on my hand last Friday. Why would I possibly want to do something so limiting the week before Christmas? I also did not drive to Memphis to have this surgery done by my brother-in-law. I wouldn't need to drive three hours because I have a perfectly good orthopedic clinic and surgery center at the ENTRANCE TO MY NEIGHBORHOOD. And the reason I did NOT drive to Memphis (200 miles) had nothing to do with the fact that I would have two complete nights of sleep and a day of guiltless recovery.

We did NOT start our crazy, never-ending, multiple Christmas celebrations last weekend. My dad and his family were the first up to bat this year.

We did not eat at Famous Dave's AGAIN for our family Christmas dinner. Of course, we don't take them there EVERY year because being the good daughter I am, I always cook a gourmet meal for them.

While we were there, we did not get shafted on the timing of our food all arriving at different times and the manager did not give us three free deserts AND gift certificates for our next visit.... they rock! Wonder how I can get my meal screwed up next time? :)

This weekend as we were entering our neighbors house for a progressive dinner party, my husband did not ask me, "Were we actually invited to this?" Now I ask you, WHY on earth would he think I would drag myself out the night after surgery to an event we weren't invited to? Hmph!

And I am not totally done with my shopping for the Christmas marathon so I can enjoy the entire week of my hubby and kiddos being off from school/work! That would be so unlike me. :)

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Love that Nativity!

Okay, people, if you don't get a laugh out of this nativity scene, nothing is humorous to you. (Scroll down to the bottom to see the homemade nativity... precious!) Or, maybe it could be that my sense of humor is a little off today. I am sure it has nothing to do with the fact that my darling daughter decided YESTERDAY that she was going to potty train herself. I won't go into what a terrible potty trainer I am and how I procrastinate it and how she could NOT have chosen a worse time than the week before Christmas (the week of two school Christmas programs and about 5,329 errands to run.) But back to the point, which is that my sense of humor MUST be in tact if I am laughing about this because the scene that follows could only be accomplished by a seasoned mother. Do not try this at home, it's only for professionals.

Meg says, "I need pee-pee!!!!" We run to the potty as I realize that there is poop actually coming out of her at that very moment and in fact, she has already STEPPED in the poop. I put her on the potty and go to clean up the said accident, when I can't locate the "droppings" I realize that my wonderful dog has eaten the evidence. I start to wipe her foot off and realize it's all down her leg, etc. so I turn to start the bath water at which time, Connor drops the training seat on her foot and she starts howling bloody murder. Being the awesome, experienced, loving mom that I am, I jerk her right up, kiss her foot, and then realize it was the one with the poop on it. Connor proceeds to feed the dog an ENTIRE bag of breath freshening treats and that's enough said about the great poop incident of '08.

Proberbs 17:1
"Better a dry crust with peace than a house full of feasting with strife."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

An award for moi????

Thanks to Susan over at "Cheerios in My Shorts" for the Kreativ Blogger Award!

The rules are as follows:
List six things that make you happy. Pass the award along to six more bloggers. Do not give the typical answers and go for the less obvious, as you all know that family, friends, God, etc. would be on the list. So here are my six in no particular order.

1. Change jingling in a man's pocket makes me happy. I love the sound!

2. When any man opens the door for me, that makes me happy. I know I'm old-school and so Southern, but I make no apologies for that.

3. Silence... makes me happy. Of course, the sound of my kids laughing makes me happy, but if I'm going for the less obvious then I have to say silence because it's totally rare (almost extinct) around here.

4. Real wood fires when it's cold outside make me exceedingly happy. There is nothing in the world that's better than a fire crackling and popping in the fireplace, the lights of my Christmas tree burning, a good movie and a snuggle with my hubby on our couch.

5. Newborn babies make me happy. Especially when they belong to someone I love. I can't think of one thing I would rather do than rub a newborn babies head against my cheek!

6. Bookstores make me very happy. Particularly when my husband gives me a gift certificate and watches the kids so I can spend hours and money without guilt.

Now, obviously, clean running water, gainful employment, a warm bed, nice home, family, faith, gifts under my tree, and the love of friends make me happy too. Even though this list was supposed to be about the less obvious things, (and I know why because it would be really boring to hear every single person say the things you don't want to take for granted.) I do want to mention these things because I am so very painfully aware that there are millions of people in the world at this time, 147,000,000 of them children, who don't have these things and I want to acknowledge that I recognize the blessing they are in my life! And I never want to forget that 75% of my children were at one time among them.

Now, I'm passing this award on to:

Heather (who hopefully will ACTUALLY do this one! hint hint)
Barb (because she needs an award right about now!)
Dinia (because she is one interesting and adventurous mama! :)
Katie (I'm completely not expecting her to actually participate, but I do want you to check out her site! :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program....

to bring you a "SNOW DAY!"

If my crazy life had a background track, it would sound like this:


Hey, Liam, wanna play Lego
I want cheese.
Oh, I wish I had some cheese.


Yeah, okay, I'll be the red dude
Mom have you seen my ______________

More random screaming.... VINCE!!!!! Crash! Get him out of here!

Mom, what does this say.
Hey, can someone tie my shoe (someone meaning, of course, Mom)
No, I wanna be the red dude, you were the red dude last time
Liam, take your hands off that! That's mine!
Oh, I wish I could find my other shoe!


No I wasn't, Connor you're always the red dude
Mom, I need some scissors, glue, a blow torch, a chain saw, hammer, and some matches.
I want banana


Give me that!!!!!!!!
I'm not your friend!
Stoppit Meg!
I don't want banana
Has anyone seen my other glove?
Where's my glove?
Oh, where's my GLOVE!!!! Ugh!


No, no, in a minute, I don't know where did you have it last and WHAT!!!!!

This concludes the test of our emergency snow day system. Had this been an actual snow day, we would have photos of children building snow men and having snow cream. Since this was NOT an actual snow day, but only a day out of school with alot of very wet clothes, we will now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

"Have pity on me Lord, for I am weak..." Psalm 6:3

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Quick note...

Just a very very quick note to say that I hope you all noticed the new button on the sidebar... front and center. PLEASE take a moment to visit Katie's blog, if you haven't already. The work she is doing with orphans is very real and very tangible and you'll be blessed by your visit, I promise! And if you feel so moved, while you are there, please take a moment to add Katie's button to your blog too. The code is right there on her blog, so grab it and spread the word!

Thanks! Ondrea

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Katie Davis

Okay, there WILL be more to come on this in the very near future, but for right now, just go here! I have had a link to this blog on my blog for a very long time, but tonight I got the very distinct pleasure of hearing this young woman speak. I came away with a burning desire to DO SOMETHING that can only be attained by hearing a person speak who has a burning passion for what they are doing. I have so many things I want to say to and about this young lady, but my head is swimming right now and I can't get the thoughts to form coherent strings. Let me just say that if anyone ever shared my heart for orphans, it's this girl. In fact, her heart puts my heart to shame. I am humbled by the pitiful state of my heart when viewed in the blinding light of what God has accomplished through Katie in two short years! And I can tell you that the burden I feel for these children is tremendous, but her burden is a bone weary burden that is so obviously of God that it makes others want to just touch a little bit of it.

Katie spoke at the home of a friend tonight and I have her coming to speak at my house on January 6. Any of you blog friends out there who want to make a trip to Nashville to hear her speak, I will make sure you have a bed to sleep in (it may be shared with a 4 year old, but there will be a pillow) and I will welcome you and you WILL be blessed. In fact, there's no way to hear her and not be blessed. You would not believe the story if I relayed it to you, you have to hear it from her lips. I am telling you, I have read the blog, I have told you many times that this girl is amazing, but I believe it in a different way tonight than what I understood before. Please read the blog and please please please continue to pray and don't cease to DO for the orphans of the world. I am more convinced than ever that whatever we are doing that is not purposeful and intentional in the direction of caring for the "least of these" is a total waste of our time!

James 1:27

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world."

This was the tag line of Meg's adoption blog. But did you ever stop to really consider this verse? Religion (like a denomination) that is PURE and UNDEFILED (meaning, not stained by the mess that humans always make of things) is when we care for the helpless. Not Protestant, not Catholic, not non-denominational, but just purity in the eyes of God is when we get our hands dirty caring for the ones who aren't glamorous and certainly aren't always lovable. Singleness of heart, to care for the orphans!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Happy Birthday!

He may kill me for this photo because it was made this morning before he even had his coffee, but really, he is still so handsome that he looks pretty darn good for having just rolled out of bed! :) Sorry babe!
Today is my amazing, sweet, tolerant, handsome, fun, God-seeking, loving husband's birthday. Proof of how amazing he is? He took the whole fam-damily to Shogun for dinner tonight because that is where the kids like to go. I think it's the first time we've all been out to a "nice" restaurant together and this brought the realization that we have moved from a party of five to the "mandatory gratuity added" category with just our immediate family. Now we're talkin'!

Happy Birthday honey, on the off chance that you would possibly be reading this... hahaha (that's a joke because the only time he EVER reads my blog is if I tell him there's something he needs to read.) Hope you enjoy the book. This was Meg and Connor yesterday in their Christmas gear. They both had on Rudolph so I had to get some snaps.

This Rudolph "mask" was part of a party invitation we received in the mail today... very cute invite and Connor thought it was a good costume too! :) And by the way, Meg has decided that her name is Zizzy... funny girl!

"Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." Ephesians 5:33

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Russian Way

Today I was catching up with my friend Heather's blog and a thought came to me while reading it. The first thought was this, "I hate all you women out there who can just go to the mall and fight the throngs of people for your Christmas shopping without a child (or four or five) hanging from your pant leg." But then I remembered that alot of you women are my friends, so I retracted that statement and realized that there actually IS a better way. :) And hold onto your hats because I NEVER thought I would say this, but I believe the Russian's DO have this one figured out.

Imagine with me now, that you are in Russia (think no anti-smoking laws ANYWHERE!) Now imagine that there are three hundred people trying to check-out (or check-in, or get in, or pay, or whatever) and the space in which to do so is about 10x12. Now, imagine that there is no such thing as personal space, I was here first, or even so much as the CONCEPT of an organized line. Have you ever been to Macy's in New York on Black Friday?
Okay, then you've got a semi-picture of what a "Russian queue" is like (I say semi picture because there's really no such thing as a line in Russia.) So, at this point you get that it's mass chaos (this applies to cars too, but that's another post.) Anyway, so why the heck would I be wishing for that at Christmastime? Because the one thing the Russian's really do have figured out in the line department is that if you have a baby, if you are old, or if you are pregnant, you get to go right up to the front. It's not that people tell you to go ahead of them... no, you don't have to wait to be invited. It's a very accepted and expected cultural norm that you just WALK RIGHT TO THE FRONT!!!! (gasp) if you have a babe in arms. Isn't that AMAZING!??? I mean, seriously, can you imagine?

Now, this brings me to all sorts of conclusions about Russian and American culture. I could make some generalizations about what this says about our country AND their's, but for right now, I am just really wishing that we had this same courtesy in our country because that, my friends, would make shopping with a toddler well worth the time and effort! :)